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Old 04-30-2010, 06:28 AM   #1
rat734 OP
Michael 3 Lives
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: The Land of Green or Red
Oddometer: 1,994
Monument Valley - Valley of the Gods - Muley Point

CONDITIONS AND INFORMATION: The roads within Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway have all been graded and are in good shape. Not many washboard sections.

There is a very active Deputy Sheriff working the Mexican Hat area. He has either a Recruit or ride along with him and every time I passed through he had someone stopped.

The Story of this trip:

The snows of winter recede, wild flowers burst from the ground, time for an adventure. My friend, Ara, was on the other side of Utah. I made up my mind to find him. I did this without any planning, or even checking to see if he was still in the Monument Valley region.

Ara has a Blog and a spot satellite device. I thought I could track him to Valley of the Gods. I was wrong.

I had a great ride through Zion to Kanab to Page. The ride past Page is on to the Navajo Nation and there aren't many places to stop. The miles slipped by, time stood still. The asphalt ribbon allows time for thinking. On this trip I recall all of the best things of my life. Memories of the past crashed inside my helmet. Humble Pie was rockin' the Fillmore once again. My chest swelled to the point it was difficult to breath, tears streamed from my eyes, I smiled and twisted the throttle. I reflect on the fortunate nature of my life. Happiness surrounds me.

This is the same feeling I always experience at the beginning of a new challenge or adventure. I recommend it highly.

I didn't leave the house till after 10am, I made a slow pace crossing the 350 miles of southwestern desert to seek out my friend in the land we both love. I arrive at Valley of the Gods as the sun slips towards the red rock horizon. Warm breezes follow me. The scent of sage fill the air. A raven screams into the sky.

These are roads worthy of seeking, places of discovery and awe. Giant sun dials of time tower above me. That is "Woman in the bathtub" ahead, I think.

There are many free camping places along this 17 mile gravel road, however none of them contained Ara.

I had stopped in Mexican Hat and bought some water and dinner snacks. As I gave up my search of Ara, for this day, I looked back at my pack and discovered that my water was missing. I hadn't properly secured it and now was to pay the price. I had a decision to make. I could turn up Moki Dugway and camp at one of my favorite places in the World, Muley Point (and hope on finding another human being with extra water) or turn back towards Mexican Hat and get a shitty motel room. I chanced camping without water.

Time to set camp. Not another person for miles, or water for that matter. I skipped a dinner of salty snacks and stale donuts to conserve my 2 drinks of water.

A night so quiet my mind invented insects sounds to fill the nothingness.

Sunrise at Muley Point and things were about to get interesting, but first this reminds me of a conversation I would later have with Ara. The issue of money came up and it's value. I told Ara that money is a terrible way to gauge the quality of one's life. I proposed a better method, sunrises and sunsets. A life measured this way gauges true quality. My friend Ara is a tycoon of sunsets.

Before we leave this photograph note the cliff edge (white rock over black pack - about 6 feet away). I wasn't able to stake my tent because it sat on a thin layer of gravel over solid rock. I was very careful during my one nighttime pee break.

Now the interesting part. As I strike camp, my throat so parched that I can't spit, my tent blows over the cliffside. I felt just the brush of air and my tent took one full roll and over the side it went. I raced towards it for a step and decided not to run towards a cliff edge, in motorcycle boots on gravel.

I peeked over the side and discovered my tent had caught on a ledge about 30 feet below. After that the cliff dropped straight down 1,000 feet. I evaluated my water situation and weighted that against my love for this Kelty tent. I allowed myself an hour to try to find a way down to the tent ledge or some other solution. After half an hour I realized that finding a way down that didn't involve life threatening risk wasn't possible. I go McGyver and pull out my cheap survival kit. Inside I find fishing line and 2 hooks. I stand on the cliff edge and tie a rock to my hooks and chuck the mess over the side just hoping to hit the tent. I did hit it on the first try but it didn't bite, second attempt resulted in a knot and on the third the string broke. I need water and don't want to die for a tent. I mounted for Bluff, breakfast, and a continuing search for a friend.

Time for a few parting shots looking from Muley Point into the Navajo Nation and Monument Valley. The lands of John Wayne and John Ford, two men that knew the beauty of this place.

I will always know this place as Lost Tent Rock.

I made it to Bluff and had an average breakfast and great water at the Twin Rocks. In the mean time I had located Ara and arrangements were made to meet later for dinner.

I had the day to myself Aaahhhhh..........

No plans, a full tank of gas and a fine German machine. I rode Valley of the Gods (again) as a bypass to Goosenecks.

My belly was full of breakfast and about a gallon of water. I laid on top of the picnic table, under a sun shade and napped. Every now and then I would rise up and growl, just to scare the tourists. I was left alone.

The San Juan started life as a meandering river, like the Mississippi, until the Colorado Uplift caused this. Another time monument.

I rode on to the Monument Valley, which is a Tribal Park. They changed the visitor center. The old one was better.

I spent freely upon native lands. For $5.00 you get this porch view and the right to drive the loop road.

I visited with the couple on the right. They were from Australia. It was one of those quick but meaniful conversations. I reminded them that it was a Tuesday morning, most people were working, and many could only dream of being here. A few minutes later we parted with meaty handshakes hiding real emotion.

The sun was just heating the dust into small tornadoes as I struck out. The light too harsh and direct for photography. I lazed the day away.

A happy indian dog. They were everywhere I would go.

