Sunday, June 26, 2011

100 Miles is Not Enough (Hyrum Canyon)

Sometimes your day insists your ride be confined to only one tank of gas.  Regrettable, but it beats not riding at all.  Today I took my first northern Utah ride of the season, but still had to fit in quite a bit a work.  My usual first ride is to Bear Lake via Logan Canyon, but as it is Sunday, I opted for the less traveled Hyrum Canyon.  At least I call it Hyrum Canyon. Maybe it’s called Blacksmith Fork Canyon.  I do know for sure it’s a nearby 15 mile stretch of UT 101 that leads to the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area.

Here’s the “bat cave:”

The bat cave!

Can you hear songbirds chirping?  Listen a little closer.  You can also hear the low rumble of a Monster 696 from within.  I’ve never had a garage before, and while I usually stay in a free student apartment each summer, this year is different. I’m renting (you’ll figure out why another time) a 1925 bungalow from a friend, complete with grass, shade trees, flowers and the Logan River in my backyard.  I gotta say, it feels pretty cool to be hiding what you like to think of as your ferocious machine in this little country shed!

Hyrum Canyon is not national park material, but it is just full of perfect little vignettes.  Like “Snowy Mountains Emerging from Canyon’s Mouth.”  Or “Magestic Tree with Rushing River and Wildflowers.”  Or “Magpie on Fence Post”.  (I didn’t bother with this one.  While I can coax a decent landscape or food shot out of my Canon G11, I find it quite worthless for anything that moves.  You know, things like people.  Or animals.  Or motorcycles.  *sigh*)

Any road has it oddities, too.  Like “Water Bubbling from Beneath the Asphalt.”  (Does this have something to do with the current flooding?) Or “Enormous Testicles of Upward Climbing Deer.”  (Seriously, they were impressive.)  And I can’t forget “Startled Sheep.”  Which perhaps could just as well be named “Startled Motorcyclist.”  (Just who startled whom?)  That one was fairly exciting, at least from my point of view.

I do have a few actual photographs to share with you.  They are not the most beautiful scenes I saw today, but each one did fit four strict requirements.

  1. I thought it was pretty.
  2. The lighting was decent.
  3. I was not too chicken to pull off the asphalt to take the photograph (this road doesn't really have a shoulder to speak of).  I have short legs.  Anything more than .0398%* grade and at least one of my feet is not going to be able to touch the ground.  If it’s my left foot, I have to let the bike free fall to land on its side stand.  Call me crazy, but I like to know that bike it sitting safely on the stand before I let go.  If it’s my right foot, then I can’t even lift my left foot to engage the side stand.  Yes, I could free fall that perilous three inches to the right to stand on that leg, but you assume there is firm footing on which to catch 350-400 pounds of motorcycle.  You also assume I am not unreasonably concerned about this incredibly awkward scenario.  So much for feeling cool.  Now the Ducati is lower than my Kawasaki, so that’s an improvement.  Except that any courage I may have gained from this edge is overshadowed by that fact that I really, really do not want to drop my shiny, not held together with packing tape,  never been horizontal (imagined extreme lean angles not withstanding), still new to me as far as I’m concerned, motorcycle.  I freely admit I’m a fair weather photographer.  I’m not gonna risk, or even enter into a paranoid perceived risk of, to be more accurate, dropping my bike for a photograph. I’m just not.
  4. There is probably an RV, farm machinery and a slow moving SUV that I can’t get around right away, so I might as well pull over anyway.    Let me tell you, if the road is free and clear (which today, it was almost the entire time) I ain’t stoppin’!
You might imagine that’s an awful lot of information to process whilst flying ‘round the bend in full sport mode.  You are correct.  It is.

Today's vignettes:

Hyrum Canyon Ride 031
Scrumptious Looking Grass in Springtime Meadow


Hyrum Canyon Ride 039
Wooden Cart-Thingy (There was a row of 16 of these carts, actually.  Weird.  Where did they come from and why?)

Hyrum Canyon Ride 017
Pond: Cattails Not Shown

Hyrum Canyon Ride 044
Ducati with Field of Wildflowers in the Distance

Funny.  Not one of those photos looks like a canyon.  Well it is.  You'll just have to trust me on that one. Probably not a coincidence that this flatter area affords me a better shot at finding a place to pull over.

Dinner tonight?  Kielbasa (which didn't seem very kielbasa-like, but still was very tasty), a salad of baby greens and crusty bread, all scored at the local farmers’ market yesterday morning.

100 miles.**  Not. E. Nough.  I think I’m getting up early tomorrow to hit Logan Canyon.

* Okay, I made that number up, but you get my point.
**Yes, I said the canyon is a nearby 15 mile stretch, but I did indeed manage to squeak in 100 miles today.   I bet you can figure it out.  ;-)

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