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Memorial Day 2006

Find Your Inner Fast | May 2006

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Prologue

This years Memorial Day Adventure is not written by me. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to read it then let me say this.  When we first heard that Mike would not be able to attend because he was scheduled to be in Australia, we did everything we could to cajole his significant other, Crystal to come anyway. The fact that she’d only ridden on public roads a handful of times and less than 500 total miles did not deter us.

The opportunity to have her work published on CanyonChasers.Net was all it took to convince her to attend (the fact that Mike was pulling the wool over our eyes and was going to be coming did in no way encourage her participation). So, without further ado, we present to you, first time contributor, Crystal as she details her first road trip adventure, and oh, what an adventure it turns out to be.
Dave, CanyonChaser since 1994

 

Three days after arriving home my hands still feel partially numb. Is this normal I wonder? Most likely yes seeming as my hands were gripped to the handlebars of my bike for over 1000 miles. I still feel a little shock and wonder at the fact that I rode over a 1000 miles in three days for my first bike trip ever. Granted, I was a pile-on for quite sometime beforehand, but never in control of the wheelies myself. This trip brought many new adventures, some prepared for and some not quite so.


Skip Ahead

A Big Day with a Big Wheelie

From Salt Lake City to Torrey

Saturday morning I woke early, I was a little anxious and very hungry. I started off by making myself a large batch of pancakes, all the while waiting for Mike to wake up. He had just flown in the night before from Sydney, Australia. No one knew that he was home; it was his master-plan to surprise everyone on that morning. After devouring my pancakes I felt much better, I knew that I would have no time to eat at Einstein’s. Mike was home, that meant that I would be late getting to Einstein’s and with all the pre-ride chit chat I would never have a chance to eat. Mike finally up and about I had him help prep my bike and at a quarter past eight I rode out of the driveway on my way towards the first stop of the day.

As I rode up I could see Kris waving to me. I parked away from the rest of the bikes, backing up scared me. I joined everyone at the tables and waited for the moment that Mike would arrive and shock everyone. He planned on riding up separately from me so that the surprise would be even greater. Twenty minutes later I hear Mike, Kris turns around and just stares knowing that only one person rides a bike such as that. She turns to me laughing, calling me a liar. I can’t help but hide the smile on my face. Yes, I did know and I did hide it from everyone.

pancakes
Triumph Seed Triple Kawasaki Z1000

 

With Mikey in Australia, Crystal would be joining us solo on her Bandit 600 (one of two bikes on this Mike's Garage Reunion trip formerly owned by me). Crystal has become a CanyonChasers regular as Mikey's pillion, but was now setting out on her first adventure as the pilot. With Mikey absent, we were all ready to help watch out for Crystal as she's a pretty new rider and on her first trip. But, in what was a coup of grand proportions, not long after Crystal's arrival at Einstein's on Saturday morning, in rolled the unmistakable FrankenTriple that is the result of Mikey's conversion of a fully faired T595 Daytona to a naked Speed Triple. Having arranged for a coworker to cover his trip to Australia, Mikey surprised the group by showing up unannounced after weeks of lamenting over missing this trip. We were all surprised and glad to have him about, even if he did look like a zombie after returning from Down Under the previous night.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

For the next fifteen minutes or so Mike tells his tale of how he is standing in front of everyone and not in Auckland, New Zealand. As the nine o’clock hour approaches everyone prepared themselves to ride out. Dave gave a brief overview on squadron riding and explained certain appropriate gestures. Everyone was ready to go. The roster included: “Early” Mike, Jon, Matt, Alex and Shannon, Neighbor-Dave and Mindy, Carla, Scott, Paige, McKinley (with Ellie the Elephant), Dave and Kris, and Mike and I.

Mike from Australia

As part of the girl squadron, I followed Kris from the get go with Carla, Shannon, and Mike joining. (I think Mike was trying to maintain his harem.) The first leg of the trip took us up Parley’s Canyon. Yea! Freeway riding, how excited was I! Thank goodness though that this part of the trip was short. We were only on the freeway a little past Park City as we make our way to Duchesne, the first meet up point for the group.

