By Dominic Bauer
The great American Southwest provides some of most visually stunning landscapes in the world. The riding here is unique because there are few places on the planet where one can ride for hours with little to no traffic, traffic signals, or big cities for miles on end. The riding is world class with plenty of twists and turns coupled with geology and scenery that leaves everyone speechless.
The journey begins and ends in Las Vegas, Nevada. We ride the Canyonlands of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada and along the way visit Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Route 66. This is not only an extraordinary tour of natural history, but a glimpse into the old and wild west as well as Americana culture. Let’s take a look the American Southwest Adventure day by day.
Day 1 // Las Vegas, NV ⤳ Seligman, AZ
We roll out of Las Vegas and head to the town of Oatman, only to find ourselves amongst a few “asses.” We then finish up our day in Seligman, Arizona, the birthplace of historic Route 66.
Day 2 // Seligman, AZ ⤳ Mexican Hat, UT
View two major geological wonders of the Southwest in one day! The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley leave you in awe of their majestic beauty and grandeur, offering a reminder to those who bear witness to the unrelenting ravages of time.
Day 3 // Mexican Hat, UT ⤳ Cortez, CO
If it is not enough to see massive monoliths of sandstone, add the architecture of the indigenous ancestral Pueblo people and you will find another window into your soul. Sprinkle a little bit of motorcycling on top and voila!
Day 4 // Cortez, CO ⤳ Moab, UT
What do these things have in common?
1. Riding the Dolores River Canyon with some serious “snakes and arrows”
2. Looking at Wingate formations that put a crick in your neck
3. Visiting a car museum of epic proportions on the road less traveled
The answer? All of them leave you doubting that tomorrow can get any better.
Day 5 // Moab, UT
Not to sound redundant, but more canyons, red rock, landscapes that are too big for the eyes to handle and 140 miles of nourishment for the soul. Ahhhhh!
Day 6 // Moab, UT ⤳ Torrey, UT
The finer points of a motorcycle tour should endeavor to include the following:
- Jaw-dropping scenery ✓
- Excellent food ✓
- Clean and comfortable accommodations ✓
- Roads that beckon a motorcycle rider and encourage spirited riding ✓
- Someone to facilitate all of the above ✓
How’d we do?
Day 7 // Torrey, UT ⤳ Zion Mountain Ranch
This ride encompasses the Escalante Grand Staircase, Bryce Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, and Long Canyon. Sandstone, amazing riding, slot canyons, most impressive lodging.
Day 8 // Zion Mountain Ranch ⤳ Las Vegas
How does one prepare one’s cranium for re-entry into the real world? The American Southwest has a trajectory that lulls one into a state of introspection. After seven days of incredible riding and scenery, you snap out of the trance and realize that you are going home. It will never be the same.
In the words of my daughter, Elly, “The scenery is too big for my eyes.”
This place is something that every person should experience, not just motorcyclists. But if you’re able to ride the American Southwest on a motorcycle, with a good cast of characters and all of the logistics out of the way, well that’s just icing on the cake.