Guest Poster - Novos

Guest Poster - Novos

Greetings, everyone! Imagine my surprise when I was asked to talk about my recent road trip by the Fuzzmops and post it up here… quite an honor I must say!

To give you a little bit of background about myself: I was born to a poverty stricken family of chicken handlers in rural Mexico, where we made our money by hucking eggs at trucks and taking the goods when they flipped over. This worked fine, and life was good, until one of those trucks spilled out one of those victorian bicycles with the 6 foot tall front wheel, and I was instantly hooked on being on 2-wheels. The very next day, I decided to go on this trip.

Originally planning for the usual 3-4 days being gone, I figured I could actually squeeze in a whole week of riding, which in turn led to “how far COULD I go in one week?”

Simple route layout began to lay out the route, and I picked the end of my summer break before school started again as my departure date, because it would ensure that it would not be sweltering hot, and from prior knowledge of my friends the Fuzzmops, knew that the Beartooth Highway in Wyoming could still be closed for snow as late as late May/ early June. Thus, the general time window was laid out, and the closer I got to the departure date, the more I fine tuned the route I would be taking. More or less “guessing” on how far I’d be going every day I gave myself specific checkpoints to at least reach every night, trying to keep the mileage to around mid-500 miles per day.

So as my departure date finally approached, I’d already picked out the finest accommodations I could find in the towns I planned to stop at for the night: One star motels priced more or less around $50/night. Pretty much all of them were found with Google maps, just typing “motel” into the map search zoomed into the little town. Some were actually just found getting into town, asking how much for a single room, and deciding to stay or not.

Finally, August 11 came, the day before my departure. Work absolutely dragged on forever. I couldn’t wait to leave; and since I would be gone on the date of my mom’s birthday, I took her out for an early celebration dinner that night, and had the best sushi imaginable. Went home, already knew the anticipation wouldn’t let me sleep much anyway, and set my alarm for 3:45 AM, just enough time to stumble out of bed, get geared up and head on my way, in order to traverse the I-15 through Vegas and Nevada, before the sun was fully up and ready to kick my ass.

Woke up several hours later, walked to the garage, where the bike was already packed and loaded up, put on my Gerbings liner to offset the morning chill through the mesh jacket, and was on my way.

3.5 hours later, I was in Vegas, with the thermometer greeting me with 97 degrees at 7:50 AM. Motored on, fighting off boredom and drowsiness, knowing I had 400 miles of slab to cover before I got to anything resembling interesting. I would have to say the whole bottom tip of Nevada smells like tar, rubber, and foul chemical stench that I can’t quite describe.

By 10:00 AM I was greeted by a small canyon pass following a river as the I-15 crossed a small corner of Arizona, giving me a chance to pass some of the cars that had just been blowing by me at 95, who were now going 50, due to the complex task of having to make a turn.

About 20 minutes later, I was finally into Utah.

A short while later, I was in La Verkin, Utah, which was my jumpoff point off the I-15 (finally) and the route that would lead me into Zion, National Park. The clouds that had been brooding in the distance were now the clouds I was riding into, and it began to spatter soft, sporadic drizzle on me, although the air temperature remained in the high 80′s.

Stopped for a quick breakfast, where I ran into a quartet of riders, who had their Harleys with trailers outside, and chit chat led to them proudly show their patches they had EARNED that said “I rode mine to Sturgis.” They let me know there was rain up ahead in Zion, where they had just come from, and thanked them, though I had already pulled out my rain gear and staged it somewhere quickly accessible.

Heading down the road, I soon found myself surrounded by iron-rich rocks glowing a fiery red. Quite the change from all the dull browns you grow accustomed to in Southern California.

Finally reaching Zion, I purchased a multi-agency annual pass from the Parks Service for $80 that gets up to 3 motorcycles into a national park for 1 year from purchase, or up to 4 people in a car, I believe. I would be going through several National Parks, so it made sense to buy it, as only a few parks would put me over the price tag of the annual pass.

The road leading into Zion, Utah State Highway 9, goes from relative flatlands to a deep canyon in a very short time. It’s quite an amazing change from the 400-something miles of flat boredom you’ve just endured to get there.

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Zion, while being an incredibly small section of road on SR-9, takes you from the deep canyon walls, through a half-mile long tunnel cut straight into the rock, and up into smaller rolling hills, with the rocks changing into something resembling a flaky pastry crust. (I know, good thing I’m not a geologist.)

As the bike complained about the 30mph speeds I was stuck at, following the endless parade of cages in front of me, Zion slowly but surely ended, leaving you wanting for more scenery and amazing geological formations.

But the road soon opened up, and the hordes of tourists vanished, leaving only an open road between Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Dixie National Forest, as the road branched into US-89 heading north.

Arriving in Bryce Canyon, NP, the clouds began to darken some, which made me stop and put my rain pants on, in addition to the rain jacket I was already wearing. Going into the park (which had all the road torn up into compacted gravel) the clouds opened up some, and let a light, but steady rain fall, as I headed towards the end of the road. The minor inconvenience of road and weather would totally be worth the vistas once the end of the road was reached.

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Reeling from the spectacular views, and amazing weathering and erosion of the rocks, I headed back out through the rain back to Utah SR-12 which was my route north.

I hit an wide open section of sweepers, but began to struggle with drowsiness, my eyelids getting heavy anytime a short section of straightaway showed up, making me realize I’d only had about 3 hours of sleep, and how utterly stupid it was to ride if I was this tired. I checked the Zumo for my gas mileage and noticed I was due to stop soon, and tried to wake myself up to at least get to the gas station, where I’d down a redbull, and some sugary snack to at least wake me up temporarily. By now, the skies had let up with the rain, and it was just warm, but not too humid. Overcast skies must have been helping to keep the temperature down.

Stopping for gas, and something to wake myself up, my odometer read something in the high 400′s for mileage, and realized I still had quite a ways to go before I was at my stop for the night. Time-wise, I was doing fine for arriving with daylight left, so I figured I’d press on.

The open sweeping road finally became a tighter section of road, as it dropped in elevation suddenly, through another steep canyon of red.

This canyon eventually led back up into elevation, where it actually followed the very crest of a ridge for about 5 miles, giving you dropoff vistas on both sides of the road. After the road flattened out again, it began to lead into the Capitol Reef National Park, which culminated in the road turning something very much akin to the Cherohala Skyway, if you’ve ever been on it. 50-ish miles of sweepers, with an occasional left or right kink thrown in. Great rhythm, and as I climbed up in elevation again, the temperature began to drop from high to mid 80′s down into the 60′s. I stopped to put the Gerbings back on and snap a picture.

The road finally brought me to a fork where I had to head northwest for 10 miles, into a small little town called Bicknell, where I had chosen to stop for the night. Tired and frazzled, I pulled into the parking lot, relieved to finally be able to relax. Checked the odometer and it let me know I’d just done 682 miles in 14 hours, on 3 hours of sleep. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

Had dinner at the diner that was attached to the motel, where I was looked at with ridicule by the patrons since I was wearing shorts and my moto boots. I stood in the doorway with everyone staring at me and just said out loud “I know. I don’t have any other shoes…” and just sat down. I took a shower, set my alarm for 6AM the next morning, and fell asleep with absolutely no trouble, by 9PM local time.

Next up: Falling in love with Utah, and riding into Colorado