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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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Pie Town .... "You can check in any time you like but you can never leave"?
:LOL:😂

Well, if you are lover pie, you might never want to leave! I understand Pie Town is known for the quality of the pies produced by a little convenience store/gas station/restaurant/motel. I have not visited since the early 90's at latest, but the Great Divide Route runs through Pie Town. I understand from tour and race journals that the pie shop remains a going concern. I have never been one to eat pie, so I cannot speak to the quality personally, but I've known a number of people who place a high value on good food who fell in love with the pies.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
I went looking for Mr Leaf and his Ice Cream Truck.
View attachment 55538
I didn't find him. :(
No way! Great Sand Dunes National Park. Sadly, bikes are only permitted on the roads there, not the dunes. Or maybe not so sadly: this sand trumps FL sugar sand, hands-down. I was just in FL, on a gorgeous sugar sand beach, and I stand behind that statement. You don't sink knee deep in FL sugar sand. At least, I never have.

You might seriously find me attempting the road to Medano Peak, where the sand is so bad that only fat bikes and 4x4s are allowed. I've also hiked the dunes. I'm seriously uncertain about cycling such sand in any capacity, but I'd like to try now that I have the Truck. I think :oops:.

I hope you have the chance to check out Zapata Falls. It's on adjacent BLM land. Short drive from the NP, very short hike, totally amazing falls. Be prepared to get your feet wet, and be happy you're not trying to hike it in May, when the snow melt water is so cold as to be physically painful. The falls can be enjoyed and are worth visiting even if you are unwilling to get your feet wet, but ~60yds of wading will earn you mind boggling views. Worth doing in winter, but bring your crampons.

If you care to take a break in the Denver area, it might be fun to meet up for food. I also understand how road trip time is, well, road trip time. I hope your trip is smooth and successful either way.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
I'm in Page, Arizona for the night. Tomorrow to Beatty, Nevada, then home on Tuesday. Was good getting out of town for a few days.
Well, you're just hitting all the good stuff! As you no doubt know, Page is a great jumping off point for Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. I'd been toying with the idea of making a combined cycling/paddling trip out that way later this month, but it's looking unlikely. I understand the water in Lake Powell is so low that parts of Glen Canyon which have been flooded for decades are now visible above the water. I'd love to see that.

I hope your road trip concludes safely and well. Thanks for the trips down memory lane and reminders of yet more places that I would like to tour by bike :).
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
Now that I ripped on the community of Seaside, FL in the 'pics from our rides' thread, it's time to share some of the redeeming features. For me, these all revolved around the beach, and the Gulf of Mexico beyond it.
Water Sky Coastal and oceanic landforms Aqua Horizon
Sea Turtle, ho! I chose to drive in order to make a stop in St. Charles, MO to check out the Katy Trail. That decision also meant it was easy to bring our stand up paddle boards to the Gulf. That in turn is how I came to see not one but multiple sea turtles going about their business. This one was utterly unconcerned by my presence and even swam under my board more than once! This despite the fact that I sought to keep a reasonable distance between us.

Water Sky Water resources Blue Azure
This is a little hard to see, but note the 'hair' on the turtle's underside as he dives. It's actually a school of pilot fish, which use the turtle for cover against larger predators.

Water Liquid Azure Fluid Aqua
Another good reason to enjoy the Gulf by paddle board rather than mask and snorkel: just above and to the right of center, you can make out a jellyfish of some sort. Very beautiful in delicate pink with surprisingly dark organelles, but I sure wouldn't want to touch one. They were difficult to photograph, but on this day they were everywhere. Accompanied by less photogenic cousins who were much larger and featured long trains of stinging tentacles.

Water Sky Water resources Cloud Fluid
I know this site is dedicated to bicycles, but the right day on the Gulf of Mexico is a bucket list quality paddle. Just sayin' :D.

Water Sky Cloud Azure Fluid
This may be the same turtle pictured above, or another of comparable size. Before this, I spotted a much larger sea turtle, but she (presumed: females run larger than the males in sea turtles) responded to my presence as though I were a shark, tilting her shell to keep the broadest part facing me on the board. That she clearly perceived me as a threat meant I backed off immediately and thus lost the chance to get pics. That's okay: I still got to see her, and there were other turtles who exhibited no stress response at my presence. I hung out with them instead.

Water Sky Cloud Fluid Coastal and oceanic landforms
The way to find turtles on this day was to look for the big dark spots, as opposed to the smaller ones which were all jellyfish. Though visible from the beach or in the water, I found it unsurprisingly much easier to see them from further out when I was standing on my board. Standing also helped me see details better at closer range. Simply paddling around and gazing at the ocean floor through the nearly glass-clear water was surprisingly relaxing.

Water Sky Boat Watercraft Boats and boating--Equipment and supplies
My water steed. So glad I thought to bring it and its mate! Boards could be rented locally, but having our own meant the ability to spend hours at a time on the water, or to decide conditions weren't to our liking just at the moment and leave only to come back a few hours later when things were better. We did both at one time or another. If you bring your own gear, I recommend including a good anchor. The sea breeze can be strong, and our visit featured a couple of days where the wind blew landward, or from the land to the ocean. Not ideal if you want to paddle a ways out and relax on the board without ending up out of sight of land somewhere in the Gulf.

That sounds like a joke, but it isn't: I seriously considered calling rescue for a fellow 'boarder who spent 30min paddling steadily for shore while being pushed ever further away from it thanks to bad paddling technique and wind. In the event, he happily figured things out before reaching the point where I judged it reasonable to involve the authorities. I spent the same time at anchor, rafted up with Mrs Newleaf. We enjoyed a beverage and some snacks along with the waves, sun, and great views. It got even more relaxing once it was clear that our fellow 'boarder had figured out his paddling technique and was making progress for land.

Cloud Water Sky Atmosphere Afterglow
On this evening, our sunset stroll on the beach brought a shark sighting! It was only a 4-5 footer out in water that was knee to thigh deep, but we spotted his pectoral and tail fins above the water a couple of times. I tried for pics, but no joy.

Water Sky Cloud Atmosphere Afterglow
Few things are as beautiful as the sun rising or setting over the ocean. IMHO 🥰.

Water Sky Cloud Water resources Azure
Great timing to get to see sunset with the rise of a full moon. Yes, this pic was taken by me as I stood in the ocean. Only a few minutes after seeing the shark. I dunno what made Mrs. Newleaf go on and on about that...she's the one who wants to swim with the darned things!

I figured it was a good risk: I didn't wade even shin deep, and I fully expect that had anything at all touched a submerged body part, I'd have levitated right out of the water and to the top of the dunes. Shrieking like a toddler confronted with a nest of spiders throughout, I'm certain 😃.
 

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Deranged Touring Cyclist
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6,122 Posts
I took a few photos from the road. Years ago I drove through Monument Valley. Such a stunning place. Except for the heat, I could wake up to that view every day.
Sounds like you've been around the area enough to know, but JIC, it's worth mentioning that Goosenecks State Park is quite nearby to both the formation and town of Mexican Hat. It's $5 to get in and the scenic overlook is quite impressive. They offer camping, and I believe there are some hiking trails, but I've only ever stopped for the amazing view before hitting the road again.
 
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