Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Silt Colorado - Gateway Ride

I was up early this morning checking the tire pressures and tread depths on the RV and trailer. All appeared well so I unloaded the bike and, for good measure, checked the tires on it as well. Mal got his Kawasaki Concourse and Yvette's Drifter out of the garage and we were soon westbound on I-70 with Yvette setting a pace that averaged about 85 MPH. Through De Beque Canyon, we passed three troopers on our side but they all had customers. We arrived in Grand Junction and stopped at the same Conoco station where I fueled the motorhome on the way out. The one with the really good cookies. We didn't need fuel yet but noted the $3.449 price for the return trip.

We caught US 50 on our way out of town and then turned off on Colorado 141. Oddly, this winding road took us UP to Unaweep Canyon, which is geologically significant because rivers flow out both ends of it. At the top of the climb, we were held up briefly at a construction zone while we waited for oncoming traffic to clear and the pilot car (truck) to get turned around. The slow, hot climb wasn't doing my temperature gauge any good but, as per Oatman, I don't worrying about that any more. The canyon widened out, bounded on both sides by large cliffs, as we rode towards the little town of Gateway. Eventually, we started back down through more winding curves to our destination.

It is hard to express in words what Gateway looks like. Imagine canyons radiating out like spokes from a central point, with each separated by spectacular red rock cliffs. No matter which way you look, the view is overpowering. I spoke yesterday about the overall beauty of Utah but this may be the single most amazing spot I have ever been in. Moab and the red rocks of the Colorado River Canyon lie not far to the west but there are no roads going in that direction. All in all, if you want to be amazed by the wonders of Mother Nature, this is an area you need to spend time in.

In the centre of all this splendour lie the red adobe buildings and surrounding lush green lawns of the Gateway Canyons Resort and our destination, the Gateway Auto Museum. These unique facilities belong to John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel, and his family. The Museum doesn't have a large collection of vehicles but the immaculate exhibits give an excellent representation of the history of the North American automobile from the beginning through the muscle car era of my youth. The presentation of the cars is very well done and I found our visit both enjoyable and educational.

After the museum visit, we stopped at Karen's 141 Diner for lunch. This place has the feel of the old diners of the 50's and 60's. In addition to the decor, the service was friendly and competent. Plus it was air conditioned against the near 100 degree heat. Sandy and I split a generous BLT sandwich and fries which filled the holes in both our bellies. A group of riders, mostly Milwaukee iron, from Minnesota were heading on down the canyon towards Naturita. This was the way Mal wanted to take us back, looping up over the Grand Mesa, but Yvette had to be back for work so we headed back through Unaweep Canyon. However, after looking at a closeup of the other roads on Google Maps, that is a trip we are going to have to make before too long.

The ride back was fine until we got to the construction area. Then we fell into line behind a float hauling an excavator and had our final swoop down through the canyon was slowed down significantly. We bought the cheap gas in Grand Junction (Clifton actually) and then hightailed it back east on I-70. Around one curve we found a trooper on the side of the road but we backed down quickly and he didn't take notice of us.

Back at the house, Yvette went to work in her office dispensing technical support to worldwide investors who use her company's software while Mal asked what we would like for supper. I surprised him by suggesting hot dogs when he had been thinking steak. I am a person of simple tastes in the food area. We went to WalMart in Rifle for some items and I finally got the 10 amp fuses I was looking for. I was later chagrined to find the blown fuse was actually a 20, a size I already had several of. In addition to the weiners on the grill, Mal made some chili and corn on the cob to round a fine fine meal.

We had a quiet evening before turning in. Thanks to Mal and Yvette for the kind hospitality. We'll find our way back for the Naturita/Grand Mesa ride before long.

Today's Photos

The Book Cliffs again

The swollen Colorado River again

The joy of the open road

Why won't this guy move over?

Tunnels still freak me out

It's all water over the dam....

The sign said "Watch Out For Falling Rocks"

Stopped for a break in Clifton Colorado

No chance of flooding here

I bet this tree has been around for a long time

Waiting for the pilot car (or truck) on Colorado 141

Your taxpayer dollars hard at work

More red rocks

We followed Unaweep Canyon to Gateway

Some good curves

Awesome mountains

And the curves were fun even if we were following a truck

The La Sal Mountains again

Red rock sentinal

The Gateway Automobile Museum

Indian of unremembered year

1948 Studebaker Commander

Mass Mobility Gallery

From another angle

1906 Cadillac Model H Coupe (Smart Car)

1912 Ford Model T Speedster

1937 Hudson Terraplane Convertible Coupe

1930 Deusenberg Model J Transformable Cabriolet

1929 Packard 645 Deluxe Eight Convertible Runabout

1936 Auburn 8-100A Boattail Speedster Convertible

1954 Oldsmobile F-88 Convertible Concept Car

1954 Buick Skylark Convertible

1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

1958 Chevrolet Corvette

American Muscle Gallery

1970 Hemi 'Cuda, 1965 Chevrolet Malibu and 1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback

Firebird Trans-Am Bandit Special

1971 Pontiac GTO Judge

Here come de Judge....

1956 Ford F100 Truck

This was not an exhibit - a young couple was touring the state

Breathtaking scenery no matter which way we looked

Karen's Highway 141 Diner - Gateway Colorado

The high class motel

Inside Karen's

A second counter

Some hungry travelers

An old structure in Unaweep Canyon

Sandy did an awesome job to capture this waterfall

And, surprise, more red rock

Mal and his Mohawk

More heat rash for you know who

Mal asked what I wanted for supper - hot dogs

Playing with Tink as Ringo looks on

Now Ringo is ready for a tug-of-war

He just doesn't let go

I think Ringo looks embarrassed:-)

Yvette hard at work

Today's Route (228 motorcycle miles):

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