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Southern Utah Tour with 2AR.eu, John C. the Anomaly, and Myself

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It all started in June of ’14. I found out I had a few days of vacation to use or lose at work, and at the last minute (3 days before departure) I decided to take a few days off and do a ride from Salt Lake City up through Yellowstone National park to Montana, and then back down through Idaho and back to Salt Lake. I called one of my riding buddies, he jumped on his Harley, and off we went. A motley pair - Me on my Tenere, and him on his Harley.

 

There was no plan. It was ride, find a place to camp, ride, repeat. On day 1 we rode from Salt Lake up past Jackson Hole Wyoming with plans to camp in an ‘un-reserveable’ campground right outside the South entrance of Yellowstone. Well, as things sometimes go we found the un-reserveable campground not only full but half reserved. We rode around the loop of the campground once, and then started to ride the loop again just in case we’d missed something. As we rounded a corner on the second circuit of the campground this crazy German guy in a Touratech riding suit came bounding out of the bushes holding up his hand for us to stop. We did, and he began to inform us that the campground was full, but we we’re welcome to share his campspot with him and his wife! What luck! We quickly agreed, and thus a long-standing friendship was born with Claudia and Mirko of http://www.2ar.eu. 2 Adventure riders on the ride of their lives through the Americas on a charity Mission. We ended up spending the next few days with them as we explored Yellowstone, but I won’t get into that in this account. It was decided in those days that we would meet again in the Fall as they made their way back South from Canada to central America - we’d meet back up in Salt Lake City and do a tour of Southern Utah!

 

Throughout the rest of the Summer I planned the Southern Utah Tour, figured out the routes we would take, and in early October Claudia and Mirko showed up with John Colyer of https://www.facebook.com/anomalyadv in tow. We spent a week in Salt Lake getting everybody ready, and then off we went - South for a planned 9 day tour of 6 National Parks - Zion, Bryce, Escalante, Capital Reef, Arches, And Canyonlands (Moab). It turned into 10 days however, as it got really windy on the day we we’re supposed to ride back to Salt Lake from Moab, and we all felt that was a good enough excuse to extend the trip another day! Hahaha. ;)

 

I won’t bore you with a long-winded account of the trip. That’s what video is for! Here’s a rather long, 15 minute account of the trip. Obviously you can’t fit 10 days of fun and adventure into a 15 minute video, but this was the best I could do! Enjoy! Oh, and if anyone wants to enjoy this route themselves HIT ME UP!!!! I’d be more than happy to do it again with a group, and I won’t even charge a tour-guide fee! Or, if you're interested, I can provide some links/coordinates of camping and trails along the route.

 

Edited by Nate J.
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That was AMAZING!  That's one of the best ride videos I've ever seen.  For anyone not wanting to wait around for 15 min to see it I would say hang in there, it's worth it.

 

I loved the photography and how you'd either zoom in or out or pan for the wide shots.  I liked how you mixed up your GoPro angles from your helmet to low left to rear facing.  Great music too!

 

I loved those petroglyphs, scary ruts, water crossings, John's belly laughs and that bit about the ranger at Zion.  Those rangers sure can be nazis somtimes  :)

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Wow thanks Eric! I've always thought the video was too long, but just didn't have the heart to cut anything. Now that I've watched it myself a few dozen times I've found a thing here or two I could cut, but it would only cut a few minutes at most, so whats the point - plus, it would throw off the synchronization to the soundtrack! Can't have that!

 

The helmet Cam came from Mirko which worked out well for me cuz he was always behind me filming me! hahaha ;) The low video from the forks, and the rear-facing was mine. A ton of work to splice that all together.

 

Like I said, the video doesn't do the trip, its scenery, or the late nights playing cards under the stars any justice. It's definitely a tour to do again and again! Oh, and I think John woke up the bears at least once with the belly laughs... haha.

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GRear work on the video and write-up. You really capture the essence of a two wheeled adventure

Nate, this is coming from someone who knows how to capture the essence of a two wheeled adventure :) (huge compliment)

 

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Motostella - Thank you very much! I couldn't have done it without all the video and stills provided by Mirko and John though. Your video is amazing - I don't know if I would have the patience to set up, ride by, take down, move, set up, ride by, take down, move. That's a ton of patience and dedication; although, it does lend to a great production. I especially like the silhouette work you did on the ridge line - Very nice. Again, thank you for the Kudos. (spelling errors are forgiven)

 

Bryan - I couldn't agree more - If you have an aversion to riding in Southern Utah you either belong in an institution or you're dead.

 

Eric - Believe it or not I don't run a GPS on the bike. I kinda have a "go where the front wheel takes me" kind of attitude. I resort to paper maps when I have no clue where I am which usually doesn't help! haha.  I'm sure I can come up with a .gpx file though - shouldn't be too tough. Ya'll have to make me one promise though! If I provide a track you have to promise to hit me up if and when you go, so I can go along! :)

 

Rigs - Yup! Highway 12 and 24 are gorgeous! Especially in the Fall. The trails that leave them are even better!

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I definitely will.  Zach and I have ridden a lot in Southern Utah and were talking about doing the UTBDR in June.  This is a good option too.

 

Jesse Kimball lives in Hurricane and does a ride every summer called the Flying Monkey Adventure Rally.  Really great guy!  He's showed us quite a bit there but there's so much more.

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Ok, so here's my attempt at providing some more detail of the route along with some .gpx files. If you download these files you have to PROMISE me that you'll contact me before hitting the route to invite me along!

