Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mineral Bottom Road Closed Indefinately

One of the things I really look forward to each spring is riding the White Rim Trail in Moab.  I have done it several times on a bicycle and a few times on a motorcycle.  This year it appears it is not to be.

Each July I submit my request to the National Park Service for a permit for the following March.  Usually my request is answered by mid August.  This year it hadn't come by mid September.

As it turns out one of the major access roads to the White Rim Trail was washed out in an August downpour.  If you look closely at the picture you can see two rangers, this will give you a sense of the scale of the washout.

The National Park Service has suspended all travel to this area and has stopped issuing permits, mine being one of them.  They say the road won't be repaired until sometime in 2011, they don't know when.  They don't have the funding and it will take 12 weeks to repair when they do.

If you want more information type in "Mineral Bottom Road Closure" into Google and go to the websites. 

Oh well, there is always next year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Mind is Catching Up With My Body

I am finally feeling like my mind is in the same place as my body.

I came from Spain on Saturday, 8 time zones ahead of SLC.  I did all the things they tell you to do; drink water, don't drink alcohol, set your watch to the new place as soon as you lift off, get a light nap and don't eat unless you have to. 

Until today I still felt like I was on another planet.  This weekend I was constantly tired, woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep and I said and did things as if I were drugged.

They say it takes a day for each time zone to feel right.  I have been doing this for a number of years so I feel I am ahead of the curve.  I can get back in about 3 days from a trip from Europe.  If I have to I can function in those three days (like when I went to Spain I attended business meetings the day after I arrived) but I won't be happy and I wasn't up for drinking after the meetings.  I just went to bed and crashed.

I really think your mind has to catch up with your body.  With modern transportation you can get to Europe in less than a day.  This trip used to take weeks, your mind had time to adjust.  Now you don't get this luxury so your mind doesn't quite know where it is until you can get your rhythms back in sync.  This is hard to do when you are awake in their middle of the night. 

My best remedy is not to do too much in the first few days and let yourself recuperate; let your mind catch up with your body. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spain Motorcycle Trip

Today I'm back in my own home and seem to be adjusting well.  I slept through the night last night and am not falling asleep today, yet.

I do have a few lingering effects from the bike ride.  My hands are swollen, my butt hurts and I feel weird not wearing layers of plastic motorcycle gear. 

Here are a few pictures from the trip. Basically we rode 100 to 150 miles a day across mostly dirt roads with a few trails thrown in.  The trails consisted of single track paths through the woods or up a mountainside.  It provided a lot of fun and challenge but was separated with some long stretches of relaxing riding. 

Every 20 miles or so we would come down into a small village and ride through the narrow streets.  The houses and the towns are all ancient relics of a past age when they needed to be close for defense.  The streets are coblestone and there always was a tower at the center of the town.  I never got tired of the beauty of the country side and these villages.

I really enjoyed the trip. I wished we had stopped more often but I feel like I got a realistic look at the countryside and the people.  We rode through a lot of fields on the way up the mountains so I saw and smelled a lot of farm animals.  There also was a lot of forest and logging operations.  I wouldn't thought of Spain as a wood producing country but I guess it is. 

One of the neatest things was when we came on a goat hearder and his charges.  We stopped and tried to converse with him.  We communicated through lots of hand jestures and attempts at single words in Spanish.  We talked for about an half hour.  He was very pleasant.  It doesn't get much more local than that.  

I can't wait for next year.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Northeastern Spain by Motorcycle

I have been somewhat remiss in my posting because this week I have been on another motorcycle trip. 

Two weeks ago I went for a week across northern Nevada on our annual fall motorcycle tour.  This one took off west from SLC and we moved relatively even with the Pony Express trail through western Utah and Eastern Nevada.  It was a week of camping, trail riding with a heavly loaded KLR 650 and some light duty days of circuit riding.  All in all it was an easy trip from the standpoint of technical off road motorcycling.

Last week I was in Barcelona Spain on business.  This week my business partners organized a week long motorcycle trip.  Unlike the previous motorcycle trip this one was fully supported by a van that met us during the day with lunch and got to the hotel every night to set up our accomodations.

This isn't a package trip, it is set up by one of the guys on the ride.  Sort of the manifestation of having taken many of those organized trips and saying "I can do a better job on a lot less money".

We have two young guys riding with us and all the other older guys have a lot more experience riding than I do.  This means we ride hard and fast most of the day.  We are riding KTM 450s.  A lot lighter and higher performance bike than my KLR.

