Exploring California - Journey of a Noob

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by KennyBooBear, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,311
    Location:
    Spring Valley, Ca.
    That’s a bummer for the guy. Good thing you guys hung out, just to get the bike in the truck if nothing else, plus the jokes. I was on Google maps yesterday looking for the route to the lookout. Do you guys take Reed Valley Rd. from Wilson Rd. to get up there? Would in be conducive to camp up there, or anywhere along the way? I’ve been wanting to explore different roads off of Sage for a while now, Red Mountain was one of the ones I had seen. I tipped over on Saturday turning my bike around when I just couldn’t quite reach the ground. I got tossed down fairly hard, and I’m a little sore. It could’ve been a lot worse though. I ended up riding 200ish miles:clap
    Ride on KBB, thanks for keeping us in the loop. 9E0EFF35-5035-4426-AE99-4C08CBCA5D7F.jpeg
    Zubb and KennyBooBear like this.
  2. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    Falling is never fun, especially when it's a fall that "shouldn't" have happened - but it indeed happens to us all. Still, the lookout on East Grade is always a nice stop!

    When we ride to Red Mountain we head up 371 and turn off just after Cahuilla Casino on Cary Rd. This turns into Tripps Flat and we then turn off onto USFS Juan Diego Flats/7S04.

    We usually head down and exit out toward Sage Road as there's a few different routes to go down that way, making a loop of sorts.

    This Wednesday it looks like we're headed to Thomas Mountain for some fun before yet another stupid heat wave sneaks in. Ugh.
    Wierdrider likes this.
  3. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,311
    Location:
    Spring Valley, Ca.
    Thanks, what about camping up on Red Mountain?
  4. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    With regard to that I can't comment with any degree of certainty as I've never camped up there.

    That said, it's part of the San Bernardino National Forest so I would suspect it falls under the category of dispersed camping. The SBNF site indicates the areas in the NF where dispersed camping is allowed and although they don't directly indicate the Anza/Cahuilla area of the national forest, they do indicate areas close enough that I'm sure it could be argued you assumed they were one and the same.

    Direct from their site - this is the closest area listed as a dispersed camping accessible area of the forest.

    "Includes Idyllwild, Pine Cove, Garner Valley and San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains."

    Garner Valley is the Thomas Mountain area, and Red Mountain as the crow flies is 9 miles from there. Personally, I'd do it and just be smart about where you setup camp. There's not a tonne of space atop the mountain where the lookout is, but so long as you're respectful of the area I'd be shocked to see anyone give you crap over it.

    Directly from their page:

    "Rules for dispersed camping:
    • No wood or charcoal campfires (Read the current fire restrictions)
    • Vehicles must remain on roads and associated pullouts
    • Do not clear vegetation
    Guidance for dispersed camping:
    • Portable gas-powered stoves, lanterns and fire rings with a fuel-shutoff valve allowed with a California Campfire Permit and five feet clearance from vegetation.
    • Camp at least 200 feet from springs, water, meadows, trails and roads
    • Camp at least a quarter-mile from designated campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads
    • Camp at least a quarter-mile from private property and state highways
    • Pack out all trash
    • Leave no trace
    • For more information, please read the Forest Order on use of dispersed areas."
    Here's a link to a doc indicating all exceptions for dispersed camping in the SBNF.

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5155166.pdf

    Me personally, I'd just camp atop Santa Rosa Mountain or Thomas Mountain as they're in the same relative area and the latter two offer better views/more space to setup camp - but if I insisted on camping atop Red Mountain, I'd do so without great concern of violating any rules based on what I've read.
    Wierdrider likes this.
  5. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    The Sunday before last we finally had some usable weather, which is to say that we had high temperatures between mid 80s and about 90f in the general area. For the first time in quite a bit this meant I'd be able to go on a more "adventurous" ride without concern of heat exhaustion in the event I had an issue. I often think of outs for a worst case scenario in advance and plan my rides accordingly as I don't much care for ending up in a missing persons report.

    At any rate, I decided I'd ride Palomar Divide and once I reached Warner Springs, I'd hop on over to Cooper Cienega to Anza allowing myself to make a full loop home. As a result, I'd ride roughly 40-45 miles of various types of unpaved track. I had heard about Cooper Cienega some time ago and have been keen on riding it and with the perfect weather forecast for the day, I really had no excuse not to.

    I started the ride a bit later - a bit after 10am, but no matter. After stopping for fuel, snacks and water I headed toward the start of Palomar Divide by way of Rancho RV Resort and quickly made my up to High Point. Since I had no one along with me I was able to speed along at a decent rate allowing me ample opportunity for photo stops in between. When moving I reckon I was averaging about 30-35mph on the way up.

