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message 1: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Finally finished my article for a motorcycle magazine and downloaded a few of the pictures to shutterfly.
Note: Fakawi is hubby's roadname.


We start our ride west adventure on Friday, July 31.

Day 1: We rode to Memphis, TX., a total of 220 miles. We noticed the Depot Restaurant in Quanah is closed and for sale.

Day 2: Rode to Tucumcari,N.M. We rode a small section of Route 66.

Day 3: Rode I-40 to U.S. 285 and stopped at Clines Corner's for gas where we met 4 bikers from Arkansas.
We continued north on 285 to Santa Fe, N.M. Downtown Santa Fe has very narrow, old streets. Side streets are pea graveled. We stopped at the Loretto Chapel to see the Miracle Staircase. The chapel was constructed in the 1870's to serve the community, but it had one design flaw: there wasn't a stairway to the choir loft. The sisters prayed for days to St. Joseph, the Carpenter. After several days, a mysterious carpenter arrived to design and construct a circular stairway to the loft. The tools upon his donkey were just a saw, a T-square, a hammer and tubs in which to soak wood. His stairway contains 33 steps in two full 360 degree turns. The stairway has no center support nor is it held from it's sides - it's full weight rest on its final tread. Upon completion, the carpenter disappeared without seeking payment. No records have been found for the purchase of the materials. Many of the sisters believed the craftsman to have been an embodiment of St. Joseph the Carpenter. In the 1880's a banister was added. Engineers and architects marvel at the stairway; there is no known duplication of it's design.
From Santa Fe, we took I-25 south to Bernalillo, N.M., turned north onto U.S. 550. Rode thru 3 Indian reservations. 15 miles south of Cuba, N.M. we crossed the Rio Grande. 17 miles north of Cuba on U.S. 550, we crossed the Continental Divide. The whole length of U.S. 550 is in Indian reservation territory. We continued on 550 to Bloomfield, N.M., turned west on U.S. 64 to Farmington, N.M. where we spent the night. Today, we had met bikers from California.


Day 4: We left Farmington and headed west on U.S. 64 thru the Navajo Indian Reservation. We saw Shiprock Mountain. We continued west on 64 to U.S. 160 east to 4 Corners Monument. There are many Native American hand-made items sold in several booths located there. We ate Indian Fried Bread. We met a group of bikers from Tulsa, who took our picture and we in turn took theirs. We left 4 Corners and headed west on U.S. 160 and crossed into Arizona. Rode to Kayenta, AZ, turned north on U.S. 163. This road has nothing, no rest stops and no shade. On 163 we ride thru Monument Valley, which is on Navajo lands. We crossed into Utah. This road is very scenic, but has no rest stops or turn-offs for about 150 miles. Good thing we have our gallon canteen filled with water with us. We saw the Mexican Hat Then, we start riding twisties downhill on the mountain ranges with 6%, 8% and 10% grades. Fakawi shifts from 6th gear, to 5th and we are still going faster. At 4th gear, we are still going fast, until Fakawi shifts to 3rd using no brakes at all. After shifting to 3rd, we came down doing between 55-60 mph. What a wild ride that was, especially with a semi with trailer coming into one of the turns. One side of the road is a mountain, the other side a straight drop-off. 163 merges with U.S. 191 north. We follow this to Monticello, Utah where we spend the night. Downtown Monticello is all tore up, nothing but hard-packed dirt where pavement should be. Passed two signs along the way that read: "The next 15 miles is a deer migratory route. Proceed with caution." Yep, we did see deer. That's why I'm not big on riding after dark.

5th Day: Leave Monticello and ride south on U.S. 191, then turn west on U.T. 95. We see more desolate roads, but awesome scenery. We stopped at the Natural Bridges National Park. The bridges were formed by rushing waters that carved out holes in the rocks. This was Utah's first national park, established by President T. Roosevelt. We continue on U.T. 95 west thru more ranges and cross the Colorado River, the only body of water we saw in days. We turned west onto U.T 24 to spend the night in Torrey, Utah.




message 2: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Part 2
6th Day: Ride U.T 24 to U.S. 50. We get bombarded with grasshoppers and they hurt. One hit my face shield and its body slid down in front of my face. Yuck!! The ones that didn't die, clung to my jeans and jacket. We pass a working gypsum mine and it dries out our throats. We ride by Sevier Lake, a dry, alkali lake. This plays tricks on our eyes, because in the distance, it appears to be a shimmering lake. As we get closer, it "moves" farther away. I guess that's what you call a mirage. The dust from the dry lake blows across the road and burns our noses and eyes. We cross into Nevada and head to Ely, Nevada. Temps were 104 degrees. Ely is pronounced E-Lee. Locals will correct you to pronounce their city correctly. In Ely, at the motel, we hear elk calls from a nearby mountain. Pretty cool. We also meet bikers from France on tour in the U.S. on rental bikes.

