At last,... the really good riding begins. But not without having to jump on southbound I-15 once more to escape the Salt Lake City, UT metropolis. The Super 8 was right off the freeway, so instead of looking for breakfast, I had an energy bar and then figured I would get down the road and stop later.
My goal for the day was to get to Moab, Utah. Moab is a tourist trap of a town just below Arches National Park in the eastern part of the state. I've ridden to Zion, Capital Reef, and Bryce NPs in the past, but Arches seemed to be a logical destination on the way to Colorado.
It's not easy finding a place to bed down at the last minute during the vacation high season, but I luckily snagged another Super 8 in Moab before hitting the road.
I left I-15 at Exit 257B in Spanish Fork, UT, taking Hwy-6 east up the edge of the Uinta National Forest before peeling south on Hwy-89 and up to the tiny town of Fairview, UT. There, I had lunch at the Home Plate Cafe, the only place open on a Sunday. I had a grilled cheese sandwich with fries and an iced tea.
After lunch, I went back a few blocks north and then turned east on Hwy-31 which is one of my all-time favorite roads due to it's elevation changes, view points, and twisties. This is a scenic mountain & canyon highway that runs from Fairview on the west end through the Manti-La Sal NF to Huntington on the east end. My brother Cam and I discovered it on May 27, 2011 and I wanted to do it again. Back in 2011 we were on our way from Bryce NP back to Spanish Fork via the Grand Staircase-Escalante NF on Hwy-12, Hwy-10, & Hwy-31 to see the WSBK races at Miller Park. (You can view those pictures back on my Ride Reports web page).
The following pictures are of the route for today and a few from Hwy-31.
Once down on the east side of Hwy-31 you are now in a much drier high dessert. Huntington, UT isn't much of anything. At the T-intersection with Hwy-10 its saving grace is a much needed gas station with restrooms, a deli, the usual snacks and energy bars, and the obligitory set of coolers full of dozens of brands of water and pop. I gassed up the bike, stocked up, and put my hydration vest on under my jacket before heading northeast on Hwy-10.
The northern terminus of Hwy-10 is a town named Price, UT, about 20 miles from Huntington. Since I'd just gassed up I didn't need to ride through another small town so I detoured east on Ridge Road which intersected with US-191 a short ways past the town of Wellington and travelled east on US-191 another 70 miles where it joins I-70 eastbound. This last leg, from Price on US-191 was toasty (105-degrees), and mostly flat. There was quite a bit of truck and car traffic on US-191. Basically, it was a two lane highway with only a few passing lanes. I was not on my best behavior, having just had an exhilarating ride up in the cooler mountains and was now tired and hot. Let's just say I passed a few vehicles until I reached I-70 where it became a true divided freeway. I-70 lasted for 13 miles before turning south again as US-191 to Moab. There was a great rest stop at this intersection. Elevated above I-70, I resoaked my vest and took some pictures of the vista all around.
Moab was just 30 miles away, south again on US-191. As the scenery changed to show the upcoming landscape of the park, I relaxed and just cruised by the park entrance to check into the much better Super 8 motel in town and unload my gear.
After cramming down a energy bar and hydrating myself, I shed some gear and quickly took off back to the Arches NP entrance to enjoy part of an evening in the park.
Man, it was gorgeous. The sun hit those orange and red rocks just perfect. The sky was absolutely clear, and a full moon was rising in the east. I spend a couple of hours in the closest parts of the park shown in the GPS map below. The sun was on the way down in the west and it actually got chilly (relative term) before I left a couple of hours later.
After leaving the park, I rode the 5 miles back to the Moab Super 8 motel, walked across the parking lot to a Denney's, had dinner, and wrote about the day on Facebook before hitting the rack.