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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by bwhip62, Mar 18, 2015.
False alarm! Everything looks fine on my phone.
Riding season is back! After what seems like FOREVER (i.e. winter - very little riding, just some fun in a new little sports car), I'm back in the moto-saddle. It feels soooooo good! I just returned from a really fun weekend trip, and of course I brought the camera (and drone) along:
Southern Utah has been one of the most memorable places I’ve ever been on a motorcycle. However, I hadn’t been able to get back down there for six or seven years. It’s a bit of a journey – about an eight hour drive from my home, just to the point where the ride begins. This past weekend, I decided it was time to go back!
Sure, I could ride down, but the route between here and there is pretty much just boring freeway and desert, so why go through that drudgery? Instead I loaded up the truck with the bike, and drove down on Friday.
About three-quarters of the way down on the drive, I realized that I forgot something pretty important. No, not the key to my bike. My riding pants! Oops. Thankfully I’d brought a couple of pairs of jeans along, but I certainly don’t feel as safe with so little protection for my legs. Plus, the temperatures in the morning were going to be quite cool, so that wasn’t great either. At least this would be more of a stop-constantly-and-take-photos trip, rather than a super-high-speed-drag-your-knees kind of a trip.
I spent the night in Richfield, which would be my launch point for the roughly 700 miles I’d ride over the weekend.
Saturday morning I headed south on Hwy 89. It was pretty chilly, with temps generally between 39 and 43. When I got to Panguitch, my GPS was telling me to take Hwy 89 south to get where I wanted to go – a super scenic section near Cedar City. However, I thought I was remembering accurately that I should head west over toward Brian Head ski resort on Hwy 143, then south on 148. Oops. Once I got to the 148 left turn, I found that the road was completely buried in snow. Crap. I decided it would be faster just to head down the hill to Parowan, then south to Cedar City, and back up the hill to my route from there. About a 45 minute detour. Oops.
I imagine I’m not the only guy named “Brian” who thought it would be clever to pose his fat head by this sign.
I stopped to top off the fuel and have a snack in Cedar City, before climbing the hill to the fantastic scenery that awaited me. It didn’t take long before I started seeing some gorgeous views.
Still a little snow up in the higher elevations! Still, as the morning went along, the temperature warmed up, and it wasn’t long before I was shedding layers.
The pretty scenery was just a preview of the spectacular vistas that lay ahead. Once you turn left onto Hwy 12, things get awesome in a big hurry, starting with the Red Canyon area.
So cool! Reminds me of the sandcastles I used to make on the beach with my family as a kid.
There were a couple of really cool tunnels carved into the rock as well.
I continued along Hwy 12, and just kept seeing all sorts of interesting terrain. Of course that meant many stops for photos, but I sure didn’t mind.
Further east there is a really cool spot called the “Head of the Rocks Overlook.” Spectacular, stark rock, as far as the eye can see, with a cool twisting road snaking through it.
I thought this one corner below would be a cool spot to get a drone view or two, so it was time to fly.
You can kind of see me and my bike parked in the little turnout there.
I really love this part of the world, because to me there’s just nowhere else that I know of, where the landscape looks like this. Almost like another planet! So beautiful and interesting. Fun to ride through, but I sure can’t help stopping constantly to shoot more photos and gaze at all of God’s glorious creation. I’m sure it’s even more beautiful a little further into spring, as the trees were all still pretty barren. Still, I like the idea of getting here when it’s not so busy with tourists.
I mean, just look at this place. Quite ridiculous. Spectacular!
All along Highway 12. Wow.
By now (around 4 PM) I was getting pretty hungry, and I remembered a little cafe I went to last time I was down this way – in the tiny little town of Boulder. The Burr Trail Grille. Still there, and still amazing. Had a great Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich with Slaw on a Homemade Brioche Bun. Perfect. Love that place.
Also from my previous trip down there, I remembered a little detour from there on the Burr Trail. Spectacular steep red canyon walls on either side of the little road below. I rode the 10 miles or so east from Boulder to go check it out. Once again, wow!
See what I mean? So cool.
