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JMBray

Utah BDR (Back Country Discovery Route) July 2018

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Day One: After months of planning and prepping our Suzuki DRZ 400's, we left on July 22 to do the Utah BDR. We drove from California to to Price, Utah where we parked the truck at the National 9 Hotel, who were nice enough to let us store it there for the duration of our trip. I was able to get all of my necessary gear, Including tent, sleeping bag and food loaded in my Mosko Moto Backcountry 40 and a small Camelback… Which I strapped to the tank because I hate things on my back. LOL Without water, the total weight of the gear came in at just under 50 pounds. Not bad in my estimation! Mosko makes awesome, versatile equipment.

Day one was HUGE 344mi. 90 of that on the trail. We took two lane roads all the way to Monument Vally, had lunch in Mexician Hat, then headed up to BDR. We decided to camp at about 8 o’clock and a very beautiful spot. We got all set up, everything was wonderful and we got our chairs to enjoy the stars…then the edge a the storm blew in. While we didn’t get rain, thankfully, we did get crazy wind, so we dove into our tents. Once I got my tent adjusted properly, I fell right to sleep. I woke at two in the morning because the wind is stopped and everything was so quiet. Another adjustment to let the heat out and I was back to sleep till six. My travel partner, Deuce didn’t fare so well. He didn’t fall asleep until 2 o’clock, when the wind quit. All in all a great adventure so far!

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Day two of the Utah BDR started off bright and early. I woke up about six, just as the sun was coming up. We decided the night before to pack up and head into the nearby town for fuel, water, and breakfast. Today’s schedule was quite a bit later and we only did about 140 miles. I didn’t take as many pictures because a lot of it was forest roads, Beautiful, but nothing out of the ordinary. The trail that we were on was supposed to be very sandy… At least that’s what other folks had reported. We have a feeling that because we’re going during the summer the combination of monsoon and extreme he has baked a lot of that sand down. It works for me!

I did get to see a lot of wildlife, though. A very large brown bear with a beautiful glistening dark coat galloped across the road about 100 yards ahead of me. We saw a lot of cattle as it is open range area. Also spotted several groups of three or four deer, including one buck with a large rack of antlers. We were unable to get pictures of them because they were gone before we could stop and get the camera out. We also opted to stay in a motel...and would do so for the rest of the trip.

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Day Three, Utah BDR. The gentleman that I am traveling with has done many of these type of rides. Over dinner tonight he mentioned that the section we did toda, Lockhart Basiny was the toughest he’s ever seen on one of these rides. It’s an area called Lockhart basin… Look it up on YouTube and you’ll see. However, not only did we ride the tuff area, we did it in 105° temperatures and in 8.5 hours. So, on a difficulty scale from 1 to 10 it with 11!  I would NOT do this section on a larger bike. By the end of the day I was staggering into my hotel room in Moab. All in all, it was an awesome experience! We both made it through safely and without break down or mishap though with quite a bit of soreness. 5b6471ff33f10_BDRD3.jpg.b2c399166dd4c45c4e05718896139609.jpg

CAMP :-D

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Day four of the Utah BDR was long-ish but rewarding. We started in Moab and ended up in Green River, after 153mi. By the way if you ever are in Green River, Utah be sure to stop in at Ray’s Tavern and have their famous half pound hamburger it’s amazing!

We started the day a bit late leaving Moab about 10:30 AM. It stays light until 830 or nine so we didn’t feel the need to rush out in the morning. A little bit of bike maintenance with purchases from a local shop and we were off. After the extreme challenges of D3, this really was a walk in the park. We climbed over 8500 feet in two different passes, had lunch and underneath the pine tree in a beautiful forest, and once again had so many amazing distance that we had to keep ourselves from taking pictures every quarter of a mile. At Onion Creek Narrows, we had our very first water crossing… In fact it was the very first spotting of any natural running water on the trip. After taking a celebratory video within recross the little creek another 20 times LOL.The last 50 miles of the day was a real blast across the desert. It included climbs up on top of the Mesa and almost groomed fire Road type of running. It was a hoot!

