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Old 11-22-2009, 04:16 PM   #1
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They call me......Ronski
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Wishing I was back in Grand Junction, now in MN
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2009 Utah Roulette Ride-Mechanical Mayhem, Broken Bones, and the YOYO Rule

Yes, AdvRonski was lucky enough to go on yet another Epic Utah Adventure! If you missed last years trip, you can find it here-1000 Miles of Moab
Wherein I had a fantastic ride in the Canyonlands Area around Moab.
This year, I had planned on a more Dual-Sport style ride that would venture much further south and west from Moab. Something the DR650 would be more suited for. As luck would have it, GPSKevin's Utah Roulette for 2009 would have that Dual-Sport flavor, and would go through just the areas I was looking to hit, as well!
If you've read many Utah RR's here over the last few years, you might be familiar with GPSKevin. If not, his Googlepages homepage is here-
I have enjoyed reading about all his great adventures, and it's easy to see what a passion he has for adventure riding. All his rides are invitation-only, and since he lives in CA, and I'm in MN, it didn't seem very likely I might ever get the call.
That is, until I saw the pictures from last years ride, and saw my old buddy Steve was there. I met Steve the year before, when I got another unbelievable oppotunity to race the Baja 500- talk about a dream come true!
Well, emails were exchanged, introductions were made, and the check was on it's way. I was in! Am I a lucky bastard, or what?
Well, the trip itinerary was certainly something out of my wildest dream-
Kanab-Escalante-Bullfrog-Monticello-Moab-Green River-Torrey-and back home to Kanab.That's a lot of territory in 7 days, and I still had to get to Kanab, a 3-day drive for me. Here's an overall view of the routes-

The KTM 525 got the nod for this trip, there would be enough technical riding to justify the trade-off in comfort.The 6.6 gal tank would allow me to fit in some side trips, as well. Packing done, there was nothing left to do but hit the road. Nothing much to say about that. The road was long, the destination sweet.
In Meeker, CO, it was wall-to-wall sheep-

My plan was to get to Moab with enough time to hit the White Rim Trail- which I did-

I just love riding this trail!

This time, I went around counter-clockwise, and shot a helmet-cam video of climbing the Murphy Hogback-

Well, it felt like coming home to ride the WRT again, then settle in to the campground in Moab. In the morning, I grabbed some breakfast goodies from the City Market, and savored my meal high above the Moab Valley-

I worked my way Southwest towards Kanab, stopping at the Butler Wash Ruins-

I also swung through Comb Wash- quite a sight. Too bad I wouldn't be riding there this trip-next time for sure!

The view from the top of the Moki Dugway-

Finally making it to Kanab, I found that these guys have an interesting way of packing for a week-long Adventure in Utah-

Next Up- I meet the crew, and learn the YOYO Rule.
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AdvRonski screwed with this post 12-11-2009 at 07:55 PM
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Old 11-22-2009, 04:46 PM   #2
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So far so good.. but it sounds like there's carnage to come
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Old 11-22-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AdvRonski
Yes, AdvRonski was lucky enough to go on yet another Epic Utah Adventure! If you missed last years trip, you can find it here-

1000 Miles of Moab,

Wherein I had a fantastic ride in the Canyonlands Area around Moab.

I hope you don't mind me fixing the link to your last ride report. I read it over and over in preparation for my own solo Moab trip in September. I'm subscribing, so make this one a good one as well, and thanks for the inspiration. When my friend bailed out of our trip, reading your report and seeing your pictures, I knew I had to drive the 1200 miles to do it and see it myself.

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Old 11-23-2009, 01:33 AM   #4
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:56 AM   #5
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Old 11-23-2009, 03:39 PM   #6
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Location: Wishing I was back in Grand Junction, now in MN
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Who Are These Guys?

