Dan: Let's do 2 weeks out UTBDR to IDBDR
Will: That would be an EPIC trip
Dan: Let's do it!
That was how it started. Just a comment in the middle of a Facebook chat session about a recent trip with Dan Griffin and Mike Block, a random comment, a wonderful idea thrown out to the ether. So many times a random comment like that would just be wasted. Everyone in the conversation would have agreed what a wonderful idea it was and think "someday I would really love to do that", but not this time. We had just returned from a 5 day trip to Southern Oregon to run the McGrew trail, out to the coast and then up to the Dunes National Recreational Area in Florence. We had an incredible time and all of us realized during that trip we were with great people who knew what we were about off-road, and who shared our passion of the outdoors. Dan's idea sparked something in all of us. For myself, it occurred to me that it didn't matter if this wasn't the "right" time for me to do an adventure trip, it didn't matter if I could afford to take the time from work, or the money from my savings. These were the guys that I wanted to do this type of trip with, and for me, in that one instant it was settled. I wanted in.
From that point on it seemed that we were all agreed. We were going to do it. We quickly settled on dates and although a later conflict caused us to go out a few weeks earlier, we had our target and each of us began identifying the various projects we needed to complete on our rigs and began working on our packing lists. It was a fun filled summer, and the wives and girlfriends grew accustomed to the evening phone chat sessions that ran well into the night. I give credit to them all, Kara, Raiana, and Stacey were all on board from the beginning and supported each of us as we prepared and held the household together while we were gone. I cannot tell you how helpful, and meaningful that support was through the whole process.
Fast forward to Sept 3rd. D-day had arrived. All of the planning, and preparation was complete and we were off as Raiana says "Like a herd of thirsty turtles". Mike and I met in Seattle and convoyed to Pendleton, to connect with Dan. The next morning we were all up early and on the road before daylight as we headed Southeast, our goal for the day was Salt Lake City for our last planned hotel stay for a long while. We took advantage and had a great meal, a few beers and a good night's sleep. As tired as we were, we were still all excited to get to REAL the starting point of our adventure in Mexican Hat the next day.
As we exited Glen Canyon we continued on Highway 261 and descended into the Valley of the Gods on the Moki Dugway, a steep, narrow, winding road originally created for mining trucks accessing the valley that dropped down over 1100 feet in 3 miles. The view over the valley was beautiful in the late afternoon and we strained to try and catch a glimpse of the tracks we would be covering the following day as we traversed the Valley of the gods then ascended this same track as part of the Utah BDR.
Once we reached the floor of the Valley we quickly began looking for our campsite. It was getting a little late in the day and we were anxious to get to Gooseneck State Park as the views online promised to be wonderful. We quickly located the Park, paid our fee, and dashed out to the furthest campsite, located on a point that was bordered on 3 sides by the San Juan river several hundred feet below us. The views were even more incredible than we anticipated and after a wonderful dinner cooked by Dan, we settled back with a Cigar and a good scotch to watch the world transform around us as the sun set. It was a wonderful moment to relax after 3 long days of highway driving. Tomorrow we would officially "Start" our adventure, we were all as excited as schoolboys and sleep was a long time coming.