29 July, 2012

Day 24, 430km: Death valley

Day 24 already, a week and it'll be a month. Pretty cool. I'm realizing this as I type from my favorite (for it's high speed internet!) McDonalds.

So yesterday I had an appointment at BMW Las Vegas, to do the 10,000km service at 12pm.
Took the opportunity in the morning to visit the place below.

South of the strip
The place was interesting. A small parking lot and then the sign itself. Parked at the bottom of the sign, two strange looking people. An Elvis Presley look-alike, and a young woman. Two queues of people waiting for their photo. I was in the young woman queue. My turn arrived and I saw she had a badge around her neck.

Hi. Are you working for the city, I asked. It was pretty unlikely that the city would hire people to take photos at tourist landmarks but it being Las Vegas and her having a badge ... you never know.
Oh no, I'm working for myself, I'm a professional photographer she replied. She asked me to give her my camera.
So basically she would take people's cameras, shoot their photos and then ask for a tip. Professional photographer my ass. I wonder how much she makes a day. Let's say there is a person every 20 seconds for 6 hours of the day that'd be 1080 people a day. If 10% give her a dollar, she's making $3250 a month, probably much more than working at minimum wage...
Smart girl!

Then I was off for the service at BMW, the nicest dealership I've been too so far. Free drinks, coffee, donuts, WiFi and a lounge. Feels good. There I met Gary, a Las Vegas"ian" (how do we say?) who knows the region pretty well and recommended me many routes for California. Thanks!

Then off I was for the death valley.

A few kilometers before the entrance of the park itself
So I made sure I  was ready. Full tank, check. Full spare tank, check. Camelback full of icy water, check. Extra 5L of icy water, check.

It was about 35 degrees C above the valley
Down the valley itself we go...! There wasn't much people on the road, a side road recommended by Gary that led to Badwater, the lowest spot in North America. It got hot, as you can guess.

Luckily it was very dry too
The landscape was mineral, not a single tree, a few bushes and mostly sand and rocks as far as the eye can see.
I entered the park itself around 4pm. I would learn in the evening that 4pm is actually the hottest time of the day in this season. Again my planning and research skills proved how useless they are.

At that point it became really though :)
Took the above photo because the heat was really starting to get to me. I think I went through my first camelback (2L) in less than an hour. That can give you an idea of the amount of sweating. So I was standing on the pegs and the air that came into the jacket and pants actually felt cool, though it was more than 45 degrees C. The temperature gauge on the bike actually went up to 48 degrees C but I'm not sure how accurate it is.
Later I talked with a Deutsch couple who told me their car's temperature gauge went up to 51 degrees C.
I don't know what was the temperature exactly but it was f***** hot.

Then I started to see this
After a while the elevation went into the negative numbers. First time I see this in my life (I think). Still far from the Dead Sea's -400 something but impressive nonetheless. The GPS went nuts at that point and the elevation would jump between -20 and -100 rapidly even on a straight line. So it wasn't much help to estimate how close I was getting to Badwater.

Actually a lot of people...!
That was the first camelback refill stop. There was a bit of wind here so it allowed me to cool down. I have to admit I was envious of people in their air-conditioned cars! Although I got my first "You're crossing the valley on bike? Wow that's badass".

There's something hidden in this picture. Leave a comment if you find it! (Zoom in)
Turned west at Furnace Creek (well named, the place was literally a furnace with the jacket and pants). Did one more camelback refill stop (so that's 6L at this point). At that point I have to admit I wasn't feeling too well. I had been in the park for more than 2H by 45+ degrees C. The water I had was hot and I realized I wasn't sweating anymore, which was probably not a good thing. Stopped at the first spot of shadow I could find, removed my clothes and splashed water on my face. After a 15 minutes cooling stop I was feeling better and headed on for the last part of the valley.

A small spot of sand dunes. You can guess it was windy.
It was around 6.30pm by that point. The temperature hadn't still dropped!

