Days 1 & 2. 10/4-10/7
I decided to break this up into pieces. It is too long for one reading. I put day 3 & 4 in separate blogs.
We finally decided to get up to Utah for some riding. We'd talked about it a lot, but getting everyone's schedule together is no easy task. Kim wanted to trailer the bikes up.. too much riding up for him. Ok with me, too. So Brian, Kim, Tom & i met at Kim's early monday morning, 10/4/10 to head up to Moab. Kim's Avalanche was an easy ride.. smooth & comfortable. We checked in to our hotel & decided we had time for a short ride. We thought Gemini bridges would be close, so hopped on our bikes with minimal gear & was on the trail before 4pm.
It was a nice climb up the switchbacks.. great views, & a rough road to whet our appetites. As we got closer, the skies darkened. I stopped several times to ask if everyone still wanted to continue. We were having fun on the ride & no one wanted to turn back. Then big drops of rain began to pelt us. "Forward!" was the cry, so forward we went. Then hail came down, & rivers began to cross the trail. 'Maybe we should head back,' Tom reluctantly conceded. By now it was a serious summer monsoon.. cats & dogs. Big hailstones. No one had brought a rain jacket. Everyone was drenched.
We eventually got back on the pavement & made our way to the protection of the motel. We wrung out our clothes the best we could, hung them up anywhere we could, & changed into some dry clothes to go to dinner. We walked to a nearby sports bar/restaurant & had a nice if pricey meal. Back to the rooms, we zonked out early.. get some rest for the next big day's ride: White Rim Trail.
I've limited my videos in this report.. i got a lot more, but decided to just have a few to show the terrain & riding conditions better. They are all in HD, so you can click on the HD button on the youtube link to change the resolution.
Day 2. The White Rim Trail.
We had heard that the white rim trail had gotten washed out by mineral bottom road, & was no longer a loop. That was very disappointing, but we figured we could still ride one of the classic western dual sport rides in the country. We would go out by the potash ponds, go as far as our fuel would allow, then come back. We'd get most of it.
First a group shot: Kim, Brian, Scotty, Tom.
With all the recent rains, we counted on wet conditions, as well as more rain on the ride. Rain jackets were packed, & our delicate finery was left in the rooms for another time.
Kim & Brian were on kawasaki klx 250's, Tom brought his honda 650xrl, & i was on the lone yamaha wr250x. All of them fine bikes for the white rim. The ride takes about 20 miles of pavement to start, but along the colorado river.. great scenery & an easy ride. Then it hits dirt & starts to wind through rocks & washes.
It came out on a nice overlook above the colorado river.
It was a great day.. we could see clouds forming in the distant mountains, but we had a sunny start. ..not too much water in the washes we crossed, either.
Every turn had spectacular views & fun, rocky riding.
Unfortunately, Tom's honda began to give him trouble. It was sputtering & stalling when he'd open the throttle. It only ran ok with full throttle. He was not confident it would make the ride, so opted to turn back. It started, & he turned back.. missing the white rim ride. We all wept briefly for him, then hopped on our bikes & continued the ride.
An early stop along the way was musselman's arch. Kim is an old utah native, & can remember when they used to ride motorcycles across it.. before it became more restricted. He was happy to just walk across it this time, though. I figured when he first saw it, it hadn't eroded underneath it, yet, so was an easy ride across.. plus the motorcycles then were just driven by feet & had stone wheels..
It was fun for me to ride the trail the other way around.. i had ridden it from mineral bottom road in June. It still has the usual scenery to die for.
The trail winds along the rim of a huge canyon. The rocks are very light colored near the rim. Hence, 'white rim'. The road is pretty rough.. lots of rocks. But it is no trouble for our monster dirt bikes.
The trail follows the rim fairly close. Sometimes it goes right up to the edge. ..makes a good photo op.
The clouds were beginning to pile up on us, but it just made the sky more interesting for picture taking.
The klx's were very pretty.. but neither the riders nor the bikes wanted to go very fast. That was fine to me.. it gave me more time to stop & take pictures while i waited for them to catch up. My 'mad max' wrx wasn't very pretty, but it was a great adventure bike.. as over 1000 miles of riding it on this trip would prove.
There's not a lot to say.. the vistas were spectacular, the riding was fun & had some challenging spots. We passed a lot of bicycles & their support vehicles, but no other motorcycles. It was a tuesday with rain in the forecast.
It wasn't long before big drops began to fall.. with some nice wind & cooler weather. It rained on us climbing up murphy's hogback, a steep & rocky climb up to more spectacular views. When it's dry, the trail is very loose, with deep powder to run through. The rain settled that down, & it wasn't a hard climb.. but it's not for beginners. There were more than a couple of spots that surprised us.. some high steps we had to climb up.. no time to think about it, just twist the throttle & jump over it! No major mishaps.. a drop or 2 was all for the three of us.
Here's Bryan climbing up the last part of murphy's hogback.
We decided to make this our halfway point. We stopped a lot on the way, oohing & ahhing & snapping pictures like tourists. But our fuel was about at the halfway point, even though i had brought an extra 2g. in my rotopax.
So now we had the long descent.. still a beautiful ride along some amazing rim rocks. You can see Kim & Bryan coming down.
This spot had a big step going down.. i skipped my skidplate on it going over. I'd still rather go down these kind of steep sections than up them.
We rode through more scattered showers, but didn't stop as much for picture taking. Now we were getting hungry & thirsty.. home beckoned!
We made it back before dark, greeted Tom who had been troubleshooting his bike, & called out for a pizza.. i picked it up on the bike, along with a sixpack of polygamy porters. We did a little under 200 miles, about 50 of which was paved. It was a fun ride, amazing views, & interesting situations.. not a lot of nasty mud or steep, stepped rocks. That would come later.
End of day 2.
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