7th Day: This portion of U.S. 50 is an official Pony Express Route, a portion of the Lincoln Hwy. and also is known as "The Loneliest Road in America." The Pony Express existed from 1860-1861 until the telegraph system was established. A letter at that time cost $5.00 to send via Pony Express. We ride Ely to Eureka, a quaint old mining town. Summits were as high as 9.000 feet and very cold. Rode to Austin, this mining town had seen better days, but we had some terrific chili at a local restaurant. We stop at the ruins of a Pony Express Station and a Stagecoach Station. Winds were about 60 mph. I stayed with bike, to keep it from blowing over, while Fakawi takes pictures. Then, I notice he's dancing and hopping near the Pony Express historical sign. When he got back to the bike, I asked,"What's Up?" Fakawi responds,"Rattlers!". We stop and see the "Shoe Tree". This site is a group of trees covered with hundreds of pairs of shoes. Passerby's throw them up into the trees. We rode thru lots of dessert and we see sand mountain where 4 wheelers can ride. We arrive in Fallon, Nevada to spend the night.

8th Day: We take I-80 to Lovelock, Nevada. In 2006, this city established chains on poles in their town square for people to place locks. The placing of locks on the chain symbolizes eternal love, so we put our lock on the chain. Continuing east on I-80, we climb a mountain and just before Winnemucca, Nevada, it starts to rain. The temps. are now 40 degrees. While at a gas/food stop, Fakawi loses his key, which we don't discover until we reach Elko. Luckily, I carry a spare. Just before Elko, we go thru Carlin Mountain Tunnel. We are both wet and cold. We check into our room, which has no heat. They had turned off their boilers for the summer. So, now, we've lost a motorcycle key and we have no heat. The motel did come by later with a portable heater for us.

9th Day: We leave Elko and had east on I-80, 100 miles, to Bonneville Salt Flats. Race Week is just starting and the area is filled with RVs, tents and speedway personnel. The salt looks like snow. It's coarser than rock salt. We enjoyed watching all the action around the speedway. The speedway track is 80 feet wide and 10 miles long. Today was our 39th wedding anniversary and I was in 7th heaven being at this site. My eyes were going in several different directions trying to take it all in. Will have to play my DVD,"The Fastest Indian." when I get home. Fakawi scoops up a bit of the Salt Flat in a zip-loc bag for me. Cool!
It's a bit warmer today, about 58 degrees. We rode to the Golden Spike H.D. dealer bought a shirt and visited with the staff. It's off the beaten path and they were pleased to meet people from out of town. We spend the night in Clearfield, Utah.

10 Day: We ride I -15 north to U.T. 83 west to Promontory Summit, in the Golden Spike National Historic Park Site. On May 10, 1869, two locomotive - Central Pacific's Jupiter and Union Pacific's No. 119 - pulled up to the one - rail gap left on the track. The Central Pacific laid 690 miles of track, the Union Pacific 1,086 miles. They had crossed 1,776 miles of desert, rivers and mountains to bind together east and west. All the work was done with picks, shovels and dynamite, not the boring equipment we have today. In the park, they do a reenactment of the event. We ride U.T. 83 east to I - 15 south, through Salt Lake City on Sunday. Traffic was worse than Dallas on a week day. Great Salt Lake shores were crusted with salt. We ride I-15 to Spanish Fork and turned on U.S. 6, rode this southeast to Green River. U.S. 6 is labeled a scenic byway
and it surely is. Spent the night in Green River, Utah.

11th Day: We take I-70 east to U.S. 191 south to the Arches National Park. This park had more motorcycles than any other park we had ridden. It must be a very popular destination for bikers. Geologic and environmental forces crated the arches over a million years ago. The Balance Rock is well known and just one of many unusual rock formations. Great twistie roads thru the park and awesome views. We take U.S. 191 south to Monticello and then head east on U.S. 491 to Cortez, Colorado. On U.,S. 491 we see a forest wildfire. We turn east on U.S. 160 to Durango. We stop at the Durango H.D. dealer where their T-shirt prices were the highest we had seen. We turn south onto U.S. 550 to Bloomfield, New Mexico, where we spend the night.

12th Day: Take U.S. 550 south to I-25 to I-40 to Tucumcari, New Mexico. On 550, we pass the Continental Divide again and spend the night in Tucumcari.

