Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Day 11 - Moab Meander

Today’s plan was a little different than usual.  We planned to ride the scenic Utah 128 along the Colorado River, visit Arches National Park,  ride to Dead Horse Point, backtrack to Canyonlands, and then return downhill to Moab.  We planned to hike some and return to the same Comfort Inn Suites before heading for Colorado tomorrow.  This was the day we wanted “in hand” to explore this area.  There are some incredible sights in this area and we wanted to take advantage of them.  Daniel needed some freedom to explore Moab so Hardy covered Sag wagon duties.
I had the idea, never yet acted on during this trip, that miles before breakfast were “easy” miles because you could come back, relax, and eat breakfast.  I had gotten used to this pattern in preparation for the trip.  So I resolved to get up early and do a quick 20 miles before everyone got up.  So I crept out at dawn-rode the 2 miles through the deserted streets of Moab to the North side of town to pick up the bike path along the Colorado.  It runs North East--I wasn’t sure how far.  The sun was just catching the top of the cliffs as I rode 9 miles out and back along the river.  I must confess that the Colorado looks a lot smaller and less impressive than our own Tennessee River but the 1000’ red cliffs give it a lot of panache.  The river seems to be swifter, which makes sense, because it has carved out about all the scenery out here.  Camping was prevalent along the river, cars just pulled over, and a tent perched along the banks.  If a permit was required I didn’t see any signs....  The ride was flat and relatively cool down in the canyons before the sun rose.  I got back to the hotel shortly after 7:00.  Our plans today were to have the autotransporter take us into Arches.  We would then all ride around, explore the Park, take some hikes, and Hardy would go back at lunch to pick up Daniel.  The entrance is only 4 miles from Moab but the road climbs 2,000 feet straight up into the Park on a narrow road packed with traffic and RV’s.  We had Hardy drop us off for a hike along Park Avenue while he met us on the other end.   We then drove 5 miles to Balancing Rock where we unloaded the bikes and explored all the roads in the Park.  We were going to hike to Delicate Arch but it takes several hours and we had left all but a few water bottles in the car.  We didn’t think a 1 water bottle hike was prudent.  So we rode to the Devil’s Playground (where there was water) and did a hike into the playground.  There are a good number of people hiking but it is majestic to get up close and personal with these rocks.  I had my touring cleats and they were fine for walking so I carried Hardy’s/Ralph’s  shoes. After a 2 mile hike,  we rode back to Balancing Rock, put the bikes on the car and carried them out of the park.  (As you get closer to the entrance, the traffic is worse on the two lane road.  The shoulder is soft dirt.  Perhaps comfortable to fall on but not conducive to moving over and letting cars pass.)

We picnic’d in the car and then set out for Dead Horse Point.  US 191 North out of Moab is busy but the turn to UT 313 is a long but not brutal climb with minimal traffic.   It’s 19 miles to the Point but its worth the climb and heat on the plateau.  Once we made the turn to Dead Horse State Park, we didn’t see any other visitors.  Arches is impressive but why weren’t there mobs of people at one of the most compelling and impressive vistas in the country?  From the Point:  South- you can see the curve of the Colorado R entering Canyonlands and to the East--the La Sal Mountains on the border of Colorado.  (Check out the photos above) .  We were awed.  We rode back to Ut 313 and headed South to Canyonlands.  Ralph had branched off to go all the way to the last vista in Canyonlands and would meet us at the Green River overlook.  Daniel was going to be there with the car.  We got just a taste of Canyonlands before returning to Moab.  A total of almost 100miles today.  The cycling is stupendous.  We had eaten at an Italian place last night so as we ambled through Moab this night we decided a higher protein fare was indicated--Steak!  We did not do any tofu on this trip..... Burning 5,000-7,000 calories/day you can eat any old non-PC food you prefer.  7 oz. bag of Chips?  Fine- why share?  Eat the whole thing.  Parenthetically I could add that neither Ralph or I lost weight on this trip and in fact may have added 2 or 3 lbs.  Fortunately I started the trip a svelte 170 and Ralph had lost 20+ pounds. We might still be climbing in the Sierras if we hadn’t!
    So a reflection.  Honesty might not be a virtue because Life requires illusion to be tolerable.  If you strip it all down to evolution and DNA, throw out God, and only believe in what YOU know you’re left with materialism.  It’s interesting to keep clawing at the truth but tiring.  Think of Atlas.  What a great idea--a man bearing the weight of the world. Can't put it down. That's us humans--loaded up with responsibility and unable to shirk it. BUT if we imagine an ideal and live for that-presto-saved. Then there are the butterflies--all ephemeral and perfect- not an idea an “other” so sublime that any given moment can become perfect.  Just this, is  never happening again.  Every instant an infinity of possibilities and then--the Real blooms....
   I am fond of Stoicism.  But is it true?  All of us have to make a choice so we should be tolerant of how others approach the problem.  Our senses do what they can, they are not definitive of all we need to know.
    My desire on this ride was to explore the idea,  Whither America?  I wanted to reflect on what in retrospect was the American century.  It ended in my mind on 9 /11.  The financial crisis exposed our most central ideals as myths.  I began my professional public policy career in 1974 as an internationalist, a globalist.  The more we understood about others and connected with them in meaningful ways, the less likely war and conflict.This idea created the European Union and it created our involvement in almost every country in the world. Suddenly we are in the Age of American Empire and we don't want to give it up.  We rule the world with the reserve currency and a military industrial complex that operates in 100+ nations and provides the bulk of "professional" jobs for those still working.  China makes everything, we "keep the peace".  WE define what the peace is.  We are the new Romans.  Sadly our time will be up when the Aladdin's lamp of monetary largess cannot produce dollars that the rest of the world will accept.  The military industrial complex (MIC) can enforce rules of global order but when we cannot pay the soldiers, the world will go its own way.  I try to conceptualize when other countries will no longer agree that the dollar is valuable but I cannot see any other currency that is even as good.  I mentioned GOLD earlier in the blog and it is a currency but 95% (at least) of the population has no understanding of honest money.  They are content to believe in and use the fiat currency.  Who really wants to change?  Those who understand, have fiat money, those who have debts have little understanding.  I detect no revolutionary interest.  I detect no real interest in politics as a solution.  The times appear to be a' changing with very little awareness. Everyone seems content to wait for things to get "back to normal".  Personally I think it's not happening.  The world has broken we just don't know it yet and no one is mentioning what we should be doing about it.  We have  important issues like environmental stewardship, ecological sustainability, employment in a no growth world, increased displaced populations due to war and climate change, resource limits, and a wishful American exceptionalism mythos that is not helping us address our problems.  Conditions are worsening for more people while the rich dither.  Those close to me are fine but I worry about what happens when Reality bites....

No comments:

Post a Comment