    DSC_0374.jpg

    DSC_0376.jpg

    In no time at all I was at the top, enjoying the cool air and the views that greet you from the above.

    DSC_0378.jpg

    DSC_0381.jpg

    DSC_0387.jpg

    After about 20 minutes and a splash of Gatorade, I jostled the bike back down the other side at speed breaking at the bottom beneath some gorgeous hundred+ year old oaks.

    DSC_0390.jpg

    It's only a short ride down 79 before you turn back off the highway onto Lost Valley Road, right across from the Warner Springs Gliderport. The first stretch of road was surprisingly paved and quickly ascended from just below 3000ft to right around 4200 where the pavement finally ended. The track here starts off as a hard pack of eroded/silty granite. I pulled off to admire the scenery a bit into this, and it's also entirely possible I did so as a result of my desire to ride up on some granite slabs.

    DSC_0393.jpg

    Continuing onward for a few miles of this silty, occasionally rutted but mostly easy/beginner path, I finally made it into Chihuahua Valley which is a small unincorporated area although for all intents and purposes it's a part of Warner Springs. Once you reach this point, Cooper Cienega awaits on the other side - and I'm happy to say it doesn't at all disappoint.

    DSC_0399.jpg

    I quickly found that Cooper Cienega is my new favorite local ride due to the numerous ledges, scrambles, baby heads etc. that coat the path across to Anza. It made for a lightly technical ride that was just enough of a challenge to get the blood flowing. I had an absolute blast riding across.

    I later realized the "Happy Valley" hump day ride we do with the FMARs cuts right through this section though I usually run it in the opposite direction. Going up was a lot more entertaining. Once on the other side and as I began to descend toward Anza, I realized I hadn't stopped to take any photos along the way.

    I parked the bike on the off camber shoulder as best I could and snapped a few more photos before completing my ride into Anza, and ultimately home.

    DSC_0400.jpg

    DSC_0401.jpg

    'Til next time y'all! Rubber side down and happy trails.
    Bors, MadRider777, dano619 and 2 others like this.
  6. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    Over the next couple of weeks I made it to back to back FMAR Hump Day rides leading up to the FMAR in Zion.

    The first was a ride to and down Happy Valley which was a blast despite my nearly bald front Tusk DSport (it's entirely possible Jesse pointed out to me that my front tire looked a bit low, leading to the discovery that I had been running 6psi in the front tire haha). Bike and I both did well and the technical sections of Cooper Cienega and such were a blast as I had many opportunities to take the harder lines. You can definitely feel it when you're riding better and better - and lately my comfort and confidence has been through the roof as noted by my riding at nearly twice the speed as I did just a few months ago (at times doing 55-60mph across the straighter sections).

    During this ride I only managed to snap a single photo, but it was a damn fine one if I do say so myself.

    118896532_10164466556000232_9206785160268126358_o.jpg

    The next ride was up Nate Harrison Grade and back down Palomar's South Grade road to Jilbertos for some late night Mexican food with friends pre-rally.

    As Nate Harrison is little more than a mostly smooth/hard packed unpaved road, there's not really much to discuss here apart from the damn fine burrito at the end of it all. Still, we had a good time as we tend to.

    119539517_3999817580032369_7675706172134610806_o.jpg

    119581548_10164497538005232_8010798960414007125_o.jpg

    119677236_10164497538160232_380064614584039293_o.jpg

    119632077_10164497565235232_3531720695529643022_o.jpg

    I spent the next few nights getting the bike prepped - cleaned air filter, topped off oil and thought about removing the PowerTronic ECU Piggyback as it simply made the bike run like utter shite - but I waited to see if plugging the forward o2 sensor back in instead of bypassing it per the instructions would help. It didn't, and I ended up taking 30 minutes during the FMAR in Zion to unplug the whole harness from the bike as it's more or less a hunk of shit and would make the bike considerably less comfortable to ride and less reliable during the rally.

    Previously it gave me significant troubles on the Cooper Cienega and Happy Valley Rides with the throttle being jerky and the numerous fueling/restarting/stalling issues that occurred since install.

    I also took the time to install the new HyperPro progressive coils in my fork tubes along with slapping a new Dunlop D606 up front to ensure she was rally ready.

    119838581_10164502559720232_6642153469121442528_o.jpg

    119671392_10164502559785232_7477169635996728013_o.jpg

    I'll conclude this entry with a little tease of what's to come...

    119883404_10164518222595232_5253490962109018430_o.jpg

    Zion, here we come!
    Bors, MadRider777, dano619 and 2 others like this.
  7. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,311
    Location:
    Spring Valley, Ca.
    Nice write ups as always :clap
    KennyBooBear likes this.
  8. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    A touch over a year into my journey on two wheels, and I'm finally ready to attend my first DualSport/Adventure Rally.

