Day 6 – Moab, UT to Cortez, CO (Newspaper Rock)

Day 6 – Moab, UT to Cortez, CO

Date: 06/07/2016 Tuesday
Starting Location: Moab, UT
Ending Location: Cortez, CO
Starting Odometer: 8226
Ending Odometer:
Mileage Today:  214.7 Miles
Mileage Total:  1587.6 miles

Departing the hotel

Well, I’m afraid that the hotel was not exactly a Ritz Carlton.  The Motel 6 lived up to the image of all Motel 6’s across the country.  it’s true that the left the light on for me, but I’m afraid that’s about as far as they went.

Breakfast was at my new favorite place (Denny’s).  Well, it’s not my favorite, but it is located very close the hotel, so it won the breakfast raffle.  Breakfast was not as rewarding as dinner was.  Perhaps because I was no longer tired, was not dehydrated, and the temperature was only 79 degrees, Denny’s no longer had the magic.

Between a Rock and a hard place

You may recall that there was a book written by Aron Ralston about his misadventure in a canyon outside of Moab, UT.  The book was turned into a movie called 127 hours.  As I rode south from Moab, I recalled that it is these very canyons that trapped Aron, and caused him to cut his own arm off in order to escape a certain death scenario.

And so, it was with the memory of Aron being trapped in a canyon crevice that I thought about the remote trails of the UT Back-country discovery route.

The UT Back-country Discovery Route

I had hoped to write a really nice bit of content about how I bested the UT BDR, and that all of my training paid off, etc, etc.  The reality is quite a bit different.

Where is the start of the BDR?

When you leave Moab headed towards the entry for the BDR, you head south out of town, and start looking for a turn which isn’t marked.  So far, my GPS has been really accurate, and when the GPS told me that the start of the BDR was in the same place that I was, I pulled over to park, and have a look at the GPS.

As near as I could tell, the entrance was going to be about 4 miles further south from where I was.  But, before I could leave the parking lot and head south, I had a hallucination.

Is that an angel on my shoulder?

As I was sitting on the bike in the parking lot in that strip mall, someone in a car pulled into the lot, and parked next to me.  It was about 7AM, so I figured it might be one of the owners of the stores, or it might be someone visiting one of the stores.  Wrong on both counts.

The woman in the car got out and introduced herself as Samantha, and started asking questions about the bike.  After a few minutes of chatting, I learned that Samantha puts together trips, and rallies for motorcycles in the Moab area.  She also had a friend; A friend named Fred.

Fred is a local Adventure Bike rider, famous for riding a KLR 650.  The KLR is about 1/2 the size of the monstrosity that I’m riding, but I wouldn’t change my ride for any reason.  It’s bit, and heavy, but it’s awesome.  Just like me…  (kidding, I’m kidding)

Anyway, I started asking questions about the BDR, and one thing lead to another and I was following Samantha to Fred’s place.  After talking to Fred about the BDR, I learned a few very important facts.  Fact 1, the main mountain pass that I might have taken was still snowed in.  Fact 2, the other pass (the LaSalle Pass) was also snowed in, and not passable.

Armed with the info that both passes are closed, I hit the highway, and headed south towards Newspaper Rock.

If you’re interested in getting involved in a motorcycle rally in Moab, or this vacinity, look of Samantha’s information at

Samantha ‘Throttle’ Bonsack – 334.BIKE.NUT
Just Nut-Up, LLC
Motorcycle Tours & NUT-UP or SHUT-UP Riding Rallies

Newspaper Rock

Newspaper Rock is within the Canyonlands National Park, but I’m told that it’s actually a state park.  You can read all about it on Wikipedia.

I stopped at the rock, and took the short walk from the parking lot to the rock.  The Petroglyphs have been created over time, and the experts think that they were created as long as 2000 years ago.  The experts have not been able to decipher them, but I stood in front of the rock for at least 10 minutes, and I’m pretty sure I’ve figured it out.

You can see a picture of a guy on an early John Deere tractor, driving over uneven roads, arriving at a taco stand, and eating an enchilada.  I’m not sure why no one else has been able to figure this out.

Entering Colorado

It was about 11:00 AM that I entered Colorado.  So, that’s one more state border crossed, as I continue on this journey East.

Four Corners

The Four Corners monument is located on Navajo land, at the intersection of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona.  The Navajo nation has turned this remote piece of land into a real tourist attraction.

At the 4 corners station, there is a very nice monument that encourages everyone to take a picture, but a sign makes it clear that you’re limited to only one photo.  I took one photo, and one video, so I’m technically in violation of the Navajo Nation, but they seemed to appreciate my donation.