CanyonChasers group rides are not really group rides in the sense that many think of, 1/4 mile long staggered line of bikes tooling through the countryside. We tend to break up a larger group into "squadrons" of 4 or 5 bikes. Fortunately for this group, this task does not require a great deal of planning and execution...it just happens. As almost 20 different people ride their own pace, the group tends to break up into squadrons of riders who travel together, look out for each other, and tend to share the weekend. Works out very well for everyone.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

As I began riding along, the first element of adventure I encountered is the wind! And when I say wind, I mean fighting to stay in your own lane wind. My hands gripped ever tighter to my handlebars. A firm grip was probably not the best for my hands, but with a pair of gloves that are a few sizes too big, a comfort as I tried to maintain my stability. I also realized that I had forgotten to put on my sunglasses. Riding in the strong wind and the bright sun put me off to a great start on the trip.

As we rode into Kamas, Dave, Alex and Matt were waiting at the gas station to make sure we were okay. My first stall of the trip occurred here as I pulled into the gas station, rolled off too much on the throttle and oops, forgot the clutch. (This would be my nemesis.) Here Dave pointed out a girl feeding a baby raccoon off to the side. A very cute sight indeed, I wish I took a picture; actually just wish Dawn was there. Before taking off again, I switched out to my old thinner gloves. But at least I could feel the bars underneath, a bit more of a comfort.

Even though it is in our own backyard, WolfCreek Pass (highway 35) is still one of my all time favorite roads, and quite possibly because it is the route we use to begin our first ride of the year. In the past we’ve soldiered through rain, frigid cold and even snow to cross this road, and while despite the past two weeks where the day time temperatures hovered in the mid-90’s, the forecast was for lots of rain, some snow and daytime high temperatures in the mid 50’s. While the cold temperatures were no fun for anyone, I was thrilled that the sky and the roads were dry as we raced over the top of WolfCreek Pass towards Duchesne.
Dave, CanyonChaser since 1994

 

Wolfcreek Pass

We headed off towards Duchesne where we met up with the rest of the group. We gassed up, grabbed a snack or two and prepared to head off again. Scott, Paige and McKinley took off first; planning to join us in Scofield with an additional member, Clay. Clay evidently has never completed a Memorial Day Trip ride. Last year he joined late in the day and had to take off early as well. This year I learned was no exception. He was on his way to Vegas so he was going to split early on day two.

motorcycles at a gas station

I followed Kris out of Duchesne and into Indian Canyon (I think…accuracy may not be a hundred percent on road identification.) It was a beautiful and very fun part of the day. The wind was still pretty bad, but not as terrible as the first part of the day. I was able to focus more on the ride and the fun corners coming my way rather than worry about being blown into the other lane. We finished up Indian Canyon and took a short jaunt on Highway 6. Here I added another element to my grand adventure. As Kris prepared to turn off Highway 6 and into Huntington Canyon, I decided to be blind to her turn-off and continue riding past her. I kept riding until I found a spot I was comfortable doing a u-turn and where traffic was not as heavy. That road was busy and scary. As I made my u-turn into a pull-off area I promptly killed the bike. I restarted only to kill the bike a few times more. Finally, frustrated and alone, I gave it another try with what one might say, a little too much throttle. I promptly wheelied myself out of the pull-off area and back onto Highway 6. I looked up and found that I had an audience in Kris. So my wheelie was witnessed. I followed her back up to the turn-off and we made our way to the convenience store in Scofield.

As we headed out on the next leg down Indian Canyon and towards the Energy Loop, I doubt anyone was expecting to ride through the strongest winds that I've had to deal with on a motorcycle. Indian Canyon's long sweeping curves were a struggle, trying to push a big bike through a brutal headwind. My gas mileage was lousy having to open the throttle completely just to keep up. As we approached the summit of the road our lead group came back together through the tighter turns over the Reservation Ridge, then dropped into the flats of Emma Park to grab the shortcut route to Hwy 6. Highway 6, being the main route from Utah's population center on the Wasatch Front to Moab and on to Lake Powell is one of the most heavily traveled, heavily patrolled, and most dangerous roads in Utah and the United States. Being able to trim off about 10 miles of Hwy 6 from our route makes the straight and potholed shortcut worth it.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

After getting many pats on the back for my wheelie, we went to pull out of Scofield and head towards Huntington Canyon. However, before I decided to join everyone else on the road, I had to stall the bike at least three more times. At least I didn’t wheelie out of the convenience store! Into the canyon, it was beautiful but very cold. Riding through the canyon I remembered the ride last year when I was only a pile-on on the back of Mike’s bike. It was definitely nice to have my own bike this year as well as my own gear.

