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Old 07-07-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
crazyjeeper OP
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Location: Williston, North Dakota
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2 weeks in Utah, Colrado and Arizona: Moab & More!

As soon as I got home from my Moab trip last year, I was already stoked to go back. I immediately started looking for a suitable machine so I wouldn’t have to rent again. Over Christmas I purchased a restored 1985 Honda XR350R which would be primarily for the 2013 trip. After a few minor modifications it was ready to rock and roll with a new Clarke 5.0 gallon tank, and new protaper bars with rox risers and HDB hand guards. I loaded up my trusty F150 with my Tenere and the XR and hit the road.



Moab – Day 1

The forecast said rain, but we were here to ride so off we went. In our infinite wisdom, or at least that of our fearless leader, we decided it was a good idea to head up onto Polar Mesa on a rainy day. We parked up at the Onion Creek trail head, unloaded the machines and headed out. We took off at a moderate pace and bombed through 20 odd creek crossings. By the top of the creek, every one of us was soaked, which is exactly what you want on an overcast 60 degree day with rain threatening, and summer weight gear on. It was clearly raining on the mesa but we headed up anyways. As we climbed the rocks started getting wet a slippery and the rain was falling. Drops hitting me in the face felt like little icy daggers. We made it to our usual lunch spot at the overlook and huddled under the cliff face to try and get some shelter and wolfed down our sandwiches. After lunch we all decided we were too cold and wet and high tailed it back down to the trucks. Once we got back to town, the weather appeared to be clearing and Neil wanted to try one more trail. We headed out potash road to jug handle arch and parked. We unloaded the rigs again, but this time in sunshine instead of clouds. It was a relatively short but fast and open ride up to the top of the canyon where we were greeted with a spectacular view and this rock. After soaking up both the view and some sun, we headed on further to try and get to this other overlook. Unfortunately there was a fence, so we headed back down to the trucks, with me leaded in full attack. I was really starting to get a feel for the XR and was several minutes ahead of the next rider at the bottom. Day 1 started cold and wet, but the second ride redeemed the day and we were all glad we came, except for the 2 that didn’t come, they weren’t so glad.

Staging area:


Me on my trusty steed


Top of Onion Creek. You can see the sky turning ugly.




Lunch stop at the overlook. This is also where we turned around.


Cold and Rainy.


Jug Handle Arch


Rock spire.


Me and Dad. As you can see, the weather drastically improved.


Two more of the Canyon.




Day 2
We were getting ambitious. Neil wanted to hit two different trails down south of Moab, Beef Basin and the south end of Lockhart. In order for this plan to work, we had to get on the road by the crack of 9:00am. I knew it would be tough but we got breakfast done and hit the highway. We stopped at Newspaper rock for a little tourism. There were dark clouds over in the direction of lockhart so we decided to try and do Beef Basin first. It wasn’t raining and the road was dry, so we unloaded and headed out through the canyon. The road was wide and we were moving pretty fast. We started to climb and the landscapes changed, in this case for the worse. The soil became less sandy and stickier. We eventually ended up in deep tire clogging mud Jim told me was called Eel Snot. As you can see by my facial expression at the beginning of this video. I was not thrilled with the mud. We only made it about 100 yards into the eel snot before everyone decided that this sucked and we should go back, so we did. We headed back down to the trucks and loaded up and headed for lockhart. We started on lockhart and were greeted with this huge steep sandy hill, which of course I had to try. Being the expert rider I am, I hit the hill in 3rd rather than 2nd which resulted in my poor old XR bogging and stalling about 3/4 of the way up. I must have angered the Honda gods, because no matter what I tried, the stupid thing would not start. I kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and kicked and still nothing. Finally, Neil suggested that maybe I should try giving it throttle and lo and behold, it fired up. At this point I was so mad at the thing, I took off and flogged the crap out of it for the next 10 or so miles. I had never ridden faster on such a road and of course it bit me. I came in to a corner way too hot and ended up taking an unscheduled detour through some brush. Luckily there wasn't a cliff there, but that was a good reminder to slow down a bit. It had clearly been raining on lockhart earlier that morning so the sand was firm and grippy. It was great riding all of the way until we hit a huge patch of axle clogging mud. I was the 2nd rider at this point and Jeff in front of me just headed straight into it with nary a pause. I was a bit more cautious after how bad the mud had gotten earlier that day up on Beef Basin. After seeing him make it through though I took off in pursuit and I also cleared the mud, albeit I was extremely sideways in parts of it. We waited for the others to show up and of course not everybody wanted to cross the nasty mud, so we had to go right back through it and we headed back to the trucks. I got to about 2 miles from the trucks when my XR suddenly got much louder. The muffler had broken off just behind the coupler with the header. The upper mount bolt had backed out and been lost at some point and the thin steel tore away. Luckily the bike still ran good enough to get it back to the truck, so I unleashed my inner redneck and rode a wave of 350cc thunder back to the truck while my muffler was carried on my Dad's ATV. It was a very eventful, but fun day. It is a good thing we turned around when we did though, because about 20 minutes after we got back to the truck the heavens opened and we got hit by a torrential downpour.

