Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by RedRockRider, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Lots of variety in Warner Valley -- dirt roads, open washes, single track, sand. KTM 990 will be fine for most. Might be a handful for some areas. Benchmark Maps are the best. Buy the Utah book, covers the whole state. Smaller detail not shown, for that you can try some Google Maps, or just go check it out in person. Nothing beats a first hand look.

    Not sure of my schedule that far out, might be Spring skiing, might be working. Generally, there are at least a few people around in Warner Valley. :D
  2. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Business in San Diego last week. Rather than blasting the cage down I-15, took the Versys on some twisty backroads! Fun. Cooperative weather. Took 2 days down, and then 2 days back. About 1200 miles total. The V was flawless, other than a loose mirror which required a few adjustments. The Versys is not really a touring bike, but it is very capable of eating up the miles. Never left pavement, but made a point to seek out some less travelled twisty two lane roads. CA has a lot to offer the moto rider. I've been to many of these places before, but also covered lots of new territory. Good times, plus all of my gas money counts as a business expense! :lol3

    For general orientation, here's the map of So Cal.

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    Left St. George about noon last Tuesday. Waited for it to warm up a bit because I knew the descent down I-15 through the AZ Gorge to Overton, NV would be the coldest part of the next week.

    From Overton took the back road along the edge of Lake Mead National Recreation Area to Henderson, NV.

    From Henderson south to Searchlight, NV. Continued south into CA, eventually to Blythe for night one.

    Second day of moto riding from Blythe via Glamis, Calexico, Jacumba, Lake Otay, and Coronado to San Diego.

    Three nights in San Diego - no moto riding.

    On the return, I exit San Diego quickly via Interstate 8 east. Rte 79 north to Julian. Followed by Ocotillo Wells, Salton Sea Beach, Mecca, and Joshua Tree National Park. Overnight in Twentynine Palms.

    Last day is Amboy, Kelso (:thumb), Nipton, and back to Searchlight. From Las Vegas I blasted up I-15 to be home in time for the SuperBowl. Lots of scenic country out there.

    Here's some pics from my first day:

    Stopped by wife's office for the good-bye kiss and photo opp in the parking lot. She had a light schedule that day and was happy to send me off.

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    Some cheap gas in Nevada. Easy to see $4-5 gas in CA. Keep that tank full before crossing the border! :D

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    Two awesome green machines. My kid thinks this is a funny picture. I have another pic of the bike with a green tractor in CA. He's amused. This is how Daddy entertains himself. Driving his green motorcycle around the country looking for other large green objects to park next to and take photos. Very strange in the mind of an 11-year old.

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    This is still only 1-2 hours from St. George, near Valley of Fire State Park in NV. I'll have to be going back here. Most of the paved road is newly surfaced and smooth as glass. Lots of nice curves and elevation changes. And scenery! Take your National Park Pass for the exit near Las Vegas.

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    Typical scenery. I only took a few pics since this is still my "backyard." I was motoring along saving photo time for new territory further south. :deal

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    Super smooth curves with little traffic! :clap

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    Roadside signs explain the geology.

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    Bowl of Fire. Would have been nicer to have a deep blue sky and even more sun, but I had good riding weather and it had now warmed up by mid-afternoon and with the elevation decline from St. George.

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    The outflow from Lake Las Vegas down to Lake Mead.

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    More cheap gas in Henderson, NV. Versys probably got about 50 mpg, but I never measured. Made it a point to top up the tank prior to heading out on open stretches of road. Never even came close to hitting reserve.

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    Far southern Nevada. Never been here before. About 45 minutes south of Las Vegas. All the basics are available, gas, food, lodging if necessary. Like all respectable Nevada towns, there is a casino.

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    Mining towns, even 100+ years later, show their genetic make-up. Mining and railroad towns tend to be much more interesting than agricultural towns. Unsavory characters must provide some type of enduring appeal. :photog

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    Town park:

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    Cart.

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    The ore bucket that was hoisted from below.

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    Winch.

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    I wouldn't plan a vacation around Searchlight, NV, but if you are passing through take a few moments. Continuing south on 95 is the crossing into CA just north of Needles.

