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Old 05-20-2012, 10:16 AM   #331
RedRockRider OP
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Smithsonian Butte Scenic Backway

Thanks for checkin' in inmates and lurkers. The maps (Benchmark) are popular. Good place to start.




Coming from St. George, we slabbed (on side roads) up towards Hurricane. Checked out the backside of Sand Hollow Reservoir (all paved), and hit our first dirt just off of highway 59 (route to Colorado City). The centerpiece of the ride was Smithsonian Butte National Scenic Backway and Gooseberry Mesa. Terrific view of cliffs of Zion, especially as you head north on the Smithsonian Butte Backway. Recommend travel in this direction if practical.

Also checked out Grafton ghost town and the historic bridge back over the Virgin River at Rockville.

Smithsonian Butte Backway makes a nice "short-cut" between Zion and Colorado City and the north rim of Grand Canyon, but is not road bike friendly. There is one steep, somewhat loose, uphill (going opposite direction, north to south, from Rockville to Big Plain Junction). Wouldn't want to take a road bike up that hill. Any ADV bike would be fine.


Prominent sign at our first transition to dirt. Boarding school for troubled teens. Probably doing some good work here.




Take a pic at the gate with my WRR.




Always good to check out some old equipment. Each one of these machines certainly as some good stories behind it. Always wonder if the machine was purposefully abandoned or the owners thought they would return.




Kokopelli Golf Course. You are cruising along a dirt road and start to see green fairways up in front. Soon you are in the middle of the golf course. Normal access to the golf course is via Highway 59.




Nice looking horses.




Short stint back on pavement, then turn sharp left (north) on the Smithsonian Butte National Scenic Backway.




Dad is with me. Got to get a pic of him. The start is nice enough, but not spectacular. Nice straight dirt road.




Official sign.




Side trip in to Gooseberry Mesa. Popular mountain biking area. Haven't ever checked it out.




Dad and I at the end of Gooseberry Mesa. Always good to be out with Dad!




On Gooseberry Mesa. It was windy last week when these pics were taken. Lots of desert dust in the air. Haze. Still great views, but not crystal clear and sharp. We tend to get spoiled in Southern Utah. High expectations for near perfect weather all the time.




Back on the Smithsonian Butte Road descending towards Rockville. Zion in background. Noticeable haze.




Almost no people / traffic. Sharp contrast with Zion which is only 10 miles away. This is near the bottom of the steeper hill, not friendly to road bikes or passenger cars. You can see the dirt road / hill easily from state highway 9.




Easy dirt road over to Grafton (ghost town). Passable from Rockville by road bikes and passenger cars.




Cool sign. Gotta respect it. This little side trip gets a fair bit of Zion tourist traffic. Probably lots of dust all summer.




Grafton sign.




The old one-room school house. No inside access, but a nice setting.




Several older buildings. This one has some character.




Also a nearby cemetery.




The sign.




Killed by Indians -- Yikes! Not that many old timers in this crowd.




Grave marker.




Rockville Bridge over the Virgin River. Back to pavement and state highway 9.




Plaque.




Some nice history here.




Nice area. Elevation is 4000-5000 feet so it is starting to get hot. For summer much better to spend time up towards Kolob Reservoir or higher country east and north from Zion.


Looks like a road ride is shaping up for Friday, May 25th. Going to have lunch in Springdale. Might continue through Zion over to Mount Carmel Junction. Also might go to Kolob Reservoir. Probably leaving Saint George about 10 am. Will link up with friend in La Verkin. Ride will be on road bikes. All inmates welcome to join. Let me know if interested. Firm details to follow.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:16 AM   #332
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Kolob Reservoir Road

The Kolob Reservoir Scenic Backway Road. 100% paved and one of the best road rides in Southern Utah.