Four corners is really not at a beautiful place in the dessert, but it’s the kind of place that you really have to stop at, if you’re driving by.  Also, to get to 4 corners, you have leave Colorado, and travel 1/4 mile on a New Mexico highway.  You arrive at a parking lot, and are only a short walk from the monument.

I couldn’t contain myself, so I took these videos.

The Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Sorry, Itried, but I couldn’t find it.  So, I got back on the bike, and moved on….

Music – How is it affecting the ride

I’ve received a few emails from folks that are interested in what music I’m listening to.  They wanted me to list the songs.  The problem is that I’ve created a few play lists which are specific to certain events, such as sunrise and sunset, and departing the bay area.  Beyond those two lists, the only other playlist that I’ve created is called “All The Hits” and it contains about 2000, out of the 4000 songs that I’ve brought with me.

I generally select the “All Hits” playlist and let it run.  I don’t expect to hear duplicates for at least 10 days, perhaps more.  Although I’m unable to do what was asked, I’m going to try to give you a view into the mind of the idiot on the bike.

While riding today, there were two songs that struck me, and caused me to think.  First thing this morning I heard Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away.  You’ll recall the lyrics and how they are relevant.

You know the nearer your destination
The more you're slip slidin' away

I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses
To describe her life
She said a good day
Ain't got no rain
She said a bad day's when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been

So, as I’m riding along, I’m wondering…  Am I slip slidin’ away.  As I get closer to the destination, do I really get further away?

The second song that struck me was Jackson Brown’s The Road.

And when you stop to let em know
You've got it down
Its just another town along the road

In this song JB was talking about how the songs he wrote are affected by being on the road, and how he works and work to hone his craft, and then he questions what exactly he got out of it.

In my case, I’m having a ball, but I love the line that says that “It’s just another town along the road”.

What would Carl do?

My brother Carl is one of the most outgoing people that i know.  He can be in a cage full of tigers, and in 2 minutes, he’ll be having a conversation with the tigers about whether they like beef or pork sausage.  He does this so effortlessly, and easily that I need to recognize his natural ability, and always ask myself; What would Carl do?

I’m an enigma.  In many people’s eyes I’m an extravert, but deep down inside, I have lots of intravert tendencies.  So, when I’m on the road, stopping at all manner of National Park, restaurant, hotel, and the like, I’m always in a position where my experience will be better, if I reach out and talk the folks that I meet along the road.

So, I’ve started a new process that will trigger each time I meet new people.  I simply ask myself; What would Carl do.  Because I’m now channeling my younger brother Carl, I’m meeting people regularly, and having lots of fun and engaging conversations.  One such conversation happened today, when I stopped in at a pottery factory for a tour.

I had a really nice visit with the woman that runs the shop, and we talked about the state of small businesses that rely heavily on Native Americans as their workforce.

I had such a nice conversation that I purchased a souvenir, which will be shipped to my buddy Ralph, in South Carolina.  Get ready Ralph, it’s a small box, but it’s pure gold…

Here are some pictures of the factory, and the souvenir.

What’s on store for tomorrow

Tomorrow is going to be a relatively long day.  The day is scheduled to be about 370 or so miles.  I’ve been jonsin’ because I have not ridden any dirt, so I’ve figured out a route that will give me at least 20 miles of dirt, just as I’m arriving in Cripple Creek.

Most of you reading this are of a generation similar to me.  And, I’ll bet you are very familiar with, and love the music of Neil Young.  Well, tomorrow as I’m riding the final 20 miles of dirt, and arrive right at the south end of Cripple Creek, I’ll be listening to Neil Young, and for sure I’ll be listening to Cripple Creek during the final 10 minutes.

Can you say AWESOME?

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


  1. You got lucky (not that kind of lucky) when Samantha pulled in next to you. She is *exactly* the right person to randomly meet in a parking lot in Moab as you try to figure out where you’re going. 🙂

    Loved reading the blog–so nice to read about some of the stream-of-consciousness stuff and not just what you ate for breakfast. I’ll keep that in mind when I blog about my solo trip through IL-WI-MN-IA next week.

    Best wishes!

    1. You’re so right. Samantha is a true motorcyclist, lending help to those that look lost or stranded, or are in need. I was very lucky indeed.

  2. Thanks Pat,
    Don’t worry. I keep my attention at 100%, and I wear all of the protective gear all of the time.
    That said, I’m still me, and I tend to be a bit overconfident. Check out the video for Monday, June 13th to see how I got myself into a little bit of trouble.

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