Monday, June 29, 2009

Durango to Thorp - Day 4

I'm baaaack.
Snugly ensconced at my summer estate in Thorp. That would be Patti and Ross' place, parked along side their fence. Don't have full hook-ups, but I do have wifi and cable television.
Owens Cycles (the Yakima Harley dealer) was able to complete the repair estimate in less than two hours this morning. What a well organized shop. I had to pay for the estimate, but Safeco should reimburse me for it and I would have paid Durango Harley if it would have gotten them off their ass. The repair costs are just shy of $5,000. No structural or internal damage. Everything bolts on, so I'll be buying pieces and doing what I can myself.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Durango to Thorp - Day 3

A VERY easy 300 miles or so to Prosser. Why didn't I just go to Thorp you ask? I don't want to back track. I'll be at the Harley shop when it opens. Nice RV park in Prosser from what I've seen - except for the pay showers! Free wifi, cable television, green grass. I've missed green grass more than I realized.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Durango to Thorp - Day 2

Easy, boring 300 miles today. Had a little trouble finding the RV park, but I'm here. Not quite as nice as last night, but cable TV and free wifi. Prosser tomorrow night and I'll be at the Yakima Harley dealership early Monday morning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Durango to Thorp - Day 1

450 miles to Brigham City, Utah. I even went through rush hour traffic in Salt Lake City at 3 p.m. to get here. No problems to report on the way here. There was some construction along the way, but nothing that brought me to a stop. Highways 160 to 491 to 70 to 6 and up 15 to this stop.
If the bike was operational I would have stopped at Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. Moab is situated in a nice valley surrounded by red cliffs. The area north of Moab to Price looks like a gravel pit. The traffic through Salt Lake City was the pits but I just snuggled in between some Walmart trucks and bit my lip.
Dave suggested this RV park and a few more. Don't know if I'll be ready to stop in Nampa, Idaho - that's only 300 miles.

Had dinner at "Wingers". That should clog my arteries for a while. I had the 'Sizzling Steak' - strips of steak, mushrooms and onions floating in cheese, with fresh veggies and a baked potato for $10. I stepped out of the restaurant in to a thunderstorm. Seems they followed me from Durango.
If I did 450 miles each day, I would arrive in Yakima on Sunday - the Harley shop is closed on Sundays - so I'll cut it down to about 300 miles, spend tomorrow night in Nampa, ID and Sunday night in Prosser.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heading north

Well, three weeks and a thousand dollars later - Durango Harley Davidson has failed to even look at my bike, let alone complete a repair estimate.
The trailer coupler has been replaced so it is safe to tow. I bought new tie down straps and have decided to just push the wreck back in the trailer and head north. I'll hope for better service from a dealer in Washington.
I'll park the RV at my brother's house and take the bike to Yakima.

The general manager from Owen Cycles (the Harley dealership in Yakima) called me today and said that they would complete the estimate on the same day that I deliver the bike to them.
That's how things are supposed to be done.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


What a wonderful drive from Durango, CO to Taos, NM via highways 160, 84 and 64. This route takes you through beautiful rolling countryside. Through ranches. Between peaks of the mountain ranges along the route. Alongside numerous rivers.

After an easy 5 hour drive (with breaks), Carolyn and I arrived in Taos and checked in to the Sagebrush Inn. The Sagebrush was built in 1929 and the third floor loft was for a three month period, the home of Georgia O'Keefe. R.C. Gorman also visited the Inn. Many of his works hang in the hallways. Parts of "Easy Rider" were filmed behind the Inn.

Christine - take a trip to Taos and spend the night. Wander the halls and view all of the art work. I especially enjoyed the frescoes installed at the time of construction.

We wandered the plaza. Carolyn found many treasures to take home as reminders of her vacation. We visited the St. Francis of Asisi church. How many artists have recreated this structure? We visited Taos Pueblo. We stared at the Rio Grande gorge and Chimney Rock. It was a very enjoyable trip.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day to me.

I am lucky to be the father of two great people - Erica and Thom.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mesa Verde

Amazing! I fell in love with the thought of cliff dwellings while reading Tony Hillerman mysteries. Carolyn and I visited the home of the largest grouping of Anasazi cliff dwellings today.

The Mesa Verde National Park is just 50 miles from Durango southwest on Highway 160. It was a very pretty drive. The roads in the park would be perfect bike rides and there were plenty of bikes in the park.

We took a 2-1/2 mile hike along the petroglyph trail. Some people walked right past the petroglyphs while concentrating on the trail - not us. On the return trail along the top of the mesa we made a new friend (yellow headed collared lizard). The trail was a little bit harder than we expected, but felt a sense of accomplishment when we returned to the parking lot.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Molas Pass

Molas Pass is situated between Durango and Silverton. At it's summit, the elevation is 10,640 feet.
Carolyn and I drove over Molas Pass to Silverton on 550 today. What a beautiful drive. It would be a nice ride on the bike - if I had a bike! Dirty white snow still hides in the shady patches along the road at the top.

Silverton itself is a tiny tourist trap with some very cute buildings and homes. It survives on the tourist trade as it is the end of the line for the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway. The train passengers get an hour in town for lunch and trinket buying.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Come and play!"

Durango seems to shout that sentiment.

