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5 days of all the elements of adventure! Sand/Mud/Rocks/Beer

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So about a month ago one of my riding buddies invited me on a 5-6 day run from our home in lovely overcrowded Los Angeles to areas around Zion National Park. As all trips of this nature go we had more people wanting to go until the details were getting sorted out and then a few people dropped out for the usual reasons of work/family/fear of adventure/alien abduction etc. The trip turned into a group of 3 of us, Orbel the route maker, Dusty and Myself. Some usual last minute maintenance problems, banter and one brand new GS1200Adventure later we hit the road.

Day 1

Nice and early 6am meet-up at Starbucks in Upland, CA for a quick shot of java before we slab it out town through Vegas to Saint George Utah. Now is when the smaller range of my Super Tenere started to play a roll, the GSA can manage an easy 350 miles a tank VS my Tenere’s 175-200 mile range.

Our first break in Primm, NV so that we can blast through Vegas without stopping. On the way up It was a pleasant 92F or so. Not bad for June in the desert!


Then back on the bikes and through Vegas stopping in Mesquite for gas and lunch. Some really empty boring sections on 15N through this part of NV.


Orbel leading the way


Dusty who just got his 600 mile service done a couple days before on his brand new Beautiful GSA


Passed a test car getting put through it’s paces



Then lunch in Mesquite where I sent the mandatory check in photo to the wife, showing I wasn’t really hiding out at the local strip club for a 5 day bender again.


Then a stop at the BLM office in Saint George to inquire about back country camping permits for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, however the storm clouds we had been flirting with apparently left that area pretty wet and mostly a muddy mess that we weren’t up to dragging our bikes through yet.


Then we left Saint George through Hurricane, UT and I see a Drive Thru Pawn Shop


Which continues to baffle my imagination, but I guess when you need to pay the rent getting cash for your Rolex is easy that way.

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Not too far out of Hurricane we took a detour on the way to Zion just to get some dirt under our tires, and of course Dusty had to go through the only mud puddle to help start the break in process on his GSA.


With a long open view in front of us we set off, happy to finally be getting into the good stuff.


And good views it provided, in all directions.



With a rocky downhill section where Dusty raved about how much easier to manage the big GSA was than the 800Adventure he just moved away from


Then it was a nice scenic ride to the border of Zion National Park




At the entrance to the park we stopped for an early dinner and a celebratory pint.



Some great fish and chips at this place and a very nice server before we rode through Zion.


After stopping to wait for the tunnel, enjoying the views, and walking up to see some native Sheep we headed out of the park and into Caramal Jct, with the home of the Ho-Made Pies(but for some reason they have Cherry, wouldn’t think that was an option in this type of joint!!)


We then headed over to Coral Pink Sand Dunes only to find the camping area full, but Ponderosa Pines BLM campground nearby had a great spot for us to setup for the night.




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Day 2

We packed up and left the OHV area we stayed in, had a light breakfast in camp of stuff we picked up the evening before and found a nice sandy 2 track that took us back to Hwy 89.


Dusty is enjoying the new GSA, and the sand has a good layer of dampness on top to make it a bit easier to ride!




But this was his first real experience in sand, and this fine soft fluff got the best of him


Thank goodness for crash bars, skid plates and bark busters as the only damage the entire week was the ball at the end of a clutch lever!!

Orbel making his way through the countryside



With Dusty getting a bit more comfortable with the sand


The sand got to me when I started getting cocky and trying to power through it like I was on a dirtbike again!


As the morning wore on the sand started to dry out and get a bit more challenging to ride over.


But everyone was having a GREAT time, even if it is hard work in the sand with all our gear on the bikes!



Then we stumbled into a giant bottomless sand pit!


Was a wash that the trail dropped into, with no choice but continue or turn back. The drop in was so soft you could only slide down it pushing a mountain of sand with you, and it took all 3 of us to get Orbel up and out the other side so he could hit the end of the trail 200yards past this hill.



