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Thread: Southern Utah options on the way to the rally

  1. #1
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    Southern Utah options on the way to the rally

    I've long wanted to take time to explore the magnificent scenery of the southwest. I'd hoped to do so after the SLC rally, but the temps in July were just too hot for poor Tulliver. We did manage to explore Capitol Reef a bit, but it was uncomfortably hot for both of us. Now that I'm retired and don't have HR cracking the whip over me, I can take more time. I also have a younger dog better able to handle long trips; Tulliver has retired and claimed ownership of the loveseat. I've come up with two options hoping to maximize camping time while minimizing backtracking. Timeframe would be the middle two weeks of May hoping for moderate temps. (Remember that Vermonters start melting at 80F.)

    The Northern Option: Cortez CO to Monument Valley pausing a couple days to see all the colors, up the Moki Dugway, over and up to Canyonlands/Arches/Deadhorse. We'd stay there for 5 days checking out whatever caught our interest in that cluster of parks. Then up to I-70, over to 24 and down to Capitol Reef NP where we'd camp for 2-3 days exploring the area. Then on to 12 and south through Grand Staircase/Escalante to Bryce Canyon NP. We'd stay there for 4-5 days exploring the park, Grand Staircase, and Kodachrome Basin. From there we'd drop down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a few days, then to Valley of Fire SP in Nevada for two before pressing on across Death Valley to California.
    NorthOption.jpg

    The Southern Option: Cortez CO to Canyonlands/Arches/Deadhorse for five days checking out the sights. Then back down to Muley Point, down Moki Dugway, pausing at Monument Valley for a couple days to catch the morning and afternoon colors, west past Vermilion Cliffs to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where we'd camp for a few days. From there up to Bryce Canyon NP for a few days with day trips into Grand Staircase/Escalante. Then SW through Zion (would stop if we found an open campsite and the place wasn't a zoo) to Valley of Fire SP in Nevada before pressing on across Death Valley to California.
    SouthOption.jpg

    My goal is basically to relax, take photos, and do short hikes. Longer hikes and those with significant elevation changes are pretty much out as old shrapnel wounds in my left leg start protesting and making my knee swell up like a football. I've ruled out a sidetrip to Mesa Verde NP as the tours require scaling ladders. While Glenlivet is trained to climb short step ladders with wide treads, the type found at Mesa Verde would likely be more than he is comfortable with. Given the time of year it's likely that some of the best riding - like US 550 in Colorado - will still be snow or ice covered.

    For those of you who have been in this area, which route would you prefer and why? Also looking for good campsites and recommendations for short hikes that offer photo ops.
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
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  2. #2
    Lot of nice stuff to see out that way. I wasn't able to see nearly all that I wanted to as the elevation and dryness really took it out of us faster than expected. My main lessons were: hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. Rest often, enjoy the scenery. It's ok not to see everything. Take lots of photos, but the photos are mostly useful in triggering memories. The photos can't begin to capture the awe that one feels being there and experiencing things first hand.

    Some folks are more trusting than others. I was never comfortable in leaving the packed up bike out of sight for too long. Whereas others must feel more comfortable. We came upon a couple of GS bikes in a parking area in Arches Nat'l Park. The bikes were fully loaded, with BMW GPSs; helmets, jackets were on the bikes and riding boots were next to the bikes. The owners looked like they had gone for a hike.

  3. #3
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    After living and riding in UT for 33 years, Id recommend the northern route but with a modification. There is nothing to see in Green River nor on Hwy24 until you get west of Hanksville. Were I you, Id backtrack south from the Moab area and take SR95 through Fry Canyon, Hite Crossing (stop at the Hite Overlook), and past Natural Bridges and Bears Ears, both interesting spots with camping nearby. Then continue your plan west from Hanksville.

    My wife and I have traveled extensively in that area by sidecar. When we park our gear goes in the sidecar seat and we cover the sidecar and the bike with their respective covers. Weve never had a problem with anyone molesting our gear.

    Enjoy the trip,

    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST 1984 R80 G/S-PD 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C 2010 K1300GT 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  4. #4
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    I agree with the Northern route. If you're at the Valley of Fire then you might want to go through the Lake Mead area as well.
    Boxerbruce

  5. #5
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    Second week of June 2017 we encountered 105F in Moab. Just saying. The earlier the better.

  6. #6
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider View Post
    After living and riding in UT for 33 years, I’d recommend the northern route but with a modification. There is nothing to see in Green River nor on Hwy24 until you get west of Hanksville. Were I you, I’d backtrack south from the Moab area and take SR95 through Fry Canyon, Hite Crossing (stop at the Hite Overlook), and past Natural Bridges and Bears Ears, both interesting spots with camping nearby. Then continue your plan west from Hanksville.

    My wife and I have traveled extensively in that area by sidecar. When we park our gear goes in the sidecar seat and we cover the sidecar and the bike with their respective covers. We’ve never had a problem with anyone molesting our gear.

    Enjoy the trip,

    DeVern
    That was one of the original plans, but I really want to see Monument Valley and the Moki Dugway without doing a ton of backtracking. When we left Capitol Reef headed east the stretch from Hanksville to Moab was as you said. We were SO CLOSE to Arches and Island in the Sky...but the temps were 106 and it took all of Tulliver's cooling gear to keep him only mildly uncomfortable. Hoping for cooler temps this time around.