13th Day: We ride from Tucumcari to Childress, TX. We stop at the Mid-Point Cafe in Adrian, TX, where we meet a group of foreign bikers from different countries touring Route 66.

14th Day: We ride from Childress to home. Our trip meter reads 4,037 miles and we enjoyed all of it.
I have a favorite saying,"A good road trip, is when you wake up in the morning, not knowing what day it is and nor do you care." This was one of those trips.

Too see pics of our trip on shutterfly:
http://share.shutterfly.com/share/rec...




message 3: by Marcy (new)

Marcy | 865 comments Wow, what a trip!! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pictures and Happy Anniversary!


message 4: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Marcy wrote: "Wow, what a trip!! Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pictures and Happy Anniversary!"

Thank you Marcy. Glad you enjoyed my write-up.


message 5: by Gail/Ladyvolz (new)

Gail/Ladyvolz Bowman (ladyvolz) | 343 comments Great trip report! really enjoyed it and the pictures. You covered a lot of miles in two weeks.


message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14205 comments Lorraine:
How fun that you wrote up your trip for a magazine - I imagine you will have quite a following as your stories are always so interesting. I'll watch the photo slide show tonight when I can take more time with it. It sounds like an amazing ride with plenty of beautiful scenery and history and good weather considering the time of the year. - Who would have expected to need heat in a motel in August!
Welcome home!!!

Brakedrum wrote: "Finally finished my article for a motorcycle magazine and downloaded a few of the pictures to shutterfly.
Note: Fakawi is hubby's roadname.


We start our ride west adventure on Friday, J..."




message 7: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Ann, It really took alot of time to write it up. Trying to write up the route, interesting sites and little nudges of warnings: bring water, spare key, and don't ride in the dark.
When you look at the pics, take a gander at the arch in Arches Park. There are people standing nearby and they appear so tiny, it just shows the immense size of these mountains.




message 8: by Brakedrum (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Gail/Ladyvolz wrote: "Great trip report! really enjoyed it and the pictures. You covered a lot of miles in two weeks. "

Gail, glad you enjoyed it.


message 9: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14205 comments Lorraine:
The views of the endless sky, the colors and scope of the vistas you see from your bike are amazing and otherwordly! (especially the salt flats)
The rock formations are fabulous and they are ~huge~ aren't they! I loved seeing the stairway photo after hearing so much about it - the railings added later seem quite necessary, but it must have really been something to see before it was added. Thanks again for sharing!!

Brakedrum wrote: "Ann, It really took alot of time to write it up. Trying to write up the route, interesting sites and little nudges of warnings: bring water, spare key, and don't ride in the dark.
When you look at the pics, take a gander at the arch in Arches Park. There are people standing nearby and they appear so tiny, it just shows the immense size of these mountains. ."





message 10: by Dan in AZ (new)

Dan in AZ | 2614 comments Sounds like a great trip, Lorraine, and the pictures were interesting. Navaho fry bread is a very tasty treat (especially loaded with powdered sugar).


message 11: by Melodie (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3588 comments Loved hearing about your trip!! You're a better woman than me! After one day on the back of a motorcycle I'd be whining!


message 12: by Susan (twigsx4) (new)

Susan (twigsx4) Branch | 52 comments Melodie wrote: "Loved hearing about your trip!! You're a better woman than me! After one day on the back of a motorcycle I'd be whining!"

It wouldn't take me a whole day! LOL
Susan


message 13: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 7784 comments Lorraine, I finally got to read about your trip and see the pix. Made me homesick for the days when I took an annual trip to Telluride, CO, and drove the roads of Farmington, Cortez, Durango, Silverton and neighboring towns. i remember those red rocks, mountain formations, cliffs next to rivers, etc. The salt flats looked particularly interesting, Thanks for sharing!


Donna in Southern Maryland (cedarville922) | 120 comments Loved your article! Especially the part about the "Miracle Chapel." That staircase must be a sight to see! Thanks for sharing with us.

Donna in Southern Maryland


message 15: by Brakedrum (last edited Sep 29, 2009 05:13AM) (new)

Brakedrum | 1203 comments Donna in Southern Maryland wrote: "Loved your article! Especially the part about the "Miracle Chapel." That staircase must be a sight to see! Thanks for sharing with us.

Donna in Southern Maryland"


Years ago, CBS, made a movie of the story of the Staircase, the carpenter was played by the actor who played Grissom on CSI. Here's the site of the movie info: http://www.amazon.com/Staircase-Barba...


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