Sun Tunnels and Faith

This entry is an excerpt from my book, Forget That I’m Dying. On Christmas Day, Mindy, the girls, and I made the three-hundred mile trek in the WRōV out to one of several unusual art installations around the Great Salt Lake, the Sun Tunnels. Our route took us on I-80 west to the Bonneville Salt…

Shangri La-Sals

This entry is an excerpt from my book, Forget That I’m Dying. One thing I can be grateful to COVID-19 for is its encouragement to find activities where we’re isolated and self-contained, and no activity does that better than camping. Addie and I realized that during our Pacific Northwest Tour, lighting from boondock to campground,…

Bucket List: Glacier and Remission

Building the Tahoe into the WRōV occupied much of my time and was a great distraction from the chemo effects. By the first week of May I had most of the big modifications done, from the drive-train to the roof rack to the spare tire swing-arm to the drawer system insert in the back with…

Some Sacred Ground

Feeling good enough to get out after chemo we thought we’d scout out a campground where our whole family will join us in June up in the Manti-La Sal National Forest. We made it to the top of the mountain only to find the dirt road to Indian Springs gated closed, so we went on…

Bucket List: Fence

While this is not a vehicle-based adventure, work of any kind on what’s left of this old farm is always an adventure and challenge. This area yielded a wonderful garden last growing season and this year would be no different with Mindy’s mission to grow our own food for the table, pantry and root cellar…

Bucket List: Isolette

I’ve had a life of peak experiences and am looking forward to more, one in particular that I want to share here. A decade ago I wrote and recorded an album, Never Too Late, on which is a song called Isolette. From the liner notes:”Listen closely to the first song on the album and you’ll…

Before MCL/After MCL

When I got the call on that February 5th with my results and diagnosis I was sitting behind the wheel of this thing, getting ready to take it out for one last test drive before I handed over the check. Instead I sat there, stunned at the turn my life had just taken. Certainly this wasn’t…

The Spiral Jetty

To get ahead of the Winter blues and stave off as much as possible the building fears we had about an impending pandemic, we took a day trip to explore one of the Great Salt Lake’s many wonders, the Spiral Jetty, located beyond Corinne and the Golden Spike National Historical Park on the Rozel Point…

The Pacific Northwest Tour

It was during my daughter’s wedding reception at our home, December 2019, when I teased the idea of doing an extended motorcycle trip and asked if she’d like to join me. The idea at the time was to go north, a direction we’ve seldom gone, to Yellowstone, to Glacier, into Canada up to their Glacier…

Monterey to Mendocino to Delle

Of all the ways we get around my favorite and ironically least-traveled vehicle is an inflatable kayak. The Tiger is a very close second, but the only problem with these craft is that while they can accommodate two travelers, doing so limits their capacities, not to mention having to leave the dogs at home. That’s…

Walking Along the Wasatch

Our first attempt to snowshoe Farmington Canyon was scuttled by vague (to me, at least) navigation instructions and very high winds, seeming to give purpose to my suggestion to turn around and see if we’ve missed something. And I’m glad we did since we weren’t fully kitted to trek in 50 mile-per-hour winds. Who is?…

Earth

The featured image on this post was also uploaded to Facebook where a friend asked where the photograph was taken. “Earth,” I replied, not really thinking about the implications that go along with that as a destination. I was just being a smartass. But the more I’ve looked at this image, the more accurate that…

What We’ve Missed Along the Way

Mention Highway 80 to just about any Utahan and the responses are exasperation and eye-rolling. It’s a necessary evil to go to all points west, at least faster than any of the alternatives and at the end of June that’s the only speed you want to go. Faster. I remember it differently. When I was…

Southeastern Utah Traverse

Two weeks to go before Summer semester begins and there’s a break in my days, a perfect time for a quick trip to knock off some bucket list items, like the Shafer Trail, Valley of the Gods, Moki Dugway, Halls Crossing and a bonus – the Burr Trail. Other things had come together as well,…

