TRIP REPORT

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – COLORADO/UTAH - ONTARIO, CANADA

20 MAY – 07 AUGUST 2004

The Bike: 2003 Black VTX 1800C with ca. 10,500 mi. 

Modifications: Honda luggage rack; Memphis Shades 19” windshield; Champion Sidecar “Patriot” hard bags, Givi E52 top back, mounted on luggage rack.. 

Other equipment and clothing: Pro Sport brand raingear.

 Tires/Oil: Metzler 130/70HB-18; 180/70H-16; Honda 20W50 oil.

 Participants: myself and the beauteous Suzanne, riding pillion.

Total miles: 11, 427.  Point-to-point miles: 9827.  Total time of point-to-point travel: ca. 10 weeks.

Itinerary:

Ft Laud > Daphne, AL  > Lufkin, TX > Stephenville, TX  > Austin, Tx > Hobbes, NM > Santa Fe, NM > Durango, CO > Moab, UT > Park City, UT  > Logan, UT  > Nephi, UT > Kanab, UT > Grand Canyon, AZ > Panguitch, UT > Hanksville, UT > Blanding, UT > Durango, CO > Alamosa, CO > Denver, CO > Cheynne, WY > Lincoln, NE > Lawrence, KS > Ames, IA > Decorah, IA > Duluth, MN  > Nipigon, ON > Terrace Bay, ON > Sault Ste Marie > Huntsville, ON > Brighton, ON > Toronto, ON > State College, PA > Charlottesville, VA > Agusta, GA > St. Augustine, FL > Ft. Lauderdale, FL

General comments:

This was the summer of Rocks.  Everywhere we went we saw rocks.

Trip notes:

(1)  Utah was quite a revelation, a state worth spending a few weeks riding in.  The number of national and state parks worthy of spending time in is truly impressive (and a good reason to spend the fifty bucks on a year pass for US National Parks).  While the appeal of the state (south of Salt Lake City) is mainly Rocks, there are rocks and there are rocks.  Plus, despite my fears, you can get a drink almost any place in Utah. (Along with the better known parks, consider stopping in to Dead Horse Canyon State Park, north out of Moab--it's where Thelma and Louise drove their car off the cliff, and where Tom Cruise went climbing in Mission Impossible II). 

(2)    We now have a candidate for the second most awesome road in the US (Durango -- Ouray being number one).  Highway 12, east of Bryce Canyon National Park meanders northward until it intersects with highway 24 until one reaches Hanksville.  South of Hanksvilles one takes highway 95.  This fabulous section of roads passes through at least four different topographical regions, all of which are spectacular.  If you think you need gas, get it--the "towns" along the way range from microscopic to nonexistent.. 

(3)   Speaking of drinks, the only town we had difficulty finding a drink was Bluff, a dry town in deep southeastern Utah.  However, five miles out of town one can at least buy beer at a gas station. 

(4)   Another incredibly scenic trip--which can be taken in a day--begins outside of Fort Collins, CO.  Head west on highway 14 through the Poudre Canyon, stop along the way at Rustic (although check about food availability), continue to Walden (which has a desolate charm of its own), go north to highway 230 until you reach 130, where you hang a right.  This will take you through the Medicine Bow region, second only to Jackson Hole for Wyoming natural beauty.  Either overnight in Centennial, or continue on to Laramie or Cheyenne.   

(5)   While in Ontario we rented a cottage about ten miles outside of Huntsville, Ontario.  Although crawling with Torontonians during the summer, the proximity to Algonquin National Park makes this a delightful area.  Our original plan was to stay on Lake Superior, but the towns along the north shore (e.g., Nipigon, Terrace Bay) simply don't have the infrastructure.   

(6)   Speaking of Superior, if you're on the western shore, be sure to stop in at the Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais, MN.