Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George

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

  1. Superhawk

    Superhawk Been here awhile

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    RRR - Biz is actually across the border in Mexicali - my company has a manufacturing facility there. It is out of the way but I like out of the way.
  2. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Finally some time to post up Day 4 of riding. This was from Twenty-nine Palms back to St. George. Overall, this was probably the best day. Great scenery through the Mojave Desert National Preserve from Amboy to Kelso to Cima to Nipton and out to Searchlight, Nevada.

    These are some empty roads with some sweet curves! :D

    Reasonable wake-up time. Poked around Twenty-nine Palms for a few minutes before hitting the road.

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    Little bit of modern art in the plaza of the visitor center.

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    Beautiful blue sky, much better than the grey of the prior afternoon. Check on CA gas prices. I would see higher, but much lower in Nevada and Utah.

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    Twenty-nine Palms has lots of building murals. This was great. An excellent tradition that somehow got started. Cement block buildings with no windows next to vacant lots were made for this. Well done 29 Palms! :clap

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    So I start driving around checking out the murals.

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    Here's the whole building. Lovin' that blue sky!

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    Most of the murals focussed on local history, especially early settlers or prominent citizens.

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    Flying Constable Jack probably didn't hesitate to use that six-shooter from the open air cockpit of that Piper Cub. :lol3

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    Mural as tribute to Desert Storm.

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    Twenty-nine Palms is Marine Corps territory.

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    Big view down one of the main roads heading north out of town.

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    Large flag. Worth a stop and try to time the wind. Easy with digital to keep taking until you get it right. Back in the days of film this posed a dilemma.

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    On the Amboy Road, heading east then north from 29 Palms. All scenic all the way!

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    I like this pic. Overall an average pic, but it captures the vastness of the Mojave.

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    Striking colors here. This is a salt operation on the Bristol Dry Lake, just south of Amboy.

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    A look at the surface of the dry lake. Pretty hostile environment. Sky clouded up just to make the pic a bit more ominous.

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    Arriving at Amboy. This place is a classic. Serious time warp! :eek1

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    Here are some gas prices. Didn't really need much, but topped up anyway. Good to always head out full. Plus, important to keep these guys in business. We want them to be there. :deal Very friendly guys running the place.

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    History of Amboy and Roy's Cafe. The "mother rode" -- Route 66.

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    Lots of Biker Club stickers proudly displayed.

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    Apparently the locals take turns plugging their RV generators into the Post Office electrical outlet. Another RV was out back doing the same thing. No wonder the Post Office is going broke. :wink:

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    Broken down old church and abandoned school. Amboy almost qualifies as a ghost town.

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    Had to grab the Route 66 photo. Perhaps at some point I'll organize a road ride that is all about Route 66. Endless possibilities out there with a motorbike.

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    Official entrance sign. Just north of Amboy and I-40.

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    Map. I was headed north towards Kelso. Eventually I'd go to Cima, then follow the Morningstar Mine Road to Nipton, and out to Seachlight, NV.

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    Excellent roads and great scenery. I had lost the blue sky, but was having a great time. In the zone on the bike.

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    Arriving at the Kelso Depot. This place was cool. It has been restored and turned in to the Headquarters for the Park Service. Poked around here for a while. This was a real highlight.

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    Simple jail cell to control the unruly drunks. Typical railroad town. Not like those "nice" pioneer agricultural towns of Southern Utah.

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    The railroad station. Classic mission style.

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    Details. Similar to the railroad station in Caliente, NV.

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    Restored lunch counter inside the station. Order a simple meal!

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    I browsed the museum. A few pics:

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    Kelso was "chosen" as the location for a station because it was at the bottom of the steep grade up to Cima. In the early days, extra steam-powered helper engines were required to get trains up the grade. Kelso provided the turn-around and staging area at the bottom of the hill.

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    Inside the old ticket office.

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    Nearby, the old post office has long since been abandoned. No free electricity here. :lol3 Several other old ruins in the area.

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    On the road toward Cima.

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    Bridge work from 1928.

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    Looking down the tracks.

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    This sign is wishful thinking. Nothing left in Cima. Just a first class abandoned railroad stop. The sign was in surprisingly good shape.

