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-   -   "Crazy Europeans" tour Utah on a KTM 990 (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=716994)

jadedillusion 08-16-2011 09:30 PM

"Crazy Europeans" tour Utah on a KTM 990
 
8/9/2011

Day 1 - Zion

Why the name “Crazy Europeans tour Utah”? Well we aren’t European. I was born and raised in NJ, transplanted into Arizona. Mike was born in Mississippi and raised near several Navy yards, also transplanted to Arizona. So why crazy Europeans? You’ll have to read along to find out.

We are in Utah though. :wink:

The hubby (bronco3738) and I decided to head back to Utah this summer because we loved it that much on the honeymoon. This trip will consist of Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capitol Reef and Glen Canyon. We also decided to truck the bike up to Utah for a variety of reasons; it's hotter than hell in southern Arizona right now and we had no intentions of sight seeing until we got into Utah.

Mike loaded the Space Shuttle 990 (named a few months back by our "little bike" riding friends) last night, so all we had to do this morning was leave. And, we left the house late, as usual. It ended up working in our favor, as we missed rush hour traffic through Phoenix. We stopped at The Good Egg for breakfast just south of Anthem, AZ. It was...okay.

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We pit stopped at the Navajo Bridge to see WATER!!

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Isn't she sad in the truck??

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We made great time. We hit Utah mid afternoon and buzzed into Zion National Park. Prior to hitting the park, we stopped at a buffalo farm to look at the great beasts.

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And the baby chicks.

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Oh god! Put me down, put me down!
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Onto the park. Unfortunately we were both under the assumption that it was a low key, large park with dirt tracks and whatnot. Apparently not. The park was packed. Tons of RV's, buses, and all around annoying tourists. Mike doesn't do tourists, crowds, or pavement. The bike stayed in the truck throughout our trek through the park. The campgrounds were packed, and he was miserable. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery.

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We lucked out and met a couple riding around in a AEV Jeep, with a prototype roof tent. We're all about Overlanding, and will be setting the truck up: roof tent, fridge, etc.. They oogled the bike, while we oogled the Jeep. One thing the KTM has done is open up a lot of conversation with all types of people.

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We walked down to the Virgin River and soaked our feet in the cold mountain water, then left the park to find camping, or a place to stay. By this point we just wanted a place to stay, so the local Best Western it was.

Originally we were going to spend tomorrow in Zion, but we are desperately looking for the secluded travel experience that we had in Moab. I think we're going to forgo the crowds in Zion for Bryce. The best part about these vacations is making decisions on the fly.

jadedillusion 08-16-2011 10:06 PM

Day 2 - Zion Re Deux and Bryce
 
The day started as any other in Zion, with an expensive Cafe breakfast. We were into the park again by 10am. I think we needed to rest, because we both seemed to enjoy the park more on the way back through. We stopped to dip our toes in the Virgin River again. Nope, it did not have restoring qualities, but it was ice cold. We did a brief casual walk and played around with a small waterfall.

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Zion isn't for those looking for off road fun, but the scenery is amazing. I also spotted long horned sheep and we were "one of those tourists" who stopped in the middle of the road to take pictures of them. I didn’t find out until several days later that they were wiped out of the area in the early 20<sup>th</sup> century, and only reintroduced back into the wild. Apparently we lucked out with our sighting.
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We boogied out of the park and headed towards Bryce Canyon in hopes of better riding. On the way to Panguitch we had to stop at a junk yard so Mike could drool over the cars he can't have.
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We made it to Panguitch and got a motel room. Mostly because we needed to find a place to park the truck for the remainder of the week. Once unloaded, we headed off on the Space Shuttle 990 towards dirt roads.:lol3


On our way to Bryce Canyon, we spotted it - a brown sign that said Loosee Canyon, pointing directly at a dirt road. Sorry Bryce, you can wait. We headed off into the Dixie National Forest and found an ATV road! No vehicles over 50" allowed. PERFECT!
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The Space Shuttle was taking us down a wash, through red spires indicative of Bryce. It - Was - Amazing! :clap
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We zoomed by a couple taking a break next to their ATV and got a puzzled look. I couldn't get over the beauty; how lucky were we to have this whole area to ourselves. The weather was perfect, the riding technical - absolute joy. Just what we needed after yesterday.

