10 Days of Utah Desert Madness!!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joe Motocross, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    326
    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!
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    So, I suggested a 10 to 14 day dirt journey to some people I know. The route would take us from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on">Salt Lake City</st1:City> into <st1:State w:st="on">Colorado</st1:State> then back into the <st1:State w:st="on">Utah</st1:State> desert and back up to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Salt</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Lake</st1:placeType></st1:place>. 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&#8217;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 6<SUP>th</SUP> 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.
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    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&#8217;t get any more clearance. Unfortunately, I knew what this meant but didn&#8217;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.
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    Here&#8217;s the two heads. You can see the intake valves sunk in to the head on the right one. It&#8217;s nice to have a parts bike!! Since I&#8217;ve been slowly combining the SX and the EXC I now have a SEXC which I like to refer to as &#8220;SEXY&#8221;!!
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    We decided to leave the next day. So, the wrap up for the first day:
    Mileage: none
    Repairs: a lot
    Fingers: raw
    #1
  2. Flanny

    Flanny Flanny-it-up!

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
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    2,754
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the World, the Universe
    Doode...Black text on grey background is impossible to read...:1drink
    #2
  3. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
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    4,953
    Location:
    Tumalo, Oregon
    burly day one!
    #3
  4. Rellik

    Rellik o-KAY!

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    589
    Location:
    Calgary
    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.
    #4
  5. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    326
    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.
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    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.
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    And we’re back on the trail. This day was pretty tame. Mostly gravel and two track roads.
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    We worked east into the Uintas and down to Strawberry reservoir on more gravel.
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    A quick gas stop for the WR and……
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    a cold Clamato for the KTMs.
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    We climb and follow a ridge road east.
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    We pick up a nice section of single track.
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    Nice and smooth flowing in 2<SUP>nd</SUP> and 3<SUP>rd</SUP> gear.
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    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.
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    We’re back on the two tracks now with a good amount of mileage behind us already.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    Mileage: WR-200 miles, KTMs-around 240.
    Route: Mostly gravel and two tracks with a great section of single track.
    Difficulty: Easy riding.

    [​IMG]
    #5
    59DEN likes this.
  6. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    627
    Location:
    Arizona, Alaska, Kalifornia
    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.

    Don
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    60,728
    Great action :thumb

    :lurk
    #7
  8. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    326
    Good morning! Great sunrise viewed from my sleeping bag although the photo isn&#8217;t as good as I&#8217;d hoped.
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    Here&#8217;s one of the guys with his shelter deployed. We do a couple of these trips a year and there&#8217;s just something great about being on a journey with not many possessions and nothing to be concerned about.
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    Since we were camped close to Duchesne we decided to check out a local &#8220;puke and choke&#8221; and get a little grub. We embraced the place and went with chicken fried steak and eggs. Classic!!
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    Duchesne would be the last stop before we headed south into the Roan cliffs where we&#8217;d never ridden through before. So, not knowing where we&#8217;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&#8217;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&#8230;&#8230;..
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    We&#8217;re off again. We follow a two track along a canal and try to link gravel roads together until we get across the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Green River</st1:place>. It&#8217;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&#8217;s best just to shoot the pavement to the <st1:place w:st="on">Green River</st1:place> and then we&#8217;ll be back on gravel again. He was great. As a matter of a fact, I find that when I approach most locals throughout <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:State> on my bike they are very friendly and accommodating.
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    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.
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    A while later we leave the majority of the industrial sites and start climbing a drainage into the high country.
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    This ends up being a very stunning and casual ride through with numerous small ranches scattered along the bottom.
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    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.
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    This drainage went on for quite some time with spectacular scenery around every corner.
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    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.
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    The easy riding continues.
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    The route tightened up as it started a steeper climb.
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    This was a cool little slot that the road passed through.
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    The road then topped out at around 8000 feet and followed a ridge that provided great views all around. Here&#8217;s looking south with the Uncompahgre Plateau in the center with <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Grand Junction</st1:place></st1:City> on the left of it and the La Sal Mtns on the right.
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    Our route followed a road that switchbacked down and spit us out into the desert toward I-70.
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    We followed the gravel until it teed into old highway 6 and followed it 10 miles into town where we found some cold beer.
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    It was late in the day so we went out of town and found a place to rest for the night with the <st1:place w:st="on">Colorado River</st1:place> in view.
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    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&#8217;s &#8220;hair&#8221; bands that were playing at a weekend concert not far away. Bonus!
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Milage: 200 miles
    Route: Pavement, gravel, two tracks
    Difficulty: very easy
    Heavy Metal Band Rating: off the chart!!
    [​IMG]

