Saturday, 28 August 2010

10,000 Miles and Some Very Nice People

I hit a big milestone today. I went passed the 10,000 mile point on my tour!!!!

As usual, I stopped to take a picture of what the road was like at this thousand mile point, but I thought it was time I included myself in the picture....



































Having reached this point, I suspect I am going to do more than the 15,000 miles I previously predicted. Maybe more like 16,000 or maybe 17,000? Anyway, it felt good reaching the 10,000 mile point and it doesn’t feel like I have ridden that far.

In a comment on yesterdays posting on my blog FLHX Dave mentioned a very good road he knew that was close to Heber in Utah that went up to Mirror Lake, near to where I would be riding today. I changed my route so that I could ride the road he suggested and Oh Boy, am I pleased I did – the road was superb! It climbs up to over 10,000 feet and has some gorgeous bends. The views are spectacular too!

Here is a short video I took from part way up the road....



Thanks Dave – it was a great suggestion!

I soon reached Mirror Lake and the scenery was beautiful....













































There was a lady painting a picture of the lake and I stopped and chatted to her for a while. Her name is Susette Gertsch, a retired school teacher who now has a new career as a painter. Although we only talked for a short while, I could tell that Susette and an interesting and very nice lady. She has made a “contract” with herself to paint 300 paintings in one year. Today she was painting number 294 and she invited me to contribute a few strokes on the painting, which I was glad to do. Her one year finishes at the end of August, so she has just a few more to paint in the next few days. She has painted all year round and has a special suit that allows her to paint in the cold weather. The lowest temperature Susette has painted at during the last year is 17F / -8C. Wow, that is cold.

I showed Susette the Leading Ladies and she was appreciative of the skill the painter of my bike had with an airbrush. Susette has sold some of her paintings and I am tempted to buy the one she was painting today. Maybe I will ask if it would be for sale.

Susette’s website and blog can be found here

Here is Susette at her work....


















I had no idea just how much you have to bring with you when you paint....


























Here you can see the view that Susette was capturing....


















I hope that she was pleased with her painting today. I was certainly very pleased to have met her.

I continued riding and at the next lake saw people fishing. Now, if you had a whole lake to use like this....




















Would you all cram together like this?....
















I saw a field with tree’s that was very reminiscent of a scene I know in England....














Now I need some help from my US readers. I passed many wooden structures at the side of the road today that looked like this....




















Can anyone tell me what they are for and what they do? I think it may have something to do with snow, but I am not sure. If it is snow related, and in some way they help to stop snow from getting on the road, who builds and pays for them?

I wanted to see the Flaming Gorge National Recreation area as my map told me two things. I would have to ride 60+ miles on an interstate (groan) and I would have to return to Wyoming to get there. I got to Green River in Wyoming and had a decision to make. I had been playing “dodge the rain” (I am now an expert at this sport) for the past two hours but it seemed a might just get rained on for the 3rd time on my tour if I carried on riding. I check at the local information center and realised I would be short of time if I tried to see the Gorge today, but I having seen the delights that Green River had to offer, I decided to press on anyway, hoping to find somewhere to stay that was better than at Green River.

Soon, the chances of me staying dry looked very slim as I was riding into this....




















I even took a video of this strange weather....the quality is rubbish as I took it while riding with my point-and-shoot camera.....



Remarkably, I found somewhere to stay before I got rained on – the almost brand new R Hideout (website) at a place called Manila, in Utah, very close to the Gorge.

I was able to park my bike right outside my room....




















I got chatting to the owners of the motel, Brent and Elaine Stewart who have had the dream of running such a place for a long time and who have been building the place for the last three years. It opened just this summer and I have to say it is one of the best motel type places I have stayed at. They have done a great job. This is them.... very nice people....




















As it looked like rain, I moved my bike under the shelter of the overhanging roof and this then became the centre for the other guests to meet and talk....




















From left to right, here are Deter and Monica from Germany, Candy and Gary from the USA, Rose and Bill, originally from the UK. We were comparing road stories, sharing a drink, which then led to sharing a meal. More nice people.

