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
    Thank you.
    There are many talented writers and photographers on this forum, I'm happy to try to make an enjoyable contribution.
    Thanks for following along.
    OK. Good to know.
    #61
  2. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 14 Richfield to Panguitch UT, 105 mi
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    We took paved backroads south to Elsinore, a small town that is mostly Scandanavian. We stopped to admire the tidy cemetery and read the names.
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    You may wonder if I have an obsession with cemeteries. I like old graveyards with unique markers. Some of the old headstones are works of art and have unusual, quaint or funny sayings. Sometimes I'll waypoint places to visit. Other times we just happen upon a spot.

    I grew up next to a large cemetery and liked to wander around and read the headstones. It didn't feel creepy to me. In the winter, due to freeze and thaw cycles, a good sized "rink" of ice would form. My sister and I would skate around the headstones. Good fun.
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    Hello there! I better watch my step!
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    South of Monroe the road became dirt and weaved through the foothills.
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    In Marysvale, we visited the cemetery that sits high above the town.
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    The old bridge next to the new one. We did not try it.
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    We had a hard time locating the next track because a RV was parked on it and we thought it was a campsite. The track followed the Sevier River then climbed into the mountains.
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    We intersected pavement and dropped into Junction for gas. The old courthouse is across the street.
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    We took another dirt road along the foothills toward Circleville. There was a lot junk and metal dumped off the road east of town. Then my back tire felt squirrelly. Flat!

    It was hot so we pulled into an empty barn and The Hubby got busy. I looked around but could not find anyone on the farm.

    The Hubby was almost done with the tire when a truck arrived with a load of hay. The farmer was kind enough not to put the hay away right then otherwise we would have been engulfed in dust.
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    While The Hubby was working I was given two chores:
    1) Put something under the bike in case it slipped off the axle support. I found an old wheel and some lumber — done and,
    2) Hurry up and push the axle through the wheel!— done and ouch! What a wimp.
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    We stopped at the cafe in Circleville for lunch.
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    We climbed into the mountains again. This is part of the Fremont Trail.
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    Most of it was rough and rocky and some sections were eroded and off-camber but not overly technical.
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    This is part of the Fremont Trail.
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    We were happy to have some smooth sections but they didn't last.
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    It topped out at 9000 ft in aspens.
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    On the descent there was one steep, loose rocky hill that I was glad we were not going up.
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    Most of the road was rocky like this although it doesn't appear that way based on the other photos.
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    In Panguitch we stayed at the Purple Sage Motel near the center of town. We had stayed here before but this time it was showing it's age, and they didn't have microwaves or fridges. Next time we’ll try somewhere else.

    We had dinner at Kenny Rays on the main street. The town was busy. Its a popular spot for people heading to Bryce Canyon NP.
    #62
  3. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Day 15 Panguitch UT to Mesquite NV, 200 mi
    Our original goal was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Wildfires put the kabosh on that, so we had to take a lot of pavement instead. But we still enjoyed some nice dirt backroads.
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    We swung east through the community of Alton onto county roads.
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    There is a new coal strip mine being dug outside of town and the road has been rerouted. Don't believe your GPS.
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    Lovely green valleys for many miles
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    We only saw a couple vehicles off-road that morning and here comes the second one. Not what I was hoping for in my flower pic.
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    We gassed up in Kanab and had lunch at Nedras on the patio.

    It reached triple-digit temps as we dropped in elevation through Hurricane. We stopped a couple times to pour water on ourselves, otherwise we kept rolling. AC here we come.

    We stayed at the Best Western in Mesquite and ate at a 50's style diner nearby.
    #63
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  4. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
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    Day 16 Mesquite to west Las Vegas, 140 mi
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    Another hot day in the forecast so we got an early start. We took a nice backroad parallel to the interstate but in the foothills.

    We eventually had to get on I-15 to Moapa where we topped off and got more drinks.

    We headed northwest to Desert Nat’l Wildlife Refuge and turned west onto Mormon Wells Rd. The Refuge was created to protect bighorn sheep and is twice the size of Rhode Island.
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    This is a rocky two-track that crosses a mountain range. The rocks rarely let up so expect to have your fillings rattled.

    This is extremely remote. But it’s remoteness, solitude and vast unspoiled desert are worth experiencing — if only once.
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    There is a short break from the rocks --- into ruts.
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    There might have been one campground in these trees but don’t expect water.

