Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 11 - Surprise, Solitude and Silliness

This morning we all had a bit of surprise planned for Brian. At one of the planning meetings for the trip, Brian was concerned about the apparent lack of Eastward progress by the time we were into the second week. The plan was to be in Durango, Colorado on the 11th day. He kept pointing at the tv screen (the PC was hooked up to it) and saying, "So you're saying that on day-11 we're only going to be HERE?!?!" and such. It became something of a joke, and we decided to get t-shirts that said "It's day 11" on the front and "where the hell are we?" with a map of the US on the back.

I did up the graphics and put them together on CafePress.com and ordered them up for everyone. Today, day 11, was the time to spring them on him.

Adrian holding back a grin on t-shirt day

After breakfast we crashed Brian's room to present the shirt to him, then we all stepped outside to take pictures in the morning sunlight.

Everyone had a good laugh over it and Brian took it all in stride. Thumbsup

Oh, remember yesterday I said the Green River Best Western might be the nicest motel I've ever stayed at? Well, they lost a point. I found what's wrong with the place.

Can you believe they had the nerve to leave ONE paving stone broken like this? FOR SHAME!!

We headed in to Moab so Wayne could get a new tire at Arrow Head Motorsports. He was down to the cords. Adrian decided not to take any chances and got a new rear tire, too. The guy had a 180 tire in stock, which Wayne grabbed, and Adrian got the 170 tire. Quicker turn-in. *snap* You GO, girl.

While we waited for their tires to be changed, I was mulling options. We were in Moab, for goodness sakes. To hear it told, the canyon riding around the area is phenomenal. I gave some thought to peeling off of the group today and finishing the trip solo. There are some things along the way, some places I want to go that just aren't on the group list. And I really enjoy my alone-time when riding. It's therapeutic for me. I grew up in a small household but I have LOTS of brothers and sisters. Even when it was only just a few of us at home, the house was always busy and there were always people coming and going. Now I have several kids of my own and really the only alone-time I get is when I'm riding to and from work and the occasional solo Sunday morning ride. I have to admit, the idea of a whole week alone on the road is really intriguing to me. Nothing negative against the group or any of the guys - this is just me.

Instead, I just chose to go do my own thing today and agreed to meet the guys in Durango, Colorado at the end of the day. Again... Nothing bad about the other guys, but I had an awesome day on my own today! I did a tour of three parks - Canyon Lands National Park, The Arches National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. Then I rode to Durango and got a room at the same motel as the other guys. Wayne, Adrian and I just killed 2 pizzas at the Pizza Hut up the street. Thumbsup

Canyon Lands was pretty cool. As the name indicates, it's about canyons. Like everything else in the West, the scenery is just breath-taking and everything is so big and open and spacious. But that's not all. So far we've ridden a third of the way across the country and have been seeing these "Free Range Cows" and "Open Range" signs all over the place. But we haven't seen a single free-ranging cow at all. Can't say that any more.

I came around a right-hander uphill turn and WHAM! There's a gaggle of cows in the road. Awesome! What a shame Wayne wasn't with me.

He's looking right at me. HELP!

Then it was on to looking at the canyons. I didn't go down into the canyons to ride, nor did I find more after exiting the park.

The wide-open spaces just never stop, do they?

On the way back out of the park, I saw cowboys wrangling up the cows I saw earlier. Awesome... I have now seen real cowboys!

I was riding down the road and saw a hole in the rock. Nah, seriously.

More space! MORE SPACE!

And I don't think I ever DIDN'T see snow-capped peaks somewhere in my sights.

And some interesting rock formations...

This one looks like a turtle to me.

More views of the snow peaks...

And finally in to Colorado.

This plane was parked in someone's side yard.

Go ahead and pronounce it.

Little bit of excitement on the road... this truck lost the left-rear tire right in front of me. That was cool watching the wheel accelerate past the truck and bounce across all lanes of traffic - both directions - then about a mile off into a field.

Then it was on to Mesa Verde National Park. The road in and out was awesome.

Lots of motorcycles were in the park, including this great looking Duc.

The cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde were very cool. I didn't take the walk-down tour, and was content to snap pics from the lookout.

Then, riding out I stopped in the road to play with a coyote. It was pretty friendly. It wouldn't let me too close, and I didn't want to crowd it and make it nervous, but it was just SO COOL to be walking along with a coyote. Truly awesome.

As I understand it, Colorado is the only place left with wild horses. I saw some today. Now... stay with me here. I'm born in Delaware, grew up in Delaware County. Coyotes? Cool. Wild horses? Holy crap!

The guys came in to Mesa Verde just as I was leaving. We met back at the motel and had dinner at Pizza Hut with a beer or two.

I had an AWESOME day, today.

The route...

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