Our last Mountain Pass at 11,312 feet. The bikes are pointed towards the Atlantic Ocean and that means homeward bound.
At the pass they have a cable chair lift to the top of Monarch Mountain as described below. It seemed fitting that this be the last photo of our five week adventure.
Highway 550 (The Million Dollar Hwy) from Durango to Montrose, with a stop at the old mining town of Silverton. Two mountain passes over 10,000 feet and one over 11,000 feet elevation. You want to have a clear head and a bit of nerve. No guardrails and no shoulder, makes it hard to take your eyes off the road and look down into the canyons.
Why is it called the Million Dollar Hwy?
Mountain ponds and lakes.
Abandoned mines a common site.
Silverton still an attraction and mining dollars out of tourists pockets.
Mountain waterfall under a bridge.
Only a river and a road share a cut in the rock.
The four corners has been physically improved, but the raw features of the old corners has suffered.
Improvement, but what happened?
In the presence of a mystery. The Anasazi and Hopi people abandoned these dwellings in the later years of the 1200's during evidence of a 24 a year draught.
After a stay in Kanab, we bypassed the Grand Canyon (we had both seen it before) and headed towards Lake Powell, at Page, on the Colorado River. We were amazed to find part of the headwaters of the Colorado, we saw at Flaming Gorge near the beginning of our adventure.
lake Powell of the Colorado River is created by the Glen Canyon Dam.
Monument Valley, we were in the middle of all the old western movies we had ever seen.
Mexican Hat, carved out by nature over time, a long time.
Natures canvas of our earth.
We can't take credit for the heading, Preacher read it on a sign as we approached Kanab. It seemed so appropriate after seeing Las Vegas and a drive through the stripe on a sunday morning.
Entering Utah and approaching Zion National Park.
What a show!
If anyone is going to ride through only once, best do it from west to east.
Before getting to the tunnels.
The show changes on the other side.
It's unfortunate a lot of people can't prepare themselves to deal with the heat. This axtra-ordinary piece of land is a place of beauty. It's amazing the vegetation and wildlife that survives in this environment. Our previous visions of what to expect were completely overturned and we felt a special privilege of having experienced such a phenomenal place in North America. Viewing this desert from the seat of a motorcycle in it's harsh conditions was an ultimate experience.
Looking south to Badwater Basin, at 282 feet below sea level
Riding north towards Stovepipe Wells after a visit at Furnace Creek visitor center
The temperature upon arriving mid morning
The temperature 15 minutes later as we left for Stovepipe Wells.
Before leaving California we were determined to ride through Death Valley, just so we could say we did it. Heading north on 178 at Trona we found the road closed due to washout. Consulting with the local sheriff we learned we would have to spend the day getting to the east side to enter the area. So we did. As can be seen we had no trouble keeping up with the traffic.
The only little town in the middle of nowhere we stopped at was Shoeshone, before turning towards Nevada and a hotel in Pahrump. Yep, spelling is right. We learned this is a town retired Nevada Police Officer's retire to.
We only went through one tank of gas today, but, what a day. Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park will be a memory along with all the other parks we have experienced. Roads that motorcyclists crave and scenery that impresses, but features hard to realize.
Standing between to giants...
Standing with the giant. Not the tallest. The oldest, largest, living thing by volumne on earth.
Riding through the giants.
The valley and Kaweah Reservoir filled in the spring from runoff in Sequoia Park. The reservoir prevents flooding and provides irrigation for the agricultural farming below it.
August shows the reservoir greatly depleted. The spring water line should be evident.
Oil field approaching Bakerfield, CA.
Well, we had to say goodby to the girls, "Chaz" and Braeden this morning. It was a great week with them in the San Francisco area. Our day was long and hot passing through the agricultural plains across the centre of California. Nothing to see today but orchards and crops. But tomorrow we are back into the mountains full of BIG trees.