23.09.16 Torrey, Utah to Mexican Hat, Utah
Today followed on from yesterday, in that the spectacular scenery continued. We must have been treated to 15 or more different landscapes, ever changing, and so obviously crafted by the works of nature. The air is pure, the winds are strong and high, the rivers winding, the canyons are deep and in total they combine to give an almost overwhelming amount of information to your brain. I feel lucky, and almost astounded to be here witnessing this.
As we readied ourselves to leave this morning, taking our time as it was only 3 degrees Celsius on waking, a cowboy approached us and asked if we were taking Byway 12. This was because there had been some snowfall on the high ridges, where we had met his cows in the fog yesterday. Luckily, today we were headed in the other direction, towards Hanksville, and he told us that way would be fine.
Of course we appreciated his warning, but even more so, when at a Hot Chocolate stop a guy rode past on a Triumph Tiger 800, then swiftly turned and raced in to start talking very excitedly to us. We had seen him, and what turned out to be his Father-in-Law, at Bryce Canyon yesterday. Paul recognised him by his flip-flops hanging on his luggage bags! Anyway, he hurriedly told us that he and Father-In-Law (who was French, over visiting) and he (Alex, originally from Holland, now living in San Francisco Bay) had found a place to camp last night, not far past where we stayed, having taken a dirt road to ensure they were up high, and above the river.
Now, last night, from the comfort of our motel room we witnessed the most spectacular storm over the mountains, with torrential rain. This was the rain that everyone had been warning us about. Not good for Alex and Father-In-Law, who found their tents running with water and threatening to float off. They had just spent two hours this morning trying to ride the now almost unrideable dirt road, which had been virtually washed away. Luckily, said Alex he had thought at the last minute to add a shovel to his packing, which had come in very useful for digging the bikes out of the mud trenches they got into on the track. Luckily, they were both ok, and were looking forward to a great breakfast.
Later in the day, we were lucky enough to spot the Natural Bridges National Park, and took the 9 mile loop to the various viewing outlooks, to see the three bridges which are entirely created by nature.
This was topped off by a gravel road, swiftly making our descent down into Valley of the Gods, before arriving at our destination Mexican Hat. The town is so called because just before it there is a rock formation which looks exactly like a Mexican Hat.
We are staying tonight at San Juan Inn, a Navajo Indian run establishment, which is spectacularly set by the side of the beautiful San Juan river.