Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George

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

  1. ringokelly

    ringokelly Been here awhile

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    Dave glad you are OK, but wow, that's some nasty damage. After seeing your shoulder with a big knot on it, I figured it was messed up...but 5 ribs? Dang!

    Get better soon and let us know when you are ready to get back on it. RRR was right, that could have been any of us, and there were a few times where I caught an edge and got squirrely and nearly went down.

    Take care...you are one tough SOB. :clap :1drink
  2. DirtyJohnny

    DirtyJohnny BR 549

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  3. DirtyJohnny

    DirtyJohnny BR 549

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  4. DirtyJohnny

    DirtyJohnny BR 549

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  5. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Great videos, DirtyJohnny! :clap

    Was there a sound track on the Caliente Hill climb? Nice pause at the top of the descent on the big bike. Was wondering what you may have been saying as you started down the steep, loose section . . . :eek1 :(: :becca then eventually :clap

    Funny little problem with the seat . . .

    And finally, yeah Austin was good sport for riding along with a bunch of middle-aged guys (or older) on dual sport bikes. When he lets it rip on a powerful, lightweight bike he's in a different league. Nice you guys can enjoy that as Father & Son.

    Ready for nice mellow road bike ride . . . perhaps with the wives . . . whenever you are around. Take care, RRR.
  6. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Went for a good solo ride yesterday. Was out exploring, piecing together an "off pavement" route from St. George to Mesquite. Definitely doable, probably several variations. I pulled it off, then slabbed back home just as it was getting dark.

    A few pics. Backside of Utah Hill on Old Highway 91. Start of the Eardley Road. This is where our "Caliente Inmate" ride hit pavement. As I took this pic a CA-based Kern Pipeline guy stopped to talk. Big TW fan. Nice guy with lots of time on his hands.

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    Just a mile or two in. I turn left (south), following a small water pipeline downhill.

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    The first of many watering troughs.

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    Gentle downhills with pleasant desert scenery. Lots of Joshua trees. :clap

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    Another tank.

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    And an empty tank.

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    Nearby another full tank.

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    Fencing, in good repair. Very scenic area. No cattle nearby. Perhaps still at higher elevation.

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    At this point I was still close to Old Highway 91, so I popped out to get an exact fix on the sign. Here it is. :deal

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    This is immediately across the pavement from the "exit" of the Joshua Tree Scenic Backway which is accessible from Navajo Drive in Bloomington.

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    Followed some fence lines and did a bit of cross country driving . . . saw this sign. Stop for a self-portrait. :D

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    Further down slope and yet another full tank.

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    After a few minor washouts and a 4-way intersection and a cattle guard, I came to a long straight section.

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    I didn't come this way, but here is the view looking back east from the same spot.

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    Part of the "Old Mormon Wagon Road." Area is very close to border of Utah, AZ, and Nevada. None of the Benchmark Maps provide good detail. Google Maps is better. But, lots of variation due to roads routed in washes. Changes with each major storm. Also some recent pipeline and powerline projects alter the "road" patterns.

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    Dropping in to a wash near the powerlines. The road in the wash is surprisingly easy to follow and relatively smooth.

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    More Eagle Scout signs. Nice work Jace. Not as many bullet holes in this sign. :lol3

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    Just before entering Beaver Dam Wash there is a stand of trees and a few abandoned camp trailers.

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    Several local ATVers from Littlefield, AZ told me a hermit used to live here. Apparently he died about a year ago.

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    A look inside his main trailer.

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    A small building.

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    Nearby is a windmill. This area is on the right bank of Beaver Dam Wash about 7 miles north from the town of Beaver Dam. The wash is very ridable from this point south.

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    In Beaver Dam Wash heading south.

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    One fence line crosses the wash.

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    Lots of recent tracks.

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    Scenery in the wash.

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    Looking south towards Mount Bangs. Very close to town of Beaver Dam, AZ.

