Greater Utah Touring Society

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by quota, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. quota

    quota Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    Oddometer:
    887
    Location:
    Utah
    Sunday, 7 Dec, a few of us met to go for a little ride. One of the instigators of this ride was Bert. Bert is probably most famous for the GNATSASS ride that he puts on each year. A search can be done on this forum to find out the meaning of GNATSASS, but it is a simple acronym standing for Greater Nevada Touring Society Around Silver State (Nevada is known as the Silver State).

    For lack of a better name, and since Bert was mixed up on this adventure ride, we will refer to the ride as GUTSABS. Greater Utah Touring Society Around Beehive State.

    3 of the participants of the inaguaral GUTSABS came all the way from Nevada to join in. Bert and Casey were both riding BMW 650 XChallenge bikes, while Jesse was on a Suzuki DRZ400E. Bert, Casey, and Jesse were all staying in Ogden, Utah to have an early Christmas dinner with their daughter/sister Anneke.

    Bruce was riding a Suzuki DR650, Ryan was on a Kawasaki Super Sherpa, Carpenter Mike was riding an Aprilia Capo Nord, and I was on a Guzzi Quota.

    We were meeting in Mountain Green, UT. The others were staying nearby, while Mike and I had a cold early morning ride form about an hour a way. We were on bigger bikes so that the increased wind protection would make the hour ride a little more bearable at highway speeds and freezing temperatures.

    After a little visiting and hot beverages, we rode over the Trapper's Loop road and up to Causey Reservoir. Usuall on this weekend there would be snow everywhere and we wouldn't be out on motorcycles, but the weather has been warm and dry. Temps were forecast to be about 50*F and the sky was sunny. Conditions couldn't have been much better for a December ride.

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    After visiting Causey Res. we rode up Monte Cristo. Monte Cristo is a popular motorbiking road in the summer and well known for snowmobiling in the winter.

    Even though the weather was nice and dry, there has still been some snow in the area this fall. Since there had been snow and we were at higher elevations, I had been guessing that this would just be a road ride because of possible snow and mud if we ventured off tarmac. There are not any paved roads in this area that are new to me, so I didn't bother with bringing the GPS and maps of the area. However, I did bring along my new SPOT satellite messenger just so my wife could go online and see where I was. I had my cell phone, but sometimes I don't like to stop to let her know when I'll be home for dinner. It is just easier for her to go online and see where I am and that I'm getting closer to home.

    Part way up Monte Cristo was the dirt road that heads to Hardware Ranch. Hardware is run by the state of Utah as a wildlife management area. Each winter about 500-600 elk hang out here and get fed hay each day. The dirt was dry, so we started for Hardware Ranch. Frequently we would hit a spot on the road where a skiff of snow was covering the dirt. Slowing down you could make it through with no problems. Usually there was a track where a truck tire had gone through the snow. Traction was not a problem at all and we made it the roughly 20 miles to Hardware Ranch.

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    There is a nice loop that we were thinking of taking from here. Curtis Loop I think it may have been called. Conditions started to get a little sketchy.

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    Casey ran up a road a little to see if things got any better
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    While Bruce "adjusted" his rear brake pedal after it contacted the snow.
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    It was decided that this might be a good time to turn around.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    64,721
    It started out nicely... snow sucks.. we have too much of it ... :(:

    keep it comin' :lurk
    #2
  3. quota

    quota Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    887
    Location:
    Utah
    I'm not sure of the name of the road where we went from here, but we seemed to be going north. Still having a great time on good dirt roads. We stopped here to pick up the laminar lip that bounced off of the windscreen on the Capo.

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    We arrived at a spot where we our ride leader said that we would go around a corner and downhill. Since it might be a little shady, there could be a little snow. Since the larger bikes tend to tip over faster, are harder to pick up, and get more broken when on their side, Mike demonstrates how we both came down the snowy hill. Both feet out with engines turned off is how we both descended.

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    Our leaded had in mind a little loop that would drop us into Blacksmith Fork canyon a few miles below Hardware Ranch.

    After about 1/10 of a mile things were not looking so good. The road was quite rocky with snow and the sign said we had 5 miles to go.

    Casey and Jesse ran ahead to see if the road got better. It didn't.

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    It didn't even seem like much of a road at this point.
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    We turned back the 1/10 of a mile that we had come and then figured out what to do. The snowy descent that we had just come down didn't seem like it would be a good option or a possibility to get back up. The road going north towards Logan Canyon was dry and looked good. We'd go that way and come out at Logan Canyon.

    How quickly road conditions can change...

    Just about the time that we passed a couple of wildlife officers investigating an elk poaching incident, the road started to get much more snow on it.

