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Old 09-29-2010, 03:07 PM   #1
WoodWorks OP
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White Rim Quickee

I have read several great trip reports here about riding the White Rim Road in Canyonlands N. P., so as soon as I could convince my jerk of a boss (I'm self-employed) to give me a long weekend off, I started making plans.

The brilliant plans included riding out to Utah from my home in southern Oregon, arriving by mid-afternoon on the second day. Once there, I figured I could then ride down onto the White Rim, go about half-way around the 100-mile loop, camp at one of the back-country campgrounds, and then ride the rest of the loop on the third day before starting back home. This way it would be possible to do the whole 2000-mile trip in four days.

Well, the first fly in the ointment landed when I called a month before leaving to reserve a campsite and was told that they are usually booked a year in advance. So unless I got lucky and scored somebody's cancellation, I was SOL.

The second fly landed in late August when a big thunderstorm washed out a section of the road near the Mineral Road switchbacks. This made completing the loop impossible.


NPS PHOTO BY NEAL HERBERT

So I had to adjust to those realities, and decided to scale back my plans by riding only a section of the road, going down and out in one day. This gave me a little more time to get to my new base camp in Moab, so I decided to detour (actually shortcut) across western Nevada via the Jungo Road, which cuts through the desert from Gerlach (home of Burning Man) to Winnemucca.

A trip out there had been nixed by unseasonal rain in August, so this turned out to be a bonus for me. And Jungo didn't disappoint.



Not much of an off-pavement challenge, but fun nevertheless.

The rest of the first day was spent slabbing to Wells, NV, where I overnighted, and then more slab on the second day into Moab. But before heading into town to check into my luxury suite at the Motel 6, I headed out to Dead Horse Point to survey the White Rim from the top of the canyon.



The late afternoon shadows made for some spectacular views.



Can you spot the human in this picture? She's standing on that boulder in the upper right part of the picture, right underneath those hills on the horizon. That'll give you some sense of the scale.

Then it was off to Moab for a good meal and a martini. Tomorrow's the big day.
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WoodWorks screwed with this post 09-29-2010 at 10:38 PM
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:26 PM   #2
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Great pictures. I never get tired of looking at pictures in that area.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:29 PM   #3
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Have a great time on the White Rim! Wish I could meet up w/ you while you're here. I leave in the morning for 4 days in Ouray to lead a photo workshop.

Speaking of photos, these are really nice. Looking forward to the rest of the report. I'll look for your bike around town tonight as I'm out and about.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:15 PM   #4
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I got up before dawn to head down onto the rim via the Potash Road. The sun was still below the horizon when I ventured out onto the dirt.



Very quickly I encountered the first mud hole.



Fortunately I was able to cut across country to skirt this one. And soon thereafter the sun rose with the waning moon still high in the sky, so I had to stop to take in the light show.



Then I ran right into the second mud hole, which was about twice as long as the first. There wasn't an obvious way to get around this one, so I had no choice but to plunge right through it.



But the Heidenau K60s, which had about 8,500 miles on them at this point, got me through the soupy muck. Can't say enough good about those tires.

With sun now well above the horizon I paused for the requisite glamour shot.



And then I continued along the road, which meandered up and down along the rim, passing a few technical steps and some rocky sections that the bike handled almost effortlessly.



My plan was to head out as far as the Musselman Arch, and then turn back and head out of the canyon via the Shafer Trail. This only allowed me to see about one quarter of the entire road. But since I wasn't going to get to ride the whole loop anyway, I figured that this was a decent introduction. I'll make it back here again, and after all, the road isn't going anywhere.

So I made it out to the 120-foot long arch while the day was still young.



I set my camera on self-timer and sprinted out onto the arch for a hero shot, but ten seconds just wasn't enough time to allow my aging legs to get me out there to pose without risking an unfortunate plunge off the sidewalk-wide arch. There's about 100 feet of air underneath it, and a very rough landing at the end of the drop if you make a wrong step.



Then it was time to turn around and head back towards home. But first, the Shafer Trail.

It's one of the more spectacular roads I've ever seen, climbing almost vertically through a series of switchbacks up the wall of the canyon. Even the approach was a sight.



I paused at the foot of the trail to get a feel for what was ahead.



And then I fired up the bike again and crept up the trail, keeping it in first gear, and feathering the clutch almost the entire ten minute ride up to the top. I shot this crappy video of the ascent with my iPhone clamped to the handlebars. It's almost unwatchable, but it might give you an idea of what you'll encounter if you try this yourself.


Shafer Trail


Nearing the top, I stopped again to take in the view.



Then, having made it back out, I turned for home.

Normally I avoid the Interstates if I can, but I-70 between Green River and Salina has much to recommend, both in scenery and motorcycle fun.



And after Salina, you're on US 50, also known as The Loneliest Road in America—though for my money, US 6 through Nevada is lonelier. It's laser straight for the most part, but takes you through some desolate and isolated countryside that's beautiful in its own way.



Then, my first glimpse of Mt. Shasta, a sure sign that I'm nearing home.



And by 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I was back home in Ashland, dirty, tired, and happy after 2,056.5 miles in four days.



112 mph?

I swear, officer, someone must have stolen my bike and taken it for a joy ride while I was asleep!

David
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:04 PM   #5
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Good Report

and yes I agree, Highway 6 in Nevada is the loneliest road in America
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:48 PM   #6
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Outstanding

I-70 from Moab to Richfield is very nice for interstate slab

Well done, (but too quick)
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:27 AM   #7
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once again another great place to ride! Too many places to explore and not enough time! Thanks!
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:21 AM   #8
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Does this get rebuilt and by who?
Being in New England its unbelievable the riding out west.

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Old 09-30-2010, 06:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bretedge
I'll look for your bike around town tonight as I'm out and about.
Sorry that I missed you, Bret. But as you can see, I was in and out.

Hey, I just remembered. You owe me a beer, don't you?

David
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jdw4748
Does this get rebuilt and by who?
The NPS website says not until 2011. And you, me, and the other taxpayers of America get the privilege.

Money well spent, if you ask me.

David
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodWorks
The NPS website says not until 2011. And you, me, and the other taxpayers of America get the privilege.

Money well spent, if you ask me.

David
Grand County and the BLM are looking for ways to fund the re-construction of the road now. A study one of them conducted determined that not rebuilding the road would cost Moab tourism at least $4.3 million in annual tourism revenue. That's just about the budget for the Grand County Sheriff's Office and Moab City Police combined. Obviously, we need the road! Last I heard, they were hoping to have it completed by late spring 2011. We'll see...
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodWorks
Sorry that I missed you, Bret. But as you can see, I was in and out.

Hey, I just remembered. You owe me a beer, don't you?

David
I probably do owe you a beer...or three. Don't be a stranger next time - I'd love to pay off this debt!
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:00 AM   #13
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Thumb Wow!

That video up Schaeffer Trail is incredible! Thanks for the RR and hope you can finish the ride sometime soon.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:05 PM   #14
klarue
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Yahoo!

Wowsa - Shafer Trail looks (and sounds) pretty darned fun. Nice run up that rocky road. The mud would be interesting too - can't say as I find much of that down here in SoCal. Anyway, well done, sir!
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:58 PM   #15
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Wow!! Stunning ride!! Thanks for the pics and video
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