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Old September 17th, 2013   #101
Iamike
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Originally we had planned on heading South today so I could ride the dirt bike on Elk Mountain Road over to the Natural Bridges NP. We were enjoying Moab so much we decided to stay a 4th day.

After 2 days at Arches NP we headed back to the cabin and I was going to ride the Suzuki out to the Gemini Bridges. It has 2 access roads to it, both gravel. I decided to take the closer one off of Hwy 191. I didn't know exactly where it was but I was pretty sure my gps wouldn't let me down.

When I got to the Gemini Bridges road there was about a 1/4mi. road that went beside 191 then it climbed sharply up the ridge. It was fairly rough from the heavy rain and had several good size boulders that were big enough to bottom out my truck if I was on it. As I got higher it was fairly steep and I had an occasional rear wheel spin as the knobby fought to maintain traction. Even though it had rained earlier in the day it wasn't muddy at all.

When I made it up to the upper canyon it flattened out and was a nice ride down the gravel/sand road. There were several tracks from 4-wheelers or dune buggies. Another cycle or two and some bicycle tracks. The mountain biker in the cabin had said that he rode up here earlier in the day.

I came to a wash out that I definitely wouldn't have wanted to be in during the flow. It had washed out the fence posts and they were just hanging by the cable holding them in line.

I was several miles into the ride when I came up to another steep climb. As I was working my way up the dune buggies came down the other way. At the top I figured I was getting close to the bridges when an intersection came into view, then a little bit down the way another. I could tell I was close because I was on slickrock now and it just looked like the right terrain for a natural bridge.

All of a sudden it occurred to me that I didn't bring my spare rear tube, a pump or tools. There was plenty of water and food in my tail bag and the weather wasn't supposed to be cold but being by myself it made sense to head back.

The ride back was uneventful and at the base as I was looking over the trail map kiosk and Impala with 2 couples from Britain drove up. They were asking me about the road and I incredulously asked them if they were going to drive up there, they were. After explaining had rough the road was and it wouldn't be advisable they turned back.
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Old September 18th, 2013   #102
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

It was our last night in town. Time to go in to eat dinner again. I cooked breakfast (oatmeal) each morning at the cabin then we made sandwiches for lunch. Dinner was always another place each night. Zax got our vote this time & I had the pulled pork with a porter to wash it down.

Thursday morning we wake up to beautiful clear skies. The forecast is for rain again so I push for a ride around the LaSal Mountain Loop road. It is a 65mi. ride up near the LaSal Mountains and comes back down into Castle Valley. When we were out here 2 years ago in April the road was closed due to snow.

I decided to ride counter-clockwise so that we would come down the mountain looking over Castle Valley. Also if the pending rain came in we should be riding away from it. The ride was pretty nice as we wound up the mountain grade with lits of twisties. The road surface was pretty rough in spots with potholes and loose pavement so I had to keep the speed down. The temp was near 80degF in the valley and dropped to 57 at the top. While we were stopped to take pictures of the valley a couple Harley riders coming the other way stopped to ask if it ended up in Moab and to just chat.

When we got back to the campground it was time to load up and head out. Since there was rain we just drove down to Monticello then cut over to Colorado.
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Old September 20th, 2013   #103
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

When I was planning this trip I had said that this would be the last trip to this area since there are so many other places to visit. As we were leaving I was already thinking of coming back next April. A couple of riding buddies responded to my Facebook posts showing interest in another trip.

As we came into Colorado there was an Anaszi Natural Heritage Center at Dolores. Being something of a historian I had to stop. It was close to closing so we wondered (wandered, 'wondered' works too) through the museum quickly and then went out to walk up to the ruins. They sit way up on the crest of a knoll overlooking Lake McPhee. It was kind of ironic looking at the old adobe ruins with probably close to million dollar lake homes all around.

