Southern Utah - "Leave the rain gear at home" Tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Bullseye, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    OK, I see how this is going!

    Day 2 - We cut out a small prelude loop that would have taken us up Left Hand Collette. Reports said the canyon was washed-out. We subbed in Hell's Backbone to kick-off the day.
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    Next stop was South Draw Road into Capital Reef. This route was also reported to be 'impassable', but we decided to give it a go.
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    It was a little "sporty" in spots, but all-in-all, no show stoppers.
    We hit the highway and headed to Loa for gas and beer before climbing over Geyser Peak and into Cathedral Valley for the night.
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    @AllSeasonRider shared some Ninja camping skills.
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    We drank some beers and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the Valley below.
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    The skies cleared and the stars were on full display. Things were looking up!
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    #21
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  2. Doc Sarvis

    Doc Sarvis Advent-ia before dementia Supporter

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    Okay jealousy gauge at the redline. I have found the the Capitol Reef rangers are probably tired of doing rescues of all the tourists so they tend to say everything is much worse than it is to keep you on the pavement. I did the South Draw from Lower Bowns in 2013 during that huge monsoon event that hung over Utah and Colorado. Now that was some spicy riding. We got out of the canyon about 15 minutes before the flash flood. Had to hole up in Torrey for two days before we could get back to our camp at Bowns.
    #22
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  3. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Devil's backbone was a fast, fun rip through the forest. I finally started feeling confident on the bike, but I guess a groomed forest road will do that! The twisty pavement section at the end was a real treat (is that heresy on this forum? :pope)

    Our Dear Leader
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    Taylor had better pics at the bridge, but here's what I came up with
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    For me, South Draw Road was one of those rides that is a lot better in hindsight than in the moment. In the moment, it was wet, chunky, sandy, loose, beat up and a pain in my ass. I'd hear Taylor call over the radio, "There's a rocky climb coming, but it's easier than it looks - just pick your line and commit". He wasn't lying, but he hadn't gotten to all the other rocky climbs after that :lol3

    From there we rode up the wash, which was still a workout for me. Throw in some more sand and a small water crossing and we were back onto the main tourist dirt road and eventually popped up to a parking area in the park where the husbands driving their RVs and minivans gazed upon the glory that was our group. Alan and John were both already there, probably waiting for hours for my ass to show up :photog

    In the moment, it couldn't be over soon enough. In hindsight, I can't wait to do it again! Despite Taylor's photo of me with my feet in the "about to crash" position, I never dropped the thing!

    We dodged some light rain on our way to get some groceries for dinner, but stayed alarmingly dry that day. The ride up to the campsite was another fun, mostly fast forest road.

    I got my camp set up well before everyone else - about time I'm fastest at something!
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    A short walk to the edge rewarded you with an amazing view of Cathedral Valley.
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    Some caveman TV for a bit and it was off to sleep.
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    #23
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  4. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    @Doc Sarvis The funny thing is that South Draw was a fun challenge, but the most difficult riding was a 1 mile stretch just beyond the reservoir where a grader was working on the 'road'. It was bottomless loam with a few rocks in the mix. I'm not quite sure why they were bothering with that section as it was past Brown's.
    #24
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  5. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    Day 3
    The plan was to ride out through Cathedral Valley take Hwy 24 into Hanksville for an early lunch and then into the Doll House in Canyonlands.
    The previous night, we went to sleep under a full display of stars... the morning greeted us like this...
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    We estimated that we had about an hour or less to break camp and run or take shelter in our tents. Since our route took us directly East towards bright sunny skies, we decided to run for it. Before the last tent was packed away, we were in it!
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    We took to the only shelter available to wait for Alan to finish packing.
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    Once we were all packed and ready, we hit the trail. The rain eased off. The first 15 or 20 minutes of riding was nirvana! Wide open roads with damp hero dirt everywhere. Even on the loaded bikes, flat-track sliding through the sweeping turns was effortless.... and then it started to rain... only harder... and then hail...
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    The sunny skies to the East evaporated! Now that we were down in the Valley, we needed to keep moving and get out of there before things got muddy or the washes started to really flow in earnest. Visibility became impossible... goggles, visor, glasses all fogged up instantly. No glasses or goggles and your face was pelted with stinging hail... there seemed to be no solution other than to suck it up and push through. We made our way down to Caineville and Hwy 24 where we argued a bit over which way to go... Hanksville or Torrey. Canyonlands and Doll House were definitely out. Much too remote given the unstable weather. In fact, part of our route (Poison Springs Wash) was listed as impassable and features a legit river crossing. We headed back West into Torrey for food, coffee and possibly a hotel room to dry out.
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    The skies cleared a bit as we rolled in to Torrey. The restaurants in SW Utah seemed to be struggling to find enough help. It was high tourist season and yet a lot of places were closed. We found hot food and coffee at the Chuckwagon. Hotels in town were either full or wanted $200-300 a night. Mark checked online back at the Escalante Cabins and found they were available. All we needed to do was ride back over Boulder Mountain. 'No Problem!' we mostly dried out over breakfast and John and I sourced some new, dry riding gloves from the hardware section of the store...
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    #25
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  6. Todd157k

    Todd157k Long timer Supporter

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    Cool trip!

    just went through there for a week.. although we missed out on that water falling from the sky thing. Gee wiz, I feel short-changed.

    oh, no I don't. :imaposer
    #26
  7. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    :stfu
    #27
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  8. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Sleep was pretty minimal for me at camp, at least until well after midnight. The wind was just ripping through the trees, though thankfully it kept to a slight breeze at the campsite. Made a lot of racket, though.

