American Skid Marks
Setting out on a great American motorcycle roadtrip.

Salt Lake City to Colorado

I had a great breakfast with a friend I used to work with. We talked about my trip, technology, work and the merits of various cities around the country. A wonderful start to the day.

I did not, however, dress for the weather this morning. The previous day had gotten so warm that I had to strip off most of my cold weather gear. As I geared up this morning I decided that it was only going to get warmer while I rode. I was very wrong, and after an hour of wishfully thinking, “It’ll get warmer in the next 20 minutes, I’m sure of it.” I pulled over and bundled back up in my winter gear.

Cold Mountains

Cold Mountans Outside SLC

Riding east the landscape gives you just a taste of the rocky canyon-land further to Utah’s south. The rock turns red for a stretch. Wet red rock smells like nothing else. In the cold clean air, the wet earth allong this road brought back memories of a college road-trip through the southwest that I had taken with a beautiful Russian girl. In the middle of a strong summer rain I rolled the window down and breathed in the smell of wet red earth near Monument Valley. When the rain abated I remember being compelled to pull over and wander a ways into the desert to just “be with the land”. I know, it sounds silly. But as I neared Colorodo I had the same urge.

Red rock formations

Just a Taste of Red Rock

Rock formations

Red Rock Road

I crossed into Colorodo near Dinosaur National Monument. The monument is filled with canyons and plateaus and covered in sage and scrubby little pines.  I wish I had more time to explore, to hike down to the base of some of these canyons. They are beautiful from the roadside vantage points, but even from there you can see that in order to really appreciate the place you have to get down into the valley.

Dinosaur National Monument

Near the monument is the town of Vernal. Vernal would like the world to know that they are known for two things; cute pink dinosaurs and weapons of mass destruction.

Pink Dinosaur

Vernal Welcomes You ...

Helicopter Statue

... to a Massive Ass Kicking

Further on, the land is known for supporting a thriving dear and elk population, and the hunters who come here to kill them. As I rode into the dusk a guy flagged me down to warn me about the dangers of motorcycling at night there. He was a fellow rider himself and explained that he’d hate to see me hit a dear or an elk after dark. I had to keep going, but rode with a heightened awareness, a constant vigilance, scanning the road diligently left to right. Sure enough, the roadside was littered with both dear and elk, grazing in the cool evening. Being this diligent is exhausting work, especially on these roads.


The Local Troublemakers

These roads are impossibly straight; they stretch on and on in a line with only a up and down rocking deviation. I thought I’d have to wait until Kansas to ride such straight mezmerizing roads but there are plenty out west as well.

First Curve in Miles

First Curve in Miles!

I set up camp outside of a place called Hayden on the shores of the Yampa River. Tomorrow, I’m planning to ride to Boulder, CO via Rocky Mountain National Park.


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