Getting ready for departure in the morning takes a while. No, not because we are surfing advrider.com but rather because we have to make breakfast, clean dishes and break everything down and pack all back up small so it will fit into the panniers and our blue duffle bags – unlike car camping where one can often loosely pack and just toss it all into the trunk. Today it took us a little over two hours before we were on the road.
Moab was only about 70 miles North. Since that would be a rather short ride we looked for other places to ride and noticed that 211 branches off 191 leading to the Canyonlands National Park. Although we had been to Canyonlands before it was via the northern access route. Untraveled road – that was all the excuse we needed :-). It’s 34 miles from the turnoff to the park – one way in, same way out.
To say that the ride to the park entrance is impressive would be an understatement. You feel completely dwarfed and insignificant by the huge sandstone cliffs towering to the right and left. The road had some 15 mph hairpin turns leading down into a river valley with trees before that gave way to high desert sage brush. At the park entrance we bought a national park pass. Yes, only one since they now have a new policy that two motorcycles only need one pass. We both had to sign the back of the pass and that was it. Access for a year to all national parks & forest, and BLM land.
By the time we left the visitors center the wind was picking up :-(. The wind really hit once we were back on 191 heading north to Moab. Although only a 40 mile ride, it was very demanding since the wind kept changing directions. A steady wind from one direction is much easier to deal with since one can lean the motorcycle into the wind without too much effort. But unpredictable winds and gusts are much more challenging since there’s no one good side of the lane to pick to allow for maximum space when blown off course. If that isn’t bad enough, since the road is a single lane in each direction and we weren’t going the speed limit (65 mph) due to the vicious wind we, or mostly Diane, since I was out in front, had to deal with impatient drivers, tailgating waiting for an opportunity to pass. And yes, in the past we always pull over if there’s a safe place to do so but there wasn’t here.
We got to Moab close to 14:00, exhausted and ready to call it a day. Found a spot at the Canyonlands Campground centrally located in town (all the others were outside of town) so we could walk to the breweries 😉 – which we promptly did after setting up our camp. We both felt the need for a rest day – catch up on email, the blog, pictures, do laundry and just relax in general so we are spending two nights in Moab.
Here’s the route.