Red dirt, rocks, and sand; Riding the southern UTBDR (pics and video)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Ronin ADV, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    I had a great summer of local riding. Exploring the Sierra mountains, a quick trip to Death Valley, lots of single track. But I had been getting that urge for a longer trip. Last year, I rode the WABDR and had a great time, so for a bit I had been planning to check out the UTBDR. I had never ridden in Utah and the thought of it had really put the hooks in me. I imagined all that slick rock in between desert towers, and at the same time worried about all the sand. I'll be the first to admit I'm no master at sand. I don't get a chance to ride it locally and I never got real comfortable in it. Nonetheless, I was stoked for Utah in a major way. I ride a lot solo and really enjoy that, but for this deal I needed a partner in crime.

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    It took very little to convince Ken.

    So now to the nuts and bolts. Last year on the WABDR I rode my F800 GS. That bike is big and comfortable and can haul anything I want to take. Unfortunately it is also a 450 plus pound pig when the going gets tough and is a lot of bike to pick up. Its also a bit of a bear to handle in sand. In Utah, really wanted the feel of a smaller dirt bike with the ability to dive right into harder terrain. So for this ride I decided to go with my WR. I ride the WR a lot on my local rides but I had never tried to tour with it. The first thing in order was a larger range. I settled on the Safari 3.7 tank.

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    Then to give myself even a bit more range / backup fuel, I carried an extra gallon of gas on the Wolfman rack in a Rotopax. This setup also let me carry a gallon of water on the other side.

    Now to pare down my gear and get it to a manageable load.

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    From the top left going clockwise: Warm jacket (Klim Inversion), gallon of gas, gallon of water, flight vest (carries all the stuff in the center: rain jacket, SAM splint, first aid kit, kerlex, coban, grab bag, EPIRB, headlamp; as well as wallet, phone, i-pod, snacks), extra oil, techron, camp / walking shoes, tire stuff (spare tubes, patches, bead breaker, hand pump, tire irons), spare clutch cable, chain breaker tool and spare links, box of spare bolts, pin kit, tool kit, hat, clothes, electronics (camera, go pro, batteries, charging cables, memory cards, GPS), maps, rack straps, tent stakes / sand stakes, sleeping pad, sleeping bag / liner / inflatable pillow, tent (Nemo Moto 1 P). I carry tools and Ken carries a stove and extra food.

    This whole mess was relatively light (30 lbs) and was loaded into a pair of Wolfman medium Rollie saddlebags, a Wolfman small duffle, and my tank bag (small Wolfman rollie), my front plate bag and my fender bag (both Kreiga 5s).

    Loaded and ready to rock:
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    Ken took his trusty KLR. After some debate and looking at our time frame of four to five days of riding time, we decided that what we really wanted to concentrate on was the southern part of the UTBDR, especially the areas around Moab. So we trailered the bikes to Price, Utah and then planned to ride first south then turn around and head back north covering anything we missed on the way down.

    Loaded and ready to ride on the first morning in Utah:
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    I try to make my reports heavy on pics and I have videos of each day of riding. I think its all good (:D) but day 3 is probably the best.

    Next up: Day 1 (with video).
    #1
  2. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    If you follow the Butler map of the UTBDR, we started out in Price, Utah then headed south on 191 past Wellington and turned south onto the route proper at the end of section 3 going north to south. This first part is generally wide open terrain with a couple of sandy washes. Its a good intro to the riding and let us get the kinks out as well as get used to riding the bikes fully loaded. There are a few interesting side sites such as the Dinosaur Quarry.

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    We didn't spend a lot of time on side excursions and just focused mainly on the ride.

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    After coming down through Cottonwood Wash (my favorite part of this area), you cross 191 at Green River then head north around a section called the Book Cliffs. There are some awesome views up here and the ride really felt like it wa picking up.

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    Try to find Ken in this pic (he is at the center):
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    After coming down off the Book Cliffs you head south through a fun section of roads north of the Arches National Park and then shoot down 128 along the Colorado River. From here you turn east and head up into Onion Creek. This is the classic red sandstone tower stuff and was where we stopped to camp.

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    Here is a short video summary of the day:
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2125865413_KdNQPWC?width=640&height=480&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    I'll post high def (slightly cropped) versions of the videos at the end of the report.

