Wee Travels: Maiden Voyage - Smoky Mtn Rd to Toroweap

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by ALinUTAH, May 1, 2013.

  1. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    881
    Location:
    Wasatch county
    End of March I bought this bike, a 2012 VStrom 650.
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    Except for the ride home from St. George, I hadn't had much chance to ride it. Finally last week it quit snowing and warmed up so my wife and I headed south to thaw out. It just so happened to be our 17th anniversary so the timing was good. We were headed for the Smoky Mountain Road thru the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and eventually Toroweap Overlook on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Started out riding the lesser traveled highways to Torrey. I had forgotten how nice hwy 72 is. Lunch at Diablo Cafe was very good. We continued on down hwy 12 towards the town of Escalante and took this year's official anniversary picture at the overlook up on Boulder Mountain.

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    Capitol Reef NP and the Henry Mountains
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    After a break in Escalante, we rode south on the Smoky Mountain Road, about 20 miles, and found a place to camp.

    I believe that is Death Ridge. Nice view over coffee anyway, and not a soul for miles or sound except the wind.
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    #1
  2. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Wasatch county
    We continued south towards Big Water. The northern third of this 80-mile road is pretty easy going, just a few little sandy spots in Alvey Wash. The middle third gets rougher and slower, but nothing so bad that you can't pick a line through the rocks. At one point I went to stop on the edge of the road but when I put my foot down it found nothing but air resulting in a non-moving tip over. The boxes and hand guards took it all so the only damage was to my pride.


    This is embarrassing.
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    At the half way point you cross a wash that has clear water and a campsite with shade trees. I'll aim for this spot next time.
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    The southern third of the road is smooth again with spectacular views and a very steep descent to the desert floor.

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    #2
  3. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    St. George, UT
    :lurk
    #3
  4. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

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    Aug 16, 2012
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    738
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    Southeast Lower Carolina
    Congratulations on the anniversary and thanks for the ride-a-long. Beautiful area.
    #4
  5. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

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    Wasatch county
    So we finally came out at Big Water. I was expecting a little more of a town, but it seemed to be nothing but boat storage yards and polygamists. So we rode into Kanab for some grub. I wanted to ride the House Rock Valley Road down thru the Vermillion Cliffs NM but it was already 2pm, so that will have to wait for another trip.


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    We like the Rocking V Cafe in Kanab. Fed, hydrated and gassed up, we rode SW towards the Toroweap Overlook. From hwy 389 it's 60 miles of graded gravel and dirt, with the last couple miles being a little rocky.


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    As we rode in the last couple miles we met the Ranger walking out. He said campsites #8 and 10 were still available, so we grabbed 8. It was sheltered from the strong SW winds that blew up every afternoon, and shaded from 11am on. The view wasn't bad either.

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    Our neighbor came over to say howdy and asked how long we were staying. When I told him I only had 2 gallons of water so we would be leaving the next day, he insisted that we take a few gallons from him. That gave us some more options, and we immediately decided to stay another day. I'm not a big campground guy, too much of a hermit, but campground people are the friendliest you'll meet.


    In the morning we walked to the overlook and hiked along the rim for a few hours. I'm not real good with heights. The views were stunning but gave me the heebie jeebies. I managed to keep my breakfast down as long as I stayed back from the edge. What a remarkable place!

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    The afternoon was spent lounging in the shade. After dinner we went for another hike to the east this time and saw a bighorn ram. He didn't pose for a photo unfortunately.

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    That evening our new neighbors Bill and Jimmie from Carmel, CA shared their marinated and slow-cooked tri-tip that he'd had been working on all afternoon, accompanied by a couple snorts of JD around a campfire. I guess the campground experience can be kinda okay.

    Al
    #5
  6. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    881
    Location:
    Wasatch county
    We were riding all the way home the next day so we were up early the next morning.

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    After we got back to Colorado City, the return home was on paved back roads. A big gold star and an Attaboy! to whoever can name this town.

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    It was in the upper 80s down there. On our way home the south wind flipped around into our faces and the temperature dropped 30 degrees instantly. And now I sit here drinking coffee and the gauge on my front porch says 18 degrees. So we barely squeezed this one in. Everybody pray for sunshine!

    Al
    #6
  7. PHOTON PHIL

    PHOTON PHIL THe REAL poser

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    Green Township N.J.
    Beautiful country you got there. Thanks for sharing.
    #7
  8. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    St. George, UT
    Great RR. Nice perspective in this pic! Those are some big rafts down there with two small kayaks in the lead. They are about to get wet! :lol3

    #8
  9. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

    Joined:
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    Location:
    seal beach, ca.
    Absolutely fantastic! Those that have not experienced it, there is no explaining it. Toroweap is most incredible.

    About the pic of your Mrs under the overhang, is she on the phone? Is there cell service up there?:huh
    #9
  10. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

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    LOL. No she's not on the phone. I really doubt there is signal there but I'm not sure. Al
    #10
  11. DutchTerror

    DutchTerror Been here awhile

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    Minooka, IL
    Great RR, Al! Some really stunning pics there. Just makes me believe I'm living in the wrong part of the country.
    #11
  12. Domromer

    Domromer Desert Rat

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    Location:
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Very cool campsite.
    #12
  13. txplants

    txplants Pastafarian

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    Location:
    Texas
    Enjoyed your RR!
    #13
  14. 1world1life

    1world1life Been here awhile

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    Aberdeen, Scotland
    Nice report. Just added the Grand Canyon to my list of places I must visit.

    Love the look of the camping setup they have there. In the UK you'd probably be banned from camping somewhere as nice as that.
    #14
  15. ALinUTAH

    ALinUTAH Been here awhile

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    Thanks everybody.

    Toroweap is an unusual campground for a national park. It's difficult to get to and it's free. Only 10 sites, so if its full you have to head back up the road to BLM land where you can camp anywhere. Or beg someone to share. Ranger said it was full Saturday, the last spot was taken late Sunday after we got there, then Monday it was only half full.

    There's another one further east, crazy jug point, that I need to go check out sometime.

    Al
    #15