September 22, 2010

Day 7: The breakthrough

(Return to the first Utah Loop trip post)

Moab UT to Salt Lake City UT (768km)


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I still had no idea where my next destination would be. The original plan was to head to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park 400km to the south-east but with the time it took to comprehend Arches and Canyonlands I didn't know if my limited time would be enough to respect what their southern cousins had to offer. Every km south would also have to be back-tracked on the return trip and I had a 2,000km ride back as it was. I spent half the day fiddling about wondering what to do when I ran into a fellow BMW rider who had just come from Bryce Canyon. "Hey man, just ride the loop!" After some pencil scratches on a map and mock-riding gesticulations I had a new course set and began a 400km detour that would having me end almost where I began the day. 200km into the ride I was getting tired of the repetitive tundra and questioning the logic of this diversion. I could have been in Bryce Canyon with the same mileage! Feeling the fool I settled down. Then at the southern apex things changed as I entered Fry Canyon and then the sublime Glen Canyon National Park. This was the image I was chasing and the country I dreamed of rolling through, except in this dream the reality beat my expectations as my jaw literally dropped with each turn and new natural monument revealed itself. I didn't even notice the temperature rising to 37°C until the dehydration set in. Hoping it never ended didn't make it so and the land returned to the ranches past Hanksville and Hwy 24 returned me to the I-70 and I had to decide how far I would try get for the day. It was now 4pm and I was essentially where I started and had scheduled to be in Salt Lake City 300km to the north. Knowing this wasn't a trip of half-attempts I buckled down and made the full run to Salt Lake City, or somewhere thereabouts to seek out a campground or motel. It was dark when I arrived and grabbed a motel in the Poplar Grove suburb by the airport. It was a good spot to start tomorrow and an early morning at the Bonneville Salt Flats Raceway.

Day 7
Starting the day back in Arches at the Park Avenue stop.


Fellow traveler, with a Spanish license plate!


The most dramatic landscape image of the trip.




Last of the flat roads before...


Gateway to the best ride ever




At Natural Bridges National Park.










A great lookout. I didn't stay long as it was 37°c.


This is a good representation of what the whole Glenn Canyon ride was like.




land opens up


Rural Gas Inc. Had a great chat with a guy on a canary yellow Honda Goldwing here.


I don't know how people ride without visors. Awash with bugs; please wash.


The first of many I'll see - and great to see!


A big day's ride and a hotel for the night. Time to wash off some dirt.

3 comments:

SonjaM said...

The third pic with the cathedral like rock formation looks simply gorgeous.
Like the contrast of your new white helmet against the blue sky by the way.

bobskoot said...

Dan:

excellent travelogue. your photo remind us of our trip a few years ago. On your Park Avenue photo, we stood on the same spot as you. Did you do the short hike to Delicate Arch ? There is another area called the Devil's "something" and they only let you in with a guide as you will never find your way out of the maze of rocks.

We also liked Canyonlands. We were at a lookout where there was a cattle trail down into the canyon. single track switchabacks down the mountain. There are 1,000 miles of roads down there only accessible by 4x4. I think the next time we are going to rent the "Pink Jeep"

I am envious of your trip and now wish to go back. In Hanksville we had a buffalo burger at that restaurant on the hill. Looks like a run down town.

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

BeemerGirl said...

Happy. Jealous. Drool, drool, drool. Thank you for undertaking the hardship of this horrible trip so that you could be a light to others that either haven't been, or haven't been in years. :) Doing a great job! -Lori