Once Upon A Time In The West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by RideFreak, Jan 28, 2018.

  1. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    We all know SE Utah gets featured prominently in the ride reports. For good reason; it's the dualsport equivalent to riding the Dragon on a Panigale :D

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    Our ride starts off from the Moab area passing through the controversial Bears Ears National Monument. I won't get into the politics of that but the entire area is under intense scrutiny so who knows how long we'll still be able to rip through there @ 50mph for hours on end. That's kinda how we roll.

    Here's the route.
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    Much of the area we were passing through was big bike friendly with a few exceptions, a good chunk of it follows the UTBDR.

    For this ride we were taking the 500s. On road they aren't great but once you leave the pavement they start to shine. We don't camp off these bikes, IMO loading up camping gear tends to pork up a bike that size and at that point you might as well be riding a bike that's better suited to haul around a bunch of gear. We can pack light since we're doing hotels.

    This trip I was trying out the enduro dry bags. They work well with the PMB rack and make for a solid setup on the bike. 4 gallons of gas and a 1 gallon MSR bag for the big stretches. I hate gear flopping around.
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    My bike had been prepped already but Ev (AKA mtech1950) was coming in from Mexico. His RFS was put away untouched after a 7 day Baja ride 6 months ago. Talk about rode hard put away wet, Ev lends a new meaning to that saying. 2 tires and a chain later the RFS was ready. As much as I tried I couldn't talk him into an airfilter clean nor an oil change, "just top it off". He relented and let me oil the used chain we just put on. I get accused of over maintaining, Ev prefers to gamble at the other end of the spectrum. I have to admit, it pays off almost all the time.
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    He's right though, all the bikes were bulletproof regardless of their maintenance level. I think he's eyeballing a fresh sparkplug :D
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    Steve rolled in from Ft. Worth, trailing my old 525.
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    You guys ready for some riding :ricky


    Stay tuned.:jkam
    #1
  2. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

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    Most excellent!
    #2
  3. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    In.:lurk
    #3
  4. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Awesome man, nice job on the vid...looks like a most excellent place to ride!

    Looking forward to the next installment :thumb:thumb
    #4
  5. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    Riding a remote ride where you haul the bike out to the starting point means you have to stage out of somewhere. I've been reading allot about Dingweed's place, the 3 Step Hideaway. Scott was cool about us leaving the trucks there for a week. Thanks Scott!
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    We snagged the family cabin that night :thumb
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    Scott and his wife Julie really know how to feed a bunch of hungry riders. Great folks!
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    The company was great, DS and ADV riders from all over the US riding UTBDR and others on the TAT. Their stories had us crackin up.
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    #5
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  6. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    After eating a great breakfast we hit the trail around 930.

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    I strapped on a gallon of fuel in a MSR bag for the RFS bikes, they only had 3 gallon tanks.
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    The bike was a little porky till we dumped the fuel in the other bikes. I really like the MSR bag for that, when I wasn't using it the bag rolls up to nothing.

    We planned about 330 miles the first day, about 40 of it was pavement. Did I mention it was hot. Just a little, the high's for the day out in Canyon country were 100.

    The route enters Canyonlands near the needles District. We stopped off at Newspaper Rock. There was a bus load of German tourists there. We got allot of knowing "Ahhs" when they spied the Austrian hardware.
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    #6
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  7. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    The route turns off the pavement at Bridger Jack Mesa (Beef Basin Road) and follows the valley south toward the Abajo mountains in the distance. There were some really nice views looking off toward the Needles.
    This is looking north toward Moab.
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    The views were your typical epic Canyonland scenery, and lots of it. Redrock canyons, huge mesas, white sandstone maze formations, sometimes it's hard to keep your eyes on the road. Beef Basin road eventually runs into Gooseberry road and the track turns south passing over the Abajo mountains. Along the way there's some great views of the Dark Canyon wilderness, a huge layered canyon that makes the southern border of Canyonlands.
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    This whole time we're cruising 30-50mph for like a 100miles, sliding the corners, running up through the gears as the road climbs over the Abajo mountains on Gooseberry. Near the southern end of the first day's loop we came up on the overlook into the Arch Canyon drainage, a really spectacular view. Last time I rode this section was 9pm in the dark with a crappy headlight. Now I see why the light just shined out into blackness. :fpalm

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    That's Comb Ridge in the background. It hadn't rained in awhile so the conditions in UT were dusty. When it's bad we tend to ride 2 abreast spread out into 2 groups 1/2 mile or so apart. We've all been riding together for years so a tight formation isn't a big deal, handlebar to handlebar just ups the game a little :ricky

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    None of this ride is hardcore, more like a fast paced dualsport. We didn't take allot of pictures through here because we didn't stop much, Hanksville, our stop for the night was still a long way off.

    If anyone want the tracks for this ride PM me.
    #7
  8. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    Woodenshoe road heads north dropping out of the mountains on mostly fast dirt. We were headed to Hite for food and fuel.



    did I say it was hot?
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    #8
  9. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    Looking forward to the rest of this report... awesome area. Thank God for that store at Hite, in the middle of no-where.
    #9
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  10. Apple Jam

    Apple Jam Forest Flyer Super Supporter

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    :lurk

    I was IN right here....before the first words, even....

