2 Dirtbags on a Utah Breakaway

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Eastbay Dirtbag, Oct 31, 2020.

  1. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    We were like hungry bears coming out of hibernation. Except this time the world would look a little different.

    In June we finally felt we could cross state lines and not be drop-kicked back to CA. We made our breakaway through AZ to central UT, did a big loop in UT then returned through NV.

    We covered ~ 2,800 miles in 19 days exploring lots of new-to-us backroads. We tried to avoid repeating routes from previous trips. Many of the roads and tracks were very remote.

    We enjoyed colorful deserts, seldom-visited mountains, red rock country, big vistas and empty roads.

    TRACKS ARE ATTACHED.

    The Big Picture
    [​IMG]

    Some teaser pics
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    #1
    Blaise W, toypro1, ChicoProf and 10 others like this.
  2. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 1 San Diego to Parker AZ, 265 mi
    [​IMG]
    We had to postpone our start for a few days because the desert forecast was 120F, even hotter than Death Valley! We waited for a more survivable 111F.

    Despite the forecast, we needed to add layers as we climbed to 4000 ft in the mountains west of Borrego Springs. We dropped 4000 ft into Borrego where it was 100F and we quickly shed the extra layers.

    Pablito’s Mexican restaurant was open for take-out or patio dining. This was our first time eating out this year.

    My new look
    [​IMG]

    We placed our orders outside the restaurant door and the meals were packaged to-go. We took them to the covered patio, then the masked waitress brought drinks and chips.
    [​IMG]
    They propped the bathroom doors open between customers. Not so scary. I expected other restaurants to be similar. Ha! Silly girl.

    The ride was paved except a little dirt and old highway near a short stretch of I-10. The best part was I brought two 12 oz thermoses filled with ice. Ahhh. Cold water in the desert! Highly recommended!
    [​IMG]

    We didn't try this road which goes to the aqueduct.
    [​IMG]
    It was the weekend and all the hotels in Parker were packed with boaters heading to the Colorado River. The hotels were pricey too, about twice the weekday rate. We stayed at the Quality Inn which was fine.

    We had dinner at the Crossroads Cafe next to the hotel. Despite signs plastered all over the doors and inside mandating social distancing, the unmasked waitress came right up to us and talked at the top of her lungs while taking our orders. I wanted to dive under the table. Thankfully, a different waitress wearing a mask served our meals.

    Other signs dictated no more than 6 people per table. Nearby a table of 10 boisterous boaters were having a good time. Whole families came in with children.

    I was naive. I soon learned that signs and reality were two different things in Arizona and Utah.

    (Note: After this trip we decided to not eat out anymore. We reserved motels with microwaves and fridges and bought salad kits, frozen entrees and burritos at the local grocery store or got take out.)
    #2
    Watercat, AZ TOM, BillUA and 10 others like this.
  3. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 2 Parker AZ to Wikieup AZ, 180 mi
    [​IMG]

    A big change on this trip was the lack of decent breakfast at the hotels. Many only provided a muffin or granola bar and apple in a brown bag. We bought nuts and snacks.

    For $200 I expected more.
    [​IMG]

    We headed east on Shea Rd then zigged and zagged toward Planet Ranch.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It was rough for quite a ways.
    [​IMG]

    This part was less rocky but soft. I practiced my sand riding skills, which also work in soft gravel up to my limit and then I start paddling. None of this reached my limit. Yay.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then back to deep gravel in a wash.
    [​IMG]
    We planned to go through the ranch then north and east. That would require crossing the Bill Williams River and we didn’t know if it would be doable. The depth depends on the outflow from the Alamo Dam.

    But, the road through the ranch was gated and locked with about 10 padlocks.
    [​IMG]

    The ranch and river
    [​IMG]

    Ruins near the Ranch
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Alrighty then. Change of plans.
    We backtracked and then looped around on another deep gravel road back to Shea Rd. I left this big out-n-back loop in our tracks for anyone interested in seeing our non-progress.

    There was a spur (Mineral Wash Rd) which headed north but I was leery of wandering around with the temp climbing. That road might be underwater part of the year. Does anyone know if that road is doable to Lake Havasu?

    We went back through Parker then north on Hwy 95 and I-40.

    We had lunch at the Parker Dam Diner & Deli. Everyone in the cafe, including the unmasked waitress, was over 70. The 80-something owner sat in the middle of the room and chatted with everyone.

    I headed to the Ladies Room only to see a Closed Out of Order sign. I turned around and the owner said “Oh go ahead. That's just to keep people from taking the toilet paper.”

    Near Yucca we turned east onto dirt Alamo Rd. This fast road cuts straight as an arrow southeast through the desert. Most of it is subdivided with dirt roads but there are few houses.
    [​IMG]

    Bee hives in the desert?
    [​IMG]
    We finally came to the north end of Planet Ranch Rd (where we had hoped to come from). The detour added 70 miles to the day. We turned east on dirt Chicken Springs Rd and climbed to 4000 ft through a forest of joshua trees to Wikieup.

