Abbey’s Other, On-the-Road Trip Part 2

Come On In – Edward Abbey

The canyon country of southern Utah and northern Arizona-the Colorado Plateau-is something special. Something strange, marvelous, full of wonders. As far as I know there is no other region on earth much like it, or even remotely like it. Nowhere else have we had this lucky combination of vast sedimentary rock formations exposed to a desert climate, a great plateau carved by major rivers-the Green, the San Juan, the Colorado-into such a surreal land of form and color. Edward Abbey, A Voice in the Wilderness

Now, if you want to see how Pete and I express our appreciation for Abbey’s vision, read on!

Day 6, Santa Fe to Monument Valley

Santa Fe to Mexican Hat ~324 miles via Los Alamos and the Valles Caldera National Reserve and Shiprock

After our destination layover with the Delawares, enjoying their warm hospitality in the comfort of their jazzy Santa Fe digs, Suzanne’s wonderful repast and conviviality, Bob’s generous tour of the surrounding landscapes and quaint New Mexican towns along the High Road to Taos, it was time to twist the throttle.

Casa de los Delaware

Originally we had planned to spend the night in Mexican Hat, a small town in Utah on the San Juan River on the northern edge of the Navajo Nation’s borders on our first night of the return leg. This curiously named town draws its moniker from a rock formation that, from some angles, resembles a sombrero, or a “Mexican Hat” if Messrs. Barber’s and Osborn’s high school Spanish serves me.

Mexican Hat Rock, Utah…
Camel Rock, Tesuque New Mexico…

Apparently New Mexico and Utah have competing features of terrain. Decide for yourself if the names given are befitting.

Having departed from the itinerary, that I had toiled over for weeks prior to launching, largely due to weather I didn’t hesitate to again depart for the road less traveled. We had ridden past the Ghost Ranch through Abiquiu from Chama a few days earlier. It wasn’t weather but our desire to camp that compelled this detour from Mexican Hat. So it was off to Monument Valley through the Valles Caldera National Reserve by way of Los Alamos, Gallena, Cuba, Nageezi, Bloomfield and Farmington where the Mormon influences bump up against the Spanish and Navajo influences at least as far as place names are concerned.

Following some confusion in Los Alamos at the site of Project Y, a top secret atomic weapons laboratory, about how to proceed through the National Laboratory to get to get to NM-4, we were granted permission to pass through the facility by a fine young soldier at entrance to the Lab. He had noted our confusion as we rode past what was the entrance to the Weapons Lab. It’s amazing how the engineers were able to camouflage the public road as the entrance to a top secret lab. We were told not to stop or take any photos until we reached the narrow twisting two lane road that quickly ascended to the Caldera. Aye, aye!

A few curves to make for interesting riding considering the long straightaways that would be featured in the afternoon. Note that Los Alamos is not named on this Google Map. I’m sure none of our adversaries would be able to figure out the location of our nation’s nuclear weapons laboratory. Ooops, I just gave it away…

Check out https://www.atomicheritage.org/location/los-alamos-nm for the interesting history of the weapons development on “The Hill.”

Yep, that’s snow we’re headed toward
Not many curves for the afternoon
Dinner in Farmington before entering the Monuments

Following dinner at Los Hermanitos in Farmington, we scrambled along the San Juan River past perhaps one of the most photographed ancient volcanic plugs on the planet, Shiprock., even photographed from space.

Shiprock, a stunning rock formation in New Mexico, stands out even from space. This image was taken April 12, 2017, by an instrument aboard NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)
Shiprock from US-64

Shiprock is on Navajo Nation land and is known as Tse Bit’a’i, or “winged rock” in Navajo, according to the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Legend holds that the rock was Earth that became a bird and carried the Navajo people to the desert on its back, settling down and turning to stone again after the journey. Navajo tradition holds that people should not climb or disturb the rocks, so they have been closed to recreation since the 1970s.

Geologically, Shiprock originated from a volcanic eruption about 30 million years ago, according to the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. At the time, the rocks were up to 3,280 feet (1,000 m) below the ground and formed the “neck” of a region of volcanic rocks that has otherwise eroded away. The formation is made from a potassium-rich magma called “minette,” according to the bureau, and is heavily fractured into a type of angular fragmented rock called breccia. While the surrounding rock has eroded away, Shiprock and some of its accompanying lava dikes remain as seen to the left of the towering Shiprock

Continuing on US-64 to Teec Nos Pos where we then joined US-160/191 past Four Corners and Red Mesa, we then turned north on US-163 in Kayenta in search of camping in Monument Valley.

The Navajo Nation Reservation is over 25,000 miles and covers over four states:
New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Arizona

Geologically, Monument Valley is a combination of rock layers formed during the Permian and Triassic Periods several hundred million years ago that have been subjected to differential erosion (by which hard rocks erode more slowly than soft rocks). The results can be quite complex and stunningly beautiful.

We arrived at the Navajo Nation Monuments in late afternoon. Fortunately the first three campsites we encountered were either full or closed. On a whim, I decided to turn onto Mitchell Butte Rd. where suddenly and serendipitously appeared the Sleeping Bear Campground.

Lucky us

The relaxation, rehydration, and reflection hour was composed of a sublime sunset. The star filled nightfall that followed gave way to an equally striking sunrise.

Day 7, Monument Valley to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Monument Valley to North Rim of the Grand Canyon ~275 miles through the Navajo Nation

The alpenglow of sunrise yielded to the cerulean skies of the morning. A relatively modest 245 mile day lay ahead giving us time to find a campsite and take in a few view ropes of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim.

Back on US-163 to US-160 we intended to take AZ-98 to Page and check out how puny Lake Powell had become. But we missed the interchange and ended up continuing on US-160 through Tuba City where we took the two lane US-89 north on freshly oiled two lane roads with no markings and passing lanes about every 5 miles through Willow Springs and Bitter Springs to Marble Canyon. Something about freshly oiled roads with intermittent passing lanes that increases the pucker factor by 2x when on a moto.

Upriver from Marble Canyon is the Glen Canyon Dam behind which is Lake Powell. When considering inclement weather enroute to Santa Fe from Chama on our planned route, we gave consideration to using the ferry at Halls Crossing near Bullfrog to avert the rain, at least according to NOAA radar. However, since the lake level was so low that along with several other launches, the ferry wasn’t operating. Not an option.

At Jacob Lake we headed south on the Grand Canyon Highway (AZ-67) over the Kaibab Plateau to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but not before securing a campsite at the Demotte Campground.

Campsite secured, it was off to the North Rim!

The crowd wasn’t too distracting from the awesomeness of canyon of the Colorado River as appreciated from the North Rim. After what would be our dinner of sammies from the North Rim Deli in the Pines, we made our way back to the Demotte campground.

Relaxation, rehydration, and reflection hour around the campfire. What’s with the googly left eye?

Our cheery and accommodating camp hostess, Darlene, made sure we had a bundle of wood for a campfire as the chill of the evening descended. There were a group of spirited high school kids from The Holbrook Indian School who were camped just above us. We later learned they were hiking the “rim to rim” trail the next day and were intent on securing wood for their campfire from the surrounding forest as the afternoon shadows lengthened and temperatures dropped.

The boys raucously went about breaking large branches with rocks. They didn’t have any tools, in fact they declined a saw offered by a fellow camper, but as we were later informed by one of the boys from the group who offered us their unused timber for our campfire, Pete asked if they camped much. A suppressed chuckle coursed through the group, and one of the lads replied, “We’re Indians, we know all about camping…”

From the Holbrook Indian School website, “Outdoor School is one week of classes that take place in the great outdoors. Every year, the eighth- through 12th-grade students help to plan and coordinate the details of the trip. Each year the students travel to one of five locations that have been selected: Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Rocky Mountain National Park, and one city trip to San Diego that includes a day of tidepooling at La Jolla Beach. For many of the students, the trip to San Diego is the first time they’ll get to see the ocean and learn to navigate a big city.”

