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Author Topic: Bonneville 2013 (Part 1)  (Read 1886 times)

Offline trialsguy

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Bonneville 2013 (Part 1)
« on: June 29, 2014, 09:53:22 PM »
Well, I took my KLR to Bonneville. Rode it up there, camping, ran it on the salt, rode it back home.

1940 miles. Here's a photo running down the salt...

Ok, it's Photoshopped. But it was fun thinking about it.

Left home between Albaturkey and San Taffy, rode down the Hagan Basin, a nice dirt-road cutoff. Goes

past some cool rocks, some ruins of what was once a thriving town, now in the middle of nowhere,

through a trench, and it ends up here, an Indian casino on I-25.

This is something you'll run into, at least in NM. "No Trespassing" signs on both sides of the road,

looks like it's private, right? Nope. Public road. The first time I saw this, I turned around. Until I

learned better.

Blow past the signs, you'l see the real story. It pays to know your rights. No pets?

Down the slab a couple miles, then on the back road (the original highway from the 30's) to

Bernalillo. Man, I thought *I* was loaded down!

On past San Ysidro where our (BLM) trials area is, and past Cabezon Peak. This is the official "you're

leaving" or "welcome home" point.

On upwards to Farmington, rain showers and rainbows, but I didn't hit much rain at all. It'd look like

a big dump straight ahead, then the road would curve..... that was fine with me.

The goal that night was Angel Peak, a free BLM campground about 10 miles south of Bloomfield, and 5

miles down a good gravel road. Very nice place to stop. It's on the edge of some 'badlands' above the

San Juan River.

Angel Peak

Camp. Pretty windy, but an extra tarp took care of that. The only downside of the place is all the oil

and gas activity. Pretty noisy, pumps, compressors, etc. Not many people.

Onward past Shiprock, here's the mandatory Shiprock Photo.

I'd taken lots of backroad maps, was all prepared to be adventurous and figure out how to make my way

up to Utah. Didn't need to, as there were road signs pointing the way....

The Moki Dugway is a really interesting road, switchbacks right up the cliffs. It was built to haul

uranium ore down to a mill in Mexican Hat, I think in the 50's. It's on highway 261, north of Mexican

Hat. At the bottom is Valley of the Gods, a 17-mile (?) loop through some fantastic rock pinnacles and


Up top is Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch, which flows south into the San Juan. The Gulch contains lots of

ancient ruins. My destination was down highway 276, on the west side of the Gulch. The road from Moki

goes on the east side, so it was about a 50-mile 'U', north, west, then south to get on the other

side. Here's the other side, close to camp.

Camp at an undisclosed location that we go to a time or two a year, camping and riding. About a mile

and 3/4 off the highway, pretty remote. I about did something stupid. Ok, I DID do something stupid.

Took the bike a bit too far down to the best fire/camping place, down a ledge and through a slot. The

next morning, on the way out, I had to thrash around a bit and got my foot caught for an instant under

the pannier. Hurt bad, but was ok. If I'da busted something, it would have been very bad news.

Oh, that red thing taped to the bike's crash bar is a fuel bottle... empty! Didn't need it. But I can

imagine a road-crash, sparks flying, and a full fuel bottle being ground down.... I'm crazy, and a

little stupid, but not THAT stupid.

Onward down 276 to Lake Powell. There's a ferry that goes from Halls Crossing to Bullfrog. I wanted to

take it a couple years ago, but the Glen Canyon Recreation Area entry (self-service) was $15, and the

ferry was $15, and that'll buy a lot of gas, so I said "screw it" and turned around. This time, I was

going to bite the bullet and take it. Paid at the self-service place, went into the store, and had a

nice talk with the guy there. A very well-spoken guy from Kentucky with dreads. He told me the

unwritten rule was that if you were just passing through, you didn't need to pay. Oh. This was

confirmed on the way back, where there was a Nice Ranger in the booth.... yup, that's the way it is.


It runs on the hour, going either way, so from one side it leaves every 2 hours.

The ferry ride was worth $15. (A couple trucks showed up, my bike wasn't the only vehicle.)

