The morning after John died, I began my journey back home to Colorado. I had all my rooms booked and was going to leave on Tuesday no matter what as the weather was good for those four days. He just happened to pass Monday evening.
The ride was off to a good start. The weather truly was blissful. What a change it was—no more ducking under my fairing trying to escape the cold wind, shivering until it hurt, or feeling like I was going to get bowled over at any moment.
I pulled off at this abandoned motel, drawn in by the funky southwest colors.
Monument Valley was a joy to ride into. Where on earth can you name a more iconic desert landscape? I was happy to finally be experiencing these red rock formations in person.
I knew that I'd be having to go down a dirt road to get to the cabin I rented through Airbnb. I tried convincing myself that I'd be fine, because after all, I was able to not drop my bike on a two mile long gravely dirt road (gravel is THE WORST!) As I approached it, I saw the road was steep and very uneven with rocks jutting out every which way, but I got up it no problem. I couldn't help but feel accomplished. I left my belongings at the cabin and meandered around, not wanting to stray too far. I'd be getting up for sunrise anyways. Clearly I puffed myself up too much with confidence as I went down another dirt road that looked like a piece of cake until I found out just how bad soft, silty earth is. My pride was knocked down a little after nearly dropping my heavy Harley numerous times pulling off on the slightly raised sides of the road for pictures. It's a horrible feeling when your front tire begins to sink and slide around, which only gets worse from using the front brake!
The night before, I scoured the internet on my phone, trying to find people who had ridden the road below the famous buttes on a motorcycle. I was not about to just wing it then realize how screwed I truly was and drop my bike, possible damaging it (or myself.) Okay, so some dual sports had done it. But I had a Harley, low and heavy, without knobby tires. I googled "Harleys on The Valley Drive Monument Valley." I found an article written by what looked to be a seasoned old pro who said it was miraculous he and his friend made it without dropping their hogs. Yeah, I've only been riding for two years, so it'll be a 'no' for me. Maybe one day I'll rent a dual sport and do it! Or when I've got decades of experience on my belt... I may ride a motorcycle, but I play it on the safe(r) side.
I wished that the sunrise was as spectacular as the one I witnessed in the Grand Canyon 5 years ago, but the colors were very mediocre. Regardless, it was a sight to behold.