Fifty shades of red

Dear future me,

Since my torture in the freezing cold of Nevada, I was dreaming of nice sandy places, where the beer taste superb and the sun burns holes in your face. I found this temporarily heaven in Moab in the East part of Utah. First, to get there, I still had to put some miles on my bike and as the temperatures were rising slowly, my window of riding hours was expanding as well. At least in my head, because every single night, I arrived at my next destination way past sunset. Hence, I still managed to freeze my but off, cause the Fahrenheit’s and Celsius’s go into winter hibernate as soon as the sun goes down. So I’m getting pretty used to showering twice a day; once to wake up in the morning and once to defrost in the evening. And if it isn’t me running late in the evening, Mother Nature throws a very high mountain range at my feet to pass. I found myself yet again staring at the white stuff on the side of the road, I’m actually starting to enjoy it! But no matter what, nothing could keep me away from my temporarily heaven, Moab.

As soon as I arrived in Mothers Own Appealing Backyard, the hostel owners (yes, I found a hostel, yahoo!) told me I probably would never leave again. Moab seems to be a place for people to linger forever and it almost became true for me too. This town has a lot to offer; two amazing national parks just around the corner, a brewery that doesn’t only serve good and cheap beer, but also good and cheap food, a hostel were you can stay for only ten bucks a night and last but not least: warm weather. In a nice Indian Summer I explored Arches and Canyon Lands to get an idea of the overpowering beauty that lies hidden here in Utah. Well, hidden, I think I’m one of the last Dutchies to explore this part of the world, as all my friends seem to know exactly where I am. Just to fool them, I try to make atypical pictures of the parks, just to keep them guessing. Anyway, after my preliminary explorations of the area, I decided to go for some real action. First I punished my muscles by participating in the Ranger led Fiery Furnace hike (in Arches), which consists of climbing through cracks, baby arches and skinny canyons. A couple of kids proved to be real athletes, where I was moving around as an old granny. It left me with severe muscles aches. The best way to heal from that is to go on a very dirty dirt road for, say, eight hours. The trick is to make it so scary that you forget all about your pains and problems, so you just celebrate that you’re still alive! To share this earthly feeling, I asked Dave and Roel to join me. Dave is one of those guys who came to Moab and never left. I noticed his KLR in front of the Brewery and was happy that my KLR had some company. Roel, a Dutch guy touring around the world, parked his bike with a Dutch license plate in the middle of Arches, so I couldn’t miss it. Although his girlfriend Azure looked really startled when I spoke Dutch to them. Her bike has a American license plate, but I didn’t see that as I was already busy jumping happily around over the fact that I met other bikers. I really got the idea that I was the only lonely biker soul here in Utah and suddenly I’m surrounded by fellow crazy people. Although Roel and Azure are a bit more crazy than I am….camping outside while it is freezing!

The next day we left for what should have taken four hours, according to Dave. As I didn’t come crossing out of my mother’s womb on a little dirt bike, I already knew that it would probably take me a bit longer. And I must admit, it was pretty hard to do this White Rim trail (in Canyon lands) on a 650 cc bike with a top case full of loose tools and the knowledge that you didn’t install any protection bars on your precioussszzzz. Never mind the rocks, the deep canyons right next to you and the steep and endless hills up and down for 110 miles. In the end I didn’t believe there was any road leading us out of there anymore, because every time we had to conquer another stairway to heaven, another downfall was waiting for us. Even the stars at night didn’t seem to lead us back home, but suddenly I felt nice and comfortable pavement under my airless tires and a big smile presented itself on my face. Nobody could tell actually, cause my face was covered with earthly colors. I showed it off at our landings beer gathering in the Brewery that night, where we were toasting to great adventures. Meanwhile I heard the song ‘Those were the days’ ringing through my head.

I was sad to see everybody go, but it was time to move on. Utah has so much more gems to show. And so I went on this big park-to-park trip. Somehow, nature had a bowl here in this area, creating all these weird forms of rocks and painting them in all shades of reddish colors. And you just have to ride for a few miles to see a complete different vista. Arches, Canyon Land Island in the Sky, Needles, Monument Valley, Natural Bridges, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion, all are unbelievable pretty and awesome. I felt like a little kid in a very very very large playground and Mister Sun did his best to enlighten the spectacle even more. No words can describe what I’ve been feeling these last few days, but I always have my five hundred thousand pictures and video’s to remind me forever. And I became quite an expert in geology by visiting all these places. Because the Colorado Plateau (the playground) has many layers of different rock sediments and every National Park has its own story about which layer eroded into these weird formations of rocks. I don’t believe it though. I think some aliens took their kids on a fieldtrip and let them use Utah as a sand box, where they could build castles, towers, mittens and candles, while the adults played croquet. That sounds much more realistic, I guess.

So I continue my travels through this mystic land, full of beauty and….deer. I never saw so many deer in my whole life. That’s one of the advantages of traveling after sunset, because you see all these eyes shining in your headlights. And sure, after the bear and the big horns, a deer wanted to try out how fast I can react. It is funny how they always seem to know when I turn off my Go Pro, because right after that they ‘attack’, trying to play tag with my front wheel. Thankfully, I’m really bad at playing tag, so I never catch them. I hope I never will.


Annemieke, 19 November

Reacties 4

Maarten 20-11-2013 08:47

Ha Nennie,
wat een gave herinneringen roep je op (ben 6,5 jaar geleden in Moab geweest)! Heb je in Arches National Park toevallig mijn briefje - dat ik er destijds verstopt heb - gevonden?
Op afstand genieten we mee van je reis!
Ps hou je er rekening mee dat je in sommige gebieden daar geen koud biertje kan krijgen?

Patrick Vergroesen 20-11-2013 19:14

Hoi Annemiek,
Jij rijdt het warmere weer tegemoet. Hier in Nederland begint de temperatuur geleidelijk te dalen naar winterse waarden! Leuk om te lezen dat je Nederlanders ontmoet hebt in Utah! Veel plezier weer de komende dagen!

Jacqueline 21-11-2013 14:22

Hoi Annemieke,
Wederom genoten om je avonturen vanuit jouw perspectief een beetje mee te beleven .
Groetjes vanuit een kouder wordend Nederland.

peter verheijen 27-12-2013 18:09

hallo Annemiek,
wat leuk om deze site te bekijken en de vele foto's en verhalen te lezen.
Kan niet wachten om volgend jaar je verhalen te horen.
Is inderdaad afzien wat de kou betreft,maar las en hoorde van Arno dat je de warmte regemoet rijd.
Zag ook nog je intervieuw (wat kan jij stoer kijken) leuk om je zo te zien.
Zou zeggen fijne tijd verders en nog een hoop veilige km's.


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