Gone are the days of knee draggin' adrenalin pumping riding, and welcome to the
days of endless miles of scenic highways and biways traveling with my best friend
and bride. For me the journey has been nothing if not a series of thrilling two
wheel adventures. For Lynda the journey has been all about discovery as we tour
the country that she was born in, but has never seen. This "touring" lifestyle
has it's benefits and some drawbacks. Spending days and weeks on the road on two
wheels is a demanding lifestyle what with making sure to have enough room for the
right gear, enough clothes, toiletries, and in this age of electronics enough room
for the laptop, battery charger(s), camera(s) and patch cords, GPS, and paper maps
and all of the paraphernalia one needs to be reasonably comfortable while exploring
After our extended travels last year we decided to up our comfort level a bit and
buy a cargo trailer to tow behind our bike. This of course meant another "Road Trip"
- This time a nice ride from the bay area down to Alabama to pick up our new Donnie
Mardis Trailer. The plan was to ride some 6,000 miles in about 12 or 13 days with
enough time at the end to attend a rally in Cedar City, Ut.
We left home early morning on the May 17th and headed South on I-5 to the Stockdale
Highway (US-58) where we turned East and headed over the Tehachapi Pass and into the
Mojave for a run down to Barstow where we connected up with what was to become our
"Mother Road" I-40. A short ride down the 40 brought us to Needles where we spent
over $4.00 a gallon for gas and also spent the night. We both are becoming more
desert rats than either of us ever thought we would, it's one of the reasons we enjoy
this particular route.
Crossing over the Southern Sierra and into the desert always reminds us of how
important the railroads are to the whole Southwest. We saw train after train
pulling vast amounts of cargo across this endlessly flat terrain.
Friday we were up early for our 20 mile ride into Oatman, Az. Oatman was a mining
town, and is now a tourist town, best known for its wild burros that wander the
streets at will. It's a very scenic town that is right on the historic RT-66.
As we left Oatman heading for Kingman we decided to continue the ride on this
historic section of RT-66. It became very clear that those intrepid souls of the 30's
who made their way from the mid-west had to have an adventurous spirit, not to
mention an amazing amount of skill at navigating this remote wilderness.
We continued on Rt-66 all of the way into Seligman,Az before once again taking up our
mother road. The ride through Flagstaff brought back a lot of memories from last years
trip! Alas, all we could do this time is bust our way onward.
In 1972 a budding musician named Glenn Frey was looking for songs for his bands new
album, His buddy Jackson Browne gave him an unfinished song to use. Glenn added a
long stretch to the "E" and Winslow, Az. to the lyrics and the Eagles were born with
"Take it Easy". Winslow, right on RT-66, is very proud of Glenn. And thankful for
We crossed the border into New Mexico about 2:00 in the afternoon. The final
destination for the day being Albuquerque. Our motel of choice while on the road is a
Best Western and today's was just off the freeway with a restaurant attached. Kind
of a long day with over 560 miles ridden, and over a thousand in the last two days.
On the 19th we rode hard and fast to Oklahoma City, Ok. Then took it a little slower
on the 20th to get us into Memphis, Tn. I have to say that we enjoyed the Southern
Hospitality, however our desk clerk at the Motel was more interested in playing tour
guide to everyone that was trying to check in than in actually getting them checked
in! Before we left on our trip I had installed a trailer hitch, and a wiring
isolation harness on the bike, but not any trailer connection plug. Today was the
day I had to go down to an auto parts store and buy a 4-flat plug. I got lost. Glad I
have a GPS. Memphis is BIG!
We intentionally left the 21st kind of open, because that's when we were to pick up
the trailer. Neither of us had any real idea of how long that would take, or what
was around the area. So, we left Memphis about 8:30 on Monday morning, and headed
South and East, crossing the Northeastern corner of Mississippi and on into Alabama
where we picked up AL-170 to the small town of Town Creek. We managed to find Donnie's
place with no trouble and within an hour we were on our way again. This time towing
our new Corvette trailer.
Just outside of Town Creek is a National Park Road, called the Natchez Trace Parkway.
We rode from Town Creek to Tupelo, Ms. on this very beautiful and scenic by-way.
Once in Tupelo we headed back West via Pine Bluff, Ar. to Little Rock, Ar.
I Can't imagine anyone seeing this and not being confused - Taken just a short way
Here's a couple of pictures fo the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Tuesday the 22nd wasn't a great day. We left Little Rock before 8:00 Am headed toward
Ok. The sky's were cloudy with a lot of drizzle. By the time we crossed the Ok.
border it had cleared up. The ride through Ok. wound up being a very long and arduous
ride, as we encountered severe cross winds. We left our mother road and headed North
on US-81 just outside of Oklahoma City thinking that we would cut to the East through
the Ok. Panhandle and on into Colorado for the night. It didn't work out that way.
As the day progressed the clouds got thicker and the distance between towns got bigger.
