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Old 05-10-2012, 06:59 PM   #1
crazyjeeper OP
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My 2012 Moab Moto Adventures (with bonus HD rental review)

A little back story:
Ever since I was about 12, reading about the Easter Jeep Safari in various offroad magazines, I had wanted to visit Moab, Utah, one of the outdoor meccas of the western US. One of my dad's coworkers who had been riding dirt bikes in moab for the last 30 years or so had invited us to come along this year. When I heard, I could not wait until the end of April when we would go. This was in January, in the dead of winter, so not only did this future trip represent more fun than I could imagine, it also meant warm weather. Day dreams about it helped the winter go away and soon it was time, so I loaded up my trusty F150 and drove the 1000 miles from ND to Moab.



Since I don't current own a dedicated dirt machine and neither does my dad, we rented some from a local company. I got a Yamaha WR250F and my dad got a Honda Rancher 4x4 420 with power steering.



Day 1

We headed up Potash Road, past the Potash Evaporation pools (which you will see in later pics). It was my first time on a proper dirt bike, and compared to say, a 1976 Goldwing, things are a little different. For starters it weighs about 2 oz and has tires with actual traction on loose surfaces, both being totally new concepts to me. After about an hour I was starting to get the hang of it as we pulled over for a break under a lone cottonwood tree.



We continued on and stopped on the canyon rim overlooking the Colorado.







On the way back to the trucks, I was starting to get confident on the WR, which is always dangerous as a new dirt rider. I was hauling ass down the road along the Potash evap pool, showing about 40mph on the speedo when I came over a little rise to see a sharp 90 degree corner about 20 feet in front of me. I stomped on the rear brake, locked the rear and slid the bike around the corner with the back tire locked right on the edge of the road. I later found out my little onboard speedo/odo was not working properly. We had done a 30 mile trail which my odo showed as 16, meaning it was showing almost 50% of the proper speed, meaning I went into that corner at about 70mph. :blink:

After running Potash road (where I failed to operate my GoPro correctly, so no videos), we headed back into town for lunch. After lunch we went out Kane Creek road and went up over Hurrah Pass.

The views from the top were quite breathtaking. The bright blue pools are the Potash pools as mentioned above.







As we descended down the other side of the pass, I started to notice a few shortcomings of my little rented WR. The main one was that seat could not have been less comfortable if they had tried. Now I know that dirt bike seat is going to be narrow and thin, but this was like sitting on a 2x4, on rough ground, for several hours, it was pretty brutal, which will lead to a mod I will talk about in a bit. Down in the valley floor, I was following our group leader and he went up this rocky hill to stop. Well, anything he can do, I can do, so I tried the same line. I got on the power, started climbing, bounced off a rock right onto my side. Oops, well, got that first dirtbike drop out of the way. Both I and the bike were fine, but it was a nice reality check. Anyways, from that rock pile, we all decided it was indeed beer:30 and time to head back and have some drinks and hit the hot tub, so we rode back to the trucks and called it a day.

Day 2

Having become totally fed up with the horrible seat on my WR, I decided to do some Red Green show style engineering to fix it.



Yes, that is a 3.99 beach towel from the grocery store duct taped to the seat and it worked wonders.

The trail picked for Day 2 was the Onion Creek Trail, up to Kokopelli and ending up on Polar Mesa up on the La Sal Mountains.

A couple of my riding companions and my dad on his super plush ATV.



We continued up the trail until we stopped at this overlook for lunch.







I even had time for a little nap



After lunch we continued up the trail to some abandoned mines.





This was without a doubt my favorite ride of the 3 days we rode. The pictures don't do justice just how awesome it was. I will have to come back and do it again soon.

The La Sal Mountains



The sandstone around the parking area.





It really was a truly excellent day riding.

Day 3

After the epicness of Day 2, Day 3 would have to be spectacular, and it was.

I had been wanting to have a go a riding in proper sand after encountering little patches on the trails over the last 2 days. We had been told about a dune area south of town, so we headed down there.

Well, here goes nothing.























Well, that went well.

Actually, it didn't go down quite so easily, as you will see below in the Day 3 Part 1 video, I actually proceed to head into the dunes, and bury my back wheel to the sprocket because I stopped. After dragging the front of the bike around and walking it out of the hole, I had another go and managed to keep it up on the sand. The pictures above were right before we left the dunes after I had gotten it mostly figured out.

Though it was early in the day, we headed over to this huge rock for lunch because it was the only shade on the trail and it had some trees and the like growing around it.



And the, uh, face shot



My riding companions having some lunch refreshments.



Nap time



After lunch we headed farther down the trail. The destination was an overlook over the Canyon in which the Kane Creek Canyon trail runs. However, we took a wrong turn and ended up on a dead end trail, inside about 100 yards of deeply rutted nearly bottomless sand. I had taken my sand school on the dunes that morning so I wasn't really minding, but that was not a shared feeling among the others. When we started down that trail, I was the 3rd person in the group, with the group leader and the fast guy in front of me. I was bombing through the sand, keeping my revs up and just floating all over the place when I see the fast guy go off the road into the weeds, but keep riding. As I was coming up he started to head back to the road. I hit the throttle and missed him by maybe a foot as I came by still floating all over the place on the sand. About 50 feet later the same thing happened with the trail leader. He may claim that I burned his arm with my exhaust, but that is an exaggeration. It was more like a slight singe. :P Either way, both were a little close for comfort and we had to go back through it.

