Dualsporting Moab and Grand Junction

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Rut Runner, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    This is a write-up of my trip down to the Moab area in November of last year. The trip took on more a dualsport bent as my wife elected to tag along. She would keep the car during the day and I would ride from town to the trails. Normally I do these Moab trips alone but my wife promised me she would not interfere with my riding. The plan would be to meet up at the end of each day for some hiking or sunset photography.

    The drive down from Toronto followed the same format as previous years. Leave work at 4:00 pm Friday and drive the 1900 miles (continuously, in shifts) until we arrived in Grand Junction at 9:00 pm on Saturday. There was even time for the wife to do a few hours of antiquing in Kansas (wow, can’t miss that!)

    The plan for Sunday was to ride to Moab from Grand Junction. I opted for the Rabbit Valley route as I was advised that the Gateway route is remote (I didn’t want any trouble the first day!) The wife would take the car, visit the Colorado National Monument, then meet me in Arches at 4:00.

    I started out behind the airport in the Grand Valley OHV area. I’ve ridden here before and this is a nice way to get in the groove for a long ride. After a few hours playing around I follow a jeep trail west under the power lines. The trail is in good shape, but since it runs crosswise to all the washes, there are endless G-outs. Many are steep, V-shaped and require 1st gear creeping to get through. A rider on a big bike might struggle here.


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    After a while the trail turns into designated single track:
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    I drop down into Loma for gas, then continue west on hwy 6/50. Leaving 6/50 I cut south across some promising doubletrack, follow some rocky uphill sections and come out here above I70:
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    Rabbit Valley is visible in the distance. This particular spur dead-ended at a radio tower. I end up wasting 30 minutes trying all the other spurs before giving up and returning to 6/50. After a few more miles the marked turnoff for Rabbit valley comes up.

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    Entrance to West Rim Singletrack:

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    Whenever I come to rabbit Valley I always do this trail, its short and easy but has some unique scenery.
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    I skip the overlook trail and take Jeep roads west. Passing through Westwater I again skip the singletrack and follow the jeep trail paralleling the railway tracks. Only trouble was here:
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    The water seemed to be deep, so I scouted around abit and crossed further down. It didn’t help much though-still got stuck and had to wrestle the bike out of the mud. Wasn’t expecting this!

    By this time it was 4:00 and hwy 128 was still a distance off. It was obvious I had grossly underestimated the time required for this ride. Arriving at the Dewey Brige at 4:30 I phone the wife, apologized and says I’ll be there in 15 minutes. Not wanting to be too late I take 128 back all the way. I went heavy on the throttle and can safely say I was the fastest vehicle on 128 that day! Many vehicles pulled over as they saw me coming, others I just whizzed around . Ended up meeting in Arches ½ hour late, but could’ve been worse!

    To be Continued
    #1
  2. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Very neat!
    #2
  3. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    Day 2 White Rim

    We drove out to Canyonlands taking a quick sidetrip to a scenic overlook:
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    From there we proceeded to the Island in the Sky district and continued down the Shafer switchbacks. My wife wouldn’t drive the pickup down so I had to load up the bike and do the driving. We separated at the potash road. She would continue on to Moab and meet me at the Green River overlook at 6:00. I continued on the White rim . For those who don’t know, the White Rim trail gets its name from the shelf of white sandstone which it follows. Indeed, the whole trail could be regarded as one long scenic overlook!



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    I was surprised by the number of mountainbikers. I had last done this trail in 1999 on the 3rd week in December, and had encountered no one else on the entire loop This time it could almost be described as crowded. The mountainbikers all seemed to be in organized tours, with two support trucks per group!

    I took the spur out to the Whitecrack campsite. From the parking spot it’s a 5 minute hike down a rock peninsula to the viewpoint. They say this is the best campsite on the White Rim, and I tend to agree. Some campsites book up one year in advance. All the campsites I saw that day were taken.

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    Again I had underestimated the time for this trail. We had split up at noon and now it was getting dark as I rode up the mineral road switchbacks. I realized I was not going to be able to make the 6:00pm meeting time at the Green River overlook, but I hauled it as fast as I could along Mineral Bottom Road. I managed to score a few more demerit points as I finally met up with my wife at the visitor center at 7:00pm! I also got an earful about how tough the Potash road was out of Canyonlands, I thought it was smooth, but apparently the first part out of Canyonlands is quite rough.


    to be cont'd
    #3
  4. xcflyn

    xcflyn Long timer

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    so far so good !
    #4
  5. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    Day 3 Moab to Onion Creek

    Being the 1st week of November, I decided to head through the LaSals. All my previous trips had been done in late November or December, and this was an opportunity to try some higher altitude riding. Since there would be abit of a road grind, I played around first on the slickrock bike trail:

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    From there I took sandflats all the way up. I checked out one short spur at the head of Castle valley:

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    Continuing on through the mountains:

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    Next up was the Adobe Mesa trail. The trailhead was hard to find as it only had a FS road number on it, which did not match the corresponding road on the National Geographic map! It was a rough ATV trail running out to two overlooks. Looks like it doesn’t get much use.


