Utah 12 – Grand Staircase National Monument

Utah 12 is one of the best motorcycle roads I’ve ever been down, I’d rate it 9.8 out of 10. There are several similar ones back home and throughout the Rockies but they tend to be more technical and challenging, rough, torn up by plows, with treacherous sand in the curves.  Not this one, smooth as glass and mostly high speed sweepers.  Combined with the last section of highway 24 its 100 miles of pure motorcycle heaven.

There was loads of motorcycles in Torrey, Utah where we stopped for lunch.  Most were going the other direction than we were and all of them we talked to described 12 as an absolutely phenomenal road and it didn’t disappoint.  One large tour group we got behind for a little ways had all different kinds of bikes from Harley Davidsons to Triumphs to BMWs and even a Ducati. All of them were flying different European flags of where they were from.   They had all come halfway around the world to ride this road.  The tour guide leader bikes all had Alaskan plates, I wonder if that was where they were headed.  If so that’s one killer ride.

First you climb up quite a ways in altitude through mountain sweepers and aspen trees with spectacular views, the temperature drops 10-15 degrees.  Looking over Capitol Reef down below.

Some shots of the road further south in Grand Staircase National Monument where we could pull over,  imagine roads like this for 60 miles:

If you’ve ever lived high up in the mountains you know what happens to anything that was packaged at sea level, like bags of chips exploding all over the back seat when you go skiing.   We had gone up so much in altitude since we packed up at Glen Canyon this morning that our Thermarest sleeping pads were straining at their straps and we had to leave the caps open to let air out as we went higher.

It started to get quite chilly in the mountains once we hit the cloudy areas,  we had to pull over to get some warmer clothes on.

Starting to see the beginning of Grand Staircase National Park below.

Through Grand Staircase the road winds through sweepers along the tops of ridges with drop-offs on both sides and no guard rails.  Its feels like the road is a thin ribbon floating in air and you are flying, a bit freaky.

Quite a dramatic change of landscape from the aspen and pine trees just up the road.

Along the way we passed this relic of the early RV industry.  I’ve seen a lot of old motorhomes but nothing quite like this old converted Dodge COE.  Fascinating, it looks like it must weigh a ton, probably more like 5 or 6 tons.

Also on Boulder, UT we took a rest stop at the Anasazi State Park.  Its pretty small but the museum did have a great display of music from around the world with audio of the various music styles, very interesting.  Outside they had a few excavated pueblo style buildings and one that had been reconstructed.

Even by Cece’s standards the rebuilt example the doors don’t have much headroom.

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