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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DR. Rock, May 23, 2008.
... the Green river / Colorado river confluence, Island in the Sky, that area of Canyonlands southwest of Moab, the White Rim Trail... that's where we're headed, and that was our first glimpse of it. Bravo, Sam.
Looking back from where we've come:
and to where we're going:
Now just a matter of getting there. The flora changes again to Juniper and Pinion pine.
and then the rocks start getting really weird
to Red Rock,
The temperature has shifted over 30 degrees about 4 times so far today... we keep putting on and taking off layers.
Finally getting down to the same level of the valley feels like a lunar landing.
and, as if on cue, the landscape starts to feel even more other-worldly.
just bizzare landscapes
a great intro to the area.
This looked like fun... another time, perhaps, on different 2-wheels.
Lots of great camping areas on this stretch, but none with water or facilities... and frankly, at this point, we were in dire need of some personal hygiene.
So we decided to head into Moab, for some civilization; a new pair of goggles for LDF, laundry, a shower, maybe a soft bed, a nice dinner, and the White Rim Trail tomorrow.
This gets better all the time. Tomorrow will be a treat.
Great trip, report and pictures.
was finding a new pair of goggles for LDF. She had a pair of Answer/MSR's. The original lenses got incredibly scratched up in Nova Scotia. I figured it was 'cause she doesn't regularly wear glasses she paws them with her meat-hooks. I had a spare Smith lens for my goggles which I cut down and fitted in there. Meanwhile, I bought a new lens for hers. A year later, it was time to change them again. I inserted the new Answer/MSR lens, and within 2 minutes it started to get scratched up.
You couldn't touch it with toilet paper and not cause a scratch which would cause a terrible glare in the sunlight. Disappointing.
So first stop was what's his names motorcycle shop, which I had waypointed. I thought we could pick up a pair of goggles there. Unfortunately, there was no one home.
So we stopped at another shop and picked up a pair of Zeal goggles, which fit over her GPS-reading/sunglasses.
Then we tried to find a hotel. . On a friday evening. No go. Everything sold out...
A hotel clerk recommends a campground right in town. We check it out. Hot showers, and walking distance to this:
We unpack our stuff which is more moist from the previous night's rain then we had remembered it being. We start airing it out.
and gather up everything else for a mid-trip load of laundry.
The day's moving stats:
Not ATG for these 3 blocks.
The Chinese immigrant luggage comes in real handy:
Yes, I am naked under my rain gear. How else can I wash everything else?
Laundry slash bar slash restaurant, slash video arcade, slash off-track betting, slash who knows what else, but me likey.
Shhh, she's naked under her clothes too.
Checking in with her mommy.
No photos of that...
but even better, we saw this on the way to dinner:
and yes, we had been drinking at that point... so I may have imagined the whole thing.
Ok, we admit it...
as much as we love roughing it; dirt, rain, freeze-dried food, sleeping on the ground, forgoing bathing, etc.
we're sort of foodie snobs,
I mean, shoot... we live in NYC. So this was a treat...
a real dinner... cost more than our lodging .
are our priorities screwed up...
Big day tomorrow... our day off, and what do we do??? just the White Rim Trail... Belly's full, we sleep soundly. Up bright and early, it's goin' to be a long one.
WTF is that? It looks like a two wheeled tractor. Oh I know it must be the predecessor of the GS....
I think the 2-wheel drive motorcycle is called a Rokon invented by a Charlie Fehn in San Bernadino, CA in the 1950s.
Today we would attempt to ride the White Rim Trail.
The stuff of legends. Research had indicated that the best way to ride it was in a counter-clockwise direction... keeps the sun out of your eyes later in the day, gets the deep sand over with early.
I had also heard that the Schaefer switchbacks were a good proving ground... that if you could make that climb from a technique / equipment standpoint, you could reasonably expect to ride everything else -- stamina, water, fuel, mechanical issues notwithstanding.
I was hoping to complete a figure-8 route, starting via Potash road, up the Schaefer switchbacks, then across the flats, to enter the White Rim Trail at from Mineral Bottom rd. go back up the Schaefer switchbacks a second time, and exit canyonlands via Long Canyon Rd. instead of out Potash.
Beyond the Schaefer swithbacks, the WRT proper has several known obstacles: 1st, the switchbacks down from the Mineral Bottom Rd. start, then some deep sand washes along the Green River, next is up and down Hardscrabble Hill, then up and over Murphy's Hogback. Allegedly in a counter-clockwise direction, the technical difficulty decreases as your energy level declines, and the views improve.
Before dinner, we lightened up our load. The good news is we were lighter, the bad news is, if we didn't make it back, we wouldn't have any of our camping gear. So we better make it back.
We filled our camelbaks, (2L each), and 3 of the 4 two liter sweetcheeks bottles with water for a total of 10L of water. We drank it all.
The remaining 2L sweetcheeks bottle we planned on filling with gasoline, and pouring it into our tanks after the first 50 miles or so.
I carried all tools, spare parts and tubes, pump, etc. to keep the bikes moving. SpOt was activated. It was saturday, but I wasn't sure how many other people we would see out there. I wanted us to be self-sufficient regardless. It turned out we didn't see a single other motorcyclist... just a couple of groups of mountain bikers and their support vehicles.
A bunch of trail snacks and nuts packed, an we were ready.
Up at dawn, bright and early.
Gas stop in town:
We were leaving Moab with the shadows long, and if all went well, would be returning with them just as long from the opposite direction. 180 miles planned.
has these nice cliffs on Rt. 279 along the Colorado River.
There were signs pointing out Indian writing... we didn't stop. We were on a mission.
On the way back, the cliffs were crawling with rock climbers... I think I may have been too tired to take photos of them.
End pavement. Begin dirt.
One small wrong turn into the Potash facility... and we were back on track.
Francine thought these rocks look like giant red biscuits:
And she was so focused on riding, that she didn't notice this often-photographed rock until returning from the opposite direction at the end of the day. (we bailed on Long Canyon Rd., and finished the day by taking Potash rd. back out). I saw it, though.
The morning light (and evening)
is just gorgeous here.
There are some sheer drop-offs,
and great views
along Potash Rd.
so it's a good warm-up,
and whets the appetite
for what comes next:
I didn't read the sign until now when I zoomed in on the photo. "Trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive vehicle" :eek1 Estimated Driving Times: Clockwise from here -- to Taylor Camp (ie. the full WRT) = 10.5 hours.
I'm glad LDF didn't read it either... stuff like that gets in her head. Meanwhile, I'm telling her, "no problem... guys with big beer guts have done the WRT on 1200GS's on street tires."
Of course, as soon as we get back she sees the "White Rim Fail" ride report
Not that those guys have big beer guts... that was hyperbole.
Good one, Tami.
(Duke, you got burned).
after the first couple
about 2/3 the way up
Looking back down:
The first hurdle cleared cleanly. LDF did absolutely fine. It was a big confidence boost for her, and a stress relief for me.
Now all we had to contend with was the endurance aspect. No problem.
taken while moving... trying to keep up with Francine
it's a long way down.
Stopped to pay the entrance fee:
I can't imagine this was necessary, but good karma nonetheless.