Friday, June 18, 2010

Even When We Stay Home......We Don't

This was a short work week for Keith and our plans were to head out of town for 3 or 4 days on the bike. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had another hissy-fit, and the forecast was for wind, rain and much cooler temperatures. Not the kind of weather you want to be in, if there is a choice. If you haven't figured it out by now, we rarely sit home with nothing to do.

The 2 Quads you see here are the latest addition to our list of Big Boy Toys. Now depending on who is telling the story, Keith will tell you I bought them and I will tell you he bought them, but in the end they are now in OUR garage. So, if we can't travel the open road on the Wing, we will explore the hills behind our house.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get Me Out of Town!

It seems like this year has been full of issues that have kept us close to home. Work and weather being the two biggest reasons we haven't wandered off much. Of course we have had the short hops to Green River or Moab for lunch or to Provo or Heber City to see the family, but not much more than that.

I was so excited when Keith said he had a long weekend (Mother's Day) and wanted to run away. Of course the weather was still a mess and the cold and wind forced us to keep the bike in the garage and take only the truck - but hey - it's a Roadtrip! This time we were heading Southeast to Moab then on to Mesa Verde.

We decided to stay at the Lodge in the Park to avoid all the road construction. Well, it DID save us travel time to and from Cortez and it WAS quiet and peaceful in the park and............ well, that's about all I can come up with. Let's just say that the Cortez Holiday Inn would have been a lot better deal in so many ways! The one good thing was the new restaurant at the Lodge, the Metate. The cuisine was "Navajo/Native American fare gone 5 Star"! Wow, what a menu! The chef(s) based the menu from what foods were available for the Ancestral people of the area, 2000 years ago. Turkey, trout, maize (polenta), elk, pheasant and quail were some of the items served. There were also dishes of pork, salmon, chicken and beef on the menu and served up with a Southwestern flare! Keith had turkey with wild cherry sauce. I had pork tenderloin with Chipolte Polenta. It was the hottest, spiciest food I have ever had. It's pretty bad when with the first swallow, you lose half the sensation in your throat. Honestly though, it was some of the best dining we have "experienced" in a very long time! Kudos to the chef!

The next night, however we had dinner at a Brew Pub in Cortez (didn't think we could handle another night of Chipolte spiced everything). You know you're in the right pub when the sign inside the doorway says "Life is Short - Drink More Beer!"

We spent 2 days in the park and enjoyed re-visiting Balcony House, Spruce Tree House, Cliff Palace, House of Many Windows, Sunset House and the Hemenway House in Soda Canyon. We enjoyed seeing the deer, wild turkeys, feral horses, hawks and Golden Eagles. We didn't even mind waking up to snow.

Enjoy the pictures!

P.S. Remember the "Giant Lizard" that scared me so badly? Well, Keith finally has proof of the existence of such a lizard. Meet the 24 inch Orange Headed Southeastern Lizard (his relatives live in Capital Reef :D)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Happens in Vegas -- Goes on the Blog!

As normal, we always try to get a short vacation in just before the holidays. This year we had hoped to go somewhere close but with nice weather so we could take the Wing. Las Vegas was the destination winner. As everyone knows, Las Vegas is a Gambler's dream trip, so why are we going? Well, Vegas has alot more to offer than slot machines and dinner shows.

Just before we left, snow set in and even worse, Keith got orders to report to Wyoming for work for three days. Not to be discouraged, we loaded up the truck, left our beautiful Wing at home and headed out. Our first stop was in Cedar City. The weather was not cooperating at all and we battled snow, wind and cold most of the way. At least when we arrived in Cedar City, we were able to enjoy some great Mexican food and margaritas at our favorite restaurant, Lefty's Hideout. Next morning, more snow, more cold, more wind, but at least it improved the closer we got to Vegas.

So now is where we will fast forward through the part about shopping for food, moving into the condo, driving through the world's worst construction to get Keith to the airport, me spending 3 lonely days in Vegas, driving again through construction to pick Keith up at the airport and now to the fun stuff!

The first road trip out of Vegas was to Death Valley. For a place with such a dark name, it was really quite beautiful. We enjoyed traveling through some unique mountains and hiked over slopes littered with rock from the Ice Age. Our first stop was at the Lodge and then the Visitor Center and Museum where we discovered we were 190 feet below sea level.

Sitting out by the truck, we had a close encounter with a Road Runner. We were so surprised when she came right up to us and tried to hide in our shadows (obviously, she was looking for a hand-out). Our little escort followed us around as we looked at the old equipment that was used to mine and haul Borax from the valley. We passed lots of signs warning about rattlesnakes, so we didn't get in too much hiking.

After spending a day traveling through Death Valley we headed back to Vegas for dinner and some casino cruising. Yeah! We were winners (for a day at least)!

The next day we headed up Green Canyon and then on to Hoover Dam. We were amazed at the construction that was going on and really look forward to our next visit to see the progress on the new by-pass highway.