Newspaper Rock




Beef Basin




Well, lets try this sandy hill at the start of Lockhart.


And about 2 seconds after this pic, I ran out of torque and ground to a halt. Next time I'll be in 2nd not 3rd.


And of course my buddy Brent had to just cruise right up the same hill on his quad


Lockhart






And then the mud came.








Thunderstorm inbound.


Headed back to town through the rain.



Day 3
This was to be the last day of trails for us, and it started out a rainy one. Since it was so wet still, Dad and I headed over to Moab Tour Company to return my friend Brent's ATV since he had to leave earlier that morning. While we were there we asked them if they could weld up my muffler and 1 hour later I had a nicely repaired muffler. I was still missing the correct bolt so I put a few wraps of wire around the muffler and it was good to go. The rain finally stopped around 10:30am so we decided to head up Kane Creek and try and go up Kane Creek Canyon trail. Some of us were questioning the wisdom of heading down the Canyon instead of up Hoorah Pass given the wet conditions. We didn't even get to the fork in the road where we would have to decide between the Canyon or the Pass before we encountered our first obstacle. It was the first crossing of the creek, usually it is a trickle, this time it was a fast moving stream of unknown depth. We stood around and argued about whether we should go back, or try it for probably 20 minutes before Jeff, tired of waiting took off and plunged his bike into the fast moving water. He made it. Well, if he can make it, we can all make it so, we crossed the creek and pressed on. We took the turn off for the Canyon and ran into yet another bad stream crossing. This time the water had eroded the trail and left a sheer 2-3 foot drop straight into the rushing water. We wisely decided that one wasn't going to happen so we turned around and headed up Hoorah Pass. After lunch at the top of the Pass continued down the trail towards chicken corners. Since it was getting late in the day, we instead headed over to some sandstone caves and explored those for a while. After everybody got their fill of the spelunking, we headed back to the trucks and called it a day. After the rainy start it proved to be a beautiful day and it was a great way to end the trip. At least it was the end for everybody else. My adventures were just getting started.

The first creek crossing


So, who wants to go first?


Not me


Here we go


Top of Hurrah Pass










Sandstone Caves






Somebody can come up with a caption for this one I'm sure.


Not a bad view from here either.


Crossing back over Hurrah Pass




And my Dad, the pack mule on the quad bringing up the rear.


All done with the dirt portion. Time for a cold one. I'm in the quakecon shirt on the right.
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Old 07-07-2013, 11:14 AM   #2
crazyjeeper OP
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Day 4
Transit day. Took Dad to the airport in Grand Junction, stopped at the BMW dealer and took their new 2013 R1200GS demo for a spin, and then headed for Denver.



Day 5
Denver to Salt Lake City
I got up at the crack of 7am with the intention of leaving around 8. Of course being me, I didn't actually leave until about 10:30. I had a long way to go so I was riding a little fast straight out of the gate. So fast in fact that a mere 13 miles into the trip one of Colorado's finest pulled me over for the heinous crime of 76 in a 65. Luckily I only got a warning and I was on my way, keeping a lot closer eye on my speed. As I climbed out of Denver on I-70, I noticed the clouds ahead were getting darker and darker. I hoped that I would miss the precipitation. I wasn't so lucky. The sleet started pretty slowly but quickily increased in size and intensity. Before I knew it my windshield was 70% ice and so was my visor. Luckily it was about 40 degrees so the ice wasn't sticking to the road. The storm probably lasted 5 miles or so when it mercifully ended and my visor melted. I then pulled over to put a another layer on as I was only wearing a t-shirt under my Badlands Pro. The rest of the day was a mostly uneventful slab ride except for the small amount of pea sized hail I hit just outside Price, Utah. I pulled into my friend's house in Salt Lake around 8:30.

Ready to roll!


Sky turning dark on the Loveland Pass


This doesn't look good at all


And it begins






Eisenhower Tunnel at the summit


I think this was in Glenwood Canyon


Some tunnel


Near the Colorado/Utah border


On US 6 headed towards Price


On US 6 just on the outskirts of Spanish Fork


Day 6
Wolf Creek Pass
There was only one pass open in the Salt Lake Area, SH 35, so that is where we went. Dave was riding his beautiful 2000 Honda VFR800 and his wife Tiff was riding her 2011 Ducati Monster 696. I wasn't sure how well my Pirelli Scorpion Rally knobbies would handle the twisty roads, but there is only one way to find out so off we went. Once we got to the top we saw why this was the only pass open. There was between 2 and 4 feet of snow depending on the drifts along a good portion of the pass. At the bottom of the pass we played musicial bikes and I took the little Ducati for a spin. Being 6'5", it was a little cramped but quite fun, and beautiful sounding with the Termignoni exhausts. I only rode it up a couples miles and then back down to the pull of where we had parked. I also wanted to ride the VFR so Dave and I swapped and he rode my Super Tenere for a little while. We then headed back to SLC for a gathering at their friends house and then called it a day.



