Username: Password:

Author Topic: Off to Moab & Back  (Read 2576 times)

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Off to Moab & Back
« on: June 12, 2014, 05:02:11 PM »
June 16, 2006

This is my trip report of a 8 day trip from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah to Salida, Colorado & back to Denver.

It all started last fall when Gunny said he was going to ride from New York to Moab to take part in the Canyonlands Motor Classic, an event held annually by Fred of Arrowhead Motorsports in Moab.

Since Gunny said he was going through Denver, I said he could stay with me & my family & then I'd ride with him a ways on his journey.

I later decided to go to Moab as well, and started gathering what I needed for the trip. This included camping & riding gear, and I also built a set of Mermite Panniers to haul all of the gear in.

So as the day of Gunny's arrival approached, I worked feverishly to finish my mermites and gather a few items I might need for the trip.

The burgers were just about finished when Gunny arrived, so we all sat down and had a nice dinner. Then down to the garage for some work on Gunny's KLR.

I had extra Lowtox coolant, so we changed that out. We also installed the T-Mod and shimmed the needle/adjusted the mixture idle screw in the carb.

Here's Gunny working on reseating the carbs slide diaphram-

We got evrything buttoned up & crashed for the evening. I could hardly sleep as I just wanted to get headed west.

We hit the road around 8 am and I decided to give Gunny a nice intro to the Rocky Mountains. We left Lakewood for Morrison, then rode to Evergreen, then over Squaw Pass to Idaho Springs, where we could join I-70 westbound.

Here's Gunny at the top of Squaw Pass-

We warmed up in Idaho Springs (it was 30-35 degrees at the top of the pass) and headed out on I-70. Our plan was to slab it to Moab & minimize our travel time. We next stopped in Eagle, Colorado for gas & a break-

Our next stop was Grand Junction to fuel up and add another member to our ride, publius900. Now this was funny about our meeting publius900. He gassed up & then rode over to where Gunny & I were waiting (in the shade of the gas station) and we noticed that he was shifting his KLR in a funny way. He then showed us how his shifter had broken off and how he had attached a spoke wrench to the remaining piece to use as a shifter.

His plan was to ride to Moab with us (shifting the the bike with his heel) and go directly to Arrowhead where he could get a new shifter from Fred. So we headed out for Moab, and took a left at the Cisco exit for a more scenic ride into Moab. After riding through the ghost town of Cisco, we rode down the canyons created by the Colorado River right into Moab. This was a spectacular initial impression that I will never forget, riding along the river with walls going strait up 1,000 feet or so.

When we got to town, publius900 headed for Fred's and we checked into the Canyonlands Campground and set up camp.

We had some good neighbors (sorry, can't remember the names)-

Here's Gunny & a very interesting gentalman with a KLR650, loaded with mods-

After getting all set we headed off to Arrowhead, where lots of folks were gathering-

During the Tech Day some doos were changed, other maintenance & mods done, and faces placed with forum names.

The Howster showed up on his beatiful Vstrom DL-1000-

Gunny installed a new chain & sprocket while Foo (MarkB) works on a electrical problem-

colomtnbiker showed up with his highly traveled & modified KLR-

colomtnbiker's wife & her KLR-

And everyone got their fill-

After dinner, Fred (Arrowhead) and Eric (Wolfman Luggage) had a drwing and handed out goodies to the folks attending. I was lucky enough to get a Wolfman fender tube bag on day one and a tool roll on day two. Thanks Eric & Fred!

Now on to some riding....

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014, 05:03:22 PM »
The Sand Flats Road Ride (or how to flip a KLR650 in 3 easy steps)

Riders were MSGT-R, Gunny, Foo, Mike (from Santa Fe NM) and myself.

We first stopped to gas up-

Then to the Moab Diner for lunch- Foo became the comedy relief for the entire event, and you can see why here-

After riding north out of town we stopped for a group shot at the beginning of the road-

From L-R-

Gunny, MSGT-R, Me, Foo, and Mike-

A couple of roadside strategy pics-

Mike & Gunny-

Me & MSGT-R-


We rode for a bit & then stopped for some water & pics-

Nice views-

Who needs the Grand Canyon with scenery like this?

Coming in for the break, Mike & Me-

Gunny & MSGT-R


Time to go-

Foo (MarkB)

We continued on and I took the lead.

I had Avon Gripsters (Slipsters) on (their last day on BTW) the KLR, aired down but they were very squirrely on the hard packed clay road/trail that was covered with lots of loose pea sized gravel & sand.

As I came to a rise I slowed and continued to slow over the rise as there was a 90 degree turn at the bottom of this hill. Going down the hill both the front & rear tires started to wash out. I tried to power out of it but this was the slickest part of the trail, with very small gravel over a very hard clay base.

I fishtailed a couple times, and when the KLR was going through 45 degrees (rear tire kicking out to the right) I knew I was going off the bike. At 90 degrees to travel it started to high-side so I stepped off downhill as it began to flip, and as MSGT-R said, started taking those "Giant Steps" we all find so funny to watch someone do. I ran into the cedar trees at the edge of the road & turned around, uninjured (physically).