After that was over we dropped down to Cortez to spend the night then Mesa Verde tomorrow. Ate dinner at the Main Street Brewery in downtown trying out a couple of their special brews.
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Old September 20th, 2013   #104
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

great report, thanks
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Old September 21st, 2013   #105
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Well this is the last of the exciting stuff to report. I had visited Mesa Verde a couple of years ago when Mike & I took our West Coast trip. My wife wanted to see it since we had already driven by it several times over the years and didn't come in to visit.

Mesa Verde is quite the story because it is so remote and hard to get to, it had never been plundered by artifact hunters. The ranchers that owned the land around there had heard rumors of the cliff dwellings and then a local inhabitant showed the ranchers where it was at.

Stunned by the size and condition they invited a Swedish archeologist to visit the site. When he removed many of the historical items he was arrested but they found out there were no laws governing artifact removal. That prompted lawmakers to pass laws pertaining to that type of activity.

It is a 22mi. drive up to the park from the entry. As you drive up to the sites you realize why no one had found it, the remoteness is stunning. I would have loved to ride the ST up there again but it would take too long to pull it off the trailer and then reload it. Trailers aren't allowed in the park and have to be left in the base parking lot.
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Old September 22nd, 2013   #106
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

After a few hours at Mesa Verde it was time to head home. We didn't stop in Durango since the afternoon traffic was pretty heavy. Maybe everyone wanted to get out of town on a Friday. It's amazing how much Durango has changed in just a few years since I have been there.

I didn't want to drive back on I70 when my 12yr.-old truck with 150,000mi. struggled a bit coming out. The 6-cylinder engine had trouble keeping the speed in the heat and mountains. At least on Hwy 160 over Wolf Creek Pass is a much lower speed limit, then my 'Check Engine' light turned on again. I figured it was just the radiator fan clutch dying, so we pressed on.

As we drove east from Walsenburg we could see the sun dropping behind the mountains in our rear-view mirrors. What a beautiful sunset with all the colors but I knew we were leaving the part of the country that I enjoy the most.

We spent the last night on the road in Lamar, CO. A guy from California was pulling a '55 Chevy on a trailer and was in a room next to us. As I was unloading he was looking at the bikes on the trailer and commented "I hope they steal your bikes before my car". I laughed because it wasn't the nicest part of town but wasn't worried. To make him feel better I pulled right up behind his trailer so they couldn't roll his '55 off the back.

The rest of the trip home was pretty quiet. I didn't get to ride as much as I wanted to on this trip but sometimes that's the way it goes. We'll just have to see what comes up next year. I do have a pending ride out to Las Vegas next month. Maybe I'll call it "To Las Vegas For A Quickie".
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Old September 22nd, 2013   #107
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

You may not have spent as much time on your bikes as you wanted but you did get to spend a nice vacation with your wife. That is probably more important in the long run.

Thanks for the great pictures. Maybe one day you will get to do the ride on your own terms and you might even get to do Hwy 191 down in Eastern Arizona. I'll be looking forward to that Ride Report.
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Old September 23rd, 2013   #108
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Red,

Thanks for your concern. We came to an agreement several years ago when she was unhappy about a pending trip. I told her that she can come any time she wants. I also mentioned that she decided to change jobs and was restricted on vacation. I shouldn't have to hold back because of that. In fact I invited her on this one.

Quit reminding me about Hwy191, one of these days, one of these days. I'll give you ample warning so you can come along.
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Old January 3rd, 2014   #109
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Well, Jack's up to it again. Planning a 3,200mi. ride starting in Dodge City this spring.
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Old January 6th, 2014   #110
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

This may turn out to be an ST1300 topic after all. I gave Jack a call to find out the details and he decided to set up a mostly road ride, with some gravel/dirt thrown in. I told him that I don't mind the off pavement on the ST, as long as it isn't too rough, (I did it by accident when I missed a turn and rode 15mi. of gravel, then in Utah, we rode off-road intentionally).
The only issue is the schedule, hopefully I won't have a conflict.
More to come, stay tuned.

BTW Red, did you see Hwy 191 is on the map?
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