Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walden, Colorado

I had planned to motorcycle camp but when I entered Walden and saw the first motel I turned in to stay the night.  Bettelou was delightful. The town is known as having the most moose in Colorado.  I had a great steak at the Moose restaurant and impressed the waitress by telling her I'd shot seven moose and hoped to shoot another this fall.  Lovely town with friendly people and real outdoorsman flavour.
I didn't see moose before Walden but lots of deer and antelope. With the moose statue the restaurant with the great steak is easy to find

Dubois, Wyoming to Walden, Colorado

I started at the Super 8 I'd found at night and enjoyed so much, thanks to the heat and my being chilled and tired.  In the morning I stopped in Lander having enjoyed the ride, stopping to take pictures along the way. The rock formation were incredible.
I loved the big sky.  The cross winds were something fierce though.  The weather channel announced 25 mph winds and warned against tornados. I could only hope I wasn't near any but surely kept an eye on the sky.  I remember being lifted half a lane over in the air and set back down again driving along the Gorge. As a consequence I hugged my side of the lane not wanting a repeat performance of that exciting moment.
I love the terrain, the rock formations, the colours, the blue sky and clouds, the emerald green vegetation and tumble weeds.  Real cattle country. I imagine seeing cowboys and rodeo and think of the plains Indians on spanish ponies.  Rivers are named after the different local tribes.  I loved the red hills and those layered coloured ones too.
There was road construction in one place, Real off road driving conditions. I saw quite a few herds  of antelope.  There were also black angus cattle and some long horns.  In the evening I saw a few deer as well. Lots of wildlife in southern Wyoming and northern Colorado.

I'm still enjoying  listening to Steven Bell.  I love his song, On a morning like this.  I've been listening to Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Third Day, Steppenwolf, even Mumford and Sons and Cowboy Junkies  but keep coming back to Steven Bell.  He's really been uplifting listening on this motorcycle ride.  