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Oh, and we dumped it. I had a 15 second window of knowing the crash was going to happen, he had NO idea. Down she went. The luggage has been sufficiently tested. The side bag popped right off, no cracks, or breaks. At least we got the crash out of the way early.
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Our path linked up with Fremont ATV trail and took us through red rock, white rock, pine trees: a plethora of scenery.

This little section was like a roller coaster - slick rock fun!
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Looks like the Space Shuttle really was on top of the world.
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Turn around and you see this:
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After some time and about 13 miles, we hit a gravel road which took us back to Utah 12. We stopped at a rest room and here came our ATV friends from earlier. They are also from Arizona and thought we were crazy Europeans (hence the title) when we blasted by them earlier. :lol3 They had been camping and exploring the park for a few days and gave us some great road choices. Oh the people we meet.


Finally we were on our way to Bryce Canyon. Yes, the park is paved and reminiscent of the Grand Canyon with how you have to see things, but we had to go anyway. Insert lots and lots of foreign tourists (mainly French) and bad drivers. The park is beautiful, worth seeing, but tiring at the same time. A lot of putting helmets on, taking them off, dismounting, walking around ATGATT. I prefer our adventure through Dixie NF much better. But it allows you to get a grand view of the rock formations.

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Natural Bridge. We seriously need filter for the camera. This afternoon lighting was killing our photos.
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After an expensive and unmemorable dinner, we zoomed back to the motel. Mesh gear is great during the day, but it actually cools down when the sun sets. Unlike Phoenix, where 85 is cold in the summer, and only found at night.
On the way back we went through Red Canyon, which we missed earlier because of our Dixie NF detour. I squeezed a few shots out before my camera said "piss off its dark".

Warp speed ahead.
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Tomorrow...is up in the air. :wings

Lycan1 08-17-2011 07:19 AM

Nice pictures. Thanks for taking us along. Are you sure you had enough stuff loaded on the 990 in that one picture?:D

Bronco3738 08-17-2011 01:51 PM

That is just the start of the pictures. Gear for two people for a week plus camping gear and food really adds up. We also carried 2 inflatable sleeping mats. We like to sleep as comfortable as we can. The 990 just shrugged it off and never gave us any problems. Although after cleaning it up today, the skid plate did take quite a beating.

jadedillusion 08-17-2011 04:05 PM

Day 3 - Grand Staircase-Escalante
 
8/11/11


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The truck was parked and locked up and the Space Shuttle was loaded down for our journey onward. Wait for it...look at all of our crap!
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Sadly, we left Bryce.
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Mike wanted to hit Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park. 25 miles or so down a crappy “well maintained” road (it varied from sand to marbles), we turned down a small road towards some slot canyons. We haven’t done any hiking, and it wasn’t too terribly hot outside - yet.
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The slot canyons were pretty neat, quiet, and breezy.
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We ran into a cool couple (Cliff and his wife). Cliff actually owns a KTM, so we didn’t have to explain the bike to him. They are an adventure couple. In their Toyota truck, just off to see the world. They’ve lived everywhere, now residing in Hawaii. I hope that will be Mike and I in our retirement.

We left them and Mike insisted on going another 30 miles down the road to Hole In the Rock. Where we should be able to hop into Lake Powell.
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It was scorching hot by this point, so a dip in the lake would be nice. There wasn’t a soul on the road, nor at Hole in the Rock, which should’ve been an indicator.

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Yeah, the water wasn’t right there. You had to hike, no rock climb down to it. I made it half way and decided I was done. We hadn’t had any lunch and we were scary low on water. I knew that if I went to the bottom, I wouldn’t made it back up to the bike. Plus, Mike HATES heights.

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I’m a novice rock climber, I love it. It doesn’t scare me, I know to trust my feet and leg muscles to get me where I need to go.

MIKE HATES HEIGHTS. :eek1

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This was the point where I stopped.

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He struggled, but was a champ and made it back to the top. And then we were tapped out, no energy, NO water. Shit. Its hot and we are 60 miles from Escalante. I actually got a bit scared. But my king, spooled the Space Shuttle to Mach-1 and got us to Escalante in record time. We stopped and got two gallons of water and some ice-tea. I should really take out stock in Arizona Ice Tea.

It was getting dark but he knew of a camp ground near a creek. Calf Creek here we come. Amazingly, we spotted Cliff and his wife in the same camp ground and lamented about our day to each other. Great people.

