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
    day 3 still cont'd

    The road eventually connected with Hwy 93 north of Wikieup. From there we took Cane Springs Rd west which is a giant roller coaster along ridges and through canyons in the Hualapi Mtns.

    We have done this stretch a couple times before and really enjoy it. We didn't take any photos this time trying to beat the heat but here are some from a previous trip.
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    The amazing thing about this road are the big up and downs. They don't believe in switchbacks!
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    The road will drop hundreds of feet and climb right back up again. It also goes through a ranch but no gates.
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    South of I-40 our route followed an abandoned road that used to be paved and has deteriorated into a two-track in places. Good times.

    We didn’t see another vehicle off-road all day!

    In Kingman we rode around trying to find a cafe but finally settled for Denny’s because of our growling stomachs. I was surprised when an elderly man wearing oxygen tubes and carrying a tank shuffled in with his family.

    In Kingman we stayed at the Best Western Wayfarer’s Inn which has nice, reasonably priced rooms.

    We had a dinner across the street at a Mexican restaurant. At first they tried to seat groups at every other table. After a while there was a line out the door so they gave up and filled the tables.
    #21
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  2. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    491
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    I'd guess it's less for sober cows and more for drunken cowboys who wouldn't see the chain/rope when they're careening home late at night, in the prairie's pitch dark..?

    Which begs the question: why put the rope up in the first place? So, hrmmm...dunno.

    Maybe you wrote about this elsewhere, but did you two get new bikes? The DRZs in this latest thread look mighty shiny for all those miles. Also, is you husband 7' tall? He looks to be flatfooting his.
    #22
  3. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Why put a single piece of rope (not chain) across a cattle guard? The rope was only looped over a post. I don't think it was there to keep people out. There weren't any No Trespassing signs. Its a public road. Maybe they have nearsighted cows. :lol3

    Yes we have new DRZs. The Hubby modified them for more power. They get slightly less mileage but now they're less buzzy on highways, better at passing and have more grunt when needed. We both appreciated the extra power on climbs and in sand or deep gravel. We could tackle things in a higher gear with less wheel spin.

    No the Hubby is not 7' tall. But he did put a taller seat and lower pegs on his bike to get more legroom.

    He also changed our handlebars so its easier for us to stand on the pegs. The stock bars give the bikes awful ergonomics when standing - too low and too far back.
    #23
  4. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Day 4 Kingman to Flagstaff AZ, 230 mi
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    We enjoyed a hot made-to-order breakfast then followed paved backroads from town through the Hualapi Mtns foothills. We detoured to the Love’s truckstop on I-40 to get some snacks and then took a series of dirt roads south of the interstate.
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    A short section was like an off-camber, eroded ATV trail but it was fun. This connected to the old highway, which was dirt.

    North of I-40 the land opened up with views across large cattle ranches. No vehicles except us.
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    We picked up Route 66 near Hackberry and continued east through the Hualapai Reservation. Except for Rt 66, all the roads on the Rez were blocked off and manned, preventing any outsiders from entering. They had large signs posted saying "Stay home, stay safe" etc. There was also a curfew in effect.

    We got gas in Seligman. The town capitalizes on its old Rt 66 heritage and most of the businesses cater to tourists.
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    We had lunch at the Westside Cafe.
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    Outside we met this character who built this motorized bicycle. He zipped right in front of me as we were leaving the parking lot. I almost ran him over! Yikes.
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    #24
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  5. td63

    td63 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    491
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    Aha! (And I can't believe I just Googled this. :))

    https://www.horseforum.com/horse-talk/how-keep-horses-crossing-cattle-guard-13910/
    #25
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  6. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    #26
  7. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    At Ash Fork we headed north on dirt county / forest roads.
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    These became rougher and rocky in the hills. There are probably easier routes through here but I wanted to take the more interesting ways.
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    There was a quarry nearby that looked like it produced flagstone and piles of broken rock were laying on the side of the road.
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    It appeared the road crew spread the broken rock on the steeper parts to prevent erosion. It made for some rough, loose climbs.
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    Its steeper than it looks yada yada. We were happy to have more power here.
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    The track smoothed out through the trees and we intersected the main dirt road which we followed through the forest to the touristy town of Williams.
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    After a short stint on I-40 and Hwy 64 we headed into the forest again.

    We were on the Beale Wagon Rd for a while. Interesting history and good views of the San Francisco peaks.
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    No vehicles but we did see a mountain biker.
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    The main roads were good but we peeled off on the two-track on the left which meandered through the pines.
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    These remind me of pipe cleaners.
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    We spooked a herd of elk in the trees. These tracks were fun but became very rocky and dusty and had several barbed-wire gates. We had to spread out because the dust hung in the trees.

    The tracks were mostly level so we didn’t have to do any climbing on the loose lava rocks. I didn’t mind the rocks but it was getting late and the gates were slowing us down.