River rafting, kayaking, fishing, glider planes, train rides, horse rides, golf, Indian ruins, Jeep rides, museums, casinos, national parks, spas, bike riding trails, rock climbing, hot springs, fine dining, cowboy theater and boutiques.

I should be able to entertain myself for the next few weeks.

The repair manager from Tarpley RV went to look at my trailer today. He says I need a new coupler and safety chains. I'm not surprised.

The cost of repairs to the trailer and the deductible on the bike may limit my entertainment options.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Well, I finally heard from the adjuster assigned to my claim. He authorized Durango Harley Davidson to complete the estimate. When I contacted the service department, they said they couldn't do the estimate for about a week and a half.

I guess I'm stuck in Durango for the duration.

There are worse places.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gage Rail Road

The D&SNGRR train goes through the park twice-a-day (so does it's twin) full of passengers making the 4 hour ride between Durango and Silverton. They leave in the morning, spend an hour in Silverton and return to Durango in the afternoon. The residents of the park run out to watch it go by or to place pennies on the tracks.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Not so bad

After the bike got back up on two wheels, it doesn't look nearly as bad as I feared. Good thing we straightened out those auxiliary lights Dave. Think the new handlebar style will catch on?

I rode the free trolley to town, then walked the Animas river trail out to the Harley shop. It is a nice walk - but long (7 miles). Good thing I got my exercise because when I got back to town I found a taste of Durango type thing going on. "Men Who Grill" is a fund raiser for the Women's Resource Center. All of the groups had a theme - Flintstones, Kardiac Killers, Afternoon Delight, etc. Lots of good food. Just about everything was wrapped around a Jalapeno or covered in green chili sauce. I am full and will pay for this bit of gluttony later. The old part of Durango is very cute, lots of boutique shops and friendly people. Then I jumped back on the trolley to the RV park.
A view of my parking spot and the view out the rear window. Not so bad.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Seven words you can't say on the radio.

I've relaxed enough to talk about it. I was on Hiway 160 east of Four Corners. 6% downgrade ahead so I took the tranny out of OD and slowed to about 55. Big left hand sweeping curve. Also big dipsy dos in the pavement. The trailer jumped in one of the dips and I felt it kick to the right. I looked in my rear view monitor and saw it jump to the left in the next dip as I braked. Then I saw the trailer jump off the hitch. Only the safety chains kept this from being a bigger tragedy. I slowed way down and towed the trailer with the chains until I found a shoulder wide enough to pull over and survey the damage. I had to repair the coupler on the trailer and got it mounted back on the ball. Then I found out where the nearest Harley dealership was located - Durango. I did the next 60 or so miles at less than 40 mph. The trailer and bike are sitting at the dealership waiting for the insurance adjuster to show up. There should be no problems - $250 deductible on the bike. No insurance on the trailer, so those repairs will be out of my pocket. I had a drink, washed my shorts and am wishing my back didn't hurt. Must have been when I was working on the trailer. It's just a "thing" - a pretty thing, but a thing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Valley of monumental sights

Another short drive, just up highways 89, 160 and 163 to Monument Valley, Utah. No cell phone coverage, but free wifi. We will explore the valley tomorrow in Dave and Paige's Jeep. My white Harley is not going for a run in this red dirt. Here are the views from the RV park. I'll write more later.

The view from the park is great. Can't wait to see everything up close tomorrow on the 3 hour tour.


We opted for the self guided ride thru the valley in lieu of the $50 ride in an open flat bed truck. I'm glad we did. The Navajo guided tours went to a few places we couldn't go, but we saw enough to be thoroughly awe struck.

Dave took a panoramic video and will be posting it on their blog page.

I part ways with Paige and Dave tomorrow. I am lucky to have good friends and good people with whom to travel.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Parked in Flagstaff

An easy drive from Apache Junction to Flagstaff. Only 185 miles (but with a 5,385 foot elevation gain), a short driving day. Paige has found a restaurant that was on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" just down the road, so we'll be headed there for dinner.

Dinner at Salsa Brava ( was okay. The margaritas were good - even though the waitress gave me Paige's Cadillac and Paige's was on the rocks when she wanted a slushy). Guy tried Chicken Stuffed Sopapillas when he taped his show here, so naturally I had ribs, Dave had carnitas and Paige had Enchiladas. We all shared a serving of flan for desert. Salsa Brava makes their own salsa and you get to go to the salsa bar to try them all. We didn't get past "hot", but there were "very hot", "pineapple habanero", "pico de gallo", etc. from which to choose.

All of you - but especially my motorcycle riding friends need to experience Hiway 89A between Prescott and Flagstaff. It's beautiful scenery, but don't take your eyes off the road. The bent and broken guardrails are testament to the fate of the inattentive. 89A winds through Sedona and the red cliffs, but that's not the best part. Dave mentioned how part of today's ride reminded him of our ride near Lake Tahoe and I reflected that it was kind of like the hill country of Texas. We tried to ride the remnants of Route 66 outside of Flagstaff, but we kept running out of pavement. Sections of the famous road are nothing but gravel now. We of course stopped at the local Harley shop for souvenirs. The store used to be in Flagstaff, but got run out of town some time back. The city is trying to figure out how to get them back inside the city limits so they can collect some sales tax. We had dinner at the Galaxy Diner on Route 66. Dave and Paige enjoyed their chocolate malt and I devoured my Red Cow (Dr. Pepper float).