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Old 10-29-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
quota OP
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Riding to Babylon and other places...

I’ve discussed my ride to Babylon with a couple of riders who were interested in learning more so they could check it out. I also haven’t done much in the way of ride reports since riding a piece of the TransAmerica trail. Most of my rides are short. The 1-2 week long rides aren’t happening like they used to. After Babylon, I’ll periodically add some photos and commentary on other rides.

A friend who I’ve been riding with for many years, lives near Babylon. I was in the area on my DRZ400 and we decided to meet for a ride. He has a perfectly good KTM 620 as well as a Triumph Tiger. Why he decided to ride this thing, I don’t know…




There is a hiking trail. I wasn’t in hiking shoes, so we kept riding.



Map of Babylon



Riding that four wheeled thing must have worn him out. Beautiful place to take a rest.



The Virgin River runs slow and deep as it passes Babylon.





Babylon was established in the 1870’s. There was a mill here that was assciated with the silver mining that occurred nearby at Silver Reef, Utah. The mill was called the Stormont mill. 40-50 people lived in Babylon. Just about 10 years after Babylon was founded, it was announced that the mill was closing. Without the mill, there wasn’t much reason for Babylon to exist. This is what is left of the mill.



Not much went on in Babylon until the 1980’s. John Vought worked for the United States State Department and bought Babylon. His wife had been raised nearby in the town of Leeds. Their idea was to have a retirement home in the area where his wife had once lived. Unfortunately, his wife died, but Mr. Vought decided to still build the dream home. He had about $250,000 of work into the house when it caught fire. The plans for the house where then abandoned.

This was to be the garage.


View of the Stormont mill remains, from the house.



Inside of the home’s entrance.


Great view from the garage.



Found a nice little arch near Babylon.


Great view of the Pine Mountains from the Babylon area.


Front entrance to the home.



This is what Babylon House would have looked like if it had been completed.



To get to Babylon, go north from Leeds, Utah on the old Hwy. 91 frontage road that parallels Interstate 15 and look for signage for Babylon road.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:27 PM   #2
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Always trying to get in one last good ride before snow starts to fall, six of us decided to meet in St. George, Utah for a long weekend of riding. Four riders from northern Utah, one from near Phoenix, and one from So. Cal. The first stop of the day was Fort Pierce, which is just south of St. George. The fort was built by Mormon militia members during the Black Hawk war. The fort was to protect against native people who weren’t pleased with the white man moving into their territory.






The rock wall is a recent addition to the area to protect the area from animal grazing and to keep vehicles from going where they aren’t supposed to go.



Somewhere south of Ft. Pierce, I was told that my license plate had departed the bike. Paul rode back to look for it, but it was gone for good. The Honeymoon trail was next on the list. This trail follows an old wagon route that early Mormon settlers would use to get from outlying settlements into St. George, where they could then get married in the Mormon temple. According to the interpretive sign, the trail was was used by the wagons from 1872 until the early 1900’s. The trail can be a little challenging due to the loose rocks that are on much of the trail.



Big elevation gain here.




Everyone made it to the top. Fortunately, it was too early in the day for broken bikes.


The trail is well marked.



Mesquite, Nevada seemed like it would be a good place to go have lunch. We were slowed down a little in the Wolf Hole area when Paul had a flat tire. Nice dual sport bike that he has.
Yamaha YZ400 made street legal.


Two reasons for the air not staying in the tube.



Paul must know what he is doing. None of the others are jumping in to assist.



At least the flat tire gave the rest of us a chance to see how many holes we could put through a plastic bottle.




Nice fall colors on Mt. Bangs.





After the flat tire repair on Paul’s bike, the YZ didn’t want to start. The tow strap was deployed and the mighty DR650 was able to pull start the YZ. That only lasted for so long. Soon the YZ didn’t want to run at all.



The road was rocky and steep in places. Towing the bike out wasn’t working so well. The decision was made to abandon the bike in some bushes and come back later with a truck to retrieve it. When the bike got back to town the next day, it was found to have no spark. I’ve not heard what the final fix needed to be. Bruce volunteered to let Paul be his passenger on the route down Elbow Canyon and into Mesquite. Riding pillion with no foot pegs looked like some work.



The ride had to have been better than walking.



Greg admiring the desert view.






Glenn and Mark had run ahead once the YZ died. They were going to see about getting a truck up there to retrieve the bike. We thought they would be in St. George, but we found Mark on the outskirts of Mesquite.


Flat tire #2 on our ride. The KTM found a nail.


We missed lunch in Mesquite. It would soon be dark, so we decided to just take the old Highway 91 back to St. George, especially since one bike was traveling with pillion.


Nice view of the Snow Canyon area red rocks as we rode back into town.


Other than a couple of flats and a dead bike, it was a great day of touring around the desert.
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:34 PM   #3
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Grappa Gruppo. The Grappa Gruppo started up as a reason for Moto Guzzi riders to meet up. We have always met in Baker, Nevada at the SilverJack Inn/LectroLux Cafe.

Glenn describes the great ride he just had from southern California.