    This year there were plans to attend the annual ADV Rally as I was invited to join a Himalayan only team consisting of a few high profile riders (frankly I've no clue why I was invited as these people are upper echelon talent, so I still don't quite understand why they invited a noob such as myself, but perhaps they saw something in me I didn't!) but that has since been cancelled. I was also on the verge of at the last minute, racing up to Mammoth for the XLADV High Sierra Rally but again - things didn't quite line up. That said, I made damn sure I was going to attend the 10th Annual Flying Monkey Adventure "UN"Rally in Southern Utah this year - and attend we did.

    As stated above, 2 days before we departed I decided to swap in the HyperPro progressive coils. The install was surprisingly easy and I'm damn glad I did as the whole bike is massively different (in a good way) as a result. I spent the night before loading the bike and packing gear into the Tiguan so that we could set off bright and early Monday morning. Tuesday was my 32nd birthday and Thursday was my wife and I's first wedding anniversary. We wanted to ensure we'd be able to celebrate both in Zion. Jesse was kind enough to give me a long term loaner of his Kendon Big Bike folding trailer which made the whole process that much easier. Originally I had planned to buy a 4x8 Ironton folding trailer and retrofit it myself for hauling bikes/kayaks etc. but due to Jesse's generosity, I can backburner that plan for now.

    Anyways, enough blabbing away - we hit the road early Monday AM but not before I clumsily dropped all of the empanadas we made the night prior in the parking lot. Thankfully a few didn't touch the pavement so it wasn't a total loss. We were on the road by 9:30 and in relatively short order made our way across Southern California. Shortly after lunch we were in Vegas giving us an opportunity to fuel up near Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We stopped a couple of times along the way to let the pup stretch her legs but otherwise made short order of the drive to St. George where we arranged a night at a hotel. This would allow us to get into Zion first thing in the morning and allow us plenty of time to enjoy my birthday in what is arguably one of the most stunning places in North America.

    119883404_10164518222595232_5253490962109018430_o.jpg

    The Tiguan did it's job surprisingly well as it was my first time towing with it. Upon our arrival in St. George - we had averaged 26.5mpg at 70-75mph the whole way.

    119892200_10164518223055232_2984575081541367003_o.jpg

    As we were unloading, a thunderstorm in the distance neared. The wind began to swirl and heavy drops of rain started to pelt us - then ironically, as soon as we made it indoors the rain stopped and the storm broke up just before reaching us.

    We awoke early Tuesday morning and hit the road. Having never been to Zion National Park - what Fabiola and I found waiting for us absolutely took our breath away.

    DSC_0410.jpg

    DSC_0414.jpg

    We stopped, and stopped frequently in spite of our desire to make it to Zion Ponderosa on the opposite side of the park before lunch time.

    120152406_10164525854170232_7340366754235656506_o.jpg

    Even with our rubber necking, we managed to do just that only to have them tell us our site was not yet ready. Oh the irony....

    We made lunch and by the time we finished the site was ready, so we quickly headed over - unloaded our things, the bike, and setup camp. We even had time to goof off a bit.

    119962576_10164525813610232_5024117095700673229_o.jpg

    By the time evening fell, we were all moved in and as good as locals.

    119976135_10164525814030232_1019102831308109815_o.jpg

    Fabiola and I visited the cafe on prem (Ray's as they call it) and had a birthday dinner of sorts. Hilariously, the restaurant manager dropped our pizza on his way to serve us outdoors. The pizza hardly showed any damage but as we had already bonded with the manager a bit, I took the moment to exclaim "Wow, you dropped our pizza on my BIRTHDAY?!" He busted out laughing and apologized profusely despite us insisting it was fine.

    120043312_10164525814300232_2592184264856966753_o.jpg

    Damn that pizza was good!

    Right around the time we finished, Charles appeared again but this time with a cookie he had made and topped with ice cream. This was a total surprise and frankly made our night - but he wasn't yet done.

    119962806_10164525814845232_5645435559168361616_o.jpg

    As we were wrapping up and getting the check - Charles again came to our table but this time with another pizza. He proceeded to tell us the chicken bacon ranch was his favorite and that it was on the house to take back to camp with us. Needless to say, we tipped him well and had a nice snack to bring back to the campsite. I'll wrap this up by saying if you find yourself in Zion Ponderosa - go to Ray's and ask for Charles. He's a damn fine manager and just a generally fantastic person.

    We got to bed around 10PM as though our plans fell through to board the pup for the day Wednesday so we could hike the Narrows, we had a second option that proved to be equally spectacular and would even allow us to keep our 4 legged companion along with for the hike.

    120131743_10164525817125232_6905159782824227909_o.jpg

    Observation Point would be the destination for the day....

