Thursday, December 11, 2014

Topaz and back.

The weather is still nice. Second week in December and its in the 60s....sweet!
I decided to ride out to the west desert.
I see this beauty along the way.
 I turn off of pavement at Faust, and onto the Pony Express Trail.
 Simpson Springs was a pony express stop back in the day.
 A description of the horses.
 A couple miles down the road I see this wild horse, I wonder if it is a progeny of one of Satan's imps....
I turn off the PET here and go south...sort of.
 Then at this curvy section I get sidetracked and start following a faded double track trail.

 Then I follow another even more faded double track to this dead end...this would be a nice place to camp. There is even a fire ring already.
 The clouds are threatening, and I'm burning daylight...I need to get home... But where am I? I fire up the GPS and it leads me out....whew!
(Topaz Mt area.)
 I fluff the tires back up at the power plant and beat it back home.
268 total miles, 60 of that on dirt. A nice ride, next time maybe I'll take my tent and toothbrush!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Utah's Stonehenge.

Several months ago biker buddy Adrian aka Snownut tells me about Utah's Stonehenge on top of Pahvant Butte. On my mental bucket list it goes.
So I had today off and decide to check off the Stonehenge. I follow SR 6 south to Delta.
I find the back road I'm looking for...I'll be on dirt for about 10 miles. I soon run into were so soft it was like sugar, but luckily it was only 100 yards or so.
Ten miles later I see something strange on this hill top.....
Sitting in the same place I extend the camera lens and get this shot, you can see Utah's Stonehenge on the top. 
The top of the hill is about 5500 elevation. The hill was formed by lava doing its thing underneath Lake Bonneville thousands of years ago. At its highest level Lake Bonneville was 5100 feet, so this mountain would have been 3 or 4 hundred feet out of water.
 And how did Utah's Stonehenge get here? In 1923 a man named A.H. Hood, an early advocate of renewable energy convinced some investors to finance a wind farm on Pahvant Butte, the power harvested would go to local farms. 
The project was started but never finished. 

Some say Mr. Hood was a crook.....get it? Mr Hood....crook.... anyway some say that he went to prison for fraud. Others claim he left town with the remaining funds never to be heard from again. Still others claim he was hung by an angry investor on the construction site and that he visits his wind farm on each anniversary of the his execution and just ....hangs around for the night. 
Whatever. I had fun visiting the Pahvant Butte wind farm.

 I go out the same way, but when I get on the highway I go through Oak City. 

 And I follow the moon wait, maybe the moon was following me.
285 mile day ride. It was cold, but fun to visit this place and learn some history about my state.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The "Annual" After Turkey Dinner Backpack trip

Annual is in quotation marks because I didn't go for a few years...  I've decided to try and breath some life into what once was a tradition for me and go on the annual trek again.
So, like in years past, I invite my kids. Two are willing to indulge me, Will and Theron. Theron brings two of his brothers-in-law, Cade 16, and Kelton 14.
(The map only shows our route from I-15, the total miles were around 300 each way)

We are going to hike to a natural arch in Escalante Grand Staircase. The trail head is on Utah SR 12. 
Will has a motorcycle accident about 8 years ago on this corner, so we stop to reminisce and tease him about it. He received some heavy duty bruising and was sore for a good while. But whether it was good luck or blessings from on high, a few inches either way and it could have been so much worse.
And even more luck or blessings, his bike incurred only minor damage.
 Then on to the trail head where we 'ruck-up'.
Pictures along the way. The trail crosses the Escalante River numerous times. We are not hiking the whole trail so we only have to cross 4 or 5 times...I can't remember exactly.

Along the trail the river is never higher than four feet or so, during the winter it is only up to our knees, but the water is COLD!

 The Arch. I love this place.
 You have to cross the river here to get to the arch.
 Looking up from underneath the arch.
 When we get to our campsite I hang my shoes upside down so the water can run out. But it gets cold fast when the sun goes down and the shoes, laces, and everything else in camp soon freezes. It was a cold night, but once the sun came back up all was .....well, sunny again!
It was a fun trip but I don't know if next years destination will be the same place. Maybe I'll just rent a cabin with a LARGE fireplace, and a driveway that ends two feet from the front door...  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ride, shoot, ride. II

Son Jacob, his wife Tiffany and my nephew Joshua are going south to Front Sight in Pahrump, Nevada for some firearms training.
The other three will drive down, I grab the opportunity to go for a ride and leave a day early. I stop and see Kolob Canyon, an extension of Zion National Park.

Day one
 Day two

Some pix in Kolob canyon;

 Next stop is St George, Utah where I'll spend the night. This is a picture of the St George LDS Temple.
 Next morning on my way to China Ranch, I see these two beauties on the road.

The road into China Ranch.

 China Ranch is a date farm, to which they've added some things to make it a cool destination. I don't stay long, but do I have a date shake with bananas and walnuts....delicious!
More pix of China Ranch;

Then I'm on my way to the house we've rented for the four days we'll be in the course at Front Sight.
Our temporary digs, I park Gen and she sits for the next four days;

The Koi pond in the back yard.
 The next morning we are off to Front Sight...
 ...where we have a ball shooting, loading, shooting...shooting, loading, shooting.. You get the point..
(we also did do a lot of skill building, and safety exercises)

 Joshua does extremely well for his first time through.
Tiffany pretends to pout at her score....which was better than any of the rest of us.
 After we finish day four we reward ourselves with a dinner at Mom's diner in Pahrump. The chicken fried steak was EXCELLENT!
 On the way home the next day I have biscuits N gravy with eggs at Jewels' in New Harmony..... very nice!

1100 miles and 650 rounds of fun! I really enjoyed spending time with Jacob, Tiffany and Joshua. 
I can't wait for the next course....