General Dread's Desert & Mountain Trip

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Dread Pendragon, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,567
    Location:
    Logan, Utah
    On this trip I planned routes that covered too many daily miles on unknown roads and trails. It was hot. There was some carnage. But it was still a great time.

    We had a range of bikes:
    WR 250 (Rock)
    KLX 450 (Mike)
    WR 450 (Ryan)
    KTM 525 (Rob)
    XR650R (Mike, Mark, David)
    KLR 650 (Mike after his XRR died, Justin, Kent, Todd)
    XR650L (Greg)

    Kent is from the Tri-City area in Washington, three guys came down from Idaho Falls, and the rest of us are Northern Utards.

    THE PLAN
    Day 1: ride from Logan, UT to West Wendover, NV over the north end of the Great Salt Lake following the Pony Express Trail.

    Day 2: ride from West Wendover, NV to Jackpot, NV

    Day 3: ride from Jackpot, NV back to Logan, following a segment of the T2 Tour of Idaho.



    DAY 1: Logan/Smithfield to Wendover
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    I've got a new-to-me XR650R that I've been making a bunch of modifications to. I love the bike, but I haven't yet worked out all of the bugs. It slowed me down and Mark and I ended up going a different route over the first set of hills. Right as we were catching up with the group my bike died.

    I just installed a dual sport kit from Baja Designs with Dual Fuego lights instead of the normal fairing. Turning the light switch to "bright" simply turns on the second light. I just happened to switch the lights to "bright" and the bike died. I thought maybe I had blown a fuse, but once I pulled off the seat I found that the fuse was fine. We were able to kick start it again, but it would not rev up and ran terrible. Todd (who owns Motorsports Unleashed in Hyde Park, UT) said that the bike seemed like it had a problem with the CDI unit.

    So we had ridden less than an hour and my bike was done.

    Ryan got a concussion that morning and decided to not ride the first day. He and Mike planned on trailering their bikes to Wendover that night. Then three of the guys riding the first day would take their bikes back via the truck since they could only ride one day (Greg, Rob, Todd). I called Mike and arranged for he and Ryan to bring me my (reliable) KLR and take my bike back. (about a 1.5 hour round trip for them).

    Right before the truck found us I got a call from the group saying that David's XRR also died (right around Snowville, UT). I got my KLR, loaded up my XRR, and Kent and I followed the truck almost to Snowville where David was waiting on the side of the freeway. Electrical problems of some sort. He has put a lot of time and money into getting ready for this trip and I think it was very frustrating for him to be done.

    David's trip ended less than two hours into the ride. :muutt

    Kent and I knew the group was somewhere around the north end of the Great Salt Lake, but didn't know where exactly. We decided to hit the pavement until we were sure we would be ahead of them, then wait for them to reach us. We were both on KLRs, so an hour on the pavement was still fun.

    At the Utah/Nevada border there is an old railroad town called Lucin. Right now there is only a mossy pond, a bunch of trees, the foundations of a few buildings, and a root cellar. This is where Kent and I waited for the group for a little over an hour.

    Lucin, UT

    Here's Kent standing by the bikes:
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    #1
  2. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    A storm came through while we were waiting for the rest of the group. Kent and I stood on the south side of those huge trees to avoid getting rained on.

    The rest of the group got hit with that while riding and really got cold. (Always bring raingear!) They had been slowed down a bit trying to figure out the gps route I created (it lacked . . . precision) but made it by Lucin eventually. Driving by Lucin is no more than a small grove of trees, so they ended up driving by us without seeing us. We eventually all found each other and pressed on.

    As we made our way down the west side of the Salt Lake Basin we were on a good dirt road. The storm had tamped down the dust but it wasn't overly muddy.

    Then I suddenly saw Justin wobbling on his KLR in front of me. I hit the wet clay and was barely able to stay upright with my new Dunlop 606s. I immediately thought there was no way Todd would make it through there with his street-oriented tires. I looked back and saw two bikes down. When I came to a stop Mark missed me on his XR650R by inches. He was out of control in the mud and it was just luck that we didn't go down too. I don't what was up with that clay, but it was liking hitting a road covered an inch deep in soft butter.

