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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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Southern Utah Tour via Versys & V Star

My wife and I have been planning a multi day motorcycle trip for several months now. Originally we were going to the Pacific Northwet to see our son, but he moved back down to Cedar City, UT, so we went to plan B. As noted in a previous thread "Southern Utah Ride" we've lived here (St. George, UT area) for almost 20 years, but have never visited Bryce Canyon, or Capitol Reef National parks, so this was our goal. From reading other posts, we knew this would be a fun and scenic ride.

The June weather around these parts could be described as unusual in that we are getting daily T storm activity, and the daily temps are 10 - 15º F below normal. This type of weather is common in July, August, and through mid September. Usually, June is about the driest month of the year, but not in 2009!

So, we packed the rain gear, and warm clothes, and loaded up! Here we are about to depart:

Our destination was Cedar Breaks National Monument. We traveled north on SR 18 from our house, to SR 56 east to Cedar City, they up SR 14 to SR 148 and Cedar Breaks. This monument is around 10,500 ft. ASL. Upon arrival it was cold, with T storms threatening, so we took some pics!!



Here's my wife, Linda in her neon yellow Olympia coat, can you see her?



Many of the tourists were commenting how cold it was, but the visitor center was nice with a wood fire going in the stove. We enjoyed the displays, and Linda bought a Cedar Breaks pin, and we headed down the road to Panguitch via SR 143.
We stopped at Panguitch Lake, and had lunch, it's considerably warmer down here, maybe in the 60's.



Due to threatening storms we decided to call it a day at about 3:00 PM, and stayed in the Color Country motel in Panguitch, very clean and advertised as "biker friendly".



After a nice night's rest, it's off to Bryce Canyon via Hwy 89, and the famous SR 12, which is a National Scenic Byway, and recently designated as an All American Road, for the outstanding scenery. Take my word for it, these designations are well deserved! We stopped in Red Canyon for a photo op.





Then it's off to Bryce Canyon National Park, it's cold and wet up here too, but the scenery is staggering!







Near Yovimpa point there was a bear warning sign, we didn't see any, but we did see antelope, prairie dogs and marmots.



We wanted to spend more time here, but the rain storms were threatening, and indeed it did start to rain on us! We put the rain proof (we hoped) liners in, and headed toward Escalante, UT via SR 12.

Our goal was to stop at Kodachrome Basin State Park, and at Escalante State Park, but the rain precluded that, we ended up at the Circle D Motel in Escalante, again a very clean, nice room!!




Later today or tomorrow I'll post more on the next two day ride to Capitol Reef, via Boulder, UT, and Boulder Mountain. This is spectacular country!!

regards, Bob

Last edited by RPrice; 06-13-2009 at 11:28 AM.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 11:35 AM
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nice ride report! Very nice country!
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-13-2009, 01:16 PM
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Nice pics! Love to see that part of the world!



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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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The Rest of the Trip!

OK, here's the rest of the trip: Early Wednesday morning, we awoke to very threatening skies, and the promise of more rain. We ate a very nice breakfast at the Prospector Inn in Escalante, and headed to the gas station. It was about 8:30 AM, and as soon as we fueled up, it started to rain.........Hard. We headed out, and soon the rain subsided, but we hit more, on and off, the rest of the day. Our destination was Torrey, UT via Boulder, UT on SR 12. A few miles out of Escalante we encountered some of the neatest slick rock country I've ever seen!

We stopped at this overlook:


And took a few pics, that's the Boulder Mountain in the distance with the big storm over it, we'd be headed over that later in the day:







Then we descended into a labyrinth of canyons and curvy roads that was amazing:









The stretch of twisties through this stretch was awesome, but one had to be very cautiousl as the highway crews had done a lot of "cold patching" of the asphalt which resulted in gravel patches everywhere. This coupled with the rain necessitated slow travel, which was fine as the scenery was good! I assume the highway department will sweep the gravel off this road soon.

We then came into Boulder, UT which was incredibly scenic, and although I should have taken pics of the town and it's surroundings, I didn't! Boulder was isolated due to the topography, and mules delivered mail until the early 1940's, and electricity was not available until 1948. We did stop at the Anasazi State Park Visitor Center, which recounted the history of Indian tribes in this area, and took the self guided tour of the ruins excavated here. This is definitely a place to stop if you visit this area.



A pit house:



It rained again while we were in the Visitor Center, and we figured we'd better head north over the Boulder Mountain. This part of the trip involved climbing up to over 9k ft ASL, and the road was very good, lots of sweeping curves, beautiful conifer, aspen, meadow, and oak habitats with great views. We stopped at this overlook.



I took this pic, those are the Henry Mountains in the background.



Unfortunately, we didn't take many pics on this stretch, as again the wind picked up and here comes another big storm! We descended into Torrey, UT and got a room at the Sandstone Inn, the wind was really howling now, and this huge flag on the biggest flagpole I've ever seen illustrates the wind velocity.



Here's a pic looking back south from the hotel of the storm descending on the area we just rode through.



Torrey sits at an elevation of about 6900 feet ASL, and due to the cold weather we actually had to turn the heater on in the room. Unusual for this time of year. After a relaxing afternoon, and a good night we started out for Capitol Reef, which is just a few miles east of Torrey on SR 24. This was the best morning of riding on the whole trip, no wind, partly sunny skies, twisty roads, and great views!