    #8
  9. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard I have no soul

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
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    Location:
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    Awesome..looks like a great time. Makes me itch for a westward bound trip!!
    #9
  10. BigJohnBundy

    BigJohnBundy Hav-A-Tampa

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
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    720
    Location:
    West US...
    I love Utah...:lurk
    #10
  11. wachs

    wachs just passin' through

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
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    4,953
    Location:
    Tumalo, Oregon
    nice shots, cool route, perfect western (light) style
    #11
  12. dirtrider

    dirtrider Dusty Adventurer

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    Nov 12, 2003
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    Location:
    Kalispell, Montana
    :lurk
    #12
  13. GTownD

    GTownD Horseless

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
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    Location:
    Johnson County, IA
    Love the minimalist approach and report! :freaky

    Looking forward to the rest! :lurk
    #13
  14. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    May 1, 2006
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    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    It doesn't get any better than Utah! Excellent report! :clap :clap :clap
    #14
  15. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

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    Nov 29, 2006
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    Location:
    N.California
    Cool pictures!!!
    Isn't the motto 'get gas when you can' ?:wink: :lol3
    #15
  16. CJohn

    CJohn Adventurer

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    Jun 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    72
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Nice report and pictures, gotta love the whiskey bottle mounted on the handle bar :freaky
    #16
  17. SteveRed

    SteveRed Adventure Moto

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    Location:
    Sydney Hills - Australia
    Very Cool.. Nice country too! :freaky
    #17
  18. bajabunk

    bajabunk Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    50
    Looks like fun!!!
    #18
  19. Rapid Dog

    Rapid Dog bikes, booze, broads...

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
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    Location:
    Strangel Living West of Hell, SoCal
    ...gawd, what a beautiful place...U R so lucky! :ricky
    #19
  20. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    326
    The next morning we pack it up and bid farewell to our comrade who must head for home. He picks a route through <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Green River</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">UT</st1:State></st1:place> and heads for Price then over the Strawberry Ridge and down to home. My partner and I, however, are just getting warmed up. Today is when we start getting into more challenging and fun routes.
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    We take a quick peek at the Colorado River and head east through <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Grand Junction</st1:City></st1:place>.
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    Next we start climbing onto the Uncompahgre Plateau.
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    We’ve never been here and don’t have a map so we’re just on gravel to start.
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    We work over the top for a while until we come to a very detailed map along the road. We choose some single track routes that’ll take us in the direction we want to go and……
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    Here we go!!
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    This was a nice trail using mostly second gear.
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    It flowed nice.
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    There were a few spots where we had to make a few moves but nothing major. This is where these nimble bikes are VERY nice.
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    You could push bigger bikes through here but you’d work a lot more. These bikes are made for this stuff.
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    More single track with the La Sal Mountains in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Utah</st1:State></st1:place> in the background.
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    The trail opened up a bit more and we’re using 3<SUP>rd</SUP> more now.
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    We spit out of the single track and it’s time to follow a gravel road down to Gateway.
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    This view about blew our minds.
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    Down in Gateway we got fuel, food and water. We saw a couple of guys pull up on these bikes so we thought we’d find them and shoot the shit. When we found them they said they had been up on the Plateau as well during the day and got into some single track that was getting a bit technical for at least one of them on these bikes. The two of them were hanging out with a married couple that was doing a route from <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Durango</st1:place></st1:State>. They were all people who are on this forum. We can’t remember what they call them selves here except for the gal goes as “Fat Wife”. The men were smoking cigars and spilling as much beer on the ground as they were getting down their throat!! Fat Wife had obviously had her lips wrapped around a bottle of Chardonnay for some time before we arrived. We liked their style. Hopefully we’ll cross paths again.
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    He headed down the pavement a few miles and started working up a valley.
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    Our map showed a few routes that would take us up to the La Sals out of this valley.
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    After talking to a couple people that we ran into, we found out that the routes didn’t go through due to private property. This section took a little concentration late in the day.
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    We followed this trail out to an overlook where we camped and planned on heading back down to the pavement in the morning.
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    #20