I left Durango around 9 am and headed west on Rt 160. After going through some mountains, the landscape turned into desert. I followed Rt 160 to Kayenta, AZ and then turned north onto Rt 163 taking me through Monument Valley. Rt 163 is a long straight road across flat desert with 1,000 foot high red cliffs all around making for some spectactular scenery.
When I got to Mexican Hat, UT, I went up Rt 261. There were some signs warning of “unimproved roads” but I decided to continue on despite the warnings. The road turned into a steep gravel road with ridiculously sharp hairpin turns that bring you up the side of a large mesa. Of course there are no guardrails so if you go off the road, you fall 1,000 feet straight down. I think this is the scariest road I’ve ever traversed but thankfully, it was only a couple of miles to the top.
I continued up Rt 261 to the Natural Bridges National Monument. The park contains some amazing natural bridges carved out of the stone. There was also an ancient Anastazi dwelling that could be seen from one of the overlooks.
Back out on the road, I happened to see a cow grazing alongside the road. I had seen many signs warning of cows in the road but this was the first time I actually saw one. I slowed down and considered taking a picture but then I noticed that this was a bull so rather than taking a chance of getting attacked by a cow in the middle of the desert, I would just keep moving and avoid an incident.
I spent the remainder of the day riding up Rt 191 ending up in a town called Moab UT. It was a actually a nice day to ride in the desert. While it was hot, it wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as some of the time I spent in the desert last year.
- States: CO, AZ, UT
- Miles Travelled Today: 383
- Total Miles: 3,064