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    Out behind the Cima store.

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    And the train coming up the opposite side of the Cima grade. Even these diesel engines are working hard. Living history. How cool is that?

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    Always good to grab a pic of a sign post. The key (only) intersection of Cima. Heading northeast on the Morning Star Mine Road. All paved. Fast.

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    Near Nipton, CA. Back to some blue sky.

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    Candidate shot for the Long lonely highway thread. This is actually looking towards Ivanpah, CA, a direction I didn't go.

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    Wanted to grab a mirror shot. A loose mirror (vibrations) was the only problem with the Versys. Constantly needed minor adjustments. Otherwise the V was terrific.

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    This was my last real tourist stop on the trip. After Nipton it was back to Searchlight, NV for gas. Then fast mileage back to St. George.

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    The Nipton Hotel.

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    History of Nipton. Railroad line. Farming/ranching and local mining.

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    This plaque caught my eye. We inmate road warriors can relate. :D

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    Also a small cafe. WhistleStop!

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    And the Trading Post. Checking out everything before getting back on the bike.

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    Sample of rocks from a local mine and the Nipton rail yard.

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    Left Nipton and quickly entered far southern NV on 164. That's a cool Nevada sign.

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    Passed the Wee Thump Joshua Tree area. "Wee Thump" - worth a pic. Lots of nice Joshua trees! My son thought "Wee Thump" was a silly name. Dead on.

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    Leaving Wee Thump and heading to Searchlight, NV.

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    Gas in Searchlight. Back to low $3 per gallon. No more CA prices. :D

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    That was my final pic. After Searchlight I was on familiar roads heading north to Las Vegas, then up I-15 to St. George. Put the camera away to make time and get home before dark.

    Great trip to San Diego. Next time, I'll do it again. Lots of variations on roughly similar roads. I'd like to hit CA 127 north from Baker to Death Valley. Also could drop south from Boulder City, NV and stay in far western AZ until re-entering CA at Blythe. All good fun.

    Thanks again for all the positive comments. Ride safe out there. :wave
  3. G19Tony

    G19Tony Been here awhile

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    Nice set of day 4 pictures. I was in Kelso on the TU250 last year. We didn't stay long. I'm going to go back on the Versys, have lunch and watch the trains for awhile. It's a nice ride. :D
  4. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    As always, a bunch of neat places to ride and then show us. I'm always interested in the old railroad stuff. Old depots are for sure from a bygone era. Which, I wish would come back!

    Thanks for sharing.
    VegasDesertRat likes this.
  5. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    :clap Great rr! Nice to see RRR out of your hood and wondering into our neck of the woods. I haven't been into the Mojave Preserve in a few years, thanks for the inspiration while the weather is still tolerable. On the gas prices, the Mrs & I just walked in from an overnighter to San Diego, and I just paid 4.39 for reg here in Seal.

    On the Amboy plaque was "flivver". I'd never heard of that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flivver

    Thanks for the wonderful addition of this report to your thread!:thumb
  6. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    yeah, you found some warm weather.....:clap

    cool pics, really enjoyed them.

    thanks.
  7. ringokelly

    ringokelly Been here awhile

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    RRR great shots on day 4....as usual, thanks for the tour!:clap
  8. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Updated the index of rides on Page 1 with the San Diego road trip. Lots of inmates messaging about about riding possibilities around St. George. Index plus a Benchmark map and a look at a few pics should give a pretty good indication of terrain, scenery, etc. Add a pic up here if you find yourself in a similar place with your camera. :D

    Thanks for all the recent star votes. Mrs. RedRockRider says "hi" to all the imaginary internet friends. :wave

    Thanks for checking in -- G19Tony, TheAdmiral, samthg, NSFW, ringokelly. Good to see familiar inmates riding along. :ricky
  9. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    You are way to organized! :D

    I have been watching your thread plus weather trying to plan an assault on The Wave, hopefully in the next 4-6 weeks.

    Thanks again to you and the family for all the great trips and information.
  10. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Looks like I'll be on an airplane headed to Costa Rica, but this promises to be a good time . . .