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    Found some good curves in the Sacramento Mountains south of Needles. Finally got to put a little bit of wear on the edges of the tires. Some dips also added to the fun factor. :wink: Amazingly, I saw no cop cars, no speeding traps, and no tickets during all the motorbike time. I did see lots of Border Patrol cars further south, but not yet.

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    Really enjoying this part of the ride. All new territory. Just west of Lake Havasu.

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    Curves!!! Versys excels here. Rides a bit different with full panniers, but still very quick and smooth.

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    Further south the crossroads at Vidal Junction. Gas and a convenience store.

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    I could bypass this Agricultural Inspection Station. They were set-up to catch bad guys inadvertently bringing in fruit from Parker, AZ.

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    Late afternoon. Decided that Blythe would be home for the night. I'm sure there were some fine accommodations awaiting me. :lol3

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    CA sunset.

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    Close to Blythe you start to see the irrigation canals. We Americans seem to be doing a pretty good job using up most of the Colorado River before it crosses over to our friends in Mexico. Complex issue. Nice photo!

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    Living large. Lots of choices, but all looked pretty similar. One night, shower and ride. $50 will get it done.

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    Fine dining also. The glamorous food would come in San Diego with others picking up the tab. Simple food just seemed right.

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    Thanks for riding along. Blythe to San Diego coming soon. :wave
  3. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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  4. G19Tony

    G19Tony Been here awhile

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    Nice RR. I'm setting my V up as a touring bike. I'll be up your way at some point on the V. I'm not comfortable on the super slab, but I'm going to overcome that and ride the 15 up to Zion and points around there. :freaky
  5. Duhfactor

    Duhfactor Adventurer

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    Sounds great. I'm trying to round up a few, or a bunch of people to go down and get together those couple of days. So far, coming up with very little. If it works out for you, it would be great to meet up and have a ride. From the sound of it, one can rummage around all over down there, aye? I guess I could just mark a way point on the GPS at the entry, so I could find my way back somehow. Does one need to bring extra fuel? It sounds like a great area to ride, and I'm looking forward to coming down. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know, I'm all ears :)

    Thanks,

    ~D
  6. MTNclimber0331

    MTNclimber0331 n00b

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    Hey R3, I've lived in St. George for about 5 years, but I just recently picked up a 2007 Kawi 250s. Looking to get out and do some exploring!! I don't think I can get out as much as you do, but it sure would be nice to ride with someone familiar with the area trails. I'm not new to riding, but I have taken a looong hiatus and phsyched to get back into it. Any group rides coming up?
  7. DCZ

    DCZ Been here awhile

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    When our daughter and her husband lived in Cali. we took those same "shortcuts" - I love that part of California and Nevada.

    Rick
  8. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Sam :wave These are some of your roads coming up in the next few days.

    Tony - For riding directly from Las Vegas to St. George there is no way to avoid all of I-15. I actually enjoy the ride up through the Virgin River Gorge and have done it on all my bikes, including the mighty TW200 when returning from rides in the Mesquite area and racing against darkness. If you want to avoid I-15 through the Gorge, you can exit at Beaver Dam, AZ and take Old Highway 91 around the backside of the Utah Hill and enter St. George via Santa Clara. This is an excellent motorbike road. Overall much better than the roads around Zion, although not as scenic.

    You also avoid part of I-15 by using the frontage road (south side of I-15) from Riverside (south of Mesquite) up to Littlefield, AZ. Good motorbike road. No traffic. Curves. At least this can provide a respite from the trucks of I-15.