It brought back many of my most cherished memories from my teaching career when I accompanied students to the Jack L. Boyd Outdoor School at Fish Camp in the Sierra Nevada just south of Yosemite. I hope the lessons of the Miwok material culture still resonate with the kids who were lucky enough to attend.

Nov. 2020 on one of the many Covid Lockdown Rides featured elsewhere on the blog

Day 8, North Rim via South Rim to Seligman

North Rim to Seligman ~293 miles by way of the South Rim and Route 66

We awakened to a bright clear sunrise as temps had dipped enough through the night to dust our tents and motos with a layer of glistening hoarfrost. A quick coffee powered by the JetBoil to defrost our innards and the low angled light of the sun soon dried the gear.

By now adapting the itinerary was the thing. Our choice for today: check out the conga lines at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon or deal with conga lines in Flagstaff. Don’t get me wrong about Flag or the South Rim, they’re both enjoyable stops that given time and inclination offer many opportunities for enlightenment. But we were destined for the desert, Route 66, with more rain on the horizon. Gotta get to gettin’…

We stopped for breakfast at the Jacob Lake Inn where just before ordering a French toast combo, I received a call from my wife about our 12 year old Labrador, Luna. We had been watching her decline as she was reaching the Rainbow Bridge phase of her life. Her ability to walk was compromised to the point that she could no longer stand and a trip to our veterinarian who had cared for her from a puppy, was not available. The vet who consulted with my wife and granddaughter about Luna’s fate only added to my remorse for leaving on this fool’s errand of a trip. Not only was the decision to euthanize Luna made by my brave wife, reluctantly, but there were other issues with loved ones at home. Needless to say, I was saddened beyond words to be so far away from my family, unable to say good-bye, to our Luna Long Toes or provide support to my wife and granddaughter for the difficulty of laying her to rest…

Say hi to Pete, Molly, Godiva, Willy, and all of my other dog friends across the Rainbow Bridge sweet girl…

By the afternoon, I had to shake my sadness induced silence and tear obscured vision to summon the strength to not be such a buzzkill. Our first stop would be the South Rim of the Grand Canyon so I tried to lose my sadness in the depths of the canyon that John Wesley Powell described as:


The wonders of the Grand Canyon cannot be adequately represented in symbols of speech, nor by speech itself. The resources of the graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail.

The canyon from the South Rim reminded me how absolutely elemental we are in scale, time, and place and my sense of how unified we are all within an indifferent Earth, bound by its land, waters, and sky, that my sadness lifted. I was not even discouraged by the crowd. Not wanting to pass up an opportunity to be a rebel, please excuse the “taxed-out graphic art” below…

Unlike the North Rim, I was discouraged by the crowd that was massed at the Maswik Lodge so we decided to find a warm caffeinated beverage in Tusayan just outside of the park. We have this running mockery bordering on scorn for motorcycles parked in front of a Starbucks. And what did we find? A Starbucks in front of which we parked our bikes…

Selfie-mockery

Williams, our original destination for the evening was replaced by Seligman, now anxious to ride the original “all weather highway” as weather was once again threatening. We discovered that the “original” Route 66, was in ruin just west of Williams where the roadbed disappeared under the eastbound lanes of I-40 . So, we jumped on the interstate to Ash Fork onto a replica (in highway engineering terms, a “realignment”) of what John Steinbeck dubbed,”the mother road” in his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

My father, his father, and sister, were a displaced farm family, like the Joads and thousands of real-life Americans who fled drought and poverty in Oklahoma, Texas, and neighboring states during the Great Depression and traveled west along Route 66 in search of employment. Riding comfortably with no hardships, save a little rain, with all of our needs easily obtained, and convenient destinations left me feeling impressed by my family’s struggle to make my life so abundant.

Dad is behind the wheel, Grandpa is on the left following the harvest from Arizona to California

Westbound from Ash Fork we rode on Crookton Road segment of historic Route 66. All the alignments of Route 66 then resurface at Exit 139, where they head towards Seligman as the longest remaining segment of Route 66 in the whole of the U.S. that ends at Topock on the Colorado River at the California state line.

Per our usual decision at the day’s end, with clouds once again gathering, we opted to stay indoors in what we hoped to be an iconic Route 66 motel for the night. Upon entering Seligman, we began our quest for finding this iconic Route 66 lodging. Seligman has a population of just under 800 so we weren’t expecting to find much. That was until…

Anxious to secure lodging, the motel appeared to be closed as there were no vehicles in the parking lot nor was there an attendant in the office. However, there was a note with a phone number taped to the window of the office door. We called the number and the fellow on the other end explained that indeed the motel was open and he would send his wife from their other motel to open the office as he was coaching a youth basketball team.

Kim arrived from their other property in town, the Deluxe Inn. She and her husband acquired the properties from his parents and were in the process of restoring/renovating them. The hotel wasn’t of the same vintage as the Y Motel in Chama as the Supai opened in 1952. The early 1950s postcard upper left states:

SUPAI MOTEL SELIGMAN, ARIZONA. Phone – 953. Seligman’s newest and finest motel. (In center of City on Highway 66.) Tile baths, tubs or showers. Air-Conditioned by Frigidaire, panel type heat. Franciscan furniture, spring air mattresses, carpeted floors. Owned & Operated by Mr. and Mrs. H. Lanier.

The spirited inn keeper, Kim, recommended we park our motos under the cover of our room’s porch. She also recommended two restaurants, not the Copper Cart or the Snow Cap, both closed, but Lilo’s Cafe featuring German cuisine and the Roadkill Cafe/OK Saloon. Having dropped gear we walked to dinner at the Roadkill Cafe, since OK Saloon was included in the name, where the menu featured Deer Delectables, Bad-Brake Steak, Fender Tenders, Caddie Grilled Patty, Splatter Platter, Swirl of Squirrel, Big Bagged Stag, and Highway Hash.

The very entertaining bartender Larry was servicing a table in the bar where Pete and I sat for our buuurrrrguuurrrs. He was Googling drink recipes as he had returned to post-Covid lockdown employment, reinventing himself as a bartender and plying the assorted exuberant patrons with elixirs and concoctions decreasing their inhibitions in direct proportion given his pours. I only hoped they walked next door to their lodging… To the Deluxe and hopefully not the Supai!

A feast of neon

The evening ended sitting in front of our room, enjoying the relaxation, rehydrating and reflection hour with a few of our fellow road-tripping and deer hunting guests, as by then there were no vacancies despite the display on the brilliant neon sign at the Supai, once upon a time, “Seligman’s newest and finest motel.

Day 9, Seligman to Shoshone

Seligman to Shoshone ~284 miles by way of Peach Springs, Truxton, Valentine, Hackberry, Antares, Walapai, Hualapai, a deluge in Kingman, Bullhead City, with washouts on the way to Searchlight, Baker and the Mojave Preserve to Shoshone

Early the next morning the parking lot was wet but not our bikes. That wetness would happen a couple of hours down the road…

Off to an early start en route to our favorite high desert destination between Baker and Death Valley Junction, the Shoshone RV Park and Campground, we would first have to cross three state boundaries. The Route 66 portion of the ride was relatively dry as we sped down long stretches of straight as an arrow pavement next to the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe through once prosperous rail towns that like Seligman, that were trading on nostalgia and a sentimental yearning for Route 66’s past as present day tourist stops.

