Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6th 2010
Labor day weekend is here and I'm going to ride south. I had planned to leave Friday, but Jacob, who is currently in the middle east (and at the same base with Fenton!) was trying to call us. We kept getting a bad connection, so I hung out at home until I could find out what he was wanting to tell us. That delayed me enough that I left Saturday morning. Being able to talk to Jacob was worth the delay.

On my way out of town I took a pic of the Oquirrh mountains. If you look close, or wheel click on the pic you can see the Kennecott mine (the light colored part on the mountain). If you could look down from above you would see a hole 2 1/2 miles wide and .75 miles deep. It is the worlds largest man-made excavation.
I jump on I-15 to Spanish Fork intending to go up Spanish Fork Canyon, but then change my mind and decide to ride the Nebo Loop. This is the intersection that leads to the loop. The Peteeneet museum was originally built as an elementary school in 1901, and was named after a Ute indian chief who had lived nearby until his death in 1861. The building served as the school until 1988. At that time the city wanted to destroy the structure, but a citizen group rallied to save the historic Victorian style building and turned it into the museum.

The Nebo loop... I'm not sure why is it called a loop, because it starts at Payson, and ends near Nephi. Whatever the reason it is a beautiful road, especially when the leaves are changing in the fall. As I motor along, I can see some color starting to show in the leaves, in a few weeks it will be gorgeous!
The road can turn goaty in a hurry, so I exercise caution. :)
Lots of curves to enjoy.
After Nebo, I take county road 132 to Ephraim where I get on hwy 89 which I follow until near Sigurd where I take SR 24. 24 takes me to Bicknell where I snap this photo.
After Bicknell on my way to Torrey.

The General Store in Torrey. Torrey was named after one of the colonels in Teddy Roosevelts Rough Riders regiment. Colonel Jay Torrey was a member of the Wyoming legislature......some how that connects to naming a town after him in Utah.

Slackers is a burger joint in Torrey. Not only good food, but it also has sassy and entertaining decor.
The east end of Torrey is one of the sweetest Tee intersections in Utah, no matter which direction you take it's a great road. If you continue on SR 24 you go through a section of Capital Reef National Park, if you turn onto SR 12 as I did, you go to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, created by bill clinton in 1996 with the "swoop of a pen." SR 12 is one of the premier motorcycle roads in the U.S. It should be on the bucket list of every motorcyclist.
Starting on SR 12

The Summit on Boulder Mt 9600 feet.

Once over Boulder Mountain and through the town of Boulder, the scenery turns from green trees to red and white rocks.

Looking down off 12. At this part of the road, it is very narrow, curvy, and almost no shoulders.

Got to be careful....

Near Calf Creek Falls... If you've seen scenic calenders of Utah, most likely you've seen a pic of the lower Calf Creek Falls. I've hiked to both the upper and lower, but not today.
Can you see the pedal biker in the pic? We had a brief conversation, he didn't sound to happy when I told him Boulder was 15 miles away.

It is 28 miles between the towns of Boulder to Escalante, with nothing but great scenery on this lonely road. This bridge is about the mid-point.
A few years ago I was making this same ride and reached this point just as darkness was falling when I saw a person waving me down in the middle of the road. It turned out to be an older women who was hiking with her friend. They had become seperated and she didn't have the keys to the car. She was frightened to be out here in the middle of nowhere by herself with night coming on and a 15 mile walk to the nearest town.
She asked that I call the search and rescue when I got into Escalante. Of course I told her I would, but suggested she get on the back and ride to town with me. To my surprise she literally jumped at the chance, and was climbing on almost before I (tried) to explain how to get on. "I've never been on a motorcycle before" she told me. We made the ride into town where she insisted on paying for my room (she handed her plastic to the motel clerk before I could even get my wallet out). The next day (Saturday) I had to get home to pack for a trip to Germany (leaving Sunday) or I would have helped her search for her friend. I never did find out what happened.
Continuing on to Escalante.

This is where I stayed. I almost always stay at the Moqui. The building is a little long in the tooth, but the rooms are among the cleanest I've ever seen, the showers are hot, and George the proprietor is very motorcycle friendly. It doesn't hurt that the price is right also!
I go for a walk to the grocery store, and see this neat place. Lots of cool designs for sale.
This abandoned house is on Main street.

Sunflowers hiding the sun.

I didn't eat there this time, but Cowboy Blues is worth stopping at.
Still on my walk.

The edge of town.
Lots of old tractors around.
Next day, it's time to head home. I decided to do SR 12 to Torrey again.... :)

On top of Boulder mountain.
Almost to Torrey I see a road I've not ridden. It goes to Teasdale, and is a good "bikers shortcut!"

The Teasdale LDS cultural hall. Built in 1918

After passing through Teasdale the road intersects with SR 24 I follow 24 to Loa and take a right on to SR 72 intending on going to I-70 to Salina.

The town of Fremont, most of the houses are pretty nice, but this old building was a good photo op.
Not long after Fremont, I see another road I haven't been on, hmmmm...... So I go left on it, and it turns out to be SR 25 which I've been on before, but not from this direction. It goes to Fish Lake and back to SR 24
This display talks about the "Old Spanish Trail" that went through this area.

From 25 I get on 24, after 24 I end up on SR 28 and ride through Levan. Levan is near the middle of the state, say it backwards....
Once the horse is pointed towards the barn it just wants to GO. I get back in the SLC valley, and was going to take another pic of the Kennecott mine, but it didn't look any different so I just used the same pic.
About 600 miles of super roads. SR 12 is the road we will ride during the Hoover's burger run Sept 24 - 26


willujfan said...

You're right, SR 12 is an excellent bikers road, but you do need to be careful, I've learned that first hand. :)

Fenton said...

Boulder Mountain looks a lot different when it's not covered in snow and ice...
Looks like a good time, great pics.

rideonXX said...

Another great report----THANKS!!

A BIG +1 for SR12--that whole are really. The ride around Fish Lake is very scenic as well for those who haven't done it.

Happy trails, kel