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Lander, Wyoming - journal

This is a sweet little cowboy town.  Quilting and rifles and taxidermy in the fashionable clothing stores.  Lovely little MiddleFork Restaurant across from the friendly bookstore.  I walked about the town before stopping for a coffee here in MiddleFork.  I've decided to have eggs benedict even though I had an express breakie at the Super8 this morning.  With the stream running through this restaurant it's a cool sanctuary from the hot sun on the street. It's only 10:30 am and it's going to be a scorcher. I've enjoyed riding through cow country remembering this is the land of stage coaches, cowboys and Indians, trapping and hunting.  There's even a one shot Antelope outfitter down the street.  I love the tumble weed and craggy layered hills chiselled out of the earth by ancient rivers and land movements.  Lots of pick up trucks on the road.  In the music store next door there were ukulele guitars and lots of fine Christian music books.  I liked seeing the Amy Grant.  I've been making time on this ride doing doing hundreds of miles a day.  Today, with my destination of Denver in range, I decided I'd ease up a little.  Subsequently I've stopped to take a picture of a little church on the way down from Dubois. Now I'm stopping here for breakfast.  I was missing Gilbert on the ride, thinking how he might well have done okay with it.  The heat isn't so bad going at 70 mph.  A dog tied outside the restaurant barked happily when his owners joined him.  Brought the little one to mind.
I was thinking about friendship on the ride down here.  Someone in the last couple of days asked if I was riding alone. When I answered, "Yes." They'd responded with a quizzical expression.
I've always had friends and done a lot with them.  Mostly though married or with a girlfriend, she has been my companion. My father was like that.  Some men have a family and a range of friends they do other things with. I've hunted and travelled some with men but like being alone too.  Guy spoke about feeling lonely after his divorce and a breakup with a girlfriend.  Much of our emotional life revolves around women.
On the road I see a lot of couples, two guys riding together, a guy and a girl on separate bikes, the occasional couple alone and the loner like me. There are a few groups 2 or 3 bikes and usually there's a girl.  I've only see a few "gangs', a half dozen bikes and they're mostly mixed.  I remember reading Jordan's book about being gay and how he said 'gay men have such difficulty being among straight men'. He hadn't realized how sensitive and deep they were but that they had a defensiveness about letting anyone 'in'.  I was surprised in a men's group how many men struggled with their sexuality, their relationships, their feelings of guilt and shame, their fears about fatherhood and being sons.  It was clear that we all share in the human dilemmas.
I enjoyed riding with Donny down to Anacortes.  Another time riding with Dr. Cho and his friend was fine.  But only a few of my friends ride motorcycle, sail or hunt for that matter. Then my schedule is always so complicated. Theirs are more often 'fixed' in a way.  It's hard enough for me with my work to keep a commitment to family plans.  I have had holidays disrupted so often.  Even on this trip I'm getting calls.  My colleague stopped taking holidays, he told me, last month, simply because the work on his return was so much greater and overwhelming.  Now he'll take a few days off but mostly is life is his work. My other clinician friends tend to use their getaways for relaxation time with a woman friend.
I'm a loner in that sense.  I'm riding along missing my dog.  I didn't shave this morning.  Quick shower and hurried getting ready, to a quick breakfast and now I'm a couple of hours down the road enjoying this break. When I'm with others I always seem to be 'waiting' or going slower or taking it easier.  Alone I drove yesterday through hellish heat, horrid downpours with rain that bit my face, then cold high altitude riding with the road covered in mist at times.  I tried to find accommodation but the lodges were full and I almost camped but that would have required going off road some and my fear was the campground would be full.  In the end I was "rescued' near midnight by the Super 8.  When this has happened when women were along they've 'blamed' me and been angry with me, as if I caused the rain, the cold, or the accommodation being full.  Other guys gets somewhat irascible or hopefully have the black humour that such miserable conditions deserve. But even they, like myself, can be ornery. Alone I figure I don't inflict myself on others and I'm freed for a space from their negativity. I deal with so much fear and negativity in my work.  Countless times I feared going off a canyon edge taking a wet corner a little too fast though I'd slowed down. I could worry or just try harder next time to get the angles and speed right with the ever changing and often dangerous road conditions.  The 'bullet has to have my name on it' though I don't want to encourage death.  The trials of adventure and expedition are part of the overall excitement that heighten prayer life and make one feel truly alive. I suppose smart people really would just lie on the beach and stay in 5 star hotels.  I learned from a woman last week that her idea of 'travel' was taking bus tours and going shopping in malls.  I have to remember that when I think of travel it's been bicycling a cross europe, hitchhiking across Canada, driving and camping north america, sailing solo to Hawaii in winter and now motorcycling across the cowboy territories of the US eventually ending up at Sturgis I hope.  It's a different sort of travel.  Most people like the 'idea' of my kind of travel but they don't do it .
I could see bringing my RV to Lander. There's lots of massage and physical therapists in the town making me think that a lot of retired folk with arthritis or rheumatism come her for the hot and dry.  I wonder what the winters are like. Probably similar to midwest Canada but more south I'd think they'd be shorter and more enjoyable as a result. Lots of snowmobile trails signs on the way down to Dubois from Yellowstone.
I wonder if I'll stay in Vancouver if I ever retire.  The cost of housing and the risk of theft is so high I wouldn't want to be living there among all the drug dealers on a fixed pension.  I'd like to retire where 'theft' is considered wrong and not a 'necessary' or 'clever' occupation. I'd like to be among peoples who shared my morality rather than considering my generosity and truthfulness stupid. I guess at some level, when I look at older age and vulnerability I don't want to be in a place where I'm not allowed a gun and must be among criminals who have guns and don't respect the laws.  But then I think of Canada fondly, my home and native land.
Lander looks like a sweet country town. Reminds me of the places I worked as a physician and psychiatrist in the country. Probably lots of gossip but all the pleasures and beauty of small town living.  I did like the man that said Denver was just too busy.  Says a lot about cities in general
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Old Faithful, Yellowstone Park

It's still incredible. In the lodge the time was listed for the geyser to spout.  5:45.  They had predicted the time back in the 80's when last I was here. Now here I was again about to witness one of the true wonders of natures.  I simply can't fathom the forces beneath the earth and the regularity with which this geyser erupts.  It was a joy to see. I enjoyed all the children around too.  My sense of awe is greatest today.  It was simply spectacular. Not something to be captured well on film.  An experience really. Nature's own Woodstock or Landing on the Moon.  I'm sure the animals have been as perplexed and comforted by Old Faithful as I am.

