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Day 154 – 11th May 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on May 11, 2009

Monday – Gallup, New Mexico

Another detour today, my curiosity got me this time, I was intending to camp tonight but the crap site and the gale force wind put an end to that

I did the washing again this morning, I know boring, but it was either now or in a few days, I had the time and the facilities where I was. This was while having burrito for breakfast 🙂 Just a side note, after the disappointment of the spot in my pictures from yesterday, I gave the camera a few wacks on the ground, hopefully that will fix it 🙂 edit – Well, it sort of did, it moved the spot across a bit to the right!

Now, the chap the other day that caused me to go and do the Mesa Verde, also told me about another cool little road which went back west to the small town of Aneth, in Arizona. So, why not, in the above map, you can see right at the top the small red line showing where I went, well it does not do it justice, you cut and paste the above ‘name, state’ into google and see how far in you have to zoom before you can see these roads 🙂 Here is a slightly enlarged version I prepared earlier.

Now you can see I have coloured in a small grey road, just like them other grey roads, but funnily enough, it was good quality surfaces in most part. Most of those lines are blue river, creeks etc, so I am in up and down country.

Off I go and find the turn off which is actually the airport road, of course my TomTom was going ballistic, in no way shape or form could I entice it to go down this road, well, who’s the boss eh, I turned it off! The road starts out a bit straight then goes into the twisties and starts to follow the river bed.

There are a lot of farms down here in this fertile valley, and I wonder if anything ‘big’ lives in that cave, it sure is large enough.

I must be getting close to Colorado because the greenery stops and the rocks begin, I wonder why that is?

Now, this is the slight detour I did, I saw a sign saying that the Hovenweep National Monument was just 11 miles that way to the right, so instead of going straight on to Aneth, I went for a decko. After about 5 miles I had another right turn to make and according to my brain, in 6 miles I should see something, but what, there was nothing out there that I could see, just flat land with some mountain ranges about 50 miles away????

Then suddenly, I am upon the entrance to the park, WTF, now I am really intrigued cos there is still nothing to see except for the Visitors Centre 🙂

Well suck me dry and call me dusty, there seems to be some more old Pueblo ruins here in a hidden canyon. Apparently a photographer in the old days was taking pictures of the flat desert around here and literally stumbled upon these ruins. Anyway, what a spin out, the National Parks pass I had got me in for free and I decided to do the 1 hour walk around.

Now, first up, them flowers I was talking about yesterday, the smelly ones, it turns out they are roses, well with the way they smell, they deserve it too, hey Saab463, you are always telling me to slow down and smell the roses, well I did 🙂

This is the first building we see at the beginning of the trail.

Now this house is a real eye opener, I have no idea why they would do this, but the guide book says it is possible they were protecting a water source. They have built it on a rock in the canyon floor and it has evidence of a tower that has collapsed.

I think by units they mean flats, no idea, communication error?

You can see from this shot that the canyon is not that big and blends in quite well with the landscape.

While walking I had seen a number of different lizards, and other wildlife and of course keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes, but I spotted a flash of green ducking under a rock out of the corner of my eye, so I froze and after a while I was rewarded with a brilliant green lizard, real cool 🙂 Mind you, they could learn a thing or two from out Aussie lizards, blend in with the back ground mate, then you can usually survive 🙂

Some more belated Mothers Day flowers for mum, I did not get too close to smell these, they are sharp!

Now, this is Hovenweep Castle which has its own Raven to guard it, you can tell by the whitewash on the walls he uses that lookout post a lot.

On I go around the rim to the other side where I can look back at the castle as well.

Now, square tower is right at the bottom of the canyon, not a bad bit of engineering and the twist to the structure was designed according to the experts.

Then on a bit further up the trail, don’t forget, most of these are within cooee of each other.

Yep, all dressed in black, just sucking up the heat of the day once again 🙂 And loving it 🙂 Actually, with the bike boots and the crash armour in the strides, I reckon I am pretty much rattlesnake proof unless they go for the throat, hopefully not, touch wood 🙂

To get out of where I am, I can head back the 1km+ or take the short cut, I did the short cut, this would be a doddle next to the Grand Canyon hike, and a look back up from down below.

Of course, what goes down, must come back up 🙂 And to tell the truth, I was a bit puffed after getting up this trail, the high altitude of 7000ft will do that to you, which is 2.1km to those at home, a bit higher than the near sea level I am used to eh!