Bountiful to Big Sur to Bonneville

  I’ve had the luxury of keeping my daughter’s 1992 Ford F-250 while she’s been in training and she’s reached a point where she can now have her own vehicle at her new base, the Presidio in Monterey, 842 miles away. Not only is Ol’ Red over 25 years-old, it has over a quarter million…

Milestones and Milemarkers

This trip’s purpose took us and our dogs to our daughter’s graduation from the University of Oregon in Eugene and we made the best of the miles along the way, camping and exploring. At the university where I teach I’ve had the honor of reading the names of graduates at Commencement. This year’s graduation being…

Forced Perspective

Scale is as elusive sometimes as color. Your brain thinks it has it dialed in and the light changes or another contrast or scope obliterates your original references and you’re left to sort it all out again. I wish I could just let it be. Some of us humans are embedded with a primordial drive…

Promontory

The geography of my living is punctuated by great connections, like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Channel Tunnel or the Hoover Dam, though most might argue it’s more separator than connector. Each are fantastic structures that bring a couple of points together through super-human feats of design and execution. The history of my work is…

Heaven Near Hannah

  The greatest casualty of my divorce some fifteen years ago is the time I wouldn’t get to spend with my son and daughter. Now they’re adults, a metamorphosis that happened somewhere along the way to my mid-life, and having thus arrived, those years missed taunt the days we have left to pack them up…

The Honeymoon Trail

Track Stats Distance: 55 mile out-and-back Trail Rating: Moderate – Requiring high-clearance four-wheel drive Climb: Approximately 1300 feet Highlights: The Honeymoon Trail, fossils, incredible vistas Map: Honeymoon Trail Traverse of the Colorado Plateau The Traverse The Honeymoon Trail is a popular track through Warner Valley, up the Colorado Plateau and southeast to Pipe Springs where it…

The Warner Valley Traverse

Track Stats Distance: 43.6 mile loop Trail Rating: Moderate – Requiring high-clearance four-wheel drive Climb: Approximately 700 feet Highlights: Dinosaur tracks, petroglyphs, mind-bending geology, incredible vistas Map: Warner Valley Traverse The Traverse Warner Valley sits on the southwestern border of Washington County and the Arizona Strip, a kind of no-man’s land under the stewardship of the…

The Sanctuary of San Simeon

A little over ten years ago we were married on this beach. A year before that we brought our kids here to kayak the cove and try a little blending. We’ve been coming back ever since, the one destination that we return to about every year, and at seven hundred miles away, not to mention…

Kolob

We first camped here two weeks ago when my daughter joined me for an overnighter and line-wetting at Kolob Reservoir. This, for the most part, is a locals’ secret, with much consternation should anyone reveal the secret handshake that is Kolob in general. Even the National Park Service seems to speak in whispers about this…

Geological Exclamation Points

The land here is much like the weather. Change minutes to miles and in just a few, things are going to be dramatically different. Long stretches of featureless desert are punctuated by geological exclamation points. Not the least of which is Horseshoe Bend, Arizona. I don’t mean to understate the inherent beauty of the Colorado…

October RiSE

There wasn’t much mystery in coining the title for this blog a few years ago; Cornering Consciousness was not only the intent of our adventures, but also the outcome of the process. And in all that we’ve done so far we have yet to have that consciousness manifest with such impact as it was in our latest…

Hurricane to Hell

One of the many great things technology has done for mankind is diminish the frequency of the turn of phrase, there’s only one way to find out, the very words uttered (or so we imagine), when Lorrel “Sixty” McInnely put his bulldozer in gear towing a compressor across two felled lodgepole pines that spanned the gap…

Skutumpah

It was really more by accident that we came across the Willis Creek Trail. On Pioneer Day morning we were looking for dog-friendly day hikes close to Hurricane, something that would get us out of the hottest day of the year so far, with water for Ginger and Maryann. In her search, Mindy found a…