    It usually requires both of us to support and re-close these flimsy, floppy wire gates held together with sticks. We finally intersected a better road that took us to I-40.

    In Flagstaff we stayed at the Best Western Pony Soldier Inn. We have stayed here several times and it has always been nice.

    We got beverages from the Circle K and take-out Chinese from the nearby Golden Dragon restaurant. We have eaten there a few times and always enjoyed it.
    #27
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  8. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 5 Flagstaff to Page AZ, 160 mi
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    The hotel provided a hot breakfast in the morning (pre-cooked omelets, etc), which made us wonder why most hotels did not on the rest of the trip.

    We headed north on Hwy 180 which passes through forest then open range land. We encountered lots of road construction before reaching our turnoff.
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    Hmmm. We decided to try it anyway.
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    It was beautiful open country, empty roads with views of peaks, cinder cones and huge lava flows -- and no gates. It crossed the AZBDR route and shared the AZ Trail route for a while.
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    Loving it!
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    This lava flow was huge.
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    At the far end near the intersection with Hwy 89. My guess is the signs are here to discourage tourists in rented RVs from driving through here to the Grand Canyon and getting stuck when the roads are wet.
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    We got gas in Cameron on the Navajo Rez and wanted lunch too but all the restaurants were closed. These dogs and 2 more lounged in front. When I pulled out of the parking lot they chased me like a pack of demons. It was comical that they hadn’t moved a whisker or chased any other motorcycles getting gas.
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    Hwy 89 is one of my least favorite roads. Fast traffic and dull scenery make it a slog. We peeled off onto parallel Copper Mine Road to Page. This road has less traffic and I think the scenery is better. It goes through the Navajo Rez and they also had signs advocating masks, staying home, etc, but the side roads were not blocked.
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    In Page we stayed at the Best Western, which was fine and had views toward the Colorado River canyon. (There are 2 BW's, the other is a BW Plus.)
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    We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant on the main street. At some point our waiter left the restaurant and never returned. We kept asking other employees for our check. Finally the Hubby had to go to the Hostess and demand it. Strange.
    #28
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  9. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
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    Day 6 Page AZ to Escalante UT, 120 mi
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    The hotel only provided an apple and an over-sweetened muffin. We headed to McDonalds to find only drive-thru or on-line ordered pick-up. I started walking through the drive-thru when a driver told me they would not serve walk-ups. (I later heard that it is due to driver liability issues.)
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    I got on my bike and rode through. I couldn't carry the food and coffees so I asked them to take it to the pick-up area.

    It seems no one had asked this before and they were befuddled. After much consultation with the Powers-That-Be, they agreed. We ate in the parking lot.

    We started out north on Hwy 89, entered Utah and turned onto dirt Cottonwood Cyn Rd.[​IMG]

    This is a fun road that crosses over some desert hills before dropping into the scenic canyon along the Paria River.
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    This area is for sale.
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    Looking back. The road comes through a gap in this ridge.
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    There are a few hiking trails in the canyon.
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    So cool and unexpected.
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    There is an arch down a spur road but it was popular so the spur was dusty. We skipped it.
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    The road climbs another ridge and the pink mountains of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Nat’l Mon and Kodachrome Basin State Park come into view.
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    We detoured to Tropic for gas and lunch.

    In Escalante we stayed at the Circle D Motel. We had stayed here before, but now the lack of maintenance was obvious.
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    (On a later trip we stayed at the Prospector Inn across the street and it was much better except no coffee maker in the room. Coffee in the lobby. No decaf.)

    We had a nice dinner and drinks at the Circle D restaurant in the bar.
    #29
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  10. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Dixie
    The arch you bypassed was Grosvenor Arch. Pretty spectacular.
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    #30
  11. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Great photo. I've been wanting to see it and we even took Cottonwood Rd again on another trip this summer but skipped the arch due to heat. One of these days...
    #31
  12. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
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    Day 7 Escalante to Hanksville UT, 155 mi
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    We enjoyed a tasty and generously sized egg bagel sandwich on the deck of a nearby cafe/ health food store.

    The second half of this route is remote so have plenty of gas.

