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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by random1781, Aug 13, 2021.
Welcome to Utah in the fall...
Time to pick up some dayglo orange since you are rattling around the woods in hunting season! Enjoying this story. Keep it coming!
this . is . awesome
In like Flynn for this one. Safe and enlightening travels
Cool trip, keep it coming, and most importantly....ENJOY.
Tip for you: When doing winter warfare training, similar cold weather duty, and cold weather bike riding we used to wear ladies footless tights/yoga pants under our gear. Surprising how warm they actually keep you.
+1 ... Super warm and they bunch up less under boots/pants over hours in the saddle.
Still snowed in? Anxiously waiting for your thoughts.
That's why we have KTMs, right?
From SD, we cruised through Kansas and Wyoming on our way to Colorado to get the 1290 its 18k service.
Colorado was fun, and beautiful. We dropped down in the NE corner and made it the majority of the way across the state on almost all dirt. It took a little longer than expected because so much of what appear to be roads on maps are gated off and apparently are on private land. It's especially frustrating because most of the time the gates were deep in what we thought was state/federal land, so detours took a while. Somewhere along the way I got a small cut on the sidewall of my front tire, but it was just a slow leak so no big deal. The gouge in the tire wasn't nearly as bad as the $120 labor rate I wound up paying for the service, which unfortunately had to include a valve adjustment!
After spending a while riding really chill tracks, we decided to take a stab at The Hard Way from Steamboat Springs going up. We discovered that this is an aptly named route. It took us a few hours to go a few miles, but it was soooo much fun. And while it was mostly this:
...I did wind up finally getting my first cool picture of the trip:
So, worth it. Took this back into Wyoming and then cut across to the northern end of the UTBDR. Followed that down and detoured to SLC to meet up with some friends, and was graciously hosted by @Soil Sample for a few days.
With the exception of the very first bit of the BDR (or technically last bit, since it finishes up north) where we hit slick and cakey mud, the going was pretty easy, so when we set off again from our detour, we thought we could cover a good amount of ground and avoid the rain that was coming in the evening.
Now I'm sure y'all are thinking that we were wrong and didn't manage to avoid the rain, but we did! We were able to set a good pace and climb high enough up Timber Canyon that it didn't rain at all. It snowed.
This in itself isn't bad. Actually I prefer the snow to the rain - you don't immediately get soaked, it takes a while to accumulate, and, come to find out, the snow as giving us better traction than the ground was. Being from the south/east coast, I've never seen mud like this before. It was that slick, snotty stuff on top and then straight clay just under it, and it was ungodly. The fist mud we hit a few days before didn't compare. For every hundred meters we went, we'd have to scoop mud out of bikes...scraping it off the wheels, fenders, under the sprocket covers...everywhere:
A few days ago in SLC, I riffed a friend for getting a high fender on his 1090. But touche, Utah. It turns out that if you want to reverse engineer motorcycle products, you just need to ride around here for a bit and you can create molds of anything in contact with the ground, which includes more than just the tires. Even if you're not dropping your bike to the ground, the ground will kindly come up to you.
Now while challenging, getting to the top of the ridge isn't insurmountable. Shouldn't be insurmountable, anyway, obviously assuming your 790's clutch doesn't decide it's fucking over this shit. And so we got ourselves just off the road, after dark, in the snow to figure everything out in the morning. If you can't get the bikes down the road, at least you can kick the can down the road!
Fortunately snow is an insulator:
Only so much and generally if the entire structure is made of snow and there is no wind.
The heat in the tent CAN melt the snow. If that happens and there is a wind the wind will hit the tent made wet by the snow and suck some of the heat out of the inner tent. I have been in a tent, inside an arctic sleeping bag, fully clothed, on a kit mat and still felt firkin cold. Then in the morning when it was time to break camp and move on the flysheet/outer tent was frozen solid where the snow covering had melted just enough from our cooking, and body heat. We had to piss on the tent and very quickly fold it before it froze up again. No fun sleeping in a tent that stinks of piss for a week.
Snow holes are good if the snow is deep enough to dig one out to spend the night in. Also, if you fall in water and there is snow around you should immediately roll around in the snow as it actually rapidly sucks excess water out of your clothing.
