The Great Western Enduro Challenge - 5,500 miles of dirt out west

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by CoyoteThistle, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Likewise! Pretty small place to meet a fellow ADVer, but it was good to chat about bike travels.

    In other news, this report is slowly coming together. 300+ photos kind of sorted and GPS tracks organized. Stay tuned...
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  2. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

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    :*sip*

    :bmwrider

    :hmmmmm

    :ear

    :brow

    :lol3

    Patiently waiting ............................ and I know that it'll be well worth the wait!
    Thanks for taking us along CT. :thumb
    RD
  3. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town... Supporter

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    Here and there... but more there than here
    Just bombed through your entire report (to date). Had thoughts a couple of times regarding your first couple of laps that smoke and/or flaky weather are part of riding the west, especially the northern half, in the fall. Your teaser photos show the risk of riding late spring… snow.

    Keep plugging away. Interested where you place your “official” route. I’ve ridden several of your paths, and near many others. Thanks for the report and the possible future tracks.
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  4. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Prologue – The Third Ride

    Okay, here we go on the third big ride trying to complete some more of the big loop. As a reminder, good reader, the arbitrary goal of this whole adventure is to establish a contiguous route through all 11 western states that covers at least 500 miles of dirt in each state and as little pavement as possible (90%/10% dirt/pavement was the original goal). Avoiding pavement means avoiding bigger towns, tourist attractions, Whole Foods Markets, etc. It’s more about tiny towns, obscure attractions, and Mobil Mini Marts. Fine with me.

    As I mentioned earlier, the goal of this 2-week ride is to complete some new sections of Utah and Colorado on my way to new sections of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, hopefully completing the routes in the latter three states. Then, I’ll hop across to Washington and have a week or so of time all on route through Washington, Oregon, Nevada and into California. Despite all the riding on the first two rounds, not one state has been completed yet. If all goes as planned, six could be completed in a couple weeks. That is, if I can put in the miles and have some luck with weather and roads.

    Not much prep to do on the bike this time. New rear tire (Maxxis Desert IT again). Front is a half-worn Dunlop 606 – we’ll see how far it gets. Oil/filter change. Topped off the radiator. Checked the air filter. Dead battery was swapped out a while back for a little lithium-ion thing. That’s that.

    Time to load her up. I gathered a pile of gear for camping plus all the other little stuff and kept getting rid of things until I could get everything into the Giant Loop Coyote plus a bag with tools, tube, etc. strapped to the front number plate. Compressions sacks helped. Left out the chair and several smaller things that all add up and I just got it in. On past trips I had an extra bag strapped to the GL. Not this time. Did I notice a difference? Hell yes! The lighter and more compact packing job made a noticeable difference when riding harder trails and picking up the bike after a crash was noticeably easier. I’m not down to @JoeMotocross minimalism, but I’m moving in the right direction.

    Departure is set for the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend…
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  5. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Day 1 & 2 - May 29 & 30

    Left home at about 10 AM. I figure since I haven’t ridden a total of 8 hours in the last year combined, I probably won’t make it more than 8 hours in a day across the desert, no need for an alpine start. Temps are reasonable for the season as I drop into the Mojave Desert. Interstate 15 would be almost 200 miles shorter than my route across central Nevada, but the thought of trying to keep up with traffic on the 250 made it an easy decision to keep to the two-laners.

    I stop for lunch in Rosamond after a couple hours of riding. Came back out to the bike to find a dead battery. Crap. The issue is easily diagnosed – I left the damn auxiliary lights on. Brilliant start there Matt. Parking lot had a slight slope, let the antics begin. First tries were sitting on the bike and “running” on my tippy toes. Not working. Next attempt was running along pushing followed by a side-saddle mount. Started but I let the revs drop too low and it died (battery must be good and flat). Repeated the side-saddle mount and was running again. Looping through the parking lot, a mom and her little daughter watched me buzz by sitting thusly. The little girl laughed and pointed; mom looked a little worried for me. I tried to smile. Never mind. Got seated properly, keeping the revs up all along, and did a few laps around the block. Idling fine again.

