Day Three - Hotchkiss CO to Moab UT - 334 miles

After breakfast at the Home Town Café we started our trek down to CO141 having to go through Delta.  Not that great of a ride, and the anticipation of riding CO141 made it seem that much longer.  However, once we turn onto CO141 in Whitewater and cross the Gunnison River we are immediately running through the canyon at ever increasing speeds.  The road runs along the East Creek and is just a flat out great ride.  The ride starts out at around 4600 ft and climbs to slightly over 7000 ft in a fairly short time, but without truly realizing it.  This section is also referred to as nine-mile hill and used to take supplies into and out of the Gateway area in the early 20th century.  As we were blasting through the canyon I was looking for divide road that winds up a mesa overlooking CO141 and actually runs all the way to Ridgeway.  It's a gravel road but was well maintained with no washboards which make these types of roads less than fun for a street bike.  The view from the top did not disappoint.  We stayed on top of the mesa for a little longer than normal because of the view.  Continuing on we were probably on the best stretch of road on CO141.  We were going along at a pretty good clip and a car held us up for a minute or so in a rare area where there wasn't a good spot to pass, and in that time an older Ducati caught up to us.  Once around the car he flew past us and I was quickly on his tail.  Not meaning to challenge him, I just wanted to run with him a little bit and see what he had.  We were going along pretty well hitting the sweepers at 80+.  I noticed I could really catch him going into the corners but he had more horses coming out, and could pull away.  I really had to brake at times going into the corners so as not to ride up on him too much.  It really highlighted what I already knew about the RT in that it doesn't have all the HP in the world but it handles so well in the corners that one can just glide through without touching the brakes.  Boy was that fun!  The Duck stopped abruptly allowing us to pass, and as we later found out it was for his buddies to catch up.  We stopped in Gateway to fill up at a new resort that wasn't there in 2001 when we first came through the area.  There are many interpretative markers and historical items to see along the road like Driggs Mansion and the Coke Ovens just to name two, but the road is so nice to ride, these little tidbits of history could not gain our attention as we were having too much fun riding.  We ran down to Uravan in the same manner as we had prior to Gateway, fast.  At Uravan we decided to hop on some more gravel as we took a shortcut over to Bedrock and CO90.  The gravel condition was pretty good, and we were able to run about 20mph.  The road was named Y11 and it runs on the other side of the Dolores River from CO141 and doubles back several miles before breaking to the south at the confluence of the Dolores and San Miguel rivers.  We made a quick stop along the Dolores for some beef jerky, but we were quickly back on and headed to CO90 and Bedrock.  We pulled into the old country store at Bedrock and went to look around a little as everyone seems to mention it, but there wasn't much to see.  We continued up the Paradox Valley before climbing up about 1,000ft to get out of the valley, and before we knew it we were in Utah.  It was 3:30 by the time we hit La Sal Junction, and we had planned on doing a needles loop to the south, but we just didn't have the time, so headed north on US191 towards Moab.  We spotted our hotel but we continued through town as we were going to hit the Canyonlands.  In 1995 we only went to Dead Horse Point, but this time we wanted to go to the far end for the scenic overlook at the end of the road.  Before we went into Canyonlands we decided to follow Potash Road which meanders 17 miles alongside the Colorado River.  There are many hikers, bikers, and outdoor types so we really had to watch our speed, but it was still enjoyable.  The area is known for its many petroglyphs and other individual carvings from Indians.  There are also some Dinosaur tracks in the stone, but we didn't stop to look at them.  At the end of the pavement there are several naturally formed arches, all with catchy names.  We stopped at Jug Handle arch for some pictures before heading back out.  We continued north on US191 to the entrance of Canyonlands and quickly realized we were in for some rain.  We knew that our schedule would not allow a visit to this area tomorrow so we just decided to ride through the rain.  We stopped to pay an entrance fee and the worker there gave us an odd look as if to say you're nuts for riding in the rain but she didn't.  We rode through the park passing a few cars along the way, but not really enjoying much as the clouds were thick and we couldn't see much.  When we got to the overlook we noticed that there had been a significant upgrade to the park since we were last there in 1995.  There was a nice new welcome center and lots of walking paths.  It was still coming down pretty good so we decided to go back down the road and pull under cover.  In less than 40 minutes the rain stopped for the most part and we went back to the overlook and enjoyed the slightly cloudy view.  Back onto Grand View Point Rd we turned left and headed for the end of the road and what promised to be a great view.  Not only was the scenery great but the road was too.  It was only a little more than 15 miles but I would look at the scenery for a few minutes then concentrate on the twisties for a few minutes and repeat.  Before we knew it we were at the end of the road and overlooking some pretty spectacular scenery.  It was a little crowded there so we didn't stay long but we took several pictures and decided to head back to one of the many overlooks we passed along the way.  We found what will likely remain one of my favorites stops of all time.  No one around, breathtaking scenery, and sunny which was nice after riding through the rain (N38º20.211 W109º51.407).  After an extended stop we got back on the bikes and headed back to Moab.  We made one last stop; a quick one to look at the Monitor and Merrimac Buttes.  Our motel was nice, but nothing special.  We ate at Eddie McStiff's just like in 1995.


Day Three Saturday June 20th