    Part II on it's way!
  9. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    Tuesday afternoon, before we headed off for dinner - Fabiola and I took a drive down the gravel roads in the area following signs for a place called "Observation Point." We knew nothing of this but once we reached the end of the road, found it was evidently a hiking trail to what would presumably be some semblance of a view over Zion. We decided we'd come back early the next AM for a hike.

    We were up with the sun and I quickly got some water boiling in the JetBoil. Breakfast consisted of bananas cut up in some Maple and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal, Yogurt, and hot tea; The breakfast of champions - when you're camping of course. Our queen sized air mattress, wrapped in a fleece blanket for insulation and our duck down comforter was more than enough to ensure we slept like absolute babies.

    We took some time after to brush our teeth and get dressed but then quickly setoff so we could begin the hike at 8:30AM. If you're in the area, this is a fantastic hike to do as it's relatively flat and has a combined distance as an out and back of 6.8 miles. Granted, all of this is above 6300ft so if you haven't taken the time to acclimate - chances are your muscles will be a bit sore the next day. I hike quite a bit, as well as riding technical trails fairly regularly so my legs are up to the task. Fabiola was a bit stiff the next day.... or two, however.

    DSC_0448-2.jpg

    After about 2.5 miles we were greeted with views to the North of Bulloch Gulch. Surprisingly there was great cell signal in this spot, so both Fabi and I took the time to video call our respective families to share the view with them.

    DSC_0450-2.jpg

    We trekked forth and could soon see Zion Canyon in the distance.

    DSC_0455.jpg

    The latter part of the hike begins to descend a few hundred foot, somewhat steeply at times. This isn't really an issue but does make the return hike slightly more strenuous than getting to the destination. For this reason, I definitely recommend starting early so that you're not out there in the heat of the day going through all of your water reserves before you even head back. The deep, loose sand at the lower portion simply amplify the need for energy preservation but damnit, the views that await are so much more than worth it.

    DSC_0469-2.jpg

    DSC_0473.jpg

    DSC_0474.jpg

    We spent about 20 minutes there just in awe of the sight that lay before us before finally deciding it was time to head back. The temperatures were rising quickly and neither of us much cared for over exerting ourselves. The first part of the hike was unquestionably the hardest but once back up at 6700ft, the rest was a very gradual downhill for the next 3 miles. Upon our arrival back to camp I fired up the grill, and we tossed on some chicken thighs to make a salad. To get us by, Fabiola made a couple of thick sandwiches as well.

    120053806_10164525817625232_1461319492414723169_o.jpg

    A few meat bees (Yellow Jackets) tried stealing our food but I quickly found that plastic plates made swatting them out of the air quite simple. The little sons a bitches had met their match.

    We took a break after lunch and then hopped in the Tiguan to head into Springdale for provisions, but not without taking the time to enjoy the scenery on the way there and back.

    DSC_0477-2.jpg

    DSC_0492.jpg

    Once we got back we prepped dinner and did what any person camping does - played with fire, enjoyed some spirits and talked the night away as thousands of stars began to reveal themselves in the night skies above us.

    DSC_0516.jpg

    You'd be hard pressed to beat Southern Utah for scenery.

    Part III ..... start your engines!
    MadRider777, GeoMoto, sealsam and 5 others like this.
  10. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,611
    Location:
    San Diego
    Truth! There's nothing like Utah that I've ever seen.

    Great story telling, great pics! Well done sir.
    :lurk
    sealsam, KennyBooBear and Wierdrider like this.
  11. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,311
    Location:
    Spring Valley, Ca.
    Happy belated birthday and Anniversary. What a great way to spend it!
    sealsam and KennyBooBear like this.
  12. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    Thanks gents!

    Utah was incredible and it made for an amazing place to celebrate our respective milestones.

    Working on Part III of V now.
    Zubb, sealsam and Wierdrider like this.
  13. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    This is going to be a long entry, so buckle your helmets folks!

    Another day, another adventure.

    I neglected to mention previously that on Wednesday after our hike, a couple of gents rolled by our site – stopped and asked, “Are you guys with the Monkeys?” presumably because they spotted the Himalayan in all of its underpowered glory. We invited them to have a seat and made quick friends – Manny and Arrin ended up being our adopted camp family for the remainder of the week which we were happy to have.

    After a short while, they departed and we headed down to Springdale.

    In any case, Thursday morning came and I quickly got dressed and ready for the 9am briefing, but not before Fabi insisted on snapping a few pictures of me saddling up.

    120396171_3655813574437229_6472522802181762390_o.jpg

    I rolled up around 8:45 and what started as just a couple of bikes quickly turned into a crowd of more than 50. Jesse announced that there’d be 3 rides; a Beginner, a Beginner/Intermediate, and an Intermediate/Expert ride. I was sold on the Beginner/Intermediate ride until I heard that all of my friends would be attending the Beginner ride and more importantly, that the beginner ride would be to the North Rim of the Grand-Freakin’-Canyon!