The road goes north from Virgin through part of Zion National Park (no entrance fee) to Kolob Reservoir where the pavement ends. Steady elevation gain. Kolob Reservoir is about 8,000 ft. Much cooler than St. George. Always pleasant temps in summer. Fantastic scenery throughout and generally very little traffic. Good motorcycle road, but almost no shoulder. Lots of places where you wouldn't want to miss a turn.

North of Kolob Reservoir the road turns to dirt and continues higher (~9,000 ft) prior to dropping down to UT 14 just east of Cedar City. Excellent ride. Have done this in the past on WRR. Not sure of status of dirt this year. Could be muddy / rutted. Could be smooth.

This ride was late Sunday afternoon (5/20). Eclipse day. Lots of amateur astronomers out with their telescopes. I benefited with a few close-up looks through some very expensive equipment.

Only took a few pics. Mostly just out for the ride.

Section of the road in Zion National Park. Note the color of the asphalt. Tabernacle Dome.




Sweet road for the Versys.




North end of Kolob Reservoir. Follow dirt road on east side of reservoir. Excellent shoreline camping.




Lower Kolob Plateau area with West Temple in distance. Highly recommend this ride.




Road ride on Friday, May 25th, leaving St. George at 10 am. All inmates / lurkers welcome. Likely destination: Springdale (lunch). Also likely - Kolob Reservoir Road or Zion tunnels. To be determined. Post up or pm if interested.

Thanks for many replies already. Ride safe!
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:49 PM   #333
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Great stuff.

This is bookmarked for more daydreaming about the next trip.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:02 PM   #334
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Another great post

I've always wonder why some pretty darn expensive equipment ends up getting left out in the middle of nowhere. Heck, that bulldozer doesn't even look that old. Thieves would probably take it, but to easy to track and to hard to move without being noticed. In one of the area's we hunt (and ride), there's been a piece of logging equipment left behind when the loggers left. Been there a couple years. Stuff probably breaks down and not worth dragging out. Cool to investigate none-the-less.

Love the old buildings in Grafton. Also curious why we are so intrigued by bridges. Especially the old ones, but we are. Neat pic's as usual, and with dad! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:28 AM   #335
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Laugh Side note on Grafton

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRockRider View Post
Thanks for checkin' in inmates and lurkers. The maps (Benchmark) are popular. Good place to start.




Coming from St. George, we slabbed (on side roads) up towards Hurricane. Checked out the backside of Sand Hollow Reservoir (all paved), and hit our first dirt just off of highway 59 (route to Colorado City). The centerpiece of the ride was Smithsonian Butte National Scenic Backway and Gooseberry Mesa. Terrific view of cliffs of Zion, especially as you head north on the Smithsonian Butte Backway. Recommend travel in this direction if practical.

Also checked out Grafton ghost town and the historic bridge back over the Virgin River at Rockville.

Smithsonian Butte Backway makes a nice "short-cut" between Zion and Colorado City and the north rim of Grand Canyon, but is not road bike friendly. There is one steep, somewhat loose, uphill (going opposite direction, north to south, from Rockville to Big Plain Junction). Wouldn't want to take a road bike up that hill. Any ADV bike would be fine.


Prominent sign at our first transition to dirt. Boarding school for troubled teens. Probably doing some good work here.




Take a pic at the gate with my WRR.




Always good to check out some old equipment. Each one of these machines certainly as some good stories behind it. Always wonder if the machine was purposefully abandoned or the owners thought they would return.




Kokopelli Golf Course. You are cruising along a dirt road and start to see green fairways up in front. Soon you are in the middle of the golf course. Normal access to the golf course is via Highway 59.




Nice looking horses.




Short stint back on pavement, then turn sharp left (north) on the Smithsonian Butte National Scenic Backway.




Dad is with me. Got to get a pic of him. The start is nice enough, but not spectacular. Nice straight dirt road.




Official sign.




Side trip in to Gooseberry Mesa. Popular mountain biking area. Haven't ever checked it out.




Dad and I at the end of Gooseberry Mesa. Always good to be out with Dad!




