Rockies 2007

Day 05

June 18

  Most of the 700 miles or so I need to cover today will be on I84, I15 and I70 until I get to Grand Junction. So I get an early start, hoping to reach Montrose, CO and hook up with Guy before sunset. I'll be running as long as I can today so I can minimize the gas stops. As fuel needle drops, I have to go hunting for fuel in Twin Falls, since it's a bit off the slab. I'm always curious if a town with the name falls in it actually has waterfalls. As it turns out Twin Falls has three falls close by - Twin Falls, Shoshone Falls, and Pillar Falls - all on the Snake River, but strangely enough Idaho Falls does not.  

After I gas up the SweetTreat, I find an IHOP across the street which will work very nicely for breakfast. When I walk in, I see two HD guys sitting there having breakfast in the usual uniform - head scarves, leathers, and a few tattoos. I can't help but think that pretty much every group of bike riders have some sort of identifying uniforms - the sport tourers and their Aerostich and First Gear textile suits, the Goldwingers with their leather jackets and patches, the squids with their multicolored racing leathers. I nod to them as I take a booth across from where they are sitting. We strike up a conversation as bike riders are apt to do -

"Where you headed?" one of them asks me.

"Well, I spent the night in Oregon and I'm bound for Montrose, CO this evening."

"Man, I could never ride like that. We trailered our bikes up here about a hundred miles so we could ride around a bit. Then we'll trailer them back home" he adds.

"I do a lot of distance, so I've set my bike up for that. It's actually quite comfortable now that I've got it fixed like I want it."

But I can tell that it's a foreign concept to them and something they just don't understand. They are really nice guys who like to take short trips around close, and there's nothing wrong with that. At least they do get out ride some. Breakfast comes pretty quickly, so I leave them to their own discussion. The food is great and it's the fuel I need to go back out and attack the miles. It'll only be diet cokes and peanuts the rest of the day til dinner so I can make good time. I blast across Idaho pretty quickly and then I'm in the land of Utah. Utah has it's own type of barren beauty that makes it quite unlike anything else that I've seen in my travels.


When I get around Provo, I leave I15 to take part of highway 89 to cut the corner off to I70. It'll be nice to be on some 2-lane at least for a while. Along the way, my face shield decides to come loose. A quick one-handed grab, and I stuff it inside my jacket and keep rolling. I generally ride with it up anyway, so it's really no big deal unless I hit heavy rain. I am congratulating myself on the time I'm making until I see something disturbing up ahead. It's a wreck on the 2-lane that's got both lanes blocked. Seems like there was a head-on and it's not a pretty sight with car parts scattered all over the road. At this point, I don't have many options since there's no turn around place and no roads to turn off on. When this sort of stuff happens, you can either get wound up in a tight knot, or just kick back, park the bike, and get off and stretch your legs a bit. Looks like it's gonna be a while, so I figure I might as well chill. After 30 minutes, the crews have enough of the debris cleared so I can proceed on my way. My heart aches for the folks involved because it's easy to tell as I go by that somebody is hurt really bad. Soon enough, I'm back on I70 and make a quick entrance intro Grand Junction. It's a good place for a gas stop and I decide to get some milk and a cake. The acid level in my stomach is up a bit, and that's usually a sign I've been drinking way too many diet cokes. It's a short run down my old friend Highway 50 to Montrose and I'm sure glad to see the city limit sign. My thinker is a little foggy, so when I pull up beside a car with it's window rolled down at the next traffic light, I ask them -

"Do you know whereabouts the Country Lodge is around here?"

The passenger says "Sure thing. Right down this road and hang a left. Just follow us."

In my tired state, I am very thankful for the kindness of these strangers. I stick to them like a tight headband and follow them as they make the left turn. They motion me up beside them -

"It's up ahead on the right. You can't miss it" they tell me.

"Man, thanks a bunch. I really appreciate it!"

Fortunately for me, there's a big sign out front so I see it long before I get there.


I wheel it into the drive, go in and tell them who I am. The nice lady behind the counter tells me -

"Two other guys have already checked in. They said to tell you they are across the street at Arbys."

She's got labs running around, so I make friends with them really quickly. She directs me around to our cabin in back and tells me -

"Be careful of the gravel. Some guys on bikes have a hard time with it."

"Sure thing. I'll watch it" I tell her.

The gravel is a bit thick but I motor on through it to a nice concrete parking pad they have just for parking motorcycles. I unload my stuff quickly into the cabin, which is really nice on the inside.


With that bit of business taken care of, I wander across the street to catch up with Guy and our visitor. There's a ditch and some tall grass, but I've got my boots on. I figure I'll just jump across it since it'll be quicker than walking up the road. That proves to be a big mistake for me. When I land, my feet slide in the mud I didn't see. I go down and catch myself with my left arm. I immediately feel the already torn ligament in my left elbow tear pretty badly. Guy and the visitor, whose name is Bill, come out to meet me and see the whole thing. I pick myself up and tell them -

"Boy, that was pretty bad and I'm sure I'll pay for it later."

They've already eaten, so I get something quick and we make small talk until I finish up. Once we get back to the cabin, Bill has a ton of questions about long distance touring. This is his first long trip and he's just come up from Texas on the heaviest loaded Yamaha cruiser I've seen in quite a while.


He tells us -

"Now I'm just a greenhorn at this."

Guy and I both tell him that you've got to start sometime and like anything else, the more you do it, the smarter you get. As most folks do starting out, he's way overpacked in most departments. We give him some ideas on how to get by comfortably with a lot less stuff. I've even surprised Guy on this trip because I don't even have a river bag strapped on the back seat.

"Yep, I got everything I need in my topbox and saddlebags" I tell him.

Bill was going to stay longer with us, but some family stuff has come up and he needs to head back to Tennessee. After a bit more conversation, we all head to our respective rooms and the place gets really quiet when the lights go out. As Minnie Pearl used to say -

"I'm just so glad to be here!"