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dave6253 10-15-2011 07:38 PM

Trouble in John's Canyon... Again! (AZ-UT Autumn Tour)
John's Canyon, Utah

I visited John's Canyon last year, but was in a hurry to make a ferry. I didn't have the time to exlore this beautiful, remote, dead-end
canyon like I wanted. I promised myself a return trip John's Canyon someday to spend the night and finish the exploration.
The main goal of this tour was to fulfill this promise.

I had a little trouble last year in John's Canyon when a bad battery nearly stranded me.
Trouble of a more serious sort followed me into the canyon this year............................

This was supposed to be my fall tour. I may have to reconsider this as my winter ride. Will I find any fall colors?

Fun roads were ridden...

...and beautiful sights observed.

Let's make tracks!

Not those tracks. These!

dave6253 10-15-2011 07:52 PM

Early Start
Friday October 7th, 2011

With a 4 day weekend for riding I don't want to waste a minute. I'm riding hard by 4 am. Two hours later I roll
through Flagstaff before sunrise. The temp is 29 degrees and the road is wet from last night's snow. Brrrrr!

Waiting for the big fireball in the sky to warm me up.

Looks Like Wet Weather

Golden Showers Ahead! :puke1

San Francisco Peaks are already capped with snow.

If I can sneak under that cloud I may find blue skies.

That's more like it. Sun!

Signal 10-15-2011 08:06 PM

Fair enough
In :evil

dave6253 10-16-2011 09:43 AM

Making Tracks
I don't have much more asphalt planned for today.

I was nearing hypothermia so stopped to warm up.

The highway to Page, AZ cuts through this gap in the rocks...

I've always noticed the interesting sand dune next to the gap.

I trudge uphill to warm up and check out the dune.

Daddy Long Legs (KTM 990 Length Legs)

I caught an unusual sight this morning. Bobcat roadkill. Now I find evidence a bobcat has been patrolling this dune.

I'm 3 hours from home when I realize I'm missing something. My fully loaded Camelback is sitting in the garage at home!
I guess I can make do without the extra water in this cool weather. I had almost packed camera lenses in it. Glad I didn't.
I can probably go without the extra memory cards and the bear spray, but I have hiking plans
for this trip and need something to carry water, snacks, and camera gear.

I make a quick stop in Page and find a cheap backpack that barely fits inside the panniers.

dave6253 10-16-2011 10:08 AM

"Impassable When Wet"
I had only about 350 miles of riding planned today. I wanted to take Smokey Mountain Road, Hell's Backbone Road, and
UT 12 to a campsite near Capitol Reef NP. I was worried Smokey Mtn RD may be impassable and figured Cottonwood RD
would be the alternate route. Utah backroads are routinely marked "Impassable When Wet" on maps for good reason.

Washouts and superslick mud are the hazards. I guess I was hoping the weather had not been all that wet yet. I stopped
at the Visitor Center in Big Water and was warned that Smokey Mountain RD and my alternate, Cottonwood RD, are definitely impassable.
I'm also realizing Hell's Backbone would be snowed in. Crap! There goes my plan. What are my options. I could take a big
detour to the south then North to the Moab area, but I had my mind set on Capitol Reef. I head west towards Kanab.

The Paria River (Normally Just a Trickle)

It's gonna be a long day on the asphalt, But Wait!

I do know of a scenic backcountry shortcut that should be passable.

Johnson Canyon, Alton Amphitheater Scenic Backway

I was only about 8 miles from Alton when I started worrying the mud may cause another detour.

But I made it through.

Whatdayisit? 10-16-2011 10:22 AM

So far so good...
Can't wait to hear the rest.

The Toecutter 10-16-2011 10:49 AM

Love the B&W photos.

dave6253 10-16-2011 11:55 AM

Ut 12
Alton Traffic Jam

If you have a day full of...

...Asphalt to ride...

...the Utah Highway 12... as good as any.

I'm getting close to hypothermia again...

I stop for a foot-long lunch at the Subway near the Bryce Canyon Entrance.
Not recommended: Slow Service, Overcharged, Not Clean...

I start worrying about the snow levels on Boulder Mountain.
I really should've planned this route out a little better....

dave6253 10-16-2011 11:57 AM

Signal, Sean, & Toecutter, Thanks for joining in!

Bob 10-16-2011 12:08 PM

Perfect lunchtime entertainment!
Thanks Dave

FlagRS 10-16-2011 03:44 PM

Great pictures! It was probably 90 on Ut 12 a few days after you went through.

dave6253 10-16-2011 04:22 PM

Yeah, The freak wintry storm hit just in time for my trip. Thanks for rubbing it in FlagRS. :D I enjoyed the cooler than Phoenix temps, but there is a long list of places I had planned to ride that got scrubbed. It does clear up soon.

Welcome to another report Bob!

dave6253 10-16-2011 04:37 PM


I don't always stop at scenic overlooks, but there is one I've never passed up.

Utah Highway 12

Boulder Mountain is getting hammered. I have to ride over that mountain!
I chat with a photographer from Oklahoma. He said the roads were clear,
but he drove over Boulder Mountain in the morning.

The Henry Mountains are already snow-capped.
Look at that road! What a landscape to ride through!

dave6253 10-16-2011 04:49 PM

Boulder Mountain

I get my first glimpse of Autumn colors as I gain elevation.

Pretty soon the ground is covered with snow.

The road is wet from the storm that just passed, but thankfully no ice or snow.

I stop at another overlook.

The small shower has moved out over Capitol Reef National Park.

Fall Colors and the Henry Mountains

dave6253 10-16-2011 05:05 PM

Free Camping in the Rocks, Rocks!

I was gonna try to get a camping spot in Capitol Reef National Park, but scored a free spot with a better view!

My tent is nearly invisible in this big landscape.

I get a view of the National Park and the Henry Mountains in one direction...

...Boulder Mountain and Torrey, Utah in the other direction.

There are several places to camp off this little path only about 1/4 miles from the park entrance sign.

The day was longer and less exciting than planned.

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