Moab 2018 Report

Where have you been riding? Tell us all about your trip. Prove it with pictures! If ya didn't take pictures, it didn't happen...
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canoewest
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Moab 2018 Report

Post by canoewest » Tue May 01, 2018 2:43 am

Hi All,

Sorry for the delay with posting photos but the upload service in Moab sucked so I decided to wait until I got back home to start posting. This will be kinda long so I'll add a part two just as soon as I can.

I started the Moab trip a couple days early this year by meeting up with Dom (co_g30) near Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. Dom had been out there for several days when I finally arrived on Saturday afternoon. I had two things I wanted to accomplish in that area. Ride the Cathedral Valley Loop road and take some Milky Way photos in Goblin Valley (no not pictures of the candy bar). After setting up camp and making dinner, Dom and I had enough time for a quick ride in Temple w@$# to try and get sunset photos. But the sunset was kinda blah so I ended focusing in on Temple Mountain.

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In order to get some good Milky Way photos I had to set my alarm for 2:30am so I could suit up and make the ride into Goblin Valley, and I was rewarded with perfectly clear skies.

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I made it back to camp about 5:00 am and managed to get about an hours rest before sunrise. We had decided to head out about 7:00 in our attempt to ride the Cathedral Valley Loop. We knew it would be a long day and the clock would be ticking on our way back. We ate breakfast and enjoyed the sunrise bathing the rocks to our west. Below is a shot from our campground looking at the San Rafeal Swell.

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I was moving slower than planned so we did not head out until about 7:30, but, whatever. We needed to drive south on highway 24 for about 50 miles to get to the Cathedral Valley Loop and we had to ford the Fremont River in order to make this loop road happen. Needless to say, I was nervous that the river would be too high. The Park service office said it was last measured at 14" deep which I figured was possible on the Ural if we kept the right speed. When we arrived at the river ford, we fought with the vegetation as we tried to walk along the shore to assess the situation. The river bottom was clearly visible near our shoreline but we could tell it was deeper further out. I told Dom I was just going to give it a go (slowly) and see if I could make it.

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Looking back up and across the river as Dom starts his fording attempt

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Based on our photos I think it was shallower than 14 inches, more like 10-12" and was pretty uneventful, which was the outcome I preferred. Once across we continued onwards knowing we had 57 miles to go to complete the loop and then another 45 or so back to camp.

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Bentonite Hills

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View overlooking Lower Cathedral Valley

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Abandon Truck

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Temple of the Sun

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Temple of the Moon

We made good time on the loop even with stops for photos, food, and water. The loop road has a good combination of smooth roads, rocky areas, sand, and a of course washboards. The upper portion of the loop is rockier as you climb out of the w@$# and pretty much stays that way until you head down into the lower valley. The one campground out there, which is the only place to camp in this part of Capitol Reef National Park was completely empty. There are a few places where the road leaves the park and crosses BLM land and Both Dom and I have camped out here before. We made it back to our camp at Temple w@$# about 3:30 and started packing gear so we could head to Moab. Dom was boondocking and needed to find a place with cell service while I was headed straight to our regular accommodations at Archview. When I arrived I could see a few folks had already arrived. I searched out a few other riders, made some introductions and enjoyed the warm weather...did I mention I had to drive through snow from the front range of Colorado towing the Ural on its trailer? During the evening conversations, several riders had asked if there was going to be a ride in the morning since Dana (DirtyDR) was not going to arrive until later in the week. I told them I could likely put together a ride.

Monday morning came and after a quick breakfast I headed over to the normal meeting place. Folks were already gathering, making introductions and learning about each others rigs. I suggested we ride Gemini Bridges then down the Shafer switchbacks and back to Moab via Potash Road. Seeing no objections we made it official and headed out. A few riders had ridden these roads before, but I felt it was a good introduction for riders new to the area and would get people back to camp within a decent timeframe.

