My wake-up call was graciously accommodated by the same birds that put me to sleep. After breaking camp and loading up the bike, my objective for the day was to continue east through the rest of Capital Reef for breakfast in Hanksville and then home.
My early morning ride through Capital Reef was beautiful. I couldn’t help but think of what this area must have looked like covered with blowing sand as I watched the massive sandstone cliffs on either side of the road pass by and the Fremont river sparkled like a thousand fireflies as the sun reflected off the surface of the water.
Stopping in Hanksville at Blondie’s for breakfast, I had one of the best (if not the best) breakfast sandwich I’ve ever eaten. I shared my breakfast with a couple of guys on their way home to Tucson from a trip to Yellowstone. When they left Tucson it was 100 degrees, riding through Yellowstone it was 39 degrees and snowing. This morning they’re headed back to Tuscon and the heat. I always enjoy visiting with new people on the road sharing interesting stories, and my chance encounter with these two was no exception.
From Hanksville through the desert to I-70 traffic was light as I passed Goblin Valley on my way to Huntington and the Energy Loop. Traveling west along I-70 the sandstone reef jutting up in front of me looks more like a dragon’s back than the blowing dunes must have looked all those thousands of years ago. The Interstate isn’t my favorite way to travel, but I-70 traveling east and west across Utah is a much more interesting road than its north and south running counterpart I-15.
Exiting I-70 at State Hwy 10 I head north to the Energy Loop and a beautiful canyon ride to Fairview and Hwy 89. It’s been a beautiful, but windy, couple of days on the road. The further north I go the desert loses ground to irrigation and farmland. The tall grass blowing in the wind looks like the ocean as green waves undulate with the breeze.
The ride up the canyon outside of Huntington doesn’t disappoint, but the damage from the fires last year have decimated that side of the mountain pass. I can’t help but be impressed with the awesome destructive power of a forest fire and wonder how many years it will be before the canyon will look like it did just a couple of years ago.
As a dozen or so riders on bullet bikes fly past I wonder if they’re enjoying the beautiful canyon ride as much as I am or are they in too big of a hurry? I paused for a photo at the summit before heading down the other side of the pass into Fairview, lunch, and home.
One of the things that makes riding in Utah so interesting is that in just a few short hours you can go from red rock desert to high mountain valley. I left Capital Reef early in the morning and was at the summit of a beautiful mountain pass by lunchtime.