Friday, 22 October 2010

Was I Teleported To The Moon Without Knowing It?

The end of day 117 and the start of 118 were weird. I was riding south along Utah 24 towards Hanksville and I had noticed a distinct change in the landscape. Gone were the rolling hills covered in poor scrub and what had appeared in its place was very moon-like....






















I could see far ahead the weather was going to get bad. There was a big storm and after trying to work out which way the wind was blowing, I reckoned it was heading right for me. I watched it getting nearer and nearer and the wind grow stronger. Much stronger!

We have all experienced this - you are moving along a road, you see something in the distance, but you have no idea what it is. It seems to make no sense as you continue to try to work out just what it is you are looking at. This happened to me as I rode towards the storm. Was that white smoke rising? No, it can’t be as the fire would need to be about 5 miles across. Anyway, what fire made white smoke? Was it low cloud hugging the surface of the land – very unlikely! What the heck is it?

I soon had my answer – the wind was so strong, it was causing a dust storm, but WHITE dust????

As I got closer I stopped the bike to take a picture. These are not the greatest quality, but worthwhile including here....










































I struggled on, riding through a white dust storm in fierce winds, trying to ride in something like a straight line. Then, as if someone turned off a switch, the wind stopped and the dust settled. I could hardly believe what I was looking at. It looks like talcum powder....






















I have no idea what this white powdery substance was – maybe something like silica from the sand?

I looked for somewhere to stop for the night and found somewhere in a place called Cainesville. I asked the motel receptionist what the white powder might be and she had seen it before, but wasn’t sure what it was. She said that many “strange things happen around these parts” adding to the whole feeling of mystery. She did suggest I park my bike under the canopy right outside my room in case it rained – what a star....




























The next morning, I woke early and got on the road quickly, itching to get some miles done.

The strange feeling from the night before was continuing as I rode through some very odd scenery.... had I been teleported to the moon and didn’t know it?....

What sort of patterns are on these rocks?....





















Where had these boulders come from?....






















How were these rocks formed?....






















When I was a kid, this is what I imagined moon rocks must be like. Was I on the moon?.....






















The scenery remained odd for a little longer, with weird shaped mountains pushing up into the sky....






















All very strange!

Reality set back in when I reached Fruita and I found this old school. Mormon settlers valued education greatly and donated land, materials and labour for this schoolhouse and the money for the teachers pay. The school opened in 1896 with children of 8 different school grade years attending in its one room. The school remained open until 1941....




























I know little about geology but I can tell that this rock formation is very interesting. There are at least six different major layers of rock that must have been laid down over millions of years, plus there has been a considerable uplift of the rock as seen by the sloping bands. The very top band looks as if it was created after the uplift happened as its lines are not sloping. Geologists probably love this sort of thing. I simply thought it made for an interesting picture....






















I hadn’t seen any trees for a while and then I saw some along the banks of a river. It occurred to me that it is too dry to support trees in this harsh environment, unless they were next to a water source....




























Just west of Fruita, this rock outcrop is called the Fluted Wall....




























I really didn’t expect to find a deep canyon here with a winding river that flows around many tight bends. This area is called Goosenecks. The river is named Sulphur Creek and it used to flow across a low plain, changing direction with each flood. Very slowly, the land rose until it reached its current much higher level, but the creek was trapped in its channel. As the land rose, the creek became steeper and cut deeper into the land, slicing a deeper trench into the soft rock. Today it looks like this, with the creek flowing 800 feet below the rim....






















Having seen trees growing along a river, when I saw this sometime later, I guessed the same was happening in this valley, which is part of the Escalante Canyons area. I really like the colour of the trees as they follow the river, snaking across the almost barren land....




























Another great view in the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Momunet....





















The roads are pretty good here too, as they follow the changing contours of the land....





















More strange land forms, created by uneven erosion....





















Very quickly, the clouds became very low and at the same time, the road rose to meet them.... I really like photos in mist / fog / cloud....






























































































Coming down the mountain I met these two on the road.... there had been many “Open Range” signs around to warn of such a thing.... I guess it was lucky I didn’t meet them in the low cloud!....






















