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Old 11-07-2011, 04:39 PM   #1
woodsatyr OP
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My week in Moab UT.

My Moab Ride Report

On Thursday, 6 October I headed out to Moab, Utah from St. Augustine, FL. The trip would be approximately 2200 miles. The plan was to do two 12 hour days and then finish off the roughly six hours or so on the third day, arriving in Moab midday. This would keep me from having to drive at night (which I don’t like).

The route was across I-10 to just west of Baton Rouge, then north to Shreveport where I spent the first night in my truck at a truck stop. Then it was over to Dallas, Amarillo, and Albuquerque where I planned on spending the night again. But due to the time changes, I had a couple more hours of daylight so I made it as far as Bloomfield/Farmington NM. This time I slept in my truck in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The third day I went through Shiprock NM to Cortez CO and up to Monticello UT and finally to Moab.

I would be meeting my friend Tom in Moab. He lives in San Francisco. We both arrived on Saturday within minutes of each other. Couldn’t have planned that better if we had tried!

We stayed at the Lazy Lizard Hostel. I rented a cabin - It was simple and sufficient. Two bunk beds, a table, a bench, and two chairs outside. Bathrooms and showers were located close enough and were heated and had plenty of hot water. Perfect!

Saturday afternoon we spent unloading bikes and stuff and getting our gear together. Then I got an email from a couple who were doing a ride from Alaska to Argentina. They are from Denmark and bought a couple of bikes in Alaska. Henriette was riding a DR650 and Lars was on a KLR650. They had already passed through Moab and were on their way south when they had an encounter with some deer. When she braked to avoid a couple of deer, he hit her bike and they both went down. His bike was damaged and needed repair and he also hurt his ribs and wrist. They were taken back to Moab for repairs and were still – after 3 weeks – waiting on parts. So the email was to say that Henriette would love to ride with us on Sunday. I gave them a call and they met us at the hostel. We hung out chatting for a bit. She mentioned wanting to ride Shafer trail so I worked out a route that included Potash Road/Shafer trail, Long Canyon trail, and Gemini Bridges. The plan was set.

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:39 PM   #2
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Sunday

Sunday morning we all met for breakfast at the Pancake Haus. When I was in Moab in 2008, that was our breakfast spot. Well, it wasn’t as good this time. The service was poor and the food not so good. L

Since Lars was still hurting from the accident, he went back to the hotel and the three of us set off for the ride. Potash road starts just north of Moab by the entrance to Arches National Park. The first 16 miles is paved road; then it turns to dirt. Along the paved portion there are petroglyphs carved into the rock. The area is also popular with rock climbers who could be seen hanging off the sides of the cliff.

The dirt portion started off fairly easy. It winds around the evaporation ponds of the salt mining company. Then it starts climbing up terraces along the Colorado River. The road used to be used for mining in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Now it is a popular 4x4, dual sport, and bicycle trail.


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The road got harder as we went along. There were rock steps and shelves to navigate and loose rock and sand. Some of it was pretty steep too. But that’s all part of the fun!! It was hard to look at the view because the road demanded full attention. But we stopped at several of the overlooks for pictures. Dead Horse Point is on the north side of the trail and overlooks the river.

After a fairly knarly section (which was fun to ride), we came upon the junction with the White Rim trail. We would be riding the White Rim trail a few days later.

Next the road continues up the Shafer Switchbacks. These go from the bottom of the canyon all the up to the top. Good stuff!!! The view is amazing!


mini-P1020549 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

I’m on top of the world!! (That’s Shafer Trail in the background)

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Henriette on top of the world!!

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Me and Henriette.

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That’s me on the trail overlooking the Colorado River. I’m the teeny dot with my dot bike just right of center.

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A couple of rafts on the river.

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Looking down on part of the switchbacks.

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There was a mountain biker riding UP the trail. I saw him when we were at the intersection of the White Rim trail and he asked me which direction was Shafer trail. He had a French accent. So when we saw him below us, we started shouting “Allez! Allez!! Allez!” We had fun but we don’t think he heard us.