Yellowstone Park

I entered Yellowstone Park through the West Entrance.  I have been at least two other times. I've a spectacular picture of a moose which I got by chasing it down a stream and confronting it head on. I was younger then. There were elk wandering around but not the herds I'd seen on other trips.  I didn't see the herds of bison either.  But what I'd come for was the geysers. I really wanted to see Old Faithful.  I stopped at the first set of active geysers I saw from the road.  There was a walk way and I took pictures along with the other tourists. It's truly amazing having this water bubbling up and spurting out of the soil from some great depth below.  At the Lodge I learned that Old Faithful was to go off at 5:45 pm so I had about a half hour to get a salad and coffee. Then it was this incredible age old event with all these spectators and it was the same as when I was there in the 80's and 90's .  Amazing.
I drove on to the south entrance through the Teton forest. On the way I saw the Keppler Cascades, another falls  and these great lakes. Then it was mountain riding and as all places were taken I drove through till midnight when I found the Super8 in Dubois.

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Dubois, Wyoming

I just drove into a Super8 Motel in Dubois. I was cold.  I'd tried to get into a lodge a couple of hours before midnight but they were booked.  It was a cold night driving through the high altitude. The pass was approx 9500 feet.  Cold.  There was mist on the road. I was down to going at 80 km and letting the few other drivers pass.  So glad this place is open.  I'm loving the in room heater.  Someone had it on air conditioner. Whatever were they thinking.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Motorcycling Spokane to Bute, Montana

I got in at 11 pm and had to get up at 2 am to catch a taxi at 3 to be at the airport for 4 am to depart to Seattle at 6 am.  It was a short stop over in Seattle. I arrived in Spokane where Mr. Lawless was waiting with his taxi. Great morning drive to Lone Wolf Harley Davidson Dealers. The guys there had solved my ABS brake problem finding the old code to set it right.  By 10:30 am I was on the highway.  Terrific service.
I brought more tunes.  This time I had all the iPod music but in addition I'd collected a bunch of cd's from home.  Barrelling along the highway at 70 mph is made even better with just the right cruising music.  Steve Bell was still a hit with me after I found out how I enjoyed his music riding into Spokane. This time I also played Third Day, my favourite Christian Rock band, Steppenwolf of course, with the Born to be Wild Theme song.  I loved hearing them at Sturges North.  I listened to Guess Who as well this stretch. Some of the time I turn off the stereo or listen to the FM or AM radio when I'm near a town.
The ride from Spokane was first through Idaho hills where the pine smells were so rich. There'd been fog and chill in Seatle so I was glad to be in the heat and sun that started in Spokane. It got really dry when I got a little ways into Montana.  By Missoula it was grass plains.  Real cattle country.
I passed Blackfoot and Little Blackfoot Rivers. The rest areas had great history plaques about the engineering that went into the building of the first major roads in the mid 1800's.  Lots of Silver in the hills.  I got to an elevation near 5000 feet at one point before getting on to Montana plains and rolling hills. I could see the cowboys and Indians riding through these valleys for sure. Enjoyed seeing paint horses and remembering the great western novels about Paint Horses.
I stripped at the last rest stop and climbed into the river. It wasn't deep enough to swim but I could lie on my belly and back and get a thorough cooling dunking. It was especially refreshing on my face and head.  I'd been watching all these people along swimming in this river's swimming holes  and was finally able to join in.  Reminded me of swimming in the prairies as a kid.
I stopped at Missoula Grizzly Harley Davidson.
I had to nap at one rest area, my eyes were so gritty. Then when I pulled into Bute I met Guy outside the Alano Club.  I left my bike there and he drove me up to an outdoor grill where I had the best new yorker steak .  I'd not eaten all day and had been seeing a lot of Black Angus cattle that were whetting my appetite. I just loved that steak.  Then we were at a meeting and everyone was so friendly. Thanks to Guy I found this Best Western.
He's a Harley Rider, was helping at the Evil Kneevil Show last week in Bute. I saw the posters still up as I came into town. He'd been at the Association of Injured Motorcyclists.  A real caring and loving guy who does a lot of service helping with the church and disabled people.  Plays a Marten too.  Couldn't get over the books we'd read in common.  He'd not read Spirituality of Imperfection so I was pleased to turn him on to that. We'd both enjoyed Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander. I was reading that still on the plane to Spokane.  What an incredible story.
Now I'm just 'rendering' the Gopro movie I made wearing the thing on my helmut for a bit before Missoula.  Now I'm at the Butte Plaza Inn Best Western and knowing I'm going to enjoy a good night sleep. I washed my underwear and socks and hung them up.  I'll actually get a breakfast in the morning.  Must remember to wake. I'm planning on driving to Livingston on the I90 then turning right to head south through Yellowstone. I have a desire to see a geyser again. I've gone through Yellowstone several times but it's always been sensational.  Though I remember the traffic was tediously slow.  I loved seeing the wildlife.
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