Mokee Dugway
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18st March 2002 - 21.12 GMT

Goosenecks near Mexican Head

Nice & fuckin' unreal

Next highlights were Mexican hat and Goosenecks.

The map indicated some kind of mountain pass right ahead, but I saw nothing matching with the data. So I made this day for an early camp, a bit worried about snakes and other stuff, as the ground was drilled with hundreds of holes all the size of rabbits or snakes or spiders... Lying in the cosiness of my sleeping bag I waited for the night and for the stars to come. What first seemed to be just something curious turned into something deeply horrifying: there were lights going up and down a near cliff. The next morning it turned out to be Mokee Dugway, 1100 ft in 3 Miles on dirt road.

 Not exactly what I needed, because knees were already aching since the first day of the trip.

But boy oh boy, reaching the top was absolutely mind blowing, an incredible place. And even it was bone freezing at night, due to a clear blue sky, a powerful sun and a wind protected place I took a sun bath, half naked overlooking the "valley of the gods".

Occasionally someone was driving by, but not leaving their car because of the cold. An exception was one guy with a red Camaro from Texas. The guy stopped in front of me, gave me a "Hi", looked down to the valley and said with a laugh „Yeah man, that's fuckin unreal", and off he went. Nice dude.

Entering Road 95, passing the entrance to National Bridges NP - see USA 97 Roadmovie - I picked up and incredible good rhythm and just pure fun to bike along. But it was getting dark and I was running out of water; I didn't needed it that much for drinking, but for cooking, as I only had rice with me. I found a camp in the bushes and arranged an "alternative" for the water to cook me a meal. I shouldn't have used so much salt, cause during the night I suffered hefty thirst and there was only a very last Coke left.

The next morning I found friendly people at a farmhouse, probably the only one 100 km around. During the day it got cloudy and I biked around Glen Canyon, forced for supply to descend to Hite Marina.

Mokee Dugway

So, 1,5 tricky days passed since Mokee, with absolutely nothing at all you could consider village or town. Then came finally Hanksville (yes, THE Hanksville). At least there is a coffee place a public cell phone (spent 5 bucks in dimes to call home, but I was screwed.)

In Hanksville, in the warmth of the coffee place, I realized, that I was really bad behind schedule and that I may not finish the roundtrip in time. The terrain was kind of challenging and the days were short. I hung around at the gas station and asked people for a ride. Fortunately I was now on a highway with some more movement then before and after 1 hour, I arranged a ride with two very nice guys in an old Ford Pickup with some trailer thing mounted on the back. Remarkable guys, weighting over 120 kg each and around 70 years old. We passed Capital Reef NP and via Boulder they dropped me in a hotel in Escalante, Mormon country. It started raining and I was glad to have a nice place for the night.

Next day, 24th of December, it was raining... I got another ride to the entrance of Bryce Canyon and looked for a room, but 42 $ was way too much for my budget and my honour. I decided to stay outdoor, even if the conditions were not very favourable . Bryce has 8000 feet of altitude and was covered by 20 cm of snow, more still falling.

As I got on the biking, getting dark, all white and snow falling, I entered the National Park on Xmas eve, looking for a place to sleep. There was very little movement, at a viewpoint there were some Japanese, but nothing to see, just plain white and snowflakes burning in the unprotected eyes. In the camping area there was no place to go, gigantic motor homes here and there, but no way to sleep in the bathroom or under a bank. Finally I found a great place, it's the back entrance of the closed visitors centre. Now was time for some Xmas fun. I made some nice Chilly with Tuna, had a Coke and a very small J&B from the flight and then I started to open all the Xmas cards, I was carrying around with me. A very charming one from Maria, the mystery girl from the Azores, buddy Alvaro wrote me a song, cards from my parents, Pete, Marc. Yes indeed, there was some kind of magic and classic Xmas feeling in the air.

The next four days turned out to be a bit a race against time, as I definitely wanted to get my bus in Flagstaff to return in time to Phoenix. The weather was not that good and the landscape not that breath taking then before. Places like Hatch reminded me more of Poland then the US. Orderville, Kanab and finally Page, where I hoped to get a bus to Flagstaff, but I was wrong. To put it that way: I was getting very nervous !

After one hour standing at the crossing and almost jumping in front of the cars to stop them stopped a very old Toyota Pickup with a guy called Jessie at the wheel. Jessie about himself: 7 years as trucker, but had to stop driving after a broken neck in an accident with a Taxi; he shot a guy who wanted to steal his truck (Jessie shoot second); this was the last one he killed since Vietnam and that's why he doesn't carry guns anymore; coming from Washington state across Iowa, looking for his wife; he has 9 Harley. We had a lot of fun and got very well along. He dropped me in Flag, asked me for 10 bucks for the gas because he had to arrive in Barstow, CA that night, not to loose his job. He invited me to have a drink around town, knowing some good places and all the women in town. "Yeah, man. That's fuckin awesome."

So I came back to the Motel where I started 2 weeks before, and prepared myself with some cable TV for the long 60 hour trip back home.

Part 3

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