    It climbs to 6500 ft then descends through a rocky canyon before entering open desert.
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    We didn't see anyone until we reached the end of the road near the Visitor Center, which we did not visit.
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    The west side was really rough with bad washboard. The bikes took a pounding. I think the way we went (east to west) is better because there is more descending than climbing on the washboard.
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    We took Hwy 95 then the beltway around Vegas. Traffic was not bad. We stopped for lunch at a Chipotle-style grill.

    We were eating when a young guy, who looked like he lived in a van, kept peeking in the window at me. We were still in dusty riding gear and our dirty DRZs were parked out front.

    I expected him to ask for money when he stepped inside. Instead, he wanted to tell me that I was “the hardest looking woman” he had ever seen. :loco

    I don’t consider that much of a compliment but I guess he did. He hadn’t seen a woman my age ride a dual sport before. I wanted to say “lay off the drugs” but just said “hmm, ok, thanks”.

    He rambled on for a minute or two then left. Ok, I’ve probably been called many things behind my back but never “hard looking” to my face as a good thing?

    We stayed at the Hampton Red Rock Inn and had dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant that was very good. Some of the best chile verde I've ever had. :dukegirl I can’t recall the name but it was just northwest of the hotel in a shopping center.
    #64
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  5. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,194
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    As usual, your RR is spot on! They are always joy to follow with great photos. This reports scenery is very interesting.
    #65
  6. Krider1

    Krider1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    24
    Location:
    so cal
    great RR
    #66
  7. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
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    Thank you. We really enjoyed the variety of terrain on this ride.
    Thank you.
    #67
  8. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 17 Las Vegas to Big Bear CA, 230mi
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    We got another early start to beat the heat and skirted the edge of Red Rock Cyn NCA, which is colorful.

    Our goal was Potosi Pass Rd. This is another very remote track. It was the roughest route of the whole trip.

    It started off as a gravel road into the hills. Past this sign it became rougher two-track and occasionally somewhat technical, crossing washes and gullies then up short, steep choppy climbs.
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    Oops took a wrong turn that led to a steep washout. Back we go.
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    Back on track.
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    It dropped into a wash in a narrow canyon that was rough and filled with big rocks. Was it still the road? We were headed down. It would be difficult to go up. I stopped taking pics at this point and was more in survival mode.

    The gravel / rock became deeper as the wash opened up. I almost bit it about 5 times. It felt like a long way.

    We finally came to another track that climbed out of the wash. I’d had enough of the wash. We took the alternate track, which at first rolled up & down over hardpack and crossed other washes. Then it dropped into another long deep gravel wash and continued there. Arghh. That eventually connected to a sandy “street” into the community of Sandy Valley.

    (Just before we dropped into the first wash there was a steep telephone or powerline jeep road heading up the hillside. That cuts southwest to Kingston Road 53. Not sure if that is a better way to go. It could be steep.)

    I enjoyed the first half of Potosi Rd (up to the powerline) but beyond that it was an ogre. If we do it again, I would try Kingston Rd and the jeep road from the southeast first.

    From Sandy Valley we took wide easy gravel Kingston Rd southwest over a low pass. Looking back.
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    The rest of the day was on pavement. I had gps tracks for riding dirt parallel to I-15 but it was too hot to risk getting into sand or more gravel. We poured water on ourselves and kept rolling.

    We stayed at the dated but nice Best Western Plus Big Bear Chateau.

    We had dinner at a nearby Sizzler. The cashier was separated by big sheets of plastic drop-cloths taped together. He could not hear anyone placing their orders and had to keep sticking his head through the small opening near the countertop.
    #68
  9. ride200mi

    ride200mi Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    111
    Location:
    WA
    Eastbay, you may have covered this all ready, but my question is.... Do you think a Triumph Tiger 1200 can do these routes you have been reporting on?
    #69
  10. eemsreno

    eemsreno Super Tenere Rider.

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,679
    Location:
    On your way to everywhere, IA.
    Really enjoyed this ride report. Great job!
    #70
  11. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    You posed that question on my Western Stomp RR and I said yes.

    On this trip I will say no. Although much of it is doable on a big bike, almost every day we encountered challenging washouts or rocks, sand, silt, steep loose hills, deep gravel, slick off-camber trails, rocky steps or brutal washboard.

    Of course, all of this can change with seasons, storms or road maintenance. But many of these routes are rough and the Forest Service, BLM, State Trust or county will leave them rough.

