Thursday, May 28, 2020

US Route 89 north to Hatch, Utah

We're excited to finally be on an overnight motorcycle trip to Hatch, Utah so I can run the Vacation Races Bryce 60k on Saturday. The race starts only about 4 miles outside Hatch, which according to the 2010 census has a population of 133. Luckily there are a couple of motels and restaurants. 

We left home just before 8am, knowing this would be the hottest day so far this year. It was 71 degrees at home, mid-80's in Flagstaff, and in the mid-90's in Page. Once we got to Flagstaff, we rode north on highway 89 all the way to Hatch, 360 total miles for the day. 

The San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff still have snow on the top, but just a few miles further north on 89 we had to stop for road construction for 9 minutes and the temperature was 94 degrees. I counted 68 cars heading south before it was our turn to get back on the road.

The landscape changed to a high, dry, barren desert with eroded rock piles lining the road.

As we continued north on 2-lane 89 through the Navajo Nation, sandstone cliffs rose up to the east. 

We came to a "Y" intersection where 89A heads west toward the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and we stayed on 89 up through a mountain pass toward Page. The original highway is 89A; 89 toward Page was constructed in the 1960's to serve building the Glen Canyon Dam in Page.

89 goes over the Glen Canyon Dam and as we headed north we could see Lake Powell to the east.

Just a few miles north of Page we entered Utah and the landscape changed again to hot, dry, barren high desert.

We steadily gained elevation the further north we rode. Instead of washed-out colors and rocky cliffs, we started to see green grass, trees, and even water in the creeks.

We pulled into the Hatch Station motel about 6 hours after we left home in Prescott, AZ after a beautiful ride on US Route 89. Tomorrow we plan to ride through Bryce National Park and enjoy some twisty riding through this stunning part of the country.

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