Go West Young Man!

32 Days and 5,536 Miles On My Vintage Motorcycle

It was broad daylight when I finally stumbled out of the tent, bleary eyed and ready to ride. Around the corner a fat red guy, dibetes-in-coveralls, was passed out in a lawn chair waiting for some mutant fish to bring him back from the razor's edge of coma.

Today was a big day for me. I don't know for sure what Jordan's Mecca was on this trip, but mine was Monument Valley. I knew that months before we kicked the doors down out of Little Rock. If you don't know Monument Valley by name you've seen the pictures. Towering red stone, a science lesson come to life. If you ever had trouble imagining the earth moving with any kind of haste or violence, this place will make it real for you. First though we sped West through Shiprock, a tasty little preview, heat blurred and strange. It's located on land owned by a Christian Revivalist church I think and we got no closer than this. The fine white to blue gradient crowded out any clouds that may have kept the sun off our shoulders.

Arizona! Years ago, on my first i-40 solo trip in a car, I got a speeding citation that went unpaid and am mildly concerned that I may have a warrant for my arrest in this state.

After climbing to a slightly cooler elevation we stopped in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona's most North-East town, for gas. A cop passed and gave me a tripple take, then whipped his patrol car into the gas station. I couldn't believe it, I was about to get pinched at our first stop in the state. Instead he rolled down the window, guessed the year of my bike correctly, and told me about being a Honda mechanic for 11 years. We talked shop for a while and he wished us luck on our way. Kept my ass out of the clink for one more day!

We backtracked up highway 160 towards Four Corners, where Americas states with the most liberal marrige laws rub up against each other. The actual 'point' was fenced in and required an odd 3$. This was close enough.

We crossed into Colorodo and over the San Juan river. It's only a few miles before connecting with highway 41 and crossing right back over the border, this time ending up in Utah, where 41 turns into 162. This little stretch felt very isolated and undeveloped considering the tourist traffic that must come through here in the summer.

Feeling sheepish... corny!

I think this town was called Bluff. They've got some serious stuff going on here. The cliff's were super badass. This is all very exciting for a hillbilly from Arkansas.

In Bluff we were also treated to this natural wonder, Twin Rocks. Raise your hand if you think this looks like, quoting Jordan, "Two penises fighting".

Had the land North-East of Monument Valley been just an inch closer Utah surely would have integrated it into the park. The hills spread wide then crumple in on themselves, each layer a whole other shade of red, brown and orange. Mexican Hat holds steady in the wind swept hills, which is astonishing considering our human nature as vandals. I swear you could push it over with a childs effort.

Outside of Mexican Hat we crossed over the San Juan River for the second time. I stopped to straighten myself up and threatened Jordan with death if he didn't get some good shots of me in Monument Valley. The sun hung midway up the sky, weak from beating back the cold that was eager to settle in for the Winter months. The air was dry and just barely luke warm, which is perfect motorcycle riding weather.

Exiting Monument Valley we mazed over the hard land along numerous state highways, taking the back roads into Page, AZ. This is home to the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, neither of which were planned destinations. Zion National Park and Las Vegas were officially marked off the itinerary, as we decided Vegas no longer 'vibed' with the way our trip was unfolding. Decending a thousand feet into Page we arrived late and heard nothing, saw nothing. It was dark when we settled into the Lake Powell rec area. I got my bike stuck in the sand, brushed my teeth and Jordan & I listened to a little music under that massive Arizona sky.

In the morning I did not expect Lake Powell. If you've ever seen an artistic rendering of dinosaur era Earth you would recognize this place. Probably every one of those pictures is based on Lake Powell. The funny thing is it's got a huge population of house boats and has to be party central in the Summer. So I can't help imagining a guy in pink shorts and Wayfarer glasses being chomped in half by a T-Rex, saying "Bogus!"

Also, this was the first night we ventured to sleep without the tent cover, which was totally gnarly.

The Glen Canyon Dam is equally huge. There's a saucer shaped visitors center perched over it and, while we were there, a guy mowing the weirdest patch of grass on Earth at it's base. The bridge spanning the canyon is nauseating to walk across and whoever dangled over it's sides, riveting and welding his way across, is a hardcore badass in my book. There were dinosaur footprints on display that I palmed my crazy looking hand to. So awesome.

The night before Jordan and I had ridden through an RV park in downtown Page and deemed it too lame to sleep in. We returned in the morning though, hoping to scam a shower, which are normally five bucks a pop. A very confused guy from the Netherlands was nice enough to give me his key code for the bathrooms and we showered up. I tossed my now filthy jeans in the dryer while Gord got his coffee fix at the gas station. I watched the Netherlands group get ready for a day of hiking, presumably through the desert East of downtown Page, as I saw them walking in the opposite direction of Lake Powell. Poor guys, I've never seen such nice people so lost. Highway 89 cut up and over the dull red hills, taking us South through Echo Canyon. I loved Page, I could live here.