    Another much longer way to avoid most of the I-15 superslab is to get on Nevada 93 just north of Las Vegas. North to Alamo, then to Caliente, over to Beryl Junction, UT. Then south on UT 18 to Enterprise and St. George. Or from Beryl Junction to east Cedar City, then up 14 (Cedar Canyon) to some very cool high country. These are all excellent motorbike roads is you have time and are interested in taking the route less travelled. See you up here on the V. :D

    Duhfactor - you won't need "extra" gas for Warner Valley unless you are really ripping. And yes, in Warner Valley you can go almost anywhere. If venturing out onto the AZ Strip you will definitely need gas. Loooong distances and no back-up. Give me a "heads up" when your plans are firm. You can't go wrong riding around St. George. :super

    MtnClimber - Hey a local :clap No rides planned at the moment. But, the days are getting longer and the weather should warm up as we go from Feb to March. Way to pick up the Kawi dual sport. Great bike. Let me know when you want to go. We'll try and make something happen. :ear

    Rick - "Shortcuts" - always lookin' for the road less traveled. Springtime is coming. Hope all is well in Dove Creek.
  9. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Day Two on the bike. Things were good. :rayof

    Always interesting to see what inmates are packing. Pretty simple set-up since I was staying in hotels. Clothes in bag plus shoes. The other side case had small backpack with food, water, a few tools. Gloves and rain gear. And of course Benchmark, CA. Didn't really need it during the days, but always took a careful look at night.

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    Really enjoyed the morning ride south from Blythe through the Palo Verde Valley. First up close look at the all irrigation canals and agriculture of SoCal. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip and all totally unexpected. One the real joys of backroad travel via moto! :clap

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    Irrigation canal.

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    Morning shadow. I'm always out at sunset, but not on the bike very often in the early morning hours. This was nice. One of the real benefits of multi-day moto travels. :wink:

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    Great combinations of canals, trees, and mountains.

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    Impressive rows. I was always fascinated with these as a kid. Still caught my eye and made me stop. :lol3

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    I'm primarily on CA 78, eventually heading south and west towards Glamis.

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    Classics.

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    And more California classics.

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    Flooded rice field ??? My son looks at this pic and says "that's not right." As a 5th grader he has a sense that this is a wasteful use of water. We live in the desert. Our front yard is rocks.

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    An active canal.

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    Perhaps my son's favorite pic. "Daddy does like to drive around and take photos of his bike next to big green things." :rofl

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    Leaving the flat lands. We get a little desert, mountains with twists and turns. Nice riding. Good to put some lean into the bike. No traffic.

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    The scenery looks familiar to me. We have a plant just like this in our front yard.

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    Silhouette of the V.

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    Obligatory mirror shot.

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    Glamis. aka Algodones Dunes or Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

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    Glamis Toys.

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    And more toys.

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    The effects of sun and wind.

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    Front loader for clearing drifts across the road.

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    Just before Brawley south on CA 111 to Calexico.

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    Nice. :eek1 No smell in the area. Perhaps it wasn't operational.

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    That's a big facility.

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    Elevation 1.

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    Took a break and really enjoyed poking around Calexico for a bit. Border towns always have their unique culture.

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    Way more Spanish than English. Not surprising.

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    Downtown Calexico.

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    Leaving Calexico on 98 West, just north of Mexico border. Abandoned building. Reminds me of some places in Utah. Pic time.

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    Looking out.

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    First sign for San Diego. But I was good on time and taking all the slower roads just north of the border. Avoided I-8 except for a short unavoidable stretch up through the In-Ko-Pah Gorge.

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    These exits in the Yuha Desert caught my eye. Found the signage humorous. :lol3

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    This place had a different look and feel to it. Really dry. Different plants than what I had seen so far. Started to see lots of border patrol SUVs in this area. It would be this way from here all the way to San Diego. Giant game of cat and mouse.

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    Looks familiar. I might have to rig up something like this for pulling kids on tubes behind the snow machines at Brian Head. Although I think it will be more fun to let the tubes run free to take full advantage of the "pendulum" effect.

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    Wind power. Although today it was very calm. Only a few were moving.

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    Mountain Springs Station.

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    Big view back down to the wind turbines.

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    Welcome to California. :huh Earning its reputation for craziness. :rofl

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    A pretty elaborate display of aliens.

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    Leaving the aliens . . .

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    Jacumba.

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    Border fence with Mexico.

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    Getting closer to San Diego. We are in the mountains again. Good curvy roads. :wink:

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    Campo area, near the Pacific Crest Trailhead.

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    Late lunch.

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    Food pic. Only average at best, but still a nice break.