On the other side, you can take the highway way around to Hanksville, or the Burr Trail straight up to

Boulder. The Burr Trail is why I took the ferry.

More cool rocks. I like cool rocks.

Along the way are the Switchbacks. I always thought the Moki Dugway was great... this is much better!

The road goes up a slot, then up the end of the canyon. The photos don't do it justice.

From the bottom...

...and the top.

Further up the road, looking back eastward, the Henry Mountains (left) and Little Rockies (right) in

the background.

The now-paved road goes over the mesa in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, then drops into

this big crack in the ground.

Onward through Boulder, towards Escalante. This is where the good folks in Utah should have run me

right outa the state. I saw this forest fire starting. Not my fault, right?

That night I'd planned on staying at another Secret Spot west of Escalante, 7 miles up North Creek on

Forest Road 149. Here's a photo from a previous trip. Nice cottonwoods, old stone fireplace, I wish I

knew the history of the place. Just over the bank was a nice little creek, and grassy meadows.

Here's what I found now...

Some &*&*%&$@ with a backhoe had really vandalized the place, broke down the old stone fireplace....

being on Forest land, right below a reservior (of sorts), I'd bet it was some public servant or

rancher permittee that wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

So it was onward, I was too pissed off to stay anywhere near there. As it turned out, there were

precious few places to camp along road 152. You could bushwhack here and there, but I didn't want to

do that. Finally I came to a nice spot. Pleasant, and lots of bats all evening long, flitting back and

forth working the clearing for grub.

Next morning, it was Forest Roads 152 and 154 on up to Loa.

High altitude lake/meadows. Pretty cool (temperature-wise) with threatening rain.

Posey Lake...uh...taking a break. Quite scenic, lots of ducks dabbling about in the shallows.

Bearproof bins for camper's food and garbage all through the campground.

One of my favorite parts of the whole trip. A long high plain, between the higher mountains and Loa.

That little white blotch at the bottom of the mountain is the town.

When I got down almost into town, I saw this. Wow! I rode with that club when I got out of the Army in

'72. Short story... stopped, tried to strike up a conversation, didn't feel very welcome. Left.

Onward on the pavement to Levan. Stopped here on a previous trip at a little hole-in-the-wall jerky

place. Got a little package of a few little shrink-wrapped peppered beef pieces, not cheap. Well, that

was real 100% gourmet top-notch jerky. I savored every minute of it, and wept a little tear when it

was gone. Here's their sign out on the road.

Up the main valley that has Salt Lake City, Provo, and a whole bunch of other towns. Most of the

population of Utah. This is Mt. Nebo above Mona. I remember it well, as when I got out of the Army I

drove a produce truck around that area. Utah is great for big mountains looming over homey towns.

Going west out of the valley, back road to Goshen, nice narrow road, more cool rocks... did I tell you

I like cool rocks?

Then west to Eureka. Eureka is an old mining town.

In about '72, they put on the Eureka Grand Prix, a desert race that ran through the middle of town. I

was stoked, but got there in shorts and sandals, and realized I forgot my leathers and boots. Argh!

But my riding buddy changed, and I had his long pants and work boots. Great! Starting line, flag

drops, inta gear, BRRRRP!, shift into second... no second.... broke a shifter part. I wasn't meant to

ride that race. Dunno...Guardian Angel on duty?

Anyway, it's a nice place and I wish the timing was right that I coulda stopped at this cafe, a

courtyard that used to be a building.

Past Eureka, heading toward Dugway, UT, where I was in the Army. Straight arrow road heading northish

towards the old Pony Express trail that crosses the hills straight ahead.

Across the pass. Remember this, we'll be here again.

Down the other side... wanna ride a pony across this in 1860?

So on to Dugway Proving Grounds, where I was an MP in 71-72. Sure is different nowdays. The entry is

ten times bigger than before, with gates and inspection stations, and a lot of other stuff but I

didn't dare get close enough to find out what it was. I did take a picture of this sign, which wasn't

authorized by the Commander. Hey, I figure I'm grandfathered in, ok? I protected the place from the


(Aside: When I was there, if the MP on duty was your racing buddy.... the entrance was just a small

concrete-block building with a lighted portal/carport on either side. Since the road was straight-

arrow, the fun thing to do was turn your lights off a half-mile out - motorcycle, of course- and go

straight and hit the portal at about 70. Just head towards the light like a moth. Fun? Yes. Stupid?