    Inmate GeoMoto (Jesse) is the primary ring leader. Here's the link:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20662653#post20662653

    Home base is Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, on the east side of Zion National Park. Good summer base for camping and riding. Lots of great dirt and pavement options: Bryce, Zion, North Rim, Brian Head, Duck Creek, Lake Powell . . .

    GeoMoto may have a few prelim rides in April, May, June . . . :ear :ear :ear
  11. G19Tony

    G19Tony Been here awhile

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    Hey RRR,

    Just went through your Toroweap thread #92. That looks just like what my brother and I want to do in June. From 89-94, I was a Grand Canyon Tour Pilot. I operated out of Las Vegas in Cessna 207's and 402's. Some of these spots were on the tour that I would give as we flew above the rim. It will be neat to see them close up. :D
  12. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    A few pics from a ride with Dad about a week ago. The Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway is west of St. George. I frequently ride in this area. Lots of variations possible. Index of rides on page 1 lists many similar rides (ex. Post #95 and Post #411). Benchmark maps included. :D


    We took pavement to the Shivwits Indian Reservation, then started in on the dirt portion of the scenic backway.

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    Feels good to be back on the WRR and on dirt after all the pavement miles on the Versys to San Diego. Beautiful views of layered rock. Pine Valley Mountain in background. Red cliffs of Ivins behind bike.

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    Always good to be out with Dad! :ricky

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    New tires on Dad's bike. Original tires were getting thin at 5-6 K miles.

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    Cows, swimming pools, and tumbleweed - Utah style.

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    Mirror shot. Scenery near Bulldog Canyon. Backside of Utah Hill. Near Old Highway 91.

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    Well maintained dirt road.

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    Joshua Trees appear as you drop elevation. This is very edge of the Mojave Desert. Furthest point north which supports Joshua Tree growth.

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    Stark, vast scenery. Red jacket looks good. Always liked this type of pic.

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    We cut off on a side road, heading south towards an established dirt road cutting back towards Cedar Pocket in the Virgin River Gorge. Initially the side road was fine. Just as Dad and I remember from several years ago.

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    We cross a few gates, and the "road" deteriorates significantly. We had fun picking our way down the wash for a while.

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    Dad in a smoother section of the wash.

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    Eventually the wash got rougher and ledges were starting to develop. This little short-cut road was never in good shape. It followed the bottom of a contour. Strong floods from 1-2 years ago washed out a paved section of Old Highway #91 near here. Also lots of rain/erosion damage in St. George.

    This road was a casualty of those floods, or at least it appeared that way to us. No maintenance. And part of the road was now gated by Arizona. Utah tends not to gate anything. :D

    Rather then continue to pick our way downstream, we turned and headed back out to smooth dirt and eventually smooth pavement. A short cold blast up over the Utah Hill on Old #91 and we were descending back into St. George.

    We'll get back in to Cedar Pockets on dirt. Just have to take the easy way from Old Highway 91. The shortcut we were looking for seems to have become a permanent casualty of erosion and a few gates.

    Thanks for checkin' in. Ride safe out there. :wave
  13. MSH

    MSH The Salt

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    I didnt see it yet, but have you been out to Mokiak (Mocaac) Canyon out on the Strip yet? :ear
  14. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Nice joshua scenery, glad you got out for a d/s ride after your So Cal adventure.
  15. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey MSH / Matt - Not sure. Strip is vast, still lots of unexplored roads. I have criss-crossed quite a few places with references to the old Mokaac Trail. Some look like they'd be fun moto trails, but all closed to motorized traffic. Might be a good Mountain bike or hiking trail. Although in some sections the new road (1069 - River Road extension) has wiped out the old trail. Some abrupt drop-offs. Days are starting to get longer. Some snow is visible on the Strip from St. George. But, warm days are coming. The time for riding the Strip is coming soon. :clap

    A pic from a while back. Same time you commented on the Eagle Scout project from you friend from way back. Page 12.

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    Saw your thread on the Ouray trip. Looked interesting. Did it all happen?

