2016 UTMA BAJA RIDE

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by utefan, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
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    Scottsdale - Arizona
    I am in no way an official spokes person for UTMA (Utah Trail Machine Assoc). I was hoping someone else would post pictures of this ride for many many reasons - which I will point out as we go. However, I don't know if any of the guys I rode with are even members of this board and I wanted to remember this ride as long as possible. So I am going to put together a report mostly for myself. If you enjoy the pics great, if not - I don't care - keep it to yourself :lol3.

    I want to give you a little back ground on how this ride came to be for me. I owned a 2003 Honda XR650R, for seven years, that I always imagined I would take and ride in Baja some day (bucket list). However, after riding the bike very little due to what little time I have to ride being on my KTM 990, I decided to sale the bike. The bike has landed in very capable hands - see the report here:http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/xr650r-rebooted-in-kenya.1124780/.

    4 days after selling and shipping off the XRR my friend John called and asked if I would like to go to Baja? He knew it was a bucket list item. Son of a..... So I immediately set about trying to find a ride to take to Baja and not lose my shorts at the same time. After a couple weeks searching I found a 2005 KTM 525 EXC with 73 hours on the engine (1480 miles). I could go into a whole report on getting the KTM set up for the trip but I am not a huge tech guy so I'm going to save the details. Let's just say I owe a huge thank you to Dillon - Zen Moto and DOD from this board. Here she is all set up for Baja.
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    John, who lives in Las Vegas, had been down to Baja with this group UTMA back in 2010 and had a good time. He knows Greg, our ride leader also a Vegasite. Greg had a bunch of friends and family come on this ride. That is how a bunch of guys from Vegas and a guy from AZ got on a UTMA ride. (Reason 1 why I should not be doing this ride report - R1). Greg owns Head Down Throttle Back bike shop in Vegas and is a great guy who has a great shop. If I lived in Vegas he would be my guy.

    I promise much less chit chat as we get into this report and more pictures but bare with me. So after getting the bike in January and having Zen Moto (Best shop in AZ) get it set up for Baja. I got out on the bike for a quick shake down run a week before the ride. The ride was scheduled for 3/12 - 3/19. The plan was we would ride down to San Felipe 3/12 from Vegas get there late afternoon. Sunday we get up do a service project that UTMA puts together, which was fantastic, and then take off Sunday late morning for Mike's Sky Ranch - could it get any better - No.

    So after an uneventful ride from Vegas to San Felipe we get our hotel rooms and have a meeting with all the other attendees to go over who is in what group, who's going where, etc... There were I think 6 or 7 total groups and somewhere around 100 people (I think) - 3 bike groups and 3 or 4 side x side groups. In Greg's group we had 11 riders. Well as I will soon find out 10 riders and 1 motorcyclist that did his best to pose as a rider :D, and not die.

    We arrive in San Felipe - the view from our room:
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    John the night we arrive in San Felipe
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    Me the night we arrive - fresh and ready - that will change.
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    The next morning - DAY 1 - San Felipe to Mike's Sky Ranch.
    After attending a service project in the morning where one young man in the group for his Eagle Scout project donated 30+ bikes to kids in San Felipe and we raised over $2,000 to buy a bunch of Widow's groceries we took off. Each group going its own way. Our destination was Mike's Sky Ranch. I must confess I don't have a lot of pictures and I plan on using some that others in the group provided, however, these guys rode fast and hard - for me, so not a whole lot of action shots (R2) but definitely some great pictures. With that said there were not many pictures taken of day 1. Everyone was to amped up to get rolling.

    Taking off from San Felipe, we crossed the first dry lake bed (Playa) I have ever ridden across it was awesome. We came across another rider, from another group, who had not had the warning I had received from Mike and Bob about staying on the designated trail across the lake bed - so that you didn't get swallowed up by unseen mud or other hazards. He had hit a big impression (hole) in the ground doing, what I am sure was probably about 70 and the bike had cart wheeled him and he had broken his leg. Rough start - his Baja trip was over Day 1. We helped him get reconnected with his group and they were able to get him transport back to San Felipe and taken care of.

