Hello again, hope you all enjoyed Day 1 of my Ride Report,  so I’ll continue on!

On the morning of day 2 of my trip, I woke up to a planned “short” day of 492 miles. The morning brought cool, crisp temperatures at 7200 feet, so I put on 2 layers under the Gerbings, and set off into the morning sunrise, which was already creating a light show on the hills around me.

Heading East on Utah SR-24, I headed towards the Dixie National Forest again, and was once again greeted by high canyon walls, this time in the form of Meeks Mesa

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I had to stop and gawk for a minute, before continuing East towards Hanksville, passing through terrain features that if you told me I was on the moon, I would have believed you.

I stopped for a quick fill up of gas, and branched off the road heading southeast on Utah SR-95, towards Glen Canyon and Lake Powell. As soon as the road approached Glen Canyon, I was once again amazed by the topography, and saw deep gorges right next to the side of the road, cut away by flowing water. It was all such amazing stuff to see.

Since making my turnoff at Hanksville, I had seen a couple of trucks pulling boats, which seemed odd to me, being in the middle of the desert, but everything became clear once I started seeing signs for Lake Powell, which finally revealed itself off in the distance.

It was AMAZING, to say the least. High cliff walls, topaz water, and that was way off in the distance. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and couldn’t  pass up the chance to divert off the road onto a vista point. The view that followed was absolutely mind-blowing.

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The whole vista just seemed to be made all the better by the low ceiling of clouds overhead. The sky being closed in made the massive scale of everything in front of me just a little bit more comprehensible. Just a little bit. And Glen Canyon had no shortage of stunning sights, and the road just flowed like poetry through the landscape.

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While stopping to take a few pictures, save for the ones on the move, I noticed I had passed the same big rig hauling a crane about a half dozen times. I wondered if I was more annoying or amusing to the guy.

The road slowly led out of the deep canyons through smaller rolling hills, surrounded by coniferous trees, in stark contrast to the landscape that was just nearby. Turning off on SR-261, the rolling hills eased, and a sign appeared that the pavement ended in half a mile, and there were narrow roads and tight turns ahead. I figured it was just more road construction, but I had no idea I had been riding on top of a massive butte for the past hour, and had abruptly come to the edge of it.

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The road continued visibly below, and the only way down was a section of tight switchbacks that dropped you to the valley below in a short section. Good thing I was prepared with Road 2′s on the RSV, because I remember reading something about them being dual-sport, or something.

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The road finally met up with the pavement again, and I was off, headed towards the southern tip of Utah, and Monument Valley. Stopping for gas in Mexican Hat (which is actually just a rock chimney on top of a small butte, surrounded by construction trucks, apparently) I rode past a toasted redneck doing his best Peter Fonda, with American flag bandana and ape hangers on his Harley. With the amount of insects on my shield, I imagined he was sporting a winning smile under his mullet.

A few miles further down the road, Monument Valley began to appear. Now, maybe it’s because I had just come through the magnitude of Glen Canyon, and I’d been seeing buttes of many, many scales all over souther Utah, but Monument Valley didn’t blow my mind the way Glen Canyon did. It seemed to me that Monument Valley just had the largest, most glaring examples of how wind and water erode the rock, but have left some of the highest standing islands of stone in the desert.

The road turnoff into Monument Valley finally appeared, next to a cheezy casino/kitsch shop, and I turned onto the Indian reservation, where the signs said it was $5 to enter. I slowed down to 30 to rummage through my tank bag and check to see if I even had any cash on me (because in this age of plastic and the debit card, who actually CARRIES cash?) and luckily I had a whopping $7 in my pocket.

Turns out, Monument Valley is really small-ish parking lot with a restaurant/gift shop that was under construction at the time, filled with many a worker shouting profanities in Spanish. It made me chuckle, as I stared out at the vista, and noticed a dog lying on the ground at the edge of the parking lot. I didn’t know if it was dead or injured, but it let me know when I got closer as it growled and scampered off, that it had been just in fact, taking a nap.
Just below the parking lot, at Monument Valley, there’s a dirt “road” that leads into the valley itself, where tourists can traverse foxhole sized craters and random rocks the size of basketballs jutting out of the dirt, in order to get a closer look at the vistas. I had already done some packed ground, so I figured I’d ride down to take a closer look.

I made it down as far as a small clearing where there were some card tables set up to sell foolish tourists garbage and jewelry that they don’t really need (I’m sure it’s finely crafted and all, but I’m a cynical bastard.) The path down there was filled with Volvos and rented RV’s going 5mph as all the occupants bounced around inside with the uneven road surface. I hit a downhill section of deep sand, and feathered the rear brake only, deciding that packed gravel was fine, but traversing sand on the Michelins was just shitty, and I wasn’t about to go much further.

Thankfully the view where I stopped was worth it.