    The bottom line is that it always depends on the conditions and the rider. I don't recommend doing any of the dirt routes solo, except Cottonwood Canyon and the Burr Trail which are popular.
    #71
    ride200mi and ChicoProf like this.
  12. mcskeeto

    mcskeeto Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    106
    Great trip report. I was wondering, what the longest stretch on this route, especially the Utah section, without gas?
    #72
  13. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    On Day 7 from Boulder to Hanksville, 120 miles between gas.
    #73
  14. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
    Closer than before
    Day 18 Big Bear to Idyllwild CA, 120 mi
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    We had a hot made-to-order breakfast then headed into the forest.

    Not far from the hotel we picked up rough Sand Canyon and Wildhorse Meadow Roads.
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    It was made rougher in many places by the Forest Service, which spread rock, not gravel, to prevent erosion.
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    We enjoyed the views as the road wrapped around the mountainside.
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    Looking back. I think this is Baldwin Lake, which is next to Big Bear Lake.
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    The road went into the mountains to 8600 ft past tall pines and meadows.
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    Careful where you park.
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    On the other side of the mountain.
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    Near the intersection with Hwy 38.
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    The highway has some great twisties as it drops out of the mountains and some fun two-lane near the town of Oak Glen.

    Outside of Beaumont we had a nice lunch at Flo's Country Cafe. They also have patio dining.
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    After crossing I-10 near Beaumont, we picked up Hwy 243 which is an awesome two-lane climbing into the San Bernardino NF. It twists and swoops for 25 miles to the mountain community of Idyllwild. I love this road. :rayof

    We had time so we explored a dirt backroad. This was slippery one-lane “control road” (fire break?) that dropped 3000 ft with views out toward Hemet.
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    It was hot. We climbed back up to Idyllwild via CA 74 & 243, both are fun twisty roads.

    We stayed at the “rustic” Idyllwild Bunkhouse. It was our first time here and will be our last! Avoid this place!
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    Its cozy looking on the outside...nice shady porch...
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    But the inside is a bit of a horror show. It was dirty and run-down, with an anemic portable air-conditioner that couldn't cool the room even with the ceiling fan and two floor fans going.
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    It was so termite-devoured that I’m surprised the ceiling hasn’t collapsed.
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    The fridge was down-right scary and we didn’t dare use it. There is green stuff growing in the ice. Never again!
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    We rode into town and got pizza and ate at their "patio", which is tables and chairs on the covered sidewalk.

    I used to belong to the Pacific Crest Trail Association and still get their emails. This spring they kept sending notices saying "Don't hike the PCT! Stay home! The trail towns don't want you!" etc, etc. In Idyllwild, which is near the PCT, there were large banners and signs in town saying "Welcome hikers!" :lol3

    Day 19 Idyllwild to San Diego, 230 mi (100% paved)
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    CA 243 south from town is as fun and twisty as the one coming from the north, except much shorter.

    About a third of the trip home could be done on jeep roads and great twisties (Thomas Mtn, CA Riding & Hiking Trail, Palomar Mtn, Nate Harrison Grade.) But we were ready to get home so we stuck to pavement.

    We only took a couple photos although this is a pleasant ride through a series of valleys and hills past reservoirs.

    On Hwy 74 we encountered construction where new culverts were being installed in a burn area. "Hmm, I see a dirt road on that ridge top..."
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    and lots of this
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    Well we had a great trip and enjoyed trying many new roads. I was happy to finally ride some routes that have been on my bucket list, especially many that were remote. We were both happy to get out again and go exploring.

    Thanks for riding along,:wave
    EBDB
    #74
  15. TNC

    TNC Candyass Camper

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Tejas
    So you dirtbags live near Escondido? I have a cousin who owns a garage door company there, and I worked at a golf club factory there for a little bit as a teenager. I love coming out there from TX and riding the CA deserts. Great ride and trip report. I don't see what y'all were complaining about in that last motel room. That was a nice looking velour bed spread...probably very comfy.:lol3
    #75
  16. trailwerks

    trailwerks Missing Two Wheels Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
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    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Great RR, thanks!
    #76
  17. larryboy

    larryboy Stable genius.

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    Jan 9, 2005
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    Location:
    Über Alles,California
    #77
  18. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

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    sunny san diego
    Another great report, thanks for taking us along!!
    #78
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  19. Eastbay Dirtbag

    Eastbay Dirtbag one track mind

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    838
    Location:
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    On the plus side, termites don't eat velour.
    Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate your comments.
    #79
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