Mountains! That I'm going too! Altitude, cool air!
So it was a relief to see mountains in the distance and know that I was going to cross them. Mountains = shadow = cool = nice = GOOD.

Did the last part in the twilight hours
The sunset in Death Valley's mountains was pretty cool, I have to admit. And literally cool too, with a nice 30 degrees C that felt like a spring morning to me. Eventually made it to a campsite where I spent the night.
The place was absolutely empty. I would come to realize the next morning that I didn't go to the place I found online but to another campsite 5km away. Garmin misled me to a deserted campsite. But it had showers and internet so what can I ask for more?
Well I could use some company! I saw during the day that my stickers are very effective. Car people (you know those who travel in big steel boxes mounted on four wheels) are now much more outgoing and curious about my trip! (Previously it was mostly motorcycle rides who were curious) So I was looking forward to be the superstar of the campsite (a la Franck Dubosc, walking around winking and waving at people with my toilet paper).

So since I was alone I decided I would do the "campsite setup" video that Thomas and Helene requested. I tried despite the fact that the night had already fallen. Well from what I can see right now on the videos, there isn't much to be salvaged it was just too dark. I'll maybe make a short montage and upload later later when I have more time on the laptop.
I have to say that I'm disappointed by the Gopro camera so far, the quality of the images (in low light situations) is lousy. Now the good thing is that the image isn't shaking, at least. A nice, stable and uniform black image.
I have to take some sequences in full daylight to see what it's capable of, but low light filming I can forget about. Maybe they have a very fast "shutter" (no shutter on this but I mean exposure time) speed to avoid having a shaky picture and that's why it sucks in dark conditions. Not sure, I have to test it more. If there's any Gopro owner reading this, please give me your tips on settings for filming in the dark...

Anyway. Today, I'm going to Yosemite!

Hope you enjoyed your weekend everyone,
Cheers,
Guillaume



28 July, 2012

Day 23, 75km: Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

Hello everyone,

I'm alive! Made it through two nights in Las Vegas. So now you can tell me who did bet that I wouldn't make it and much they lost.

Been there, done that
So the objective for the day were to get stickers, a helmet camera (say, GoPro) and stay alive despite the 44 degrees C heat. Mission successful! I had a long, lazy morning in the comfort of the air conditioned motel room, feels good man.

Got my stickers done! Zoom in to see my MS Paint skills in their full glory
Went over to 4AD Images http://www.4adimages.com/ which I found through my dear friend Google. They helped me immediately although they were busy on other stuff and the result it very cool! Thanks again guys.
So I got my stickers done, finally. Did them in (possibly broken) Spanish and English. Now that I upped my marketing, the free drinks and accommodation will start rolling in. Or so I hope.

Next I went for a walk along "The Strip" with all the famous casinos, it was really cool. Looks of tourists actually, I was there before sunset and Vice City's demons were still asleep. So I thought it would be a good time to try that camera.


So here's a clip showing the strip from its southern end up to its northern end. I hope you enjoy it, I'll try to improve the framing and back-lighting next time.
It was nice to have a long day of rest and do very little driving.

So what happened at night then? Well first, no gambling. At all! I know this might sound crazy, being in Las Vegas. I don't have many principles but this is one I hold dear. So my visit of the nearby casinos (Luxor, Caesars Palace) went in a similar fashion to my national parks visits. Zooming between places and trying to see as much as I could.

These places are BIG. Not like American big, more like Las Vegas fabulously big. There are dozens of gambling rooms and bars in each. And that's were all the people were. The streets were almost empty but these places were packed. Probably because it was Friday night, too. I didn't realize before entering but people basically live there. In Luxor there was a mall, a wedding chapel, a dozen restaurants and a dozen bars. Amazing. Near the game tables and slot machines there were several "no photos" signs so I didn't take any photo ... I think I could probably have sneaked some but didn't want to get thrown out.

