Posted by: mckenzie68 | May 29, 2010

Valley of the Gods…May 25 or Day 37

We got up and it was already 18 degrees, very sunny and getting warmer by the moment.  Today we were off to Mexican Hat, and since it was a short ride,  I decided we would travel to ‘Valley of the Gods’ to kill some time.  I had planned to go to a little motel along the cliff banks (it’s nestled between a cliff wall and a river) in Mexican Hat that I had seen when I was travelling with Raymond Jr.

We reached the ‘Valley of the Gods’ road which is a 17 mile loop that is described as “very very rough and not to be tried without a 4 wheel drive vehicle”.  We rode it loaded up, and it was challenging for sure, especially for me.  Rae cheered me on, but I was struggling with the GSA in the very rough conditions.  Rae’s bike just worked its way through like it was made for the road.  That being said, the scenery was incredible, with very few vehicles, buttes climbing hundreds of feet in the air, and outstanding vistas for us to enjoy the views.

The road was extremely challenging with 2 water crossings, steep rocky slopes, and corners on cliff edges. It was probably the most amazing time that Rae and I have had together on this trip.  We had a close call with a couple of wanna be off-roaders on bikes.  One nearly hit me while he was trying to be cool, doing the stand-up thing while entering a blind corner on a cliff edge…he almost hit me, then jumped back to the seated position to gain control of the bike to prevent himself from plummeting into the abyss.  The second rider almost hit Rae as he cut the same blind corner hard.  Rae was all the way over to the right, but this idiot was all the way over to the left…making for a near head on collision.  Good thing Rae’s bike handled so well in the dirt! We talked to one another constantly during this ride to encourage each other, and provide warnings of particularly rough bits.  We ended our ‘Valley of the Gods’ ride back on the highway.

We also took in the Navajo Twin Rocks at Bluff, where Rae met Lizzy the lizard, who was fascinated with us and instead of being scared.  The crazy thing came out to check us out, even letting us get within touching distance…very weird and of course I had to take a picture!

On the way to Mexican Hat I almost got taken out by a car from California which blew a stop sign at about 35 mph going through a ditch and flying up onto the road into my path.  I almost crashed and narrowly missed the car, having to take the opposing lane which of course had traffic coming in it.  Rae let me know that cars were coming as I was in the opposite lane.  And what does that idiot do?  He slams on his brakes and almost wipes out Rae too!  Good thing Rae can ride as well as she can or that could have turned out poorly.  She did give the driver the big Trudeau wave on her way by.

Rae and I stop and pull into the Mexican Hat monument (a rock that looks like a guy wearing a Mexican Hat) and I saw the Californian slowing.  He made the right choice, took pictures from the highway, and then left right away!  Good thing too, as both Rae and I would have schooled him if he had come in to the monument.  We took a few pictures, proceeded to Mexican Hat and stopped at the San Juan Trading Post Motel.

The day was getting REALLY hot and fortunately for us, there was one non-smoking room left.  Thank goodness!  Yay us!!!  We could not check in until 3pm so we decided to have a leisurely meal at the restaurant next door.  The food was inexpensive and yummy, which was nice since there was nothing else around!  We booked into the motel room at 3pm sharp, room 29 which had an outstanding view of the river and cliffs.  The bad part was no elevator and we had to get all of our gear up to the room, not an easy task.

We started to unpack and about half way through two Triumph ST 1050s pulled in, lovely bikes!  The riders, Joe and Steve were from St Louis and were on a little adventure of their own, taking in the sites of Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.  We started chatting right away, and it was clear to me, that both Joe and Steve were real good guys.  We exchanged stories, and talked about bikes, politics, and travel!  It was awesome!

We decided to eat dinner with Joe and Steve at a place that we could walk to at the top of the hill – maybe a 1/4 mile – called ‘The Swinging Steak”.  The  as the clerk said it was “a little pricey”, and boy was that true!  On the way, we met “wolfy” the 57 mix-breed hound dog and all he wanted was some pets from us.  He was soooooo cute!

We got to the steak place, and were seated right away.  This place is completely open air and the cook (I don’t know if you would call him a chef) has this huge hanging rack that he rocks back and forth over this open flame pit to cook the meat. It was the weirdest thing I’d ever seen.  The prices were ridiculous, and we went waaaaaaay over budget…but hey we are after all on a unique trip!  The steaks were surprisingly good – how that guy cooked them so well on that contraption, I don’t know but my hat is off to him!

We walked back to our motel and met “wolfy” again, and of course we had to pet the lil fella, he was so cute.  I could have taken him home right then and there and Rae would have if we had a car!  Once we got back to the motel, Rae decided to stay in the room and I went out and sat with Joe and Steve for hours to chat and enjoy the gurgling river.  It sure was an awesome day and night!

Ray

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