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Old 09-19-2012, 05:06 PM   #16
dieselcruiserhead OP
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ANYWAYS.... Moving on...

So Friday night it was:

Ken (690e with the fairing, wearing a BMW jacket of all things.. ).
Harcus ( Jim on the 500exc)
Ryman (dirtbikish 690e)
me (520 exc)
gisKEV (XR650R)

So a pretty good posse.

We cruised up out of Wallsburg Utah, which is south of Heber City sort of near Sundance. It's the beginning of a long set of dirt roads and rough dirt roads, some of which are mostly used by ATV riders and Rhino drivers and hunters, but stretches at least 100 miles in the west-east mountains to the direction of the desert.

I had never ridden this before but heard a lot about it from friends who go riding in the area. It was good tight trees and about 35 miles of pretty nasty little rocky areas, but then opened up to fast groomed road and interspersed with these beautiful wide open fields as the sun was setting, and we were up well over 8K in altitude I figured..

We were all excited to be there. Also some of us hadn't met each other (we are all men who met on the Internet) so there was a little bit of awkardness as we all met each other. This said it was a fun and a blast and it was neat to see how each other ride.

Here is ryman hauling ass on the 690e in one of the open field areas


Here is kev as it started getting colder and shortly before he put on his jacket and we took a quick nip of some bone-warming whiskey. This shows some of the beautiful background high altitude fields, on the "lolly pop stem" of our route.



We ended up riding well into dark and this was nice to allow folks to flush out how well (or not well) their lights were working. I said I wanted to ride into dark early on so we could get some miles. Also, I was just pumped to be there and finally out and riding, as we'd been planning for this trip for months. Somehow riding into the dark became the theme so we rallied all the way to the Soldier Summit intersection, on Route 6 between Moab and Salt Lake City. This is the high point of the route at around 7K feet I think. Solder summit is basically just a gas station where we all purchased supplies at least 2 tall boys each, and Harcus found a neat little camping spot down off the highway in this valley on a river and next to the train tracks.

It was beautiful and we had a feeling it would be cold though it was actually OK through at least midnight or however late it was. The moon was nowhere to be found, and the stars were massive and deep deep deep, unlike I've seen for some time, which was killer.

Debauchery then ensued and there were good times and somehow this photo was taken (I'm gonna need to let Walrus explain) but I think Ryman almost lost his keys and managed to somehow find them above his ass in his dirtbike pants, and somehow they had wrangled their way out of a pocket into his pant's butt crack, and they'd been that way on the ride!



We also all BS'd about bikes and KTM technology and what we all had for camping, what we brought for food, who has a stove and who didn't, how much shit some people had brung while others hadn't brought much at all, what size bike dirtbike (510cc, 650cc, 690cc etc) what tent we had, etc etc etc. It was actually pretty awesome. I will say it was not minimalist though, we got a taste of each person's style for "ADV" and how much shit they bring, and what type of moto they roll. None of us were minimalist, and even I had a little too much stuff this time. Mostly because I was fearing the cold. But it was great times. And we were all bushed, so we hit the hay by probably 11-12ish...

The following morning. This is sort of what it looked like in the morning when my trailtech vapor was telling me it was 29 degrees out which seemed right given the frost... The sun seemed to also take forever to get to us, but that didn't stop us from taking eons to get on our bikes and get rolling.

(yes, this is ice all over the bikes:


Here's what it looked like in the morning as we prepped. Photos don't do the spot or the shitshow or beer cans & MRE packets in the dirt justice unfortunately.. (yes we left without a trace of course)


Ken (The Walrus) then joined us for breakfast down at this awesome place in Helper, Utah called the Balanced Rock Eatery. I never mentioned the sheriff's wife, who was sitting at the table next to us (not sure if you guys noticed who I 'm talking about - she looked like a pornstar with her massive fake cans), so I'll mention it now. When I kept looking over for 2nd and 3rd glimpses she caught me and I felt like she was sort of giving me the eye back... If only she'd known about the duct tape over my nipples.. But whatever.. And luckily the sheriff didn't seem to notice..

