10 Days of Utah Desert Madness!!

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

  1. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    233
    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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    #21
  2. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    233
    Sleeping in the dirt is the best!!! Here’s what our camps all look like.
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    This little bench we were on was a perfect place to stay the night.
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    Our minimalist approach doesn’t allow for much of a mess kit. It includes a metal cup to drink, eat, and cook with over a fire; a spork; a little tin foil; and an “adjust-a-fork” (more on that later) for cooking various meats. The routine in the morning is to heat up some noodles or oatmeal first. Then some water and coffee with just a splash of Old Crow to sweeten it. We refer to this as “croffee”.
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    After enjoying our croffee up on the bench it’s time to back track down to the road. We’re not happy that the route didn’t go through but this happens when you’re on an adventure. This stretch of pavement was not the worst by any means. It was a very scenic 10 to 15 mile stretch.
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    We find a bridge that takes us to a gravel route heading in the direction we want to go.
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    This road ends up being really stunning running along the river.
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    Not sure what was up with the old bracing up on the wall. Maybe an old mining trolley.
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    Our next stop was this place to restock on water, food and Old Crow.
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    Now we’re getting into the thick of it. Our shaky map indicates a route that will take us down into a valley that we want to cross. This area is littered with old mining roads. We think our route is the one that you can see running parallel to the cliff through the Junipers in the background. We’d find out later it wasn’t the route we wanted.
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    A typical problem is there are a ton more roads then many maps show. This makes it tough to choose the right one. Lots of these are not well traveled and potentially washed out beyond passable.
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    Here we are heading in the direction we want.
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    Not much left of this old route. It’s amazing how the desert reclaims itself.
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    The route dead ends here giving us a view of the valley we want to get to.
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    We back track a bit and try another route that proves to get us a little closer to our goal.
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    We again end up on sparsely traveled routes, just what we’re looking for.
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    However, we spend the majority of the afternoon wrestling these old roads only to find dead ends.
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    I’m in my element ‘cause I know the route goes through. My partner is starting to question my sanity. I figure if we don’t find it this time I’ll come back a different day. We about exhaust all our options when we find a route that will take us down. The only problem is it’s about 150 feet down from this road we’re on and there’s a few cliffy sections separating the routes. I suggest we take off the gear and walk it down then remove the tanks and bring them down. We can then walk and belay the bikes with a length of nylon webbing. At this point our democratic method of route finding quickly turns to a dictatorship and my partner announces this is not going to happen. I think his quote was “it’s not like we’re discovering <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">America</st1:country-region></st1:place>!!” We are discouraged and getting tired and we are coming to terms with backtracking through a long section of demanding terrain. Now we’re really on an adventure!!!
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    After a little miscommunication, we get split up for a few minutes. My partner unintentionally stumbles onto the route we’ve been searching for. This was just what needed to happen to him as he was getting pushed to the brink. We regroup and start down.
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    Here’s the old cut that’s on our map.
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    It’s steep, rocky, loose and difficult. PERFECT!!!!
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    It doesn’t get much use these days but it’s still there. You always take a little chance that you may have to climb back up something like this if the route doesn’t pan out.
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    This route does pan out and we’re feeling that our strenuous afternoon payed off. I drew the route in yellow in this photo. These routes are not only physically demanding but mentally taxing as well. It’s a good test to see what you’re made of.
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    I think you know the scene here. We think we’re minimalists but there’s still one more category to go. I’ve heard of guys who don’t bring sleeping bags or pads. They just put on all their clothing, put their helmets back on to act as a pillow and lay down in the dirt for the night. We’re not quite there yet but we’re striving for it. Maybe next trip.
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    Day 5:
    Mileage: Unknown
    Difficulty: Quite
    How good does the bourbon taste: the best we’ve had yet!!!
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    #22
  3. rides2little

    rides2little Posts2Little

    Joined:
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    You guys rode all the way to Park City to pick up that poor guy on the WR??!?! :D How much of your 'Ol Crow' did he consume or did you make him bring his own?? You will have to ask him about the 'top shelf Pendelton tequila' we got at the Fairway bar in Green River this spring.


    Great report, keep it coming!!!
    #23
  4. Ledge End Hairy

    Ledge End Hairy Lost in Space

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
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    288
    Location:
    NYC Metro (CT)
    Not sure what was up with the old bracing up on the wall. Maybe an old mining trolley.
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    It was a hanging flume built back in the late 1880's. I passed it from above this summer riding hwy 141.

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    Great RR too - I hit most of the paved roads this summer where you are hitting the dirt. There is a dual sport in my future - someday :deal
    #24
  5. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tid bit on the flume TDC.
    #25
  6. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
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    10,784
    Location:
    Durango, Colorado, USA
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    It was great meeting you guys in Gateway! That was FatWife (left) and me as well as Colorado Uli (third from left) and Unaweep (behind me, spilling his beer). Those were their bikes, we had the GSs. Thanks for the incredible pics, it looks like a great trip!

    Attached Files:

    #26
  7. New Trick

    New Trick A guy that likes to ride

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    60
    Location:
    The Hood
    You're killin' it Cowboy! Keep it comin'!

    Here's you last year.

    Attached Files:

    #27
  8. UpST8

    UpST8 turnin gas to noise

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    7,377
    Location:
    californication
    :D Great RR!!! Love the minimulist approach. Inspiring report! A DS and trip out west have to be in my cards someday. Keep it coming :D
    #28
  9. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Tilting the Horizon

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
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    Location:
    WA Palouse area
    Great pics and RR! Thanks for taking us along. Kudo's to you on the minimalist camping, I know I could NOT do that but :clap to those who can.