    Like setting up camp, I was also first to tear down. I had brought supplies to make Spam, egg and green chili burritos for breakfast, so I wanted to get the other chores out of the way. Then Taylor pointed at the sky.

    Whoops.

    I was ready to put my tent back up for some shelter - figured the best plan was the let this pass, eat some breakfast, and then head out. Then Alan said something about not wanting to pack up a wet tent, so we decided to get of dodge. How'd that work out, @aanichols :imaposer

    The ride through Cathedral Valley was cold and wet, but at least I remembered to close the vents on my jacket this time! As per usual, I was bringing up the rear. Taylor would wait up for me once in a while to tell me more lies about the blue skies approaching from behind, but I knew better by this point!

    The weather was a trade off as the route was a lot of sand, so the dampness definitely helped progress and confidence. This was an impossibly beautiful area that I regrettably took no photos of until the sun started to peak out as I approached Hwy 24.
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    Almost as frustrating as the weather was the lack of food options, but at least the skies were dry. In the end, the Chuckwagon was the perfect spot and allowed us to regroup and decide what was next.

    Speaking of, did someone take a photo of my breakfast? @TFC ? I didn't half-ass that one!

    I recall at breakfast telling @Bullseye about the coldest most miserable ride I'd ever been on, coming down the Kern River Valley for the first time in 40 degree rain - visibility was so bad and I was so damned cold I didn't even realize there was a river right next to the road. I shoulda kept that to myself as mother nature was clearly listening...

    Anyway, off to Escalante. What could possibly go wrong?
    #28
  9. rider914

    rider914 Agnostic Adventurer Supporter

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    Great stuff Taylor, John, Mark,and Al :clap
    Quite familiar with all of the places you went.
    You'll hafta return for Left Hand Collet and Powell Point. Both are awesome.
    Hiking the last bit out to Powell Point is well worth it, even in moto boots :nod

    :lurk

    -M
    #29
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  10. Bullseye

    Bullseye Mr. Bad Example Supporter

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    @rider914 It ain't over yet!

    After our generous stop over in Torrey, we were mostly dry, mostly warm and our bellies were full. Time to head back over to Escalante. The pressure was really off now, we would have a warm, dry place to sleep tonight. The plan was to base camp there and just take some day rides in the afternoon and the following day. All was right with the world... and then we turned right onto Hwy 12... pointed our bikes at Boulder Mountain... and tried not to see what was looming ahead up on the mountain. Dark looming clouds.
    Before we reached the top of the mountain, it was already raining. It soon turned to hail. At one point, the hail even covered the roadway. It was miserable. I stopped on the way down to seek shelter, but Mark talked me into pressing on. Good thing, this cell just sat over the mountain for a while. Once we got down into Boulder, things were brighter and the rain relented.
    Looking back up the mountain from Boulder.
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    We enjoyed the warmer temps and the scenic ride into Escalante.
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    #30
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  11. Davethestick

    Davethestick Long timer

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    Awesome Pics guys! - Keep em coming!
    #31
  12. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    hold on guys...I missed day 2. They covered it pretty well so I'll keep it quick. We woke up to a beautiful day that we knew would be nice but I still decided on the Traverse gear....turned out to be the right call obviously. When I pulled up I got a little shit over how much I packed but I had extra layers and 100% waterproof gloves in there somewhere. Pretty uneventful up to Boulder...couple more pics.

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    #32
  13. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    The ride into the backside of Capitol Reef was awesome. I got a bit hot through the last section, but it was a blast. The most technical area of the trip by far. I was leading and started to worry a bit about the others. We all had radios so I pushed on to the tourist area at the paved road.... I couldn't wait to have a cold beer. Another advantage of over packing.:beer Had a snack a beer and pretty quickly John rolled in followed by Taylor and Mark a bit later. 20210928_122916.jpg 20210928_135315.jpg
    #33
  14. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    couple more along the way....
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    Attached Files:

    #34
  15. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    We slabbed it to Bicknell and got stocked up on food and drinks for the evening. While we were there I did start to wonder about the weather that was coming and what elevation Taylor had us camping at. We headed out of town over the mountains to the east and to a little lower elevation and the campground....perfect spot..

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    #35
  16. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    Wednesday was predicted to have rain and that's what we got. Woke up to a hectic start....no coffee, food, nada....just pack and run.
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    #36
  17. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    Unfortunately I never got a chance to get my shield completely dry before we took off so I had to ride with it up. That sucked, but I was comfortable everywhere else. :clap. Still had some beautiful views and great ride.
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    #37
  18. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    We hit the highway and headed to breakfast.
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    #38
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  19. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    As said earlier we decided to head towards the clouds and elevation. I took the chance at the stop to put on another layer and my 100% warm and dry gloves....and made sure my shield was in great shape. It sucked riding in the hail, but hell, it's an adventure now.
    Heading into it.
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    #39
  20. aanichols

    aanichols Racer at heart

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    We stopped in Boulder to regroup....the guys were a little wet and cold but hanging in there. At least we ended the day with a nice ride back to Escalante.
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    #40