In 1981, at the young-and-foolish age of 27, I took off from the Chicago area on a Yamaha XT500 set up for "dirt road touring" (I don't recall anybody using the term "adventure riding" back then), heading for the canyon country of southeastern Utah. Somewhere between Moab and the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park, I think It was one of those "once in a lifetime" adventures. I had every intention of going back, but the Usual Suspects (work, marriage, family) got in the way. While I visited the canyon country several times (1982, 1984, 1990, 1992, 2018, 2019), it was always on a big road bike, sometimes with a sidecar. In 2013, at the older-but-no-wiser age of 59-and-a-half, I got the idea of returning to the Moab area and re-visiting at least some of those places and roads. This became an eight-year struggle, as my plans were repeatedly stymied by Unusual Suspects: a series of orthopedic problems (collapsed discs, damaged sciatic nerve that left me with a half-numb foot, rotator cuff tear, hip replacement, ulnar nerve entrapment surgery...), a bike breakdown on the first day of the trip (see the "Rumsfeldian Zen" RR), and most recently a global pandemic. There were times I thought the universe just didn't want me to go on this trip. To keep from giving up on the whole idea, I've been telling myself that Nature just wants me to go on the 40th anniversary, which is this year. At the tender (sometimes very tender) age of 67. I had originally planned to title this report "40 Years Ago in Utah," write it up as a sort of "retro-RR" and use it as the introduction to the story of this year's (hopefully) triumphant return. But, here I am, three days from departure, and so far I haven't written a thing. So, new plan: try to write the RR for this trip in more or less real time (wi-fi permitting), and include flashbacks to the 1981 trip. I once wrote a novel that was half flashbacks, so I might be able to pull it off. Then again, the novel didn't sell very well. So, let's get started... Prologue I first fell in love with the area between Zion and Arches back in 1977. My girlfriend of the time and I were returning from a trip that had accidentally sorta followed the "Zen and the Art" route through Minnesota, Oregon, and down the California coast. On the way back, we stopped at Zion and were blown away by the scenery. Then we crossed the San Rafael Reef on I-70 (which was, in those days, one lane each direction with a center passing lane) and spent a good chunk of a day in Arches. We left saying, "we're going to come back here some day." "Some day" was 1980, when we rode our street bikes to Moab, rented a Jeep (well, an International Scout with a carburetor that stalled out after every big bounce), and drove it down to the Needles section of the National Park. There we went over Elephant Hill and the aptly named "SOB Hill" I am not sure which one this is, but it doesn't matter. Elephant Hill is an S.O.B. ...got stuck in the Grabens (which, I believe, are now off-limits to motor vehicles) It's not an optical illusion or camera distortion; the cliffs really are leaning in. After a few days at Needles, we went up to the Island in the Sky (where the road was still unpaved) to visit the aptly-named Grandview Point: It was here that I found the girlfriend had a serious aversion to Edges, particularly being at the top of a thousand-foot cliff. Which meant that no matter how hard I argued that it would be perfectly safe to take the four-wheel-drive Scout down the Shafer Trail Jeep Road ("not for the squeamish," said the park brochure), she remained adamant. 1980s tech for creating a montage from multiple photos: an X-Acto knife and rubber cement. If I wanted to drive down this road, I would have to first drop her off at the motel and drive back. Which, hearing the Domestic Tranquility Alert Klaxon honking loudly, I decided not to do. But it was there that an insane idea entered my brain: I wanted to come out here on a motorcycle and ride these roads. Shafer Trail in particular, but some of the other roads as well. I came home with a sort-of-accurate Jeep Trail Map of the Canyonlands area, and a somewhat-less-accurate Jeep Trail Guide, and started planning how I would return on two wheels. There were only two minor obstacles in the way of this plan: first, I didn't have a bike capable of riding from the Chicago area to Moab and then going off-road; second, I knew next to nothing about off-road riding. Luckily, these obstacles could be overcome. All it would take was spending enough money and buying enough motorcycles.