The last day we spent down on the Strip and walked in and out and up and down all the streets, enjoying the sidewalk entertainers, some great food spots, shows and exhibits and of course the "people watching" was pretty good too.

The week just flew by, but it was good to get away. Now it's time to get back home and start planning for Thanksgiving Dinner!

Until next time - Happy Travels!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Too Much Open Road - Not Enough Daylight

For a mid-October day, it was especially warm, sunny, windless and cloudless. The choices were to (a) stay home and do yardwork or (b) go cruising. Since yardwork will wait for us, no matter what other plans you have, we decided to go for a ride.
We left Price and headed south on Highway 6 towards Green River. When we stopped for a stretch at Cresant Junction, we flipped a coin; Heads, Grand Junction or Tails Moab. Tails it was, so we hopped back on the bike and started for Moab. Besides, it can't be a complete day, without lunch (breakfast) at the Moab Diner. While enjoying our "brunch" we had the opportunity to add to our "Life Lessons".
Life Lesson Learned while in Moab - If an adult male chooses to grow a beard, he should not braid it into three spikes and adorn it with beads and dangling jewels! Bejeweled braids belong on a little girls head - not on a man's chin!
So after leaving Moab, we continued South to the LaSal Junction then East towards Old LaSal, Naturita, and Paradox. At the Junction we headed north on Hiway 141 towards Gateway. This is another one of those areas that we have never traveled through. Every corner offered up new specatular sites. Steep red cliffs, a deep river gorge, "muffin top" rock hills and billiant Fall colors (not reds but bright yellows and golds everywhere you looked).
The road was narrow, curvy but in very good condition. It was especially nice because we didn't have alot of traffic (except for the occasional road hunter).
We stopped at Gateway Lodge (really nice place) to call home since no one really knew where we had gone. Since this was the only cell service we had for the last 100 miles, it was a good place to stop, call and stretch. There is a really nice Lodge (hotel), resturant, antique car museum, general store and fuel. What more do you need?
We followed the Dolores River and saw quite a few old mines in the tops of the hills. Every once in a while, you could catch a glimpse of the Dolores River flum that the miners used to float the ore downriver. The flum, built around 1890, runs for 7 miles and hangs off the sheer rock walls of the gorge. Took my breath away, just thinking of the people who built it.
We continued through the canyon ending up in Grand Junction, then back to the freeway, beating it for home.
If you have about 8 hours (starting in Price) this is definately a daytrip worth taking. Of course if you want to make it a weekend, the Gateway Lodge would be a great place to stay.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Want to go for Lunch?
(code words for "Get on the Bike and Let's Roll")
After a couple of days during the Holiday Weekend of completing all the domestic duties around the house (mowing lawns, laundry, vacuuming and putting up tomatoes) it was time to go for a ride.
We had thought of going to Heber City, but Kelly and Joe both have the sniffles, so we headed south (sorry, kids!). We left Price and took Hiway 6 towards Green River then on to Grand Junction. We stopped at the Rest Stop by Crescent Junction for a stretch and some water. Everytime we stop there, I think of Big Tex, a semi-truck driver we met almost a year ago.
It was November, and a beautiful clear (not so cold) day and we thought a ride to Moab was in order. We stopped at Crescent Junction, Keith and I both grabbed a bottle of water, and walked to the observation deck. When we returned to the bike, there was a gentleman standing by the bike.
"Hey Man, I see these beauties all the time on the road, but I never have had a chance to see one up close. What a beauty! Tell me all about the bike." Big Tex said in a deep Southern drawl.
Keith told Big Tex all the "Man Facts" about the bike (horsepower, weight, speed, etc.). Big Tex took it all in and was looking over the bike, top to bottom. Then he said "So, lady, do you like it too?"
So, I got to tell him all the other things, heated leather seats, heated grips, GPS, intercom, etc. Big Tex was all smiles by this time!
By the time, Big Tex was ready to leave he had decided he needed to get a "Wing" of his own. He also left us with some great advice.
"Help us truckers see you motorcycles. Don't drive to close behind us, because we can't see you. Don't dawdle to long at our sides, because we loose you in the blind spots. Give us plenty of turn space and we will do all we can to keep you safe on the road!" Big Tex said.
We parted company with his blessing, "God Speed, Man, ride safe and keep smiling".
God Bless you too, Big Tex, wherever your 18-wheeler carries you!

After stopping for a break, we decided to head to Grand Junction for lunch. We pulled into "Dave's Famous BBQ". What a great dinner. Slabs of ribs, baked beans, cole slaw, corn on the cob - everything on the low fat/low calorie diet menu!
After a awesome dinner, we refueled and headed for home! What a great way to end the long weekend!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Home a week and wanting to go back.......
Here's some of our favorite pictures from our week in Montana and Yellowstone! Enjoy!

