June 25 & 26, 2022
Got away to finally get an overnight with the “new” bike which is anything but since it is a 2013 and I’ve had it almost a year at this point. But what can I say things just haven’t aligned until now.
Carly went to Wild Iris with Rachael for the weekend so I had an opening for a moto ADV trip. Schedules didn’t align with anyone to join so I planned a solo trip. I picked the northern section of the UT BDR from Evanston, WY to Idaho. Initially I was planning to head to Evanston via backroads similar to old trip with Andreas about a year ago, but Andreas said the section from Evanston to Monte Cristo was boring. I switched the target to head from Salt Lake to Huntsville and pick up the Monte Cristo section from there. In all the weekend was about 360 miles—here’s a map.
Aside from being a little on the hot side due to little shade, the section of road from Salt Lake to Huntsville is a fantastic piece of road. Twisty, elevation gain/loss, scenic, and good pavement. I rolled into Huntsville and decided to gas up since I’m still trying to get a feel for the range on the Sertao. I had a mishap, luckily in town, with it running out of gas. This happened because the fuel light sensor wire was broken so the light never went on, hence running out of gas. I’ve still got a bit of hesitancy to push it since I’m not positive of the range so I wanted to be topped off before heading from Huntsville to Garden City, which was about 90 miles off road.
The northern section of the UT BDR winds through high alpine forests and meadows for the most part—perfect for a hotter weekend down in the lower elevations. That isn’t to say it wasn’t hot, it was and I was happy to have full mesh pants and jacket.
I hit the dirt off of Rt. 39 and started pretty conservatively. I was solo which didn’t leave anyone to help me pick up my bike or pick me out of the woods if I was going to fast. Even when I do have a partner I’m still a pretty conservative off-road rider since I don’t have a ton of experience/confidence. Nevertheless I was able to enjoy myself winding through the hills, plateaus, and drainages.
One issue that seems to be happening in the off-highway roads of UT are that there are so many Razrs/side-by-sides, users out there now. While it isn’t so much the traffic due to these users, it seems as though that type of vehicle is heavy enough, has aggressive tires, and most important has lots of power, that many sections of road can be torn up by those users as they gas it through hills and switchbacks. The result is roads with lots of ruts and loose rocks, both of which are unpleasant for bikes.
In fall 2021 I tried to head out to Peter Sinks with my parents in a rental SUV when we visits Bear Lake. Unfortunately the rental wasn’t up to the task with 4 adults in it and we had to turn around short of the goal. I figured on 2 wheels I might have a better chance. Andreas warned me that the road was gnarly. He was right. I only got about a mile down the spur road before I got to a mud bog I wasn’t willing to try on my own. Ah well I’ll get out there at some point.
Luckily I had some familiarity with the Bear Lake area from my trip with my parents. After hooking up with the main highway I headed down into Garden City in search of an ice cream. It was only 4:00pm so I had some time to kill before finding a campsite. I decided I’d do a circumnavigation of Bear Lake—a 50 mile trip. I’d seen some of the northern end of the lake before, but none of the eastern shore which is less developed. While the whole area is considerably more busy on a nice June day than it was on a cold September weekend, it still wasn’t terrible in comparison to other tourist zones I’ve been to.
Circling back around to Garden City, I decided on stopping for pizza rather than my backpacking meal I’d packed. This was great, would have been even better with a beer, but Bear Lake is mormonville central and finding beer can be a little tricky, water would have to suffice.
After dinner I headed back up into the mountains for the night. I’d picked out a spot to camp but once there I decided against it since it was kind of a rough road to get into it. I opted to go down by the highway where there was lots of space, but a bunch of other trailer campers. It wasn’t the best spot, but it saved me from riding around searching for a site as it got dark. In retrospect I should have done a little more research on this as there were some other areas I could have camped not very far away.
Sunday I had breakfast and packed up. Which I will say takes so much longer than when camping in the van. Tent needs to packed up as well as all the other things. By design, there’s limited space for everything so it all needs to tetris together on the bike. After packing I went to Tony Grove trailhead.
Since Carly and I are doing a Cirque Series trail race like last year we’re doing some training for it. That and we have another long trail run objective in August which is much longer than the race. Taking a whole weekend off of running wouldn’t be good for those objectives so I planned a route near Naomi Peak.
The route was very nice with an alpine feel since there were many snow crossings and trees were sparse. This section of the Wasatch is limestone and the trail is rocky in many spots. The views were great though.
Getting back to the bike I packed up (yup took about 30 minutes to have some food and pack) and then headed down Logan Canyon. Andreas suggested heading back through Right Fork of Logan Canyon and then to Blacksmith Canyon and then down Ant Flat Rd. This was a fantastic way to come back versus just hitting pavement the entire way. Some of the dirt roads were a bit loose and rocky in spots but not too bad over all. I’m getting a little better at feeling comfortable on loose gravel.
After many miles on the dirt I was happy to pick up Rt. 39 and head back into Huntsville. While the dirt is great, it can be tiring mentally and physically. The pavement is more predictable and obviously faster. Once in Huntsville I retraced my path back to the house. The second from Huntsville through to Emigration Canyon was fantastic. The road was mostly clear, the sun was lower and great riding.
After this trip I have a few tweaks I’d like to get for the bike. I’m pretty psyched on my luggage set up right now. I got one additional top bag for Christmas and I think my setup is pretty good. Any more and it would probably be more weight and bulk than I want to deal with. Now it just comes down to some bike tweaks!