Glen Canyon/Llewellyn Loop

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by retsamnez, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. retsamnez

    retsamnez Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Day 1

    This is an account of a five day blast across
    <st1:state><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:state>, <st1:state><st1:place>Arizona</st1:place></st1:state>, and up into southern <st1:state><st1:place>Utah</st1:place></st1:state>. It was initially conceived as a backpacking trip, but turned out to be more of a series of marathon rides on both pavement and dirt, with a little hiking thrown in to keep us honest. The original plan was for me to ride from <st1:state><st1:place>California</st1:place></st1:state> into <st1:state><st1:place>Arizona</st1:place></st1:state> on Wednesday afternoon, and spend the night at my friend CJ’s house; the two of us would then set off for Glen Canyon, Utah early Thursday morning. We were hoping to make it to the backpacking trailhead by late Thursday afternoon, park the bikes, throw on our packs, and put a few miles under our boots before dusk settled, setting up camp with nothing but stretches of sandstone and a flask of bourbon for company. But it wasn’t to be. Here’s what actually happened.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I took this after pulling up at CJ’s house at about 8:30PM Arizona time. The temperature was in the high twenties. <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    Thursday morning. We couldn’t figure out a way to securely strap CJ’s pack to the very clean XR500. Here he is seeing how comfortable it will be to wear and ride. <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    CJ, geared up and ready to rip.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    Me. (Don’t worry; that gas can isn’t full…) we ended up getting a late start, due to the fact that when we woke up at 7ish it was in the low twenties… we probably used a gallon of gas between us getting the bikes warmed up. We figured that waiting a couple hours for the outside air temp to warm up would be worth it. This would later turn out to bite us in the ass...<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    We pulled over here about 95 miles north of <st1:city><st1:place>Flagstaff</st1:place></st1:city> on the 89. The XR had run out of gas, so CJ switched to reserve and we continued on. He had borrowed the bike from a friend, and we didn’t know what the range was, so we figured it would be good to find out early on.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    We made it about 30 more miles before the bike died completely and we had to break out the gas can.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    From the 89 we planned on taking a fifty mile off road shortcut north on <st1:place>Cottonwood</st1:place> road to the town of <st1:city><st1:place>Cannonville</st1:place></st1:city>, instead of traveling the much longer 200 mile paved route. It had recently snowed though, so we decided to stop at a BLM office to ask about road conditions. The BLM guy on site told us “That road is impassible, especially on motorcycles, you’ll just end up getting stuck”… CJ and I met in 2002 while serving in <st1:country-region><st1:place>South Korea</st1:place></st1:country-region>, and thanks to our mutual disregard for rules and regs, similar world views, musical tastes, and senses of humor, we forged a quick friendship. When guys like us are presented with a pair of choices, one safe and boring, the other exciting and challenging… you can guess which option is invariably chosen. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I took this right after pulling off the pavement.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    <st1:place>Cottonwood</st1:place> road<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    So far the road had been wide, dry, and smooth. We were hauling ass, taking names, and making damn good time, CJ was doing a fine job hustling the XR along with the heavy pack on his back. (Notice that he is now carrying his own gas; I figured it was a better deal to have it spill on his fender than my backpack…) <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    CJ, or Kenny from “<st1:place><st1:placename>South</st1:placename><st1:placetype>Park</st1:placetype></st1:place>”?

    [​IMG]

