Silt lies in a big valley bounded by the cliffs of the Colorado Plateau on both sides. We drove a short way along I-70 next to the Colorado River until we saw a sign for a Rest Area with RV dump facilities in the town of Rifle. Despite our bad experiences with Rest Areas along 70, we took a chance and were pleasantly surprised. They had about eight truck/RV parking spaces and free WiFi in addition to the dump site. After a light breakfast, we dumped the black and grey water tanks and were good to go.
With the river so high, they had built earth berms along the road into the Rest Area. We stopped on the way out to take some photos. Then we hit the road, stopping in the town of Clifton to fuel up. The gas station had some huge cookies so we bought a couple.
Passing through Fruita, I saw a billboard mentioning the "Mike The Headless Chicken Festival". Not wanting to stop, I made a note to Google it and found an incredible story. It seems Mike was beheaded back in 1945, headed for the stew pot, and refused to die for eighteen months. Must be that clean Colorado air.
We continued on I-70 into Utah and got off at the "Business US 6" exit to Cisco, a ghost town of no renown whatsoever. Past there, we turned south on Utah 128 which leads across an empty space and Castle Valley to the Dewey Bridge, where it enters one of the the prettiest canyons I have ever seen. At the Bridge boat launch, we met a couple from Chico, California. The lady was riding a yellow Spyder and we talked riding for a bit.
The drive down 128 through the canyon and spectacular Professor Valley involved a narrow road where a misstep could land one in the swollen Colorado River. But I managed to navigate it successfully and we eventually reached US 191 just north of Moab. Turning south, we went through the red rock lined town and continued on, stopping at a Rest Area near the Hole In The Rock for lunch.
The rest of the drive down 191 involved subtle upgrades as we passed through changing terrain. We opted to take US 163 through Mexican Hat and the Monument Valley to Kayenta where we caught US 160. This was the first time through here for us and the scenery was breathtaking. So was the heat, which made me question the sanity of the bicycle rider who went by as we were stopped at Mexican Hat Rock. As we entered Arizona, we picked up another hour.
We fueled in Kayenta on the Navajo Reservation. I found it a depressing place. A collection of houses one side of the road were deteriorating and had roofs in a sad state of repair. Newer ones on the other side all had metal roofs, I guess in an attempt to make them last longer without maintenance.
Driving southwest on US 160, I decided people on the Rez drive a little crazy from the places people were choosing to pass me. The worst, though, was a car from California that didn't pass in a lot of safe spots and then decided to make a move on a blind hill.
Just past Tuba City, US 160 ended at US 89. I like US 160 and rode it all the way across southern Missouri a few years ago. We pointed south and followed 89 towards Flagstaff. The road was good except where Arizona DOT had just oiled it, a move Sherm thought was to seal it and extend the life of the pavement.
As we made the long climb to Flag (which is over 7,000 feet above sea level), the vegetation changed and a lot of pine trees and grass started to appear. In Flagstaff, we stopped at the Little America truck stop for fuel but the parking lot was too full and we headed for a WalMart to spend the night. The closest was actually a Sam's Club so we went on to the next and found a "No Overnight Parking" sign. There were several rigs already there so we ignored the sign and found the most level spot we could. Then, after surveying the eateries, we ended up across the street at an IHOP for a late supper.
It was a long day. Sherm thought we had done over 300 miles today but the Google map said it was more like 489. We turned in knowing it was a short hop to our way station in Kingman, Arizona in the morning.
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