Wednesday to Wednesday, September 17 to 24, 2014. Here’s the itinerary:
- Day 1: Tucson AZ to Las Vegas NV
- Day 2: Chillin’ in Vegas
- Day 3: Las Vegas NV to Moab UT
- Day 4: Moab UT to Ouray CO
- Day 5: SW CO (Ouray/Silverton/Durango)
- Day 6: Ouray CO to Cedar City UT
- Day 7: Cedar City UT to Las Vegas NV
- Day 8: Las Vegas NV to Tucson AZ
I had three objectives for this mini-Gypsy tour: to explore the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, to visit my friends Bruce & Tamara in Ouray, to spend a few days on the road with my son Gregory. Objectives achieved and then some, especially the third, the time I got to spend with Greg, a great riding companion.
As you can see from a previous entry, the weather forecasters feared Hurricane Odile would be a repeat of Hurricane Norbert and warned of huge and potentially road-closing rains on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Based on that forecast I decided to trailer my motorcycle to Las Vegas and start the riding portion of the trip from there. The first and last days of the trip, then, were on four wheels (six if you count the trailer).
I didn’t really need to leave Tucson until Thursday. Greg and I weren’t scheduled to ride out of Las Vegas until Friday, but since Donna was taking off on a separate trip Wednesday, I figured we might as well both clear out and leave the house to Polly, who came over from Ajo to house-sit. Because I left a day early, I had Thursday free in Las Vegas and was able to help Greg pick up his rental BMW and set it up for the trip.
When I left Tucson Wednesday morning, it was overcast and beginning to rain. The rain was steady as I drove west across town and then north toward Phoenix, but hardly the torrent I’d been warned to expect. Halfway to Phoenix the skies cleared. Hurricane Odile was real enough (just ask the folks in Cabo San Lucas), but it fizzled out by the time it got to southern Arizona.
Still, I’m glad the weather folks over-anticipated the threat and scared me into taking the trailer. Greg needed a jacket, cold weather and rain gear, and a good helmet, all of which I had but wouldn’t have been able to stow on the Goldwing. With the car, I had all the room in the world. The downside was a last-minute wiring repair job to the trailer, plus some wholly unexpected repairs before beginning the homebound trip a week later (which I’ll get to presently).
As I mentioned, Greg’s a fine riding companion. He was happy to take the lead leaving and re-entering the freeway chaos of Las Vegas, and was a good wingman the rest of the way, following me through rain and clouds, right there behind me on wet and gravely roads. I hope he waits until my grandson is a little older, but some day he needs another motorcycle of his own.
Okay, enough babbling. Here are some photos. The rest are in a Flickr album and you can click here to see the lot.
Overall, Greg and I were incredibly lucky. We rode through some rain in Utah and had to negotiate some tight hairpin turns on a freshly-graveled mountain pass between Utah and Colorado, but otherwise? Things couldn’t have been better. We had the roads to ourselves and riding conditions were ideal. Our hosts in Ouray were fabulously accommodating, our hotels in Moab and Cedar City were first-rate, gas stations magically appeared when our gauges hit empty, truckus no kill us, coppus no catch us, amen.
Oh, that other trailer trouble … when I went to put the motorcycle back on the trailer for the return drive to Tucson, this is what I found. If you don’t immediately see it, look at the three o’clock position on the tire.
That was a heart-stopper. Both trailer tires looked good before I left, but they obviously were not. The bubble probably started during my drive from Tucson to Las Vegas the week before. A trailer tire blowout with an 800+ pound motorcycle strapped on top would have been ugly indeed, and I don’t want to know how close I came to disaster!
Okay, one more. This is the season the aspens begin to turn color in the mountains, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a bit of that with you. Eat your hearts out, non-motorcyclists!
© 2014, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.