Our BMW Club finally hit the road last Friday for our long-anticipated spring tour. We had planned for 9 days through the southwest, concentrating on Utah. The trip ended early, for a variety of reasons, but we still had a great tour and lots of great memories.
After overnighting in Laughlin, NV, one of our first stops was the Hoover Dam, which had changed considerably since my last visit in 1988 or so.
Here's the whole gang at the dam. We were all on GSs, except for one Harley and two RTs.
While in the vicinity, we swung by Lake Mead where we found a sailing regatta going on. I also took the opportunity to buy an annual national parks pass which more than paid for itself on this trip alone.
We spent the night in St. George, UT where we had a pretty darned good pizza. In the morning we hit the road early, and our first stop, naturally, was Zion National Park.
Roland cruising his '06 GS through Zion.
There's a really cool, long tunnel going through Zion. It is 6000 feet long and is cut through solid sandstone. The tunnel has at least three openings with scenic overlooks, but you can't pull over in the tunnel. Probably constructed in the days of 25 mph cars.
A little ways down the road, we had a pretty good lunch at the Thunderbird restaurant, amid busses and busses of German, Japanese, and French tourists.
Further on down Hwy 12, we encountered the sanguine landscapes of Red Canyon. Here Kelly pilots his 1150GS into the canyon.
The 12 is a great motorcycle road with twisties and scenery abounding.
After a day of incredible scenery, we made our destination, Escalante, UT. If you go there, stay at the Bunkhouse Motel, a series of handmade log cabins on the grounds of the Escalante Outfitters. They have an amazingly well-stocked store selling outdoor gear as well as a respectable restaurant and wireless internet cafe.
The owner (I think Jim) had a 1968 Vespa in mint condition. When he saw all the beemers he wanted to go on a tour of his own around town. I already had a couple of Jim Beams in me, but Kelly and Myram took him up on his offer and provided escort around Escalante as Jim pointed out local sites.
In the morning, after a good meal, a campfire, and good night's sleep, we headed back out onto Hwy 12. The road out of Escalante is a wonderful, serpentine challenge through some of the most wondrous geological forms you'll ever see.
Some of our group found it a bit pricey, but I highly recommend the Hell's Backbone Cafe. They serve gourmet meals expertly prepared with locally-grown ingredients. I had an order of milpas which must be Spanish for delicious. Check them out.
There are miles and miles of spectacular scenery. Here Brad takes it all in.
There is no shortage of photo ops and pull-outs. Here Myram gives his steed a rest.
One member of our party was deathly afraid that we would encounter snow on this trip. We saw not one drop of rain nor a single flake of snow on the road, but across the summit there was miles of snow on either side of the road. It was cool, but not intolerably so. Again, just jaw-dropping scenery.
Off the summit and into warmer temps, we entered Capitol Reef National Park. I had buzzed through here last year on a trip with my wife, but it didn't make the impression on me that it did this year. Another wonderful park with miles and miles of majestic formations.
Capitol Reef NP.
Native American petroglyphs in Capitol Reef NP.
Continued in Part II