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    And then,... there's that title that made me click.
    Mark Knopfler is one of my favorites.
    From Dire Straits Debut Album,,,,,....

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #10
  11. DittyBag

    DittyBag A bag of dirty stuff

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    Title made me think of this:



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    #11
  12. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    The fuel was down right reasonable all things considered.
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    #12
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  13. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    The Hite marina area is pretty cool, Lake Powell and the Henry Mtns make for a nice backdrop. The woman running the little store was very nice, quite the contrast from the someone who used to work at the Needles outpost :D We lounged around for about an hour soaking up the A/C, did I mention it was toasty outside.

    The marina was basically dead, no campers and nobody launching boats. The lake wasn't as far down as I've seen in recently.
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    Hite overlook
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    Hanksville UT, the destination for the day.
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    #13
  14. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    Once we crossed the Colorado the route turns off the pavement and heads north into the Glen Canyon National Recreation area. This is is also the southern entrance to Canyonlands NP (west side) and will eventually take you out to the Maze district. All of a sudden Ev's bike sputters to a stop. Ev's just entered the dreaded 1 percent zone :patch and we were a long way from any kind of help or even a cell signal.

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    Looks like it was time to do some trail side troubleshooting :baldy
    #14
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  15. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Farg...nothing like ripping a bike apart in heat with no shade around. Hoping the next installment has a happy ending.

    I re-read the opening post and didn't see a time of year you guys went - when were you there?
    #15
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  16. nmdave7

    nmdave7 two wheel junkie

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    Looks like you're a little behind on this report!
    #16
  17. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    We started on Labor Day

    Just a little, work's been kinda slow.
    #17
  18. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Jockey

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    Getting back to where I left off, Ev's bike is DOA on the trail. I just know this was going to require some superior troubleshooting skills and I was already mentally preparing, running through the likely causes; stuck float, shorted kill switch....dropped valve :D

    The first thing we noticed was a steady stream of fuel pissing on the ground. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see what was wrong. Good thing too, we didn't invite any.:shog

    Apparently the Mexican Pemex left in the tank for the last 6 mos didn't agree with the rubber in the fuel line. We weren't surprised when Ev wanted to cut the line shorter and reconnect it in keeping with the zero consumable maintenance philosophy.

    Considering that the remaining piece of fuel line had the consistency of a wet noodle it was decided to cut a section of hose off a siphon line and after a few high 5s we were motoring down the trail again. I give Ev allot of crap about his disregard for some maintenance stuff but I have to give him some props too, he was a mechanic for years and can usually figure out the solution problem while many guys would still be figuring what the symptoms are. His bikes also rarely break down :thumbup

    So we're back on the trail, heading north into the Orange Cliffs area of CLNP, eventually you come to a crossroads, this is where you'd turn right to go out to the Dollhouse, continue north into the Maze district and the Flint Trail. We were heading left through Sunset Pass into Poison Springs Canyon.

    The thing about Poison Springs is you have to cross the Dirty Devil river. The crossing is 58mi from the last fuel stop to the crossing, depending on recent rains and or snow melt the crossing might be impassable. At that point you'd have to return to Hite, fuel up and make it by another route to Hanksville or go swimming. If you do cross it's another 32 miles to Hanksville.

    Sunset Pass
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    Did I mention it was hot? Africa hot out there, the rocks everywhere were acting like ceramic heaters. Not much in the way of shade ether. [​IMG]

    The ride down through the canyon was fast and loose, much like the desert in NM. You're ether crossing a mesa, following an arroyo or riding in one, lots of loose soft sand. This is one area I wouldn't want to ride my Tiger through.

    One of the interesting things about this area is Robbers Roost, one of Butch Cassidy's hideouts. The roost is only about 12 miles north of the crossing. Once you get back in by the river it's easy to see why it was rare for the law to follow someone in there. There's lots of places someone with a rifle could pick off someone riding below.

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    When we passed through the Dirty Devil was pretty much a puddle.
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    After leaving the river is was another fast run out to hwy 95 through a bunch of cool slot canyons. It's 17 miles into Hanksville from where you come out.

    #18
  19. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    Riding through Poison Springs Canyon is epic... the scale of that landscape blew my mind!
    I passed through there in October riding up Poison Springs and down into Hite.
    Loving the report. :ricky
    #19
  20. liv2day

    liv2day Is Anyone Here a Marine Biologist! Supporter

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    Sweet! Question on riding through the draws - was it really sandy and loose? You guys look to be hauling arse through most of 'em, concerns about the rocks and random erosion holes along the way? And how many miles did you guys typically cover in a day?

    Digging the report, what a cool area to explore and ride through. Are you following tracks from a previous ride?

    Great job on the video, enjoyed the music and sweet footage. That area is begging for some drone footage tracking you guys as your rode through it. Looking forward to the next installment!

    @Bullseye - did you ride your WR or KTM through that canyon?

    :ricky:thumb
    #20