Well the Utah Dual Sport guys got up a trip to Moab! Here are the sorted details...
I road a Blue 09 KLR650
MrRojoNeck on his matt black '12 KLR650
Everideorg on his Yellow DRZ400
Kary1982v6 on the ubiquitous Chinese YAMAMOTO! 150
M O A B ! ! ! ! ! Day One
Well that was an awesome trip! MrRojoNeck posted some photos on Instagram, and we expect video from Everideorg and Kary1982v6 to be out soon!
We all met up at Kary1982v6's place in Provo UT, and got the bikes on the trailer Kary1982v6 kissed the wife and kiddos and we were off after a lot more conversation, and getting to know one another. We did not make it far because somebody (me) did not have a chance to fill up the truck with fuel before the meet up. We stopped at Sam's club, fueled up, and... restroom brake (already? seriously? sigh...) And we were finally out.. no wait, Kary1982v6 wanted to pick up something for me to hold my turn signals on from his work, so we went and did that next, (thanks Kary1982v6!) back onto the road we managed to take the turn off to HWY 6 by about 10:45 (a little bit after our scheduled 9:30 departure time.)
As we drove into Moab I welcomed everyone to the Offroad Mecca, and their eyes twinkled like those of little children. MrRojoNeck began to droll while Everideorg and Kary1982v6 chose to bath in their own slobber as they drolled looking onwards to paradise. (ok so maybe I took a touch of artistic license there).
We got there a little too late Friday, so rather than checking in or anything silly like that, we headed straight for the trails! I figured we still had time to do Hell's Revenge, Baby Lion's Back, and the first 1/3 of Fins-N-Things.
We Quickly found that the sand in Moab is super dry and soft this time of year, and therefore rather difficult to propel a 400+lbs motorcycle through, but it was still fun. We started off by heading up Hell's Revenge, which starts with twenty or so feet of that soft sand and onto the rocks. A little ways into the trail you hit the first long sweeping turn on the sand. I ended up trying to get up one of the rocks (perhaps not the easiest route, but it looked perfectly attainable) after a long slong in the sand. I attacked! knowing that when I hit the hard rock the bike would attempt to rocket up in true Evil Knievil style. Trying to be careful of that, and in my first real need to feather the clutch, I made it up 3/4 of the rock, stalled, began to shoot backwards at near warp speed. I kept it up though! (for about 3/4 of the return trip, but when the back end hit the sand down I went! I bent my clutch lever, but it did ok just the same.
We progressed onwards and enjoyed the trials. Kary1982v6 decided he had to be the wheelie king, because his bike, tiny and gutless though it may be, seemed to feel the need to experience life as a unicycle every time it went up a steep hill. Soon we came to the Hot Tubs! That was a blast, I was in the lead all day on Friday, so even though I went around the first hot tub (which is scary deep) and then went through the second hot tub, only Kary1982v6 was there to see it! I directed everyone else through the hot tub, but no one seemed to be interested. Then Everideorg decided he was going to go for it. His expertise was shining through with five camera's rolling as he deftly guided his DRZ down into the tub, sizing up the climb out, he rolled on the throttle and off he went. Sadly the tubs get a little dusty, and his rear end slide six inches sideways into a bit more dust and down went the DRZ with Everideorg pinned under it, the entire thing sliding backwards three feet to the bottom of the tub. We all jumped in to help get the bike righted, and get Everideorg out of the hot tub. In the process we noted many Jeep and Motorcycle parts scattered about the bottom of the tub, everything from busted off clutch handles to lockwashers. MrRojoNeck was fast to get the camera rolling again, and we got Everideorg out the way he went in.
Boy were the gents in for a surprise. Coming from the Hot tubs the trail has a very steep drop off, so much so that you can not really see it easily even from a motorcycle. I passed it by a touch too close for comfort, so I signaled to the guys that it was right there and I went to turn back. When I got turned around I saw all but MrRojoNeck coming at me. Guess they missed the signal. Oh well.
Down we went, it was NICE! Loads of traction, and a bit twisty. We soon came to the part that got everyone a touch nervous. Super steep, and very long, with a harsh drop off to the right, and a cliff out front for those who go too far! I went down first, and enjoyed every second of it. Sadly when I got to the bottom the hit was hard enough that my handlebars rolled forward, (Once everyone was down I had to adjust them.) MrRojoNeck came next, and though he had a little bit of trouble with his new boots being so stiff he could hardly feather his rear brake, he came down looking like a pro! Everideorg came next, and handled it like a champ! Then comes Kary1982v6...
