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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    Yeah, ride or trailer down to St. G anytime. As long as you can keep your hands warm, there is always good riding, pavement or dirt. Your Tiger could make it in a few long hours. :D Been enjoying your posts and photos as well.

    For me, the TW200 is a great little exploring bike. If I'm checking out a new place, especially if alone, I usually will choose the TW200 over the WRR. The TW has some shortfalls, but the low seat height, fat tire, and light weight, make it an appealing choice. :clap:clap:clap Doubly true if darkness is approaching. :wink:

    TW200s make a great smaller, second bike -- although I think my Dad's Honda 230L is overall a better machine. His bike has a sixth gear and runs better at elevation (flawless). It is also a great little exploring bike, capable (almost) of highway speeds.

    Ride on, my man. Take care.
    #81
  2. tompee

    tompee Adventurer

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    Great thread. I want to get a second bike myself so that I can take other people for rides... and TW200 is right up there on my list.
    Currently have WR as you do... great minds ;-)

    Subscribed!
    #82
  3. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Checked out a few of your threads. Very nice pics. Your WRX in all black is very sharp. The smooth tires make a nice contrast with the snow. Very adventuresome bit of riding there, my friend. :clap :clap :clap

    Yeah, the TW200 would make a nice complement to your current bike. You might even like the knobbie tire for some of your rides! :lol3

    TW200 does make a good "family & friends" bike. Low seat, modest power, good on dirt or pavement, simple to operate and maintain . . . Ride safe. I'll look forward to more of your posts. :ricky
    #83
  4. havocdog

    havocdog Been here awhile

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    RedRock - thanks for these shots - nice to see some of my favorite spots around BH without snow. I really need to get out there in warmer weather and on a bike... come to think of it, I really need to get a TW again... keep the pictures coming.
    #84
  5. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    You're hitting a chord with the crowd out here concerning the smaller bike. My '86 XL is very tired and i have been yearning for something in that range. Your antics on the WR & TW are very inspirational.

    Keeps those pic's coming.
    #85
  6. havocdog

    havocdog Been here awhile

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    By the way, I'm more accustomed to that bridge looking like this (taken from the other side):
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    #86
  7. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Yes, the bridge is very attractive from that side as well! Just not as much snow as your picture. :lol3:lol3:lol3

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    #87
  8. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Today: 215 miles with Eddie, one of my ridin' friends. Destination: Toroweap. Eddie is a great guy and a super riding partner. More pics and some details to follow. Here's a warm-up.

    The bikes, just leaving St. George (River Rd.). Eddie rocks on his trusty KLR650. I'm on the WRR, carrying extra gas. Large distances and no services on the AZ strip (Grand Canyon north rim on dirt).

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    Grand Canyon from the Toroweap Overlook. Fabulous! :thumb

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    Your host and fellow inmate. :clap Colorado river, several thousand feet below.

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    #88
  9. MSH

    MSH The Salt

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    Took some iPhone shots at Mokaak (Mokiak) Canyon at the strip this week. You ought to hike up that canyon... I didnt get any pics in the canyon but its amazing. Here are a couple at the corral near the entrance.

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    #89
  10. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    I think I know where that is. Close to St. George. Just off of the River Road exit on dirt towards the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse (Rt. 1069). Climb the canyon towards the first pass. Spellings on Benchmark Maps (AZ) show Mocaac Wash and Mokaac Mountain. Probably lots of spelling variations out there. I'll have to explore that area a bit more. Thanks.

    Did I say you've got a terrific looking bike!!! :clap :clap :clap Looks ready for some serious exploring on the AZ strip!
    #90
  11. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Still owe some photos and write-up on Toroweap ride with Eddie, but why post when you can ride, heh? :wink:

    Thursday at my house is cleaning day . . . when the cleaning ladies come . . . if possible, I go. :lol3 As usual, Dad was ready. Since Toroweap (yesterday) was a cold ride, I decided to head west of town with Dad (somewhat warmer). We rode from Bloomington up to the Apex Mine Road -- officially, the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway -- and followed it down Bulldog Canyon back to pavement at Old Highway 91, the "other" side of the Utah hill. Then pavement back to St. George. About 60 miles total. As always, a great ride with Dad.

