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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Eastbay Dirtbag, Mar 5, 2021.
You guys are badass.
I love all these badlands, mesas and other photos.
Reminds me of some time I spent working just out of LA, where the end of the work-week was always: "How far will the rental car get me this weekend?"
Not sure I'm too keen on all those frozen tacos.
Wonderful memories of your friend, BP.
1. Appreciate the backfill, your history in the San Juans and your bonafides in the game of moto-wandering.
2. This has been a different year for backcountry travel. Not sure about the welcome in town; crowds where there shouldn't be; tiny roads beat to hell for no reason. My date did not get killed in the midst of a quad-moto at the north end of the Skutumpah road, but I had a chat with some of the miscreants a little later.
3. Not as much smoke this year? We came down the Rocky Mtn front two weeks before about a million acres of it caught fire.
4 Hope football and nascar get up to speed again! Don't want to wish divorces upon all those who ventured into the west in new, breathtakingly expensive RVs, but .... hope they didn't all love it.
5. EB, you have a way of getting a conversation going. Glad to read another one. I think we met Mark Sampson in Stanley in 2018, although we were all too cool to flash gang-signs and shit. Maybe we'll meet you at a gas station in Flagstaff.
6. Oh, and eating out of gas stations used to be sketchy. We ate Chex mix for day; when we got to the Village Inn in Rock Springs I cried. Now the gasmarts got a whole menu. I bought burgers at Rock Point, Arizona. Gave one of them to the dogs when I got home!
Loving this. I've barely scratched the surface out West but hoping to spend some time out there sooner than later. What a great route! And great photos as well. Love seeing the old ones too!
Yeah, I like to think so until I reflect that we turned around many times on this trip!
Burritos, not tacos. We thawed them on our exhaust pipes if they were still frozen.
We were lucky to have such wonderful friends for so many years. It was amazing that even when several moved away they returned to CO in the summer and brought new friends.
BP moved to Louisiana and invited a new friend to CO. He invited us to Alaska and brought a friend from Virginia who was moving to Idaho, who invited us to ID and that's when we decided to move there.
Thanks. Glad you didn't mind the old fuzzy photos.
Thanks. Wow. Lots of interesting points. I'll just address the last one. Initially we bought cheap burritos from C-stores. But they're greasy and made us queasy. So we got better ones from the grocery stores. My favorite was Amy's brand.
Day 12 Price to Price, 120 mi loop
After breakfast in our room we headed north on Hwy 191 to dirt Whitmore Parks Rd.
Don’t try taking backroads over the hills from Price to Whitmore Parks. That passes through gated natural gas fields and visitors are not welcome. (Discovered this after I spent hours trying to plan routes that way.)
Whitmore Parks Rd meanders between hills and southeast through sage country.
A few hunters were out scoping the locations of big game.
It eventually intersects paved Nine Mile Canyon Rd, which leads through an area known for its many petroglyphs.
There are also old homestead ruins to visit.
We turned south onto dirt Cottonwood Canyon Rd, which goes past the most famous petroglyphs.
If you look closely you can see a silver pipe snaking all the way up this canyon wall. There might be a mine up top.
The road climbs to the top of the mesa and the one on the right goes to the mine (?)
Burrito time with a view
It passes through a wild horse area where the road gets rougher (no pics of the rougher part - typical!)
There is another route to the top from Nine Mile Cyn called Dry Canyon Rd. Next time?
We took a two track past some microwave towers on the rim of the mesa.
Hwy 191 is way out in the valley
Going down switchbacks on the main road the surface turned to rutted, deep silt. Whoa Nelly! Death grip!
There are several old mining tramway towers along the way.
Not sure where the mine was.
Is rock asphalt the same as oil shale?
A great day on wonderful empty roads!
Back in Price we stayed at the Legacy Inn again.
Fantastic report and pics!
Hi from NZ
Day 13, Price to Manti, 118mi
We headed west and were soon in sage and butte country.
It wound up and around through gas fields, canyons, crossing creeks and hillsides tinged with fall colors.
The road passed through a wildlife management area then climbed along the face of the hills.
I was stopped at a switchback taking this pic when a truck came sliding down toward me through a steep silty stretch. Yikes! He got under control and slowed through the corner.
What a scary sound of tires sliding behind me, sitting on the bike, engine off, camera in hand, can't move quickly and wondering if I'm going to get dragged down the mountainside under a truck. That was the only vehicle in 40 miles.
At the pass
We encountered more silt, then the road switchbacked down to UT96. We detoured to Scofield for gas then backtracked and turned west on UT264.
We attempted to take this road from Boulger Reservoir to UT31 but it looked like it had been intentionally torn up. It was deep silt, ruts and rocks and got progressively worse. A pickup tried to take a side road, sunk into the silt and couldn’t make it, spinning up a big cloud of dust. We turned around.
I removed this section from our gps tracks.
We continued on UT264 and re-routed to a decent dirt cut-over from Beaver Dam Reservoir to UT 31. Skyline is just around the corner.
