Monday, November 17, 2014

Highways, Byways and Skyways of Southern Utah

Highways, Byways and Skyways.  Amazing riding through Southern Utah.

 Words and Photos ©2014 Jim Foreman

Destination:  Starting and ending in Las Vegas, Nevada
Round-trip Mileage: 843 Miles 
Motorcycles Ridden: 2002 BMW K 1200 RS and H-D Deluxe
Best time to go: Fall, Spring
Number of state lines crossed: 3 (AZ, UT, NV)  
Fun Factor: 10+ (Off the Charts) 
Passenger Fun Factor: 10+ Especially with a good camera (Estimated)
Natural Beauty Factor: 1-10 (10 is best) 11 
Cost of a National Park Annual Pass: $80.00   
Number of times one believes it can’t get better than this: 14
Map Link: Google Maps
My friend, Michael Kurthy called me up one day, out of the blue.  He said, “Hey, …Want to go for a ride?”  “Sure,” was an immediate response.  Mike continued, “Ok, We leave Friday for a week in Southern Utah!”  This proposal left me thinking to myself, “Can I do this?”  The inner voice was going; work is light, so I have the time.  I have enough money.  Everything pointed to, “YES” and the trip was on.  The route we decided would take us through Southern Utah and several national parks and monuments.  The actual route we took varied from this narrative.  It was cut down a little bit to allow the journey to happen over four days.  Most people can get a Friday and Monday off to make a trip like this possible. 

We met early in the morning at Starbucks Coffee in Pomona on Friday and began our quest.  For those who wonder, Mike was on his H-D Deluxe, and I was on the blue BMW K 1200 RS.  Neither of us had any idea what amazing and interesting sights and experiences would befall us over this trip. 
Rio All Suite Hotel Las Vegas, NV
The journey outlined truly begins in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Not only does Las Vegas have an excellent BMW Motorrad dealership, but naturally they have the H-D T-Shirt Store, which happens to sell and repair motorcycles too.  Just a funny side note… One recent year, Las Vegas H-D earned $18 Million selling motorcycles.  They made $42 million selling T-shirts that same year.  Something to think about while riding down the interstate.
Las Vegas also boasts a large Eagle Rider store.  If you’re flying into Las Vegas or don’t think your super sport or café racer is the right bike for the journey, you can always rent a bike.  Eagle Rider DOES rent BMW motorcycles and even offers group tours.
From Las Vegas, plan to leave early in the morning.  Try to save any planned debauchery for your return.  It’ll certainly be waiting for you.  If you are one who enjoys a fine drink after a good ride, it might serve you well to pick up a bottle before you head out.  Many counties and cities in Utah are dry.  This reality can be quite alarming for some after a long ride. 
From Las Vegas, head north on the 15 toward Salt Lake City.  It’s best to make this run early before the heat becomes too intense.  The time goes by quickly.  A warning for those from CA, who typically enjoy a 14MPH grace from CHP.  Nevada, Arizona and Utah will be pulling you over when going just 9MPH over the speed limit.  The speed limits are higher than CA but watch it.  Nevada Highway Patrol is especially aggressive toward speeders at their CA and AZ borders. 
Once you cross the state line into the northwest corner of Arizona, something amazing happens.  The terrain becomes more interesting.  Even though the Arizona section is short, it will be something you reflect on. 
Interstate 15 in AZ Virgin River Gorge

