Dual Sport Meandering in Colorado and Utah

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Rut Runner, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    The plan was similar to years past: haul my bike around to choice riding spots, unload and explore … <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The difference this year was the September timeframe. In years past I’ve come to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:State> in November and December. The riding was good but you always had to keep one eye on the weather forecast. Many times I had to divert to lower altitude trails or leave the state all together. For September I thought I would have complete freedom in <st1:State w:st="on">Utah</st1:State> and <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Colorado</st1:place></st1:State>. What I didn’t count on was record rainfall and flash-flooding! <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The riding that I did do was based out of Buena Vista and <st1:City w:st="on">Georgetown</st1:City> in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Colorado</st1:place></st1:State>. The <st1:State w:st="on">Utah</st1:State> riding included trails in the Whitewash area south of Green River, <st1:placeName w:st="on">Hatch</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Canyon</st1:placeType> near Hite, <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Cathedral</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Valley</st1:placeType></st1:place> in Capitol Reef NP, the San Rafael Swell and various 4x4 roads in the Grand Staircase NM. For most of the <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:State> routes, my bike was the first vehicle through after the rains had ceased. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The riding included an unscheduled overnight stop, where I ended up sleeping beside my bike in full riding gear. Considering all the solo riding that I do, I figured I would be overdue for this, but not under quite those circumstances!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here’s some preview pics:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>




    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]







    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. bomose

    bomose Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,937
    Location:
    Dixie
    Beautiful start. I'm in. I've ridden many places in those areas. Be interested in seeing them again, along with some others.
    #2
  3. CSF

    CSF Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    171
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Wow... nice pics, the scale of the place is amazing. Have fun!
    #3
  4. Fast1

    Fast1 Twisted Throttle

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,884
    Location:
    Bridge over Troubled Water
    Nice photos.. I too faced a few wet muddy nights this September in Colorado which made it more of an adventure than I had planned. Will be interesting to hear your version.
    #4
  5. acidman1968

    acidman1968 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    170
    Location:
    Utah, Great Basin / Intermountain West
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of the report... :deal:deal
    #5
  6. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto
    The first day of real riding started in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Buena Vista</st1:place>. It’s a small town with a vibe similar to <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Moab</st1:place></st1:country-region>. It’s also very popular with motorcyclists, especially the adventure touring ones. Almost every motel and restaurant parking lot had a selection BMW’s and KTM’s. Deer actually roam the streets freely here, munching on peoples flower gardens and bushes.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I rode up over <st1:place w:st="on">Cottonwood</st1:place> pass to Taylor Park Reservoir, and gassed up at the general store. From here you can ride 4x4 roads in any direction. I did a number of passes, and went through a few “towns” that were just a collection of cabins. From what I understand you can spend weeks riding in this area.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>

    [​IMG]




    "Town" of St. Elmo
    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]


    Day 2

    The day was overcast with low lying clouds, none of the mountains were even visible. I decided to head east of town. There’s no peaks east of town but there were quite a range of trails including 4x4, ATV, and very rocky singletrack, With an intermittent drizzle coming down I stuck to the easier stuff.


    Nice flowing doubletrack:
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]




    To be Cont'd...
    #6
  7. Crown Imperial

    Crown Imperial Double Unicorn

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    54
    Location:
    SE Florida
    I need to do this on the bike.
    Did Moab with the GF and it sucked due to Whining Princess syndrome.
    #7
  8. Ontario GS

    Ontario GS Budding Adv. Traveler

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Peterborough, ON, CA
    Very nice Mike, we have to get together to talk about Colorado riding. I would like to go back and just roam around and explore various areas of the state.
    #8
  9. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto
    Tow #4:

    [​IMG]


    This was my 4<SUP>th</SUP> tow of the trip. Thank god for AAA/CAA benefits. The local shop in Buena Vista couldn’t fix the problem so it had to be towed back to a dealer in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Canon</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. I thought CAA would cut me off for this one, but no, they covered the 90 mile, 2 hour tow to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Canon</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place>. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The driver for the tow was local to BV, and also does back country towing and extrications with his own 4x4 tow rig. He charges $260/hr from the time he leaves his house until he gets back. Most of his business is foreign tourists driving their rental cars where they shouldn’t. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The drive to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Canon</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType></st1:place> is pretty scenic, even in the pouring rain. <st1:placeName w:st="on">Canon</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">City</st1:placeType> sits on the edge of the mountains like <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Denver</st1:place></st1:City>. The service person at the dealer says there is great riding in the area, including one end of the Rainbow trail. Too bad it’s solid rain for the next two days! With little other choice I rent a car and do the regular tourist thing for two days. During this time the town of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Boulder</st1:place></st1:City> gets 9” of rain in one day.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    When I got my pickup back there was still no break in the forecast so I hammered it to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:State>, desperate to catch up on my riding. I arrived at the White Wash sand dunes in the late afternoon and managed to get in a tour of the slickrock. I ended up riding with these 3 fellows for awhile:

    [​IMG]

    While out on the rock there was a violent thundershower. I didn’t want to risk damaging my camera so I don’t have any pictures. I was in a deep gully when it happened, and it was quite a “transformation” of the landscape. Waterfalls started appearing everywhere and the cascading water produced fast flowing streams over the slickrock. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

    To be Cont'd<o:p></o:p>

    t<o:p></o:p>
    #9
  10. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Oddometer:
    21,612
    Location:
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    sweetness! love it.
    #10
  11. kingofZroad

    kingofZroad Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    357
    Location:
    Montrose, CO

    That's funny!!! (I too have experienced this Whining Princess Syndrome you speak of)
    #11
  12. ChazW

