Manifest Destiny – Week Three, From Fury Road to Sin City
- Originally planned to leave Fort Stockton and head straight to Roswell but the storm front sat right above everywhere we were headed.
- Decided to go to Carlsbad caverns and wait out the storm
- The road there was again long and straight but with all the oil pumps, fracking burnoff towers, the sand, and solitude; the whole scene felt post apocalyptic. Mad Max like. Riding a KZ helps with image.
- Saw a dead coyote on the road then shortly there after a road runner. I guess real life does imitate art.
- Gassed up at an unattended trucker gas station In the middle of nowhere and then the rain came.
- Got to Carlsbad caverns and explored the cave to dry off.
- Holy shit the cave is huge. 800 ft down there are even restrooms, gift shop, and a cafeteria. You can even get out of the via an elevator. America!
- Rode into Carlsbad and sat by an oddly green river then decided to head out to Roswell anyways.
- 10 miles outside of Carlsbad the sun came out and things got rad.
- Wide stretches of desert and lonely back roads.
- Set up camp at Bottomless Lake State Park.
- Some raccoons came to visit. Aggressive fuckers.
- Thunderstorms rolled in overnight and soaked everything.
- Did not get abducted.
- Moved our gear to a nearby pavilion to wait out the storm.
- When the rain moved on, we went into Roswell for food.
- Roswell was not impressive.
- Headed north on 285 and shot a straight line for 90 miles with no exits or side roads.
- Got a tip from a friend to hit up hot springs north or Las Vegas, NM.
- After stopping for gas we headed northeast and rode into the worst storm either of us have ever ridden in. Sheets of water fell as lightening struck the desert all around us. It makes the Memorial Day run this year seem like a drizzle.
- Radke’s bike stared shorting out with all the water falling from the sky. To keep it running he had to keep it rev’ed as high as possible which meant 80mph through the storm. Luckily the road was straight and there were no cars.
- Finally we beat the front as we came into the mountains.
- Found the hot springs but they were literally 3 small bathtubs and full of people so we choose to shoot for Santa Fe.
- Rolling into Santa Fe we hit another front dropping walls of water in the distance. We decided after such a rough day to hole up in another motel instead of the campground we had planned to go to.
- As we got into our room the skies opened yet again.
- I find it ironic that we headed to the desert to stay dry and warm but the entire time we’ve been in the desert we have been cold and wet.
- When we awoke we saw that the rain is finally gone and nothing but blue skies for awhile. All thanks to the 2 wheeled gods for smiling upon us. However it’s freezing here in Santa Fe.
- Rode in town to check out Santa Fe and had breakfast tacos.
- Once out of Santa Fe we hit NM 96 and were blown away. Mountain roads with the gnarliest scenery. Could stay here forever riding around.
- Rode to Four Corners Monument and saw the Rockies poking their heads up in the distance.
- The route to Four Corners was insane. It’s hard to put the scenery into words. Everything is epic.
- Stood in four states at once.
- Finally got to eat Navajo Tacos. Been on my culinary to try list forever.
- We headed towards Cortez, Colorado. I was antsy to get there for special reasons.
- We got supplies and took a tip from a local to head up into BLM land in the local mountains to camp.
- Found a killer campsite on public lands and made camp. Surrounded by pines and aspens.
- As night rolled in, a strange howling came from the woods. We assumed it was coyotes and hoped it was not wolves. Either way it scared the shit out of us. Bed was soon to come.
- Chilly but great night. First time in this trip that we awoke to everything being dry.
- Colorado is an amazing state. I will always come back.
- Headed out early and was in Moab by noon.
- The scenery coming into Moab is unreal. The mesas, cliffs, canyons, and towers all reaching high in crazy reds.
- Shot up 128 (you must ride this road) to get a camp spot along the Colorado river but found all sites full. I was pissed b/c it’s a Tuesday. WTF??? Thanks to being angry and impatient to find a camp spot, I ended up losing my footing in the gravel in a lot and dropped the KZ. Nothing scratched or damaged but goes to prove that there’s no need to lose your cool because mistakes are made then.
- We finally found a spot at Moonflower Canyon. While it’s not on the river it is fucking epic. Red sand canyon full of trees. Plus there are old petroglyphs here too. Magic.
- Set up camp and got food then checked out dirt bike rental prices. Not cheap. Shy of $300 for 5 hours per bike. This includes tax/gear/insurance/gas. Can’t ride w/o the proper gear and insurance. We decided it wasn’t worth the cost. Plenty of other stuff to do here.
- Rode up to Canyonlands National Park. 313 takes you there to the top of a huge mesa. 313 is a sick road.
- Got into the park for free and hit the Mesa Arch.