So visiting these two places was like being on a high speed train that would get into people's houses. Very different crowds between the slot machines floors (most depressing thing I've seen with zombies and their buckets of tokens) and the gaming tables floors. I didn't stop much, I guess the place is better enjoyed drunk. Oh and drinks are free when you play! Although people tip the waitress, like $1 each glass.
So I didn't play or drink, although I have to say that some of the waitresses had very convincing "arguments", I held on.

Still, it was fun for me, it was like visiting a zoo. I guess I was scared of the gambling+drink beast and preferred to see it through the bars of its cage. Maybe I shouldn't have done my accounting the morning before, too. So that was a quiet, sightseeing kind of night in Vegas. I know anonymous will be disappointed I didn't end up thrown out of a Casino after having puked over half a dozen octogenarians at the slot machines but that's the way it is!

Now today is 10,000km service day, then crossing the death valley to end up sleeping somewhere near Owens Lake, California!

Have a great weekend everyone,
Guillaume





26 July, 2012

Day 22, 331km: I've been through the desert on a bike with no name

Today, short day! I had "just" 300km or so to do from Kanab to Las Vegas. Started the day looking for accomodation in Las Vegas.

Campsites? No tenting spaces there. Surprising. So I looked for hotels and found that they are extremely cheap. (Like $30) It sounded a bit too good to be true so I had a look at Wikitravel and learned about the concept of "Resort Fee".
Basically hotels here advertise a very low price and then charge you a resort fee of $40 or more.
But eventually I found a nice, cheap motel without resort fee not too far from downtown.

I will stay here two nights, as I have to do the 10,000KM service on my bike, plus want to visit the city.

Here we go
Las Vegas is somewhat mythical for me, 90% of that myth being due to the book/movie "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". I am really hoping I'll see remnants of "the wave". I understand that the very attraction I have for the myth is part of what the book describes as absurd and worth of pity but I can't help it.

First wave I felt was a heat wave
To go to Las Vegas, I had to take a portion of the same road as yesterday. So I looked up for an alternate road and found a route accross the "Coral Pink Sand Dunes Park". The name itself deserved a visit.
The road that crossed the park had a 30km or so gravel/sand section.

And I saw precisely 1 car on that 30km section
So it was a good opportunity to get more training on gravel and sand driving. Gravel, I am starting to feel comfortable when it's relatively packed. Sand, however I am still having a hard time. The hardest for me is judging the depth of a patch of sand. I never know if there's 5cm of 50cm until my wheels are in.
And if there's 50cm you're in for a good surprise!
But I took it very easy and slowly and went through without dropping the bike. Which was welcome, considering the heat.

I had the park for myself!
Oh and the only car I saw was actually a FedEx car. These guys take their business SERIOUSLY.
Once I crossed the park I was onto the Interstate 70 towards Las Vegas. The heat at that point was seriously intense.
It went up along the way, from a "cool" 35 degrees C to a burning 44 degrees C arriving in Las Vegas. My camelback saved my life I think and I filled it with cool water at every occasion.

Interstate 70, 42 degrees C
Plus there was a really strong side wind on most of the way. That plus the heat made the drive exhausting.
Finally arrived, checked-in, showered and decided to do the errands today rather than visiting the city in this heat.

So I'm having a good rest and will head out tomorrow to try and feel the wave (that will probably be at night!) and finally print these pannier stickers.

Wish you have a great weekend everyone!

Cheers,
Guillaume

Day 21, 743km: Canyons return

So I woke up in Torrey, Utah.
The plan for the day was to visit Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and push to the Grand Canyon if time allowed.

It was another hot day! Plus the only clothing clean I had left was my hot clothes, although this would turn out to be an advantage towards the end of the day...

Highway 12 on the way to Grand Staircase
I left from the hotel around 9ish, was pretty tired as slept late the night before and didn't have breakfast. So it was a very slow way up the mountains. It was also Harley Davidson day, I met so many people on these bikes! Including a German gang of 5 bikes, seemingly enjoying themselves! The road was very nice, winding (I need to find a synonym for this verb) in the mountains.

