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Old 06-13-2012, 12:06 PM   #1
Lycan1 OP
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Moab 2012 - Bittersweet

In Loving Memory of my Sister; Deborah Anstey (August 26th 1963 – May 31st 2012). Your time with us was far too brief and without goodbye.


This trip was a long time in the planning, and inspired by countless ride reports that came before it. I have heard it said that “Adventure begins when things stop going as planned” and in that case this was pure adventure from the start. I spent many long hours pouring over Google maps, and actual paper maps in an effort to plot out an interesting, efficient, run down to Moab from Calgary. It had just a taste of dirt along the way in an effort to keep all the players happy, and get us to our real objective, Moab.

The Players:

There would be four of us to start the journey; one co-worker, Paul- riding a BMW F 650 GS, a well traveled, enthusiastic, but prefers pavement rider. Paul would have to leave the group early in order to meet another group in Salt Lake the second day of the week we would be in Moab.

Two of the riders, friends, met through ADSMC (Alberta Dual Sport Motorcycle Club) a couple of years back. Chris, riding a bored out Suzuki DR 650, and an accomplished sport bike rider, as well as an enthusiastic, natural dirt rider.

Paul, riding a hopped up KLR 650 (bored, jetted and piped), another skilled sport bike rider, new to, but enthusiastic and skilled in the dirt.




Then there’s me, Lee (Lycan1 on ADV) riding the KTM 990 Adventure that I call the Orange Dragon, named for it’s seeming ability to bite me without warning and be a handful off-road for a guy my size. I am always up for off-road exploring and prefer the dirt to pavement, even though I come from a long sport bike background. Skill-wise; working to become a better dirt rider always.

These are not the petroglyphs you are looking for, move along....



Last Minute Panic:

After careful route planning and painstaking GPX building using the Dualsport.com site and loading my new Garmin - Montana with tracks for the trip, in stepped Mother Nature. The Friday Morning before the Saturday departure I flipped on the news. Weekend storms with significant snowfall in all the passes that lay between Utah and us were being predicted and shown in nasty pink and white on the weather radar. So starts the “Adventure”, and the scramble to make this work, as delaying the trip was not an option! I poured over the weather network site and highway atlas, re-plotting a route that would skirt around the bad weather and still get us to Moab close to what was originally planned. It seemed that as long as we stayed west of Kalispell and headed south to Boise we would miss most of the bad weather. Unfortunately this would add about 500 miles to our trip and put us a day behind schedule. I called the Campground in Moab to bump our reservation up a day and then started putting together new GPX tracks since I had never been to Idaho before. Three hours later I had a route to Boise and across to Arco ID planned out, that would at that point get us back onto the original plan. It would be a bit of a push, even to keep on the day behind schedule and I made sure the others of the group were aware and prepared for this reality. They were all in agreement that riding a bit harder in good weather was preferable to getting shut down in snow storms along the way. OK, panic over, game on!

Departure day Arrives:

We had planned to meet at the south end of Calgary and start the trip with a good breakfast at one of my favorite spots, Cora’s. This part of the original plan actually went as planned. I arrived early to get a table (and parking spot) at this notoriously busy restaurant. Paul on the KLR arrived second, loaded up and looking like a world traveler, then came the other Paul on the BMW, ready for adventure and looking the part. Chris rolled in right behind him with the DR decked out for the run, and looking relaxed and cool.


Trip begins in Calgary with Breakfast


While I had been waiting for the guys, another rider on a white BMW GS800 who had been at Cora’s (when I arrived) went outside and circled the KTM numerous times poking and prodding various parts, seemingly fascinated with the Adventure bike. I had to grin and think “Orange Envy?” even though normally, some stranger touching my bike would have me outside in a hurry and not to act as tour guide. This morning though, I was feeling relaxed and generous, but did keep a close eye on him though.


Damn papparazi in Longview AB.

No, no, no..... That is not how you do Y M C A.

DR's make me feel good!

Eureka Cafe, courtesy of BMW-Paul


After a long, great breakfast we saddled up and set off in the sunshine for a date with US Customs in Roosville Montana, just north of Eureka. The plan was to make it to Sandpoint ID by days end. The weather was great heading down and it seemed bizarre to think that a nasty storm was growing east of Glacier National Park in Montana. Customs was a breeze and we stopped just down the road in Eureka at a nice little diner on the corner of highway 37 and 93 for a late lunch. We carried on to Libby on 37 and down 56 south to hook up with 200 west into Sandpoint. The roads and scenery were great. We were winging it as to a place to camp but the map had shown a number of campgrounds around Sandpoint so we figured it would be easy to find one. As we crossed the bridge on the south end of the city I spotted a sign on the right, just at the end of the bridge and turned west, following the road past the fish hatchery. Not much further down on the right was the campground and we rolled in hoping it wasn’t full being the Memorial Day long weekend in the States. As luck would have it we had our choice of a few sites and the hosts were gracious enough to let us all share one site keeping the cost for the night to $5 per person. The campsite had nice clean facilities and was well off the major roads, making it quiet. We even managed to have a small campfire and some nice single malt before the weary travelers drifted off to their respective nylon enclosures for the night. It felt good to have skirted the storms for now and put in a good days ride.


