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June 9, 2010


Back To My New Reality


Leaving Moab I jumped on the motorcycle and traveled along 128 which parallels the Colorado River.  With little traffic my speed flowed like the river’s.  Accelerating through turns and slowing on the straightaways allowing me to enjoy the scenery and reflect.  It was time to get back to reality.  No more nights in a bed and homecooked meals.  No more travel companion to bs and see the sites with.  Or so I thought….

Today’s desination was Dinosaur National Monument spanning from northwest Colorado into Utah.  I didn’t know anything about the place except that it was north of where I was.   I surmised that they had dinosaur fossils which turned out to be true and not.

Stopping at the Visitors Center I queried the lady about the park and camp.  She pointed to a painting behind her of a flat grassland surrounded on three sides by sheer rock walls with a river on the remaining side.  “That is Echo Canyon in the park.  My favorite place to camp in the world”  If you read my lodging posting you know I don’t turn down recommendations like that!

A family then started asking about fossils.  “We don’t have any on this side of the park, they are all in Utah and the exhibit over there is closed for reconstruction.”  There went my incentive to see something with that stop and up the road I went.

Riding to the far end of the paved roads leads to Harper’s Corner, 2500 feet above the Green River, with views on either side of a pathway along its ridge.  This was the Thursday before Memorial Day and I had some anxiety since I hadn’t gotten my campsite yet.  I zipped through the other overlooks until I reached the 13 mile dirt road descending into the canyon and to the camp.

Aside from a few steep and sharp 180 degree switchbacks that I crept through it was another ride where I to fight to keep my eyes on the road instead of the scenery.  I’m coming to think of my V-Strom as a 3 wheel drive vehicle.  Its handled all the (non sandy) dirt roads with ease, but reaches its limits, or at least my current limit with it, on true 4 wheel drive roads.

Reaching Echo Canyon sites were still available and I grabbed one near the river with trees for my hammock.  There were still good wind gusts, but reasonable temperatures thanks to the sunny day.  After dinner I took a hike along the river where I saw a few mule deer.  Returning to bed, the hammock was a great decision as I gently swayed along with the wind gusts and was out for the night.

In the morning, I set off to do a longer hike through a side canyon that was posted at the checking area.   Speaking of checking in, there were no fee slips in the box and the deposit box wasn’t out.  Free night, woohoo!  Anyway here’s a travel tip for you.

When trail maps aren’t available (or you want to save paper) take a picture of the map posted.  You can then review it as needed by zooming in on it just like you would when taking a picture.

My hike upstream along the Green River went past where the Yampa River joins it.  Rafters floated downstream with the current only using their oars to steer.  After and hour and a half I reached my side canyon which was too flooded to hike.  My return trip got interesting as the wind returned with gusto.  I was pelted with water picked up from the river and sand from the banks.  A few times it was enough to push me sideways as I walked.

I returned feeling dejected about the hike and wind with no plan.  I mopped around in my hammock questioning what I’d expected to get from my trip.  The other campers were in the same boat, tying down their tents and trying to avoid windstorms.  One of them, James, came by to find out how long I was staying as I had his favorite ride.  I told him probably one more night and he invited me over for a beer later.

Eventually, I came to accept that even with the wind the canyon was still gorgeous and for brief periods peaceful.  Plus it wouldn’t have mattered where I was, the wind would have been there too.  I spent the rest of the day reading, hammocking, and napping.  Deciding to leave in the moring I went to find James to let him know.

He and Ross were fixing dinner and offered me one of the four steaks on their campfire and a beer.  Maybe there were planning to eat them all, and the four pieces of corn on the cob, and the can of beans?  It didn’t take me long to agree as I told them about my trip and we swapped camp stories.

After dinner this continued at the fire when the wind finally died down along with one beer after another.  James made the comment on how cool my trip was and that it would suck to go back to reality.  I told him that I wanted to make this my new reality.  We had a lot in common and he got what I was saying right away.

A couple of times I was on the verge of saying, “Thank you and good night” when yet another beer appeared.  I don’t remember all the places our talks lead until Ross said it was 1am and he was going to bed.  James and I continued on until we were left with one PBR and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the cooler.  James gave me the last beer and sat in the the seat Ross had vacated finding an open, but full beer in the arm holder.

“See man, it’s the little things.  I really wanted the beer, but I gave it to you and now I’ve got a beer anyway.”  Karma couldn’t have been more timely or deserving.

Soon enough I was slowly walking back to my camp realizing how cold it had become.  I crawled in my sleeping bag, laid on the hammock, and all of a sudden it was morning.

I couldn’t help but reflect on how I’d thought the previous day was a letdown when it turned out to just be starting when I thought it was winding down.  Thanks again James and Ross for taking me in and treating me like a king!

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1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Mama Setz
    Jun 9 2010

    Your blogs continue to be so interesting. You certainly are finding friends who enjoy the same things that you do. Your pictures are awesome – love the vibrant colors of the flowers. Way to embrace your new reality.


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