Sunday, August 17, 2014
Madelyn and Scott awoke to the sound of thunder and droplets of rain on the tents. We collected the laundry before any serious rain and we lucked out as the rainstorm passed us to the south. Oatmeal and coffee were quick and a sufficient way for us to get our day going.
No significant dew on the tents or motorcycle covers, so tear down was much more efficient. We were torn down and rolling by 9:15am. Better than our performance in Silverton, but still nothing like a 7:00am departure from a motel.
This part of the TAT parallels sections of Interstate 70 (I-70) in Utah. The first non-paved roads were dirt farmroads, then back onto I-70 for a stretch. Using I-70 almost violates our rule of “No Interstates”; however, the TAT uses I-70 simply because there are no other roads that permit the TAT to cross this part of Utah without using it.
Anyhow, the TAT splits off I-70 with no exit, just a dirt lane to a gate in the right-of-way towards Black Dragon Canyon. This was one of Jarrett’s favorite portions of the TAT, so Scott was particularly looking forward to it. Very quickly we got into sand trouble after a small navigational error. We quickly rerouted ourselves towards the canyon. Before you knew it, we found sand again.
We worked our way to Black Dragon Canyon and soon discovered we had our hands full with trying to navigate in and out of the wash, which was littered with large rocks and sand.
We made it into the canyon, just before the petroglyphs before we made the decision to retreat. Four motorcycle recoveries in a mile span in a canyon with increasing temperatures and another hundred miles or so to travel, meant that Black Dragon Canyon would not be on our conquer list this year.
That being said, we’re glad we tried and seeing the petroglyphs was certainly a great reward for the effort.
We retraced our path, but still couldn’t avoid having to recover motorcycles along the way. This was a bonus round with two motorcycles at one time. And by-the-way, Kendrick has multiple drops at this point and has trouble finding humor when it occurs.
Another alternate route helped us put too technical stretches of the TAT behind us as we headed towards Richfield, Utah. Not unlike every other state we have ridden in, we found mud and soft spots that make TAT travel tricky. The red sandy plateaus of Utah disappear into terrain covered by scrub oak, before transitioning into irrigated agricultural land as we approach Richfield.
By the time we arrived in Richfield, our hydration packs were empty, our supplemental water bottles were empty, and we were just about ready to break into our one gallon RotopaX water containers, as the temperatures were in the mid 90s. The desert is nothing to fool with when it comes to water.
A motel with laundry facilities, ice, WIFI, and air conditioning was in order to help us prepare for another warm day on the TAT in the desert of the American West.