    Slightly off topic, is the tire on the rear of that WR a trials tire?
    #29
  10. Buuurrrt

    Buuurrrt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    These guys were great.

    They jump on their "Earth Saws" and rip through the desert. Look at those bikes. 950 and 625 dirt bikes. Are you kidding me?

    When they reach Gateway. They proceed to get LOOSE.
    Talk about minimalist. Just rip fast and light to the Pub and take a break there. What else do you need?

    FatChance, FatWife(for sure), Colorado Uli and Unaweep were key players in day 3. They kept us laughing for days.

    Thanks guys





    #30
  11. CJohn

    CJohn Adventurer

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    The tire on that WR is a trials tire, i'm pretty sure. They are pretty popular to use in very rocky terrain, have seen enduro and harescramble racers use them also.
    #31
  12. jamesdemien

    jamesdemien Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2007
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    St. Louis
    Ahh back on my favorite forum after a brief stint way from it all.

    I got married and the bike has been sitting for a while but this trip report is just the inspiration I need to put the new parts on the Moto and plan a trip.
    #32
  13. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    Right on with the photo Fat Chance. Thanks for jogging our memory as well. Your names were filed away but the file was misplaced. Until we meet again my friends.....

    Also, the WR was running a trials tire.
    #33
  14. ct-ktm

    ct-ktm Long timer

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    :clap :clap Great R.R.!!!!!....some of that singletrack looks sweet...
    #34
  15. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    The next morning after some food and croffee we start to roost.
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    Our map showed a route that we thought looked good and would take us down to this valley. We found the old road but unfortunately it was closed.
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    We worked around our little detour and made it through the valley.
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    Here we are climbing out of the valley with the San Juans in the background.
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    We were heading for <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Monticello</st1:place></st1:State> where we’d restock on everything.
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    Then we climbed into the hills and started getting views of the big red rock territory in <st1:place w:st="on">Southern Utah</st1:place>.
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    Our route followed a single track that I’d stumbled on a number of years ago but wasn’t able to ride due to snow.
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    The trail continued for a while.
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    The trail stayed fairly high in elevation and kept giving us views of the stunning desert below.
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    It would wind through trees then pop out into these open meadows.
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    The trail had numerous challenging sections with steep rocky moves.
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    It worked along some very steep terrain where you wouldn’t want to accidentally get off of it.
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    You need to be at least a solid intermediately skilled rider to make a number of these moves. I’d rate the trail as more for advanced riders.
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    A view of the hills that these trails roll through.
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    We came to an intersection and got onto a real nice quad trail that our map showed which would take us in the right direction.
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    This was very easy riding. We were working our way to the next intersection which would take us on another section of trail then spit us out on a gravel road. Our route was playing out just as we hoped until……..
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    The next intersection proved disastrous. At the intersection the route was marked just like on our map. It started to drop and continued down a quite steep and real rocky pitch for around 1000 vertical feet. It was fairly wide and appeared to be well used but looked more like cattle traffic was the norm. At the bottom we were noticing the absence of any vehicle tracks. Next came this little section in the photo where we had to climb a couple hundred feet out of the gully.
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    This wasn’t a motorcycle trail. We both acknowledged seeing a downed post at the last intersection. At this point we really didn’t want to know what was marked on it because we both had the feeling it would have steered us in a better direction. We were able to climb out of the gully up on to a large plateau. After checking out the terrain and deliberating over our map we decided that we shouldn’t proceed any farther. We came to the realization that we’d have to camp and make the 1000 foot rocky climb back out in the morning.
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    Here’s our main cooking tool which we refer to as the adjust-a-fork which is a spin off of the adjust-a-grill that our friend makes. Just like the adjust-a-grill, the adjust-a-fork can be adjusted up or down or can swing away from the fire. (this is a total joke and we have a little fun at our friends expense where we state that these silly little forks that I weld up are going to make his product obsolete)
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    The adjust-a-fork does work well though. We were tired as the single track earlier and the late afternoon debacle wore us out. Camp was quiet this night as we mentally prepared for the wrestling match in the morning. Our plan was to get up early and tackle it before breakfast. Our reasoning was the slope was south facing and we were anticipating it being quite hot so we’d get at it early. We were imagining having to walk the gear up then come back down and together we’d work the bikes up with the nylon webbing belay in the “cruxy” sections. We new we’d make it but it was going to take work.
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    #35
  16. unaweep

    unaweep Uses lotsa band-aids

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    Great Report, guys!!:clap

    We pondered the fate of you ff's for about 4 minutes after you left, then I pretty much forgot about ya!:lol3

    Hope you look us up next time you're in da hood.:thumb
    #36
  17. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Been here awhile

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    May 23, 2007
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    "We pondered the fate of you ff's for about 4 minutes after you left, then I pretty much forgot about ya!:lol3 "

    Now that's some good comedy!! Thanks for the laugh!!
    #37
  18. ktmnate

    ktmnate Long timer

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    Ok, this is good! Personally I'm a single malt kind of guy but I would ride with ya :lol3

    :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap


    Nate
    #38
  19. backspinnn

    backspinnn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    158
    I need more...

    I assume you made the thousand foot climb or you would not be posting this report.

    I will be in Moab next week for 8 days on the 450 EXC. I can't wait. Any recs for carrying extra fuel over hard terrain or did the oversize tanks take care of it all?
    #39
  20. CJohn

    CJohn Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    55
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    Minnesota
    awesome, :clap Looks like you ate well too. :thumb
    my kind of adventure.
    #40