I said Goodbye to Ronald and his brand-new Indian after a good breakfast, and took westward. Finally, back to the road, back to the highways, and back to living along the roads, trying to keep a budget, but have fun anyway. Well, I did not really succeed in the former.
First impression was Luckenbach, TX, where I spent an evening with some live music und some beers.
Nice (and cheap) campground here, I will certainly pass by when I am on my way back to Houston.
The way I am looking does not reflect my feelings, which were great.
Well, then always westward. I left Texas on I40 and passed into New Mexico, where I headed North to Las Vegas, NM, and to Taos, NM. Earlier,
I passed the middle of route 66, which is enough to justify a cafe and shop.
And, of course, I needed to visit the Cadillac Ranch, which is famous in Europe as one of the outstanding examples of American land art.
Unfortunately, it looks a little bit of derailed now, being covered by uncounted layers of paint.
So another legend of the US (at least in my mind) was gone, very difficult to understand why people could not accept that masterpiece of art and respect it. For me thats like painting the David statue by Michelangelo in Florence, Italy.
I really love the remnants of older automobile times. There are uncounted former gas stations, and it is not difficult to imagine the times when the Cadillacs and Studebakers passed by.
Spent my 66th birthday in Santa Rosa, NM, and a few days later I could celebrate Germany winning the soccer world cup. A German guy living in the states for long, invited me for a beer after I told him my 66 years, 33 dollars a day story. Actually, when I told the same story to a girl at MacDonalds, also from Germany, and praised McDonalds for the good WiFi, she came back to me with a variety of promotion vouchers worth some 200 $, which I used for more than 2 months, except the happy meal vouchers, since the procedure to go through all variations (boy or girl?) was too boring.
Sometimes I found strange signs, here in the middle of nowhere.
That was a hot day, observe the variety of greens.
And that is the way I live, here in a campground near Taos, NM.
Still in Taos, I entered this cafe.
I asked the waitress, whether there is a kind of alternative life (Taos is renown for it), and she said, that it is a small and tiny island in mainstream America. "We do not disturb them, they do not disturb us". Actually, I entered this cafe because I thought it has something to do with the soccer world cup, but that was not true.
Heading North, I reached Fort Garland, CO, then turned westward on US 160, wonderful road to Durango, CO. Was tired this evening, so needed to go to a KOA, which charged me 38 bucks for the night. Lesson learned; stay away from famous towns and tourist hotspots, you have to pay for it.
I had to choose now between going north to high Colorado or west, and I decided for the latter, the Southwest attracting me like a magnet. On the route on US 160 and 491 landscape is not very exciting, undulating, hilly terrain, farmland, occasional scrubs, that kind of scenery. And here, where no mountain or forest were to be seen, I had a strange encounter of the third kind. A very big black bear lying in his blood, having been hit by a car, with a police car with that typical Christmas tree illumination. I really thought that must be a bad dream, and also people I asked later, in Blanding, UT, could give no reasonable explanation. Well, yes, so I am even more alert riding the highways. Note: Bears can be everywhere.
There, in Blanding on US 191, I shot this picture, which I really like. There have been many of these sunsets.
Then I rode the famous US 163 through Monument valley, which is always a big pleasure for me, I could do that a thousand times and never be bored. Then to Page, AZ, where I spent a horrible night. The tent areas are on sand, which is nice, but in the night, gusty winds started to blow, and dust filled the night. Can you imagine a dust shower through the maze of the inner tent. I stopped thinking about it after a while, found some sleep, and worked for an hour in the morning to get rid of the red thin cover on all of my belongings. Note: If your tent is on sand, look at the weather forecast.
Then wonderful highways followed, starting from here.
US 98 from Page to Kanab is beautiful, and behind that I passed a true wonder, Zion National Park.
And here you can see me at my most liked moments, loitering at gas stations with a coffee in hand.
Next destination was St. George, where I intended to stay a few days, but left after one since the management insisted to have my tent moved every day, for the sake of the green. A little bit too much, I would say. But that little discomfort vanished when I took north to US 18 and 93 towards Ely, UT. From there along the so called "loneliest road of the world" US 50, which is not true, I have been on much emptier roads. However, always a pleasure to ride to Eureka.
Sometimes you really find architectural gems.
From Eureka, I did not follow US 50 further west, but headed north instead on US 278, or NV 278, and that was a wonderful road that I can only recommend. Come, see for yourself.
Thats the way I like it, aha, aha...
