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Old 09-27-2012, 07:43 AM   #46
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:04 AM   #47
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:23 PM   #48
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Continuing on...

The following morning we got up fairly again but started moving sort of slow and I think we were on our bikes by 8:45. We had no real plan for this day so our plan was to head back to the West Winds for a good breakfast and figure it out there. It happened to be Melon Days in Green River which is their big event of the year. This was neat but also made it a little busy, so the luxury of another day of breakfast instead of just riding, seemed to take forever.

At the West Winds we started the route planning. At first we were thinking of going over to Dubinky, and heading down to Moab that way and coming back, or possibly just rally over to Kolopelli to Colorado and get back on our original plan to Vernal in Northeast Utah.

But instead, we decided to head down into Hanksville, then head west over to Factory Butte, and head north back into the southern part of the San Rafael Swell where me and gisKEV had only lightly been to before. We were going to go through and area that only Jim had been to before (in his truck with his wife towing an RV) called Cathedral Valley. We were all pretty excited for the route....

So sometime around maybe 10ish we hopped back on our bikes, zoomed right by our campsight again, and started heading south. No doubt that too much alcohol was also already taking its toll, and next time I will remember and promise to not give into the tempation of drinking too much too often..



There is a pretty crappy stretch of mostly just dusty graded road west of the Colorado River, east of Rt 89. I rode it 1-2 years ago and hated it, but I was also on my Honda at the time with its crappy stock suspension. However, Trackhead a year earlier pointed me to some single track he found in this area, but it was small and disappeared and reappeared at times. I really want to get to know this areas better because I know there is some fun stuff there.

The other issue is the Muddy Creek separates the stretch by running west too it, and like the Price River before, all of the roads oddly stop at the river instead of going through it. Meaning.. With steep muddy banks, it's not passable at any points and you have to find a bridge.



So a bridge it is, and this kept us limited to roads that actually show up on the map, including the road I'd ridden before and didn't like. As a result, I was not psyched about this stretch of fast "ball bearing" road and when I rode it before, the weather kind of sucked. I remember it being hard clay in places and lonesome and desolate bland road with little to see, and that the road was kind of scary due to how easily you could go off the road, and just bone jarring terrain in the areas where the road was hard.

Needless to say my attitude was not good at this time. And I was hung over. And despite it being a beautiful day and the terrain and area actually being pretty good, I couldn't snap out of it. And I was also feeling a little stiff after two good nights of drinking and the breakfast helped a lot but I still wasn't yet on my A game. Then, maybe a couple miles past the camp site there is a super hidden corner over a lip, I was going too fast. I did all I could to stay on the road but basically just purposely bailed. I had the straps loose on my pressure suit and this happened...



It doesn't look like much but it hurt and was about the largest wreck I've taken on a moto. At probably 35-45 mph or so, mostly just a big dusty mental brain rattler. About 3 minutes later Jim came also flying around the corner but being in a better mood (and also having years of experience and being calm and collect) he was cool and just went off the road, staying on his bike upright the whole time. Basically what I should have done, if I hadn't panicked and bailed on purpose..

Kevin was way ahead but sitting on the hill a mile up and saw the whole thing happen. He turned around and came back and by the time he was back I mostly collected myself. The funniest part was that somehow the Seagam's bottle came out of my pack and Harcus picked it up, put it in his pack, and never even mentioned it.. Slippery Harcus...

This photos is a good example of this type of "ball bearing" road..

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Old 09-27-2012, 10:33 PM   #49
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We were just sort of meandering along on one of the seldom used roads, and this is where the rain damage started getting really apparent.. And the road we were on just started getting deeper and deeper from washed water. We kept following what looked like the tracks from a rancher's Chevy Blazer or something and all of a sudden they ended and the road kept getting deeper in the crack... And narrower.

But this was clearly the road according the the GPS. We cruised about a mile into it and it was pretty F'g cool and we even hopped out at a spot where we could get out to make sure we were on the road.. But we were....! So back in.. And time to have some fun!

And here's what is looked like. Death Star Canyon!



