Friday, September 10, 2010

September Scenery

29 Sept Wed. -30 Thurs.  See new photos on the Picasa link below .. of Capitol Reef National Park, followed by Bryce Canyon and then onto Cedar Brake.  The rocks of Capitol Reef, The Grand Staircase (seen at dusk) and the magificent cliffs in Bryce Canyon (10,240 foot elevation) are marvelous to behold.  Hiking was good every day. 

28 Tues: Ephraim, Utah... where the lights went out immediately after leaving the restaurant making us think (as the last patrons) they were very happy to close up.  But... instead the lights were out all over town including our hotel.

27 Sept. Monday:  Additional photos were uploaded onto the Rocky Mountain Picasa Web Album

We promised ourselves and the hotel manager at Daniel's Summit we would return for a month next fall.   Driving south on US 40 past Strawberry Reservoir (see photos) we stopped for lunch at the Strawberry Lodge overlooking the lake, continuing on to Duschene where we missed the turn and had to retrace our steps back to US 191 south to Helper and Price: don''t bother going to Duchesne... where the trees and bushes have been allowed such overgrowth the street and highway signs are hidden.  On the web album see the photo of the rock formation that looks like dentures.  We stopped beneath the rocks for a view ... and turned the bike around to a "level" spot.  Only it wasn't level.  Cynthia swung her short (cute) leg over the U-bag to get on and the bike tipped over knocking us clear.   But since there is no picture of that accident... IT DIDN'T HAPPEN!  She is thankful for the Arai helmet and Tourmaster body armor.  He somersaulted and rolled getting only a few abrasions and cuts.  We rode on through Helper to Price where we located a nice Holiday Inn Express with a real restaurant.   We are about to depart on Utah 10 to Huntington where we take a turn on Utah 3 through the Monti-la-Sal National Forest to Sigurd then South on Utah 24 to Utah 12 west and back to US 89, then north to Utah 143 to Pangiwitch.  Eventually we will arrive in Cedar Brake before entering Zion National Forest.

26 Sept. Sunday: Once again we hiked the Foreman Trail for four hours with a steep ascent following a dry stream bed.  IMAGINE!  A pink bunny left pink jelly beans scattered on the trail for Smooch Smooch.  We did trail maintenace  moving limbs and dead tees out of the path.

25 Sept. Saturday:  We hiked the Foreman Trail about two hours into a very nice campground and then rode Provo Canyon almost to Provo seeing gorgeous color and the Bridal Veil Falls.

24 Sept. Fri:  One MORE breakfast and lunch at the Market Street Grill and stop at the Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) shop with a thank you and to do a quick repair on a gas line leak and a photo shot outside the window from our room and off we rode.  See the view of Temple Square from our window (below). 
We drove south to Hwy 190 and then east to Park City, UT through the Cottonwood Canyon (see photos of golden aspen peaking).  What a surprise when we started a steep descent only to discover the road turned into a washboard gravel filled with ruts and bumps; it was pretty dicey for about fifty yards.  From there it was about a mile before we reached a semblance of a road.  We stopped for dinner at the Mountain Grill - nothing special - and boogied down to Heber City hoping to find accomodations less pricey, but we were in for another surprise finding NO vacancy signs posted due to a Cowboy Poetry competition and rodeo in town.  The clerk at the Holiday Inn Express suggested Daniels' Summit... about fifteen miles further east, "because it is so cute!"  Indeed it is.  We were fortunate enough to find marvelous lodging with a balcony overlooking a mountainside shining gold with Aspen peaking.  We opted to stay for another two nights. 

23 Sept. Thurs: Well.   We have been busy! What else can be said?  Playing "GO" every afternoon with Cousin Roy has been a hoot.  The delicious meals at the Market Street Grill... including today's lunch with Raquel L (Historian) are exceptional.  Thanks to Raquel's husband, Stan, who was willing to stay home alone recuperating from a heart attack while she dined with us.

The bike is finished, ready to roll tomorrow, but not fully repaired. It will cost more to repair than replace; but the plan has been to do exactly that next summer when we tour again. 

We haven't done a lot of genealogy while here but Cynthia did find some good information she is excited about.  The YDNA book about the Farr family is impressive. 

