Day Seven: Thursday, June 14th, 2001
We get up bright and early and head north out of town on US 191. It is a beautiful morning. Moab is a killer place. It is a town pretty much dedicated to offroading (vehicular, bikes, cycles, atv's, hiking, climbing, you name it). There are tons of cool shops and restaraunts. The local scenery is great, snow capped mountains, steep cliffs, and massive boulders. We turn west on Hwy 313 and head for Dead Horse Point. This is a fantastic road with tight switch backs, blazing sweepers and stunning scenery. We pull over at the rest stop at the top of the plateau we have just climbed. We hike around a bit and I shoot some more pictures, then get back on the road.
When we reach the entrance to the park, we find out unexpectedly that this is a state park. The ranger at the gate gives us a strange look when we flash him our National Park passes. Then he states flatly, "Those are no good here, this is a state park." Duh. We sheepishly pay a few bucks to get in and it turns out to be worth every bit of the price.
The first place we pull in is the main visitor center but is not actually the point referred to in the name of the park. There are trails leading away from the visitor trinket trap over to the edge of the canyon. We hike down to the overlooks for a peek. Wow! If only I had a toy glider to throw! It would probably never land. It is definitely a long way to the bottom. After burn some more film, we head for the actual Dead Horse Point up the road.
The short ride up to the point is nice a twisty but we have to keep it sane because there is a bit of traffic here and sight lines are limited. The views here are just as incredible as the first stop. We soak in the view for a few more minutes before making the run back along Hwy 313 to US 191 and into Maob.
Just outside of Moab, we turn east on Hwy 128 which runs through a canyon carved by the Colorado river. We stop so John can mount his video camera to his bike. He the proceedes to take off like a rocket, Will giving chase on his Trophy. Beth and I ride a more sedate route. This is a great road, very twisty with lots of blind corners. But because of the proximity to Moab, there is a lot of traffic. White water rafting is popular in the canyon, so getting stuck behind old school buses loaded with rubber rafts and tourists is pretty common.
The last stretch of 128 opens up and there is a very large rock edifice off in the distance. I stop for some shots and then race to catch up with everyone. A few miles later, the rugges scenery gives way to rolling low hills. The road is a series of whoop-de-doos like you'd expect to see on a dirt track. I can see everyone's head bobbing up and down in my mirrors as they crest each small hill and dip into the small valley before the next crest. Pretty cool.
We reach I-70 and head west towards Grand Juntion, Colorado. This has been another beautiful day with temps in the 60's to 90's depending on our altitude. We make very quick work of I-70 and stop in Fruita for gas and lunch. A Harley rider gassing up actually speaks to me and tells me that he had left Denver this morning in 18 deg F and snow. It is now in the high 80's. We eat at Starvin Marvin's. They serve breakfast 24 hrs/day. Cheap and pretty good.
Out of Fruita we head into the Colorado National Monument. At the gate we show our nifty passes. The lady working the gate has her late model Virago parked behind the little booth hehe. She gives us the thumbs up and tells us to have a good time. We do. The road climbs up to the top of a ridge by way of a series of steep and very tight switchbacks. We probably gain over a thousand feet of altitude in a few minutes. The road then wanders along the edge of towering cliffs for the next 25-30 miles. This is a 40mph road. There is so much incredible scenery that going any faster might be dangerous. There is also a good bit of gravel in the corners kicked up by cars and trucks cutting the corners and leaving the pavement. We take a nice relaxing pace and make lots of picture stops. The drop back down into the lowlands from the ledge of the plateau is steep with great switchbacks. It then drops out into Grand Junction. It was a great ride!
We take US 50 all the way down to Montrose, Co. There is lots of construction and the ride is pretty dull. The only thing to look at is the snow capped peaks in the far off distance to the south. We get into Montrose and find our hotel about 5:00pm. This is where the Triumph Sport Rider's Association is having it's first annual Western Rallye. We get checked into our rooms and start meeting other riders that have arrived. Richard and Lisa White, friends from Houston that ride matching red Sprint ST's, are here. However Lisa had a small accident where her bike fell into her and bruised her leg bad enough that she is unsure if she'll be able to ride :-(
The hotel is nice enough to have water hoses out for us with nozzles, rags and towels, and a spot for us to clean the bikes. They even gave me a bucket and soap. The evening is beautiful and cool. We start cleaning the bikes to get the grit from the sandstorms off of them. An hour or so later they are all sitting in the lot, polished and shining. Then we are off to get dinner at a local steak house. Total miles for the day are about 253.