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Old 09-16-2008, 08:59 AM   #1
Joe Motocross OP
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10 Days of Utah Desert Madness!!

Hello people. I’ve decided to try and do a trip report about a recent cross country journey. I’m asking myself why do I want to take the time to do this? To promote myself and look cool? I suppose deep down there must be a little of this but I probably won’t look too cool next to many of these trip reports on Adv Rider. Really what I’ve come up with as an answer is I’m doing this to inspire others who don’t get the opportunity to do such a trip. To maybe make them look outside the box a bit. Maybe act as a catalyst for someone to change their life enough to be able to make a motorcycle journey that they’ve wanted to do. Oh yeah, I’m also doing this to give my friends a little laugh!

So, I suggested a 10 to 14 day dirt journey to some people I know. The route would take us from Salt Lake City into Colorado then back into the Utah desert and back up to Salt Lake. One friend committed to the trip and one tagged along for 3 days. Our plan was to go minimalist style with the route getting into a lot of demanding off road riding and we’d sleep in the dirt. Our choice of bikes is large 4 strokes built for desert off road racing. The current favorite is the KTM 520/530 series. These bikes are very agile in demanding terrain but have a nice 6th gear for big gravel roads or short stretches of pavement. We put 6.6 gallon tanks on which are a must for many portions of the route. Here are the bikes.

Well, the day before we were supposed to leave I was doing some maintenance and found that my intake valves were out of adjustment and I couldn’t get any more clearance. Unfortunately, I knew what this meant but didn’t want to accept it. Luckily, a good friend of mine gave me his old SX as a parts bike so I was able to swap heads. Not what you want to do hours before heading out on a long journey. Well, I went at it with no torque wrench, no cam chain tool, used the old head gasket, slapped it back together and seven hours later fired it up and took a quick test ride through the neighborhood.

Here’s the two heads. You can see the intake valves sunk in to the head on the right one. It’s nice to have a parts bike!! Since I’ve been slowly combining the SX and the EXC I now have a SEXC which I like to refer to as “SEXY”!!

We decided to leave the next day. So, the wrap up for the first day:
Mileage: none
Repairs: a lot
Fingers: raw

Joe Motocross screwed with this post 09-16-2008 at 10:26 AM
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:29 AM   #2
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Doode...Black text on grey background is impossible to read...
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:30 AM   #3
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burly day one!
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:35 AM   #4
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I can see this is going to interesting. 10 days in the desert and untested heart surgery. Subscribed!

Oh yeah, black text on gray background is very hard to read....Doode.
No problem, that'll buff right out!
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Old 09-17-2008, 07:22 AM   #5
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And we’re off. We’re going minimalist. No GPS, no maps (we’ll get a few along the way), no tent, no stove, no odometer. Just the clothes on our back, an extra half gallon of water and a bottle of whiskey. We head east over the Wasatch mountains and here’s our first view.

We stop off and pick up a friend with his WR. He informs us his odometer still works so we’ll know mileage for a couple of days. Packing is easy when you don’t have much.

And we’re back on the trail. This day was pretty tame. Mostly gravel and two track roads.

We worked east into the Uintas and down to Strawberry reservoir on more gravel.

A quick gas stop for the WR and……

a cold Clamato for the KTMs.

We climb and follow a ridge road east.

We pick up a nice section of single track.

Nice and smooth flowing in 2nd and 3rd gear.

By this time we’re already used to the large tanks and the extra gear on the rear fender. These bikes are a pleasure to ride on this stuff.

We’re back on the two tracks now with a good amount of mileage behind us already.

There are so many routes through these mountains, many marked on maps, many not. You just have to pick one and see where it takes you. We started following less traveled routes.

After a couple of dead ends and some route finding we got on to a gravel road heading down to Duchesne. Dead ends are frustrating but there’s no way to avoid them when you are searching out these less traveled routes, trying to link them all together.

Then we set up camp for the night. It doesn’t take long to put your kick stand down and lean up against the front tire. Boom, your home!! We build a fire and through some potatoes and corn on. We stick some steaks onto a fork and cook them over the fire as well. A little whiskey and we’re blah blah blahing about the successful day.