    We followed fabulous Hwy 12 to Boulder, where we topped off our gas, then onto the incredible Burr Trail. You've seen it. We've seen it. But now we have better cameras so we wanted new photos.
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    Temps were climbing so time to remove layers. A corvette passed us and the driver gave us the thumbs up. I wonder if he drove down the switchbacks.
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    Before the famous switchbacks we headed north on a sandy two-track to see three arches.
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    Its hard to tell but this is a double arch, one behind the other.
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    It was definitely worth the side-trip through the narrow wash. At the dead end of the track you can hike to an overlook of the Waterpocket Fold but it was going to get too hot to linger here.
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    We didn't see the third one until we turned around. Oh, there you are!
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    The Burr Trail connects to colorful Notom Rd, which we took south.
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    The road becomes paved when it leaves Capital Reef NP.
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    Henry Mtns on the far left, Mt. Pennell center and Mt. Hillers on the right.
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    We're going to go over Stanton Pass, which is the gap north (left) of Mt. Hillers.
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    #32
  13. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    315
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    You guys do the kind of riding I do. Been Parker and area many times. Rode West Az.bunch. Some your photos are great memories. Looking forward to more. Petepilot
    #33
    AZ TOM likes this.
  14. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    We turned east onto dirt Eggnog Star Rd. I don’t know the reason for the strange name. We would only see one jeep in the next 40 miles.

    I like to use OSM maps while riding through places like this because it will show the names and locations of features like springs, creeks, peaks, ghost towns, cemeteries, etc.
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    spot the Dirtbag
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    The road weaved around mesas and toward the foothills of unusual Mt. Hillers, which seems to be made of two different rock formations.
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    We turned onto rougher and narrower Hoskinnini Rd. (If you keep going straight Starr Spgs Campground is a couple miles further and supposedly has drinking water. We didn't go there.)

    We stopped for a drink and snack near Copper Spring. You can just see the ruins of a stone cabin about 10 ft behind me.
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    The climb from here provided nice views of Capital Reef and Waterpocket Fold.
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    Some of the area had burned and the springs were fenced to keep cattle out. It looks like there is a white building or lookout near the mountaintop.
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    Over the 7300 ft gap. Somewhere near here you could take Brown's Knoll Rd and Horn Rd north into the Henrys. We haven't been that way so I don't know how rough or steep it is.
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    The road was a little rocky at times but mostly ok except one steep, loose part below the gap near Quaking Aspen Spring (no photo - slipping, bouncing and hanging on.)
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    The road gets better and follows a clear fast-flowing creek then past a ranch.
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    After a short stretch on Hwy 276, we took dirt Lone Cedar Rd which passes the Little Egypt Hoodoos. I thought these were the main hoodoos but most of them were in the next basin. But it was getting too hot and windy to stop for more photos.
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    When we reached Hanksville the wind was going full force. Big dust clouds swept through town.

    We settled into the comfortable Whispering Sands Motel and had a nice dinner at Duke’s Slickrock Grill. We had the back room to ourselves most of the time.
    #34
  15. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Thanks. Wow. Its a long way from PEI to AZ!
    #35
  16. bomose

    bomose Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Dixie
    That is beautiful country. My wife and I go there often. Few people go down that wash to the Strike Valley overlook.
    #36
  17. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 8 Hanksville to Green River UT, 100 mi (~90% dirt)
    All of this route is remote. There aren't any services along Hwy 24 so even if you bail out west to the highway its still a long way to anywhere. To the east is the huge Green River canyon.
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    We microwaved burritos for breakfast and headed north on UT24 a few miles to dirt Blackburn Wash Rd. For the first 30 miles we zigged and zagged following a route I laid out based solely on Google Earth views.
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    No one else for 30 miles.
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    At times it was two-track and sandy but not too bad. It rolled up and down and across washes.
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    Henrys to the south.
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    It ran beside a large scenic, white rock canyon. Check it out in GE. Its part of a big series of canyons that tie into the Dirty Devil River to the south.
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    Awesome!
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    We climbed onto a ridge and passed the only ranch that I can recall seeing in 100 miles. We connected to Lower San Rafael Rd, which is the main access road through this big expanse.

    Sand dunes
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    We checked out Canyonlands Overlook, which was popular because its the trailhead to several famous Indian pictograph galleries in Horseshoe Canyon.
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    The wind grew strong again and we had a 40 mph tailwind for a while. It was strange to ride and feel absolutely no breeze. I was afraid the DRZ would overheat without any airflow.

    The wind eventually became a cross wind and we would be engulfed in dust clouds blowing off the road.

    We detoured to an overlook of the Green River. Its amazing there's this big river here but it isn’t obvious until you’re near the canyon.
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    We checked out another canyon, or intersection of canyons off a short jeep spur.
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    We tried to find a spot out of the wind for lunch. We huddled near a rock amphitheater and behind some large boulders but the wind was too strong to escape.

    How about some sand with your burrito?
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    strange rock patterns
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    natural pictographs
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    San Rafael River
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    There were a lot more ups and downs and arounds as the road skirted canyons and basins.