Ryman had a family emergency and had to take off and didn't do breakfast... There went KTM #3. Ken also then took off as he had an appointment that afternoon in Salt Lake City. So now it was just down to just Kev, me, and Harcus for the rest of the trip. Lean and mean and psyched though, and let the adventure begin!

dieselcruiserhead screwed with this post 10-31-2012 at 02:30 PM
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:13 PM   #17
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After leaving the balance rock cafe we got gas at the Wellington Chevon. This was the end of the "lollypop stem" that took us from Salt Lake City area to the San Rafael Swell, and was our last and only gas up for the day.

We headed south into the Swell and the route immediately started to test my route building. For the route, I was extra-bold in using the Google Earth, which proved to be erroneous with some "big assumptions" combined with some map discussion. I learned a lot from this as this was my first time actually fully stitching together routes from my own navigation. Previously I'd used snippets of GPS data mostly from Trackhead, so this was interesting to see where it was going to take us, including some "unknowns" that we planned to investigate.

First, there was a massive, I mean *massive* rain storm just a week earlier where it rained 1.5" of rain in something like 30 minutes. This clobbered all of central and southern Utah, and the roads and trails were just a mess. I hadn't seen much like it in some time and the washes and roads were all well washed out. However, this also made things actually pretty fun and pretty interesting, and most importantly, no longer tame. Because the three of us were on bikes that were, or started out as Dirt Bikes, this was all OK.

The damage from the rain would become the big theme of the trip, and throughout the trip we would come to some new spot where the rain had really done a number and continue to be surprised at how bad the damage was even though we'd been encountering it all day, every day.

Second, the google earth photos were at least 1-2 years old, and showed a lot of rural country spur roads not on any maps that just aren't there anymore. It's amazing how fast the desert can take itself back over & heal as if nothing was ever there.

This said using google maps is still absolutely mandatory for any real route planning so it's good that everyone freshens up on this. As I say, it lets you "travel like a local..."





But as a reresult, we passed the Price river earlier and it looked pretty shallow at times and I succumbed to the temptation of trying to cross it. Even worse, was that I'd actually determined earlier that it wasn't passable and I'd built a very easy detour into the route. But we didn't take it. We made the assumption of being so late in the year that it would be crossable, so I made the decision to try to cross it, which was not possible, and which ended up in road "spur" #1 almost immediately into the Swell planning. A Spur is when you go somewhere, but only to turn back to where you came from. Basically a complete waste of time, if you have to get somewhere.

This wasted at least 45-60 minutes. Towards the end of little detour 1 I announced to gisKEV "the longer we try to give into the temptation of crossing this river, the more time we're going to waste." We had to tuck our tails between our legs when we came to this conclusion, and just cruise out exactly the way we came in.

Note to self about river crossings: If there are lots of roads that go right to the river on both sides of the river, but don't cross, then the river isn't crossable.
Even if its low. The Price River has deep muddy banks and is always running, and isn't really crossable period except for maybe a couple rare designated places to cross, that were nowhere near us. This concept also specifically includes Muddy Creek between Green River and Hanksville as well, just FYI, where crossing the river looks tempting, but it just isn't possible.

But Kev and Harcus were in good spirits, though they were already questioning my route.. Part of their good spirits was because most portions of it were rippers, with lots and lots of this flowy road. This flowy stuff was awesome and what "it was all about" for me for most of the trip. The rear end of the bike can hook and slide around on these mild banks so well and easily on these tight turns so you can hit it fast and hard, and it's awesome, and it feels like arcing a turn on your skis in powder. It just feels awesome...

You can see Kevin leaning in hard here...




This is another spot we attempted to cross where it looked like it could have gone. Except that not only were the banks steep and muddy and it was full of Tamarix, which is a nasty invasive species someone brought over from Africa I believe, in the 1800s, to "stabilize the banks." Which it does, but little did they know this is pretty much nasty stuff that has choked out every river bank in the west. And it moves uphill and upstream, so its made it was up every tributary and dried river bed in the entire west, choking everyhting else out. You can't even usually walk through it, it's so dense. And you can't kill it even if you burn it, it's nasty Nasty nasty stuff..




