Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George

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

  1. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Quota -- enjoyed your Western TAT write-up. Nice ride with Patrol Dog. :thumbup

    I pass by Silver Creek every day after driving my son's carpool to school. Right by the start of the bike path also. Looks nice from the outside. Here is a tribute shot taken earlier today as I headed out on a ride with Dad.

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    And a few pics from the ride. Will post up shortly. Here's the preview. Note the sky . . .

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    And the rain gear . . .

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    Quota -- give me a "heads up" when you're in town. We'll find a ride. :clap :clap :clap
    #41
  2. quota

    quota Been here awhile

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    I guess I need to add to my TAT report since we rode more of it this summer. I'll let you know when I get south. I was thinking about it this weekend, but I'm not ready to figure out which bike to leave there for winter...
    #42
  3. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Sam -- You know St. George! Sunbrook is "across" (Green Valley) from my house (Shadow Mtn). We are high on the hill. My backyard goes up on the Black Hill. You can climb it and look down on the "old" airport. Southgate is the golf course down by the Santa Clara River. Most of the front nine got wrecked up by floods a year or two ago. All put back together now. I'll post up a few pics in a day or two. :D

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    #43
  4. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Great ride with Dad today. The weather in St. George has been a bit rainy (unusual). Today looked reasonable . . . and the cleaning ladies were coming. (It's Thursday.) Time to go!!! :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

    Let's get to the pics. All rides start with gas. Good to top off, never know where you might go. We like the Maverick at the end of Indian Hills Drive. $5 buys a whole lotta fun. :rofl

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    For inmates following along, here's the map. A loop from the west side of St. George to Bloomington (on pavement, 3 miles), the dirt up to Blakes Lambing Grounds, the Utah side of the Virgin River Overlook, a high traverse road above Cedar Pockets Wash, drop down into Mine Valley (near Apex Mine), then out on the Scenic Backway (known locally as the Apex Mine Road). Hit pavement again on Old Highway 91 and return to St. George via Ivins and Santa Clara. Whole loop is about 40 miles. Very scenic. Great views down to St. George, across to Pine Valley Mtn (fresh snow today), and the red cliffs of Ivins. From many parts of this ride you can actually look down and see my house if you know where to look. The ride is relatively easy dirt except a few spots up high near the Virgin River Gorge. Mostly rocky, not much mud.

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    In Bloomington, look for Navajo Drive -- also a Mountain Biking area.

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    Inmates all like this sign -- the beginning of dirt. Only 10 minutes in . . . :clap

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    Crossing the cattle gate . . . it's Utah, uh Utardia.

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    Dad on his Honda -- the perfect bike for him. And really a great bike for this kind of riding. Very maneuverable. Red cliffs of Bloomington just behind Dad. Lots of locals do target shooting in this area. And drink beer. :beer

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    Some water in the road from recent rains, but easily avoided. Very little mud, mostly rock. Up high, some danger of washouts after large rain storms.

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    Dad working his way west, systematically gaining elevation. Note the sky -- nice and bright early in the day. It will turn ominous. We donned rain gear, but didn't really get wet. Very dramatic skies to come.

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    Signs. Gotta take a photo. :D

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    Clownin' around with Dad. Takin' a ADV-style pic . . . :lol3

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    Me and the WRR -- a great bike. Still sunny.

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    About halfway up to the Virgin River Gorge overlook. A few steeper spots with some loose gravel, all manageable. Pine Valley Mountain, now covered with clouds in background. West side of St. George below.

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    A few artsy, fartsy shots. We are now up in Blakes Lambing Grounds (small red lines on map), still some elevation gain to go. Big views all the back to Sand Hollow and the cliffs of Zion National Park in distance. Can start to see the edge of the Virgin River Gorge.

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    Power lines are the reasons for some of these dirt roads. Looking west (direction of travel). Sky is clear.