Made even more red by the late afternoon sun.
By then it was getting fairly late in the day, and I still had a little ways to go over the top of the mountain to Torrey, where I’d spend Saturday night.
Had to shoot a pic of that – I always love a good Summit*. *it’s the name of our company
Spent a restful night in Torrey, tired after nearly 400 miles of riding – and seemingly shooting about that many photos!
Sunday morning (Happy Easter!) it was cool and windy, but it warmed up quickly. I had a nice breakfast at The Wild Rabbit Cafe, and headed east on Highway 24 to start the day’s adventure.
Torrey is right at the entrance to the Capitol Reef National Park, so it gets absolutely incredible in a big hurry! It seemed like I was stopping every 1/4 mile to take photos. How could I not?
The pretty blue skies and puffy white clouds just made the views that much better.
Mind-blowingly beautiful. I don’t even have words to describe how cool this place is. I continued east toward Hanksville, and the landscape became more desert-y.
I took a right and headed south in Hanksville, headed toward Hite. I remembered a particular spot down by the river there that I just love shooting photos of, but I’d forgotten about the incredible canyons along the way. Thankfully I thought to stop for gas in Hanksville, otherwise I might not have had enough for the out-and-back.
Not too far from Hite, these canyons are so cool! I shot a bunch of photos, and in one particularly twisty part, I decided to fly the drone up for some aerial views.
Can you spot me in the photo directly above? I’m in the one below too.
There were so many spots through here that I could have stopped for more – but I had to get down to Hite.
Okay, maybe just a few more along the way to Hite.
Just above Hite, there is a pretty amazing vista point with views of the Dirty Devil River and toward Lake Powell. Wow.
Incredible. In the distance I could see one of my favorite photo spots, so I hopped on the bike and rode over.
Such a cool view when you’re riding down that hill on a motorcycle.
Next I wanted to ride down to the Hite Crossing Bridge. I remembered taking a selfie there last time, and I was thinking how cool it now was to be able to shoot that bridge with the drone. Time for me to fly!
How insanely cool is that? So nice to have my own private helicopter (almost!). I had to fly all around, capturing various views. Unreal.
Man that was fun. Thankfully it didn’t crash into the river.
Time to start heading back to Richfield, to load up the bike in the pickup and head home. Of course I grabbed just a few more photos along the way.
I stopped in Hanksville for a cold drink at this interesting little convenience store – built right into the rock.
The rest of the route was kind of a long, fast trek through the desert, with some interesting and pretty scenery along the way – but nothing like what I’d been shooting earlier. So, I twisted the throttle and got back to Richfield, and loaded up the pickup.
An incredible two days, around 700 miles of WOW. Really grateful for the opportunity to get away, do some riding, enjoy beautiful weather, and take a zillion photos. I hope it won’t be so long before I return!
Out of adjectives! So beautiful.
When I describe Southern Utah I tell people: "It's like riding on another planet"
I rode the same roads you did a couple of times but my pics aren't nearly as good as yours.
Great shots as usual. Wish you would have given me a head's up, I'd have bought you a meal and rode with you a bit, maybe shown you a few lesser known deserted twisty roads. Maybe next time.
A friend and I did about 400 miles on Friday. Hwy 12, lunch at Burr Trail Grill, etc.
Very nice. My wife and I are planning to ride to St. George in June, with another couple. We should be close enough to some of these photo's to see for ourselves. We're planning on doing some day trips out of St. George, but our day trips are not as long as yours.
Did much of this back a few years ago, two-up on a Harley Road Glide. Many nice memories of that trip and one scary one involving a golden eagle that almost took our heads off!
Outstanding trip report! The drone shots are very nice. I've followed your thread for a number of years and have been fortunate to ride some of the tracks that you've posted in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Your Utah trips have been a joy to follow and I had planned a road trip to Utah (pre-Covid) with some of your routes in mind. I made it to Colorado and Utah in late summer but camped and rode my dirt bike on day trips to minimize my social interactions. This year the road trip is back on the schedule and I look forward to visiting some of the areas that you have highlighted. Do you still archive your tracks? I would be interested in the Utah tracks if available. Looking forward to your next trip.
