Reno to Southern Utah – May 2018

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by akupnt, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    First report on ADV rider. Off season so finally getting time to put media together.

    Lived in Vegas for a while. South Utah has imo some of the best riding. Nowhere new as far as this forum is concerned but the area is always worth the share.

    Route and video from a trip last May below … short RR to follow …




    route.JPG
    #1
    Fast1 and benwiggin2 like this.
  2. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Day 1 left Reno heading south on the 395. 2-4 lane hwy on the east side of the sierras. Low traffic south of Minden. Through canyons and past some high desert lakes including Topaz and Mono. Still in my back yard so we just rode through to our first gas stop in Bridgeport.

    20180505-IMG_20180505_124336~2.jpg

    The east side of the sierras are more dramatic due to the steeper face. Being local to the area I always take alt routes over the pass. Weather can be unpredictable due to elevation north of Bishop.

    Our second stop was Mammoth Brewing Company. Slightly further south is convict lake. Its one of those postcard scenery locations. I have seen lots of photography but this was my first time there. Worth seeing at least once if not a camp stop.

    20180505-PANO_20180505_152910.jpg

    Stopped in Bishop for some beef jerky from some place that’s supposed to be famous for beef jerky. It was horrible … ended up throwing it in the trash. Continued on past Manzanar, a WWII “internment” (concentration) camp. Destination for the day was a campground out of Lone Pine near the base of Whitney Portal. We were joined by +1 out of So Cal for 4 bikes. Phenomenal views of the Lone Pine peak and the Whitney range from camp.

    20180505-PANO_20180505_193711.jpg
    #2
    Fast1, benwiggin2 and Ginger Beard like this.
  3. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    The mosquitos in the morning were fucking ruthless. Had to wear a helmet while packing. I left a few minutes early to get some drone footage near one of the rock formations in the area (and to get away from the mosquitos). Met the other guys in Lone Pine after.

    20180506-DJI_0020.jpg 20180506-PANO_20180506_090622.jpg 20180506-PANO_20180506_090723.jpg
    20180506-IMG_20180506_101302.jpg
    #3
  4. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    One of the guys from Reno couldn’t spare the time for the trip so he headed north and we were back down to 3. Rode east through Panamint then Death valley … it was about 112* which is average for the time of year. South at Death Valley Junction through Shoshone … where there is a museum and the Crowbar, a decent restaurant for being in the middle of the desert. South through Tecopa there are hot springs, a Date Farm, methamphetamines and some really bizarre geography you don’t see anywhere else. Old Spanish trail hwy through Pahrump and looped Red Rock Canyon into west Las Vegas.

    20180506-IMG_20180506_120950.jpg 20180506-IMG_20180506_152605.jpg 20180506-IMG_20180506_165208~2.jpg 20180506-IMG_20180506_165319.jpg
    #4
    AZ Africa Twin and benwiggin2 like this.
  5. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Construction on the 15 north sent us on a 45 minute 100+* detour through the Vegas hood. Eventually we got to the hwy for the (boring) 80 minute trip to Mesquite. The scenery improves when you hit AZ @ Virgin River Gorge into St George where we hoteled it for the night. Long day due to the late start. Total for the day was 4 states, 420 miles.

    The next day we headed through Hurricane where we had the option to split north through the famously picturesque Zion National Park or south through the polygamist underworld of Colorado city. Since they left it up to me, I naturally chose the polygamy …

    Skip the next two paragraph is you don’t want to read my jaded rant on Colorado City. Even off the bike I always gravitate towards areas less traveled (including urban). Consequently, I am kind of a ghetto connoisseur. I have been to the worst parts of several western states … and I have never found a place less hospitable than Colorado City. To clarify … the residents aren’t violent … but everything there is basically an arrow directing you to gtfo of their town. Up until a couple years ago the only public buildings were a gas station (so you can buy gas and gtfo) and mini market (so you can get a water, air your tires and gtfo). Colorado City is a FDLS polygamist community famously known after the Warren Jeff controversy. It’s a border town, with the majority of residents residing on the AZ side due to better state benefits (google bleeding the beast). Despite several other polygamist communities in the area, Colorado City caters more to the fundamentalists … so the majority of the women / children still wear the prairie victorian clothing and are traded like property.