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    Several little intersections up here. No signs. Garmin also doesn't really work. Just have to explore. I have been on just about every track in the area. Today's ride was all territory we have done before (many times). If you don't know which way to turn at these intersections, you can get dead-ended. :evil

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    You could get lost or ledged out. I've been up here once or twice after dark. Every ride report should feature a mirror shot and the ADV salute. Cheers, inmates! :flip

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    Gathering clouds. Fantastic views. Havin' a great time with Dad. Crossing one of the last cattle gates.

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    Up high. Red cliffs of Ivins in background.

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    Dad approaching the Virgin River Gorge Overlook. On the map, this is just past the part I highlighted. Still very doable. Other overlook spots are trickier.

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    At the overlook. Have seen Rocky Mountain Sheep at this exact spot. They drop down the cliff-like sides into Cedar Pockets Wash as soon as the motos appear.

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    RedRockRider arrives. :clap

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    And the photo with no helmet. I-15 is barely visible 2000-3000 ft. below. You can hear the trucks. Today, the Virgin River was more noticeable -- murky brown with lots of run-off.

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    Me and Dad. No helmets!!! :D :D :D

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    Time to go. Gettin' cloudy. Now we are looking north. On the map, we'll travel along a high traverse road above Cedar Pockets Wash, eventually dropping down into Mine Valley, the Apex Mine Road.

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    Dad leaving the overlook.

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    Dark clouds below.

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    Still in sun, but stopping to put on raingear. It was looking ominous! :eek1 :eek1 :eek1

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    We were in good spirits with the darkening clouds. Great light.

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    On the high traverse road. Heading into the storm. Distant lightening strikes.

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    Jarvis Peak. Know locally as "Utah hill" -- very visible from western St. George.

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    Dad riding down into the storm.

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    Two of me. Good to have Dad along to take the photos. Thanks, Dad. :wave

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    Last shot of the bike before dropping down into Mine Valley -- very near the Apex Mine.

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    Dad descending. Notice the trees. Some primitive campsites in this area.

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    On the Apex Mine Road. We are warm. Still no real rain, only a light, occasional squall. Still looks threatening! :eek1

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    Riding north, into darkening skies. Losing elevation. red cliffs of Ivins (ahead and below) are obscured by clouds.

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    During a break in the clouds you can see down to St. George. The low, flat, black mesa in the sun (just above the bike mirrors) is the Black Hill behind Shadow Mountain. My neighborhood is visible at the base of the hill.

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    A second shot, looking east, back down to St. George. Pine Valley mountain hidden in clouds.

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    Look closely. Dad descending with the White Hills as background. In sunny weather, this is spectacular.

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    Some clearing. We can see the cliffs of Ivins as we approach the Shivwits Indian Reservation and the end of the Apex Mine Road.

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    Leaving the Scenic Backway. Like all good ADVers, we stopped and took a pic of the sign (from the wrong direction). This is a great road and can be easily taken over Bulldog Pass and out to the pavement of Old Highway 91 south of Castle Cliff. Highly recommended! :thumbup

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    At the same time, you enter the Shivwits Indian Reservation. Easy to see line on map. Nice bullet holes in sign. :defend

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    Final pics on dirt. Dad approaching. Storm behind him to South.

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    From same spot, Dad passing and going North. Clear, sunny skies. We got lucky. No rain. Great skies. Great ride.

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    Final shot of my bike on dirt with storm clouds still hovering over Jarvis Peak (Utah Hill) in distance.

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    There is an abandoned processing facility once associated with the Apex Mine just several hundred yards from Old Highway 91. Facility is fenced with no trespassing signs, and also on Indian reservation land. :evil

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    The intersection with Old Highway 91. From here it is a fast 20-30 minutes back into St. George via Ivins and Santa Clara.

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    Final artistic shots. Mostly to show the clear skies!!! :clap :clap :clap


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    Chasin' Dad down the hill home. Always good to get an "idiot" shot, taking while moving at speed. Ride safe fellow inmates. Do some version of this ride if you can. Well worth your time.

