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My quest d’jour is the Iron Butt Association’s special ride for those who aren’t up to ride 1000 miles in a day: for those of us whose butts aren’t exactly iron clad, they offer a National Parks Tour. I rode with Don, W0DET, to Dove Creek, Colorado. It was his first excursion on his new (to him) Honda Shadow 1100, and I think he had a great time. The fall colors were at their prime:
Note that in order to document your National Parks Tour, you need to take a picture of your motorcycle in front of the park or monument. Otherwise, you might be accused of cheating and gathering validation stamps in your car! That’s why you see several pictures of mine. For those who are interested, there are (of course) websites for the National Park stamp collectors, and those of us who are collecting them by motorcycle.
We stayed at the home of Don’s friends Norm and Carla. He has installed a ham radio shack there with a huge directional beam antenna. It’s located on their dryland farm not far from Dove Creek which is wonderfully isolated and quite beautiful. From the radio location, you can see a majestic panorama of mountains in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. And since the location is far from town, the stars and the full moon were painfully bright, the coyotes’ cries piercing, mournful and a little scary, and the level of radio interference incredibly low. Don set up his station for radio teletype, and his first contact was somebody in Croatia! But the best part for me was spending time with the three friends. They’ve known each other for years, and it took abut five minutes for me to feel at home. Thanks for your wonderful food and warm hospitality!
On our trip back through Moab, we drove through Dove Creek, where the principal crop is dried pinto and Anasazi beans from the dryland farms. We then pointed our handlebars west to to Utah, stopping at Wilson Arch, where a Navajo girl sold me [spoiler alert] two lovely necklaces.
It was a wonderful trip, and I snagged six new stamps for my tour: Anasazi Heritge Center, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Mesa Verde National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. I now have ten of the 50 required parks, but only in two of the required 25 states. Planning my next trip could be problematic, since there are very few national parks and monuments in the midwest.