|Touratech USA's Utah Backcountry Discovery Route|
These are ghosts of the era when old U.S. 50 -- not nearby Interstate 70 -- was a major cross-country route, and the Cold War search for uranium brought a level of prosperity but left the region pocked with abandoned mines that still pose hazards today.
With all of its warts and woes, Green River appeals to me. It is authentic Utah, and there are reasons -- access to gorgeous backcountry roads, spectacular sandstone canyons and ancient rock art -- to make Green River a destination, and to stay for a while.
|Camp at Green River State Park|
Like hordes of adventure motorists, I've traveled the beautiful backroads of greater Moab that stretch from the LaSal Mountains to the Abajos, from popular White Rim Road to remote Maze District.
|Utah Backcountry Discovery Route|
But over the years I've come to appreciate more the less-visited corners of canyon country, such as the San Rafael Swell and the Book Cliffs.
|Road to Reds Canyon|
On the UTBDR, we encountered stretches of soft sand, which I always find unnerving and difficult. But in the Book Cliffs, where the UTBDR edges along the brink of a high plateau with expansive vistas across canyon country, the native-surface roads were ideal.
Best of all, when we rode the loop through Reds Canyon in the Swell, we had chance encounters with other "inmates" of the ADV-riding asylum, AdventureRider.com. And at the same locale, as well.
One, Cameron, was a solo rock climber from Colorado who specializes in first ascents of the Swell's sandstone cliffs, spires and cracks.
|Eli and Tonia, soldiers both|
The others were a soon-to-retire soldier, Eli, and his wife, Tonia. She, also a soldier, was about to leave for her second tour in Afghanistan. The couple was traveling the backcountry in an impressive 4x4 pickup-camper combo.
The fact that we were all members of ADVrider.com, and thereby shared an uncommon yearning for backroad adventure, provided an instant bond among us.
A few more photos:
|On the way to Sagers Canyon, east of Green River|
|Sign on Temple Mtn. Road explains mining history.|
|Me, left, and fellow ADVRider inmate "Bob."|
|Side road to base of Hondu Arch|