Not even the wind, rain or snow (Snow?) could dampen the spirits of Bobby and Dixie Taylor - the FUN Riders - as they continue on their trip through the west-central portion of the United States.
Places like the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest State Park, Virgin River Gorge, and Zion National Park with incredible views of majestic mountains and vast canyons, and accommodations such as wig-wams and quaint cabins, the couple continued to experience a journey only few can imagine.
There were areas where they could not hook up to the Internet for days, but each evening Dixie would faithfully write of the places, sights and people they encountered along their way. An average of 280 photos were taken daily and downloaded onto her lap-top computer she carried in the trailer of Bobby's trike.
The last we left off, the FUN Riders (Feeding Underprivileged Neighbors) were in Socorro, New Mexico. Setting out early Monday morning they encountered strong winds along the way. "We thought there could be no stronger wind than what we experienced going around the perimeter of the USA," Dixie wrote. "Well, we were wrong. Going across part of New Mexico and especially across Arizona, the wind almost blew us off the road at times." In spite of the hard wind, Bobby and Dixie continued on eagerly waiting for what came next around each turn of the highway. Hundreds of photos of scenery were taken of the colorful Painted Desert, located in the Petrified Forest State Park. "Between seeing all the pink mountains and the petrified wood, I just couldn't get enough of it so I took many, many, pictures of it all to enjoy later," Dixie said.
Monday night was spent in Holbrook, Arizona in a "wigwam." Actually, it was made of plaster to resemble a wigwam, with rooms designed to look like a teepee. There are at least 15 wigwams there and each has a different colored antique car parked in front. "It's just a fun place to stay and the original owner's son and daughter run it," Dixie said. "They are both senior citizens, so it's been around a long time, since the 40's."
The Arizona food drop was made to the owner of the Wigwam who took it to the Senior Citizens center in Holbrook.
Never having met a stranger, Bobby and Dixie met a couple from Texas who were also traveling by motorcycle. "It turns out they know a working buddy of Bobby's and the lady knows my granddaughter really well," Dixie said. "She owns a dance studio in Tomball and my granddaughter teaches dance in the The Woodlands. Their students have competed against each other at dance competitions. It really is a small world when you get out there and start talking to people."
After a day's ride through the middle of Arizona the FUN Riders stopped off in Laughlin, Nevada where they spent the night. Early Wednesday morning, they were off again and headed to Hoover Dam for another photo session. "They are building a new highway all through the Hoover Dam area and it is going to be something when it's finished," Dixie said. "We were so up close and personal to it all by being on the motorcycle. You don't miss anything on a motorcycle."
Going through Las Vegas via the Interstate Dixie snapped the awesome city from a distance as they traveled 70 mph. Searching for their Nevada food drop, it wasn't until they spotted a church steeple in the distance near the border of Arizona they were able to make their delivery. It was at Monpa, Nevada, an Indian Reservation.
All throughout New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, whether on the Interstate or back roads, the FUN Riders rode through jaw-dropping gorgeous mountain ranges, and stared in awe down into the deepest of canyons. Crossing over the border into Utah, they found what they decided must be where God might live if He lived on earth - Zion National Park. At a loss for words when she tried to describe the beauty of Utah, Dixie said, "There is not a word in this computer or in our minds that describes what we saw for the next several hours. We have been all over, but this is it."
Mile after mile revealed huge mountains in colors of mostly red, pink and white. A welcome change from the heat, came when they traveled through a short tunnel built in 1930 that wound through a mountain. That night it was a log cabin in Hatch, Utah that accommodated their sleeping needs. "It's just outside of town in the country, and we were surrounded with beautiful scenery that included a river and the beautiful Utah mountains," Dixie wrote Wednesday evening. "We are having so much fun. We love doing this and we are still meeting some very nice folks along the way at restaurants, motels and service stations."
Anxious to get back out on the road again, the FUN Riders left out early Thursday morning to explore the breathtaking scenery in Hatch, Utah, and headed for Bryce Canyon. But while folks back home in Texas are experiencing the usual hot, sticky June weather, Bobby was taking pictures of Dixie making snowballs. "What a beautiful place!" Dixie wrote. "We had to wear layers of clothes as it was a little too cool to wear just a shirt and jacket. We stopped at a snow bank and made a snowball for a photo."
Taking scenic Highway 12 that wound through parts of the Dixie National Forest, the FUN Riders traveled through desert land to Green River, Utah. Later in the day, while in the mountains they rode through marble-size hail that Dixie said lasted about five or six minutes, "Long enough to know we didn't want it to last any longer."
Thursday night was spent in Green River, Utah, and plans for Friday was to visit the Arches National Park just north of Moab, Utah. But Mother Nature had other plans and they were unable to leave Green River until mid-morning due to heavy rainfall. Arriving in Moab around 11:30 a.m., they checked into their motel, and waited for their room to be ready. In the meantime, they set out to find a grocery store to buy their food drop.
Just as they loaded up their trailer with the groceries, the sky opened up again and they ran for cover to wait for the rain to subside. Putting their excursion to Arches National Park on hold until the next day, (Saturday), the FUN Riders headed back to their motel.
"We've had plenty of opportunity to see what folks drive around here, being that we've been standing next to a grocery store or looking out restaurant windows most of the day," Dixie wrote. "This is Jeepin' and 4 Wheelin' country. And today it looked like the most of them were muddin.'"
Bobby and Dixie couldn't help but notice that while they were cold most of the time, the Utah natives were out and about in shorts and T-shirts. "I have been freezing ever since we got here and these folks think it's summer," she said. "For three days we have had on long nylon underwear, leather pants, long sleeve shirts, a riding jacket and rain gear that is also good for keeping warm. Of course Bobby pulls most of his off before I do. He gets hot a lot sooner than I."
Dixie said even though the last few days through Utah were chilly, the first two were great. "And I will say this one more time, this is one BEAUTIFUL state in the mountain and canyon region."
Well the FUN Riders finally did make that trip to the Arches National Park Saturday morning, and before moving on to Colorado, made their food drop with the pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Moab. "He said he would take them to the local food bank," Dixie said. "It was early when we rang his door bell, and when he came to the door he was a little hesitant to be friendly because of our leathers and helmets we had on. But he came around and became very friendly. We are just going to have to change people's attitudes about motorcycle riders."
Next week read all about the FUN Riders journey through Colorado and Wyoming and points beyond.