    I love the rock formations in this picture, as well as the way the road snakes up over the ridge.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    We had begun to see snow on the ground, and portions of the road were now turning a bit muddy.<o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    …and then very muddy. As others have said before me, Scorpions are completely useless in mud; I might as well have been on racing slicks. Descending this particular hill was a real bitch. Mud ended up getting crammed under the front fender, so much so that the front wheel wouldn’t turn. (The second time this has happened to me this month… see www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123707) We ended up pulling off the front fender and scraping out the mud mid-hill. Not fun. Notice how long the shadows are getting in this picture. By the time I was done bolting the fender back on, the sun had set. We weren’t really worried though, as we plenty of warm gear, food and water. We could have pulled over on the side on the road and camped comfortably for a week. We actually did consider pulling over and setting up camp before dusk finally settled, but we then remembered how good beer tasted and decided to trek on. We probably spent 20 minutes on the dirt in the dark before finally hitting asphalt again. <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    At the end of <st1:place>Cottonwood</st1:place> road there is a state park with camping, but it was 15 bucks, and we didn’t have any cash. So we decided to press on to Cannonville. Plus, state parks don’t sell beer. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    When we finally made our way into Cannonville, we found a KOA that charged 20 bucks a night, and a small store/gas station below a motel that was closed when we got there. There was a sign on the window with a phone number to call if you needed service though… Some German lady was hanging out front smoking, and told us she had already called it and the clerk was on the way. The clerk turned out to be the daughter of hotels owners, visiting mom and pop from her home in Vegas. She was helpful and pretty, offering to turn on the gas pump for us, but this being small town <st1:state><st1:place>Utah</st1:place></st1:state>, they didn’t have any beer. We settled for topping off our tanks and grabbing some orange juice and Gatorade which we gulped down greedily, still recovering from the last few grueling miles of trail. <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    Feeling recharged from our break at the Hotel, we decided that there nothing left but to press on for Escalante, the last town we would pass through before jumping onto the dirt road leading to our trailhead. The ride from Cannonville to Escalante was damn cold, but we finally made it. We found a Wells Fargo, got some cash from the ATM and went in search of a reasonably priced campsite. We almost immediately stumbled across a lit up store with a neon “Espresso” sign in the window, and people moving about inside. Seeing as it was the only lit up storefront in town, and the ride between Cannonville and Escalante had been frigid, we decided that some espresso sounded damn good at the moment. Maybe they could recommend a good campsite as well… We tried the door and it was locked, but after some enthusiastic knocking, one of the people inside came over and opened up for us. Not only was this place a coffee shop, but they had camping gear, good beer on tap, a wall of liquor, a nicely stocked wine rack, a fridge full of microbrews, free internet access, and a CAMPGROUND out back. What a bargain! They hooked us up with a campsite for $14 and a six pack of their own microbrew for $8. Kick ass. We pitched the tent, cooked up some dinner on our camp stove, downed some brews (which were delicious) and racked out. This is their web site: www.escalanteoutfitters.com<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I took this picture before we rolled out Friday morning. <o:p></o:p>

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned for day 2! All dirt, more crashes, more great scenery, mind blowing slot canyons, the works!!!
    #1
  2. LavaBull

    LavaBull Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    220
    Location:
    Republic of Goat Trails
    Awesome pics... I'm hooked!!!... Keep'em coming...

    :lurk :lurk
    #2
  3. levity

    levity nano-Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,088
    Location:
    Irvine, Calif.
    Great stuff!!! :clap

    Been there on two wheels myself - mtn and moto-bike - and know the mud you enjoyed. :lol3

    Keep it comin', it's not late yet. :lurk:
    #3
  4. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,696
    hey.. when i saw that muddy road.. i knew what was coming next! :lol3

    Been there and done that more times than I care to admit! :rofl

    :thumb
    #4
  5. VHRAM

    VHRAM Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    178
    Location:
    ventura county,ca
    :ear :lurk
    #5
  6. Bummer

    Bummer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    975
    Location:
    On The edge of Denmark
    Real nice.. an´ muddy..:1drink
    #6
  7. retsamnez

    retsamnez Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Day 2 Part 1: The Ride<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    This morning we cooked up some oatmeal, packed up our bags, and headed over to the coffee shop for some… wait for it… Coffee! Something I haven’t told you yet about one of my spills in the mud yesterday was that one the saddlebags decided that a good cushion for its fall would be my ankle, which was now swollen and painful to walk on. So we were beginning to have doubts about our three day semi-technical backpacking route. (Which we were planning on completing in two days…) Another concern was that we were quite a bit behind schedule; we should have been breaking camp from the trail this morning, not a patch of grass next to a shop in Escalante. So while we sipped our coffee, I jumped on the internet and CJ started rifling through the shops large cabinet of USGS maps, looking for an alternate (read shorter) hiking route. After some discussion though, we decided to play it by ear and focus on the route we had already chosen, Llewellyn Loop. <o:p></o:p>
    (Link: http://backpacker.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?TripID=12054)<o:p></o:p>
    We decided that we could always set up a base camp near the bikes; hike as far as we could before dark, then turn around and march on back, so we could get an early start on the ride back to Arizona on Saturday.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Here we are gassing up for the last time before jumping off the pavement once more, and onto Hole in the <st1:street><st1:address>Rock Road</st1:address></st1:street>, headed for <st1:place><st1:placename>Glen</st1:placename> <st1:placename>Canyon</st1:placename></st1:place>.

    [​IMG]

    Hole in the <st1:street><st1:address>Rock Road</st1:address></st1:street>. That speck in the distance is CJ, cursing the pack on his back. Every time he stood up on the pegs, the weight of the pack would throw off his balance and threaten to pitch him either over the bars, or over the rear fender. He deserves some “wicked mad props” (youth speak) for the mud pits, miles of washboard, ruts, and steep descents we encountered; he tackled them all sitting down.