    Long uneventful ride up the 14 then 395 to Bishop. It’s Highway 6 for quite a while from there. There were some thunderstorms firing over the Sierras and White Mtns., and some virga above me in the valley. Clouds cooled things a bit and it all stayed dry. Got into Tonopah around 6 PM. Neck, back, butt all sore already. No surprise.

    Found some good street tacos at a little outdoor street fair type thing. Turns out it’s Jim Butler Days in Tonopah. Named for the guy who discovered silver around here in 1900 that made this quite the rich town back in the day. It’s still a nice little town in my estimation. I missed the parade and the State Mining Championship it seems. Time to look for a campsite.

    About 20 miles outside of town Hwy 6 goes through a bit of National Forest. Hoped there would be something there. I saw some campsites off to the right and pulled off. I asked a couple guys at a nice site under a big cottonwood tree if they knew if there were other sites around. They weren’t sure, but invited me to join them. Better than wandering around. One of them assured me they weren’t murders or anything like that. He seemed believable.

    Turns out they were a couple of retired brothers, one now living in Arizona the other in southern Nevada. Out for a week of exploring and camping. I had a good time chatting with them about their travels, much of it to places I’ve been as well. I asked them about the old crumbling building over yonder. They said this had once been a stage stop because of the spring (hence the big cottonwood). Neat.

    Set up the tent under the big old Populus fremontii, had a couple beers that I had picked up in town, and crawled into bed a little after sunset.

    Broke camp pretty early. Said bye to the guys and headed towards Ely, NV. The next town along Hwy 6 and still 150 miles away. This road was a good reminder of where I am – the Basin and Range province. Up-and-down, up-and-down, through the basins and over the ranges. There should be plenty more of this on the way back, only not on pavement. Not a lot of excitement on this road. Although...
    [​IMG]

    I “found” this on a ride several years ago. That time I soaked for a bit. This time I decided to head onward. It’s called Warm Springs. It was a stage stop back in the day too. Not sure who built the pool or when, but the water was once again clean and warm.

    The signs of the big drought are everywhere in this area. For miles and miles the only green plants were right on the edge of the road where they get extra water from the runoff.
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    I know it’s high desert, but I thought some green and some flowers might be possible in late May. Not to be.

    Got gas and lunch and Ely and headed out towards Delta. Passed just north of Great Basin National Park. Still some snow on the high peaks.
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    Things got dryer and dryer as I headed east and eventually there was no green to be seen anywhere. Took a break in Delta Utah in the shade and worked on my plan for the rest of the day. If I push it, I could probably get up into the mountains tonight before dark but I’m worried there won’t be any campsites due to it being a holiday weekend. Decided to look for a cheap room in Salina Utah, from there I hit the real route just a few miles out of town. Found the Ranch Motel. Old and quirky, but clean. Got a giant burrito at what might have been the only open restaurant in town (it’s Sunday in Utah!). The leftovers would be well traveled before being consumed.

    [​IMG]
    Just over 800 miles of highway in two days. Glad that’s over with.
  6. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    Wow, that's a butt-burner for sure. Been through the area you rode twice in the last 9 months, on four wheels though...love the Basin and Range. Mom's was closed in Salina?
  7. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Yeah, I love the Basin and Range. I'll surely ramble on about it plenty in the following pages. I missed Mom's. Looks like a good option though!
  8. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Day 3 – May 31 (Part 1)

    Now, on my short list of features that I strongly believe motels should not have, is a damn rooster. I guess it’s called the Ranch Motel so maybe I should have asked, but sure enough, at 4am a rooster starts crowing away just outside my window. I got back to sleep but this asshole seems to have a snooze button and I get woken up multiple times before giving up and getting out of bed around 5am.

    I decided to reorganize my packing a bit after realizing how hot the righthand leg of the Giant Loop bag was getting next to the exhaust. Nothing melting, but quite warm. Loaded and rolling by 6am. Gas station market was open, coffee and a breakfast snack.