Before I left the visitor's center I picked up another large bottle of water. I stuck it between my bedroll and pack, where I've put water bottles for 60,000 miles. You probably guess by now that I found myself without water AGAIN. I wear ATGATT and it was about 90 degrees. I'm as far from the visitor's center as possible too.

These guys sold pony rides but not water.

For the second time in my life I drink from a horse trough.

I made it to the visitors center and another great cold bottle of water. I have come to appreciate water on this trip. At about 5pm I set out towards a meeting in Bluff with Ara.

This is Ara's motorcycle

We had a great conversation and dinner at this place. I slept under the stars that night at Ara's camp.

Ara and I parted ways yet again, each setting out for adventure. I would retrace my route through Monument Valley, Kayenta, Kaibeto, Shonto and Page.

This is where Forrest Gump turned around, after all that runnin...

As I neared Kayenta the Weather Service indicated severe winds of 50 MPH with gusts over 100 MPH in my path. An easy 350 mile ride just got interesting. I have never ridden in such winds.

I sought shelter for some time in the canyon of Shonto.

I sat in the cottonwoods and watched the lives of others unfold. The slow and easy rythym that is native life.

Checkerboard Mesa looms overhead as I near home. The hardest part of the ride was between Page and Kanab with sustained headwinds of over 50 MPH. I was getting tired.

One last break and then home. Mosquito Cove provided a respite from the howling wind.

Three days, 876 miles and one tent later I ride the last leg home.

Again I am stronger for what has passed.

rat734 screwed with this post 12-24-2010 at 07:31 AM
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:36 AM   #2
Scared of the dark..
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Amazing shots, great report!
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:08 AM   #3
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Location: Transplanted in North Padre Island, Tejas
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Great pictures!!!! I just went through there last Friday...

90 degree temps??? When I was there it was a low of 38 and a high of 50.

Big change a week can make. Nicely done.
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:15 AM   #4
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Really nice stuff!!

Sorry about your tent.
Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die. ~Lewis Carroll~
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Old 04-30-2010, 07:20 AM   #5
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Joined: May 2008
Location: Cooler than yours,NW Wyoming
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To bad about the tent & water losses, Monument Valley truly is special. nice pics. Thanks, Joe
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:09 AM   #6
Sherpa-ing around
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Enjoyed the RR.................
I'd rather die living than live dying.

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Old 04-30-2010, 08:22 AM   #7
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Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
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Originally Posted by rat734
I could turn up Moki Dugway and camp at one of my favorite places in the World, Muley Point (and hope on finding another human being with extra water) or turn back towards Mexican Hat and get a shitty motel room. I chanced camping without water.
Muley Point is also one of my favorite places I've ever been to. I go there several times a year to camp, get away from it all, have a good cigar and single malt and take advantage of the singular perspective that place gives you of the world far below. Most times, I am the only one out there on that fantastic mesa. When the moon is full, it is almost too bright to sleep. If there is no moon, the light from the Milky Way will cast a shadow on the red sand and you can see the glow of the lights in Kayenta, over 80 miles away. The jets flying over at 36k feet are the only reminder of where, and when in time, you are while there.

BTW, when out in the desert, I always throw a couple 10lb rocks in the corners inside of my tent "just in case" a zephyr blows through. Tent stakes just don't hold in the sand on Muley Point.

You put your tent within about 20 feet of where I always put mine on the other side of the same tree:

Here is another look at your "lost tent" rock in one of your pictures:

Great RR! I'll be back up at Muley Point in less than 2 weeks and will see if I can find and retrieve your tent...
Pain in the Butte Ranch
Durango, Colorado

- Calculated risk or forbidden fruit?

FatChance screwed with this post 04-30-2010 at 01:03 PM
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Dang it man! I was there in a rental cage a year and half ago and was wishing I was on the bike. Of course I have a cruiser and not a DS, so would need to change that too. I am going to have to get back out west on a suitable bike.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:15 AM   #9
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One of my favorite places on this awesome planet is the area you just reported on. I will be back there in about a month. Cannot wait and I have been there at least 10 times. Never enough.
Great Images.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:46 AM   #10
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Looks like a great little trip other than the tent piece! I was just going through my pictures last night from a trip to that area that I took last May/June... great memories! Thanks. Since I'll probably head to Antelope Canyon this year, maybe we'll make another side trip...
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:01 PM   #11
Joined: Sep 2004
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Beautiful photos! It might be time to invest in a Camelbak, at least you'll know where your water is.

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Old 04-30-2010, 06:27 PM   #12
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Beautiful shots. I rode through the same places last June. Rode through Valley of the Gods, my goodness, that place is spectacular. Also liked the river along Mexican Hat. Fun place.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:08 PM   #13
rat734 OP
Michael 3 Lives
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Originally Posted by FatChance
BTW, when out in the desert, I always throw a couple 10lb rocks in the corners inside of my tent "just in case" a zephyr blows through.
Sage advice FatChance. I have learned from my mistake.

To encourage others to visit this awesome point I'll gladly donate the Kelty. Everybody head for Muley for TENT FISHING DAYS, the newest adventure sport. The fly is still attached and I'll send the winner the stuff I still have....

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Old 04-30-2010, 09:18 PM   #14
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Great story. Wonderful photos of an area we know and love. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:40 AM   #15
out riding
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Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
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thank you, this was excellent.

along with the other blessings you referred to and enjoy you are so very lucky to be within easy reach of such magnificent country (and so many other prime DS locations too). I've been to the region several times but riding there has not been possible so far, I have a plan, though, and should accomplish this long-held dream next year.

Thanks for providing more fuel to the fire

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