Sunday October 4, 2015. The day that holds the reason for this entire trip and idea. I managed to get this far in life, to keep telling stories, and hope for more to come. Midway through the previous night, some light tossing and turning woke me up as it was hard to get comfortable on a downslope rock slab since my air pad was slowly dissipating. What at first looked like a flashlight shining through my tent, I unzipped the door flap to realize it was only the moon lighting up the barren desert, as I stumbled out to water the dried up plant life that were all around.
The next time i woke up, it was to the sound of max opening a canned good, and turning on the portable camping stove. Before we got too cleaned up and somewhat situated, we had to face the inevitable and get our halfway stuck bikes out of the desert sand and back onto the trail we rode in on. Luckily, we only had about 50 feet to trek through, but it was a fun way to start the day, especially on my 30th birthday. Max’s bike was in a little different circumstances than mine, he had sand covering half his rear tire and all the way up his kickstand. With nothing but a T-shirt, swim shorts, and cowboy boots on, he plowed through cactus and thorn bushes to get back on the trail in style. We then proceeded to load up our bikes and campsite for the next 30 minutes, prepared to make the same soft and windy path back to civilization.
Filling up our gas tanks in downtown Page, it was time to put the past behind and look ahead to one of my most sought after stops on the trip, Monument Valley. This was one of the reasons why we changed the original route to what it is now. I also planned it perfectly so that we ride in and camp at a booked campground on my birthday so that there was no confusion on where we would sleep that night. It’s a very good thing we did, since it seemed the storm of the century decided to roll into town that night.
Entering into the valley, it felt and looked like the cliche scenario of an old John Wayne western. What I’ve seen in pictures and movies became a reality as we sped through the roadside mountain peaks, that seemed to form a portal into monument valley. Before the rain could get to us, we had plenty of time to set up camp, unload our bikes, and to go back into town 20 miles in search of some spirits to celebrate the days occasion. We slowly realized for the first time on the trip that we were in dry reservation land. That, and the fact that we went 20 miles the wrong way, to the wrong town, to purchase any alcohol. Thankfully enough, I somewhat planned ahead and had a small amount of the great, Admiral Nelson Rum, remaining from day 1 that was preserved In a water bottle.
After making a decent meal of grilling chicken in pie tins over the portable stove, we called it a night just in time to head for shelter in our tents. About 2-3 hours into the night, both us awoke to thunderous clouds and mostly downpour rain on and off throughout the night. Neither of us were able to get much sound sleep. For max, the earth shattering sounds were the least of his problems, as the fast falling rain seeped through the peak of his tent, slowly drowning all of his belongings.
-Sean Reilly / 30on2