    A few pics, since this was the ride of the day, then back to the Toroweap post. Here's me, sporting the new Tourmaster Air Intake Two Jacket in HiViz Yellow. So far, :thumbup:thumbup

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    Dad, in Honda Red, as we start to gain elevation, shortly after leaving Bloomington.

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    And the WRR on the "other" side of the Utah hill, near the end of the Mojave Desert Scenic Backway, in Joshua Tree National Landmark, an area badly burned by fire about 10 years ago. (Before my time in the area.)

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    I'll get back to the Toroweap ride soon, unless that is all my free time is spent back on the bike. Lots of exploring still to do. Ride safe fellow inmates.
    #91
  12. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Here's the write-up on my ride to Toroweap (Grand Canyon Overlook) with Eddie from a few days ago. Eddie, on the bike, ready to roll. It was cold in the morning, so we headed out the fast dirt (~50 mph) toward the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse.

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    The 2007 KLR 650. Great bike for the AZ strip. Lot of rides to the Grand Canyon Overlook points are 100+ miles one-way, so you need 200+ mile range to get back to gas. KLR also has the capacity to carry camping gear. Nothing like sunrise/sunset on the canyon rim. :D

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    Map of our travels. Benchmark, Arizona. Our route is highlighted. This is the "classic" loop from St. George. The road south from St. George to Mount Trumball Schoolhouse (#1069, then #5) and past Mount Trumbull towards Tuweep is more interesting than Clayhole Rd (also #5) straight north back to pavement (and gas) at Colorado City / Hilldale. Good to make the loop. See more stuff that way . . .:clap :clap :clap

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    In addition to Benchmark, a useful smaller map is the Grand Canyon-Parashant Map available (free) from the National Park Service. It shows only the "major" dirt roads, but its route numbering system matches the actual signage on the ground much better.

    A few notes:
    - The roads are all hard pack dirt / gravel, and are currently in excellent condition. Easy to travel at ~50 mph for almost all of it.
    - The stretch from Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse due east (Potato Valley, past Mount Trumbull) has some ups and downs and would be more prone to washouts, etc. Elevation is about 7,000 ft. Large trees. Expect cooler temps and more moisture (including snow).
    - From Tuweap south to the Toroweap Overlook, the road is a simple doubletrack. The last few miles have some rocks and simple ledges. Any ADV bike could get through. The ledges, rocks would stop cars. Any SUV / Truck would go through easily.
    - From Tuweap north to Colorado City is fast, good dirt, unless wet. Hard clay turns to slime quickly, and there is at least one wash you wouldn't want to try and cross if wet.


    My bike, at the outset. It is about 90 miles from St. George to Toroweap. Then 60+ back to Colorado City. At least 150 miles, but you need more range because you might do a little exploring on side roads, etc. Plus, bad consequences if you end up short on gas. :eek1

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    Typical dirt track off the main road. Some of these go for 50-100 miles. Only one way to know for sure. :wink: Almost all worth exploring at least once in my view, especially the ones that head to overlook points -- in addition to Toroweap -- Whitmore Canyon, Kelly Point, Twin Point. One older couple we passed in a nicely equipped truck was headed to Kelly Point for few days. Said they were finding ways to spend the inheritance down . . . good plan.

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    The welcome sign. Probably lots of inmates have this picture. Let's see 'em! :nod :nod :nod

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    And the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse. Our first real stop. It was cold. We went inside for food and drink. Perhaps inmates pics here, with bikes as well???

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    The history . . .

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    An original pic . . .

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    And a recent fundraiser pic . . . stop in and visit the schoolhouse if you are driving by. Very worthwhile! :thumb

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    Sign and Mount Trumbull School House 4-way intersection (cross roads of the AZ strip). Our route was to Mt. Trumbull and Toroweap.

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    Entering the National Monument, near Mount Trumbull. Sun is out now. Warming up, even though slightly higher elevation.

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    No water here . . . not much reliable water anywhere on the strip. Come prepared. But the Park Service is restoring lots of historical sites and improving signage. The North Rim area, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is over 1 million acres, about as remote as it gets in the lower 48.

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    Eddie and I took a short detour and hike at Nampaweap to check out the rock art. :thumbup The official brochure uses this same panel. Here is their quote: "A 1/2 mile trail takes you to one of the largest petroglyph sites on the Arizona Strip. Hundreds of images pecked into the surface of basalt boulders offer clues about the lives of early native residents."