We just kept rallying through and it was pretty fast for a while and non technical. Standing up it felt like we were just sort of hovering through it and it was straight as an arrow and loong, what felt like maybe 5-6 miles total if lucky...

You can see these little "rocks" in there. They were just pieces of clay, you could ride right into one and it would go "poof"




Here it starts getting a little more techie with the mix of the dust rocks and sand..



And more techie..

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Old 09-27-2012, 10:38 PM   #50
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Here's one of the deeper spots in the canyon. Sorry for the all the photos, but this was just so F'ing cool...




Here's Jim getting up after one of the spots where he fell over.. (He hated that I was taking pics of that -- sorry Jim )


And there were a couple good little technical sections in there (none or which I unfortunately got a picture of). Spots where you'd have to gun it to get up and over a 5 or 10 foot tall steep little wall or rock cluster...

Here's the end of it, which also looked a lot like the beginning. Kev was pumped...! He's staring down at Harcus below him yelling "right on!!"


And here's Jim rallying through..

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Old 09-27-2012, 10:57 PM   #51
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By then it started getting pretty hot as we kept heading south and the temps crept up to maybe 96 or so. This was a far cry from 29 a couple mornings earlier - gotta love the desert.

We started cruising on some fast road again and this was actually pretty nice with the heat. We rode right by this massive mesa with HooDoos carved into one of the coolest looking campsites at its base. I took this photo because my camera has a GPS in it, so I'll upload them to Google Earth and you guys can see where this is. Or, just ask and I'll post the waypoints... The idea for me is this is definitely a place I want to come back to...



The hoodoos, or sometimes affectionately known as Goblins, as in Goblin Valley which isn't too far from where were were (maybe 20 miles due west at most)...


We kept cruising but it was one of those situations where the terrain was so good that we didn't take any photos until we got to Hanksville.

We gassed up at arguably my favorite gas station in all of Utah, Hollow Mountain.

What was super cool is the place has tons and tons of maps for sale, they let our crazy buddy Jim Ryan who runs DualSportUtah (the KTM rental down in Moab) put on of his stickers on the door, the guys who work there are all Search and Rescue guys in the San Rafael Swell and are as nice as can be.

They tell me all about the San Rafael Swell motorized maps that are free and how the guy was an oil services worker and put it all together in his spare time, and even won a national award for it. And it turned out Kevin had even had him up for a presentation up in Salt Lake City with his GIS colleagues.. Too neat.

Kevin then realizes he had a cracked weld on one of his racks and he starts stressing and wonders whether he can make the rest of the trip. Bummer because we are about pretty far south and I'd hate to see something like a simple dumb broken weld slow us down.

Yet.. ...within minutes... Kev starts BSign with the owners...


And.. It turns out these guys have a Lincoln machine running Flux Core lying around.. Purrrfect... Note the welder plugged into the rock. Too cool...


We eat lunch and drinks and jabber on here at the gas station and have a good time.




Pretty soon we start rolling again, this time heading west back into the Swell, via about 30 miles of slab to the south entrance to Cathedral Valley. We ride right by Factory Butte OHV area, which looks so tempting, but our bikes are loaded and we have a long way to go, and maybe we'd get to a town this night, maybe not. (this is a photo stolen from Kev's last trip report when the did go F around on the Factory Butte terrain)...



It's also nice because the three of us each have a couple more freeze dried meals because we can basically stop anywhere, and with our massive gas tanks, and the gallon of water Harcus is hauling around on his bike we're basically set for anywhere we end up.

As we're cruising on the slab the temps heat up and it gets to 102. Not sure how this happens in borderline fall in September, but it does... We turn off and there is actually a nice refreshing river crossing, but this river crossing is mapped on real maps, so we know it definitely goes. The rain also definitely did its number here, but it was still OK and pretty shallow..


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Old 09-27-2012, 11:04 PM   #52
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We keep cruising northwest on the road up to and through Cathedral Valley. and the road is definitely pretty washed out and tons of fun. So much so that there are no photos. The three of us also spread way out to keep out of each other's dust and for a little nice mellow serenity. This was about how I felt in this area, just so amazingly beautiful that it felt serene...