    Where it gets weird is when you detour into the residential areas. The majority of the houses are massive multi-room compounds with dozens of kids and fleets of passenger vans. Every house has a 4’ addition to the fence so nobody can see in and exist in a perpetual state of construction … apparently a component of tax evasion. On several occasions while passing through I have been followed and ‘escorted’ out of the area. I don’t go to provoke … its just morbid curiosity about a lifestyle which is basically (and I base this statement on the first-hand knowledge of someone I know who was raised there) a child slave camp that exists in full view of a government who is paralyzed to do anything about it. Anyways, back to the ride …

    20180507-IMG_20180507_111228.jpg IMG_20180507_092501-2.jpg
    #5
    benwiggin2 and slogger like this.
  6. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    We went past Jacob lake which is an access point to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon … known as a less crowded option to the south rim. This area winds up over a high elevation pass where you suddenly emerge over an open valley looking east at the Vermillion cliffs. There is a lookout point right where the road comes out. Easy to miss and if you do stop beware of cars that come in too hot.

    After a minor collision with two of the bikes at the lookout point … we strapped some panniers back together and were on our way … +2 separated to go check out a tourist stop along the cliff front and I went ahead to launch the drone (low altitude close proximity flight @ distance from the Navajo airport).

    20180507-IMG_20180507_130659.jpg 20180507-IMG_20180507_123916.jpg
    #6
  7. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    A couple miles up the road is Navajo Bridge. South on 89 towards horseshoe bend (was too hot and crowded to walk it) and through page eventually to Monument Valley. We camped at Tipi village. My second time here. The first was right after it opened around 2014(?). The guy who ran it grew up on the Navajo reservation, left for 20 years and came back to build this campsite. He put a lot of time / effort into it and did a great job. I was there solo so we chatted for a couple hours that night. He told me a lot about the area, including cave dwellings and gravesites that only the locals know the location of and how to wait until after 5PM to get into the Monument Valley overlook for free because the pay booth is empty. This trip he was gone and his ex-wife apparently got the place. She was less accommodating, wanted ride on the bikes and it just got all weird. At 2AM I woke up to some lady screaming like she was being murdered. I was just too tired to look, even if it meant I was next. Next morning, she was still there, but I still feel guilty about going back to sleep so I am confessing it to everyone here to clear my conscience. On the way out I noticed several other campsites to the north for next trip.

    20180507-IMG_20180507_133135~2.jpg 20180507-IMG_20180507_133335.jpg 20180507-IMG_20180507_190112.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_081353.jpg
    #7
    benwiggin2, 23103a and slogger like this.
  8. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Day 4 is what makes the ride out to this part of Utah worth it. Heading north (and be sure to look back for the postcard shot when leaving Monument Valley) we missed our turn and rode halfway to Colorado before figuring it out. Once back on route / 261 north we past Gooseneck (meh) and up Moki Dugway … a graded dirt switchback route that winds straight up from the Valley of the Gods. Moki ranks on a few of the most dangerous roads lists. Scenery is beautiful. Road is easy on an ADV bike as long as you don’t fall off it. On the FJR the washboard surface rattled the bike so it was a slow trip up. 1st time I rode it (unexpectedly) it was rutted from rain and covered in loose rock. I remember stopping half way wondering how bad I just f’d up. But take it slow and you could get any road bike up it, though some not into heights opt to go around.

    20180508-IMG_20180508_093240.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_110129.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_114118.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_114513.jpg
    #8
    mnTwin, AZ Africa Twin and benwiggin2 like this.
  9. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Continuing on we went past Arches park (anti-climatic unless you are going to hike) then Fry Canyon and Hite. If you were into Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner as a kid this is the place. There is a lookout at the top of Hite I found accidentally on another trip that has some spectacular views (looking east towards Canyonlands / Moab).