On Just Being There

Despite all the celluloid and digital records I’ve made of this canyon, I’ve never had a moment where I could say that’s a keeper, I believe because all attempts to replicate fail on so many levels compared to Zion’s contextual impact on just being there, especially with someone you love. For me there’s little point in…

Atlatl Mecca

There’s a kind of cosmic camping serendipity that both graces and curses our adventures when we decide to rough it amidst the public. The grace is in a timing that affords us an unanticipated cultural experience. The curse is relative the amount of noise created by neighboring roughers after sunset and before sunrise and the…

Dog-Friendly

In his book, The Mastery of Love, don Miguel Ruiz says that the perfect relationship is like the one you have with your dog and only half that relationship is perfect, the dog’s half. Another researcher has likened the excitement that your dog feels when you come home at the end of the day to the…

Reunion in the Uintahs

Speak the names of most small towns in Utah and you can immediately fetter out who’s a native and who isn’t, especially when you say the words, “Tabiona” or “Hannah.” These neighboring villas are nestled along the Duchesne River at the base of the High Uintah Mountains, and host the annual gatherings of the Moons…

Things Thought to be Certain

Every Father’s Day since I’ve been one I’ve been asked what I’d like for the occasion, a smart question that eliminates guessing or mind reading. The benefit to this is I get what I want. This year I wanted to go camping with my son and daughter and they obliged. The second part to the…

Sacred Ground

A little over nineteen miles from my doorstep is the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, a BLM piece of land that hosts early Jurassic dinosaur tracks, remnants from the Anasazi, and a beautiful little box canyon that tempts lesser-aware visitors to swim in her pools. I say that because the small river that’s cut this canyon…

On the Other Side

I believe it was Squaw Creek that began a recurring dream I have. I used to hike it during the summers I spent as an adolescent at Squaw Valley, California, every time connecting to something that pushes one on to see what’s next, what’s on the other side, of anything. The dream is discovering something…

Tuweep to Laugh

Tuweep is a place that delivers you proportionately. Big earth, puny human. Like her not-so-distant relative, the North Rim, this more obscure Grand Canyon overlook shuts your mouth and opens your senses and your mind. We were there only eleven months ago, the end of April last, to try out our new gear that we’ve since journeyed…

The Three Hour Tour

There’s a space we occupy as adventurers nestled between won’t-it-be-great-when and this-is-it. It’s an active tense of real versus ideal, a place we spent some time in over last weekend on what started out as a three-hour tour to The Barracks that turned into an overnighter in the steep canyon of Parunuweap, east of Zion Canyon. The Barracks…

That Curvy Undulating Ribbon of Black

My sisters used to play guitar and sing Peter, Paul and Mary’s 500 Miles, a folk song that would haunt my earliest dreams as a four year-old kid. The memory of the dream is still pretty vivid; I’m on a road walking west to the horizon and it’s getting dark. The feeling is even more vivid,…

The Smokey Mountain Road

This trip was scrubbed two weeks ago when it was originally scheduled due to the unplanned surgery reattaching my left biceps tendon. So it’s with great relief to get to a point where we could make this little overland trek in a minimum of pain. As with any adventure that takes us east out of…

It’s Always Better

We’re establishing a tradition in the family where upon graduation from college we take our now grad-student on a road trip to the Pacific Coast Highway, California’s Highway 1, the greatest road in the world. You can see our last adventure for Katie here. First stop, though, on this multi-purpose adventure was The International Culinary Center…

Natural Selection in Progress

We decided our first excursion with our newly acquired kit would be to Tuweep or Toroweap campground, overlooking a 3000 foot drop to the Colorado River. We left St. George Saturday after Mindy’s Spokes for Hope bike race, taking the Main Street route, BLM roads 1069 and 5 from St. George, about 90 miles to…

Labyrinth Canyon Attempt

The plan was simple enough: kayak from Antelope to Labyrinth Bay the first day, 32 miles. Second day, explore Labyrinth Canyon. Third day, paddle back to Antelope. The plan was naive to so many things including Labor Day lake traffic and record low water levels. Our expedition consisted of four paddlers, my son Chris, then…