    Ryan (Super Sherpa) and I were in front of the others. Travel now was always in snow. there was no dirt left, except for under the snow. We got to an intersection and couldn't hear the others behind us. It was getting late in the day and I didn't think that we should stop and wait. Wouldn't it be best for two of us get to the tarmac and probable cell phone coverage? I'm not familiar with this area and since it was just an quick afternoon road ride, I had no GPS, map, or VHF radio. We got some branches and made an arrow pointing which way we had gone, although it was obvious from looking in the snow which way the motorcycles had gone.

    Ryan and I rode together for about 3 miles. He was just right in front of me when I did this.

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    I was going uphill and this road definitely has more pitch to it than the photo suggests. Ryan didn't see me fall and there were not a lot of other vehicles travelling this road. The Quota happened to fall downhill in the ditch.

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    After about 20 minutes, I was able to get the bike upright. I moved my top box to the right side of the bike. This way if the bike was to fall on that side again, it couldn't fall quite as far and would be easier to pick up.
    #3
  4. quota

    quota Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Utah
    I tried to get farther up the road but couldn't. Under the snow was ice and with the weight of the big bike, I was going right through the snow and hitting the ice. While pondering my situation and wondering at what point do I maybe push the 911 button on the SPOT, I see a SUV coming toward me. It is the 2 wildlife officers. They tell me that I should turn around about 3 miles to the intersection and then go down toward Meadowville. They sent the rest of the group this way. It was all downhill and there was less snow they said. But wait! What is it I see in the back seat of the SUV? It is Carpenter Mike! He is now riding along on 4 wheels in a heated SUV!
    He says that his bike is no longer working and is a number of miles back. The wildlife officers would keep going up to road towards Logan Canyon and would check on Ryan. The officers and Mike told me that when I got down Temple Canyon to Meadowville, I should then go to Laketown where the rest of the group would be at the gas station.

    Part way down Temple Canyon, I hear my cell phone make a noise. I looked and had a signal now. I called my wife in Summit County, UT and told her to bring the truck with tie downs and a loading ramp and start driving toward Bear Lake.

    Ever since I saw the wildlife officers and turned around, I had just been coasting the bike and paddling my feet. I couldn't let the bike tip over again. I wasn't sure if I had the strength to pick it up again. So, I coasted and used my feet as outriggers for about 6-8 miles until I could occasionally start to see intermittent patches of dirt through the snow. I did get to see my first mountain lion in the wild as one crossed the road about 50 meters in front of me. At this time I fired up the bike and laid on the horn. I didn't need to get pounced on by a lion.

    As I dropped in to Meadowville, pavement never looked so good. Bear Lake and Laketown where in the distance. I tried to make a mental note of each turn since I'd have to return with the truck to recover the Aprilia.

    When I got to Laketown, nobody was there. The gas station was closed. It was now dark. Time was 1730. Checked my cell phone and Bert had left a message saying that there had moved on to Garden City since there was a gas station there that was open and warm. Carpenter Mike and the wildlife officers had just showed up as well with Ryan following on the Sherpa. I rode the 10-13 miles to Garden City and met up with the others.

    Civilization never looked so good!
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    Pizza never tasted so good!
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    We hung out at the pizza place until about 30 minutes after closing. Trucks and trailers were on the way from Ogden to pick up the other 5 riders. We still had plenty of time to kill while waiting for the trucks. Time to find a new, warm place to hang out. Both wheels on Ryan's Sherpa looked similar. There were caked with snow from riding so many miles through deep snow. I guess the snow got much deeper after the wildlife officers turned me around.
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    The Texaco station in Garden City was open until 9, so we bought hot drinks and got comfortable.
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    At about 1945, my truck showed up. You can see how excited Kathy looks to have had to make this two hour drive tonight.
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    The truck is great for loading light dirt bikes, but the height of the bed is a little high for loading heavy bikes such as the Capo Nord. Especially in the dark on a dirt road. Since Bruce's trailer could haul the other 5 bikes, I'd wait for Jesse's trailer to use in the Capo recovery. It sits quite low to the ground and loading the Capo would be easy. The trailers were still about an hour away in Logan, so we just waited.
    Ryan getting to load up on Bruce's trailer.
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    At about 2045, I was hooked up to Jesse's trailer and headed back up the mountain. The problem that I had now was finding the mouth of the canyon. We drove around in the dark and couldn't find it. So much for thinking I could remember the turns I'd made earlier. Nothing looked familiar. Fortunately, Carpenter Mike had one of the wildlife officers cell phone numbers. Richard had given Mike the number just in case he needed it. We called Richard at about 2130 and he gave us directions from where we were.
    I was a little hesitant going back up Temple Canyon in the dark on snow packed roads. It was late, dark, and I was hoping we would not slide off the road. I wasn't real exicited about having to be towing a trailer in these conditions either. After 7 miles in snow, we get to the Capo. Fortunately it is at t 3-way intersection with not much snow and room to get the truck/trailer turned around.
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    This is the intersection if you are familiar with the area.
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    The bike gets loaded.
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    As we are halfway down the mountain, the phone rings. It is Bert. They are already back in Ogden. We stop in Laketown where we had stashed my Quota next to a gas station. It gets loaded on the trailer. It is now midnight and even with the heated vest, I don't feel like riding through deer country and 22F degree temperatures for 2 hours. We get home at a little after 0200.