Gas in Ferron

Coming towards the end of Huntington Canyon Kris, Carla and I notice a sheriff off to the side of the road and two bikes. Mike and Neighbor-Dave had been pulled over. I was happy that I was in the girl squadron at that point. When we all rendezvoused in Ferron we learned that both Neighbor-Dave and Mike had been ticketed. I guess this happens at least once on the trip, or at least in Emery County. From there we headed down some pretty boring roads towards the night’s destination, Torrey.

who's gotten a ticket in Emery County

 

Mulling about the parking lot, we wagered on who was the likely recipient of a performance award from one of Emery's Finest...we were right, as Mikey and NeighborDave pulled in complaining of their escapades at the business end of the long arm of the law. After musing on the legal system and downing some junk food we were on our way on Hwy 10 again for the remaining 26 miles before hitting Hwy 72. As always, with no traffic and a dry road, we were able to enjoy this beautiful stretch of highway. As we neared the towns of Lyman and Loa at the southern end of 72, Dave pulled off at the turn for Fish Lake to wait for anyone who wanted to make that side trip. Jon and I headed on for Torrey. I was getting tired and not really up to making the extra loop.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

Nearing Torrey, I began to feel relieved. The day had brought many new adventures for me, but I was beginning to tire. However, before I could kick my feet up and relax, the day decided that it was not quite over. We came upon a couple miles of torn up road, all gravel. And what fun that was with the added bonus of wind thrown in. I followed Kris through the gravel and was very proud of myself once we hit pavement again. That was the first I had ever ridden in gravel and it did give me a little scare.

Matt and I were the only two to run the Fishlake loop. I was surprised when Early-Mike and Jon passed the turnoff leaving Matt and I to our own devices. Racing up the eastern side of the Fishlake Loop, Matt and I were blessed with about 20 miles of no wind. Apparently we were in the lee of the mountain and protected from the gall forces.

The road is posted at a mere 30mph and I wondered what would happen if we were to be pulled over. I know that going double the posted limit is an automatic “reckless driving”, but what is tripling the speed limit? (Not that we ever traveled such speeds, it just got me wondering).
Dave, CanyonChaser since 1994

 

Camping in Torrey

Out of the gravel and onto Torrey, I was very excited. The day had been fun, with wheelies and all, but I was tired and beginning to get a little sore. I noticed the familiar campsite as we pulled in. Coming up to where Mike had started to set up I slowed down and put my foot down. And in the best slow motion that I can remember, my right foot slid out from me and I went down with the bike. All I could do was smile and think that I had finally dropped the bike; after all I went through that day. I dropped the bike here, at the campground! Go figure. Thank goodness the saddle-bags cushioned the fall, so the only fatality on the bike was my right turn signal. At that point I asked Mike to park the bike for me; I just couldn’t get back on now. And to make the day even better, as Mike went to park the bike, he stalled it probably about six times. I felt vindicated! It was something with the bike then. He realized that he had created a “dead zone” when he moved the clutch in for me. Ah ha!

We put up our camp for the night and changed into some jeans before walking over to Café Diablo for dinner. Mike and I sat down to dinner with Kris and Dave and Shannon and Alex. It was nice to talk with Shannon and Alex; I didn’t see them much on the trip last year. Though as far as dinner goes, I think the best part of that dinner was the bottle of wine. During dinner Danny and his friend James meet up with us; two more additions to the roster.

By the time we got back to the campsite Danny had arrived from Cedar City on his V-Strom. Sitting on Danny's bike last year gave me the push I needed to get going on finding a Strom for myself. Danny brought along James, a coworker from RedCliff Ascent, a wilderness therapy program for troubled teens in Enterprise, UT.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

 

campfire

After dinner most of us meet back at the Sandcreek campsite to sit around the fire and have some beer. Early-Mike (because he always wakes up early) discovered that his saddlebags also double as beer coolers and camp chairs. It was a great way to wind down the day. I decided to retire a little early into the tent as I was exhausted. The night was pretty cold and I slept pretty light the entire night.