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    Thanks for ridin' along. Give a shout-out if you're in St. George. :wink:
    #44
  5. MSH

    MSH The Salt

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    Nice... I have ridden on those roads hundreds of times.... The Bloomington area used to not be fenced up and you could ride for days. Too bad the Desert Tortoise thing closed up so much land. :cry
    #45
  6. 4PawsHacienda

    4PawsHacienda Been here awhile

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    Great photos, thanks for sharing.
    Corner of the world you live in is one of my favorites.
    #46
  7. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    #47
  8. quota

    quota Been here awhile

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    #48
  9. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    A very scenic, short loop, just north of St. George. Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Cove Road, Gunlock Reservoir, and home via Santa Clara. The loop is all paved except about 10 miles on Sand Cove Road, which is for the most part very good gravel, passable with a street bike unless there has been recent rain. Total - about 50 miles. Here's the map.

    Enjoy, fellow inmates! :clap :clap :clap

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    Entering Snow Canyon State Park (late Sunday afternoon) on the Yamaha WRR. Great for pavement or dirt. The WRR can cruise at 70+. Much better than the TW200 for rides with some stretches of fast asphalt. (Highway 18 N.)

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    Watch for the Desert Tortoise - a feature in these parts. Cool sign, autographed by artist. :lol3

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    Great views in every direction. Huge red cliffs right next to the road.

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    Hard to see, but there is a climber in the middle of this sheer rock face. At least several hundred feet pure vertical in every direction. Warm in west facing late afternoon sun. Occasionally, there are fatalities on this wall. :eek1

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    Some of the multi-colored rock, very prevalent in Snow Canyon. Black is lava rock. Red is sandstone with iron oxide. White is sandstone without iron oxide. Lots of easy, short hikes to interesting rock features.

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    I cruised up and down the road a few times, taking some "action" pics. Very easy to coast downhill, no throttle, and let the camera swing into action. A typical mirror shot . . .

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    And a driving self-portrait . . . :wink:

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    Photo taken near the top of Snow Canyon, looking down/south. High ground of AZ strip visible in far distance.

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    Leaving Snow Canyon, back to Highway 18, heading north. This is fast asphalt with modest elevation gain, past Diamond Valley. The left turn onto dirt is at mile marker 18, just past Dammeron Valley.

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    Will post up pics of Sand Cove Road and Gunlock Reservoir tomorrow. Here's a preview of one of the small reservoirs just off Sand Cove Road . . .

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    And a car that ran off the road. It was high school homecoming this past weekend, and this road is frequented by teenagers having parties. The driver of this car probably had some very fancy explaining to do. :freaky

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    . . . to be continued . . . thanks for checkin' in . . . ride safe inmates . . .
    #49
  10. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Here's the continuation . . . while heading north on Highway 18, just past Dammeron Valley, look for mile marker 18. Shortly thereafter is your left turn onto high quality dirt. :nod

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    Entrance sign. Two little reservoirs, on essentially a desert road. Also, when floods on the Santa Clara River damaged several bridges a few years ago, this road was the only access for the town of Gunlock for several weeks. :eek1

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    Most of the road is quite fast, but there are a few curves and some loose gravel on the descents. Caution is in order. Quite a few side tracks for exploring although none have any distance. Lots of primitive camping and day use.

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    Upper Sand Cove Reservoir - the larger of the two reservoirs.

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    There is a large (old) pipeline that runs parallel to the road for a good distance. Some old engineering stuff in the area that is quite interesting. Rabbit bush in full bloom. Late afternoon light.

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    Idiot shot, straight into the setting sun. Easy dirt, taken at modest speed. :D

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    Car off the road. Much earlier in the day, we were on this road heading for a family hike. My 10-year old son saw this car and was amazed at how badly the driver missed the road. Led to a good discussion about high school dances and appropriate behavior. We'll see how much sticks. We suspect the driver of this car was a homecoming party-goer. Oops.

