Archive for April, 2014

Down time, reality check, Utah.

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

“Before everything there was nothing. Was that nothing everything? What will there be when everything is gone? Nothing again… which will be everything?”
~ Translated from “Presque rien sur presque tout” ~ [Jean D’Ormesson]

I find those thoughts interesting while being related to the “Big Bang” theory.

Valley of the Gods-4 xxx

So the weather has been harsh these past days. It has happened quite often of course in these recent years. There is however a change as I am not handling it quite as well. I am cold and in mid summer I am hot. Seems it is the same with Spirit. Poor guy has no hair and this morning was 30 degrees. Might still be. I feel as I have become softer with age. Softer in the sense, and I am still trying to figure that one out, not able to handle extremes or is it not wanting to? I want in the 70’s every day, I want to be spared the 30 to 50 mph winds we are enduring at this very moment, I want… I want… I was telling a friend the other day that I had not worn my Gerbing liners [electric heated liners which plug in the motorcycle] this winter. He replied, "you must have had nice weather" as I quickly said "no, we just did not ride in the cold!". I want to be tougher, as I use to be. I know I could, I have the gear. I just don’t enjoy it! and that is something fairly new these days. I am almost labeling myself as a "fair weather rider" and disliking "that" reality. I find it to be a sad state of affairs.

Valley of the Gods xxx

Of course I have nothing to prove. That is a concept I learned long ago when involved in "Iron Butt" rides as someone one day asked me "If no one knew you rode 1000 miles in 24 hours [or also 1500 miles in 48 hours, or whatever…] would you still do it? "Of course not" was my reply! Have I ridden over one million miles in my lifetime? Probably, most likely. Have I kept track of it for fame and magazine layouts? Absolutely not. All from within for within. I never set myself with a calculator and a calendar figuring out how many miles a day I need to ride to reach that certain goal expressed in numbers. Quality has always surpassed the quantity. I never needed to hear the "wows" and the "ah’s" and I don’t like to wear a little pin on the brim of my cap. That would be the eternal reward one receives after such achievement. Yet, I still find myself wishing to spend 45 minutes putting on my winter gear or braving the 100+ degree temperatures and go ride. I feel as I have lost control of the riding time and more than ever governed by my constant Mistress "the weather".

Valley of the Gods-6 xxx

I have also become more cautious towards our whereabouts. My knowledge towards camping and riding the deserted roads always surpasses the previous year’s lessons. The electronic gadgets have increased such as two GPS, a SAT phone and a SPOT [live GPS shared web page satellite tracker] but I hike ahead more than ever always making sure I could make a U-turn when needed, a word which also hunts me a bit too often instead of as in the past, just going and will see what happens. I find myself even thinking, only at times [!], about a Jeep. A four wheel drive Jeep with air and a heater. How simple that would be. No change of clothes, no riding boots needed, helmet, gloves, strapping Spirit and much more room for a tripod and a couple cameras. Even a cooler with more provisions!

Valley of the Gods-8 xxx

Valley of the Gods-3 xxx

Then the fair weather shows up, we are back on Old Faithful which these days purrs like a content machine only wanting to go and go some more, and I want to slap myself having thought of the above. As someone told me the other day "you are maturing". I don’t know about that. It becomes more often than not an inner battle based strictly on "enjoyment" of the moment within the prevailing conditions of the skies. The word "daring" and a certain "danger" is losing its appeal. I don’t know if it is good or not. It is something I am trying to come to terms with. An aspect I feel is escaping me with no control of my own desires which are too often different than my wants.

Valley of the Gods-5 xxx

The strength of the winds in Valley of the Gods became too much for us. Again my eyelids turned into sand paper and Spirit quietly, not pleasantly, was only head down tentatively walking around to do his thing. We left and took refuge in Bluff where all is now calmer. I find myself spending time regrouping more than ever. Moving slower, more patience. I did pick one of the worst days to go to Monument Valley. We were all over the roads that day the double yellow lanes being insignificant against the 30 to 50 mph winds. It was crowded. I had never seen so many long white buses and the entry fee has jumped from $5 to $20! Of course she said that would be for four days. I had no intention to come back and so we turned around and enjoyed it [as much as we could without being blown away] from the outside. The quick U-turn did allow me for a couple photos. The classic ones!

Valley of the Gods-7 xxx

So we are vegetating at the present before heading up to Moab area, or maybe Escalante and Boulder. We need to stay within Internet reach as the final proofing of the book is happening right now. The Burr Trail and Long Canyon are on the tip of my tongue. Might be quieter times with better shelter. We took a walk to Bluff Fort. We had been there before. They have since added many dwellings and a very nice visitor center. Much history there. Bluff, the first Anglo community in southeastern Utah, was settled in April 1880 by Mormon pioneers seeking to establish a mission on the San Juan River in the present-day Four Corners area.  The San Juan area of southeastern Utah was then known as a refuge for lawless men.  The San Juan Mission would act as a buffer for the rest of settled Utah, establish law and order, and maintain friendly relations with the Indians in the area. The most amazing aspect is the lowering of the many wagons through what is called today the "Hole-in-the-Rock", without a single casualty.

Hole in the Rock-2

Bluff Fort-3 xxx

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Bluff Fort-6 xxx

Using a route advised by a previous scouting party known as the “Escalante short cut”, the pioneers expected the 125 mile trek would take 6 weeks.  Instead, the journey extended 260 miles over 6 months via the Hole-in-the-Rock-Trail in arduous, winter conditions. Historians consider the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition one of the most extraordinary wagon trips ever undertaken in North America and a fine example of pioneer spirit.  Many sections of the trail were almost impassable.  To allow wagon passage, the men spent 6 weeks blasting and chiseling a path through a narrow, 1,200 foot drop in the sandstone cliffs known as the Hole-in-the-Rock, which is still visible at present day Lake Powell. I doubt it could be done today with an expedition of 50 or more 4×4’s! 

Bluff Fort-7 xxx

Bluff Fort-8 xxx

Bluff Fort-10 xxx

Till next time from?
                             Ara and Spirit

STAMP for book

Cropped final for DEE

Will announce release date soon.