The photo-gallery of the last post were missing and now added – sorry for that ;) Las Vegas we left without gambling or visiting any Casino – probably we saved a lot of money ;) Therefore we had a nice evening together with Brit, Jacob and some friends of them at the old strip of Vegas and we explored the colorful `Valley of Fire´ together with Jacob on the motorbikes on our last day.
Breathtaking, gorgeous, magnificent, striking, amazing… whatever word you use it will not explain how you feel in these sceneries of the National Parks. Following more or less the Colorado River we visited parts of the Escalante NP, went through the Capitol Reef NP, spent a full day at the Bryce NP, drove through Zion and up to the Kolob Reservoir and finally we explored the north and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We hope we can transfer an idea off all this impressive beauty we saw with the pictures we selected.
On the way to Las Vegas, where we are now, we drove a part of the famous Route 66. The road on its own was pretty boring except the stops where they display all the oddities of the old times; nevertheless a good alternative to the Highway and probably it helped us to escape the thunderstorm. Actually we have been lucky all these days with the weather. Pretty often we could see a black wall, heard the thunder rolling, saw the lightning but except strong winds and a few drops of rain we never were caught by one of these storms. Cross finger it stays like that!
Las Vegas is HOT! And we are lucky that we found a place at Brittany’s and Jacob´s home to stay. Sascha’s AT seems to drink a little bit too much oil and sometimes I can see a dark cloud coming out of the exhaust. As well he has misfires continuously. He just has an eye on it at the garage. For the evening we plan to investigate Las Vegas and its famous Strip. Sascha is keen to gamble a bit – I will think of the budget to release for that ;-)
Someway we are sure we have a hidden Gollum with us; constantly we do miss items or doing not logical things. OK, the heat is cooking our brains pretty much… but nevertheless we never had so many losses on any journey before. The list is getting longer and longer: Sascha is missing his chain guard (we hoped he forgot to put it back in Prince George when he refilled the scot-oiler, but unfortunately Kelly could not find it). We lost a poach of tobacco, a lens cover of the camera, 3 mini screws of a lens and as some other things! Dam it! The zipper of Sascha´s tank bag is broken and when he put the new tires it took him 3 hours for mine because he misplaced the space holders – how frustrating that was you can probably imagine… Anyhow we hope we can break the jinx and free the Gollum soon.
The days with Patty and Kevin in Salt Lake City were just great. We enjoyed the Spa, cooked together, went to the Air force Museum and met their lovely family. Kevin supplied not only his great workshop but was always there with and helping hand and good advices. And Patty was the best route adviser for all the upcoming national parks. As well we had the chance to adapt a little bit to the hot climate. Thank you both so much for everything!!!
The first destination was Moab, Arches NP and we followed Patty’s guidance to ride the Gemini Bridges Trail. A beautiful off-road track which we really enjoyed even though I struggled here and there a little bit with the parts of fine sand and big rocks in between. So it happened and I had my first crash. Nothing really bad but I was annoyed about myself of course. Suddenly Sascha was shouting `stop where you are!´ There was a section where the track went down steep ( I would say about 80% gradient) for about 150 meter with really deep fine sand and big rocks. At the end we could see a giant rock on the trail and we were wondering if we will be able to go through. Sascha walked it down in the heat to have a closer look and met two motorcycle guys in the shade of the giant rock. They were coming the way up, saw the road condition and decided to have a break before going it up J But they had the good message for us that the trail is much better from now on. We decided it is better if Sascha brings down both bikes. I felt slightly guilty as it was striking hot and he had to walk up and down this sandy section three times now. He brought the bikes down safe and we had all together a break in the shade while inhaling this remarkable deserted area. We did a little detour to the Dead Horse Point (The legend of this name: In the 1800s wild mustang herds were common in this area. This peninsula, 2000 feet above the Colorado River, was used to corral and capture them behind a 50 ft. fence at the neck of the formation. One time a herd of unwanted horses was left out there, where they died of thirst. – what a sad story in such a beautiful place!) Later on after a break at the Colorado River we explored the Arches NP with its stunning stone formations and arches. Our neighbor at the camp side was family originally from Germany, Bavaria who lived several years in the states now moving back home and they supplied us with yummi fruits and chocolate pancakes (we wish you a good start back home!).
The next destination was Bryce NP. But spontaneously we were following some signs which led us to the Natural Bridges NP. A wonderful place with only a few people around. We were told that this is one of the darkest places in the US so we were sitting and watching the stars for a looong time…
Time is flying, 3 weeks are gone again… how to summarize? The last time we updated the Blog we stayed with Kelly (from ADV Rider) and his lovely dog Bruno in Prince Georg. We had not only the chance to blog but as well to do laundry and some little maintenance. We spend a great time cooking and exchanging experiences. Thank you Kelly for your great hospitality and for the nice ride together on the day we left – and a big hug to Bruno!!! There as well we met Erik; original from Switzerland but living more than 20 years+ in Canada – it was fun to meet you again and again on the road. We wish both of you all the best and hopefully we meet again one day.