Interstate-15 begins to rise, fall and sway as you approach the Virgin River Gorge.  This is a great place to have a helmet mounted Go-Pro Camera.  It is beautiful, but it happens so fast.  You also need to keep your eyes up and on the road to successfully navigate this remarkably interesting stretch of highway. 
Continue North on I-15 toward St. George.  In St. George, exit at State Street and bear right.  State Street is also Hwy 9.  Follow Hwy 9 (State Street) east and then north until you must make a right turn to continue on Hwy 9.  If you are suddenly on Hwy 17, you missed the turn-off.  Go back and head east on Hwy 9.
This road will begin to reveal the sheer beauty of Southern Utah.  The rock formations become more and more interesting as you approach Zion National Park. 
The town of Rockville (Cue up R.E.M.) or Springdale are great places to enjoy lunch.  After lunch, you’ll be in your first National Park on this trip.  This one is particularly incredible.  Make sure your Go-Pro cameras are at full charged.  You won’t want to miss this.
If you don’t have a National Park Annual Pass, you should strongly consider getting one.  By the time you and your riding friend pay the fees for all the parks, you’d be saving money.  One pass is good for two motorcyclists. 
Zion National Park is among my top three in the US.  If you have an opportunity, allow time to go up Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  One can reach it at the Visitor’s Center.  Consult the Zion National Park website’s shuttle schedule.  If the shuttle is not running, you can ride your motorcycle up this breathtaking road.  Butler Motorcycle Maps rates it a G-1.  If they are running, you’ll need to park at the Visitor’s Center and take the shuttle.  It is worth it.  In the off-season, one can typically go on their bike Monday through Friday except holidays.  Times and days do vary.
Once through Zion National Park, it may start getting a bit dark depending on the time of year.  There are several small towns nearby that one can stay overnight.  A favorite is Panguitch, UT. 
Panguitch, Utah

To get to Panguitch, continue on Hwy 9 until it dead-ends at Hwy 89.  Make a left and head north.  You’ll travel through some beautiful countryside getting there.
In Panguitch, a room can be secured for around $50/night.  The downtown section is lively with many restaurant options.  It’s difficult not to strike up a friendship with someone nearby.
From Panguitch, It’s time for a day of awesome!  Your Go Pro cameras are charged, and new MicroSD cards have been inserted.
In the morning, head back south on Hwy 89 until you come to Hwy 12.  Hwy 12 is also known as ScenicByway 12.  Head east on Byway 12 You’ll pass the turn-off to Bryce Canyon National Park.  We’ll return here later.
Continue on in a north-easterly direction on Byway 12.  On a map, this may seem boring and uninteresting, but in reality, the opposite is true.  Especially coming from the concrete jungle known as Los Angeles.  The amount of green and the fresh and delightful scents will remind you, constantly, why you ride a motorcycle.
About 20 minutes before the town of Escalante, there is a challenging canyon road.  You may scrape your pegs and certainly any floorboards you may have.
Desert Doctor - Escalante, UT
In the town of Escalante is a truly interesting person Mike introduced me to, known only as ‘Desert Doctor’.  He’s a character, to say the least, but he’s also a blessing to many motorcyclists who need a new tire, service or other help with their bikes.  He’s a remarkably competent tech and well worth stopping by and meeting him.  Desert Doctor is located at 120 S Center St.  His number is (435) 826-4951.

From Escalante, continue on through GrandStaircase-Escalante National Monument.  This ride is stunning in its beauty.  You’ll pass a sign for the Kiva Coffee House.  Stop on in for a light lunch.  It’s well worth it.  At this point, you’re probably thinking, “WOW! This is amazing!”  You're right, it is, but wait… There’s more!  Much more. 

You’re probably finding the descriptions of these places vague.  This is intentional.  To adequately describe the sights, sound, smells and sensations a motorcyclist would experience along this magical highway would take dozens of pages of text.  Mike would frequently look over at me and simply nod his head.  We both understood how special this place was and how lucky we were to be here.
We slalomed up the mountain to the 9600ft level.  As we rode, the leaves were turning to autumn colors.  It was magnificent!
Mike and I traveled through Byway 12 until it ended at Hwy 24 in Torey, Ut.  We naturally went east and through Capitol Reef National Park.  There will be many places you wish to stop and snap a photo throughout the day so, by this time, you may be running out of steam.  You may want to continue on to Hanksville and find a place to stay the night or turn around and stay in Torey.  There’s a valid argument to make for either.
Now the most amazing part!  You get to turn around and head back, more or less, the way you came.  The sights will be quite different as you approach them from the opposite direction. 
A lodging suggestion on the way back is to stay in Bryce Canyon National Park or just outside in the town of Tropic.  Do take Hwy 63 into Bryce on the return journey.  It’s also quite mesmerizing. 

