Southwest Adventure 2015… Day 6

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ June 1, 2015/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, Southwest Adventure 2015, Touring/ 1 comments

Departure Location: Mount Carmel, UT

Time: 0800

Weather Conditions: 51 degrees and sunny

Odometer: 6179

Daily High Temperature: 96

Destination: Moab, UT

Arrival Time: 1945

Daily Miles Logged: 386

Total Trip Miles: 2936

State Visited: Utah… Lovely Utah!

As I begin to write this post, I realize that today is a bit of a blur and clarity of recollection may suffer due to fatigue, and sensory overload.  We agreed to an 0800 departure since the hotel restaurant didn’t open for breakfast until 0730.  There was a crisp nip in the air that made the first leg of our journey cool and quite pleasant as we knew that by midday, the cool temperatures would be just a fond memory.

Our first destination was the magnificent Bryce Canyon National Park.  The original plan was a route that included walking a few trails that would lead to some picturesque photo opportunities, but unfortunately as the day developed, there were too many miles to have to cover in order to get to our destination of Moab, UT.  There is something going on in this town that we haven’t been able to pin down, but hotel rooms were in very short supply… After a nice winding road of about 100 miles, we arrived.

 Here is a great description of what we saw followed by some photos that simply cannot tell the whole story of what it is to experience this part of the world in person.

“Bryce Canyon National Park contains a spectacularly beautiful series of “amphitheaters” filled with colorful, eroded rock forms. It cannot be adequately described in words and is only somewhat better represented with photos. It’s a place where you can spend hours at any number of overlooks staring in wonder. You will undoubtedly find after a visit that you’ve taken many more pictures than you had thought in an attempt to capture its brilliance. A trip through southwest Utah must include a stop at Bryce Canyon. Bryce has an easy scenic drive to great lookouts and a number of hiking trails down into the amphitheaters and among the “hoodoos” — the name given the eroded rock pinnacles and spires that fill the park.”

Photos from Brice Canyon

                          There were a number of people at the various stops that we made that were celebrating the majesty of this place in their own ways.  A memorable stop was one where a young man was sitting on a rock ledge, focused intently on the scenery, and he was singing and playing his guitar.  I didn’t see any open case or bucket where he was trying to solicit payment… I believe that he was there for his own edification.  We met a couple from Matt’s home town in Pennsylvania that was on holiday.  They were riding a goldwing and towing a trailer behind it with their essentials for a three week tour of the U.S.  And then there was a joyful older man that exclaimed that we were one of the “cleanest bunch of bikers he had ever seen…”  He even asked why we didn’t have any tattoos, long hair and a beer in our hands…. I jokingly replied that it was only 10am… it was a little early for all of that!  He laughed, asked about my GoPro camera on my helmet, the fuel consumption on my BMW and then went on his way.  I always suspect that during an interaction such as that, there is a part of that person who is attempting to live vicariously through the experience of the other person.

 Matt and I have made it a bit of a game to see how many ways we can stage photos to make it look like he has been injured, fallen off of a cliff, or otherwise been put in peril.  We have a great laugh after each one as you can see.

    After a quick lunch at what appeared to be a local diner but turned out to be a locally branded McDonalds type of choke and puke palace, we were on our way towards The Capital Reed National Park via the very exciting Utah Route 12.

Here is what has to say about Route 12:

“Between Zion Canyon in the south and the Flaming Gorge up north, there’s no shortage of world-class riding in Utah. But the one road I keep coming back to is Utah’s State Route 12, in the south central part of the state. The well-kept chunk of asphalt stretches only 125 miles in length, but it’s bookended on each side by a national park, and along the way, scenery you’ll find nowhere else. You could probably charge through it in a couple of hours, but trust me, you wouldn’t want to. The town of Panguitch is your starting point. From there, head east on U.S. 89 to the turnoff for Rt. 12, and the good stuff starts minutes later, entering Red Canyon. The hoodoo sandstone spires get really supernatural when the setting sun tints them an otherworldly, brilliant red. And if you’re a real early bird, catching sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park 20 miles later is a worthy goal (albeit a chilly one). After Bryce, Rt. 12 runs east through the small burg of Tropic and the turnoff for Kodachrome Basin State Park, but if you choose to stay on course, several miles beyond Escalante the scenery positively explodes. Swoop into a right-hander, drop down a hill, and suddenly, the world is laid out before you. The vista is unbelievable, so best to pull over and let your jaw drop as you take in the curvature of the earth. If you’re steady enough to ride on, steel yourself for the stretch of Route 12 known as “the Hogsback,” as it picks its way along a high ridge. It’s said to be the highest road without guard rails (on both sides) in the U.S. Don’t be hero. Use the turnouts to do your gawking, as 1000-foot drop-offs loo just feet from the shoulders. Ten boot-shaking miles later, you’ll welcome the town of Boulder, also home to Anasazi Museum State Park and the Burr Trail, a former cattle trail that runs to the southern end of Capitol Reef National Park.”

This ride was at times a white-nuckler, but well worth the time, and besides, this was the best way to get to the Capital Reef.

Each park seems to have its very own personality.  The Capital Reed National Park should be known as the “up close and personal” park because the roadway is tightly nestled as close to the rock formations as one could possibly imagine being possible.  A very slow tempo and at time an extremely narrow roadway made for a terrific ride through this very red park.  The route is an “in and out” meaning that there is an end to the trail and then you must backtrack.  There are times where this can be disappointing and feel like a bit of a waste of time, but not here.  The vistas on the way out were completely different and even more spectacular.

              Leaving the Capital Reef Park via Route 24 and ultimately Interstate 70 to Utah HWY 191 we made it to our home base for the next two exciting days of motorcycle riding.  Route 24 was quite bland, straight and in various stages of repair.  Essentially, time to engage cruise control, keep an eye out for the very occasional oncoming vehicle, and maybe spend some time reflecting on what we had experienced earlier today.

Dinner was at a very nice place called the Sunset Grill a few miles from the hotel.  I had a deliciously prepared fresh Salmon steak and a house salad… Best meal thus far on the trip!


Tomorrow, we will explore the arches and the Canyonlands National Parks… Should be fantastic!



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1 Comment

  1. Compliments on your scenery photos! spectacular!!

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