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Published: October 17th 2009
Seem to have spent the last few days hopping back and forth between Colorful Colorado and Utah he greatest show on earth - there are big sign posts as you cross the state line and they always proudly announce the state motto.
Rode 400 miles from Cody to Vernal in one day. It was strange scenery. You appeared to be whizzing along a flat plain then all of a sudden a big gorge would open up from out of nowhere and steep rocky cliffs would be towering above you e.g. Wind River Gorge with its multi-coloured rocks complete with swirling patterns. Then the gorges would disappear and we were back out on the flat plains with no hint of the scenery we had just passed through. This is real wagon train county and lots of information panels on-route tell us all about the Oregon Trail and the first white settlers.
Further into Colorado we spend a morning passing lots of little enclosures with nodding donkeys and pipelines trailing off across the desert like scenery. Then up and over the Douglas Pass (8300ft) which had the obligatory sweeping bends all the way up one side and down the other. The
gorges here are all full of tumbled down rocks with lots of natural shelters so they are full of rock art. We took a side trip down a 5 miles dirt track into Sego Canyon to a spot where there was rock art from 3 different eras next to each other which was great as you could really appreciate the different styles (Barrier Canyon style, 2000BC, with figures that look like bug eyed aliens; Freemont style, 100BC-600AD, with life size human figures; Ute style, 1300-1600AD, with with white men riding horses).
Back in Utah we took the back road down to Moab. This was the most amazing valley and we had the whole place to ourselves. You could just stop in the middle of the road and get off the bike to take photos. The road twisted and turned through the valley and round every corner were more weird, unnatural, pinnacles of rock protruding from the valley floor glowing red in the late afternoon sun.
This is also dinosaur country so they were more side trips down 10 miles dirt roads to find dinosaur tracks. The ground was so rock strewn and uneven they were actually quite hard
to spot but once you had spotted them they were so clear you couldn believe that you hadn seen them. Luckily some considerate fellow travellers had left small stone cairns next to some of them so they were easier to spot.
This part of the US is full of amazing rock formations and canyons so we were spoiled for choice and used up endless MB of memory on photos. Started off in Arches National Park at sunrise with more great towering columns of rock rising up from the ground and of course lots of arches hanging in the sky above us including Landscape Arch, allegedly the longest in the world at 290ft. Then onto Canyonlands NP and the spectacular viewpoints at Islands in the Sky down into the various canyons created by the Colorado and Green rivers way down below us. The views are so spectacular and vast its difficult to take it all in and get the scale straight in your mind - the signs say the rivers are 1500 feet below us and that we can see for 100 miles!!! Finally sunset at Dead Horse Point with yet more spectacular views down into the Colorado river canyon
with layer upon layer of different coloured rock exposed. Its difficult to find the right words to describe it and impossible to take a photo that does justice to the vastness of the vista before you. The river is now 2000 feet below us and apparently took 150 million years to create the canyon - figures far to vast to comprehend so just settle for sitting and watching the sunset and the colours of the rocks changing.
And we haven finished yet we still have Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon to look forward to.
PS - thanks for all the comments. Its good to hear from you all and catch up with whats going on back at home.
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