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Old 04-30-2014, 10:22 AM   #1
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Iowa to White Rim June 2013

I rode the White Rim on my 1200gs in June of 2013 and im just getting around to talking about it. :) Small disclaimer here - What follows is child's play compared to what Steve (eemsreno) does in a weekend. Guy is a beast.

I left Fairfield, IA on a Friday afternoon and ran into t storms in Des Moines and waited it out at a gas station. Once it cleared, it was on to Omaha where I ran into Tornado warnings and had to hunker down early for the night but since the College World Series was in town there were no rooms in all of Omaha unless you wanted to pay over $200/night. Fortunately I met a great guy who saw my predicament and let me crash on the floor of his hotel room.

Saturday morning was beautiful and I rode to Boulder to stay with friends.
Sunday I met up with the guys I would be riding with in Lake City. Highly recommend Lake City and the campgrounds near the start of Cinnamon Pass.


I picked up a nail in my tire coming down Cinnamon and had to patch it in Silverton. So that cancelled our trip over Orphir Pass. Yes I rode this on Metzeler Tourance's. A note about the Tourances. Riding through rain on Interstate 80 from Co to IA they were amazing. They were just capable of handling the offroad riding we did.

We checked the map and found a nice looking National Forest Campground in the Le Sal Forest (It was during the Gov. shutdown so we had the place to ourselves )
We got up the next morning and that's when our trip got very interesting. We had planed to take a nice 1.5 hour ride into Moab and start the White Rim that afternoon. We had booked our campsite (Murphy C) months in advance so we had to make sure that we got half the White Rim trail done that day.
We departed the campsite after a leisurely breakfast and one of the members of our group says, "we have some time why don't we take this forest service trail down into Moab. It will be great to see it from the mountains as we come down". He says it will add about an hour to our 1.5 hour trip. We agree that we have the extra time and take off on the Le Sal trail on the Colorado side of the range. Its a beautiful red gravel road with excellent scenery. Click the next pick as its a video

We are making great time by the time we hit the CO/UT boarder and are having a very pleasant day. This is when things start to take a turn. After crossing the boarder and we start making our decent into UT the trail becomes noticeably different. Much more of a 4x4 jeep trail than a gravel road. Here DC77+ gives me the international sign for "I'm OK." :)


It's hot and very slow going. The Tourance's are working as hard as they possibly can. I dump the bike at slow speed 4 times. We are now 5 hours into our 2.5 ride and Moab is way off in the distance. We are cursing our buddy who recommended this route based on a GPS image on his cell phone. Sonovabitch!!! Yet, when the guy who sends you on a goosechase is the same guy who hauls a cooler bag full of dry ice and beer, you don't stay mad very long.

We eventually arrive in Moab around 3pm and grab lunch at the Moab Brewery. We are soaked in sweat and covered in red dust. After we eat and hydrate its 4:15pm. We mull over our options. No way we are going to miss our opportunity to camp at Murphy, so we sack up and head for the White Rim. The sign at the gate says estimated time to Murphy C is 5.5 hours. That would have us arriving in the dark at 10:30 pm.

Fuck it. We are young and dumb and exhausted and thirsty and highly motivated.

As we start the trail we are all in shock and aw of the beauty of the place.

We are having a great time.
We are making good time and happily moving along and suddenly.... I'm down. HARD! No idea what happened. I think I was very fatigued and I reverted back to my days as a BMX rider and instinctively grabbed the front break thinking I was on a bicycle and it was the rear break. Anyway, BAM! 15 minutes later I've walked it off and collected the pieces of the bike that fell off. NO major problems fortunately.

We are back on the trail. Another hour of riding and we plow up Murphy's hogback just as the sun is setting around 9 pm and find our campsite at the top of the hill. The beers we packed on dry ice in Moab are only slightly warm. The beauty of Moab and the sunset and the beer all come together. What a day. We spoke to locals about riding Le Sal from Co to UT and then riding half the White Rim and one day and they all laugh.

We screwed up big time but as a result we did something very very rare. While I was coming down the Le Sal trail into Moab I ran into a guy on a 250cc Honda and he looked at me on my 1200gs and said "That's a pretty big bike to have up here." I said "I rode here from Iowa."

It was a funny moment because I was saying it with pride and he probably heard it and thought. Iowan's are idiots.

The following morning we were rested and inspired. We easily tackled the second half of the White Rim without issue.


That's my story of riding the White Rim. We hung out and explored Arches and local waterfalls for two days then I headed back to Boulder and Iowa.

I bought an adventure bike and I had an adventure. There will be many more in my future.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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As an Iowan I agree with the 250cc assessment.
Great report.
That rocky 4X4 looks wicked. I cant imagine taking my Tiger 800 XC on that!
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:15 AM   #3
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Our group had my 1200gs, an 1150gs, and a 650 KLR. All loaded for a week of camping. It was a bear.

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As an Iowan I agree with the 250cc assessment.
Great report.
That rocky 4X4 looks wicked. I cant imagine taking my Tiger 800 XC on that!
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:33 AM   #4
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looks like a great deal of fun was had. thanks for sharing
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:32 PM   #5
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Awesome report!