Maybe that was Grand Staircase?
It was a pretty uneventful morning. Partly because I was tired and partly because there weren't many places to stop along the way so that made talking to people difficult! The road was very narrow and in at one point reminded me of the Vertigo in Bangkok. A thin strip of asphalt atop a mountain with scary drops on both sides. Scary. I didn't stop for a photo, I was too focused on making it in one piece!

Bryce Canyon from the Rainbow Point
And I did make it to Bryce Canyon in one piece! Thanks again Willie. Amazing colors in the canyon, from red to yellow to orange. There were a lot of hikes around the canyon, I didn't do it but I would recommend it for hikers, I could see them down there going under the arches and bridges.

A rock cathedral made of layers upon layers of sediments
The day was kind of long. I think realizing that I had done at most a third of the trip had a demoralizing side effect on long sections between two cities or parks. At that point I realized there would be hundreds of long sections like these! So I was looking for something funny to change my mind.

"Most uplifting occurred in the unimaginably distant past"
That was the funniest thing I have seen in the park (so not a very funny park!). Why not just saying WHEN it happened, for example 250 million years ago? For fear of displeasing creationist sources of funding?
I finished my loop in Bryce Canyon around 2pm and was starving, stopped in a picnic area that had been invaded by French. There were 6 tables, 4 of them were occupied by French. Talked with some of them who rented a car in California and were doing a loop in the south-western USA, so back on the road I looked at cars from California with a different eye!

Arrival in Zion National Park
Eventually made it to Zion National Park, which was already the 3rd "canyons" park of the day! Canyons returned, and returned hard. It was SO HOT inside the park, around 30-35 depending on the altitude. I did several "heat breaks", removing jacket and pants and lying down in the shadow. The place was amazing though. In the short montage (no jokes on my editing skills! :P) below you will see a few places of it.


After leaving the park, I was heading south-east towards Grand Canyon. It was around 6pm at that point, and my GPS told me I could be there an hour before the sunset. So including breaks, I would have around 30 minutes of sunlight. I decided to go there instead of looking for a hotel, knowing that I would then probably drive by night after seeing the Grand Canyon.

Entering Arizona
That was the first part of the road, until a junction where I turned south towards the Grand Canyon. The last part of the road was a 120km stretch inside a forest and the national park, towards the north rim of the Grand Canyon. So I stopped for fuel at the last station. There was a bicycle traveler there so I stopped to have a chat with her.

It always amazes me seeing people on bicycle on the road, the amount of determination (and physical shape!) you need to travel the world this way is beyond me. So there was Swinde (www.swinde.de), another German -they're everywhere!- who has been cycling from Ushuaia and will eventually go to Alaska. She is 2.5 years into her trip already. Amazing. We parted ways as she still had 1 year of travel ahead of her...!

So I was on the final leg of Canyon day, towards Grand Canyon. Didn't have time to stop for pictures along the road! That was mostly a forest road, parts of it recently burned. And many deers along the way.
By the time I reached the natural park's entrance, the booth was closed so I came in without paying anything hehe ... (There was a sign saying "Pass on through" so I guess this meant it was ok).

Grand Canyon from the North Rim
And I arrived just in time, 20 minutes before the sunset! There was a walkway called Angel Walk or something, going along an edge of the canyon. Pretty scary drops on either side again, this time with no handrail so I have to admit I was trying my best to blend my body with the side of the cliff and avoided to look down.

Another view at sunset, majestic...

The walkway to the edge of the Canyon
Ok maybe I was exaggerating a bit, that walkway wasn't too bad. But I had vertigo still! The place was filled with couples in love, having a good time at sunset on the Grand Canyon. I started feeling pretty lonely, I have to admit.

Although the view made up for it
After Canyons begin and Canyons return: Grand Canyon, the dark night. Haha.

Yes, part of the reason why I pushed on to Grand Canyon despite the night falling was I thought that would be funny.
So there I was, at the grand canyon at 9pm with no booking whatsoever. This smelled bad. On my way back from the view to the parking lot, I crossed the "North Rim Lodge" with nice and comfortable cabins, again filled with couples having a good time. It was dark outside and the only light came from the cabins.
So I started my search for accommodation.