And now for some of that nostalgia, Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe featuring Johnny Mercer and the Pied Pipers with Paul Weston and his orchestra from MGM’s 1946 production of the Harvey Girls, “A Gay and Lusty Romance Musical” with “Two-Gun Judy Garland…” The Harvey Girls Trailer

Kingman, still thriving as a railtown along side of the historic road’s role in American history that is celebrated at the Route 66 Museum, set inside the Powerhouse Visitors Center. Murals, dioramas and a library at the Mohave Museum of History and Arts trace local history. Locomotive Park, featuring a 1928 steam engine, and the Kingman Railroad Museum document the city’s past as a 20th-century railway hub. None of which we saw, virtually trapped in a Denny’s as the clouds burst…

Downpour at Denny’s, Kingman Arizona a short video.

After a couple of hours sitting out the front as the lightning and horizontal rain ceased, we returned to our bikes to helmet-up and make our way. Helmets we left on the mirrors of our motos. Exposed. Wet. Thankfully it wasn’t terribly cold, so they dried in no time once underway.

US-93, AZ-68 took us across Golden Valley where we encountered light-flashing Highway Department vehicles positioned where washes from the flash flooding covered the road, none of which were impassable by the time we arrived, but required caution crossing as water, sand, and rocks made for less that ideal pavement on a two-wheeled platform.

With miles to go we crossed the Colorado River for the last time on the trip just below the Davis Dam entering Nevada on NV-163 to Palm Gardens and US-95. Reaching Searchlight we then headed west on NV-164 crossing the border into California passing through Nipton, approximately 12 miles southeast of Primm, Nevada and the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility that shone eerily with a dark, clouded sky backdrop. I shoulda’ stopped to take a picture. Since the interwebs is full of pictures, how about this one?

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is seen in the Mojave Desert of California on March 3, 2014. The facility uses 347,000 computer-controlled mirrors to focus sunlight onto boilers on top of three 459-foot towers, where water is heated to produce steam to power turbines providing power to more than 140,000 California homes. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nipton, by the way, could be yours as it’s for sale for a mere $3 million doll-hairs. From the LAist:

Want to Buy a Town?

If you can’t afford the $3 million asking price, looks like renting may be a possibility

I’m a fan of Brent Underwood’s YouTube channel, Ghost Town Living. It seems buying an old ghost town and monetizing a YouTube channel is a thing these days. Not quite reaching I-15 we turned south onto Ivanpah Rd. It only took about ten miles for me to grasp that we were headed to Kelso in the opposite direction of our destination. We then headed more or less in the correct direction on Morning Star Mine Rd. to the small town of Cima. Originally Cima served as water stop for trains going up the long Kelso Valley grade. Later, Cima functioned as a shipping center for mines and ranches in the area. For us it functioned as a route correction back to Barstow Road, a.k.a. I-15, and the Shell Station west of Mountain Pass where we paid $5.90 for a gallon of Premium. Thankfully, I only needed 3.96 gallons.

Off to Baker zooming on I-15 we paused to stretch and delayer from the cooler rain influenced gear into the lighter desert gear and check to out an interesting vehicle on the side of the road.

And we thought 90 mph on 650 cc motos was speedy…

In a bit under an hour, we’d be in Shoshone. If my calculations are correct, Jim “Jet” Nielsen and his 700mph jet car, who incidentally holds 4 land speed world records but prefers not setting them on salt beds, could make in about 5 minutes…

Pete and I set off from Baker on CA-127 across the Mojave National Preserve. From the National Park Service website:

Singing sand dunes, cinder cone volcanoes, a large Joshua tree forest, and carpets of spring wildflowers are all found within this 1.6-million-acre park. A visit to its canyons, mountains, and mesas will reveal long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts. Located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Mojave provides serenity and solitude from major metropolitan areas.

Across the Mojave National Preserve a short GoPro clip.

We arrived at Shoshone as the sun was sinking in the west below the Greenwater Range.

The story of Shoshone is interesting. The current owner of the town, Susan Sorrells, didn’t buy the place, she inherited it. Her family’s fascinating story can be found at The Mojave Project: Reimagining the Amargosa .

After setting up camp, we strolled over to the Crowbar down the Old Highway 127 past the Maury and Bernice Sorrells house. As far as we could tell, the only private residence in Shoshone.

Susan Sorrells’ family home designed by renowned modernist architect Richard Neutra

After buurrgguurrs and beers I asked David, our waiter where folks who worked in Shoshone lived since there didn’t seem to be any houses except for the Sorrell’s. It turns out he was a Covid layed-off waiter from one of the restaurants at the sheik Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas who was commuting from Pahrump to work as a server at the Crowbar. From our perspective, Covid had given him the opportunity to step up in the world. IMHO, Shoshone may not have what Las Vegas has, but Las Vegas comes up lemons, bananas, and cherries to what Shoshone has.

On our way out of the restaurant we met two motorcyclists, Mark on a BMW R9T and Ray on a BMW 1200 RT from the Bay Area on a trip like ours, or rather, one we’d done before. They were staying at the Shoshone Inn, part of the Sorrells grand slam of owning all of the commercial businesses in town. They were headed to Kernville from Shoshone having toured Zion and Bryce on their sleek and shiny German machines.

-You meet the nicest people when traveling by moto

As usual, we procured beverages for the relaxation, rehydration, and reflection hour and met fellow campers Ann and Dave from Chicago and New Jersey by way of a sand-to-shore motor tour of the Mojave and Death Valley from their home in Salt Lake City. Their destination, Morro Bay in search of wineries. They were an affable couple who like us last spring, just by chance, discovered the Shoshone RV Park and Campground.

Dave and Ann

Day 10, The Home Stretch Shoshone to Merced

Shoshone to Merced ~442 miles a very long day

Time to shed layers

Given the pressing desire to return home to help out with my wife’s mother’s affairs, join my family in mourning Luna’s passing, and concern that the next weather front to come through was forecasted to close the passes over the Sierra to get back home, we decided to forego plans to go to Rhyolite and Goldfield. No disappointment, only new opportunities to return.

The new plan instead was to head to Panamint Springs for lunch and decide whether to camp in Lone Pine where we stayed last spring or Independence where we stayed a couple of years ago on another adventure or press on. (Posts of those trips can be found on the home page.)

Since our favorite desert oasis, food and beverage dispensary, and campground was closed, we headed to Lone Pine for lunch at the Bonanza Mexican Restaurant. Hunger sated and weather updated we made the decision to press on and make our way over Tioga Pass before a storm, headed our way, was predicted to be cold enough for snowfall to close the pass. This atmospheric river was equally likely to complicate Walker Pass to the south on CA-178 and snow was just as likely to close Sonora Pass on CA-108 or any of the passes to the north .

A quick refuel at the Woah Neli-Deli along for a cocoa laced coffee and we were off once again crossing Tioga Pass as the shadows lengthened. There was no less beauty in this segment of the ride, but we were homeward bound, road weary and anxious to return so my phone was tucked away. We arrived home right around sunset, glad to reunite with family but satisfied that yet another moto tour to celebrate was complete and no accidents or mechanicals befell us.

Epilogue

Edward Abbey has best expressed how I am drawn to the Mojave, Colorado Plateau, and Basin and Range through which I’ve pedaled in my youth and throttled more recently. In his words:

The geologic approach is certainly primary and fundamental, underlying the attitude and outlook that best support all others, including the insights of poetry and the wisdom of religion. Just as the earth itself forms the indispensable ground for the only kind of life we know, providing the sole sustenance of our minds and bodies, so does empirical truth constitute the foundation of higher truths. (If there is such a thing as higher truth.)