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We had six rigs on Monday - Myself, Russ and Catherine, Cris and Kimmie, Dave, Rich, and John (I hope I'm not forgetting anyone). Turns out this is a great number as it is easier to keep track of all the riders. Below are several photos from Monday's ride. A great ride overall with a couple challenging spots on Gemini Bridges and Potash Road. Oh, and Rich's rear brake was not working on the decent down the Shafer switchbacks due to some final drive fluid leaking out and likely getting into the hub. He took it real slow down those switchbacks.

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Looking over the edge at the top of the Shafer switchbacks

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Dave wondering where everybody is

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Dave, Catherine, Russ, Kimmie, and Cris at our stop with a view of the LaSal mountains

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Kimmie photographs the photographer

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A rare photo of the Ural-triple-bypass

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John strikes a pose

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Rich searched for patches of slickrock on the way down so he could brake and slow down

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The last few switchbacks near the bottom of Shafer which continues its steep grade even after the switchbacks

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Cris is determined to pick the right line

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Rich likes the throttle

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Rich with the chair in the air not twenty feet later - did I mention he likes the throttle

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Cris and Kimmie wondering why their chips are all broken

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Rich, smiling because he knew better than to bring chips

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Dave looking pretty satisfied

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Russ and Catherine on the slickrock

There were some tricky spots on Potash Road that required a bit of work as people were getting used to picking lines through the desert rocks and ledges. Having been on that road many times I believe there are more challenging spots now than I remember several years ago. Everyone split up as we neared Moab with some heading to town for food or errands and a couple of us heading straight back to camp. More riders had arrived at camp during the day and we caught up over beer and whiskey until late into the evening. Once again the big question was raised. Where will we ride on Tuesday? I told folks I would come up with another ride, I just needed to do a little map checking. Years ago Dana had led a ride he called Tusher w@$# about the first time I came out here and I remember it as one of my favorites. But, I had only ridden it that once. I had a general idea where we needed to go but when you are not leading a ride it can be hard to remember the route, especially with all the crisscrossing trails that happen in some areas and this was one of them. I pulled out my maps, made some waypoints in my GPS and relied on Dom to help remember some of this ride. Unfortunately, he would need to pause for a meeting where he could find cell service sometime in the middle of the ride and I would not have him for backup. Tuesday morning we gathered again, told stories, made up stuff, and decided that we would give Tusher w@$# a go. I must say everyone was super supportive and understanding with the fact that I could be leading us around in circles at some point during the ride if my assumptions about the route when looking at the map were off.

Turns out I was pretty much spot on...although I did try to take everyone up Seven Mile RIm. I made a left a bit early and I heard Dom's voice of warning in my earpiece mentioning something about me being crazy. We circled around and headed for a better route up.

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John testing his front shock

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Catherine getting ready to brace for impact

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Catherine letting everyone know she is alright

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Dave leans in for the next challenge

We had two more Urals on Tuesday's ride with Ed (Mundo Bravo) and Dom joining us and Cris switched out Kimmie with Jessie. Dom and I had paired our Sema headsets for our Cathedral Valley ride and having communication with the sweep rider is a huge plus. He was able to update me if anyone had to pull over for whatever reason and this helped keep the group together.

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The first part of the trail is a long climb up slickrock. The surface is full of ledges, cracks, crevices, is quite often off camber and extremely rough. We picked and weaved our way up several hundred feet to the mesa top where we had a view of Monitor and Merrimack Buttes in the distance. We were headed towards them and would be moving from slickrock to a smoother and often sandy trail. Dom stayed back at this point to have his meeting and we continued on towards the buttes in the distance.

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The line of Urals making it through the sand hills and dips

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Dave finds the really soft stuff

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Cris using two wheel drive to power through

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Russ and Catherine cruising through the soft sand

As we neared Monitor and Merrimack Buttes we made a cut north and passed by determination towers. We were aiming for a gap between two mesas where we could stop, eat, and wait for Dom to catch up. It was at this point that I remembered that I should have told Dom NOT to go on the road to Wipe Out Hill at the last intersection. Turns out he did go that way and after seeing Wipe Out Hill, decided that we definitely did not take that route.