Here's the cast of this crazy show-
We've got Ben-

And Bill, one of the nicest guys I've ever met-

The always-mellow Charlie-

The always-lovely Dan-

Quiet Dave-

No matter how FUBARed things get, Gil is always smiling.
No one knows why-

Even when he's not in this crazed state, you always know where Jeff is-

The Boeing Boyz, Jeremy-

And Kevin S

The Big Man himself, GPSKevin, aboard the Mighty HP2-

Pac-Man Mike, whose plan was to devour every last waypoint-

Super-Chicken Tom, " When you find yourself in danger, When you're threatened by a stranger........"-

Super-Steve, my idol-

His Buddy, Jim. A young-at-heart 70-something-

Brian B. If the trail gets too bad, he can just shoulder his 450X and RUN it home-

Harold, chase truck driver to the stars. He's got some great Baja stories-

Tracy, another big man with a big heart-

Yeah, I'm a little excited to be here-

Don't forget The Party Ball! That guy was a Playah!

Gary and Brad, on the trail-

Brian P, chillin' on Slickrock-

So, here I am, trying to remember names and faces, hoping these guys aren't a bunch of dickheads. When it became clear they weren't, I started hoping that I wouldn't turn out to be one! By the end of Day 1, I wasn't so sure.
So, the scoop on GPSKevin, is that he loves to ride. And he likes to take along people he knows and trusts. He is also a GPS Jedi Master, and puts together a different Roulette ride every year from a variety of information sources. The main criteria being that he has not ridden it before. Every day he has several routes for the riders to choose from, and there is no guarantee that they can be ridden all the way through. What he does guarantee is that every day will be an adventure!
That it was!
The rider's meeting allowed us to absorb all the ride info, and get our questions answered.

The highlight was the Powerpoint presentation-

Remain Calm- it's all about the fun!

It also became obvious there was quite the BMW/KTM rivalry goin' on-

And, finally YOYO was revealed!
It means-
Y ou're
O n
Y our
O wn!

It comes from a funny story, when GPSKevin was having some problem on the trail. Brian P stopped to see wassup? Kevin told him, and instead of offering help, uttered the now- infamous phrase," well you're on your own!"
So, while YOYO was offered in jest the whole ride, the truth is deadly serious- we would be in an unforgiving environment, and you can't depend on a rescue by others. So, stay sharp!

Tomorrow- Day 1, a Killer Start.
Preview of the day-

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AdvRonski screwed with this post 11-25-2009 at 04:24 AM
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Old 11-23-2009, 06:01 PM   #7
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This is gonna be good.....
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:09 PM   #8
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They call me......Ronski
Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Wishing I was back in Grand Junction, now in MN
Oddometer: 700
Day 1- Well, It's a Start

It was a typical morning in Kanab, Utah. Which is to say, gorgeous-

On today's map, Kanab is at the lower left corner. You will see 2 possible routes to our lunch stop in Big Water. The red line is the hard route, while the blue route that dips into Arizona, is the medium difficulty route. Kevin took great pains to explain that the red route ISN'T necessarily harder on any given day, and that the blue or even the green easy route might have the best scenery. He knows his friends are mostly hard-core riders, and are probably going to take the red route simply because it's the hardest. This seemed like a reasonable explanation, and I didn't think much of the fact that Kevin himself chose the blue route.
Later I would see just how diabolical his plan was.
The day's map-

The Plan- Ride to Escalante. I even had an alternative route planned to ride down Hole-in-the-Rock road, if we made good enough time on the trails today. Well, it's nice to have plans.
I saddled up and headed out with Steve, Jim, and Tracy. My roomate Bill was rounding up people to push his BMW 450X around the parking lot to get it to fire. An omen?
Oh, yeah!
We headed north out of town, and followed the gps track off the highway to the left, up a sandy 2-track that just got sandier- until we hit Kanab Creek-

It was about 40 feet across, and looked DEEP. No one was too excited about drowning their bike out in the first 10 minutes of the ride, so we backtracked to the road, and soon came to this-

Hey, looks like a good place to warm up! It's only sand-

And more sand-

And rocky hills-

And still with the sand-

After fighting up a few more rocky hills, the trail ran up this ridge-

Extreme difficulty, it says.
Well, that's nice.