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    We are enjoying the rythym of the day. Eddie's a great guy out on the road. Ok to have to your house for dinner, also. :lol3 At the intersection where we turn south for the last run to Toroweap. Rt #115, but not shown on map.

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    The scenery keeps getting better. Much more color in the rock!

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    No one's here checking for your Park Pass, but several signs restricting ATVs and non-plated bikes, etc. No off-road exploring. Got to follow the rules. There are rangers around.

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    My man Eddie, at the rim. Don't do it, Eddie. Work isn't that bad . . . if you only knew. Eddie has a sweet job!

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    We had lunch, talked with some people (2 or 3 groups in jeeps / trucks), and I put gas in my bike. Info from the picnic table chained to a tree at the overlook.

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    So we take the walk along the rim to the west. Shortly, you can look down and see Lava Falls in the distance. We watched 5 large rafts enter the rapids. Distances are so great you can't even see them once they enter the whitewater. You can however hear the rapids. All several thousand feet below and probably a mile or more away. Here is the view looking west (downstream).

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    Late afternoon now. All is well. Pic of the bike at the parking area. Picnic table is under tree and cliffs are just beyond flat dirt directly behind bike.

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    This is the awesome view . . . great destination . . . :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

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    We poked around the nearby campground. Sure many ADVers have spent nights here. This is on my list to do. Several groups were settling in. All friendly folks. Campground is well used, but there are lots of sites, all good. Any pics of inmate camp set-ups out there???


    From this point, we started to twist the throttle. Here is Eddie heading out.

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    Final shot of my bike. Typical road scene, starting back north on Rt #5 (not marked on map). This area would be just before Hat Knoll.

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    The rest of the ride back to Colorado City was fast dirt.

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    At sundown on dirt just before hitting pavement. We check in with the wives, then a short run on pavement to Hurricane (UT 59). We find a good dinner, BS a bit, then ride home to St. George in time to put our kids to bed.

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    Nice ridin' with Eddie -- always a good time.

    Inmates -- head out and explore the AZ Strip. Take extra gas, water, and warm clothes. It's colder than you might think. Thanks for ridin' along. Safe travels.
    #92
  13. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    Been lots of years since i've gotten out to Toroweap. You've sure got the juices flowing now.(jeep trip with wife:thumb).

    The rebuilt school house was not there on my last visit, that's how long it's been. It looks like the signage is much improved as there was none on my last ride many years ago.

    You would probably agree, the pic's don't do Toroweap justice. Crawling on those ledges does create some serious pucker-butt. :eek1

    As usual another fine report from RRR!
    #93
  14. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Taking a jeep out on the AZ Strip for a few days would be fun! Good to check out a few of the overlook points. Lots of exploring out there that I'd like to do. Most will have to wait until next year as colder weather and shorter days are going to make it tougher. Lots of areas on the Strip will also get snow, and the clay roads can turn to slime. A jeep / truck / SUV with good tires gets the whole family along. Also, allows for a bit more luxurious camping. :D

    Overall, the signage is noticeably improved. Lots of the Strip is "managed" by the St. George Field Office (BLM) located in town on Riverside Drive. Nice people staff the office, but even they haven't been on all the roads. Vast, vast, vast. http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/fo/arizona_strip_field.html

    "Pucker-butt" -- you got that right. :eek1 :eek1 :eek1 The cliffs at Toroweap are serious drops. Luckily, there are some easy places to take in the views, including down to the Colorado River, without getting too awfully close. Still -- first-class "pucker-butt."

    If you end up with a new 250 cc dual sport, you might keep your old xl250??? They look like cool bikes and a bit of a "classic" ??? Plus, about the same technology as my current TW200 :lol3 :lol3. Guess storage depends on garage space, etc. Ride safe, my friend. Lunch on me is still in your future.
    #94
  15. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Continuation of Post #91 from above. Loop ride with Dad. Start in Bloomington. Gain elevation on dirt through Blake's Lambing Grounds, drop into Mine Valley (now on the Apex Mine Rd), travel west on the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway over Bulldog Pass and down Bulldog Canyon. Hit pavement at Old Highway 91, climb the Utah Hill, and cruise asphalt back down, past Ivins, through Santa Clara, and into St. George.