    :doh :stoned :doh :stoned :doh

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    A few pics from the hike, just off this road. (Earlier the same day.) Limited trail. Mostly exploring on slickrock. Feature is know as the Camel's Hump.

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    Wife and son, striking a pose on the summit ridgeline. :clap :clap :clap

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    Just under the summit. Terrific hike, lots of scrambling and route finding, about 3-4 hours. Best to avoid during hot summer days. Great time for hiking in southern Utah.

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    The parents came along. Did great for seniors with recent knee replacements. Very impressive! :clap

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    Back to the moto ride . . . Lower Sand Cove Reservoir. Very small. Still popular with locals for fishing, camping.

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    Shadow on rock wall on final descent into Gunlock. Look closely, FYYFF, the ADV salute. :flip

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    End of Sand Cove Road at southern bridge of Gunlock. Santa Clara River.

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    Very impressive sign for Gunlock. This was an Eagle Scout project. The WRR is impressed! :clap

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    Heading south on pavement from Gunlock, there is a ford (Santa Clara River) and dirt road heading west towards Manganese Wash. Save this for another day. Didn't want to get my feet wet, so just stopped to take a pic.

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    And the view downstream (south) towards Gunlock Reservoir. Lots of current/flow for this time of year.

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    A bit further down, the view just before the reservoir. Similar to a braided river.

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    Gunlock Reservoir at dusk. Full to capacity. Very popular with boaters during warmer months.

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    The "official" entrance to the state park is at the southern end of the reservoir.

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    Final pic of reservoir with Square Top Mountain in distance.

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    Full moonrise above distinctive lava and redrock layers. Very southern Utah. :D

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    Note: A very easy alternative route which is 100% pavement is to skip Sand Cove Rd and extend northward to Veyo. This is known as the Veyo loop, the bicycle route for the St. George Ironman. Veyo has gas, a simple diner, and a famous pie shop. :dg Details in a future ride. Thanks for checkin' in. Ride safe, inmates.
    #50
  11. DBrentMiller

    DBrentMiller Sojourn Chronicles

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    Hey, RedRockRider, thanks for your thread on many different levels:
    1. Beautiful scenery around St. George and the roads that give a different view.
    2. I always enjoy father/son (son/father) stories and this is a great one.
    3. My son lives in St. George, and I've visited several times, twice on the V-Strom.
    4. I may be there next May after attending the Overland Expo near Flagstaff.

    Thanks again.

    Brent
    #51
  12. cat

    cat Long timer

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    Lovely!
    Way to go with your dad, man! :nod
    Lovely places, great photos.
    Good bikes. I always wonder about the TW.
    Thanks!
    #52
  13. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Brent, thanks! I checked out a few of your YouTube videos -- nice! :clap :clap :clap

    Of course, I like the ones of AZ to St. George, Hiking at Pine Valley Mtn, and Zion. BTW, the Zion road through the tunnel is completely repaved and in perfect condition. I been up to Pine Valley Mountain Recreation Area many times -- frequent place for camp-outs with Cub Scouts, my son is of the age. Cold water on the feet, eh? :rofl

    Give me a "heads up" if you are at the same little motel on St. George Blvd next May. Great to do a little ride together. The yellow V-strom looks sharp. Would be very easy to see in the mirror. Ride safe!
    #53
  14. stuckinUT

    stuckinUT I Wanna Ride!

    Joined:
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    Heber City,Utah
    Im jealous! I wish I had riding like that around me.(salt lake)
    #54
  15. DBrentMiller

    DBrentMiller Sojourn Chronicles

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    Will do! But .... isn't it a little presumptuous to think you will be looking at my V-Strom in your rear view mirror? :wink:

    Be well, ride safe.

