Day 9: Moab, UT (Ryan)

Awesome, beautiful, breathtaking…words to not genuinely do this area justice. This was one area we truly did not want to leave, but memorial day weekend was coming and rooms were booked up well in advance.

Let me start with a ride recommendation. Ride Green River, WY to Green River, UT (or on to Moab). We passed through Green River, WY on Day 8, but it would be the idea starting area, it’s right on an interstate and it’s large enough to have variety of good places to stay (don’t stay in Manilla if you can help it). Starting in Green River, WY take WY530 down the west side of flaming gorge to Manilla, UT 530 become 43 at the border–there’s a decent restraunt call the Mustang or something like that which is literally located between the Wyoming and Utah signs). In Manilla turn left onto UT-44. This winds through the Ashley national forest and the drive is spectacular! When it joins 191, take 191 south. Stay on 191 south through Vernal and Price until it meets I-70 at Green River, UT. If you stay on 191 south it’s actually I-70 east until it branches off to head to Moab. You can stay on 191 all the way through to Moab. There is a large break in the hills until you near Moab, so it could easily be a different ride, but it is spectacular all the way through.

The weather for our ride to Moab was a lot better, less wind and generally warm enough. It was still breezy, but nothing like the day before. Leaving Manilla we started a rapid ascent and topped out near or at 9000 ft. UT44 takes you near the bottom end of flaming gorge and you ascend up over a spur of the gorge. The views were outstanding:

View of a lower arm of flaming gorge from the ascent on UT-44

Another view from UT-44.

View up the canyon that we just rode through

Most of the day had been fairly comfortable temperature wise but as we neared some of the summits the temperature would drop. Near the highest, almost 10,000 ft. elevation summit that we crossed it started to precipitate a mixture of rain and ice/snow, but not long after we were racing across a desert valley bottom. One of the great parts about motorcycle touring is that you experience the land: hot and cold, wind and calm, rain/snow and sun, etc. In the area we were riding you could have everything listed in 30 minutes. There is no way to describe the beautiful scenery, the bare desert, the tall pines, and steep rocks.

We had the first broken part on the bike show up; it might have broken that morning or sometime during the harrowing ride to Manilla the day before. The exhaust system is supported on the bottom pipe by a piece of steel connected to the bracket that used to hold the center stand. The upper pipe is then connected to the lower pipe with a piece of 1/8″ x 3/4″ steel. The weld on the upper pipe broke causing the pipe to rattle and bang.

Broken bracket on the exhaust

We stopped in Vernal so that I could buy a hose clamp at the auto parts store there. I had packed one of those bars of a putty like substance that when mixed hardens like steel (similar to a thick version of JB Weld). I used some of that stuff and after putting the bracket back in place I packed the putty around it and then put a hose clamp over everything to hold it in place. I figured when we got to Vegas to my brother’s house and shop I could re-weld it, but it’s held so well I just left it alone.

The repair

We found this cabin a little past Vernal in a canyon. The setting was spectacular…I’d love to live there.

Just down the road we found another cabin along with an old coral and small barn/shelter.

It looked like a family still ran a ranch in the canyon/valley, these cabins may have been the old homesteads.

One summit we crossed

Not long after that summit we were in this desert valley.

In a small coal mining town as we entered the desert we found this ruined building.

Crossing the desert from Price down to Green River I had to stop and take pictures of the ghost town of Woodside.

Ruined ghost town of Woodside

The marker (that’s the only reason I know the name of the town) telling about Woodside

We gassed up in Green River as we fought moderate wind and desert sand blowing in the wind. The ride into Moab is worthy of the name. You continue to cross sandy desert when suddenly sheer red rock begins to rise out of the desert. You pass between sheer red walls as you enter the down. I’m not sure I’ve ever been a place that is so beautiful.

The road to Moab

More about Moab soon…

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