RedRockKen: Dual Sport Reports from Southern Utah

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by RedRockKen, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Posts:

    #1 - Intro to RedRockKen (aka Ken Nelson)
    #2 - Ride Report: Old Dump Road to Silver Reef to Quail Lake (56 miles, 2/3rds dirt)
    #3 Ride Report: West Mountain Peak and Sand Cove Road (84 miles, some expert terrain)
    #4 Ride Report: Sand Hollow State Park to Fort Pierce Wash (40 miles, easy terrain)
    #5 Ride Report: Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Backway to Motoqua Road (near NV)

    Hi,

    I was inspired to start riding when my brother shared RedRockRider's awesome ride report thread. My brother rides, mostly street, which really hasn't interested me. Dual sport was something I hadn't really heard of, until RedRockRider's thread came before me. Thanks!

    I'll start a similar, but much less awesome thread, with my riding from home in St. George, UT - and other places I travel to with the bike on a hitch mount or enclosed trailer. Currently I'm planning on bringing the bike with me to KY, GA, TN, and TX.

    So thanks to my brother, Kevin, younger but retired (what's up with that!!):

    [​IMG]

    After I get more experience, we hope to take a tour, across Europe on motorcycles. I just got back from a long trip to Europe and this road appealed:

    [​IMG]

    That is the Gross Glockner High Alpine Road in Austria. We did it by car, which was AWESEOME. On a bike???? Outrageous, should be illegal, fun!

    About me... I'm 50, a long time software entrepreneur and I've lived in St. George since a few days after 9/11/2001. What an experience driving across the country moving, btw!

    I'm a VERY new rider. I've got 6 days on a bike - 3 days of day long private training at MotoVentures- Dirt First in Temecula, CA, 2 days of the Utah Basic Rider Course, and now 1 day with my own new bike. Yippee!

    Me, with what I've been allowed to ride:

    [​IMG]

    and the new Yamaha WR250R that I picked up yesterday.
    [​IMG]

    I've put about 100 miles on it since I got it yesterday morning. Mostly just testing things, and today I did my first big trek, which I will describe in my next post.

    I also have a Yamaha IT400D, which I traded a pistol for. It ran pretty good, until I left it at the range, where someone wrecked it. So I'm refurbishing it, and it looks like this now:

    [​IMG]


    My name is Ken Nelson, if you are in St. George and want to get together to ride, eat, or (my other hobby) go shooting, just message!

    [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Ken N.
    #1
  2. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    St. George to Leeds to Harrisonburg to Hurricane (Quail Lake) to Washington to St. George. 56 miles total, about 2/3rd fire road, 1/3rd street, no interstate.

    The ride plan is shown in this Google map.

    https://goo.gl/maps/XZLpY

    [​IMG]

    I start the ride from the Maverick by the new Mall Road bridge over the Virgin River. The "dirt" part starts above the industrial part of St. George, heading towards Pine Mountain. I take off, past Denny's, Tropical Smoothie, Rowdy's Range, heading north towards Pine Mountain. Follow the road, and it takes you around to Leeds.

    The bike is new and I don't, yet, have a way to store water. But I felt like I might get thirsty. So I strapped on a "vintage" cooler from WalMart:

    [​IMG]

    The route is relatively easy, although I did hit blown, deep, crusty sand on some sections. Never dumped it, just did what I learned at Dirt First (MotoVentures in Temecula, CA) and got thru fine.

    Here is a stop just past the where the dirt starts, looking back at St. George:

    [​IMG]

    I had persistent troubles with my ear buds stopping playing. It was odd... I'd stand up to ride, it would play. I'd sit down, it would stop. I couldn't sort it out, I wasn't sitting on any cables (blue tooth!). Turns out, I had a remote control in my tail bag, and I was pressing it. Irritating, I probably stopped 5 times to try and decode this mystery!

    Here is the highest point, looking out over Leeds and towards Zion National Park.

    [​IMG]

    The ride is pretty easy, and I hit next to no traffic (one truck), which I let pass.

    Once in Leeds, I stopped for a photo at Silver Reef (a sort of ghost town, but now surrounded by houses and turned into a small photo/shopping point).

    [​IMG]

    From Leeds, I crossed under the highway. If planning your route, there is a small cafe there for breakfast, lunch, or just a rest.

    Then on to Quail Lake via Harrisonburg:
    [​IMG]

    I'm not comfortable, yet, riding on the interstate, so I took SR9 a short distance towards Sand Hollow, and cut thru by the pecan farms towards the Washington Dam road, which brought me full circle back to the Maverick, and then home!

