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Discussion Starter #341
Heading to Death Valley today for two weeks in DV and Owens Valley. This will be another Retired Ol' Farts adventure.
 

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Discussion Starter #343

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Discussion Starter #344 (Edited)
DV trip now completed: 2300 miles, 308 on dirt, 14 days and $996. Weather was quite good but we did have a bad dust storm one night. Some roads were still closed limiting our travels in the backcountry. Steel Pass and Mengell Pass were quite challenging. ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882536.419695.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882578.974968.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882619.628086.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882656.533713.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882695.503084.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882743.876172.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882766.477804.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882798.044929.jpg ImageUploadedByAutoGuide1490882868.104257.jpg
 

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No place like DV. Cheers


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Discussion Starter #347
Went to Cruise Moab last week but did not drive any trails with front drive not engaging. I did get on the Swell Overnighter and got to ride with Dan (Truegrit Cruiser) for 27 miles of rough trail and roads. Boy howdy, it's sure harder riding than driving ever was. The only other trailing I did was on my new mountain bike.
 

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Ace,
Just read your whole thread and thoroughly enjoyed all your adventures. Thank you for taking the time to share them.
Carry on!
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #349
Ace,

Just read your whole thread and thoroughly enjoyed all your adventures. Thank you for taking the time to share them.

Carry on!

Bob


Very nice of you to say so, and glad you liked my yarns. Some day I hope to publish a book.
 

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Discussion Starter #350
Looks like I've gotten way behind here again. So briefly after CM17 we did a trip with the ROF gang called "Where's the Beef?", in Beef Basin and other areas of SE Utah. For those wondering ROF is our Retired Ol' Farts group. We post mostly on Expedition Portal but also have a Facebook group but spell it Fartz there. Main requirement to join in on our adventures is age 50+.

Next up was a ROF trip south to north through New Mexico following the NMBDR. It's 1200 miles of largely dirt wandering all over the state. That was June 3-13.

Just finished FJ Summit XI and as is normal in the San Juans it rained plenty. This was the first year in the last 4 or 5 I wasn't visited by a bear, but I got beat out from my usual spot in the meadow. This year the Summit was marred by four accidents, one of which would have deadly except for some small saplings which stopped a fall. Got to go hug a tree now.

A big group of ROFs are up in Alaska since mid June and planning to stay through September. I couldn't make that trip but I'm enjoying their reports on ExPo.

If you want to read more on my recent travels check out the adventure planning and reports section of ExPo.

Ace
 

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Discussion Starter #351 (Edited)
My next trip was another ROF trip up into Wyoming to view the total eclipse southeast of Riverton. Our plan was to follow the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route from Gypsum, CO nearly to the Wyoming border. A couple from Ohio were joining me at the start but we had not gone a mile before engine trouble lights flashed on, so they went looking for help. I started north on the COBDR solo. All the roads I drove were very easy, but some would have been nasty if wet. That first night out I met a mountain biker doing the Continental Divide Route. I shared my campsite with this young man from England. He had started in Banff Provincial Park way up in Canada, but now had about 1000 miles to go to reach the Mexican border. I admired his strength and stamina but noted he was only 22 years old. The second day David and Terri rejoined me after the engine lights just quit. We continued north through some beautiful lakes country eventually reaching some low and dry sagebrush country as we moved farther into the heart of WY. We joined up with a group of mostly Denverites, had a nice evening, then to bed thinking about the next day's eclipse. Watching the total eclipse was one of those experiences I will never forget. Words just can't begin to describe this natural phenomenon. The dimming of the sun, the temperature drop of about 15*, the shadow racing by at 1700 mph, the diamond ring effect, and the full 360* "sunrise" were all part of this amazing spectacle. The remainder of the trip was anticlimactic as I continued solo in a southwesterly direction that brought me to the west shore of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Pleased to see a big Lake with what appeared to be unlimited beach camping. I will be back with some water toys. I returned home to Cedaredge, CO just in time to celebrate my birthday. I placed an order for a stand up paddleboard as my birthday present. The SUP will be in my future adventures.
 