To be continued....
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Lycan1 screwed with this post 06-15-2012 at 04:12 PM
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #2
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Old 06-13-2012, 03:56 PM   #3
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Day two - Idaho and storms

The second morning in Sandpoint started early and the campground showers were nice and clean and cheap by Canadian standards needing only a quarter to run instead of a dollar. We decided that an early start and a couple of hours of seat time before breakfast would be a good way to make miles, and restaurants rarely open at 5 a.m. anyway. We broke camp and hit the highway with me leading the group and acting as navigator, which would be the norm, this trip (only Paul on the BMW and myself had GPS units). I had never been to Coeur d’Alene so I didn’t realize that most of the town was east of the highway, passing through the north end and not seeing anything suitable for breakfast and figured “how far could it be until the next little town”, oops. Sometime later we finally came upon a little town (whose name escapes me) and found a little local diner. The parking lot was fairly busy which is usually a good sign. Everything was good except the coffee (I went out in the parking lot and shaved the fur off my tongue after a cup of that stuff, yuck), insert Starbucks comment here.



We rolled on to Lewiston stopping at the overlook for pictures, then other than fuel stops carried on south.

OK, which pocket did I put the camera in???



At Grangeville we carried on south on 95 and after a few rain drops, I stopped to ask the guys if they wanted to suit up for the rain. The consensus was, “ if it gets bad we can stop”. Not long after it started to get heavier but intermittently and I kept checking my six to see if the guys were pulling over and they weren’t so I carried on after all my suit is rainproof (to some degree). By the time we hit New Meadows it was pounding down gale force and when I pulled into the Chevron. “I though you were going to stop if it started raining?” Sorry. After lunch and fuel we suited up (barn door closed, after escaped horse…) and headed east toward McCall and hwy 55. The highway into McCall was a blast, even in the rain with a loaded down bike on knobbies. After McCall, not so much, but at least the rain relented before Eagle where we pulled over to strip off the (dry by now) rain gear.



combined 2 day stats....sorry, I'll try to do better, rookie mistake.

We weaved through Boise and tried to find a campground. The locals that I quizzed (don’t ask kids at Sonic) had no clue and the only one that came up on Paul’s Zumo 660 turned out to be a RV only up by the industrial park (by the truck stop) at the south end of the city. I was tired and hungry and getting grumpy and I am pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one. We very quickly decided that a hotel would be just fine after another long day and crappy weather for a good portion of it. Thankfully we found one to fit the bill a couple of minutes away. Despite our appearance when we walked through the lobby door, they actually had rooms, and there was a pub across the street that was still open by the time we were somewhat presentable. We managed a couple of rounds before last call and a few snacks. I was excited because by afternoon tomorrow we would be back on track and the forecast looked great! Sleep came quickly when my lids slammed shut.

much more to come......

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Old 06-13-2012, 04:07 PM   #4
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Can't stop reading. You must write more!
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:32 PM   #5
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Good stuff! Subscribed!


Was the rider of the DR650 enjoying the long highway sections?

And to poke fun a bit, I know guys traveling the world with less gear then you guys have!

I look forward to more updates!
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Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:39 PM   #6
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Subscribed, keep up the good work
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Old 06-13-2012, 05:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Good stuff! Subscribed!


Was the rider of the DR650 enjoying the long highway sections?

And to poke fun a bit, I know guys traveling the world with less gear then you guys have!

I look forward to more updates!

Yup, he... er me, was having a great time Honestly the lack of a fairing was not much of an issue although the 75mph highway runs (which were kept to a minimum - Thanks to Lycan's excellent trip planning) were a little taxing on the arms I must admit! I was, however, nursing a freshly rebuilt big bore so I was the slow guy not wanting to rev it high too soon.