And wasn't very successful
So I decided to leave the park and head back towards the nearest city. That would be a 120km drive in the night, which I do not like at all, plus there were a lot of deers. But I didn't have a choice!
The temperature quickly dropped too, from 30 degrees C to 15 degrees C. That was probably the loneliest moment of the past 3 weeks, alone in the forest at night by 15 degrees C looking for somewhere to spend the night, after seeing all these happy people at Grand Canyon!
But it was interesting too, in a way. The moon was half-full and I remember looking at it at some point and thinking that at least I had her! 

Stopped halfway to the next city at the park entrance were there was a small hotel. There I met 3 Danes who did the same short trip to the Grand Canyon and were headed to Las Vegas the next day. Same as me so took their number I'll try to meet them for a drink!
Lodging there was $120 for a wood cabin with shared showers. No way. I decided to do the last 60km to the next city.

Eventually made it to Kanab, were I found an opened motel after a couple unsuccessful tries. Checked-in around 11pm there.
I didn't have dinner at that point so I did my finest motel cuisine, rice and beans microwaved in a 3L ice bucket (only microwave-able dish there was around).
Crashed shortly after that delicious dinner.

Tomorrow, Las Vegas!

Have a great day everyone,
Guillaume


25 July, 2012

Day 20, 634km: Canyons begin

For once, I will start today's update at the day before, day 19's night. I was expecting Carmen and Michael from klapperscheese-reloaded.de at the campsite but didn't see them, I guess they changed their plans? I was pretty tired anyway and went to bed around 9pm, with a pretty cool view.

Sunset in Moab
Fell asleep rapidly, soon to be woken up by the sound of a storm. Rain and strong winds. This was the first time camping in strong winds (like strong enough to slap me with the sides of the tent) and I was worried the tent pegs wouldn't hold since the campground was sand. So that wasn't a very relaxing night! But the pegs held and all was good.

So I said goodbye to Jacob and Kathryn and went north towards Canyonlands National Park. I would then come back to Moab and drive south to ... more canyons!

My first stop was for WiFi and breakfast at Mc Donalds. Say what you want about the food, $5 for a breakfast and coffee plus fast internet is a good deal. Oh and the price includes taxes. Here ALL prices displayed exclude taxes which is really annoying. I don't get it at all, and never know exactly how much I'm going to pay as taxes are different between states. What is the point of displaying prices excluding taxes? A passive aggressive way to complain about government taxes?
Mc Donalds got it right, the prices displayed are for example $4.32 but if you include taxes it comes to a perfect $5. Which is fast for the cashier, easy for the customer and better for the shop since we can assume they round up. Compare that to paying $4.99 excluding taxes which comes to a stupid $5.78 after taxes. 
Sorry that is a long rant but I have difficulties understanding the benefit of this habit people have here.

The view from Canyonlands Grand Viewpoint
Canyonlands was absolutely stunning. I had one of these "holy shit" moments where you just look around you in complete amazement. The landscape extended for 50km (the mountains you can see in the distance, center of the pic). A natural park ranger was up there at the viewpoint and gave a nice, long talk about the formation of this amazing place (link for the curious) this was very interesting and punctuated with music that she found illustrated the different stages of the canyons formation. Cool and entertaining. The ranger, Kathryn obviously loved her job and that was nice to feel! She also told me that in the 1940s the area was searched for uranium. I made the link with the Manhattan project, turned out she didn't realize it and I was happy to add my little contribution to her presentation. (In the end the uranium for the Manhattan project came from Congo and Colorado but that's not the point)


Cool landscape south of Moab
After that I came back to Moab and fueled up before continuing on my way south. I couldn't fill my spare gas tank as I lost its cap, probably last time I refueled. At that point I didn't know that was a big mistake!

