We had been preparing for this trip since the end of last years adventure. Knowing that the western section covered some more challenging terrain, we both chose lighter bikes for this ride. It isn’t that it couldn’t be done on a heavier bike, there are a lot of people who have succeeded on them. For me, it is more about the fun factor. Packing light on a lightweight bike means better handling and more fun through the rough bits. The bigger bikes are more comfy on the road for sure, but we had very little pavement ahead of us.
Ready for takeoff
So, the driving begins. We kept the sun in the mirror in the morning to be sure we were on the right track.
We passed some of the time buying new apps for Todd’s ipad.
And kept an eye out back to be sure our cargo was riding safely.
In what seemed like only 7 or 8 weeks of driving, we were halfway there. Another few hours and we arrived in Green River. Todd documented the arrival.
We discussed on the way out that while safety wasn’t exactly first (it is no more than third), we needed to focus on staying in one piece in order to accomplish our goal. We were both a little apprehensive due to the remoteness of the terrain we would be riding and the risks that we would be exposed to. We are both late summer or early fall chickens at best so it was something to keep in mind. We didn’t have Mark along this year to carry our luggage either. Sure wish we could have changed that part.
The butterflies were chased away the next morning though with an ample application of throttle as we began rolling west. The weather was absolutely stunning as was the scenery, even though we had seen some of it before. Man I love Utah! A short bit of tarmac to get us to the TAT.
Then we start reeling in that ridge.
Big T is stoked!
The terrain gets more interesting quickly as we get closer to the Black Dragon cut off and the first of a few thousand gates.
We were here last year and did not take as many pics this time. The place just knocks me out though. How lucky are we that this place exists and we can ride through it!
One more. Did I mention I love Utah?
Perhaps more than one more.
Soon we are out of the wash. This part of the trail is never too far from I70.
We passed a sign for Dutchman’s Arch, but we didn’t make it there. Our next point of interest is the Swasey Cabin. The view is amazing, but the living conditions here 100 years ago must have been intense to say the least. I’m guessing they even had to do without wifi and starbucks! Boggles the mind!
Right after the cabin we start our descent in to Eagle Canyon. It is a little steep in places, loose, rocky and sandy. I like it like that! We cross under I70 a time or two. With so much visual temptation it is hard to keep our eyes on the trail.
Like much of the area we were on this day, the road is more dry riverbed than actual road. Who would have thought there would be rocks and sand out here? We were shocked!
I think it would be great to do a little camping out here.
There will probably be an arch here some day.
We headed toward Cat Canyon and some deep sand took a lot of energy out of both of us. I could not get the bike on top of it. It was about 90 degrees and we both hammered first gear hard to get through it. By the time I was out, I was spewing a little coolant from the radiator, but only lost a couple of tablespoons.
The terrain changed again and again as we moved westward, but the sky remained bright blue streaked with a cloud or two here and there.
Soon we were surrounded by large volcanic boulders that were deposited here a very long time ago. They sure looked out of place.
I started to notice that the shadows were getting a little long, and wondered how much further we had to go. You don’t want it to stop, but being out here after dark with a dirt bike headlight is not where you want to be.
As the sun started down, things got cool pretty quickly. We rode in to Salina UT for gas, then headed a few more miles in to Richland for the night, both of us excited but exhausted. Time for a cold one and some dinner.
A couple of weeks before the trip I met 3 fellows from New Zealand who had shipped their bikes in to California and ridden them to Tennessee to start the TAT. They came to a friends shop near me (dualsporttouring.com) to mount fresh tires before starting the trail. I texted them from Black Dragon Canyon (yes there is cell service there) to see how far they had gotten. Turns out they were about an hour behind us that day. We ended up staying in different places that night, but thought we might run in to each other at some point along the way to Oregon. Turns out we were right… More later.