Tracy took point- and stopped at the base of an ugly little switchback/rockpile on a steep, sandy hill. He pointed out the best line, so I took it, and made it right up! Thanks, Tracy!
Steve got his 450 up to where Tracy was, and was stopped. I rode Steve's bike up, and turned the camera on-

Tracy made it right up, and so did Jim-right after I stopped shooting.
We caught our breath, and assessed the situation-
We had been riding for just over an hour, and gotten less than 10 miles!
We had over 150 miles to go, over terrain of unknown difficulty.
GPSKevin didn't take this route.

We saddled up, and decided to turn it up a notch-

Well, we tried.
The sand continued-

So did we.
The trails started to level out, so speeds started to pick up, but........
Trying to hustle through Hog Canyon was a bitch-it was like about 3 inches of sand on top of glare ice. Just tap the front brake-and you are DOWN!
This is where Tracy snapped the clutch line off his KTM.
We gave him a push start, he dropped it into first- and took off!
It was then we realized he was the only one in our group without a GPS- and he headed off into a twisting network of trails without us.
Oh, boy.
I jumped on the 525, and started to run him down- until I tapped the front brake.........DOH!
I jumped back on, and settled down a little, and just rode.
And rode. And rode.
Where the hell is Tracy?
Finally, I realize the trail is off-track from the gps route. Not a lot-yet.
I came to a Y- and it looked like going right would head back towards the track. And it looks like Tracy went left- so I took off after Tracy.
I almost hit him as he flashed by me, so I turned around.........
And so did he. Again, we met-I signaled to turn around and headed back to the Y. I knew he had to find somewhere to turn around without stopping in the deep sand- so instead of waiting at the Y, I blasted down the right fork, to be sure it was the right way out of here. I guess I assumed if Tracy didn't turn to follow me, he would run into Steve and Jim, and by then I would have found the way out and EVERYONE would be SO happy.
It was a dickhead move, no question.
When I came back to the Y- I found Steve & Jim- but no Tracy.
They hadn't seen him, either.
What followed was a lot of riding around in circles, vague reasoning, and harsh feelings.
Jim found Tracy back at that awful rockpile hill. And Tracy was PISSED that I couldn't just WAIT for 2 minutes for him at the Y.
I apologized sincerely, and we moved on. Now it's been almost 3 hours, and most of the 25 miles I put on was riding in circles.
We finally got out of Hog Canyon, and got Tracy pointed out to the highway to Big Water and lunch.
I really hoped the trails would firm up a little-

Ohhhhhhhh Kaaaaaaaaaay

Next up- Lunch with the Ex-Gov?

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AdvRonski screwed with this post 11-26-2009 at 07:20 AM
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Old 11-24-2009, 03:42 PM   #9
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Location: Wishing I was back in Grand Junction, now in MN
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So on we went. Things looked pretty good on Nephi Pasture Rd. for a while, then the track turned off on an ugly little ATV trail that followed a sandy wash for quite a while-

Waitin' for the boyz-

Then we finally got out of the wash, and the trail got much firmer-

This was definitely ranch land. It seemed there was another gate to stop for about every mile or so. I waited for Steve and Jim-

And enjoyed the scenery-

We had been leap-frogging the gates, but Steve told me to just go on ahead, they would close the gates I opened.
We eventually got to the old Pariah movie set area-

There are a few plaques there that explain how it used to look, but the buildings burned down a few years ago-

Steve and Jim didn't seem to interested in sight-seeing just now, as they blasted past the parking area, following the track south. I caught up just as the track led us off the dirt road onto a trail that would take us out to the highway in just a few miles. I headed out in the lead, and tried to stay on track as the trail twisted around, in and out of wash-outs and arroyos.
Here's a shot of someone climbing out of a washed-out arroyo-

The tricky part was staying out of the washout in the middle of the trail- it was deep!

