Utah BDR on a BMW GSA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Grizzer65, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. Grizzer65

    Grizzer65 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    112
    Location:
    Western Washington
    I just got done with the Utah BDR on my BMW r1200gsa with a group of great dudes!
    Bikes-BMW R1200gsa, KTM 1190R, African Twin, WR 250, 2 Honda 650's.

    Day 1- Pretty fun at first. Then we hit the deep Sand... The damn deep sand... Miles of sand... I only went down once or twice but the rest of the time I felt like I had a bull by the horns. The African Twin rider was down a lot. You get exhausted picking up big bikes in the 97 degree heat. We made it through though. The rest of the day was a lot easier after Blanding or so I am told as the African Twin and myself bailed after the sand. We were exhausted and did not want to risk anymore sand.

    Day 2-- The African Twin and my bmw split from the group and decided to take the "easy" route over La Sal mountain. The smaller bikes and the KTM went to Lockhart basin. The twin and I left in the morning and had a beautiful ride up La Sal Mountain. Dirt, Gravel, pavement stunning mountain and meadow views. BDR advertisement 101 right!! Well then we hit the top and started down the back side at about 1130 AM. We then hit the rockiest, steepest road I have been on going downhill. Our bikes would start turning over while in gear. It became unsafe to drive and we had to walk the bikes down. One bike down, go back and get the other bike down, rest for 10 minutes, repeat, repeat, repeat. It took us about 6 hours to go down. I had 6 liters of water and drank it all. We ran out the last 2 hours. There were some parts that we should have been able to ride but we were that exhausted. I have rode the Idaho BDR with this bike and had some challenges but nothing like this. I highly recommend that you do not take a large bike down the back side of LA SAL unless you are some kind of mad big bike skills. I ride a lot on my KTM 500 and the gsa. I was not ready for this. I would try an alternate route.

    The other group went to Lockhart Basin. They all had a really tough time and damage was done to bikes, busted panniers etc.. Excessive heat, dropping bikes left and right.

    I was ready to pull the plug to be honest. It just was not fun. I got over it

    The next four days were awesome and some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery. You would come around a corner and it was oohhs and ahhhs. Some trees were such a shade of green that they looked like they had been photo shopped already. There were challenging up hills with ruts and rocks and some stream crossings but they were fun and not ass kickers.

    We met a couple of Canadian dudes along the way and ran into them every day afterwards. I kind of think they were stalking us a little. We really enjoyed their company and it sounds like that we will all be doing the Colorado BDR together next year.

    Take aways from this- Take more water than you think you could ever drink.
    Practice riding in sand
    Use a smaller bike if possible
    There is light at the end of the tunnel
    Sand sucks. It just does

    In closing- I really hate sand. I mean I hate it so much I am not even going to lay on a beach of it in Hawaii.

    Hope this helps anyone going on the BDR.
    #1
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  2. CalKTM

    CalKTM n00b

    Joined:
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    9
    Location:
    Alberta
    Well, I just read your report for the first two days of the Utah BDR. We did it last year on 1190’s, and I had to laugh at your description of the sand and rocks. Exactly my thoughts on both situations, and the fact that it is not geared towards the big bikes. I still think about all the sand sometimes. Definitely not easy picking up a fully loaded 1190 when you drop it on the beach. However, the scenery along the UTBDR is worth the work.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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  3. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    Grizzer65, thanks for the honest appraisal of the UTBDR. I’ve done “some” of the COBDR on my GSA, but not the southern CO passes. I take it a lot of places, but I now have less interest in the UTBDR. Just curious, if I wanted to avoid the sand (I also am no fan of sand) would it be best to go north to south? Then skip the last day? Is La Sal mtn doable going the other way? Sometimes it’s a little easier going up steep stuff than going down.. I bailed on the very steep part of the CDR last year in MT/WY. I couldn’t even get to the bottom of the hill. Was alone, and decided survival was better than accomplishing that one Hill. (Its called “something” drop, I can’t remember the name.)
    Thanks again.
    Jeff
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  4. Grizzer65

    Grizzer65 Been here awhile

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Western Washington
    MizzouRider,
    Day 1 to avoid the sand--I would start at the border and begin the BDR on the track. The first part is scenic and not bad riding. If it is raining the red clay road would not be fun. Once you hit sand you could backtrack to where the tarmac is. Motor up to Blanding and then get back on the route. The dudes in my group said it was pretty easy after Blanding.
    Day 2 to avoid the rocks.--I can't really say on this one. It is easier going up but it was still a few miles of rocks tore up by jeeps and such. I think that there is winter bypass for that section. I had not trouble taking my GSA up McGruder corridor in Idaho last year. Others complained about it being a rock garden. La Sal mounting seems more like a commercial rock farm IMHO. It is possible, yes.... Would I do it after what i went through? No.
    I have no suggestions on the North to South option either.

    Hope this helps.
    P.S> I would not ride this one alone. Water water water also.
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  5. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

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    Thanks!
    #5