Snowflakes and S'Mores

From Torrey to Panguitch
Triumph touring motorcycles

crystalI awoke in the morning to hear the camp up and about, though it took me quite sometime to get myself up. However, the thought of breakfast overpowered me and I was up. I woke Mike and told him that I was headed to the Capital Reef Inn for breakfast. When I arrived I had expected everyone to be finished or walking out. I found that I was actually pretty on time with the rest of everyone. Without going into too much detail, we have all decided that next year we will have a different breakfast spot. Not good!

Boulder Mountain Breakfast

After breaking down camp and fueling up we all headed up Highway 12 over Boulder Mountain. Being the first part of the journey that day I still felt rather tired and cold. Last year, we all pulled over at the top of Boulder Mountain and spent some time taking pictures and chit chatting. This year, Kris and I sailed right on past. It was really cold and I was looking forward to Hell’s Backbone past Escalante. Through each one of the curves on Boulder Mountain I kept expecting to see a pumpkin colored helmet appear in front of me; sad that it never did.

After a quick gas stop we headed up the famous and revered Hwy 12 over Boulder Mountain and down into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. One of the finest scenic byways in the country, Hwy 12 climbs up into the Alpine landscape of Boulder Mountain before dropping into the town of Boulder at the entrance to the red rock canyons of the Grand Staircase, across the Hog's Back and Escalante River. There's not much more to say about that...if you haven't been you must, and if you have, you know.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

 

Hogsback Ridge

Coming off of Boulder Mountain we came upon Hell’s Backbone. Granted, I was prepared for it this year, but the sudden drop off was still awe-inspiring. It was such a sight to see this year, especially riding on my own. Last year, I just clutched onto Mike and enjoyed the view. This year I was in control of that view. We all pulled over to take some photos and to chat with Clay before he left towards Las Vegas.

southern utah motorcycles

Getting back on the bikes, we planned our next stop to be at Ruby’s for a late lunch. I followed Kris down Hell’s Backbone and past the Kiva Coffeehouse. I was hoping to stop this year, but I think everyone was worried about timing so we nixed that off of the list. Hopefully next year we can add the Kiva Coffeehouse back on. We rode down through Boulder and then headed towards Ruby’s. We had the best timing as we pulled into the parking lot. We coordinated our arrival with a couple tour buses for Bryce Canyon. So, instead of Ruby’s for lunch we walked down to the fast food joint adjoining the inn. And this year, we all decided to forgo the time in the gift shops for more riding. I have to say that this was a wonderful decision.

chettah Jon

 

We quickly dubbed Jon and his yellow VFR as “The Cheetah”. Jon weighs about 50lbs when he’s wearing all his gear and its raining, which makes his 800cc VFR about the fastest thing on the planet, particularly when its being piloted by Jon.

When following Jon, you can try to keep up with him, as long as you can see him (that just means he's not trying). Once he’s out of sight, its best to give up, sit back, slow down and start watching the scenery go by because you’ll never catch him.
Dave, CanyonChaser since 1994

Before heading straight into Panguitch as we did last year, a few of us decided to ride through Cedar Breaks. Apparently, for the last few years this road has been closed during the Memorial Day rides. Kris and Dave were very excited. Kris told me that this is one of her favorite rides. I was unsure of whether or not to go. I was feeling a little tired and sore after our late lunch, but I decided that I did not want to miss out and what Kris says is awesome. So I was back behind Kris all geared up with the addition of our rain gear when we took off towards Cedar Breaks.

Cedar Breaks

Before getting to Cedar Breaks we rode through the Red Canyon, which was absolutely gorgeous. We rode under two arches which I thought was very cool. (Ahh, if Dawn had been there!) It was a very beautiful ride, however very short. We came to Highway 89 and turned towards Cedar Breaks instead of Panguitch. At this point I realized this is the “wrong” way that Mike and I decided to travel last year. Onwards to Zion!

Last year, calls to Cedar Breaks National Monument before the trip had us shortening our day 2 route with reports of road closures and 7 feet of snow covering the pavement at the top. No such detours this year, though. After passing through the short Red Canyon, we headed south on US89 towards the turn off to Hwy 14. Stopping at the intersection of 14 and 89, the lead group paused to let the trailing group catch up. Before Dave could finish saying "we're waiting for the others, you can go ahead and..." I clicked into first and scooted out of the parking lot up Hwy 14 towards the lava fields of the Markagunt Plateau. We could see the clouds over the Cedar Breaks area, and as I gained elevation it quickly got much colder.