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    More motorbike roads. Starting to see guys on sport bikes venturing out from San Diego.

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    Took the Otay Lakes Road, staying as far south as possible. Lower Otay Lake was very scenic.

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    Dead trees in one corner of the reservoir.

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    Just beyond Otay Lake you enter the sprawl of greater San Diego. I came down Telegraph Canyon Road and made my way towards Silver Strand Beach. CA gas prices.

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    This was going to be a good way to get up to downtown San Diego. Good fun driving up across the Coronado Bridge.

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    Final pic from Silver Stand Beach of the Pacific Ocean with a container ship on the horizon.

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    Thanks for riding along inmates and lurkers!
  10. G19Tony

    G19Tony Been here awhile

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    Another much longer way to avoid most of the I-15 superslab is to get on Nevada 93 just north of Las Vegas. North to Alamo, then to Caliente, over to Beryl Junction, UT. Then south on UT 18 to Enterprise and St. George. Or from Beryl Junction to east Cedar City, then up 14 (Cedar Canyon) to some very cool high country. These are all excellent motorbike roads is you have time and are interested in taking the route less travelled. See you up here on the V.

    That's a great idea, I've seen that turn off when I went up that way to play golf. I've seen the whole route goofing around in that area in my Cherokee. Thanks for the reminder. I'll give you a shout when I get up that way. :clap
  11. MTNclimber0331

    MTNclimber0331 n00b

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    R3, sounds good!! I'll PM you my number, if that's cool!!
  12. ringokelly

    ringokelly Adventurer

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    RRR...Hey great to hear from you...been awhile. That CA trips looks awesome...!

    I will call you next time I am down....:clap

    ringo
  13. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Yeah, Kelly. See you when you get back down to St. George. Warmer weather is coming. :D

    Here are a few pics from my time in downtown San Diego. Nice waterfront area.

    Lots of WWII history.

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    Pleasure craft skirting under the nose of the Midway. The Midway is a great museum with lots of aircraft. Been on it before with the family. Well worth it!

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    Older sailing ship - Star of India.

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    And the modern cruise ship. Although I think some cruise lines have relocated ships away from Pacific Coast of Mexico, too much trouble. Hope this clears up. LA and San Diego are much easier departure ports than Florida.

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    Some waterfront sculpture.

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    Active navy presence in San Diego Bay. Park next to Midway is being renovated. Very nice setting. :D

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    Fishing vessel.

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    Looking back at my hotel.

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    Finally finished business and was back on the road by late morning. It was good to be rolling. Hadn't been on the bike for 2+ days, and was ready to get moving. Left downtown San Diego via Interstate 8, simply an efficient way to get out towards Alpine, CA quickly. Stopped once for a drink, then left Interstate 8 for CA 79 north. This was a good motorbike road. My advance research was going to pay off. :thumb

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    Heading towards Julian I immediately starting seeing lots of bikers -- solos, groups, Harleys, sportbikes, etc. It was Saturday afternoon with good weather in SoCal. Everyone was out for a ride.

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    One overlook offerred the big view down. Looking towards Anza Borrego Desert State Park below. Large elevation changes, especially with lots of areas at sea level.

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    Poked around Julian for a bit. Decided to buy some gas, probably about $5 a gallon. Seemed best to keep the bike tanked up before heading out in the desert. Turned out never even hit reserve for the V, but I was conscience about topping up as I was never certain of my route or the next gas stop.

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    Grabbed a quick pic of this classic BMW before moving on.

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    Dropped some elevation and entered Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Have fond memories of camping here with wife (at that time fiancee) about 20 years ago. Wife remembers all of it too -- flying kites, hiking, cold desert nights, etc.

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    Windshield view. The V does great for this type of trip. But, if I was going to log lots of asphalt miles at speed, I would want a bike with a better wind protection. The constant wind blast gradually tires you out. No complaints, though. The V was fine.

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    Stopped for an obligatory pic by the Salton Sea -- it's no Lake Tahoe. I remember being on the east shore 20 years ago, not much there either. Certainly the west side was nothing special. Good place to make mileage.