Here are the bikes before we began.  They are nowhere near as clean now since we have had four days of riding and two of them were in the rain.  We do about 70% of the ride off road, about 10% is classified as difficult or very difficult.  The van on the right is our support vehicle.

We started from Barcelona and went north.  We do about 100 to 150 miles a day.  Tonight we are in Andorra, the country.  The terrain is very hilly and beautiful.  I wish I could paste a few more pictures but I broke my Blackberry phone which I was using as a camera.  The data on the phone appears intact but I won't be able to get to it until I get back home.

Anyway tomorrow we ride east through the Pyrenees strattling France and Spain.  I have a great life and a great wife don't I?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dinner in Barcelona

I am traveling for work and have been in Barcelona Spain for the past few days.  Last night a few of my colleagues went out for dinner and I stayed back to finish up some work.

I went to the local supermercado to get some dinner.  I find it a lot easier to go to a supermarket and pick up some bread, cheese, meat and an apple than sit in a restaurant and look like I am not alone. 

Here is what I picked out.  I ate almost everything.  The flan cups were a real treat and the salad was surprisingly fresh.  Buenos noches.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Into The Wilds of Nevada

Last week I spent a few days riding my motorcycle across the desert.  We went west from SLC across what we in Utah call the "West Desert", into eastern Nevada and then turned north to the Idaho border.  Along the way we saw a lot of country.  I had no idea there was so much unspoiled landscape out there.

We usually think of this area as a wasteland.  I'm sure the people who live out there are glad this is the common misconception.  We ran into a few and they were nice but guarded.  You could tell they were apprehensive.  Whether we were seen as a symbol of the water robbing Las Vegas council woman who wants to stick a large straw in the ground and suck it dry, or just a momentary intrusion on their way of life, you got the feeling you were an outsider.

This land is very primative.  There isn't much out here and aside from taking enough water, you need to plan your gas stops.  You also have to be able to be self-sufficient.  If things fall off out here you had better be able to put them back on or you will be out there for a while. 

All in all it was a very enjoyable few days away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.  Here are a few shots of us on our trip.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I'm sure you all remember that on 9/11/01 a horrific event befell the American people.  We watched as commercial airliners, commandeered by terrorists, plunged into the Twin Towers in NYC, symbols of the heart of capitalism.  It was a life changing moment for all. 

America no longer appeared invisible.  We had again been goaded into war as we did in 1941 by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  At the time it seemed to shake our base beliefs. 

In the following days, weeks and months, NYC, and the country, banded together and helped each other.  Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the attack on the Twin Towers came to symbolize the best in people in this country as they rallied around their beliefs and fought to protect their way of life. 

In observing this horrible event, we should honor those who lost their lives both at the time and in the ensuing conflicts brought on by this attack.  We should remember and be thankful for our freedoms and liberties and never take them for granted.  We should work to protect those less fortunate than us and we should work to encourage cooperation and understanding. 

This is what I believe the remembrance events this weekend should be about.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Holladay Blvd ReSurfaced

I got out this morning onto Holladay Blvd to go to work and ran smack dab into a line up of heavy equipment.  They are resurfacing the road and it doesn't look pretty.

Aside from the momentary inconvenience of the actual work it looks like they are doing the gravel and tar thing rather than actual asphalt.  That is cheesy. 

The gravel and tar method is a lot messier than asphalt.  With asphalt trucks dump the material on the road and a huge machine manicures the surface and steamrollers smooth it out.  It is ready for full use in about an hour.

With gravel they dump a lot of tar on the road and then spread out gravel.  The cars running over it mash the gravel into the tar and eventually it becomes a solid surface.  In the mean time you have the potential of tar covered cars and broken windshields from wayward gravel. 

I know we are in an economic ice box and everyone wants to save money but Holladay Blvd is a major thoroughfare through the Salt Lake valley.  Save money on the side streets and use the good stuff on a road that will see a lot of traffic.

Also there are other users besides the cars.  Holladay Blvd is a major corridor for biking and running.  With the gravel method this surface is unuseable for at least a week and rough thereafter.  The gravel doesn't get squashed into the tar on the margins so it has to naturally settle, as slow as molasses running up hill in the winter.

This is dangerous for runners and for bikers.  Holladay took the cheap way out rather than thinking about its exercise conscious citizens.