August has burnt out, what next?

Dad at Coney, Aug 2010

Well, this month has flown past in a hurry.  Trying to get work in, schedule a vacation, and then get everything going at once.

Valyk at Coney's Aug 2010

A Coney Dog at National Coney Island

So, what do these things all have in common?  Well, everything and nothing.  When you can't take a long trip, you take a short trip.  When you have to eat and work, but can't take a "real" trip, you settle for a lunch trip.  When none of that is working for you.  You decide to blow off everything and go on vacation.

Now, this is going to be a strange year.  It has been 2 years since dad and I have gone cross-country on the motorcycles, and the last time we went was around now (Late summer, beginning of fall), but we're going to do it different this year.  Last time we hit every condition and season you can imagine within three weeks:  down pouring rain that was so hard that standing in the middle of a waterfall may have given us more visibility; sun and desert so hot that our arms were turning purplish-black, and we had to stop for water and shade every time we could find a spot (that included being lucky enough to find some bits of cloud cover); a blessed rain shower that felt like icy, needled shards of desert glass that made you cry for the stinging, praise the rain, and have the desert dry you off so fast that you weren't sure if the moisture had made it actually into your clothes; and then we hit cool fall temperatures and leaves beginning to turn in mountain canyons, some late summer bliss in Utah, snow on our heels, on the way home through South Dakota, and some winds that would power a city on the move in Missouri, Kansas, and Wyoming.  I couldn't tell after a while if my face, was sunburned, wind burned, frosted, or just healthfully glowing.  Been there, done it, seen it, tasted it, gone back for seconds, and still made it home and back to work.  I didn't realize how stressed out I'd been, until I'd been home and back at work for about a week and actually noticed how un-stressed I was driving in to work one morning.  It's been two whole years of running around for work, working my butt off, being a fair piece of sick a year and a half ago, and I am "there", at that point where I may shatter into pieces if I do not indeed de-stress and have some "time out".

So, 2010.... a break from tradition, we are heading across the country, but we are taking my truck this year.  Being a southwest/great basin archaeologist, far away from her archae home, I like to visit out there as often as I can, and my dad is always game for a new adventure.  There is one area of the four-corners area of the United States (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona), that we've not been able to go to on our motorcycle trips, because of the extensive off-road time needed to get there.... Chaco Canyon, where I pulled my nickname, Chaco Kid, from.  The four corners area is filled with Anasazi cultural remains: Arizona has Canyon de Chelley, Colorado has Mesa Verde, Utah has Hovenweep, and New Mexico has Chaco Canyon.  Now, be advised, these are just the "big" visit areas in the four corners region, there is a lot of other nifty stuff all around there.  Then if you move up into Utah as we'll do after the four corners, well you get into the Freemont Cultural area.  Utah is just nifty that way, old archaeology treasures and then if you are into dinosaurs, well Utah also reigns supreme for paleontology too.  So prepare to enjoy some southwest and western United States with me, even if the bike is taking this trip off, it should be quite a ride and adventure.  I'm planning on some hiking, camping, rafting, star gazing (yes, out there you can see more than one at a time, I fully plan to enjoy the Milky Way again out at Chaco), some archaeology, some rock art, some friendly visits (old, new, and come what may), and then we'll circle back and enjoy the more northern route on the way back.

Although the bikes are whining in the garage a bit, the truck allows us off-road exclusive access to some nifty stuff, we've not been able to do previously, as well as haul a bunch of stuff back.  A road is a road and a trip is an adventure.  A little less wind, sand, and rain in the face, a few more options.

If things continue to go as well as expected this year, then we'll be on a fall motorcycle ride in October.  It has been a long wait through the spring and summer while everyone else has been on their vacations, but I think that an early fall trek though the desert will be amazing.  So, more from the road next week.

And the question of the day- what is something that you like to schedule in as a trip or special spot every chance you get on a trip?

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