Me on the Monster


Day 7
Salt Lake City to Cedar City
I slabbed it down I15, stopped for some lunch and took this single picture.



And a couple of super exciting interstate highway shots from the GoPro.




Mmm, A/C awaits.


Day 8
Cedar City to St. George, via Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks
I'm finally to the portion where I have a lot of pictures so I'll let those tell the story.

I took Highway 14 towards US 89 out of Cedar City.


There was a highway patrol just out of the frame at this pull off. I'm sure he was a bit sad I pulled in because he didn't get to write me up for speeding.


Bryce Canyon National Park




Of course I had to take some with the Super T in the shot.






On the way out a couple of gentlemen traveling from California on an R1100RT and Suzuki V-strom offered to take my picture with the sign.


Sandstone Arches on Highway 12 in red canyon.




Zion National Park
The elevation was dropping and the temperature was rising. It was well over 90 when I entered the park.





This is the last picture I took that day.


It was 96 according to my Tenere and after waiting 15 minutes for some RVs to get through the tunnel, I was ready for my hotel. Unfortunately my front tire was cupping really badly and hopping like it was out of balance. I stopped at the Yamaha Dealer, Moto Zoo in St. George to get it looked at. I showed up an hour before closing, they got my bike right in, balanced the tire and sent me on my way for $20 bucks. Outstanding service, they even gave me a free cold Dr. Pepper.

Day 9
St. George, UT, to Kayenta, AZ
There was a huge dead bug dead center on my gopro lens the first time I went through Zion, so I headed back through this morning on my way to Kayenta.








Waiting for the RVs to get through the tunnel.


And I had to get the sign picture as I was leaving


Now with a Zion done, I headed over to US89 south and stopped for lunch in Kanab UT, where I had a choice, take US89 over to Page and then 98 to Kayenta, which is the short route, or US89A which crosses a mesa. I opted for 89A which meant I had to go all of the way down to Tuba City before heading for Kayenta as US89 is closed just south of Page.

In the pine forests near the turnoff for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon




Heading down the other side into the valley floor


You can see the clouds were threatening, and it was over 90F so I was praying for rain, but it never came.




I had previously arranged to stay with ADVrider member HeadShrinker in Kayenta who graciously offered his RV to any passing traveler in need of lodging. As I neared Kayenta, I saw 2 adventure bikes at a gas station, they waved at me and I waved back and rode on. Turns out that was JJ (HeadShrinker), who had stopped to talk with the another rider thinking it might be me. JJ invited them to dinner so he ended up hosting 3 riders that night.

Here we are having an excellent dinner prepared by JJ's wife, Tegan. From Right to left is Tegan, JJ, Myself, Silvia and Fabio


Fabio and Silva were crossing the USA on their BMW G650GS, 2-up. When I met them they had shipped the bike from their home in Italy to San Fransisco and were heading for New York. Since we were headed the same way, we decided to ride together through monument valley and into southern Utah. They were heading for Moab for the night, and I would split off and head for Cortez, Colorado.

Day 10
Kayenta, AZ to Cortez, CO via Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods and the Moki Dugway

Day 10 dawned, and I was no longer traveling solo. Since Fabio and Silvia were likely to never be in Monument Valley again, I ask them to lead and to stop whenever they wanted. I would just follow and take pictures.

Monument Valley






Had to prove I was actually there.






We then stopped at the famous spot where Forrest Gump stopped running, and got to share the moment with 6 van loads of British students.


We rode on to Mexican Hat, Utah and stopped for lunch. We pulled in right behind 2 other riders on Dual Sports, and ended up having lunch with Scott and John. Here is their ride report from the day we ran into each other.



After lunch, we headed up to the rock formation that gave the Town of Mexican Hat it's name.




Next up was the Valley of the Gods, a 17 mile gravel loop which winds its way through a mini-monument valley. I was leading at this stage since I was much more of a dirt biker than Fabio. However, after a couple of miles he was not comfortable riding 2-up on the gravel so we parted ways.


I pressed on among the ancient sandstone monoliths.
















The end of the Valley of the Gods loop intersects with Utah State Route 261, which contains a 3 mile set of switchbacks up Cedar Mesa known as the Moki Dugway.




