3 Days in Moab

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by jbean114, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. jbean114

    jbean114 4 wheels moves the body, 2 wheels moves the soul

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Tucson
    Day 1 - Four wheels instead of two

    How in the world are you supposed to be able to experience Moab in only three short days? The answer is simple: You can’t. By by God, we’re gonna give it one hell of a shot.

    We hitched our bikes to our ‘99 Yukon and left Tucson for the outdoor Mecca that is Moab. We overnighted in Monticello to save a few bucks and headed for Arches National Park in the morning. For this trip, instead of our normal camp out, we splurged and decided to glamp. For those who don’t know, glampping is basically renting a tent that is already setup with beds and furniture. We stayed with Under Canvas and were not disappointed.
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    We dropped the trailer and decided to exercise the Yukon. We entered the park via Willow Springs road instead of the main (paved) entrance. Good thing too, because the line to get in looked pretty long. Turns out Willow Springs road used to be one of the main entrances back when the park was a monument. It’s a dirt road that required clearance, but we made it in 2WD with the exception of one small spot. There was a stretch of soft sand at the beginning that would have been a challenge on the bikes, but the rest of the road would have been great for the GS. We had our annual park pass, but there was no checkpoint on that back road.
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    Our first stop in the park was Delicate Arch. This is probably the most famous arch in Utah as it is the one pictured on every Utah license plate. The bike from the trailhead was 1.5miles in and 1.5miles our (3miles RT). It’s a decent hike with elevation changes, and not much shade, so bring more water than you think you’ll need and that will be the right amount. The arch is worth the sweat and effort.
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    It hit 92 in the park during that hike (early June), and so by the time we were back to the car neither of us felt like straying far from the AC for the rest of the day. So, we meandered through the rest of the park and took in the sites. We found a shady spot for a picnic lunch and then headed out of the park via the main entrance. If you only have 1 day in Arches, go to Delicate arch, Devils Garden, and the Windows. I wish the weather was cooler as we would have done more hiking in the park... next time.
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    After unloading the bikes and checking into our ‘tent’, libations were had and we capped off the night with fireside s’mores. Tomorrow we’ll head down Potash road, up Shafer Trail, and explore Canyonlands and Gemini Bridges on the bikes.
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    Attached Files:

    #1
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  2. Snapper33

    Snapper33 Globetrotter Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    202
    Location:
    Worldwide
    IN, have fun! I love the wall-tent!
    #2
  3. jbean114

    jbean114 4 wheels moves the body, 2 wheels moves the soul

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Tucson
    Day 2 - Shafer Trail, Canyonlands NP, and Gemini Bridges

    Today was a blast! We started our journey down Potash Road along the Colorado River. As we would our way through the canyon, we found many cool stops along the way like prehistoric dinosaur tracks and ancient petroglyphs. The canyon road was paved until just past the potash plant and then winds by really striking evaporation ponds used to mine the potash.
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    Potash Road was in good shape and slowly carried us up away from the Colorado to the White Rim trail. We intersected White Rim and Shafer trail and decided to follow White Rim to see Mussleman Arch. We were only on the trail for a mile or so, and the road was narrow, but in no way difficult. After a brief stop at mussleman, we headed up Shafer Trail.
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    I’ll be the first to admit to my fear of heights and I knew this one was going to challenge me. There was very little traffic and the road was well maintained, so ascending to the upper rim went smoothly. However, I didn’t take my eyes off the road much. I don’t know how others feel, but going up steep switchbacks is so much easier than down. When I’m deceasing down a steep dirt two-track, I always feel like I’m one jerky control move from tucking the front, or careening over the edge. So, going up with gravity as a break assist always makes me feel more planted.
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    Feeling good about our problem-free scurry up Shafer Trail, we pulled into the Canyonlands info center to get a map. The road in Canyonlands were really fun with lots of sweeping turns and great scenery. We ending up taking an extended break with a shade nap at Grand Overlook. The natural rock formations and layered earth are spectacular and pictures just don’t do it justice. And looking down at White Rim trail kept me thinking “next time... next time.”
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    To close the loop back to base camp, we opted for the scenic route through Gemini bridges.
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    The road from highway 313 to the Gemini bridges arches was a fast dirt road, and has been improved over the years to accommodate larger trucks with mining equipment. It’s a short 300 yard hike from the parking lot to Gemini bridges. From what I read, you used to be able to drive right down to the arch until 1999 when a guy with a Jeep tried to cross part of it and fell 160 feet to his end. Did I mention I’m afraid of heights?
    We left Gemini bridges and continued on our way. This section between Gemini and Gonneybird was by far my favorite piece of riding for the day. The road was transitioned between slick-rock, light sand, and hard-pack dirt and winded through a stunning array of high desert flora and red rock sculptures... I could have run that part a dozen more times. The last little bit was more rugged and took us along the cliff face before dumping back onto 191.

