11-25-2011, 07:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Toronto, ON
Four Corners and Page, AZ
Hi everyone!! I'm still on my ride to Argentina. Sorry I haven't updated this ride report in a long while. A lot has happened since my last post! I'm in Central America presently. But let's pick up the story again from when I left Colorado…
After spending time in Mesa Verde, it was time to make my way to the west coast. My next stop will be Page, AZ (by Lake Powell), about four hours from Cortez on US Route 491 / 160. I'll be passing through the Four Corners region where the borders of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico converge to a point.
US 491 is the new name for US 666 aka "The Devil's Highway". Portions of this highway were among the most dangerous roads in the US. In 2003, the highway was renumbered and safety improvements made in a bid to improve tourism along the route.
I am intrigued by the geology of this region with the numerous buttes and canyons. The lands here are part of the Colorado Plateau, which includes Monument Valley and Grand Canyon.
Chimney Rock, Ute Reservation near Towaoc
I rode past Towaoc, admiring the landscape, when suddenly there was a sign welcoming me to New Mexico. What?? I glanced down at the GPS and it was constantly recalculating: I was heading south instead of west.
Oops, I must have missed a turn! 491 splits into 160 right at Chimney Rock and I wasn't paying attention. I pulled a quick u-ey and headed back to Colorado.
Welcome (back) to Colorado (dumbass)!
I guess it was an "opportunity" to see Chimney Rock from a different angle.
I finally joined Hwy 160 west to the Four Corners Monument. We're in Navajo territory now. As I approached the monument, the words "tourist trap" immediately came to mind. I debated whether or not to stop.
The kid at the entrance asked if I was a member of a Native American tribe (free entrance). Aren't we all brothers? Nope! Haha. I happily paid the $3 fee and took a few pictures.
On all fours (states)
Page, AZ was still about 3 hours away. I wanted to get there before nightfall since I wasn't sure where I was going to spend the night. Travel sites report that every hotel/motel near Page was booked solid that day.
Surely there must be something? I got to Page and soon I was directed to the Best Western Plus where apparently a room is available. For $250/night! Ha! No thanks, I'll keep looking!
Amazingly, it seemed like every hotel in town was indeed full. Even the local campground at Wahweap was full. Soon I passed another campground with a "No Vacancy" sign. I stopped anyway.
The attendant confirmed that they are full but they have a rough "overflow" area where I can pitch a tent. I checked out the area and it was perfect!! Rough for an RV maybe but great for a tent. They wanted $15, which includes the use of all facilities (w/ hot showers and wi-fi). Done deal!!
Scouting the "overflow" area. From my shadow's angle, one can tell it was 8:35pm on August 8, 2011
I set up my tent and soon a couple riders on nice big Harleys also came by. They were from Michigan on a three-week tour of the US. Sweet!
The next morning, as we said our goodbyes the Harley riders mentioned they were going to check out nearby Horseshoe Bend. Apparently it's one of the most photographed parts of the Colorado River.
I left late in the morning and wasn't sure where this Horseshoe Bend was. I rode down Hwy 89 and saw an area with lots of parked cars. I pulled in and saw the two Harleys; yup, I came to the right place.
And a short hike later, the overlook with its 1,000 ft drop. It gets pretty "exciting" to get close to cliff's edge!
The rock formation here looks very strong, but the structure underneath is prone to erosion and can crumble at any time. Last summer a young tourist from Greece fell 600ft to his death when the ledge he was standing on suddenly gave way. According to the locals, Horseshoe Bend is also the "suicide capital" of Arizona. Yikes!