Part II of Part II: Recrossing Utah - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

March 3, 2020

Part II of Part II: Recrossing Utah

Three years ago this spring Rachael and I biked across Utah, starting in Saint George and ending in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was a short three week break from the office grind, and one of the last tours we took before finally retiring, selling our home and hitting the road.

That was the third cycling tour through the region for me.  Previously I’d been here on a pair of short solo rides as a much younger man: in 1987 I biked from Cedar City to Flagstaff, touring Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Zion and the Grand Canyon along the way; and four years later I was back again, visiting Arches, Natural Bridges, Monument Valley and Mesa @Verde on my way from Grand Junction to Durango.  Both were outstanding experiences for me and embedded in me the belief that this is the most scenically dramatic part of the country.

The tour three years ago though was easily the best of the set.  Best because it was longer; best because it was slower paced; but above all best because Rachael was with me this time.  It was an awesome experience for us to share together, and we came away talking about a possible return some year before we got too much older.  It’s very lumpy country, there are some lengthy gaps between accommodation, and we’re not getting any younger.

So, three years later we’re back for a second pass.  After flying in from San Antonio at the end of our tour of the Texas Hill Country we’ll head east toward the Colorado border, following much the same itinerary as we did last time.  The main difference this year is that we’ll hopefully get to see Zion National park.  Three years ago we had to drop Zion (along with our non-refundable reservation at the park lodge) because a rockslide had closed the highway to it from the west.  Instead, we took the long way around - north through Snow Canyon, and east over Cedar Breaks - and missed out on Zion completely.

The other significant deviation this time is at the end, as we leave the state.  Last time we headed straight east from Moab to Grand Junction, but this year we’ll drop south from Moab to Monticello before crossing into Colorado and then finally on to Albuquerque.

If we get to go at all, that is.  Things are changing almost by the hour with the Coronavirus pandemic, and we’re starting to wonder if this tour will have to slip back into the box to wait for a healthier season.  Assuming it’s a go though, we’re going here:

Recrossing Utah, 2020
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