Thanks to my three riding partners, SimbaBoy, Samthg, and StG. Great PMs from all. All the other FF were too busy working, out of town, or couldn't figure out how to check their messages. Hopefully next time. More riders always welcome to join. We are an easy going group.
Here's the map. Started in Hurricane - Smith Mesa (dirt) - Kolob Reservoir - dirt to #14 - Cedar City - Parowan - Yankee Meadows Reservoir - dirt/rocks to Sydney Valley Road (easy dirt) - Cedar Breaks National Monument - Navajo Lake - North Fork Road (dirt) - East entrance of Zion National Park - tunnels, switchbacks and home.
About 250 miles. Seemed like we were hauling ass the whole time, but still took us a bit past dark to finish.
Our four bikes starting out on Smith Mesa. For newcomers to the thread check out the index of rides on page 1. Smith Mesa is Post #238 on page 16. And thanks to all my "imaginary" friends for riding along.
I was on my dad's little Honda. My WR is at Brian Head and the TW200 is not exactly the fastest bike for the pavement stretches. My dad is in Europe bicycling right now so he wasn't missing out. Fun to get out and ride on his bike. Honda 230 is a rock solid machine. Headlight works, no leaking gas, all blinkers intact, no bailing wire needed -- can't say that for every bike on the ride . . .
StG has the new monster tank on his WRR. The 250 miles seemed to barely make a difference. StG is ready to ride to Death Valley or Moab non-stop. What an animal!
Samthg's KLX250 - very clean. Samthg's a SoCal guy, but knows Southern Utah well. Great guy and happened to be his B-day. Very nice that he and his bike could make it to St. George for a ride with some fellow inmates.
SimbaBoy's mighty KLR! It's a KLR, need we say more. SimbaBoy is a doc who escaped Michigan to find some dirt riding while on vacation. Right on.
Only problem was all those cases were full of medical supplies. We were all afraid that Simbaboy was going to perform a roadside amputation or emergency tracheotomy at the first sign of trouble. No one dared to show a scrape or cough during lunch . . . Simbaboy was all too eager. He was prepared!!!
Enough with the intros. Here we are enjoying some of the dirt and views from Smith Mesa. Great way to see views of Zion with no one else around. Don't think we saw another person on this part of the ride.
Simbaboy on the KLR approaching the entrance to Zion National Park. Good times.
We stop near the top of the paved road to Kolob Reservoir. Cooler air, great moto road even though there is some traffic which prevents Samthg from maxing out the KLX.
Looking down on Kolob Creek. I'm practicing for Toroweap, always good to grow the 'nads on 100 ft drops vs. 2,000 ft drops. Side note: Any experienced canyoneers out there that want to take me and StG down Heaps?
Kolob Reservoir. Clear full, beautiful water. Most reservoirs in Southern Utah are low. Kolob is a real standout. We though about riding our bikes out on the dock, but thought better of it. Didn't want to lose a bike unneccesarily. Day was still young, lots of riding to do.
Good dirt above Kolob Reservoir. Samthg cooperates for the photo op.
StG and Samthg. We spaced out a bit to avoid the dust, but generally rode as a group.
No more photos, time to ride. The boys take off. Not sure, but I think Samthg might have been waving the "salute" to me, probably along with something like "eat my dust."
Here's StG showing a proper greeting for a fellow rider.
Since we were enjoying the scenery instead of riding like maniacs, I got the chance to take some pics on the fly. Here's the guys cruising along, about 9,000 ft elevation. Good way to beat the heat!
Another pic on the move. Simbaboy and Samthg heading out with blue skies and green meadows. Turned out to be a good B-day ride for Samthg!
Looking back over my shoulder.
Not sure what inspired this stop. Ahhhh, the smell of gas. Not loose luggage racks, non-working lights, or fuel additives -- those little gems came a little later on. Hey, four riders and four bikes all made it home. No roadside amputations for riders or bikes -- all good.
Taking off through the open meadows. Fantastic sections of pink and purple flowers. Too busy riding for nature photography. Great scenery above Kolob Reservoir right now! Springtime for high mountain meadows!
I'm still messing about with my camera on the move. Same guy is still behind me, eating the proper amount of dust.
Simbaboy checking out the "sheep jam." Don't see this very often back in Michigan on the Concours.
StG and Samthg caught in the "sheep jam" also.
Not sure, but looks like Samthg may have been secretly making a birthday wish that had to do with sheep. Or was it airplanes or golf. We'll never know. Good thing the sheep all moved along and could continue with ride.
Back on pavement above Cedar City. The two guys from out of town check messages, making sure the wives know that the crazy Utards haven't kidnapped their beloved hubbies and stolen their bikes.
Simbaboy gets an "emergency" text from his bank. Simbaboy's wife withdrew $50 K to make a downpayment on second home in St. George. Probably a non-refundable deposit to a settlement company. Sure hope Simbaboy likes his new second house. We told him as long as there is lots of garage space for toys who cares about the rest. If it has a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed, and a place to watch TV --- you're good. It's all about the garage!
