Rides & reports of motorcycle adventures..


Oct. 2011 Utah ride.

We may think we're just taking a ride, but in reality we're continuing a quest started long ago by our ancestors. I've thought a lot about my rides.. the places I've ridden.. the people i've ridden with.. the adventures & events that happen along the way.. & i've come to the conclusion that i'm not just going on a ride, but a holy quest.. a search for meaning & the purpose of life.

So now when i go riding, take pictures, write a report, or have a beer with my riding buddies & talk about the ride, it has deep philosophical significance & connects me to the cosmos. The views, the crashes, the breakdowns, the reroutes.. the food & the beer.. all are no longer just stuff to do, but are filled with spiritual meaning & metaphysical connections.

My son in law has been wanting me to come up to Ogden to go duck hunting with him. I've never hunted ducks, but i do like to eat them, so i thought i'd come up & join him on a hunt. I also thought it would be a good time to go for a ride up through northern Arizona & Utah.

Then my riding buddies wanted to plan a ride in the San Rafael Swell in central Utah for a few days, so i thought i could combine both of those into a mega ride that takes up most of October. But the day i was planning to leave, rain was forcast. No problem. I'll bring my rain gear, & stay off the mud if it rains. The WRX will do pavement, fine. So i left early on Wed. Oct 5th, & headed north through the Navajo reservation toward Utah's southern border. It was overcast all day, but no rain. I mixed some pavement & dirt, as i wanted to make Escalante, Ut by dark.

I took a couple of side roads to see where they went. This road disappeared, but i followed a wash into a nice canyon spot where i took a break. Then back to the highway.

House Rock road went through house rock valley, & connected 89a with 89. It was about a 60 mile shortcut, & would connect me back to more dirt up the cottonwood canyon road, which followed the paria river for a ways. But as i turned onto house rock road, the skies darkened ominously. About halfway through, the rain started. The road was fairly dry, but was getting wetter by the minute. I kept up my pace, hoping to get through before the mud got sloppy & slick. I didn't stop to put on my rain gear, but wanted to get off the dirt before it was mud.

Parts of the road got a little slippery, but i finally made it to the slab. I pulled into a big culvert that went under the highway & put on my rain gear. I planned to head east to the cottonwood canyon road & follow it up to Escalante. I rode for a few minutes, & the rain came down harder. It was about 4pm, & it would be muddy. I stopped & decided to turn around & head for Kanab & get a room. Kanab was about an hour away, & it rained steadily the entire way. I stopped at a couple of places, & settled on a decent room that was within walking distance to some eateries. It was still raining, & would rain like this all night. I hung my clothes around the room & went for a pizza.

It rained all night, & was wet & cold in the morning.

It looked like rain was in the forcast for the next few days, so i decided to skip the dirt & stay on the slab. I figured i could go up 89, then take some other minor roads & get to Ogden without having to get on the interstate. The rain had stopped at 6:30, & i left, hoping for a bit of a pause in the weather. But as i headed north, the rain started back up, & it got colder. Kanab is in the 5k foot elevation range, & i would have to climb up to nearly 8k in a couple of the passes. I didn't know there was a winter weather alert up north, but i soon found out. About an hour from Kanab, i got into snow. The temperatures were dropping fast, too. It was in the 20's in the higher elevations. I could only ride an hour or so, then i had to stop & thaw out. I chatted with some highway patrolmen, who told me of a few accidents ahead where some cars had slid off the road. But they said the deepest snow was behind me, so i decided to press on & not go back to Kanab & cut over to I-15 at St. George.

I had on every bit of clothing i brought. I put on both pairs of socks. The rain gear was great.. blocked the wind & kept me dry. The windscreen was also greatly appreciated.. i put it on at the last minute before i left, because of the rain in the forcast. But i had decided to wear my Sidi road boots. They are very protective.. hinged ankles, good protection everywhere. But i thought they were more water resistent than they were. Water came right through them. My feet were wet all the time. I had dried my socks the night before, but they were wet within an hour. I put on my other pair, & they were wet in a short time as well. So my feet were numb with cold the whole time. I would stop, get a coffee, take my boots off & try to warm my feet a bit.. using paper towels to sop up some of the water. I would warm them just until they began to hurt, then hit the road. Back on the bike, they would be wetter & colder in a short time. Everything else was reasonably dry & warm. My hands got cold, but they were dry in some nice waterproof road gloves i got as a gift last year. I wished i had worn my full moto boots. They would have been a lot drier & warmer.