    There is only one motel in Wikieup behind a gas station/ C-store / restaurant.
    [​IMG]

    It has 4 rooms and was a decent place. The beds are small but I think each room has a few.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    The restaurant was closed today on Sunday. We got pizza down the road for dinner and put leftovers on ice for breakfast.
    #3
    Watercat, Blaise W, AZ TOM and 14 others like this.
  4. MaNDan

    MaNDan 'Old Japanese cycles & '26Chevy truck

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2013
    Oddometer:
    308
    Location:
    Wild midWest -USA
    I’m in. Will watch and read as you post your photos and narrative. Thanks for your ride report. We are just going into an early winter here in western Minnesota and E North Dakota.
    #4
  5. BigGuy

    BigGuy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    313
    Location:
    Western NC
    Thanks for the RR and pics, looks like fun. Be safe and keep posting!
    #5
  6. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    491
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Big fan of y'all's trips and reports so definitely in!
    #6
  7. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,361
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Yep big fan here too---------you guys do rides that are very much to my type of stuff. !!!
    #7
  8. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21,467
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Anyone who takes me to Utah is a new friend.
    #8
  9. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,763
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    In for more
    #9
  10. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,316
    Few do it better! Glad to see another one coming our way.
    #10
  11. Bill Dirt

    Bill Dirt Trooper

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    146
    Location:
    Florida
    Yes ma’am, love me some Utah.
    #11
  12. trailwerks

    trailwerks Missing Two Wheels Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    673
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    In. With much interest! Have used several tracks from your previous rides when I am putting our backcountry loops together.

    North Mineral Wash road does not go through - the whole lower stretch of the BW River is all protected wildlife refuge. There are several routes that cross the river further to the east - one, the so-called, "low water crossing" is not always so low. The other one is the "schoolbus" crossing upstream of Alamo Lake.

    [​IMG]
    Joanne in the "low water crossing" in Feb of this year. The Planet Ranch Road was open at that time and we rode it too that week. Maybe a covid closure?

    You probably already have them but drop me a PM if you want tracks to the two crossings.
    #12
    Blaise W, AZ TOM, BillUA and 4 others like this.
  13. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Great to have so many people on board! Let's keep rolling!
    #13
  14. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Glad to hear my tracks have been useful. Thanks for your response. I have been curious about this area and we keep exploring it. I sent you a PM.
    #14
  15. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 3 Wikieup AZ to Kingman AZ, 100 mi
    [​IMG]
    I had been wanting to do this Sycamore Creek route for a couple years but couldn’t get a room in Wikieup or Bagdad to make it work out. Today was the day!

    This is a remote route. The first half is rougher and you probably won't see anyone.

    We headed south on Hwy 93 to pick up Burro Crk Crossing Rd. CN also labels it Sycamore Creek but the road sign begs to differ. CN also says Bogles Ranch but later signs say Goodwin Mesa Rd.
    [​IMG]

    Climbing east into the mountains
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Cattle guard with rope and plastic bags across it. We’ve seen that elsewhere. Don’t know the reason why.
    [​IMG]

    Runoff had washed out part of it and there was a short steep climb back onto the road.
    [​IMG]

    It got rougher and narrower.
    [​IMG]

    Here's where it got more interesting.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back. The only ranch so far.
    [​IMG]

    When planning the route I could see about 5 gates in GE. Would they be unlocked?
    [​IMG]
    #15
    Blaise W, AZ TOM, BillUA and 5 others like this.
  16. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    day 3 cont'd
    Through the gate
    [​IMG]

    No signs of civilization. Incredible.
    [​IMG]

    Cows are a good thing. Someone has to round them up eventually so the road might go through...
    [​IMG]

    Water. Another good thing.
    [​IMG]

    Looking back
    [​IMG]

    Dropping
    [​IMG]

    Climbing
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More dropping and climbing. Some parts were steep and rocky but not too bad. This is not a jeep road. It is a 4 wheel pick-em-up truck road. Fun, fun fun.
    [​IMG]

    Believe it or not we’re still on the road. It goes through a gate right into a cattle lot, complete with large bulls.
    [​IMG]
    This didn’t look right but the only other track was the back road heading to the ranch house and was labeled Keep Out. I walked through the lot (watching for angry bulls). There were some ranchers working nearby branding calves, I think.

    One of the horsewomen rode over and told me to continue through the lot and the next gate. Here is where the road comes out of the lot through the closed gate. Does that look like a through road to you?
    [​IMG]

    After exiting the lot we could see this sign on the entrance to the ranch—- somewhat helpful but I still would not have thought the road would go through the cattle lot!
    [​IMG]

    You are here
    [​IMG]
    From the ranch the road was a fast, bladed county road which climbs to 5600 with big vistas. We had only seen 3 houses in 40 miles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I love it when a plan works out!
    #16
    Blaise W, craigr652, AZ TOM and 11 others like this.
  17. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,449
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I have been meaning to explore those roads around Wickieup for several years, and you beat me to it! Good report, as always, and I'm following!
    #17
  18. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,279
    Location:
    Apple Valley, Calif
    I would guess the bags on the rope are there to make the rope more visible?
    #18
    ChicoProf likes this.
  19. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    491
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Beat me to it. Yeah.

    Keep it coming!
    #19
  20. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Thanks. Welcome aboard. I also considered Aquarius Rd but it looks too rough in GE.

    I could understand if it was a brand new cattle guard that the cows and calves would not be used to it yet and the rope and bags would make it more obvious. But this cattle guard did not look new.
    #20
    Blaise W likes this.