Thanks very much! Glad to hear you're planning to ride some of these wonderful routes. I don't really archive them anymore, mostly due to the fact that when I switched my GPS from TomTom to Garmin, I found that creating the routes for the Garmin was so cumbersome and difficult with their software, that I rarely use that feature. One of these days I'll find some software solution that will enable me to easily convert my original Google maps route planning into the GPS format, so it can lead me along properly - but I'm still searching for that.
Rever. Easy to plan a route on the laptop or on the fly. Easy to load .gpx to my Garmin. PM me if you want to discuss further.
great RR as usual for you! Had me reliving my adventures there a little while back. Then I reaized it’s been 16 years since I was there. Time to get back and go again.
Not exactly an "ADV" type experience, but a riding one nonetheless. And it was an adventure!
Oh man, what a great Saturday that was! I hadn’t been to UMC (Miller) for five years, hadn’t been on any track for a year-and-a-half, and had never yet ridden the Panigale V4 on the track. Finally it was time!
I bought my dream bike in spring of 2020. I found a pretty good deal on a 2018 Ducati Panigale V4S Speciale. Simply the most badass, sexy, perfect sportbike I’ve ever seen. So perfect, in fact, that I couldn’t bear the thought of taking it to the track – at least not in 2020. Too much of a perfect work of art to risk. I rode it here and there on the street, which was fun (as long as I kept the speed up, otherwise the heat from the exhaust pipes would completely melt my legs!). But in some ways, it was an exercise in frustration, because you just can’t ride a 200+ horsepower machine on the street in any way close to what it was designed for.
[Street bodywork above, track bodywork below]
Over the winter I softened my position a bit, and decided that to fully enjoy the bike, I needed to ride it on the track, in the way it was meant to be ridden. So, I ordered a set of track bodywork, and started to set it up for visits to the track in 2021. The stock bodywork, lights, turn signals, tail, etc. were unbelievably complex to remove. Definitely had me scratching my head a few times. And of course, I wondered how I’d possibly remember how to put it all back together when the time came. I carefully packed all that stuff away. When would it be a street bike again? I wasn’t sure.
The bike seemed about ready a couple of weeks before the first trackday of the season, which was April 17 with my good friends from Apex Trackdays in Utah. I decided to take it for a test ride up the street just to make sure the bodywork wouldn’t try to fall off or anything. As soon as I clicked it into gear it died. Kickstand sensor. Of course! On all of my other bikes I’ve converted for the track, when I removed the kickstand I had to fool the bike into thinking it was still on there, by zip-tying the switch in the “up” position or something similar. This bike didn’t have that setup. Quickly I googled to see what the answer was. Turned out I needed a special little electronic dongle that bypasses the system. I ordered one right away. Thank goodness I tried to go for a test ride! That would have been a horrible thing to discover at the track.
It arrived with a week to spare, so I went for my test ride. Now the engine light was on. Crap. I did more Google searching, but couldn’t find the exact issue. Unfortunately, there is no Ducati dealer in Idaho, so there was no way to get it diagnosed. I’d have to leave a day early for the Saturday trackday, and take it to the dealer in Salt Lake City along the way, and hope it wasn’t anything serious.
I got there around noon on Friday, and they got me right in and hooked it up to the computer. Turns out it was an intake air sensor, which apparently I had unplugged when I removed the stock headlight assembly. I didn’t know, I figured a cable to that area had something to do with lights or something. Oops. And of course, that part was back at home in Idaho. They told me it probably would be fine to run it at the track, that it just might run a little lean or rich. No biggie, thankfully!
[The missing sensor – found it when I got home]
It was so great to be back at Miller! I mean UMC! One of these days I’ll get used to that. And it was beyond cool to once again see so many of my old friends from back in the day. Such cool people, all happy and surprised to see me back at the track.
It was really cold at the track on Saturday morning. When the first session started at 9:00, it was 38 degrees out! I decided to at least go out and tiptoe around for a few laps, just to get re-familiarized with the track, and get comfortable on the bike. It was cold, and felt pretty weird to be back out there. It’d been over ten years since I was a regular racer there, doing 1:35’s on that (west) track configuration. I did manage to drag my knee a few times in the frozen conditions, so I figured I was still remembering how to do this at least a little bit.