    Here is a picture with the bikes picked back up:
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    That clay caked up all of our tires:
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    Here's Rock's WR250 that he has set up extremely well. I think he's planning on doing the Tour of Idaho later this summer on it.

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    Todd lost control and ended up bailing off his KLR. His bike met Kent's KLR and they re-enacted plate tectonics. Kent went down hard. As I was making my way back I was worried because I could see him lying on the ground looking like he was hurt and Todd sitting down by him looking like he was hurt.

    Todd's KLR broke part of a footpeg, his clutch lever (he happened to have an extra one), bent his shifter or brake, and bent the entire rear end of his bike.

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    (helpful hint: if you buy a motorcycle from Todd (Motorsports Unleashed) stay away from green KLRs, even if he promises you his grandma only used it to drive to church on Sundays.)

    After a while Kent got up. It always make you feel a little better when they can get up.

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    He had lots of things broken on his bike. His side hurt pretty bad.

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    He soldiered on. After the trip his wife/my sister made him go to the doctor.
    It turned out he broke one rib and cracked another.
    #2
  3. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    After the KLR orogeny we limped into West Wendover, skipping some of the mountain roads I had charted out on the gps.

    Just before getting into West Wendover we hit some hills headed north to south into town. It had some huge whoops that were fun (at least for those of us with no broken ribs). Even when I'm not the guy that gets in a wreck, it unnerves me. On the whoops we rode shortly after I got a few shots of adrenaline disproportionate to the challenge (and I liked it).

    It seems like the first wreck on a trip has the virtue of making everyone ride less carelessly.

    Ryan and Mike beat us to Wendover in the truck and found us rooms at the Peppermill for around $60.
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    The rooms were quite nice. I caught Justin in repose.
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    I started feeling it.
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    The Renaissance John was also exceedingly tranquil.
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    In retrospect it wasn't that funny, but we were tired and the rooms seemed oddly opulent. We were laughing so hard it took a while to be able to get pictures with serious faces.


    We were too late for the buffet but still ate well.
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    #3
  4. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    By the time I got up the next morning Todd, Rob and Greg had already left in the truck. Mike and Ryan were ready to go for their first day. The plan was to head north to Jackpot.

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    #4
  5. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    Ryan said later that during the first part of the ride he was wondering what he got himself into. We were going over sagebrush hills and it was hot and dusty. The heat and the bumpy trail made him remember that he had a concussion the day before (said he felt dizzy).

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    I came down over a hill and hit a hole at speed that dumped me off my bike. I pushed my handlebars forward and thought I had no other problems until after a bit more riding I realized that my front tire was flat. After that was fixed we continued on. Intermittent clouds were giving us some relief from the heat. At one point I stopped to consider my gps route and Kent noticed a snake.

    (Anyone know what kind of snake this is?)

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    #5
  6. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    We made it into Montello where Kent nursed his broken rib with a Mt. Dew.

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    If we were to do it again we'd spend less time in the dusty foothills and zip straight up to the mountains south of Jackpot. It was cooler and much greener up there. The wildflowers were extremely fragrant and were blossoming everywhere.


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    We got to a point where we could bail out and hardball it into Jackpot. Justin and Rock decided to do the last segment over Middle Stack Mtn while the rest of us called it a day. Mike ran out of fuel on his KLX 450 and had to get some from Ryan's WR450 before we made it into town, but that was the only drama we had. We got hotel rooms at the Horseshoe. Next door was a Mexican restaurant. By the time we got into our rooms, showered and got over there it was close to 10:00 p.m.. Justin and Rock showed up right then and we all ate together.
    #6
  7. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    Before we left Mark read on the Tour of Idaho Facebook page that some of the roads were still impassable, so I changed the route to keep us at lower elevations. We rode through trails that dwindled until they disappeared. We were on track with the roads on Mapsource, but some of them didn't exist in real life (actually they were there but they look like they were abandoned 50 years ago and were fenced over).

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    Some people started worrying about what I was getting them into. Since we had more miles to cover that day than was realistic, and since I don't think there was a very good work around we bailed out of that segment (Sawtooth National Forest/Monument Peak) and made a beeline for Oakley, Idaho.