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The bikes taking in the view.

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Me and Henriette and our beautiful bikes. We love our bikes!!!

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:41 PM   #3
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Sunday continued

Down the paved and then dirt road a few miles to Long Canyon trail.

Me and Tom with the La Sal mountains shrouded in clouds in the background.

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Tom and me.

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Long Canyon

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Look at that beautiful DRZ!! :inluv:

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This is a fairly steep and knarly trail. There’s one spot where it narrows considerably and is ROUGH! Henriette went first and I watched her drop down step after step after step. One could easily endo going down this section. It was also loose sand and rock. Scary!

Steeper than it looks! (Tom)

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This is cool going under this rock.

Tom.

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Me.

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After Long Canyon we headed back into town for lunch. We were starvin marvins after all that! Lunch at the Blue Pig.

Henriette, Lars, and me.

mini-P1020588crop by woodsatyr55, on Flickr


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Old 11-07-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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Sunday continued

Then we went back out for more fun. This time Gemini Bridges trail. This trail starts out north of Moab and Arches National Park. It starts out as a steep, rough, rocky road that climbs up the side of a mesa. Then down into a valley where the road is easy again. We pass the Gooney Bird Rock (I’ve heard this called by many names but they all indicate it as some kind of bird). After that the trail starts to climb again.

Gooney Bird rock.

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The view along the way.

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One turn is a sharp right uphill. I’m in the lead. As I get turned to head up the hill, I get bogged down and stuck in thick sand. Ugh!! I’m stuck on the side of a hill sliding down backwards with my brakes on! Henriette and Tom manage to find the more solid portion of the trail and burst up to the top. Henriette comes back down to help me get going again.

After that the trail was very rocky. Not loose rock but solid rock with lots of shelves and steps to negotiate. It was a workout! But fun! We got to the bridges parking area and walked out over the bridges. As the name implies, there are two natural bridges over the canyon. Very narrow bridges. You used to be able to ride out on them but now it’s all blocked off. I have pics of me out there on my bicycle in 2000. There is a memorial plaque out there for a young man named Beau James Daley. He died on Oct 9, 1999 when he accidentally drove his 4x4 jeep off one of the bridges. We were there on Oct 9 so we paid our respects at the memorial.

Me on one of the bridges.

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Me walking around on the rocks checking out the views.

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Henriette posing. LOL!

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Goofball! Durakill Bunny as the Karate Kid.

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Looking down from the bridges at Bull Canyon.

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Under the bridge.

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As we were getting ready to leave the parking area, four fellas rode up – at least two of the bikes were KLR650s – and we chatted with them for a minute. We would see them again and again throughout the week.

The rest of the trail from there was an easy ride out to the paved road. On the paved road, Henriette and I hit the twisties hard and fast for some extra fun!

Henriette.

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She’s making bunny ears!

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Back at the parking lot of the hardware store before heading to dinner.

Me and my DRZ.

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The Three Amigos – Florida, California, and Alaska.

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Then we met up with Lars and went out to dinner and then back to their hotel to hang out for a while. We had a great time! Henriette and I bonded like we were long lost sisters. Even the guys noticed and commented on it! LOL

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:43 PM   #5
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Monday

The next day (Monday) was breakfast at the Moab Diner which turned out to be our daily breakfast place. MUCH better than the Pancake Haus across the street. We spent the morning fixing Lars and Henriette’s bikes. His last part arrived so we got them loaded up and ready to hit the road. They left about noon to continue their trip. We missed them immediately. The rest of the day was spent getting ready for our White Rim camping trip and shopping for gifts and souvenirs. And I got my hair cut. J

Views.

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Tuesday

Early Tues morning Steve arrived at the hostel for the White Rim trail ride. He’s a friend of a friend who lives about an hour south of Moab. He’s ridden the trail before and has way more skills than I do so I was glad he could come along.

After breakfast at Moab Diner, we headed out. The weather was absolutely perfect! We started out on Potash Road and followed the same path we did on Sunday. But when we got to the intersection, we went left onto White Rim.

