Packed up and ready to go. Once we left, Merrick did the dishes, packed all the luggage and loaded all his cooking gear. He usually caught up to us about an hour into our ride. He always had a smile and water for us and followed our group until the last hour of the day when he would shoot ahead to set up camp.
Today started out with a good climb to stretch the legs as we headed up the canyon wall.
One thing that is hard to get used to in the open west is the scale of BIG – EVRYTHING seems larger than life and goes on forever! See circle to get a view of TommyH against the wall of a canyon.
Soon we arrived at Musselman Arch, which you can see behind these Musselman wanna be’s . . . .
. . . Gaylord, who is afraid of heights, surprised us all as he dismounted his bike and walked to the 6 foot wide arch, as if the 300 foot drop off over the side of the arch was an illusion! Greg arrived and, having had no intention of walking over it, proceeded right behind Gaylord. The rest of us quivered in our cycling shoes!
Greg decides to take a walk on the wild side too!
Click here to see the movie. Be sure you are seated!
Every time you think it can’t be outdone, check with Merrick. I asked him if other clients had been ‘brave’ enough to cross the arch. Several did handstands and walked across the arch on their hands and he himself rode across the arch doing a wheelie the whole way on his bike! Ahhh . . . to be young again. Of course, he does have several hundred thousand dollars of past medical bills and many broken bones to tell the story!
Not much green in the high desert except along the river banks. BUT, lots of cactus.
A good landscape photo should have something in the foreground of the shot to give a sense of scale. You will notice most of these shots do have a foreground subject. Not so much as a part of the photo but because I was too chicken to get to the edge!
We cycled on and eventually stopped to enjoy the lunch we had packed that morning. BillyB thought it would be a good place to stretch out a bit. A family of cyclists passed us by and the 16 year old daughter cried out, “Are you guy’s OK?”. Fine we said, just old!!!!
Merrick arrives with goodies and water! He carries 220 gallons of water onboard so cooking, doing dishes and a sun shower are always available!
One of the permanent restrooms encountered in every campground and along the trail place at strategic locations. Camping is allowed by permit only in the Canyonland’s and in only certain locations. No open fires really put a damper on our previous trip evening campfire routine. Of course, there is nothing to burn anyway. Merrick used a propane stove to cook and a self contained charcoal set up. He could not put the charcoal bed of the stove directly on the desert floor and had to carry all the coal refuse out with the composted food.
Away we go . . . up . . up . . and more up!
One of the few splashes of color on the desert floor.
For those interested, and enough were not, a nightly shower was available. Two gallons of air temp water tempered with two gallons of boiling water allowed for a great HOT shower. Here Gaylord demos an “G rated” version of a shower with a view. Complete with rubber tub liner! He brought is own luffa puff!!!!
Our routine quickly developed to finding our individual camping spots, setting things up, stowing away and getting ready for the evening. Then is was time for beer, lawn chairs and sitting in a semi circle for the magic of our nightly cooking lesson from Merrick and our self generated world problem solving session. The more we drank the easier life seemed . Ah . . . to be retired, except for Terry, but he is thinking of it.
Here Merrick prepares the noodles for tonight’s lasagna dish. He can accommodate any type of food allergy or eating issue including cooking a veggie lasagna for a Friday Lenten observer. He once had a tour where between vegan, gluten vegetarian and several other requirements basically cooked three dinners every night for a week. The only two rules he has in camp are no religious or political discussions, though I believe he was quite amused by our constant chatter about nothing!
Another night of rooms with a view.
Right next to my tent!
Preparing tonight’s appetizer . . .
. . . onion stuffed, balsamic mushrooms with melted Parmesan cheese!
Merrick used Dutch ovens a lot for cooking and really had the system down to a science. Here is his ‘double oven’.
One meat and one veggie . . . nice guy!
It gets chilly, actually ‘cold’, in the high desert once the sun drops behind the mountains. Dave was definitely our leanest (READ: Least FAT) rider (by a LONGSHOT) and as you can see here stayed bundle up when the temps dropped into the thirties at night. He climbed into his sleeping bag at night with pretty much everything on that he had brought along!
No campfire . . . but Gaylord warms his hand over the Dutch oven lid.
Time for our nightly dessert in the desert! Tonight . . . red velvet cake with butter frosting!
Enough for seconds too.
Greg, our trip leader, served as the perfect host as he made the nightly rounds with his peppermint Schnapps. Went great with hot chocolate!
Ranger Dan stopped by to check our camping permit’s and to inspect the food. He spends several days out in the bush camping at night. Nice work if you can get it!