Great write up Lee! Subscribed!!! I can't wait to see how this turns out I've got a CD burned of my pix which I'll try to get to you so we can have some pix of you rather than just your entourage
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #8
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Yup, he... er me, was having a great time Honestly the lack of a fairing was not much of an issue although the 75mph highway runs (which were kept to a minimum - Thanks to Lycan's excellent trip planning) were a little taxing on the arms I must admit! I was, however, nursing a freshly rebuilt big bore so I was the slow guy not wanting to rev it high too soon.

Great write up Lee! Subscribed!!! I can't wait to see how this turns out I've got a CD burned of my pix which I'll try to get to you so we can have some pix of you rather than just your entourage

How did the bike handle the droning highway though?

Just curious, as I'd love to build a DR650 for adventure touring. IMO, the best bike for that type of work.

For a windscreen a relatively cheap Universal Cycle one does wonders! It's what I used and would never think of doing another trip without it. Some chop up 990ADV windscreens too and adapt them to their stock headlight. I'll know how those work in 3 weeks. (990 on a TrailTech X2)
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Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Beema Killa View Post
Can't stop reading. You must write more!
Thanks, I'm working on it
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shibby! View Post
Good stuff! Subscribed!

Was the rider of the DR650 enjoying the long highway sections?

And to poke fun a bit, I know guys traveling the world with less gear then you guys have!

I look forward to more updates!
Payner already answered I see.

It will only get better, Idaho is nice (and surprisingly varied) but not what we came for.

We had to look the part in case we happened across any Starbucks, the luggage was empty....

Quote:
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Subscribed, keep up the good work
Thanks I'll try, the pictures will get more grandeur as the days go by. It is therapeutic writing this report, as initialy I had no intention of, but my sister's death during the trip changed my perspective on a few things.
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Old 06-13-2012, 08:53 PM   #10
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Thanks I'll try, the pictures will get more grandeur as the days go by.It is therapeutic writing this report, as initialy I had no intention of, but my sister's death during the trip changed my perspective on a few things. [/QUOTE]

So sorry to hear about your sister Lee. Glad you've found a way to cope through writing. Take it easy man.
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Old 06-13-2012, 10:32 PM   #11
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We had to look the part in case we happened across any Starbucks, the luggage was empty....
That's planning ahead! Good work.
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Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide: http://advrider.com/forums/showthrea...4#post19193704
Go, Get Lost - Heading South: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=735690
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=671095

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Old 06-13-2012, 11:39 PM   #12
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We had to look the part in case we happened across any Starbucks, the luggage was empty....
That is hilarious! Cheers.

Sorry about your sister man, that can be rough. I am glad you are writing this though. When my mother passed away a few months ago I realized that I can sit there in shock wondering how the world can just pass without even seemingly noticing, and simultaneously get myself steam-rolled, or I can try to grieve while still going on with my life; I chose the latter. It seems like this is what you have chosen to do as well, congrats on that choice, honestly, and best wishes.


I look forward to reading your trip report.

Regards,
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:37 AM   #13
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Day 3 Volcanoes and Hot Springs in Idaho, who knew?

Morning in Boise started well with bright sunshine and mild temperatures and a bit of exercise dragging stuff back to the bikes. The Hotel, Best Western Airport, had a breakfast of sorts included, but for 3 of us we were feeling a little more carnivorous so we trekked next door to Denny’s (it was close, what can I say). Chris felt like eating a bit healthier.


Seeing the four of us at the pool the next day, he seems to be making the better choices. We then did what would be the first of an increasingly frequent chain adjusts on the DR. Truth be told, Chris did all the adjustments and we provided bike leverage services. Then we had a mercifully short blast down the ruler straight I84 to Mountain Home where we headed east toward Arco on hwy 20. The highway twists up gaining altitude quickly and was a change from the last two days. It wasn’t long before we started seeing Aspens.



The view from Castle Rock ID viewpoint

Courtesy of Paul (BMW). Shows that I was there and in a few pictures.


Unfortunately the highway hits a plateau and then becomes a droning rubber wasting straight line for a long time before getting interesting again after Picabo. Not long after that we hit that magic spot where we re-joined my original track at Craters of the Moon just west of Arco ID. We started seeing the surreal landscape quite suddenly and then for some time before actually getting to the park entrance.

Alien landscape at Craters of the Moon Park.


Courtesy of another tourist using my camera.


Breaking out the big lense for some better backgrounds.

More far out landscape.

The guys getting Ed-G-Kated

Tree -Bark- looking Lava formations

trying to get artsy and failing.

Shooting while riding, Paul running sweep.