    We were on good dirt roads, although some huge holes in the rode snuck up on me. I bounced through them violently and was shocked to find that I was still upright after hitting them. Mark was right behind me and did the same thing, only without being able to see the holes since he was in a cloud of dust.

    I stopped Ryan who slowed everyone else down so there were no accidents there. When I checked things out I found that I had bent my handlebars down and what was left of my inner rear fender was wedged between the tire and swingarm.

    Later that day we would be in City of Rocks, but we found these formations on the long before then. I suspect they are geologically similar to the City of Rocks (only much smaller).

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    #7
  8. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    Soon after we took another short break. Mike and Ryan found a hill to climb and Mike promptly tore off part of the dual sport kit he recently installed on his bike.

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    We also noticed a sign there saying we were welcome on the land as long as we weren't "environmental maggots."
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    #8
  9. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    After a little refreshment in Oakley, Idaho we started for the City of Rocks. Before we got there, though, Mike's KLX450 died. Mike was getting ready to send us on our way and leave him to deal with his problem. (We were never going to leave him, but he was feeling certain his bike was done.)

    We started pulling the bike apart to check it out. It would turn over. He had fuel. Rock was working on disconnecting the kill button to see if that was the problem. Once he did that the bike fired right up!

    I was thinking (and think I told Mike) that the swing from despair to exultation is what he reward of adventure touring/dual sport riding is really about. We get reasonably prepared, then take off and look for trouble (that we will hopefully overcome). It's that intensity that is so rewarding and gives us a break from our normal stress.

    In fact, the night before Justin (after letting me know again that my gps route sucked) told me that he loved the diversion of facing the stress of climbing up a super-steep hill only to find it was a dead end and they had to go back down, try to find the correct roads, and get out of the mountains before dark.

    Driving along smooth dirt roads can be fun, and it can be a good time to think, but sometimes I don't want to ponder my demons, and the intense, immediate problems and challenges on a trip reduce my universe down to manageable problems I can do something about.

    Here we are in the City of Rocks.
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    After City of Rocks we zipped along to Snowville where we refueled. Mark decided to head strait home on the highways so we bid him farewell.

    Eventually we left. We had about 10 miles to ride on the interstate before being able to bail off onto dirt roads again, but that entire 10 miles we were pelted with hard rain. When we finally got off we waited under the overpass for a moment. We worked our way over to the hills again and started into a canyon. Apparently there was a no-trespassing sign that other's saw but I didn't see. It was a beautiful canyon, but the cloudburst made things very slick.

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    As we came out to the other end of a canyon we hit a locked fence. It was then that I learned from the others that there was a "no trespassing" sign going into the canyon. If we turned around it would take an hour to back track to the other side, and another hour to ride through the adjacent canyon. We're not inclined to be disrespectful to other people's property, but it had been a long day so we looked for a way around. We realized we could pull some t-posts out of the ground which allowed us to lay a section of the fence down so we could ride over it. We did that, then pounded the posts back into the ground. I do feel kind of bad about that, but in the same situation I'd do it again.

    Besides some bike carnage and Kent's broken/cracked ribs the trip went well.

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    #9
  10. Gunslinger1

    Gunslinger1 GIVE'R

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Hey Rock......:wave

    Looks like a lot of :D going on.

    Looking Good..:clap
    #10
  11. KMC1

    KMC1 There is no spoon.

    Joined:
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    Wow! Looks like an incredible ride aside from the hard crash at the start. I will say that I've never encountered mud as there is in Utah. I mean, all mud is slick, but this stuff is like ice.

    In regards to the snake, I think that's a western hominid defiler snake.....it gets you on the ground and then, wel....it's not exactly venom it injects you with, but you'll still wish you were dead....:evil :rofl

    No, seriously...it looks like a

    Common Name
    GOPHERSNAKE

    Scientific Name
    PITUOPHIS CATENIFER

    To me. :freaky
    #11
  12. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon throttle to the donk

    Joined:
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    If anyone is looking at riding any of these areas, The mountains (or I should say "hills") just north of Wendover were a lot of fun, as were the mountains just south of Jackpot.
    #12