    Next up: Day 2 - south around Moab
    #2
  3. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice pics, waiting for more.
    #3
  4. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    The second morning we rode up the Onion Creek drainage:
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    Then out across Fisher Valley:
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    Then up along the crest of the mountains. This is a view back down over the Fisher Valley from up around 8000 ft:
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    The roads up on the crest are a nice mix of hard pack red dirt with a few soft sections. In general you can really cruise up here.
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    More views from the crest:
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    Unfortunately, the next bit of the usual route was blocked due to construction, so we dropped down past the town of Castle Valley, then back along the Colorado River into Moab, where we sat around eating breakfast and drinking coffee. A bit of motivation later we were back on the route heading south out of Moab up up onto Black Ridge. This bypass is marked on the Butler map in the same color as Lockhart Basin so we were hoping to get into a bit harder terrain. Unfortunately, although it is scenic, it is nothing more than usual dirt road. The harder stuff we still hadn't found. We continued south and then dropped back out of the hills facing west.
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    Right about here I started to intermittently smell something funny. Of coarse rather than stop and actually check things out I just kept riding thinking it must be something I passed. Bad idea. Eventually I did pull over and got off the bike to find this little gem:
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    That's my new Wolfman duffle after it sagged down over the exhaust pipe and got a hole melted in it. What I was smelling in addition to the bag was some fruit drinks I had inside that exploded and cooked. I also managed a nice hole (thankfully superficial) in my new down sleeping bag. :baldy
    Oh well, it could have been worse. Some tenacious tape (great stuff) covered by duct tape and I was back in business. I would fix it up proper later on.
    Everything back on the bike with the bag in the proper position:
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    We continued south with a brief jaunt up the Abajo Mountains:
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    Then into Monticello for more food. After a brief discussion, we decided rather than continue south we would turn back north and camp up in the base of Lockhart Basin to be in a good position for tomorrow's ride. So we went down Indian Creek and turned near the entrance of Canyonlands National Park.

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    After a bit of screwing around trying to climb some sand hills:
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    We then stumbled onto one of the best campsites I have ever had anywhere:
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    Quiet, totally isolated, and unbelievable views. This time we came prepared with a six pack of bottled beer from Needles Outpost. I had heard so much about the crazy lady proprietor there that I just had to go check it out. As things would have it, the guy staffing the place was totally cool and laid back. So no crazy lady this time.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2125949744_cHQv2HK?width=640&height=480&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>


    The day was mellow and we were definitely ready to get into harder stuff up in Lockhart tomorrow.
    #4
  5. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    So here comes the goods.
    Lockhart Basin was the main reason I wanted to go on this ride. I had read a bit about it and gathered that it wasn't a great route to be on a big, heavy bike. It was a bit of an unknown for Ken and I. We really had no idea how difficult it would be. As it turned out, it was just perfect. I am sure for a lot of good dirt riders, they would find it easy, but for a moderate rider like me, Lockhart represents an ideal level of difficulty. It has a little of everything, varied terrain, rock, sand, climbs, steps, you name it. Although I think I could get my F800 GS through it, I was very glad I was on my WR. There were parts where even that bike, loaded as it was, felt heavy. Both Ken and I each crashed a couple times. It is remote enough that if you got hurt, especially if you were alone, you would be in a truly bad situation. We didn't see a single soul until we had ridden all of the harder stuff and were near the northern end up by Hurrah Pass. I would definitely not take a dirt noob through here and I would love to go back and ride it with my bike totally unloaded with no extra weight. On the downside, after this section, everything else seemed a bit tame. Weather can also play a part. We rode it early in the day and the temp peaked out for us around 90 degrees. The week prior it was closer to 110. Even for us, we had to drink a lot of water, take shade breaks, and I kept dowsing my cooling vest under my armor with water from the extra gallon I carried. All in all, I would say do not underestimate this section, but with the right bike, and adequate preparation, it is a must do.

    The morning remnants of the prior night::freaky
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    And yes I carried all of these bastards out in my duffle and didn't break a single one. :evil

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    Some of the views in here are simply unbelievable.
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    Note the crappy little picture is Ken's contribution to this thread.
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    I wiped out right about where this photo was taken. The shelf on the far side had a nice little drop then you cross the base and try to climb the sloping side, but I slid down onto the rocky trough and lost it.
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    Everything always looks so much easier in the pictures than it does on the bike at the time. :lol3

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    Ken up at Hurrah Pass.
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    I think the video shows things the best. Its a little longer than the others.
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2151745063_d3gHFc6?width=640&height=480&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    After crossing out of Hurrah Pass, we went back up Kane Creek road and into Moab where we caved in and got a motel room. A hot shower, mexican food and beer capped a perfect day of riding.
    #5
  6. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Nice video! :clap
    #6
  7. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    I'm along for the ride and yes that last vid was really nice. :thumb