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E.T, phone home.

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Fast, Fun Section!

 

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Deuce isn't quite as daring when it comes to sitting on overlooks.

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Wait...you mean I have to YEILD for a train?   Pffft!

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1/2 pound, medium rare burger with backed potato.  Just what the doctor ordered.

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At the Castle Valley Overlook, I couldn't resist a bit of fun. 

 

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What an excellent adventure, thanks for sharing. ?? 

That burger did look good, but the landscapes are tremendous!

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Day five of the Utah BDR. Wow, it’s hard to believe we’re already on our fifth day. This was a shorter day, Coming in at 100 miles. The tracks today were mainly well maintained dirt roads and Powerline access roads. We saw some beautiful vistas, but also some very interesting sites. They included Smith’s cabin which was built by W Smith in 1940 and was located nestled at the end of the canyon next to a small seasonal river. I can’t imagine why he built it out there but it still stands. We also saw our first standing water 
and actually got a picture of and antelope!

In one area we encountered an electrical storm with lightning striking all around. We didn’t stop to take pictures or video, because we were afraid to do so! I tried posting before, but for some reason Facebook didn’t like the videos and it wouldn’t post. So I will try those in separate individual posts. The Lord has been with us and kept us safe so far with only minor mishaps. We have some sore muscles and I have a heat rash on my feet… Don’t worry I’m not going to show those pictures, LOL.

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Just now, Wierdrider said:

What an excellent adventure, thanks for sharing. ?? 

That burger did look good, but the landscapes are tremendous!

You are Most welcome. I'm currently posting the rest, so check back in a bit. 

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Utah BDR day six. 163 miles that included a bit of a 2 Lane Rd. and Highway because we had to skirt the dollar fire. It has burned thousands of acres and is still active. But, adventurous mean some adjustments it’s all part of the fun.

But also met we ended up in a small town called Duchenne right around 1 o’clock. So, for the first time on the whole trip we went and had lunch at a café that it been there since 1930. Of course we struck up a conversation with a crotchety old gentleman who lived there his whole life and had a blast.

Our route climbed us up to just below 10,000 feet and I really wanted to make a 10,000 foot level so I spied out side trail that we took and we ended up at 10,200 feet! Afterwords we wound down through miles and miles of aspen trees into of Heber City, Utah. We found the cheapest hotel in town… Which isn’t very cheap because the area is a huge resort section of the state. I’m guessing though when I close my eyes and go to sleep I won’t know the difference between this and one of the $500 hotel rooms elsewhere in town.

(Update) As it turned out, the hotel "Mac's Motel" in Heber, was the worst of the trip. We should have paid a little bit more and stayed elsewhere.

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Utah BDR days seven. A week… We been going for a week. Honestly, it seems like only a couple of days. I’m really thankful that I decided to post these as they give some perspective when I look back.

Today we had some beautiful alpine riding through the upper elevations of the mountains in Utah. We went over 10,000 feet twice with their highest elevation hitting 10,900 feet. Unfortunately, we also did some asphalt writing… But, it was all very remote back road type of stuff. So no harm and no foul. Because of the way the route goes and the shape of the state we are actually currently in Evanston Wyoming.

Though we did 126 miles today, it only took about six hours. We took our time as well stopping to take pictures enjoy the sights and have some snacks. We had some actual water crossings. In here you’ll see my travel partner, Dusseou, doing his part to get through a small stream. He has video of me doing it, but it’s on his phone and he doesn’t have Facebook. I’ll post it later after we do file sharing when we get home. We opted to take some side routes that were significantly more challenging than the normal route. Lots of very rocky loose trails through the forest. Lots of fun!5b647d4c2ea92_BDRD7o.jpg.612763caaddda5be991a9cda0eb07bcb.jpg

Prarie Inn. Evaston, WY. HUGE rooms, straight out of 1958...but updated in all the right ways. Jody's restaurant is right next door and is the best place in town to eat.