    Brent
    #55
  16. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Had the chance to go for a ride today with Ken, a guy I know from the local motorcycle store. We did about 125 miles, maybe half pavement, half dirt. Our destination was Enterprise Reservoir, about 40 miles northwest of St. George. Very scenic country. Great rock formations, lots of camping. About 5,000 ft elevation, cooler than St. George, but nothing like the high country of Brian Head.

    Here's a pic of our bikes on a bluff above St. George (Green Valley), just as we were getting started in early afternoon. Red cliff of Ivins in background with Pine Valley Mountain on horizon. :clap :clap :clap

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    And here's Ken. A great guy and a terrific rider. :nod Ken is my main man at the MotoZoo store in St. George. Toystore paradise for inmates. They sell Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki . . . if you are in the area, stop by and give Ken the ADV salute. I'm sure he can find a way to help you spend some money. Plus, it seems as if he's actually owned most types of bikes in the store at one point or another, so his advice would probably be pretty good.

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    Ken's bike is a totally dialed in TW200. The bike just purrs along, and does all the things that T-dubs excel at -- climb, crawl, twist & turn . . good on curvy pavement, not good for making speed. Our road speed today was mostly 40-60 mph, slower on the dirt. The WRR and TW were well suited for the terrain. Our rides:

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    Ken's TW200. We both carried extra gas because we weren't sure of our route at the outset. There is a gas station in Enterprise (town), but if you just go to the reservoir, then take the "long way" home, gas could be an issue.

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    The big picture map might be useful:

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    I didn't mark up this map -- perhaps a useful reference for future rides. Here's a synopsis of our ride today for those following along:
    -- Go from Green Valley to Santa Clara on dirt (some single track).
    -- Leave dirt in Santa Clara by crossing new bridge and entering main road in center of town. Turn left, head out on pavement past Ivins, through the Shivwitz Indian Reservation.
    -- At the intersection (Old 91, Utah Hill), bear right still on pavement towards Gunlock.
    -- Pass by Gunlock Reservoir and through the town of Gunlock.
    -- Proceed to sharp right hand turn, pavement ascends "the wall" -- steep incline three miles before Veyo (Highway 18).
    -- Turn left onto dirt at this sharp right hand turn. Easy to find. On the map, the dirt road is called "Veyo Shoal Creek Rd." On the ground, the sign says "Goldstrike Road"
    -- Follow this gravel/dirt road to Enterprise Reservoir.
    -- After messing around at Enterprise Reservoir, we rode pavement into the town of Enterprise, had a late lunch (thanks, Ken), then retraced our route.

    Lots of side trips and extended variations are possible, especially further west -- Cougar Pass, Motoqua, etc. That'll be another ride. :lol3


    A short break, just north of of Gunlock Reservoir. Possible to ford Santa Clara River here and head west on dirt. We continued on pavement through Gunlock and further north. Ken checkin' in on the phone while we still had coverage.

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    The key turn-off onto dirt. Veyo Shoal Creek Rd on the map; Goldstrike Rd on the sign. Follow to Enterprise Reservoir. Some ATV trailer parking in this area.

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    We mostly had a great time ridin' along. Only a few pics. Here's one of some fall color. Elevation is too low 5,000-6,000 ft to get the blazing yellow aspen of 8,000-10,000 ft, but there are still some hints of red/orange. A bit too early.

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    Typical road scene in higher country just before Enterprise Reservoir. Lots of dramatic rock features. Worth the trip. Utah is all about rocks, eh? :wink:

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    The high point on this route. (same sign from p. 1 of this thread)

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    At the shoreline of Upper Enterprise Reservoir. There is great camping (official and unofficial, but allowed), and lots to explore on motos and/or ATVs. Ken gave this place two thumbs up -- :thumbup:thumbup -- I agree.

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    After an appropriate amount of exploring, we head to Enterprise (on pavement) for food. Not that many choices, but at least one good one. Doesn't look like much from the outside.

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    But they know burgers, fries, shakes, etc. Failure, no food pics. Next time. Consolation prize -- the logo. You get the idea of the place. I've been here a few times as part of moto rides. They never disappoint. Also have store in St. George.

