Thanks for a great time all.
I flew down to Las Vegas Tuesday morning to hitch a ride with Scar (PlaceLast had been kind enough to provide a loaner bike for me). It was a nice surprise that Thumbsy was with Scar as Thumbs had indicated he wouldn't arrive until late Wednesday evening. We had a 7 hour drive ahead of us. Destination: Green River, Utah.
Scar attacking some rock steps
The drive was pretty uneventful except when I drove. Scar's Ford Expedition is much bigger than my little toy truck and when it's loaded down with a few 100 pounds of gear and 500 pounds of bike, it's a bit unwieldy, to say the least. I over-corrected once or twice and I swear the guys looked like they thought it was about to flip over. Flip over?! Well, perhaps.
We arrived well before dark, and PlaceLast was waiting for us at the entrance booth, wearing an impish grin. It's always good to see old friends.
PlaceLast (foreground) and Little John
We met his friend John as we drove in. This year John ("Little John") brought his new Six Days Gas Gas 250, leaving his Husaberg 390 back at home. (Good taste in bikes man!)
We settled in and staked out our respective tent spots, setting up for the week. The campground was familiar as we had also stayed here in 2010. The nicest thing about it is that there are hot showers! It really makes a difference when you can sit down fresh to a fine fireside camp dinner after a long day's ride.
We dined on cold fried chicken, caught up, drank some beers, and talked about the next morning's ride. As always, PlaceLast already had the week's itinerary signed, sealed and delivered. Thanks again for spearheading this, "Big John."
Some of us have not ridden much lately (me), or even at all (Scar), and the relentless technical rock riding of the first day wore us out quickly. I rode PL's late '90s Husky WR250, Scar was on his Y-Zed 250, Tony on his full zoot Husky 310, Little John on his GG, and PL on his Yammy WR250F. The 2 strokes definitely had the advantage in this terrain as the many tight switchbacks and rock crawls demanded instant mobility and constant attention. Fun stuff but 20 miles of it pretty much wiped us out. Unfortunately, as mentioned, Little John also ruined his foot, and at one spot, I launched the Husky to the moon when it got away from me on a tricky set of rock steps.
PlaceLast - picture perfect !!
Scar made some great burgers that night (butter is the secret!)
Riding Day 2 was hosted by some locals PL had met previously. We met them at the staging area and had an absolute blast following them around. It was fantastic. We started down a little hill down onto some dunes, and then rode in deep sand for quite awhile, everyone blasting and dicing. We also had a lot of fun trying to navigate a water crossing over an haphazardly improvised log and branch bridge.
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The latter half of the ride found us entirely on slickrock, navigating many off cambers, steep downhills, and spooky climbs. This is really the most unique part of this area, IMHO. You ride entirely on rock in many places, no dirt, no sand. The trails are marked with arrows painted in various colors on the rocks (as is the rightly infamous 5 Miles of Hell, which is mostly slickrock). Lose the arrows and things can get out of hand fast! On the way home I blew up PL's Husky way tapped out in a long sand section. Sorry Big John. Thanks for taking it in stride. I really do think it was due for a top end anyway.
We had dinner that night at Ray's Tavern. Good beer, good steaks, and great baked potatoes.
Day 3 was the longest at 60 miles. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Yamaha WR250F. Love that bike! We rode a morning loop and an afternoon loop. Both were great fun.
Bundy had arrived earlier that day to camp, with his friend Brent in tow. We had a hearty dinner of steaks, baked beans, and slaw. Great company around the campfire, with many beers, many boasts, and many laughs.
Thumbs and Scar Tissue
Scar and I left pronto at 6 AM the next morning so I could make my 3 PM flight out of Vegas. Unfortunately I had forgotten to adjust for the time zone change, and along with the fact that I drove the whole way (thus making excellent time - 6 hours total - and with nary a flip-over!), we arrived at the airport about 4 hours early! This was probably a good thing though as we encountered quite a bit of heavy snowfall on the way. Pretty sketchy in spots, actually.
I arrived back in Seattle around 8:30 PM, to very nice weather. Always great to return home from some fine adventuring.
Guys - thanks so much.