Only a couple of miles up the road I started to see snowflakes landing on my visor. As I passed fields of lava (thanfully cooled long ago) the snow was falling more steadily and I was wiping the flakes from my visor every couple of minutes. While the road was wet, it wasn't icy and visibility was pretty good, so the weather didn't slow me down too much. I found my way to the turn off for Hwy 148 towards Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head ski resort. Turning right from 148 onto Hwy 143, I made my way down past Panguitch Lake and into Panguitch and the campsite. It was quite nice to get away from the group for a short stretch and ride solo through a part of Utah that I'd yet to see.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

 

Cold motorcyclists

The Cedar Breaks “fast” squadron comprised of Dave, Early-Mike, Jon, Alex, Mike and Matt. Following in the “not so fast” squadron were: Carla, James, Shannon, Kris and I. Riding up into the canyon, I could tell that I was in for a few more adventure notches. The weather had been pretty good all day but riding into Cedar Breaks it began to flurry just a little bit. And boy was I excited to see snow! I was very relieved however that it wiped away pretty cleanly from my face shield. I made sure to check that my heated vest was continually plugged in, as it had been previously trying to unplug itself. So all bundled up I rode. When we made it to the top of Cedar Breaks, Mike and I paid the four dollar per person admission to look out over the ridge. While the sight was absolutely amazing, I did think that it was a bit misleading. The entire canyon was red…doesn’t that indicate warmth or something. It was so cold that Shannon kept her helmet on for warmth as she admired the canyon with Alex.

We decided that it was time to continue on and get back on the bikes. We rode out of Cedar Breaks and right into Panguitch. It was kind of nice to enter Panguitch during the daylight hours and actually see where we were camping. As I pulled into the KOA, one of the friendliest I’ve heard, I saw Mike standing there with a huge grin on his face. He had upgraded us to a cabin and yes, I was very excited to hear that. After the previously fitful nights sleep I had, I was looking forward to a night in a cabin, with a heater! Also the cabin added another bonus of less time making and breaking down camp. The cabin seemed to be the popular choice for that night’s accommodation with only Early-Mike, Danny and James choosing to sleep among the stars.

Campfire

After we checked in and changed we made our way to the only open place for dinner that night, the Flying M. We ate dinner as a group that evening as we discussed the day’s ride and the rides to come tomorrow. We also managed to come up with several decent ideas for CanyonChasers Memorial Day shirts. As with any end to the day, we went and bought some beer and sat around a campfire.

campfire

The campfire itself that night had many adventures in store for us. Across the way some other KOA campers had decided that Sunday night was a great night to do some karaoke. Some of us were tempted to join the local karaoke group across the way, while others plotted their demise. However, before we could make a group decision the campfire decided to start sending out smoke signals to neighboring communities. While trying to break one of the smoking logs, Mindy was urged to “put some ass into it.” She succeeded in removing the smoking logs and we once again had a normal campfire.

jon loves smores

Mike and McKinley disappeared for a short while and reappeared with all the fixings for campfire s’mores. I couldn’t even begin to remember the last time I made s’mores at a campfire. It was good times watching everyone try to keep the chocolate on the skewer or keep the marshmallow from catching fire; or in Kris’s case keeping them on fire. The night continued on with bad jokes and all sorts of good riding stories.

Before parting ways to retire for the evening the group decided to break up into two large squadrons in the morning. Some decided to take Highway 89 home in the morning, opting out of a long day. The rest of us, dubbed the “long way round” squadron decided to take the full route home, with the exception of Cedar Breaks. I went to bed that night feeling great, the cabin was warm and the bed was pretty comfortable after a couple of beers.

Pushing Home

Panguitch to Salt Lake City
early morning kamper kabin

 

I awoke at 6:15, stunned at how well I slept, and at how cold it was when I started to unzip my sleeping bag. As I peeked outside, the skies had cleared, the wind was gone, and the sun was starting to peak over the Sevier Plateau to the East. In the fields adjacent to the campground, the irrigation systems had worked all night in the freezing temperatures to lay a layer of ice over the alfalfa. The inside of my rain fly was icy from frozen condensation and my riding jacket, left out over night, was coated in a fine layer of frost.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

 

panguitch

 

Seven o’clock the next morning, Dave was at our door letting us know that it was time to get up. I woke right up feeling well rested after a comfortable and warm night’s sleep. I decided that I should probably go ahead and shower seeming as I let it slide the past day. Thank goodness that seven was still early by the KOA standards as I had to fight no one for the right to a shower.

leaving panguitch

By eight o’clock I was showered, back to the cabin and prepping the bike for the big day ahead of us. First though, we had a little defrosting to do. It was quite chilly the night before and the bikes were evidence to that fact.

