"I donít believe in pessimism.
If something doesnít come up the way you want, forge ahead.
If you think itís going to rain, it will.
"
- Clint Eastwood

TODAYíS ROUTE:
Park City, UT to Moab, UT: SR-248 East to SZR-177 to US-40 South to Heber City to US-189 South to SR-92 through Sundance and Aspen Grove to Timpanogos Cave towards Pleasant Grove to US-89 South through Orem and Provo to I-15 South to US-6 East through Helper to I-70 East to US-191 South to SR-313 South to Canyonlands NP, back to US-191 South to Moab. (
MAP)

THE DETAILS:
Itís time to hit the road and get serious again. Iíve been sitting around and enjoying myself a little too much. Between Denver, Steamboat and Park City, I feel like I havenít gotten anywhere in a week. Of course this isnít true, but this is what my sick, warped mind thinks. Iím eager to get moving. The longer I stay somewhere, the harder it is for me to leave. And all my gear gets unpacked and it takes forever for me to get the bike loaded. Okay, it only takes about an hour. But thatís still too long.

Iím ready to roll, but the weather isnít cooperating. I wake up to rain, and it looks like itís going to be around all day. But the weather channel says thereís just a chance of showers. Well, what the hell do they know, theyíre in Atlanta. Right now in Park City itís pouring. I wait as long as I can, but by 11 AM it is still coming down. Nothing to do but ride. Like Iíve said before, I donít mind riding in bad weather. Iím dry and warm and the bike runs well. But I feel like Iím missing a lot of scenery. The rain keeps me moving and thereís no point in stopping for pictures. I turn south and then head up the Wasatch Range towards Sundance Ski Resort and the Aspen Grove. The leaves are changing and the scenery is beautiful, even through the rain. I canít believe all these aspens. The road is very slow and curvy and any minute I just know Iím going to see Robert Redford walking out of the woods.

I reach the top of the road with Mt.Timpanogos to my left at almost 12,000 feet. I turn down the American Fork Canyon and stop at Timpanogos Cave National Monument. This is a series of three caves linked together. Inside there are spectacular stalactites and other fascinating cave formations. But Iím late, the entrance to the cave is an hour-long hike up hill, and itís still raining. Stamp please, and Iím gone.

After Provo, the rain picks up a bit. The road is fast and getting higher. At 9,000 feet my hands are cold, with the rain piercing through my gloves like frozen needles. I see guys on Harleys, with neither helmets nor rain protection going the other way. I wave enthusiastically, but they donít return my greeting. Perhaps it is because their hands are frozen to the handlebars? Down the pass I see more of them, stopped on the side of the road, trying to get warm and bundle up with what little gear they have. These guys sure donít look cool now. They look like idiots.

When I get to Helper, the rain lets up, just in time for me to enjoy the scenic wonders of the interstate. But as soon as I turn south towards Moab the skies darken again. Weíre talking doomsday, the end of the world, apocalypse kind of darken. As I reach Canyonlands National Park the rain starts again, but this time with the added fun and excitement of thunder and lightning. And I donít mean those wimpy little single bolts of lightning. I mean light up the sky, crack open the heavens, multiple spikes crisscrossing the clouds kind of bedlam. Did I mention Iím riding a motorcycle at this point? When I get to the entrance station, the Ranger sees me fumbling with my waterproof pouch, trying to pull out my park pass, and just tells me to seek shelter at the Visitor Center about a mile down the road. Good idea.

Canyonlands National Park is an immense wilderness of rock at the heart of the Colorado Plateau. The park is divided into three sections, cut up by two great canyons carved by the Green and Colorado rivers. To the north is Islands in the Sky, a broad level mesa wedged between the rivers. To the west is the Maze, a perplexing jumble of canyons described as a "30 square mile puzzle in sandstone." To the east lie The Needles, a startling landscape of sculptured rock spires, arches and canyons. When I arrive at the Island in the Sky Visitor Center I canít see any of this stuff. The rain has cut the visibility to about 1000 yards. I seek refuge and watch the 15-minute video about the park. It says it only rains about nine inches per year here. Yeah, right, sure.

The rain is not going away today, and I was supposed to camp in Arches National Park, about 30 miles down the road. Well, folks, that is not going to happen tonight. I can camp through crying babies in the middle of the night, but I draw the line at rain, especially when it resembles the flood that Noah wrote home about. I head to Moab and start looking for a motel room, but every place has their NO VANCACY sign on. But, suddenly, there, through the deluge, a sign. The Best Western sign. And the "no vacancy" light is off. I park my bike, waddle inside, and ask for a room.

But, what is that you say? You have no rooms? SO TURN ON YOUR GOD DAMNED SIGN!

I return to the downpour, checking motel after motel. It seems that everyone else was planning on camping tonight also. I finally land a room at the Best Inn. Itís a smoking room, and it stinks, literally. But itís clean and warm and, most importantly, dry.

Programming Note:
As I was riding through Helper today, I couldnít help (yes on the pun thing) but think of my good friend Sam Roddís band of the same name. Theyíre playing on Wednesday October 9th, Wednesday October 20th, and Friday October 29th, all at Arlene Grocery in New York City. I wonít be there, but you could be.

THE DAILY TAKE:
Miles Today: 304
Total Miles: 10,440
Time on Motorcycle: 5 Hours 16 Minutes
Average Speed: 57.6 MPH
States Visited today: 1 (UT)
Total States Visited: 25
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 2
NPS Stamp totals: 75 Stamps, 22 States
Weather: The end of the world.
Number of Best Western Motels in Moab: 2, with a total of 149 rooms.

SEEN ON THE ROAD:
"Go ahead. Make my Bouquet." Ė sign outside Provo Floral on route 89 in Provo, Utah

RANDOM PASSINGS:
Just south of Park City, about a mile from Heber City is the town of Daniel, Utah. Well, actually, I donít know if you could call it a town. There are no stores, no post office, not even a church. Itís not much really, but it does have a great name. There are a few houses, but theyíre pretty lame. The highlight of the place is a big stone with my name on it at the intersection of 3000 Street and South Daniel Road. Says the place was founded in 1898.

Turns out there is a Daniel in Wyoming, Alabama, and Georgia. I blew the one in Wyoming, but Iím definitely going to the one in Georgia, and Alabama could be a possibility. (Hey John, remember when you asked me to keep a lookout for cool places as possible names for your soon to be born son. Well, I think this one works pretty well.)

 


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