Tim and I are sportbikers through and through, having cut our riding teeth on the canyon roads that are just inland of Santa Barbara, CA. So while the main goal for this trip is to get our feet dirty on the off-road trails of Moab, we both have been looking forward to today’s stretch of our route.
Our course promises not only to have corner-after-corner of fast and clean sweepers, but also some epic views as we summit and decend the mountains, and cut our way through the rock desert. Utah did not disappoint in this regard as we left Bryce Canyon National Park and headed to Moab, Utah along SR-12, SR-24, and SR-191. The fourth day of our eight day trip, it was hard to believe that by the end of the day we would have halfway completed our trip.
Leaving Bryce Canyon, we got a jump on the rainstorm that was headed our way, and thankfully our route had us circumvent the thunderhead clouds that perpetually loomed in the distance. Full of sunshine, we put the GS and Ténéré through their paces on the pristine road that is SR-12.
Headed east, the calling to ride and get into Moab during the daylight overcame the need to document our, so I will apologize in advance for the lack of photos on this part of the trip. When we get back home, I will have to grab some stills from the ride footage on the GoPro cameras to give you all a full understanding of what we had the pleasure of experiencing.
If words will suffice, deep canyon paths gave way to forest-laden trails, and at one point the roadway straddling the back of a narrow ridge, with the ground giving way on either side of the tarmac — a strange and surreal experience, and only one of the many sights that makes this route one of the top motorcycling roads in the country.
Pushing onward, the forest slowly gave way to the desert terrain that predominates SR-24, a rocky desert that replaces the traditional stone with gravel. As we got farther from the biker’s paradise that is SR-12, and closer to Goblin Valley State Park, we shed our layers and pressed forward to I-70 and SR-191, the latter of which would take us into Moab, Utah.
At this point, the 100 degree heat again became unbearable, and we had already cleared a gallon of water between the two of us since lunch. So when we found a campsite along the Colorado river, off SR-128, it was like some great weight had been lifted off our shoulders. While our thoughts of swimming in its murky waters were dashed, with no access to be found from our campsite that rested just 10 feet from the water’s edge (heavy brush, blocked our way, seemingly on purpose), we changed into shorts and were thankful to have the day’s riding over.
Making camp, we rehydrated, and set-off in the late-afternoon for Arches National Park, which was just a couple miles up the road. It was nearing the end of the day, but the light provided enough opportunity to stop and explore some of the many sights along the park’s main route, and the cooling night made for a pleasant evening atmosphere.
Arches is full of tall red rock outcroppings, that seemingly rise from the ground at will at the most random spots. Getting its name from the archways scattered through the park, we had the chance to explore these great structures, which have been forged over the course of centuries of tectonic plate movement and erosion from wind and rain.
With the sun setting on another long day of riding, we checked the our mileage count on our bikes. 1,000 miles done, and now properly at the halfway point of our Broventure. Tomorrow we plan to tackle the off-road trails that flank the Colorado River, and see what this whole adventure-touring thing is about. With rain clouds in the night sky though, things could get interesting.