Day 2. Mexican Hat to Escalante
Goosenecks, valley of the gods, seafaring swabs, moqui dugway & burr trail.
Everyone got up pretty early, since now we were on utah time, which was on daylight savings time. Az stays on mountain standard time year round. But we don't go on a ride like this to sleep, so it's early to get ready, eat & ride! Our trusty steeds were well rested & raring to go. Kim & I had washed our bikes the night before.. the front desk guy said we could, so we did. Tom & Corky were too tired or too macho to wash theirs.. they think hondas look cooler with some mud & dirt on them. But our dainty little 250's can't be saddled with any extra weight, so we washed them off.. it streamlines them while riding, too.
The restaurant at the san juan inn is probably the best one in town, it opened at 7, & we could walk to it. The wait staff were friendly, & must have been really funny, judging from this picture.
Maybe it was a joke at Tom's expense.. he wasn't laughing as much as the rest of us. From near left & clockwise: Tom, Corky, Kim, me.
There was a path down to the river, but no one wanted to look for a water crossing.
After breakfast, we gassed up & headed out.. & saw the rock that was the namesake of the town.
Mexican hat rock.
Our first stop was the goosenecks.. a winding section of the san juan river. It's a very interesting geological formation. I had to combine the pictures to get a full view from this close range, even though my camera has a pretty wide angle lens.
Kim is a utah native, but had never been to the goosenecks.. Utah has a lot of sights to see.. it would take a lifetime to see it all.
This was all pavement, but then we went to the valley of the gods loop.. about 20 miles of dirt.
valley of gods video.. ~3.5m
I had seen this road on the maps, but did not know it was a dirt road.. pretty rough in spots, nor that it was so scenic. it was a definite highlight of the ride.
More valley of the gods video.
Corky taking a break while waiting for the other riders.
We no sooner get off the valley of the gods loop than we start heading up the moqui dugway switchbacks. This is a tremendous ride.. it has some dirt & some paved. It has hairpin curves with sheer cliff dropoffs. You can see colorado. It's an awesome ride.
Kim riding up the moki dugway switchbacks..
Moqui dugway video..
view from partway up.
The next part of the ride went to natural bridges nat. monument. We were going right by it, so decided to check it out.
The angle on this shot isn't good for seeing the 'bridge', but you can see a hole in the rock where the upper parts crosses as a bridge.
Now we had about an 80 mile ride on pavement to hall's crossing. It had been a while since we had a fuel stop, & going down to lake powell, Kim ran out.
The rotopax setup was pretty easy. Kim had to unload his tail bag to get to the gas, though.
As we headed down to powell, a park ranger stopped to make sure we weren't going to ride offroad. He was reaching for the shotgun until i turned on the camera.. :)
But he let us go.. & we continued down to lake powell.
We got lucky & only had to wait 10 minutes for the next ferry.. they run about every 2 hours during daylight.
Here are some real seafaring old salts.. Corky telling of the time he fought pirates off of key west.. or was he the pirate fighting a british frigate? i don't remember.
Now this is a water crossing!
We crossed lake powell at hall's crossing, got gas, & headed up the burr trail toward boulder, ut.
More of it had been paved since i had ridden it a couple of years ago, but the last time Kim had ridden it was with Mr. Burr in a covered wagon, so we had it pretty easy.
Corky rode on ahead, & the rest of us dawdled along, stopping every so often for pictures.
Here's some video of the first section of the burr trail, before getting to the red rock canyons:
Tom & Kim coming up the burr trail..
The first part of the burr trail had bigger views.. more distant & panoramic. There was a little more pavement, a few sandy roads, & some dry washes. The next part had the red rock canyons.. some very scenic climbs in the switchbacks.
We cut through the back side of capital reef park on the way up.
I mostly took videos of the canyons.. Here's one going toward long canyon.
This next one is pretty long.. & it's in long canyon. It is a beautiful scenic ride.
Next we came to boulder, ut. We had about a 50 mile ride through some terrific paved twisties, plus a lot of fierce crosswinds. This whole day had been pretty windy, but this section it was the strongest. I would hug the right side of the road, & a big gust would blow me almost to the centerline. But in the twisties we lost some of the effects of the wind, & could open it up a bit.. at least that's what i did! I pushed the little wr, shifting a lot to keep the revs up. Every turn i leaned a little more, went a little faster.. wondering how far this bike could go with knobbies. I never found out. It scared me more than i could go! I left the other guys in the twisties, but they caught me in the long straitaways. I was very impressed with how the little wrx cornered.
I thought i had the camera on a few times, but evidently it had turned itself off, so i have no record of my high speed exploits. It was fun for me, though!
We came into escalante, ut & checked in to the circle d motel.. fortunately i had made reservations, because it was filled. We unloaded our gear & headed over to the pizza place by escalante outfitters.
The 'Desert Doctor', a local escalante bike shop dude, came by & offered his services. Tom's mirror had broken off when unloading his bike at my house, & the guy had one, with an adapter he made up at his shop.. only $25, too. A good guy we can recommend.
I don't know if Kim & Corky weren't speaking, or what. Tom was very intent inspecting the bikes. Yamahas can double as a clothesline..
We got polygamy porters.. the wasach brewing company's dark beer.. it's good.. for 3.2 beer! It helped our reputation as hard core drinkers.. we each had at least 2 glasses! ..except Corky.. he really used to be a hard core drinker, & has given it up. Kim, Tom & i are really lightweights.. but on the ride reports we can drink anyone under the table!
But even after all those polygamy's, no one felt like getting more wives.. Maybe the beer was from an old batch?
Beer & pizza consumed, we returned to our rooms & went to bed.. we put in about 230 miles this day. It was the most scenic, imo, & we did a lot of ups & downs in elevation. There were miles of dirt roads, switchbacks, & paved twisties. A good days ride.
end of day 2..
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