|05-17-2012, 06:12 PM||#1|
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Harrisville, Utah
Zero to Eighty in 5 Hours in the Moab McDonalds Parking Lot
|05-17-2012, 06:15 PM||#2|
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Harrisville, Utah
Technical difficulties.....working on it. Moderator, is there any way to Nuke the message above? For some reason I can't seem to delete it or remove the text (image links were bad because they were posted as hyperlinks).
mknight screwed with this post 05-17-2012 at 06:30 PM
|05-17-2012, 06:23 PM||#3|
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Harrisville, Utah
“Zero to Eighty in 5 Hours in the Moab McDonalds Parking Lot”
Seven Guys exploring southeastern Utah….again.
I love adventure riding. I love everything about it, but for anyone who rides very much, you know that it’s rarely an adventure unless something goes wrong.
Seven of us from Northern Utah set out last Wednesday night for a planned itinerary of new sites in the south eastern region of Utah. There should have been 8 of us, but Charles bailed at the last minute. He was sitting on the fence regarding going and we told him we would bring extra room for his Pampers if he would come, and to quit waffling about it and go.
When we showed up to pick him up, this is what we found.
Down one and we had not even started. So, we were now down to 7, but that was plenty of bikes and bodies to break in the next three days.
The first night’s plan was to just lay down some slab and get south and east of the Ogden area so we could really start our adventure the next morning. Wolf Creek Pass was a treat. Nothing like the first of the season smell of pines in the high country.
We made it Roosevelt just at dusk, and then headed south of town trying to find a home for the night. This is where we landed.
Thursday morning we headed south through Ouray (not much to see there), and then over to Fantasy Canyon.
Fantasy Canyon is a like a super mini Goblin Valley. The formations are actually really cool, but I’d put this as a location to see only if you’re in the area. We enjoyed hiking around and checking it out for a bit (it’s right in the middle of several hundred natural gas mines).
Time to hit the road and get out of mining country and all the dust and traffic. Our destination was Baxter Pass, but we took a little detour and missed Baxter Pass, but it didn’t matter because the riding was terrific.
We climbed to Atchee Ridge Road, and as we gained elevation, the temperatures dropped to something more tolerable, and the scenery increased as well. I was pleasantly surprised to start to see pine trees again.
Did I mention the views.
And back on top of Overlook Ridge with an opportunity to drop down some big switchbacks again.
And then it was out of the Bookcliffs, onto the flats, and headed for Mack and Loma Colorado.
We had a great lunch in Loma and then determined that the knobby that I thought was going to make it on my KLR I had loaned to Randy, wasn’t going to make it (is the fact that there were belts showing on the tire carcass a bad thing ;)
So we had to make a detour to the KTM/Harley dealer in Grand Junction. They wanted $80 to mount the tire. Sorry, we’ll do it ourselves. The place we had lunch had a perfect spot and a convenient 5 gallon bucket to use (the proprietor said it was her smoking bucket, so “don’t ruin it”).
It was plenty warm, so it was time to hit the trail. The plan was to ride the Kokopelli Trail west to the LaSals, through Moab, and camp somewhere south of Moab for the night. So much for plans.
The start of the Kokopelli trail outside of Mack Colorado.
I was a little nervous when we passed other trailheads to the Kokopelli trail and I saw lots of cars obviously transporting mountain bikers. A few years ago we rode the White Rim Trail, and although spectacular, passing countless mountain bikers and chase vehicles got old. Kokopelli didn’t turn out to be quite as bad (but be prepared for company in certain sections). Kokopelli offers lots of options for Jeep road, ATV width trails, and singletrack. After not riding anything technical to this point, it was fun to do some “dirt-biking” on the big bikes.
However it didn’t take long to start to wish we had our real dirt bikes for some of the more technical singletrack sections.
I was the first to tackle the hill in the pics above and the wide hips on the big-girl KTM950 (Gobi sidecases) promptly caught a rock and just about sent me down the hill. As a result, everyone else with big hips opted to carry them up the hill.
Jason was watching me go up another technical section and failed to remember he was a wide load and tipped his big girl upside down.
It takes some extra help to get the big girl upright.
But the views on the Kokopelli made it worth it.
It was quickly becoming apparent that any hopes of completing the Kokopelli today were long gone, so we just enjoyed the journey and all the “fun” obstacles that lay ahead of us.
I had heard and read of some of the obstacles near McGraw Bottom. We actually had intentions of riding the jeep route that circumvents this section, but we just got sucked into following the Carsonite markers and before we knew it we were committed. Besides, why pass up a perfectly good section of gnarly singletrack when you’re riding a perfectly capable 500 pound adventure bike ;)
At this point we were right along the edge of the Colorado River and the trail reminded me of some of our favorite dirt-biking in the Green River and White Wash areas of Utah (but we were reminded time and time again we weren’t on our little dirt bikes).
We decided to spot each other in a few spots and pile up some rocks.
A few scrapes and bruises, but we made it through fine ;)
Then down through the tamarisks right along the river. The big hips on these girls made it a challenge to get through a few spots but we made it.
