Sunday, June 28, 2009

Soaring to a Desert Island

Yikes, today is going to be a hot one. The summer is finally here in Arizona and I have a plan to escape it for another few hours. With a high of 109+ forecast, I call my man Nickolaus up and say we need to Jeep. Looking at the map the closest spot I know it will be cool is Mt Lemon, which is South! We hatch a plan and are on the road by 6:30.

The dawn is beautiful but let me tell you it is already 89 out.

After a few miles on I-10 we exit at Tangerine Road North of Tucson and head towards the hill we are going to climb.

Skirting around Tucson to the South we end up in Oracle Arizona a cool little town founded in the Old West and other then the new dollar store, a place where little has changed. But that is another trip for another time as we need to go climb the mountain.

We are not the only coyotes on the move. This guy is looking for a nice Saturday brunch.

A sign that I love to see in the Jeep. Whoo Hooo let the fun start!

The Jeep just floats up the first few miles of road through the high desert. It is glorious out side

I don't tell this little Lolita about the brunch in town. But we see a fair amount of animals as we make our way up.

As we come around a set of hills we see a whole roost of turkey vultures riding up on some thermals. We climb up and see that some hawks have joined in.

He is cool

What a worthy creature

But not all the animals out today are large. These Yuccas in bloom have their own totally cool micro environment happening

You just have to look a little closer smile

We stop in a wash to check it out and stretch the legs.

I am always totally blown away at the art I discover Mother Earth has created over the ages. This natural mosaic is a fine example of that. Totally glorious.

I need to work with Nick on his desert camouflage choices but you can't ask for a better Jeep partner.

We keep climbing and climbing

We run into the occasional bad Hombre in Black who we have to face down.

Eventually we are in the pines and the temp has dropped to about 70 and the world is a wonderful place. Even if there is pavement to drive on now.

It is amazing that about 20 miles in any direction and about 7000 ft down the temp is about 30 degrees higher. I love Arizona.

The area has been hit with fire recently but is recovering nicely. If I lived in Tucson, I would seriously think hard about buying a place up here. It is only about 40 miles from the center of Town!

Over 9000 ft! Whoo Hoo

The lifts are running but we have a lunch date!

We drive down the South Face past some HooDoo's and get treated to some great vistas as well.

Even with all the fun Nick and I have on the mountain the highlight of my day so far is getting to see Tanya for the first time in months.

After Nick buys lunch (why does he bet me?) we head home saying goodbye to Tanya and shoot up I-10 so I can get to a very important Birthday Party.

This guy forgot to have his people pack the Escalade properly. We turn off before it shakes loose. Traffic on the 10 is normal and I can't wait for them to get it widened to 3 lanes each way between here and Tucson. That will make it a lot better.

See ya next time!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ouray IV

The Solstice is upon us and there is no other place in the world I would rather spend it than in Colorado. Colorado rocks! And most of my dear friends are willing to take a little break from our realities and get together for a weekend of fun. We have our condos there that we have rented for years and now it is all a matter of getting on the road.

The boys from San Diego get to my house and immediately surf the net to see the weather in Ouray. Since they just crossed the desert I can't blame them. Jamie and Bill are always welcome in my house, even after Jamie refuses to honor the "Rules for 2009".

Nothing like waking up in the morning to a garage full of motorcycles ready to go.

The GPS is set to zero, and Jamie checks the map. We are in fact ready to moto!

My moto is pretty much loaded with gear. My hardest decision was to take my sticks for hiking. Since it is June, I strap the Camelback onto the tank bag so I have extra water. The Top case pretty much has all my cameras packed in there.

Our first stop is Flagstaff where it is already in the 60's. We are amazed that the temps are not colder.

For those in the know, Cafe Express is a great local joint for breakfast. The wait staff is fun, and I quickly make friends with Dana there who treats us like kings.

Dana and I have trouble parting and I am pained to tell her that I need my hiking sticks more than a Pillion. But for a minute I think about letting Bill carry the sticks smile

But it is time to Moto!

We eat the miles and soon find ourselves back on the Navajo Reservation heading towards the fake Four Corners Monument.

A quick pass Tuba City on the way to Kayenta.

The V1 Radar Detector is worth every penny to me. That along with great sightlines let us just eat the miles.

The views are pretty good the closer we get to Colorado.

Just over the border in Colorado, we hit some road work.

Having a GT on these roads gives me a big advantage over the guys on the RT's. My ability to pass other cars is a lot easier. By the time we get to the Flag Girl, I am several cars in front. She tells me to get the boys up in front. We wait about 20 minutes there and then have 10 miles of nice road beyond the construction with no traffic. I wish I had looked down to see how fast I was going over most of it smile

After a short stop in Cortez, we make our way up past Delores and then into the Mountains!!!!!! WHOO HOO! Traffic is really light even with the BlueGrass Concert in Telluride over Lizard Head Pass.

It just keeps getting prettier and prettier.

We are really enjoying the ride when out comes the one big buzz kill to any sport touring ride

Our pal LEO

We arrive and some of the hoons are there waiting for us. Nothing like a great ride and seeing old friends

All of the usual suspects are there. But hold on. The guy on the left looks like my buddy Danny from Florida.....

It turns out two of my favorite hoons from the Grapefruit League are here!!! What a grand suprise!

As day one comes to a close, it is clear that this is going to be a special weekend.

We have a grand dinner

After walking home somebody tracks mud on the carpet. His name is Bill Walker

He takes on the job of cleaning person and does a good job. Little do I know how his cleaning abilities will cost me tomorrow.

Jan has a plan I am sure for tomorrow

Janet laughing at something funny I said. One of the many reasons we love her. Her ability to laugh at lame jokes.

Bill taking out his road rage on Larry

More later.....