- Wanted to do the Grand Overlook but a rain cloud scared us off the mesa.
- No wolves or coyotes to scare the shit out of us tonight. Just the red walls of the canyon and stars.
- Great view of stars to wake up in the middle of the night too.
- After eating we rode back out 128 to Castle Valley. A local named Linda tipped us off to some dinosaur tracks and the 8 year olds in us got hype.
- The ride up to the tracks was a rough twisty road and the tracks were on top of these crazy high cliffs. Found the tracks and stood on the cliffs edge.
- We left and did the La Sal mountain loop. What a fucking road! Very challenging to say the least. Had to dodge potholes, gravel, cow shit, and other vehicles on an unmarked failing road full or sweepers and switchbacks. The view as you gain altitude was unreal. The ride took around an hour and a half.
- After we were exhausted and knew a swim was in order.
- Our campground neighbor tipped us off to a swimming hole in Mill Creek Canyon.
- It was a interesting hike back the canyon. A half hour later through Slick rock, green oasis’s, desert landscape, and 3 river crossings we made it to the hole. Awesome waterfall in a decent sized hole.
- The water was coldest water we have been in yet.
- After feeling refreshed we hiked out and got burgers and shakes at a local drive in called Milts stop-n-eat.
- Back at camp Radke did the chimney climb.
- We walked to the end of the canyon to check out the pond and watched a bat feed.
- Made a fire and passed out. Solid day.
- Said goodbye to Moab. Not an easy thing to do.
- Blasted to Salt Lake. The first half was just a barren straight shot on rte 6 then it went into the mountains and got wicked. Not too many pics of the ride as we were focused on getting to Salt Lake.
- I-15 from Provo to SLC was awful except for the HOV lanes that motorcycles could ride in. The entire 50 miles is one large strip mall. All we see are strip malls here.
- Got to the cemetery and I paid respects to my brother. The main goal and half way point is now reached.
- Rode to Antelope Island out on the Great Salt Lake to camp and checked out the roaming bison. Saw Antelope too. Tons of bugs here. Our visors became slaughter houses.
- The camp sight we were assigned sucked donkey dick. They put us w/ RV’s and on top of the bathrooms so we found another one (called Ladyfinger btw) and set up right next to the shore of the lake.
- It’s very eerie here. The water is dead still and everything feels like another planet.
- Very mild night. Woke up a few times to listen to the songs the coyotes were singing. The morning was 60 degrees. We’re feeling good b/c we hit a warm window in SLC.
- Took off like bats outta hell as we are not fans of the SLC area. South of Provo we headed back into the mountains via rte 89
- It got crazy cold for an hour then warmed up.
- 89 is a great road that winds through mountains and farmland valleys that took us the whole way to Zion.
- We decided to camp outside Zion as the parks campgrounds were full. The girl at the reception told us of some spots we shouldn’t take the bikes too as there is deep sand. We should have listened to her. As we went that direction not even half a second after I saw radke get loose I was down and a leg pinned under my bike. That’s 3 times I have dropped the KZ. I am averaging one a week. Still no damage.
- Set up camp and had the saddest dinner ever.
- Soaked up some wifi time at the camp trading post and then returned to disconnection at our site for a fire.
- Cold morning outside Zion. We waited till the sun was fully up to move.
- Got into Zion for free. Otherwise it costs $25 for MC’s. While Zion is an awesome ride it’s not long at all. There’s a really cool tunnel and a bunch of switchbacks but if you’re just riding through than $25 is a bit much.
- Rode I-15 towards Vegas. The Arizona stretch was some of the funnest interstate stretches I have ever done. Winding through mountains at 80mph is what 2 wheels is all about.
- The Nevada stretch was the complete opposite. Flat, dry, boring desert with crosswinds the strongest we have faced on the trip.
- Got into Vegas but it took forever to get to our hotel b/c I-15 got shutdown so all highway traffic diverted through the city. To make matters worse my idle was at 2.5K and would not come any lower so I shut the bike off at every red-light.
- Finally made it to the hotel and had issues checking in. Stress levels through the fucking roof. We had to carry all of our gear way to far. Both of us were on edge.
- I split to see our buddy Ryan and to get a jump start on all the shit I gotta do to the KZ. Tore off the carbs and cleaned them then reinstalled. Put speedo cable on. Everything seems ok now.
- Met Radke back at the strip and we just wandered around there and Fremont st.
We’ll be in Vegas till Tuesday morning then onto Death Valley.
7 responses to “Manifest Destiny – Week Three, From Fury Road to Sin City”
Published - Jul 6, 2012
Man… Nortons are cool. Max, what’s the deal man? Finish that bike!!!