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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I posted a "Ride Report" a couple of weeks ago covering my ride from Tucson to Denver across northern AZ and southern UT but now I've done another this week:

I was just settling into a Denver routine when a buddy of mine from Reno calls and says, "Hey, wanna go for a ride? I need to get out of here." Well, that sounds like about everybody else these days but I've known Hank since 7th grade and I knew he'd only recently started coming out of a 2-year funk after cancer took his bride, so when he said it I knew he meant it in an altogether different sense. What could I do except say, "yes"?

I suggested we meet in between, and being unable to leave well enough alone I said, "I was just there but how about southern Utah?" "Great!" he says. A few days later I was re-packed (but only in a tail bag this time) and back on I-70 headed west to our meeting place, Cedar City, UT.

Four days out, the 10-day forecast looked ideal but by Wednesday, the day of departure, things had changed. A stiff wind was blowing mostly out of the west. It was whacking me hard gusting to 35 mph near Grand Junction and into Utah but as long as I was pointed mostly west it was mostly ok. All in all, it was a good ride on I-70 all the way to Richfield but storm clouds were in the western sky. Hank left Reno with temps in the 40's and it stayed that way forcing him to pull up short of his original destination (Baker, NV) to take a room and a thaw in Ely.

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Clouds gathering in the west on I-70 approaching Salina and then Richfield, UT

The next day I arrived at our meeting place; a Loves Station with a Carl's Jr. in Cedar City, where Mr. Carl Jr. had arranged for inside, social distance sitting. So I did. They had a solid wifi connection so I was able to entertain myself while I waited. We'd planned to go south to St George and cut over to Hwy 89 thru Zion but since Hank was running 2 hours late we decided to blow that off and head to 89 via Hwy 14. It's a nice canyon carver out of the gate, turning into more of a mountain road as it ascends. There was snow at the top but the roads were clear and open to Cedar Breaks so we hung a left on Hwy 148. I'd never been. The parking lot was empty but for one vehicle. We walked to the overlook. Amazing vistas. Pretty sure I spotted the Golden Gate bridge way, way out there... Recommended.



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Cedar Breaks overlook, Hwy 148

We ended the day at the Ruby Inn in Bryce. Rooms were cheap but it was a lot busier than two weeks prior. The next morning it was 28 degrees so we lingered over breakfast and coffee till things warmed up. Hwy 12 drops quickly off the Bryce plateau so conditions got comfy pretty **** fast. In Boulder, we detoured onto the Burr Trail for about 20-25 minutes before turning back to continue on 12 again. The Burr trail is an old cattle drive trail that eventually leads to Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell, in total about 70 miles of hill and dale moving south and east. It's paved for about 20, then dirt for another big bunch, then paved again. You can go to the end of the pavement and come back like we did this time or continue on hardpack gravel. I've done that too. Just know it's gonna be rough and rutty but worth it if you're up for the challenge. Perfect for a GS or KTM but I did it, dirt and all, on a K1600 so you can too.

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Burr Trail

At Torrey, we ducked east into Capitol Reefs so Hank could see it. It's a great backdrop for a K1600 photo. The look on Hank's face said it all - he was slack-jaw awed. And why wouldn't it be? Special. Bucket list. No excuses. Just do it.

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K1600 caught resting after grazing on asphalt in Capitol Reefs N.P.

After, we flipped around we went west on 24 to 25 and climbed up to Fish Lake then on to Hwy 72 where we climbed...and climbed... and climbed some more until we were surrounded by snow at near 10,000'. This is a very cool road and one less traveled. Desolate. Primitive. Three thumbs-up if I had that many.

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Looking north near the summit, Hwy 72

We spent the night in Castle Dale. Come morning, there was no breakfast to be found so we headed up the road to Lammy's Mexican Cafe in Huntington. Not bad. At the local gas station a group of 6 KTM/GS riders pulled up. They had all the gear and looked like a serious bunch of riders. After a brief chat we headed out of Huntington up Hwy 31. And up. And up. Spectacular. A must if you get anywhere near here.