    Rest break in the shade after coming off the playa
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    The 525 enjoying some shade. Mike S - not sure what he is looking at
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    Looking back at the playa and trail we came from - connected to a short stint of asphalt to get to lunch.
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    Lunch and Gas break. Someone's home that they have turned the front into a restaurant.
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    L to R - John, Greg, Dave, Jason - waiting for some tasty burritos and cokes
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    John, Greg and Shane - enjoying the afternoon after lunch.
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    Everybody gassed up the Baja way
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    We then headed from lunch onto a great fun flowing dirt road to Mike's Sky Ranch - here is the lounge and kitchen building
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    John and Bob trying to decide if they should take a dip in the green cool water. :lol3
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    Everyone hanging out waiting for dinner. John wearing his Oregon shirt to spite me because they had kicked Utah's but that day in the PAC 12 championship game. :dirtdog
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    The line up
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    The view from Mike's
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    Greg's Dad and his side x side group also joined us that night at Mike's
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    Dinner was good - steak and salad.
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    I have always wanted to see Mike's Sky Ranch. It was awesome. I will say this however, if you are looking for a comfortable bed - you aren't going to find it.:-) Thankfully everyone was tired and slept OK.

    Coming up Day 2 - my favorite
    After waking up and having a nice breakfast at Mike's Sky Ranch
    we took off for a long day of fantastic riding. Everyone getting ready to take off.
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    As I said not a whole lot of action shots - from me as I was just trying to keep up.
    The trail out of Mike's Sky Ranch heading - West I think. Was awesome - challenging, scary, rocky and I live in AZ people - these were rocks. Of course the only shot of the trail was from someone who caught the one bobble I had. :doh (R3)
    John waiting for me to pick up and get going. You know the drill much steeper, rocky, blah blah blah then the picture shows. :lol2
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    Nice cool resting spot after the long rocky downhill.
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    Jody and Bob enjoying the shade
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    Stopped at this ranch trying to figure out where we were and where we were going.
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    After getting lost several times and opening and closing a couple of gates - we hit some asphalt and headed for the best fish tacos of the trip.
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    John and Jason enjoying the tacos
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    B - F John, Mike, Jody, Robby
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    After lunch it was back into the mountains for some of the best single track I have ever ridden. Reminded me of Southern, Utah (red dirt, junipers). The trail was very challenging but fun. Off camber, very tight - Awesome. Robby resting - I'm sure waiting for me :D
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    Everyone waiting for me :lol3
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    While out riding on the trail Greg and I ran into Bill Nichols - Baja legend. He had made the trail we were on and was leading a group of riders from the Arizona Trail Rider's Association. Here I was in Baja riding with a bunch of guys from Utah, and Nevada and run into a bunch of guys from my home AZ. Here we all are resting and BSing.
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    Greg - leading the way
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    After the epic single track we jumped on this to the coast
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    Then it was a long - 30 mile stretch on asphalt along the cost in the dark to El Rosario and dinner at Mama Espinoza's.
    Day 3
    Started with Breakfast at Mama Espinoza's - then gassing up for the day.
    [​IMG]and then We all took off out of town to head to what Greg referred to as the Point Baja light house (I think). This was a great wide open dirt road to the coast.
    Bob handing out stickers to the school kids on our way out of town towards Point Baja.
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    Greg, Mike and Jason
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    It was right here that my trip changed. I was riding up to this spot when I saw a large wash/ditch which slopped towards the ocean cliff. Not sure how deep and wide it was I had visions of the guy who broke his leg on the lake bed the first day after hitting a big wash out. I was standing on the pegs and grabbed to much front brake :doh planted myself on my head. (R4) I'm sure it was a fantastic sight for everyone. The stupid thing was it was only a couple of feet deep and about 4 feet wide. I could have easily just goosed it over it.
    Here I am after everyone picked me up and did their best not to laugh at my stupidity.
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    Checking out the collar bone - which I am still dealing with - not broken - but sticks up a couple of inches. The Ortho thinks its a dislocated or partially dislocated clavical joint (CT Scan Fri.). Still had to get some pictures at the beach in Baja though. John and I enjoying the views.
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    At this point I knew I was going to be one hurting mother after the adrenaline wore off. John graciously asphalted it to Catavina with me. So the rest the guys could go ride some epic single track. I believe the next few pictures are from that section.
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    Although John and I slabbed it Catavina - the ride was not that bad. We actually were able to jump off in the dirt along the asphalt and enjoy some good riding.
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    We also were able to stop and see some very cool petroglyphs thanks to the suggestion of Mike S. right before entering Catavina.
    Picture of John next to one of the biggest Saguaro's I have ever seen on the trail to the petroglyphs.
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    The hike up to the petroglyphs - John got to do it twice because he forgot his back pack :jack
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    Got to the Hotel an tried to relax
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    The line up at the hotel in Catavina
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    Day 4
    I decided to load the bike up on the trailer, Greg's friend Dave H. was providing a chase truck for the bikes and side by sides. I road with him to Bahia de Los Angeles - while the rest the boys went out and rode, which I heard was a very challenging day - my aches and pains needed the rest. Although my pride is what hurt the most.
    These photo's I believe are from their day
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    You can tell Bob is grinning from ear to ear
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    Greg and Shane
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    It couldn't have been to hard a day - Mike found a place to take a nap
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    L to R Shane, Mike S. Mike T., John, Jody, Dave, Jason, proprietor, Greg, Bob
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    Mike T.
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    Bob
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    This was at the end of Day 4 - when they all arrived at the Bahia de Los Angeles - I took a picture of John when they pulled up and he said. That's it the last time I'm going to raise my hands today - because I won't be able to later. He was whooped.
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    #1
  2. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    As I said I was sad to miss the riding, but I definitely enjoyed my afternoon at the Bahia de los Angeles - at Guillermo's - after arriving early afternoon I enjoyed some fish tacos and then took an epic nap - laid on my bed - windows open - ocean breeze, it was just what the doctor and shoulder ordered.
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    Everyone sitting around waiting for dinner and enjoying the perfect weather.
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    Day 5 - was a planned rest day. Everyone could decide to go ride, fish, or hang out if they wanted. John and I decided we would do all of the above. We started out the next morning early - fishing. It was a great day. We took out 3 boats and everyone was successful.
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    The first person on our boat to hook up and show everyone how to fish was Shane.
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    Hooked up and working - this was not a good experience for the shoulder however
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    Yellow tail Tuna
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    You can see in this picture how the Sea of Cortez was dead still - it was like fishing on a lake.
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    Dave pontificating about the art of fishing :rofl
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    Martin (our Capitan) Dave, and John
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    we all caught about a half dozen fish. Between the three boats we caught close to 200 Lbs of fish. So you know what dinner was that night.
    More to come.
    #2
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  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Looks like a lot of fun :thumb