Once we headed back to the road, the bypasses were actually very fast on the motors at 60mph minimum type stuff (aka a mile a minute, or faster), so they weren't painful or time consuming.

This said, next we decided to do something that I had put on the map as yet another bypass that we called "the Longcut." According to Google Earth the road was very solid, so solid that I didn't even build a bypass. And this is what the 'road' ended up looking like after the rains--- Non existent:



This is the point where Harcus and Kev really started questioning my route's sanity, and again, right off the get go of the trip. This part even involved a little hike a bike. But I will say it was fun. Here I am, turning around (riding back down this).

Kev says again "it's all part of the adventure" and I was lucky that the three of us really all had "the spirit" and luckily neither of these two guys are even remotely premadonnas. This said, I will say Harcus was spoiled from some of his longer road-like trips he'd been doing on the 500 (aka, not putting it to its intended use ) but we also swayed him pretty good once the fun technical stuff started getting really fun and alive later in the trip.

Even worse was my trail completely dead-ended and we even walked to the end to genuinely see that this trail did not go anywhere whatsoever. It just ended. Most of these roads are either from Uranium exploring or other experimentation in the area, so The Swell was completely carved up, yet they actually want to try to turn it to wilderness at some point it sounds like (which is a contradiction in terms). We just turned around:



Just for reference, here is what the road looked like in google earth. Totally solid in my book, and you can see it (looks) like it goes through. Right at the blue line ending is where we turned around:


We lucked out though and found this awesome little ripper of a bypass in our GPS units called the Little Blue Pond Road. This was an awesome shortcut over to the Cedar Mountain Mesa overlook road (which was our goal for the early afternoon), and I recommend this road/route into the swell for anyone.

It was so much fun that we didn't take photos of any of the fun nice technical super sweepy rough two-track that ranchers use regularly to herd their cattle. For the frist time, it felt good to finally have a good rough road actually connect to where we were going.



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Old 09-19-2012, 05:53 PM   #18
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Next we came to the Cedar Mesa overlook, which was epic..

This was about 1-2pm so we'd really wasted a lot of time with my route's shenanigans that morning. The good news now though is at least we have a really solid route north-south in the Cedar Mountain area to this spot, for in the future. We had lunch and took a break.

This spot overlooks all of the San Rafael's Swell's best stuff and the best, most well known but completely unterlooked/utilized spot in the Swell, the Little Grand Canyon (Wedge Overlook). You can see the canyon in the middle of it, and about a million other cool places all within just a couple hours of Salt Lake City... This place is so amazing, and so wild, and so under utilized. Down in the far far right is Eagle Canyon, the spot where everyone takes their photos under the bridge under I-70.



Also check out all of those super fun looking roads. This is a lot of the stuff I was attempting to stitch together on google earth...


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Old 09-19-2012, 05:54 PM   #19
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But the real question now became how the hell were were going to get ourselves off this Mesa... ...And what hairbrained route had I concocted for this one?

In this case it actually was a route, but here is what it looked like when we got to the top... And this is at the top of at least about 1000 feet down...

The sign reads, "danger - extreme" ... ....and man, was it washed out..









To be continued...

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Old 09-19-2012, 06:53 PM   #20
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Nice!
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:42 PM   #21
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OK, so here's the part I witnessed.....first we'z supposed to meet at harcus......



then we'z supposed to meet at the mouth of the canyon.....



then we'z supposed to meet up at the Chevron/Subway....and then we'z supposed to meet up on Strawberry Ridge.....



Now we'z supposed to meet at Emma's Park. After that, I founded out about Gorilla tape and caught dieselcruserhead scoping out Rymans keys which he was saving for Hick's chapstick..........



It got dark and cold....somebody ate MRE's and somebody ate Mac'n'Cheese....I ate jerky and a bagel....and my jacket kept me warm....the next morning we'z supposed to have b'fast....so we did....dch(he needs a shorter handle) scoped out the sheriff's wife and I did not shoot the deputy.....Ryman headed out early to save the day.........I still owe you a beer ball kicker.......