Steve’s bike, Tom, and my DRZ.

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Views.

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Tom and Steve looking like spacemen.

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We come in peace.

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We stopped at Musselman Arch. It’s a really narrow sliver of rock over the canyon.

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I saw a lizard grab a grasshopper and he tried to eat it but by the time I got my camera out, somehow the grasshopper managed to escape. Here they are in a standoff.

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More views.

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Me.

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Me and my beautiful DRZ in my TailoftheDragon.com shirt (just for you Nanc!).

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This is Steve enjoying the view. A real dusl sport cowboy!

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I was having a blast riding this trail. It was in good condition and fairly easy to do. I was riding like I knew what I was doing. There were a couple of sandy section but I had no trouble with it at all. But Tom – that was another story! The first time he fell, all I saw was a cloud of dust in my mirror. He had gotten off line a bit and hit the sandy berm on the side of the trail and down he went. Thank goodness Steve was there to pick him up. Nothing busted except pride so on we went. After a little while, Steve came flying up behind me and motioned me to stop. He said “Tom fell again.” This time he fell in the middle of the trail and it wasn’t as sandy so he fell a bit harder. This time it bent his brake pedal and he scraped up his leg. And busted his confidence too – not that he had a lot to begin with since he hasn't ridden in dirt in 30 years and hasn't been riding at all for the last 4 years. Not good when the hard part was yet to come. They bent the brake lever back to where it was usable again and we started riding again.

After a while, we made it to Murphy Hogback. I didn’t quite realize where I was until I’d gotten started on it. It’s a L-O-N-G steep narrow uphill section with a sharp drop off on the left side. I didn’t have any trouble with it but it just kept going and going and going… and going. Finally it topped out over a blind rise. Tom made it up that ok.

What goes up, must come down. Murphy Hogback was no different. The other side was a steep twisty descent. It was tricky but I liked it.

One more time Tom fell in the sand. I hate falling!! But it's what happens when you're learning to ride in dirt. It's so frustrating.

Looking back toward Potato Bottom.

mini-IMG_0087 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:44 PM   #6
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Tuesday continued

The next hard section to come was Hardscrabble. What made it hard was that it was steep, uphill, sandy and rocky, with really tight switchbacks. I noticed one switchback what had a really wide approach to it. You really had to take advantage of the space to get turned and lined up to go up the hill. It’s amazing how pictures don’t show the steepness.

That’s Steve down at the switchback. He’s just a tiny dot. Note the wide turning area.

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The trail is in the lower right corner and is the lighter color soil. It goes beyond the rocks on the near left and switches back a few times before it comes out on the trail in the center left of the pic.

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An SUV coming around the sharp hairpin down below.

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You just can’t convey the distance and terrain in a pic.


At one point, I stalled out but was able to get going again. Not so lucky the second time. I stalled out where it was really narrow, super steep, and I had a sharp left switchback right in front of me. Luckily I managed to get my feet on the ground to keep from falling over. But I was sliding backwards down the hill even though I had my front brake full on. I could not get the bike going forward. I slid myself backwards just enough to get the bike pointed to the side of the trail (toward the drop off of course!) so it leveled the bike out to where I could get it moving forward again. Whew!! That was tough! I made it to the top and waited for Tom and Steve. I could see Steve below making his way up. We had to stopped and rest there for a while before we went on.

Views from the top.

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The trail continues on.

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Finally we made it to camp. I think the total mileage so far was about 90 miles. It was fantastic!! I just had a blast! We set up our tents and cooked up a dinner of ramen noodles and a can of chicken. After a day of great riding, that sure tasted good!!

Steve left us before dinner because he had prior commitments. Too bad he couldn’t stay with us. We really enjoyed having him ride with us. Tom was extra thankful for him helping him out all day. I wasn’t any help at all.

That night was a full moon that was so bright I could see the color of my tent. What a beautiful moon!! It was easy to fall asleep. I slept good!

Views of camp and the setting sun.

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:46 PM   #7
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Wednesday

The next morning was another beautiful day. I started it out with a breakfast of Mountain House scrambled eggs and bacon soup. I put the required amount of water in but it always comes out like soup. Oh well, it still tasted good.