Now those are a couple of outstanding updates @random1781!!
Dude, that pic of your bikes covered by a tarp covered by snow...fack. Talk about adding an element of adventure to the adventure!
Yeah - that mud you encountered - same evil shit that's found in multiple parts of OR, WA, ID, NV, and UT. Bentonite in the soil is what causes that unholy substance to stick to f*cking everything. That crap has literally fubard a couple of my rides over the years; like abandoned bikes at 7k feet in NV. Having enjoyed a couple of experiences "riding" in that crap, I stick to asphalt if there's any hint of precipitation when riding SE Oregon, Nevada, etc.
You guys are serious troopers for enduring those conditions, hats off to both. What a killer report, so glad to see you're updating and the journey continues
I went down the rabbit hole on bentonite, which is actually pretty interesting! It also reminded me of the last time we were in Utah a few years ago, but not because of the mud.
We found an awesome, isolated campsite right next to a lake in Manti-La Sal. Bikes parked, tent pitched, riding gear ditched, we started exploring the area. About 100 ft. away we stumbled upon another unholy mess, but instead of bentonite-infused mud it was probably an entire spent roll of toilet paper along with the stuff that it was spent attempting to clean up. To this day, we call this the Taco Bell Campsite.
This is now ironic, because apparently bentonite - abundantly found on the trails of Utah - was/is used to treat diarrhea. If only they had known...
@Effendi we managed to get by with more mud than anything else, fortunately! The daytime temps were pretty high. Loosely related and maybe the most literal example of foreshadowing I've seen, here's a picture of a campsite the night prior to being snowed in. The rising sun melted everything that wasn't in the shadow.
I know all of these pictures come across as really cold, but on account of being just shy of 9000 ft., in the middle of bentonite-infused mud, and with a bike that did not have a working clutch, we managed to stay warm. We spent the day after inching the 790 up the hill, hoping to reach the ridge, which was much closer than the alternative of turning around and going down.
This was a painfully slow, two-person process, so the only picture I can offer is a judgemental dog waiting to get out of the snow so he can get rid of those ridiculous shoes:
Here's some context for anyone who might be interested:
We were able to get the 790 all the way up to the red marker, just shy of the ridge. At that point, the incline was too steep and the mud to crazy to go any further even though we were so close. The day was waning, so we pitched the tent at the top of the ridge, right at the intersection of FR 148 and FR 168 to figure out what to do next. While she was getting camp ready, I set off for the nearest gas station for some comfort food since it was only 10 miles away.
That was the plan, anyway. Just a couple miles along the ridge, I had to call it. The mud along the ridge was even worse than what we had experienced on the way up, and I almost got myself stuck. Being stuck and having help is fine, but being stuck and isolated at the end of an already long day would not be good.
We had a stroke of luck that evening when we got a generous and audacious offer of help from Cody, a local BDR ambassador. He hitched up a trailer and set out to climb the mountain the next morning, and we all managed to get the bike up onto the ridge:
That turned out to be the easy part. We loaded the bikes up on a trailer and spent the entire day attempting to descend the ridge, from the red pin to the pavement at the very left:
Those six tires provided the bare minimum traction to get down. The trailer was swinging all over the place, and there were moments where we were just sliding with no traction, moments where we were stuck in massive ruts, and then the one instance where we were we were stalled for an hour waiting for a guy trying to get a fifth wheel up the mountain to get unstuck himself. We had plenty of stops where we were outside with a pick and shovel removing mud and adding rocks. Despite all of this, Cody got us down to pavement by sunset and to a friend's place shortly after.
The damage was two front fenders, two fork seals on the 1290, and the 790's clutch. At least we were just few miles from Rocky Mountain ATV!
And USGS might have to resurvey the mountain to account for the amount of dirt we hauled away.
Glad you made it, and a shout out to Cody..........who I don't know, but deserves a shout out.
He does! It's one thing to take your own motorcycle to dumb places, but it's a whole different thing to to be hauling someone else's bike(s) in such a sketchy place. Balls of steel.
2 wheels and a tent is him
Here's the postmortem of that ordeal:
That could be a bit of a clutch issue. Thanks for the ride report, it's been fun to follow.