August 19th: Zion National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park – 135km
It was pouring down when I woke up. I had to leave my campsite by 11am and decided to get out of my tent by 9am. It was very hot and sticky as I packed up my gear. For some reason, I assumed that being in the desert, this rain had to stop anytime soon. I was happy to hit the road in that storm as I thought I would cool down. Unfortunately, I did cool down: too much. It was 25C in the valley as I took off and temperature reached 11C about 40km later. I could not believe it, I was freezing under pouring rain in the desert!? I had to stop and I sat down in a small restaurant. I estimated that I would need about an hour de get warm so I brought my computer with me. Owners were generous enough to let me sit and use their WiFi if I would get something for lunch later. As it turned out, heating was not working in the restaurant so I was not getting any warmer. I took out some dry clothes from my cases and stayed in that restaurant for about 4h. In the meantime, I had a delicious half chicken and took some time to work on my last post. Rain stopped around 4pm and I left towards Bryce Canyon. There, I dried my wet gear from the morning and took a warm shower. I almost completed my last post, but the connection went down about 5 minutes before I was done. I went to sleep a little upset…
August 20th: Bryce Canyon National Park to Bullfrog – 385km
After completing and posting my last post, I headed towards Bryce Canyon. I went to most viewpoints and some of them were definitely something else. As I was heading towards the exit, I tried to go to one of the closest viewpoints from the main gate. There were so many people, I couldn’t find a parking spot. I decided I had seen enough and passed the gate before grabbing lunch in the village. My next destination was the Burr Trail as suggested by Leslie that I would visit a bit later. I stopped at the start of it to buy something cold and met with an awesome couple from Italy. Alberto had been on various adventure motorcycle trips and owned a 990 as well. We had a good time discussing motorcycles, traveling and what he was doing for work. He kindly paid for my smoothie! I then headed to the start of Burr Trail just out of Boulder. It was amazing as I was riding through canyons and scenic views. It was a real highlight for Utah. I arrived at the end and could see Powell Lake, the reservoir of Glen Canyon Dam. Color contrasts were spectacular. I stopped in a gas station to have a sandwich for dinner. Outside were dozens of house boats and I was told that they are allowed on the lake for a maximum of two weeks, after which they have to take them out: much different from the lakes I am used to. I slept in a campground that was 5km off the main road. It was located behind a mountain and next to a creek. The result was a bunch of trees in the middle of the desert. I felt weird going to sleep as I was the only one present in the campground.
August 21st: Bullfrog to Moab – 435km
I woke up to a sound that I knew all too well. A deep repetitive sound that I heard many times over when I was on Anticosti Island. As I carefully came out of my tent, I watched two young deers jumping back and forth, playing with each other. They were about 40m from me and for some reason, I was mesmerized. Their mom was there as well, watching. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful taking a video as they heard me when I changed lenses. I packed up my stuff and hit the road as the sun was rising. I wanted to get to Moab that day. My first stop was a park with three natural bridges. They were nice, but hard to picture well. Then I headed to the south part of Canyonlands called Needles. Rock formations looked a little like Bryce Canyon, so I ended up spending just a little time there. Too bad it was a 2h detour… I arrived in Moab somewhat excited to see what it was all about. I have been reading about Moab since I am a kid as it is probably the American capital for mountain biking. As it turned out, there were bicycles everywhere. They also had jeep tours, ATV tours as well as side-by-side rentals. I camped downtown just in front of the local brewery. I went out for a run, showered and walking to the brewery for dinner, I met Mike. He was from England and traveling on the trans-America trail on his 990. We talked while having dinner and a few beers before I went back to my tent. I stopped by my neighbors` campsite as they offered me to sit with them. They were a great family from Germany. I really enjoyed talking with them as they were really open to the world and had travelled quite a bit. A few hours later, I had to excuse myself to go to sleep.
August 22nd: Moab – 220km
I had a few great things on my schedule that day. I started with the Arches National Park. There, they have over 2400 rock arches. I hiked to the Landscape Arch, Double O Arch and Delicate Arch viewpoint. I was getting overwhelmed with the amount of people and left towards the northern part of Canyonlands. Leslie suggested that I see Dead Horse Point and The Island in the Sky, so I did. Both were just unbelievable. I could see so far that I had to keep looking for a few minutes to really get a grasp of the view. I then headed back to the same campground. En route, I stopped to buy a pack of hot dogs, a few beers and fire wood. I felt like cooking on the nice campfire pit on my campsite. Once started, I invited my neighbors from Switzerland to eat with me. They were traveling the west coast in a camper van and were both very cool. Sun was coming down and I had to excuse myself to take a shower. My plan was to go out and meet some local people. It ended up being a late night as I met many nice people and had a blast.
August 23rd: Moab, UT to Palisade, CO – 185km
For some unknown reasons, I had a hard time getting out of my sleeping bag in the morning. I did when it stopped raining and packed up my stuff before it rained again. I headed towards Grand Junction taking the 128 that follows the Colorado River within the canyon. If it was not for the pouring rain, mud slides and thick fog, views would have been beautiful. I stopped in town to get lunch before riding to my hosts’ place. Leslie, Brann and I met at work a year ago. They were visiting the factory as they were building a new house and after chatting for a bit, they kindly invited me to visit. I contacted them about 3 weeks ago to ask if their offer was still valid and the generously confirmed. I arrived there around 1pm and Leslie took me for a tour of their project. I later met with Brann as he was coming back from their peach orchard. They had a bedroom and office ready for me and I could not expect anything better. They happened to have a friends dinner that night and they offered me to join them. I had a lot of fun meeting everyone and chatting about various subjects.
August 24th to 31st : Palisade
I have already been with Leslie and Brann for more than a week now. I am mainly working on my school applications for next fall. I am lucky to be staying with them aas they are very welcoming and great at helping me with my essays and other material. On Friday, I had my valves adjusted on the bike in the local KTM shop. I must say that it feels good to sleep in a bed, eat regular meals and to chat with the same great people for a while.