    How's this for Option C? Hit Monument Valley first, then up Moki Dugway with a stop at Muley Point before continuing over to Arches/Canyonlands. Back down to Natural Bridges then up to Capitol Reef, down Grand Staircase/Escalante to Bryce, then down to the North Rim before continuing west with a layover at Valley of Fire

    OptionC.jpg
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    Last edited by glenfiddich; 11-05-2019 at 08:48 PM.
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  7. #7
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by robsryder View Post
    Lot of nice stuff to see out that way. I wasn't able to see nearly all that I wanted to as the elevation and dryness really took it out of us faster than expected. My main lessons were: hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more. Rest often, enjoy the scenery. It's ok not to see everything. Take lots of photos, but the photos are mostly useful in triggering memories. The photos can't begin to capture the awe that one feels being there and experiencing things first hand.

    Some folks are more trusting than others. I was never comfortable in leaving the packed up bike out of sight for too long. Whereas others must feel more comfortable. We came upon a couple of GS bikes in a parking area in Arches Nat'l Park. The bikes were fully loaded, with BMW GPSs; helmets, jackets were on the bikes and riding boots were next to the bikes. The owners looked like they had gone for a hike.
    On long trips out West I find a lot of the stuff I learned in desert warfare training comes in handy for both me and the dog. Of course I have the advantage of being able to sweat, so I pay particular attention to his needs. And I hear you about the fear of theft. I've never had anything stolen, but that fear has kept me from taking hikes that looked promising. I can lock and/or chain much of my gear, but not all of it. If I have a good feeling about a campsite (or form a bond with the neighbors) I'd leave much of the camping gear and clothing there and take the sidecar to a trailhead. Hoping I run into that a few times on this trip...or find as much solitude as we found at Capitol Reef last time so we don't have to worry about someone stumbling on our rig.
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  8. #8
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    That was one of the original plans, but I really want to see Monument Valley and the Moki Dugway without doing a ton of backtracking.
    We really enjoyed the Moki Dugway when we were on it in the early 90s.
    At that time it was washboard all the way down which was not a problem for us as we were going slow.
    I don't know if the road is usually washboard but I would guess it is.
    Will washboard be a problem for the sidecar and dog?
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  9. #9
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    I've never had anything stolen, but that fear has kept me from taking hikes that looked promising. I can lock and/or chain much of my gear, but not all of it.
    We have never had a problem at National Parks when we took hikes. We run a cable through our gear and cover the bikes. The cables are easy to cut but it never happens to us.
    We spent 2 days doing different hikes in Zion. Rode into the park in the morning and used the shuttle to drop us at different trails.
    Return at end of the day and everything was still there.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  10. #10
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    @Lee - a few miles of washboard are not a problem, especially with a younger dog. Barley used to give me the hairy eyeball after ten miles or so
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  11. #11
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    That was one of the original plans, but I really want to see Monument Valley and the Moki Dugway without doing a ton of backtracking. When we left Capitol Reef headed east the stretch from Hanksville to Moab was as you said. We were SO CLOSE to Arches and Island in the Sky...but the temps were 106 and it took all of Tulliver's cooling gear to keep him only mildly uncomfortable. Hoping for cooler temps this time around.

    How's this for Option C? Hit Monument Valley first, then up Moki Dugway with a stop at Muley Point before continuing over to Arches/Canyonlands. Back down to Natural Bridges then up to Capitol Reef, down Grand Staircase/Escalante to Bryce, then down to the North Rim before continuing west with a layover at Valley of Fire
    Id ride that route any day, and have a darn good time doing it! Natural Bridges has a number of campsites and that area, near Bears Ears, is beautiful. Be sure to take the tour from the visitor center at Monument Valley, the monoliths are much more impressive from up close. Have a great ride!

    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST 1984 R80 G/S-PD 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C 2010 K1300GT 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  12. #12
    Nick Kennedy
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    Grand Wash hike in Capitol Reef NP is a fine short hike.
    Just west of there is Fish Lake up above Loa. its a high altitude paved loop. Try and ride it, you'll love it.
    Also north of Hanksville in Goblin Valley State park is a classic slot canyon hike:Wild Horse Canyon, a real classic, Easy except for one slightly tough spot, little kids and dogs do it so its not too hard, spectacular!
    Along Hwy 12 another good easy hike; Calf Creek.
    The loop hike in Natural Bridges is long; all day but very very nice, and good camping there too, nothing around there so show up with everything you need.
    I think bang for the buck hikes its hard to beat the hiking in Bryce Canyon NP. But buy a annual parks pass as these parks are expensive on the day rate
    Good camping with showers in Goblin Valley SP. With most desert hikes its best to get out and going fairly early if possible.
    Can be windy at times in May.
    But its a great time of year in the desert, not too hot.
    Very little crime out there but I would bring and use a bike cover.

  13. #13
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Thanks, nickrides! Im pouring over my maps now. Scored a weekend Airbnb in Monument Valley with fantastic views in three directions. Its coming together!
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

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