The plan for the first day...

.... was to reach "Camp 276", a place in southeast Utah where we ride trials bikes a couple times a year. Remote, peaceful, a place you can count on to have all to yourself.

On the way are a couple really cool things.... the photo to the left is Valley of the Gods, a dirt-road 17-mile loop that doesn't really go anywhere except the Valley of the Gods. Slow riding (see the washboard?) but well worth it. At about Mile 15, I ran across a motorhome that was not exactly high-centered in an arroyo, it was more like nose-to-tail centered. I squeaked by. I hate to think of their towing bill.

Valley of the Gods is right below the Moki Dugway, a fantasic dirt-road, no-guard-rail track up the side of a cliff. Approaching it, it's hard to believe that a road goes up there. Getting closer, there's still no sign, and you know that the road ends with a big "Dead End, Ha Ha!" sign.

So up we go.... sure enough, there's a way up.

The road was built in the 50's, to haul uranium ore down to the mill in Mexican Hat. It's no longer used for that purpose, but I'm really glad it's not shut down, and folks using it are warned about it, then left to their own judgement. (It's really not that bad, but it IS dramatic).

Halfways up, you can look down on the Valley of the Gods, see Monument Valley far to the south, and lots of other really cool formations.

One really interesting thing to do in a place like this (SE Utah) is to get a grip on the landscape.... see major features from many angles, and put it all together. On this trip, I found myself seeing mountain ranges from the east in the morning, then looping around and seeing them from the west in the afternoon.... and then getting it all to correspond to the map, and extrapolate from there to features even further away.



So up the dugway, and on to Camp 276.