Friday, April 28, 2017

MOAB 2017: Days 5 and 6

Day 5: Gemini Bridges Road.

Starting out in mid-afternoon,  John S. aka Spat and I motored out of the Archview Campground and headed towards Gemini Bridges Road.  The rest of the group had gone out to Whitewash Sand Dunes to go play there.

The objective was to check out Gemini Bridges, a pair of arches situated right next to each other, and similar in shape and appearance, hence the name given to them.

We took Highway 313 west and turned onto Gemini Bridges Road right after Mineral Bottom Road.  The views of the La Sal mountains were spectacular that day, the road wasn't too bad and we made good time to the parking lot for the Gemini Bridges.

The La Sal Mountains

 Merrimac and Monitor 

 One of the Gemini Bridges, that's Spat on top of it

 Best angle I could get on the second Gemini bridge

Once we got back on the rigs, it was some more riding with lots of rock strewn dirt terrain and stretches of slick rock to contend with.  Still, I would come to miss this rough terrain further on.

We came to a valley of sorts, ringed by huge rock formations carved out by water millenia ago.  The road was very sandy and loose, making for some interesting riding; and yet, the worse was yet to come.

We finally cleared the valley of the stone formations and came up on the shelf road that is the final portion of eastbound Gemini Bridges Road.  The views from up top were gorgeous:

 That road way down there is US 191, heading into Moab

 Looking down on US 191 towards the North

 The shelf road sloped steadily downwards

 Looking down from the top of the shelf road
photo courtesy of Spat

 Spat took these two shots of me negotiating a particularly
steep section of dirt and rock, good times.

We both made it safely down to the valley below, taking it slow and steady as dirt bike riding fools sped past us.

We got onto US 191 and went back to the campground, thinking that it was so fortunate for us to have started the Gemini Roads from UT Hwy 313, and not from it's endpoint on US 191!

Day 6:  Canyonlands NP's Upheaval Dome, views of Shafer Trail and Riding Long Canyon Road.

Another late start ride, with only six rigs being around to join up for it.  We were headed towards Upheaval Dome within the Canyonlands NP.  A bit over 27 miles later along UT Hwy 313, we were parking in the dome's parking lot area and hiked in to take a look.

Given all the climbing involved to get to the first overlook, I found it a bit underwhelming.

 Upheaval Dome, from the first overlook.

 Interesting looking tree at the first overlook.

We skipped the second overlook and slowly hiked our way back down to the parking lot to rejoin the members of the group who had elected to just rest by the rigs.

Mr. C.O.B and his faithful sidekick: Newt
photo courtesy Spat

Once we got going, we stopped a small pulloff site to view part of the "Islands in the Sky" stone formations.

 Left to right: Chris, Spat, Joe, Debra, Dan and Yuen

Next, Spat took the lead and took us to the bigger of two Shafer Trail overlook sites.  It gave us a great view of the Shafer Trail and the valley it crosses on its way to either the White Rim Road or Potash Road depending on which turn you take.

 Shafer Trail 

photo courtesy Spat

At this point, consensus was reached by five rig riders to go to Long Canyon Road and Pucker Pass.  Joe and Debra elected to go into Moab to get some stuff done and we separated at this point.

We rode over to Dead Horse Point State Park and got onto the trail that leads to Long Canyon Road just before the fee station for the State Park.  It's not long before one is committed to a steeply sloping road which leads one to the dreaded "Narrows".

Lined up before "the Narrows"
photo courtesy Spat

See the video at the end for a good idea of what is meant by the narrows.  After the narrows came Pucker Pass, again the video will show it all.

A screen capture of the video shot by Mr COB

Once you get past these two obstacles, the rest of the way is smooth in comparison though with the occasional rough spots forcing you to slow down a bit.

 Rest break along Long Canyon Road

The video covers the riding along parts of Long Canyon, hopefully you'll get an idea of the beautiful scenery available to you once you decide to brave "the narrows" and Pucker Pass.

We made it all the way to the end of the road where it junctions with UT 279 which we took northbound towards its junction with US 191.  Half the group went into Moab and two rigs went back to the campground.

This was my last ride for this Moab gathering, I go home tomorrow, weather permitting of course.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Moab Trip, Days 3 and 4

On day three of my trip to Moab for the annual gathering of Uralisti for dirt road riding, we went as a group to Spring Canyon Bottom Road.

15 rigs (13 Urals and two GS rigs) went out and 14 came back, the 15th had to be carried out by very helpful folks on their big truck.

 Newt, Mr COB's photogenic sidecar monkey

 This year we were joined by two nice BMW GS Rigs
 Tammy and her rig

 Mr COB's Predator

 Tammy and her uniquely painted rig
 Photo courtesy of Tim L.

 Dana, proud member of the Patrol Patrol
 Photo courtesy of Tim L.

 Chris L. tootling along 
 Photo courtesy of Tim L.

  Photo courtesy of Tim L.

Me, stuck at the creek crossing  
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

 Joe had more training on re-attaching the muffler
on his rig, with John S. overwatching him.
 Photo courtesy of Tim L.

  Photo courtesy of Tim L.

Before lunch we split into two groups.  The smaller group of four rigs pressed onwards towards the end of Hey Joe Canyon while the rest of us elected to turn back as the "road" had become dicey for some of the rigs and some of the riders.

After emerging back out of the front part of Hey Joe Canyon, the main group had lunch at a nearby clearing with some trees for shade.

 Chris L. taking a lunch nap

Chris L. after his nap...  
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

Joe and Debra  
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

 Riding by majestic rock formations...

Canyon Roads

End of the ride group picture 
Photo courtesy of Tim L.

The main group of riders all made it back to the campground with no real issues.  It was while recovering that we found out that Mr COB's rig, the Predator, had experienced engine issues.  Believing he and his rig were needing recovery, Tim L., Randy F. and I hooked up my trailer to Tim's Jeep and off we went back to find Mr COB.

Turns out though, a great and friendly group of Canadians happened by Mr COB's location and dragged his rig out using one of their ATVs.  Not only did they extract him from the nasty parts of Hey Joe Canyon, they put his rig on the back of their tow vehicle and were bringing him out as we were making our way to him!

We met up on the road and ended up just following the rescue truck back to the campground:

 Yep, the ride of shame....I've experienced it myself so many times.

Beefy sized truck eh?  Unloading the rig was a 
simple matter and off they went back to their camp site.
Kudos to the Canadian Crew!

Here's a video mix of stills and motion of day 3's riding on Spring Canyon Bottom Road: (All still shots are courtesy of Tim L.)

Day 4:  Onion Creek and the washing of the rigs.

A short ride for my fourth day at the Moab gathering.  12 rigs rode together to Onion Creek Road which is a bit over 20 miles north of Moab along UT Highway 128.  This was my third time riding on Onion Creek Road I believe and on a hot day it's a great road to ride since there's several small water crossings.

Today though, wasn't very hot, but it was still a lot of fun riding this dirt road and hitting the water spots to get one's rig clean.