Monday, May 6, 2013

Coming 'round the mountain

the sign says it all

Since I had apparently picked up something viral or at the very least physically uncomfortable, we decided to make a beeline for home from the Grand Canyon.
I was coughing every 5-10 seconds and hungry with no appetite for anything.
I wanted my own bed and kitchen.
So Marc decided to try a shortcut to get us from the lower south rim back to American Fork faster.
We cut out a loop over to Kanab to a museum we were going to peruse and lined up the quickest route on the Google GPS.
It showed a clean shot through Monument Valley that we liked.
However, it came with a warning: "Be aware, 10 % grade ahead next 3 miles, steep curves, gravel surface."
Didn't sound good but the part of the road we were currently on looked fine. We looked ahead and could only see road and the huge monument of colorful impenetrable stone.
Maybe the sign was old.
Or maybe the road cut through where we couldn't see.
How bad could it be?
encouraging news — notice the road mid-picture downside
We forged on.
I kidded Marc a bit about the last time we did something like this and tipped our gas tank to the tune of $1300.
He assured me THIS car could take whatever the road could dish out.
We motored on, now noticing that there were no other cars on the road.
The elevation started to change. We realized we were climbing the side of the mountain to the top.
Now it turned to gravel and washboard.
The turns were blind switchbacks with room for one car at a time.
an aerial view
We started to hang on tighter as we drove on and up. We were literally going up and over the red rock butte. The view from the SkyBridge in the canyon had nothing on this.
We were looking straight down.
I was gripping the car door handle for dear life like it would help.
Suddenly a big old gas truck came the other way, fortunately passing at a rare place wide enough to allow it.
That at least told us it was possible to get to the other side of this road which we eventually managed.
It's one of those "makes a great story" moments that I do not intend repeating.
If you want to, it's called the Mokee Dugway on Utah Highway 261 between Monument Valley and Torrey. I don't recommend it.

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