For the return trip, once you cross the border back into Nevada, consider taking Hwy 169 toward Lake Mead.  It’s much more interesting than the interstate and affords opportunities to see Valley of Fire State Park and LakeMead National Recreation Area.  The Hwy changes designation several times from 169 to 167 (Northshore Road) and eventually 147 (Lake Mead Blvd), which will take you back to Interstate15 just north of the Las Vegas Strip.

Mike and I truly enjoyed this ride.  It’s a fine drive as a road trip with some friends, too.  Of course, like most things, it’s much better on a motorbike.  
Special thanks to Irv Seaver BMW Motorcycles in Orange County, CA for this ride blog.
Near Capitol Reef National Park

You'll be passing a lot of these on Scenic Byway 12

Eagle Ride Group in Zion National Park

Near Rockville, UT

Another Eagle Rider Group at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Good Lunch in Hanksville, UT

Zion National Park

The Wave!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Is there any good riding in Orange County?

Words by Jim Foreman ©2014
Images Jim Foreman and Kendal Foreman ©2014

Southern California is well known for having some of the most diverse and exciting roads available to motorcyclists.  Very few regions in US and even the world can compare to excitement and beauty offered right here in the southland.

Why is Orange County, in particular, mostly devoid of these spectacular offerings?  In truth, we’re not… completely.   

Orange County may never boast the magnificence of AngelesCrest Highway or the breathtaking views of Palomar Mountain.  We will never have a ‘Palms to Pines Highway’ (CA 243 to Idyllwild) or the nearby CA-38 to Big Bear Lake either. 

Fortunately, for all who ride, those roads and many more roads of greatness are nearby.
So, what do we have?  Most riders will immediately identify Ortega Hwy (CA 74) as Orange County’s best road.  That assessment may be absolutely true. 

Ortega Highway (CA 74)

Ortega Hwy stretches from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore in Riverside County.  If not surrounded by so many other roads of greatness, in surrounding counties, Ortega would be considered a phenomenal destination road. 

Elizabete on Ortega Highway with her BMW F 650 GS
Most Ortega riders simply get there by taking I-5 south and exiting at Ortega Highway.  There’s a Shell Station right there, though it’s really positioned to benefit westbound traffic.  Riders who have a bit more time and know the area opt to take the back way in via Live Oak Canyon and Antonio Parkway.  For most motorcyclists, Ortega Hwy really begins at Antonio Parkway. 

There is a quality about Ortega Hwy that is quite unique.  The road gradually builds in intensity.  It begins as a nice meandering run with wide sweepers.  Later, moderate speed switchbacks present fun peg scraping opportunities.  Ortega Hwy builds to a spectacular crescendo of awesomeness as a rider descends the mountain.

Jim Foreman and Daniel Rice on our S 1000 Bikes
There are two roadhouses along Ortega Hwy.  The loud-pipe friendly Hell’s Kitchen in El Cariso Village and The Lookout with a stunning view of the lake and valley below.  The Lookout is the quieter of the two.  If you find yourself riding on a holiday, Hell’s Kitchen is open early for Breakfast and throughout the day.

The best time to ride Ortega Hwy is Sunday after 3pm and during the week except for typical rush hours 7:30am to 9:30am and 3pm to 6pm.

There are two spin-offs from Ortega Hwy that do deserve your attention.  There is very little traffic on either and both are unique.  Offerings of fun, adventure and scenery are yours for the taking.  Both of these roads are on opposite sides of Ortega Hwy and the roadways are just 1000 meters from Hell’s Kitchen.