    DSC_0550.jpg

    Post-briefing, we saddled up and hit the road. Initially we had planned to go down 9 toward Mt. Carmel Junction but after some discussion it was decided that we’d ride right through the heart of Zion National Park – partly for the scenery and partly to increase the amount of dirt beneath our wheels. As you can imagine, riding with a million miles of sky in your visor through Zion is an incredible experience – especially first thing in the morning with very little traffic to impede your progress. Frankly, it went by too quickly and in no time at all we were on the other side of Springdale, turning off onto our first unpaved tracks for the day.

    We grouped up and after Jesse identified where some static on the Chatterbox Radios was coming from, we set off up the path. As we got going, I heard Jesse come over the radio to say “This is the only challenge of the day.” While he wasn’t exactly correct, the challenge ahead was definitely one of the most fun.

    DSC_0552.jpg

    After a short distance over hardpacked Colorado, we were soon ascending Smithsonian Butte Road, a climb covered in all manner of rocks/ledges. Normally riding solo one would take their time with such a thing, but there’s something oddly adrenaline inducing about riding in a group and as such, everyone seemed to tackle it as hard as they possibly could. Up the track I went averaging between 25 and 30mph, my suspension cycling as quickly as it possibly could and picking good enough lines to only scrape the bottom a handful of times; And just like that, the climb was behind me. As I understood it, no one dropped their bikes on the 1-mile climb, but a few took it nice and slow to ensure there were no mishaps. I wish I had photos of this section but please take my word for it – it was entertainingly gnarly at speed.

    There is a Google Streetview of the route from November of 2019 – but it’s quite clear that a dry year and lots of tires have since turned it quite a bit nastier than is on display here.

    Click here for the Google StreetView!

    On the top side of Smithsonian Butte we began to speed across the Colorado Plateau toward highway 59, and a short while later we crossed it. We turned to the Southeast to eventually join up with Uzona Road, and this is where we met our first surprise sand pit of the day.

    I was riding in the front of the group, following Aaron on his KLR, a local who was leading today’s ride, Dave Thompson on his 690 Enduro who cofounded the FMAR with Jesse, and one other experienced rider on a KLR. We were cruising between 45 and 55mph when suddenly I saw the 3 of them disappear into a cloud of thick, red dirt right in front of me. A split second later and I too was in the middle of it. It required every bit of skill and experience for me to not immediately eat shit. Slow down too much and the gent on a DR400 a decent bit behind me may catch up and slam into the rear of me – not enough though and who knows what I’ll plow into?

    I leaned back as far as I could and got the bike down to about 25mph with only a moment’s notice. This allowed the dust in front of me to clear enough that I could see the others made it through, so I got back on the throttle and hunkered down to push the Himalayan’s fat ass through the pit.

    My mirrors would reveal that no one else was behind me after the pit and I began to grow a bit concerned as the day prior when riding with Manny on his 1090, he had some significant difficulties in the sand (primarily with regard to going over the handlebars on one occasion, and slamming into the dirt off to the side on another.) The four of us made it into Colorado City and our gas stop for the morning where we would wait for the rest of the group. I heard some chatter about people going down, but nothing more. Once I had completed my fill-up, the gent on his DR400 pulled in – but after, silence.

    A few minutes later and some officers walked up and asked if any of us had dialed 911. They explained they had just received a call asking for emergency help but couldn’t identify where it was coming from – naturally our concern for our friends increased. Thankfully however, after about 10 minutes of the 5 of us waiting at the station, the remaining 14 riders started to trickle in.

    As it turned out, 3 or 4 bikes had gone down in the pit, forcing everyone else to slow (Manny later indicated it was probably for the best for him, as it forced him to slow way down and waddle through) and pick their way through as others helped the riders who fell back up. The only damage suffered was a few bruised egos and we were all back together as a group.

    DSC_0556.jpg

    After we all bought spare snacks and took a moment to talk, Jesse informed the group that the day's total would be a touch over 220 miles and that the vast majority of that would be on dirt. Sarah spoke up to say her longest ride ever previously was 40 miles, and though she had a relatively tiny tank on her bike, she bedded in her heels for the rest of the day anyways. We all saddled up and hit the road.

    At this point the route became a bit fuzzy to me as I wasn't running anything to track my route - but we pounded pavement for no more than a mile before turning back towards the South. From this moment forward, more than 100 miles of dirt lie ahead of us. In between our stop and getting back on the road, I fell toward the latter part of the group but quickly made up ground when we got back off pavement. At this point I was riding about 7th in line.

    For those curious, this is roughly (my best guess anyways) the route from the gas station to where we ended up at.

    Click Me! I'm a Map!