    The plan was to head east along the I-70 frontage road and catch the southern end of Skyline Rd. and then head north along the Wasatch Plateau for a hundred miles or so to Hwy 6.

    Ah yes, the mighty Wasatch Range, the easternmost “range” in the Basin and Range province. From here to the Sierra Nevada of California, the Basin and Range province consists of a multitude of mountain ranges, running more-or-less north-south, separated by “basins”, or valleys. The geological explanation for this topography, greatly simplified, is that blocks of the earth’s crust are alternately sinking (basin) and rising (range) as the earth’s crust is stretched in an east-west direction. The faults that occur between the rising and sinking blocks are where springs are found. Perennial water sources in this arid environment sustained people for thousands of years and allowed early emigrants to drag themselves westward in search of their fortunes. From the Wasatch to the Sierras, from eastern Oregon to Mexico; by some accounts, there are up to 400 different mountain blocks (Wikipedia lists 133 named ranges). I’ll ride over and through more than a few of these in the next two weeks. The variety of terrain is fascinating to me. This part of the world is not for everyone, but I find great beauty in its seemingly endless harshness, the occasional lushness, and the rich human history.

    Now then, back to Salina. Had a little trouble finding the correct route but was soon on track and happy to hit dirt!
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    Dropped tire pressures and crisscrossed I-70 a few times. Couple neat tunnels.
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    I assume by the shape of the tunnels that this is an old railroad grade, but I’m not sure. Eventually reached Convulsion Rd. (interesting name), which I guess qualifies as the southern terminus of Skyline Rd. Started climbing along Salina Creek.
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    Climbing steadily, I was soon up into the aspens and some greenness!
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    Up over 8,000ft and the aspens are barely leafing out.
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    It’s generally been a low snow year out west, but it is early season. I don’t see a lot of snow, but it is up there. The National Forest website said Skyline Dr. is “open”. That was enough to entice me up here to give it a go.

    I’m soon reminded that different forests open and close roads following very different rules. Around 10,000ft I hit the first snow patches along the road. All had been punched through by vehicles so I continued on without issue. Then, the first snowbank that crossed the road. It was only about 50ft across and there was a nice set of truck tracks that left some channels in the snow. Maybe enough to keep me from sliding down the hill and off the road? Well, of course not
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    Almost made it across but once I came out of the wheel rut, I was sliding down below the road. Began the salvage operation. Tried to powerwalk it back up towards the road but the rear wheel just augured itself in. I dug out the back wheel, tried to be easy on the throttle, but no dice. A few more rounds of digging in and sliding further down the slope and it was clear I needed a new plan. I wandered off in search of some traction devices. Best I could do is some flatish rocks. Dug it out again and jammed the rocks in front of the tires. Still not working. Starting to wonder how long I might be stuck here. Nothing to do but keep trying for now. I think I’ve been at this for most of an hour now. Eventually, I refined my techniques and with some rocking and pushing, the rear tire popped out of its hole – me now flailing alongside trying to keep the bike moving while my feet slipped around in the snow and then the mud. Whew, back on the road.

    I gathered up my kit; jacket, gloves, helmet, etc. where strewn about the mountainside. I let the cool mountain air evaporate the sweat. From what I could see, the road ahead looked okay, so I’ll carry on. Got all dressed up and ride literally 20ft to the top of a small rise in the road (see photo above) and see what I couldn’t see from 20ft further back, a snow bank across the road that is three times as wide as what I just barely got across. Almost comical. At this point, I notice off-road bypasses that folks have been using. I scout them out, but the one for the next patch includes a deep muddy trench 10 or 15 feet deep. If I get stuck in there, I’m doomed. Decide to turn around. The bypass for the patch I just got across was pretty straightforward if a little muddy. Retrace my steps for a few miles and detour down Willow Creek Rd,
    [​IMG]

    which takes me off the mountain to the west and back down to Hwy 89. So much for Skyline Rd. on this trip.