Look for this sign after Hell's Kitchen
North Main Divide Road is a giant loop that services many of the campgrounds in the area.  There are many beautiful vistas.  It’s also a great place if you want to be left alone to think, write, reflect, make-out, or just take a nap on a park table.  The road starts off quite nice. Lack of regular maintenance produces much rougher surfaces, as you continue.  The name of the road changes several times to El Cariso Road, Forest Route 3S04 and finally Long Canyon Road.  It eventually loops back to Ortega Highway.  Early on, one can ride a little aggressively, but soon the conditions of the road make the going slower.  Though it can easily be traversed on a road bike, it’s much more fun on a dual-sport like the BMW GS.

South Main Divide Road is a fairly well kept secret for motorcyclists.  Most don’t take it all the way to Murietta but instead turn around at some point to rejoin Ortega Hwy.   This road can be a thrilling and interesting day ride, all on its own.

A back way into Ortega Highway via Antonio Parkway, previously mentioned, is a lot of fun, too.

Santigo Canyon/Live Oak Canyon

General Store on Live Oak Canyon
Santiago Canyon is a fairly high speed road that offers up wide sweepers and interesting vistas.  It begins at Chapman Ave and Jamboree Road and continues down to eventually become El Toro Road. 
For newer riders, this is often cited as a superb road to run.  It’s a nice mild stroll with no big surprises.  With that mentioned, one should not become complacent when riding Santiago Canyon.  Sadly, this road does claim several bikers each year, though most of them are alcohol related.
At the southern end of Santiago Canyon, is Cook’s Corner.  Cook’s is a roadhouse that is primarily frequented by the shiny chrome crowd.  That said, sport bikes touring and adventure bikes are also seen frequenting this roadhouse. 

Cook’s Corner also marks the beginning of Live OakCanyon.  Live Oak is a beautiful tree-lined road with many interesting elevation changes and moderate corners.  It’s not terribly long, but it is quite enjoyable leading to an interesting uphill switchback just after the river crossing.  The road is well maintained but narrow in most places.  Small ranches and residences line this lovely road.  Please be mindful of that as I’m sure most people wouldn’t want to have loud rumbling or squealing pipes blasting through their neighborhood at all hours.

Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1)

PCH and Jamboree Rd
Pacific Coast Highway is many things to many people.  The part many motorcyclists find most enjoyable is from Jamboree south all the way to San Clemente. 

Of course, through much of PCH one has magnificent views of the ocean.  Among the highlights are Crystal Cove State Park and San Clemente State Beach. 

Along the way are some unique and interesting places to stop and take a break.  Ruby’s Shake Shack at Crystal Cove is just one of those places.  Owned by Ruby’s Diner,  this popular place offers rich and creamy shakes in a variety of flavors.  Being on a motorcycle is an added benefit as there is often a lineup of cars waiting for parking.  Being on two wheels, just ride up to the front, park without impeding traffic and place your order.
Ruby's Shake Shack

Laguna Beach is also a favorite place to regain feeling in your bottom.  Whether it’s watching the beach volleyball or looking for the dolphins that jump about, at sea, there’s plenty to keep one interested.

In Dana Point, PCH Splits in half with the northbound and southbound sections as one way streets.  On the southbound section, just past Violet Lantern, on the left is the Bonjour Café.  It’s a great place for Breakfast or Lunch and happens to also be the former production office forBruce Brown.  Bruce Brown was the director of the motorcycle cult classic film, “On Any Sunday” and the epic surfer film, “Endless Summer.”  One can gather, quite quickly, where the inspiration to name his film director son Dana came from.