We also started climbing in elevation and the sun started getting a little longer as you can see in the shadows above, and it was just epic...

Here are some samples of what the roads looked like through the area...






It's completely spectacular as we drop into Cathedral Valley... I think to myself this is one of the more beautiful places I've been in Utah and that I definitely have to take my wife here some day in the future...
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:11 PM   #53
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We keep cruising north and basically it becomes official that we're now at least heading in the direction of trying to get home, though we wouldn't need to be there until the equivalent of tomrrow afternoon...

Kev, cruising through even more spectacular terrain...


We come across things like this cool little valley regularly.


At this point my camera starts slightly going on the fritz so the photos are most restrictred here but luckily Harcus still took a bunch of great pics (a lot of which are these ones we are looking at). We briefly come to a section of slab again and we all have that look and feeling of having just ridden epic terrain, and here is when I snap photos of the guys as we're cruising along this beautiful road in the middle of nowhere with not a single car in sight...

Despite the road looking pretty good, this road goes through the middle of f-ing nowhere in Utah, and is just spectacular. God, I love this state in such a bizarre way...





I get this awesome shot of Harcus in the late in the afternoon... Looking worthy and stoic...

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Old 09-27-2012, 11:24 PM   #54
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We depart the slab just 5 minutes later and the dirt road becomes fast and sweepie and just **epic** to me. The absolute best of the best of the riding we did, I though, jsut so fast and so much fun of nice two track and so staggeringly beautiful as the sun is setting and it's getting cooler. We are heading north, paralleling the very western edge of the Swell south of Castle Dale at the base of a beautiful reef. I forget which reef it is, but I'll look it up. It might still be Capitol Reef though I felt we were considerably father north than that at this time. It's so good that we have no photos.. Just go ride it some time, if you're in the area...

We keep heading north and only have a couple photos, but are basically navigating off maps at this point and it feels old school (and feels nice to be old school). We remember t ourselves "turn left at the 3rd intersection," things like that, and there is lots of stopping and starting at intersections, but that is OK because its just so enjoyable.

Harcus snapped a photos of this river crossing. There was this dinky bridge, or a pretty deep water crossing for large heavy duty vehicles and big rigs and construction equipment to keep the roads maintained.. Note all the Tamarix again...


The road becomes a lot of these empty drainages and river beds and and rain did the more damage here on the western part of the Swell of anything we've seen on the trip to date. It's just staggering. And this time Harcus is in awe because he's been here before and it's just so much different, just like me the day before. Arguably, more fun on these light bikes we're on, if you ask me. But its crazy how a storm or two can just come through central and southern Utah and jsut cause so much devastation. The road damages that we saw alone must have been in the hundreds of thousands or even millions in costs to the state of Utah or the Federal government. The weather is completely out of wack this year, nationwide as we all know, from severe drought to severe rain. They say this is the "new normal" of the weather moving forward. ...Kind of a bummer...


Here, Kevin had a steep embankment catch up to him and he took a massive digger that was his own little rattler as it takes him about 5 minutes to gather himself and get the mighty Big Red Pig back started up again after 25 kicks. Harcus says he was psyched to get a photo of Kev finally going down. I am completely loving my light bike at this point and I also had the smallest lightest load.




We have no more pics of the night, but we basically headed across I-70 at one of those obscure ranch exits west of the I-15/I-70 interchange, and east of Green River. Aka, the middle of F'ing no where and no services. Within just a couple miles from the exit, the ranch road gets completely gnarly and probably undriveable to anything but a well setup 4WD or a Moto. This is awesome, and our bikes just eat it up. We basically cruise all the way to a little town and then slab it about 10 minutes to Castle Dale for fuel and food. It's about 6ish I think and the sun is finally close to setting.


We dilly dally for a little too long at the gas station but make the call on where we're going to stay the night and come up with the perfect idea:

We pick up some more cold beers, and rally out towards our destination. Kevin is in a hurry and he hits over 100 on the BRP because he's trying to catch the sun set in this camping spot. It makes complete sense... Harcus and I don't quite make the sun set, and I even stopped and picked up some fire wood along the way that I noticed and strapped it to my bike. I roll up with about 20-30 lbs of wood on my bike, classic. And here is where we end up for the night...