    Things started off well enough and as a group we continued on a steady pace across the plateau. I had eyes on the front of the group and we were consistently riding at around 45-55mph per the norm - until suddenly we weren't. Again, a plume of dust revealed itself in the distance. Not wanting a repeat of last time, I slowed to about 25 and crept in it to find that the other gent on a KLR riding with Dave and Aaron had gone down. By the time I rode through he was already back up and dusting himself off, so I continued on - but this silt was different than the previous sand pit. There's really no way to describe it as anything more than liquid dirt. The sediment is a very fine, and dense silt/dust that when you ride through, splashes up like waves all over your lower legs and bike. Surprisingly, there was traction 4-6" beneath it so as long as you're careful, it wasn't particularly hard to ride through I thought.

    I kept riding ahead, no with just Dave and Aaron in front of me until we hit another such pit of this silt - a much longer and deeper one. We fought to the other side and the three of us stopped. Aaron quickly exclaimed "That was a bad one!" The three of us agreed and I proceeded to tell them that their friend on the KLR had gone down in the previous pit. Unbeknownst to us, he had gone down in this one as well - and so the wait began.

    DSC_0565.jpg

    A minute or two went by and the gent on his DR400 caught up to inform us that more or less everyone was wrestling their bikes through.

    DSC_0559.jpg

    This pit stop ended up lasting 30+ minutes while we waited for everyone to get through and subsequently catch their respective breath, and quench their thirst before we could continue our trek to Kanab Point.

    Jay and I were walking through snapping photos of the break and happened to run into one another long the way.

    DSC_0572.jpg

    And on his way to saddle back up, Dave struck one of his finest poses.

    DSC_0592.jpg

    This marked about the half way point of our dirt to Kanab Point from gas in Colorado City, so once we saddled back up - I was confident we'd be rolling non-stop to the Canyon.

    We had a few more brief stops along the way and I spent the large majority of the time picking my way through traffic to the front only to stop at various large turns to guide those not on radio in the right direction - rinse and then repeat. I'm actually quite glad I did this, as the process of picking through the 30-35mph traffic at 45-55 gave me the slightest semblance of feeling of what it must be like to ride the Dakar - and man was it exhilarating. I recall later on Arrin (not the Aaron leading, but the Arrin who stumbled on our site on Wednesday) saying "Riding with you is embarrassing! I've been riding dirt 5 years and you only 1, and you pass me as though I'm sitting still" followed by quite a bit of laughter.

    The last 4 miles down to Kanab Point became a series of flowy curves covered in loose gravel, many ledges and roots, with plenty of baby heads thrown in the mix. The track itself was double track divided by a loose/high center section and flanked on either side by small but stout trees whose branches would occasionally reach out and smack the shit out of your mirrors and shoulders.

    My friend Lawrence and his wife Stephanie stayed back at this point as Stephanie was absolutely exhausted and getting a bit light headed. Tristan also opted to stay back as he was just completely gassed. Better to know your limits than to get yourself into an irrecoverable situation, but I was admittedly bummed once we reached the rim to find that not everyone made it all the way.

    Still, I was elated to see the Sarah made it all the way down - as did Manny on his self proclaimed Water Buffalo of a 1090!

    The views from Kanab Point were absolutely out of this world.....

    DSC_0599.jpg

    DSC_0611.jpg

    As more riders made their way down, we all removed our gear and stood in awe at the seemingly unending views we were rewarded with.

    Part IV, coming to a theatre near you!...
    Razzman113, Bors, MadRider777 and 5 others like this.
  14. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,256
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    This is great!! Thanks!!
    sealsam, KennyBooBear and Wierdrider like this.
  15. Wierdrider

    Wierdrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,311
    Location:
    Spring Valley, Ca.
    Where do I buy tickets for part lV?
    sealsam and KennyBooBear like this.
  16. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am. Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    7,963
    Location:
    seal beach, ca.
    KennyBooBear and Wierdrider like this.
  17. Kyron

    Kyron Oncler Inds

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,174
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona ATR > Pacifica Ca PMA
    Great Ride report!!
    KennyBooBear likes this.
  18. KennyBooBear

    KennyBooBear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2019
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    Colfax, CA
    No tickets required! Finally getting around to Part IV so - here goes!




    After a prolonged gaze at a rather large notch carved out into Northern Arizona's part of the Colorado Plateau, but not at all before finishing the delicious sandwich Fabiola made me earlier in the morning (sadly by this time it had largely turned to mush, but still tasted amazing), we began to pack up to set off back North towards Fredonia. I snapped off a few more photos and decided I'd sweep the rear on the way out to the main road in order to keep an eye on Manny and ensure he had no issue in the loose gravel.