Carbon Canyon Road - Brea, CA(CA-142)

Carbon Canyon Road is a nice little retreat for the soul.  Carbon Canyon Road starts off as Lambert Road east of the 57 Freeway.  The surrounding rural atmosphere instantly transports a rider away from suburbia and into the countryside.  Several small hamlets line the drive with a wicked ‘S’ turn near the end.  The elevation change through the ‘S’ turn often spooks new riders.  Just take it easy the first couple of times and keep your chin up.  It’s much worse if one is looking down.  The road ends in Chino.  One can either continue on toward their destination or turn around and run it again.  Avoid Carbon Canyon Road during rush hour (west in the morning and East in the afternoon) as many motorists try to use it as a bypass for a jammed up 91 or 60 freeway.

Turnbull Canyon Road – Whittier, CA

There's a lot of Awesome on Turnbull Canyon Road.
The inclusion of Turnbull Canyon Road is a total cheat.  Turnbull Canyon Road is in Los Angeles County, but it’s proximity to the Orange County and genuine awesomeness earns its place on this list.  Anyway, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.

Turnbull Canyon is among the most fascinating destinations due to its interesting, curious and bizarre history.  A plane crash, attempts at weather manipulation, a mental asylum, Hollywood celebrity party spot and the rumored former home of Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) all have claim to history on this four mile stretch of roadway.

Turnbull Canyon runs between Painter Avenue as Beverly Blvd in Whittier and S. Vallecito Drive in Hacienda Heights, CA. 

Turnbull Canyon(or Turbo Canyon in the 80’s) is a technical canyon.  Think of it as a short Glendora Mountain Road.  Turnbull has two stages.  The half closest to Painter Avenue is straight-up canyon.  No residences or intersections.  The other half is residential and a good rider will respect that.  There is a beautiful, elevation changing, mini-carousel and some breathtaking views of the valley below, in this half.  Please take it easy in the residential section.  The last thing we need are angry residents causing heavy police presence, as has happened, in the past.  Run quiet through this section and be mindful and respectful of the residents.   It’s well worth it.

Honorable Mention

Though not spectacular or even awesome, there are several other places in Orange County to get some two-wheel therapy in. 

Hacienda Road between La Habra and Hacienda Heights is a great road for beginning motorcyclists. 
Add Colima Road between Whittier and Rowland Heights for beginning riders, too.  Colima Road is a good way to introduce higher speeds to a new rider. 

Brea Blvd/Brea Canyon Road between State College and Pathfinder Road is also a pleasant little run.

The end of Laguna Canyon Road.
Laguna Canyon Road (CA-133) Between Irvine and Laguna Beach is also a nice little treat.  It’s nothing fantastic, just a pleasant, pretty road except during traffic hours.
Approaching the 'S' Turn on Carbon Canyon Drive

Crystal Cove State Park

Colima Road

Mini Carousel on Turnbull Canyon Road

Heavenly sign on South Main Divide Road off of Ortega Hwy.

Pacific Coast Highway

Jim Foreman and Terry Rollinson taking a quick break in Laguna Beach

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When Training is Part of the Ride...

I wish I could ride that good!
-Overheard at the 2013 OCTOA Police Motorcycle Rodeo.

Words, photos and video ©2014 Jim Foreman

In SoCal, we are truly blessed with perfect 365 weather.  Because of that we also have some of the best motorcycle training found anywhere in the world.

If you're looking for race school, one can not do better than California Superbike School and Jason Pridmore's Star School.

For off-road riding, RawHyde Adventures is the most excellent training one can receive.

If one is looking for advanced street riding and real-world, highway speed cornering skills, Walt Fulton's Streetmasters is the best in the business.

Let's say, you're pretty safe on the streets but want to learn how to control your bike in slow speed situations with precision and confidence.  SoCal has the finest and best course to teach you how to fully control your bike.

Police Riding Technique Academy was developed by Bert 'Q' Quechenberger and Sonny Singhanate.  They took the premier training they offered officers of the Los Angeles Police Department and developed a program for current police officers wanting to join motor enforcement and civilians, alike.

Bert was directly responsible for training over 8000 officers throughout California and the world.  Sonny is a 17 year motor veteran and currently an active duty lead instructor.