This was very fine bottomless silt deposited by a stream and time, Dusty we could have pushed through as he was also running Kenda Big Blocks, but my Heidenau K60’s would have left me buried and stuck. So he and I made the smart choice, and backtracked about 2 miles to drop out onto the road further south and meet up with Orbel at the intersection.

During this backtrack Dusty was moving along smoothly and then suddenly cut to the left and fell down. I was a little confused :huh :huh so I pull up next to him to help lift the bike and he is pulling a stick out of his spokes. Apparently it deflected up and was enough to stop the front wheel in the soft sand causing him to plow and drop the bike. I convinced him to keep the stick, but neglected to get any photo’s of the event. :baldy :baldy From there it was a few quick corners back to the road where we met up with Orbel and headed into Caramal Jct. for a meal, free air and time to regroup and plan the afternoon’s activities.

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The Ho-Made Pies went untested but the rest of the food was pretty pleasant.


After lunch we headed North on Hwy 89 to Glendale, UT where we turned onto Glendale Bench Rd. and headed back into the dirt.


We headed to the North again and ended up running through some cabin’s where we found a bunch of ponds, as well as bear tracks, and what I assume is bear shit!



We stopped here for a few, I stripped my jacket off and we all relaxed a bit



Shortly after leaving this spot lead us to a muddy hill climb, and our lead spun and stopped before regrouping and making it to the top of the hill. But this left the other two bikes stopped half way up, and I rolled back to a flatter spot about 30 feet behind me Dusty’s shorter legs gave him a challenge on getting going again.


Lent a helping hand after he slipped around a bit



I had to put some graffiti on his helmet to remind him he came from a muddy place.


By this time Orbel had walked back down the hill far enough to take pictures as I used my flat spot to putter on up the hill with far less excitement


After reaching the top we continued towards Tropic Reservoir and encountered some more thick nasty mud



We also started running into some of the rain clouds we had been avoiding the entire trip.


Followed by more Mud

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After picking up the bike and all of us creaping through the snot again we took a side trail intending to drop into Bryce Canyon from the West side of the park.


But it was not to be, this was the first hint that it may not be possible.


However in the spirit of adventure after making sure the trail wasn’t undercut we pushed on past the narrow spot


Then under the fallen tree


Only to have the entire trail washed out around the next bend!!!! @#[email protected]

So we turned around and headed back down towards the main trail.


After this section we ran along a side trail that was of Epic levels of awesome. Slightly narrow two track that was just wet enough to not make any dust but also not be a slippery mess. Lead all of us into playing too hard, power sliding around corners and zipping along at a really good pace. The light drizzle that we hit intermittently just kept the dirt that perfect tacky texture for the next 30 or 40 minutes it seemed while we all got lost in the joy of this empty beautiful land that we could explore and play in.


Then back along the main dirt road near Tropic Reservoir,


At the reservoir we circled up to the bluffs that gave us an impressive view of the valley bellow and the town of Hatch, UT.




After looping up to the bluffs we stopped at a natural spring to fill up our water supplies prior to making camp.


We found a perfect spot next to Tropic Reservoir where someone was kind enough to leave a bit of pre chopped wood and a campfire ring that we used for our evening.



Then we all cleaned up, I went for a VERY quick swim and we cooked up some dinner.




This was another great day on the trail, with so many memorable moments for all of us.

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I'll get the rest up over the next few days, but life is distracting me from sharing all this with you for a bit longer.

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Finally got around to finishing this up.

Day 3 started next to Tropic Reservoir at a very brisk 39F. We were all up early with the cold, although by the time that we broke camp it was warming up nicely!

Then it was a quick jaunt to the Hwy and into Taft for fuel for me and breakfast at the Galaxy Dinner.


They had an awesome retired fire truck in the parking area, and a very pleasant place to have breakfast. Biscuits and Gravy were pretty delicious to top off the excellent atmosphere and server. Over breakfast our plan for the day was schemed, with the intention of going to Bryan Head for some excellent Pizza!