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Discussion Starter #352
SE Utah ROFs Trip

This trip started out with a twist and a roar. The plan was to meet in Hanksville, UT on October 23 but a few days before that I learned of a gathering "On the Edge" near Fruita, CO on the 20th. Over the Edge is a bicycle shop in Fruita that was largely responsible for all the great trails surrounding town, and the famous Fruita Fat Tire Festival, which I had attended three times over the years. So when I learned they were doing shuttled rides, free food and beer, a big bonfire and camping I was in. Unfortunately draft beer has never agreed with me, but it was free and flowing, so the next day I was hurting and just stayed in camp. By Friday I had recovered enough to get in a good MTB ride in the morning and afternoon. I had planned to break camp Friday afternoon and leave before the hordes of campers descend on the North Fruita Desert's free camping area but I procrastinated. All night long they poured in and by morning I was surrounded by screaming kids, loud engines, even louder music and general mayhem. The wind began to pickup causing all sorts of problems for the tent campers and by 11 it was roaring. With some effort I got my camp down and headed to the rendezvous point. No one had signed up for the trip so it was no surprise that the meeting point was void of other ROFs. I continued south on Hwy 95 until the sun was sinking towards the western skyline, then pulled off on a dirt road looking for a boondock campsite. It's becoming far too common to see signs saying "Camp in Designated Sites Only" as was seen here, but with cattle everywhere I decided to ignore the damn sign. If the cows can camp here so can I. Found a nice spot in some rocks and had just settled down with a beer when I noticed a single dust trail moving across the meadow in front of me. My first thought was it's the local rancher coming to tell me I can't camp there, but after watching more closely, I see the the horse and rider are moving out and concluded the cowboy had settled his herd for the night and was riding home.

Sunday morning had me continuing south to Bullfrog Marina area where I hoped to get in some water time on my new stand-up paddleboard, or SUP. Just about everything was closed for the season, including the two primitive campgrounds I had hoped to camp in. Frustrated I reversed course and took the dirt Stratom Road north towards Boulder. Once out of the GCNRA I passed several promising boondock camp sites and just before entering another restricted camping area of Capitol Reef, I found a good camp at the turnoff to Halls Creek Overlook. But first I drove up to the overlook to take in the beauty of this pleasant valley far below. Returning to the camp I found it was well used but very clean so I settled in. I had had a bad cough for several days so the next day I decided to stay on and rest at this pleasant and quiet site. I took a bike ride up the valley and found a couple of very private camp sites as well as a good sized dam that had been breached years ago. I also spent some time sighting in my .22 pistol. I had mounted a handgun scope on it because my eyes no longer can see open sights well enough.

Feeling better now, I continued north on Notom Road, then after several miles turned left to ascend the famous Burr Trail switchbacks. At the top I aired down forgetting that shortly I would be on new pavement all the way to Boulder. But the drive through Long Canyon is beautiful, and particularly so now with the cottonwoods showing off their coats of brilliant gold. I stopped to fix a sandwich for lunch, forgetting that I've always wanted to try the cafe in Boulder. Ok, so now it will be the next time.

I stopped for some supplies in Escalante and got a road conditions report at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument visitors center there. Spent the night at the state park just west of town because on previous trips through there I could not find any descent open camping.

The next day I made a mental note that there really were some good spots on Hwy 12 on the way to Henryville. Entering GSENM a ways south of Cannonville I soon passed by a sign that indicated Cottonwood Road to the right. I made a u-turn and started down this road but had a feeling this was wrong and a check of the map confirmed it was indeed the wrong road. So back on the main road and down past Kodachrome Basin State Park where I found the real Cottonwood Road. That sign had mislead me a few years ago and I should have remembered it sooner. Cottonwood Road was recently graded and in the best condition I have ever seen it. Maybe that was the reason I found two motorhomes on it but they were good about letting me pass. I made good time down to Highway 89 and headed east. Just across the Arizona border there is a small convenience store that sells real beer and just about everything else. So I stocked up and returned to Lone Rock beach in the GCNRA. The beach was moderately crowded with campers for a Wednesday, but I continued south past some soft sand areas where the RVs can't go, and had a pretty great spot right on the waters edge. Before setting up I learned there was going to be an HBO crew there on Friday and Saturday filming a segment for West World. I assured the "beachmaster" I would be gone by Friday afternoon, then got busy setting up my SUP for an evening paddle. The air and water were warm and the lake was flat calm making for a very enjoyable sunset cruise. The next day I did a longer morning paddle down past all the beach campers, thinking I was glad to not be in the middle of that crowd. But it's fun to watch from a distance, doing what my late father called "snoop cruising". I was surprised to find my GPS said I had done 4.2 miles round trip. Between paddles I spent the whole day on the beach in shorts and barefoot. Had a nice beachfire that evening and shared it with Ed the beach master. Actually he was the front man for HBO who was trying to keep people out of the area for filming. He was an interesting guy who had homesteaded in Alaska with his family and had grown up there. His stories about wood gathering, running winter trap lines, and learning to stay away from his mother's abusive boyfriend were all fascinating.

The next morning I did a few more brief paddles and even got Ed up on the board. I was slow packing up but had to make way for the film crew. While stopped at the same convenience store a guy approached me and offered me $150 if I would stay and help with security for HBO. I declined wanting to get to solitude and one of the best places nearby is Alstrom Point, where I was headed next. I drove out to the same great spot I found last year, right on the edge of a big drop and with astounding views of Lake Powell far below. Not long after setting up my camp the wind began to rattle the trailer and by 8:00 was really giving it the shakes. Guesstimated the wind a steady 40 mph with gusts to 60. I chuckled to myself as I pictured all the beach campers struggling with tents, awnings, camp chairs, etc. The film crew would be hurting too.