The black, and rust colored lava field is very alien looking in an otherwise very green landscape. I (despite my research) had no idea that the road that loops through the park is seven miles long, so I wondered why they would charge $4 to get in. It was worth it, and we spent a few hours riding, hiking, and (me) shooting video as we drove around. We were warm in our gear but there was a welcome breeze blowing across the barren landscape. On the way out we stopped at the visitor center and the “do they have stickers” thing started. This would continue throughout the trip. As souvenirs go at least they don’t take up much space. We then carried on to Arco and stopped just long enough for a few (helmets still on) pictures of a spot I have seen in many a ride report, numbers rock and the Navy Memorial.

Numbers Rock in Arco.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWbOQU24pYo


Arco ID.




We then were subjected to one of the seemingly longest straightest pieces of pavement I have been on heading into Blackfoot ID. We trolled up and down the main drag and pulled into a gas station just as the owner and local tow truck service guy wheeled in. He apparently was closed but told us were to find gas and food and how to avoid the interstate to Pocatello. The food was edible at the Mexican restaurant right next door, although Paul (BMW) the next day said “no more Mexican food” and I didn’t ask. His wife is an excellent cook so he may be a bit spoiled. In hindsight we should have jumped on the interstate, as winding through Pocatello was a waste of time. Eventually we ended back on I-15 (briefly) anyway down to hwy 30 heading east to Lava Hot Springs and Montpelier. I had initially planned to go east (on gravel) from the north end of Blackfoot to Henry then south to Soda Springs. The guy with the tow truck said they had had two inches of rain the day before and advised that my route (he knew the road) would be a greasy mud hole. We saw a few 4X4’s pass by that were brown and covered in mud coming from that direction and decided on the paved alternate route (O the shame of it all). As we sat in the Mexican joint I saw a couple of blue 990 Adventures blast past going north. They were sans luggage and looked like “R” models, and I figured they might be headed for my initial route (you go guys!).
Highway 30 towards Lava Hot Springs was very picturesque and we had had a long day again so I pulled over when I saw a decent looking campground just west of Lava Hot springs. We came to the consensus that we should push on just to the actual town and take our chances even though I had seen no campground listing for it. I am so glad we did, and when we pulled in at the north entrance to town (I missed the south one) I motioned a young couple over to me that were walking along in swimwear. They braved the grubby biker and came over. They were able to give me the location (and which was preferable) of a couple of campground just blocks from us, and right in town. We thanked them and trolled down the main drag of this quaint, cozy little town. Rafting stores, pubs, motels lined this tourist town but in a time machine kind of vibe. I loved it! Glancing down a laneway I spotted the campground down by the river (Stream) and we were set. It was kind of expensive but well worth it.

Team Effort in Lava Springs Campground.



The Hot springs in Lava Springs ID.

The river that rush through town.


We could set up and walk down to the hot springs, and we did. These are state run, and natural springs with 4 pools, all of decreasing temperature. We headed for the hottest (source pool). The pool was surrounded by natural stone walls and beautiful gardens and was our little sea of tranquility after another long day in the saddle. The bottom of the hot pool was covered in pea gravel and felt like a foot massage. The four of us were talking as we soaked, Paul (BMW) has a Polish accent and an American women with a southern drawl suddenly piped up,” Excuse me, but are ya’ll from Russia” I almost spit, but managed to just grin. Thankfully, the other three guys took this one, and explained (repeatedly) that we were Canadians. It took some time, but I think she was finally (sort of) understood. Paul’s accent really messed her up. It did however spark a number of conversations with other people soaking in the hot pool, and we met a couple of very cool, older guys, one who was from Texas (I can’t recall where the other was from). It was getting late so we showered up and (after getting stickers) strolled down the now dark main street back to camp. The neon and garden lights and Old style streetlights making for a peaceful stroll back to camp. We were itching to have a campfire (the caveman instincts coming out) and the wood that one of the guys bought was good and dry and I had it fired up in no time. Paul (KLR) insisted that I set up my fancy new camp chair so I did, and while reclining in it, dried (burnt) my feet by the fire, whilst sipping a mellow 18 year old Highland Park malt. This is the life. Good Times, with good friends. There was a main rail line across the highway that seemed to have a freight train on it every 5 minutes, and these guys must have had a lot of level crossings to deal with, by the sound of the air horns. Earplugs, and fatigue took care of that little issue, for me at least.


Day 3 stats taken the next morning.

The best is yet to come..

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Old 06-14-2012, 08:15 AM   #14
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So sorry to hear about your sister Lee. Glad you've found a way to cope through writing. Take it easy man.
Thank you for that. It is my parents that I feel the most sadness for. They unfortunately, are living any parents worst nightmare, and I say this as a parent myself. It is just so wrong to have to attend a childs funeral. There is really nothing that can be said to make that any less painful for them. Only the passage of time will lessen that.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:32 AM   #15
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Day 4 Bear Lake, a little Wyoming and Utah at last!