    Turns out that Hwy 89 is a pleasant ride through several pretty little Mormon towns (is it just me or do all these towns kind of look alike?). It’s Memorial Day and as I ride through the moderate sized down of Manti, I see that the cemetery is fully decked out with American flags and fresh bouquets of flowers on nearly every grave marker. Quite a nice scene. And one that would be repeated throughout the day as I passed through half a dozen or so small towns as I wandered north and east. A fair way to “celebrate” a holiday that carries some extra poignance for a lot of us this year.

    I plan to get back on route at Soldier Summit on Hwy 6. This might qualify as the smallest “town” on the GWEC – it’s just a gas station. Tons of vehicles heading west, I assume towards SLC at the end of the holiday weekend. Traffic was light in my direction on the two-lane road, but it doesn’t stop some asshole from passing me by squeezing between me, in the center of my lane, and the line of oncoming traffic. He then followed the truck in front of me, at least until I turned off at Soldier Summit. Whatever.

    Due to the early start, it’s still only about 1 pm when I leave Soldier Summit with a Full 3 liters of water and over five gallons of gas. It’s 160 mi or so of unknown dirt roads to Rangely, CO. Likely won’t make that today. Full load of water will allow me to camp most anywhere. I still had a good chunk of burrito left over despite going after if for lunch a while back. That will serve for dinner if need be. Okay, let’s leave the highway behind for a while!

    ...
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  9. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Day 3 Continued.

    Picked up Forest Rad 131 just east of Soldiers Summit. Climbed up along a fork of the White River on good dirt and earned some good views
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    This road topped out at a snow-free 9,000ft and then dropped down into Timber Canyon. What look like somewhat recent landslides or debris flows were spilling out of the little side canyons. Eventually, it looked like the whole main canyon had experienced a massive flood/debris flow. The road has been reconstructed rather well but fresh piles of sediment and rock are everywhere.
    [​IMG]

    The channel of the river or creek in the upper canyon was just a mess
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    Eventually got to some cabins and houses lower in the canyon. It looks like they all survived the flood. Upon returning home, I did some research on what the story was. Turns out the area burned (the Dollar Ridge Fire) and soon after, in July 2018, a thunderstorm dropped an inch of rain in less than an hour. We know about that combination around here in SoCal too. Sounds like nobody injured or killed.

    Soon reached Strawberry Pinnacles (so I would later find out they are called)
    [​IMG]

    Continued along the Strawberry River and found some shade for a break. There’s record heat happening to the west and north of me, but I’m just out of the worst of it – temps in the mid 80’s for the most part. Shade felt good as I had a snack and hydrated a bit.
    [​IMG]

    That’s Strawberry River Rd. I’d follow that for a bit before turning up Lake Canyon. Another left and I was headed up, (according to the sign) the dugway. Steep but good road got me up to 7,500ft and some nice views.
    [​IMG]

    That’s the Duchesne River down there somewhere and the snow-capped Uinta Mountains in the distance. One of those peaks is King Peak, highest point in Utah.

    Since leaving the Strawberry River, I’ve started riding through a huge oil field. Wells are spread out all over with a maze of roads connecting them. The wells are up here in the hills
    [​IMG]

    and all over the valley below to the north and east. I’ll be riding these roads for the rest of the day if all goes as planned. The main roads they use to access the wells are wide and generally in great shape. I work my way down towards the valley then turn east. I’m off BLM land now and onto the Uintah and Ouray Reservation roads. Plenty of oil here too, so the roads stay good. Until my planned route hits a road posted as closed
    [​IMG]

    Time to figure out a workaround. New for this trip is a Garmin Explore App for the phone. I downloaded their topos for each state. They have nice detail (but don’t include all the really minor roads). Looking for alternative routes is so much easier this way than on the tiny GPS screen, I can’t believe I didn’t do something like this before. In this case, there was also a big map on a sign a few miles back where I crossed Hwy 191. Went back there and compared my map to the big one. What looked like a good alternative on the phone didn’t appear on the big map. Probably a reason. Navigating these reservations tends to be tricky business. It’s only a couple miles down Hwy 191 to Duchesne. I’ll find some shade there and try to figure something out.