    This is one of first rides I did with my dad a few years ago. We've done it, or a close variation of it dozens of times. All good! Thanks, Dad. Always super fun. :thumb

    Here's the map:

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    Note: These roads do get washed out frequently. Maintenance also changes the nature of the road -- lots of loose gravel on steeper sections. You should always be able to get through, but some of the higher elevation sections can get a little sketchy. :deal


    Navajo Drive in Bloomington. Three miles from my house. Let the good times roll! :clap :clap :clap

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    Our standard line-up. Dad on the red Honda. I'm on the blue WRR.

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    The early reviews are positive for the new Tourmaster Jacket. Cold enough to keep both liners in. Overall very nice weather. Every ride report needs a mirror shot. :lol3

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    We're taking a different variation up through Blake's Lambing Grounds, this is double track that follows near powerlines. Some loose rock in parts.

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    Typical scene up high.

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    Just starting to drop into Mine Valley. Pine Valley Mountain in background. The road switchbacks down to the left just after this spot. From that point, no more views back towards Pine Valley Mountain. Orientation switches westward towards Nevada (even though the entire ride is in Utah).

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    Quick stop at the top of Bulldog Pass, heading west. Starting to get big views (distant) out into Nevada. Lots of signs of ranching activity -- corrals, cisterns, etc. No cattle. All at lower elevations by now.

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    Dad descending into Bulldog Canyon. The high bluffs in the distance form the northern edge of the Virgin River Gorge. I-15 is on the other side of this ridgeline. We've seen Rocky Mountain Sheep (Rams) in this area. Very skittish around people / motorbikes.

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    Desert plants. Especially prevalent on south/west facing slopes.

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    A few tracks to explore. Most are for powerline access and dead-end very quickly. A few interesting campsites in the area. This area is pretty remote. There are more day users as you drop elevation and get closer to Old Highway 91.

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    Soon you see the first Joshua trees. This is the "edge" of the Mojave Desert. This is the northern range for Joshua trees. Just 10 miles from here and slightly lower elevation are some very, very healthy Joshua tree forests. We'll cover that on a future ride. Dad loves to go photograph the Joshua trees. :clap

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    Takin' a final break in the Joshua Tree National Landmark area, just before Old 91 pavement. Most of this area was badly burned. There are several scientific studies measuring re-growth patterns.

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    Looking back, the road we came down. Beaver Dam Mountains behind us.

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    Also looking back, the new entrance sign for the Mojave Desert Scenic Backway. This road turns north and reconnects with Old Highway 91 in the Shivwitz Indian Reservation. I've written it up several times. It is a great road in either direction and is maintained enough that any ADV bike should always be able to get through. Smallish road bikes could also make it. Don't take road-type bikes up into Blake's Lambing Grounds.

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    This is your exit / entrance onto pavement (Old 91). The burn area is called the Woodbury Desert Study Area. This is the sign you can see from pavement. The other sign is back off pavement quite a bit.

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    We messed around for a short bit on a nearby road that heads to Beaver Dam Wash. It is in good condition. This is the land of the Joshua Trees, a future ride. Hopefully not too long. This pic is Dad retracing our path back to pavement with the Utah Hill in background. :D

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    Great ridin' area. Check it out if you can, inmates. Thanks for lookin' in.
    #95
  16. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey inmates -- :wave -- Happy Halloween! :eek1

    We had a whole lot of this at our house last night. Lots of little princesses, too. Hope all went well for you.

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    Solo ride over the weekend. Always fun to be out on the bike. Good think time. Good to roll at one's own pace, in tune with the bike and the surroundings. Rode from St. George on dirt up to Silver Reef (by Leeds), the up to Oak Grove Campground on Pine Valley Mountain. Back to St. George on asphalt, basically on surface roads parallel to I-15. Great weather, great ride.

    Here's a map for those following along. Very similar to post #79 on page 5, completing the Diamond Valley Loop on Pine Valley Mountain.

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    - Route starts on Red Hills Parkway in St. George, near MotoZoo -- marked Middleton on map.
    - Gain elevation on dirt on #033 past the Black Gulch.
    - Follow #031 across the lower flank of Pine Valley Mountain. Bulk of ride.
    - Turn left and follow #032 uphill to Oak Grove Campground.
    - Return to pavement in Silver Reef and Leeds.
    - Follow paved surface streets just south of I-15 back to St. George.
    - Total mileage: 50-60.


    The starting point, just east of MotoZoo.