The next day was calm which I'm sure was welcomed by the film crew. I broke camp early and headed out to Croton Road. I saw one low clearance SUV on the way in and told her the area was empty. Turns out she was the only moving vehicle I saw all day after 57 miles and 7 hours of driving. I drove Croton just last year and didn't remember it being quite so difficult. There were many climbs on steep, rough and narrow ledge roads and a few moderate wash outs. I guess because I was solo this time I was more cautious of the road conditions. Soon I came to Left Hand Collet Road and turned east, not left, but right. LHC is probably the most challenging road in all of GSENM but it had flooded recently and that was followed by a rough regrading. A few ledges and tight spots will get your attention. Soon I broke out of the canyon at 20 Mile Wash Dino Tracks site and camped close by in a very cosy cul-de-sac.

The next morning was a Sunday so Hole-in-the-Rock Road was choked with tourists heading south. That road is pretty washboarded and I wondered how many of the compact cars I saw would give up and return to the pavement long before seeing HIR. Learned after getting home that Martin, from the Desert Expedition trips, passed by me headed south. Upon arriving at Hwy 12 I aired up and headed towards home. While driving the fairly long section from Torey to Hanksville I was amazed to see the road was nearly deserted, even going through usually very busy Capitol Reef NP. Hard to understand on a beautiful fall day with peak colors everywhere. That last night I camped on a quiet side road not far from I-70.

Morning found me driving home through Grand Junction and on to my home in Cedaredge. Always good to return home but at the same time I was missing the freedom of the open road.

Some trip stats: 736 miles, 215 on dirt and 13 days. Costs: fuel $249, food & drink $167, misc $50.

Photos added later when I have a better signal.

Ace
 

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Discussion Starter #353
SE Utah ROFs Trip

This trip started out with a twist and a roar. The plan was to meet in Hanksville, UT on October 23 but a few days before that I learned of a gathering "On the Edge" near Fruita, CO on the 20th. Over the Edge is a bicycle shop in Fruita that was largely responsible for all the great trails surrounding town, and the famous Fruita Fat Tire Festival, which I had attended three times over the years. So when I learned they were doing shuttled rides, free food and beer, a big bonfire and camping I was in. Unfortunately draft beer has never agreed with me, but it was free and flowing, so the next day I was hurting and just stayed in camp. By Friday I had recovered enough to get in a good MTB ride in the morning and afternoon. I had planned to break camp Friday afternoon and leave before the hordes of campers descend on the North Fruita Desert's free camping area but I procrastinated. All night long they poured in and by morning I was surrounded by screaming kids, loud engines, even louder music and general mayhem. The wind began to pickup causing all sorts of problems for the tent campers and by 11 it was roaring. With some effort I got my camp down and headed to the rendezvous point. No one had signed up for the trip so it was no surprise that the meeting point was void of other ROFs. I continued south on Hwy 95 until the sun was sinking towards the western skyline, then pulled off on a dirt road looking for a boondock campsite. It's becoming far too common to see signs saying "Camp in Designated Sites Only" as was seen here, but with cattle everywhere I decided to ignore the damn sign. If the cows can camp here so can I. Found a nice spot in some rocks and had just settled down with a beer when I noticed a single dust trail moving across the meadow in front of me. My first thought was it's the local rancher coming to tell me I can't camp there, but after watching more closely, I see the the horse and rider are moving out and concluded the cowboy had settled his herd for the night and was riding home.

Sunday morning had me continuing south to Bullfrog Marina area where I hoped to get in some water time on my new stand-up paddleboard, or SUP. Just about everything was closed for the season, including the two primitive campgrounds I had hoped to camp in. Frustrated I reversed course and took the dirt Stratom Road north towards Boulder. Once out of the GCNRA I passed several promising boondock camp sites and just before entering another restricted camping area of Capitol Reef, I found a good camp at the turnoff to Halls Creek Overlook. But first I drove up to the overlook to take in the beauty of this pleasant valley far below. Returning to the camp I found it was well used but very clean so I settled in. I had had a bad cough for several days so the next day I decided to stay on and rest at this pleasant and quiet site. I took a bike ride up the valley and found a couple of very private camp sites as well as a good sized dam that had been breached years ago. I also spent some time sighting in my .22 pistol. I had mounted a handgun scope on it because my eyes no longer can see open sights well enough.