    I have to be at the oral surgeon in 8 hours to get 4 teeth extracted. I get a few hours of sleep and get the teeth pulled. The surgery was more pleasant then the ride of the day before...

    Apologies go out to Anneke who had spent a lot of time preparing a very nice holiday dinner for her family. Sorry that they got home 8 hours late.
    #4
  5. Moms

    Moms Gun Driver

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    Sparkle City
    Man, I could kick myself for going south instead of north with you guys. Looks like I sure missed a great time! The Great Yellow Pig would have had no problem at all with that road - I might have though.
    #5
  6. Bert Fox

    Bert Fox Casual Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    455
    Location:
    Elko, NV USA
    I originally thought that anytime we could get in a ds ride in N UT in Dec., it would have to be good, right? It was, for a while....:1drink :1drink
    Bert
    #6
  7. Bert Fox

    Bert Fox Casual Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
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    Elko, NV USA
    "I have to be at the oral surgeon in 8 hours to get 4 teeth extracted. I get a few hours of sleep and get the teeth pulled. The surgery was more pleasant then the ride of the day before..."

    It's better than the "anal surgeon"....At least you didn't have to have 4 seats removed....:freaky
    Bert
    #7
  8. kkug

    kkug Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    978
    Location:
    Escondido Ca .USA
    "It was getting late in the day and I didn't think that we should stop and wait. Wouldn't it be best for two of us get to the tarmac and probable cell phone coverage? "

    I prefer to stick together and all help out with the pushing !
    #8
  9. Bert Fox

    Bert Fox Casual Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    455
    Location:
    Elko, NV USA
    Here is what I hope I took away from all of this.
    I was going to take the FJR from Elko to Ogden and a lot of what I would want/need for the ride was already on the FJR. At the last moment, I left the FJR in Elko and rode with my wife in the truck and the XCh in the back. When we were getting ready to leave for the ride I realized that I did not have extra warm gloves, a cig lighter for a fire, an extra LED flashlight, a led brim light and my air compressor and tire irons.
    If we had had to stay out on a sub zero night and no way to light a fire, it would've/could've been life threatening. I did have an emergency blanket and a First Aid kit, but it would not have been enough. I also had left my Spot Receiver on the FJR and we had no cell service. If we had the compressor, we could have let our tire pressures down for traction help and probably should have tried that. We kept thinking how long can this snow last? Apparently a loooong time!
    So, like the ATGATT,"All the gear all the time", so should each bike be totally set up and ready to ride at any moment.
    #9
  10. Cloud9

    Cloud9 I was HERE?

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO., USA
    Adventure... what a concept! :lol3




    :ricky
    #10
  11. idea man

    idea man Plate Spinner

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    Central Coast -California
    Wow. What an adventure. It all seemed to start so well....:D
    #11
  12. Beemermcr

    Beemermcr Big, Dumb, Happy!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Sandy, UT
    Well, well - you guys sure had an adventure! My two favorite off road groups (Elko and Park City) get together, decide Utah mountains will be a snap in December and have a real adventure!

    Congratulations on the ride, great pictures and another one that proves the old adage: any ride you walk away from is a good one!

    Paul
    #12
  13. Bert Fox

    Bert Fox Casual Adventurer

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    Elko, NV USA
    Hey Paul, it could have been better if you werethere!
    Bert
    #13
  14. Beemermcr

    Beemermcr Big, Dumb, Happy!

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Sandy, UT
    Yeah, all you would have needed was a 300lb anchor with no dirt skills sliding down behind you!! THAT would have been special!!
    Merry Christmas!!

    Paul
    #14
  15. Bert Fox

    Bert Fox Casual Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    455
    Location:
    Elko, NV USA
    Shit the last part we didn't see any dirt. Besides I was thinking of the camaraderie around the pizza!
    Hope to see ya some this year. PM me with your new email.:1drink Bert
    #15