This is called the Little Grand Canyon. We were over looking it on day 1, from Cedar Mesa, and its basically that giant hole in the ground from those photos earlier. It's smack dab in the middle of Utah only 2-3 hours south of SLC, and so few people know about this place. It's just amazing..

We have one more last grand evening around a fire. I eat one of Kevin's MREs which actually tasted great, and we BS about politics (which is not such a hot idea, no big deal though), a little more of about our backgrounds, Kevin's business/engineering idea again, how carburetors and fuel injection work because Harcus and I both have nerdy mechanical minds and dork out at how we both try our hardest to explain how they work, and we basically stay up late and polish off the last of about a 5th of whiskey.

I change my oil with a buzz going because its about 550 miles since we started and I can feel it in the shifting of the KTM, we still have another 250 miles to go, and my oil is BLACK. It takes maybe 20 minutes using gatorade bottles and I figure out a technique of not fully removing the drail plug and I have almost no spillage, which is awesome. We use diesel oil from the local gas station and this always works just fine, saves you money, and is as good as motocycle oil.

The stars continue to be completely out and epic, literally thousands and thousands and thousands of stars and it is just staggering, and we fall asleep. The following moring would be our last day, and our time to head home...

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:38 AM   #55
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Nice report guys.

The high pointing on the black dirt hills of Factory Butte looks intimidating, and I skipped it my first year there with loaded bikes, but you just gotta hit that stuff. It's so damn fun, and really easy riding.

Funny you mentioned you finally got a pick of GISkev going down, because he rarely does.

Kev, was the weld that went bad the same one that you had welded up in Arizona?
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #56
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^^^^^

The weld from AZ is SOLID. The crack was on my dirt bagz end where it attaches to the subframe. Harcus has a good fix for it that he did on my XR400, so I'll be off to the chop shop soon.

That wipeout was a rattler! I got crossed up in the rut just coming out of the creek bed going 40mph and you can see how far i made it before hitting the ground. My kneecap still hurts a bit.

Great RR DCH!
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:28 PM   #57
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thx Kev.....


Continuing on....

Here are some screenshots of the route from Google Earth.

First is the route from Green River (market at the spot "active log" at the top) to Hanksville and somewhere in the middle of the screen shot is death star canyon. I'll upload photos and post the way point at some point soon..



And here is the track heading west from Hanksville at the bottom on the slab. Then turning northwest is where Cathedral Valley starts and then we meandered all the way up. The end of the line is the Wedge Overlook / Little Grand Canyon where we camped.



Which brings us to our last and final evening...
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:29 PM   #58
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That morning we got up and things were a little of a mess with unusually roudy remnants of beer cans and all of the whiskey gone, to the point where Harcus took off a little early to try to find a trash bag from one of our neighbors. Jim and I got up around dawn and there was cloud cover and somehow we still seemed to take forever getting rolling and it was at least 8:30 agian before we got rolling. The other guys were feeling OK, I was feeling pretty damn stiff after 3 good nights now of drinking.

Here are a couple photos from that morning...



And Kev rolling up shortly before we left as the sun started peaking...
Again, epic spot...




From here we basically blasted north along some more fun fast and smooth roads along roads that all three of us knew. Pretty soon we started seeing some landmarks we'd passed a couple days earlier and were on roads from our way down. I drew the way back up in white...




Again my camera was sort of on the fritz from dust in the lens so there were many opportunities for great pics but I didn't really take any. We stopped at the Wellington Chevron again, which really is the landmark in this area, and had sort of a late breakfast / early lunch which was mostly our last real meal for the day on our way home and some nice warm coffee. We gassed up and about here I started becoming pretty adament about 3.5 gallons of gas or less for the way home which was a little risky but I definitely was sick of hauling around 25 lbs of extra unused fuel...