Wells Fargo Office and Stage Coach on Main Street in Virginia City

Fire Hole Drive in Yellowstone

Sylvan Pass in Yellowstone

Persistence pays off when you're looking for animals

Really warm day by Cascade Falls in Yellowstone

Overlook by Mary Bay

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

People (Characters) We Met on our Roadtrip
Mary, the Flagger Lady
We were on our way to Tetons National Park when we had to stop for road construction just south of Yellowstone. We, of course, were the first car in the long long line waiting to get to the Tetons/Jackson Hole area. Our truck windows were down which must have been the invitation to the Construction worker to start a conversation.
"Hello and Welcome to Montana's Grand Central Station, gateway to the Tetons, Jackson Hole and the biggest road construction project in the state. Where are you headed?" Mary said.
"Tetons National Park" we said.
"Oh nice! I live in a new trailer, just up there by the bridge - not new actually - but new to me - my employer owns it - but it's really nice. Last night, though you'd a-thought there was a kegger going on - and me tryin' to sleep and all - well anyway, I started to listen - kind of spooky, but I never get scard of stuff like that - but spooky noises, kinda funny (
chuckle *snort* chuckle, knee-slap)- well anyway, it was getting really noisy and I'm trying to sleep so I started to hoot like an owl and the noises would stop but just for a minute - and (this is when her radio started going off and a guy on the other end saying "How many cars you got? Hey, I said how many cars you got? Mary? Mary, how many cars...." but instead of answering, she just turns down her radio and continues with her story) and the noise just kept getting louder. So this morning, I got up really early and started opening up the cupboards and the cabinets and ya should a-seen the mess! (Radio is still going off, by the way, but Mary still isn't answering.) So, I pulled out the garbage, stuffed up the holes with SOS thingers and I guess I made it mad because it went off - the biggest dangest squirrel - and I mean the biggest dangest squirrel I ever seen!"
Oh, did I mention the guy on the other end of Mary's radio is STILL asking about the number of cars? So the pilot car finally shows up and is leading over 60 cars, bikes and semis. Mary lets out a huge sigh and says "Well, you have fun in the Tetons, really pretty they are, but don't take the bridge road, it takes too long - be careful - you'll be on your way in a few".
Off Mary goes to the pilot car driver and by the amount of time it took him to pull away and turn around, I'm sure he heard all about the "biggest, dangest squirrel" too!
God love ya Mary, but pity the poor car that's first in your line!

Biker Dude
While taking a rest break by Cascade Falls, a Harley rolls to a stop next to us. The guy gets off, takes off his jacket, lights up a cigarette and starts up a conversation about the park, the roads (he had had enough of the construction as well), the weather and almost everything else he could think of. He told us he had left Southern California, followed "The 1" up the coast, cut across Oregon then through Glacier and down to Yellowstone. His route will take him through Wyoming, Utah, Colorado with his final destination somewhere in Alabama. After visiting with some friends, he will return to his home in Southern California, racking up almost 6000 miles in the process. He's averaging 600 miles a day, so far! We started feeling "NumBum" just talking to him. Travel Safe, Man!!

The Old Man by Tower
We were on the bike, traveling from the North Gate of Yellowstone and heading towards Tower when we stopped for gas (and to watch the Buffalo). Keith had just pulled the gas cap off when an older Greek gentleman came right up to Keith and started asking questions about the bike. "How many cylinders? How fast? Do you l-o-v-e it?" asked the old man.
Keith answered all his questions with a nod and a smile. The old man's smile grew as he ran his hand along the windshield, over the handlebars and along the leather seats. All he could say is "Bee-ooooda-fel, bee-oooooda-fel".
As Keith is finishing up with the refueling, I noticed the old man had brought his family over to stand by the bike as he told them what he knew about it. None of their smiles could compare to our Old Friend's beaming face! Beautiful!

Father Todd
On our bike trip through Ennis, we took a detour to Virginia City. Fun little town, full of history and some fabulous old store fronts to look through. You could hear the fiddle player in front of the saloon as you walked up and down the streets. We walked to the end of Main Street and saw the old Episcopal Church a block off Main. We took some pictures and then went inside. We weren't in the church for more than 2 minutes, when Father Todd came out to introduce himself and tell us about the church, the history of the building, the furnishings, the beautiful stained glass windows and pipe organ. He showed us the back of the organ and the 100 year old carpet that is still in the back vestibule. Father Todd proudly told us that he was in charge of the largest congregation in Virginia City - 10 faithful followers, which accounts for 10% of the towns population, the largest congregation in town! Father Todd then told us about the history of Virginia City and with a little prodding he told us the more colorful history of the town, Sheriff Plummer and his Road Agents. He told us about one of the Agents, George "Club Foot" Lang and how the later historians identified his and the other unmarked graves on Boot Hill. As proof, they took the Club Foot from the grave and now have it displayed in the museum, along with other "bizarre and grizzly items from the area".