    [​IMG]

    I use a SPOT satellite tracker, at my wife's request, but it's probably a good idea. It tracks me every 5 minutes and posts tracks to a "where is ken" map that my family can visit at anytime. There are also buttons for "I'm fine, and I"m here", and "I need help, but not urgent", and "I need urgent help, send SAR!". The blue track on the map below is where I pushed the "I'm Okay" button. It sent a text/email to my wife saying "I'm good, and I'm at this GPS". I like it, glad I got it.

    Here is the track for this ride:

    [​IMG]

    All in all, a successful first "bigger" trek with my new ride. It is 56 miles total, about 15 street I'd guess, the rest relatively easy fire roads.

    The cost for all this fun???

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now. Apologies for my initial post with funky pictures. Apparently you need to be logged into Dropbox to see them. )-: I moved them over to my own domain, which is way simpler to do.

    Feedback welcome. And I'm very interested in joining up for rides, subject to the expertise required!
    #2
  3. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    General Route: Old Highway 91, West Mountain Peak, Gunlock, Sand Cove
    Distance: 83 miles
    Difficulty: West Mountain Peak has difficult, steep, switch back climbs
    I only recommend it to more experienced riders.

    Ride Map: https://goo.gl/maps/NcPkP

    [​IMG]

    I started from the Black Bear Diner on Bluff and Main Streets. After a hearty bowl of oatmeal, off I went, enjoying the no-traffic ride up Bluff and onto Snow Canyon Parkway. My first goal, the Shivwitz Paiute tribe gas station and convenience store, to get gas and some water.

    [​IMG]

    It is the last stop before heading out thru Old Highway 91, towards Beaver Damn. It has a nice view:

    [​IMG]

    I rode south, left at the fork to Gunlock, staying on Old Highway 91, at about mile marker 7, a right turn onto Beaver Dam Mountain Road takes you up to the antennas and other transmitting stations on top of West Mountain Peak.

    The road wasn't bad, for a while, but it got progressively steeper and tighter. Eventually, I stalled out on one switch back, and after a bit of thought, decided today wasn't the day to try this route. I was almost to the top, and I wasn't too worried about climbing up, but going down did concern me. Here is a Google Earth view of the last part of the climb:

    [​IMG]

    I stopped at the 3rd switchback from the top. After stalling, having trouble getting the bike aligned, I turned it around and engine braked my way carefully back down. I'd done this route on ATVs a couple of times, at least, with no problems. 4 wheels (-:

    Back at Old Highway 91, I headed to Gunlock Reservoir:

    [​IMG]

    Often I'm up here looking for birds of prey, and usually see eagles (golden and bald), as well as hawks, but nothing today.

    From the lake it is a short hop into the town of Gunlock. Immediately before crossing the bridge into town, turn right onto Lower Sand Cove Road. This takes you on a delightful dirt road, with a couple minor climbs, thru two reservoirs up to Dammeron Valley and Route 18.

    It's an easy ride with great scenery:

    [​IMG]

    Here I am at the Lower Sand Cove Reservoir, posing for my iPhone on a mini tripod and timer:

    [​IMG]

    And a few miles later, at the Upper Sand Cove Reservoir:

    [​IMG]

    At Route 18, I could go left for gas and food in Veyo just 5 or 6 miles up the road, but I was fine and went south on 18.

    I stopped at the Snow Canyon State Park Overlook:

    [​IMG]

    I was hungry, so I decided to head for Tropical Smoothies in St. George, cutting over on the Red Hills Parkway (or as we call it "The Turtle Highway"). It follows a ridge line above St. George and has a number of pull offs for scenic viewing:

    [​IMG]

    In summary, the ride was about 85 miles. Alas, only 20 or so on dirt. I'd intended to make a different route from Dammeron, but couldn't find it. I need to roll with a map or GPS unit, not my phone (no data network could be reached when I needed it). Next time...
    #3
  4. PrimeMover1

    PrimeMover1 n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2015
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Eastvale,C
    Petty good pics. Are those your new boots? How do you think a Vstrom 650 would fare on this route?
    #4
  5. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    11,281
    Location:
    jaw ja
    welcome to the asyslum, your gonna love this. If ya need help on routes in ga/nc area when ya head this way let me know.

    love ut

    i stole some of my routes out there from redrockrocker rr
    #5
  6. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Thanks! I will keep you in loop. It looks like the GA trip might be deferred a bit, depends on my son.