That is the valley of the Gods road snaking across the valley floor.








Right at the top of the switchbacks is an unlabeled turnoff. It leads to one of the most spectacular views I've ever seen from a spot called Muley Point.

The Spires in the dust on the horizon are the rock towers of Monument Valley






These canyons are called the Goosenecks State Park


I think I need to work on my camoflague. Blue and yellow don't really blend in to the desert.


Time for a selfie!


From Muley point I headed back to the highway and headed north across Cedar Mesa, which has to be one of the best smelling places in all of Utah.




I stopped this cut where they had blasted a path through this huge sandstone ridge for the highway and a gentleman from Florida took my picture.


From there I headed up to Monticello, Utah and then down to Cortez, CO for the night.

Day 11
Cortez CO to Salida CO

The plan was to head up US550, the Million Dollar Highway to Montrose and then US 50 over to Salida for the night.




Silverton, CO




I stopped at the top of Red Mountain Pass and talked to a couple riding Yamaha XT350s from Denmark who were headed to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff. I turned out their route back to Boulder was going right through Mexican Hat so I advised them to take the Valley of the Gods and head up to Muley Point.

From there I stopped in Ouray for Lunch.

Blue Mesa Reservoir


Monarch Pass


Day 12
Salida CO to Denver CO
I had an appointment at noon in Denver, so I went non stop from Salida to Denver via US285.

I got back to my Truck at 2pm or so and loaded up the Super Tenere and headed for North Dakota.

Total miles on the Super Tenere was 2200, plus another 2400 on the F150 getting to and from North Dakota.

I'm still working on cutting the video from Moab, so I'll post up when those are done.

This was my first real motorcycle trip and I definitely have been bit by the moto travel bug!

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Old 07-07-2013, 11:55 AM   #3
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Old bikes are cool. Enjoying the report. I'm curious how your Klim road gear did in the heat.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
crazyjeeper OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmithy View Post
Old bikes are cool. Enjoying the report. I'm curious how your Klim road gear did in the heat.
Thanks, I really had a love/hate thing going with the old XR since 2 times it would. not. start. But once I got it going it was extremely capable and obviously much better looking than any of the modern bikes.

As for the Badlands Pro in hot weather, I was pleasantly surprised. I had read about how people found them oppressively hot over 90 degrees, and that you just can't wear any goretex shell in hot weather and not die, but I found that to be completely false. With the 6 intake and 2 exhaust vents (2 on each arm, 1 in each armpit for intakes, and 2 exhaust on the back) all open, plus the 2 huge intakes on the front of the pants with 2 exhaust on the back, there was plenty of air moving. I was hot, but when it is 100 degrees in direct sunlight, you are going to be hot no matter what you are wearing. I think the key is that it is the gore-tex Pro shell. I also have an Olympia AST2, and compared to the badlands, it feels like a trashbag when it gets hot. The badlands feels more like my old Rev'it Sand did with no liners in, it really does flow air through the shell, not just through the vents. Now, I'm sure it also helps that I grew up in Dallas and 3 months of 100+ temps with humidity was the norm for me so I am pretty well acclimated to heat. I am much more sensitive to being cold than hot while riding. I'd say as long as you keep your hydration up, which is key with any gear in hot weather, the Klim Badlands Pro works great as an all weather suit. If I was going to take that trip again, I would use the Badlands again in a second.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:09 PM   #5
HeadShrinker
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Location: Kayenta, AZ & Cortez, Colorado
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"I stopped at the top of Red Mountain Pass and talked to a couple riding Yamaha XT350s from Denmark who were headed to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff. I turned out their route back to Boulder was going right through Mexican Hat so I advised them to take the Valley of the Gods and head up to Muley Point. "

You know what's funny? You stayed at my place in Kayenta the night before and then I ran into this same couple at the gas station in Kayenta the same afternoon. It's a small world, especially when we're on bikes. You do a fabulous ride report, btw.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:06 PM   #6
crazyjeeper OP
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Winter is still persisting in NoDak so I finally compiled the 25000 gopro stills into this time lapse movie. I also wrote and recorded the backing music.




Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadShrinker View Post
You know what's funny? You stayed at my place in Kayenta the night before and then I ran into this same couple at the gas station in Kayenta the same afternoon. It's a small world, especially when we're on bikes. You do a fabulous ride report, btw.
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. That is a crazy coincidence that you ran into the same people I did. I believe it though. Later that summer I was on Lolo Pass in Idaho getting gas when a group of BMWs pulled in on the way to the Rally in Oregon. Turns out one of the riders had just retired from the company my dad has worked for for 32 years in Dallas and they worked on numerous projects together.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:53 AM   #7
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Fantastic ride and pics!! thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:44 PM   #8
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Cool loop! Looks like you had a good time. Thanks for sharing.
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