There are many reasons why a non-officer would want and need to take this class.  Among them is the need to build confidence and experience in ones riding skill.  Another reason is to learn to effectively manage a bike in emergency situations.  Lastly, everything one learns and masters at slow speeds directly transfers to higher speed applications.

A Day of Training
You've decided you wish to dramatically improve your riding skills and have signed up for the course.  Here's how the day progresses.  In the morning, coffee and baked goods greet students while an introduction and review of the day's program is outlined. 

Most of the course is spent on your bike so the team gets you riding as quickly as possible.  The first ride is a Follow-the-Leader setup.  Sonny leads the group single-file.  Bert will follow and gauge each attendee's skills and cater some of the instruction to each rider.

Immediately after, the first course is placed before each rider and mastered.  From there, every new challenge builds upon what has been previously mastered.

The beauty of this course is that results are immediate.  Riding techniques one previously believed was impossible becomes mastered and able to be repeated all-day.

Lunch is provided and breaks happen regularly so that in all the intensity, one has a chance to process the skills and let everything sink in. 

Because the day starts at 7am, lunch happens late in the seven hour course.  After lunch, the final 'Police Rodeo' course is set up.  This will be the final evaluation.  Each attendee is given multiple times to run the entire course and fine tune some skills before the course final.  Because of this, a friendly challenge with scoring for time and errors will bring about a 'Winner' who receives a valuable prize.

The training is applicable to all bikes.  Owners of big cruisers, supersport, touring, dual-sport, standard and sport bikes all benefit from the knowledge passed along.

The instruction is serious and spot-on.  The skills gained will definitively lead to safer, better and more skilled riding.

A bonus offered by PRTA for returning riders is a 50% discount on repeats of the class to freshen up one's skills in the future.

PRTA class information can be found on their website

Please 'Like' Irv Seaver BMW on Facebook.

Sonny giving instruction on a trainer.

Bert offering insight to master a technique,

Bert addressing the riders.

Explaining the technique.

Running an excercise.

Motorbike Slalom.

Big head turns, slip clutch and drag rear brake.

Monuments, Corners, Bridges, Canyons, a Dugway and a Mexican Hat... Whew!

I think it's time for a little overnight trip. 
Words and Photos ©2014 Jim Foreman

Destination:  Grand Circle of a beautiful part of the US Southwest starting and ending in Flagstaff, AZ
Round-trip Mileage: 668 Miles 
Motorcycle Ridden: 2004 BMW R 1150 RT-P (Former Torrance CHP cruiser) 
Best time to go: Fall, Spring
Number of statelines crossed: 4 (AZ, UT, CO, NM) 
Fun Factor: 10+ 
Passenger Fun Factor: 10+ (Estimated)
Natural Beauty Factor: 1-10 (10 is best) 11 
Cost of a National Park Annual Pass: $80.00  
Number of times one believes they are on Mars: 3
Map Link: Google Maps.

Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is the definite start and stopping point for a run through the southwest.  The route taken could have been easily modified to include Grand Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs, Horseshoe Bend near Page, AZ, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and much more.  All of these sites are well worth the trip and should be visited.  For this trip, one overnight hotel stay was all there was time for.  The goal was to visit Monument Valley, Four Corners Monument and Canyon De Chelly.  