When I turned around my KLR was as you see it. It fell over on the right side, slid a bit, and then flipped upside down and came to rest. MSGT-R was first on the scene-

I was a bit taken back by what I had done-

Then Mike rode up next to me & his KLR washed out beneath him too-

Take a bow Mike!

Foo (MarkB) then got the glamour shot-

We then got Mike's bike up and flipped mine over. Started right up!

Damage to my KLR-

The right mirror stem was bent, some paint was scrubbed off the fairing, the right mermite can was bent a bit and the right side of the Happy Trails rack bent. Some gas leaked out onto the bottom of my tank bag from the fuel cap as well but it quickly evaporated.

So we continued on, riding through some beautiful country-

Some more pics from the highest point in the ride-




Foo's self portrait-

Here's a nice pic of MSGT-R & I stopped somewhere on the trail-

Then we headed back to town -

Plans for the next day? New tires for my KLR at the Tech Day!

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014, 05:04:16 PM »
The Onion Creek Ride

My second ride was to Onion Creek, lead by Sgt Marty with josbeck, MSGT-R, Gunny, Don and I following. Sgt Marty promised a lot of water crossings, though none would be too deep. I had a new set of Kenda 270s on my KLR and they proved to be a good tire for Moab.

So we headed out of town-

Airing down the tires at the trail entrance-

This is what much of the trail looked like- sandy trail through a beautiful series of small canyons-

Sgt Marty blasted ahead-

We followed-







Then we stopped at the turnaround point for water & a break. Group shot-


Gunny & MSGT-R-

We headed back, more crossings-

Here MSGT-R crosses with SGT Marty laying down taking pics-

Sgt Marty-



Stopped at one of the crossings, nice part of the trail-

MSGT-R and her KLR250-


We stopped again at the entrance and aired up the tires-

Sgt Marty's KLR was in a good position for a solo pic-

A panoramic-

Then it's back to camp for showers, beer & comraderie-

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 05:05:17 PM »
The White Rim* - Gunny & I Explore

On day 3 of riding, some folks had headed out of town or were doing other rides, so Gunny & I headed out around 10 am to ride the White Rim Trail through Canyonlands. Since we got started late, we planned on only doing half of the trail & then riding back out the way we came.

We stopped for some pics at the first overlook of the Colorado River at the beginning of the trail-

I rode my bike up to the edge-

It was a long way down!

Met a family in a rented jeep here. They took our photo & I took theirs-

Later we stopped for water & a few pics-

Here's Gunny out on an arch. He's not too keen about heights, and considering that this was a 400 foot drop from the arch, I thought he did real good getting out there-

It was pretty hot, around 95 degrees...

At this stop, there was a shelf where the canyon dropped off a long ways to the canyon floor. So I sat down on the edge-

A wider view to put it in perspective-

The view was inspiring-

At the turn around point we met some folks from Colorado Sprinngs in their 4X4. They took our pic -

We headed back, but not stopping for photos at all. The ride in took 6 hours, and we made it out in 1 1/2 hours. This was my favrite part of the ride as we just rode hard & concentrated on speed & technique.

A few panaramics I took along the trail-

When we got back to town, Gunny stopped at a store while I headed for the campground office to pick up my laptop (where it was charging). Right before I went into the office I stopped at the convenience store at the park entrance, bought some local amber beer. and then ran into Sgt Marty. I handed Marty a cold one and told him about our day.

He said I needed a pic of my face covered in Moab red dirt (I had no idea), so I ablidged-

As the pic shows, I needed a cool shower and a few of the cold beers!

This was a great day on the trail. Gunny & I vowed to do the entire trail next year when we return.

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2014, 05:06:08 PM »
Moab to Salida Colorado, Visit with Hayduke & Bonnie Azbug

Gunny & I packed up our camp and headed out for Salida, Colorado. Our plan was to stay with Hayduke & Bonnie Azbug in the ADV Cottage for the night, & then Gunny was going to head back to New York from there.

On our way there, we stopped outside of Grand Junction for a fuel stop, and I spotted a nice KTM 950 Adventure pull up, complete with spare tires and ADV stickers on the panniers. I knew then that this rider must have been on a long trip, so I went over & introduced myself.

His name is Sonny, and proved to have quite an interesting story. He is from Denmark, and sold his house, business, and all of his possesions to come to the US to explore on a brand new 950. He asked where we were heading and I told hime to Salida, Co. Wow he said, I spent 2 weeks there. I then mentioned that we going to stay at the ADV Cottage with Hayduke & Bonnie Azbug, and he started laughing-

"That's where I stayed" he said. Small world!

Here are a few pics of our meeting-

Gunny & I then headed out for Salida, stopping just west of Gunnison for a break and this panoramic pic- it looked like The Shire -

We arrived in Salida around 830 pm, and after stopping for some cold beer for our hosts, finally made it to Hayduke & Bonnie Azbug's place-

Gunny relaxing in the ADV cottge doorway after a long day of riding-

The next morning Hayduke caught me coming out of the cottage with my 1st cup of coffee-

Before Gunny headed out of town, we went into town for a nice breakfast. The food was great & the comradarie fantastic-

Gunny headed out of town for New York and Hayduke, Bonnie & I headed back to the house to get ready for a day of trail riding.

