Thursday 'dawned' early in Farmington. Once the steed was loaded, I geared-up, saddled-up and headed west. Saw my FIRST highway patrol car along the road about half-way, but I was struggling w/ my 'heated' jacket liner - it WASN'T... heating... that is
, and I was below the limit.
Hit Shiprock just as the sun cleared the eastern horizon, and into McDees for sustenance - sausage and egg McMuffin and a senior's coffee - plus a couple of $ menu McMuffins for a couple of cold and lonely lookin' gents hanging around outside.
Finished THAT, gassed up BIG RED - then west again, only stopping for a pic of the Shiprock in morning light. First time thru Monument Valley I rode north to south, second time it was south to north in off-and-on rain showers, so today's plan was to ride to Kayenta via US 64 and US 160, then turn right thru Monument Valley to Mexican Hat, Utah for gas, then further east to the Valley of the Gods, 16 miles of dirt.
The ride to Kayenta was clear, altho' to the west I saw clouds gathering, w/ what looked like virga (rain coming down but NOT reaching the ground... YET!
), and wondered if I was in for another wet day in Monument Valley.
Took a few panoramas on the ride west, then MORE thru the Valley. One of the iconic views is looking back west (at pretty much the eastern end) w/ the road as straight as an arrow, rising into the buttes.
Couldn't QUITE understand three young guys lying on the road taking pictures along the center-line...
! Looking back west the clouds I saw earlier seemed to be getting darker, thicker.
But it WAS sunny to the east where I was headed.
A few minutes later I left Mexican Hat, tank full, riding the 6 to 8 miles to the start of Valley of the Gods. It snakes thru a beautiful valley full of red spires in every direction for 16 miles, before spilling out onto the road leading to the Moki Dugway Switchbacks, a series of tight switchbacks that climb about 500' in three miles (check the .pdf at the end of my pics, at the bottom...).
This would be my FIFTH time up or down it (once UP before dawn...
), and I stopped at the first good area for pics, took a few then got back onto BIG RED which I'd propped on its stand, a low area to its right, and a couple of feet from the rock wall....
I put my right foot down to find... NOTHING..., jumping clear just as BIG RED gave up, falling into the wall, Aprilia mirror against the rocks, twisting itself.
I tried lifting it, but it didn't budge, so off w/ my jacket and helmet, tried again, then removed some other gear, trying again.
As I ran thru my options - NONE, really
- a pickup came around the corner, stopping when the driver saw my predicament. He parked out of the way, then came, and together we got the bike up and back on its stand. He waited IN CASE the same thing might happen again, but I started it, got it off the stand then parked a few yards away while I thanked him and got all the gear back on ME or BIG RED...!
The ONLY damage, after the 'dust cleared', was a scratch on my Zeta guard thru the reflective tape, and a SLIGHT mark on the back of my Aprilia mirror which HADN'T broken!!!
Watch for the remainder of this day in another post, from here to Escalante thru MORE gorgeous scenery - the Capitol Reef Nat'l Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante Nat'l Monument....