    Another pretty little town. Looks like I just missed the rodeo. Found a little park with some shade and planned my next step. It’s after 4pm but with my early start, it’s feeling like a long day already. Will need a place to camp. Looks like I can pick up my route from Hwy 40 a few miles east. Camping area not obvious yet. Carry on. Elevation is dropping, no more junipers and even the sage is getting sparse.
    [​IMG]

    Sixty or so miles of good fast dirt roads and I get to the tiny hamlet of Randlett. Not much to it, but there is a rustic little mercantile that looks like it may have been there for a hundred years or more. Got a couple quarts of cold water. Downed one and topped off the water bladder with the other. The gal behind the counter gave me directions to Pelican Lake, where she said there is a campground. Less than 10 miles away. Sweet! Pulled in around 7:00. My leftover beers had been baking in the sun in the bag all day but it still tasted pretty good after a long day. Set up camp, finished off that burrito and I was in the tent by the time the sun set. Nothing but a couple cottonwood trees for company.
    [​IMG]

    Tale of the tape
    [​IMG]
    About 175 mi of dirt and 125 mi of highway

    [​IMG]
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  10. flying.moto

    flying.moto Earthbound Misfit, I Supporter

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    Awesome! :clap
    I miss riding the higher deserty elevations already! :ricky Thank you for the evening update! :beer

    :lurk
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  11. AzMtnThumper

    AzMtnThumper Been here awhile

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    Enjoying the RR and the pics. Bummer you missed Mom's and Skyline Drive, both are good!
  12. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Next time!!
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  13. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Day 4 – June 1 (Part 1)

    Early to bed, early to rise. Packed up and rolling by 7:15 AM. Since I didn’t get the stove out last night, I skip the coffee this morning. Looks like about 60 miles to Rangely, CO – I can find coffee and breakfast there I reckon.

    Backtracked about 7 miles towards Randlett to get back on route. I’d follow the Duchesne River Valley for a bit. I eventually got to see the river.
    [​IMG]

    It frankly looks a little overused. A little while later I cross the Green River.
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    Not sure how many times the final route will cross this river but I can think of three off the top of my head. In a few days, I’ll be near the headwaters in the Bitterroot Mountains.

    Riding is on good roads through more oil fields interspersed with short pavement sections to cross rivers.

    Headed east now on reservation land again here and there. They call this mountain Molly‘s nipple.
    [​IMG]

    Might be a good story behind that name. Next big river is the White. I’ll be seeing more of this river today.
    [​IMG]

    Across the river and I’m headed east again on BLM land. Saw some dusty signs pointing to Fantasy Canyon. My GPS had me going the same way as the signs and soon I was at the turnoff. Better go have a look. Was surprised to see a half dozen or more tents and cars. The empties on the picnic table indicated a good party last night. Couple dudes were sitting around and I chatted for a bit. Seems a bunch of friends from as far away as Virginia and California chose this place to meet up and hang out. Didn’t push for details.

    So, turns out this place is named for its interesting rock formations.
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    [​IMG]
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    Here you can kind of see how these formations are formed.
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    The relatively harder sandstone that makes the interesting formations starts off surrounded by softer mudstone (in the foreground above). As the softer rock erodes, it leaves the sandstone formation behind (in the distance). Neat!

    It’s a short walk to see what seems to be most or all of the interesting formations. I wouldn’t recommend it as a destination, but worth a stop and probably the only camping for quite a while in several directions. All good fast real roads out here. Eventually I hit Highway 25 and head south. Nice view of the White River again from the highway.
    [​IMG]

    Nice to see a more natural looking stretch of river. Quickly back on dirt, looks like I’m headed towards Hells Hole Canyon. Sounds Nice. Soon I’m descending a steep but good road to the canyon bottom.
    [​IMG]

    Interesting geology again. If I turned left, looks like I'd hit the White River. I go right. A few miles in the canyon bottom, still on good roads
    [​IMG]

    Beautiful rock formations. After a few miles, I make a left turn and a steep and somewhat rocky climb out the other side of the canyon. Just after I reach the top, I enter Colorado. The road continues and soon I’m seeing oil infrastructure again.
    [​IMG]

    I should almost be to Rangely now, but it looks like I have some elevation to lose in a hurry. I didn't get gas while in Duchesne, so I'm over 200 miles into this tank of gas, about the time I'm happy to be nearing town.