    DSC_0613.jpg

    DSC_0616.jpg

    DSC_0626.jpg

    I killed time waiting for Manny to get all loaded by riding to the other end of Kanab Point. Jesse must have seen this from a distance as he came over the radio concerned, thinking I was heading off the cliff.

    After a few more views I spun around and let Manny know it was all right turns on the way out - and so the chase began. To my surprise, Manny had no issues at all heading back up the 4 miles of zig zagging, loose double track and on a few occasions I even witnessed him getting both tires off the ground. He seemed to be having a blast though he later indicated to me that he was about done physically and was thankful when we get to the main road.

    At this point Jesse and I switched out and I began charging ahead. We had hoped to find Tristan, Stephanie and Lawrence waiting for us but were a bit concerned when we found that they weren't where they had originally signaled to be waiting. Quite some time had passed so we figured they went ahead to the junction with 109. We pressed on as a group and about 10 miles up the road we found that they were pulled off, waiting for us.

    Tristan was clearly exhausted but more concerning was the nut for Stephanie's rear shock linkage had miraculously disappeared. I offered up some JB Weld and bailing wire but Lawrence came up with a different bodge involving a hose clamp and the decision to simply ride quite gingerly on the way back to the highway. Once there, they would head toward Kanab and find a hardware store.

    Once sorted, I sped down the desert tracks undramatically to the tune of 50-60mph. This is where a bit more power on the Himalayan would have been nice, but it was still adequate enough for me to keep up with a couple of gents on their 790s who had come down from Colorado. I stopped one more time along the way as a DRZ400 rider had his rear chain guard lose a bolt causing it to begin flapping around wildly. I again produced my bailing wire and in a minute or so he was back on the road.

    After 40 or 50 miles of what was little more than a gravel road toward the border with Utah, we were back to Highway 389. We waited for the rest of the group to arrive and arranged a plan to head into Fredonia for fuel and then head straight back for camp.

    DSC_0662.jpg

    Sarah was dangerously low on fuel so we all stuck together until our fuel stop. I immediately ran indoors to use the restroom and took a moment to wash the mud from my nose (to my surprise, quite a lot can accumulate in there.) I think grabbed a 1.5l bottle of water to rehydrate, and a 20oz can of fermented grain to relax with back at camp. After topping off the tank, I made a beeline for Zion Ponderosa.

    This 40 mile stretch admittedly reminded me why the Himalayan is a far better off pavement bike than an on pavement bike, as a large portion of this journey was uphill and already at some altitude. That paired with a bike whose air filter was likely filled with large amounts of dirt meant that I was constantly in 4th gear with the throttle rolled back as far as it would possibly go just to maintain 50-55mph. I was more than relieved to turn off on the short trek back to camp. A quick stop at the main office for a bag of ice and then I headed to our site. Fabi had a delicious dinner waiting for me, and then we and our friends all sat around the campfire for some hours talking about our respective rides before turning in around 10:00pm.

    This day immediately shot straight to the top of my most memorable trips on two wheels, and the weekend had only begun.



    The next day as the sun broke, we got up for another day of riding. Fabi and I did the usual breakfast and preparation and I took some time to assist Jay with his handguards. I also badly wanted to switch over to my spare air filter and perform a bit of chain maintenance so I did just that. By the time that had wrapped I still wasn't dressed but everyone was meeting for the morning briefing.

    After meeting up with Manny, Jay and Arrin and after some discussion we decided we'd depart a bit late and make a bee-line for Duck Creek Village in an effort to intercept the group. This allowed me to take get dressed but more importantly, to take advantage of one of the Three Ss.

    Arrin had a few different issues and as he wasn't comfortable being "that" guy who has problems all day, he decided to stay back. I left my tools to him along with all the oil he needed to get the KLR topped off, and then Jay, Manny and myself hopped on the bikes and onto North Fork County Road.

    The goal was to find a way to cut across to Duck Creek as quickly as possible. I mapped out an option on my phone but after making the first turn we quickly found that 1.) this offshoot was sandy and Manny has a fondness for going down in the sand and 2.) a bit further down there was a locked gate. We turned around and got back on North Fork County Road where Jay fired up his Garmin Zumo for the first time. His new-to-him DRZ came with it installed and though he hadn't yet used it, a route was quickly found and we pressed on.

    The road continued on and it was absolutely spectacular. We were following a creek through aspens and tall firs, separated by occasionally meadows. If the day before was all about the destination - today was clearly all about the ride. Further on I found a track that seemed to be a shortcut through a creek crossing. On the other side we were met with yet another gate though so we again turned back to North Fork.

    On and on we pressed, through occasional sandy/silty bits (one of which we met a logging truck coming the other way on) and nearly two dozen miles of incredibly scenic mountain tracks, we arrived back at pavement. Shortly after getting onto pavement we were met by the absolutely stunning Navajo Lake. Manny stopped for a moment to fire off a few photos and admittedly, I wish I had too.