    Thanks for checking back in. :wave
  16. MSH

    MSH The Salt

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    Yeah, It was great. Go when/if you can. Beautiful! We are heading back down to SG area in about a month... May cut from Monument Valley to Toraweap. May have to hook up with some of you SG riders for the new low down. :evil
  17. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Short loop west of St. George. About 50 miles. Great way to spend a Friday afternoon with Dad. :D

    Benchmark Map. Plus index of rides in Post #1.

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    One small errand to do while leaving town. Nice temps in St. George. Perfect for riding.

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    New sign at the start of the Motoqua Road. For any noobs to the area this is just after Old Highway #91 starts to climb. Lots of great riding starts on the Motoqua Road: Pahcoon Flat, Indian Springs Trail, Goldstrike, Potters Peak and Cougar Pass to Enterprise Reservoir. Plus lots of extended day rides into Nevada. Watch elevation and mud if going earlier in the year. Great areas as the days get longer. Watch gas if going through to Caliente, NV.

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    The first part of the Motoqua Road has stunning redrock scenery. As you leave the Shivwits Indian Reservation and head to Motoqua, Beaver Dam Wash, and Nevada, the colors become predominantly gray. Desert and mountains still have a stark beauty, but the redrock is superb!

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    Wolfman luggage. Dad and I are both running the little tailbags. Perfect. Plug for Wolfman! :clap

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    Turn off the Motoqua Road and head for Manganese Wash. We've been here before but not for about a year. Always good to revisit familiar places.

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    Dad upfront in the classic honda red.:thumb

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    Caught up with Dad. His bike has been absolutely rock solid. It is surprisingly quick and light. The new Honda 250 in undoubtedly a better bike, but this little thumper gets the job done. Plus this bike consistently gets 100 mpg if one is light on the throttle. That translates to a solid 200+ mile tank range. Totally stock. Did someone say "Toroweap?"

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    Sign pic. Never did drive out to Cole Spring. Maybe next time. Always a reason to go back. :lol3

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    Some sections of the road had some silt build-up. Powerline and pipeline work in the area. Also close to town and Gunlock so reasonable amount of traffic (as Southern Utah dirt roads go). More silt will build through the summer.

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    View from the foot peg. That's Square Top Mountain up ahead. Very prominent from Gunlock Reservoir area. Elevation 7,000 ft.

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    Nice ruts. Somebody drove through here when it was wet. :huh

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    Dad and I stop. Drink, eat, and plan out next rides. Longer days are coming quickly!!!

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    Stop at the crest of a hill to admire the distant view of Pine Valley Mountain. Elevation 10,000. Some snow, but not much. You have to get to Brian Head area to see the real snow of Southern Utah.

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    Culverts to cross the Santa Clara River just north of Gunlock Reservoir. Reconnect with asphalt just across the river. The culverts are relatively new. This was a ford until a year or two ago. Usually it was an easy crossing, but if the snow on the backside of Pine Valley Mountain was melting it could be gushing.

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    Pic of "yours truly" compliments of Dad near Gunlock Reservoir.

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    Final shot down at the shoreline. Gunlock Reservoir is a hidden little gem. Lots of great riding (river crossings) just below the reservoir as well.

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    Thanks for checkin' in. Ride safe, ride often! :wave
  18. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Sweet Bike, RRR!

    See the spot of red gravel near the center of your picture? That is a gravel pit. I camped near there on the 2nd night of my trip.
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    Nice views from there.

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  19. bfilk

    bfilk Bfilk

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    We did Toroweap Overlook and Whitmore Canyon yesterday. Minor mud on the south side of Mt Trumbull otherwise great.


    Lunch, Toroweap looking east at the Colorado River 3000 feet below
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    Whitmore Canyon close to sunset with 90 miles to get back to St George
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  20. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Dave -- you camp at all the nicest places! :D Sharp eye on the gravel pit in my pic. Following your RR. :clap

    Bfilk -- nice post. Toroweap and Whitmore. :thumb Sounds like spring riding conditions (minimal mud) are arriving on the strip. How was the ride back to St. George? End up using the headlight or back by "dusk?"

    View out window this morning (Sunday am).

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    Son and wife on the sleds by Brian Head Peak, still sporting the ski hats! :lol3

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    Returning after an excursion into Cedar Breaks.

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    Most fun of the weekend!!! :rofl

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