I got up early while it was still dark. I got everything together to pack for the day. I guess i'll describe what i took, & why, for who's interested.
I think we tend to take a lot more stuff than we need. I wanted to travel light, so kept my list to a minimum. Here's a pic from the motel with all my worldly possessions layed out on the bed.
I knew i would be in the 5-6k ft range for most of the ride, so getting hot shouldn't be an issue, and it wasn't. I wore some underarmour pants & long sleeve shirt. i brought 2 pair of socks & polyester underwear. I decided to wear the leather pants, both because i had a lot of pavement to do.. for better protection, & to block any cold wind. They were perfect. They were a little heavy, but i wasn't hiking a lot.
I wore my road boots.. the sidi vertigo corsas, because they were lightweight, & offered the best protection short of moto boots. I was going to wear a mesh jacket, but decided at the last minute to wear the leather trimmed Joe Rocket jacket with the zip out liner. That also was the best choice, as it was never warm enough for mesh. When i got hot, i zipped out the liner. The Joe Rocket jacket also has vent zippers if i needed more air flow.
I also brought a pair of slip on shoes. I would wear them at the room, & when i went out for dinner or wanted to walk around some. I even put them on during a lunch break, when i took the boots & socks off for a foot break. I packed a pair of shorts/swimming suit, which i never wore. Also a short sleeve shirt, but never worn, either. I stuffed a small down throw into a stuff sack. It was a finished size of6" diameter & 10" long. I thought in case i had to spend the night on the side of the road it might be a good insurance blanket.
I didn't pack any food. I brought a bottle of water & bought a new one on the 3rd day. I had a small tool pouch that i didn't have to use, cash, licence & credit cards, bought a phone card to call home, camera & gorilla pod, gps, & reading glasses. Also a small thermos of coffee, which i never refilled.
I did not bring a cell phone. There was little or no coverage at most of the places i went, so opted to leave it at home.
I brought 2 pair of gloves: a full gauntlet leather glove for cooler weather & long hiway stretches, & a shorty glove for warmer & more technical riding. The helmet was an agv miglia, a modular. I wore ear plugs on longer road rides, & a balaclava when it was cold in the morning. The temps were in the 50's through 70's most of the trip. It might have hit 80 when i got back to Page, & it was 40 when i went for breakfast in Escalante.
I used a fanny pack for a tank bag, & a messenger bag for a tail bag. I had plenty of room for other things, but didn't need anything else.
Ok, back to the ride! I headed out after breakfast toward Halls Crossing at lake powell, but took a small detour on a side road outside of Mexican Hat.
There it is! Mexican hat. What are the odds of the rock formation & the town having the same name?
I also decided to take a short detour to see the goosenecks.. a winding canyon formation along the san juan river. It was well worth the stop
I have been somewhat disappointed in my new olympus stylus 770sw camera.. the panarama function is terrible, & the camera doesn't handle the shade & sun contrasts as well as my old canon. I got it because it's waterproof & shock proof, but my canon sd700 takes much better photos, imo.
I hardly saw anyone on the road. Between Mexican Hat & halls crossing, there were maybe 2 cars, & a few road bicyclists. But most of the time i had the road to myself. Here i start going up some nice switchbacks:
It was another clear day, & visibility was great. The morning air was chilly, but i was dressed for it.
This is a great switchback road. The road got pretty narrow i spots.. only 1 car width.. & it fluctuated between gravel & broken asphalt. There were many hairpin turns, but a car could have made it. Not too many 18 wheelers on this road, though.
Once at the top, the ride was paved & easy all the way to Lake Powell.
Still no cars.. i stopped for a break & a nice stretch.
Finally Lake Powell. It's down maybe 30' from where it used to be.
I rode into the glen canyon nat. park, expecting to pay the admission ($12 for a bike), but there was no one at the admission gate. After a wait for a while, i drove on to the ferry. I guess they figured with so little traffic, it wasn't worth paying someone to collect the little they would get on a slow day. The ferry left every 2 hours. I had about 1/2 hr. to the next one.
While waiting, i stretched a little, then got out the tools & checked screws & bolts. When it loaded, there were 3 cars & me. I had my $10 out to give to the person at the loading ramp, but she waved me on & wouldn't take it.
The crossing took about 1/2 hr. They let me off first, & i headed for the lodge at bullfrog for lunch.
The restaurant had great views from the dining room. A turkey sandwich & a beer, then finally to the burr trail. The scenery around lake powell is stunning. I was already overwhelmed from the first part of the day.
Here's the start of the burr trail. It's actually paved on a lot of it.. there were a few spots where the rains had washed out the road, but a car could have managed this road ok.
Then i came upon a 'road closed' sign. Here is why it was closed.
The big rains from 3 days before had left about 8' of silt & mud on the road. The county road dept was there, just starting to clear the road. There was still water running in the wash, but on bedrock. The road guys said they would have it cleared in an hour or so.
He got it stuck several times.. he rocked it back & forth, pushed with the blade, & sometimes just sunk deeper into the quicksand. But he was a good operator, & always got it out. I figured if it didn't take more than an hour or so, i could still make Escalante before dark.
It finally got clear enough to attempt a crossing. I stayed in his tire tracks, left a small wake through the water, & fishtailed through the mud. But i got out! I was glad i wasn't on a cruiser!
Up on top, surveying the lowlands & my crossing spot.
The burr trail was pretty easy, except for the washed out roads.. but with the county fixing them regularly, this is an easy road.
This is the big switchback on the burr trail.. you can see it winding up the mountain side on this picture:
This was a spectacular road.. i stopped at almost every switchback & took in the views.
There were narrow parts, & it was gravel most of the way, but it was a visual delight.
Up on top, there was a long stretch of paved road. The views were still stunning, but were more distant.
I then got into another canyon.. mostly red sandstone this time. It was massive & towering.. i thought of 'sedona on stearoids'.
Still, hardly any traffic. I think i saw one car along this canyon. I stopped several times to listen to the quiet & breathe in the scenery. I think this must be the perfect time to visit.. not too cold, not hot.. no tourists. It's like the state of Utah put this road in just for me.
This part was all paved. No problem. I can do pavement, too.
There were just too many interesting scenes.. i took almost 500 pics on this trip! No, i'm not posting them all.. it just seems like it.
The sun was starting to hang pretty low.. i didn't know how much further it was to Escalante, but i was mesmerized by the terrain.
I finally got out of this canyon.. even out the views were magnificent.
Here the rocks change color. I'm past Boulder (ut) & heading down hwy 12 to Escalante.
This is a famous road that was built in the 30's by the CCC. This section is called the 'hog's back'. It winds along a high ridge.
I got into Escalante about 6pm. There was a room available at the Circle D motel, so i checked in & cleaned the mud off my boots from the crossings earlier. This room had a phone, so i called home to check in. Then i went out for a pizza at Escalante outfitters. I talked to the guy at the counter & asked him about the smoky mountain road.. my planned route for the next day. He told me it took him 7 hrs on his 4x4 pickup, but i shouldn't have any problems. He said i might not see anyone for a couple of days, so if i broke down be prepared for a long wait. He also said the switchbacks toward the end were easy.. a rental car can do it. So, armed with the new info, full of pizza & a couple of polygamy porters, i went back to the room for a good night's sleep. Heat in this room! & TV! The local news was full of the report of my old buddy Warren Jeffs trial.. If i would have had another beer, i could have cried myself to sleep feeling sorry for him...
End of day 2