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Old 03-02-2015, 08:21 PM   #1
HeadShrinker OP
Lost for a Reason
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Cortez, Colorado & Navajo Nation
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White Rim Trail in the Middle of Winter

In the middle of winter, I tend to get antsy. I start dreaming of heading to down to baja or someplace warm. Well, I didn’t have the time or the money to head to Mexico. The month before I decided to make the wise financial decision of trading in my 2013 BMW GSA with 40k miles for a brand new 2015 GSAw.

Well, that wasn’t the only bright move I made this winter. How about a ride to Moab and the White Rim Trail?

A week earlier, I texted my pal Jeff. He is a physical therapist who works with my same outfit. Jeff has a 2012 BMW GSA with a Black Dog Cycle Works skid plate and Heidenaus. He also bought a new Giant Loop Great Basin from yours truly.

I met at Jeff’s house on January 10th. It was raining when I arrived. His wife was outside, waiting with me. She gave me a stern warning not to take him to any dangerous places or get stuck way out in the wilds of Moab.

I loaded up my new bike with a new set of Giant Loop luggage.

But before I met Jeff at his house, I had to get some help picking up my bike.

This trip sounded like a wonderful idea.

We left town and headed towards Monticello. We hit some more rain that turned to some snow. We made our way to Moab.

We had a late breakfast and warmed up at a café. We were hoping the sun would come out.
Well, it didn’t.

None of us had ever done the White Rim Trail. We decided to do it clockwise. So we headed to Potash road. The clouds were low and it was cold. We were the only ones out there.

We climbed up this snowy, icy, and muddy section, knowing full well that turning around and descending would be pretty impossible and likely that we would lose our bikes off the side.

We had hoped to reach the ranger station, but the road was closed. (Probably because it was in the middle of winter…)
We stopped here. We couldn’t go back, safely. So the only thing to do was to press on.

Well, don’t we look confident?

But, the views were stunning—even in the clouds.
The whole place was still, surreal, enshrouded in a blanket of calm.

There were some slick downhill sections

Mud was caking in our tires

We started the trail about 12:30pm, so it was getting dark. We were going slow, enjoying the space and time.

We ended up camping at Candlestick, setting up our camp in the dark and enjoying the food we cooked in the JetBoils. We set up our tents on the rocks and went to sleep. The night was fairly comfortable, only getting down into the mid 30s and the rain had subsided.

I woke up at dawn and waited for the sun to come up. It really didn’t come up because of the cloud cover. Nevertheless, it was beautiful.

Packing up camp

Jeff and I enjoyed this next part of the ride

Until we hit the mud

And snow

Still, it was peaceful

The switchbacks were fun.

Jeff went off to the inside and I helped back him out.

We had to help each other ride out of this one.
We thought we would never make it out the switchbacks

And then we reached 13 miles of hell

Jeff was having fun on his Heidenaus

We finally made it to the road.

We warmed up in Moab. It continued raining. It was a blizzard on the pass at Monticello.

But we made it back home alive.

Can't wait to go back in better weather.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:47 PM   #2
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Whoa that looks treacherous! That mud had to be bad stuff. Great ride!
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:47 PM   #3
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That was fun!
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Old 03-02-2015, 09:40 PM   #4
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Aces! 'Gents !

That's the spirit pushin on ! Screw winter ride.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:05 PM   #5
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Nice job guys! I rode WR trail last year, dry as a bone. A little dampness in the sand actually makes it easier, but that is a little more than damp

I know what you were up against so job well done
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:33 AM   #6
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At any time did you think to your self " maybe this was not such a good idea" ?
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Old 03-03-2015, 07:23 AM   #7
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Nice shots..
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:06 AM   #8
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Looks awesome (other than the mud...) Is the White Rim Trail the one that loops Canyonland National Park? I've thought about doing that, but deciding if I wanted to ride my GS out there and do it, or trailer my DRZ.
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:48 AM   #9
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You guys are insane. I rode it on my KLR when it was dry and that was enough of a challenge for me.

Cools pics. Nice report
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Old 03-03-2015, 09:12 AM   #10
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You are a couple of nutters for sure. Goodonya!
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Old 03-03-2015, 10:42 AM   #11
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I enjoyed the report. Wouldn't want to take it on in those conditions. I'll be doing it on my 990 around Sept 1st. I'll have Heidi's too. Hope there's not too much mud.
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Old 03-03-2015, 01:40 PM   #12
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Now there's an adventure!
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:14 PM   #13
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Nice! Been there in the mud and clay... SUCKS! Total adventure! ha.
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Old 03-03-2015, 02:16 PM   #14
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Excellent! I've ridden my bicycle and various motorcycles around there, clockwise like your trip, and yeah that final stretch of road from the top of the switchbacks to the highway seems to go on FOREVER. That was some nasty mud... It's one thing to do that ride on a little dirt bike and another entirely on the big Beemers, especially in nasty weather.

I spent Thanksgiving with some friends bicycling down on the White Rim once and it was surreal how empty and peaceful it was, just a glorious place, most memorable Thanksgiving so far in my life. The stars were unbelievable and since it got dark so early we spent a lot of time looking at them. We had 55*F days and 25*F nights but no snow or rain, sunny, and cooked a turkey by burying it in a firepit with coals on top while we fooled around on the bikes (we had a couple 4X4 trucks following us with all the food and gear and beer, heh heh).

I hope you can go back in better weather! It is one of those places you have to see to believe, eh?

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Old 03-03-2015, 02:19 PM   #15
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Nothing like some good ol Utah red clay stuck to ya!
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