First Trip to Moab

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by gravityisnotmyfriend, May 2, 2019.

  1. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    But, not my last!


    I started hearing about murmurings of Moab late last year. Having just gotten back from a week long trip to SW Colorado, I didn’t even consider it an option. I knew a lot of the people that were going, and they all continued to pester me about trying to make it happen. My biggest hurdle would be convincing my wife that she should watch the kids by herself while I spend a week’s vacation playing with motorbikes. I put together a careful plan. The first part of the plan was to make my wife aware of the trip. Then, I would work on bringing up reasons that I should go – but I needed to start with step one.


    So, I used our mutual friend @Mow-ree and told my wife that he was going. Her response? Well you should go, too. You’re not getting any younger after all! Well, my wife calling me old and giving me the green light to ride in Moab was both exciting and a kick in the gut. But, whatever – I didn’t have to formulate the rest of my plan!


    My trip started April 6th at O’dark thirty.
    8EAD6B02-F7E9-4097-AD66-46572488EF62.jpeg
    Had my 250 EXC and 300 TXT loaded in the trailer and I pulled them a little over an hour to SW Wisconsin. I ended up catching up to Mow-ree about 10 miles from our rendezvous point and followed him the rest of the way to meet Paul.
    EF8B08BD-AB32-44D7-AABB-A0E40719B7B6.jpeg
    The tentative plan was for Mow-ree and I to bring both a dirtbike and a trials bike. There was room for 4 bikes in my trailer, and one in the back of the truck. Unfortunately, that left very little room for any of our luggage or gear. We were looking at 20+ hours in the truck each way and didn’t want to be cramped for the ride. So, we left the trials bikes behind, loaded up the rest of the bikes, hitched my trailer to Paul’s truck and we were off – right on schedule.


    We made good time across IA – I don’t think we stopped at all. Pretty sure we rolled into Omaha, and stopped for gas with 6 miles to spare. We were very empty. I think it was here that we noticed that one fender was getting a bit floppy. I went to inspect it and found that one of the 4 bolts had fallen out. This allowed the rest of the fender to move, and the constant wiggling had caused 2 of the 3 remaining mount points to break off. It was only holding with one remaining bolt. And if that broke, it’d make a mess of our tire. So, some quick gas station surgery, and I pull the fender, threw it in the trailer and we were back off and running.
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    Stopped in Brighton Colorado for some chicken wings, beers and a few hours of sleep.
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    #1
  2. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    Got up Sunday morning and headed for Moab. We made one stop in Rifle CO for supplies, and an early lunch – then set our destination for the Gemini Bridges trailhead. Moab is at a higher altitude than WI, and we wanted to see if any jetting changes were needed. We got there well before we could check into our house, so it was a perfect time to shake down the machines.


    As soon as we headed down the trail, I could tell my bike wasn’t running right. But, I wanted to make sure it was good and warm before diagnosing it. It was blubbery rich at pretty much all throttle settings – so that meant I needed to change everything. Went back to the trailer and swapped out for a leaner pilot jet, leaner main, and raised the needle clip.


    Took off again, and it was running much better. It wasn’t perfect off idle – but close enough. Spent the next couple of hours riding around the area and found a fun place to play around on boulders and rock ledges.
    IMGP8057.JPG IMGP8103.JPG IMGP8051.JPG
    By then, it was time to load up the bikes and head for town.




    Got unloaded, found spots to sleep, grabbed a burger and Eddie McStiffy’s (I think), got ready for our first real day of riding.
    #2
  3. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    Monday was the first day for a planned group ride. We all headed south out of Moab towards Kane Creek.
    IMG_20190408_104402.jpg

    The ride started out really easy. Nice fast flowing dirt with a few rocks.

    IMG_20190408_112202_1.jpg

    Eventually it became apparent why it was called Kane Creek – we eventually started in a series of creek crossings. The water was pretty low and clear – so it wasn’t too tough. Just fun.


    However, there is a point the jeep trail and bike trail diverge and that’s where things started getting interesting. The drop down was a little unnerving. There were a couple of pretty big drops down into the creek followed by a climb out and a sketchy bridge. The planks seemed sturdy enough – but they were running parallel to the track with big gaps between them. Looked like a good way to wedge a tire in there and tumble off into the crevasse.

    Right after the bridge, there was a simple creek crossing and I’m not sure how, but one of the guys managed to tip his bike over in a perfectly horrible spot. One in a million shot, but he managed to crush his radiator against a rock and spray coolant all over the valley floor. This happened behind me and I was unaware of it as I tackled one of the more technical climbs. Mike made it up the climb with his coolantless Beta, but we stopped on top to assess the situation.

