Trying to combine some scenic roads with meeting a Friend, Paul from Chicago, for the first time. We will meet him this afternoon, he is riding almost twice as much as ourselves to meet. I rarely will put on the miles to meet a Friend as we always end up missing each other, but Paul’s and my Life have a common denominator as we also have supported each other through e mails and telephone calls. Paul has been a reader of the Blog for a while and last Father’s Day was kind enough to send me a real supportive e mail. The day went on, Monday came by as did another e mail from him that left me speechless and emotional as I could not describe till this day. His 17 year old Daughter Alyssa had been killed in a car accident on that same Father’s Day after himself supporting me throughout those times.
What does one say? I myself had heard it all… heard all the words that the mind at that time could really not register. I could only say "I am here and will be here for you" as he has been here for me. We never lost touch and today for the first time we will meet and camp a couple days together. Emotional? Of course… Here is a man that wears the same size shoes as I do. Emotions are good… we will both come through this with I know a renewed energy, new thoughts and sentiments toward the rest of our Lives since so far we have been spared for who knows what reason to still be around.
I decided to get here a day early, I never know where our route can take us even with a destination in mind, what adventure we would end up following and I still again wanted to witness another sunrise at the Arches National Park. We left early, the storms from the day before had vanished only living cool temperatures while on Highway #12, specially through the Dixie National Forest, but that would change very quickly
We stopped in Boulder for a few minutes to retrieve one of Spirit’s water bowl I had left behind. I looked for the "Governess"… to no avail… (I cannot help it… I still have a big "grin" about that title!) and with a nice slow speed arrived in Hanksville before we knew it. That is where all changed as suddenly I felt as a bag of steam had been dumped on us. It might get hot a bit in the afternoons around Escalante but it is never this oppressing heat which was only going to get worse, including a flying insect I had totally forgot about… Mr Mosquito…
After the many miles of curves, this nice straight road, even if hot, was a welcome sign. Cruise control on, vents open, we rode to Highway #70 thinking we will take the southern route on the way back in a couple of days. Not too far ahead on the Freeway, I saw another bike pulled over going the opposite direction. I generally will slow down and point my thumb in both up and down directions, OK… or not OK… The rider understood and his thumb was pointing down. Time to stop. Through the median yelling at each other over the traffic going both ways I understood that he had a flat and could not find the origin.
So… we went up ahead till we found an exit and returned the other way to help him out. One cannot leave a stranded rider, for that matter anyone stranded. His friends were ahead of him, all from Tacoma, Washington, and if you can believe it as it took us near an hour to fix his flat, they never returned or missed him!!! Dan will e mail me when he gets home… I am curious if my plug held up for a bit and what happened to his Friends. It took us a long time to find the puncture as he had a sport tire with some strange grooves and no center stand (!!!). Not carrying a compressor either, besides an expensive $65 repair kit (2 Co2 bottles, an adaptor and some old fashion plugs… someone is making out good out there!) or good plugs, I took my tools, compressor, you name it out and got him going telling him to ride for a while so the plug can vulcanize as then he will be safe…
And on to Moab, I had done my good deed for the day… The heat was up even more more than on the road. Uncomfortable, so annoying that I realized what a mistake I had done picking Moab as a rendez vous point. Specially that originally we had picked Monticello which at a higher altitude would have been perfect weather. Oh! well… worse things could have happened. Then of course came decision time. We could camp up the Mountains for free, somewhere on National Forest, or on BLM land which now is charging $12 a night without any facilities… or a Campground at the north end of town for $20 a night will all facilities, including WI FI since I was carrying my laptop… Laptop which I thought would fry with this heat!… same with the camera. I called Paul, I knew what I would like… not quite my taste, but with this heat… showers would be very nice! Urban camping… it was.
I kind of like the canapés, good shade for Spirit and the fact that we could split the cost of a site was also beneficial. It seems that we had just missed a bad storm, some lightning had set fire very close to the campground. At first I thought it was just a controlled fire, very little smoke, suddenly all of it amplified and we have been fortunate that the wind was blowing the other way. A couple helicopters with buckets started working on it, the smoke did get thicker and thicker but by night time they did have it out and this morning all seems to be just about normal
The evening getting bitten nightmare started soon after! Mosquitos by the dozen… no seeums by the hundreds… riding jacket on, hat on… stifled by the heat we should have gone riding instead! I don’t know what we will do tonight as I am sure we would like to sit and talk… an almost impossible situation around here! I was told Moab would get hot… but not THIS hot… and humid. We made it through the night, no need for cover or sleeping bag and up before sunrise took a ride to the Arches… even before my morning cup of coffee! Ah! The Arches… at that time of the day, or for that matter anytime, the area never cease to amaze me, never tired of riding through.
We went on to a coffee stand afterwards, I have been lazy this morning as I have not even unpacked my stove yet. We met a cool couple from Switzerland… and also another couple from Italy, actually a Professional Photographer, the real deal with a Master and at the present time a Professor of Photography… he gave me his Coffee Table Book, a beautiful one which I will post a link of it next time. Many more pictures from the Arches also… but I better go and see if Spirit has attacked anyone yet out there!!!
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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples, Fl 34108
Ara & Spirit