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Leonard and Judy's Autumn Tour 2008, Part 5

Sunday, October 12. (The ninth and last day.)

motorcycle touring is a great way to see the fall colours We awoke to a sunny, but very cold morning. The overnight moist air and cold temperatures had frozen the padlock on the trailer lid tight shut. Judy wasn't able to open the lock, which did not make her a happy camper since the coffee pot was locked inside the trailer. After heating the key a couple of times, with a lighter and inserting it into the padlock, we were able to get it open and Judy was able to make her morning cup of coffee. Thank goodness for that. Judy with out coffee makes her a mean biker babe.

Touring on a motorcycle you pay attention to the weather We checked with the KOA owners and they pulled up the Monarch Pass web cam. Yep there was snow on the road at the pass. It was 9:00 AM and we wanted to get home. So, we just hung around, checking the web camera every hour and at 11:00AM, with the sun high overhead, the snow on the road within the camera's view was water and several patches of road were actually dry. So we headed out and by the time we got to the pass around noon, we had clean dry roads. The air was so clean and crisp, is almost smelled like 7-Up. This altitude and cold conditions did not produce any animals to see. We didn't even see any birds. The traffic was light, which I was thankful for, should I have to go to the other lane to avoid an ice patch on the shady side of the curves.

Royal Gorge visited on motorcycle tour After climbing down the east side of the mountain, we found the weather to be warm and most pleasant. We continued on #50 past the Royal Gorge into Canyon City. Royal Gorge is a famous tourist attraction and a must see if your in the area for the first time. It is always beautiful. We have never risked taking a motorcycle across the suspension bridge due to the gaps in the plank flooring. But we have walked across and the views are breath taking. There is also a train you can take along the Arkansas River at the bottom of gorge. In Cannon City, we stopped at our favorite city park right along the highway, to shed clothing, have lunch and take a nap.

motorcycle touring near Penrose We left the city park (which is a good park) and continued east to Penrose. The left turn over Highway #50 put us north bound on #115. Highway #115 is very pretty, no matter what the season is. We have seen spring bears with cubs in the pastures that border the highway. Eagles and hawks gliding off the hill cliffs is another common sight. The highway also brings you along the back side of Fort Carson, a very large army base. This allows you to see down into the compound, which is a large valley city of it's own. Eventually the highway brought us to US highway # 85, which is now a 4 lane city street that runs a few blocks from our home. We turned onto our street, into our driveway and thanked God, for a wonderful and safe tour.

Foot note:

We met so many interesting people, each with their own story as to how they came to Utah, what their former occupations were and what they are doing to make a living now. So many people it seems, gave up easier jobs and more luxurious living to leave the rat race of the more convenient life. When we talked to people, they often gave us insight as to their current wage scale. Factoring this in with the extremely high cost of living in this area, we wonder how they can make a decent living.

The schools we saw seemed modern and fairly new. We did learn that the area has a shortage of medical facilities. The people in Cannonville have to drive nearly an hour to see a physician. And if you need to see a specialist the round trip is a days journey. We were going to stop in Escalante to get Judy's regular prescription glasses adjusted, but found the optometrist office to be an old small converted trailer house that is only open a few days a week. The next place was another 70 miles away. Most fire departments are volunteer and we saw very few fire stations at that. Cannonville's old concrete station had two truck ports. Since most of the area is occupied by Federal agencies of various kinds, they provide a lot of the fire defense.

Unlike 20 years ago when I traveled Utah, the Mormon influence is hardly noticeable today. There are a many, many more taverns and lots of business's are open on Sunday. Like with most central mountain states, people from California, the east coast and Texas have migrated and brought with them money, change and influence. The relaxed, colloquial attitude has all but disappeared. Still, we found almost all the people we met, to be gracious and we are richer for having met them.

Leonard and Judy's Autumn Tour - Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

More of Leonard's articles: Two Wheels by the Campfire

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