Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650 ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride

May 27th, 2003.-- More than 4 years on the road

Credit to Canyon to Moab, and lots in between

-- Story by Chris --

Tues, May 20th: Today marks our 4-year anniversary on this trip. Yup, back on May 20th, 1999 we flew from New York City to Casablanca, Morocco, to begin our 15-month journey. Now, 1,461 days, 49 countries, and 6 continents later, with 92,150 miles accumulated the journey is slowly nearing it's end. How did we spend the day? We put the motor for Erin’s bike back in the frame late last night, and today did all the final fittings and added fluids. The bike runs pretty sweet – we still can’t believe how strong it is after so many miles! Everyone is exhausted, so we put off the BBQ party until tomorrow night.

Thurs, May 22nd: After almost 2 weeks, we finally bid farewell to the gang at Al & Julie’s – what super folks they (all) have been! We take the super-slab up to Flagstaff, and stop in the quaint looking college town to buy food/supplies. A couple of hours later, we arrive at the south-rim of the Grand Canyon. A flash of our Parks Pass at the gate, and in we ride through the gate. We get to the entrance of the campground, and are told that there are still a few of the "first come, first serve" sites available, but that we would have to leave in the morning. Tomorrow begins Labor Day weekend, the busiest time of year here, and the one time reservations are accepted for the first-come sites. Well, of course they are all reserved. We set up our tent and head over to the canyon’s rim for a look. WOW, Espectacular!!!!! This is not the first time we’ve been here, but it still blows our minds! Words and even pictures don’t do it justice – you’ve just got to see it for yourself to believe it. After cooking dinner, we go to the amphitheater for the ranger’s presentation and slide-show. The first part was quite interesting, but I can’t tell you about the rest, ‘cause I fell asleep on Erin’s shoulder (exhaustion).

Fri, May 23rd: We pack our gear and head 23 miles east to another campground and look-out area, called Desert View. Located at the eastern edge of the canyon, there are fantastic views of the Colorado River entering far below. This campground is much smaller (only 35 spaces), and is very pleasant. The rim is much closer, far less congested, and the views are just as good as at the South Rim Visitors Center. Sunset at the lookout is again pretty amazing, and afterwards we have a small party with some other tourist/travellers.

Sat, May 24th: It’s 5am, and I crawl out of the tent and jog to the rim to watch sunrise – breathtaking!!! (Maybe because I’m so out of shape!) As a rule, I generally prefer sunsets, as I am already fully awake! J My stroll back is followed by a long rest in the hammock. We spend the afternoon visiting many of the scenic overlooks, along with the throngs of other tourists, in equal numbers of cars, campers, and motorcycles. For sunset, we pack our cooking gear and ride to Grandview Overlook where we set up our cooker and made dinner on the canyon’s rim, while watching the colors of the rocks change as the sun dropped out of the sky --- ah, life doesn’t get much better than this!

Sun, May 25th: Exiting the Grand Canyon and taking the main road up to Monument Valley is anything but ordinary. The way the jagged mountains pop out of the desert floor is awe-inspiring, and we had to stop many times just to take it all in. After passing Mexican Hat (an interesting rock formation), we took the less-popular route 261 north through the Mokee Dugway, where a gravel road brings you 1,000 feet up the side of a canyon wall. We arrive at the Natural Bridges NP, and confirm the campground is full. The park ranger’s are very helpful, and direct us to an area where we can free-camp. They also tell us about dirt roads and other places we should visit in the area.

We purchase a detailed map (our road atlas doesn’t cover this), and head up the road towards Bears Ears. There are a few cars pulled off the side of the road, with tents set up. As we climb higher, we get away from the groups, and eventually find a beautiful open spread, out on a precipice overlooking the valley below. It is magnificent! We pitch our tent and make a delicious dinner. Just as we finish eating, and the sun is starting to drop away, the winds pick up. Dirt/dust begin to fly around, and the tent is straining at the pegs. We frantically gather the gear scattered about and pack it safely away. Our tent is fully exposed, and not made for extreme conditions. We position the bikes in front of the tent to help deflect the winds, but it is of little effect. Just as darkness drops its blanket over us, we drag the tent quickly to a small slopped area protected by trees. The tent pegs go in easy, and we used big rocks over each to keep them from pulling out. Needless to say, sleeping on a slope, with the wind whipping at the tent, did not make for a good night's sleep.

Mon, May 26th: Far from fit and rested, the wind is gone with the night, and we have a terrific breakfast (scrambled eggs, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, and bacon) while sitting on the edge of our precipice – it is strangely quiet and calm. As we pack our gear, we try in vain to get the layers of red dirt off/out of everything. As we head out over the pass, our mood quickly changes as the Manti La Sal National Forest unfolds before us – stunning! The dirt road is fairly easy, but we have to watch the mileage on the map closely as there are many turn-offs, and signage is poor. But this is easy, and a small price to pay for the wonderful vistas. We climb to 9,000 feet, and the colorful valleys below are again, are hard to put into words. The final leg brings us through Canyonlands National Park, with more stunning mountains on either side of us. The only thing to tear our eyes from the scenery is the occasional patches of sand, and the passing dune buggies. We arrive in Moab in late afternoon, and it is hot-hot-hot!. It’s been too many days since our last shower, and we need to get some more supplies. The campgrounds want $17 to pitch on gravel, so we end up in a private room in a hostal for $22, complete with fan and electricity to recharge our batteries.

Below are just a few pictures, for more click Canyonlands



South Rim


Desert View -- Overlook


Dinner on the south rim, while the sun goes down


Welcome to Utah!

Monument Valley



Mexican Hat


The calm before the storm


Entering Canyonlands NP


Newspaper Rock


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