Feeling better now, I continued north on Notom Road, then after several miles turned left to ascend the famous Burr Trail switchbacks. At the top I aired down forgetting that shortly I would be on new pavement all the way to Boulder. But the drive through Long Canyon is beautiful, and particularly so now with the cottonwoods showing off their coats of brilliant gold. I stopped to fix a sandwich for lunch, forgetting that I've always wanted to try the cafe in Boulder. Ok, so now it will be the next time.

I stopped for some supplies in Escalante and got a road conditions report at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument visitors center there. Spent the night at the state park just west of town because on previous trips through there I could not find any descent open camping.

The next day I made a mental note that there really were some good spots on Hwy 12 on the way to Henryville. Entering GSENM a ways south of Cannonville I soon passed by a sign that indicated Cottonwood Road to the right. I made a u-turn and started down this road but had a feeling this was wrong and a check of the map confirmed it was indeed the wrong road. So back on the main road and down past Kodachrome Basin State Park where I found the real Cottonwood Road. That sign had mislead me a few years ago and I should have remembered it sooner. Cottonwood Road was recently graded and in the best condition I have ever seen it. Maybe that was the reason I found two motorhomes on it but they were good about letting me pass. I made good time down to Highway 89 and headed east. Just across the Arizona border there is a small convenience store that sells real beer and just about everything else. So I stocked up and returned to Lone Rock beach in the GCNRA. The beach was moderately crowded with campers for a Wednesday, but I continued south past some soft sand areas where the RVs can't go, and had a pretty great spot right on the waters edge. Before setting up I learned there was going to be an HBO crew there on Friday and Saturday filming a segment for West World. I assured the "beachmaster" I would be gone by Friday afternoon, then got busy setting up my SUP for an evening paddle. The air and water were warm and the lake was flat calm making for a very enjoyable sunset cruise. The next day I did a longer morning paddle down past all the beach campers, thinking I was glad to not be in the middle of that crowd. But it's fun to watch from a distance, doing what my late father called "snoop cruising". I was surprised to find my GPS said I had done 4.2 miles round trip. Between paddles I spent the whole day on the beach in shorts and barefoot. Had a nice beachfire that evening and shared it with Ed the beach master. Actually he was the front man for HBO who was trying to keep people out of the area for filming. He was an interesting guy who had homesteaded in Alaska with his family and had grown up there. His stories about wood gathering, running winter trap lines, and learning to stay away from his mother's abusive boyfriend were all fascinating.

The next morning I did a few more brief paddles and even got Ed up on the board. I was slow packing up but had to make way for the film crew. While stopped at the same convenience store a guy approached me and offered me $150 if I would stay and help with security for HBO. I declined wanting to get to solitude and one of the best places nearby is Alstrom Point, where I was headed next. I drove out to the same great spot I found last year, right on the edge of a big drop and with astounding views of Lake Powell far below. Not long after setting up my camp the wind began to rattle the trailer and by 8:00 was really giving it the shakes. Guesstimated the wind a steady 40 mph with gusts to 60. I chuckled to myself as I pictured all the beach campers struggling with tents, awnings, camp chairs, etc. The film crew would be hurting too.

The next day was calm which I'm sure was welcomed by the film crew. I broke camp early and headed out to Croton Road. I saw one low clearance SUV on the way in and told her the area was empty. Turns out she was the only moving vehicle I saw all day after 57 miles and 7 hours of driving. I drove Croton just last year and didn't remember it being quite so difficult. There were many climbs on steep, rough and narrow ledge roads and a few moderate wash outs. I guess because I was solo this time I was more cautious of the road conditions. Soon I came to Left Hand Collet Road and turned east, not left, but right. LHC is probably the most challenging road in all of GSENM but it had flooded recently and that was followed by a rough regrading. A few ledges and tight spots will get your attention. Soon I broke out of the canyon at 20 Mile Wash Dino Tracks site and camped close by in a very cosy cul-de-sac.

The next morning was a Sunday so Hole-in-the-Rock Road was choked with tourists heading south. That road is pretty washboarded and I wondered how many of the compact cars I saw would give up and return to the pavement long before seeing HIR. Learned after getting home that Martin, from the Desert Expedition trips, passed by me headed south. Upon arriving at Hwy 12 I aired up and headed towards home. While driving the fairly long section from Torey to Hanksville I was amazed to see the road was nearly deserted, even going through usually very busy Capitol Reef NP. Hard to understand on a beautiful fall day with peak colors everywhere. That last night I camped on a quiet side road not far from I-70.

Morning found me driving home through Grand Junction and on to my home in Cedaredge. Always good to return home but at the same time I was missing the freedom of the open road.

Some trip stats: 736 miles, 215 on dirt and 13 days. Costs: fuel $249, food & drink $167, misc $50.

Photos added later when I have a better signal.

Ace


Some of the promised photos about five months late. Just forgot.



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