The Canyon Roads Tour
September 11th, 2001
from Nature & Friends
As we were seated for
our first breakfast of the tour on September 11th, we got the
news of the terrorist attacks in New York. We had gathered from
all over the country, including two couples from New York, to
take this tour of Utah. Everyone was far from home, some unable
to return for awhile. We decided to go ahead as planned. As we
suited up for our first day's ride, we were somber compared to
our gathering the evening before.
We headed up into
the mountains, riding the first of the many passes we would cover
in these 11 days. At left, our first group shot atop Loveland
Pass at 12,000'. Note the snow in the background from a storm
that passed 3 days before - a hint of things to come, but the
weather was perfect for the rest of the tour.
As a tour guide, what a delight for me not
worry about the skills of the group. This was, after all, the
"Proficient Motorcycling" Tour. David L. Hough, moto-journalist
and the author of the book "Proficient Motorcycling"
was along to provide daily discussions and personal coaching on
motorcycling skills. Everyone had read his book and practiced
his teachings. A good start for any motorcycle journey.
As the days went by we learned more of the
situation in New York. We noticed the patriotism exhibited by
the many flags flying at businesses, homes, and even
tractors plowing the fields. In retrospect, we were very fortunate
to be in some of America's most stunning scenery, riding our motorcycles
and surrounded by friends. Even though we were on vacation, we
all felt the growing patriotism and our thoughts were never very
far from those who were suffering the loss of family and friends.
The Cures came in many forms.
Motorcyclists tend to make friends with each other quickly, but
here we had 20 people, all like-minded riders but from all walks
of life, giving support to each other. The spirit of kinship and
brotherhood formed at an accelerated rate.
By Friday, September 14th, we understood more
of the gravity of the situation. The road had taken us to the
tiny town of Tropic, Utah, near Bryce Canyon. Instead of visiting
the canyon, Bill Stecker (who once worked at the World Trade Center)
scoured the town looking for candles. Bill gave us each a candle
at our outdoor dinner that evening. We had a few moments of silence,
some spoke of lost friends, feelings of fear, thankful for the
love and support. We then joined in the "Pledge of Allegiance"
(somehow with new meaning), sang "Amazing Grace", and,
like the bunch of hungry bikers we were, enjoyed a steak dinner.
A magical evening, and a welcomed emotional release.
From then on we were riding like a well-practiced
drill team. It's interesting how emotion effects one's riding.
From the guide's point of view (the mirrors) I loved looking back
and seeing every bike take the perfect line through every curve.
I'm still smiling.
The Desert Cure:
At left, a rest stop at Hog Springs, Utah. A thousand
curves behind us and thousands more to go.
The beautiful crimson sunsets and a million
stars overhead have their curing affect. The sound of motorcycles
echoing off the canyon walls! The warm sun on our backs, the distant
vistas. How could you not feel better?
Right: The Water
Cure. It's about 90 degrees in the
middle of Utah. David pours cold water down Tom Callihan's back.
He squealed but enjoyed it. Tom rode his bike from Fresno and
was an inspiration to us all. At a young 72 years of age, he loved
passing me and blasting down the canyons on his BMW RS. His ancient
red leathers earned him the nickname "Red Hawk".
Our daily skills
discussions by David were a highlight of the tour. Sometimes we
met after dinner, sometimes after a picnic lunch in a scenic spot
such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (left).
The Wide-Open-Spaces Cure. The entire town of Bedrock is shown on the right.
Many miles from no-where, there were no other people, no traffic
noise, just the quiet beauty of western Colorado.
The Peaceful Place
Cure. To the ancients, Zion
meant "Resting Place" or "Peaceful Place".
It's easy to see why; the sheer walls rising thousands of feet
straight up tend to make one feel insignificant yet empowered.
Sit on a rock for a few minutes surrounded by all this beauty
and you're sure to feel relieved of anxiety. For the next Cure,
get back on your bike and ride the red asphalt!
The Indian Country Cure. Much can be said about the Indian cultures of the
Southwest, and we still have much
to learn from them. The photo at right is in Antelope Canyon,
on the Navajo Reservation near Page, Arizona. A sacred place to
the Navajo and one that makes you feel you are in the very heart
of a special creation.
The photo below was taken just north of Monument
Valley. The Navajo are masters at communicating with their natural
surroundings. Their cures always involve getting back in touch
with the great Mother Earth. Fire, Water, Wind.
Pass Cure. Riding back into Colorado,
we find that the clear, fresh air of the high mountain passes
offer their own therapy. The Aspen trees were turning vibrant
shades of yellow and orange, telling us that this season too,
will pass. A walk in an Aspen forest in the fall will convince
you that you can't possibly feel the same afterward. At right
is Lake San Christobal at the base of Slumgullion Pass. We rode
fifteen mountains passes, each with its own personality, each
with many curves and cures up one side and down the other.
left is David in a familiar pose. (this time overlooking Lake
Powell). For those who took this tour the cures continue with
the memories and images captured on film.
Thank you, David, for sharing your knowledge.
And thank you to all who participated in this unforgettable experience!
- Mike Broadstreet
The effects of 9/11 will last for years, and
we are learning much about ourselves in the meantime. Go for a
ride and trade your worries for Cures!
Contact Mike Adams
7474 East Arkansas #1506, Denver, CO 80231
44 Cheyenne Rd, Lyons,
Voice & Fax: 303-823-5731