Sunday, June 11, 2017

Another Bucket List Post

  Well, folks I am at it again. With my latest bike trip I managed to check off the last state west of the Mississippi that I had not ridden in. This Spring I have managed to get to the last two states I needed  to get to, Louisiana and Arizona, so I can die happy, so to speak. The first night was in Salina, Kansas. The ride south and west of there that morning was so beautiful, clear skies, green foliage, and one town that impressed me with it's cleanliness and order. The town was Lindsborg, home of a small Lutheran college, very pleasant area. Later on the slog west across the high plains I passed through a small town and caught a historical marker calling out Burdett, Kansas as the discoverer of Pluto's home town, Clyde Tombaugh. At that point I followed a string of parked coal cars on an abandoned rail line next to the highway. This went on for 15 miles to the next town with breaks for road crossings etc.. I have seen parked rail cars like this all over the country, kind of an indicator of the rail business and the economy in general. Eastern Colorado was next, and this is not the part of Colorado that most people visualize when they think of Colorado, like the John Denver vision. Trinidad for the second night is right next to the real mountains and the next morning I went west and north out of there on Colorado highway 12. That was the reason I had headed to that part of the state in the first place. It turned out that it was a good choice, quiet roads and little traffic in the morning and the mountains were snow covered. The third photo from the top is of West Spanish Peak. Over into the San Luis Valley to Antonito, home of the Cumbres and Toltec scenic railway. Jan and I rode that one a couple years ago and spent two nights in Antonito, a narrow gauge rail ride well worth the price of admission. Anyhow, to Chama, New Mexico for lunch and Bloomfield for the night. I missed a turn in Shiprock the next morning that took me out of town quite a ways, but I did get a shot of Shiprock which is the bottom photo. To my surprise the weather stayed so nice and cool and quiet all of the way to Kayenta, Arizona, where I stopped for lunch at MacDonalds. Kayenta is just south of Monument Valley and this stop was filled with Europeans, mostly French I think. I can only imagine their horror at those disgusting American eating places. I don't know but that was the cleanest MacDonalds that I have been in in a long time. All native workers because you are on a Navaho reservation there. Out to the north towards Utah and Monument Valley next. I did mount my GoPro and record my ride through the area, the bottom photo is from there. I tried to upload some video to this blog but it won't take it, says it is too big. There are not too many parts of Utah that are not scenic and the ride up to Monticello fit the bill. Then back across south western Colorado to Delores, up passed Ophir, Telluride, to Ridgeway for the night. The second photo is from the back yard of the motel in Ridgeway taken the next morning. Jan and I have stayed there a couple of times, and Phil and Eli and I have spent time there too. It's always been a great place to hang your hat. Get home-itus was setting in the next day as I wound through some of the best roads around. Up to Delta, over McClure pass, Glenwood Canyon and north Towards Steamboat Springs. I stopped for gas and some lunch in Yampa, a big slice of pizza and a coke on a picnic table in the yard. A young lady spotted my Minnesota plate and asked me where I was from, said around 40 miles south west of Mankato, she had gone to MSU. I asked where she was from, and she was from Waconia! Small world, Jan and I had spent several years there when we were first married. I know that I have mentioned this before, but when you are on a bike people just want to talk to you, something that almost never happens in a car. Up until this point I had not seen a drop of rain, but near Steamboat it got really black and I saw some lightning. Turning east over Rabbit Ears pass I thought that I might escape my wet fate, but it looked nasty to the north so I stopped and struggled into my rain gear. Just north of Walden I did run into some rain, but all the way to Laramie the rain had already passed by. After riding my favorite Wyoming 34 over to Wheatland I called it a night. The last day was a long- 700 mile run- home with lunch at Rapid City and the long haul down I-90. I got talking to a couple of brothers from out west and he saw the USAF hat I was wearing and we did the usual, where, when, which bases, which aircraft etc.. When I told him Electronic warfare and B-52Ds he was really surprised, as that was his career field too. We compared AFSCs, and both agreed that neither one of us had ever run across another ECM troop before, and I have been out over 50 years. We stood around in the lot at Murdo and talked B-52s ecm gear etc., etc. until his brother called a halt. If you have ever been around a couple of B-52 freaks before you would know this could go on for hours, kind of like my brother and I with muscle cars. These two brothers had been on the road all over the USA for most of the month of May. I was home by 8:30 or so ready to call it a long day. I turned the GS over to 20,000 miles out in South Dakota somewhere, so I am having a good riding year so far. A lot of the time I feel like I am running out of time, like we all are, and riding is one of the skill sets that needs be sharp if you want to live to ripe old age. So, as usual, leave a note if you will and we'll meet in the future somewhere.