Today's ride was going to be a bit different because while we'd explored a good deal of Canyonlands there was still a lot of Utah left. Dad had heard how pretty the run up the Colorado was on 128 so I loaded a route into the GPS that would take us over La Sal Loop Road. Scott and I hopped on the 990's while Padre pulled out his backup bike: the R1LE. We took off and had a nice ride all the way to the old Dewey Bridge.
The new bridge on 128. There's literally no way you can miss seeing the old one.
Headed towards the La Sal Mountains.
After getting on La Sal Mountain Loop Road we went through some scrub brush and started climbing the mountain. It was fairly evident that the elevation had been increasing the whole way as the landscape had become less arid. By the time we got to the actual mountain we were dodging mule deer, something that we'd do all day long. This is almost at the top of the mountain.
We rode on and dropped down the side of a cut-out/gully/ravine into an area that had been burned at some time. The road here turned into a loose, fine gravel and initially I was concerned that Padre wouldn't want to take the R1 up here. Then I remembered that Padre was riding and he'd ride it until he ran out of ground clearance.
Henceforth, we continued our climb before finally topping out at over 8000 feet. We had essentially doubled our elevation from Moab. Here's what we found at the top.
We'll throw this one in simply because I like the colors.
Now the interesting thing was the night before, while eating our $2 a scoop ice cream from Moab Creamery that was worth every single bite, we'd seen this massive GMC truck go by, one of those baby semi deals, pulling a trailer that was obviously really tall for a reason. It said something about aviation and Padre or Scott commented, "I bet that's a helicopter". Low and behold we find that same truck and trailer at the top with us and sure enough, there's a helicopter. They were prepping it when we got there so we did the picture thing and when we heard the engines fire I got ready.
Being the extremely curious lot when a USFS truck drove past we flagged it down and asked what was going on. We couldn't figure out why there was such a huge drop tank attached when we hadn't heard about a fire. The FS lady explained that they'd had a fire caused by lightning that had burned 40,000 or 400,000 acres, can't remember which, and that they were using the drop tank to reseed the mountain side to help prevent erosion. The seeds were a mixture of plants that were native to the area, mostly wheats and grasses, and that they were getting it ready for all the water in the spring. It didn't matter that if it snowed on them before germination that the seeds were pretty tough and could take being frozen.
We get maybe 200 yards down the road and we run into these guys.
I had earplugs in so I could barely hear myself think but Padre and Scott heard something "blow" in the trees to their right. That may not be the correct term but where I come from that's what they call it when you spook a deer and it makes that certain bleat as it hightails it to the next county. Animal experts may correct me without fear of retribution.
So we've let Bambi get out of the way and probably another 4 miles down the road I stop to take pictures of Padre and Scott as they ride past with this gorgeous snow capped mountain in the background. I look in the mirror and they're stopped pointing at something. Dad comes up and says, "Did you see how blue that lake was? Let's go try and find it."
Lake? What lake? I hadn't even seen a puddle save for the glorified ditch there where we saw the helicopter. I turn around and we head down this gravel road, conveniently called "Road" on my GPS. Road, really? Well now that just takes all the confusion out of where we're going now doesn't it. We ride for maybe 200 yards and see this ATV trail off to the right but it's kind of ratty so we go a little further and find one that is slightly less chewed up. Since we had left Michelin's new Z-rated knobbies back in Tennessee the R1 got parked for a second. Scott and I go on a recon and it's a Jeep trail going in the general direction of said lake. Problem is it's been torn up during the last heavy rain. I look at him and we both have the same idea: if it's dry then there's no issue, if it's not then we may not make it. Scott heads off first and sure enough it's dry so I follow suit and we're at the lake in about 50 yards. I go back to get Padre and give him the bike saying I'll just hike back. He pulls up beside me and says, "Hop on".
Now the last time I'd ridden pillion was when he had to double me back from Tabcat Bridge on his 625 SMC up about a mile to where a cruiser had wrecked on Deal's Gap. We were shuttling bikes to get the guy home. I just about freaked. I finally had to just stare at the DOT sticker on Dad's helmet and not move. Now I'm in the middle of Utah riding down a muddy, rutted out trail with hard bags on holding my big camera. "This could be interesting," I thought. We hit the ruts, get slightly cross rutted, Dad whacks the gas (When in doubt, power out!), the Wings exhaust bellows, Padre cleans it but I get a point deducted for dabbing with my left foot. So what was so special about the lake?
There was a little water crossing, and by little I mean it probably wouldn't get all of a 21" tire wet, but it was about ankle deep so it won the title as being the Deepest Water Crossing that we'd seen.
Scott's a sucker for raw power and Dad knows it. "Scott go wheelie across it."
Unfortunately all the 990 does is spin. Too much power for loose mud.
We finish out the loop and head back into Moab. All the rest of my pictures are on the other camera for this day so I'll have to edit this later.