I knew from experience, however, that the first session for me on any track, especially after a long layoff, feels weird and uncomfortable. But it never takes long for me to get back in the groove, and start chasing down people in front of me. The second session was lost due to someone in a different group blowing oil all over the track. So, we took the lunch break early, and it gave the sun some more time to warm things up.
Sure enough, session by session, I was having more and more fun, and pushing harder and harder. This was awesome! Of course I didn’t want to push TOO hard and do anything stupid, so I tried to be patient, and just get a little faster each session. I almost forgot how much fun this is!
[Thanks to Gary at bluepantsmedia.com for the action shots]
There is just nothing that I’ve ever experienced that compares to the rush I get on the track, flying around, leaned over, sometimes just inches from my competitors – er I mean fellow riders. It’s just the best. Riding on the street is great, I absolutely love it. But the track just amps up that intensity to unbelievable levels, that most people could only dream of.
And the bike. WOW. So special. So fast. So capable. The power was ridiculous. Astonishing. Brakes too. So powerful, I could use one finger and stop almost instantly. I was also being constantly reminded of just how physically demanding it is to wrestle a 200 HP superbike around the track at high speeds. It was a lot of work! Fun, but man. I really need to do this more often to stay in better moto shape.
I skipped the final session because my rear tire was toast. I guess that kind of horsepower will cause that. Didn’t matter, because I was so completely satisfied with the day I’d had. I sure can’t wait to get back!
How did the front tire last in comparison?
I applaud your wisdom to keep that amazing piece of moto in the right arena or you would need major mature restraint on public roads which many seem to have difficulty with.
Completely different than your experience I was following a busa and new Kawi 1000 playing along with another 6 rockets to win the "squid award" on Saturday.
Unfortunately the right hand of the Kawi rider kept him on the throttle down a straight in the triple digit speeds with the inability to haul it down fast enough before tagging the back of the Busa and the rest of the group which were braking. He and his bike log rolled at least 5 times with parts and shrapnel flying everywhere. I had to just about go to the grass as I went by him to avoid the explosion of stuff sky rocketing in the air.
Needless to say, he ruined every piece of protective equipment he had on. His boots, gloves, helmet and leather jacket were completely toasted and he had lots of missing skin on his upper shins/knees and palms. I was amazed he was able to get up but then again who would want to lay in the middle of a freeway. I pulled over to assist if possible and the award winner seemed coherent but the patrol and ambulance did show up. The almost new bike was complete totaled, with almost everything busted off it and fluids leaking from everywhere. Nothing appeared physically broken and he refused a ride to the hospital ER after they ran a few tests on him on site, however I'm sure he wasn't moving to much the next day. By the damage that occurred to his helmet (I almost got hit by the visor flying through the air) he was lucky to be alive and talking. Glad I didn't have to experience some young dude dying in front of me or trying to keep him alive for the paramedics to arrive.
Apologies about the thread jack but for those reading.. keep the challenges on the track like BWwhip62 and live for another day.
Southern Utah and a track day?! It's almost as if you really love motorcycles... nay, addicted to them.
Those Utah shots brought back memories. I remember doing much of that route solo on my MTS 1100 S that I bought not long after we all met for Will's ride way back when. Southern Utah is truly awesome.
Glad to see the Tricolore laying waste in its intended environment.
Horrible! Glad it wasn’t worse, as it sounds like it easily could have been. Thanks for sharing the cautionary tale.
Regarding your question about the front, it was brand new when I started the day, whereas the rear had some street miles on it, though not that many. No question that on that bike particularly, rears will wear out much faster than the fronts - especially since the front seems to be up in the air a lot . The Pirelli rep at the track gave me a replacement that is a newer version of the Supercorsa that’s supposed to be quite a bit more durable, so we’ll give that a go next time.
Kudos on another well written tale of your fantastic adventures. As always thanks for sharing with us.