    ? What skid plate is on the R2? Like your set-up btw.
    #7
  8. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Pete, the skid plate on the WR is a TCI (turbo city industries?). At the time I was looking at plates it was the only one that accommodated the California charcoal canister. I know lots of guys just pull the canister but I ended up keeping mine. As it turns out, the TCI plate also has these small crash bars on the front sides. They really protect the case and I am really glad for the coverage. Even if I eventually pull the canister, I would stick with this plate because of the crash bars.
    #8
  9. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    So the time had come to turn back up towards home. I had mixed feelings at this point.I was tired from riding Lockhart, but the riding there was so good I wanted more of the same.
    I spent a bit of time the evening before repairing the hole I had burned into my duffel bag. Fortunately Moab has a whitewater shop, so I was able to buy a piece of PVC fabric and some glue. A bit of cutting, sanding, prep, and then a new sheet of PVC fabric glued inside and out and I had my duffel back to waterproof condition.
    We headed back north up the Colorado river then up around the town of Castle Valley. Here I missed hitting a pair of bucks that jumped in front of me by about 10 feet. Shortly thereafter, I smacked a small bird with my hand guard. I guess it was my day for wildlife.

    Ken stopping to load up on chew.
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    Funky beetle.
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    Ken exploring some roadside trench.
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    And the last of the videos:
    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="480" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2151933795_QTQg3wk?width=640&height=480&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    Overall, the southern portion of the UTBDR is a fantastic place to ride. The area around Moab in particular is truly world class and I am seriously considering making this an annual trip.
    #9
  10. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    I thought I would throw in the High Def versions of the videos. They are cropped a bit from the regular ones.

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2152331426_cTMctRn?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2154096288_hPkQr5c?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2154854288_HsxCZzT?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2155650264_26N9tBM?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF"></iframe>

    Next up, final impressions / gear /etc.
    #10
  11. Rensen

    Rensen Adventurer

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    Very Nice! Really looking forward for more

    <iframe src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2152331426_cTMctRn?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>

    <iframe src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2154096288_hPkQr5c?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>

    <iframe src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2154854288_HsxCZzT?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>

    <iframe src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/2155650264_26N9tBM?width=640&height=360&albumId=25698549&albumKey=gbqhbF" frameborder="0" height="360" scrolling="no" width="640"></iframe>

    Next up, final impressions / gear /etc.[/QUOTE]
    #11
  12. dvwalker

    dvwalker Working to ride

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    thanks for sharing, really enjoyed revisiting thru your vids and pictures.

    my buddy and I had very similar thoughts about lockhart, that section is an absolute blast. Made the rest of the utbdr route feel kind of tame. We also discussed an annual trek using moab as the hub. Really excellent riding in that entire area, including canyonlands and grand staircase to the west. Btw, we met the salt of earth lady at the needles outpost, she's real. She even predicted a pending t-storm to the minute. Saved our butts...
    #12
  13. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    sweet! thanks for sharing.
    #13
  14. Dansrc51

    Dansrc51 I need a cape....

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    great little RR. thanks!
    #14
  15. utefan

    utefan Been here awhile

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    Heading to Moab in April. Definately going to make Lockhart Basin a must do!
    #15
  16. flyrodder

    flyrodder Donny, please.

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    Great RR. Love it out there.
    #16
  17. toothy

    toothy Grin

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    :thumb

    I like your music selections as well.
    #17
  18. zeegman

    zeegman Been here awhile

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    Very nice videos especially Lockhart Basin.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Looking forward to going there this fall on the UTBDR.

    Mike Z
    #18
  19. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

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    I am curious how the KLR did on the UTBDR? I currently have a KTM 530 but am thinking of getting rid of it and getting into something I can do longer extended rides on. I am looking at both the KLR and the Wee Strom. I think the KLR would have been better for this route than the Wee though. So how do you think the KLR did on this trip? Thanks. Enjoyed your RR..
    #19
  20. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

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    The KLR is my friend's bike. He rode it on this ride as well as on the WABDR in 2011. He also rides it a fair bit on our local dirt rides and uses it as his daily commuter. Overall I think the KLR is a great basic bike. It's a bit of a jack of all trades. IMO it is better in the dirt than a Wee but less comfortable on the pavement. They are both good bikes but for more off pavement I would lean towards the KLR. These are just my observations from riding friends' bikes (both KLR and Wee). Neither will do as well in the dirt as a smaller dual sport (like the WR) but they are both better on the pavement. Just my 2 cents. YMMV.

    Personally I think if your used to the KTM, both of these bikes are going to be a let down when you try to ride them off road. That said, they will be better for touring with gear.
    #20