Leonard and Judy's Autumn Tour 2008, Part 4
Friday, October 10th. (The seventh day.)This morning we got up a little earlier as we were heading on our leg back home. The main reason we got up early, is because Cannonville was suppose to get snow around noon.
Earlier in the week, during a lull in or activities, we made some inquiries about or original route back to Colorado, taking us through Blanding, Utah. We were depending on a fuel stop midway between Hanksville Utah and Blanding, at the town of Ferry Canyon on state highway 95. Ferry Canyon, as it was explained, is more of a Ghost Town than anything, it was thought that it had no actual gas station. With out much encouragement we opted to take a different route instead.
Being that is was already pretty cold in Cannonville, we put on the snowmobile pants and jackets again. Judy and I said our farewells to the KOA workers and Marsha, thanking them for their wonderful hospitality.
As we were leaving the campground, we found Travis Scott standing next to his Harley. It had a dead battery. So we lent them our 12 year old, never been used, Kawasaki motorcycle jumper cables, purchased back then when we bought the 96 Vulcan. We were kidded about riding a Victory and depending on Kawasaki cables. Travis jumped started his bike from his brother's Buell and off they rode waving and smiling. (Later we received an e-mail saying the Scott's had no additional trouble on their trip.)
We took the short portion of highway 12, west to #89 and then north to Salina. That section of 12 and 89 were very pleasant to ride. Long gentle hills through the mountain passes and broad valleys to view with a smooth highway. We stopped at the little town of Marysvale to get out of our heavy pants and to shed a sweat shirt or two. Marysvale had a nice convenience store where we topped off the tank and got some coffee.
While we drank our coffee in the outdoor sun, about a dozen ATV's came riding in. They fueled up each ATV, filled some extra cans and were packing numerous bags of groceries onto the little four wheelers. Curiosity got the best of me, so I asked as to what the heck was going on. A nice gentleman explained that they are camping and riding all the back roads and trails over the mountain tops and camping where ever they were, when the sun went down. They had not only stopped to fill the gas tank, but also was laying in food and other necessary items, because they wouldn't see another town for three more days. The groceries included lots of brandy for each evening coffee's. Beer took up to much space he explained, but small bottles of brandy would fit anywhere and didn't need to be chilled. Who could argue with that? Now that is a neat way to see the country.
We continued up 89 to Salina and caught I-70 once again going east. I-70 provided a lot of pretty scenery, but we had a cross wind from the weather front coming in from the south, that we later learned had gusts up to 60 mph. So this strong wind reduced our enthusiasm a little bit. Surprising though, the little trailer followed right along with out a whimper. (We tend to personify the trailer. She's called Calypso, due to the small sign on the back that reads "Spirit Of Calypso." Another long story as to how she got the sign.) Due to the wind, we kept our speed at 60mph. We pulled into the Green River KOA about 4:00 PM and they gave us the same cabin as before, which pleased us very much. Again we indulged ourselves at the Tamarisk restaurant near by. After a fine meal, a nice walk and conversation with other campers, we called it a day.
Saturday, October 11th. (The 8th day.)This morning was cool, but the sun was out. We departed right on schedule and continued east on I-70. We took our usual way to the interstate by going through the middle of the town. This only took about 15 minutes. After getting on the interstate we discovered we had the same cross wind from the south. It seems the winter gods were trying to do us harm. But, we just hunkered down and stopped only when necessary.
A side note: I-70 cuts through an area called San Rafael Reef. It's a vista of flat top mountains, stretched away as far as the eye can see. It's more dramatic at a place called Black Dragon. Several turn-offs along the highway, provide opportunities to soak in the beauty or to just take a break from the long climbs. The Interstate retains a level of scenery unmatched by any other stretch of highway in Utah.
When we got to Grand Junction, Colorado, for some reason, Judy's special Oakley motorcycle sun glasses decided to break right in the middle of the nose piece. So, we stopped at a Wal Mart on the south edge of town and got her a cheap pair of big lens sun glasses, which proved to work out just fine. We also shed some clothing as the air was getting nice and warm and we had left the cross wind behind. (After getting home, we contacted a few Oakley distributors and learned that Oakley no longer makes the glasses, which actually were ski glasses.)
Grand Junction is a mid sized small town of about 40,000 people. Going across the top of the town, east or west, traveling is easy. But going down through the town, north-south it is a little complicated and confusing after you leave the interstate. Give me a high mountain twisty over a robust town full of traffic any day. As we passed by the city parks, we saw panhandlers of all kinds, with card board signs of various excuses. I suppose some were actual homeless not by choice and others were professionals, trying to make a days wage. In my area of Colorado, being homeless is not against the law, but panhandling on the highways is. So, this sight surprised us a little.
As we were exiting Grand Junction's south city limits, Judy's single piece, custom made arm rests, decided to detach them selves from her back rest. Amazingly, Judy not only was able to catch the arm rest, but the bolts and acorn nuts that hold it on. All this at 50 mph. We stopped along the highway for a second, bunji corded the arm rest to the trailer's rear boot lid and scampered on.
We continued south through Grand Junction on highway #50 to the town of Montrose, where highway 50 turns east to Gunnison. The scenery along highway 50 from Grand Junction to Gunnison is pretty. Near Gunnison, you ride around a very large lake called Blue Mesa lake. It is a bright blue lake about the color of summer sky. During the summer it is packed with sail boats and small fishing boats, but this day it was void of people.
We arrived at the Gunnison KOA and after some adjustment on the campgrounds part we secured a cabin that we had reserved. Since it was a little late in the day, Judy showered and I cooked. I can cook a mean can of Dinty Moore stew, toss a Cole slaw and prepare brown bread for gravy "sopping." While I was cooking I chatted with Mr. KOA owner. He advised me that the 11,000 foot Monarch Pass, the pass we would have to go through the next day, was suppose to get snow. Oh great! The only alternative route would add an additional 6 hours to the next days travel. I took my shower and Judy did the dishes, reversing our usual roles. The air was cold, but the cabin was warm and cozy. We quickly forgot our potential travel problem and fell to sleep.
Leonard and Judy's Autumn Tour - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
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