I'm planning on doing something pretty similar with some friends in the fall of 2015. Though, the difference is that we're all on 650's a pansies. We'll be trailering out to Colorado. We plan on doing as many mountain passes as possible on the way to Moab.

Never really considered camping on White Rim. Was it tough to get reservations? We were planning on rolling into Moab late and getting a hotel - then doing WRT the next day. But, maybe we get a hotel - spend the morning on the slick rock trail - then head out on the WRT. Sounds like we'd be fine for camping if we got down the trail right after lunch.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:05 PM   #6
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Camping on the White Rim was one of my favorite parts of the trip. A unique experience and star gazing. When you are out that far there really isn't any light pollution. Not that we have a lot here in Iowa but you'll still be surprised at the difference. The sites at Murphy's are quite large and can fit several tents. They are primitive sites though. So you have to carry extra food water because you will be isolated for a longer period of time than just riding it in one day. I think we hauled 6 gallons of water, 12 beers (normal alcohol levels, not that Utah crap) on dry ice, and food for three people. If you do it in one day, you could hydrate really well and just bring the water for the day on the trail and get your beers and food back at camp/town.

As far as reserving the site goes, my buddy took care of that about two and a half months before our trip. I think he called the Canyonlands/National Park Service to make the reservation. We were told that they fill up fast and to make sure we reserved early so we did. I believe it was $30 for the night. Despite what we were told, once we pulled into Murphy's (where there are 4 sites) we were the only people there and could have had our pick of any of the 4. We were there on a Tuesday night I believe. Better to be safe than sorry though because i'd hate to see you show up and have all the sites be full. There is nowhere else to stay legally for quiet a ways.

There is a guy named Tony (on here as ByWays) who gave me a lot of great advice about CO trails and was one of the first people to reinforce our decision to camp on the White Rim. Epic man with as much knowledge as you could possibly imagine about the west and the trails there. He has done some riding with the backcountry discovery route teams put together by Touratech. He was incredibly generous with his knowledge and time when I was planning my trip and I'd be happy to pass along what we spoke about if you have any questions. Or of course you could ask him directly.

Even though you could ride the trail in one day you get to really enjoy it if you do it in two days. The dry ice and beer thing is pretty cool too

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Awesome report!

I'm planning on doing something pretty similar with some friends in the fall of 2015. Though, the difference is that we're all on 650's a pansies. We'll be trailering out to Colorado. We plan on doing as many mountain passes as possible on the way to Moab.

Never really considered camping on White Rim. Was it tough to get reservations? We were planning on rolling into Moab late and getting a hotel - then doing WRT the next day. But, maybe we get a hotel - spend the morning on the slick rock trail - then head out on the WRT. Sounds like we'd be fine for camping if we got down the trail right after lunch.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:43 PM   #7
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Beast? I think you really were thinking Dinosaur
Anyone riding trails like this with a full sized adventure bike is the beast.



We camped at Murphy"s C, It was a great part of the WRT.
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:27 AM   #8
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I want to do this!!

Where is this "road" or trail or....whatever you want to call it? I want to do it!! Can you post the route or GPS for it?

I have done the white rim before and we are going back this summer to do it again. It's a great ride.

Oh and I have family in Agency, Ottumwa, Floris, Bloomfield, Oskaloosa, Eddyville but I moved to the big city of KC many years ago. Glad to see a fellow Iowan out wondering around...That is the correct acronym right....
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:28 AM   #9
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I have asked my friend to post some info about this trail from the La Sal Campground down into Moab. I could probably find it on google maps but I think he might have a much better idea.

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Where is this "road" or trail or....whatever you want to call it? I want to do it!! Can you post the route or GPS for it?

I have done the white rim before and we are going back this summer to do it again. It's a great ride.

Oh and I have family in Agency, Ottumwa, Floris, Bloomfield, Oskaloosa, Eddyville but I moved to the big city of KC many years ago. Glad to see a fellow Iowan out wondering around...That is the correct acronym right....
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:26 AM   #10
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Boulder Field Coordinates

So I am not sure if this will help but here at the coordinates of that boulder field. 38.431097, -109.274081

We camped in the Le Sal National Forest at the Buckeye Campground right next to the Buckeye Reservoir and then took the main park road west out of the park and over the Le Sal Pass out of Colorado and into Utah. That field is on the Utah side. Hopefully that is enough to help you find it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:09 PM   #11
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Eff you!

Looks like the guy in the 6th pic with the downed bike is giving you the finger
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:21 AM   #12
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the finger

I don't make the news, I just report it.

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Looks like the guy in the 6th pic with the downed bike is giving you the finger
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:15 AM   #13
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Light Pollution Map

I love this handy little reference whne looking for star gazing opportunities. Like I was referencing before there is hardly any light pollution around Canyonlands and The WRT Campgrounds.

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Old 05-02-2014, 10:45 AM   #14
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Thats cool how you can make out the cities. Chicago is huge!

I can see the little speck of light that is Newton - where I live. Not a lot of pollution in IA, but yeah - Utah is bare!
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