It seems to me that Keats was wrong when he asked, rhetorically, “Do not all charms fly at the mere touch of cold philosophy?” The word “philosophy” standing, in his day, for what we now call “physical science.” But Keats was wrong, I say, because there is more charm in one “mere” fact, confirmed by test and observation, linked to other facts through coherent theory into a rational system, than in a whole brainful of fancy and fantasy. I see more poetry in a chunk of quartzite than in a make-believe wood nymph, more beauty in the revelations of a verifiable intellectual construction than in whole misty empires of obsolete mythology.

The moral I labor toward is that a landscape as splendid as that of the Colorado Plateau can best be understood and given human significance by poets who have their feet planted in concrete — concrete data — and by scientists whose heads and hearts have not lost the capacity for wonder. Any good poet, in our age at least, must begin with the scientific view of the world; and any scientist worth listening to must be something of a poet, must possess the ability to communicate to the rest of us his sense of love and wonder at what his work discovers.

From: Come On In – Edward Abbey

Feel free to drop a comment or read of other adventures at Sisyphus and Associates on Facebook or @tjdw7 on Instagram, or sisyphusdw7.com, home of Sisyphus and Associates. Thanks!

Abbey’s Other, On-the-Road Trip Part 1

Merced to Santa Fe

The Kawasexy in The Monuments

Following a blistering summer in the Central Valley of California, the lingering heat and smoke filled air made the September transition into fall something of a repeat of the previous four years when fires ravaged the state.  To any heat, fire, pandemic, and drought weary Californios, a late September departure seemed like a good time to mask up and head east for a little relief from high temperatures, smokey air, and parched landscapes.  At least vaccinations made travel somewhat safer. So, what better destination to ride to than the desert in the direction that prevailing winds travel! Duh…

Pete, without Andy, above the Colorado River in Moab hoping the sculpture doesn’t release the stone

The cast of characters for this adventure included Pete and Andy, familiar faces from previous trips.  Sadly, as life wants to do, events unfolded such that elderly parents needed attention and Andy, good son that he is, had to bow out.  Likewise there were issues with my mother-in-law, but my wife and her sisters were able to care for her and with Toni’s blessings, I was given the green light.

Andy, with Pete, on a frosty October 13, 2019 on the Under a Fool Moon Ride across Death Valley

Day 1: Tonopah Bound

Merced to Tonopah

Pete and I met on Sunday morning, September 26, at our usual meeting place, the Chevron station on the corner of Yosemite Ave. and “G” Street in Merced.  Our route was to take back roads to CA-120 crossing the Sierra over Tioga Pass on to Tonopah, NV.  Road repairs and the closure of any services minimized the crowds one might expect to find at the end of the summer in Tuolumne Meadows.  Though not evident in the photo, the air was less than pristine with smoke from the Caldor and KNP Complex fires casting a pall over the foothills up to and over Tioga Pass.  In fact landscapes of our entire ride east of the Sierra, nearly all the way into Utah, were obscured by smoke.

Where are the teeming masses?

At the Benton Junction we pulled into the Benton Station where we met David who was traveling on a 2002 BMW GS in search of gas which apparently the Benton Station was fresh out of… Benton may have been out of gas, but bees were aplenty as we approached the California Agricultural Inspection Station just a few miles east Benton on US-6. The bees suffered far greater casualties than the three of us motorcyclists. Full face shields, windscreens, armored textile clothing, gloves and hand guards provide multiple safety functions on a motorcycle. Far greater than sunglasses, fingerless gloves, and lycra on a bicycle, our other favored two-wheel transportation…

David was traveling from Utah, heading home seemingly uninformed about services in these remote locales, and so we reassuringly accompanied him some 70 miles on US 6/95 in the direction of Tonopah, the next closest fuel on his homeward bound leg before parting company with a so-long wave at Miller’s Rest Stop, a little oasis in the basin and range landscape of rural western Nevada about 12 miles west of Tonopah.  Last year we met Tim on his Goldwing, from Sacramento, who offered and egg salad sandwich and cool beverage. There’s more than the wave that bond motorcyclists.

Arriving out our motel we dropped our gear and busied ourselves with locating beverages and food.

We met a fellow moto traveler at our motel, Robert from Bellingham, WA, who was heading home from touring Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, the Escalante, and Zion National Parks. It appeared that Pete, Robert, and I were the only non-working-stiff types staying at the National 9 Inn.

Pete and a new friend comparing notes on detailing one’s machine

Later, out of curiosity, we asked the desk clerk about the nature of the residents of the motel since we three on motorcycles appeared to be the only tourists. He said they were mostly workers from nearby mines.  These miners apparently have differences with the implementation of the Biden administration’s environmental policies reversing those of the “environmental legacy” of former president Trump. His move to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah to their original boundaries I’m sure was met with mixed reactions by locals. Thus as non-locals we were left to contemplate the state of affairs in Tonopah as the relaxation, rehydration, and reflection hour arrived.

Rodeo-doe

Day 2 Tonopah to Cedar City

Tonopah to Cedar City

We met one of those miners the next morning, Jerry from New Mexico who had a turquoise mine near Tonopah.

Turquoise miner wearing a matching tee. Note, we haven’t bothered detailing our machines not minding the bee splatter…

The eggs and corned beef were fried, as they should be

After a satisfying breakfast at the Tonopah Station I was reminded of the Tour de Basin Grande in 1993 where after pedalling a bike 75 miles across basin and range mile after mile of nothing but mile after mile, stopping only for emergencies, the food at Tonopah Station wasn’t nearly as satisfying.  Everything was fried, including the salads which would later prompt an emergency stop.  

Example of an emergency on US-6. BTW, I was the photographer. The rider will forever remain anonymous…

It was on to NV-375 from US-6 to Rachel on the Extraterrestrial Highway.

How many bars you got Pete? Not on your phone! On your fuel gauge…
Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles

No gas but there was towing

After a brief stop for a cool beverage, we stretched abit walking about the premises of the Little A’Li’Inn and noticed a message taped to the passenger window of a delivery truck.

The prophetic message taped to a window of a delivery truck in Rachel, NV. The last paragraph sums it up…

With that, we forged on slightly amused, a bit confused by the syntax, but grateful for the forewarning.

Fuel in Caliente from our little green dinosaur friend whose message wasn’t confusing at all

Passing-up the Alien Research Center this trip, heeding the line from the message taped to the window of the delivery truck at the Little A’Li’Inn, “Outer space is fake,” we entered US-93, The Great Basin Highway through Crystal Springs, Caliente, Beaver Dam, and Bennett Springs to Panaca and CA-319 where at the Nevada/Utah border CA-319 becomes UT-56 through Modena, Beryl Junction, and Newcastle climbing up and up to Cedar City, our day two destination just in time as the weather was beginning to change as we departed arid Nevada for Utah at elevation.

It was much cooler with clouds gathering. Could this be a sign? We had “ears to hear” but hunger to sate so it was off in search of victuals since the rain would likely douse the fire prophesied by the Little A’Li’Inn delivery truck prophet.

Sinclair’s little green dinosaur was replaced by a green bull in Cedar City… Another sign?

Little did we know that yet another omen would be realized. After alerting the desk at our Super 8 motel that their dumpster was fully engulfed in flames, hungry and willing to disregard the ominous delivery truck message, we solicited the recommendation of a friendly river guide, who had just returned from taking USU students on Green River float, for where we might find a satisfying evening meal.

If you’re ever in Cedar City, a visit to Centro is highly recommended!

Given the guide’s directions and Google Maps, we strolled along a very busy UT-56 for about a mile and arrived at the Centro Pizzaria near the downtown of Cedar City. After being forced inside from dining alfresco as winds preceding what would later be an awesome thunderstorm nearly sent the umbrellas at tables into the Mary Poppins stratosphere, Pete and I savored delicious woodfired pizzas.