    ChazW Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    90
    Location:
    Kansas City
    Nice pics. I'm in for the ride!!
    #12
  13. callison

    callison Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    120
    Location:
    Piedmont Triad, NC
    this is where I need to be right now, in for living vicariously
    #13
  14. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto
    cont'd

    I camped out near the White Wash sand dunes. There were flashes of lightning all night and it showered a few times. This was the last day of rain for <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Utah</st1:place></st1:State>. For breakfast I thought I could quickly take trails north into <st1:place w:st="on">Green River</st1:place>. The gravel roads were okay but as soon as I jumped onto the ATV track I had trouble. I barely made it up this hill:

    [​IMG]


    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>I made my way northwards struggling in the softer sections. Coming across a high ridge I could see a river sparkling below. I thought it must be the <st1:place w:st="on">Green River</st1:place>, but it didn’t fit looking at the map on my GPS. Hmmm…that’s odd… there shouldn’t even be a river there! Five minutes later I come to this:

    [​IMG]



    It was flowing swiftly. The banks were soft and my feet sank in so quickly I almost got stuck. It was actually hazardous. I scouted up and down the wash but couldn’t find a fording spot. I tried moving east a few miles but ran into the same wash-at that point I could see the traffic on I-70! At that point I gave up and headed back south. I made it back to my truck at 1:30- which made for a 5 hour morning ride, sans breakfast!<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    These are some pics from rest of the day:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>[​IMG]</o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>to be cont'd</o:p>
    </o:p>
    #14
  15. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Toronto
    Next day’s destination was <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Sunset</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Pass</st1:placeType></st1:place> via the Maze district of Canyonlands National Park. I arrived the night before and snapped this picture from the overlook above Hite:


    [​IMG]



    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p>The plan was to ride from Hite to the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Dirty</st1:placeName> <st1:placeName w:st="on">Devil</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">River</st1:placeType></st1:place> and back. The crossing would obviously be impassable. Several years ago I did Poison Springs canyon to the river crossing from the other side and was very impressed with the scenery. At 55 miles one-way, this would also be a longer distance ride. The bridge over the <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Colorado</st1:place></st1:State>:

    [​IMG]


    There were many nice campsites in the area. Hite would make a good basecamp to explore the surrounding area. The road started off fast and easy:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>

    [​IMG]

    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p>I came to a fork in the road and had my first decision point. My only map was the pdf put out by the park service, and it didn’t show this intersection! With zero vehicle tracks to go by I used my best judgment and went left.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    After following several drainages I came through here and realized I must be going the wrong way. Oh well, might as well see where it goes! The trail ascended onto the bench lands and seemed to go on forever:<o:p></o:p>


    [​IMG]


    <o:p> </o:p>
    With time marching on I decided to turn and backtrack to the last intersection. I reached the turn-off for <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Poison</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Springs</st1:placeType> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Canyon</st1:placeType></st1:place> road and headed towards Sunset pass. I ran into an endless amount of this:<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]

    Even the culverts don't help much:
    [​IMG]



    Every few hundred feet I would have to brake, assess, and either go for it or stop. It was hard to get into a rhythm and more often than not I would underestimate the wash-out and end up skidding to a halt in a panic stop. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I did yet another wrong turn as I took a fork out of a wash. This one costed me several miles. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The path approaching the river feels like it goes on forever. The route is anything but a straight line, and follows the intricate contours of the mesas and buttes. At one point I could see the river on the GPS a few miles distant and thought: “Great, I’ll be there in 5 minutes” Half an hour later I’m still riding! The road emerged high above the river and provided stunning views. None of my pics really shows the true scale. I finally made it to the river and had to stop a distance from it: <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    [​IMG]



    I ate lunch on a rock shelf above the river. It was flowing very swiftly and every few minutes the hydraulics of the river would produce a loud crack or boom. My odometer read 73 miles, which made me feel a bit uneasy. I hadn’t seen anyone all day and if the bike didn’t start it would be a long walk out! <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The trip back was uneventful. These are some pics on the way back:

    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]<o:p></o:p>




    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]





    [​IMG]




    Later that night I got this surprise driving back up hwy 95 to Hanksville:

    [​IMG]


    Twenty four hours earlier the road was intact, now half of it was gone. The road was marked “Closed” and was barricaded off. I just moved the cones aside and drove through.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    To be cont’d…<o:p></o:p>

    </o:p>
    </o:p>
    #15
  16. CaseyB

    CaseyB Adventually

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    795
    Location:
    The Garden State
    I see you got yourself a stunner of a screen saver for when you get home
    [​IMG]

    Really nice.


    Thanks for the report. Every since I got rained/chased out of southern utah area this past Sept, it has been a constant on my mind. I gotta get my butt out there.

    I'm looking forward to the rest of your report.
    #16
  17. pkbinder

    pkbinder Kissing Moose

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    360
    Location:
    Oak Park, Il
    Some of the best photos I have ever seen on a ride report. Nice going.
    #17
  18. RiderRick

    RiderRick Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Southeast Minnesota
    Thank you for doing your report, Three of us from the Midwest are heading to that area in late May, Looking forward to the remainder of your adventure!
    #18
  19. vintagespeed

    vintagespeed fNg

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    2,857
    Location:
    Rancho Cucamonger, CA
    ahhh! we were right behind you on the way to Green River, unfortunately, we're dumber. :lol3 diggin' the RR!
    #19
  20. stickman1432

    stickman1432 Crusty Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    767
    Location:
    So.Cal.& St George UT-Baja-riding anywhere
    Holy shit DUMBER is not correct..........ha ha MORON is closer to it!!!!!:lol3:lol3

    Better you than me...........:eek1

    :lol3[​IMG]
    #20