Despite the grand generosity of my hosts, I backed out of the driveway and drove away from the city. I was still a day behind schedule, having spent a snow-day in Arizona a week earlier, and my next pre-booked side adventure was quickly approaching. Still wanting to spend a full day in Moab, I made a choice: spending a day in Dinosaur National Monument would have to wait until the next grand adventure. Instead, I headed south towards Moab, fumbling with the GPS to put a decent route in the device.
Miles later, I felt I was mostly satisfied with the way I had drawn the purple line, and started to follow it in earnest. Before I left on this trip, I hadn’t known much about Utah, simply being between Colorado and Nevada. To be honest, I still didn’t know much about it, but having seen so many parts of it, I was impressed with the scenery. From the Valley of the Gods and Zion National Park to the south, and the Great Salt Lake area in the north, it was a geologically diverse state.
I passed by some of the high mountain lakes south of the capital city and thought about how nice it would be to have my own house with similar views as those I had seen. The road curved and twisted, climbed and descended, my fuel injected bike handling it all with ease. I saw some people on the still frozen lakefront at Strawberry Reservoir and chuckled to myself, first about the complete lack of strawberries I saw, and then about how these people were a quarter-mile above my highest point in the Appalachians, an altitude I was impressed with at the time, and yet it was just another day to them.
Whether it was the altitude, a remnant of the weather that had rolled through just before I had, or some combination thereof, it had been a cold morning and I needed my insulated pants and heated liner to stay warm. But as the day progressed and the further south I went, the temperatures quickly rose. By the time I reached I-70, I was quite warm. Distracting myself by thinking about how I could take stay on that single piece of pavement all the way east towards home, I dealt with the discomfort until I needed to exit the highway.
I pulled over on the side of US Business Route 6 and stripped out of my gear. Though I had less equipment on the bike, it still didn’t seem any easier to cram the pants and liner into the bag on the rear seat. Eventually though, I had everything stowed, and was on my way, following the Colorado River as it carved its way through a red-rock canyon.
Say what you want about the “Mighty Mississippi”, the Colorado is every bit as impressive. Sure, it may not be as wide or as economically important as its eastern cousin, but it’s ability to change the landscape around it, literally, is second-to-none. I found myself awestruck once more as I rode the bottom of the canyon, the river flowing alongside me. And with all the hiking and cycling trails, this was definitely a place I wanted to bring Alyssa sometime in the future, if only just for the return trip.
Like all things, it came to an end, and I entered into the town of Moab. I checked into my hotel, the log cabin looking Redstone Inn, stashed my gear into the room, and set off for dinner to kill time before the sun set. I found a nice looking restaurant called The Broken Oar, and walked inside. There was a wait for a table, and I asked for a drink to pass the time with. One thing about conservative religious states is that they tend to be restrictive when it comes to alcohol. The most they would give me was a glass of water. Later, I got called to my table, and with food in front of me I was finally allowed to have a beer.
With my stomach full, I headed out to Arches National Park hoping for a good sunset photo. There were clouds in the sky and a bit of haze but I didn’t care, too impressed by the giant monoliths standing around me. Again I felt what it was that called geologists into that field of study.
I carried on towards the famous “double arch” where I stopped to take a few more pictures. Unfortunately, the good light was gone leaving me with flat grey lighting. I snapped some pictures before heading back towards the hotel.