    [​IMG]

    [FONT=&quot]Unreal scenery.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT] We had great weather throughout the trip.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks to CJ’s ginormous front hoop, he could roll over small buildings, children, and pets with ease.

    [​IMG]

    [FONT=&quot]One of the various suicidal cows that peppered the route.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT] We took a detour to check out this place, “<st1:place><st1:placename>Devils</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Garden</st1:placetype></st1:place>”.

    [​IMG]

    A nice shot of the duck tape repair on CJ’s lower pant leg. Apparently, his pants decided they’d rather decorate the XR’s exhaust then him.

    [​IMG]

    “I’m standing in the Devils Garden, hardy-har-har.”

    [​IMG]

    The sandstone formations here were really incredible.

    [​IMG]

    The view over the rest of the <st1:place><st1:placename>Devils</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>Garden</st1:placetype></st1:place>.

    [​IMG]

    Hydrating.

    [​IMG]

    More stupid cows.

    [​IMG]

    About mid-way through the washboard, CJ’s taillight decided to abandon ship.

    [​IMG]

    The Martian landscape.

    [​IMG]

    This place was called “The Dancehall”; we stopped here to empty out our fuel reserve into CJ’s tank.

    [​IMG]

    What do you suppose would happen if you entered this corner (from the opposite direction) at about 50 MPH on a 450LB bike laden with luggage?

    [​IMG]

    Probably something like this. I had been pushing the bike hard all day. The weight from the luggage on the back was actually helping my traction quite a bit, although the bike had definitely lost some maneuverability… When the back tire of this thing can actually find traction, it’s incredible. In street bike terms, I would equate this bikes riding style to that of a liter bike. To go fast, you need to square off the corners and wait till the bike is near upright to really get on the gas, rather than carrying a lot of corner speed like say… a CBR600. (My last bike…)

    [​IMG]

    I think CJ was getting tired of my favorite game, “Lift the KTM.”

    [​IMG]

    More great scenery.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    CJ bouncing down a sandstone curb.

    [​IMG]

    We knew we were getting close to our first waypoint, so decided to pull out the GPS and take a look. Fastidious naviguessing, or Saturday Night Fever impression? You choose.

    [​IMG]

    We found a good spot hidden from the road, yet near our first waypoint to set up our base camp.

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned for Day 2 Part 2: The Hike, which includes my favorite pictures from the trip.
    #7
  8. BloodyScrape

    BloodyScrape n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6
    Great Report the pictures are fantastically awesome....give us another! .....wooo beer :freaky
    #8
  9. Wrathchild

    Wrathchild Ogri Rules!

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Colorado
    nice pics



    gawd, i miss the desert . . .:cry
    #9
  10. franmotott

    franmotott n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Lisboa, Portugal
    Great ride, guys. I´m forced to inaction due to broken leg in bike tumble, I miss riding so much. Adv Rider reports keep me going.
    I am amazed to see CJ´s XR500, it´s almost a museum piece ! How old is that bike ? Totally primitive when compared to the LC8, and yet it keeps on running. Just proves the reliability of XR's. And also proves that when you really want to ride, you don't need a top dollar state of the art piece of machinery. Great lesson for many of us.
    In the end, it's always the rider, not the scoot, that really matters. Hang on, CJ !
    Thanks for the great pictures
    My best wishes from Lisbon, Portugal, SW Europe
    Francisco
    #10
  11. Motoplaner

    Motoplaner PNW Heel Rounder

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    24,307
    :eek1 :lurk
    #11
  12. craftkr

    craftkr "Carpe Diem"

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    571
    Location:
    Rockport, TX
    Loved the report, great pictures. And I would give the guy on the 500 props. Riding with a pack and sportin duct tape! :clap
    #12
  13. retsamnez

    retsamnez Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Day 2 Part 2: The Hike

    By the time we had camp set up, it was approaching <st1:time hour="12" minute="0">noon</st1:time>. My ankle was feeling a lot better though, so we decided to see how much ground we could cover before dark. We planned to turn around when dusk began to settle, cruise back to camp and crash out, in preparation of an early start back to <st1:state><st1:place>Arizona</st1:place></st1:state> on Saturday morning. We stuffed our packs with cold weather gear and some snacks in case we got stuck out in the canyons longer than planned.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Llewellyn Loop isn’t actually a trail, but a set of GPS points that somebody has cobbled together. Point 1 was quite close to our campsite, so we decided to cut a path straight over to point 2.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    CJ, trekking over the sandstone.

    [​IMG]

    <st1:state><st1:place>Me.</st1:place></st1:state> This is the direction we were headed.

