Another reason for taking the blasted Interstate (besides being one of only three ways to cross Nevada horizontally) was that it is the only way to access the Bonneville Salt Flats. As you cross from West Wendover, Nevada into Wendover, Utah the salt flats are the first thing you see.
It’s massive, which is the whole point for using it to set speed records. No matter how fast you go, you are not going to run into anything.
Once again, Bonnie meet Bonnie.
I was proud of myself for flying down the speedway, then a friend of mine asked if I tried closing my eyes. With a full load and many thousands of miles to go, probably not a good idea. But damn, had I thought of it I probably would have tried. Who knows? Maybe next time!
Actually I couldn’t play around at the salt flats as much as I would have liked. Storms seem to be the real theme of this trip out west. There was a doozy headed for right for me so I made my way toward Salt Lake City. What do you know, more storms. The one below was kind enough to part like an open curtain allowing me to pass unscathed.
It felt great to pass through a storm without getting wet. Then I approached Salt Lake City and there was another. A huge storm was sitting atop the mountains where I planned on spending the night.
When I arrived at the first town before those mountains to fill up for gas, I made the decision to stay. I got a motel next to a truck stop and called it a night.
In the truck parking lot next door, these guys were making the best of the storm that had now passed.
In the morning I was hoping for a fresh start, meaning a dry day. This was not to be.
I had a couple more storms to conquer before this day was done.
There were a few breaks here and there so I could undo my tank bag from it’s protective covering and break out my camera.
Dig the old deco styling on this old service station.
As more rain started dropping I decided to hide out in Mom’s Cafe. I felt bad coming in there dripping wet as I was. But they were accommodating and let me spread out my gear.
The plan for this night would be to camp out at Capital Reef. I have been there before, but it’s got a nice campground and was on my way as I was headed south. Besides, depending on the weather and time of day it may look very different than it had before. I got excited as the sun had popped out as I approached.
On the left, blue. In the middle, the sign welcoming you to Capital Reef. On the right, well that’s where the campsite is of course. And these storms were moving from right (south) to left (north) all day.
Unbelievably, that storm ended up moving away from the campsite and the golden hour was upon the reef.
After being beat down by storms all day, the sun gave me great relief and an additional treat to the already magnificent view.
I came here last year with my girlfriend Jillian. We had a really nice time. Missing you babe!
I was headed to the bathroom at the campsite, when I stopped in my tracks. There was a bat flying in a sort of figure eight movement back and forth between the doors of the men’s and women’s room munching on bugs under the lights. It was wildly fast and repetitive. After taking a few photos I timed my charge to the bathroom between the bat’s turnaround on the ladies side and ran for the door.
In the morning the river was flowing like run off from Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
In the center of this photo you can see a pronghorn from the vantage point I prefer. Cute, small and far away, unlike those big suckers in Nevada.
Last year Jillian and I were attacked by a swarm of hungry mosquitoes while taking photos by this old cement truck.
I continued past Hanksville where the Hollow Mountain gas station can be found and headed toward Glens Canyon. There is another road that runs perpendicular from here. It will take you to Goblins State Park. That is a freaky place!
On to Glens Canyon.
This road crosses a bridge which spans the Colorado River as it opens up to create Lake Powell. However, Lake Powell should be visible behind me. All the green that you see used to be well underwater.
To the left of my rear bag (and way below) you may notice a whitish patch. That is the boat ramp that should allow access to the lake. But there is no lake. I camped out down there once and bathed in the lake come morning. It’s hard to believe that it’s just not there. Understand, Lake Powell still exists. Down by Page, AZ where the dam is, the lake is there. It’s a huge lake. But at this end it’s dried up.
Here is the bridge that crosses the Colorado.
A lot of my trip at this point is spontaneous. In my planning I was going to seek out more of the Hovenweep ruins. They are spread out over various sites on the Utah, Colorado border. However I did want to get further south and go places I had not been before. So I took a short cut.
This shortcut brings you to a 3 mile dirt switchback taking you down into Monument Valley. The road to the right is the continuation of the road I am on! And the smaller one that branches out to the left is a dirt road which travels through the Valley of the Gods. Jillian and I were there too last year, but we didn’t take this route to get there.
From the top…
…to the bottom. And back to pavement.
These rock formations outside of Mexican Hat, Utah are some of my favorites. Not just the upside down sombrero that the town is named after, but the entire erratic patterns and lines created by the mountains in the background.
As phenomenal as this place was I wasn’t sticking around.
I snapped a few pictures on the go and then headed on down into Arizona.