    Thanks for sharing your sunny ride.

    :lurk
    #3
  4. borscht zanetti

    borscht zanetti Pura Vida ! ... eh?

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    Enjoying your trip and your photos !
    #4
  5. Moto Vaquero

    Moto Vaquero Trail less traveled

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    San Diego & Stanley, ID
    Looks like good times! (except the shoulder thing)
    #5
  6. EZ300

    EZ300 Just wanna ride my motorsickle

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    #6
    utefan likes this.
  7. CONKSO

    CONKSO Been here awhile

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    I totally understand the need for a down day in Bay of LA. We rode the "Window Rock Lite" trail (I call it "Lite" because we came in at the shortcut on the BOLA road- so we missed the first part of Highway 1 - which looked like a long stretch of sand whoops) at dawn and finished in BOLA at noon - that trail WIPED ME OUT! We strung up hammocks right in front of Guillermos and crashed out for the rest of the day.
    #7
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  8. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

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    Yellow tail is a Jack not a tuna
    #8
  9. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Good to know.
    #9
  10. Kyron

    Kyron Oncler Inds

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    Peoria Arizona > Pacifica Ca
    nice!
    I was in that Az group you meet on the trail!
    #10
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  11. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    After fishing John and I decided to take off and go check out the mission (San Francisco De Borja). It was a good ride and a way for me to check out my injuries and see if I could ride. Nice dirt road, some sand, rocks, etc...
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    The old original adobe mission - 200+ years old
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    The Mission
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    Once the ride was over we raced back to enjoy the days catch. Fresh yellow tail and Ceviche
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    It was fantastic! Dave H. was smart enough to buy a huge ice chest and pack all the fish home in the chase truck.
    #11
  12. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Looks like we definitely have enough guys here to get an AZ group down there - again.