Choosing to avoid the busy highway back to our hotel, we delighted in the few raindrops preceding what the radar was showing as gully washer heading our way. Strolling through the Southern Utah University campus reminded me of my carefree youthful days at my alma mater in Chico, only now as a carefree retired geezer. By the time we arrived at our hotel, the dumpster fire had been extinguished. The evening thundershower was gathering and beginning to resound. As the relaxation, rehydration and reflection hour arrived, our nightcaps left us feeling confident that we were not about to go out in that weather to start a riot.

A resounding window rattler of a thundershower

Day 3: Cedar City to Green River

Cedar City to Moab

Perhaps you’ve notice the sub-heading identifies our third day destination as Green River, however the maps link indicates Moab. The plan was to take UT-14 out of Cedar City to US-89, then UT-12 to Torrey by way of Bryce where we saw our first eye-feast of fall color and began riding through then next several days of intermittent rain.

Then it was on to Cannonville, Tropic, Henrieville, Escalante, and Boulder where last Spring we toured the Burr Trail. Thankfully the twisty roads were dry and relatively free of traffic.

In Boulder a piece of apple and peach pie with coffee satisfied our midday hunger pangs at the Burr Trail Cafe where a couple of Ducatis joined the Versys and V-Strom. Next a snack in Hanksville then on to Green River for the night as threatening skies shortened our goal of reaching Moab.

With weather threatening we deferred camping in Moab, another hour or so away, for a motel in Green River. Our stay was at the Sleepy Hollow Motel. Buurrguurrs at Ray’s and with Ducatis on his mind Pete insisted that I consider getting a Ducati Multistrada. I am fine with people mistaking my Kawasexy Versys as a Multistrada. Besides, as we all know, Japanese bikes are reliable.

After Ray’s we procured Utah’s very own, Uinta Golden Spike for the relaxation, rehydration, and reflection hour that would soon take place on the stoop of our room as once again, clouds gathered and raindrops began to fall. Pete reflected on staying at the very same motel some two decades earlier. Interestingly, the housekeeper who we met the following morning at the Sleepy Hollow was the very same woman who worked there when Pete, two decades earlier, awakened to a dead battery on his Kawasaki Z900. Pete recalled that her husband assisted him in jumpstarting the bike. A battery failure doesn’t qualify as an “unreliability”.

There were no dead batteries upon awakening the next morning, but it had rained and more rain was in the forecast.

Nature has done our detailing for us, except for the bee splatter on the wind shields

Day 4: Green River (Moab) to Chama

Moab to Chama

The next day took us through Moab and fortunately, the rain of the night before had moved east and the earlier forecasted showers arrived later that afternoon. It was here we had our first sighting of the mighty Colorado River having crossed the mighty Green River earlier. Well, historically mighty. Drought has rendered most of the west’s mighty rivers turbid. Mt Tukuhnikivatz to the east, however, was crowned with a late September dusting of snow. The precip was welcomed despite having to ride later in the day through showers on two wheels, thankful for this morning respite.

Moab was crowded with millennials and hipsters in Subarus and Sprinters and white-heads in Winnebagos and Airstreams. Edward Abbey would be turning cartwheels in his grave seeing the conga line to get into the Arches National Park, so it was south on US-191 to Monticello where we would take US-491 to Cortez now in our third state, Colorado, where we joined US-160 to Durango and Pagosa Springs all in the rain. From there it was a soggy US-84 through Chromo, and US-64 to Chama now in our fourth state, New Mexico, for another wet night.

I had read about the Y Motel in Chama on a moto-friendly website. It’s named for the three-way intersection of US-64, UA-84, NM-17 forming a Y. It seemed to meet our criteria for selecting lodging in rural areas, namely a motor court, preferably from a bygone era, and cheap. Besides, every other room was booked in Chama as deer and bear hunting season was set to begin the next day. After waiting for David, a Continental Divide Trail hiker https://glideonblog.wordpress.com/ and dead ringer for John Muir, to register and after some negotiating with Sam samschild.com, both of whom had retreated from trail because of the sudden snowfall, we secured a room.

Mike the motel’s clerk was an entertaining, you might say, eccentric chap. He seemed to be delighted to serve equally entertaining and eccentric guests. He explained how the motel was under new ownership which explained why all of the boxes of items intended for renovations were stacked in the motel office. He implied that as long as they remained in the boxes in the “lobby” he wasn’t responsible for their unpacking or installation. He also noted that Pete and I were worthy of the motel’s reputation among Continental Divide Trail hikers. It seemed some fellows on Harley Davidsons declined staying at the motel as there was no covered parking for their machines. Like parking under a cover somehow mitigates riding through the rain? They ended up riding to Pagosa Springs. In the rain.

When we were given the key, yes, an actual key and not a card, we entered the room. Spartan to describe the room would be generous. Rigorously simple, frugal, or austere comes to mind. There was no soap, two outlets, surprisingly a TV, and towels that might charitably be called handkerchiefs. Better yet described, primitive. Maybe. Rustic for sure. Actually, it was a dump. It’s amazing how the relaxation, rehydration, and reflection hour can allow for one to adjust one’s expectations, and like Brian, look on the bright side of life. Like our hiker friends, at least we all weren’t freezing outdoors in a soggy tent as the deer and bear hunters enjoyed all of the remaining cozy accommodations in town.

The next day, we bid adieu… Sam and Mike, Pete and Tom. Adios boys!

Day 5 Chama to Santa Fe

Pete, happy to have arrived in Santa Fe with bikes safely garaged.

Chama to Santa Fe

We were anxious to reach our Santa Fe halfway “Abbey’s Other Road Trip” destination at the Delaware’s, Bob and Suzanne, with the promise of fair weather on the more direct route from Chama to Santa Fe on US-84/285. We passed through Tierra Amarilla where, because of the threat of yet another day of cold wet pavement heading up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, we decided to skip US-64 to Taos. So, onward through Cibola, Canjilon, Abiquiu, Espanola, stopping in Pojoaque tipping our helmets to the Camel and fueling up while alerting Bob and Suzanne of our impending early arrival.

A couple of formerly wild and crazy guys reunited!

We wasted not a minute before launching into Bob’s personal tour of his new hometown. Well, reclaimed hometown. His lovely wife Suzanne is a native New Mexican (Albuquerque) and both she and Bob attended the University of New Mexico. After a wonderful career in education in California and a brief “retirement” in Ballard, WA, they’ve settled into the ristra lifestyle in a beautiful setting in enchanting Santa Fe. A quick romp around the plaza found us enjoying an early, albeit brief, relaxation, rest, and reflection half-hour warmup as I reflected on the public statuary saluting my ACD SoBe.

Next up was the el Rey, a classic motor court “motel” built along side of the original Mother Road, Rt-66 opening its doors in 1936 and now an iconic “boho” inn (whatever that means) where my lovely wife and I spent the night on one of our southwestern honeymoon stops some 27 years earlier. No need for a calculator, 1994. I remembered our suite. Okay, it was room.

As the cocktail hour approached, we hightailed it back to La Hacienda de Delaware where Suzanne had prepared a delightfully savory Classic New Mexican Green Chili Stew. The recipe was from her mother’s Classic New Mexican Recipes. The remainder of the evening was devoted to relaxation, rehydration, and reflection and enchanting conversation. We were, after all, in the land of enchantment…

Un guiso deliciosamente sabroso!

Day 6 Santa Fe Layover

The next day we arose to yet more inclement weather. That wasn’t going to deter Bob from chauffeuring us along the the High Road to Taos, a most scenic byway. We enjoyed this authentic remnant of Old Spain, still evident in the religion, architecture, topography, history, and people along the real. The byway travels through Chimayo, a community known for the beautiful Santuario de Chimayo, a national historic landmark, and the El Posito, a hole in the floor of a side chapel filled with healing earth. Along NM-76, the byway follows the terrain; the creased and wrinkled badlands populated with scrubby pinon and juniper, with the Jemez Mountains enormous on the horizon if it wasn’t for the clouds.