We then headed to the north with the plan of visiting Asay Knoll. The first part of the ride was a pleasant piece of 2 track, but then came THE ROCKS!



We had a few rough moments traversing this section, even if it was only 200 or 300 yards long.


Here I am getting a salute for my photography efforts… guess I deserve it.


However after this section it was a nice easy trip up the knoll with a beautiful overlook at the top, and great cell service to top it off!




Then after reaching the bottom we made a stop in Duck Springs for fuel, ice-cream and to discuss local trail conditions between us and Bryan Head. We were told that a ¼ mile long rocky section on our intended route was rough, but shouldn’t be too bad, and maybe some mud but it had been a few days so that had probably started to dry up.

The rocks were worse than we expected, and worse than the path up Asay Knoll!


Oops, new GSA down, Dusty is cursing his short inseam about now, however no damage other than scratches on crash bars.


We developed a pretty good routine where two of us help escort one bike, picking lines and assisting with holding the bike up as needed over about 100 yards. Then we walk back and repeat for the next bike and so on. Once we sorted that out we made better time and we were all happier.


Also less of this


It just seemed to keep going too!!


Then we began to find the first hints of the mud


A few downed trees that we were able to circumnavigate



Then a bit more mud


And apparently I needed a shower more than I thought, so Dusty helped me out with that!!


My turn, and I had an oops moment when my foot slipped and I almost lost the bike in deeper mud, but Dusty jumped to my rescue helping hold the bike up while I repositioned my footing.



Dusty had the good decision to put the camera down and help me stand the bike up rather than take pictures of me slipping!! Thanks guy, my bike and I appreciate it

After the mud we made our way out to the 143 and headed into Brian Head, UT for some much anticipated Pizza, only to find that they were [email protected]%King closed!!! Instead we grabbed a burger at place on the end of the building, and it was AWESOME!!! One of the best burgers I’ve had, so thank goodness for small blessings.

Edited by NavyNuke
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Day 4

Headed south through Fredonia and out to several overlooks including Locust Point and Parisswampits along with others along this section.


Much greener on the North Rim than the South rim



Then a good run back along some 2 track was going great, all 3 of us moving along at a good 30-35 mph pace until I see a puff of blue smoke from Orbel’s bike and I worry he just blew something in the motor!

Only to find this???


The smoke was from the tire where the stick had been forced against it and was about to lock it up. Lucky us the stick didn’t actually damage anything, no sidewall puncture, no damaged brake lines or ABS sensors, truly amazing luck.

Then we continued on our way flirting in and out of rain for the rest of the day.



We stopped for a late lunch at Jacob Lake Inn, although tasty didn’t live up to our experience the day before. Then back through some two track to the north cutting from 89A in Arizona to Hwy 89 in Utah and then a quick run through the rain back to camp. Where we found a squatter had set their tent up in the middle of our circle of tents??


Slightly confused the residents were nowhere to be found, but they didn’t bother us when they came in, and they were gone before we were up in the morning, so no harm no foul I guess. Just a little unusual.

The next morning we got off to a slow start and took our time getting ready as we packed up to head home.


More rain on the horizon, anxious wife at home, and being wet/tired we all were happy to cut our trip short by a day.

Loaded up ready for the trip home


The ride home was pretty uneventful, Dusty split north to Denver to visit family, Orbel and I just ran through St. George and down the 15 to L.A. Other than the 103F heat from Baker to Barstow it was pretty uneventful.

Looking forward to the next run!!

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Fixed the links, end of Day 3 here because forum limits the number of photo's in one post.

Then we went down to Cedar break and took a couple photo’s



So we decided to stay at Zion Ponderosa Ranch for the night, the tempting shower/hot tub and laundry facilities were calling our name. So was the BEER, but we forgot it was Utah Grade beer!! 


After washing clothes and a nice shower and beer we decided to stay at the resort for a second night, so the next day we headed out to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon traveling light, leaving our camping gear etc at the resort.

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