We set up the tent by the light of the almost-full moon, and suited up for our “bath”. The camp ground has a small pool set up in the creek. It was ICE COLD but so necessary after the long and difficult afternoon we had. :vardy
After some boil in the bag dinner, we cozy-ed up and finally went to sleep.



Another day down...

KHVol 08-17-2011 04:29 PM

Water in the desert is like fuel in an airplane..always take twice as much as you need....love your RR..

jadedillusion 08-17-2011 04:37 PM

Day 4 - Burr Trail - Capitol Reef - Mexican Hat
 
8/12/2011


Word of the day: HOT.:hair

No, it wasn't yesterday's word; yesterday's word was DIFFICULT.

We were up late, of course. I slept fitfully, and he slept well listening to the creek. We chatted with Cliff again about life, work, and politics. I really aspire to be that cool and laid back. I really aspire to keep the adventure within and live life like they did and still do.

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I love this little camp ground. Its pretty much all tent camping, so you don’t have to suffer through loud generators during the night. Plus, you have the added benefit of a beautiful rock face on both sides of the creek. Oh, and the turkey’s came to breakfast, a family of five meandered into our camp site.
This is where we bathed last night:
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We blew through Boulder:
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Sped along a ridgeline with the end goal of Bull Frog. I love Utah; their state motto should be “Drive at your own risk”, because guard rails are clearly overrated.

We moseyed our way down the Burr Trail. Mike’s iPod was playing a mix of bluesy rock, peppered with Eric Clapton; it set the mood. :kumbaya

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A lazy ride through the gorgeous Long Canyon and into Capital Reef.
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The desert was doing her best to reclaim the road.
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This is where we left a pack of Harley's with their leather skinned ladies.
Capitol Reef awaits...
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By the time we hit Capital Reef the bike was telling us that it was almost 100* outside. Lovely. I loathe the heat. (Go figure, I live and work in Phoenix) I couldn’t really enjoy the park and just wanted to get to Lake Powell. Plus the camera battery quit on me. Blech.

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Before the camera quit, I did manage to snap some shots of a set of switchbacks we went down.
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One more for the road.
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We hit Bullfrog too early to just jump on the ferry towards Halls Crossing so we thought a meal would be nice. Nope. Apparently keeping your restaurant open all day is also overrated. That’s it, I officially hate Lake Powell communities. In each one we have been in, amenities have been scarce, everything is over priced yet cheap, and there is NO SHADE ANYWHERE. :kboom

If they hadn’t dammed up the river, there wouldn’t be any communities near the lake.
They didn’t even provide a small shade structure to sit under while waiting for the ferry. It was docked and empty, but they wouldn’t let us load. We baked in the sun for 25 minutes. Jerks.

Anyway...I dug out the little camera to document the final haul to Mexican Hat.

Baby, ah hem, I mean the Space Shuttle 990 had her maiden voyage across a body of water.

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The GPS kept on tracking so according to the bike, we actually drove across the lake. I came up with a new tag line for KTM.....KTM, Jesus’ #1 choice in off road vehicles.

From Halls Crossing, Mike decided that he NEEDED steak in Mexican Hat. We blazed through and made it there by dusk.

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Although half way down the Moki Dugway, the bike’s Oh Shit-o-meter, went off and told us that “hello, I need fuel idiots”. Mike poured our reserve in and we made it into Mexican Hat without having to call for help.

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Of course, all of the regular motels were booked, so we ended up in the Budget, Roach Motel. We pretty much went to Mexican Hat for steak and a shower. :dg The steak (at the Mexican Hat Steak House, home of the swinging grill) was fantastic as usual. The shower was needed.

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Good night Mexican Hat. Good night Utah.

Tomorrow, back to cooler temperatures and a rest day.

jadedillusion 08-17-2011 05:26 PM

Day 5 - Back to Calf Creek
 
8/13/2011

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mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--> We woke early in Mexican Hat in order to make it to Halls Crossing for the first ferry at 9AM. Somehow, after a terrible nights sleep in the Roach Motel, we were up and on the road by 7AM.
http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5891-M.jpg

If possible, Mexican Hat is more beautiful in the morning light than in any other light we have seen it in.
http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5894-M.jpg

http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5896-M.jpg

A typical portrait of the two of us:
http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5897-M.jpg

Up and over the Moki Dugway, we blazed our way towards Halls Crossing.