Here is a link to pictures of Yellowstone from our camera:

19 Sept. Sunday: Wowie Zowie! What a hike! The Canyon Road Trail is a surprise and delight easily accessible by a thirty minute walk from the hotel. Even though the high temp reached ninety degrees we were comfortable on the uphill gradual ascent being shaded by tall hardwoods gracing the trail as it wound past a small lake and the Washta Water treatment plant. The fall foliage on the canyon walls is rich and colorful but not yet at its peak. Lots of hikers, bikers and walkers (with doggies). One lady sans dog was very surprised to be asked if she had lost her dog, prompting a hearty laugh when she realized it was a joke because she was one of very few walkers not walking a dog.
18 Sept. Saturday: Breakfast at JB's and onto the library where we did research until late. The motorcycle shop can take the bike Tuesday at nine AM.
17 Sept. Friday: We arrived at the Plaza Hotel mid-afternoon and had a delightful dinner with cousin Roy and his lovely wife, Barbara, at the Market Street Grill. We were hopeful it was still in operation and indeed it is. The sourdough bread is divine.
Fleurs in Ogden, UT

16 Sept Thurs: Ogden, UT. The Blackberry cell phone cannot capture the vibrancy of fall foliage gracing the mountainside along the drive from Bear Lake, Idaho to Ogden through the Cache National Forest. Notable was the canyon... one area was particularly marvelous. We enjoyed our stay at Bear Lake and having the opportunity to meet innkeeper, Dick Motta (NBA Chicago Bulls Coach 1987), his lovely wife, Pat, and Cindy, their daughter-in-law. Tonight's outdoor dinner at the Bistro in the old historic district of Ogden was very nice with a wonderful sunset, too. We toured the old Union Station with plans to return in the morning for photos. Tomorrow the smooch smooches mozey down to Salt Lake City for a few days to visit Cousin Roy W.

14 Sept Tues: The drive south on 89 from Wyoming into Idaho continued with rain clouds looming when we passed a delightful looking B and B aptly named the Bluebird Inn overlooking Bear Lake so we made a u turn. They did indeed have a vacancy with a room overlooking this magnificent turquoise blue lake. The inn is owned by Dick Motta (NBA Chicago coach pre-Michael Jordan). The one mile hike to the country club restaurant with phenomenal views prompted us to phone the innkeeper to stay another night.

13 Sept. Mon: The view of the Tetons is breath-taking as we maneuvered a 4.8 mile loop hike from the lodge to some nice overlooks. We spent most of the day hiking at the lodge, leaving late afternoon, arriving in Afton, Wyoming early evening. A Cobra car convention is taking place; how fun is this to see those Jan and Dean Cobras worth up to a million bucks. It is a gorgeous but chilly day; the fall foliage south of Jackson Hole could make New England feel shamed.

12 Sept Sun: We departed early AM for one last trip through Yellowstone on a glorious day; the weather was chilly but warmed beautifully through the day. We had a nice hike in the park before exiting the south entrance. The ride was magnificent to Jackson Lake Lodge arriving just in time for a delicious meal at the John Colter Ranch Restaurant. The folks and the food are outstanding! They assisted in locating lodging in one of the cottages at the lodge.
Click on the link to my Picasa Web Album:

11 Sept Sat: Another stellar day in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming! How did two such silly goofs get into such a serious relationship having so much fun? We only planned to do a thirty day research trip!!!

This trip to Yellowstone is in many ways like the first (and only) trip here before the big fire in '88. The plan was to see snow on the mountains. Starting at dawn and being a fast hiker, I hiked every major trail, that was no more than two or three miles, completing the trip through the park by evening. Then and now it is an amazing realization of the size and scope of this park. It has certainly become more commercialized with heavy traffic moving at 20 MPH. There were no grizzlies here prior to the fire; afterwards the park service brought grizzlies here because they were an endangered species. Now they are a problem. So, too, with the wolves. We hiked the Lone Star Trail again managing to return to the inn in time for dinner at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room.
Sights below are the Sapphire Geyser, Mud Pots (boiling mud) and the Canyone Waterfall.

10 Sept Fri - Hebgen Lake: it snowed last night. The morning vista of the snow-covered mountains was marvelous but the ride to town for breakfast was waaaaaaaaaaaay too cold for the passenger who enjoyed a half hour walk around the cityscene instead of hiking in the mountains again. We stopped at a casino for a glass of mid-afternoon wine. Restaurants are sadly lacking fine dining - almost everything is from the freezer to the microwave or grilled.

9 Sept. Thurs: We are enjoying the Hebgen Mountain Inn and Jeaninne, the delightful innkeeper, with her dog named DOG. She is a hoot. We took a three hour hike today to Whis Lake (left) hollaring and talking loudly so as not to disturb the bears. A grouse flew up as we walked past.