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On my way back up towards tarmac, the downhill section of sand had an RV starting to go up, and I could tell the driver was hesitant to get up it, and I didn’t want to get myself buried having to stop behind him, so I went around the RV which was creeping forward at a glacial pace, made it 3/4 of the way up, tried to avoid a huge dome of sand, and went right into a hole as deep as that pile was tall. The front wheel made it through, but I felt the bike lose momentum and dropped my feet as soon as I felt the rear sink into the hole and stop. I feathered out the clutch and felt the rear spin, so I hopped off the bike, rocked it back and forth at a 45 degree angle to the incline of the road to get the bike out of the hole, and walked the last 50 feet next to the bike giving it a touch of gas and clutch to help me move it up through the sand. As I climbed back on, I looked behind me and saw the RV shooting a huge rooster tail of sand as the back corner of it sank even deeper into the road. Poor guy was probably going to be there awhile…

Back on US-163 I headed down a half mile to the Arizona border, and as I snapped the picture of the Welcome sign, I realized I was “close” to the four corners, and I may as well be a touristy dumbass and go there as well.

Stopping for gas and a disgusting lunch of fried chicken strips in Arizona, I punched the location of Four Corners into the GPS, and realized I was actually 70 miles from where it was, which was a little further than I had anticipated. I figured I may as well, and set off on US-160 heading East. It was boring, flat, and dull with little to look at. Why was I going to the Four Corners again?

Finally, about an hour later, I crossed into the tip of New Mexico, and headed up the road leading to Four Corners.

Finally arriving at Four Corners, it turned out to be another section of Reservation, wanting another $5 for an entry fee. It took me about half a second to decide that for another $5 in cash I didn’t have, I didn’t really give a shít about seeing a metal plaque on the ground marking a political boundary, with other people milling about holding hands in four different states.
I motored on into Colorado.

Now the sign says “colorful Colorado” but the southwest corner of Colorado greets you with these small, grey domes of rock that make it look more like a pit mine than a scenic state. I soon stopped for gas again, filled up my camelbak as the weather was in the low 90′s now, and continued up US/SR-491 back into Utah, into a little town called Monticello. Now the only thing that town and the mansion Jefferson built for himself share is that they both have f’d up streets, wet from rain, and torn up by bulldozers. (Thomas Jefferson had bulldozers, look it up.)

US-191 heading north out of Monticello was pretty scenic still, with buttes off in the distance, and some close to the road. There was even another natural arch right off the road, with a housing tract behind it (an extravagant $130K buys you a home here!

This rock formation on US-191 looked like a giant, fat, stone woman

I crossed back into Colorado, through a nice flowing road that lead into La Sal National Forest, and was a welcome change from the 200-something miles I’d just done of straight highway roads. A quick detour south led me to the nearest gas station the GPS was able to find, where again I topped over 4.2 gallons, well past the safe point of the “reserve” in the tank.

After refueling I headed north again where the road branched off north to Colorado SR-141, and was easily the best road of the day, certainly ranking amongst the best of the trip. The road leads you from slow rolling forests, right along a river, right into another massive canyon, where the river widens, and the road flows right alongside it. You soon find yourself surrounded by 100 foot vertical cliffs, riding amongst giant stone monoliths, ancient and silent. I truly felt humbled by the scale and beauty of the surroundings. It’s hard to show in pictures, but there were about 30 miles of riding alongside the river that had carved out these canyon walls. I’d go back and ride it again in a heartbeat.

SR-141 eventually wound down, as it neared Grand Junction, Colorado, where everybody drives 40mph, despite the posted limit is 50, and the cop that was taking a nap 5 seconds ago won’t hesitate to pull into the street and follow that “rice rocket” with the bags on it that just rolled by him (still below the speed limit)

After stopping at a motel in a quiet suburb of Grand Junction and asking Agnes (she was old and crabby, I assumed she had a name like that) how much the single was (85+ tax, and they’re ALL smoking rooms) I decided to head back west on I-70 towards the airport at Grand Junction where I knew there were motels and stuff available.

Settled on the Motel 6, which sported a cool 44.95 price on the sign, got checked in, somehow got bumped up to 50-something with bullshít fees, AND had to pay $3 for 24 hours of internet.Awesome. One star fleabags offer free internet and the cocks at Motel 6 still charge you for internet like it’s 2002 and wireless is something new and cutting edge? See if I ever stay at your crap locations again. In fact, I urge everyone to avoid staying there if at all possible.

I unpacked my stuff, checked the odometer and somehow ended up with 631 miles in 11 hours. The Four Corners had been more or less a needless detour that resulted in nothing more than the amusement of tagging the New Mexico welcome sign.
Had dinner at Cocos (finest quality meal I’d had thus far) went to Home Depot to get some WD-40 to lube my chain, and went to bed. Decided to ruin a towel from the motel cleaning my chain for charging me for wifi. Bastards.