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    Poked around town of Beaver Dam a bit. Then found dirt (really rocks and sand) continuation from Beaver Dam down to Mesquite, Nevada. All on the north side of I-15. Route got a bit sketchy due to erosion near Mesquite. Reconnected with pavement just north of Mesquite at the town dump and police firing range. Good ride. I'll work out a few more of the details then post up with the best map possible. There are at least 1-2 additional variations on my "to do" list.

    Final pic is in route between Beaver Dam and Mesquite.

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    As always inmates (and lurkers), thanks for riding along. Ride safe, ride often. :wave
  7. quota

    quota Been here awhile

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    I was at the same spot on Sunday morning about 1030. Ended up going west and then north to Caliente for lunch. Beautiful morning for a ride.
  8. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Sure are getting your TW time in:D. Kinda scary going into the old hermits quarters. Now what will happen with the stuff?
  9. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Thanks for checkin' in Quota, especially since we are St. George neighbors. :lol3

    My pic was taken on Saturday. On Sunday I went riding with my dad from Gunlock Reservoir to Enterprise Reservoir. On Monday I was out solo again at this same spot on Old #91 checking out more dirt routes down to Mesquite. Big territory out there! :D I'll get a few pics organized shortly.

    The riding area between St. George and Caliente, NV is one of my favorites. Lots of variations possible, and nice to be able to get gas and buy lunch in Caliente! The old railroad station in Caliente is a bonus!
  10. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Admiral - Thanks for following along. I think the critters are helping themselves to the hermit's stuff at a fairly good pace. Not much left for humans, but very interesting to see how some people live . . . it's different.

    Really enjoying your thread. Always some type of new exploration going on. The weather might start to hit you . . . may have to break out that snow tire for the TW and keep rollin' year round. Have fun out there! :wave
  11. quota

    quota Been here awhile

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    I like it out there as well. I'm trying to find notes and route sheets from some rides we did out there 15-16 years ago. I can't remember where I was and would like to go back and visit some of those places again. I can always just wander around and sooner or later I'll probably find them again.

    It was a quick trip down for me. One of the guys we ride with up north has a place just a mile north and east of you, so I ran down to ride with them for 3 days. Back north now. Would have been a perfect weekend if one of the bikes hadn't died on Mt. Bangs (no ignition) and one of the riders had not ended up in the ER after a mishap on the way home from Caliente.

    Hope to be back in a week or two.
  12. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Tuesday, Oct 22nd, 10 am

    Meet at gas station in front of Walmart in Bloomington. Will go to Navajo Drive, gain elevation on dirt to overlook point above Virgin River Gorge. Explore Joshua Tree Scenic Backway and Bloomington Cave area. Probably return via Navajo Drive. Several loop variations possible. Good riding area close to St. George. :ricky

    Expect 3-4 hours riding time. Slow and easy. Return to St. George for late afternoon lunch. :dg Rumor has it we might have a B-day boy along. :beer

    Route is lots of 2nd and 3rd gear sightseeing. No 4th and 5th gear fast stuff. Nothing overly technical, but smaller bikes better suited.

    Post up or PM if interested. :ear
  13. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    How many bd candles should I bring?

    IN.
  14. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Had a great ride with Dad this past Sunday. Just getting around to posting up the pics. Went from St. George to Gunlock Reservoir, then on dirt out the Veyo Shoal Road to Enterprise Reservoir. One of our favorite riding areas. Only took a handful of pics as we were out enjoying the riding and the father/son time. We did catch some very nice fall colors. :clap

    Our first stop was at Gunlock Reservoir. Here's dad at the dam with our bikes.

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    Scenery shot. Nice sky!

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    At the upper end of the reservoir. Very cool delta where the Santa Clara River runs into the reservoir.

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    After the road gains elevation there are some nice patches of fall color. Probably hit this area at peak color.

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    Scenery near a small section of "The Pinnacles."

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    Just below the dam for Lower Enterprise Reservoir.

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    Self-pic walking out on top of the dam.