At our final gas stop of the day the guy in the station said "Now, your going out
there across the panhandle, there ain't much gas out there, so don't pass up an
opportunity". The ride out on US-412 started looking very dreary. We stopped along
side the road and did a GPS lookup for the nearest Motel. There was nothing close in
the direction we were traveling the closest was about 50 miles Southwest of our
current location. I decided it was better to be safe in a town than to be caught out
in the hinterlands of Ok. in a storm. So we headed South and West and wound up in
Elk City, Ok. -- which was right back on the mother road. So while we traveled a lot
of miles that day we didn't make as much Westward movement as I would have liked.
Looking down the 412 in Oklahoma ->
Crossing the Texas Panhandle the next Morning ->
After the disappointing ride on the 22nd we felt that we really needed to heed the
call of the interstate on the 23rd so as to make as much time up as possible. We
really wanted to get to Durango, Co. for the evening so that we could ride over the
Million Dollar Highway and the Red Mountain Pass on the 24th on our way into Cedar
City. The ride started out dry, but as we crossed over into Texas we hit rain which
stayed with us until New Mexico, then again as we climbed out of Albuquerque on
US-550 toward Durango. We were very glad to have our new trailer with us as we had
no problems finding and donning our rain gear. We arrived in Durango about 6:00 Pm
after nearly 700 miles and found a motel. It was then that we discovered that the
Million Dollar Highway was closed due to Snow, and that Silverton had over 8" of snow
on the ground. There would be no ride over that incredibly beautiful section of
highway for us. We would have to find an alternate route. I parked the bike in front
of a real silver Corvette. Lynda took a picture of the bike & trailer next to the
Corvette and captioned it "Dad, is that really you?".
At a gas stop in Texas Lynda had her first encounter with a stink beetle~!
The ride up US-550 into Durango - Rained -->
Arriving in Durango
The 24th dawned clear and bright. I was sorely tempted to try and make it over the
passes, but better sense finally won out - besides Lynda refused to get on the bike
till I promised we'd head over US-190 and US-191 past the Mesa Verde National Park
and on into Utah. US-191- Gosh what a beautiful Highway. It's no wonder Moab is such
a popular motorcycling destination. The rock formations are just astounding.
I had ridden I-70 a year or two ago and was completely blown away at how scenic this
interstate is in Utah. The 100 miles between Green River and Salina are full of
Geologic formations and interesting turnouts - Including the Capital Reef. We stopped
- alot! Green River has one of the best Chiliburgers I've ever eaten!
We finally arrived in Cedar City at 5:00 and got checked into our motel. The next
couple of days were going to be full of rally activities and local riding. The plan
was to get to Cedar Breaks National Monument, Zion and Bryce National Parks and then
take a leisurely ride home.
The rally was pretty well attended and offered Lynda her first exposure to the comoradarie
found among motorcycle riders.
Sitting atop the 10,000 foot high Colorado Plateau along the scenic bi-way of US-14
just East of Cedar City is the Cedar Breaks National Monument. The result of thousands
of years of uplifts and erosion has created a canyon some three miles across and over
2000 feet deep with some of the most beautiful mineral sedimentation to be seen.
This is what the lucky folks of Cedar City get to ride in and around -- US-14 East Bound.
Cedar Breaks -->
We took the day of the 26th to ride down to Bryce National Park. Besides the natural
beauty found here I was surprised to learn that the park actually resides in three
separate climatic zones - based upon the type of forest found through its 2000'
The "hoodoos" and the unique "U" shaped "canyons" found in the park are what makes
this park so special. It is a part of the Grand Staircase here's a link if you'd like
more info about this geologic phenomenon -
We departed Cedar City early on the 27th and made a bee line down to Zion National
Park. Again we were overwhelmed with the beauty and grandeur of this natural wonder.
We wound up having to ride through the canyon twice in order to pick up the I-15 to
expedite our trip across Nevada and ultimately into Bridgeport, Ca. for our final
night on the road.
Here's a couple of Zion - I wish we would have had more time to spend in this beautiful spot!
The final day on the road took us up and over Sonora Pass and home via 108, 120, 205
and 580. The pass was spectacular, I really enjoy riding it East to West.
The trailer is safely stowed in the garage and is anxiously awaiting its next outing.
- I think that's like saying "Come on Retirement!".
Finally -- Lynda's summary:
-saw 11 states in 12 days (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee,
Mississippi, Alabama, Colorado, Utah, Nevada.)
-total hotel rooms...9
-total gallons of gas...124
-total dollars spent for gas...$417
(cheapest gas was $2.98, most expensive was $4.099,
average was $3.36)
-Landmarks/Historical interests/scenic sites visited...11
(Route 66, Oatman AZ, Winslow AZ, Carrie Underwood's freeway sign, Natchez Trace
Parkway, Wilson's Arch, Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park,
Virgin River Gorge, Sonora Pass.)
-Diverting a busload of British tourists from taking pictures of beautiful Zion to taking pictures of our trailer....worth the price of the trailer !
-Traveling the US on a "Wing and a prayer" with your best friend...priceless!