Leaving camp we were pretty much in the bottom of the canyon. The bottom of the canyon has a lot of sand. Rut roh. But we both made it through without falling down so that was good. It’s cool how the terrain changes out there. The ride out was way different than what we’d done so far. After a bit, the trail became wider and more travelled as we got to the boat ramp area. At the end of the White Rim is the Mineral Bottom Road. It was at this intersection that we saw the four fellas we’d seen at Gemini Bridges a couple days prior. They were heading into the trail from that point and were going to complete it all in one day. That’s about a 120-130 mile ride. And on those big bikes… the Hardscrabble and Murphy Hogback might be an issue. After our brief chat with the Four Fellas, our trail climbed out of the canyon. At the top it was straight out to the pavement and like horses back to the barn, we blasted back to the hostel. What a fantastic trip that was!

I got back to the hostel first and was greeted by the hostel kitty – Darkie. He was so cute! He would visit every morning and every evening for some lovins.

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I got all my gear unloaded by the time Tom showed up. Tom's bike had some carb issues so we took it to the shop to be fixed. While we were waiting for that, we took a drive through Arches and I wanted to hike up to Delicate Arch. Tom waited in the truck while I hiked because his leg and shoulder were hurting from the falls. The hike was 1.5 miles UP to the Arch. Once again, pics just don’t show the degree of slope. I really liked the hike! At the Arch, I got someone to take a pic of me under it. You can’t tell it’s me. I look like an ant. It was pretty spectacular. Well worth the effort. Afterward we went to the park store and I got a badge for my hiking stick.

Views in Arches National Park.

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Balanced Rock.

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See all those rocky points sticking up in the middle of the pic on the hill? One of those is Delicate Arch.

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Here’s the start of the trail and you can see the pointy rocks a little closer. That’s what I’m hiking toward.

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Wolfe Ranch cabin (a historic structure).

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Now it starts going up.

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Looking back toward the parking lot where I just came from.

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They don’t seem any closer.

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Now the formations are behind the hill. The trail is up over that big chunk of slickrock ahead.

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A big cave under the rock.

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Looking back toward the parking lot.

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Now I’m on the slickrock trail. It’s steep!

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La Sal mountains peeking over the next hill.

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Another view back toward the parking lot.

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Holy crap this is steep! It really is!!

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Whenever I had to stop to catch my breath, I took a scenery pic. I have lots of scenery pics.

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A break in the slickrock.

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That’s what I just walked through.

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More slickrock. The trail is marked my cairns (piles of rocks artistically placed.)

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Damn, I gotta be close!

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Cool rock formations. I think these are petrified sand dunes.

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I like to look back on what I came through.

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Ok, now I’m on the narrow ledge on the back side of the rock.

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When you get to the end of the narrow ledge, you come on this.

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See that ant under the arch? That’s me!

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There I am!

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Delicate Arch.

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:48 PM   #8
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Wednesday continued



On the way back down, I saw a varmint.

mini-IMGP0485 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

People came up behind me and thought I was crazy for taking pics of chipmonks. We don’t have those here so they’re interesting to me.

I walked the side trail to view the petroglyphs.

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Devils Garden.

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Balanced Rock in silhouette.

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Thurs

Thursday we decided to ride over Geyser Pass in the La Sal Mountains. The La Sals are just south of Moab. The day that I was driving through Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, there was a storm coming through that dumped snow in the higher elevations. The La Sals were dusted with snow so we weren’t sure if we would be able to get through the pass or not.

We left south out of Moab on 191 and turned on Airport Road about 7 miles out of town. This led us to La Sal Loop Road which is paved.

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At the intersection of the dirt road that goes to Geyser Pass, we met up with the Four Fellas again. They were going around La Sal Loop Road to Castle Valley. They told us that the managed to do the White Rim all in one day but that three of the four fell going down Hardscrabble Hill. I’m tellin ya… that was a tough section!

We continued on the dirt road toward the pass.