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    After lunch I follow a lot more dirt road before dropping down into the Onion Creek drainage.

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    Getting down into Onion Creek proper I was immediately struck by the kaleidoscope of colors. The rocks were varying shades of red, brown and green, contrasting with the deep blue of the sky. This trail never fails to impress.


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    A view over the narrows section of Onion Creek:

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    I was actually on time today, as I was early for the meetup with my wife at Fisher Towers!

    To be Cont'd
    #5
  6. Greg@RME

    Greg@RME Mis-Adventurer

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    Looks like you've hit all the good stuff so far! Keep it coming!
    #6
  7. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    Day 4 Moab to Green River and back

    Today would be a long ride. I was looking forward to this as this is my favourite type of ride: Long distance with a mix of all possible trail types together with a lots of detours to scenic spots. Followed by a proper sit-down meal, then a repeat of the ride back on a different route!

    I chose to take 128 and Long Canyon:

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    As I ascended Long Canyon it was apparent that the overnight precipitation had fallen as snow at the higher elevations. It was no problem until I hit the final section of Pucker Pass. At its worst spot it’s a steeply angled rock shelf. As I came around the corner and saw it my heart sank. It was solid snow. Not wanting to waste my momentum I chose a line near a side wall and went for it. I make it 80% of the way before the rear wheel cuts loose! I bring the bike to a stop with the handlebar leaning against the wall. I was so annoyed I didn’t even take a picture-I had gotten up early for this ride only to be skewered by one tricky section! If I had to backtrack all the way around I would lose alot of time. Studying the incline I decide to try the other side, I spend the next 20 minutes clearing snow and loose rocks to give me the best possible run. Then I gingerly back the bike down the hill, start it up, and make it on the first attempt!

    Near the top of Long Canyon:

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    Scenic Overlook nearby:

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    I then pickup the Crystal Geyser Jeep trail. By this time the snow had mostly melted away and I made good progress. I

    Mini-Monolith:

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    Further north the landscape ressembles a moonscape.

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    After a a lot more stark and desolate terrain I take the detour for Crystal Geyser. This is an actual geyser which erupts every now and then. Located on the banks of the Green river, the continued cycling of eruptions, flow and evaporation has produced some colorful rock formations:

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    It was 4:00 pm as I finish lunch in the town of Green River. I was again behind schedule and decide to take this quick way back to hwy 191:

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    Crossing 191 I pick-up the Coppermine Jeep trail and head south. I had just enough time to snap a few sunset shots before rejoining 191. Looking into Arches:

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    to be cont'd
    #7
  8. ppfeifer

    ppfeifer Adventurer

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    Rut Runner,

    Realy enjoyed your pictures, they gave a great perspective to the size and scope of the terrain. I'll have to get up there on two wheels someday and see it for myself. Thanks for sharing

    ppfeifer
    #8
  9. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    Day 5

    Today was abit of a rest day. My wife had expressed an interest in a balloon ride, so taking the old adage: Happy Wife = Happy Life, into account I booked a ride. The start and finish locations are determined by the winds. All the trips are in the morning as this is when the winds are calmest. Start location was near the Bar M ranch:

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    The winds took us west over 191. The path went over many slickrock outcrops. Hoping to inject some Moto content into this report I kept a sharp eye out for bikes, but didn’t spot any.

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    The guide put the balloon down right on a road. The basket typically tips over and drags abit whenever the wind is moving.


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    For the afternoon I decided to check out the short spur that leads out from Arches to Dry Mesa. From the Bar M ranch the Coppermine Jeep trail connects up with Willow Flats Road leading into Arches NP:

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    The 4x4 road starts from the end of the paved road at the delicate arch viewpoint. The trail led gradually upwards:

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    After this there was a long, very steep uphill. I didn’t want to risk it alone, so I decided to turn back. This was disappointing as I had hoped to make it to the viewpoints aver the Colorado river.

    to be cont'd
    #9
  10. Hi Ho Silver

    Hi Ho Silver Adventurer

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    Great report and stunning pics. Have been to Arches on 4 wheels, but now realize what I really missed. Gives me another reason to go back and spend some time.:clap
    #10
  11. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    RR,
    Nice pics....I have been considering Utah for a handful of years...and your pics only remind me why.

    Thanks.... :clap:clap
    #11
  12. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    Day 6
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on">Moab</st1:country-region> to <st1:place w:st="on">Green River</st1:place>
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    Today was scheduled to be my last riding day. My wife was flying to LA out of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Grand Junction</st1:place></st1:City> on Saturday to visit some relatives, so I would start driving back tonight. My plan was to ride north and meet at Crystal Geyser. After seeing my pics she wanted to see it for herself. My route would be more direct today, so I could take in some of the singletrack in the Whitewash area. I left town on 191 and 313, and quickly came to the first singletrack near ten mile wash:

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    From there the singletrack alternated with doubletrack:

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    After an hour or so I had to continue on. There is a lot of single track here, someday I’ll have to spend a few days here to do it all.