Our route is following the famous National Parks. We went through Jasper and Banf in Canada. The Glacier National Park we did not really enter as the “road to the sun” was not open yet and nobody could tell us when they will do so. Instead of that we explored the “Hungry Horse Lake” which we really can recommend. On the way to Yellowstone we heard about the “Beartooth Highway” which leads from the North-East into the Park. While heading that direction we were captured by a real thunderstorm with lightening, heavy rain, hail and strong winds (we were even afraid the motorcycles will be blow away). Luckily we were just standing in front of the “White Sulfur Springs Motel” – the people were really nice and the rooms had reasonable prices and included the usage of the hot springs – so we just checked in. Later on another two motorcyclist (one Indian and one 1800cc Kawasaki) arrived after a 1000km ride from Montana and socked by the rain (unfortunately we forgot your names – sorry! Please send us a message it was really nice meeting you guys!!! Save travels!)
In the early chilly morning we left Anchorage to reach Denali National Park and finally made it at the end of the day. It was mostly cloudy and later on it even started to rain. Finally, after a 400km ride in the rain we reached Healy and moved in the warm and dry trailer of Paul who is a fellow rider which we know from ADVrider.com. We had an awesome time in and around Denali. Actually it is hard to find the right words to express the beauty and the variety of the wild life and the scenery – it is breathtaking and we were incredible lucky with the weather. Even Mount Denali was showing his full presence to us and we now belong to the 30% club (only 30% of all visitors to the park can say that they even have seen Denali without being covered completely in clouds…). We saw bears (even quite some beers….;), moose, Dall sheep, arctic ground squirrels, caribous, marmots, a raven nest and many more… we had a wonderful time in the wilderness and spent some very relaxed moments with Paul, his son Brice and the friends of Paul (THANK YOU PAUL it was such a great time and whenever you come to Germany there is always a place for you!). Very strange thing here is the “time”… you are sitting at the fire and having a beer or two and you think it must be around 19:00 or 20:00 o´clock… and Paul says “ohh I think I should go to bed soon…”, my response was “hmmm, Ok what’s the time?” “00.45”… the Sun here at this time of the year nearly never goes away… And what it doesn’t make it better is that all our “watches” e.g. camera, phone, laptop they all show a different time… but we are working on it to set them right…. ;)
Early morning on Saturday 19th we closed the last time the door of our flat. With a mumble in our stomachs we entered the airplane in Hamburg to fly to Frankfurt – still everything felt unreal… Our journey is finally starting now!
When we arrived in Anchorage we saw the mountains which were still covered in snow and we had an incredible nice welcome with our Airbnb host Robert and we spent the whole evening served with delicious food and local beer. Sunday we had some things to shop and Robert was so kind to take us around the whole day. First we had a stop at the Harley Davidson Store and then we went to the famous BassPro… to buy some beer-, äääähhhh bear-spray and some fishing gear for Sascha so he can hopefully upgrade our dinner one of these days ;) After some shopping in the grocery we had a stop in a Anchorage Brewery Company where a vintage motorbike show took place and had some nice chats. This evening we cooked a gorgeous meal together with some friends and neighbors and spent the night at the fireplace. We went to bed having a last excited thought of the next day: hopefully will get the motorbikes out of customs and that they will be still in good shape.
Eager to see our bikes we woke up early. At a quarter past 9 Allyn wanted to pick us up with his truck. We agreed upfront that he will assist us with some tools and bring us to the airport and he then will keep the crates. We stopped first at the freight forwarder to start the paper process… And then we continued to the customs office at the airport, the responsible lady smiled at us and asked where we are from. When we said Germany she showed a rapt smile and told us that she will go to Germany with her son next week. While we had an interesting conversation she finished the paperwork. Meanwhile another guy entered the room; Johnathon from UK, another biker who wanted to clear his motorbike. He plans to make nearly the same trip as we but in the half of the time. So maybe we will see him somewhere on the road again but most likely he will be always a few miles in front of us… Allyn took us back to the freight forwarder and 10 minutes later we saw our crates in the warehouse – they looked exactly the same like we shipped them – wow – that´s cool! At that moment we started to unpack the crates the sun came out and together with Allyn, THANK YOU!, it took us just about 40 minutes to unload and assemble the bikes. All looked good and another hour later we were ready to take off – juhuu! What a feeling. But first of all we had to get fuel of course. For the plane ride we had an allowance of two to three liters, so we had to find an gas station very soon. When we got to it Sascha was fighting with the service personnel to get his Credit Card (pre-)approved (strange system here!…) and Kerstin was approached be two Mexican gentleman, they have been very interested of what we are doing and where we are going next… so we give them all details and they promised us to give us a warm welcome in Mexico… let´s see how this will develope… After we got the gas station thing solved we continued to ride our fist miles on that trip, let the fun begin! ;)
What we can till till now is
The people we meet are great; the beer we drink is tasty and the air we breathe is mostly (still) cooooold….. so let´s see what tomorrow brings, we will make a test ride down the Seward Highway and then back to Anchorage an further on to the Denali national Park on Wednesday.