My recent injury has really slowed me down. When you are forced to slow down one tends to think a lot. My injury has given me a lot of time to think. In that time I’ve thought about passions, jobs, relationships, money and all the rest. One thing I thought about a lot was my bucket list.
With the rise of Instagram, seeing all across the world can be done from your morning visit to the porcelain thrown. Literally the entire world, visually, at your finger tips. With this I began making a list of locations from photos I saw on Instagram. This list quickly grew very large and it lead me to realize one thing; a large number of these locations were literally in my backyard. With a mountain bike festival in Sedona I had planned to shoot, I decided to tick off a few of these bucket list items on the way south from Grand Junction, Colorado.
Delicate Arch, one of the most iconic arches in the world. I have been to this place before, several times, but it had been far too long. As I crested the last rise of the hike, the La Sal mountains came into view, then the top of the arch, then about 30 humans. The sunset was meh at best and the crowd quickly dispersed as the sunset disappeared behind low hanging clouds. As the last person left, leaving me alone with this incredible arch, the sky lit up with the lightest of color.
Mesa Arch is another classic arch that is in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. Even though this locations is under two hours from my hometown, I had never been there. The drive of always wanting to be pedaling had me missing out on places like this. Knowing Mesa Arch is a hugely popular photo location for sunrise, I decided to sleep in the parking lot. Waking up hours before the sun I made the quick walk out. Slowly, one by one more people joined me as we witnessed another amazing sunrise. The view seen through this arch is like “the gateway to the world”, as one of my new New Zealander friends put it.
Monument Valley Road or Utah Highway 160 is likely one of the most photographed sections of highway in the US. I have driven this section of highway many times of the years of driving from Colorado to Arizona, but I have never really stopped and set up a shot, mostly just stopping for roadside snapshots. On this trip I had envisioned a shot with the left curve into the long straight away that seemed to go on forever with a person kicking into it on a skateboard. Flying solo I would have to play the part of photographer and skater. It took over 10-15 tries to get the shot I was really happy with, but each time kicking into the start of that hill I felt completely free. *of course I kept looking over my shoulder for an oncoming semi though…
Horseshoe Bend is another steadfast location when touring the South West. This impressive cut in the earth is hard to truly comprehend as you stand on the edge of the thousand foot cliff. Having spent more time than I should have at Monument Valley, I nearly missed sunset. The day started at Mesa Arch so I couldn’t really complain. As I approached the drop off on the mostly flat surrounding I saw the expansive collection of… humans. It was unreal how many people were there. The sun set and I was left unsatisfied with my shots of Horseshoe Bend so I opted for another parking lot sleep over. Returning in the morning to a completely empty place, I sat on the edge of the cliff, watching the sun slow swallow the darkness with not another person in sight.
No road trip is truly complete with some sort of car troubles. As I rolled out of Sedona on Monday morning at 4am, I was aiming for Vail, Colorado by four PM. Cruising right along with a beautiful sunrise I hit I70 and the final straight shot to Vail. In the middle of nowhere known as Cisco, Utah my alternator decided to die. The screaming coming from under the hood was a horrible screech and then slowly the cab began to fill with smoke. Immediately I pulled over and turned off the engine. Popping the hood revealed a piping hot and smoking alternator. A few hours later my amazing father drove from 120 miles away with a new alternator and the two of us learned how to install it on the side of the interstate under the day’s fading light. It was an amazing learning experience.