Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Colorado Plateau on a rainy, cloudy day

The last day of a motorcycle trip has a different type of feel. We've been wearing the same clothes for several days, I've gotten used to minimalist living (which of my 2 shirts will I wear today?), I search out any fruit or vegetable that I can possibly find (fresh watermelon for breakfast at one hotel, oranges and apples in big bowls all day at another made me really happy), we've fallen into the rhythm of life on the bike (get up, eat breakfast, pack, ride through gorgeous countryside all day, stop every 2-3 hours for gas, food, water or just to stretch our legs; arrive at another hotel, unpack, go for a run, shower, eat dinner, sleep), and we're finally anxious to get back home.

We started the day in Blanding, Utah where the rain poured down all night long, and thankfully started to let up just as we headed out. Even with the rain, fog, and clouds that hovered below the tops of the craggy canyon peaks, this area of southeastern Utah is spectacular.

I kept imagining what this part of the country must have been like millions of years ago when volcanoes, inland seas, movement of the tectonic plates, and wind and river erosion began forming this high, dry desert canyonland known as the Colorado Plateau. The limestone and sandstone rocks and cliffs  have descriptive names such as arches, natural bridges, pinnacles, and monoliths.

Most of this area lies within the 27,000 square miles of the Navajo Nation, home to 173,000 people. That works out to about 6.5 people per square mile, which means the majority of the time we saw only the desert, rock formations, canyons and the sky. There's so little traffic we could stop on the narrow road shoulder to take pictures, or slow down to watch a solitary mule on a hill.

Our route took us south through Utah into Arizona toward Flagstaff, where we turned west on US 40 which mostly follows the route of the old Route 66. We can see the San Francisco Peaks from our home in Prescott, and today as they came into view we knew our trip was almost finished.

Minutes after we pulled into our garage, a hard rain started once again. Later that evening as the sun started to set we looked out the living room window to the San Francisco Peaks, now to our north.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it great that no matter how much you enjoy a trip it is always nice to come home.

    I am glad the rain let up while you were riding home. How long before the next adventure?