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    Thanks for checkin' in and thanks for all the comments and PMs. Looking forward to seeing any/all inmates for a "mellow" ride next Tuesday, 10 am. Details above. :wave
  15. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Wow, I've never seen a dam built like that before. Way cool!
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  16. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    A few days ago at Brian Head. Very cool greenish color for the new reservoir. Some thin ice on the surface at mid-morning.
    Hope the color remains like this as it fills. Might be very nice next summer. Vaguely reminds me of Lake Louise in Canada. :lol3

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  17. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Been piecing together a few options for riding dirt from St. George to Mesquite. Had to go back down to Beaver Dam Wash to figure out a route up out of the wash to reconnect with the powerlines on the Nevada side. It's all there, you just have to know where to look. Also found a few dead ends. Still more exploring to do. Here are some pics . . .


    Blasted over Utah Hill on pavement on Old Highway #91. Went all the way to AZ border checking out a few things, then came back about a mile. Stopped to photograph this relatively new sign.

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    Close-up. :lol3

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    Start of dirt. Old Mormon wagon road. Leaves Old Highway #91 in Utah, but within one mile of AZ border. No signs. Just north of powerlines.

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    Signage. Gotta love those Eagle Scout projects. At least this one didn't have anything to do with tipping over hoodoos in Goblin Valley. :cry

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    After a quick turn, you see the long, straight stretch heading west. A bit rocky and few erosion ditches, but reasonably fast, steady riding.

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    Another cattle gate at a 4-way (X-style) intersection. Keep running due west with powerlines parallel, just to the south. Some red paint on stone markers near here.

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    Just to the north of the dirt road. At this point, the fence line could be the UT-AZ border. Certainly very close to here. :deal

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    Eventually drop down into a tributary wash to Beaver Dam Wash. Easy riding, no washouts, firm sand.

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    Wash meanders southwest, crossing directly under the powerlines.

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    Still have the Old Mormon Wagon road signs from our Eagle Scout. :clap

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    Directly under the powerlines, very close to Beaver Dam Wash.

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    Stopped back in at the hermit's place . . . no changes from a couple of days ago.

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    Rather than driving south down Beaver Dam Wash I want to go slightly north and find a route up and out the west side of the wash, up on top where the powerlines are. There are roads/tracks by these powerlines that will connect me with Mesquite (although it's not as obvious as it might seem).

    The TW is dwarfed by some of the erosion banks, but for the most part travel in the wash is easy. The challenge is to find the right exit spot up to the powerlines.

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    Found one or two dead-ends, mostly by following ATV tracks. A few spots made some very steep climbs with bad erosion marks in the trickiest spots. Some inmates would happily give it a go, but I was content to walk up and take a look, then walk back down. Too easy to have a mishap in an isolated area. The exploring was really fun, so I didn't mind. :clap


    Eventually found a good side wash heading west. Very fun riding as the track narrowed. Sample pic.

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    A few interesting spots, but eventually popped out on top, well north of the powerlines. Needed to skirt some gullies and find a gap in a north-south running fenceline. Turned out it was the border between AZ and Nevada. Was very close to the 3-way corner with Utah-AZ-Nevada. Have to go back and look around for a marker.:nod This pic is looking south as I ride down toward the powerlines again.

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    After riding the 2-track along the fenceline I find the powerlines and hit a good dirt road just behind the cattle gate. Of course, gotta come take a look at the sign. Very nice. I know right where I am. Couple of choices from here. My efficiency breaks down as I want to know where all the roads go. Benchmark doesn't have good detail and GPS rarely works on the smaller tracks. Just doesn't match up with what you see in front of you. I prefer the "exploring" method. Fun to discover the unknown.

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    Among other things I find some smooth fast dirt back towards the town of Beaver Dam, AZ. When the guys where building the powerlines they went all out on the road in some sections. Other bits seem like they were barely enough to get the job done, and of course, no regular maintenance.

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    Popped out on pavement on the top edge of Beaver Dam town. Not much in Beaver Dam, certainly no gas, so I want to make my way down to Mesquite.

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    Some very fun dirt tracks just on the north side of I-15. Good whoop section. A couple of chances to duck under I-15. :wink:

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    More secret passageways. There are some washes which make things tricky. Didn't want to get myself into a situation I couldn't easily reverse. Still need to do a bit more exploring, probably starting in Mesquite and working northwards.