I stopped for a coffee at a place called Kiva Koffee House and without doubt it was one of the coolest buildings I had seen. The columns to either side of the windows are tree trunks....






















When I took the photo I didn’t notice the wonderful reflections in the glass. It was only later when looking at the pictures that I saw them.

As I neared the town that I intended to stop at and look for a motel, I saw these ominous storm clouds and rain approaching. I rode as fast as I could to get there before the downpour came....






















That was another successful day at playing Dodge-Rain. Sort of like Dodge-Ball, only more fun!

8 comments:

Beck said...

What a great story and absolutely fabulous pictures! Everyone of them are stunning! Glad you beat the rain. The reflections in the glass are spectacular. It must have been awesome inside looking out at the gorgeous landscape.

You are a truly blessed person to be having such a wonderful time. Our lives are enriched greatly by your sharing this with us.

Things happen in our lives for a reason. I don't recall exactly how I came across your blog, but I am so glad that I did.

You continue to amaze us with your posts. You give us hope, dreams and make us smile everyday with your wonderful stories. Words can not express how thankful we are to have you in our lives. Though we may never meet face to face or speak in person, you have become a friend to each and everyone of us. A part of our family. We are the ones blessed now.

I want to take this opportunity to thank that remarkable person in your life that allowed you to go on this wonderful adventure and bring such joy to our lives. That is your lovely wife, Jackie. It has to be extremely difficult to be away from you for such a long time. I can not even imagine how much she misses you. She has to be such a loving, caring and giving person. Jackie, thank you so much for sharing Gary with us. It has been one heck of a ride for all of us.

Just a few short months ago the two of you came into my live. My world is a much better place because of you.

Thank you so much!

As always, stay safe!

mq01 said...

i love the misty rides and pictures as well, there's just something powerful and magnetic about them. the white clouds, hmmm, could have been dust, sand, or even salt :)

btw, fyi gary, to your west, we are expecting 4 days of wet windy weather with our 1st solid rain/storm of the season starting tonight.

Ken said...

Gary--just an FYI, I did some riding in some fog and mist myself last week, along the California coast. You might find these photos interesting.
http://www.examiner.com/motorcycle-in-national/rain-brings-out-yosemite-beauty-for-motorcyclists

Charlie6 said...

that's some weird country you're riding through Gary!

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Geoff James said...

What a fantastic setting for an alien abduction movie, or even Predator vs. John Wayne!

George F said...

Love the pics, I was there 6 years ago by car and remember the yellow line of trees in Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument. I hope you going towards Zion and then St. George. After that make sure you see Mesquite. Enjoy :-) I had the same feeling when I passed through all the parks in Utah, just amazing, like another world ;-)

Eve said...

Wow Gary! It's hard to even know where to begin!
Love the yellow trees in the Canyon! That whole post was just one amazing thing after the other.

Gary France said...

Beck – Thank you so much for your kind words. I am very fortunate to be able to make this ride and it has been wonderful experience for me – the places I have seen and the people I have met have been fantastic. I am certainly glad that I have been able to share with my readers and the comments I receive each day encourage me to carry on posting even when time is short. Thank you for your message about Jackie. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful person in my life and we will be reunited in just a few weeks now.

mq01 – Misty rides have a sort of, err, mystique about them where you just don’t know what lies just ahead of you. Thanks for the warning about the weather. I had to adjust my plans slightly when that storm you wrote about dropped snow on the mountains and Tioga Pass in Yosemite was closed for a short while.

Ken – I rode through Yosemite in the past few days and it was sunny and clear. There was snow on the highest peaks and the views were stunning. What a place!

Charlie6 – It certainly was strange!

Geoff – I am sure some movie scenes must have been shot there.

George – I have since been to all of the places you mentioned, although some just to pass through and not stop, although I did spend the night in St. George.

Eve – I liked that line of yellow trees as well – it was very striking!