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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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 6.05.41 PM

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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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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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Dinner at Red Rock

Sandy to Park CityFriday night after work was a beautiful evening. Perfect for a ride to Park City and dinner at the Red Rock Cafe. While it’s usually pretty crowded at the Red Rock downtown, you can usually walk right in at the Park City restaurant. After a very nice meal, we climbed back on the bike and headed down the canyon.

At the bottom, we jumped on Wasatch Boulevard for the rest of the ride home. Just before the sun goes down is one of my favorite times on the road—and a great way to wrap up the week.

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The Long Way to Lunch—Memorial Day

Sandy to NephiKelly and I had some friends who went south to ride around St. George for the holiday weekend, but for different reasons we couldn’t make the ride. Kelly, Randy, and I decided to head down to Nephi to meet them for lunch on their way home.

Kelly was on the Road Glide he just got to replace the one he totaled a month or so ago and Randy was on his Triumph Rocket.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a ride as we passed the windmills that welcomed us into Spanish Fork Canyon. However, once we dropped down into Thistle Valley headed toward Fairview, the temperature started to drop and the clouds rolled in. It got colder after leaving Mt. Pleasant, but was still a great day to be in the saddle. As we pulled into our lunch stop in Nephi, I was looking forward to warming up a bit and having something to eat.

We timed it pretty close because we only had to wait about 20-30 minutes for the group from St. George to meet up with us. In fact, we were still waiting for our table as they pulled into the parking lot.

After lunch we jumped on I-15 for the ride home. Afternoon traffic was pretty congested until we hit Spanish Fork and we took the HOV lane for home. Traffic slowed up again as we approached Lehi and going over the Point of the Mountain was a real mess. The different road surfaces and the diagonal patches across the wet road surface was less than optimal. I’ll probably avoid that section of highway in wet conditions next time.

With the exception of a little rain on the way home, it was a great afternoon on the road. Highway 89 is one of my favorite roads and the section from Thistle to Mt. Pleasant was beautiful today. All the rain we’ve had over the last few days had Spanish Fork Canyon green and lush and I’d guess the farmers through Fairview and Mt. Pleasant are probably pretty grateful for the extra moisture.

I’ll be glad when the weather dries up a bit. I’m hoping the tour we have set for mid-June has a little better weather than what we’ve experienced over the last four or five weeks here.

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Road Closed? I Don’t Think So…

IRoad Closedt was an incredible day to mount up for a couple hours with temperatures in the high 60s or low 70s—just about the perfect temperature for a ride.

We’ve had so many weeks of beautiful spring weather, Kelly and I decided to take one of our favorite roads over Wolf Creek Pass into Tabiona.

Every time I ride over this pass I think of my first ride with my brother-in-law Paul and how much I enjoyed it. He is a great riding companion and has been a good friend over the years.

It’s easy to forget how different a mountain pass at around 9,000 feet is compared to the valley floor, but I was surprised to see the gate on the road announcing “Road Closed” was still up. You can see the beautiful dry road behind us, so we decided to see how far over the pass we could go. This particular pass doesn’t see much of the snowplow all winter, so we thought there might be a little bit of snow near the summit and we were prepared to turn around if we needed to.

The road was beautiful and dry until about a mile or so before the top of the pass. The south side of the road in the sun was passable, with the exception of those sections that were in the shade. We thought about turning around when we saw a sport bike coming in the opposite direction—we knew the summit was close and figured we were good to go.

snowcovered summitThe road over the summit was clear with the exception of a few wet spots, but we had to stop to take a photo of the snow piled up on either side of the road. Surprisingly, it was still very warm at the top. It won’t be too many more weeks before the snow is melted and the road will be completely dry.

It certainly was a beautiful day to be on the bike. It was there we ran into another couple of foolish bikers riding over the closed road in Hanna—but with the exception of a sketchy mile or so, it was a great ride.

The road over the pass starts at Francis and is one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Utah. It’s a great ride if you have three or four hours and can be done as an out-and-back into Tabiona, or you can make a loop by adding in a section of Hwy 40 past Strawberry Reservoir and over Daniel’s summit. I’ve ridden both ways and enjoy either. Definitely recommend this ride.

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Cruising the Nebo Loop

Mount Nebo

It’s been a busy summer. I’ve spent a lot more time in the saddle than I have behind the computer in my spare time (which is a good thing, right). The Nebo Loop is one of my favorite rides in Utah. Although it is named after the famed mount Moses climbed to see the promised land, and I totally enjoyed the ride, I didn’t see the promised land or otherwise have a spiritual experience. I did spend several hours in one of the most beautiful mountain passes in Utah.

The centerpiece of the Mount Nebo Wilderness, it is the southernmost and highest peak in the Wasatch range. The National Scenic Byway, which I have been on two or three times this summer already, winds up over the pass and offers beautiful views of the three peaks that crown Mt. Nebo—the tallest being 11,928 ft (3,636 m).

I wrote about this particular ride last Fall and included some photographs of the leaves, which are incredible. If you’re only going to visit Nebo once every year, I would recommend doing it in the Fall to enjoy the colors. That being said, it is a beautiful ride any time of year.

Once out of the canyon, you can turn right and head into Nephi and I-15 or go left (my preferred route) and head into Fairview for a great omelet at The Home Plate and head up over the Energy Loop or north via 89 into Spanish Fork Canyon.

If you’re in Northern Utah on a motorcycle, the Nebo Loop will not disappoint. Start in the little town of Payson and get ready to enjoy a couple of hours of canyon riding Nirvana (I guess I did have a spiritual experience after all).

Click HERE for video from the saddle.

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