Then I saw this
And I had to go this way, no way around the shower. So I put on my rain gear ("PNC aux portes. Armement des tobogans. Fermeture de la porte opposee."). I'm still using the same bags for my boots!) and went ahead. It got really windy, dark and cold (from 35 deg C to 25 deg C). Felt like going into a rollercoaster. You know you're going to be fine, but your guts don't.


The rain and wind were intense, sometimes so much that I put on my warning lights and drove slowly on the side of the road. That went on for 60km. Now I have to thank Klim, the makers of my jacket and pants. I stayed dry. My "canoe bag" however had (just a little) rain come in!


The sky finally opened up on my way south
So on my way south I arrived the junction where I would turn west on the highway 95 towards Brice Canyon, recommended by Willie (thanks!). I saw a sign for "National Monument" in another direction and thought it reminded me something so I would make a small (120km) detour. After 30km I realized that the place I had in mind was "Monument Valley" and not "National Monument" so I made a u-turn and came back on the initial plan towards HW95.
Now that I have internet though, I see that it actually was very near the place I was. Well. Next time!


So I took off the highway 191 onto the highway 95. I passed a gas station but was daydreaming and didn't stop for gas (second mistake).


Natural Bridges Park
Stopped on my way at Natural Bridges Park and talked with the rangers there to ask about directions for Bryce Canyon. I was planning to take the ferry across a nearby lake (Lake Powell) but learned it was too late for it, although there was another route. The thing is that arriving at the park I realized I was low on gas. I had between 3 and 4L left (the gauge isn't more accurate). The nearest gas pump towards my destination was 86km. The nearest if I went back from where I came was 50km.


Now with the reserve I know I can drive 50km, so going back where I came was the easy, safe way. Continuing towards Bryce Canyon could be dangerous, worst case (if I had 3L in the tank) I would have to average 3.5L/100km on the way, which is possible but one has to be careful. Best case (if I had 4L in the tank) I could do a comfortable 4.6L/100km. 


I decided to take the chance and go very slowly towards Bryce Canyon. I hit the reserve 42km before the next gas pump. So all in all I made it with 8km to spare. Tomorrow I'm getting a new spare gas tank again for sure.


Utah HW95, amazing landscape
It could be a national park!
Empty and majestic, better than national parks actually...
So it was a relief making it to the gas pump. Fueled up a bit, talked with some people there who were spending the weekend on a boat in Lake Powell and another German couple (this time on 4 wheels, Mustang!) who where happy to see a BMW.


How cool is that?
The road was spectacular. It reminded me of the day in Arches national park, only better. Less people, less cars (actually not many, maybe one every 2 minutes) and bigger!


Crossing the Colorado river
The road was so great that I had to take a video, here it is below. Lower your sound volume as it's just wind that was recorded.




Did you ever wonder how an ant feels, walking on your kitchen's floor looking for sugar? Well it probably feels like one feels when on that road. Amazed by the majesty and scale of what's near. Not completely sure to understand how things got here or why they look this way. Driving along these multi-hundred million years old colossus (colossi?) you really think that if this is possible, anything is possible.

So yeah, Utah State Route 95 definitely goes in my top roads.
Eventually reached Hanksville, with this cool little gas station set inside a mountain.

The cashier was surprisingly depressed for a cave woman
There I met Stirling, great guy travelling with his family in the region, which he knows very well since he drives movies crews in here for a leaving. He recommended to continue on the highway 24 across Capitol Reef and stay overnight in Torrey. Both great tips as well shall see, thanks Stirling! Told me they shot "John Carter of Mars" in this very region, has anyone seen it?

Capitol Reef entrance
It was 8pm at this point and that would be an hour to reach Torrey. The sunset light gave a really cool atmosphere.

There are actually 2 rainbows in here
Having spent the day in amazing landscapes, seeing this last stretch of road in an amazing light, and finally greeted by double rainbows, I think I had an epiphany!

And there it is, 10 000km on Day 20
2 more to go
The view was pretty nice for the 10 000th KM :-)
So 30km after that I finally made it to Torrey and treated myself to a hotel to celebrate this milestone (also because my back hurt a lot after 3 camping nights!).

