Prelude to Page onto Moab
Well ladies and gentlemen, it is exciting to share with you this next part of my adventure. It has taken me a very long time to come round to writing it but I hope you enjoy the text and the photos as I share my journey from Page onto Moab.
Since my last post about the Grand Canyon, I spent a few days in Page waiting for deliveries. Now, fully equipped with ideas, all my necessary gear I wanted, I was ready to live out the next 2 months on the road without needing any material purchases.
Cottonwood Canyon Road
If you remember from the previous year, I rode from Bryce Canyon to Page / Lake Powell down the Cottonwood Canyon Road which is a long dirt road connecting Highway 89 with Utah S.R 12 at Cannonville. I had such fond memories of this road, that I was excited to return. Along the way I bumped into a couple who had been struck by the inconvenience of a flat tyre miles from civility and with the camper pod loaded on it, they were struggling to get the spare wheel out. Actually, at the point where I found them, they were simply struggling to find the tools to get to the spare wheel with. I pulled over and helped them out.
A while later, and various other travellers passed, we managed to heave the truck up and change the wheel. I was thanked with a cream soda. The drink was a total surprise! I stood at the side of the dirt road enjoying every drop of that drink.
I casually rode along the rest of the way, stopping occasionally and looked for places to camp. The river I had seen May the year before was now dry as it was late June. I had hoped to spend a night or two here. But with a 30 mile drive in either direction for fresh water, I decided to continue going.
As I got to Cannonville, I could have taken a left to Bryce Canyon. However after seeing a heavy stream of traffic going that way I decided against going. I took a right and went down a different rabbit hole. A few miles further I pulled down a small road, then took a little track off of that and camped the night there.
The following morning, as I rode into Escalante, I thought I’d get some more provisions; as I had eaten dinner and breakfast at camp. While sat in a car park using the wi-fi of some place, a man approached me about my bike. Before I knew it, I was following him back to his home to see his house, meet his wife and take a shower. It works out that Ricki was an ex-Brit and not only that but he was from Caterham, a town 6 miles from where my mother lives. It was uncanny! To be honest, I was quite taken aback by this event in the day, I made very little progress the rest of the day. I rode a little further and stopped just after Boulder and set up camp at +10,000 feet overlooking the Henry Mountains.
The following morning I woke up, packed up, rode into Torrey for breakfast. I then found myself at Hanksville the last place I could buy fuel before Blanding. I decided there in the middle of the desert to clean my chain at the fuel station. I hadn’t cleaned my chain for a very long time at this point. I usually let the Scottoiler just lube the chain, but all the dust and crud was now building up.
The ride from Hanksville through Glen Canyon was incredibly boring. It was both hot, arid and did I mention hot? I stopped occasionally to take photos, but in the midday sun the photographs weren’t that great. Along the way, I found various abandoned vehicles: shot up, sheds: shot up, signposts: shot up you get the idea.
Frankly, a lot of the road was empty and very few other vehicles passed me, I guess the only notable was a blue sports bike slowing down to see if I was ok while I was taking photographs, I waved the rider on and continued.
Later that evening, at a diner eating a very late lunch/early dinner I got talking to a retired couple, who were enthralled about my story of being on the road on a dirt bike. They were doing a coast to coast trip on their Harley Davidson (in a week), they couldn’t conceive the idea of being on the road more than a month, let a lone a year, even less to think it was on a small dirt bike!
We said our goodbyes and I went to find somewhere to camp in the woods halfway between Blanding and Monticello for an easy ride into Moab the next morning.
Moab was where everything turned upside down on my trip. I guess I should start putting the pieces together, the breadcrumb trail started the day before I arrived in Moab. Recall the motorcyclist who slowed down to see if I was ok in Glen Canyon? Well, it worked out that masked power ranger was a girl named Gabby. She was doing her own adventure on a blue Kawasaki Ninja riding to the national parks hiking the tallest peaks and camping everywhere she could.
Gabby had met the retired couple and had heard the whole story about “some” British guy on a dirt bike riding around living in the forests. I had no idea that she was the biker who had slowed down for me in the desert, I had no idea she’d heard tales of my adventures before meeting me. In fact, some biker girl on the road, has its appeal but I didn’t want to think about that!
Things you resist, persist
While at the hostel in Moab, Gabby was picking my brains about the Grand Canyon. She was heading there next and wanted to know where to camp, we sat around a map planning her route.
Seems incredible that in one day lots of things can spin your world. I met Vlad from Mexico when I was in San Cristobal, he asked me if I’d want to help be ballast on a white water raft down the Colorado river. I accepted!
Also in the hostel was Kai, a german climber guy who had been in the hostel a couple of weeks and was keen to go climbing with me.
That evening as the sun was cooling off I wanted to go bouldering but Kai wasn’t around, while looking for him I found Gabby, she also climbed and was keen to join me, so we went off into the sunset to find Big Bend. Sadly, we didn’t find it, we were probably a stone throw away from it but ended up laying on a flat rock talking about our adventures. Strange, I felt attracted to her but I didn’t want anything to happen, she was leaving the next day and there was little point in a silly fling. However, before I knew it I was exchanging numbers with Gabby and making loose plans to meet on the road further along the way. Something was in the air!