Guzzi Bob just wants his dinner...



Chainsaw Mike demonstrates how little traffic there is in Baker, but being able to park his Quota in the middle of the main street.



Three Guzzi enduros and a BMW parked at the top of the road in Great Basin National park.



Paul with the Wheeler Peak area behind him.



Chainsaw Mike






A few from our Lehman Cave tour.



Graffiti from 1912



Cave stuff



I'm guessing that it is just once a year that Baker sees 8 Moto Guzzis at the same time.





Last night dinner with the group.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:02 PM   #4
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Utah Backcountry Discovery Route

Rather than starting at the suggested location on the map and GPS tracks, we thought it would be proper to actually start on dirt in Arizona.
This should be the border right here.



Rain helped keep the dust down one the first stretch of our ride.


Four of us rode into Mexican Hat to find a room for the night.




We passed one of the locals who looked like he was taking a nap.



Turns out that he may have had a little too much to drink.


The fifth and last rider shows up from Phoenix. He always likes to start a ride with fresh tires.


Glenn doesn't mind supervising the tire changing.


Bruce figures that if Glenn can supervise, then he can as well.


We must get a photo of the namesake of Mexican Hat.


Valley of the Gods.


Moki Dugway


Looking across the valley from the top of the dugway.


A section of the Hole-in-the -Wall trail, made famous by Mormon settlers.










Gained some elevation into the Abajo Mountains.





To Monticello for the night.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:23 PM   #5
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The battery in the DR650 decided that Monticello was a good place to die. Fortunately, Arrowhead Motorsports in Moab was only an hour away and Fred said he would have a new battery ready to go the next morning. Glenn's BMW 1200 had decided to take a rock to the cyclinder head, so he was headed home for repairs.

We opted for the Lockhart Basin/Canyonlands part of the route. Nice cool temperatures for the middle of summer.










He is thinking of his upcoming retirement, when he can ride motos even more.








Made it to the Colorado River.





Maybe we missed a turn?


Good thing the water isn't at a higher level.


Time to remove the driftwood and find the correct trail.



I'd heard of the Base Camp Adventure lodge, and finally found it.



With all of the recent rain, the Colorado River was very red.


Once in Moab, Carpenter Mike uses a roll of duct tape to repair his rain jacket that got sucked into the chain and sprockets earlier in the day.


The Carpenter then gets an emergency call to return home. Now we are 3 riders...
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:52 PM   #6
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Cool stuff
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:25 PM   #7
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The Carpenter has to run home for a few days. Now we are 3 riders. The area outside of Moab had a little rain over night. We head toward Onion Creek.

One of Greg Bender


A couple of Patrol Dog





Greg Bender and Patrol Dog surveying what is left of Dewey Bridge. Not much left after a wayward kid burned it down while playing with matches.


We encountered some mud as we headed north to I-70.



This place would have helped keep the rain off the night before.



Remnants of mining in the area.



Patrol Dog dropping out of Sagers Canyon.


Sego, Utah cemetery





This guy was roaming around the cemetery.



Not much left of Sego town.



More mud as we get closer to Green River, UT.








I hope I can find a car wash in Green River to get some of this stuff off.




After pumping coins into the car wash, we head over to the local motorcycle repair center for a quick repair.



A couple of riders from the UK stop by the local repair shop. They were riding the Trans America Trail.



The skies start to get dark again. Rather than getting caught out in the San Rafael Swell, we opt to call it an early day and checked in here.


Great room at a great price. Close enough to walk to a pizza joint across the street.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:49 PM   #8
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Hey Quota, Some good pics in here. I like the ones of the Green River mud. That looked deep and sticky!
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:56 AM   #9
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Great report and pictures. Sounds like kind of an epic trip Elbow Canyon one day and Moab a few days later.

I assume you made it up Lockhardt basin with no problems. I love the ride, but it seems to get a little rougher each time we do it.

We were out there riding last week end. We had planned to go from Moab to Green River. But that big storm hit, so we headed south over the La Sals and Montezuma Creek canyon. We were also having mechanical problems and opted to loop back towards home.

OH I just noticed this report was for rides spread over a year.
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Old 10-05-2014, 06:07 PM   #10
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:53 AM   #11
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Southwest Utah Oct. 2014

Spent a few days in southwest Utah exploring some old and new places, as well as some roads that have changed significantly, with recent heavy rains.

Day 1, we had 6 riders. We started off with the idea of riding from St. George, UT. to Hell Hole pass, doing an out and back to West Mountain, and then a quick run to Caliente, NV. for lunch.

From the Hwy. 91 turn off to Hell Hole pass, was in good condition. No problems for the 800 BMW.



No pictures from the road to West Mountain, from the pass. It was steep and loose. The steepness hasn't changed, but it was as loose as I'd seen it in the last 15+ years. We ran into a couple of trucks that were coming down from the communications facilities on the peak. They both said that they had never seen it so bad. Some of the bikes made it to the top and some didn't. It wasn't worth tipping bikes over this early in the ride.

Looking west to Nevada.



Looking south from the top.



Regrouping down from the peak.