Majestic view outside Capitol Reef at sunset
I even got a discounted rate from the nice lady at Chuck's Wagon Lodge since I checked in after 9pm. Isn't that a good day? (Sorry anonymous!)

Hope all is fine with you guys.
And don't hesitate to leave a comment, it always feels nice to have a word from you!

Cheers,
Guillaume

PS : I have found Walter White's meth lab, it is parked along the highway 95, just before Hanksville in Utah.

Yo M. White, we cook or what bitch?

23 July, 2012

Day 19, 125km: Arches National Park

So if you remember day 18, you know that I had no idea where my camera was. And also that there was another thing.

The second thing I would come to realize in the morning was that I setup my tent right next to the camp's water sprinkler system. I arrived at night and could see a few trees on my campsite so I decided to setup camp near one, hoping it would provide shadow the next day. Little did I know that trees are watered by an automated system here. The inside of the tent didn't get wet but it was strange waking up and hearing rain just on one side of the tent!

So I moved the tent a little, away from the sprinklers. The next thing that was on my mind that day was to find  my camera. So I did once more what I did the night before. Looked into every single bag and piece of clothing. No camera. That sucked. I had really no mood to go anywhere and thought I would try the last spot where I took a picture but there wouldn't be much chance.


In a last hope I patted my pants thinking it might be inside, somehow. And it was! The camera had managed to put itself between the layers of the pant. I probably put it into a vent instead of a pocket at some point. So I had my camera! Life was great and I was ready to go anywhere again.
Now you might say that of course it was the "last hope" since I found it! You might add that I would for sure have looked for it even further. Probably.


Anyway, the night before I talked briefly with my neighbors Jacob and Kathleen who are moving from South Carolina to California. They rightly thought that doing it travelling would be more enjoyable than flying. They also carry a bike, a KLR650 so we took off today this morning for Arches National Park.


First photo I took in the morning. This one is NEVER going to be deleted from my camera.
Thanks to everyone (Guillaume F!) who recommended me Arches park, it was awesome. Incredible landscape.

First "big rock" I saw, nothing to get the scale here sorry. Probably 300m high.
The park is nicely organized again, with a main road that's maybe 40km and sightings/hikes on both sides of it.

I'm in two contests with this photo: shittiest photo & hobo look
Oh and totally unrelated but I think anonymous deserves something today too (though yesterday wasn't bad...) this morning while making a coffee I realized that the instant coffee I bought in Canada 3 weeks ago was actually decaffeinated. Plus it tastes really bad.

Below I'm just going to add pictures of the park, not much to say apart that it was 35 degrees and that I was wearing jacket, pants, gloves, helmet boots. Drank 4 liters of water in 3 hours.

Another panorama from   http://www.dermandar.com/ although this one is very distorted
A lonely rock
They're not rocks Marie, they're minerals
The tiny dots you see down the curve are trees
I think that one was called "Window"
Rocks sometime took the shape of huge caverns
And sometime that of pillars
The northern end of the park
Was the start of a 10km hike. I did maybe one and came back, you need proper shoes and clothes to do that with the heat ...
Last view of the park before leaving
After the park, Jacob recommended we go in the hills near Moab as he red about a trail/national park in that area where we could try to use our heavy bikes are dirt bikes. That was called Sand Flats road.

It was a good training I guess, plus Jacob is more experienced and gave me good tips!
And also very fun, reminded me of that time in Chiang Rai where we rented KLX250 and struggled up/down hills in the muddy road. That in a dry, 38 degrees C version with an extra 100kg for the bike. Exhausting!

It was fun going on these roads with the bike :D
Then back at the campsite for a bit of rest! Tomorrow I'm heading to Canyonlands National Park which features ... a Canyon! How did you guess? Then in a general southeast ward to Glen Canyon and Brice Canyon. So basically tomorrow is Canyon day.

Cheers everyone, hope you are all doing fine!
Miss you guys,
Guillaume