I finally made it to the gate at the highway-

And waited for Steve and Jim. And waited........................

Apparently, they had NOT made it out of the arroyo- and had to follow it until they could get out, quite a ways down. I, of course had gone back to look for them, while they where tunneling past me. When I got back to the gate, I saw them just heading down Hwy 89, heading for Big Water.
I settled in behind them, and when the track left the highway for some more backroads- we stayed on the pavement. We still had a long way to go!
Looks like we missed some fun stuff-

Lunch was at a little corner store, but we had to ride down 3 miles further for gas. Back at the store, it turns out not only were we way behind the rest of the crew, but they had eaten most of the food! The guy behind the counter was really nice- he started thawing out more hot dogs, but we didn't have that much time. So as we grazed on snacks, and I became aware of things beyond my own hunger- I noticed that this guy looked just like Jesse Ventura, our Ex-Gov...............

He even sounded like him, and he said I wasn't the first to notice the resemblance, but it's "been a few years."
It was time to move on, and here's where I screwed up again.
Steve and Jim were pretty beat, and were looking for the easy way to Escalante, whereas I still wanted to take the hard way. For some reason, I was convinced that they started out the same for quite a ways, then split off. We decided to start together, then they would split off later.
A great plan-except it had almost no basis in reality. The 2 routes separate almost immediately, and I have no idea why I thought differently.
This would prove to be another lesson for me in riding with a group.
I can do YOYO.
I live YOYO.
I am the lonest of lone wolves. But I need some work in the area of group dynamics.

Next Up- This time I piss off Steve, and probably Jim, too.
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AdvRonski screwed with this post 11-26-2009 at 08:36 AM
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:49 PM   #10
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That's quite the organized event!! thanks for the update

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Old 11-24-2009, 06:08 PM   #11
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Great Report....

Now how many of you guys had a GPS on this trip ?

Obviously not enough .... ....but sure looks like a blast.....Subscribed
"If you're going through hell.......Keep going!"

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Old 11-24-2009, 06:37 PM   #12
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:28 PM   #13
AdvRonski OP
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Originally Posted by ThumperDRZ
Great Report....

Now how many of you guys had a GPS on this trip ?

Obviously not enough .... ....but sure looks like a blast.....Subscribed
Well, that's the embarassing part. Both Steve and I had our own GPS's on board-both functioning normally. But it does point out the most frustrating problem I had this trip. Most of the time, I had my Garmin 60Cx zoomed way in- so you could tell which of several turns was the right track.
But- when you got to a situation where you wanted a bigger picture of the area, or where a 2-track out in the middle of nowhere might lead- you zoom out- and lose so much detail, that you can't really see what you need to see.
Also, I couldn't fit all the different track options in the 60Cx- it only holds 20 tracks, so I assembled each days track,( the one I wanted to ride), as one big track. This made it easier for me- I just selected Day 1, Day 2, etc.- but I didn't have any of the other alternates. Leaving me to rely on my way-too sketchy memories of the other routes.
Well, things did get better. But first, it got a little worse.
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:20 PM   #14
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Maybe we should check in with GPSKevin, and the crew that wisely chose the medium option for Day 1. It looks like they had pretty smooth sailing-

Some people have trouble coloring within the lines. Hellooooooooo,
UTAH Roulette, remember?