Dave, Jon, Matt and Early-Mike had already left the campground on their way to go gas up, while Kris patiently waited for the slow pokes. Kris, Mike and I left and went to gas up as well. With no sight of the other four we decided to go ahead and pull out. We had planned to rendezvous in Boulder for breakfast at the Hell’s Backbone Kitchen. That meant that we had a little under a 100 miles to ride before breakfast, there was no time for dilly dallying. We turned onto Highway 89 and made our way to Highway 12.

Riding back through the Red Canyon was once again beautiful and made even better with the fact that it was early and there was hardly a soul on the road besides us. As we passed the tourist information center I lost sight of Mike. I was hoping that he had just pulled over to tinker with something. Kris and I continued to ride through the Red Canyon, as we pulled away and began to near Bryce we stopped, to hopefully give Mike a chance to catch up. A few minutes later he rode on by with thumbs up. Yup, guess he decided to stop and tinker with something.

We continued onward past Ruby’s and towards Boulder. The ride that morning, as I already said was absolutely glorious. There was no traffic to speak of and I was able to set my own pace through all those funny curvy spots. Thinking that we were a little behind the “fast” boys, I was pretty astonished to look in my mirror and see Dave waving at me a little under halfway there. It seems that we passed by them at some point. Wow, first time for that to happen. They rode on by us.

Kris, Mike and I pulled into Boulder just as the other four were seated at Hell’s Backbone Kitchen. The breakfast was phenomenal! Not to mention what riding 100 miles before breakfast does to you. I ordered the egg platter and oatmeal, I was pretty hungry. And after trying the oatmeal, both Mike and Dave decided to follow suite. We all left breakfast in a mild food coma, but otherwise feeling wonderful and ready for the day.

Once we were back on the road it was time for the run back north over Boulder Mountain. The alpine section of Hwy 12 offers some grand views of the surrounding landscapes and a phenomenal road that doesn't offer too many opportunities to enjoy the views if you want to stay on it! We separated out the Long Way Round squadron a bit as we all crossed the mountain at our own pace. There were a few RVs and slow moving vehicles to get around, but traffic was light for the most part, and the road was, of course, amazing. Every road is really two roads, with each direction of travel offering often completely different riding experiences. I have to agree with Dave that the northbound trip over Boulder Mountain is far superior to the southbound trip. The more challenging and enjoyable turns are on the north side of the mountain, so heading north you have all the downhill curves that you can stand. As a big fan of down hill riding, heading north down the face of Boulder Mountain is an absolute blast!
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

 

Dave and Kris

From breakfast, we set off towards Torrey as our next stop refuel. Going up over Hell’s Backbone we encountered some real slow traffic, I didn’t find this too upsetting as I was able to enjoy some of the scenery that I missed yesterday. The Escalante Canyons are really awe inspiring; it really makes you feel somewhat small when passing over Hell’s Backbone.

As we passed through the Escalante Canyons and neared Boulder Mountain, I worried that it would be as cold as the previous day. I was delighted to find that was not the case. This was probably one of my favorite parts of the ride that weekend. Again, how could we get this lucky to have such little traffic? I didn’t know, but I was not going to ask again. Riding into the corners was absolute joy and I know that I had a permanent grin the entire way to Torrey. These were not the same corners from yesterday; this was a completely new ride! Even the smell of the canyon was wonderful, it was clean and energizing. Funny, normally I would have been sneezing!

Wondering if anyone could possibly have had as much fun as I did through there, I was glad to see that they all shared my smile when we meet in Torrey. Kris and Matt especially had a great goofy grin. I really wanted to turn around and do that again, especially when the memory of the gravel came back to me. That was not going to be so much fun.

