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Old 06-18-2012, 08:00 PM   #51
Lycan1 OP
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Day 11 - Movie stars, you’re not in Kansas anymore, pulling off Pucker

Our last day in Moab and we had a fairly easy list. Shafer road past Potash was first on it. After more fine coffee and food at the Muffin we were off! We did another quick run across 279 past Potash and onto the gravel of Shafer. We started seeing Sony Pictures trucks almost immediately as we rode past the (weird blue) drying ponds. They were crawling across the rocky steps and through the fine powdery silt that makes up most of the road. I stopped to spark up the Go Pro just in case anything interesting happened. I was following the road (and gps) when I came upon a large cluster of movie crew vehicles and wasn’t really sure how to get past. One of the crew guys came over and we started talking. He was interested in my Leatte armor and told me he had a neck brace and Thor armor. We discussed the road and he related “Mr. Smith and the Director came in the road once” “now they fly around in the chopper”. I had spotted that from across the valley the day before. A security guard came over, looking up at my Go Pro and asked, “Is that on?” I ignored the question, and slowly motion no with my head. He had other things to attend to and walked away. The guy I was talking to (after he was gone) asked if “I was running” I told him yes and he looked up at the camera and waved and said Hi. We chatted and joked for a bit longer and then as one of the “players” in Sci-Fi spandex was waiting to get into the shuttle van we carried on.

We were following a few very slow set vehicles along the road and Chris and I finally cautiously passed. The road had been recently “improved” so the big vehicles for the movie could actually make it to one of the cliff-side shoot locations. This entailed adding loose gravel to fill in some of the worse “steps” Chris ran wide on an uphill corner and just over a berm of this loose gravel. I made the mistake of stopping on the hill to make sure he was OK (he was fine and got going on his own). When he got himself going I let out the clutch and dug a hole right where I was stopped (this had become all too common a theme). I hopped off the bike and gently rocked it back and forth using the clutch and was almost out of the hole when the bike started to feel like it was going over. I pulled in the brake and clutch and did my best to wrestle the bike straight up. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement and turned my head., still fighting the bike. The reason for the bike’s sudden temperament became clear. A movie crew guy was holding the back of the bike and trying to “help”. When I realized this I felt better, and silly at the same time. He said he would push so I mounted up and tried to not spray him with gravel. I waved as I rode off and hoped that he wasn’t hurting considering that he was in shorts and a t-shirt.

We stopped just past the shoot site far enough away (I hoped) that the security that we passed would not see us. I pulled out the big lens to get some shots before we carried on. This was as close to Hollywood as I had ever got and it was a bit of a thrill.

Just below the rock face in the water

The trail was very scenic and easy after this point but it was again getting scorching hot., I can’t imagine doing this in July or August.

Near where the road meets up with White rim Trail (at the bottom of Shafer Switchbacks) it gets a lot rockier and has a few washes to go through, but still easy for us. In this stretch I came up behind a Chevy Traverse that was crawling along on the rocks. Chris rode past and stopped with Paul right behind me. I stopped just behind the Traverse and was belly laughing at the Kansas plate on the back. The window rolled down and an arm (and head) stuck out motioning me over to him. I rolled up with a huge grin and said “ You’re not in Kansas anymore!” The joke was lost on the young guy. The older couple with him (parents?) didn’t look happy. He asked if I thought he could make it and I said I honestly didn’t know, as I wasn’t familiar with the last bit of this road. I told him my GPS showed that he only had about ¾ of a mile to the junction and that if he made it to turn right! I told him if he turned left he probably wouldn’t make that trail.

When we got to the junction we waited for about 10 minutes to see if he would get through but there was no sign of him. I told the guys that when I got to the top of Shafer I was going over to let the Rangers know about them just in case. It was too hot to be stranded out there for any length of time. After climbing the switchbacks again (It seemed steeper the second time, funny how the mind works) I zipped over to the Canyon Lands gate and talked to the Ranger who thanked me.

From there we headed over to Long Canyon road just around the corner of 313 toward Dead Horse Point. A short straight section of Gravel took us to an amazing viewpoint and then around the corner onto a very steep but short downhill to where Chris had made it to on the previous day. Going down “Pucker Pass” was easy, unlike trying to get up. Back through Long Canyon we went, stopping at the highway (279) to congratulate ourselves and give Long Canyon the ADV salute.

We headed down the highway and into Arches. Our passes from day one were still good, so in we went. We headed straight to Windows Arch turnoff (as we had seen everything else already). We came to ride, and it was another scorcher but we were feeling good and somewhat used to the heat by now, so we did a little hiking. Along the way I lent my wide angle to another tourist and took another couples picture with their camera. I guess, body armor aside, I looked the part of a Cameraman.

Note the bottom left, another person for scale reference.

Courtesy of Payner.

OK but you won't like it....

We had done everything we really wanted and decided to relax and cool off before hitting the town for dinner. Paul still wanted to buy a souvenir or two so we went back to Zak’s again and had some more excellent food, before wandering along the main drag (and all the tourist shops). Tomorrow would see us break camp for the first time in a week and leave Moab behind.
I've learned so much from my mistakes. I'm thinking of making a few more.
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Lycan1 screwed with this post 06-24-2012 at 08:16 PM
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