After that there was a long stretch where I did not take any photos, entering Idaho on US 93 north to Salmon, ID, where I received my final number plate (thanks Brandan!) and a new tent. The old one that had been my home now for more than 6 months after all, started to decompose and it was high time to get a new one. It is just the same but with less height, which means I have to crawl into it, but since I have lost so much weight, kneeing is again possible and I am happy with my new house. Its not a house, its a home, must be from a Bob Dylan song.
Then farther north on 93, and here I took a decision to go to Sturgis, but in a way that I miss the bike week and have a look at the area when the big party is over. So, US 287 to Yellowstone was the chosen road.
Yellowstone gave me a cold and wet welcome, and so I was happy to pass and reach Cody, WY, where I spent a few days.
Bears and me, we finally befriended each other.
Then always East, interesting highways, interesting sceneries, until I got to the Black Hills, which is an area to remember, beautiful roads and roadside attractions.
Deadwood, a gambling city, a little bit disappointing, here they sell the remnants of the Sturgis Bike Week.
And here is George Washington at Mount Rushmore. And finally I also saw the Crazy Horse Monument, from a distance.
Obviously, this shop owner makes a good business during the bike week, enough for a year? It's like serving beer at Munich Octoberfest.
I was really thinking what that could mean, found the solution in Kingman, AZ, later. It is a coffee ad.
And that was Devils Tower again, in the morning after I circled the tower, accompanied by hundreds of tourists, well. I believe that there is always a best way to approach a world wonder. You can make everything wrong. Once I had a stopover in Cairo, Egypt, and had the chance to visit the pyramids without officially entering Egypt. Buses carried me and some others to Gizeh. You drive an hour through horrible traffic, then turn round a corner and ... there the pyramids are. This was disappointing. If you ever go there, make sure to approach from the desert, for better understanding and feelings.
This is a pass when I headed west again to pass Yellowstone again, very high, nearly 10,000 ft, and cold,cold,cold. That was US 212, recommended.
That was a Ghost Town (well, nearly). Still looking for Ghost Towns, but many have been developed to tourist spots, which is ok, since money is raised to keep these historic monuments.
On the other hand, the really deserted towns are more attractive, so, still searching.
Found that one in Dillon, MT, where I spent a few days on a good 10$ campground. These bicycles with small petrol engines are really on the road, and have a mileage of 200 mpg, maybe that is my next ride.
Spokane, WA, was my next designation in order to get my scooter serviced after 10,000 km, nice city, with a city park of many uses. Children liked the fountain very much, where water falls from 10 m height, I have never seen anything like this.
Here a picture, if movie does not work. By the way, my bad experiences with motorcycle service in the US have been enhanced by a wrongly attached oil filter cover that let oil spill out and forced me to ride 100 miles back. O dear.
Approaching Lewiston, you have the chance to descend in a curvy, steep road that has been integrated in the landscape perfectly, I admire the ways my colleagues of former times did road planning in these times. Absolutely deserves a historical marker. The main Lewiston access, of course, has minimum curve radii and grades.
I read something in my favorite book "Blue Highways" that came to my mind when I saw this.
Quote: "Highway as analog: social engineers draw blueprints to straighten treacherous and inefficient switchbacks of men with old, curvy notions; taboo engineers lay out federally approved culverts to drain the overflow of passions; mind engineers bulldoze ups and downs to make men levelheaded" End quote.
While the road planning development have improved traffic, will the social, taboo, and mind engineers succeed as well? Hope not. But these are only some thoughts of the lonesome Texan scooter driver.
From here I rode again southward until I met Route 66 again, did not make fotos, it were days of riding, stopped first time for a day of rest in Panguitch, UT, then headed further South to Flagstaff, from there turning West again, Kingman, Oatman, and finally ended in Laughlin, NV, where the temperature was more than 100 degree F.
I spent 4 days in Colorado Belle Hotel using a promotion price of 21 $ only, incl. free breakfast buffet, 1 free beer, and free coffee and cakes (per day). September prices.
Now, I went on to escape the heat, and the HU meeting lies only a few days ahead.
I intend to write an English post about this meeting.
If you ask me today, whether I will follow my plans to go to South America etc., the answer at present is No. Besides the budget restraints I do not really feel that ambitious.
Again from "Blue Highways: "There are two kinds of adventurers; those who go truly hoping to find adventures and those who go secretly hoping they won't." I'm afraid, I belong to the latter kind. Anyway, I enjoy my current trip, and no real problems so far.