With eeeerrrrrrrrrkkk erk eerrrrkkkkk erk erk eeeeeerrrrrrkkkkkk Kary1982v6 had his rear end locked up for all but about ten feet (an intermittent ten feet at that) down this 75 yard long hill. Kary1982v6 now has less than half an inch of tread on his new rear tire, but he was not white as a sheet, and we all cheered him on as he skidded his way to the bottom.
We progressed onwards and had a really nice time. We skated through Tipover challenge without even realizing that is what we were on, and no one even knew that it was a legendarily difficult section. (well I did, because I have done the trail, but I did not eve notice we were there till we weren't anymore).
The rest of the trail was to be fairly uneventful, or so I thought... Turns out he hardest part of the trail (for a motorcycle) was the last mile/exit. We went on through and I remembered doing this in the jeep and it being fairly minor, but on the bikes the Forest Lake Trail style large Rocks were compressed and in many places were like driving through a man made enduro course with a box of massive rocks to negotiate. TA, going up one section of loose dirt and large rocks lost his back end and down he went! Crunch. Nice of those crash bars to protect that pretty bike of his. Otherwise it would have look like someone actually road it, like mine! ;)
A few bashed skid plates and we were out of there. Back into the Sand Flats park we headed towards Fins-n-Things. On the way we stopped and went over Baby Lion's back, which was a success and a hit for all. This is a very short but very fun little rock to climb up and over. We found Fins and off we went again.
Fins was a nice trail, and we all scooted right along it. Some nice steep drops that made everyone nervous. The rock rather is like a short fin, that goes just shy of 90 degrees into the sand. From the top it looks like a 90 degree angle when you hit the sand, which means the chances of going forward with the tires under you vs over you are about 50/50 but having done it before in the jeeps I knew that it would roll out nicely under us, and it would be rather fun once we did finally go for it.
Off I went and sure enough it was easy.
I got off the bike and went back to coach the others down the rock. The rock was only about fifteen feet high, so I told the guys the best line, and encouraged them not to use brakes going down, and this would only complicate things and increase the chances they might stab the brakes at the bottom and do a nice stoppie followed by eating some sand. Everyone did brilliantly, looking like this was not their first time riding their bikes in the Mecca that is Moab and Sand Flat Recreation area.
Farther on down the road you take another one of those steep rock dives with a short left right into a third. These two are harder as they all have sand on the top, so the rocks themselves are often covered with a thin layer of sand to totally kill any traction you thought you might have had. Today was no different.
Everyone went on down the hill with no problems whatsoever! Brilliant! We progressed on through the trail but it did begin to get dark pretty fast (stupid daylight savings time!) As we rolled into campground F I showed the guys the optional difficult section, and no one seemed inclined to give it a go. By this time it was totally dark out, so we went around hoping to finish the rest of the first third of Fins. We certainly went forward enjoying the trail despite it being as dark as it was going to get that night. A few minutes later I got off my bike to scout out the best way down a particularly challenging looking bit of rock when from behind me I hear Kary1982v6 telling me.... Brian... Did you know that we are going around in a circle?! Puzzled I asked what he meant, at which time he informed me that I was about to run them all down the very same optional obstacle that they had all been disinclined to go up five minutes earlier.
Blast! I had missed the exit. Turned around now, and the groups confidence in me waining, I decided rather than trying to complete the rather rocky remains of the first third of Fins we would just exit from the F campground. So down we went, but Kary1982v6 spotted the exit after I had passed it. I knew what he was doing, but I just kept going figuring everyone would follow me just the same. Once I got to the road, I waited a bit, but no headlights were forth coming. SO back I went looking for my group. (Hey I am a chaplain and I must Shepard my flock! haha)
I found the guys milling about trying to decide if I was again going in the wrong direction, and if they should follow this other trail. So I informed them that I went out toe exit from Campground F and had always known this was an exit, but as we were trying to finish I ignored it. Yep indeed Kary1982v6 had found the exit, but it would have been another twenty minutes in the dark to go down it.
We headed out and back to the truck to load the bikes back on the trailer. What a great ride in Moab! We all went down to the Moab Brewery for a perfectly marginal (for two of our number) meal with a very kind waiter. The food left much to be desired for some, others enjoyed it.
Then on to the Lazy Lizard where I had, by request, booked four beds in the Men's Dormitory. Turns out that I think I would have preferred a private room, oh well. No one slept particularly well, and Kary1982v6 sighted a grizzly had been sleeping in the room with us. I rarely snore, but I guess with the strong head cold I have, it must have been me I figured. The Lazy Lizard was a great place to stay none the less. Clean rooms, clean sheets and generally a comfortable atmosphere and for about a sixth of the price we would have spent at a motel, and far warmer than tent camping.
So ended a wonderful day of riding in Moab.
Photos credit to MrRojoNeck!!