06-18-2012, 07:49 AM
Joined: Feb 2010
Day 10 – Got Puckered, and a little Astrology lesson
Today Paul had relatives coming in from Grande Junction Colorado to meet up and take him for dinner. As such we all agreed to try and do something that would get us back early. Chris and I would go into town on our own after we got back and do some “touristing around” and find our own dinner.
With this plan we (of course) started our day with the lovely ladies at the Love Muffin, and I even tried a muffin, Oh so good! (Insert inappropriate joke here). Today we would head into Canyon Lands National Park Via Long Canyon, and then do Gemini Bridges roads and Dead Horse State Park.
We headed up 279 on the left, just north of the bridge on 191 over the Green River following the rock wall (climbers wall) along the canyon. We turned into Long canyon on the right and ran the (at first) easy canyon run in the early morning light. The road then quickly climbed via a series of switchbacks and became very steep. We were now officially entering “Pucker Pass” Coming around yet another tight switchback I saw the iconic (seen in so many ride reports on Moab) Rock tunnel, or as I call it the Donut Hole. We all made it under fairly easily and climbed into the sandy, narrow canyon for what the pass is named for. It has some fairly good, rock steps with deep powder in between. I managed to dig myself a trench but didn’t crash. I was however in no need of the side stand as she was up to the swing arm again. With a little assistance on the slippery steps we (Paul and I) helped get Chris and the DR over the steps and to the top. This we didn’t realize until the next day, having never been up this run before.
Courtesy of Payner
Courtesy of Payner
Courtesy of Payner
I was too afraid of dropping the big bike, getting up the dusty steps, in the very narrow canyon so I opted to turn around. It may have been doable but it wasn’t worth the risk (to me) as the rock would be very unforgiving. Paul felt the same way, so Chris turned around (from the top) and came back down. Had we realized (at the time) how close we had come I think we would have persisted despite the risks. Back down the Canyon and up the highway to Gemini Bridges road. This was a breeze after our warm up in Long Canyon. We met another rider on a Yamaha 250 that we had talked to one morning at the Muffin. He described the white “sand” on Gemini road as “Moon Dust” and I think that was as accurate a description as is possible (not having been to the moon yet). The view of the highway into Moab from up on Gemini is worth the time alone to do the road.
The trail has a nice variety from hard pack wide red gravel to hard rock steps, to Moon dust troughs. The walk out to the actual namesake is also a must, unless heights terrify you. The road ends up on 313 and we checked out Dead Horse Point next, and wow what views there were, truly awe inspiring even if it was too late in the day for really good light, like sunrise would provide. Next time we would have to camp there.
Then off to Canyon lands National Park and some truly fun, twisty pavement in some sections, sorry my speedometer must have stopped working, oops. After exploring every inch of pavement we discussed returning on Shaffer road, but we might run late and Paul could not risk it, no big deal.
After lots of photos we returned to the Campground and cooled off, cleaned up and left Paul to the mercy of his relatives. I spotted what I though was them just as Chris and I were driving out the gate.
We parked in front of Zak’s on the main drag. Great place for pizza and burgers as it turns out. It has an eclectic décor but very modern and clean. The food was reasonably priced and really good. After dinner we hit the Liquor store for another bottle of fine single malt scotch and went t-shirt shopping. I, also found a few new decals for the saddlebags (what can I say, it’s a weakness). Back to camp we went to enjoy at least one of our purchases. I was disappointed that Wayne had packed up while we were out riding as we wanted to take him out for dinner, since the one time we dragged him along he insisted in paying. I hope his ride home to Nevada was a good one! Paul returned and reported that he had a good visit with his family and I was happy that he had managed to fit that in.
Tomorrow would be our last day in Moab and we planned out what we wanted to accomplish which would include Shafer road, The Shaffer switchbacks again, and Long Canyon (top to Bottom). Then go see the best of Arches Park. Remember we skipped one turnoff that first day in Moab. It turns out that is where the best Arches, and most easily accessible ones are, who knew?
Days ago I already decided that I would return to Moab again so I wasn’t stressed that we didn’t get done everything that I had heard about in Ride Reports. I kept reminding myself that this was my (and my friends) vacation and was about having fun, not ticking off boxes on a to-do list. From that stand point, I had succeeded, and the Moab part of the trip had been a total success.
I've learned so much from my mistakes. I'm thinking of making a few more.
09 KTM 990 Adv
Lycan1 screwed with this post 06-24-2012 at 08:15 PM