Bicycle trip through the western regions of the USA

Part 2: Utah

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Part 3: Colorado

 

Saturday, July 15, Monument Valley­Blanding (75mi/120 km)

Around five I got up, just in time to witness a beautiful sunrise. Took a great picture of the silhouette of Monument valley's rocks. After breakfast we loaded our bikes and took off early in the morning. The route to Bluff (64 miles ahead) was again very scenic. The climbs in Utah were not long but had sometimes very steep (10­15%) grades. Erwin's climbing was also improving, since he was used to pedal in a lower gear. As result, I didn't have to wait any more on the climbs, for he could easily catch up with me in the descents.

Monument valleyMexican Hat

That day we met three other cyclists, one duo and just a few minutes later followed by one solo rider. All of them from Britain, cycling (east) coast to (west) coast. Like us their daily average ranged between 60­80 miles (100­130 km). Just a little lower then Erwin's expected average of 100 miles per day, he initially had in mind!

In Bluff our ways separated, time to say good­bye to Erwin, who'd planned to ride to Four Corners and Durango. From there over the Rockies, heading to Kansas, he should meet his wife and decide how to travel further. He asked me for joining him until Durango, but in that case I would miss Moab and Arches NP, so I preferred to ride solo the rest of the trip.

The lonely ride from Bluff to Blanding was dominated by rolling hills with meadows and farmland, not very spectacular. In Blanding I found a small campground, for the first time since Flagstaff I had to pay for a campspot! Ten bucks, oh well, that was not too bad.

ArchesSunday July 16, Blanding­Moab (76mi/123 km)

From Blanding to Monticello was another dull ride compared to the beauty I'd had left behind. Past Monticello the landscape changed a bit, the first arches, more forests. Just along the highway I hiked up to Wilson Arch, a beautiful view on the snow­capped La Sal Mountains. A friendly Flemish family is inspecting my bike. They'd offered me a soda and a refill of my water bottles with fresh cold ice water. I gladly accepted the offer, since the last 50 km to Moab there were no services along the road and the temperatures were rising to unbearable levels (nearly 40 degrees Celsius!). In the AAA­campground guide only expensive RV campgrounds ($15­20) were listed in Moab, but luckily I'd found a small back street, where a small hiker/biker friendly campsite for only $7 was located. Unfortunately those campsites were very rare in this part of the States.

Monday July 17, Moab (52mi/83 km)

A visit to Arches National Park. Fantastic arched formed rock formations with spectacular views on the snow capped mountains near Moab. Because of the overcast weather it was not as hot as the day before. Moab is also known as mountain bike capital of the world. A lot of motels were displaying welcome signs for bikers, several trails for mountain biking over so called slick rocks have been marked and a lot of souvenir shops were selling fancy cycling T­shirts. However, it was slightly disappointing I didn't meet any other cycle tourists in this town.

ArchesArches

Arches National Park

 

 

Part 3: Colorado