Monday, 30 August 2010

America, It’s Just Not Fair....

Yesterday I saw some spectacular sights. Today was even better!

It’s just not fair that America has all of these great places. Why can’t they be spread around more evenly so other countries get some as well.

In the past two days I have seen the Flaming Gorge Recreation Area and Colorado National Monument. If we had just one of these in the UK, then that would be fairer, but oh no! America also has Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Arches national Park, Bryce, Zion, the Tetons, and the list goes on.

That of course is very tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, we have nothing like these places in most of Europe, so to the people of the USA I say you are very lucky to have them. When I was riding today through parts of Colorado, I had to pinch myself to keep looking at what I was seeing with fresh eyes. I rode along I-70, the Million Dollar Highway and I was amazed. What a road! What scenery! It goes on for so long that even I, seeing it for the first time, became far too accustomed to its majesty because there is so much of it.

Talking of roads, I made a video of riding through the Flaming Gorge and part of Dinosaur National Park.... I hope you enjoy it....



When riding on these roads, I find it a challenge to keep concentrating on the road. The scenery is calling me to divert my eyes and look around me....





















Look at this road down in the valley....





















I am not sure, but I imagine the Gorge gets its name from the red rocks...



















Looking down into part of the gorge....



















How about this for a hairpin bend!....



















How does this tree survive?....



























More terrific views looking down into the gorge. This view was hard to find and meant climbing over some rocks....







































I visited Flaming Gorge Dam and the engineer in me just had to go on the tour. I was told that before 9/11 anybody could tour the dam, including the inside of the turbine halls, the tunnels and anywhere else, on their own. I imagine that the dam is now considered a high risk threat and so there is much tighter security now, including a full time police officer that uses a metal detector to scan all visitors. Personally, I have no problem with such measures and indeed living in London, I am very used to such necessities of everyday life.

Here is the dam. It is 425 foot / 130m tall and the water behind the dam took 12 years to fill to its full working level....





















It is an impressive structure.... it took 6 years to build....



























This is looking down from the top of the dam on the downstream side....



























Looking down the lift (US = elevator) shaft, 425 feet!.... (sorry Dan)....





















In the turbine hall. There are three 10 foot diameter turbines....





















This is Dinosaur National Park....





























































Blue Mountain, where a lot of para-sailing is done, but not on the day I was there....





















I have been looking forward to seeing Colorado for about a year....



























I liked the shape of this wooden fence....



















I am saving todays pictures and video of Colorado for my next post....

14 comments:

bluekat said...

The video was awesome to watch. I haven't visited this area, and it's nice to get a view from the saddle. Stunning scenery. I enjoyed your pics of the dam. Dams fascinate me, all that water, all that power, and the sheer size of them. I love looking over the edge. Great post. I'm finding so many places I need to visit someday.

Eve said...

Is America calling to you Gary?? The ride with you was fantastic...it must be so hard to watch the road when the views are calling. I have yet to visit these areas and I really hope that someday I will be able to get there. If we ever get to take a real vacation...that's where we're heading! Can't wait for more.
I congratulate your success to be able to make this journey!! You've worked very hard. You must be very proud!!

Webster World said...

Gary, You are but so right. We here have a lot to be thankful for. And one could not see it all in a life time. When I was young I wanted to travel the world. It would still be nice to see the Tower of London the outback & Astec's. But there is just sooo much here I still want to see. Your a lucky man to have this time.

cpa3485 said...

After watching the video, I was beginning to wonder whether you needed a reminder that you are supposed to drive on the right side of the road in the good old USA. But, what the heck, after seeing the pavement in spots, it was pretty obvious.
Marvelous video and pictures. Really enjoyed them.
There will be a lot more to see as well. But then again, I am sure Europe has many landscapes we don't have here, just different.

Jimbo

biker baby said...

We will be on the Million Dollar Highway in just a few weeks headed to my step daughters wedding in San Diego. Rich's family (on his mothers side) lives in the suburbs of Denver and has condo's in Cripple Creek CO. Witch is a cool little town if you have time. Cripple Creek is an old mining town, full of history. We have spent allot of time in CO...it's a beautiful state.

Circle Blue said...

I show Heather your photos. She looks and says everytime, "When do I get to see these things." She has never been West. I'm sensing a roadtrip in the making.

~Keith

Tim France said...

Hi Gary. Really enjoyed your posts the last couple of days. The views, the photos and your descriptions are all great. But one of the best things is discovering more about you and the way you are thinking and imagining your way through this trip. It's fascinating each day to find out some other things (bridges, dams, trees clinging to the landscape... ) that interest you.
Bon voyage Gary, and congratulations on the 10,000 mile mark.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

Yes, stunning scenery. You are so lucky to be able to have this time to explore. So much to see . . . I can't wait for your book to come out. Many of us would like to retrace your steps

you have also been blessed with great weather, hope it continues

safe riding
bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Paul said...