Here I am reenacting the act of nearly hitting 2 people flying through sand.



At least it was a pretty spot for a break.



I was the first one back out and that road was responsible for my second drop of the trip, which I caught on video this time.

After riding out for a while, I picked a random spot to stop and wait for the others and it just so happened to be the fork in the road where we had gone wrong. We then headed down the correct road and came to the overlook where we were rewarded with this view.



The road that heads over towards the Potash pools is Hurrah Pass, which we rode on the first day, and the other road is Kane Creek Canyon trail.



The view the other way wasn't too bad either



If you can see, I am the tiny figure in the upper right corner on the cliff.



As always, gotta grab a nap while you can



And here is all of our machines.



I had been dreaming about going to Moab for over 10 years, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. Simply incredible.



VIDEOS:

Day 2







Day 3








Having never ridden a Harley, I decided to stay another day and rented a Road King.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazyjeeper View Post
So after years of making fun of harleys for being stupid low tech tractors for fat men, I decided to see if I was right to be making fun of them for all these years and rented this bucket of chrome for a day.



It is a 2012 Road King, with a 103 cubic inch fuel injected v-twin, six speed transmission, ABS, cruise control. The classic Harley bagger, but with computers, and it is utterly hopeless.

You turn the keyless ignition system on, hear the fuel pump whirr into life, thumb the start button and the twin instantly thunders to live and settles into such a lumpy idle the whole bike pulses as if it was hooked up to Tesla's earthquake machine. You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. The bars move up and down about an inch as the twin shakes the whole thing like a paint mixer. It does settle down to a more acceptable degree with revs, but the vibes never fully go away.

I had planned out a 300 mile loop to put the road king through its paces starting and ending in Grand Junction, Colorado where I had picked it up at the local H-D shop. This was my route.

I took off towards the Grand Mesa, climbing up to over 10,000 feet, riding up the twisting, winding roads, and found myself not falling in love with the road king. Every time I saw a rider on a sport touring bike or adventure bike I was hit with pangs of jealously for they had performance, and all I had was noise. Even this scenery didn't make the experience overwhelmingly pleasurable.



I pressed on until I saw another motorcyclist on a metric crusier of some kind stopped at a pull off and asked him to kindly take my photo as I wasn't exactly dressed like a normal Harley rider.



Anyways, as I continued, I found myself noticing a few shortcomings. Firstly, the power. You would think that 103 inches of v-twin muscle would be quite the thing, but really, it isn't. It doesn't help that the RK weights in at a portly 810 pounds but still, it should be quicker than it is. Harley claims it makes 100 torques, which it probably does, but the engine doesn't rev enough to make any meaningful horsepower. You really feel that throttle roll on push, but then as the revs climb the power falls off and you really aren't going very fast despite the tremendous noise emanating from the dual exhausts.

As I pressed on after lunch, the climate changed from alpine forests to dry desert canyons, and I still wasn't feeling any love for the road king. At one point I was ready to cut the loop off and just take that bucket back to the dealer but I figured it was about the same distance so I might as well take the scenic route, and treat it like a scouting trip for when I return with a real motorcycle.



By the end of the ride, I had about 5 miles of city traffic to get through to get back to the dealer and it was pretty miserable. Every time you came to a stop, the paint mixer started again and shook the whole thing like a massage bed at a cheap motel. I was dreading stopping at red lights and the thing was especially useless in the city. It was a decent backroad machine if you didn't want to go fast, at all, but in town it was too wide, too heavy and too slow.

Really, the only useful thing I learned was that my new Rev'it Sand Jacket works great, even with no liners from 85 degrees down to about 50 degrees.

Harleys may have appeal to a certain demographic, but me, I still don't get it, and I won't ever be buying one unless they build something that feels like it belongs in this millennium. The 2012 Road King is the best 1940s motorcycle, but compared to contemporary 2012 machinery, it is utterly hopeless.

And here are a few more pics I shot.





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crazyjeeper screwed with this post 05-13-2012 at 01:31 PM
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:37 AM   #2
bobw
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Beautiful part of the World and very cool you could enjoy this with your Dad! Too bad the rental didn't provide more enjoyment, but that loop is a treat regardless the mode of transportation.

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Old 05-11-2012, 03:41 PM   #3
Signal
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excellent, particularly time with dad
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:17 PM   #4
Fast Ferris
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>> So after years of making fun of harleys for being stupid low tech tractors for fat men, I decided to see if I was right to be making fun of them for all these years and rented this bucket of chrome for a day.

Nice shots from Moab. Been there once on two wheels, hope to make it back some day. Re: the Road King, it helps to be fat and old...............
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #5
crazyjeeper OP
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Thanks for the comments.

All videos have been uploaded. The hardest riding was probably in Day 3 part 2.

In part 6 I ran into 3 guys, 2 on KTMs and 1 Husaberg who might also be on this forum, so if you stopped a blue Klim power ranger with a white helmet on a little Yamaha to ask for directions back to US191, that was me.
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