On Gooseberry Mesa. It was windy last week when these pics were taken. Lots of desert dust in the air. Haze. Still great views, but not crystal clear and sharp. We tend to get spoiled in Southern Utah. High expectations for near perfect weather all the time.




Back on the Smithsonian Butte Road descending towards Rockville. Zion in background. Noticeable haze.




Almost no people / traffic. Sharp contrast with Zion which is only 10 miles away. This is near the bottom of the steeper hill, not friendly to road bikes or passenger cars. You can see the dirt road / hill easily from state highway 9.




Easy dirt road over to Grafton (ghost town). Passable from Rockville by road bikes and passenger cars.




Cool sign. Gotta respect it. This little side trip gets a fair bit of Zion tourist traffic. Probably lots of dust all summer.




Grafton sign.




The old one-room school house. No inside access, but a nice setting.




Several older buildings. This one has some character.




Also a nearby cemetery.




The sign.




Killed by Indians -- Yikes! Not that many old timers in this crowd.




Grave marker.




Rockville Bridge over the Virgin River. Back to pavement and state highway 9.




Plaque.




Some nice history here.




Nice area. Elevation is 4000-5000 feet so it is starting to get hot. For summer much better to spend time up towards Kolob Reservoir or higher country east and north from Zion.


Looks like a road ride is shaping up for Friday, May 25th. Going to have lunch in Springdale. Might continue through Zion over to Mount Carmel Junction. Also might go to Kolob Reservoir. Probably leaving Saint George about 10 am. Will link up with friend in La Verkin. Ride will be on road bikes. All inmates welcome to join. Let me know if interested. Firm details to follow.
Side note on Grafton: The buildings and town were used in the old movie "Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid"
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #336
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Side note of interest

the Grafton site was used in the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" made in the '60's
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:22 PM   #337
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Finally got to the end of this amazing report. The first time I went through St George was in the late '80s--it was a neat small town with little cottages & a real small town feel--just the place you would want to live or visit again. Fast forward to 2007--I was riding back from Grand Junction & planned to spend the night in St George--NOT!!!!--the small town feel had been replaced by shopping centers & new housing developments--nary a cottage to be seen. I was seriously bummed & decided to go for another small town--Mesquite---same story there.... I kept riding until I finally had to stop in Primm, NV. Mesquite, when I went through years earlier had more casinos & golf courses than houses. Boy did that change.....

I've been through most of the major attractions in UT but I'm thinking after reading your report that there is a lot of merit in making a 3 or 4 day ride up there & just cruise around all of the places I missed. I think that trip is coming up soon

Thanks for all the effort you have put into this report. Makes me want to get back up there.
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Old 05-26-2012, 09:35 AM   #338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRockRider View Post
Hey wbbnm:

Back from Barclay, NV. Got close to Ella Mountain. Pennsylvania Canyon Road. Here is pic of a sign, taken from the Fife Road. On Benchmark, this sign is at sharp corner (intersection) just southeast of Ella Spring.




And here is what the Ella Mountain Road looked like. Graded. Recent maintenance. Some loose surface rock.




We didn't go up to Ella Mountain, 3 miles, or down Pennsylvania Canyon to Elgin. Only 14 miles. How bad could it be? My guess is the road to the lookout from this side (Barclay side) was in good condition with recent maintenance. It is the other side from Elgin up to Ella Mountain that is likely less maintained.

Talked to a local in Caliente. Didn't have recent knowledge, but thought the Pennsylvania Canyon Road would be steep/rough but totally doable on bikes. I think there is more traffic on the northeast side vs. the southwest side (by Elgin), although very, very little activity in either area.

My dad and I didn't see a single person from Motoqua to Caliente, including poking around in Barclay for an hour.

RRR Sorry it took me so long to see this. Thanks for the info. Makes me feel a little better about our plan. We truly enjoy an occasional rough section. Problem is you cannot do that all day and get anywhere.