By the time i made I-70, i decided to cut over to I-15 & take it the rest of the way to the Salt Lake valley. But there was another high mountain pass i had to cross, & the snow was still coming down. I passed a couple of cars that had slid off the road.. some tow trucks were still winching them out of the ditch. That was, of course, very encouraging. I expected the rain. The cold was a not so pleasant surprise. If i had thought there was a slim chance of snow, i would have waited until spring or next summer to come up. This was a freak, early winter storm.

Several more stops.. more coffee.. wait until the feet hurt, then ride. There were a few spots along I-15 where it stopped raining.. for 1/2 hr or so.. what a wonderful reprieve! By the time i pulled into Provo, it was a balmy 46*F, but the rain started up again. The lower elevations were much better than the mountains, though, so it felt warm by comparison. Eventually i made it to Ogden, pried myself off the bike, put on some dry warm socks & shoes, & waited for the Daughter to come home. Tomorrow i could look forward to dragging a small boat through marshes & reeds with a wet dog, & of course, in the rain.

Ogden single track.
I scared a lot of ducks, but Taylor got a couple so we did have a duck dinner. Mary decided we needed to go for a nice ride in the mountains above ogden.. the day before i was to leave. So about 3pm.. on a Sunday.. when i'm ready to settle down & watch football & have a beer, we leave for Ogden canyon. I didn't even get my windscreen off! I thought i was riding to Moab next..

It was a beautiful ride up Ogden canyon.. the leaves were all changing & the colors were spectactular. We cut behind Pineview reservoir to the trail head.

Mary coming up the trail.

Taylor riding sweep.

The riders: Scotty, Taylor, Mary, & Trevor.

Mary. She would leave for Maui in a few days to compete in the xterra triathalon. She won her age group in Nevada in April, & was second in the Utah regional event.

I seldom got out of 1st gear on this trail. It was narrow, rocky, rooted, & wet in spots. I rode ok for the first hour or 2, but started to get tired as the evening approached. I had been up at 4am, & we had been busy all day. We came down off of one of the peaks, & were heading for the long downhill section when i must have dozed off & went off the trail.

Unfortunately, i did not get this on video, but i had Taylor snap the pickup. Trevor & Taylor helped me & we got it back on the trail. No more mishaps, & the nastiest terrain was still ahead.

I didn't get anymore stills, but the video shows some great views of the trail, & the fall colors. It was nearly dark when we got back, but we made it ok. I had to adjust my wind screen a bit.. tweak the headlight housing, & pack up all my stuff, but i got it back together & was ready for the ride to Moab on Monday.

Ride to Moab.
I had breakfast with the kids & they went off to work. I finished up my packing & cleaned up my room, then hit the road. I was planning on taking some scenic routes to Moab, & would be riding about 9 hrs. But just going through salt lake city was cool enough, so i decided to just go through one mountain pass, instead of several. The colors throughout the salt lake basin were beautiful.. vibrant reds & yellows, & all the colors in between. I turned in Hwy 6 to go through price & the highest mountain pass i would do this day.

I stopped a couple of times for coffee & a break (i brought my small thermos). Along the railroad tracks, i saw this guy. He stopped & watched me for a while.. wondering if i was his shepherd, but decided i wasn't & continued on down the track. I could relate. Here we were, 2 little lost lambs waiting for the freight train of life to run us down.

My alter ego disappered down the tracks, I finished my coffee & headed on down the road.

I was traveling pretty light.. just the 2 panniers & a tank bag. I had rigged the rear pannier up in ogden. I got some alum. stock & bolted it to the passenger peg, then bent it around to the license plate holder. It held the bags off the pipe & kept them secure.

It was still chilly, especially going through the mountain pass before Price. But it was dry, so i was warm enough. Once i got down to the desert floor, it heated up & i had to take off my liner jacket.

I gassed up in green river, then continued on to moab. I got there before 5, checked in to the motel, then waited for Tom to join me. He was trailering up from Prescott, to ride the white rim trail. When we rode it last year, he missed out because of bike issues. This time he brought the wr250r.

No videos of the ride, but tomorrow's ride along the white rim will make up for it.

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Sedona, Arizona, United States
Semi-retired home builder. Musician. wr250x adventure rider. Amateur philosopher. Innovator. Tech & gadget freak, genealogist.