It was a day for meeting nice people!

17 comments:

motoroz said...

What a great day. I love meeting people when I am on my trips, glad you are meeting some great people. Susette sounds really neat.
At this point you might as well try to hit the 20K mark! Stay dry.

motoroz said...

By the way - we don't have the wooden barriers in my part of the USA but, they are to keep snow off the road. I believe the Dept. of Transportation pays for it. Hopefully one of your other readers will have more knowledge about them.

biker baby said...

In Il, we have snow fences that are put up in the fields every winter and rolled up for the summer planting season. They don't look like the ones you pictured.

mq01 said...

hmmm, snow off the road, ???

Chris Luhman said...

Congrats on 10,000 miles! Those fences are to keep the snow from drifting onto the road in large piles. It will still drift some, but not four-six feet high in big open spaces like that. We use plastic/wooden fences to do the same in MN. Landowner or DOT pay for them.

Chuck Pefley said...

Gary, those are indeed "snow fences". You see them all through the plains states. Motoroz is probably right about the DOT being responsible for payment, though I suspect it is the state DOT and not the Federal.

I'm amazed you've only gotten wet 3 times in your 10K ride. Although, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised ... a few years ago I did a 2400 mile ride from Seattle to San Francisco and back, only getting wet riding from home to the ferry boat in Seattle. Rain then cleared during our 1 hour ferry crossing and though it threatened to return at various points, never did.

Looks like a great find in Manila!

FLHX_Dave said...

Sweet! I enjoyed that road. What's funny is I have almost exactly the same video of Bald Mountain. You are gonna' get a kick out of it when I post it.

Thanks for taking the suggestion and hope you didn't miss anything. That road is sort of a secret only local know...hope it was worth your detour. Did you get to see the Provo Fall while you where there? I'm not sure if you took the route all the way into Kamas.

Big Sur? Yeah, let us know when you get around these parts.

Axel said...

Great report again. Went to see the pictures of Susette, you should try to get No. 294, which is already published on her website. Speed of light this internet :)

Geoff James said...

Gary:
Far from bikes being regarded as antisocial, the reverse seems to apply these days and like you, I've met some really nice people where the bike was the initial talking point.

May the rest of your journey be safe...

Eve said...

Wonderful Gary! Loved the artist and yes you should probably get that one painting...you had a hand in it after all!! LOVED the weather video! Looked scary...glad you missed it. I also like the looks of the Hideout! Yep snow from drifting is my guess. That dang snow will really mess things up you know!
Great photos! I really liked your shots of you at the 10,000 mile mark AND the new friends at the end.
Ride Safe!

Charlie6 said...

Gary

yep, snow fences, the snow builds up on the structures and eventually into snow walls to prevent snow drifting onto and piling up on the roads....

bluekat said...

How fun seeing the artist in action. I had to go visit her website. Definitely should look into getting the painting. :)

Good find on the motel, R Hideout. That's the kind of place I like to find when we are moteling it. So much more personable than the big chains.

Happy Journeys

Gary France said...

Oz – Meeting people is all part of the fun of a bike road trip. I am not sure about 20Kas I will have to go home at some point! Susette was a great person to meet.

Biker Baby – I can’t imagine what a fence that can be rolled up might look like. They must haven big guys rolling them in and out!

mq01 – From the other comments, it would seem this is correct. To stop snow drifts.

Chris – Thanks. And would I be right in assuming that you like riding into snow drifts? Small ones, at least.

Chuck – I have got rained upon a few times in the last few days, but it was so light I didn’t even stop to put on my wet weather gear. In fact it was quite refreshing and it takes only a few minutes to get dry. I have only needed to get my wet gear out twice in 10,000 miles, but I’m not complaining!

Dave – No, I didn’t miss anything, as I had a route planned for that day that wasn’t going to be very exciting, so I was grateful for the suggestion. Yes, I saw Kamas and the Provo River / falls. I will look out for your video of Bald Mountain! I will certainly let you know when I am on the coast!

