Wolf Creek Pass—May 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 2.53.16 PMThis is one of my favorite rides and one of the early mountain passes ready to ride in the Spring. We started with lunch in Kamas and climbed the pass from Francis to Tabiona.

Although there was still snow at the summit, the road was dry as a bone and it wasn’t very cold. We did ride through a little rain as we dropped in to Hanna, but it didn’t get us too wet and we were soon on U.S. Highway 40 headed back to Heber (where we had a root beer float) and home.

All in all, just about a perfect spring day for a ride.

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Late April: East Canyon and Echo

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 10.53.38 PMThis is a nice little ride that’s great for a Saturday afternoon when the mountain passes are still too sketchy to ride. For some reason, I don’t hit this ride very often, but I always enjoy it. From 89 head up Weber Canyon on I-84 and exit at Peterson.

We stopped there to turn the cameras on before heading to East Canyon. Once you hit the reservoir, in the summer you can hang a right and make the climb over Big Mountain and drop down on Parley’s Canyon, but today we took a left toward Henefer and on to Echo and Coalville.

You’ll need to jump back on I-84 for a few minutes and don’t be tempted to head west on I-80 at the junction. Take the left for 1/4 mile and exit at Echo and follow a little stretch of the old Lincoln Highway through Coalville to Wanship. You’ll be glad you did.

I hope you enjoy the video. Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a tango.

East Canyon, UT

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A Quick November Weekend Ride to Elberta

West Side of Utah LakeIt’s snowing this afternoon as I look out my window. It’s actually been snowing since early this morning. It’s hard to believe we hopped on the bikes just two days ago for a short afternoon ride along the west side of Utah Lake.

Kelly and I had been busy all weekend and didn’t have the time for a real ride, so we decided to spend a quick couple of hours along the lake. The temperature was in the high 50s and couldn’t have been better for a lazy afternoon on the road. With the exception of a load of hay that had fallen off someone’s trailer, we made it to Elberta and back without incident.

In addition to my new saddle bags, I put a new license plate frame on the bike to improve my light profile from the rear. According to anyone riding behind me, it was almost impossible to see my turn signals in the daylight and my tail light was difficult to see if the sun was bright.

lightsDan suggested this light setup that’s integrated into the license plate frame with some pretty bright LEDs that seem to have made it a lot easier to see me from behind and definitely add to the brightness of my turn signals. I still have the original turn signals in addition to the new lights in the license plate frame, so it’s easier to see my signal any time of day.

The forecast is for better weather this weekend, so I’m hoping to get another ride in before it gets too cold—not that it will stop us from going out. It’s really hard to complain this year, it’s been very nice for several weeks (usually we only have an hour or two of fall weather).

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New Saddle Bags

Ty's BikeEarly last spring I picked up a pair of extended saddlebags with the intention of painting them to match my bike. They’ve been sitting in the garage all summer, probably wondering when I was going to get them painted so they could be added to the bike.

Finally did it.

On their maiden voyage as part of my bike, we stopped in Elberta for a quick picture. It definitely changed the look of my Road King while adding some more space for jackets and sundries on a multi-day road trip.

Dan Worth in Salt Lake City did a great job of matching the old paint and the flames. He was very picky about getting the color and the look right. I’d definitely recommend him for any custom painting you might need. At least I couldn’t be more pleased with the way the my bags turned out.

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A Backyard Tour: The Long Way Home

A tour to TorreyWe were up bright and early for the trip home—the long way. We were having such a good time riding I didn’t take any photos of the first half of our trip, but I was determined to fix that on the way home.

We left Torrey and headed up Boulder Mountain Pass—another beautiful ride. Because we were so much farther south, there were more fall colors on this part of the ride than what we’d experienced the day before. Today’s ride is actually one of my top two or three Utah rides and it didn’t disappoint.

After dropping down into Boulder, we stopped just before crossing the Devil’s Backbone. This was the first time Steve had ever been on this road and it can be a little unnerving watching the canyon fall off on both sides of the road. It is certainly a The view from the roadbreathtaking view as you ride on top of the sandstone fin toward Escalante. It was definitely different scenery today than it was yesterday.

We shed a layer or two as the temperature climbed to just about the “perfect range. We stopped the bikes at the overlook on the other side of the backbone to look aback at some of the ground we’d covered and met a couple of Japanese tourists marveling at country unlike anything they have at home. We offered to take their photo before we mounted up and headed on down the road.

The view looking backThe ride from Escalante to Panguich is filled with the gentle sweeping turns that are my favorite kind of riding. We stopped in Panguich to top of the tanks and get a snack before heading north again on 89 and eventually home.

We stopped in Salina at Mom’s for lunch. Another one of my favorite places to eat on the road. Steve gave our somewhat surely waitress a hard time—she eventually lightened up a bit. After a tasty lunch we headed north to Gunnison and then then to Nephi.

We stayed on the old highway to Mona where we took a little detour on the Goshen Canyon Road. Kelly, Phil, and I stumbled upon this fun little diversion a couple of years ago. If you’re not in a hurry (and we usually aren’t) it’s a nice way to get to Goshen before heading north via the west side of Utah Lake.

A Buell and a Road KingOnce we’d gone as far as Bluffdale, we jumped on Bangerter and then I-15 for the last couple of miles home. It was the first Interstate we’d seen in about 700 miles and Steve seemed pretty happy that we’d made the trip. It was a fun weekend in the saddle and well worth doing again.