    Just back in from a ride, I'll write it up shortly.
    #6
  7. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Ride Report: Sand Hollow Reservoir to Sky Ranch to Ft Pierce Wash
    40 miles
    Easy terrain, with options to explore as hard as you want.
    Some possibility of deep drifting sands.

    Google Maps of this route: https://goo.gl/maps/r62dD

    [​IMG]

    I started at the Maverick at Mall Drive and Riverside. From there I jetted over the Virgin River on the new bridge, then thru Washington Dam Road to hook up with the new Southern Parkway. You could take a lot more dirt on Washington Dam to get to Sand Hollow, but I wanted to see how the WR250R would do at highway speeds. Summary - good, but I kept wanting to shift ONE more gear - a 7th gear. And on hills, it would lug down and maintaining 65 was tough. That's okay - what I expected.

    You will pass, on your left, the excellent Sand Hollow Golf Course, and Sand Hollow Reservoir:

    [​IMG]

    At the Southern Parkway end, turn right following sign to Sky Ranch, this is a development of houses with their own airport. Slick!

    [​IMG]

    From there the road continues onto a smooth gravel road. You have some options, here, as ALMOST any road going to the right will get you to civilization. If it doesn't, then it takes you to a nice viewpoint - a win either way.

    I chose a more traveled path about 4 miles up is a sign for Ft. Pierce Wash. The scenery is tremendous, and this used to be the route couples would go from St. George to be married in the Las Vegas Mormon temple before St. George built one. Hence the name of part of this route - "The Honeymoon Trail", from here you could reach Vegas, or as I've done on ATVs in the past, the other side of Zion National Park - all on dirt (and numerous Virgin River water crossings).

    360 degree scenery, all there for exploring...

    [​IMG]

    I cruised along, and considered exploring some washes, but I noticed my SPOT Sat Tracker had died - guess the batteries didn't recharge right. So I decided to keep to the main dirt roads.

    Eventually, the trail hits pavement and you look down on St. George from the east (the little white spec is the St. George LDS Temple):

    [​IMG]

    From there I headed home. This was a training trek for me, I took some time to do some dirt skills drills (flat turns, figure 8's, slalom, and riding in sand) and it's coming together. Not ready to run with the "big boys" yet, but getting more comfortable.

    Also, this was my first ride with my new UCLEAR intercom system. It lets me listen to tunes and talk to other riders. I got a dual kit, so I can lend to another rider without one. Riding along listening to Rush and other classic rock makes the ride pretty darn relaxing!
    #8
  8. AZ Mark

    AZ Mark Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,301
    Location:
    Wickenburg AZ
    :thumb
    #8
  9. long distance rider

    long distance rider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2004
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    Kingman, AZ
    Ken

    You are approaching riding exactly the way you should. Most middle aged guys take a MSF class, go out and buy a high powered bike, scare the shit out of themselves (if they live through the experience) and sell the bike.

    When I started, I had the great good fortune to have a friend that had lots of experience. He had me start in the dirt because what you will experience in the dirt happens at a much slower speed and the lessons you learn are less likely to hurt you badly. He had a 250 Honda scrambler that I learned on while he followed me on his BSA 441 Victor. I was also fortunate to learn in Europe, Germany for the most part, where car drivers are used to seeing motorcycles, unlike here where bikes are still relatively new.

    Almost 50 years and 400,000 miles later I'm still at it and enjoying dual sport riding more than touring these days. You are living right in the middle of some of the best year round dual sport riding in the country. Press On!
    #9
    RedRockKen likes this.
  10. Pantah

    Pantah Jiggy Dog Fan from Scottsdale Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    12,333
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    Another rider from St George! What does one do for a living out there? I am jealous of all the riding you get to do and the fantastic geology! Southern Utah is my favorite place to ride. Fortunately I winter in AZ and can experience it, but I live downtown Boston... Good sports teams and plenty of career opportunities, but it is a little short on quality dual sporting... :D
    #10
  11. orion650

    orion650 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2014
    Oddometer:
    73
    Location:
    Northern Colorado
    "If I had a house in St.George and a house in hell I would sell the house in St.George and move to hell."