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    Drainage ditch or irrigation canal. Overall, an unpleasant area. Good to be passing through when the temps were lower. In mid-summer this would not be the place to be. :deal

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    More gas at an AM/PM. I used to work for ARCO Alaska (in Anchorage). AM/PM as the downsteam distribution for ARCO's share of Prudhoe Bay. The AM/PM has a very southern CA look and feel to me. Half the people couldn't figure out how to use the payment kiosk. Lead to some longer lines.

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    Some signs of agriculture at the northern end of the Salton Sea. Town of Mecca had this nice mural (not much else). Worth grabbing a pic.

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    Found a good twisty road through Box Canyon. Left the town and agriculture behind, started heading for Joshua Tree.

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    It was clouding up now, but Box Canyon was scenic. Lots of loose sand just off the road surface. Warranted close attention when stopping the bike. Easiest was just to stay on the pavement.

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    Crossed over Interstate 10 (nothing there) and entered Joshua Tree National Park.

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    Really enjoyed this road. It was great for motorbikes. The sky was overcast and it was getting later in the afternoon. Put the camera away and just enjoyed the ride. Many fond memories of camping, hiking, and mountain biking in Joshua Tree, again all from 20 years ago. Didn't poke around much off the road, just kept on the gas heading to 29 Palms. I would definitely be worth revisiting Joshua Tree with time to explore. Good times and good memories. :clap


    Pulled in to Twentynine Palms just before dusk. Basic set of hotel choices. In keeping with my luxury living theme from Blythe on the way to San Diego, I opted for the Motel 6. I figure with the advertised rate of $50 for one person, this must be the ticket. I'm one person. All I want is a bed and a shower and perhaps some stupid TV time. It'll do. Done.

    I took this pic the next morning. My room was 128 so I could look out my window/door and see the Versys resting peacefully. This was a good ride. I was really looking forward to the next day: Amboy, Kelso, Mojave National Preserve, then home.

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    Thanks for riding along inmates and lurkers! :wave
  14. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    nice tour!

    those wind turbines work on demand (electricity can not be stored...yet).
    if there was demand, all would be spinning and grabbing what ever wind they could catch.
  15. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    i was wondering what happened to the 'midway'?.... i sailed on it in 1981.... stationed in yokosuka, japan... COM7THFLT...
    as old as it was, that ship used to kick azz..... great pics!.....
  16. eveRide

    eveRide ADV

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    Well Kept ADV Moto Secret: Southwest Utah
    RedRockRider,

    I posted a video on YouTube about moving to St. George this last week, and I've had a TON of people point me to your ride reports! After reading and enjoying the pictures for about 18 straight hours, I'm thinking we definitely need to meet up. I know nothing about the trails around here. All I know is that it's 65 degrees today, I MUST ride, and it looks like you are the Dual Sport guru in the area. By the photos, it looks like you know your way around a camera, too!

    Let me know! You can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/everideorg

    Or the video about moving to St. George I posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KhUpdh_wpE

    Thanks man, I'd love to hit the trails soon!
  17. Superhawk

    Superhawk Been here awhile

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    great trip report RRR - great info - I travel out to Calexico for biz occassionally - always left via I8, never 98 - Im going to give that a shot next time. Did you stop at the mountain spring station ? Ive seen it on top of the hill driving by but havent stopped in.
  18. Byork

    Byork Novice

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    :lurk

    Snow outside my window
  19. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey eveRide - Nice video on St. George. Those are some bold dance moves and wardrobe choices at 2:37. I spent the weekend at Brian Head playing in the snow. Back in town, also back to work. Hope you got out to ride. :D

    Hey Superhawk -- Calexico on biz, that's a bit off the beaten track for typical biz trips. I stopped at the Mountain Spring Station and took a pic from the outside, but did not go in. The alien RV park is right there also, a real tourist destination.

    I would definitely try 98 instead of I8 if you have a few extra minutes. It's probably almost as fast, and I found the stretch through the Yuha Desert to be quite scenic. :clap

    One more round of pics from the San Diego trip coming. Just too busy playing with the family. We all have to have our priorities. :D Thanks for checking in.
  20. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    :deal

    Well, get on it man :lol3