In Search of Single Track Roads
11-04-2011, 06:19 PM (This post was last modified: 11-05-2011 04:35 PM by teckla.)
RE: In Search of Single Track Roads
OK - This is the third time I have sat down to reply to this post... The electrons and myself are not getting along. In the last four weeks I have gone from the Shallow Great Lake (SGL) to Alaska and back, then to Las Vegas and back to the SGL, then to NYC and back to the SGL, and then to Uganda and back, via Dubai and a very large Airbus A380. BUT! I managed to squeeze in over 600 miles on a Victory Vision in the mountains of Utah.
While in Vegas, I rented the Vision (It should not take 90 minutes to rent a bike with a prior reservation) and headed north to Cedar City, Utah to pick up my 17yo son for 24 hours of exploring. We had planned to cruise of RT-14 into the mountains east of Cedar City, then down toward Zion and back up to Cedar City. A great plan.... except my flight was late to LAS and it did take a few minutes to rent the bike. Also, while standing in line the owner of the cabin that I had rented for the evening in the "Mountains East of Cedar City" called to ask if I knew about the "Landslide". Nope, been living on an airplane for hours. Apparently, the earth needed to shift its weight and it wiped out over 1,700' of Route 14 that morning.
The cabin proprietor explained that we would need to go an extra 100 miles out of our way by heading North to RT-20, then East on 20 and south on RT-89, then back west on RT-14. Well, I was here to ride, so what was another 100 miles. Heading out of Vegas 3 hours late, feeling disappointed because I had planned some exploring north and south of RT-14 before checking into a cabin in Duck Creek Village. Arriving at Cedar City at 1600 and a balmy 50 deg F, I grabbed my son and we continued North on I-15. It was just good be next to him and sharing a love of riding. I was hoping that he would catch the bug. I am a new rider this summer and had logged 3,000+ miles on my wife's Kawasaki 500 and a rented Harley Heritage Soft tail. This was another opportunity to try a different bike in search of my own ride. Escaping I-15 onto rural Rt-20 eastbound felt like freedom; the now 45 deg F air more like an iron curtain. RT-20 surprised me with some compound curves that I wanted to ride more aggressively, but the drizzle, temperature, and my experience level rolled my hand back and we coasted through them comfortably. I do want to go back to that road on a dry day.
Rt-89 southbound was scenic but crowded. All the traffic ended when we turned westbound on RT-14 (couldn't have anything to do with the other end of the road being wiped out by a landslide....). On the climb up smooth windy road we saw, elk, wild turkeys, and deer. Heading west into the setting sun was surreal; needing a soundtrack. We arrived at our cabin and watched the sun continue to set. Quiet and 37 degrees.
So will a rental Victory Vision start covered in morning frost; yes, but I think it used 99% of all the battery. The bike had 66,000 hard rental miles, so I wasn't completely trustworthy of its reliability.
The ride back east and down the mountain at 32 deg was one of caution and amazement. A ride through blue sky, fog, cloud tops, overcast and mist, with an eye prepared for black ice still was a great way to start the morning. Returning to RT-89 southbound and headed toward Kanab, UT, we cheered each degree warmer. Just north of Kanab, there are amazing indian caves that are natural and carved by the wind. Returning north toward the Eastern entrance of Zion National Park, we stopped at a large diner for lunch. I wonder if anybody can explain what they mean by this menu item. Not sure we want to meet the baker....
Zion is amazing, but I will leave that for others to explain. The real reason I am posting is what we found after we exited the west entrance of Zion (now a balmy 70 degrees - - - much better). Riding toward St. George and kept eyeing the ridge line to the south. I would love to go exploring in that direction. Just west of Virgin, UT (you explain) I spotted a small road heading south on the GPS. Turning south on Sheep Bridge road seemed like the best choice, but quickly the road turned to sand and ruts and even with my limited riding experience, I knew this was not Victory Vision territory. Carefully turning around and headed back north toward RT - 9. I noticed as I stopped at the intersection that the Sheep Bridge road continued North as 1250W and was paved. Interestingly, on the GPS it lead to an area labeled "USAF Test Grounds." I couldn't resist. My previous encounters with the USAF were energizing at best (I REALLY was taking pictures of flowers), so we headed North. The road is single lane, paved and winds up the ridge line. Blind corners and fantastic views. This was the highlight of the ride.
View to the SE
At the top of the road I found a sign that says "USAF... blah blah blah... enforcement... blah blah blah.... full extent of the law... blah blah blah..." and not seeing any flowers, I figured it was prudent to turn around and head back down the mountain. There was a T in the road by the entrance but the road was dirt and sand (not Victory Vision material). Later I looked at the area on Google Earth. The road back to the east here looks fantastic and stays out of government property. It is labeled Mesa Rd. The USAF facility looks like an acceleration sled.
1250W is well worth the short detour for the view. It is only about 30 minutes east of St. George, UT. Dropping my son in Cedar City, and headed back to Vegas. A short detour through the Valley of Fire at sunset and I reluctantly returned to the real world at my hotel.
Valley of Fire
Oh, the Victory Vision; I have no desire to get one. I found it weak in torque, disconnected from the road and while very comfortable on the highway, not a great bike for exploring. This afternoon I had the opportunity to demo a BMW K1600 GTL..... I think I am in love.
5 or 500 knots, they're both fun
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RE: In Search of Single Track Roads - teckla - 11-04-2011 06:19 PM
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