    Winding through the oil wells I eventually come to a point where the good road ends at an oil well. An apparently abandoned road is visible where my GPS wants me to go. Not a good sign. I poke along for a few hundred more yards and see a big landslide that is blocking the road. I turn around thinking I might try a road I passed a while back that was headed more down the canyon instead of down the ridge where I was. While on the side of the road consulting the phone/map, a service truck appears, coming toward me. I consider waving him down to ask for some help, but he stops anyways. “I bet you’re not where you think you are”, he said. I said I was trying to get to Rangely and I thought this road would go through. He said “Well you’re on private property, didn’t you see the sign?”. He seemed a little grumpy about it. I honestly didn’t and I asked if there was a way to get down to Rangely from here. He said no. “Anything down that way you’ll have a locked gate”...
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  14. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

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    Day 4 - Part 2

    So, discovered on private property I'm talking with the guy on the side of the road and he asked where I came from. I told him Hells Hole Canyon. He relaxed a bit at this news as I think he understood that I wound up here as an honest mistake from otherwise public roads. He said “Well, that’s the way you got to go back” and he proceeded to rattle off a bunch of road numbers and left turns and right turns on how to get around to Rangely. I kind of understood what he was saying but I’d need to consult the map. I backtracked until I was on the BLM road again and then stopped in the shade to figure out my route. First step was to head back down into Hells Hole Canyon. This time it occurs to me to sing a Spinal Tap song to myself as I drop down and then climb back out. After 20 miles or so, I’m back to Highway 25. I’m at about 200 miles since my last gas fill up so I I’m getting to the point of not wanting to do another big turnaround for fear of running out of gas (plus I haven’t even had coffee yet!). I stick to the pavement and get to Rangely around 11:00am. So much for breakfast in Rangely.

    The gas station was welcome, 260 miles on this tank. Took just over four gallons to fill it up. Iced tea sounded better than coffee. Found a wrap thing at the gas station. Sat in the shade and fueled myself up.

    According to my notes it will be all pretty much all good roads to the next gas stop in Hayden Colorado. The first stretch of dirt is a short route that takes me up to Highway 40. I rode this in 2017, but once I got to Highway 40, I gave up on the dirt and headed east on the highway. The heat and whatever else was going on in my head made me decide to skip the dirt and head east to higher elevations and some shade.

    Temps are warm, but not bad at all as I head north on good roads and eventually I'm back up into the junipers. As I’ve noticed elsewhere in the last few years, they (Forest Service, BLM, etc.) are cutting down the junipers where they are “invading” shrublands.
    [​IMG]

    I don’t have a good understanding of why they are doing this. Seems to me if you want to preserve shrubland, just stop overgrazing millions of acres of it and leave the junipers alone. Maybe there’s more to it than that.

    The road was a little beat up, seemingly from whatever they had out here mowing down the junipers so it wasn’t fast, but wasn’t hard going either. Trundling along the decent track, I noticed a minor road off to the left that was rocky and overgrown with grass and thought “Glad I’m not going that way!”. A few seconds later I glanced down to the GPS and noticed I was no longer on track. Yep, that was my route. I cautiously headed down the track. There are a few little marker signs here and there that seem to indicate this is called the Yampa Valley Trail (if I’m remembering correctly). Turned out to be a fun little descent down ,down, down to the valley (Yampa Valley) below. Some steep rocky sections but since I was going down, nothing too tough.
    [​IMG]

    The total descent was over 1000 feet. Eventually I arrived down by the Yampa River. Hoping to find the shade of a cottonwood to stop and rest. No luck. The river bottom is all private property. No shade until I get into town in 75 miles or so. The roads from here to Hayden are all county roads. They range from excellent
    [​IMG]

    to really nice
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    to just about perfect
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    to superb
    [​IMG]

    Anyway, the real point is it’s green, the views are great, and the weather is fine. But still, this part of Colorado really takes care of its dirt roads. Part of the route went through (IIRC) the Bald Mountain State Trust Lands Area. There were signs saying you need a permit to enter, blah, blah, blah. I assumed that didn’t apply to folks like me passing through so I carried on.

