Brent Allen, author of Motorcycles, Life, and… and The Elemental Motorcyclist and his wife, Julie, are on a road trip, two-up. They are heading to the AMA Superbike races in Elkhart Lake, WI, riding their Honda ST1300 from their home town of Nampa, ID (just southwest of Boise). They will be our guest bloggers while on the trip, and each will give their own impressions on their travels and give us a look into each of their own individual ways of looking at the same experience.
First, from Brent:
Friday June 06/Aurora CO to Provo UT/07:15 to 17:30/3303miles to 3875miles
OK, straight up: if you have the chance to ride US 70 across the bottom of Utah you should do it. It’s absolutely amazing, especially the run between Green River to Salina. Woof. Just stunning. The palette of colors runs the gamut from iron red to creamy sand to pencil graphite gray and everything in between. I thought things were beautiful as we passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel. We were two of the 10.7 million yearly travelers passing through this modern wonder at an elevation of 11,000ft. In our case we entered the tunnel on the eastern side of the continental divide and exited on the western side of the divide. The divide is so defined here that each end of the tunnel feeds a completely different watershed. We also got to travel down Glen Canyon paralleling the Colorado River. Good news for all the angry, muddy water in the Midwest! The Colorado is pissed off and looks like chocolate milk churning with murderous intent as well.
If I sound cluttered it’s because it has been the longest road day of the trip. We did 573 miles in 10 hours. We saw a lot of beautiful scenery. We talked to a lot of interesting people. We chewed up a lot of miles. We’re tired but we’re happy. Two things stick with me from today. First, I’m a child. As we passed through the variegated landscape of South Utah I couldn’t help but look at the massive rock formations and see the things as an 8 year old would. I looked at two massive thrusts of red rock that towered over the landscape and all I could see was two huge, titanic ships that looked as if 100,000 years ago they had been firing broadsides at each other and were so intent on the others destruction that they both ran aground, burying their bows in sand and then rusting and beginning to dissolve. Columns of red rock stacked on top looked like a flying bridge and superstructure and smokestacks.
I am such a child.
Later instead of mesas all I could see were huge forlorn and neglected castles and battlements. Long portions of broken walls seemed to rise up from piles of rubble. Parapets and columns rise up and appear as though they were built with millions of bricks thousands of years ago spring up as lone or clustered sentinels. Sometime in the distant a giant angry child had stacked impossibly huge boulders one on another and then in anger knocked them down and stomped away. It really is quite incredible, there is an otherworldly sense that you may be on Earth but in a very ancient and forgotten corner where ghosts from a long forgotten epoch still rise as ghosts to challenge each other. Yeah, it’s that mystic and unique. I will do it again. I’m thinking John Ford was right to shoot everything in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Maybe a John Wayne Run would be cool going through Arches and down into Monument Valley.
The second thing to stick with me today is the fraternity of the motorcycle or, if you find that sexist, the family of motorcyclists. I saw a lot of riders today. We all rode different styles, different brands and different directions but we all love riding bikes and if we can’t be riding we love talking bikes. Ask yourself this: How often do you talk to the guy standing at the urinal next to you? How often you ask a directed, insightful question of another, totally unknown person while in the restroom? And this is important: how often do they answer? Because if you’re talking bikes there is no out of bounds, you can talk to a stranger who’s taking a bite out of a sandwich or putting gas in the tank or simply washing his hands in the john. People on bikes like to talk bikes; except that one dude. I ran into him today too. He was even cold to the slightly hunched over 90 year old guy who was sparkling clean and crisp and looking for some help finding 26South. I tried to help. Uptight dude’s two pals tried to help. Uptight dude said nothing to nobody, nowhere, no how, no way. I felt kind of sad for him. But, in the end you ride your own ride and some of us are just meant to ride alone. Me? I get to ride with the lovely, delightful and good smelling Mrs. Crash. Can’t beat that!
And, from Julie:
I've been up since 2:30am. Spend 10 hours on a bike. Let me write this like I currently feel.
Good bye Big city, Denver.
Snow! 11,000 ft.
Red rock and juniper.
Hot, hot air.
Stupid road work!
Hooray! Hotel bed.