The Americas: Heading South

A Motorcycle Diary

Archive for the ‘Heading South’ Category

24 July 2019

24 Jul

Another short (and beautiful (yawn)) ride from Gateway Canyons to Aspen. We are spending the evening at a lovely hotel called the Little Nell. Neither of us have been to Aspen before so we headed out after dark to do some exploring, find some Pizza and an early night.



Our Days ride…


23 July 2019

23 Jul

We are riding everyday this week until we get to Denver on Friday so these last few days are short hops. Thankfully. Today was a simple, cool and beautiful run of 200km from Ouray to Gateway Canyons where we are staying at a great resort with some interesting attractions.



Our Days Ride…

Gateway Canyons Resort is a small resort built out in the middle of nowhere although in one of the most jaw dropping locations. It was built by an American Businessman called John Hendricks that founded the Discovery channel and he bought this land back in 1985 and has developed the resort as well as a lot of the neighbouring real estate. He has another passion and that is collecting old American cars and has founded a museum called the Gateway Auto Museum and has it packed with drool worthy machinery..at least for us boys! It was so impressive that we spent a couple of hours in there.


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This particular car is a once off 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 that John paid $3.2m for at auction some 15 years ago.


22 July 2019

22 Jul

And another magnificent ride. Its almost getting boring now! We left Mexican Hat at 07h30. It was already 32c and we weren’t relishing another cheese sandwich from the 7-11 so we headed for Cortez some 150km away in the hope of finding another Thunderbird restaurant. It was great to get so much mileage done early as we only had 350km to do today. Unfortunately, there were no Thunderbirds around and we had to do with a Benny’s diner (a far cry from what we were hoping to find) which came with more than enough slop and grease to oil the system for the rest of the day; so much so that Max ate two breakfasts to fill the holes that the cheese sandwiches of yesterday couldn’t!


Our Days ride…

I occasionally rely on a map I bought a few years ago of the 20 best and most scenic rides through the US and although this particular route from Cortez to Durango to Ouray is a ride that Jacqui and I did in 2013 its one that I wanted to do again for Max’s benefit, such is its magnificence. Not unlike back in 2013, we were caught in rain again although it was a welcome relief from the last few days of heat so we didn’t even bother to stop to suit up and elected to just get wet.



We had a lunch stop in Silverton which is a beautiful old western town stuck in time. We found a restaurant there called the Brown Bear which was perfect and highly recommended if ever going through Silverton.




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Max has become the designated photographer from the back of the bike so pics have started to get “interesting”!!



We are spending the night in a beautiful town called Ouray in Colorado. We also found one of “those” roadside motels we are starting to love and the Box Canyon Lodge was really good!!


21 July 2019

21 Jul

So as mentioned yesterday, we decided to leave the lodge at Bryce Canyon early because its a dump and we wanted to get out whilst it was still cool and not have a repeat of yesterday with the heat. We rode some 150km before we found this gem in Mt Carmel called the Thunderbird Restaurant. A classic all American Diner with all the Americana memorabilia inside so what should have been a 30 minute breakfast stop turned into well over an hour savouring an amazing breakfast and the sights and sounds inside this lovely old place.


Today was another incredible day through Utah. We rode Monument Valley and the Valley of the Gods on route to our destination, a small town called Mexican hat where we are staying at a Roadside Motel called the Hat Rock Inn. After now having done this sort of riding for many years, I have started to come to the conclusion that these cheap and cheerful roadside motels are the way forward. Whilst my preference has historically been to find good 4 or 5 star hotels, the problem with these is that invariably you have to unload the bike, schlep all your gear up to the room, come back down to go park the bike invariably in some parking lot two blocks away and after a long day in the saddle, this kind of PT is the last thing one wants or needs! The attraction of these roadside motels is that you get to pull up outside your room, unload and collapse! Bliss!! Now most people might think that we are trading quality for convenience and whilst there is an element of truth to this, with Google, TripAdvisor etc, one is quickly able to ascertain the quality and for the most part we have been lucky with our selections…no bedbugs, roaches or other creepy findings…yet!




Monument Valley


Our Days ride…



Valley of the Gods…

We got into Mexican Hat at about lunch time, stripped off (it was 45c) and hopped into the pool that looks over the river in the Canyon. It was Sunday, Mexican Hat has a population of approx. 10 and so there were no restaurants open so lunch/dinner was a hastily made cheese sandwich from the 7-11 at the petrol station up the road…one of the downsides of these roadside motels I guess!!