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A look back toward Moab.

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I was excited when we got to the snow line! It was pretty cool with all the aspen trees and white snow… I felt like I was in a Bev Doolittle painting with my DRZ replacing the horses.

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The road was covered in ice but I kept going and would have gone to the top except Tom didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to tackle the ice. We stopped for a couple of pictures and then we headed back the way we came in.

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Mama loves her bike!

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At the intersection, we turned right and rode out La Sal Loop Road.

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We passed one end of the Sand Flats Road. That was labeled as an easy road in our 4x4 book but I didn’t like the name of it. “SAND Flats Road”. LOL

Saw this little fella in the road. I stopped and made sure he got across ok so nobody would run him over.

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We continued on and ended up on Castle Valley Road. It’s amazing how different the rock formations look depending on if you’re close or far away. These looked way different once I was down below them.

Castle Valley from afar.

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Those rocks up close.

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At the end of Castle Valley Road is Hwy 128 and the Colorado River. You follow the river all the way back to Moab.

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Old 11-07-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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Thursday continued

I wanted to ride more so I talked Tom into riding another easy trail in the 4x4 book – Hurrah Pass. This starts out on paved road for a few miles out of town and then turns to dirt. Then it turns rockier and twistier as it rises up to the pass. I had a blast on it!

Harrah Pass views.

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Tom on Hurrah Pass trail. (Tiny black and white dot center-ish right.)

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Tom.

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I rode down the back side of Hurrah Pass which is Chicken Corners. That’s labeled as moderate in the 4x4 book. The book pointed out a worst section of the trail. This one goes on out to Thelma and Louise Point and you can see Dead Horse Point right across the way. Since Tom was waiting at the top of the pass and I didn't want to keep him waiting, I only went down to the bottom which is where the harder section was. I didn’t think it was all that hard. I turned around and went back to the pass. What fun!! I had a blast riding that. I would have liked to do more.

Me heading off to Chicken Corners.

mini-IMG_0146 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

Looking out over Chicken Corners trail. Dead Horse Point is I think out of the picture to the right and Thelma and Louise Point is somewhere on the left. Chicken Corners trail is along the cliffs on the left and goes down to that kind of open-ish area center right. Then it goes behind the rocks that stick out from the left toward the center of the pic. I went out beyond that point before I turned around and came back.

mini-IMG_0140 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

woodsatyr screwed with this post 11-08-2011 at 07:04 AM
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:51 PM   #10
woodsatyr OP
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Friday

Earlier in the week, we had made plans to ride with Steve down around where he lives in Blanding Utah. Since Tom wanted to chill out, we loaded my bike onto his truck and drove down to Steve’s house. There we met with Steve and his friend Noreen. Steve and Noreen would ride two-up. I have no idea where we rode other than out of Blanding and through some of the La Sal National Forest. I didn’t care where we were riding! It was just fantastic riding! We’d stop every so often and Steve and Noreen would point out things. Several times we stopped where you could see FOREVER and they’d point out mountain ranges in other states. Way cool! Plus, Noreen is an archaeologist with the National Park Service and she was telling me all kinds of stuff about the area. Supah cool!!

We rode all day long over mostly dirt. And some water crossings! I stayed a little behind Steve because it was kinda dusty so when I got to the first water crossing, he was already through it waiting on the other side. He didn’t give any indication as to where to cross so I figured it was all good. It was a pretty big crossing. I started through it and it got deeper and deeper and deeper and I think my eyes got bigger and bigger and bigger as the water came up and up and up. Holy cow this is deep!! Good thing I was too scared to slow down! It was fin though. There were bunches more water crossing but none as deep as that one.

At the end of the day we met back up with Tom at Steve’s house and we went out to eat. What a great day! And what great people Steve and Noreen are! I’m so glad they’re now my friends too!

The bikes.

mini-IMGP0569 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

Views.

