SoCal to Utah - a short long weekend

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by roundtripping, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    On 6/24/10 I left Huntington Beach, CA for a 4 day excursion out to Utah and northern AZ.

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    From what I hear, Utah beer isn't much to cheer about, and in some smaller places you may have a hard time finding any kind of medicine, so I brought my own.

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    I've been to Utah a couple times in the past but never in as desperate need of a vacation as this time. :evil So I took out the ladder (I'm a majestic 5'6"), climbed atop my KTM 990 and started out hightailing it up I-15 past Vegas to spend the first night in the Valley of Fire. I've both ridden and driven past here several times in the summer but never made it into the park. Now I know why. It's a bit on the deranged, insane and mother effin' warm side.

    These pictures are from the Atlatl Rock campground. It's really cool to camp in the kind of kettle that is the campground, but it no doubt doesn't help with the heat.

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    Next up: There will be blood...
    #1
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    that road to cedar breaks, ut is a fun one.
    #2
  3. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    I woke up on the morning of 6/25 on top of the sleeping bag by the sweat running off me. A quick look at the clock revealed it was 4:30 AM. Fark. My heat tolerance is generally a bit below that of most people I know, so traveling in these areas in June/July is among the smartest thing I can do. I decided to pack up my stuff and get out of there in a hurry. I'd bought a couple of apples the day before that I figured would make good breakfast. The heat had really done a number on them, but they still tasted delicious. Ingested through a straw.

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    Eventually I got everything together and headed out of the VoF towards Overton, NV which coincidentally was a lot cooler than the VoF itself. I guess the proximity to Lake Mead helps cool it down some. I needed some gas before jumping on the super-slab for the final stretch into Utah.

    Uh oh. :eek1

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    Some background (that doesn't make this incident any less stupid, but still...): my 990 used to be lowered by a couple inches and had its kickstand cut at that point. Well, I raised it back up those couple inches again and now the kickstand is a little on the short side. Normally that's not really an issue, unless you go to fill up gas and the surface next to the pump is sloping a bit. As it so happens, the pump I ended up by fit that description. So in order to get the bike a little more level I pushed the bike forward just a bit and put it back down on..................you guessed it: my big toe. :cry :shog

    It was so hot when I left home that I glanced at my MX boots and said screw it and put on my TCX Air Tech boots. Great boots, but no toe protection to talk about.

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    Soooo.... Now we know. Putting your 500 lbs dirt bike down on your big toe will leave a mark. :deal

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    By noon or so it had really blossomed, but I'll spare you those pictures.
    #3
  4. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    :lurk
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    :eek1

    :lurk
    #5
  6. draglemmag

    draglemmag Adventurer

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    Loooking forward to this one. LOVE those Utah roads...can't wait to do it again in September.:ricky
    #6
  7. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    Three Tylenols and some cussing later I was ready to roll again, undeterred by my own clumsiness. OK, so I wasn't really undeterred, but it makes for a good song. :kumbaya I crossed into AZ and then UT still on the I-15. It was with a sigh of relief I finally hit the 9 toward Hurricane. I think I was expecting to see more traffic heading in the direction of Zion National Park with it being prime tourist season, but it wasn't too bad at all. Lucky me. I continued on the 59/389 all the way over to Fredonia. I must admit I was tempted to shoot down to Toroweap as I had just read a couple ride reports about it before I left, but alas not this time. Instead I hooked up with the 89 north to the 12 east toward Bryce Canyon National Park.

    <iframe width="525" height="450" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=37.166233,-113.449888&amp;daddr=State+St+to:AZ-389+E%2FPratt+St+to:US-89+N&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=%3BFRI3NwId3nY--Q%3BFd6-MwIdmNhK-Q%3BFbgAQAIdEkNN-Q&amp;mra=dme&amp;mrcr=0&amp;mrsp=0&amp;sz=15&amp;via=1,2&amp;sll=37.164215,-113.448429&amp;sspn=0.027565,0.039654&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=37.164215,-113.448429&amp;spn=0.027565,0.039654&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=embed&amp;saddr=37.166233,-113.449888&amp;daddr=State+St+to:AZ-389+E%2FPratt+St+to:US-89+N&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=%3BFRI3NwId3nY--Q%3BFd6-MwIdmNhK-Q%3BFbgAQAIdEkNN-Q&amp;mra=dme&amp;mrcr=0&amp;mrsp=0&amp;sz=15&amp;via=1,2&amp;sll=37.164215,-113.448429&amp;sspn=0.027565,0.039654&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=37.164215,-113.448429&amp;spn=0.027565,0.039654" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

    I'm sorry for the lack of pictures on that stretch but I've done it a few times previously and this time I was mostly just enjoying the views along the 89 and disconnecting work and other mundane things in my head.

    Once on the 12 east, I hit Red Rock Canyon.

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    I always loved the way the green makes the red rock pop, or if it's the other way around? Either way, it's a great sight.

    Now it's really starting to feel like the Utah I know and love. Some say this is a gateway to mystical places rarely visited... Others say it just rocks. No they don't, but I'm a witty guy and I can't help myself.

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    #7
  8. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

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    :clap
    #8
  9. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    Early in the afternoon I rolled into Bryce Canyon N.P. I asked at the park entrance what the camping situation was like and the nice lady informed me that a couple of the campgrounds were already full and if I wanted a spot at all I better hustle. I rocketed over to the Sunset campground. One spot left, and not one of the best ones either. Screw it, I was just spending a night there enjoying the much cooler temperatures than the desert climates I'd been mostly riding through so far. I set up camp and bullshitted for a few hours with my newfound campground neighbors. I even succeeded in getting myself invited for dinner. Ah, vacation. By bedtime it was actually pretty chilly so I slipped on some socks and a pair of long johns. Slept like the proverbial baby.

