Monday, June 13, 2011

Silt Colorado to Flagstaff Arizona

We were up at 6:00 AM this morning. Yvette had coffee on and Mal and his son Vinnie left for work at 6:30. We said goodbye to Yvette (we should be by here on the return trip) and were on the road by 7:30.

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.

Today's Photos

Yvette and Sandy just before we left Silt

The RV in front of Mal and Yvette's

Colorado River run amok west of Silt

The Rest Area at Rifle - these things are important to me these days

The indefatigable Sherm looking for a shot 

Sandy getting river photographs

I know old Coasties can swim but......

More raging rivers

They had the rest area bermed just  in case

The rim north of I-70

Strange rocks along I-70

Another canyon

More Colorado rocks

And still more

The Colorado River is dammed where you see the red roof

But lots of water is spilling over

The valley near Grand Junction Colorado

A testament to the power of erosion

I love the scenery down here

Welcome to the "no guardrail" state

The road to nowhere (or Cisco)

The La Sal Mountains

Downtown metropolitan Cisco Utah

Rock formation near Dewey Bridge

Rock formation at Dewey Bridge

An arch in the making

The red rocks abound

And the red cliffs

You really know you are in a canyon here

More rocks at Dewey Bridge

A couple from northern California

Professor Valley and the La Sal Mountains

Professor Valley

A famous landmark in Professor Valley

Still more in the Valley

Utah 128 heads back into the canyon

Colorado River rafters

Utah 128 and the Colorado River

 Raft recovery

Utah 128 near Moab

Sandy likes photographing the river

And flowers

And more flowers (there weren't a lot to choose from)

That is  a restaurant in Moab where  Scotty, Marlene, Sandy and I ate a few years ago

Rest area south of Moab.... to The Hole In The Rock

An arch south of Moab

The wind and water do strange things

Highway 191 south of Moab

I admire the bicyclists out here

Strange little hat thingies along US 163

Sherm thinks these were '32 Fords

Mexican Hat Rock - US 163

A Good Sam Club shot

Bridge over the San Juan River at Mexican Hat Village

The joy of the open road

Monument Valley

More Monument Valley

What would Freud say about this?

Two monoliths by Highway 163

The climb to Flagstaff

Today's Route (489 motorhome miles):

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