I hated to see the ride end, it was a great tour on roads just made for a motorcycle trip.

If you’d like to see some video of the first part of this ride I made a couple years ago, click HERE.

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A Backyard Tour: The Long Way to Torrey

A tour to TorreyIt’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog here. Early in the season I started contributing to a blog published by the local Harley-Davidson dealer—you can check it out HERE. A shorter version of this ride is already posted there.

One of my oldest friends, Steve and I had been talking about some of the rides down here in Utah for a couple of years. He’s from across the border in Canada and we’ve met a couple of times in recent years up in Jackson to ride together. He and I did Bear Tooth Pass  a couple of years ago—it was my first time on that incredible ride and have been back a couple of times since.

When he called to let me know he was ready for a Utah ride I took some time off work and got busy planning a route. Since the point of the ride was to spend some quality time in the saddle, I thought I’d put together some of my favorite day rides into a tour and came up with an epic 744 mile weekend. In Fact, it’s started me thinking about other rides we could do this way.

We left the Salt Lake Valley headed to Park City and the Kamas Valley early on Friday morning. The temperature was a brisk 40 degrees and since we were going to be climbing three mountain passes and in late October, I plugged in my heated jacket and gloves just in case I’d need them. I turned them on leaving Francis as we started climbing up Wolf Creek Pass.

Most of the leaves had dropped from the trees, but it was still a beautiful ride—one of my favorites—and a great way to start the day. Climbing into the clouds and seeing the hoar frost on top of the pines was breathtakingly beautiful. We stopped to catch our breath at the summit where Steve said, “There must have been a horrible accident down by Heber, because I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

I couldn’t disagree. I have to smile when I notice the places on the ride where the road just kind of wiggles back and forth up the canyon. I was glad he was having a good time. Introducing someone new to a favorite place is like discovering it all over again. This was going to be a great day.

After dropping down into Hanna and Tabiona we followed the river into Duchesne. This is a peaceful little addition to the ride and allows us to avoid the busy Highway 40. After topping off the tanks, we started climbing up Indian Canyon toward Highway 6 out of Helper. They were doing some road maintenance, so with the exception of a couple places where the traffic was backed up, it was smooth sailing over another beautiful mountain pass.

After dropping down into Helper, we climbed up Highway 6 toward Spanish Fork Canyon for just a few miles before we bailed at the turnoff to Scofield and headed for part of the Energy Loop and the pass over into Fairview for lunch. These roads are ideal for wasting a few hours (or a weekend) on a motorcycle and this is another one of my favorite rides.

We stopped at the Home Plate (my favorite place to stop in Fairview if it’s meal time) for lunch. Steve was all grins and seemed to be having a good time. “Three mountain passes, every pass has been different and some of the best motorcycle roads I’ve ever been on,” he said. He even ordered a piece of chocolate pecan pie for desert to celebrate.

After lunch we climbed on Highway 89, one of my favorite old roads and headed south to Torrey. We had a reservation for the night at the Chuckwagon Inn.

We detoured around Fish Lake—a great way to cap off a fun day in the saddle. Although we were too late for the leaves, this trip was really more about the roads than anything else. When we arrived in Torrey it was about 6:00 pm and we were ready for dinner. Our two bedroom cabin was a great place to spend the night and we were up until the wee hours of the morning telling stories and trying to on-up each other.

We only spend once or twice a year together, which is why Steve claims we’ve been able to remain friends for over 30 years. I’m not sure if that’s a dig at me or if he’s acknowledging one of his obvious personal flaws.

I was looking forward to introducing him to Boulder Mountain and the Devil’s Backbone in the morning.

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Beat’n the Heat: The Mirror Lake Highway

Mirror Lake HighwayBecause the temperatures have been near or surpassing 100 for the last couple of weeks, the thoughts of heading to the mountains to escape the heat make climbing on the bike for a ride very tempting. The other day Kelly called to see if I was up for a ride to Brighton up Big Cottonwood Canyon. “You were the only guy I knew more hardcore than me,” he said. “I knew you’d be up for a ride.”

While I’m up for a ride just about any time, it was the thoughts of escaping the heat with cooler temps that enticed me. The same was true of a ride over the Mirror Lake Highway.

When my sister Jan called and wanted to go for a ride, I couldn’t think of anyplace better to beat the heat that a ride past Mirror Lake. It wasn’t until we passed Soapstone Basin that it started to cool off, but as we crested Bald Mountain Pass and headed down the other side the temperature was probably 20 degrees cooler than it was just an hour before.

The Mirror Lake Highway is a great ride, but particularly in the middle of the summer when it’s really hot in Salt Lake. If you’re up for braving the heat to get out of town. We stopped at the Bear River Station and got something to drink and decide what we were going to do next. I often ride this as an out-and-back, because it includes less Interstate highway, but Jan wanted to go through Evanston, so we continued north into Wyoming.

Once you leave the forest on 150 and drop into Wyoming it’s some beautiful farmland for the rest of the ride into Evanston before you hop back on the freeway. It remained pretty cool until we hit the highway, but seemed to hit a wall-o-heat about the time we passed the Utah point of entry station in Echo Canyon. After that it was pounding out miles in the heat the rest of the way home.

If we’d of had more time, we could have dropped into Weber Canyon and gone over East Canyon (which might have been a little cooler), but we didn’t. Despite the heat, it was a fun ride and any time in the saddle is better than no time, so I had a good time.

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