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Lots of banked sand corners

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The Ural Lineup

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Determination Towers in the distance

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Cris shows a little rooster tail

After Dom rejoined, we mounted up and headed down to Tusher w@$#. We navigated more sand and a bit of slickrock and eventually made it into the w@$#. It starts our quite narrow and there was a bit of a traffic jamb with some folks heading up the w@$# from the other direction. The w@$# widens as it continues and the sand gets deeper. Eventually we were in a wide w@$# with several paths to follow. The best strategy in the sand is to keep moving. two wheel drive helps a lot and is indispensable if you have a monkey in the hack.

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Ed leads the way into Tusher w@$#

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And everybody else follows along

I didn't stop for photos in the wider area of the w@$# as I heeded my own advice, which was keep moving. Once we made it out and on to the the improved dirt road we ended up splitting up. Some riders headed to camp and others to town. Rich, Dave, and Ed wanted to ride a bit more so I gave them some directions to get into the backside of Arches National Park via Salt Valley Road. This is mostly an improved dirt road that pretty much parallels the main paved road in Arches until it joins up with it near Balanced Rock. Although they had to deal with some washboards the road smoothed out and they were ready for the pavement in Arches.

I'll need to continue this write up with a part two - running out of steam tonight! Stayed tuned and find out what happens to Ed's Ural!
Last edited by canoewest on Fri May 04, 2018 9:49 am, edited 7 times in total.
Tim
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Albuquralque
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Albuquralque » Tue May 01, 2018 7:28 am

Great report and pics!


:thumbsup:
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by co_g30 » Tue May 01, 2018 11:15 am

Kudos on the ride report so far! Outstanding action pics and scenic pics too!
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by avion » Tue May 01, 2018 11:40 am

Thanks for the report. You shoot incredible pictures. Cris

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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Tpex » Tue May 01, 2018 12:37 pm

:clap: What a great ride report and wonderful pictures! :bow: Looks like the trip west was well worth it for Rich & Dave :cheers:

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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Mothra35 » Tue May 01, 2018 1:04 pm

Very awesome write up! Pics were great!

Thanks!
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Niteblues » Tue May 01, 2018 1:20 pm

Albuquralque wrote:Great report and pics!


:thumbsup:
+1
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by mr. cob » Tue May 01, 2018 2:11 pm

Howdy Tim,

This, is what I was hoping for a ride report that would make me feel bad about not making this years event, in this you have succeeded. Please Sir when you have time continue with this report. THANKS.

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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Spat » Tue May 01, 2018 11:27 pm

+1 on Mr Cob's comment, serves us right.
San Rafeal Swell, Cathedral and Goblin Valleys have been on my to do list for more than few years now so I was tracking Dom and your night sky pictures are awesome
Thanks for the write up
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by tgtrotter » Tue May 01, 2018 11:37 pm

Tim,
Your report is perfecto-mundo. What an awesome adventure, fantastic write-up and incredible pics.

Feels as though I was there. Can't wait for part 2.
Tim
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by BigJames » Wed May 02, 2018 3:02 pm

Wow.
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by stagewex » Wed May 02, 2018 4:04 pm

Great pix, especially those nighttime ones in Goblin Valley. Yes, you (and we) were rewarded for your nighttime efforts. Just beautiful.
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Lokiboy » Wed May 02, 2018 4:50 pm

Incredible pictures and a nice detailed report. I would really love to do that ride with you. My two favorite shots are the one of the Milkyway (don’t get to see it back east) and the amazing shot from above, looking down on the three Urals at different levels of the switch backs. Again, great job.
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by Manscout » Wed May 02, 2018 5:24 pm

I don't know what you guys are seeing. Those pics and report are horrible. No one who wasn't there should have to see them. It just shows what we all missed out on! :lol: :wink:
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Re: Moab 2018 Report

Post by polock63 » Wed May 02, 2018 7:20 pm

Loved it great job ...can’t wait for part 2....


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