The Taos High Road

Nestled in the village of Chimayo along the High Road to Taos sits a national historic landmark, El Santuario de Chimayo. Every Good Friday, tens of thousands of pilgrims make their way to this “Lourdes of the Southwest.”

Next up was the San José de Gracia Church in the village of Las Trampas. First settled by 12 Spanish families in 1751, the village of Las Trampas was originally built within a defensive wall with low buildings packed around a central plaza. The tight-knit traditional community flourished for hundreds of years, developing and retaining a culture little influenced by the outside world. Within the village is the San José de Gracia Church, one of the most-original and best-preserved examples of Spanish Colonial architecture in New Mexico.

It was then on to the bridge across Rio Grande Gorge next where it’s not for the faint of heart to peer over the rail some 600 feet to the river below. It was a tad unnerving to feel the bridge vibrate with the passing vehicles, especially the tractor-trailer rigs.

After a walkabout in Taos to visit another stop on the Honeymoon Tour at the Taos Inn we made our way to Ranchos de Taos and the San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church.

Completed in 1816, the San Francisco de Assisi Mission Church is a large, sculpted Spanish Colonial church with massive adobe buttresses and two front-facing bell towers.  Because of its imposing form and sculpted body, the church is a favorite subject for artists. Ansel Adams photographed the church for his Taos Pueblo art book and Georgia O’Keeffe painted a series of perspectives of the church. O’Keeffe once described it as “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.” In most works, these artists favored the view of the back of the church, with its smoothly sculpted adobe beehive buttresses. The beautiful colonial-era church continues to attract artists and the Ranchos de Taos plaza is home to several galleries.

The afternoon found us making our way back to the Delaware Hacienda along NM-68 and the Rio Grande but not before spying Camel Rock.

The next morning we would begin our return leg home having enjoyed the generous hospitality of our hosts, Bob and Suzanne. I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t photograph Suzanne during our stay. So, I stole one from FB.

Thanks beautiful!

Stay tuned for Part 2: Homeward Bound, Santa Fe to Merced!

There and Back Looking for the Other Abbey’s Road … If you’re willin’

A Proposal of Twelve Days/Eleven Nights on Motos from Sunday, Sept. 26 – Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021


 Lowell George & Little Feat – Willin’ Live 1977 

 Linda Ronstadt – Willin Live 1977 

I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari

Tehachapi to Tonopah

Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made

Driven the backroads

So I wouldn’t get weighed

And if you give me weed, whites, and wine

And you show me a sign

I’ll be willin’… to be movin’

The road beckons, as usual, Sisyphus and Associates are willin’ to scratch the “Quest into the Unknown” itch on this proposed journey that will reprise a scene or two from where we’ve been before (check out the links). This is to satisfy our incurable quest into the unknown, including some new territory close to Tucson and Tucumcari. Tehachapi, meh.

As the seasons begin to change, we hope the weather cooperates and foregoes any extreme behavior. Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. Our first two days are familiar as they include previous stops in Tonopah and Cedar City with drive throughs in Torrey, Caineville, Hanksville, and Green River. Our ultimate destination and turnabout will be Santa Fe in the Land of Enchantment.  I’m curious how the state motto, “Crescit Eundo,” translated from Latin, means “It grows as it goes.”  I’ll have to ask Bob and Suzanne our enchanting hosts about the allusion to dynamic progress…  

Sisyphus is an insufferable map geek. The roads over which our route will take us fall into the Butler designated “road qualities” of Lost Highways, G1, G2, and G3 segments. Check out Mojave Moto Spring 2021 for Sisyphus’s expansion of the Butler “road qualities” descriptions at https://sisyphusdw7.com/2021/04/29/mojave-moto-spring-2021/. There will be deserts and high forested mountains, river valleys, and arroyos to cross through small towns on backroads that are our preferred intermediate waypoints. What did folks do before Google Maps and Earth? Okay, our quest will sort of be into the unknown. Sorry Mr. Natural.

You may think this trip isn’t so much a quest into the unknown what with having covered ground on previous rides and extensive use of mapping. And you’d be correct. The quest into the unknown isn’t so much about the terrain. We know we’ll be awed by the varied landscapes we’ll ride through. The quest is more about the journey following some of Edward Abbey’s travels and the romance of the road that seems to permeate the long-haul trucker’s, poet’s, and map-loving motorcyclist’s zeitgeist. So, why not let’s call it, There and Back Looking for the Other Abbey’s Road (Trip 2021).

For background on Edward Abbey see https://wilderness.net/learn-about-wilderness/edward-abbey.php.

For the deep Abbey dive, I recommend his book, Desert Solitaire, as a start. For a dip of the toe, try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desert_Solitaire

First Edition Hardback Cover

The Route

Sisyphus humbly offers a scroll-worthy (at least click on the blue map links) proposal for this twelve-day moto adventure, broken into Part 1, Eastward We Go, and Part 2 Westward Down and Bound.  Bring your imagination along and join us if you’re willin’ as a brief narrative of the route with some images captured previously in-person and from the interwebs detail our intended waypoints and consider the ese on Guest-friendship that follows.

Part 1 Eastward We Go Merced to Santa Fe ~1400 miles

Day 1 – Merced to Tonopah ~281 (~309?) miles

Merced to Tonopah

There’s nothing creepier than a cemetery next to a Clown Motel

The Sierra poses the first “obstacle” to overcome. We’ll take CA-120 by way of J-59, CA 132 to Smith Station Rd. (281 miles) with the Tioga Pass Option, or the CA-108 over Sonora Pass Option (~309 miles) to Bridgeport then Lee Vining on US-395. It just depends on which route is on fire…

From Lee Vining, it’s US-395 to the junction w/ CA-120 to Benton (Hot Springs). From there we make our way on US-6 to Tonopah, across range and basin country, where Sisyphus and his Associate Pete stayed in the fall of 2020. You can read about that trip and the next two legs we are reprising from the Burr Trail Here We Come blog post. sisyphusdw7.com, Burr Trail Here We Come

Day 2 – Tonopah to Cedar City ~288 miles

Tonopah to Cedar City

From Tonopah, we ride on US-6/NV-95 through Warm Springs and catch the road to Rachel on NV-375. We hope to avoid being abducted by aliens who are allegedly held captive at Area 51. That doesn’t preclude stopping for a souvenir T-Shirt at the Alien Research Center at Crystal Springs should we escape. T-Shirt safely stowed, we proceed on US-93 through Caliente, perhaps for a delightful lunch, infusing cash into the local economies, to the junction w/ NV-319 in Panaca.

Sisyphus’s Associate, Pete at the Alien Research Center in 2020

From Panaca it’s NV-319 to the Nevada/Utah border where the road becomes UT-56 to Modena. Modena, just an R away from mRNA vaccine name recognition fame… I wonder if there’s a Pfize Utah?

From there we will climb to Cedar City on UT-56.

East of Cedar City, Cedar Breaks from the Chessman Ridge Overlook

Day 3 – Cedar City to Moab ~339 miles

Cedar City to Moab 

Following breakfast, an early departure takes us on UT-14 to Tod’s Junction meeting UT-14 and US-89 through Hatch to the junction w/ UT-12 through Tropic, Cannonville, Henrieville, Escalante, and Boulder where we will tip our helmets to the Burr Trail, then roll into Torrey to the junction w/ UT-24.