    Kryon - it was awesome meeting you guys and Bill N. that was a great trail. One of my highlights from the trip.
    #12
  13. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Day 6 - back to San Felipe. This was a Loooooooonnnnggggg day.
    We had about 100 miles of asphalt today - but first we rode - what Greg called Horse Piss Canyon.
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    It was shortly after this picture I was moving down a sandy wash and took another header. Not sure what happened. I think I just got over along the bank and my peg caught the bank and bounced me and the front end dug in and down I went. Hard onto the good shoulder I had left. Not anymore. But I was not going to stop riding my last ride day in Baja. So I sucked it up and kept going. Had a couple more spills in the soft sand - but no big deal.
    Here are the guys waiting in the canyon - for me :muutt
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    Horse Piss Canyon was fun - challenging sand, some small running springs to run through and even some cattails. That I managed to fly into and wrap around my sprocket. Wish I had a picture of that :amazon
    We then road out of the canyon down a fun whooped out road to Coco's corner.
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    L to R Shane, Dave H., John, Robby, Greg, Jason, Mike T. Bob, Coco, Me, Mike S. Dave, Jody
    Mike S. had to bail on the ride the last day due to some tire ball issues - and to much asphalt.
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    It was not very long after leaving Coco's that we were on the Asphalt slog back to San Felipe. We stopped to enjoy the view.
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    Most the group stayed in San Felipe that night and headed home the next morning. We decided to load up and drive through the night back to Vegas - Bob was taking off the next day for a family vacation. We left San Felipe about 7PM - got to Vegas about 4AM - I loaded up my bike and stared heading home to AZ.
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    I had to pull over in Boulder City and Kingman and take an hour nap each time . But finally made it home. The shoulders are seriously screwed up - I had an MRI on the left shoulder yesterday - I think I have a torn or partially torn rotator cuff - waiting for results. I have a CT Scan on the right collar bone - Friday - if the insurance approves it :dirtdog. My wife asked if it was worth it? My response; HELL YES - I would go back tomorrow.
    #13
  14. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Thought I would share a couple pictures from the other guys. This was the spot the gentleman from day 1 hit at speed that cart wheeled him - hard to tell but that spot was about 2 to 2.5 feet deep and about 30 feet across.
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    Looks like his bike compressed and hit the far side. You can see where he ended up in the background.
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    Getting him some shade and making him as comfortable as possible. It is my understanding that there was a military outpost not far away that loaded him up in a truck and hauled him back to San Felipe. I heard he is OK - hope he heals up well.
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    And this picture just because I like it so much - courtesy of Mike S.
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    #14
  15. bajabunk

    bajabunk Adventurer

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    Great Ride Report Derren!! It was fun having you on the ride. I was bummed you got hurt and missed out on some of the ride but as you found out, just being in Baja is a great experience! Im hoping you make it next year and get to take in what you missed the year! I glad you were able to fill that bucket list. My dad, father in law and I went for the first time 18 years ago thinking it was our one time to do Baja. We've now been back at least 18 times and hope to go many more times. Baja is addicting! Every years a little bit different "adventure". Like I said, glad you could make it!! Hope to see you soon!!
    #15
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  16. drarin

    drarin Adventurer

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    GREAT write up and pics!!! it was a great trip this year!! I dont think i met you this year but i will try to next year.
    Arin L. Trapnell group. UTMA
    #16
  17. Dee Dualsport

    Dee Dualsport n00b

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    Nephi, Utah
    Thanks for sharing your report and the wonderful photos! Hopefully I can make the trip one day!
    #17
  18. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    It was a blast - I definitely want to ride what I missed. Thanks for leading.
    #18
  19. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Sorry I missed meeting you - will definitely try to next time.
    #19
  20. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    You must!
    #20