Day 5: July 10, 2004
Grand Staircase to Owl Creek Pass, CO (370 miles, 30 mi dirt)

Highest elevation: 10,050 ft, at Owl Creek Pass

The sign says "As Far as the Eye Can See", and the little insert shows that the amount of land visible is more than my entire home state, Connecticut.

UT-12 in dixie NF

A jackass cop stopped me for a speeding ticket in Capitol Reef NP (see next picture). I don't mind the $50 ticket so much as the cop's bad attitude. I'm aware that going fast entails a certain risk -- what in life doesn't? At least I'm aware of this risk and take what I feel are the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of crashing, and minimize the impact if that were to happen. Bundled up in my full body suit with 9 pieces of armor, and race-spec boots, gloves, and helmet, riding with the several years, classes, and track days of experience, I believe that at 70MPH I am incredibly safer than someone with minimal experience riding in a t-shirt, sandals and no helmet going 50MPH. And the roads are *filled* with motorcyclists meeting the latter description (plus they're probably riding a harley and going 65MPH...) who are within the law. Hell, this entire trip probably entailed less risk of injury than one day commuting on the 101, stuck between cages going 80MPH following at 60ft. Argh. End rant. Pay ticket. Go to track day.

Sorry 'bout the rant. Let me reiterate that it's not the ticket that set me off -- it's the cop's bad attitude about it, scolding me like some schoolboy caught using a curse word. Speeding tickets are an unfair fact of life (well, of my life at least :-) that I accept, but I'd really prefer to take mine without the lecture.

Capitol Reef NP, UT

I went 30 miles on the interstate today to go by Arches NP and save some time. I was going along pretty quickly, leaning against the wind that had been coming out of the south all trip long. I stood up a bit to shift my weight felt something brush against my elbow. I looked down and thought, "Something looks different here..." before I realized that my tank bag was gone! I glanced in my mirror in time to see it bouncing down the interstate -- the crosswind had blown it clear off my bike! Luckily there were only a few cars behind me and nobody ran it over. I was able to do a U-turn on the interstate and drive against traffic in the shoulder, then run across the road to pick up my bag. Luckily the bag just got a small hole in it and nothing inside was damaged.

Just before crossing into Colorado, I stopped for some water at La Sal, a town which consisted of the store shown here and the post office to its left. I really appreciated the large (by motorcycle standards) 5.8 gallon tank on my new bike, and its great gas mileage (43-50 mpg). I'm glad I never had to push the 240-270 mile range...

La Sal, UT




By comparison with the deserted deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, the Colorado mountains were overrun with people. Even the undeveloped campgound that I stayed which had no services -- no picnic tables, no bathrooms, no water, no trash -- was full of people; I got the last good campsite and even then had to listen to the giggles and screams of a church youth group as I drifted off to sleep.

Campsite by owl creek pass, CO (July 10)

Next: Day 6 Owl Creek Pass to Broomfield, CO

Day 1: San Francisco to Monitor Pass, CA
Day 2: to Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, NV
Day 3: to Tuweep, Grand Canyon NP, AZ
Day 4: to Grand Staircase - Escalante NM, UT
Day 5: to Owl Creek Pass, CO
Day 6: to Broomfield, CO

Return trip: Days 11-l3: Broomfield, CO to San Francisco, CA