The Tres Amigo's headed south and I moto'd to the north to Duschene, Tabiona and Hanna.....and took the West Fork of the Duschene towards Timberlakes and Heber......but there was a terrible accident that morning and there were wreckers blocking the road.....



A state predator control officer and his horse died by rolling the truck into the canyon.........I enjoyed the scenery and the wrecker guys found a way for me to get around them......



There were skateboarders on the road down to Timberlakes.....WTF.........and my friends weren't home when I stopped in to say......howdy........can I drink your beer?



So I went home where I could channel Michael Jackson and give you all a big ADV salute!



Thanks, I had a good ride and a better time..............
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Old 09-19-2012, 08:52 PM   #22
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You gents are honestly, solidly, nucking futs
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:09 PM   #23
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Walrus...

Nice!!
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:35 PM   #24
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Dang... This is good stuff
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:03 AM   #25
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Another Viewpoint

The first night camp spot - This was in keeping with all good country music - we had a train track on one side, trucks above us on Hwy 6 & a river flowing. About 0500 the coal rain from Helper came up the canyon followed immediately by the Amtrak going down the canyon. This was close to my heart as I had ridden the Amtrak from SLC to Grand Junction in Sep 2006 to buy my first orange 950 Adv. We were only lacking 'mother" to be totally & C & W single but I know she was in our hearts...




Surveying one of the proposed routes across the Price River (The Mini-Muddy). Kev on top, Andre in the bush (I know the path is in here somewhere. I saw it on Google). Me supervising (what I do best)....




Andre (at 6' 6") does a fine job of navigating some challenging terrain & for some reason never has a problem with tip overs (like me)...



Kev cleaned this section. He says the secret is to use only the front brake. Hmmm...What ever works...



And the view was nice as well. Always good to kick up your heart rate a little...



Andre got a $10 raise for showing us to this primo camp site for nite 2. Cottonwoods, river for a swim, no neighbors, flat ground for a tent, etc. Only demerit was no dancing girls. Maybe next time...



Omen note - Whenever you see trash piled up on all the trees this high at your camp site like this you should take note. Little did we know what damage we would soon encounter on the trail...



The lower end of Deathstar. What a cool ride. All sand...



The upper end of Deathstar. Looks are deceiving. Andre coming out...



More to come, stay tuned...
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:14 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Signal View Post
You gents are honestly, solidly, nucking futs
It's not required for this job...but it does help!
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:49 PM   #27
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I'm finding it amusing how DCHead keeps justifying his "route". I can relate. You sit behind your computer screen, planning this epic journey, then when you get out there, and your buddies are looking at you like "WFT were you thinking, bro?".........all you can do is mutter something under your helmet and keep riding.
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:09 PM   #28
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redacted....

Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhead View Post
I'm finding it amusing how DCHead keeps justifying his "route". I can relate. You sit behind your computer screen, planning this epic journey, then when you get out there, and your buddies are looking at you like "WFT were you thinking, bro?".........all you can do is mutter something under your helmet and keep riding.
only a bit of it was no go. the rest of DCH's route rocked! I'm on the road or i'd post my one pic of the Wedge overlook. That's not the one of Ryman and the keys.

All of day 3 was freelance, decided over breakfast. It was just luck that we hit DeathStar Cyn. There were really intimidating wall climbs in there too. Straight up and over blind! (it's sand, what could go wrong 50 miles from Hanksville?)

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Old 09-20-2012, 07:13 PM   #29
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I agree with that. The truth is we've only gotten about 5-6 hours into Saturday (our first day of riding) and it is true that the rest of the trip rocked and we didn't have too much more of it...

I'd keep updating but good old life other than little tidbits of time here and there to check in. This said maybe with luck later tonight I'll continue the story... I'm really appreciatiating your guys updates (Harcus, Ken, Kev in particular..). And thanks for everyone elses comments, you too Derek. Defintely psyched to get out and ride with you again...
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:59 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by dieselcruiserhead View Post


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