According to the official Iron Butt Association (truly, I'm not making this up) website (http://www.ironbutt.com/), these are some of the sanctioned rides of the IBA:
- 1000 miles in under 24 hours/1500 miles in under 36 hours
- Coast to coast in under 50 hours
- Ride all 48 states in under 10 days
- 100,000 miles in one year
So, my four day ride through Utah, Nevada, and Arizona wouldn't even qualify as a warm up for this group.
But it was never about accolades or designations. Heck, it wasn't even about the destination. It was about adventure, the beauty of the west, and solitude. It was about visiting national monuments that every american should see.
And so it was. My little escapade took me across monolythic Hoover Dam, listed as one of seven modern civil engineeering wonders. Down historic Route 66, up to the Grand Canyon South Rim, Across Lake Powell at Glenn Canyon Dam, and through Zion's National Park.
I can't begin to describe the beauty of these places. And that's why every american should visit them.
The vastness of the west. The rugged country. The desert solitude. The tapestry of colors. The loneliness of the open road. The deep green water of lake Mead stopped up against Hoover dam while the image of a High Scaler, the tough itinerant dam worker, captured in a larger than life bronze statue invokes images of a true american work ethic. Table top plateau vistas and enormous thunder clouds with black tendrils of falling rain reaching toward the parched earth. Black skies pocked with millions of brilliant stars. A rising moon so large and bright it reflects off the desert sand. Soaring raptors. Golden sunflowers lining an endless ribbon of asphalt. Twisty mountain roads freshly cleaned by an afternoon shower. Scraggly pinyons and desert flowers clinging to red cliffs. Smooth sandstone walls thousands of feet high. The provocative smell of thick forest pines. The heat of the sun and coldness of rushing wind forced down by thunderstorms. The smallness of man against the vastness of the Grand Canyon. A string of water winding it's way through a thousand twists and turns of canyon walls. The pleasure of kicking back in a small-town cafe, listening to the local drawl while washing down a dripping roasted-pepper, turkey and bacon on toasted sour dough with a mason jar of diet coke and thick fries. The waitress calling me "hon". Falling onto the bed of a cheap hotel too tired to even take off my boots. Thinking every moment that the only thing better than experiencing this beauty on my own would be to experience it with the ones I love.
And so, I may not have an iron butt, but think that slowing down and taking in the beauty that is all around is something that I can live with and am all the better for.
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