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Old 12-18-2012, 10:23 PM   #212
zeegman OP
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Joined: Sep 2007
Location: San Jose, Ca
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Day 11 - Aug 31

Day 11 would be about 150 miles with a fantastic variety of mixed terrain and awesome scenery. We are now heading into the canyon lands of Utah.
Our path took us through large canyons like Echo Canyon on the Green River, through Dinosaur National Monument, and into Utah and ending up at Vernal that evening.
We had big uphills and downhills, muddy ponds (which I enjoy a lot), slippery sand and silt with hard pack ruts underneath, rocky descents, and a greasy concrete bridge (more enjoyment for me).
We were hoping to make it to Echo Canyon and camp there but we made it at noon and had more miles to do so we did not stay there.
There is an awesome campground there worth a stay.
And Paul had another of his famous flats in Echo Canyon.
The weather was perfect and we were stoked since we heard and read that Dinosaur Monument/Echo Canyon was a perfect place for Adventure riding.

Everything was going great until we rounded a corner and found a big mud puddle – I picked a bad line and got stuck.
Both Paul/Jill and Jeremy pick a good line and made it through.

So Jeremy and Paul come back and offer to help while Jill carefully documents the proceedings.
Jeremy takes over while Paul and I push.

Jeremy blasts out with a big chuck of throtle and I get completey covered in muck – Thanks bud.

The bike’s wheels were completely covered in sticky mud – not good for low fender Adventures.
This can be dangerous as some bikes front wheels have even stopped because of thick mud between the wheel and fender.

And I got a nice mud shower for my troubles – great start to the day!

Anyways back to important things, Paul was looking like a Pro flying down the trail.

We finally reach the beginning of Dinosaur National Monument by the Yampa River.

Heading towards the river – Paul/Jill ahead on the road.

We saw lots of dead and live trees but it was definitely looking more desert like.

Jeremy surveys the open road ahead

There were lots of twists and turns in the road with steep uphills and downhill and some switch backs.

The road surface was pretty good except for the recent rains which deposited some silty slippery sand in stretches of the road that would sneak up on
you and grab your front tire and make things squirrely for a few moments especially on our heavily loaded bikes. Had to be alert at all times.

A huge arch forming in the distance

The Yampa/Green rivers that carved these amazing canyons below

We finally reach the road into Echo Canyon Park

Some video of the road up to the Echo park sign – I almost bit it in the soft corners a few times.

Finally we at just at the outskirts of Echo Park where the Green River meets the Yampa river.
On the way in there are old cabins and a chuckwagon – remants of an old homestead

There another more rustic shack further down the road

So I charged off ahead of the group and had my video camera on – all was going well until I hit the deck very quickly when riding over a super slick concrete bridge that has tons of algae growing on it.
There are a few of these on the way into the park – so watch out!

Paul and Jill helped me pick up the big pumpkin after my riding on snot encounter

Paul Jill and Jeremy stopped to look at the Native hieroglyphs on the sheer rock face walls of the canyon.

We continued into the canyon and stopped at the whispering cave
It is was nice and cool in the shade there

It just a sliver of an opening on the massive vertical rock wall
From inside looking out you can see the massive sheets of rock hanging above our heads waiting to crush us.

The canyon opens up to greet us.

The sheer rock shapes created by the forces of nature are amazing

Paul stops for a photo just into the campground

The campground is in a big valley shaped like a bowl.

And has access to the Yampa river

Here a video of our entrance into and around the campground at Echo park

It is a magical place and nobody was there except us.
We wanted to stay overnight but reached it at noon and had many more miles to go so sadly we had to leave after a quick break.
Here is 360 video that Jeremy did to take in the view

However, we could not leave without some drama – Paul got another flat – maybe Echo park was telling us not to leave.

But by now we were pros at fixing flats and we had it done in no time.
We carefully renavigated the concrete algae water bridges and made our way out of the park
Some cool rocks on the way out of Echo

Shortly after leaving the park we reached a paved road that would lead us to a fantastic overlook of Echo park for great photo opportunity.
But as luck would have it the road was closed due to construction – damn!
So we turned around and rode South until we reached Blue Mountain Road and picked up the dirt trail again.
Upon entering the trail we found it to be really slick with a layer of sand on top of a thin layer of snotty mud.
It was hard work and everybody almost lost our balance on this trail and by this time this day everybody was really tired and it was super hot.
We did not know what the conditions were like ahead so we stopped at this spot to ponder our options.
We felt like taking a big lick of this salt lick – well maybe not.

We finally convinced ourselves that you never know when we might get back to this place and so lets just get out there and enjoy it instead of having regrets later.
It was the best decision we made. Soon after leaving the salt lick we came over a rise and were treated to a specular canyon view and a big downhill

The road was a bit rough in places but manageable as long as you kept your speed down.
Jeremy ripped down there a bit too fast and blew this corner but luckly for him there was a runaway lane.

It was about 20 minutes of continuous downhill and amazing scenery – what a great ride.

Video of it here

Finally made it to the bottom

Near the bottom when it leveled out there were several patches of deep silty sand with hard packed ruts in them just to make it interesting.
Bikes were really squirrely going through there and I almost bit it trying to get off the road when a truck comes the other way.
But we paddle our way through and made it.

Saw some cool hoodoo like rocks after that

We finally catch up to Paul/Jill and take a break from our hot dusty ride. Hi-5s for everybody for making through without incident.

Paul and Jill enjoying the moment

We were on pavement now and took a quick panarama shot at this river overlook.

We rode up to the Dinosaur National monument Fossil Bone Quarry

We stopped in the fossil visitor center and immensely enjoyed the cool air conditioning after saying HI to the giant dino outside

The center had some great fossils and we bought some stickers and cold drinks.

Chicken feet anybody? circa 1,000,000 BC

Since we were very hot and sweaty we decided to stay in Vernal that evening and grab a hotel.

It was a wise choice since just after we emptied the bikes and settled in a huge hail storm came through

What a weird way to end the day but we didn’t care since we had one of the best days on the trip
Awesome memories.
The next day (Day 12) would see us heading into the mountains again through some nice forested roads with pristine mountain streams

zeegman screwed with this post 12-19-2012 at 10:30 PM
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