West Coast #5 (Moab)

The mountains going down kept changing in variety, keeping the highway riding quite enjoyable. 20170508_142755_00120170508_15063320170508_160440

The view, unlike the Kansas highway jaunt, was lovely and not at all flat. Sections of the road curved alongside the mountain rivers and provided some excellent cornering on our bikes. One area in particular, after we had made it almost out of the hills, had long sweeping bends that you could really hold a hard motorcycle lean on. In that moment, I felt like I was on a sport bike in a race dipping the knee to the tarmac and powering around these bends. Brian increased my race feeling as I watched him in my side mirror really leaning into the curve and getting on the throttle to pass me, grinning.

In no time at all we had made it to Utah. Inked20170508_165706_LI

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Highway speeds here increased to 80 and the warmth was quite nice. We weren’t cold at all.

Making it to Moab, we looked around for a spot to camp while driving between these massive rock formations.

With the lack of available camping spots with all the campers, we settled on the lazy lizard hostel for the night.

The next day, breakfast was especially important with the strenuous hiking and exploration planned.

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From left to right we got Brian (DUH!) and then Grace, Rachel and Victoria.

The morning glory hike was full of beautiful sights with a nice stream. Rachel led the way in taking off her shoes and eventually convincing the others to join in the clear river wading.

 

From here we went to Arches national park.

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It was a blast climbing high up the Double arch for the best viewpoint. 20170509_172549

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Looking great Brian! : ) 

Lots of tourists milled about compared to our morning hike, but it was still great fun. The tourists definitely gave it a different feel. I can’t say I was a fan of all the RV’s and just doing what everyone else was doing, but I am glad everyone else could enjoy it too.

Our group ended up saving money by free camping the night at Willow Springs. (Pretty much part of the dessert. No special areas to set up, but just where you see a good space. There was one Utah Juniper tree we found big enough for our hammocks to be strung and the night was filled with a campfire, hot dogs, and stories. Our neighbors even came over and sat around the fire with us for a while. (Victoria had a nice tent she had brought.) 20170510_085922

I didn’t know it before arriving, but Willow springs was used for off-roading with all the sand, rocks, and mud trails. I saw a ton of other dirt bike at our neighbors campsites and I got some sand riding in, while grinning from ear to ear. Nothing like the challenge of having your tires start to slip and being able to straighten by throttling out and figuring out how to dance with the bike in the sand instead of fighting it.

We awoke early in our hammocks at around 6 with a pretty heavy rain. The rain fly’s had NOT been set up for the hammock-ers and we hopped in Rachel’s car weary eyed and closed our eyes again thankful to be out of the rain. At around 9 30 Rachel and the others left to explore Canyonlands national park in the car before heading home. Brian and I waited a bit more while the rain started to clear up.

When it stopped raining, I checked out the road while Brian packed up his stuff. It was the muddiest, slickest, MOST dangerous riding I have done yet! BUT boy oh boy was I up for the task on my dirt bike. Mud was flinging everywhere and I learned that breaking in these conditions must be done carefully and slowly. The ole DR650 didn’t fall over but wanted to a time or too. A truly great learning and practice experience! I brought the bad news back to Brian, slipping and smiling along the way,  with how treacherous the road out would be, especially for his bike. I was watching the vehicles tires spinning around as they headed out. With a lot of skill on Brian’s part, we eventually we both managed to get out to the gravel road with some mud caked shoes and very adventurous looking bikes. 20170510_102829

The road out had these really neatly colored cliffs. 20170510_104334

When we grabbed some food from the grocery store I got especially excited seeing a drink that I hadn’t had in more than 10 years, from when I was in the Philippines! 20170509_183739

Its always fun tasting something that brings back wonderful memories and having those smells that can magically transport your mind back to something you had almost forgotten.

We had decided to stay one more day at the hostel and met a fellow motorcycle rider to join us on our trip to Canyonlands.

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What is so hard to capture with a picture is the scale. The road down there is full size! We saw a car on it that looked like just a speck. If you get a chance to see Canyonlands, do it! Skipping “The Island In the Sky” (Canyonlands National Park) would be terrible!

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Admiring the sheer magnitude

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It’s a dream on the eyes almost everywhere you look.  If you think these these pictures are amazing at all you should see it in person. It is unlike anything I have ever seen and blew us away.  There were signs riding through Moab for biplane rides through Canyonlands, and if I had more money that would be a really cool experience I am sure. I also couldn’t help but think about hang-gliding off.

As we kept exploring and soaking in the view, our friend who joined us was the owner of the KLR 650 and we swapped bikes for a bit to try out the other.20170510_174434 His heated grips where quite nice and while his bike was extremely capable off road, seemed a little more comfortable than mine with cruising on road. The front fairings are a lot bigger blocking more wind. In contrast, mine feels anxious to get off road, climb those rocks, and hit those jumps.  : )

We climbed whale rock. (Another must do in my opinion.) The rock was so grippy we could walk up almost the steepest part. Brian and I felt like mountain goats. It’s incredible! Walking down too, it was surreal being on such a steep grade and not slipping at all.  20170510_18000820170510_18052320170510_180633

And on our way back my KLR riding friend asked if I wanted to drive down the canyon road and then come back up before we left. Of course I did!  : ) The full loop goes around the whole island in the sky and if I remember right, is around 100 miles.

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We headed down through the sharp turns on the edges of the cliffs. I hadn’t done any riding like this before in my life! 20170510_18524620170510_18544120170510_190723

It is to date, the most amazing road I have ridden. The views were better than just from the top and I could feel the blood pumping as the stakes of making an error riding here where quite high.

We shortly powered back up the the winding dirt road to the top to meet back up with Brian and headed back to the hostel.

Later that night we grabbed a bit to eat and I found some really cool pictures in the men’s restroom.

Moab is a special place with lots of opportunity to go mountain biking, kayaking, dirt biking, hiking, exploring, skydiving, and more. The down town strip has a lot of rental shops and it isn’t unusual at all to be driving back from the national park and see a group of dirt bikers coming back from a off road trip, other 4 wheel off road vehicles, trucks loaded up with nice mountain bikes ready for the trail, or other long distance motorcycles riders coming through with their saddle bags and loaded up bikes. All in all, it’s a very neat place with some of the most striking views of the world I have seen.

Until the next update friends.

P.S. Here is a picture I am fond of from before. Preparing the bikes in Brian’s garage- IMG-20170507-WA0010

 

 

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