    And I grew up there. When the overnight low is 90F it might be time to relocate.
    #11
  12. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,773
    Location:
    Frosty Hollow, Idaho
    RRK,

    I have great expectations of you in this thread. You must meet or exceed the standards set by RRR. I only ask one thing of you for this thread. Ride and post when RRR is off duty!:D I go into St. George DT's when he's on hiatus!:cry

    Looks like you got a whole bucket full of riding to do in the years ahead. Ride well and good luck. I'll be watching!:lol3
    #12
    RedRockKen likes this.
  13. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Thanks all! I'm enjoying this. Even if I get a little lost, like yesterday where my 45 miler turned into 90. It turns out taking the "bigger trail" isn't always the right choice at a fork in the road. (-:

    I posted up about another ride, but it hasn't published, something from moderating. I'll investigate that.

    Ken N.
    #13
  14. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Those are the new boots. I like them, and the price was pretty good.

    VStrom on this route... I think it would be very doable, but in some places you'd have to be pretty good in sand to keep the bike upright.
    #14
  15. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    I split time here between Vermont and Southern Utah initially. The summers are tough, I'm rarely here for them though! (-:
    Vermont's endless winter and what seemed like 4 hours of daylight in the winter, wore me down. I became a snowbird, and then eventually just became permanent here.
    It is hot, but I take some pleasure that it is about 8 degrees cooler here than Vegas!
    #15
  16. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    I couldn't imagine that, even though I know plenty that have done it. I actually did the training to see if I would like riding. I told myself, if I didn't, no problem, didn't own a bike, didn't have a bunch of money or pride tied up in it.

    When I ride now, I get thru the street, and it feels really great to be out on dirt. It reminds me of skiing and actually it is pretty similar body movement wise. Sometimes I ask myself, what would I do skiing thru this (sand, or 2' deep loose gravel like yesterday) and it works.

    Thanks again - 400,000 miles is a tone of experience!
    #16
  17. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Ride Report: Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Byway to Motoqua (by NV line)
    Distance: 85 miles
    Difficulty: Relatively easy, only difficulty is temporary due to construction making some parts of the road soft deep sand
    Options: This area is littered with side trails and roads to explore. I found several nice little moto-tracks to zip around on.

    The route:

    [​IMG]

    The dirt portion starts off Navajo Drive in the Bloomington Section of St. George. 1798 Navajo Drive is the closest address.

    From there you climb up with fun side trails available. I did a few loops off, super fun, and you can pick as hard as you care to try.
    To reach the Joshua Tree Scenic Backway bear to the right following, roughly, the power lines. Bearing left is fun too, taking you to overlooks of the Virgin River Gorge.

    From various places you can look back at St. George:

    [​IMG]

    Once you hit the Joshua Tree Backway, bear right and you will soon overlook Red Mountain past Santa Clara.

    [​IMG]

    This hooked up with Old Highway 91, which I took to Gunlock Road, traveled a couple miles and turned onto Motoqua Road. This road is wide and rolling hills thru the mountains west of St. George. From here there are routes down to Mesquite and up to Enterprise and to Panaca. Another day!

    [​IMG]

    From there I looped back on the same track, took Old Highway 91 and turned off in Santa Clara over the new bridge. I zipped around all over here on easy to middle difficulty roads and single tracks. Great fun!

    [​IMG]

    I did a few loops around here, exploring. Take care, people shoot in here. I'm fine with shooting, I'm a serious shooter, but these folks shoot all directions with no care for backstops. So take care... and have fun!

    From here, I zipped over to Arctic Circle for a large drink and a hot fudge sundae. And then home.

    Those interested in joining me on a ride, just message me.
    #17
  18. simbaboy

    simbaboy Lansing MBS Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    4,682
    Location:
    Lansing, MI
    Nice pics and RR.
    Keep it up.
    I just made a quick stop in St.G to deliver something to a buddy and then headed out to Vegas.
    Next time when in St.G I will definitely let you know. These ride reports and those of RRR (also a friend) keep us going during harsh Michigan Winters.
    Currently in Moab for the next 4 days. Next time we are here I will let you know.
    Simba
    #18
    RedRockKen likes this.
  19. RedRockKen

    RedRockKen Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    St. George, UT
    Enjoy Moab! And thanks. It's fun. Gonna be doing some longer rides a bit later this week when my brother visits with his VStrom Adv Bike.

    Ken
    #19
  20. The Heathen

    The Heathen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    270
    Location:
    The North State
    If you haven't been to the Toroweap overlook you should give that a try. You can take dirt roads from south St. George (starts at S. River rd) to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Did it back in December. It gets a little rocky towards the end but not bad...perfect for a guy on a bike like yours. You'll need extra fuel I'm sure. It's about 80-90 miles one way. Well worth it though.
    #20