Friday, June 03, 2011

Guest Blogger, Uraling to Moab, Part II

Here's part 2 of Jay B's recent journey to Moab, UT on his trusty Ural Patrol Sidecar rig.  Part one is here.

Uraling to Moab, Part II

We had found a campsite on the river along Highway 128 and quickly set up camp. The wind had never let up and it was a constant barrage shaking the tent followed by a settling of sand over our sleeping bodies.  In the morning, still woozy from the ride and rubbing the sand from our faces, we noticed the river had risen about a foot. It still had some distance to cover before we were concerned so we had a quick breakfast and planned a ride up Hurrah Pass.

Early morning maintenance and checks

We inspected out bikes, noticing the chain on the F 650 GS had loosened. We tightened it up and rode into Moab for gas and chain lube (I had forgotten to pack it). The town was crammed with tourists who came for the adventure or the arts and music festival. Having had enough of the crowds, we took off down Kane Creek Blvd which lead us out of town following the Colorado River. Here you could smell the coolness of the river, watch rafters bounce over white water, and settle into the scenery.

The canyon walls of Kane Creek Road

The pavement ended, and soon we were riding beneath towering red sandstone walls. Once we were within the canyon, the noise dissipated, tension eased, and we focused on our ride. Kane Creek Road turned down a side canyon and we parted ways with the Colorado River. The canyon widened and opened into a valley dotted with sage, campers, and their recreational vehicles.

The road deteriorated and we slowed to negotiate bumps, dips, rocks and sand pits. Although the Ural has two-wheel drive, I feel the only time I really use it is after I get stuck, and this road wasn’t even close to that in terms of sandy spots

A Quixotic Ural in its element
The road curved to the right and began climbing through sandstone formations, turning from a gravel surface to one of bedrock and dirt. More than once I saw Dezso (Still pronounced: Day-zure) put a foot out to steady himself. But I wasn’t worried since he grew up on a dirt bike.

More than once I worried about the technical skills required of riding with a sidecar along uneven surfaces. I had to keep in mind that the sidecar can flip over, I constantly had to shift my weight as I went over berms, rock steps, and right hand turns.

We stopped a few times for photo opportunities and to give our rattled bodies a chance to recover from the shaking bikes. Below us we could see more campsites along the road as well as dirt bikes and ATVs racing up and down the road. Above was only more mountain roads to climb and a startling deep blue sky.

On the way to Hurrah Pass

Dezso said there was only a little bit left until we hit Hurrah Pass and could look to the other side where the Colorado River flowed. We jumped back on our bikes and rode another mile to the pass.
Although still breezy up here, the wind was cool as we stopped for photos. Coming up from the other side was a pickup so we pulled our bikes out of the way and waited.

Dezso looks over the overlook

A company truck that ran mountain bike expeditions pulled up, waiting for his customers to pedal up this last stretch of road. We talked a little of the road below (he claimed the Ural wouldn’t make it due to width restrictions) and he offered us a club soda as we watched the bikers push up the road. My helmet is off to those guys for being able to climb mountains on bikes! I know I couldn’t do it.

a nice, steep drop

When they reached the summit, they took photos of the Ural (this happens so often that I am only now remembering to mention it), asking about how old it is (it’s a 2007) leaving me to explain a little of the history.
Since we were returning to Moab, we wanted to be ahead of the bikers and not have them worry about us coming up behind them so we thanked them for our soda, put our helmets back on, and rode back down the mountain.

Hurrah Pass and the Colorado River

Although we just focused on hiking, camping, and riding our motorcycles, there is a ton of stuff to do in Moab. You can skydive, raft, mountain climb—you name it, it’s probably available for rent or purchase. You can rent Honda and KTM dirt bikes, have custom tours of every level of difficulty, and so long as you have the money, enjoy any type of luxury.

Admittedly our dining experience was limited to Mexican food as one of our group has a penchant for cheese and hot sauce. I do recommend La Hacienda for their food, margaritas, and above all, service. Of all the places we visited, these guys were the most accommodating!

Moab has all your lodging needs from B&Bs, to mom and pop and chain hotels. If you want to camp, I recommend looking along Highway 128, but remember the further out you go, the quieter your campsite can be. All of these campgrounds are along the river, so you should just have the sound of water flowing and the pop of your campfire. There is no running water, so make sure you bring your own!


Anonymous said...

I still don't get how you guys can ride motorcycles where I would need a 4wd

RichardM said...

Great pictures of the Utah slickrock. Been through Moab many times and always enjoyed the vistas. Thank you for the ride report.