We then climbed up and out of the river bottom, heading towards Dewey Bridge and a place to camp for the night.
We found a spot up the road from Dewey Bridge. A great place to call home for the night. I love adventure riding.
Waking up the next morning we found plenty of these critters under our tents. A common site in these parts.
We proceeded up the Kokopelli trail with intentions of riding out and back to the “Top of the World”.
The trail was easily marked, but I admit, this route was a lot rockier than I had imagined. Nothing we couldn’t handle on the big fully loaded bikes, but it’s just that it is relentless. There are no sections that give-up on the Top of the World trail.
Randy stacked some rocks on a ledge.
And then takes advantage of his work.
I love the technical challenge of riding a big bike where you really shouldn’t, but I’m not convinced everyone in our group agreed.
|05-17-2012, 06:25 PM||#4|
Joined: Aug 2005
Location: Harrisville, Utah
But the views at the top made it totally worth it. This was truly one of the best views anywhere in the entire Moab area. It reminded me a little of Toroweap on the north rim of the Grand Canyon where we rode last March (but Top of the World doesn’t have near the vertical drop, but definitely enough to make you queasy when standing by the edge).
If you look just to the left in the picture above you’ll see a small bush a few feet from the edge of the cliff. It turns out that Randy (on my borrowed KLR) was the first to the top of the ledge and when he got to the top he made a little U-turn “around” that bush literally 2-3 feet from a 1,000 foot drop. The panniers on the bike stuck out a foot on each side and one bump and he could have easily lost his balance. Needless to say, it wasn’t intentional but when we all got there and he told us what he did, we couldn’t believe it. Not something to be replicated.
I’m the father of 3 boys (teenagers now). I feel like I’ve got a good handle on how they operate. If you put a pile of dirt in front of little boys, you know what happens next. If you stick a pile of rocks in front of little boys and a body of water….the rocks immediately go into the water.
Well, some attributes are inherent in the male gene and they persist, regardless of age.
Stick a group of 40+ year old men on the edge of a 1,000 foot cliff with an ample supply of bowling-ball sized rocks at their disposal, and what happens next? You guessed it.
Nothing more entertaining than sending a chunk of sandstone over the edge and watching it splatter into dust on the cliffs below.
After all our fun, it was time to descend the rocky jeep road.
It turns out that Paul’s “new to him” KTM 950 didn’t want to play nicely after the rough treatment on the ride up and he was left stranded at the top.
Insert KTM Joke #1.
How many guys does it take to a fix a KTM? Apparently more than 6.
Actually, after putting all our heads together, trying multiple troubleshooting steps, consulting ktm950.info online (Randy’s Smartphone had good service), we were able to hot wire Paul’s bike (ignition problem).
She started right up and we all congratulated each other for being such geniuses and promptly took off down the trail.
It turns out we were a bit premature in our celebration and the bike fried several fuses and the hot wire trick would no longer work.
So we put our heads together again, jerry-rigged up a way to start the bike by jumping the terminals on the starter motor, and decided to head for Moab before pushing our luck any further on the trail.
At least the views were nice.
Lunch at McDonalds and then the troubleshooting fun on Paul’s bike started again (after he pushed it a few hundred yards down the street).
This is the obligatory, “At the moment this really really sucks, but someday I’m going to laugh about it” photo.
Insert KTM Joke #2
4-5 hours later, countless trips to the local Auto Parts store, Radio Shack, McDonalds, and other sundry supplies, and our troubleshooting steps were exhausted. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, it was an ignition/electrical problem. In the end, we got him going good enough to jump start the motor again and Paul decided to high-tail it for home (6 hours north) and leave the fun to the rest of us.
So, we decided to try and salvage what we could for the day. After sitting around in the heat of the McDonalds parking lot for the entire afternoon, we opted to head for the high-country. The thought of pine trees, snow banks, and creek crossings sounded incredibly appealing. The Manti LaSals east of town were our destination.
They did not disappoint.
I’ve never ridden the LaSals. I will be back!
One of my favorite pictures of the entire trip. Sometimes you just have to stop and soak it in!
The picture above and this one are my favorite two of the entire trip. We rounded the corner at about 9,500 feet at 8:00 at night and found this.
A huge scree field of boulders that were loose and made it feel like you were riding through a football field of bowling balls. Bring on the challenge. I headed across first and after getting through the first 100 feet or so, the rocks compacted and weren’t quite as bad as they looked.
Chad makes it across without issue.
We all rode across the scree field, and Eric was last to try on his DR650. He made it about 50 feet and then stopped. Standing on the other side we were kind of perplexed. I hiked over to him and he said his clutch was shot….but then I looked down and discovered this.
More than just his clutch was shot.
Remember, if nothing goes wrong, it’s not an adventure. This is where the adventure starts (or was it in the McDonalds parking lot).
So much for making it over the LaSal pass. We decided to turn around and find a campsite for the night and deal with it in the morning. However, Brent and I were just salivating at the prospect of seeing what lay ahead of us and seeing just how close we were to making the summit.
We snuck up the road another mile or two just to check it out. It was awesome!