State Route 12, Utah

From Torrey, it’s UT-24 along the Fremont River, past Capitol Reef, through Fruita, Caineville to Hanksville. Staying on UT-24 we make our way through Green River via a brief spin on I-70 to US-191 to Moab, Arches, and red rock country.

Day 4 – Moab to Chama (?) ~265 miles

Moab to Chama

The irony of technology vs the written word was not lost on Edward Abbey

Via Moab US 191 through the La Sals and into the Rockies to Monticello and the junction w/ US-491 we make our way through Lewis and UT-184, to Mancos and UT-3 and US-160 to Pagosa Springs. Here we take US-84 through Chomo, cross the Colorado/New Mexico border to the junction of US-84 and US-64. The last leg on US-64 is to the junction w/ UT-17 into Chama.

Day 5 – Chama to Santa Fe via Taos (?) ~164 miles

Chama to Santa Fe

Via US-64 from Chama, we pass through Brazos, staying on US-64 at Tres Piedras, we cross the Rio Grande on the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge on our way to Taos. It’s fun to walk to the middle of the span and jump up and down. More fun if an 80,000-pound rig passes by. 

From Taos, it’s UT-68 to Pilar, where we roll alongside the Rio Grande to Espanola and Pojoaque, then take US-285/US-84 into Santa Fe.

The Rio Grande near Taos

= OR =

Abbey’s Road Trip 2021 V1.1, a.k.a. The Aspen Anna Option (with a nod to Taos) (?)

This route option skips the Moab to Chama, Chama to Santa Fe Days 4 & 5 legs of The Other Abbey’s Road Trip V1.0.

With this option, the riding distance for days 4 and 5 increases by 140 miles so that we might visit Aspen. One of the other Associates, Andy, who you will recall from the Riding Under a Fool Moon post, has daughter who resides there. And Anna happens to be a former student of Sisyphus. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Lance Armstrong and George Hincapie riding their bikes, neither of whom is a former student, but Aspen is a small town. The bonus of crossing the Continental Divide resplendent in fall color looms as we make our way through the Rockies.

Day 4 – Moab to Aspen (?) ~315 miles

Moab to Aspen

Briefly, south out of Moab on US-191 to the junction w/ UT-128 to junction w/ UT-46 in La Sal. A short distance to the Utah/Colorado border where UT-46 becomes CO-90 we roll to Naturita where we don a few extra layers and take CO-141 up and up to the junction w/ US-50 just south of Grand Junction to Delta. Junction US-50 w/ CO-92 to Hotchkiss and junction w/ CO-133 to Carbondale and the junction w/ Rds. 101, 100 to CO-82 on to Aspen. Lots of twisties in the mountains.

Day 5 – Aspen to Santa Fe*(?) ~323 miles

Aspen to Santa Fe via Taos

Thank goodness for heated grips

Out of Aspen, likely wearing every stitch of clothing we’ve packed, it’s CO-82 over Independence Pass. Unless closed whether the weather! Then on to the junction w/ US-24. US-24 due south to the junction w/ US-285 near Johnson Village. US-285 to junction w/ CO-17 to Alamosa where we pick up US-285 crossing the Colorado/New Mexico border to Tres Piedras and US-64 to Taos. From Taos it’s UT-68 to Pilar where we roll alongside the Rio Grande to Espanola, and Pojoaque and take US-285/US-84 into Santa Fe.

Should the decision be made to skip Taos, remain on Hwy-285 to Santa Fe (Aspen to Santa Fe) ~303 miles. If my vote counts, I say Taos it is.

Meanwhile, on to Santa Fe…

Day 6 – Santa Fe Layover*

Mask man to the rescue!

Without imposing too much, while in Santa Fe we anticipate that the Bob and Suzanne Delaware, our resident hosts, will consent to allow Bob to summon his considerable skills as a platinum tour guide to provide Sisyphus and his Associates with a condensed tour of Santa Fe. This skill set has been honed over a number of years shepherding student travelers to the nation’s Capitol and the Big Apple, as well as his personal European and stateside rambles. 

Land of the Enchanting Delawares

Hopefully we’ll not have to deal with any plague spreading oppressors! Besides, Bob’s tour will get us out of Suzanne’s lovely red hair…

Part 2:  Westward Down and Bound Santa Fe to Merced ~1,554 miles

Day 7 – Santa Fe to Mexican Hat ~322 miles

Santa Fe to Mexican Hat

From Santa Fe, we head north on US-84 to Pojoaque and cross the Rio Grande on US-285 to Espanola. Remain on US-285 to La Quachia (US-84) along the Rio Chama to Abiquiu, with Georgia on our minds, or choose the option to head west and visit Los Alamos via NM-502, -501, -4, and check out what’s shakin’ at ground zero for mutually assured destruction. In either case, then proceed to NM-126 through the mountains to the junction w/ NM-96 and US-550 near La Jara. From the US-550 Interchange, we roll through Counselor, Nageezi to US-64.

On to Farmington along the San Juan River to Shiprock where US-64 will take us across the New Mexico/Arizona border to Teec Nos Pos and the junction with US-160 and the Four Corners Monument north on US-160, a six-mile (x2) round-side trip.

Back on US-160 near Red Mesa, we cross the San Juan River just west of Bluff to the junction w/US-163 to Mexican Hat.

Es un hermoso sombrero

Day 8 – Mexican Hat to North Rim Campground ~265 miles

Mexican Hat to North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Okay boys keep the bikes in the middle of the lane

From Mexican Hat on US-163, in the midst of the Navajo Nation, to Kayenta and the junction w/ US-160 and AZ-98, up to Page and the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell where we’ll spend a moment considering the abject reality of climate change, then head to the junction w/ US-89 across Antelope Pass to Bitter Springs and US-89A crossing the not so mighty Colorado River on the Navajo Bridge across Marble Canyon to Jacob Lake (from Mexican hat it’s ~220 miles to Jacob Lake Campground) where Hwy-67, which takes us to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, lies some 45 miles south from Jacob Lake.

Day 9 – North Rim to Williams ~267 miles 

North Rim to Williams (Via South Rim)

Backtracking, as the North Rim is an out-and-back, we take US-89A back to Bitter Springs, then US-89 south to Cameron, where we roll to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on AZ-64.

Leaving the South Rim, we motor on AZ-64 to Williams before getting on the Historic Rte-66 the following morning. Maybe we can find a corner to stand on with fine sights to see, not Dallas Alice, but the takin’ it easy girl…

Williams Arizona, lost in time

Take’ It Easy You may recognize JB. How ’bout the fiddle player? Hint: DL

Day 10 – Williams to Shoshone ~327 miles

Williams to Shoshone

Getting our kicks on Historic US Rte-66 while takin’ it easy, we roll through Ash Fork, Seligman, Yampai, Peach Springs, Truxton, Cozier, Valentine, Hackberry, Antares, Hualapai, Berry, Getz, to Kingman perhaps to mistakenly stand on a corner scanning to see a flatbed Ford. Road-weary, a kind passerby reminds Sisyphus that the corner about which Jackson is singing is in Winslow, not Williams, or Kingman for that matter, though either city’s name satisfies the meter of the song… There’s probably a corner in Seligman we can stand on too, though there is one too many syllables. 

In Kingman we take US-93 to the junction with AZ-68 to the Arizona/Nevada Border.

Entering the great Mojave at the interchange of AZ-68 and NV-163 and crossing the Colorado River again, what’s left of it downriver from the Davis Dam, this time in Laughlin, we head to Palm Gardens on NV-163. From the junction w/ US-95 in Palm Gardens, we roll to Searchlight and the Nevada/California border as NV-164 becomes Nipton Road to the I-15 (Barstow Fwy).  From there we “slab” over Mountain Pass past the historic but abandoned and vandalized Hi-Lo Restaurant, to Baker and the world’s tallest thermometer where the Mad Greek Restaurant and Alien Fresh Jerky all await a similar fate.