Monument Valley 

The first major destination was Monument Valley.  To get here from Flagstaff, take Hwy 89 north to the 160 East toward Tuba City.  From the 160, Get gas and head north on the 163 at Kayenta toward Monument Valley.  Hwy 160, between Tuba City and Kayenta, will have you wondering if you were transported to the surface of Mars.  The terrain matches the images returned from the rovers on the red planet's surface.  Monument Valley straddles the Arizona and Utah Border.  Unlike Sedona, in Monument Valley, the formations are spread apart.  It gives an eerie and awe-inspiring perspective to the beauty and how on earth these formations originated.  
Monument Valley has been used in numerous movies and television shows.  Most recently it was used in "Breaking Bad" and "Disney's The Lone Ranger." 
Monument Valley was also featured in 1968's "Easy Rider," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Back to the Future III."  Legendary director John Ford used Monument Valley as a backdrop for countless films including some John Wayne classics, "Stagecoach," "The Searchers" and "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon".  John Ford also directed Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in "My Darling Clementine."  "Forrest Gump" and "National Lampoon's Vacation" also had memorable scenes shot here.
In addition to the numerous movies set here, Monument Valley is a source of profound beauty and inspiration.  Let yourself connect with nature and let it speak to you while you are here.
As you continue north on Hwy 163, turn around and you'll see the iconic stretch of road used in so many pictures and movies leading up to Monument Valley.  

Mexican Hat
Mexican Hat is a small town along the San Juan River.  Nearby is the namesake's formation which certainly looks like an upside-down sombrero.  It's worth taking the hard-packed dirt road that leads to the formation for a close-up view.  It's only two minutes out of your way and very easy.  Mexican Hat is also one of the few nearby towns one can find lodging.

Moki Dugway

From Mexican Hat, continue on the 163 Westbound until you reach the 261.  From here, you will reach the Moki DugwayTwo interesting and worthwhile trips off of the 261 are Goosenecks State Park and the Valley of the Gods Road.  Valley of the Gods Road is a dirt road.  As you approach the sheer cliff face, it's easy to wonder in amazement how you would get to the top.  Moki Dugway is mostly hard-packed dirt and gravel.  Any motorbike can easily navigate it in dry weather.  Just mind the shoulder in the straightaways, as it is often soft sand.  Each switchback offers spectacular views.  Don't put your camera away.  You'll be often stopping to take magnificent pictures.

Natural Bridges National Monument

Natural Bridges National Monument is really close to the end of Hwy 261.  At the T- Intersection, at the end of the road, head left or west on Hwy 95 and the indicated turn off will be about half a mile away.  If you're into camping, this is a great place to make reservations for campsites. This park consists of three natural bridges, some Native American ruins and a Pygmy Forest.  All of this is connected by a nine-mile loop of paved road with easy access parking and turnouts.  Each of the bridges has well laid out hiking trails leading up to the bases.  The longest ones are about a half hour each way with about 200m elevation changes.  A telephoto lens will come in very handy at this site.

Town of Bluff

Bluff is a historic town that offers good lodging, great food and very attractive locations and scenery.  Bluff originated as a Mormon settlement and played a key role in the expansion of the west in addition to developing relationships between less-than-friendly Native Americans.  Fort Bluff is a great place to visit and spend a few moments.  The interpreters are quite knowledgeable and friendly.  If a meal is in order, you have a couple of options.  Many of the towns and counties in Utah are dry.  This means they don't serve or sell alcohol.  Nearby Blanding is one such town.  If you're done riding for the day, and you don't mind a glass of excellent locally-brewed cold beer or wine, head to the Cottonwood Steakhouse.  The food is delicious and they feature both indoor and outdoor seating.  Near the east end of town is also the Twin Rocks Cafe.  Lodging ranges from $55 to $190 a night.  Recapture Lodge is a 'best bet' offering comfort, price, location and amenities.  Reservations are highly recommended in Bluff.

Four Corners Monument

From Bluff, head east (right) on Mission Road (Hwy 162) to get to Four Corners Monument.  At the Colorado Border, the 162 becomes Hwy 41.  Continue on until you reach Hwy 160 and head west or Right.  Admission is $5.00 per person.  Cash only.  If you don't have cash, you will need to go five miles to the town of Teec Nos Pos for an ATM.  Light food, restrooms and Native American artwork and jewelry are available.  Here you will find the surveyed marker point indicating where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah all meet.  This is the only place in the US where four states meet at one point.  This one is well worth a visit and is quite reasonable in cost.

