Today my plan was to leave my campsite near Mexican Hat, UT, head up to Lake Powell and catch the ferry across, take the Burr Trail to Boulder, ride hwy 12, then go south through the Kodachrome Basin, go through Kanab and then camp down at Toroweap. Well, things would not work out that way.

The sunrise was amazing, though. (by the way, click on pictures to make larger)

I made my way North to Bullfrog. I stopped about 10 miles short of the lake and looked at the map, and the weather. It looked like I would be riding into a maelstrom of rain, thunderstorms, etc. I couldn’t remember if the Burr Trail had clay soil or not, but I also didn’t like the idea of riding in the rain all day. So, I turned around and decided to take a southern route through Page to get over to Toroweap. It was quite a bit of riding, but drier and warmer, I thought.

It was a long ride to get to Fredonia and the start of the road to Toroweap. I did hit a big storm coming into Kanab. The headwind was awful. I put on raingear which stayed on the rest of the day.

I parked at the start of the dirt road to Toroweap. 61 miles, it said. A sign read, Roads impassible in inclement weather. I guess I don’t put much faith in road signs, but I should have listened to this one, it turns out.

For a long time, the road was just fine. It was damp in spots, but no mud to speak of. Storms dotted the horizon, and it smelled like desert rain. There was no one else out here, and the road kept going over rise, after rise, after rise. It was beautiful, and desolate. It reminded me of a few days on the Divide last summer.

I turned a corner and saw mud ahead. I didn’t think much of it. As I got closer, I saw a Buell Ulysses sitting on the side of the road, with no rider in sight. I thought, wow, how strange is that? I didn’t really put 2 and 2 together until I got into the mud myself. It was an absolute quagmire. It looked innocent enough, but it started to swallow the bike. It was that thick, gooey, sticky mud that is just relentless. You can’t get through it when it’s deep, and you are on a big bike with street tires. So, I got stuck.

I tried to drive forward, but no luck. Eventually, after much cursing, sweating, and acting like a child, I realized the only thing to do was to drop the bike on it’s side, then pivot the front wheel around 90 degrees, to get out of this rut. About the time I was picking the bike back up and about to be on my way BACK to town (I could not continue), a guy shows up in truck towing a bike trailer! It was the Buell owner! He was staying at a motel in Kanab after having towed his bikes down from Montana. He got stuck earlier in the day.

His bike was totally jammed with mud, the shifter broken, the clutch burnt out (entirely). Dead in the water (or, mud). It took us an hour to load the darn thing on his trailer, after taking off the fenders, clearing mud away from wheels, brakes, etc. It didn’t help that it was raining as we did this.

I took off on my bike back towards town with Mike following. I dialed up the warp drives once I got out of the rain storm and made it to town well before he did. We spent forever with pressure washers trying to get the bikes clean.

We enjoyed a late dinner in town and Mike was nice enough to let me stay in his hotel room for the night. We swapped stories and commiserated about clay mud.

What a day! I was exhausted.

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