Fear the Reaper

I’ve looked the reaper in the face more times than anyone would ever want to. Too many risks perhaps, especially upon a bullet bike. Saw him again three weeks ago when my companion and I were returning from camping, riding our Valkyrie Interstate on Utah’s Highway 12. Just south of Escalante the rear tire was…

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

We spotted it out at least thirty miles as we headed down the A35 to our stop for the night in Colmar. A few days previous when we checked in to our hotel in Strasbourg we found a brochure for this edifice, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, but wrote it off at the time since we…

Metz

Metz is to Europe what the Oakland Raiders are to the NFL, only the city was swapped between France and Germany two more times. The capital of the Lorraine lost its French host in 1870 when Napoléon III surrendered to Kaiser Wilhelm I, Metz went to Germany. World War I found Metz back in France…

Strasbourg

Our TGV wove through threatening cumulus clusters and according to the ground it looked like rain, an ample amount, but one couldn’t tell by our windows to the world of eastern France. Nothing sticks, it seems, at one hundred seventy miles per hour. You’re lucky if the colors of the French countryside adhere to your…

Nancy

The car was reserved through Alamo. The girl assisting us with the contract appeared to think us to be out of our minds for lugging our adventure’s burden on our backs and renting a car to go from there to Rome. We don’t think twice about road trips under starry skies above. Five hundred miles…

Paris

Our passage to Paris was booked, but this day, Thursday, was still open-ended, we weren’t sure where we’d end up for the night – Reims, Metz or Strasbourg. For some reason that was okay for me, must have been the reassurance of the half-dozen waffles I had in my back pack. I could conquer the…

Brussels

Funny what temporal conditioning does to you. It turns you into an idiot. Speaking for myself, of course. Spring has been trying to bust out for what seems like weeks in St. George, the earliest recipient of seasonal graces in Utah. My little gray matter filed that tilting-earth expectation under Spring in Europe, a context…

The Isle of Man

If I had a bucket list, touring the Isle of Man would be in the top three for two reasons; the Isle of Man TT – home/mecca of the world’s oldest motorcycle race, and the film Waking Ned Divine, one of my favorites, shot entirely on the Isle of Man. So when resources and opportunity collaborated…

Great Britain

The next morning we rose early to best play out our options; catch the early ferry to Heysham to find passage to London, or catch the afternoon ferry to Liverpool spend the night and goof around there. I trotted to the ferry terminal and found a package deal – ferry and train to London for…

Huntington Canyon

  Tough to name this trip as I’m trying to get away from geographical titles like “Huntington Canyon.” Places might not mean as much to the discriminating reader as say, “Neckskin flappin” or “Chip Seal & Tar Snakes” or “The GSH” for Grand Staircase Highway. All of which will play out in the prose to…

Monument Valley Ride

There is no such thing as all-weather gear. This is a muse to sell you something, more deluded, in fact, than one-size-fits-all. Nothing tests this fallacy better than a motorcycle trip in the high desert of the Southwest. Any trip east for us begins through the portal of Zion National Park, setting a high mark for the…

Mesa

Really, it should be The Best of Arizona, because St. George to Mesa sounds pretty mundane. And for all intents and purposes, Mesa is, the whole Phoenix area is, mundane that is; suburban sprawl and clogged arteries called freeways. The mundane disappears when the Joshuas line the Carefree Highway and the Saguaros are crowned with blooms that look…

The PCH

  DAY ONE We got off to an evening start, about 7:30 pm when Mindy finished her shift. Not much from SGU to Vegas except for the most expensive stretch of Interstate 15, which is the Virgin River Gorge. From Wikipedia: The Virgin River Gorge, located between St. George, Utah N37° 6′ W113° 35′ and Littlefield, Arizona N36° 51′ W114° 1′,…