20 July 2019

20 Jul

Today was a very long day. I had a breakfast meeting which meant that we didn’t get to leave the hotel until nearly midday so we got to experience the H-E-A-T!! We have started to come down in altitude and move back into the desert and the temperatures soared into the 40’s (Celsius) and we only got to our hotel early evening. We had some 550km to do today and we elected to do the famous Highway 212 which I rode with Jax back in 2013. It remains as impressive as ever when riding into these red rock canyons.


Red Moss Cave off Highway 212…


Our days ride…

We are spending the evening at the Lodge at Bryce Canyon. Its a dump, the service is Shite, the food was on the verge of edible and there is no AC or TV so I do not recommend it, however, the setting is world class so I guess they feel they can get away with less than sub standard and still feel justified in doing so.


Bryce Canyon in all its glory at Sunset

Its an early evening as we are leaving at day break to find breakfast on the road (for the abovementioned reasons) so this post is short and sweet. xx


18/19 July 2019

19 Jul

Today was another long-ish 500km day from Amangani in Jackson, Wyoming to Park City in Utah. I mentioned back in 2013 that Utah and Wyoming, of all the US states had captured my heart and this remains true to this day. These two states just keep unfolding surprises around each bend and today was again no exception. Unfortunately Max and I made limited stops today as we were looking forward to getting to our destination. We are spending the next two nights again at one location, the Montage Deer Valley in Park City. I have a lot of work to catch up on and need another stationary day to try and clear my backlog and Max is moaning about the pace!


Our Days ride…


The road never fails to deliver humour…


16/17 July 2019

17 Jul

The Beartooth Highway turned out to be everything we had read about, and then some. We got going relatively early and like all of the “Scenic byways” and “All American roads” this one was no less dramatic. Being the middle of summer however, what was not expected was just how cold it was when we peaked in altitude at some 3300m and we weren’t dressed appropriately in our summer riding gear. Although we only had some 350km to do the day was super slow again due to speed limits and traffic.


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Our days ride…



So cold that Max shrunk…



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We are spending the next two nights at the beautiful Amangani Hotel just outside Jackson in Wyoming so we will be exploring Jackson and generally getting some rest.


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The Tradition (Incl having Max Kick my ass) Continues….


15 July 2019

15 Jul

Today was an entirely non descript day with nothing to really write about. We had a long day of unremarkable roads ridden mostly on motorway at high speeds to get us to our destination for the night. We are spending the evening in a beautiful town called Redlodge at the start of the Beartooth highway which runs along highway 212 from Red Lodge to Tower Junction which we plan on riding tomorrow.


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14 July 2019

14 Jul

Today was a much anticipated day. I have been talking about the “Going to the sun road” with Max since I last completed it back in 2013. It is truly motorcycling paradise and one of those roads that people come to the US just to have the opportunity to ride/drive/visit, such is its majesty! Although today was a relatively short ride of just some 350 odd km, the going was slow because of speed limits in the national park, narrow winding roads with limited opportunity to pass and quite a lot of traffic.




We are spending the night in Missoula in northern Montana, a medium size albeit (respectfully to the locals) non descript town without much to do. To add to this, its Sunday night so everything barring the local pizzeria is closed. Dinner was therefore fast, greasy and unmemorable.


13 July 2019

13 Jul

I know that this is an oft repeated statement, but its only because we always have the best of intentions(!); so although we had planned to leave the hotel by 0700 for a relatively long 525km run, our holiday slumber and the beers of the night before got the better of us!! Eventually, at about 11am, I hauled the fat girl out of the parking garage and Max and I loaded her up with lead in our feet. Fortunately, the day was cool, windless and cloudless so it made for effortless riding. The Gods must also have been smiling because our chosen route through Kootenay national park revealed one magnificent vista after the next for the bulk of our ride and we eventually got to Waterton Parks on the Canadian/US border at about 1700.


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The local wildlife is particularly tame! Waterton Park hotel, where Jax and I stayed back in 2013 is still great with a great location set right on the lake.

It may be surprising to hear because the sense is that we are doing nothing but sitting on our fat asses all day however, long riding days take extreme physical toll on the body! Hours of sitting in an upright position absolutely hammer the shoulders, back, core and yes, the ass too! As I get older, and because I have no intention of giving up long distance RTW riding, the prospects of cosmetic ass surgery is definitely something I am going to start considering, particularly after the less than flattering remarks made by my 18 year old snot nose!


All of that said, Max and I are having an incredible time together. Some nights we just crash, others we sit up late into the evening playing chess, shooting the breeze, discussing motorcycles and imbibing on the local craft of wherever we may find ourselves. The voyage of touring and discovering, particularly when done on two wheels continues to be awesome, and the US feels like we could keep exploring for the next 10 years and still only have scratched the surface!