Total Kilometres: 620 (385 Miles)
High/Low Temp: 18 celcius (that’s at 7:00am, in the dark) and 34 (up in the devil’s garden, Moab)
Total Riding Time: 7:00am MST – 4:00pm MST
made significant gains in distance today, and had time to see lots of the sights.
had a good nights sleep, got up and was ready to hit the road by 7am. there have been some really nasty thunder clouds lingering around the past few days, ones that look like they have the potential to create biblical floods, but luckily for me i’ve skirted around them the past couple of days (knock on wood).
the ride today was equally spectacular. i spent the majority of the day riding through the bottoms of valleys and canyons, epic canyons. highway 12 is littered with mesas, buttes and huge cliff walls – the likes of which i’ve never encountered.
a quick detour south. now some may ask “mike, why go south when you’re trying to go north.” well, i don’t know, just looked like it might be a scenic journey. OMG. it was unbelievable. the capitol reef national park on highway 24 is not to be missed, it’s just a short section of highway but particularly striking natural features.
i’ve read neil peart’s (the drummer from rock band – Rush) book ‘ghost rider’ about his epic journey back and forth across north america on his BMW motorcycle. he mentioned an affinity for riding through the canyons of Glen Canyon and White Canyon, and describes it in detail. so i thought i’d follow his route. it is absolutely unbelievable. i didn’t see a car or other vehicle in either direction for almost 130 miles! just me, my bike, rocking out to Matthew Good on the iPod, and the canyons and vistas. absolutely, hands down one of the most overwhelmingly beautiful and scenic journeys i’ve ever taken in my life. it’s the highway 276 south from hanksville through hite.
from monticello it’s about a 60 mile ride to canyonlands national park. it’s another one of those rides that you go off across the desert and alpine areas for miles without seeing much of anything. then, bang, holy shit a huge grand canyon like expanse. not a soul around, just the wind whispering overhead and a view that really just stops you cold. the colorado river has worked it’s magic from colorado state all the way down to the grand canyon. i’m no geologist but this has to have been a hundred thousand year project for the river – it’s literally a few miles wide. the destination is the needles overlook and sixshooters peak viewpoint.
from there i rode like a crazy man to avoid the jesus rainstorm tracking overhead. only had just a few drops on me then i headed north towards Moab and out of harms way. i’d toyed with the idea of just riding through into colorado to make up some time. but again, the little voice in my head said “you may not be back here, what’s a couple of hours?”
just up the road from moab is the arches national park. man, i just can’t get enough of these rock formations, not much in life can render me completely speechless, but i can just stand and look, stand and look… the immense power of nature and change are overwhelming baffling. i can’t for the life of me understand how these things were formed, created or evolved over time. but mine is not to wonder why, but just look in shear amazement.
after a few hours in the arches park i returned to moab, decided i’m nearly halfway to denver and need a rest and… i’ve got to do some laundry – everything is dirty, really dirty and well worn.
many of the scenic places in the world have some devil/angel reference – australia’s granite devil’s marbles, yesterdays – hell’s backbone, today’s angel arch and devil’s garden. i wonder why anyone would ever associate such beauty with such simplistic terms, maybe that’s all they had ‘handy’ but man nothing evil could ever make these changes – it’s just long, evolving mechanical wear and tear on old mother earth.
good night’s sleep tonight, another early morning and i’ll be in denver by mid-afternoon tomorrow.
the ride from blanding around to monticello is exactly that, highway bland. not much to see, but wide open roads that are straight and allow for cruising at a healthy 85 mph.