Friday, October 25, 2019

112,000 Acres of Public Lands Leased by the BLM 
Since the beginning of 2018 the BLM has leased 112,000 acres of Public Lands in Southeast Utah. This is all part of the Greater Chaco Landscape.  In many cases as little as 2% of the recently leased land has been surveyed for cultural and sacred sites. There are 1700 known sacred sites in three recent lease sales.  The Trump administration immediately targeted this region for development by reducing the size of Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 85% and leaving that previously protected landscape open to mineral, oil and gas development.

Last week I spent time in part of the Bears Ears previously protected landscape, an area called Valley of the Gods. Standing under a brilliant blue sky surrounded by red sandstone mesas, buttes, and towers, all remnants of an ancient landscape, it was a time and place to renew my soul.  Difficult to imagine the long term effects of opening up this and the surrounding landscape for oil and gas industrialization now that protection for the areas has been removed.

Follow this link to experience the beauty of Valley of the Gods.

be strong, be safe, Carlan

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

BLM Fire Sale of Public Lands
Conservation and tribal groups are criticizing the Bureau of Land Management for its latest oil and gas lease sale of more than 70,000 acres of public land in Utah. The sale, which occurred this week, brought in around $1.63 million, according to the BLM, more than half of which came from 32,027 acres in San Juan County. The sale is the third since March 2018 to include land between Bears Ears and Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, much of which conservation groups say should not be leased. “This area has more archaeological sites than any other area open to oil and gas drilling in the United States,” said Josh Ewing, director of Bluff-based conservation group Friends of Cedar Mesa.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors; San Juan County Commission; the Navajo Utah Commission; the Town of Bluff and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) were among those that sent letters to the BLM and Utah Governor Herbert, asking them to stop the leases near Hovenweep National Monument from advancing.

be strong, be safe, Talon

Sunday, August 4, 2019

HWY 2 - Day 12 - Cashmere, WA - End of HWY 2
Final day traveling the Great Northern.  Filled Ol' Sport with the last tank of high test.  Filled me with a big breakfast and several cups of steaming hot coffee.  Heading into Tumwater Canyon HWY 2 sweeps through the evergreen conifer forests winding along the raging Wenatchee River.  Rolled on the throttle, leaned and pressed into the turns...WOW...What a Ride!  Shadows on the road filled with cold air.  Couldn't help but think of the past two weeks on the road with O'l Sport.  Didn't want it to end.  Maybe we could just keep going down the road together forever.
At the crest of the Cascades the road climbs up and over 4,061 foot Steven Pass. The highest and northern most Cascade pass.  A popular ski area, Stevens Pass dishes out grand views of the surrounding peaks.  Stopped to take it all in.  Didn't want the moment to end.
From Stevens Pass it is a downhill run to the end of HWY 2 in Everett.  A few miles down the narrow curving asphalt a small pull-off provides access to one of the regions prettiest and most powerful cascades of bone-chilling snowmelt.  Deception Falls is the perfect example of a classic roaring waterfall.
Far too quickly I was out of the tranquility of the Cascades and on the final leg of my 2800 mile journey.  Pulling into Emerald City Harley-Davidson to drop off Ol' Sport I was met by my two beautiful granddaughters and family.  The perfect ending.  My daughter made a special dinner of fresh caught local salmon tonight.  As we sat around the table talking and laughing about some of my road stories, it became clear what I had experienced the past two weeks on the road.  I had experienced America. The land, the places, the people that make up our great country.  America the Beautiful.

O'l Sport and me.  Just a couple of cool dudes traveling light and simple down that ribbon of highway which connects us all together.  Gonna really miss O'l Sport.  Handed over his key with a misty eye.  Had a hard time walking away.  Stopped and took one final look back.  Put a big smile on my face.  O'l Sport and me.  What a time together. 

A favorite Hunter Thompson quote keeps running over and over in my head tonight..."Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!"

WOW...What a Ride!

Kickstand down western end of HWY 2 - 136 miles.  Missing havin' O'l Sport's key tonight hangin' on my belt loop.

be strong, be safe, Talon

Saturday, August 3, 2019

HWY 2 - Day 11 - Wilbur, WA - Cashmere, WA
Peaceful sleep last night in Wilbur.  Hope they get the relaxation bed fixed before my next visit.  The Columbia Basin has been the centerpiece of massive project dams and reclamation projects.  Beginning in 1934 Grand Coulee Dam is one of the civil engineering wonders of the world.  At the southern end of the dam project HWY 2 crosses Grand Coulee.  A big body of beautiful blue water.  The area is a popular spot for boaters and anglers.
One of the last of eastern Wahington's unirrigated landscapes is the Moses Coulee.  The Coulee is an 800-foot deep gorge bounded by vertical walls of brown and black volcanic basalt.
From the rolling plains above, HWY 2 cuts down into the coulee, then back up the other side, passing through some of the Columbia River Basin's sole remaining sagebrush and giving a strong sense of how profoundly irrigation has change the region.
Standing at the center of fertile wheat fields 10 miles east of the Columbia River backed off the throttle entering Waterville.  The town was built in 1886 with a population of 1162 strong individuals today.  Stopped for gas, but the pumps weren't working.
On the road for eleven days now.  Rhythm of the road is deep in my soul.  Been missing some good fresh fruit.  Feil Orchard...The Good Fruit People.  Two brothers growing some of the best peaches, apples, and pears in the greater Wenatchee area since 1906.
Pulled to a stop. Put the kickstand down, had one of the sweetest, run down your arm juicy as you bite into it,  peaches I have ever eaten.  Size of an apple, absolutely melted in my mouth.  Could go on but I won't.  Wenatchee is the commercial center of the Wenatchee Valley, and one of the world's most productive apple growing regions in the world.  Not to mention peaches!
With the rugged Cascade Range on the horizon HWY 2 left the lower plains and headed directly into forest covered hills and glacier carved peaks.  Stopped in Cashmere tonight.  World famous for Applets and Cotlets.  Visited the factory.  Ate my way through the sample room.  Highly suggested when you are in the area.

Hard to think about putting the kickstand down on Ol' Sport tomorrow at the end of HWY 2.  Actually...don't want to even think about it yet...

Kickstand down Cashmere, WA. 162 Miles.

be strong, be safe, Talon