Skyline is a fantastic dirt road running along a ridge top, with views in both directions. It is rocky at times but not difficult
We expected to encounter a lot of traffic on Skyline. The opposite was true! In 35 miles we saw a couple vehicles and a few quads.
I don’t know why no one else was up there on a beautiful day but I’ll take it!
Where is everybody? I know -- Silverton!
Hundreds of sheep dotting the hillsides
We turned west at Manti Canyon Rd and into a cattle roundup. After a short delay we continued down the very twisty road
In Manti we stayed at the nice and comfortable Manti Country Village Motel. The grocery store was a short distance away.
Thank you! We toured NZ 7 years ago. Loved the south island. Beautiful.
Also enjoyed the Kiwi sense of humor.
Did you do all of N island? I enjoyed a lot of N as well (GS 650) and regret not going back the next year on dirt bike! I ran into a group of women riders that were having a great time doing the back roads/dirt. (Remember when I said, just a couple miles away is that wonderful world to enjoy! Same here.) They came in late evening and left early; born to ride!
Then there is Tasmania.
How I missed this one, I do not know? You guys do a great job on ride reports. Clearly have the "eye" for photography. Very enjoyable.
Day 14 Manti to Cedar City, 175 mi
A cold front moved in with temps below freezing. Four days of planned riding in the UT mountains got the instant kabosh. Time to boogie south.
We waited until it warmed up then re-routed to Cedar City on pavement. We avoided interstate until the last 5 miles.
It was a pleasant ride along the Sevier River south of Joseph but not many photos today. Can't pass up a pic of these guys!
We took a break on this side-road, Buckskin Rd, off Hwy 20 near I-15. In GE it appears to either end at farm gates or make a VERY long detour via Cottonwood, Upper Bear Valley, etc.
Maybe next time!
We stayed at the Best Western which is conveniently across the street from the grocery store.
Day 15 Cedar City UT to Caliente NV, 130 mi
Breakfast at the hotel was grab and go empanadas. Yummy.
Back to the plan…
After a short jaunt south on I-15 we took old US91 toward Kanarraville then west into the hills on Bumbleberry Springs Rd. This passed through a residential area before becoming a dirt road.
At first the road was good and we passed a few hunters camps.
We climbed to the summit at 7,700 ft then things got interesting. It became a steep rough, silty jeep trail. Sorry no pics.
I kept going but prayed that we would not do any climbing because the descent was tough enough with a 10% grade. The loose, rocky, rutted switchbacks would have been ogres going uphill.
I was afraid this might turn into a wheel spinning, bike dropping/lifting/pushing/cursing in-a-silt-cloud festival.
I was also afraid of invoking EBDB Corollary #2 - If we die in the mountains, The Hubby will never forgive me. (We weren't that far from civilization, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little.)
It was a 6 mile descent but felt longer wondering if we would make it through. No climbs! Whew. What a relief when we intersected a better forest road.
The road rolled up and down through scrubby pines before entering lovely ranch country near Pinto
I'd love to ride stuff like this all day. One lane...meandering...no traffic.
Dusty, but we ride separately when it is.
Several pieces of metal were embedded and sticking up from the road. Probably an old culvert. That could be an ugly end to your day.
We hit pavement at UT18.
We hit pavement to Enterprise and gassed up then continued west, which eventually became wide fast dirt.
We crossed into Nevada and picked up remote Pine Mtn Rd to Docs Pass.
This winds up and down through scrubby pines and sage. It was in good condition except a little rocky when crossing washes.
It passed through a large old burn.
Watching for rattlesnakes. Burrito time!
If you were a rattlesnake wouldn't you live here?
Rube Goldberg lived here. This and a corral and maybe a trailer were the only signs of civilization for 40 miles.
We descended into green, irrigated Clover Valley and the tiny community of Barclay, home to this restored LDS school/ church.
A quarter mile south of the church is the small cemetery
It looks like Mr Hamblin was married to two sisters. Some of the headstones had the family genealogy engraved on the back. I had never seen that before.
Canyon south of the cemetery
We climbed north and intersected the main road. After a short distance we turned south again down Clover Canyon.
There were many hoof prints but seemed too small for cattle. Wild burros?
We popped out of the canyon at the UP RR tracks. There were no signs or gates indicating if this was private road or property.
The RR Xings are marked as Private No Trespassing, which I would have noticed if I bothered to read the signs! The road continued in both directions.
We're going west!
We continued along the tracks, making numerous crossings, which I still did not read the signs until later.
It is my understanding that existing RR Xings at grade require lights and gates. New Xings have to be built either above or below grade. I don't know if this was a private RR road. Why would they bother labeling Xings on a private road?
In a handful of places there were metal plate bridges over washes and creeks.
We passed through tunnels. Notice there are two dates. I guess that indicates the first cut through and later they widen it.
Didn't see any No Trespassing signs at the tunnels, but I won't swear that I read all the signs...
Some tunnels were rough and sketchy due to the chunky ballast rock.
What you could see in the dark with a DRZ headlight.
What you can see when you get home and look on your computer.