    [​IMG]

    I hoofed it to the high ground for this shot.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the point of whole trip, slot canyons.

    [​IMG]

    “Please no flash floods please no flash floods…”

    [​IMG]

    CJ is trying to figure out whether he can make it down this 20 foot sheer sandstone cliff without a rope. He was actually considering it. That yellow webbing in his hand is an anchor somebody else had set up and left.

    [​IMG]

    Unable to find a way down, we had to backtrack, climb out of the canyon, then find a way back in. Here I’m about to do my “dirt slalom” impression back into the canyon.

    [​IMG]

    Back in the canyon.

    [​IMG]

    Great light, cool sandstone.

    [​IMG]

    This was the first of probably 25 large puddles that we had to cross. Just how do you cross one of things anyway?

    [​IMG]

    Oh, that sucks. After this crossing, and spending ten minutes draining our boots and ringing out our socks, we decreed that we would find ways across any other puddles we encountered. One thing we had stupidly forgotten to throw in our packs were changes of socks, and since the temperature can drop quite quickly in the desert, having wet feet can be a bad deal.

    [​IMG]

    Here CJ traverses a wall to avoid a large puddle, and quicksand like mud.

    [​IMG]

    We decided to slide down this little cliff on our butts, as it was sloped and only fifteen feet down.

    [​IMG]

    That puddle stretched back well beyond the corner. CJ’s looking awfully pleased with himself after successfully negotiating it, isn’t he?

    [​IMG]

    And this is how you do it.

    [​IMG]

    Turn around, strike a pose.

    [​IMG]

    Some cool moss.

    [​IMG]

    A natural sidewalk we ran across.

    [​IMG]

    Avoiding more water.

    [​IMG]

    The canyon finally began to open up here.

    [​IMG]

    The sun was setting so we decided to climb out, get our bearings, and head back towards camp. This doesn’t look very scary, but it was. There were no good handholds, (sandstone crumbles very easily) my boots were muddy, and I was 30 feet above some rather nasty looking rocks.

    [​IMG]

    Made it.

    [​IMG]

    The view back down into the canyon.

    [​IMG]

    We did some scrambling.

    [​IMG]

    I thought this rock impression was pretty cool.

    [​IMG]

    [FONT=&quot]We were running low on water, so we stopped at this pool to fill up.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Back at camp.

    [​IMG]

    [/FONT] We decided to see if we could cook a whole package of beans at once. We couldn’t. The beans ended up spilling into the stove, so we had to field strip and clean it to get it to work again… After finishing dinner and drinking some water, we hit the sack.

    [​IMG]

    <st1:city><st1:place>Sunrise</st1:place></st1:city> on Saturday.

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned for the conclusion, where we meet one of the most interesting personalities in the <st1:state><st1:place>Utah</st1:place></st1:state> motorcycle community.
    [FONT=&quot]

    [/FONT]
    #13
  14. Ridemuch

    Ridemuch SUP

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    GTA,Ontario
    :lurk .......:thumb
    NICE!
    #14
  15. Just_Sean

    Just_Sean herewegoagain

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,512
    Location:
    NOT Brooklyn
    Great pics - I love this one!!
    #15
  16. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,283
    Location:
    Golden CO
    :clap Awsome trip.
    #16
  17. Red Stripe

    Red Stripe Church of the High Desert

    Joined:
    May 21, 2005
    Oddometer:
    288
    Location:
    SLC, UT- bastion of free thinking
    Nice! Have been down Cottonwood many times. One of my favorite rides. Wish I was there.
    #17
  18. DRxDR

    DRxDR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    California
    Great adventure. Thanks for sharing.
    BTW, is it legal to ride cross-country in that area or is traffic limited to foot travel and horses? wayne
    #18
  19. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Scottsdale

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    11,986
    Location:
    Scottsdale Arizona
    I have one just like it. We aparently stopped to marvel at practically the same spot:
    <IMG class=imgBorder title="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" height=450 alt="pantah > Trip east from MotoGP photo" hspace=0 src="https://pantah.smugmug.com/photos/34651756-M.jpg" width=600 border=0>

    I didn't hit mud until a little later. I can confirm that mud is so slimy you can hardly walk on it. I ended up paddling over to the edge which looked soft but had traction. Great trip and pics. Its just like the ones I took with my buddies 30 years ago...ran late, forgot everything, froze ourselves and had the time of our lives. -P
    #19
  20. rokklym

    rokklym one man wolfpack

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,525
    Location:
    Westby Wisconsin
    :super

    This thread rocks!!!

    This looks like my kinda adventure. Could you post some kinda map of your route? I'd like to hit some of those places.
    #20