    Badlands and hoodoos (not visible in photos)
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    There were teenagers jumping between the tops of the hoodoos. Ah youth. When I was young I would climb onto a warehouse roof and jump into snowdrifts. Then again, we didn't have any hoodoos in Illinois.
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    The town of Green River is hidden in the dust cloud. Hanksville looked like that last night.
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    The Hubby discovered this in my tire. Yikes.
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    We stayed at the Comfort Inn which was fine. The wool socks and Moto Skivees are extra.
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    We had a nice dinner at the Tamarisk Restaurant overlooking the river. Another great day!
    #37
  18. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Day 9 Green River to Price UT, 125 mi (the cyan line)
    (The blue line is the UTBDR for comparison, except I show it on Hwy 191 bypassing Cottonwood Wash from Green River to the red square.)
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    We left town on the old state highway through wide expanses.
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    We're heading out there but took a roundabout way in order to bypass a ranch. Not sure if we could have gone through the ranch. I suspect the ranch roads would have been sandy.
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    We descended through some badlands. The old highway is way more interesting than taking I-70 to UT 24.
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    These tumbled down rocks are the size of RVs.
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    We connected with UT24 a short distance then turned west on Hatts Ranch Bypass. This area is similar to Waterpocket Fold in Capital Reef NP. Wow. Unlike the NP, we had it to ourselves!
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    Happy happy joy joy
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    We kept stopping for photos. Loving it!
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    It got rougher where it crossed a wash multiple times near I-70, then the road went through a tunnel.
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    There was a big rock in the middle of the tunnel that someone must have placed there for OHV'ers to hit. The Hubby moved it. Don't blast through here without a clear view. Plus if its wet, it will be slippery.
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    We took a short detour called Tidwell Btms along the San Rafael River. This was a sandy overgrown 2-track. The sand is deep near the start. I surprised a camper who was relieving himself in the bushes. Whoopsie.
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    #38
  19. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    We entered the well-known Black Dragon Canyon. We had visited the pictographs before but had not ridden the entire canyon. Today was the day!
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    It can be rough.
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    The jeep road goes up and down out of the wash to bypass rocky sections. It gets confusing at times because there is more than one option and some dead end at a drop off. Its hard to turn around in the sand and rocks.
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    There's some of this, which made me realize my technical skills were rusty! The awesome DRZ cleared it just fine. This was the kind of situation where the additional power was handy.
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    After you’re out of the canyon there’s lots of this
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    and this
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    Whew finally out
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    ... and some of these. I've never seen black burros before and there was a whole herd of them.
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    We connected with Buckhorn Draw Rd...
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    which gradually becomes a feast for the eyes.
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    It passes some large pictographs but we had seen them before so we kept rolling to Huntington.

    We got lunch at Lamy’s Mexican Grill, where we had burritos too big to finish. We packed the leftovers and headed out on back roads through Cleveland and Elmo.

    In Price we stayed at the family-run Legacy Inn. We’ve stayed here several times and it has everything we need at a reasonable price, including breakfast. We had dinner at the nearby JB’s, which is like a Denny’s.
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    Another fabulous day!
    #39
  20. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 10 Price to Ferron UT, 130 mi
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    We had the continental breakfast at the motel but ate in our room. The owner will even make waffles on request.

    We headed north on the old highway which is dotted with abandoned motels and restaurants.

    We turned west at Spring Glen. When researching the trip I was surprised to find a Slovenian cemetery here.
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    Being part Slovenian I was intrigued. Most immigrants ended up in Cleveland OH, Pennsylvania or near Chicago.

    According to a Utah historian, these Slovenians came in the late 1890s for coal mining and railroad building.

    The names were familiar although this headstone was a little different.
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    Some graves were covered in coal.
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    This sign gives the history and oddly enough says the land was acquired from the KKK.
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    There is still underground coal mining nearby. This conveyor was for loading RR cars.
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    Oil & gas are big here now. Oil inventory was ready to overflow in the US and oil prices went negative. These railcars were just sitting going nowhere.
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    Glad they left a gap at the crossing.
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    We continued west into the hills.
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    Hmm. Side roads to explore next time.
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    The road dropped steeply to a creek under the trestle.
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    There are petroglyphs along the creek but I think you have to hike to them. Not today.
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    The climb out was steep, loose and slippery. I barely made it with the throttle pinned and spraying a rooster tail of gravel. The Hubby had to make two runs at it. (An easier access road would be Porphyry Bench from Price.)
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    The tracks are on top of this filled in gully.
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    We zigged and zagged up and down hills until we encountered a cattle roundup.
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    It took a while before the herd was moved to the next pasture.
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    The road climbed up to the narrow Horse Bench with nice views across the basins.
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    We continued south on a series of roads.
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    The well pads are even situated on mountain sides.
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    We kept going.
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    The road was fine until here. I walked it and said "Nope".
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    The Hubby charged right in.
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    Alrighty then. I guess its my turn.
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    That was the only bad part. The rest was bladed.
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    What wild country! Constantly changing.
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    We popped out onto pavement near the power plant and soon were on another backroad along a creek and skirted the town of Huntington.
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    Bird nests dotted the bluff.
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    #40
    Blaise W, AZ TOM, BillUA and 4 others like this.