Saturday, 16 October 2010

Oak Creek Canyon, A Train On Its Side and The Painted Desert....

On day 112, I returned to Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff. This is a twisty road that hugs the side and bottom of a canyon and is an exciting twisty road to ride. Jackie and I had ridden through it a few days earlier, but I had to go back for a reason that will become clear later.

There are some great curves and terrific views on this road....




























































And some hairpin bends as well....




















Right on a sweeping bend I reached the 16,000 mile point of my tour. I stopped as usual to take the thousand mile picture....




















About 10 miles west of Flagstaff, there is a Harley-Davidson dealer in a town called Bellemont. I needed a new cargo net and I called in there to buy a new one. As left I spotted these railroad cars which had been blown off the tracks by last weeks tornado. A new road was being built alongside the tracks to allow access for the huge cranes needed tolift the blown over wagons....




I started to walk over to the train tracks but was soon stopped by the police who said “I suppose you don’t know you are walking in an area declared as a national disaster zone”. Well no, I didn’t, so that ended any chance I had of getting better pictures!

I was now heading north towards Monument Valley and I went to check out a canyon formed by the Little Colorado River. It is about half a mile from Highway 64 just west of Cameron in Arizona. It has 1,000 foot sheer cliffs, so anyone with children needs to take a lot of care! I have learnt with deep canyons that is is often difficult to take good pictures in bright sunlight as the contrast between the brightly lit areas and those in shadow is too great to capture both well. Here are some pictures that try to show what is there, but consider this – you can nearly fit the Empire State building in this canyon! The pictures do not really convey just how deep it is....
















































































I didn’t have much time, so I just had a very quick look at the ruins in Wupatki National Monument. This is one of the ruins as I approached it....




















This is the Wukoki ruin which is perched on a rock and it must have been a very splendid house for an important person when it was occupied....




















As I rode across the Painted Desert, it became clear why is has this name. The colours are incredible....








































As I continued north, I passed these rocks, stopped, looked back and took a picture without even getting off the bike. These are the Elephant Feet rocks and in my mind, these announced the beginning of Monument Valley, an area I was to stay at for a day and a half. What a place that was, but you will need to wait for my next post for that....




















It had been a long day. I rode 323 miles on this day.

3 comments:

Chris Luhman said...

Great photos lately Gary. I know I haven't been commenting much, but I have been enjoying your photos of the SW. It really reminds me of my trip there in 2009. It's also funny how we've taken many of the exact same photos!

Gary France said...

Chris - Not commenting is OK. It is the reading bit that I like people to do!

Eve said...

Wow that's a lot of miles in a day!! Great photos Gary. What a place!!