Ah, more amazing sites and roads. Have looked through the archive of pictures and one or two similar but hard to say. I just got that fact that you commented on your blog so I can respond accordingly, Yogi is in the safe hands of my young God Daughter.

Chris Luhman said...

Colorado is amazing. Enjoy!

Beck said...

I don't remember how I came across your blog, but I have been following since July. Of course, I did go back and read from the beginning. I look forward everyday to reading your stories and the pictures and video's are absolutely breathtaking. I have to say I am disappointed on those days that you do not post. It's like the day is not as special. You are actually experiencing first hand what most of us only dream about. I can not thank you enough for sharing this fabulous ride. You must be an amazing person because no matter where you go and who you meet, you fit right in. Just like family. You know, that is how you make us feel, like we are part of yours. I pray that God keeps you safe and I thank him for creating this wonderful country that we live in. God bless you!

Rosemary Crawford said...

Enjoying all of your posts and pictures. It is a beautiful country with amazing diversity and you have been very patient to stick with it. For the record, we felt the same sense of awe when we visited my sister and family in Switzerland last year.

Traveling gets to us after a while and we end up making a beeline for the barn after a couple of weeks out. To stay on the road on a motorcycle for this long is truly an accomplishment.

motoroz said...

It sounds like you just need to move across the pond and enjoy the riding over here. Yes, we are very blessed to have some awesome areas and beautiful scenery. It so vast and so diverse. As you continue in the Colorado Rockies you will be even more impressed.

Gary France said...

bluekat – I am pleased you liked the video. I think the same about dams and I cannot wait until I see Hoover Dam, plus the new bridge next to it.

Eve – It is hard to watch the road sometimes. It is even more difficult to decide whether to stop and take photos or carry on riding some of these great roads. I hope one day that you get to see some of these places – I am certainly pleased that I have been lucky enough to.

Webster – Americans are both lucky and unlucky at the same time. Lucky to have all these fantastic places to go see, but unlucky that they are so far apart! Yes, I am very lucky that I have been able to travel to see a lot of it.

Jim – LOL. There were some many holes on the right and no cars coming towards me, that I decided to revert back to what I know! Yes, Europe has different landscapes, but not many really dramatic ones like you seen to have here.

Biker Baby – I am glad the twisty parts of the Million Dollar Highway has a 50mph speed limit – it is nice to ride at that speed just to look at the surroundings! Cripple Creek is on my list of places to go see.

Circle Blue / Keith – I hope you get to make that road trip.

Tim – Its funny, just the other day I was thinking was I taking pictures of the main places I was seeing and not spending time to find the things that I like to look at? I have been doing quite a few miles each day and I needed to ease up a bit and look around more, which is what I am doing right now – two nights in one hotel so I have more time for me.

Bob – I am thinking about a book.... maybe..... The weather has been fantastic, although it did rain a little yesterday. The wind has been the problem over the past few days. On these twisty roads and at the same time riding in canyons, the wind can come at you from directions you are not expecting, with some force, so you have to be prepared. My back is hurting today – maybe I have been riding too tense for a couple of days.

Paul – and I thought you would keep Yogi for yourself. LOL. Amazing roads yes. Incredible even!

Chris – I was thinking it would be good....

Beck – Thank you for your lovely words. I am very pleased that you read my blog every day and I am sorry for the days I don’t manage to post something. I try to, but occasionally time is short. The videos in particular take a long time to edit and make, but they are worth it in the end. I enjoy writing my blog and sharing what I have seen, especially when I receive encouraging comments like yours. Welcome to my extended family! It is good to know that people enjoy sharing this journey with me through this fantastic country of yours.

Rosemary – I rode through the Alps on my bike a few years ago and you are right – it is quite a place to see. It was too cold for me though, as riding mountain passes when the snow is falling takes a lot of concentration! Riding the bike for this long is ok as I enjoy it so much. I don’t do huge mileages each day and being so close to everything, smelling the air, feeling the temperature changes and the wind is the best way to see somewhere new. Also, on a bike you can stop just about anywhere to have a better look and take pictures. Bikes are not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, riding this far is a pleasure.

Oz – Vast and diverse is absolutely right! I am really looking forward to the rest of Colorado. I am not sure about moving over here, but doing more trips like this are a definite possibility, but to keep my wife happy, the next one might need to be in a car. I have some ideas about what sort of car.... LOL.