Mexican Hat, Utah – Seligman AZ – 285 miles (2185 trip mileage to date)
Okay. So you know how sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in the moment that you can’t imagine breaking the spell? That was the case today as we rode through Monument Valley and why we never stopped for pictures (and yesterday why we had no pictures of Glen Canyon). The experience is so amazing and awe inspiring that the thought of pulling over never crosses the mind. Up until we checked into our motel in Seligman, I took just one picture all day, and that was right before we left the San Juan Creek Inn. Blame it on Mother Nature’s beauty and Mother Nature’s drama.
We’ll have to use our imaginations to relive the day (along with a couple of “cheater” photos).
First, the mood. It was a minor key kind of day thanks to the stormy skies, minor like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Minor keys never make me sad. They make my heart swell in a way that major keys simply don’t. Boy that sounds pretentious. But really. This particular Sonata (my favorite) looped through my head the entire day as we rode and it fit the scene perfectly. Here… listen for yourself and see what I mean.
The bikes needed no warm up time this morning thanks to the hot sun (and our late start). We left the sheer red cliffs behind and entered into monument valley.
The first sign of what’s to come stands in silhouette to the moody sky at the end of a long, perfectly straight road with a slight downhill that cuts through the flat scrub. On the horizon, several towering monuments rise from the red dirt. It’s extraordinary, and again, defies description.
After rolling past those first great monuments, the road drops into the valley, and all around are monolithic formations, like sand castles on steroids, cropping up amongst the sage green scrub.
The sky is like a patchwork quilt, with spots of bright sun, contrasted with isolated thunderstorms so strong the torrents of rain literally look like curtains falling to the earth. I counted five scattered across the valley as we made our way down the road, the clouds glowing pink from the salmon red rocks and dirt.
I couldn’t believe our luck! All around us, rain and lightning, yet the road in front of us shone bright. At one point, there was a shower to the right, I would say less than half a mile away. You could see it falling, yet, I was in the sun. Freaky man.
Around this time, I started cursing myself for not cleaning my helmet visor that morning. Here we were, in this phenomenally beautiful place, and I had to look through bugs. Ew. Mother Nature must have heard my gripe. She let just enough rain fall on us to clean my face shield. So very kind of her!
Oh, but that trickster got us good later!! We made it through Monument Valley with just a wee bit of rain, then once on the 89 headed toward Flagstaff, things got a little wild. The wind picked up, blowing the red dirt into dust devils. The sky had turned black with no cheery little spots of sunshine. Brian pulled over at a Trading Post and shouted, “Do you want to stop?” No! I didn’t want to stop! Riding in storms is fun! It did cross my mind to at least put on my rain gear, but only briefly. I waved him on, and we left a parking lot full of baggers and hopped back onto the road and into the storm. Let’s just say… we got soaked. I mean SOAKED.
Then Mother Nature got all cagey again. Once we got through the storm, the sun crept back out and started to get us warm and dry, then BAM! She DUMPED again. Worse than the prior storm, even though the sky didn’t look bad at all! Crazy man.
As we always seem to do, we’re spending our last vacation night in Seligman. And this will be the last vacation post. There will be nothing worth writing about tomorrow. The ride through needles in the SoCal madness is never fun. Seligman always ends a trip with a smile. We got the Elvis room at the Canyon Lodge.
We dropped by the Snow Cap for tacos of course, watched the rain, and chatted with our pal John (the owner) who asked if we could send him pictures of his rooftop concert from last year.
After ditching the gear, we went all wild and loose for a pie run, a whole bunch of hair flying in the wind, no jackets or helmets. (Don’t worry Mom. Just a couple blocks.)
Got to Westside Lilos as the sun dropped in the sky.
And ate some of their delicious Fruits of the Forest Pie.
Well, Maw and Paw. That’s it for now. Another amazing motorcycle adventure under my belt. So where we headed next year? NASHVILLE!!! Yee haw!
And for 2015? Well… there’s an interesting possibility on the horizon. Last year on our way home from Milwaukee, we met this great couple from Missouri right here in Seligman where we’re staying now. We’ve kept in touch with them through Facebook, and they’re planning a very cool month long trip to the Arctic Circle and want an adventurous couple to join them. If we can somehow swing the time off, it would be an AMAZING trip. Certainly something to ponder!
Until next time…
* Note on the Cheater Pics: The red rock pictures were unused ones from yesterday, and the rainy pics were from after we arrived in Seligman.
Check out Brian’s blog too! He always has an interesting perspective.