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Old 10-22-2008, 10:24 PM   #14
dave6253 OP
The Tourist
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Joined: May 2006
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Oddometer: 3,212
Day 1, Ghost Ships

Phoenix to Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park, Utah

336 Miles

I race home from work and finish loading the bike. I head out into the heat. I decided to leave my mesh riding gear at home and immediately regret it. My temp gauge is reading 103 degrees as I head north out of Phoenix(HELL) on the superslab.

Day 1 will be boring! I-17 does have some nice curves, but I've ridden it too many times.

It cools down into the 70s at 7000 feet in Flagstaff.

Heading north from Flag the trees thin out on the long downhill into the deserts of the Navajo Reservation.

Humphrey's Peak, The highest elevation in Arizona is behind me.

The sun sets. I put away the camera for the remainder of tonights ride.

My goal for the day was to make it to the Goosenecks to camp. I was a little bummed when I realized I would be riding through Monument Valley in the dark. It's been awhile since I was last there on a bike. I would not be able to take new photos. I was actually dreading tonights ride.

I pulled to the shoulder of the highway on the Reservation to add layers. The moon was not up yet and it was DARK!!! I actually had to use a flashlight just to see anything I was doing. The sky was crystal clear with billions of stars visible (I counted). The cloudy Milky Way made me hungry for chocolate and caramel... A freight train passed nearby with the horns blowing and the white light piercing the desert ahead. I started back up and ran alongside the train for awhile.

The Moon came up as I neared Kayenta. When I headed North into Monument Valley I got an unexpected surprise. The familiar rock formations were perfectly silhouetted against the Moon and stars of the perfect night sky. My boring ride suddenly was exciting. I looked around in amazement as I watched the closest formations slowly slip past like silent ghost ships in the night. The moonlight glistened off the rock faces. I rarely saw another vehicle. I had the perfect night ride of a lifetime!

If you've already experienced Monument Valley by day, I highly recommend riding through on a perfect moonlit night. Although I have no photos to remember it by, It was definitely a highlight of this trip.

I make it to Goosenecks and slept near the edge of the rim. It was a clear night, so I didn't bother with setting up the tent. I could hear the river 1000 feet below.

Tomorrow we hit the dirt roads, Hopefully not literally.

I promise to shoot more photos tomorrow.
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