Mileage: WR-200 miles, KTMs-around 240.
Route: Mostly gravel and two tracks with a great section of single track.
Difficulty: Easy riding.

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Old 09-17-2008, 08:46 AM   #6
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In the old days, (before throw away bikes) when you ground the valves you also took some off the stem so that the rocker fit at the same place.

I think it is a forgotten art.

Great trip.

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Old 09-17-2008, 08:46 AM   #7
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Great action

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Old 09-18-2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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Good morning! Great sunrise viewed from my sleeping bag although the photo isn’t as good as I’d hoped.

Here’s one of the guys with his shelter deployed. We do a couple of these trips a year and there’s just something great about being on a journey with not many possessions and nothing to be concerned about.

Since we were camped close to Duchesne we decided to check out a local “puke and choke” and get a little grub. We embraced the place and went with chicken fried steak and eggs. Classic!!

Duchesne would be the last stop before we headed south into the Roan cliffs where we’d never ridden through before. So, not knowing where we’ll end up we stock up on food for the day and the next morning. We fill our tanks and discuss the fact that the KTM’s will probably have to share a little fuel with the WR to make it to I-70 where the next fuel is available. We stop off at a ranger station and discuss routes a bit and……..

We’re off again. We follow a two track along a canal and try to link gravel roads together until we get across the Green River. It’s difficult with lots of private ranches and drilling sites. We stop and talk with someone coming out of a ranch and he tells us it’s best just to shoot the pavement to the Green River and then we’ll be back on gravel again. He was great. As a matter of a fact, I find that when I approach most locals throughout Utah on my bike they are very friendly and accommodating.

After a longer stretch of pavement then we wanted we were back on gravel roads. This is drilling country with lots of industrial trucks and semis traveling these well graded roads and drilling sites ALL over the place. We stopped of at this overlook for a quick break as we worked south toward the Roan Cliffs.

A while later we leave the majority of the industrial sites and start climbing a drainage into the high country.

This ends up being a very stunning and casual ride through with numerous small ranches scattered along the bottom.

The route today is very easy as expected. Usually when we roll through new territory we stick to a well used route and get a feel for the terrain. We look at all the drainages and ridges and then plan possible alternative and less traveled routes for future adventures.

This drainage went on for quite some time with spectacular scenery around every corner.

We come around a corner and, well well well, what do you know? An industrial site with a couple of full gas cans. Call it bad kharma or unethical but we took some fuel and left some money.

The easy riding continues.

The route tightened up as it started a steeper climb.

This was a cool little slot that the road passed through.

The road then topped out at around 8000 feet and followed a ridge that provided great views all around. Here’s looking south with the Uncompahgre Plateau in the center with Grand Junction on the left of it and the La Sal Mtns on the right.

Our route followed a road that switchbacked down and spit us out into the desert toward I-70.

We followed the gravel until it teed into old highway 6 and followed it 10 miles into town where we found some cold beer.

It was late in the day so we went out of town and found a place to rest for the night with the Colorado River in view.

We relaxed, built a fire and cooked up some sausages, corn and other vegetables. A little more whiskey and the blah blah blahing started!! Also, we were treated to the sounds of some washed up 80’s “hair” bands that were playing at a weekend concert not far away. Bonus!

Milage: 200 miles
Route: Pavement, gravel, two tracks
Difficulty: very easy
Heavy Metal Band Rating: off the chart!!

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Old 09-18-2008, 09:47 AM   #9
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Awesome..looks like a great time. Makes me itch for a westward bound trip!!
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:57 AM   #10
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GReat Report....

I love Utah...
It's not the load that breaks you down,....... It's the way you carry it.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:05 AM   #11
just passin' through
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nice shots, cool route, perfect western (light) style
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:29 PM   #12
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Old 09-18-2008, 03:26 PM   #13
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Love the minimalist approach and report!

Looking forward to the rest!
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:40 PM   #14
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It doesn't get any better than Utah! Excellent report!
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:43 PM   #15
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Cool pictures!!!
Isn't the motto 'get gas when you can' ?
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