Hayduke & Bonnie were hosting a ADV gathering called the "Four Mile Freakout" located just east of Buena Vista at the 4 Mile OHV area. Just so happened that they were planning a day of trail scouting, so I decided to stay & ride with them.

The first stop was "The Gravel Pit". great place to warm up and hone some loose sand skills.

Here's Hayduke on his KLR - he rides like the wind!

Working the hills-

Bonnie Azbug -

Off to one side were some whoops-


More hill shots fro Hayduke-

We left the gravel pit and stopped for a break along the trail-

There were 2 water crossings that were refreshing and fun-

Bonnie on her Yamaha XT225-

I even got the KLR a bit airbourne-

It was a beautiful day for riding, had such a great time.

The scenery was awesome-

One of the coolest pics of the trip, Hayduke & Bonnie Azbug looking out to the west-

We went back to the house, cleaned up, and went out for a great dinner in downtown Salida.

The next morning I headed out for Denver. Many thanks to Hayduke & Bonnie for their hospitality!

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 05:14:36 PM »
The Journey Home - Salida to Denver

My final day in Salida started as a sunny & breezy day, with Hayduke, Bonnie Azbug & I enjoying some good coffee as I packed up the KLR for the ride home.

I planned to go from Salida west to the Black Canyon (just northwest of Gunnison, CO), then north to Somerset. From there I planned on heading east across a pass to Crested Butte, then over another to 285, then take 285 back to Denver.

So I said my goodbyes, gassed up in Salida, and headed west.

Just west of town you begin to climb on Monarch Pass, which rises to 11,312 feet above sea level before descending down to the small town of Sargents CO.

As I climbed, the winds were really increasing, gusting up to around 50 mph. The temp also dropped dramatically, so I was cold as well as getting blown all over the road. I rode as quick as I could across the pass, and stopped in Gunnison for some lunch and a weather check.

I found out that they were expecting 80 mph winds that day, with rain & snow at the higher elevations. Well, there goes my plan to cross those dirt passes solo.

So I stopped at Sun Sports in Gunnison, a Kawasaki & KTM dealer, to see if I could find a warm pair of gloves and a bacalava. I bought both, installed the rain liners in both my jacket & pants, and headed for the north rim of the Black Canyon.

My first stop was at a the dam on the east end of the canyon. Follow the road & you'll see a yellow road grader down there that will give a sense of scale-

My next stop gave me this incredible view-

a horizontal panoramic view-

At my next stop the winds were unbelievable! I was worried that they might knock the bike over when parked, so I parked next to the restrooms and grabbed my camera for a video.

Just a quick video of what I saw & heard at this stop. Check the 2 guys out as the camera pans-

I left there and headed north. I planned to do the "easy" ride, and ride to Glenwood Springs and then take I-70 east to Denver.

I stopped near Somerset (where I had originally planned to ride east over the passes) and took this pic -

Yep, that's snow coming down! So I continued north across McLure Pass, a paved road only climbing to 8755 feet. Good thing I bought the winter gear, because I rode up & down McLure in rain, freezing rain & snow with the temp hovering at 32 degrees. Needless to say I was happy to pull over in Carbondale to enjoy a warm cup of coffee & a call to my wife.

As I looked east over the mountains (it was sunny & clear in Carbondale), it looked like the storm was raging with a black area where I was planning on going.

So I had another cup of coffee.

Then I headed off to Glenwood Springs and joined I-70 eastbound, hoping to get over the passes before it got dark.

I stopped in Eagle and ate dinner, warmed up, and then headed out again determined to get over those passes.

As I climbed I noticed very few cars going westbound, which told me it was going to get sporty ahead. Now dark, I was down to 40 mph, riding on the "dull tracks" on the wet freeway, and laying on my tankbag to avoid the freezing rain & snow. The DOT must have treated the roads as my tall windscreen soon was opaque and the wet pavement had yet to freeze.

By the time I reached the Eisenhower Tunnel I was frozen. But the end of the ride was near, promising dry road and warmer temps so I continued on. When I reached the dry I changed mindset and raced down the mountains towards the warm air, a hot shower and sleep.

When I finally arrived home I was thawed out but exhausted, and skipped the shower for immediate sleep.

So I ended my oddessy in a way I never imagined, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

What a trip!

Offline Hondo

  • *
  • Posts: 14055
  • Bike: R1200GSA, KLX450R, CT110
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2014, 05:15:51 PM »
Again, this was June, 2006


Offline josbek

  • Contributing Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 730
  • Bike: 2004 KLR 650
Re: Off to Moab & Back
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 07:07:46 PM »
Thanks for the ride thru memory lane.  It was fun.
I may go thru my stash and add a few pics myownself.
My coffee cups say 2008.  I am sure I was there in 2008 and 2009.



Copyright © 2006 - 2018
All Rights Reserved