    Overall we clocked slightly more than 100 miles on the odometer, but was a full day of riding with plenty of sights and stops along the way.
    #3
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  4. jbean114

    jbean114 4 wheels moves the body, 2 wheels moves the soul

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Tucson
    Day 3 - It totally smelled like onions!

    The day started out with lofty goals (8,000+ ft), but ended with some of the most fun riding I’ve done on my GS. Our initial plan was to follow La Sal loop road from 191 south of Moab, head north north-east, and skirt the foothills of the La Sal mountains. We would eventually hook into Thompson Canyon, down to Fisher Valley Ranch, and out Onion Creek to highway 128. However, I knew it would be a full day, and I’d heard mixed reviews of Thompson canyon, so I reversed our route so that we’d start in Onion creek. Every review I’ve read of Onion creek is spot on: fun. Onion creek consists of 27 small water crossings (in normal conditions) on a well maintained winding dirt road through a beautiful slot canyon. If you’re in the area this trail should be on your list.
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    We reached the end of Onion creek and started to make our way into Thompson Canyon. Just a short ways in we came across a cattle gate that was closed. No biggie... it wasn’t locked and I’ve been in enough cattle country to know that you always leave the gates as you found them.
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    Just as we were opening the gates, a couple side-by-sides were traveling in the opposite direction, so naturally we asked them about road conditions. One of the drivers mentioned that he normally rides a KLR 650 and regularly has trouble in a few spots. We were already contemplating running Onion creek in reverse because it was so fun that this comment sealed the deal. We never crossed through the gate, turned around, and headed back for another round of splashing, laughter, and pure enjoyment.
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    By the way, we definitely understand why they call it Onion creek. About 2/3 of the way in from the hwy 128, there is a spot affectionately called Stinking Spring. There must be a sulfur depot there because you can’t miss the smell.
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    It was pushing 1:30pm by the time 128 dumped us back into 191, so we opted for lunch at Peace Tree cafe to end the day early. Try the Cuban sandwich.
    #4
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  5. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
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    Location:
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    Great pics and report. Damn, I can't wait to make my to that area and ride.

    Curious - where'd you do the glamping? It'd be fun to bring my family down there sometime, something like that would be good and easier/cheaper than hauling our camp trailer the ~20 hours.
    #5
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  6. jbean114

    jbean114 4 wheels moves the body, 2 wheels moves the soul

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Tucson
    It certainly was easier, but I doubt I’d be cheaper than bringing your own rig... especially if you spring for the deluxe tent as we did. :)

    The place is called Under Canvas. They have a few other locations in other national parks. It was a really cool experience and would do it again in their other locations... Zion is next on the list.
    #6
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  7. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
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    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Thanks @jbean114! I'll check 'em out, be interesting to compare costs of renting one vs averaging 10 mpg hauling our camper :eek7 :eek7

    Need to figure out when I can get down that way to ride :thumb
    #7
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