It was a little after one o’clock when we headed towards that wonderful gravel road. With the absence to the wind, the gravel road was not as bad the second time round. Still it would have been no loss if it weren’t there. Riding past the gravel we kept going over highway 72 until we hit Ferron, another refueling station. It was nice to ride with the “fast” boys during that stretch. I realize that they weren’t going fast at this point and just riding pretty casually to avoid detection from law enforcement, but still I felt good knowing that I was keeping up.

Mike had brought a handful of bottles of Lucas Fuel Injector cleaner and this magic potion in a bottle seemed to awaken the inner fast of every bike that swilled the stuff through its intake manifolds. This resulted in probably the fastest paces we’ve ever run over highway 72. Jon stayed glued to my tail-light, with Early-Mike on his gangly dirt-bike glued to his. Matt caned his vintage CBR heroically keeping the “brisk” pace with Mike and the Franken Triple running chase. The triple was begging to be run and let its legs stretch. I think we passed two cars, but they were kinda’ blurry and went by real quick.
Dave, CanyonChaser since 1994

 

During the morning I debated on whether or not I wanted to ride Huntington Canyon on the way back. I knew that there was a lot in front of me and I knew that I could cut that part out if I decided to. At Ferron I told Kris that I was okay to ride Huntington Canyon, especially if that meant getting away from the long slow stretches that we just endured. We bundled up knowing that it would be a little cold at the top and set off once again.

Again, we didn’t see too much traffic riding up the canyon. It was nice to just follow Kris, as she set a great pace. As we neared the top though, Kris thought it would be fun to get a few u-turns in. I hadn’t quite added those to my list so it was about time. With the u-turns out of the way we headed to where all the guys were waiting. As I turned in, I went to add yet another check on my adventure sheet. My back tire hit something shiny and normally, shiny things are fun. Not so this time, my back tire spun out and all I could think of to do was keep on the throttle. And thank heavens that worked I got through it and rode up to meet everyone. Best part of that little adventure, no one saw that! The turn was behind some trees, so I was well hidden. I was a little shaken though; it was quite a feeling to have the bike feel like jello underneath me.

fixing motorcycles on the road

During the little stop, Mike and Dave decided that the tools had been hidden for long enough and those were brought out to fix Kris’s electric vest. The wiring on her cable was coming undone. With no success, Dave offered up his cable since he would not be using it. Kris and I plugged back in and we all descended towards Scofield.

Coming down the canyon caught me a little off-guard. All the twists and turns before were long and sweeping, we now encountered tighter turns. And since I am not quite done with my adventure checklist, let’s just add another one now shall we, dragging hard parts through a corner. I had the sneaking suspicion that I had tipped into the corner just a little to hot, and when I heard and felt my foot peg on the pavement, that pretty much confirmed it for me. My heart, had I not on four different layers, would probably have leapt out of my chest. Again, I kept on the throttle and rolled out of the corner. That was just a little bit scary in my opinion. At that point, I decided to slow down just a bit more before entering the corners.

Pausing at the turn off to Eccles Canyon and Scofield, we took a bathroom break, let the following group catch up and then headed on towards Scofield. After the gentle curves and sweepers of Huntington Canyon and the ridge of the Wasatch Plateau, we had to adjust for the tight never-ending hairpins of Eccles Canyon. The road down to Scofield, especially heading downhill, requires your best to get through at any speed faster than a crawl. It is easy to get caught off guard on that road, but fortunately, we were all on our game and got through with nary a scrape (except for the scraping of Crystal's footpegs in one long curve!). Riding right past the Scofield gas station this time, we headed on towards Hwy 6, then Indian Canyon and Hwy 191.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

We continued on past Scofield this time and on towards Highway 6. And here was where we found all the traffic. Everyone was returning home with their campers and their boats after Memorial Day weekend. As Kris and I flew along Highway 6, we almost failed to see Dave off to the side of the road trying to flag us down to our turn-off. We braked hard and pulled into the turning lane. I ended up a little bit past the turn and knew that I would have to pull somewhat of a u-turn. Kris made her turn and I continued to wait; the traffic was very heavy. When I thought I had a clear shot I went to turn around and instead fell over.

If I thought dragging hard parts was scary I quickly reevaluated. This was automatically scarier than that. I fell over on probably the busiest highway in Utah on Memorial weekend. Yes, scary indeed! I jumped up and thanked all my lucky stars that I was still in the turn lane and unhurt. Either sides of traffic were just continuing on as if I were not even there. Looking at my bike, I began to wonder if I could pick it up on my own, the answer, not so much. Dave ran across traffic, almost without checking, to help me. We picked the bike up and to my amusement the only damage done was the left hand turn signal. So maybe it was the turn signal’s fault, at least I’d like to believe that.

