2013 Spring Utah Adventure Ride Report-MOAB
On March 24 we headed for Moab. We got there just when the big annual Jeep Event was in full swing. Moab normally has about 5100 people whose primary industry is tourism. The town absorbed 2000 Jeeps and the multitude that accompanied them.
We camped out off the Willow Springs Road about 10 miles north of town. Right next to the road was the Start of the Sovereign ATV trail.
We found out that a major portion of this trail was sand washes. We also found that we did not like them. This learning did not take very long; we cut across to some actual trails and had a much more fun time. These trails were part hard sand stone(slick rock) and part rocky tracks. Very soon we found a massive piece of slick rock about 3 ½ miles by ½ mile.
I had read that the traction on slick rock was amazing. I think that it was far better than I even imagined. It was like gravity was turned off. I swear that sometimes I was actually attached to the terrain by the side wall of my tires and never once slipped. This section of riding had massive east/west running fins of slick rock with small crevices in between each. Sometimes it was difficult to find the connectivity from one fin to another. We just kept playing until we were tried. When we finally got back to camp, I was due for a nap before cooking dinner.
Day 2 of riding we went across the highway to the 7 Mile Rim Trail. We started out on an old mining road and once on top of the Mesa found roads and ATV trails going every direction. We roughly followed the Mesa Rim and were able to spot our camp from about 2 ½ miles away and 500 feet of elevation gain.
Every direction had scenes that were just like the travel brochures.
We also found that some of the trails were nothing more than long sand washes. So alternate routes were scouted out. We found a route that took us to the Monitor and Merrimac rocks that rose far above the top of the Mesa. These massive edifices are solid sandstone that have resisted the forces of erosion.
We headed around them and came to a slick rock slope that was at such a pitch that it gave me pause. It was about sloped 65 degrees across out path and we had to go sideways across it. Finally after a bit of swallowing hard and building up courage (or did I just lose my mind) I headed out across the slope. I never slipped a tire and if I had gone done, could not have stopped the slide until I hit the bottom of the slope. When back on terra firma I looked back and was glad my motorcycle higher power had help me through this challenge.
We then made a big lope to the north and east and came out the Ten Mile Road to within about 4 miles of our camp. This was another day when dinner and early to bed was the order of the day.
Day 3 we headed up Highway 313 to check out some of the area up there but on the way we were distracted by a road not shown on our maps that headed over to the Merrimac and Monitor from a different direction. So off we went on plan B. This trail was fun with very little sand wash and some fun slick rock. We came to a slope that the day before, had been observed to be beyond either of our courage to try. We were catching our breath at the base of this slope(cliff) when along came a couple of guys in a Razr 900 ATV. We shared with them that, that route may well mean that it was important that their affairs were in order as we could notify next of kin.
They tightened up their seat belts and up the cliff they went. I took some photos as they went and I was amazed they made it over the top by just letting their rig climb over the obstacles. This is a lot stepper than the photo shows.
When they got to the top, they turned to the right and came down the same area; they survived. I was in awe. These kids said they had just rented this rig this morning and had never ridden in one before. I have done some crazy things in my life but what they accomplished was beyond even something I could imagine. They then changed drivers and went on to do it again. Larry and I found an alternate route to the Merrimac and Monitor and made it safely. Saw the kids later, no buzzards circling, so they must have made it.
We then headed over to the Seven Mile Rim and found the Uranium arch. There were a bunch of Jeepers there so we watched as they went up and over a ledge that was a bit of a challenge for those without Lockers. This arch was like a cave with a skylight.
The next day we headed over to the Gemini Bridges Trails. We took some side trails: Rusty Nail; Gold Rim, Gold Spike and Poison Spider. We came across a bunch of Jeepers. One was upside down wedged in a crevice. Another Jeeper positioned himself above to the side and a second one hooked on the back of the stuck rig. They got it turn somewhat upright and jerked it out of the rock. It had been upside down for a while and had lost most of its water and oil. Had to be towed out. We saw the driver that evening in town at the big Jeep Exposition and he said he tipped over 2 more times on the way out. But I guess NO FLAG, NO FOUL.
We then watched as some seemingly stock Jeeps climbed some stuff that was beyond my interest in attempting on foot. If I had not been there to see it in person and had seen it on Video, I would swear that it was Photo-Shopped.
When we were in town, Larry found a set of tires and wheels for his Big Pickup that were really bargain so they got to ride home to Idaho in His toyhauler.
The Dead Horse Point State Park was another days event. This is a neat State Park with a serious good view of the river below and the canyons.
On the way back, we turned off on the upper part of the Gemini Bridges Road and headed down toward the valley. Sure enough, a few miles down we spotted an ATV Trails taking off to the left so again, Plan B took over. This trail started out as the 7 UP Trail but morphed into the Metal Masher Trail. It was fun and in a few places required that we stack a few rocks to launch ourselves up over an uphill ledges. We eventually found another route to highway 313 and took it to home.
The days were passing fast and there were still many adventures to be had. We again started up the Gemini Bridges Road. Checked out the Bull Canyon Trail and then up to Gemini Bridges. When done with these adventures we headed up to Highway 313 and took it down to camp.
On Sunday we hooked up with George and Matt from Indiana. They had driven in for a week of Moab adventures. As soon as they arrived they unloaded their bikes and we went out on The Sovereign Trail. They were very amused by the slick rock and the unbelievable traction to be had. They were no more a fan of the sand washes then we were.
The next day they were up before the crack of dawn and did the White Rim Trail and a total of 130 miles. We on the other had loaded up and headed for the high country. We made it home the next day. Even got snowed on, on the way home. All in all, it was a good adventure.