Down to Cedar City for food. After a very short drive around town we went directly to Hermie's, a hamburger place recommended by a local. Perfect. Not much fine dining in Cedar City, but that's not what we were after. Burgers, it's all about the ride!
The sign shot. Good lunch with a fine group of inmates.
Some fast frontage roads though Summit and up to Parowan. Easy to ride 60-70 mph. Here we are at the gas station in Parowan. We bought Samthg a few bucks of gas because we were too cheap to buy him lunch, even on his B-day. Of course, StG with that monster tank just chilled while us guys with the little weeny tanks topped up.
A little ADV bling on Samthg's bike.
Great road up Parowan Canyon and First Left Hand Fork (almost all paved) to Yankee Meadows Reservoir. Clear full. Stunning. Really looks good right now. Met an older guy named Luck on his ancient bike here. Good dude, we should all be so lucky.
Samthg, StG, and Simbaboy at Yankee Meadows. Post #395 on page 27 is a prior ride to Yankee Meadows.
We head up past the Reservoir. Great forest, good rocks and dirt. This stretch gets our attention, but is much more interesting than just blasting up Parowan Canyon on pavement. We'll save that for the road bike ride.
The B-day boy on his KLX enjoying the moment.
Simbaboy thinking, "I wonder if my wife really would buy a house without letting me see it first." No cell coverage here so not much to do but ride on!
Big views up on top. About 10,000 ft. Little camera doesn't do it justice. Yankee Meadows Reservoir is just visible in center of photo. Lots of mountain bike trails in this area. Short descent from Brian Head peak. This is the far edge of the ridgeline we explore on snowmachines in the winter.
Up on top the Syndey Valley Road is smooth and fast.
Late afternoon light. We are all enjoying the ride and decide to continue on towards Cedar Breaks.
On the paved road in Cedar Breaks. Simbaboy on the KLR ripping the curves right behind me on the little Honda.
We caught some really good light at the Sunset Point overlook at Cedar Breaks. Some other folks were singing Happy Birthday so Samthg got in on a bit of that action. As if the daydreams about the sheep weren't enough.
The guys from out of town are taking pics. You don't see this every day!
So I take a few more pics also. Cedar Breaks. Kind of like a miniature Bryce Canyon. Higher elevation, not quite as big. Almost no crowds, and about 5 minutes from my place in Brian Head.
In winter they close the road and turn it into a snowmobile trail. Going to have to check this out on the sleds a bit more this next winter. Was too busy pulling kids on tubes and getting machines stuck with my nephews last winter to venture very far from the condo. Any inmates with sleds in Southern Utah let me know.
Stopped at Point Supreme, the main headquarters for the park. Light wasn't as good, but still no complaints. Brian Head Peak is mountain in distance. We came up the backside from Yankee Meadows. Never got to the top, save that for the next time. Easy stretch of 3 mile dirt from the pavement of UT 143. Doable on road bikes.
Simbaboy on his KLR at Navajo Lake. Another gorgeous mountain lake. Navajo Lake isn't full, but it is much better than last year. No amputations for riders or bikes. Simba was always ready, offering up lots of crazy pain meds. Luckily we didn't need to have any takers.
The dike at Navajo Lake. All repaired. Good mountain biking here also. Lots of inmate activity in the area.
Good gravel/dirt on the backside of Navajo Lake, just before the North Fork Road. Samthg and StG. We are using up our daylight, but all of our bikes have headlights. What could possibly go wrong?
StG enjoying a bike with a throttle as opposed to pedals.
More messing about with the camera while riding. I'm trying to get a photo of my shadow and a couple of the guys. Not bad. At least the shadow falls in nice bright spot on the road.
Lots of deer. Here we are further down on the North Fork Road where there are some lovely meadows.
Headlights all working here. Lost track of some of the details. Let's just say it's good to stay together as a group. Very hard to ride a bike at night without light.
Got to practice some more pics on the go. This is the beauty of digital. Don't think I would do much of this back in the days of film. Way too many misses for the few reasonable keepers.
Riding up close. North Fork Road, near the start of Orderville. Anyone want to do some "easier" canyons?
Using the flash now. Nighttime photography.
Stopped at Highway #9 just east of Zion to repair the rack on Simbaboy's bike. Hey, it's a KLR. At least we all had working headlights (high beam only) at this point. Riding pavement and tunnels at night without light might not have been a great idea. Utardia has some pretty lax standards about vehicle preparedness, but last I checked, headlights were required for night driving.
I was really enjoying this. A bit of an adventure. Here's what the Zion tunnel looks like at night if you are riding behind Samthg.
And going down the switchbacks.
Great little adventure guys. Thanks, Simbaboy, Samthg, and StG. Four riders, four bikes, good times. Looking forward to riding together again.
All you other FFs and lurkers, you missed out. 'Til next time. Keep it safe out there. Rubber side down!