Back on the bike I waited until I had a more than clear shot across traffic, I was taking no chances. I pulled up to where Kris was waiting and parked the bike. I was pretty shaken up and had to do a little jitter dance to wind down. I bent the mirror back down and decided that it was time to go again. Nothing to do but just keep on going, besides the bike was now evenly balanced. Dave rode ahead to let the others know that everything was okay. Kris and I rode through Indian Canyon at a moderate pace, allowing my heart to slow down to match.

Jon, Mikey, Matt and I headed on down the cutoff road to the high point of this stretch of highway, Matt's Summit (no Matt, I'm not kidding...it says so on the map.) I was 3rd in line with Matt falling back a bit behind me. Slowing down to let him catch up, I watched Mikey and Jon disappear from site. When I reached the intersection at 191, they were not there, but had turned right instead of left on 191 and were a couple hundred yards down the road turning around. For Mikey, only a couple hundred yards out of the way due to a wrong turn isn't too bad! As Mikey and Jon made their way back to the intersection, Matt came along and we were on our way again on 191, now in the correct direction. I took the lead as we made our way up the few turns to the top of Preservation Ridge and into the long sweepers of Indian Canyon.
Mike, CanyonChaser since 2005

 

motorcycles gas station

We met up with the boys in Duchesne and all heard about my wonderful tip over on Highway 6. I also included the dragging hard parts part of my adventure. That last leg definitely added a few more checks on my adventure list, is there anything left? At this point in the day I was really anxious for some food, I was beginning to tire considerably and it was becoming hard to maintain an upbeat attitude. Mike decided to ride with me and let Kris ride with the “fast” boys on the way to Park City. Mike maintained a slow pace allowing me time to relax as we rode over WolfCreek Pass. A little past seven o’clock we pulled into Ruby Tuesday’s in Park City.

Wolfcreek was going to be the final canyon of the day and Kris was leaving the girl squadron to run with us for the last set of twisty tarmac. We’d ridden pretty hard all day and were here a couple hours earlier than we were last year. After hanging out at the Duchesne Sinclair Station, it was clear that the fast pace and infrequent stops were taking its toll on everyone’s energy levels. I took up the lead and put the speedometer needle on 80mph and never let it move. We ran a perfect “pace” ride all the way back to park city, only having to slow down a few times to pass lumbering four-wheeled vehicles. Sometimes its easy to forget how joyful riding The Pace can be. Only gently and gradually slowing and accelerating through the turns we rode in perfect formation, and it was delightfully fun!
Dave, CanyonChaser since 1994

I was tired, hungry and incredibly sore. I couldn’t believe how far I had ridden and everything that had happened that day. We all sat down to dinner with the exception of Matt, who had to rush home to retrieve his dog. We shared stories of the day and compared levels of soreness. And no, Ruby Tuesday’s does not serve chocolate cake croutons.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get back on the bike after eating dinner. I was truly in a food coma this time and all I wanted to do was shower and crawl into bed. Knowing though that we were closer to our goal than anyone else at the table gave me that little bit of energy I needed. Time to go I layered back up and said goodbye to everyone. Bed was my destination now. Mike and I watched everyone take off and then we followed out. Riding down the Interstate in the dark was not all so terrible now after everything that I had been through that weekend and definitely not as bad as falling over on Highway 6.

The lights of the city were the first indicator that I was close. After all the riding done over the weekend, it was nice to come home. When we pulled into the driveway and I came to a stop, I was very thrilled. I didn’t drop the bike, as tired as I was I was half expecting to fall over when we pulled in. However, I came to a graceful stop instead. I hopped off the bike, grabbed the luggage and headed towards the shower.

After standing in the shower for probably thirty minutes, I managed to drag myself across the finish line and jump into bed. It was such a wonderful feeling. I went to sleep thinking about my long adventure checklist. Let’s see, bad weather check. We had wind, rain and snow. Wheelies, check. Drop the bike, check twice. Drag hard parts, check. Back wheel spin out, check. Ride before breakfast, check. Go fast through funny curvy corners, check. Get ready for the next ride, check!

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