So, I had a bit of a rest and some tucker and headed back to the road I started out on. I saw a familiar sight, sort of reminded me of home, flat country, windmill and beware of stock signs, even the heat was the same 🙂

I found the turnoff and after that saw one of these close to the road, something I would expect in Texas pumping oil, but I think these were doing gas or something similar because of the warning signs.

I started to descend into some nice twisties, real good using the edges of the tyres again, two days in a row 🙂

Unfortunately, I had stuffed up, when I left the Hovenweep place I had reached a junction and turned right immediately I got to the junction, but on the way in there was two turns to get to the place, so what happens is I end up on a road that is now gravel.

My TomTom, lovely little darling that it is, not, had been telling me to turn around before this but I ignored it, so anyway, I now believed it and turned around. Of course, my brain kicked in and told me to go past the Hovenweep turnoff and go for 5 miles, I should then find a road and turn right which I did successfully onto the road to Aneth, the signs even said so, this lack of concentration is of course a sign of dehydration.

Now, during this last little procedure, darling TomTom kept telling me to turn right here, then again, now here etc, all along dirt single lane goat tracks because I had said fastest route. Did I tell you I did an update of the software online yesterday, of course all my presets were shagged, so it had no idea what I wanted. I shall fix that later methinks!

Anyway, I fuelled up in Aneth, a small Indian town, very expensive and not much there, and headed towards another place called Ship Rock. Now, the road was somewhat boring after the lovely time I had prior to this but never mind. I was heading south now and after a while I started thinking about what this rock would look like. Well, to cut a long story short, I got ripped off! I went to the town of Ship Rock, did not see any signs saying look at this rock in a certain way as it looks like a ship, in fact there was no rocks or outcrops within 30 miles or so. But, this photo is what they were on about, from a distance it is supposed to look like a sail. Huh!!!

Well, blew straight through that town and headed south, there were better formations just down the road, but I did not know about Ship Rock itself until later.

I had no real goal for this day, but I did want to be in Roswell on Wednesday, I needed to pick up some mail, also I am in need of fresh oil and filter. So, off I go south wards, and the wind picked up, well it picked up a shit load of sand actually, as I found out, it did look hazy down there. You can see Ship Rock on the right of screen and all the dust means I am riding with an advanced lean to the right, very strong winds, about gale force or 30 to 40 knots, very hard to get into this I can tell you.

The next few hours were nothing to write home about, I stopped at Tohatchi for some fuel, some other bikers said it was a bit windy down south, you reckon eh, try going north dudes at least I was leaning away from the oncoming trucks!

In the end, I got to Gallup around 4.30pm and started to look for a camp site. Now, I have never visited a KOA site before but Lesley and Jim had told me about them. I went to the one in town and asked about the sites, gravel they said, I could see them from where I was standing, any grass sites I said, blank look, hmm, how much, $21, can I get a powered site, yes, you can have an RV site for $65, What the &^%$#, you have to be kidding, I don’t need 50 amps of power, just enough to recharge my laptop, sorry we have nothing to help you. Bye bye, so much for that, I was not in a receptive state of mind. OK, next attempt, dial in to TomTom, look for a POI near me for camping, great, there is an RV site, other side of town, 8 mile away, let’s go look. Now, this is interesting, my GPS has taken me to an intersection where there is nothing!!!!!!!

Back to town I go, I am pissed off by now and hot and dehydrated, because it was hard to drink while riding because when the visor was up, the sand got in and because the wind was at the right angle to my nose, I could not breathe either due to the vacuum it created, very uncomfortable. I took a motel, I wussed out, but I was about had it, even though my budget took another hit.

I guess the best part was that I could take the time to write up yesterdays entry, which took a long time, it was gone 11pm before I was finished with it. It may seem like I spend too much time writing this up, but this is also my diary in a way, most of the entries will trigger something in my head a few years from now(I hope), and of course there are all the photos not posted that I can relate to as well.

So, at the end of the day, I am still not committed to camping, this may have an effect on the travel plans I have in mind. I am hoping camping sites will get better as I continue east, of course I will also try a few other places as well.

A great start to the day, a real hard struggle to finish, but in the end, it is all a learning curve about my limits, as well as enjoy myself of course and the main theme is the riding, the tourist stuff is an add on 🙂

Day – 253 miles and 407 km
Trip – 7,413 miles and 11,930 km


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