The reds are more red in the morning. The sun hasn’t had time to bleach them out.
http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5903-M.jpg

There is something so solitary about being on the bike. Yes, we’re 2UP, but when you are the only vehicle on the 80 mile stretch from Mexican Hat to Halls Crossing, you feel quite alone. A good kind of alone: the kind that brings a smile to my face and makes me feel at peace. Well that and the head set in my helmet took a crap. I can hear music and hear Mike talk, but I can’t talk to him.

Our chariot awaits!
http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5924-M.jpg

We crossed right at 9AM and had an over priced breakfast in Bull Frog. At least the restaurant had a fantastic view of Lake Powell.

Onto Burr Trail and Capital Reef. Since we hit the park before the heat did, I enjoyed Capital Reef more. I could appreciate the land and scenery, instead of focusing on how hot and miserable I was.

http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5951-M.jpg

http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG5957-M.jpg

Plus, the park is pretty much empty, only a car here or there, instead of packed like Zion was. We contemplated heading through the entire park, but had our hearts set on camping at Calf Creek again, and it would’ve put us too far away.

So up the switch backs and out through Long Canyon towards Boulder it was.

http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot.../IMG6047-M.jpg

I still really love Boulder, small, quiet, and peaceful.

Thankfully we hit Calf Creak around 1PM, because most of the camp sites were already spoken for. We managed to find a small one, close to the creek. We put up the tent, got into our bathing suits and took the chilly dip again.

http://adventurewife.smugmug.com/Mot...alfCreek-M.jpg

The camp ground is packed with hikers during the day, so we had to compete with people and fish for dipping space.
And its pretty much confirmed. All of Europe is on vacation in Utah right now.

The rest of today was spent doing a creek hike in the cold water. I wasn’t up for the 3 mile round trip trek to the falls. Plus, I want to save something for the next time we visit. This camping spot is perfect for our dogs: hiking and water.

The clouds rolled in and sprinkled on and off throughout the night. It was fairly hot in the tent too. Odd how the night before last we froze in the same campground.

enduro0125 08-17-2011 06:01 PM

http://enduro0125.smugmug.com/photos...06_XvZPG-L.jpg

Look familiar?

Enjoying the report.

jadedillusion 08-17-2011 06:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by enduro0125 (Post 16652148)

Look familiar?

Enjoying the report.

http://lzjjna.blu.livefilestore.com/...i/IMG_2275.JPG

Looks very familiar. This was a shot we took last year on our way through Mexican Hat. We were so hungry and tired by the time we got there, we forgot to bring the camera to dinner.

Thanks!!:dg

Bronco3738 08-17-2011 07:35 PM

Uumm Steak!
 
It looks familiar, and this was the delicious result.

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/5-JYQ42XfceWWi6o-Aasqe76Oza9wI84L_huCsDfsVw?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-DzmaL6_PK6s/Tkxr9nF-RuI/AAAAAAAAAD0/nbzpB69FGOo/s144/%25253D%25253Futf-8%25253FB%25253FSU1HMDAxNDQtMjAxMTA4MTItMjAwMS5qcG c%25253D%25253F%25253D.jpg" height="108" width="144" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/MikeHitt1200/Utah2011?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCI7q9MWmx6rH0AE& feat=embedwebsite">Utah 2011</a></td></tr></table>

Axiom 08-17-2011 08:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
The waterfall at calf creek is worth the hike. Great ride report!:clap love sourthern utah. I hauled my klr in my pickup ( still plently of snow in March) when I camped in Escalante during sprinkbreak, but only was able to ride about 80 miles, a high of 30 degrees got old, but I will be going back. Love the great pictures.

jadedillusion 08-17-2011 10:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Axiom (Post 16653238)
The waterfall at calf creek is worth the hike. Great ride report!:clap love sourthern utah. I hauled my klr in my pickup ( still plently of snow in March) when I camped in Escalante during sprinkbreak, but only was able to ride about 80 miles, a high of 30 degrees got old, but I will be going back. Love the great pictures.

Love your photo of the falls. We have every intention of returning to Calf Creek. Next time will be with our dogs because I really believe that camp ground suits them perfectly.

Thanks!

Signal 08-17-2011 11:05 PM

Prefect route, Hellishly cool report :clap

dave6253 08-18-2011 12:13 AM

It looks like you two hit most of my favorite places to ride. Thanks for sharing. I'm hoping to make it back to S. Utah soon.


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