Originally written: October 6th, 2010
We were up early and waited for the Jailhouse Café to open for business at seven o’clock this morning. We had a fairly decent and healthy breakfast, got packed, wiped down the bikes and started the final push home all before eight am. It rained on and off all night and continued this morning as we left Moab. Before we left the hotel we made sure to watch the weather channel, only to learn that there is a tornado warning for northeastern Arizona (right in the middle of our route) until seven pm.
We left Moab a bit apprehensive and unsure, but the morning cleared up to be a beautiful ride through Monument Valley. Much like Arches National Park, Monument Valley is an expansive collection of red sedimentary rock formations. We rode through the town of Mexican Hat then on towards the rock formation from which the town got its name. I did not see the why it had been called that until we rode by it at a certain angle and, sure enough, it looked just like a sombrero. In town we stopped for gas and dad allowed a man hauling two horses in a trailer to use his cell. The man was having clutch issues with his truck…poor horses probably had their sea legs at that point.
As we crossed into Arizona and left Utah in our side mirrors the weather turned on us. The sky started off cloudy, but as we got further into Arizona the clouds got darker and more ominous. Eventually the rain came. It came in the form of big heavy raindrops. The wind became much stronger and at times it felt like the motorcycle was at a forty-five degree angle as I was leaning against the wind. Having the raingear on was fantastic. My body, my legs and my arms were all very well protected, but again, my fingers got the worst of it. My hands became so cold it became a real chore to remove them from the death grip I had on the handlebars.
Pushing through the adverse conditions we made our way into Flagstaff, Arizona, and decided to stop for lunch to warm up. As we sat down in the restaurant we learned that two tornados had touched down just outside Flagstaff a few hours ago. We ate, warmed up from the inside and decided we would press on. Getting back into Phoenix, safe and sound, was a nice feeling.
Dad and I pulled the bikes into the garage, unpacked our gear and went inside to relax. We had just ridden over 2500 miles, visited 5 breathtaking national parks and spent 8 days doing it. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to make this trip with my father. I hope we can take more trips in the future together like this and enjoy what is around us. I would have loved to had spent more time in the national parks, but I hope to be back in the near future to explore them in greater detail.