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June 21, 2010 / Amy Lucas Photography

Montrose, CO – Tuba City, AZ

Day 3! Today we started out driving down 550 South which includes the Million Dollar Highway. It was absolutely breathtaking! It was a nice, cool 55 degrees and the turns were not as tight as they were going up Mt. Evans, but they were still awfully curvy. Someone even spray painted “Dizzy Yet?” on the road. We followed those mountain passes through Ouray, Red Mountain Pass (10,075 ft), Silverton, Molas Pass (10,899 ft), Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft), and ended up in Durango, CO. That’s when the land started to flatten out and all we could see was rolling hills. We went West on 160 to cortez where we entered the high desert where it was 95 degrees. There we planned to stop and see the Four Corners, but unfortunately they were closed due to construction. A bunch of people had stopped outside the gate and we all had a good laugh when another motorcyclist quoted National Lampoon’s Vacation saying, “Sorry folks, we’re closed for two weeks to clean and repair America’s favorite family fun park. Sorry… uhhuh, uhhuh, uhhuh.” After not seeing the Four Corners, we crossed over into Arizona. We took 160 West through the Red Mesa, Then 191 North up through Utah to meet up with 163 Southwest going through monument valley. While we were driving through Monument Valley there was this weird haze and for a second we thought that maybe it was humidity, but that couldn’t be because it is so dry here. Later we found out that there are forest fires (which ignited after a careless campers didn’t put out their camp fire) in the San Francisco Mountains just Northeast of Flagstaff, AZ, and the smoke was blowing up Northwest through Monument Valley. So unfortunately I wasn’t able to take that many decent pictures. By this time we were pretty exhausted and wanted to stay the night in Kayenta, AZ, but all the hotels in the town were booked, so we had to drive an extra 72 miles to to the next town, Tuba City. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures between Kayenta and Tuba City because we were trying to get there as fast as possible. The smoke from the forest fires finally dissipated halfway to Tuba City, and you could see the cloud of smoke so clearly. The sky to the right of us was blue and the sky to the left was a dark grey. It was really weird. Once we got to Tuba City, we found a hotel and coincidentally met up with another couple who we had first encountered at the Four Corners. We also saw the motorcycle in the parking lot of the hotel that belonged to another couple we met at the Four Corners as well. What a small world!

Check out that drop!

Checking out the scenery

Desert

95 Degrees

More and more desert

Still more desert

Monument Valley covered in smoke

Still more smoke

Here you can see the thick cloud of smoke sitting close to the ground far off in the distance.

Today’s Mileage: 386.9
Total Mileage Travelled: 751

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