Some were straight. Some were curvy. I was concerned we would see a train and they would call the police.
The road detoured around a few tunnels. I'm good with that!
The road became really rough due a deep layer of ballast rock. I could barely keep it in a straight line. (No pics typical.)
We finally left the tracks at Caliente. Whew.
—- OR — If following the tracks was not legal, then we were never there and all our pics were Photoshopped!
We got food at the grocery store. The Hubby got an IPA to-go from the local saloon, which was packed with folks in the middle of the afternoon. No social distancing required when you're tipping back a few in Caliente.
We stayed at the Shady Motel, which was a decent place. No breakfast per se, except oatmeal packets and coffee.
True to its name, it was hot in Caliente.
Thanks. I was wondering where you were.
and a hot Caliente spring too :)
Those railroad trespassing signs usually refer to the actual rails and the rail right-of-way. Now, the big question is always...how far does the right-of-way go? The truth is that quite a few feet/yards from the track can be under their ROW, but in more remote areas some/many legal roads exist running along side the tracks. What it usually boils down to is that if you get hit by a train because of one's lack of common sense or awareness, the signs clearly relieve some or all of their liability...like...I told you so...LOL! The real honest-to-gosh ROW's controlled by railroads where you cannot go are usually barred with a pole gate or chain. And as always, there are exceptions to every rule. Your roads in your pics look like the legal routes that parallel RR's in areas where any other roadway would have been prohibitive to build.
OP, your observations about the ATV/UTV...and primarily the UTV...issues are something that will probably have to be addressed. I'll preface this with a clear statement that I am not a "greenie" environmentalist. I dislike the Sierra Club. I am neither a "government and rules heals all problems" kind of guy either. However, it's fairly clear that UTV's in particular represent a case where technology has outpaced regulations. I still do some part time work at a motorcycle shop...well...now it's more like a UTV store. We do Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Polaris, and CF Moto. What keeps the doors open even here in west TX?...the UTV's. You can imagine the sales of UTV's as you get closer to the prime riding areas of the west and other U.S. locations.
Here's "my" soapbox observation and rant about UTV's. They can be purchased to be used in highly remote and rough off road locations for much less than a jeep or other competent off road vehicle. Many of them you see out on these popular off road locations are extremely powerful for their HP to weight ratio and have some very gnarly knobby tires for that power. They provide almost too much protection for their operators. While that sounds odd, the problem is the operator can do things normally not safe for the conditions because of roll cages, 5-point harnesses, etc. There is also a pattern displayed by many of these operators who don't know off road rules of courtesy and safety. Many of them don't really have off road skills or knowledge and feel fully insulated in these rigs...and they are somewhat. I could go on, but I think you get the drift. Being more affordable and safe to a larger population group allows many operators who probably shouldn't even be out there doing the stuff they do.
Believe me...I'm a freedom and liberty type of guy, but the sheer numbers and behaviors of many of these operators is causing a lot of off road use heartburn...not just for other users but also for "authorities" who monitor and attempt to control damage and safety out there. I'll also add in an attempt to be fair to the ATV riders that they've been out there a lot longer than the UTV crowd and haven't been the issue I lay out here. Why?...an ATV is even more affordable, but let's be honest...they're more like a small jeep in most cases, and the operator still has the danger of being tossed on their heads with foolish behavior. In reading my own words, I almost sound like a Sierra Clubber...LOL!...I'm not. In regards to the Alpine Loop area and OP's and other's observations about it being a circus now...absolutely correct. Even jeeps and other 4X4's have become more numerous, but they're not usually roosting up the 2-tracks and blasting down the improved dirt roads like they are on the Dakar.
Rant over, and I hope I didn't hurt anyone's feelings...well...I'm not really that concerned...LOL! And on a side note, OP...I liked and believe that sticker on the gas pump in Dove Creek. I've been on just about everything in your RR here, and I appreciate the memories it brings back. Speaking of Dove Creek, there is another whole world of riding for days and days north of Dove Creek up 141 toward Egnar, Slickrock, all the way to Gateway and up hwy 90. But I know you know that. Excellent RR, and thank you.
^^^^^^ and you didn't even address the rentals. My Son and I visited Colorado last summer and we rode Ophir, Cinnamon, Engineer passes. The sheer number of rental jeeps and side by sides created traffic jams. I like Colorado and the west in general, but won't go back to ride any of those passes. The Jeep and Side by Side rental companies have turned them into tourist traps.
Thanks for the info about the RR ROWs.
I'm not anti-SxS (UTV), but I will ride where there are fewer of them.
Regarding the sticker -- That was not political commentary on my part. It didn't matter to me whose name was on the sticker. My thought was: "someone has too much time on their hands..." I deleted the photo.
Decades ago the handful of jeeps we would see on those passes were mostly rentals. But like you said, the sheer number makes a difference. That's OK. There's still plenty of elbow room out West.
I was grinning at your report from Cedar City to Caliente. I've taken the same pictures as far as Enterprise, and I have a route in the file for Meadow Valley Wash up Clover Creek that I haven't ridden yet. Thanks for the preview.