    A bit further up and we turned East on Highway 14 in the Dixie National Forest. We hadn't realized it yet but we were well above 8,000ft at this point which explained the large amounts of aspens and Fall colors already beginning to show. As we rode toward Duck Creek Village, the astounding beauty of the surrounding area forced me to pull off. We were riding through massive lava flows with all manner of colorful trees popping out of every available amount of soil - the area was too incredible only for words and I had intended to take some photos at this point.

    We quickly discussed and had decided that it was nearing Noon, and the group was likely far beyond Duck Creek Village. We would head the rest of the way to Duck Creek a few more miles up the road, fuel up and then make our own route for the day through the Dixie National Forest, a proposition we were perfectly content with. As we got on the way, that plan was quickly changed though - not 400 yards down the highway and I saw lights headed toward me. It was Jesse with the group following. I quickly popped on my ChatterBox and told the group we were on our way. Before looping around, I checked with both Manny and Jay and confirmed they each had about 70 miles worth of fuel so we gave chase, and about 10 miles up the road, caught the rest of the group. On the way we went up and over a pass at 9,910ft - the first official confirmation that we had ascended considerably from where we began at 6500ft.

    We all met up as a group at a turn off and began a long, winding journey on pavement toward Zion. After a few miles, the tracks turned to dirt and then began a long, cold and dusty ride over the mountains. The scenery looked straight out of the Scottish Highlands. We were often surrounded by immense green, rolling pastures covered in hundreds of sheep grazing away. I lost track of the miles, but after what seemed like a few dozen, we happened upon a stunning high alpine lake above Zion National Park called Kolob Reservoir.

    DSC_0672.jpg

    DSC_0698.jpg

    We took our time to snack and hydrate which for me was a hidden blessing as I was getting quite cold at this point. Mesh gear and high altitudes don't mix well, but I was thankful later on that I dressed for warmer weather.

    After a 20-30 minute break, we set back off and wound down into a Western Zion National Park - an area I imagine most who visit the park have never seen, and man was it incredible. As we were riding with a group, there wasn't much opportunity to stop for photos, so the best I can is recommend everyone to ride Kolob Terrace Road at least once while they visit. Truly a stunning area.

    Once we reached Smith Mesa Road, we turned off onto it. The temperatures were rising dramatically and suddenly we had another rally stage on our hands. The group today was much larger than the day prior, and there were a number of faster/lighter dual sports - so it was a blast to be in the middle of the dust storm toward the front of the pack, ripping on the Himalayan with these sorts of machines. Our next stop was about 16 miles further down the road, just past Jesse's ranch out on the Mesa with views into Zion. I can absolutely see why Jesse is working on fully relocating to this area.

    DSC_0700.jpg

    DSC_0720.jpg

    After another elongated break, we broke off into several smaller groups and made our respective ways down to Virgin, and then back through the heart of Zion. Everyone stopped for fuel at the first gas stop in town, but as I wasn't hurting for fuel I simply rode ahead back to Zion Ponderosa for a late lunch and to begin winding down. On the way through, I stopped one last time in Zion.

    DSC_0765.jpg

    Fabi and I decided we'd head back Sunday as she learned on our trip that she had a job interview waiting for her once we returned. There was no big rides happening Sunday anyways, and since everyone else was heading back then for the most part, we decided we'd get a head start and use Monday to recovery. The night Manny, Arrin, Jay and our "neighbor" Joe who rode in from SLC joined us at the campsite sharing stories and laughter over a couple of beers.

    The whole trip was magical and has us all anxious to return soon. Fabiola and I both are entertaining the idea of relocating to St. George in the next couple of years but more importantly, we made some fantastic lifelong friends during our short 6 day/5 night stay.

    Our drive home was far too long due to a few accidents once we got passed Vegas, and as a result the return trip kept us on the road for 12 hours. We stopped a few times along the way to let the dog out and once back into California we stopped for a break along I-15 where we snapped off one remaining photo to cap off the trip.

    DSC_0776.jpg

    We truly can't wait to return to Southern Utah/Northern Arizona.

    'Til next time!
    Bors, EMFL, effinstrange and 5 others like this.
  19. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,611
    Location:
    San Diego
    Great RR! While I've hiked the Narrows, climbed Angel's landing, and driven/ridden around Zion over the years... you unlocked quite a few hidden secrets there I never knew about. Thanks for shooting and sharing with the rest of us.
    KennyBooBear likes this.
  20. Scubalong

    Scubalong Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,121
    Location:
    So Cal
    :wave Hola Kent just found your report. Great write up.:super
    Keep the rubber side down mate....:ricky

    Scub aka Long :wings
    KennyBooBear likes this.