You decide....)

Heading north up Skull Valley, there was a little teeny cloud, not a real thunderstorm, but pretty

scenic. I took a photo.

Destination was White Rocks, a really neat place. A couple of big white domes on the edge of the


Then the little cloud let loose some lightning, and shortly afterward I saw this....

Climbing up higher on the rock, I saw there were two fires, the other is that little smoke way over on

the right. That's #2 and #3.

Nothing I could do about it. Having put in 10 season's Forest Service firefighting, I was chomping at

the bit, but knew even if I could have gotten there, there was nothing I could do.

Camp from above (under that tree).

Camp from below. No campfire tonight.

Virga, Mother Nature's tease. Rain, but it never reaches the parched ground below, as it evaporates


On to Bonneville. I've made a number of trips up there (on a Concours) as I do some tech work on, the absolutest bestest source of all information for people that like to go fast on


Anyway, I met Bob (seated). He'd been on the road for 6 weeks on that Beemer in the background (I'm


Here's me, sporting a FastBeck's t-shirt, our friendly local dealer located at the bottom of the

Sandia Crest road, 140,000 curves in 3 miles, or something like that. It says just how many curves on

the back of the shirt, but I can't see that.

So, Jon and Nancy Wennerberg own, and each year put on a gathering called "Salt Talks",

with dogs, burgers, beans, and socialization. Here's the Bean Master and his young helper.

Here's Jon selling raffle tickets. The prize was a quilt (handmade by Nancy) with patches made from

all those old t-shirts that mean a whole lot to you. (In my case, they're too precious and rotten to

wear.) Great idea. The red hats are 2-club hats, meaning you've set a record over 200 mph. First time

I went there, I took my red Gas Gas hat.... felt like an imposter.

Salt. This stuff is sticky, nasty, and more corrosive than you can believe. I did a car-wash on my

bike after leaving (my bike went into shock, being washed) and did another purge when I got back home.

Here's camp, on the mud flats which still have a considerable salt content.

Here are some photos of the weird stuff that shows up at Bonneville.

Not your typical quicky-mart.

A Cushman and a Harley got together one night...

Dunno what this is, but it's interesting. Bizarre pit bike.

My buddy's Kawasaki. Both Jon and Nancy have been over 200. Makes my blood run cold.

Working on the bike.

Next pit over was a homegrown sidecar, a very environmentally-conscious bunch of folks. They recycle.

A couple more weird things. The latter actually used the propeller for locomotion.

I want this truck!!!!!

But this one would do. Landspeed racing has folks that range from the zillion-dollar rich-folks to

folks that scrape and scrounge and barely get there and run. Full spectrum... and people going for a

400 mph+ record, and folks trying to break a 50cc record at 55 mph, all in it together. A very nice


Hey, I found a KLR there! But the owners weren't around. If this is your bike, speak up! Also saw a

KLR at the Salt Talks, in the back of a truck, talked to the young owner but didn't get his name.

Cockpit of a streamliner. You can get right up close and see it all.

These folks shipped some pristine BSA's from England. 125cc. The bettered the old record by going 74

but blew the motor up in the process. They were busily rebuilding. Maybe tomorrow.

Ain't it the pits? City on the salt.

There are all kinds of vehicles there....

An intersting streamliner. What's the ground clearance on your KLR?

This one is the "Milwaukee Midget". On the web site, it has over 220 pages of posts in the forum,

following its progress. Yup, these folks are addicted.

This says it all.

Offline Spanky

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Re: Bonneville 2013 (Part 1)
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2014, 09:31:21 AM »
Very cool....need to get back there!
Zat choo, Buckwheat...?

Offline Hondo

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Re: Bonneville 2013 (Part 1)
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2014, 11:05:21 PM »
I took this today as I drove through in my RV (I was on top of it for the selfie) -


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