Southwest Adventure 2015… Day 8

Steve Kinchen, Sr/ June 3, 2015/ BMW R1200RT, General Rants & Raves About Riding, Southwest Adventure 2015, Touring/ 0 comments

Departure Location: Moab, UT

Time: 0815

Weather Conditions: 67 and clear

Departure odometer: 6714

Daily High Temperature:

Destination: Durango, CO

Arrival Time: 1955

Daily Miles Logged: 401

Total Trip Miles: 3491

State Visited: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico


Today marks our turn eastward and ultimately our trip towards home.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of miles and motorcycle roads that lie ahead, but we are definitely in our homestretch.  Our departure this morning was set for a comfortable 0800 and we only missed our goal by a few minutes.  We decided that there was one Arch that we needed to see before leaving the Moab area, so back into the Arches National Park we went.  The so called “Delicate Arch” was accessible in three manners:

1. Drive to and walk 500 feet

2. Same drive, but walk .5 miles to a better viewing spot

3. Drive, Park, and then hike for several miles and see it up close.

We opted for number 1, and then decided to walk to the second spot.  Half of a mile does not seem like a big feat, however, at the altitude, and with an additional elevation over that half mile of another 500 feet, it was a tall order for some of us.  Our efforts were rewarded with only a slightly better vantage point for photos, but we were all glad we made the effort.

 

Zoomed view at vantage 2

 

Pretty flowers growing out of a rock at the top of the hillside

 

Matt attempting death-defying feats again!

 

On our way out of Moab, we took a quick run down the Potas-Lower Colorado river Scenic Byway.  Turns, fast straight-aways, and even more breathtaking scenery were our reward.  This stretch of road was in mostly excellent condition and seemed to be off of the radar to most tourists as the traffic was next to zero.  Another perk seemed to be the lack of local law enforcement… and I know you know what I mean!

After a quick refueling, we were on our way towards the Scenic Byway 128 that runs along the Colorado River up to the Dewey Bridge.  Hills and valleys, long sweepers, combined with tight and rapidly undulating turns made this run terrific fun to stretch the RPM’s a bit and increase the lean angle of our bikes without heavy congestion on the roadways to contend with.  My mountain riding has advanced to another level on this trip, due largely to the sheer number of twisty roads that have been on the agenda.  Today was much more fun and considerably less anxiety than even just a few days ago.

The LaSal Mountain Loop Road was our final fare the well to Utah as we pushed on towards Colorado.  I must say, Utah will remain fixed in my heart as one of my most favorite places to ride a motorcycle.  The ever-changing landscape, coupled with the quality of the roadways, and the hospitality of the people is among the finest I have ever encountered, not to mention the plethora of National Parks.  My heart felt somewhat saddened as the topography changed little by little, mile after mile, the further we made our way into Colorado.

Our first stop in Colorado was Telluride for lunch.  My first impressions were that it was a quaint town with lots of potential, however, my opinion quickly changed.  Colorado has occasional “roundabout” intersections and this town has seen more than its fair share of motorcyclists I would imagine.  As our group of 5 riders entered the roundabout, a very rude woman in a black Kia SUV slowed and then sped up splintering our group in two.  She then proceeded to weave her vehicle in a manner that indicated to me that she was on her cell phone or otherwise preoccupied.  After a few blocks, we were able to get our group back together and find parking for our lunch.  As we were parking our bikes, one of the shopkeepers came running out and started to complain about the noise and the smell of our bikes and how she wished we would not have parked in front of her shop.  Perhaps this town is so financially stable that it no longer needs tourist dollars to function… then again, there were several “Pot shops”, so maybe they are looking for a different sort of tourist now!


    

Just kidding everyone!

  Lunch was at a local eatery called “The Floradora Saloon” and everyone seemed quite please with their selections.  I ordered something that was a first for me, a lobster BLT.  I was so anxious to taste it that I completely forgot to photograph it… Needless to say, it did not disappoint!


 The owner made a few riding suggestions, one being a beautiful waterfall just up the road from his place.  We decided to go have a look.

Our next track was to ride the San Juan Mountain Skyway.  We rode nearly the entire western part ( I believe we will ride the eastern section in some part tomorrow) of the skyway and it was an absolute blast.  Here is a description from motorcycleroads.com:

This ride will take you through arguably the most beautiful sections of the Rocky Mountains as you follow a circular path through southwestern Colorado. You will pass through historic mining towns, national parks and forests and world-class ski resort areas. On this trip you will see the San Juan Mountains, home to many of Colorado’s elite group of 14,000-foot mountain peeks. Along the way you will see red-rock canyons, lush river valleys, hot springs and majestic mountain peaks and an area known as the ‘Switzerland of America.’ Bottom line is BRING LOTS OF FILM ON THIS TRIP!!!.  You definitely want to be careful on this route. It has countless number of hairpin turns and switchbacks (with and WITHOUT guardrails) and the descents and climbs are almost endless. Make sure you take advantage of the many scenic turnouts to take a good long look at the scenery … you will be surprised how glued your eyes will be on the scenery. Keep in mind, this alpine route will have you riding at over 10,000 feet three times on its path … some bikes (like humans) struggle at these kinds of altitudes.”

None of our bikes struggled one bit… At least none of the BMW riders were complaining!

The reason that four states are listed above instead of two is the fact that we visited the four corners.  This is where the geographical location of each of the four states meet: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.  As seen below, it is possible to stand in four places at one time! 
                 Durango is our home port for the evening and the staff here at the Best Western Mountain Shadows has been very accommodating to our party.  They welcome riders here and the manager even prepared a box of clean towels for us to “spruce up” our bikes in the morning.  He had all of our rooms ready and check in was a breeze.  Kudos


Tomorrow we will make our way slightly north towards Vail, CO.

 

 

 

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