Canyon De Chelly

From Four Corners, head south on Hwy 160 until you reach Teec Nos Pos and make a right.  Continue west on Hwy 160 until you reach Hwy 191 South.  North comes first, but you want to head south.  The road south will tease you with beautiful formations such as Point Rock and quiet and easy elevation changes.  Occasional wheelie bumps keep a rider from getting too complacent.  In the town of Chinle, look for the sign indicating Canyon De Chelly.  There is fuel, lodging and some very good restaurants.  The Visitors Center at Canyon De Chelly closes at 5pm, but one can follow the road to the north and south rim of the canyon without stopping at the Visitors Center.  If it's open, please do stop by.  There are many interesting displays and helpful rangers to offer advice and recommendations.  Campsites are also available.  Canyon De Chelly is spectacular!  It's not particularly deep, but the natural beauty, formations and colors will take your breath away.  This spot really deserves at least half to a full day to truly feel one has experienced it.  Hiking trails are abundant and each offers a unique perspective.  When you're ready to continue, ride back and southbound on Hwy 191 until you reach Interstate 40.  Then go West.

Route 66 and the Wigwam Motel Holbrook, AZ

Nearly everyone knows the line from the song "Route 66"... "Get your kicks on Route 66!"  Back in the day, Route 66 was a major east-west corridor in the US.  Many small towns were built around catering to travelers with kitschy cafes, attractions and gift shops.  Alas, with Interstate 40's construction, much of the original Route 66 towns were bypassed.   Since Interstate 40 actually utilized some of Route 66, some of the towns retain their charm and glory while others have been left to rot and crumble.  In Arizona, in particular, Route 66 is alive and well.  From east to west towns of Holbrook, Winslow, Winona, Flagstaff, Williams, Seligman, Peach Springs, Hackberry, Kingman and Oatman retain much of their charm. Other towns such as Twin Arrows, Two Guns and others are right off the interstate and can be explored, in ruin.  Two Guns, in particular, has a rich and historical past that can be easily explored and is well worth a stop. One can easily explore the Apache Death Caves.  Just bring a flashlight.  
Route 66 was featured in many movies including "Easy Rider," "Thelma and Louise" and "Little Miss Sunshine."  The 'Mother Road' was also lovingly depicted in the Pixar film, "Cars."  In the film, the fictional town of Radiator Springs borrows faithfully and re-imagines many Route 66 landmarks.  One such landmark is the 'Cozy Cone Motel' which is an inspired reproduction of the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona.  Yes, you can stay in a Wigwam for around $65 a night.  
Since the release of "Cars", The Wigwam has acquired many of the original cars used to create the characters in the movie.  A red Chevy tow-truck which became 'Mater, along with many other classic cars, are on display.  This is a textbook example of reality inspiring art which inspired reality.
Flagstaff, AZ

Interstate 40 is a 75MPH highway that will quickly get you where you want to go.  Be mindful that DPS Arizona Highway Patrol does aggressively monitor and issues citations for speeding so keep it below 84, if you want to avoid paying the Arizona Luxury Tax.
Flagstaff is a great town with a rich historic district and lots of dining, drinking and lodging options.  'Flag', as it's called by locals, is an ideal base to explore this rich and majestic region of the southwest.  While in Flagstaff, be sure to enjoy a meal at Granny's Closet.  Look for the statue of a lumberjack and a tractor.  The pair also makes a cameo appearance in the film "Easy Rider."  
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On the Moki Dugway

Beautiful formations near Blanding, Utah.

Looks like an alien.

Bridge over the San Juan River in Mexican Hat, Utah.

The Comb Bluff near Blanding, Utah
Utah state line from Arizona

Oft photographed southbound Hwy 163 entrance into Monument Valley

Twin Rocks Cafe and Trading Post in Bluff, Utah.

Colorado state line from Utah.

New Mexico state line near the Four Corners Monument

Rock Point, Arizona
The Lumberjack and Tractor in front of Granny's Closet in Flagstaff.  Also seen in "Easy Rider."