Our departure from Jackson Hole was not ideal. It was raining and the temperature was in the 50 degree range. We were prepared for such conditions and again we would not be uncomfortable during the ride.
Our plan was to follow US 189 & US 191 from SW Wyoming into NE Utah. Based upon our review of the road atlas we believed those highways would provide great scenic views and we were not disappointed. The rain cleared after about an hour and the temperature began to rise. As we rode through this part of Wyoming I now understand why it is called a “high plains” area. There were vast gently rolling plains extending to the horizon on one side and a large mountain range far in the distance on the other side. We passed a sign which displayed the name of the town, the population (50), and elevation (8,000+ feet!!). At times our bikes were the only vehicles on the road for mile after mile. This area was marked as an open range – no fences. We came across a historical marker for the Oregon Trail. I can’t imagine the determination necessary by early settlers to travel in such a desolate area. We felt alone and we were there for only a few hours. I am sure it must have taken them weeks to travel the same distance.
We crossed the state line into Utah and the terrain began to change. Huge canyons started to appear on both sides of the highway. As we continued on we crossed over the Flaming Gorge Dam. This gorge must have gotten that name because of the bright red rock layers throughout the gorge area. After crossing the dam we noticed a menacing storm forming in our path. We could see lightning strikes and it started to become windy. I checked my GPS and it indicated that our route would take us around the storm in just a few miles ahead. We managed to avoid it.
We arrived at our motel stop for the night. Rich and I began to review our route and it is clear that we do not have enough time left to see all that I had planned. I had to make a decision to omit Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and New Mexico from my list. My plan was ambitious and I realize now that it was indeed too much in too little time. My priority shifted to US 550 (Million Dollar Highway) from Silverton to Durango in Colorado.
Colorado, here we come!