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    After food, time to dump the extra gas into the tank. Ken's TW200 took just a gallon, and we had run about 70 miles at this point.

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    The fun was only half done. Now we do the ride in reverse. :clap :clap :clap One last pic at the end of dirt where we rejoin pavement and head back through Gunlock.

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    Oh, and lots of plants in bloom, many with bees. If you see Ken at MotoZoo, ask him about the bees. Not a good story, but the ending wasn't bad. :eek1

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    St. George area Inmates and Lurkers: looks like Ken and I might do a similar ride next Wednesday (or at least some time in the future - I owe him lunch). If you're potentially interested in joining in, give me a heads up. You'll be able to keep up with me. Not sure if you'll be able to keep up with Ken or not . . . :lol3

    Take care, ride safe!
    #56
  17. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Gas up. Late afternoon. We've got a few hours. Dad's ready. Let's go through Snow Canyon up to Diamond Valley, then head up on to the shoulder of Pine Valley Mountain. We had time for about 40 miles, roundtrip. On the Benchmark Map (above), the dirt road heading northeast from Diamond Valley is 033, on the flank of the Grass Knoll.

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    Cruisin' up through Snow Canyon State Park. :clap :clap :clap Alternative route to highway 18 if heading north with a bit of time (and a state park pass). Better scenery!!! :lol3

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    Old cinder cone in background. Just before Diamond Valley.

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    Several good dirt roads enter/exit from Diamond Valley. Pine Valley Mountain in background.

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    Pavement quickly ends. Dried ruts. Easy road.

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    Crossing the border into Dixie National forest on Rt. 033. Gaining elevation.

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    RedRockRider takin' a break, view looking back down.

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    Dad near our turn-around point (time). Nice approach to Pine Valley Mtn. We'll come back and go higher on the hill. I've been through here before, but it was the first time Dad was on this road. He says, definitely worth a repeat trip. Right on, Dad!

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    Landscape shot. Signs of forest fires. Just after this pic, a coyote dashed in front of us. Not even near quick enough with the camera.

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    Final shot on the descent, probably my favorite of this group. :thumbup Always good to take a ride with Dad!!!

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    #57
  18. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    I like your last photo of your dad riding away into the sunset. Cool stuff!

    With all those burnt Juniper tree's (I presume Juniper), they look like headstones in a cemetery. I was on a mule wagon ride in the far corner of NW Utah/NE Nevada last year and traveled through burnt tree's just like in your photo. Kind of erie, yet interesting.

    You've got a great thread going here and have been following all your posts.

    Thanks for sharing.
    #58
  19. fredster

    fredster Clueless Adventurer

    Joined:
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    I lived in SLC for 9 years and used to go camping in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placeName w:st="on">Snow</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st="on">Canyon</st1:placeType></st1:place> with my late wife and daughter and spent many winter weekends in St G. Lots of good memories. Thanks for sharing.
    #59
  20. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,603
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    We are at Brian Head with family and friends for a 3-day weekend. My son and I were out enjoying the warm weather even though there is lots of snow on the ground. Brian Head got 15 inches about a week ago. Fall colors are gone at the higher elevations. Perhaps a bit of color left at ~8,000 ft. It feels like winter is coming.

    The man, on his bike, out in front of the condo. :clap

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    And the snowman. Should last the weekend! :D

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    Son upgrades from KLX to the Versys. He calls it the "green lightening bug." We really had fun taking a slow cruise around the paved streets of Brian Head. He knows every road and was a great tour guide!

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    A kid havin' fun -- just as it should be!!! :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

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    Back in front of our condo, Mommy snaps a pic of her two boys.

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    In the late afternoon I had the chance for solo ride on the V. Good to get out and crank it up a bit. The Versys is really a great bike for movin' along. Did about 50 miles. Will post up shortly. Here's the V on the open road at slightly lower elevation.

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    #60