 

1st Leg:

 

This leg starts at the Bauer's RV Campground which has a very nice tent area in an apple orchard. It's Northeast of Zion, and conveniently situated at the beginning of the 2nd leg below, so you can stay here a night, or two, or three, or...

 

You'll ride down into Zion National Park and end at the Zion Campground. Here you can park, change clothes if you so desire, and take a shuttle up into the park to check it out.

 

Bauer's Campground Reservations: http://www.bauersrv.com/

 

See File: Bauers_Zion_Bauers.gpx

 

2nd Leg:

 

Again starting at Bauer's you will ride Northeast to Bryce Canyon, explore all it has to offer, and then end at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and Campground. This campground is reserveable, is on the shore of a small lake, and has a hiking trail through the petrified forest attached.

 

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park Campground Reservations:

http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/escalante-petrified-forest-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=UT&parkId=345221

 

See File: Bauers_Bryce_Petrified.gpx

 

3rd Leg:

 

Starting at the Escalante Campground above you will explore the Hell's Backbone road. The highlight is a very narrow bridge over a deep canyon. The drive is beautiful, and the road is an easy dirt road frequented by 2X4 vehicles. There are MANY trails off the main road - explore as you deem necessary. You'll end back at the campground to prepare for the Leg 4.

 

See File: Hells Backbone.gpx

 

4th Leg:

 

This leg takes you from Escalante, through the Escalante state park, and ends you in a dispersed wilderness camping area to stage you for Leg 5. Read leg 5 ahead! If you're not up for leg 5 then use the Leg 5 Alternate in place of Legs 4 and 5! There is fuel in the town of Boulder on the way to the wilderness camping area, but very limited food supplies. Stock up with a couple days of food in Escalante before you leave, and stock up on fuel and water in Boulder. There may be water in Pleasant creek depending on the time of year, but don't rely on that, and if the creek is running boil or purify!

 

See File: Petrified_Pleasant Creek.gpx

 

5th Leg:

 

The Pleasant Creek Trail. Get up early and allow yourself plenty of time for sight seeing. Depending on your skill level this leg could take from sunup to sundown in mid summer and be VERY hot. Bring lots of water, food, and survival supplies. If you get stuck, or broken, out on this leg you may be in for a very long, hot, dry walk as there is very little if any traffic on this trail. I suggest a GPS satellite tracker such as a SPOT or DeLorme just in case, and please, please do not ride this trail alone. There are at least two stream crossings, sand, rock, shale, and slick rock. If there is any threat of rain DO NOT hit this trail unless you are a glutton for punishment. The trail is comprised of sand and red clay which turns to nasty mud when wet, and about 3 miles of the 30 mile trail is along a dry river bed which isn't so dry during a downpour. Beware of flash floods in the river bottom if it rains.

 

If none of the above turns you off you will be rewarded with a technical trail, beautiful vistas, elk if your lucky, and if you'd like you can camp just about anywhere until you hit pavement again. The dirt portion of the trail is all on BLM land and does not lie within a national park. The trail ends in an un-reservable state park campground. If it's full just hop a few miles West to Torrey where there are more accommodations.

 

If the above turns you off skip this leg and the 4th leg and see the 5th leg alternate below.

 

See File: Pleasant Creek.gpx

 

5th Leg Alternate:

 

Although an alternate to Legs 4 and 5 this is by no means a lesser leg. I can't personally speak to it, as I have never ridden it myself, but have heard reports from others that it is an absolutely gorgeous canyon and canyon rim ride on pavement and 2X4 dirt roads similar to Hell's Backbone. It ends you at the same campground you would finish leg 5 on, so a good alternate if you are in a group where some want to hit leg 5 and some don't. Remember, Leg's 4 and 5 are 2 days of travel, so if a group splits up those taking the 5th leg alternate will end up at the campground a day ahead of the others.

 

See File: Burr Trail_Pleasant Alternate.gpx

 

6th Leg:

 

This leg is simply a day of travel to get you to Canyonlands National Park and/or Dead Horse Point state park. Dead Horse Point overlooks Canyonlands, and Canyonlands is what most refer to as "Moab" (which is really a just a town nearby).

 

Camping Reservations (The Yurts are HIGHLY recommended but fill FAST: 

http://www.reserveamerica.com/camping/dead-horse-point-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=UT&parkId=344161

 

See File: Teasdale_Deadhorse.gpx

 

7th, 8th, 9th Leg and Beyond:

 

Once you are in the Canyonlands area you could easily spend a week here, and still not see everything there is to see. Pick up some maps locally and explore. Arches National Park is also Just North of Moab and East of Dead Horse Point - plan on a day for Arches.

 

The White Rim Trail is the thing to do here on an XLADV. I've still not done the whole thing, but would love to. It is said you can do the whole thing in a day, but that would be a HARD day as the trail is about 100 miles. There are a few dispersed campgrounds along the White Rim that have to be reserved for use, are limited in size, and patrolled by park rangers on enduros. Reserve a campsite along the White Rim WELL in advance as these fill almost immediately when they become reserveable (I think 4 months is the most in advance one can reserve.)

 

White Rim Camping: http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/whiterimroad.htm

 

See File: Canyonlands White Rim.gpx

 

Good luck, have a great time, be careful, and most importantly... INVITE ME! You promised you would when you started reading. ;)

Bauers_Bryce_Petrified.gpx

Bauers_Zion_Bauers.gpx

Burr Trail_Pleasant Alternate.gpx

Canyonlands White Rim.gpx

Hells Backbone.gpx

Petrified_Pleasant Creek.gpx

Pleasant Creek.gpx

Teasdale_Dead Horse.gpx

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