    IMG_20190408_133803.jpg IMG_20190408_135007.jpg

    Luckily for him, bikes have two radiators and his bike is a 2 stroke – which tends to run cooler than a 4 stroke. Also lucky was that the radiator fan was on the side that wasn’t crushed. So, we spent a little time on top of a rock – bypassing his broken radiator and plugging off hoses. Once we got it all put back together (by “we” I mostly mean Mike and Neal) we filled some empty Gatorade bottles with creek water and topped off his bike.

    AFAIK, it worked fine.We had another tricky section where the trail goes down pretty steeply, crosses the creek and then goes up to a fairly tough climb. Then, one more near vertical 4’ tall ledge and we were back to the hwy. We had considered continuing on to Pritchard’s canyon after Kane Creek, but we had lost a lot of time on the repair. Mike wanted to head back to moab to see about getting his bike fixed properly. I had to go back as I was out of water. So, the whole group headed back and called it a day. Fun first day of riding – but it felt very much like something we could ride anywhere. Just pretty normal trails.

    Audio in this video and mostly likely the rest of the videos may contain NSFW language.













    The next day, however…
    #3
  4. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    We made a plan to do Poison Spider, Golden Spike, Where Eagles Dare, and whatever else we saw up that way. The plan started and ended at the poison spider parking lot – and between the road ride there and back, and the miles we planned to put on, gas was going to be a potential problem. So we decided to take one truck with bikes and cans of gas on it. The rest of us rode our bikes down, and topped off in the parking lot before heading out.

    Once again, the trail started out pretty much like any other trail. Dirt, rocks, and a few tricky parts – but nothing I couldn’t see in the Midwest. However, we came around a corner through some sand and saw a SxS hanging off a rock face. Things were about to get interesting! This first climb is where the video below starts. The trail was steep with ledges, but the traction was good – really good – and we were all able to just tractor right up it.

    The next tricky climb was very steep initially. It was very loose sand for the run up, so it was tough to get momentum. Neal was the only one to make it up clean without so much as a dab – which earned him the reputation of sandbagging for the rest of the week.
    IMG_20190409_114612.jpg

    There were several more steep climbs – all of which would have been very difficult on any other surface. But on Moab rocks? The traction was amazing. Then we got to what I believe is called Launchpad. It’s just a valley, but it’s very steep going down, and very steep going up the other side. This is where following someone who has been to Moab is critical to having a good trip. I would have absolutely concluded that this was just too steep to do on motorcycles. Had I not seen Jess go up in front of me, I would have never tried it. This was only the first of several similar situations throughout the week and I’m so grateful for having these guys show us newbs around.

    After some expletives in my helmet, I committed and went down the first side of Launchpad. I rolled on the throttle to go up the other side, and my bike just went up it. It felt like it was vertical, but up I went. It was so absurd that I couldn’t help just laughing to myself.

    The next obstacle was Skyline drive. Just a long steep trail to the top of a mound with the American Flag flying on top – followed by a long, steep descent.
    IMG_20190409_134727.jpg



    We then stopped for pics in the “batcave”. No idea if that’s what it’s actually called – but it’s what we called it.
    batcavenick.jpeg

    Then off to “Where Eagles Dare”. This one was legitimately scary. I was sitting on my bike at the bottom and had a borderline anxiety attack just looking at the sheer enormity of the obstacle in front of us.

    But, like everything else, it was all a mental game. Keep your weight forward, use the clutch and just drive to the top. The back side was even worse. The last third of the descent was ridiculously steep – so steep that you couldn’t even see the trail until you were all the way to the point where it drops off. And, it had ruts in the rock that ran diagonally across the path. Best course of action was to just let off the brakes and let gravity do its thing – but that was just tough to commit to.

    goldspikeoverlook.JPG
    We finally made the loop around Golden Spike and headed back on Poison spider. Doing the Launchpad in reverse was somehow scarier than the first time. It got in my head and I spent a few moments looking around to see if there was an alternative. There was not, and going through it wasn’t any tougher in that direction – but it’s just a head game.



    Got back to the truck without incident, topped off our tanks and headed for moab for supper, clean some airfilters, and plan out day three.
    #4
  5. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    For Wednesday, we decided that we had to do the classic Sand Flats rec area. We were hoping to do Slick Rock, Fins N things, and porcupine rim. But, the weather was not looking good. Fairly good chance of rain all day and cold temps meant that we could get our day shortened at any time. But, the sand flats were pretty close to our house in Moab – so we decided to just ride until it wasn’t fun anymore.