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    Used a short stretch of pavement to get to Mesquite and find gas. Then back to exploring. Ended up south of Mesquite checking out this tower, easily visible on the south side of I-15.

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    Always wondered about this tower. Seen it many times with family while driving to/from Las Vegas. Always jokingly referred to it as some kind of "space ship" building. My son never bought that story anyway.:rofl

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    One more pass back to the north side of I-15. This one is actually a road, albeit is noted as one lane. :deal

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    Looking north towards Davidson Peak. The road is marked as dead end, but generally roads this good just don't go out and end. Still exploring . . .

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    Lots and lots of powerlines (and a pipeline) up this way. Found my way back, but the route was longer than I thought. The powerlines split and leave you with some interesting choices. For the most part, I opted for what I was familiar with even though it wasn't always the most direct route. Once it starts to get dark you have to stay on roads you know. Too much chance for unexpected wash-outs and big backtracking. Still lots of new areas to figure out. But certainly have a few good options down for good dirt between St. George and Mesquite.

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    The little washes climbing out the west side of Beaver Dam Wash are some very interesting riding! :thumb

    Thanks for coming along. Be safe out there.
  18. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    Howdy RRR,

    Your last few posts have been great. It's been awhile since I've been out to Gunlock & Veyo, I gotta get out there. Maybe someone in the area can show me around, know anybody?

    The pic of your dad with the fall colors is classic! BTW, can dad ride that 230 sidesaddle like I saw "someone" do one day?

    Now if memory serves me(I'm not going to look for my charts), the "space station" outside of Mesquite is called the Mormon Mesa VORTAC. It is just a navigational aid for us 'old' pilots. Now GPS has taken over the flying industry.

    This "imaginary friend" used to use that back in the day when navigating to So UT.

    Thanks again for sharing the beauty of SoUT, and now, strips of AZ & NV.
  19. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Samthg -- I'd forgotten that you were an "old" pilot. There are quite a few old air navigational things out in the wilds. Always fun to track stuff down. Let me know when your schedule works for SW Utah. We'll do a few things when the time is right. Keep posting pics of your moto adventures . . . or email / post-up with the "scooter gang" on some coastal highway. DirtyJohnny just emailed me a pic of his busted up swimming pool deck in Vernal. You gotta have something better than that in CA. :nod Take it easy, RRR. :wave
  20. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    I'll call this "Thermo Road," but the route is much more than that.
    - Starts in Brian Head, descend Parowan Canyon.
    - North on dirt through Kane Spring to paved 130 and north to Minersville. Fill up with gas and food.
    - West from Minersville on the paved Thermo Road. Check Benchmark for details. It is paved almost to Lund. Short connection via good dirt on Blue Mountain Road. This is all north of the railroad line.
    - Followed railroad frontage road from Lund to Beryl to Modena. The last bit to Modena requires a dual sport bike, not a road bike. No services in Modena.
    - Easy dirt from Modena to Enterprise. Gas available.
    - South on Highway 18 to St. George.

    The run from Minersville to Enterprise is well over 100 miles. The reserve light on my WRR was on when I got to the Sinclair station in Enterprise.

    Here's a simple map:

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    I've been to some of these areas before, but a few bits of these roads were new to me. Check out post #444 on page 30 for some pics around Lund, including some cool train pics.

    On to the pics. Since the ride started in Brian Head, how 'bout another pic of that cool green reservoir. I had ridden my Versys up the night before and now wanted to bring my WRR back to St. George. I was going to have fun taking the long way. :rayof

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    On Kane Spring Road. The leaves are almost all gone at this elevation. They haven't even started to change yet in St. George. We have at least two months of fall color in SW Utah. Brian Head is peak color in early/mid September. St. George trees don't even start to change until November.

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    Perhaps this is Kane Spring. Pretty good flow across the road.

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    Cattle country, but not much around. Pretty empty area.

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    Connecting with pavement at 130, just south of Minersville, near Baboon and Dry Willow Peaks.

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    Attractive light on the local fauna.

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    Quick run down the pavement to Minersville. WRR really excels at this mixed dirt/pavement riding. Much better than the TW.

