I had posted a request for route suggestions for my recent trip to Oregon and Washington and received super advice there to make a great trip: http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=44419
On one of the later posts there came advice from a forum member ( LSkrabut) out of Utah mentioning a place I had never heard off. I had been wondering about a section of road on my map that resembled a bowl of noodles and it finally had a name: Moki Dugway. It's considered one of the most difficult roads to negotiate in the U.S., but I think that's a little exaggerated.
For those who like myself who had never heard of it or those who want to know more, here's a small report to hopefully shed some light. Keep in mind we were heading north so we climbed "Up" (1100 feet to be exact and it's all dirt) If you come from the north heading south you would be descending it. It's not like a mountain pass going up and down.
Our day started out of Albuquerque so we took Hwy 550 up to Farmington and then headed west skirting Arizona and then heading north into Utah on Hwy 191. As luck would have it we hit the typical afternoon dessert squalls as the afternoon was upon us. One moment you're heading into a bad storm then the road changes direction you're heading for blue sky. Makes for some good debate as to whether it's time to put on the rain suit or not.
The thick part is about where Moki Dugway is, but 15, 20 minutes later it could be moved off which it did to some degree. There's really no turning back either as it's in the middle of freakin nowhere.
Ahead is the first warning of something to come.
So here's the weird part: Your heading towards a wall and the road seems to come to an end.
You look out to your left thinking it goes around that point, but that's all fenced in.
A little further it turns and seems to hit the cliff. Keep in mind these little point and shoot cameras do nothing to show the scope out here. If you look closely you can see me on my bike ahead. This pic and others of me were taken by "Doc" Hermann my great riding companion who liked riding behind. Winds were gusting super high at the base and then dissipated once climbing though still pretty darn windy I think due to the storms around..
The road turns to dirt and the reason you don't see it is because it's the same color as the cliff. It' very well groomed by the way though super tight switch backs and some steep grades along the way.
Starts to become like Where's Waldo here, but here you can see both levels here and teeny tiny me up above:
Looking from above back down.
No guard rails
Overcast and poor visibility, but you get the idea.
Doc stopped and shot some of me climbing in a slight drizzle.
I got off to take this picture and as you can see it's really well groomed and maintained.
Looking back from where we came just moments earlier.
And remember: Don't look down whatever you do.
So what advice can I give to ride the Moki Dugway other than take it slow and watch where you're going? My advice would be to be very careful with how you manage fuel since there just isn't any for miles. What we did was to head east off course in the wrong direction ( depending on how you look at it.) for about about 5 miles to the town of Bluff and filled up there first. We were heading to Torrey and the next gas I want to say would be about 100 miles at Hanksville or Blanding depending on where you're going. This is one of the few areas in the country where you see make shift solutions on bikes to carry extra fuel. Secondly you really need to be carrying plenty of drinking water hence the Camelbak filled with ice water on my back if you look at the bike photos.
From what I understand the road was built by a mining company to get uranium ore from their local mine and apparently it's still maintained. It's a real rush once you get to the top and hit smooth pavement again. I remember we were laughing on the two way radio once we got to the top. Highly recommend it as a road worth adding to your "Must ride" list. Oh and don't forget Hwy 95 from Blanding to Hanksville though if you take the Moki Dugway route, it becomes hwy 261 which dumps you on to Hwy 95 north of Blanding. It's all good out there for sure.