From there we cruise through the remaining Mojave National Reserve to Shoshone on CA-127, the Death Valley Rd. We will heed the Desert Oracle’s advice and Desertoracle.com, Episode 127, Try Not to Die

Somewhere in the distance is the Amargosa River that “flows” through Shoshone

Day 11 – Shoshone to Goldfield ~147 miles

Shoshone to Goldfield

Our early departure from Shoshone takes us past Death Valley Junction and the Amargosa Opera House on CA-127 or we detour through Death Valley CA-190 ~164 miles to Lone Pine*

CA-127 becomes NV-373 at NV border where we continue to the Interchange of NV-373 and US-95 to Beatty, maybe catching Rhyolite on a short side trip on NV 374 (six miles, twelve round trip) that we missed on the Riding Under a Fool Moon, Death Valley by Moonlight ride (because of Sisyphus’s navigation error) for a picture or two. Then it’s back on US 95 to Goldfield (to check out the Santa Fe Motel and Saloon). Parenthetically speaking.

*Death Valley, Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells, through Panamint Springs on CA-190 to Lone Pine:  DV to Panamint to Lone Pine

Goldfield prior to becoming a ghost town

Day 12 Goldfield to Merced ~317 miles

Goldfield to Merced

From Goldfield we take US-95 south, backtracking as it were, to the junction w/ the Lida NV-266 junction crossing the Nevada/California border to the junction w/ CA-168 at Oasis where circular irrigated alfalfa fields thrive. This was the scene of an alien abduction during our Riding Under a Fool Moon, Death Valley by Moonlight moto adventure linked above. This was a pre-pandemic ride in the fall of 2019 with the Associates Pete and Andy, one of whom mysteriously disappeared. Fortunately, for Anna’s sake, he was released by his captors and we were reunited in Big Pine.

Alien guidance systems posing as circular irrigated fields

Over Gilbert Pass, past Deep Springs College, where Sisyphus regrets not having the wherewithal to have attended, and over Westgard Pass to Big Pine Hwy on CA-168 where we take US-395 to Lee Vining and CA-120 over Tioga Pass and CA 140 to la douceur du foyer where there are numerous corners to stand on, but not many flatbed Fords. Thus ending the story of our route with a hard-to-read text, according to my editor…

Deep Springs College features fewer distractions than Chico State, Sisyphus’s alma mater

But wait, there’s more…

Abbey’s Road Trip 2021 Layover Days:  Lessons From the Past Regarding Guest-friendship, An Ese

Where Sisyphus considers a dialog with an Homeric epic.  The italics indicate Sisyphus’s considerations…

While ours is scarcely an epic journey, Sisyphus will reflect on how the classics deal with road trips and apply their wisdom to our contemporary adventure. Sisyphus has considerable regard for how the past informs the present and future.

According to J. B. Hainsworth, in the course of the Homeric epic Odysseus encounters several examples of xenia, “guest-friendship” providing models of how hosts should and should not act.  The Phaeacians demonstrate exemplary guest-friendship by feeding Odysseus, giving him a place to sleep, and granting him many gifts and a safe voyage home, which are all things a good host should do.

The Delawares have Phaeacian DNA.

Polyphemus demonstrates poor guest-friendship. His only “gift” to Odysseus is that he will eat him last.  Calypso also exemplifies poor guest-friendship because she does not allow Odysseus to leave her island.  

Polyphemus and Calypso offer classic “six of one, half dozen of another” poor guest-friendship outcomes.  I’ve always known the Delawares to offer the finest beverage upon their guests’ arrival and to offer exceptional repast and delightful conversation before bidding adieu. Neither Bob nor Suzanne have ever once hinted at cannibalism. Their abiding hospitably permit their guests who’ve either satisfied or have exhausted their memorable visit to exit with good cheer. The Delawares conduct all guest-friendship with exceptional grace and decorum unlike Polyphemus or Calypso.

Odysseus
Polyphemus
Antinous
Calypso

Another important factor to guest-friendship is that kingship implies generosity. It is assumed that a king has the means to be a generous host and is more generous with his own property. This is best seen when Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, begs Antinous for food and Antinous denies his request. Odysseus essentially says that while Antinous may look like a king, he is far from a king since he is not generous. 

I promise to not relegate Pete or Andy as beggars to test Bob’s hospitality, as Odysseus did to Antinous since I know Bob, unlike Antinous, is kingly in his every manor and exhortation. If at all flawed in his sincere humility, Bob is indeed kingly in his generosity.  I am reminded of his wise counsel: It never happened.

Guest-friendship follows a very specific pattern:

The arrival and the reception of the guest.

Arrival will be on September 30, 2021, mid afternoon, baring the incalculable unforeseen delays of any quest into the unknown.

Bathing or providing fresh clothes to the guest. 

A garden hose or perhaps a refreshing Santa Fe thundershower will do.  We may need to do laundry. Perhaps we can obtain a wash tub and scrub board from one of the vendors on the Plaza.

Providing food and drink to the guest. 

We will sustain the first three rounds of any beverage occasion.  Beyond that, neither Santa Fe nor the Delawares bear any responsibility for poor choices.  The Delawares may still be on the hook to shuffle us off to the nearest pub or contact our loved ones for bail.

Questions may be asked of the guest and entertainment should be provided by the host. 

Good cheer and maybe a beverage or two are the only requirements for entertainment since exposure to centuries of Santa Fe culture and history requires more time to absorb and greater tolerance than the Delawares can muster for weary moto riding dirtbags despite my earlier comments about Bob’s superb skills as a guide.

The guest should be given a place to sleep, and both the guest and host retire for the night. 

A curb for our mounts, a yard for a tent, perhaps a couch or a chaise lounge will do. Should the Delawares elect to get a room for the night elsewhere, I think we can support their choice, as we pledge to limit damage to their domicile.  We can’t guarantee that no harm will come to Bob’s tomatoes, however.  

The guest and host exchange gifts, the guest is granted a safe journey home, and the guest departs. 

Our gift will be our departure.  As for the safe journey home, guaranteed.  We will leave more or less on time.

Another important factor of guest-friendship is not keeping the guest longer than they wish and also promising their safety while they are a guest within the host’s home. 

Departure will be on the morning of October 2, having stayed with our gracious hosts Bob and Suzanne for two nights max. It likely takes longer than that for the Santa Fe authorities to evict us. Regardless, the Delawares know Sisyphus’s attention span is limited.


Sisyphus will guarantee the safety of our hosts, only insofar as the pharmaceuticals and preventives guarantee our safety. We will respectfully do our best to erase any plague spores the heretofore mentioned oppressors have spread…

Thanks to Wiki for informing Sisyphus of the specifics of the Homeric epic.


The actual post trip narrative will arrive sometime in October, Sisyphus is already feeling it…

Just something to leave you with,The Road to the Sun, Pat Metheny.  

See you again in October!

The Best Laid Plans… Thanks Nina Simone

From 2018 Pete on his Bonny joins Tom on the Kawasexy.

Somehow lost in the quanta of physics, the ether of the interwebs, or my incompetence at blogging on WordPress, I originally posted this as a “page” intending that it join its brethren in those vignettes found in my “posts”.

Since I barely understand how navigation on my site works, I thought that linking the page to my posts would patch my bungle. Please enjoy…

https://sisyphusdw7.com/the-best-laid-plans-thanks-nina-simone/

Welcome to Sisyphus and Associates

It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards. ~ Edward Abbey

If Edward Abbey’s sentiment resonates with you, you’ve passed the first test to become an associate!