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    Bought gas, there are actually two stations in Minersville. But the food offerings were bleak. No restaurants. One local grocery store which was perfect.

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    Nice tables just outside, even a bit sheltered from the wind. All the meat was tucked down inside the sandwich. It was the real deal. :D

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    My view while eating lunch.

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    Headed west on the paved Thermo Road. Basically flat and boring, but I wanted to see what was there.

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    Quick diversion to check out the railroad tracks. These cars switch around, they are not abandoned. This car was super tall.

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    Complete with warning sign. :deal

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    Crossing the tracks to get back up north to the Thermo Road which doesn't run adjacent to the tracks.

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    Have a pic of my Versys on this same crossing. Stormy skies on the day with my Versys made for much more interesting light. Today was clear and sunny. Boring light, but very pleasant day for a ride.

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    Mega-scale cattle ranching is the primary scenery along the Thermo Road. There are dozens of these large facilities, a few had the smell to match. Good to put these "cattle finishing" stations in the middle of nowhere.

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    Lots of groupings like this, all set back from the road. Don't tell the animal rights people about this. I'm sure that's why the all have gates that could be locked.

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    Got close enough to photograph the sign, but didn't want to go any closer. :lol3

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    Ranch building from a different generation. The windmill was working, which was cool.

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    Terrific symbol of the older American West.

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    Water would surge out of the pipe depending on wind speed.

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    Eventually the pavement of the Thermo Road ends. The commercial ranching operations end at the same place. Route turns to graded dirt/gravel. On Benchmark this is the Blue Mountain Road. In good conditions you could take a road bike through here. WRR at a T-intersection. That's the Bronze Knoll in the background.

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    A very long, straight stretch as the road gently descends towards Lund.

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    Poking around Lund for a few minutes. Lund is back on the trainline. Quite a bit of old stuff around.

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    Recent markings from the maintenance guys.

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    A few old houses, right in front of the tracks. Looks like they were two company houses.

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    Double sink and a nice view out the kitchen window. Just like my house. Perhaps Mrs. RedRockRider would like to contemplate a move? :rofl

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    The frontage road from Lund down to Beryl is in very good condition. This is where I rode my Versys before.

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    Cool old tower at Beryl. Reminds me of model trains when I was a kid, and with my son at holiday time.

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    Looking straight up. Don't know if the bird's nest is active or not. It's a big nest!

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    On my way from Beryl to Modena. This part is new to me.

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    The small bridge in the prior pic was built in 1914. A few other bridges were marked at early as 1904, well over 100 years ago. SW Utah was the wild west at that time. Train passengers were just starting to visit nearby Zion and Bryce National Parks. Lots of mining history in this immediate area as well. It is in Iron County, Utah.

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    Another bridge over a small wash.

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    This one dates from 1923. This work has withstood the test of time very well.

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    Typical set-up with road running immediately adjacent on the south side of the tracks. Same road used for maintenance by Union Pacific, but no signs in area limiting access. On other sections of this track towards Nevada it marked "Private - No Access."

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    Perhaps my favorite pic of the day. Late afternoon light near Modena.

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    Lots of ranches/farms just south of here. This guy had somehow hopped the fence and was looking to get back to his friends. When I looked up and noticed him I thought for a brief moment that perhaps I was on my way to Patagonia. That would be a cool moto ride!

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    Equipment shed near Modena.

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    Looking straight down the tracks from the Modena swtich. That's the highway 56 overpass in the distance.

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    Abandoned hotel in Modena. Common for these smaller railroad towns to have a hotel back in their prime.

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    A look inside the hotel.

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    Next door looks like an abandoned store, bar, or restaurant.

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    Another look inside. :D

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    Classic water tower. This is about as iconic as it gets for old railroad towns. I poked around a bit more, then found my dirt road from Modena down to Enterprise. It was time to put the camera away and twist the throttle. Smooth run back to St. George.

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    Thanks for riding along. This loop isn't classic southwest Utah redrock, but it is very pleasant riding and the railroad line adds a lot of interest, both from active trains and the long historical perspective.