Some of the first tracks this season at this elevation.
The consolation was an awesome camp spot at 9,000 feet for the night with no company on the mountain other than the Bears, and coyotes that were howling at night.
The next morning a group of hunters with dogs came up the road. We saw lots of these outfits in the Bookcliffs and I’m pretty sure they were either hunting Bear or big cats. They let their dogs loose and it was “comforting” to hear them scanning the thick brush, howling in excitement at the fresh scent. It seemed they had treed something in the basin just about our camp. That would explain the fun noises we heard that previous night ;)
It was now Saturday, and time to face the reality of what to do with Eric’s bike. We put our heads together and offered some suggestions to Eric, and this was the beautiful piece of handiwork that resulted.
Eric has the Delorme InReach which is similar to a SPOT messenger, but allows two-way texting via Satellite. It turns out he texted his wife the night before and told her to meet him in Moab the next morning.
With our tails between our legs, we got Eric off the mountain the next morning and into Moab, but not before a little more excitement.
Insert KTM joke #3.
Karma is an interesting thing. Always offer to pitch in and help your buddy fix his bike because you never know when your turn is coming. I had a weird oil pressure issue on my bike. After tearing off the left side fairing/tank/crash bar and getting to the left oil tank, I was able to manually release the pressure in the check valve. I put it all back together with the help of the crew…..problem solved (but that was a weird one). The big stick and log are part of the stock KTM tool kit.
The patch job on Eric’s shifter held up enough to get him into Moab.
Where he met his wife and did the “load of shame” (been there done that), and hauled his bike home.
It was now close to 11:00 a.m. The next day was Mother’s Day, the majority of our previous day had been shot, and we weren’t off to a great start for our final day. The consensus was that we wanted to head north, and to the high country, picking a route that would get us home hopefully before dark.
We put our heads down, slabbed it to Wellington for lunch and gas, and then picked up Nine Mile Canyon.
And then west on Argyle Canyon road (part of the Utah Backcountry Discovery route). This canyon was awesome.
Then, Reservation Ridge all the way above Soldier Summit, and north towards Strawberry.
This was over 9,500 feet for the majority of it and the views were amazing. You could easily see the snow-covered backside of the Wasatch Range, the Uintah basin and north to the High Uintas Wilderness, and south towards Sanpete County and Skyline drive.
Despite how great the riding was, it was kind of sad to see the dismal snowpack for this time of year (these roads should still be mostly covered in snow). We only encountered one snow bank that presented a challenge.
It was then down Timber Canyon road to the Strawberry Pinnacles.
At that point, we headed north back to Tabiona and Hanna, and hit Wolf Creek pass to Kamas, and back home over Trappers Loop and Ogden Canyon. Even though it had been a long day, Brent and I enjoyed a moto session trying to carve the knobbies off the side of our tires heading up Wolf Creek on the 950’s.
I’m happy to report we all made it home safe and sound for Mother’s Day, but longing for the opportunity get back out on the road again.
I love adventure riding.
mknight screwed with this post 05-18-2012 at 09:43 AM
|05-17-2012, 06:48 PM||#5|
Cougar on the prowl
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC - for now
Terrific photos! I need to see some of these places in person!
|05-17-2012, 08:26 PM||#7|
Joined: Feb 2005
Location: Edge of the Wasatch
Great report, Mike. You always do a good job on the photos. I suspect you enjoyed the ride more on the big bike than the DRZ & KLR riders.
Want Creative Adventure Products? - See Globetrottin.com
Current rides - '14 KTM 1190 R Adv <2k, '07 990Adv 39k, '12 500EXC 7k, '09 GasGas 300 Raga
|05-17-2012, 08:40 PM||#8|
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Dove Creek, Co.
Excellent! We were going to go over LaSal pass Saturday after Lockhart but thought there would be more snow -
|05-17-2012, 10:50 PM||#9|
Out on the trail
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Utah, USA
Wow! Great ride report. You gota love Utah!
"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast"
|05-19-2012, 06:14 AM||#11|
here and there
Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Salt Lake City UT
05 KTM 450 MXC , 01 Triumph Tiger 955i
04 KTM 950 ADV , 00 Husaberg 501FE
04 GasGas TXT300 PRO , 70 Jawa 250
|05-19-2012, 07:39 AM||#12|
Joined: May 2009
Location: Maple Valley , WA , USA
Great report ! Damn , it makes my old body hurt just seeing your group riding all the "fat" girls in tee shirts in the rough stuff . Was it too cool at elevation to wear mesh gear ? Have an easy ride up over our mountains planned but snow level normally will be a problem until late summer , may have to go on scouting mission today . Thanks for the report .
Save yourself $5 us my SmugMug coupon b87YWgTeSWxEc
Couple volcanos , stonehenge and some peg scraping
Old Man plays with his Wee
|05-21-2012, 09:51 AM||#13|
Joined: Oct 2005
Location: Diamond Bar, CA.
This Ride Report is much better with the pictures.
As for where you rode... too rich for my blood.
But you all had a good time, and that's what matters.
Thanks for sharing.
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