September 19, 2003 GMT
Day 16

Moab, Utah, to Monument, Valley, Utah

331 miles

3724 total miles

We mentioned a couple of days ago that we were leaving Colorado because we had run out of superlatives with which to describe the scenery. Yesterday an email arrived from Bill's 18 year old son Andrew. He was concerned that we took to the road for extended travels without carrying a thesaurus along. To help us out of this jam, he listed several superlatives we have not used in our previous reports. We dedicate today's descriptive passages to Andrew.

Day 16 was our most ambitious to date. Under sunny skies with mild winds, your intrepid travelers covered two national parks, 320 miles of road, successfully completed our most demanding mountain descent yet and cruised through the center of Monument Valley, Utah.

Our day began with short drive to Arches National Park, which is located only three miles from Moab. We decided not to rent a jeep. The park ranger told us yesterday that the strong winds don't pick up until the afternoon and that a morning motorcycle tour could be done without anyone being blown off the road. Although potential high winds might preclude an afternoon visit to Canyonlands National Park, we decided one park on a motorcycle beats two parks in a car!

3gossips
THe "3 Gossips" formation at Arches

Arches is one of America's smaller and least publicized national parks. It is accommodating for motorcyclists, however, as it is bisected by a 20 mile road. The views are exquisite (thanks again, Andrew). The park was full of impressive rock formations that were the result of millions of years of wind and sand erosion.

At Arches we met John and Margaret Templeton of Santa Barbara, CA who were touring by car but just completed a 1200 mile motorcycle trip on John's BMW K1200RS. They wished us well and commisserated with us about the difficulty of motorcycling through such substantial winds.

sbcouple
John and Margaret Templeton

After Arches, we drove back to Moab and checked out of our room. We drove south on Highway 191 for about 30 miles and then turned off onto the road to the south side of Canyonlands. This 34 mile road was a real keeper. Newly paved in portions, it combined twisties with a tree-lined valley. The ten miles before the park may well be the most inspiring, picturesque, magnificent and unforgettable drive we have taken (Andrew strikes again). The three-mile wide canyon was filled with the most Impressive bluffs we have seen. We hope our photos do it justice.

canyonlands.JPG
Impressive cliffs at Canyonlands

bocanyonland
Bo at Canyonlands

Afternoon high winds did not develop so we were able to tour Canyonlands. The park was impressive but it actually paled in comparison to the entrance road. The park has few roads and the most striking parts are primarily reached by hiking. Two wheels for these boys; not two legs!

We left the park and and drove back through the awesome entrance road. Bo crested a hill onto a fabulous view just as the Byrds song "I can see for miles" started up on his bike-mounted satellite radio. What a 60's moment!

We continued south and took a chance on Highway 261, which was marked "scenic" on our map but would entail a much longer day's journey. It was well worth it. It was also newly paved, twisty and replete with miles of rugged, southern Utah scenery. We crossed the San Juan River and drove through the Grand Gulch Primitive Area.

We begin climbing Cedar Mesa. It was a relatively steep grade and we soon reached the top. At that point, we turned a corner and, stretched below us for as far as the eye could see, was Monument Valley. Shots of Monument Valley are in almost every western film.

bomoki
Monument Valley from the top of Cedar Mesa

Ah, it gets better. In order to reach the valley, we must descend a 10 degree grade for three miles on a serpentine road that hugged the mountainside with no guardrails and a 1200 foot drop to the bottom. And, oh yes, it is unpaved! Our bikes are not made for offroad. They love pavement, preferable new pavement. We stopped for a few minutes prior to our descent, updated our wills, confessed our sins and wrote letters home.

mokisign
The sign that strikes fear in the heart of asphalt warriors

Before any of our loved ones get too worried, our saving grace was that you cannot get it too much trouble descending at 3 miles per hour. After what seemed like an eternity, we reached pavement and all was well. We each immediately recanted our confessions of sin.

moki1
Check out this road - unbelieveable!

The 20 mile drive through the center of Monument Valley was stunning. Again, we hope our photos do it justice.

We arrived at Goulding's Trading Post and Lodge just before sunset. The lodge, located in the Navajo tribal lands, is owned and operated by the Navajo Nation.

mv1
Monument Valley

So ends day 16. It was a full day that left us exhausted. Tomorrow we anticipate a shorter, less ambitious outing. We plan to visit four corners (where Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado share a common border; or maybe it's a common point), complete part of the Million Dollar Highway and finish in Ouray, Colorado.

Posted by Bill Thompson at September 19, 2003 05:05 PM GMT
Comments

"Watching" your adventures makes it easier to understand why some people hit the road on motorcycle and just never come back. Not to give you any ideas, guys, but it does look like a wonderful antidote to any routine... Hope it continues to be such a grand journey. We all love following your progress.
Love Ginnie

Posted by: Ginnie on September 20, 2003 12:45 AM GMT

Bill and Bo: We remember the Mokee Dugway well,having done it in a 40' motor home. But luckily we went UP and didn't meet any motorcycles or trucks! It was an exciting ride. By the way, do you ever have a down day,or is it just too much fun?

Posted by: Kip Thompson on September 20, 2003 04:01 PM GMT

Have you used "OUTSTANDING" yet? It is what I thought of when I saw the pics.

Have a great time, Bill!

Richard

Posted by: richard mccarthy on September 20, 2003 05:03 PM GMT

bill,
give it back! if i had known this bike gave such great rides, scenery, and food, i would have never sold it, ( or at least doubled the price)
loving the pics, trip.
be safe, brian

Posted by: brian on September 20, 2003 06:15 PM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.
 
 

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.



Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!


Renedian Adventures


Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!


New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.


Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!