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    Our friend Smokey . . . :deal

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    Quickly enter Red Cliffs . .

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    A few signs . . . :beer

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    Umm, looks like bullet holes . . . welcome to Utardia . . . my one buddy always rides with a gun . . . :lol3

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    A little test for the mighty TW . . . she passed!

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    Out onto gravel, eventually dirt . . . :clap

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    Looking back downhill, back towards St. George.

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    Several trailheads. This is a good hike, along the edge of red rocks.

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    Another trail. Used by hikers, mountain bikers, and horses.

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    Looking back along part of the edge of the Black gulch.

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    Short cut-off road over the Diamond Valley. Taken many times, but not today. Often one big mud puddle at end, just before pavement in Diamond Valley. Road exits in strange neighborhood in Diamond Valley, not easy to find from that end. This direction is best the first time, then it's easy. :wink:

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    I didn't continue up #033. This climbs up over the Blake-Gubler pass (post 79). Just offering up the ADV salute. I continued on #031, holding roughly steady on elevation, traversing the lower flank of Pine Valley Mountain.

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    One of the drainages . . . dry . . .

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    The TW200 just over a small pass on #031 heading east toward Silver Reef. Pine Valley Mountain in background.

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    Crossed water twice. Very, very easy this time of year. Minimal flow and firm ground underneath. :D Some good dispersed camping available. Interesting rock formations.

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    Taking a short break at a gorge, almost a slot canyon. Some good rappel spots. Outdoor groups use this as a practice area before tackling Zion.

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    TW200 at rest. :nod

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    Desert plants and view up to Pine Valley Mountain.

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    Utardia petroglyphs . . . :lol3 :lol3 :lol3

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    One private in-holding . . . and the remnants of some fall color . . .

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    Looking back west on #031, the road I just drove on. The are a few small passes, just enough to add interest.

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    Cliffs of Zion National Park become more visible as you get closer to Silver Reef. :clap

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    Mirror on the left . . . mirror on the right . . . :wink: :wink: :wink:

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    Dirt intersection, just above Silver Reef. I came from St. George. The ahead is 6 miles up to the Oak Grove Campground, fairly high on Pine Valley Mountain.

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    The road from St. George . . . and the road from Silver Reef to Oak Grove.

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    Crossing Leeds Creek (on a bridge).

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    A few bits of fall color on the road up to Oak Grove.

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    Campground closed -- not sure if this is for winter, or due to hunting season. Won't be long before lots of snow here, elevation almost 7,000 ft.

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    Namesake trees, on the descent. Just a bit of color left.

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    Late afternoon sun on red rock, just before entering Silver Reef.

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    Leaving Dixie National Forest . . . entering Leeds / Silver Reef. Return to pavement.

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    In Silver Reef. Lots of history in this small town.

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    A sample. I'll get a few more pics on a future ride. Easy to visit if you're in the area.

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    Found a bit of fall color and nice light near Harrisburg as I headed back to St. George. :clap :clap :clap

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    Planning to ride from St. George to Springdale (by Zion) on road bikes with a buddy on Thursday afternoon. ADVers welcome to join. Give me a heads up if interested.

    Ride safe, inmates!
    #96
  17. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    The last pic is really nice, thanks!
    #97
  18. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    #98
  19. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Riding from St. George to Springdale (via Silver Reef), all on pavement on Thursday afternoon. Leaving St. George at ~1 pm. Probably have food in Sprindale (near Zion). ADVers welcome to join. Give me a heads up if interested. :D
    #99
  20. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    You are definitely a Red Rock Rider! The whole family is!

    Several years ago I read an RR on a route through southern Utah that captured my imagination. I got the maps and in 2005 rode the route while on my way home from Laguna Seca MotoGP (Go Nick!). Part of that route involved camping at Toroweep. The Rangers in St. George ecouraged me because there hadn't been much rain. They looked at my KTM and said go for it! It was fantastic too.

    Last month I rode a wr250r down the CDR and left it in AZ for the winter. I love that little bike, but it took me quite awhile to get used to the motor. I am presently looking to replace my old KTM twin. I was thinking the new one would be my very last motorcycle, since I am in the AARP demographic.

    After reading your thread, I can see I'm going to own a few new bikes before its all finally done. Thanks! Makes choosing a lot easier. :D

    Say hey to Dad and Pops for me. I'll see them on the trail. :freaky