8 Sept Wed: Hebgen Lake, West Yellowstone. We moved yesterday to the Hebgen Mountain Inn in West Yellowstone... high above Lake Hebgen with a fabulous view of the lake - and in the epicenter of the 1959 earthquake that changed the landscape according to news articles and photos. We hiked Red Canyon Trail today... wet and muddy.... steep ascent... on guard because a mama bear and her two cubs were spotted a couple of weeks ago. The bears are hungry now which is the reason they are a problem.


Yesterday's Hiking was sporadic: we drove into the park and stopped at overlooks (cleaned a tree up off of a side road) and hiked on several trails. This is called "Getting Away From it All." Four bison were beyond Ron in this photo but not visible with the Blackberry phone camera that does not zoom. We saw lots of elk and carried our bear spray diligently. It was late when we completed the hike - and the traffic was backed up for miles again with folks out taking pictures of the critters. We passed several cars ... IN A PASSING ZONE... when a ranger pulled up to us and told us not to pass because it was not safe. Imagine! Just imagine. What isn't safe is a car stopping in the middle of the road for the driver to take pictures backing up traffic for miles. Of course he could not issue a ticket to us because it WAS a passing zone.

7Sept Tues: We hiked the Lone Star Trail and saw a marvelous big bison framed in front of the Lone Star Geyer. Unfortunately he moved before the picture could be taken (left) . As we exited the trail a coyote slipped across about twenty feet in front of us and walked past us in the bushes exiting onto the trail behind us ... again about twenty feet... appearing nonchalant and unconcerned as he turned his head to gaze at us before trotting down the road. That was an exciting moment.

6 Sept Mon: The ranger service has repeatedly warned about the grizzly bear problems so camping is out of the question until we leave grizzly country. Each day we have had good hikes and today was not an exception. Yesterday's hike was a steep ascent; today we hiked around Old Faithful Inn managing to see the wonder of its eruption twice: five minutes after our arrival the display was magnificent; so we hiked up to the observation point (about 300 feet ascent) for the second showing. The steam vents or thermal vents are present through out the park which boasts the hottest hydrothermal underground in the world. Right after the descent from the observation point a heavy wet snow began to fall; dinner reservations at the Old Faithful Inn were quickly cancelled for the hasty exit back to West Yellowstone amidst a winter wonderland the entire trip. The snow stopped and the sun was out when we arrived in town.

Lower Falls Hike

4 Sept Sat: Yellowstone National Park - Critters: Elk, Deer, geese, ducks, lots of bison along the road which is often blocked with bear jams. Bear jams are cars that stop blocking traffic for miles so folks can take photos. On this day we had two great hikes totaling about four hours and drove the southern loop back to the West Entrance which took two more hours.

3 Sept Friday: We drove into the park and did some hiking. Bummer! Double Bummer! We missed Jim S. in Orofino and anticipated he would be arriving in West Yellowstone tonight. We should have checked cell phone messages on Wednesday but haven't had internet or cell service to speak of. When we finally connected tonight Jim was in a U-haul with his bike loaded in the back headed back to LasVegas. His bike broke down at Lolo Pass. But, Jim... if this is the worst thing that happens to you this year... or it only costs money ... it isn't so bad. What a disappointment we did not get to see Jim and hear his exciting adventures.

2 Sept Thurs: We left the Lochsa Lodge after breakfast driving into Missoula to refill some RX at Costco and enjoyed a nice lunch at the Stone of Accord arriving at Wisdom, Montana without lodging. The one location was completely booked and the other one did not have a manager on duty. The only place in town (three blocks) that was open was a saloon that offered home made pizza. DUH! But they did make us a turkey sub using their home made bread that was quite delicious and were most congenial about assisting us find lodging by phoning Diane... a local... who had a charming little guest house that just happened to be available. Indeed it was very delightful and so was the owner and her daughter.

1 Sept Wed. 2010: Pierce, Idaho in the AM and Lochsa Lodge at nightfall. Yesterday started out on the infamous Lolo Trail leaving Orofino about noon with rainy skies above when we happened upon a forest ranger who strongly advised us NOTto to take the Lolo Trail because it is so unsafe on our kind of bike. Heeding his good advice... with ominous dark clouds and raindrops overhead... we followed a gravel road to Weipee but lodging was not available; so onto Pierce we rode. Pierce, reputedly, is where Idaho had its beginning. We found lodging in a delightful log cabin but the ride on the gravel road to Pierce convinced us we don't want to ride the back roads or dirt roads with a passenger and gear.

We arrived at Lochsa Lodge early enough in the evening for a delightful hike hike in the rain. If you have not been here... it is worth the trip to spend even a night. The lodge has been in the Denton family for generations; it went through a nasty fire in 2002 and the lodge was rebuilt the same year. Great staff... wonderful hikes.