    After a hot cup o' joe first thing in the morning of the 26th I headed out to take a little look at the park before continuing on.

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    The views are stunning, almost all the way from the park entrance out to Rainbow Point. Utah really is a state where you can basically trip on your own shoe laces, accidentally pull the trigger on your camera and end up with the best desktop background picture you ever saw.

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    #9
  10. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    There were really only two, maybe three destinations I wanted to hit for this trip, the rest was just that: rest. I had read a couple of RRs on Burr Trail (Rd) and Valley of the Gods and I wanted to check those out. Also, ever since I was little I've had a fascination with Native American history and culture and so I wanted to try and see if I could make it to some of Navajo hot spots like Monument Valley.

    One thing at the time, and I steered the orange beast toward Burr Trail Rd.

    <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=UT-12+E&amp;daddr=37.901204,-111.424971&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FZcjPwIdm7NQ-Q%3B&amp;mra=mi&amp;mrsp=1,0&amp;sz=14&amp;sll=37.898021,-111.418705&amp;sspn=0.05459,0.079308&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=37.898021,-111.418705&amp;spn=0.05459,0.079308&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=embed&amp;saddr=UT-12+E&amp;daddr=37.901204,-111.424971&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FZcjPwIdm7NQ-Q%3B&amp;mra=mi&amp;mrsp=1,0&amp;sz=14&amp;sll=37.898021,-111.418705&amp;sspn=0.05459,0.079308&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=37.898021,-111.418705&amp;spn=0.05459,0.079308" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

    Along the way, lunch was provided in Escalante. Nothing fancy, except for this treat.

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    Blackberry shake, Utah style with a spoon. I love blackberries. And shakes. The gates to hog heaven were wide open. Did I mention I'm lactose intolerant? It was only a matter of minutes before I had the outside patio to myself.

    Shortly thereafter I came upon Burr Trail Rd. It begins/ends just south of Boulder and stretches through the Capitol Reef N.P all the way down to Lake Powell. It's not all dirt by any means, mostly it's the parts that cut through the park. The rest is narrow, and sometimes pretty unmaintained, pavement.

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    It's very scenic nonetheless, and generally a fun road to ride.

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    #10
  11. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    Rainbow point :bow
    #11
  12. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    What a great place. It would be easy to take a trip for a week just to Bryce Canyon alone.
    #12
  13. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    :clap n:clap i:clap c:clap e:clap


    :lurk
    #13
  14. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    You found me Joel! :lol3
    #14
  15. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    After a few miles on the Burr Trail Rd, the Capitol Reef N.P begins.

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    And with it, so does the dirt.

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    When you start the trail from the north end, the first dirt section you hit is a little bit twisty and very scenic.

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    It doesn't take very long to ride past the curvy section and hit flat ground and at that point it's dirt super highway for a few miles. I must say, after reading the RRs that I was expecting it to be just a tad bit harder, but the trail was super smooth with no surprises. Me not being the world's most accomplished off-roader and riding by myself, this was probably a good thing. I didn't see a single vehicle or person on the trail this far.
    #15
  16. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    After riding way too fast on the last few miles of flat dirt and then hitting the pavement again, I arrive at this place; Bullfrog Bay.

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    Lake Powell. It was hotter than a blacksmith's ass at this point and seeing the water really made me just want to dive straight in! But the ferry you see arriving in the background apparently doesn't go all that often and the shadows were almost starting to get a little long already.

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    Getting crowded.

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    I'm on a boat!!

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    #16
  17. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    #17
  18. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    Anyhoo.... The slight breeze on the ferry across was a heavenly change to the hot air of Burr Trail.

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    Lots of people out playing on the water.

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    The ride across Lake Powell takes approximately 25 minutes, which I wouldn't have minded if it was slightly longer so I could have continued cutting down on the soda machine supplies.

    Alas all good things must come to an end, so this ferry crossing too.

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    #18
  19. GSdreamer

    GSdreamer Mtn. Man

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    Great report so far. I want to do this same trip...But maybe in the fall.:wink:
    #19
  20. roundtripping

    roundtripping Adventourist

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    I rolled ashore and started heading over toward Natural Bridges National Monument (say that fast three times backwards). I wasn't really sure how this was going to work out as I'd planned to spend this night camping in Valley of the Gods and it was already getting kind of late. Thinking nothing of it, I roll past a gas station just off the ferry landing and ride almost all the way to NBNM when I realize not only is it late, but I should've gotten gas at the ferry landing... Searched my Zumo GPS for the closest gas...: Blanding, 40 miles in the "wrong" direction. Crap.

    <iframe width="425" height="350" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&amp;source=s_d&amp;saddr=UT-95+S&amp;daddr=37.625109,-109.477901&amp;hl=en&amp;geocode=FdIoPQId9D5x-Q%3B&amp;mra=mi&amp;mrsp=1,0&amp;sz=13&amp;sll=37.603216,-109.448891&amp;sspn=0.109616,0.158615&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;ll=37.603216,-109.448891&amp;spn=0.109616,0.158615&amp;output=embed"></iframe><br />

    Well whatever. Blanding it is, I'll just motel it and nurse my toe a bit there for the night. So I gun it over to Blanding, gas up and find a motel just in time to make it to dinner before closing.

    That Jimmy Changa feller should get a medal.

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    Sleep comes easily after this.
    #20