I woke up feeling a bit chilly, note to self; zip up the sleeping bag- fool!, it was cold in the valley at night. Cold but not damp, as the tent was dry, that’s a change. My Head was a bit foggy from a slight overindulgence the previous evening. This to shall pass. I started packing up as the other denizens of the campground slowly stirred. I finished packing up and once again we decided to make a few miles before stopping for breakfast (and doing the morning chain lube ritual). While the other guys finished getting mobile I rode up to the Hot Springs to get some pictures in the bright morning sun. At Soda Springs we once again hooked up with my original track and Paul went inside to get advice from a “friendly local” regarding sustenance. We were directed out of Soda Springs (apparently they don’t eat there) to a truck stop called the Ranch Hand toward Montpelier.


As a bit of a joke I took this with my phone as it seems no ride report is complete here without the "food shot".

It indeed had decent grub and we fueled the bikes as well. The mountain range to the east of Bear Lake was looming ever closer and providing a great backdrop to an otherwise unremarkable highway. At Montpelier we (my bad) missed the turn that would take us along the west side of Bear Lake. In my defense both roads were #30 just with a different shape around the number (circle vs. shield) My GPS was right on the money, as my track showed the turn and I didn’t take it. This mistake was rectified within a block and we were again on track. The run along the west side of Bear Lake was beautiful and We found a spot beside the lake for a picture.





I had pulled in at a Marina but the old fella that was guarding wanted $8 bucks to go 100 yards to the end of the parking lot so I could snap a picture. I declined, but had to back up as turning around past the gate was going to cost me $8. I think that the guard was a former banker…. I am now planning to build a parking lot beside Bear Lake as my new retirement strategy, I think I am going to be a wealthy old fart.

We continued south into Utah briefly before crossing into the southwest corner of Wyoming headed to Evanston. We had to stop and do a chain adjustment on Chris’s bike and he was starting to get worried. In Evanston just as I was about to get through a light I spotted a decent looking bike shop so I did a “Crazy Ivan”. Now for those of you who have never seen the movie Hunt For Red October; a “Crazy Ivan” is a sudden, unexpected direction change. The guys were far enough behind that it didn’t cause an issue, other than they might have been questioning my nav. skills, or sanity. The guys at the Bike shop (Chris will have to pipe up with the name) were fairly helpful in assisting Chris with the location of new chain and sprockets. After a number of calls it was set up to have the parts delivered to the bike shop of the Godfather of Price Utah, Tony Basso. He seemed, as we discovered, to own everything in town. Now with a plan we decided to find lodging in or around Price.

First things first though, we had a nice little run up and over the Wasatch National Forest with a little bit of gravel logging road thrown in for good measure. The road (hwy 150) up and over the north end of Wasatch Forest was a delight and there was plenty of snow still around at the higher elevations. The intel from the bike shop in Evanston had told us it was passable.


We stopped briefly for a picture and kept on rolling until the left onto the gravel road. A fellow on a BMW street bike was parked in the shade of a tree by the turnoff and we inquired if the road was passable. He figured it should be no problem as they had had a very light season for snow. He was very enthusiastic when asked about the trail as he had been over it on his GSA and loved it. The trail was great and my GPS did not steer me wrong, and eventually it spit us out on hwy #35 East of Kamas Utah. From there we headed east to Duchesne. After a decent lunch and fuel up we headed southeast on 191 down Indian Canyon and this road was another nice ride up over another pass into Helper.





A short blast south on a much bigger stretch of 191 took us into Tony Basso’s town, of Price, where I went to the Bike shop first just to see where it was at for the next morning. That done we tried to find a campground. Another “friendly local” explained that we had missed the state liquor stores closing time so we were stuck buying the flavored water that passed for beer at the gas station. He was able to direct us to a nice little campground a few minutes south at Huntington where we could “be chill by the lake”. It turned out to be a nice spot that we could spread out for about $10 per person and thanks to Paul(BMW) sweet talking the camp hosts we scored some nice dry firewood gratis. The place had surprisingly great washroom/ shower facilities, and other than being in the middle of nowhere (so no close by eating establishments) was great.







I managed to get some neat time shots with Paul (KLR)’s led writing talents.





Tomorrow after Chris’s bike repair we would head across a wash road east of Castledale to Green River and arrive in Moab.

much more to come.....





Video for the Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3QzSl1o6hQ

Maps from the day:







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Lycan1 screwed with this post 06-24-2012 at 08:07 PM
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