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Oh, I thought this was cool. If you look in this first pic, you see the road curve to the right a little and then it goes around a bend to the left where you can see it on the side of that cliff. Then there’s a gap in the rock… that’s where the road goes. I had to take a sequence of pics up through that hole. J


mini-IMGP0577 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr


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And this is on the other side of that gap.

mini-IMGP0600 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

woodsatyr screwed with this post 11-08-2011 at 07:05 AM
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:52 PM   #11
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Saturday

Saturday I went out on my own. I picked a couple of easy routes out of the 4x4 book. The first one was Onion Creek. This trail was on the east side of Moab and east of Castle Valley. It was a really fun easy trail. It was an out and back ride loaded with little water crossings. I know Tom was feeling bummed and hurt and this could be a confidence booster. After I rode it, I went back to the hostel and talked Tom into riding it with me. He did very well on it. After that, he went back to the hostel and I continued riding.

Views along Onion Creek trail (or getting to it).

mini-IMGP0608 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr


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I next rode to Fisher Towers which wasn’t much of anything. So back to the hostel I went. The ride along the Colorado River is fun. Easy twisty as it follows the river. It was fun to go fast!

When I got back to the hostel, I wanted to ride more. I decided to be brave and go do the Sand Flats Road. I started at the Moab end which would end up on La Sal Loop Road where we had been a few days earlier. Then I’d come back down the loop road into town. Turns out that the Sand Flats area is a big recreational area with camping sites and hiking trails and such. It’s a fee area so you have to pay a couple bucks to get in. It starts out of the center of Moab where you go east to get there. It passes by the Slickrock trail and the start of Porcupine Rim trail. I had been there on my mountain bike in 2000 but I didn’t remember how to get to the start of the Porcupine Rim trail. That was my fave trail on the mountain bike. I should have brought my bike with me and I would have ridden that trail. Oh well. It’s not like I didn’t have enough to do on the DRZ!!

Past the start of the Porcupine Rim trail was a trail to an overlook of Castle Valley. That was one of the cool things about Porc Rim was that you climb climb climb and then you’re at the top at a fantastic overlook of the valley. The overlook I went to this day was just a bit south of there. And there are those rock outcrops that look so different close up! The other thing was that I don’t even remember seeing a town down there I guess because it’s so high up and everything looks so tiny. Anyway, spectacular views.

Castle Valley.

mini-IMGP0645 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

View.

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mini-IMGP0648 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

I continued on out Sand Flats and came to the loop road. The loop road is paved the whole way. There were only a couple of cars on the whole thing and I FLEW on the way back. Man that was FUN!!! Once again, riding like I knew what I was doing!


mini-IMGP0649 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr


mini-IMGP0651 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

woodsatyr screwed with this post 11-08-2011 at 07:07 AM
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:53 PM   #12
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Saturday continued



I blasted back to town in time to get cleaned up before my friends Tina and Mike showed up. They live in Colorado and came in to Moab for a weekend getaway and to have dinner with us. A couple pics before we went to the Blue Pig for dinner. That was some good food! I like that place. They have a good peach margarita. It was great to hang out with Tina and Mike! I’ve known Tina for quite a while now but this was the first chance we had to meet in person.

Tina and me.

mini-IMGP0654 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

Tina, Mike, me, and the DRZ.

mini-IMGP0656 by woodsatyr55, on Flickr

Well, our time was too short and in the morning it was time to get up early and drive back home. I didn’t want to leave. There’s just so much more to explore. I barely even touched the surface.

I love riding my DRZ!!
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:48 PM   #13
TreeManG23
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Awesome RR Woody!

I know when I was there last year, I was in complete sensory overload the whole time. I just wish it wasn't so far out there..
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TreeManG23 View Post
Awesome RR Woody!

I know when I was there last year, I was in complete sensory overload the whole time. I just wish it wasn't so far out there..

When I retire, that's probably one of the first places I'll go and start exploring from there. There's just SO much to see and I want to see it all!

The distance does suck. I was thinking about going out again in the spring but there's just no way. It was a total of 6 days of driving. And over $1000 in fuel.
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Old 11-07-2011, 09:14 PM   #15
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Beautiful pictures. I can't wait to go next spring. Looks like Tom didn't want to ride much
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