    We started at SlickRock, and it almost immediately started raining. The upside was that the sand was a little easier. The downside was that there were places where you needed all the traction you could get and wet rock is slippier than dry rock. For the most part, it was still just a mental game, though. There was enough traction to do everything. I did find the limits in places. I managed to slide both the front and back tires of my bike and there was a couple of off camber turns that I would have really appreciated more traction.
    IMG_20190410_113550.jpg IMG_20190410_120538.jpg IMG_20190410_123655.jpg

    As the day went on, the rain continued to get heavier and more steady. There were times where we witnessed sheets of water rolling down the rocks. Having never been to slick rock, I didn’t know how odd this was, but we ran across some very deep standing water in places. Even had to do a few water crossings – something that I doubt the majority of slick rock riders have done. I had seen many action cam videos of slick rock – but nothing prepared me for just how steep the climbs and descents were. I was very happy to be on trials tires at this point. I don’t think any tire would have worked better for wet rock than those.

    We made the slickrock loop without any major problems. Unfortunately most of my video turned out to be garbage because of water on my camera lense – but it’s probably no different than the other 1000 videos already on youtube – aside from the rain and eventual sleet.



    We left slick rock and headed for Fins N Things. We caught up to some camoflagued vehicles. Looked like Land Rovers of some type most likely testing out the latest year models. We ran into some very steep and ledge climbs as well as very fun flowing sand trails with banked corners. As we were getting to the end of Fins, the rain had definitely turned to snow. At this point I was getting cold. The all day rain had soaked me, and it was just getting uncomfortable.



    By the time we approached the trail to Porcupine rim, the snow ramped up and started getting very heavy. We topped one hill and were meant we completely snow covered trails.

    “Come to Moab,” They said. “It’ll be warm in April” they said.
    IMG_0872.jpg

    Well, it wasn’t. It was cold and now the trail was very slippery. With allt he snow, it was impossible to read the trail or see any rocks on the ground, so we decided that we’d had enough and headed back for Moab. We were all frozen by the time we got back to the house – but were fortunate enough to have a hot tub in the back yard. A relaxing soak, and I was good to go.
    #5
  6. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    Thursday was a slow start. Having just frozen our tails off the previous day, we weren’t particularly interested in repeating that. The forecast called for a nice day, but we woke up to overcast skies and snow. No one was particularly interested in going back out in the snow, so we just hung out at the house contemplating our options. Eventually, the sun started peeking out and the day started looking like it might not be garbage, so we geared up and headed north out of town with Metal Masher as our destination.

    No one wanted to freeze on the 70MPH trip out of town – but also didn’t want to have to worry about carrying coats on the trail. So, once again, we had one truck run out there with everyone’s armor and backpacks so the guys on bikes could bundle up for the ride and stow our overly warm stuff in the truck while we rode.

    When we got to the parking lot, I noticed that my left boot was wet. I investigated and found out that a hose clamp had failed and I was leaking coolant out of the bottom of my left radiator.

    We tried scavenging hose clamps from other bikes, but nothing worked. I was going to give up and just start drinking early – but @Fallacy said, “Oh no, you’re riding today”. So, I stole his truck and hightailed it back to Moab. Found NAPA, and bought some hose clamps. Got back to the parking lot and quickly put my bike back together.

    I was in too much of a hurry. I was already feeling bad about holding up the group – but by now the sun was out and shining with temps in the mid 50’s. It was probably the best weather we had all week. Took off from the parking lot, my bike made it maybe a ¼ mile and it died.

    Turns out, that’s how far a guy can make it on the fuel that’s in his carb bowl. Not only did I forget to turn the gas back on – but I didn’t even hook my fuel line back to the carb after mounting my gas tank. Quick fix there and we were off again.

    Metal Masher turned out to be a really fun trail. Mostly fast and easy with a few technically challenging obstacles.

    IMG_20190411_142006_18CS.jpg We stopped for a snack near the top where the trail runs along a huge cliff. Had to be close to a 1000’ drop. It was really cool – and a little unnerving – riding along that.

    IMG_20190411_143959.jpg
    Continued down the back side and eventually got to the infamous Widow Maker. Apparently, it used to be several feet shorter and much less undercut, but the large volume of Jeeps and SxS’s spinning at the base of it has eroded much of the ground.

    We stared at it for a long time and really considered what it’d take to have a chance at making it up. I finally decided that the only way I’d see the top of that without hurting myself was to just climb up on foot. We’d made it all week without serious injuries and decided to keep it that way.
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    We headed back up the trail and took a different off shoot where we found great play area full of ledges and spent some time just messing around.
    nickplay1.JPG
    I got a chance to try Jess’s Beta Crosstrainer – and it is an awesome bike. Unbelievable torque that felt like a long stroke 4T, but was super light with instant throttle response. I’m not in the market for a new bike yet – but that might be my next purchase.