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Hwy 31 out of Huntington, UT

At the top of 31, while taking a Kodak moment, a group of 4 Harley riders passed us. We were just about to pull out so we were on their asses in a hurry. I love passing Harleys. I know it's wrong. I know I shouldn't. I know I shouldn't take any pleasure in it...I should probably see somebody about it...but, but it's so **** fun!...maybe because I've had several...but we should be polite. Oh, the **** with that!! We blew by them in a jiffy and just after they disappeared in our mirrors we hit the junction of Hwy 264. We hung a right on 264/96 because I'd never done that stretch of road and Hank certainly hadn't. Terrific. Also desolate and primitive. Great fun!

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Hwy 31 Kodak Moment - Aspens in ice from the day-before rain. 26 degrees.

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Section of Hwy 264 before it turns into Hwy 96

We finally made it to Spanish Forks, found an open McDonalds (yea!), and walked in for a coffee and an Egg McMuffin. Listening to my old friend recount the last few days, and judging by the number of "wows," I'd say Hank had an awesome time and he'll be talking about this ride for some time to come. Mission accomplished.

That wasn't to be the end of the story because we had planned to do the Nebo Loop Rd in the afternoon but we decided we'd had enough cold for one day and we'd save it for another time. At that we decided to call it a "ride" and split company there. Hank went to find I-80 West back to Reno and I boogied out on Hwy 6/191 to I-70 and made Grand Junction for the night. That's tonight! Goodnight! (Last thing; I will add that if you've never done Nebo you need to get it on your shortlist -- your very short list!)

Weather looks good here in the morning but there are low 40s and rain around Vail so it looks like my cold ride is not quite over just yet.

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Update: I was right; This cold ride wasn't over yet. Left Grand Junction early this morning. A bit windy and cool. Got colder but still clear. By Eagle I could see clouds gathering above Vail Pass. Dark. Forboding. Slipped on some rain gear and pushed on. Rain turned to snow. The temperature hit 35. Warning from the Nav VI "Black ice conditions possible." I'm not near the top yet. Turned back to Vail. Waited an hour. Snow stopped. This time it was clear over Vail pass (9600 ft). Still good past Copper Mtn, but only to Dillion. Completely socked in there. Waited another hour. I'm only an hour from home here. Time to go for it. Pushed on up I-70 to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Brutal. Stupid. Heavy snow. Nowhere to turn around. Kept going. Slow. Steady on the throttle. Didn't think it possible but it was worse on the other side. "Icy Road" signs flash. Real wheel slipped sideways on an easy downshift. Cars sliding into each other. Crashing. I'm still up. What am I doing here? Windshield caked in ice and snow. Face shield looked about the same. Struggling to maintain visibility. Treacherous. Finally, road is merely wet, snow turned to rain. Forty degrees. This is easy now. Arrived home safely. Boy, that was stupid. Lucky the bike and I arrived in one piece. Now I know why we men have lower life expectancy than our women!

Shiney side up, gentlemen!
 

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Sounds like you had a good time and your friend got the "wing therapy" he needed.

BTW, none of the photo links are working for me.

Duane
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Gun: No. They're not working for me either. I asked RL to remove till I can re-do and get the photos in proper sequence.
 
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Beautiful pics and definitely a memorable ride. I’ve never had to ride in ice or snow and seeing pics of your windshield, I don’t think I could.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Everybody needs to ride southern Utah once in their life!
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Wished I had known you were in town, I would have bought you a cold one!
[/QUOTE]

Don't think I didn't think about it! Self; "Maybe Darbinco for a restaurant referral or a hotel." Actually, I had a place in mind -- one of those old school, park your bike right outside the door kind of places -- a place I've stayed before...a couple of times: The Palomino on North (or the Columbine). Even the keys are old school, analog!! Nice people, family-owned, clean, good A/C, Direct satellite TV, fast internet, and a half-block walk to Tequila's Mexican restaurant. Fits the bill. Anymore, schlepping my bags from the bike through those dorm-style Wyndam's, Comfort Inns, etc., is something I try to avoid. Next time I'll try to give you some advanced notice -- you pick the place, I'll buy the beer.
 
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