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Utah BDR Day 8. WE MADE IT!! Today was a lovely ride through the Alpine like mountains of Utah. About a third of the day was on asphalt just simply due to the route but the rest was interesting dirt roads and trails through heavily forested mountains. Occasionally they would open on to beautiful Meadows or vistas.

We didn’t take a ton of pictures because much of it looks like the San Bernardino Mountains. Beautiful in their own right but things that we have seen a lot before. The route ended in Garden City Utah which is on the shore of bear lake. Apparently, it’s a rather unusual like in that it’s ecologically locked. There are fish in it that only exist here. Pretty cool! Though this is the end of the backcountry discovery route, it’s not the end of the adventure. Tomorrow we have to ride back down to price where our truck is parked and that’s about 230 miles. Then we have to drive back to California in the truck which is another 680 miles or so. The BDR it’s self was 871 miles so when you add the driving back-and-forth to the beginning and from the end and then driving the truck back-and-forth from California we will have clocked around 2700 miles total by the end of this trip on motorcycles and in the truck.

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Great stuff,  I’ve tried to finish the UTBDR twice and have been stopped by heavy rain both times. I’m going to head to Green River soon and try and finish it. It’s always a crap shoot on when to go. To early and chance of snow , then to hot then chance of heavy rain. 

Lockhart Basin is the real deal. I’ve done it both times on KTM 500’s can’t imagine doing it on a big bike. 

 

Thanks for the write up.

 

CiD

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What a great write up, Thanks.  A bit jealous as I had planned to ride that this summer, but things didn't align.  I recently heard that all of Utah has a "no campfire" policy in effect. Maybe that is why you chose motels...  or just too dang hot.  Regardless..... Well done!

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7 minutes ago, Covered in Dust said:

Great stuff,  I’ve tried to finish the UTBDR twice and have been stopped by heavy rain both times. I’m going to head to Green River soon and try and finish it. It’s always a crap shoot on when to go. To early and chance of snow , then to hot then chance of heavy rain. 

Lockhart Basin is the real deal. I’ve done it both times on KTM 500’s can’t imagine doing it on a big bike. 

 

Thanks for the write up.

 

CiD

Late July was the only time we could arrange to go and thought the heat was something to contend with, we are glad we went then. In all the reports we'd read and watched, the first three days were sand...Sand and SAND! Fortunately the monsoon rains and heat combined to bake that sand down into a regular old trail/road. :-D The sleepy Hollow motel, and Rays Tavern are the places to hit in Green River! Enjoy and good luck!

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2 minutes ago, MacDuncan said:

What a great write up, Thanks.  A bit jealous as I had planned to ride that this summer, but things didn't align.  I recently heard that all of Utah has a "no campfire" policy in effect. Maybe that is why you chose motels...  or just too dang hot.  Regardless..... Well done!

Yeah, after contending with the wind, and HEAT the first night camping, we looked at the map carefully and realized that we could motel the rest of the trip. Soooo, we opted to do so. My friend has ridden 4 other BDR's as well as Alaska usually camps a lot...he admitted that the motel method was much more comfortable. We are planning do do the So. Cal. BDR in Feb if they have it posted by then, and then Washington next summer.

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By the way, if any of you have questions regarding my bike set-up, bags, gear or clothes I used, I'm happy to share info.

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Wow what a nice trip! It was cool seeing the old homestead photo too! Thanks!

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Verry good and detailed write up - -Thanks 

 

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So I have a question. Like I said i’ve Done the lower part of Utah twice but only made it as far north as about Soldier Summit. My question is do you think the route north of there is as good or better than the bottom half? The reason I’m asking is because I’m either going to do the top half or go to Colorado and do the COBDR. 

 

CiD

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