Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The In-Between Jobs Ride, Day 4

Today I got a late start and some needed rest overnight.  I left Monument Valley after a quick visit to the movie location where John Wayne's character in some of John Ford's movies staged in Monument Valley had "lived".
 Valencia parked outside Captain Brittle's Cabin

The "staged contents" of the cabin

One of my favorite movies: Fort Apache

It was an overcast morning over Monument Valley and even though I waited for the occasional glimpse of sunshine to illuminate the rock formations visible from the highway, the pickings were slim:

Monument Valley's highly recognizable skyline

I headed North on US163, past Mexican Hat and following the signs for Bluff, Utah.  Soon I was watching lovely rock formations to my left and I found the entrance to the Valley of the Gods.  The BLM or Bureau of Land Management runs this site but they don't seem to advertise it well.  I only found out about it when I saw a small leaflet about it at the Utah Visitor's Center.

If you blink, you'll miss the sign to the US163 entrance
point to the Valley of the Gods

I have to say, the Valley of the Gods is at least as scenic if not better than the rock formations in Monument Valley!  The road is dirt and gravel but not as bad as some of the spots within Monument Valley.  The rock formations are just as impressive as the stuff in Monument Valley and you can get quite close to them as you can see.

As it was a weekday, I had the place pretty much to myself.  I doubt I saw more than five cars the whole time I was there.

Don't get me wrong, Monument Valley should be on every rider's bucket list....I am just saying that you shouldn't miss a ride through the Valley of the Gods as well!  They're both within sight distance of the other!

 Valley View

 I saw the rock formation above, all I could think of was a 
cold glass of beer drawn from a bar tap....

They call this rock formation The Seven Sailors.....

The road that one takes from CO163 eventually winds among or near most of the rock formations in this valley.  If you take it all the way to the end, it dumps you out on the paved highway that leads one to the Moki Dugway.  I had missed the entrance when I came off the Moki Dugway yesterday as it's not marked at all by the side of the highway.  

For those of you coming off the Moki Dugway, keep an eye out for a blue State Highway sign 422 on the left.  Once you've turned off the highway, then and only then will you see the bulletin board sign from the BLM.

I resumed my way to Bluff, Utah to pick up US162 towards the town of Aneth and the entrance to the "Canyonland of the Ancients".  I mean, with a title like that, you'd think it was another area with breathtaking scenery and geological features right?  Wrong.  The canyons I did spy were shallow ones, of the clay/sand color variety, not the red colored rocks of other parks.  Its basically flat lands, covered with shrubs and bramble.  I checked out the Hovenweep National Monument and it wasn't my cup of tea as well so I didn't go inside.

All this caused me to loose an hour or more being disappointed.  I finally made it to the town of Cortez and from there rode to Mancos for refueling.  I got to my final destination of the day, Durango shortly after 3:00 PM Tuesday.

First thing was to find an auto parts store for some new oil for Valencia's engine as she'd reached a bit past the 4900 Km mark during the last few days of riding.  Found myself a room at a Quality Inn and did a quick oil change of the engine oil in the hotel parking lot:

Think the oil needed changing?

I swapped in a new oil filter, reglued the left hand grip onto the handlebar and tomorrow morning I will be riding up towards the North using the San Juan Skyway.  Valencia continues to run great by the way.


Chris said...

Good stuff Dom. Glad you're having fun with your time off.

BeemerGirl said...

Great pics. I still have to question some visitor locations like Captn Brittle cabin where they have completely paved up to the door...

Yes. That old needed changing desparately. :)

Gary France said...

I tried to book a B&B in the Valley of the Gods but alas it was full, so I didn't go there. I wished I had now because I can tell from your pictures it looks very good. Shame about the sun not being out.

redlegsrides said...

Chris L, thanks

Beemergirl, yes, it was a little tacky but the movies it appeared in were and are classics.

Gary...I saw the B&B in the Valley of the Gods, it appeared shuttered...probably still closed for the season. Next time, consider staying at nearby Mexican Hat.

Steve Williams said...

More fine photos and great post. Kim is nearby trying to find a Cardinal. I'm going to have her go through these posts -- I think she'll love this place too.

And yes, the oil looks like it needs changed...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

redlegsrides said...

Steve, that oil was as black as Jack Riepe's ex-mother-in-law as he's often written.

I hope Kim likes the photos as well