Well, we're back from the big Utah adventure of 2004. Four of us made the trek, Mark Castro, Nick Wilcoxson, Jeff Bauer and myself. Mark was the only one who was still in dual-sport mode, since he's barely touched his DR650 since the last Mexico trip. Jeff has the famous "KLR doo-hickey" problem and had three weeks to totally dissassemble his engine (yes, split the case) and remove the broken pieces. Nick had to remove the lowering kit off his wife's Funduro. I didn't have a suitable bike. I like Mike Willey's Ducati Elefant 900 and started searching for something like that. I found an older 650 Elefant in Vegas, I like the fact that it had a 21" ft wheel and new nobbies. Nobbies rule. I bought it sight unseen, we loaded the other three and off to Vegas we went. I'd like to tell you more, but, well, what happens in Vegas ....
OK, nothing happened in Vegas. We picked up the Baby Elefant and chased some Kawasaki parts around so Jeff could finish his rebuild in camp. We headed up to Kolab reservoir, on the back side of Zion. I had spotted this place before, when Jay and I dual-sported our 800 lb. BMW K1200LT's - really. I have the pictures to prove it Click here. This trip was going to be a breeze compared to that. Long story short - We spent the next 8 days and 7 nights camping - primitively until we needed a shower and then we'd hit a commercial CG. In seven nights we spent half of what we spent for one nights hotel in vegas, being Labor day weekend and all. We rode some dirt around Zion, skipped Bryce, did the Onion Creek and White Rim at Moab and rode pretty much twisties back as far as Denver. Then we ran out of time. White Rim was the bext. I though the elefant would be a little more challenging than the rest but it turned out to be the fastest in the dirt. It went up Murphies hog-back so easy I went back down and did it again in second gear. Nick's funduro was the most somfortable on the street, though it does vibrate a little. 'Fant is smoother. I rode the F650 over Monarch pass and it was great. It really likes to corner and has plenty of power, even at 11,000 feet. Maybe a newer F650 GS Dakar is in my furture, basically nicks bike, fuel injected, 21" front wheel and a lot of other cool stuff.
Though the biking was great, the primitive camping was my favorite part of the trip. We stayed at places like this most nights, occasionally hitting a more civilized campground when we needed showers.
We did a little warm-up trip on "Onion Creek" road, then up over Prospector Pass.
Best ride was "the White Rim trail", 80 miles of stuff like this.
And arches like this.
Sorry, these are kinda big:
Left to Right: Mark, George, Nick, Jeff
Nick and his wife's F650
Mark and his DR650
Jeff and the recently rebuilt KLR
Me and the Baby Elefant