    20180508-IMG_20180508_131303.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_131148.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_131201.jpg
    #9
    benwiggin2 likes this.
  10. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Heading north we went around the Pennell range. Stopped in Hankville at Stans Burger Shack for one of the best burger and milkshakes I have ever had. Then through capitol Reef > Torrey.

    The section of Road from Torrey south on the 12 to Bryce Canyon area had some of the best riding on the trip. Altitude goes over 9k’. Roads follow ridgetops and descend through canyons. Stayed in Bryce for the night. Paid $200 for a shitty hotel and everything was overcrowded. Bryce canyon also has to be one of the few parks that charges the same for bikes as cars (@ $25?) … consider a Federal park pass if traveling through the area.

    PANO_20180508_154121~2.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_162654.jpg 20180508-IMG_20180508_165149~2.jpg 2014_utah-bryce.jpg
    #10
    Fast1, xrttman and benwiggin2 like this.
  11. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Day 5 we headed back west. Scenery diminishes past the 15 unless open desert is your thing (or you are on a bike equipped to ride the trails). Stopped at Great Basin National Park. The cavern tour was worth a 90 minute wait … also 50* under ground so double bonus.

    20180509-IMG_20180509_154008.jpg 20180509-IMG_20180509_154450.jpg 20180509-IMG_20180509_154902.jpg 20180509-IMG_20180509_155913.jpg
    #11
    benwiggin2 likes this.
  12. akupnt

    akupnt Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Reno, NV
    Stayed the last night in Ely. Not a whole lot going on in Ely. Pretty quick blast across NV with a stop in Austin at the International. After another brief incident with a mechanical cruise and a DCT trans on the Africa twin, we zip tied a second bike back together and made lunch in Fallon before getting back to Reno.

    6 days / 2000 miles round trip. Lack of off-road might fall short by ADVrider standards … the FJR def hit its wall in 2018 after another up north (second RR coming) … working on a new bike this spring so hopefully more variety in the future. But the SW is phenomenal, asphalt or dirt with lots of detours … recommended at least once.

    20180510-IMG_20180510_113611.jpg 20180510-IMG_20180510_101620.jpg
    #12
    Fast1, benwiggin2, riderbrad and 3 others like this.
  13. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    294
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Great photos, thanks for sharing
    #13
  14. moparnut

    moparnut Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    34
    Location:
    NorCal
    I did a 5 day trip across Nevada this past summer. I actually had a good time in Ely. I camped at the KOA, nice park. Excellent tent sites but I camped on the green and met some great people. I spent a good part of the day at the railroad museum. Chased the steam engine up to the mine. The whole experience is not to be missed, unlimited access to the engine barn and shop. There was also a 2 day car show in town with some excellent hot rods. Also a farmers market available for some fresh produce. It is not the sleepy town I remember from the 70's.
    kk
    #14
  15. slogger

    slogger Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    868
    Beautiful pictures and enjoy the Colorado City insight.
    #15
  16. avejoe

    avejoe Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    958
    Location:
    Down around the corner half a mile from here
    Great pictures of Lehman Cave!
    #16
  17. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    19,936
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Great memories. Thanks.
    #17
  18. motowest

    motowest Two-wheeled Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,449
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Nice report... on-road or off-road, still an adventure.
    #18
  19. wetwider

    wetwider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    northwest
    When crossing Nevada on U.S. 50, there's a great detour just west of Austin, state hwy. 722 that runs west maybe 40 miles meandering through the range south of 50 to come out back at 50 a little east of Middlegate and hwy. 361 south. Riding 722 adds about a half-hour compared to staying on 50, but it's a mighty nice road to just putt along through open-range ranches, along a river, up & over passes, past Smith Creek dry lake, an 8-mile long playa used for land-sailing (if you ride on it, please don't do brodies - we like smoooooth). At Middlegate is a dandy old-west saloon, restaurant & funky motel, just off 50 to the south & worth a stop to wet yer whistle & let your butt recover.
    #19