    Ended up running into a little more sleet on the way back to the parking lot, but it held off for most of the day, thankfully.



    #6
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  7. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    That pretty much wraps it up. The drive back – aside from a bit of ice on the west side of the rockies – was very uneventful. I can’t thank the guys that planned this enough. I don’t even know who was all involved since most of the planning was done before I officially jumped in, but I do know @wiswoodsguy took care of getting us lodging and did much of the footwork for planning. He, @Mow-ree and @Fallacy pushed me enough to make this happen – and for that I’m grateful.

    I spent the week in a house packed with 9? People – most of which I’d never met before. But, we had many pointless and silly conversations on our own corner of the interwebs for a long time before that. It was surprising how well everyone got along in the house. Kind of like a message board in real life.

    I also really appreciate @Fallacy and @Overlordjdl l for being our Moab guides. The rest of us in our group had never been on most of these trails. Without someone knowing where to go and what was possible, our trip would not have been nearly as fun or as stress free as it was. I loved that I was able to just follow those that knew what they were doing and just not worry about it.

    Oh – and I don’t remember for sure, but I think it was Tuesday night. @Overlordjdl made the best spaghetti dinner I’ve ever had. We all ate well that night.
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    We did go out as a group for prime rib one night and for BBQ another.
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    Pretty amazing that after sharing such close quarters for the week no one got too terribly annoyed. Well, except maybe the last night where some people may have been trying to sleep in the living room while other weren’t and may have said “get out of my fucking bedroom” or something to that effect.

    It was just such an amazing week. We had decent weather, good friends and great riding. I don’t know when I’ll be back – but I will be back. We rode a ton and barely scratched the surface of the riding that is out there.
    #7
  8. 2WheelNeal

    2WheelNeal F'n Neal Supporter

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    :clap
    #8
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  9. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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  10. Fallacy

    Fallacy FFE inc. Supporter

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  11. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Nice. We were there with our Jeep club the week before you guys.
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  12. Overlordjdl

    Overlordjdl Been here awhile

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    Wow... well done on this write up so far! Loved the slow motion cap of Bob’s splatter move and my crash. Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
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  13. Thatdog

    Thatdog Hickster

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    Moab sucks ballz. Im never going back there again or at least not til this October :lol3 and next April

    It was a great time hanging with the Fester group. Wish we could have stayed out there for another week. Seems like, just when everyone got their groove on, it was time to go home :(
    #13
  14. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! No way this trip would have been as good as it was without you and Bob showing us Moab newbs the ropes!
    #14
  15. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    It must really suck to have to go back to that place in October! I really wish I could enjoy the suck as well!

    If you're planning an October 2020 trip? I'm in.

    Completely agree - pretty crazy how the 'Fester group pretty much acts the same in person as they do online. Great group to get stuck with!
    #15
  16. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    Man, we were fired up that night, there was a lot of tequila and beer that was consumed and we were solving all of the worlds problems. I was definitely moving slow the next day.
    #16
  17. Thatdog

    Thatdog Hickster

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    All i had to do was get my wife to fall in love with Moab, make it her idea to go back as often as we can, and embrace the suck of having to go back :lol3 Then if the trip actually does suck, i can blame her for making me go to that vial place :1drink
    #17
  18. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    Having already 3D printed many section of the San Juan mountains I"ve ridden:

    IMG_20190426_082957.jpg

    I decided to print out some from Moab. The first one was the Poison Spider Mesa area:

    IMG_20190510_074223.jpg
    It turned out really good - but since I printed it in Black, I couldn't trace out the trails on it. So, I'm going to re do it in white. Next up was the Sand Flats rec area - specifically slick rock.
    #18
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  19. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    I printed this out -
    IMG_20190510_074301.jpg
    but could not reconcile anything on the terrain with actual maps. I thought I had printed this:
    slickrock.png

    But actually only printed out the area in the square. The practice loop - not the main loop.
    slickrockpractice.png
    #19
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  20. gravityisnotmyfriend

    gravityisnotmyfriend °.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.°.

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    So, I recreated the STL. This time, I got the right area - but I had set the resolution on my printer pretty rough for a quick prototype for something else. IT was recognizable - but it didn't have as much detail as I'd like.
    IMG_20190510_074341.jpg
    So, it increased the resolution. I also removed some of the height since I didn't need the full depths of the valleys
    IMG_20190510_074400.jpg

    Much better! Now to redo Poison spider and see how metal masher looks as a 3D image.
    #20