Jim ran into a couple in their late 50s or 60s on some gullwings or similar that were from California. The guy had a pretty neat wife on her own bike and they were nice as can be and wearing knee pads which was AGATT, and nice to see, and they were equally impressed with Jim and us and all of our stuff on our bikes, dirty as can be, and looking tough... Kevin started doing wheelies in the parking lot too.

Next we went back along the original route we planned, which was up from a famous road that comes right out at the Wellington Chevron called 9 Mile Canyon. 9 Mile Canyon is hotly contested because it was a Native American hotbed and the canyon walls are lines with Native American wall art and due to all of the oil and gas in the area the trucks creating dust times 100s of trucks coming down the road every day was supposedly ruining the wall art and destroying the environment. So the solution.. ...they paved it, and were finishing the last of it as we spoke.

Tthere were some deep now concrete washes and the road was fast and actually beautiful and twisty and awesome. We were actually psyched to be on some slab. Normally I avoid twisties on the dirt bike but all three of us were feeling it and hit the road fast and hard and had about 30 miles of awesome beautiful fun twists & turns. All completely in control of course, but just barely enough spirit in our riding to really have a lot of fun.

Then we came to the intersection with the Argyle canyon dirt road. We'd gone up at least another 1-2K feet in elevation and it started getting cooler and went from the deserts we'd been in for days to cool high elevation alpine forest on more of these fast jeep/subaru type roads through folks' rural ranches and good hunting terrain.

Here is the route basically showing the alpine route all the way from Wellington right back to Wallsburg and Midway where we'd all met up.




We really only got one good photo in the area which was this gorgeous high area where the temps dropped to low 50s maybe and we were at least 8500-9K feet or so in the southern most parts of the Uinta Mountains. This trip really did take us all over the place in all sorts of crazy terrain.

This part was a Ute Indian reservation and the folks we passed were Ute Indian ranchers in their early 90s beat up pickup trucks, herding their cattle. We were cruising through area after area of beautiful steep rough road with steep descents and ascents and tons of downed deadfall trees from the bark beetle epidemic that is sweeping Utah and Colorado. It was beautiful and scerene, and very cool in both how amazing it was, and in the temps... Completely different than in the morning. And its crazy how drastic temp changes (mountain to desert) can affect you on the bike. We all started getting cold and layered up, and it makes you feel weak on the bike. It was also pretty cool what these ranchers were also getting their trucks and campers & stuff up and over.


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Old 10-02-2012, 10:33 PM   #59
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We kept cruising and pretty soon it started to get to early afternoon and the road all the way back to Salt Lake City and Park City (where I live) started feeling pretty long. But it was pretty good. I forgot how rocky it was also on the way over so this was wearing me down a little at least, but it was continuing to be very pretty. Harcus shot a photo:



By then I also started noticing something really peculiar... Tons of noise coming from my chain particularly when I was airing off the little whoopdie doos and this started getting worse and worse. I looked down at my front cog and it was pretty much completely missing all teeth. Super weird because its only 1500 miles old and looked good that morning. Maybe my chain was getting loose or maybe it was all the fun air we were getting as this stuff really really rolled...

Here is a pic of what it looked like when I came home..


Kev couldn't believe it held at all but I'd been thorugh this before on my last trip and I just tightened the chain. I had a 14 tooth cog in my bag though and in hindsight I should have just replaced it. Looks like it also took out the oil seal behind the cog too.

And finally we headed back through Wallburg making it home right around 4 PM with all of us basically needing to be working the next day. In Midway we stopped back around the gas station where we all met and we all had at least a gallon to get home, so we didn't fuel up. Next we went over the Guardsman's pass road again and were really feeling the twisties again to the point where my side nubs on the tires are pretty well worn and it was pretty exciting.

We knuckle bumped at the top and I dropped down to Park City and it felt surreal, as it always does, rolling through the traffic as you've just been through an epic adventure and back, and it was awesome.

When I got home I surprisingly had good energy, completely unloaded and even started working on little items on the bike....

It was just awesome and I thought about Jim and Kevin and we've already traded god knows how many emails. Here's to a one more great trip, and a couple great new friends...
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Old 10-02-2012, 11:38 PM   #60
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Dang. That was a great way to end my night thanks again
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