Looks like at least a little bit of actual trail-

I guess you would expect to find sand in the desert-

A nice, shady canyon-

But mostly a lot of wide-open spaces-

There must have been something funny about that gas can-

Or maybe Kevin just couldn't stop giggling after riding his HP2 around-

Here's the lunch stop-

They were long gone by the time we got there. It's kind of funny that the store says Escalante, but it's in Big Water.
Well, back to my little group. As I said, the 3 of us headed out together, as I had assured them I knew where Smoky Mt road would cut off the hard route, giving them the easy way home. I could say it was dehydration that caused such fuzzy thinking, except that I put saddlebags on just so I would always have plenty of fluids. Well, the trail started out great! And soon we were approaching some beautiful charcoal gray hills-

It was way cool cruising through here-

Soon enough, we started up a wash that went on and on. I stopped to set up my helmet cam, and told Steve and Jim I'd catch up in a bit.
At the time I thought we were on Smoky Mt Rd- but it turns out it was Nipple Creek Rd. There was no creek, and for sure no nipples to be seen.
Go figure.

Just after I stopped shooting video, I came upon the guys. Steve was laying on the ground, next to his bike- not good.
He was having the mother of all muscle cramps, and was writhing around in such pain it was hard to watch. Incredibly, he told us a little story about someone who told him the best treatment for such severe cramps was to dump some gatorade powder right on your tongue! I resisted the urge to video the scene, and dug out some powerade from the bags. After about 20-30 minutes, he was able to get up and think about getting the heck out of there, which we did. I led the way, and fired up the helmet cam again.

When we got to a Y-junction, I thought it would be the place where they would split off for the easy cruise home. Instead, it was Tibbet Canyon Rd- "what the..?" -and I knew I had screwed up their easy way to town. Steve was......a bit peeved, to say the least. I was pretty upset with myself, as well-" Ya Big Dope, what the Hell were you Thinkin'?" Well not much to do now, but drop the hammer and RIDE.
Which I did. I rode on and on. And on. And finally looked down at the GPS in time to see......... nothing. Well, no track anyway. I missed some obscure turn, and was hell-and-gone down the road. So, I turn around and ride and ride back, find the turn, and pause to wonder where the boys are.
Did they go by here already or not? Well, as far out as I was, I'm sure they did- so let's go! After a while, I hadn't seen any dust cloud in front of me, and I thought about Steve's episode with the cramps. I stopped for a while, just to watch for dust behind me. It was a pretty spot anyway-

Well, I could just invoke the YOYO rule, and keep blasting, or...........
After all, it was Steve that got me invited here..........
Then, there was that other thing- WWDD- What Would Dickhead Do?
I turned around, and headed back for about 10 or 12 miles, to where I knew FOR SURE I had last seen them. OK- they are gone. I turned around again, and so was I.
Well now I was on a mission- 50 or so miles to food and a nice, soft bed.
What can go wrong? Sometimes it's best not to ask.
Yes, friends it was about that time I noticed that at anything over about 1/4 throttle, the big 525 would stumble, cough, and generally act like it was about to die. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
I nursed it along until I finally came out on Smoky Mt Rd- Really!

42 miles to home, and a nice wide smooth road- so close to perfect, yet so far.
I checked the air filter- maybe it was choked up with dust- nope.
How about fuel contamination? I loosened the carb drain, put both petcocks on reserve, and let it flow for a bit.
I took a few pictures, letting my Karma build up a little-

Then, I fired it up and headed for Escalante. Success!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, I could open it up, and make some time.
And I did.
A couple more shots heading into town-

As a special treat for the first day of the Roulette, GPSKevin had arranged a Dutch Oven Dinner in Escalante for us-

The festivities were well under way by the time I found my way there-

Even though I had made some stupid mistakes, I felt very welcomed among the crew. It was a good day. It was an ADVENTURE! And I made some new friends-

After dinner, everyone pitched in to get Tracy's clutch working again-eventually they were successful-

I hit the sack, and tried to process all that had happened today. That was just ONE day?
At least tomorrow was an easy day. The Burr Trail, I've ridden that on my STREET bike!
Easy, yeah.
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AdvRonski screwed with this post 11-26-2009 at 08:33 AM
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Old 11-25-2009, 07:28 PM   #15
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