Sunday, June 19, 2005

I Saw The Signs

Viewing photos taken from March 2004 to March 2005 reminds me of the many miles ridden during that year. I won't venture a guess at how many there were but I can safely say somewhere along those miles were 25 states and more than 70 national parks. I would never have imagined seeing some of the places I saw, many I didn't even know existed.

The parks that left the greatest imprint on my mind and heart are those in the southwest. There's a definite sense of calm I feel when I'm in that part of the country... it's a soul-soother and a place where any moments spent there are not long enough.

April Snow in Utah
I was thrilled to see the snow-capped mountain peaks as I made my way to Bryce. I couldn't resist stomping around in the snow to get a photo of my riding boots in the frozen precipitation. As I stood at an overlook around 9,000 feet in elevation, it had really hit me where I'd been only a few days before. I rode from the sands of the Atlantic Ocean to the sands of the Pacific Ocean then rose to the mountains to stand in snow. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment but more than that, the overwhelming sense of wonderment.
Zion, Utah
Zion completely stunned me as I rolled into the visitor's center on Earth Day. I pulled into a parking spot beneath a cottonwood and stood looking up at the sky and the rocky walls surrounding me. The cottonwoods were releasing their fluffy white seeds and I imagined standing in falling snow. The image is forever burned in my memory, it was purely magical. Coincidentally, I called Neil as soon as I dismounted and he said it was snowing where he was. I felt like I could completely relate to his surroundings.
Red rock of Utah.
Tannish red rock of Utah.
One of the many tunnels I rumbled through.
Taking this picture seemed like an easy one with a guaranteed usable result. I'd just attempted to take photos of a male turkey and his three lady friends but that didn't work out as I'd hoped. It was fun to be out there alone, no traffic to consider. I laid along the painted lines and snapped a few pics and enjoyed the freedom I felt while lying there. It was just a moment later that a truck pulled up behind me with a laughing driver behind the wheel. Where'd he come from?? Was I that lost in the moment?
Cabrillo, California
I've got to hand it to the rangers at this national park. They were very tolerant of me and Doug, a fellow rider who rode the 50CC when I did. Doug agreed to roll around the San Diego area with me so I could hit this national park for my stamp. While in the visitor's center, we were literally crying from laughter as we read through the guest book. We tried like hell to keep our laughter at a light roar but it was so difficult! I'm sure nothing we read was that amusing and it was just our fatigue wreaking havoc on us. We'd both ridden coast to coast as well as complete a Bun Burner Gold (1,500 miles in less than 24 hours). We were tired and the simplest silly things tickled us profoundly. After easing things over with a ranger, we rode to a rocky cliff just outside the park and watched the sun set. I didn't know Doug until that ride and it was a nice place to talk and learn a little something about someone.
Desert rock and blooms.
Aztec Ruins, New Mexico
Tunnel road in the Jemez Mtns., New Mexico.
After winding my way around southern California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, I stopped in north central New Mexico to visit with my brother Doug and his familia. It was a special treat to have my brother all to myself for one day. He took me out for a long drive through the Jemez Mountains. My brother is very knowledgeable about the area he calls home so it was an educational tour as well as simple sightseeing venture. One stop we made along our way was at the Valles Caldera. (Tonya at Adventure Journalist was recently there and has fabulous photos from her visit. Check out her June 15 entry.)

7 Comments:

Blogger bricotrout said...

i have been at that very visitor center at zion. perhaps under that very tree. possibbly a different one, not the point. you can go to bryce (spelled incorrectly) canyon, coral reef, calf creek falls, arches, moab, even the grand but you aint experienced a park until youve reached the other side of that mile long tunnel that leads into zion!

June 19, 2005 8:56 PM  
Blogger HermanTurnip said...

Hope the weather held out during what appears to have been a long yet rewarding trip! Makes me wish I had time to jump on my bike and join you for an extended ride. :( I guess I'll have to live vicariously through your photos... Do you have another trip planned for the near future?

June 19, 2005 10:59 PM  
Blogger Michael B said...

I am always moved by the artistic connection you make between the written word and the visual world. You have a way of looking at things and capturing that moment that shows not only great talent, but a keen eye for the fullness of life that is so easily passed by when we don't take the time not just to look, but to see. Having been at most of these places on Rocinante, it brings back great memories from the road.

June 20, 2005 12:16 AM  
Anonymous G N Bassett said...

What a fantastic trip. My hat's off to you for your sense of adventure!

June 20, 2005 3:23 PM  
Blogger Juli said...

Trout: Zion is a place I definitely want to get back to in this lifetime. I didn't even see a fraction of this magnificent park.

Herman: I was on the road for little more than two weeks on that ride and the weather was fantastic up until the last two days. I stopped in MS to stay at a Casino and fell asleep a little lighter in the wallet but to the sound of falling rain. I'm not so sure your 'Busa would be up for the tours I enjoy taking, but hey, if you're game... :) I haven't been on a bike ride since Feb when I rode to TN for lunch. ;) I'm considering a jaunt up to VA and the Blue Ridge Parkway over July 4. It should be nice and cool up there, perfect for escaping the FL heat.

Michael: This is where I blow off any compliment regarding my writing, photography or observation. ;) Thanks, honestly.

GN: Life is short mister. I'm committed to making some memories along the way.

June 21, 2005 9:45 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

I too have been to most of the places you described, both by car and motorcycle. My wife was so impressed with the different colored soil around Moab that she collected shopping bags of the stuff from along roadsides. When we arrived back home, she made some pretty cool designs by filling glass vases and layering the different colors one over the other.

June 21, 2005 2:03 PM  
Blogger Sharron said...

I love your little photo journals :)

June 21, 2005 3:49 PM  

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