    Eventually I dropped down
    [​IMG]

    towards Hwy 40 and the little town of Hayden. I rode the dirt route from here in 2017 to Steamboat Lake and beyond so I’ll take the highway and try to camp at the lake this time.

    Liquor store was a good opportunity to replenish my whiskey supply. It’s about dinner time, but not much here. Fueled up and headed towards Steamboat Springs. Found some okay tacos and got out of town. Popular place.

    Looks like the campgrounds here just opened a day or two ago. It’s a state park. I paid the entrance fee. Didn’t see anything about camping fee. Found a site with a nice view and settled in.
    [​IMG]

    After getting all set up, I wandered around a bit with my warmish beer. That’s when I saw the tiny notice on the post at each site saying “reservations only”. Crap. I’m not repacking. There’s cell service so I decide to pay the (expensive) fee. After navigating endless pages of reservation nonsense, the website booted me off. I tried to start again, but it said this site was not available. Screw ‘em. I tried. Plausible deniability if anyone asks. Asleep again before dark.

    Tale of the tape
    [​IMG]
    Almost 250 miles of dirt
    [​IMG]
    Fast1, JoToPe, bomose and 6 others like this.
  15. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,092
    Location:
    Walnut Crick, Cal.
    Yeah, ALL Colorado SP campgrounds are now O-fishaly "reservation only." Sucks for doing stuff like what you're doing. At some point when you've got time and a laptop you'll have to set up an account with Colorado Parks & Wildlife https://www.cpwshop.com/home.page to make their reservation system usable. Plus out-of-staters have to pay an additional day-use fee on top of the camping fee...makes for an expensive patch of dirt to spend the night.

    Thanks for including tracks, I enjoy seeing your route.
    Fast1 and ScotsFire like this.
  16. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Yeah, it was going to be silly expensive with entrance and camping fee, $40ish IIRC. I think I could have found a dispersed site pretty easily if I had realized what I was getting myself into before setting up. Pretty spot though.
  17. JoToPe

    JoToPe JoToPe

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Oddometer:
    332
    Location:
    Henly, Texas
    Quite enjoying your ride report. Would a big bike work out on the routes you’ve been doing, and I see you are running soft bags, but would aluminum panniers work just as well or would you advise to stay with soft bags?
  18. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Super Supporter Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,529
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I hope this reservation stuff only doesn't spread and contaminate the entire West. I just made a trip to and from the East, and found the same thing in Oklahoma of all places. One night in a beautiful spot in NM, the next, in a deep internet dive trying to get a site in OK. I must have spent an hour trying to wade thru the process, via cell phone. The camp host was absolutely no help at all, and there were virtually limitless sites available. Hot, humid, on and on, so not a good experience.
  19. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Glad you're enjoying it! Having never ridden a big bike, I can't say I really understand their limitations. Seems like some riders can take them on some really difficult terrain. So my short answer is yes, no reason a big bike couldn't do any of the route (so far). There are some ATV trails, but no single track that would preclude a wider bike. There are sections of soft two-track where you need to be in one rut or the other with with shrubs right up to the road edge - might be a bit annoying with wider hard panniers. 99% of the route you'd be fine with either luggage I think.
    JoToPe likes this.
  20. CoyoteThistle

    CoyoteThistle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2014
    Oddometer:
    227
    Location:
    Ventura, CA
    Yeah, it's a pretty awful way to run a campsite. A little alarming it's in more than one state. Yeah, if I had been melting in the sun while trying to navigate the process, I would have lost my shit!
    GringoRider likes this.