We did a 6 day 1300 mile loop ride from Abq to Tombstone AZ and back the second week of May. This is about the 4th year we have done a similar ride into AZ and didn't take too many pictures this time.

But here are the ones we did take:

http://wbbnm.smugmug.com/Motorcycles...1769&k=6k7VThZ

http://falcon.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Tombstone-DS-Ride/22935897_rCkTTd#!i=1842836070&k=8D7Xsbd

http://brassass.smugmug.com/MotorcycleRides-3/Tomstone-DS-Ride/22905457_jJ7JmH#!i=1839897722&k=M733WgZ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNItqPLJcGc&feature=youtu.be

(4 of the guys spent an extra two days coming down to Abq from Taos and Los Alamos via dirt. That is where they encountered the snow and bad mud. We didn''t hit anything like that on the main part of the trip.)

BTW I was looking back at an exploratory ride you did west of Veyo. You mentioned you were looking for an interesting high route to Enterprise Resevoir or Enterprise. My Garmin Topos show a big system of trails and roads that would go thru the forest to either place. You might want to get a forest service map of that area and check them out. Or if you want I could make a screen dump of my Garmin map and send or post it. This looks like ride that you might not want to do alone though.

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Old 05-26-2012, 11:33 PM   #339
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Thanks, Inmates!

Really enjoy lots of your posts as well.

Mr. Head -- Thanks! Always good to make time for daydreaming.

TheAdmiral -- Old bridges, buildings, and equipment . . . part of the fun . . . looking forward to more of your TW adventures.

Ringokelly -- Good luck with your upcoming arm surgery. We'll get together for a ride when you're on the mend.

VFR -- Thanks for the compliment. Lots of good riding around St. George. Plenty of out-of-the-way places relatively untouched by the building craze of the early 2000s. Small town feel plus awesome scenery and almost no people!

Wbbnm -- Nice video of your recent ride. 17 riders. Wouldn't want to be the last guy eating dust. Yes, I have several good/detailed maps of the area west of Veyo towards Enterprise and Enterprise Reservoir. Always fun to see if what is on the map matches up to real life. As you know, everything is not always consistent. Lots of fun in discovery!

Thanks for your comments. Ride safe and give a heads up if you're passing through St. George!
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:08 AM   #340
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Super Hawk

Out with a couple of buddies for lunch in Springdale last Friday. Very windy. Lots of blowing sand behind Sand Hollow Reservoir. Only took a few pics. Mostly riding.




The Honda Super Hawk! Makes my Versys look slow.

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Old 05-29-2012, 04:36 PM   #341
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Nice !! Same as mine - -I love that V twin !

Heres mine

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Old 06-05-2012, 12:38 AM   #342
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San Juan River Rafting

Just back from family vacation.

North Rim of Grand Canyon.




Marble Canyon from Navajo Bridge.




Main event was 4-day raft trip on San Juan river. Highly recommended.




My son in a "ducky."




Celebration!




Typical campsite.




More on the motos soon!
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:39 PM   #343
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I saw some of those when looking down from Gooseneck State Park last year. You must have to carry the camping gear in the rafts as I didn't see any way to get it down to them. That is pretty much raft stealth camping. Looked like lots of fun, too.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:13 PM   #344
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I'm going to have to do the raft trip. I've hiked to the bottom from the North Rim but never rafted. It looks like great fun.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:41 PM   #345
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San Jaun

Nice pics. Looks like the water level was good. Ran across a couple of old San Juan River Guides (written by Don Baars, who used to run up here in Dinosaur with the Hatch's in the '70's) in the old Hatch Boathouse last month that sparked my curiosity of the San Juan. Dee Holiday runs a top notch operation. He was a good friend of my Dad and my Uncle Ted taught him in school.

Still want to ride with you sometime. Back in NE Utah for the summer due to work obligations, but hope to spend a lot of time in St. Geo this fall and winter.

Ride Safe and keep up the posts!
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