The ride to Hovenweep NM became hot as soon as I crossed into Utah. 90's. Snake weed, sage brush, and Juniper ( which has become one of my favorites ) as far as the eye could see. Lots of cattle guards and free range signs but only saw horses, no cattle. Rode through "Canyons of the Ancients" ........ I didn't need a sign to tell me I was back in CO. , and there wasn't one, I was on county gravel roads. Prairie turned into irrigated farmland. Alfalfa, wheat straw, and corn.
Came to an intersection and wasn't sure where I was, I know, I have 2 different maps open to the area I am riding at all times, plus GPS and my phone's google maps and I STILL manage to sometimes be not exactly sure where I am. A tractor trailer was on fire and the road I thought I wanted to go down was closed. I detoured around, got myself really turned around, and then had to double back. As I was pulled off trying to orient myself, I watched as a family in an SUV packed to the gills inside and out with kids, bikes, etc. made an impossible turn for a tractor trailer even more difficult. He was trying to make a left hand turn from a narrow road into a narrow road -- both gravel, with a ditch inches to the right of where his rear wheels were going to track. It wasn't pretty. How hard is it to look ahead and SEE and give someone space? The SUV screws him up. He stops so that she can try an inch around him, but no, she just sits there for a couple of minutes and then finally, gets it.
Fri. morning, I left Cortez, headed for Moab, Utah. Feeling homesick for the first time, not for home really, but for my traditional beach weekend at "The red house" in Dewey Beach. This is the weekend Nick Norman from Key West, plays at Nalu Surf Bar. Two years ago, this event was the first time I left the farm since Tommy's death. It was so much fun, well except for the massive hangover the next morning. Besides that it was very healing. Went again last year, just as much fun, and no massive hangover! This would have been year three. Plus, I missed meeting Kelly and Nick's beautiful baby girl. Hopefully, there will be next year. Forward........
Rode through Canyonlands on Indian Creek byway, out on Harts Drive Rd., into Manti - La Sal National Forest. Gorgeous ride. Temps went from 90's to 70's once I entered the forest. Hit my reserve fuel about 20 miles outside of Monticello, which I had already been through once, but with the ride through the Canyonlands, I had to loop back this way to get fuel. I knew it would be close, but I had probably 35 miles to spare. I don't like going to reserve, I carry a little over a liter of extra fuel..... need to carry more.
By the time I pulled into Red Stone Inn in Moab, it was 3 pm and almost unbearably hot and dry. The last 20 mins. of riding, I was not a happy camper. I should have stopped to put on my cooling vest ( TY Betty) but just decided to push through. I won't do that again.
Still feeling unsure of myself, wanted to go into the back country of Canyonlands and Arches, but was scared to go by myself. As I checked in, there was a brochure that called to me, I rarely even look at them. Tag - a - long Expeditions. Once unloaded and bike post trip finished, I sat down with a beer and the brochure. Checked them out online, took the plunge. Booked a half day into Canyonlands and a half day into Arches.
So much fun!!!! Jeeping!!! Two great guides, a different one for each trip. Same couple all day, Sabrina, a 4th/5th grade math teacher and Bill, a hunter and ex-bull rider ( never even asked what he did to make a living) from Houston, Texas.
Addy took us through Canyonlands in the morning and Chip around Arches in the aft. Learned that Juniper berries are really cones, that Junipers are self pruning, Indian rice grass, the mormon tea bush was used to get a little speed rush, about biological soil, Navajo sandstone, Entrada sandstone, the uranium rush and Charlie Steen. Saw where Thelma and Louise went off the cliff at Dead Horse Point SP, and soooooo much cool stuff all day long. PLUS, lots of adrenaline rushes from 4 wheeling on slickrock, in deep sand, all while being surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Definitely, a good decision!
By the way, the temp's all day were wonderful! Never hot, very unusual in this area for this time of year. On the way back to town, beautiful thunderstorm.