Heading west off of Hell Hole was in worse shape. The heavy rains and done no favors to the road. Riding was a little more challenging than we had planned on.

The drop off is on the main road. Wouldn't have been the easiest to get through this washout.



Some perspective on the size of the washout.




Getting around the next obstacle.



Following the path of least resistance, we just rode through the wash instead of on the road.




More obstacles were to follow. He was screaming "My leg! My leg!". Seems like the exhaust pipe was a little warm.



A little push to get started from the loose stuff.



Another little tip over.



We finally make it to Indian Springs. We were tired and warm and looking forward to a milkshake in Caliente. Surely, the road south of here wouldn't be as bad as a place called "Hell Hole".

We didn't have to go far before finding more washouts...



Rider under his bike.



Another view of what used to be a perfectly good road.



We were too busy getting bikes around the next big washout, to get any photos of it. It was the grandaddy of the days gulches.



Thanks to this guy, the road started to get more smooth.


We all make it to Eardley Road. There isn't any way we are making it to Caliente today. Half of the group heads back to St. George and half ride a new, to them route, south to Beaver Dam, AZ. for a cold drink. After an interesting 30 minutes of people watching in Beaver Dam, we head north on Hwy. 91 and take the Joshua Tree Scenic Backway.

I thought I'd run over this guy in the middle of the road. Turned around and fortunately, I'd missed him.







The view to Snow Canyon.



We made the turn toward Bloomington and had fun riding the wash. Even though the sun was setting, we went to check out one last place for the day.




Surveying Bloomington from above.



Then to meet back with the others and try out Bruce's new Motion Pro Bead Breaker tool.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:14 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by wbbnm View Post
I assume you made it up Lockhardt basin with no problems. I love the ride, but it seems to get a little rougher each time we do it.
Lockhart was no problem. Might have been a handful for the 1200 if he had still been with us.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:46 PM   #13
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Hey Quota - nice batch of pics from your recent ride.

I road the main dirt road out to Motoqua a few days ago. Here's a pic of a road grader at the "entrance" to Motoqua town. Lots of graders and equipment working in the area. The rains from a month ago demolished lots of the dirt/gravel roads between St. George and Caliente. Might be sometime before all the washouts are fixed.




Good work getting up West Mountain Peak. Always steep, sometimes very loose. I have success and failure. And the backside of Hellhole Pass down to the Indian Spring tank is always interesting.
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Old 10-16-2014, 05:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by RedRockRider View Post
Hey Quota - nice batch of pics from your recent ride.

I road the main dirt road out to Motoqua a few days ago. Here's a pic of a road grader at the "entrance" to Motoqua town. Lots of graders and equipment working in the area. The rains from a month ago demolished lots of the dirt/gravel roads between St. George and Caliente. Might be sometime before all the washouts are fixed.
I'll get pics up from when we did make it to Caliente. Everything was in surprisingly good condition. I'll get those pics up tonight! Thanks for checking it out.

Clarification----Caliente-STG was in good shape on the north, going through Barclay. Not so good south of Elgin...
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Old 10-16-2014, 11:48 PM   #15
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St. George to Caliente

After not making the loop to Caliente the first day, we gave it another try. This time, an easier, more direct route. At least it was easy last time I rode it, before the big rains...

Off of Hwy.91, we planned to take the turn to Eardley road, through the Tule Desert, and then follow the train tracks north to Caliente.

Crossing Beaver Dam wash.


Climbing out of the wash.


Before long, the road ceased to exist. The gravel got a little deep and tricky in the wash.



All of the rain had left the desert looking more green than it often does.










We weren't moving very fast. Parts were falling off of bikes, no road in places, etc... Made it to an intersection to regroup and this thing made a couple of low passes.



A few of the guys heading north to the lunch stop.



Mid-afternoon now and we finally get to a road that is a little more tame.












Dave was kind enough to switch bikes with me so I could try out the 800 BMW.



Someone is elated to be in Elgin.



Some fun tarmac to ride in Rainbow Canyon.



Easy to see why it is called Rainbow Canyon, with all of the different colors.





Stopped to get a photo for the contest where you collect state park photos on your moto.



A bicycle tour would pass through the area the following day. They would visit some great state parks in this area of Nevada.



We probably finished lunch at 1630, so we weren't left with much time to get back to St. George if we didn't want to be in the dark.



With the road conditions slowing us down earlier in the day, there wasn't much time for photos. There wouldn't be much time or light for photos again. 3 of the group opt for the paved route and 4 opt for the dirt route.
We missed a turn and were hoping that we would meet up with our planned route. The road was in great condition.



We made it to Barclay and got back on course, after checking out the school/church in town.



We were losing light fast as we crossed back through Beaver Dam wash.









From here to St. George, the challenge was trying to either stay out of the dust of the big dirt hauler that were helping to repair the road, or to get around them and in front. Not easy when it is dark and they are throwing up so much dust that they either don't know you are behind them, or don't care.

The group that was on pavement, beat us back by about 10 minutes and were already getting pieces back on the bikes were they belonged.
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