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........................................--- Day 3 ---
--- Tropic, Utah to Boulder, Utah and the Burr Trail and then onto Torrey, Utah ---
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We were up and going a little earlier today since weather was moving in. A week earlier, on our 4 day ride in Colorado, we spent some of the last two days dealing with weather (rain). It was the result of a hurricane breaking up off Baja, Mexico and sending moisture into the 4-Corners area. Now a week later, it was a tropical storm breaking up in the same area with the same results. They were predicting rain for later in the day and continuing into the next day.
We had a nice "real" Continental breakfast at the motel. The rooms were smaller as was the bed, in comparison to the motel we were using for two nights of the trip in Torrey. Despite the smaller bed, we slept well and ate well in the morning and were happy with this motel in Tropic. Since we were leaving earlier and in cooler air, we dressed a little warmer than the day before.
We were then off, retracing our previous days route, with Torrey again being the night's destination, but hoped to do an additional side trip on the way back.
Even though the clouds were rolling in and the road was wet in a couple places from previous light showers ....
..... we rode on and stayed dry and warm. When we bought the bike about a month earlier, the front tire was relatively new, but the back was close to needing replacement. I felt there was plenty of tread on it for the trip to Colorado, and there was, but I didn't really check it again the way I should have before this trip. In Torrey, I took a good look at it and saw that it had worn down to the point of being almost bald in the middle of the tread. At that point, in order to ride to Bryce and back to Torrey and on home, meant another 400 miles or so on the tire. That started to worry me some, especially if the roads were going to be wet. I decided to keep a close eye on the tire. If any cords started to show, it would turn into a situation where I might have to hitch-hike home and get the Suburban and trailer and drive back for the bike and Dottie.
With all of that on my mind, we rode from Tropic over to Escalante, where we stopped for gas.
In Escalante, after filling the bike, I headed into the station to use the bathroom. On my return I found Dottie talking to a guy by the bike. She said that the fella she was talking to had a motorcycle shop in town. That surprised me as Escalante is a very small town and I couldn't imagine it supporting a bike shop. That didn't stop me from asking him if he happened to have a new tire that would fit the Suzuki. He looked at the tire and said that he probably had one and told us how to get to his house/shop a couple blocks away.
So we were off to the Desert Doctor's motorcycle shop, where he produced a new tire that was exactly the same as our worn out tire. After I had made a run to the local bank to procure the necessary cash required to purchase said tire, the good Doc proceeded to remove the worn out tire and mount the new one.
During the time it took to mount the new tire, we became acquainted with the good Doc and his wife. We found out that they had left the Chicago area and settled in paradise (Escalante). It turned out we weren't the only ones to ever need a tire. After pulling a bad tire off of a bike, he cuts a strip out of the tire and paints your hometown on the strip and then tacks it onto the sides of his shop or other out-building. There are hundreds of these strips covering the sides of the buildings, to the point that I wondered if there was room for ours! Besides being able to fix about any motorcycle that has ever been built, Doc is quite the metal sculptor and comes up with ideas for items that most would never think of. If you are a bike person, or even if you aren't, consider stopping by Doc's and checking out all the cool motorcycles and memorabilia you will find there. You can find some more info ( HERE ) or Google "Desert Doctor - Escalante Utah".
With the new rear tire on the bike, we were back on the beautiful section of road between Escalante and Boulder, but while stopped, the clouds had been marching north into our area.
Arriving in the small town of Boulder, we turned right off of 12 onto Burr Trail. The road originally was an actual trail created by John Atlantic Burr in the late 1800's, in order to move cattle between local grass ranges and off to market. It is about 70 miles in its entirety, with the first 30 or so heading east from Boulder being paved. The pavement ends at the Capitol Reef National Park boundary. There the road drops via switch-backs through what is known as the Waterpocket Fold. Once out of the park, it continues for a bit as a gravel road, then turns into pavement again as it approaches the road's end, at Bull Frog on Lake Powell. From Bull Frog, one can take Highway 276 north to where it intersects Utah Highway 95, which goes both north and east.
We had considered using the road for one leg of the trip from home to Bryce and back. With limited experience riding two up on the bike, I didn't want to do the gravel section of the road at this point, although bikes along with rental cars do this section all of the time.
Not too far out of Boulder, the road switch-backs down into Long Canyon.
Once down in Long Canyon ....
...... the road follows the curves of the canyon ...
..... with .....
..... one beautiful view after another.
After returning home we found out that we had missed a nice little slot canyon that is easy to access while in Long Canyon. It is known locally as Singing Canyon for its fine acoustical qualities. People come from far away places to sing and play instruments in the canyon. You can find more info on it ( HERE ).
The road finally climbs out of the end of the canyon and you are treated to a panoramic view so wide that it defies capturing it in a photo, so we didn't. A lot of people stop here and return to Boulder, but despite the weather closing in, we decide to venture on ....
..... to the end of the pavement where ....
..... the road turns into gravel and enters Capitol Reef National Park.
We were happy we had taken the road to this point, as the Henry Mountains and ...
.... the canyons and Water Pocket Fold laid out in front of us, proved to be a mesmerizing view.
Once back on the bike, it was off to retracing our steps ....
..... back through Long Canyon and ...
..... on into Boulder, where we rejoined Highway 12.
We then proceeded north towards Torrey and our warm, dry Motel room.
Going north, the storm caught up with us a couple times and ....
.... we rode through a little rain, but finally outran it and proceeded on into Torrey. Once in Torrey, it was back to the same motel room that we had been in two days before. They had even let us keep the key to the room, just in case we arrived and it was raining and they weren't there. With the 60 mile side trip down the Burr Trail, we actually got to the motel late in the afternoon. At the edge of town, we stopped at Subway and picked up a couple sandwiches that sufficed for a late lunch and a little later for dinner.
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