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    I made it ahead of time to Crystal Geyser. Walking around I found the remains of several abandoned mines in the hills. There were many mineral outcroppings of a peculiar white rock, which I later learned was travertine. After my wife arrived we did some rock picking for the garden at home. This is a cool place to visit, and it’s only 10 minutes from <st1:place w:st="on">Green River</st1:place> by passenger car.


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    After some sunset photography we loaded up the bike and continued east on I70 to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Grand Junction</st1:place></st1:City>. After dinner we said our farewells and I started driving east. Not too far from Glenwood Springs I felt a bump and heard a loud rumbling from the right rear tire. Figuring it was a flat I slowed down to pull over. As I glanced over to the right I couldn’t believe my eyes- my right rear wheel was passing me on the shoulder!!! I came to a stop watching the wheel as it continued into the ditch and kept going until it was beyond the range of my headlights.
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    Getting out I take a look at my rear hub:



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    I could see the studs were sheared, so there was no point in trying to mount the spare tire. Getting back in my vehicle I called AAA to arrange a tow. This meant I would now lose several days pay, plus the cost of the repairs. On the plus side, I would get a few more days of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:State w:st="on">Colorado</st1:State></st1:place> riding. After pondering this for a few minutes I came to the conclusion…two thumbs up!!!

    to be cont'd!

    Mike
    #12
  13. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    RR,
    Major bummer...:huh :eek1 :cry:cry:cry

    Those type of events are often show-stoppers....attitude is what counts at such times. I have to admit that my anxiety goes through the roof at such times....

    Good for you to figure :thumbup:thumbup :clap
    #13
  14. riderddonald

    riderddonald Lost rider

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    [QUOTE

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    After pondering this for a few minutes I came to the conclusion…two thumbs up!!!

    to be cont'd!

    Mike[/QUOTE]

    Good attitude, the glass is half full.
    #14
  15. Hosebag

    Hosebag Difficult but Useful

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    Nice stuff Mike, Utah never fails to impress :D

    Quote from motoged:

    "RR,
    Nice pics....I have been considering Utah for a handful of years...and your pics only remind me why".

    You're going to love it Ged :deal
    #15
  16. TK-LA

    TK-LA SoCal Rider

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    I love this shot
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    #16
  17. MoabUmbrellaGirl

    MoabUmbrellaGirl n00b

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    see what happens when you have a great photographer at your side! everyone needs an umbrella girl a.k.a. the wife:1drink!
    #17
  18. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    You know what they say ..........

    When life gives you lemons, go riding!

    Okay, I may have edited a bit. :lol3
    #18
  19. Rut Runner

    Rut Runner Been here awhile

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    I had to wait about 40 minutes for the tow. Originally I had told AAA I wanted to be towed to Glenwood Springs. Having thought about the fact it was a Friday night and there may not be a shop open in Glenwood Springs over the weekend I decided to go back to <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Grand Junction</st1:place></st1:City>. It was still within the 100 mile free tow limit. When I told the driver this he objected saying I couldn’t change my mind at this point. After some back and forth with his dispatcher it became clear I could get the free tow to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Grand Junction</st1:place></st1:City>. He was pissed because he lived in Glenwood Springs, and it was midnight now.
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    When we started moving he turned up his stereo so loud we couldn’t talk. He was a crusty old fellow named Guy, and after awhile turned down the music to ask about my bike. He was a rider himself, and was proud of his 82 Aspencade. He gave me a tale of woe about all the difficulties his wife had with her new Harley. He seemed to have a strong preference for Japanese bikes, even stating that he only tows BMW’s and Harley’s for mechanical breakdowns. According to him, Jap bikes don’t break down.
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    We got into GJ at 1:30am and parted on good terms. On Saturday the repair situation was as expected. One shop was open until noon, but only had one mechanic on duty who couldn’t start on it anyways. It poured rain the whole morning, so riding was out. I did get out to the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeType w:st="on">Museum</st1:placeType> of <st1:placeName w:st="on">Western Colorado</st1:placeName></st1:place>. Overall GJ is a nice town.
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    Sunday was sunny and bright. I was advised that <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Rabbit</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Valley</st1:placeType></st1:place> was the best riding choice after rain. Taking I70 and 6/50 straight there was quick and conditions were good for singlet track exploring:
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    At the end of the day I went north of I70 to find the Thompson Trail. My reference was the online BLM maps which do show this single track trail. However all I found was this:

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    Somehow the roads shown on the map did not quite match what I encountered. After awhile I gave up and returned to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Rabbit</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Valley</st1:placeType></st1:place> and GJ. Overall a good day.

    To be Cont'd
    Mike
    #19
  20. tint

    tint Adventurer

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    Great RR. Fantastic photos.
    #20