Axel – Thanks. I had a look and yes, I see it is there.

Geoff – Loads of people have started conversations with me, mainly after seeing the pictures on my bike or the big yellow licence plate. This normally always happens at gas stations and sometimes it can be difficult to get away because people want to stay and chat, especially after hearing my accent. I agree with you – far from being something that puts people off, the bike seems to make people want to talk. I guess it’s because you can’t get in a bike and be caged in – you are often there next to it. I see you haven’t changed your profile picture yet – that is why people talk to you – you look very smart!

Eve – I couldn’t resist filming the weather with my little camera, but one day I am going to drop it! I thought it was time I got to be included in a ‘000 mile picture. Meeting Susette was fun – I can’t paint for all the tea in china, so I respect those that can.

Charlie6 / Redleg / Dom – You have a lot of names! I imagine the snow fences must work as there a lot of them. We just don’t get enough snow in the UK to warrant anything like that.

bluekat – I wish I could paint, then I might feel more inclined to do it. I totally agree about the motel being more personable. The big chains are good because you can easily find them and you know what you will get, but the smaller places are more fun.

Gary France said...

To all that subscribed to this post - very often when I write a long collective reply to many comments, when I am finished and I hit the "Post Comment" button, I get an error message that says something like "Your request cannot be completed". I look at my blog and my comment has been added, just like it was just now. What I do not know however, is if you have subscribed to this post, do you get an e-mail telling you that Gary France has left a new comment. In other words, did any of you get such an e-mail a few minutes ago? Can you please let me know by leaving a comment. Thanks. Gary

Susette aka Limness said...

Hi Gary... wow I love your blog and the way you've put it together... go Gary go! The video clips are great... I felt like I was right there... got a little dizzy on the steep grades... you'll have to slow down for me... haha just kidding..

Thanks to Axel and Eve for the little promo ... I'll send them a commission later :^ )... definitely was fun to have you sketch in the Uinta's... and hey your bike is a beauty... work of art itself the close ups of the movie stars is really choice!

I hope your on your way and having a really fine time... I'm being lazy today after finishing #300 which I nearly painted in the dark to be on time... my arm is soo sore... your back is aching, I'd suspect. Oh how we suffer for our life's work... er.. I mean 'play'.

I hope my sis checks in with you too... she and her dh are bike rider's and huge fan of Harley's... Mrs. Rabbit

Anonymous said...

Greetings Gary,
When I saw my Sister's Limness Blog, I had to check out yours. Thank you for your comments about her, and her "sketches". You have a great motorcycle. I am a former salesperson for McGuire Harley-Davidson, Walnut Creek CA. Since you will be passing by Auburn CA on HWY 80, do check out some of the 49'er Gold Country. (Suggestion for a Short diversion: Foresthill Road/Auburn Ravine exit, over Foresthill Bridge (Tallest in CA), continue about 2 mi., Right on Old Foresthill Road, down to the Confluence (of the Northfork and Middle Fork of the American Rivers, view the "No Hands Bridge", straight back to Auburn and HWY 80, about 10 miles) Best Wishes on your journey. Enjoy the USA.
Sally, Susette's sister (Aka Mrs. Rabbit of Rabbit Ridge)
PS You'll have to come back to see Glacier National Park, MT

Gary France said...

Susette – Thanks for looking at my blog and commenting upon it. I am glad that you like the video clips and yes, they do give a good feeling of what it is like on a bike. I am so pleased you hit your contract of 300 pictures. What an amazing feat and you must be so proud you have achieved it. I did wonder if a painters arm got sore and now I know! Yes, and “Play” is right. We are both lucky that we can spend so much time doing what we enjoy!

Sally – Thanks for dropping by and checking out my blog! You sister is a very nice lady and I enjoyed meeting her. I love getting route advice that like from people that know the area, so I will put those details into my gps system and it will become part of my tour – thanks! Oh, so many people have said I should have done Glacier National park, I fear it was a real mistake to have missed it. Great to hear from you!