Today’s Mileage: 348 miles
Total Trip Mileage so far: 6136 miles
I am listening to: Aretha Franklin, Bob Dillon, Prince, Tina Turner, Adele, Otis Redding
I have heard a lot about Moab, UT as an adventure destination, so since I am in the neighborhood, I decide to take a ride down there to see what it is all about before continuing on East toward Denver. I leave Green River pretty early so that I can add this side trip since it is quite a ways to Denver. I decide (again…a pattern, perhaps?) that I will just take I-70 all the way to just outside Denver and then take back roads up to Chantel’s in Erie to avoid the big city traffic.
As I ride into Moab on Route 191 I see that the Colorado River and Arches National Park are both near the town, so it has a couple of built-in destinations. A ride from end of town to the other reveals a multitude of adventure based businesses catering to all manner of tastes. You can rent an ATV, UTV, motorcycle, bicycles, and just about any other fun vehicle you can think of. Hiking, camping, rock climbing, kayaking, you name it. Now I see where Moab gets its reputation. As I look at the surrounding terrain I see the appeal also – a rock climbers paradise, an off-roaders paradise, a hiking and camping paradise. They all seem to co-exist quite happily in this small town.
I head over to the post office to send some goodies home and as I am parking a BMW guy walks over to talk (a rarity, I have found) – he is on his way to Lubbuck, TX to see his son. We talk destinations, roads, and bikes for 15 or so extremely pleasant minutes before he heads off in search of food and I head off in search of my squiggly line on a map that will take me back to I-70 in hopefully a fun-filled manner.
Back out at the edge of town I miss the road several times before finally noticing it is only signed from one direction, and a small sign at that. Route 128 follows the Colorado River and skirts around the edges of Arches National Park. It is very scenic and twisty of course (video to come), but there is a lot traffic going and coming from the numerous campgrounds along the banks of the river. After the traffic thins out the road is pure pleasure, although a few miles before reaching I-70 it flattens out to a desert type road – nevertheless, it has provided a very good morning antidote to the interstate droning to come.
However, I-70 continues to be a surprise of scenic proportions – it rolls and swoops in a soothing way while constantly revealing new spectacular vistas straight out of National Geographic. For once I am glad I made the choice to take the interstate. At the Colorado welcome center I see a sign that says Vietnam War Memorial (Western Slope Vietnam War Memorial Park) and pull in for a look. It is very tasteful and moving. I chat with three other vets for a while before we all head our separate ways after all being drawn to the same spot for the same reasons.
I decide to stop at the Silverthorne/Dillon area for the night. I have another bucket list road to ride that starts near there. Colorado 6 up over Loveland Pass. Also it looks like a good place to launch into the back roads up to Erie. I plan to do that first thing in the morning, however, now the task at hand is a place to stay and food.