We stopped by the visitor center, bought another pin, and took the scenic 10 mile tour starting here, I'm scratching my head trying to decide if I should pay the fee to ride down the road, we did, and it was worth it:



and ending here:





We drove through the townsite of Fruita, avoiding the tame deer along the road, but will save the walking tour for another trip. We then drove back out to SR 24 and headed east toward Hanksville to the eastern border of the park, very nice ride. Then we headed back to Torrey, then west to Bicknell, and Loa, intending to do a loop around Fish Lake, but the T Storms returned. We put on our rain gear again, and headed east on SR 24, then south down SR 62 to Otter Creek Reservoir. This was an exciting part of the trip as the wind was really howling, and it was raining. We decided to head south down through Antimony on county road 16. This was very scenic, but due to the condition of the pavement, etc.. we kept expecting the road to turn to gravel. It didn't, and we avoided the storms by taking this very scenic road.

Anyway, we ended up back in Panguitch, and stayed over, it was 38º F when we left! We retraced our steps in the morning back over to Cedar City, and finally home. This was the one day it didn't rain!!

This was my wife's first road trip via motorcycle, and obviously it wasn't an "iron butt" ride. We took it easy, stopped at most of the roadside attractions, and had a very enjoyable time!! We're already planning the next one, to eastern UT, western CO, stopping at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

Both bikes performed flawlessly. I was especially thankful for my Vario Screen modification, which I learned about on the Versys UK forum. This really made the bike a better tourer, much reduced wind noise and bug count! The Givi luggage worked great, the KTM handguards helped repel the wind and rain, the Corbin seat was comfy, and Speedy's peg lowering kit certainly reduced knee strain!

regards, Bob

Last edited by RPrice; 06-14-2009 at 11:22 AM.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-14-2009, 02:24 PM
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-25-2009, 08:13 PM
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Just saw the pics from your Southern Utah Ride. We live up here in Salt Lake City. I got my Versys last year and my husband has a V-Strom. We are looking forward to getting down South next Fall ( I am still a pretty green rider so I am getting practice on the twisties in the Wasatch for now) It was great to read about your ride. You referenced a Vario Screen modification, can you tell me a bit more about that? I am a bit tired of getting buffeted around on the freeway.
Cheers!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-26-2009, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by judeslc View Post
Just saw the pics from your Southern Utah Ride. We live up here in Salt Lake City. I got my Versys last year and my husband has a V-Strom. We are looking forward to getting down South next Fall ( I am still a pretty green rider so I am getting practice on the twisties in the Wasatch for now) It was great to read about your ride. You referenced a Vario Screen modification, can you tell me a bit more about that? I am a bit tired of getting buffeted around on the freeway.
Cheers!
Judesic,
The vario screen modification involves removing the "lip" (small spoiler) on the Kawasaki MRA Vario Screen and replacing it with the stock Versys windscreen. Here are some pics of my bike with the modification:







I too, grew weary of the insufficient protection offered by the MRA Vario Screen at highway speeds and read about this modification on the Versys UK forum, however there's some posts on this forum too, about this "project".

Of all the mods I've done to my bike, this is the single best one! Traveling at high speeds is much more comfortable now!! The adjustability allows one to adapt to different speeds/conditions. Also, I've tested this for over 1,500 miles now, at speeds up to 98 mph, extended cruising at 75 - 85 mph, and some rough roads and so far, it's working great.

If you decide to do this modification PM me first, and I'll go into more detail on how to go about the process, to avoid some problems that could occur.

regards, Bob
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-27-2009, 01:16 PM
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Hey Bob, thanks so much for the pics! It's good to hear how much of a difference this modification makes. I will show it to the husband ( the true gearhead in the family) and hopefully we can work on this.
Ride Safe.
Cheers-
Jude
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 09:00 AM
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hey Bob are those bark buster hand guards?
How are they serving you?
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 10:19 AM
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yep, stunning area. Meeting In Vegas in May so we took oppurtunity to see monument valley, ended up in Zion Valley in the log cabins, really beautiful place. Better than the Crand canyon. Angels landing hike is stunning, sheer drop if you make one mistake al the way up.

Elswhere 10,000 ft up and snow everywhere? not cold though.Think did that scenic 89 etc by chance on way back from Bryce.

Apart from numb butt after just 50 miles on a Harley (never again) great trip. really recommend.

(Have a vid if anyone interesed.)











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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-09-2010, 03:37 PM
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I bet those rent a Harley's are lame!

My Album:
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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hey Bob are those bark buster hand guards?
How are they serving you?
FLA - V,
They are KTM Enduro Handguards, the installation thereof is covered elsewhere in the forum. They seem very sturdy (although I haven't tipped the bike over yet in 13k miles to really test them, knock on wood), and do a good job of keeping cold wind, bugs, and rocks away from my hands.

regards, Bob
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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133 bhp,
Those are fantastic pics!!! We really love the area you describe, and luck would have it that we live right in S. UT. We too are planning another trip in May or June. Maybe we'll see you on the road! I would like to see the vid, if you could send a link.

Snows a bit deep, and it's a little cold in much of this country right now, but the low elevation stuff will be warming up soon.

regards, Bob
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 11:29 AM
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133 bhp,
Those are fantastic pics!!! We really love the area you describe, and luck would have it that we live right in S. UT. We too are planning another trip in May or June. Maybe we'll see you on the road! I would like to see the vid, if you could send a link.

Snows a bit deep, and it's a little cold in much of this country right now, but the low elevation stuff will be warming up soon.
Yes, sorry about that , didnt mean to hijack but carried away great memories etc!

Funny thing is, am back in Vegas weekend of 15th may, however might fly up to rockies/vancouver after. if not?, will try and hook up (wont be on a Harley though! ) those Tar snakes and skinny front wheel makes for entertainment!

I;ll pm a link, prob seen all before anyway.

Cheers
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, sorry about that , didnt mean to hijack but carried away great memories etc!

Funny thing is, am back in Vegas weekend of 15th may, however might fly up to rockies/vancouver after. if not?, will try and hook up (wont be on a Harley though! ) those Tar snakes and skinny front wheel makes for entertainment!

I;ll pm a link, prob seen all before anyway.

Cheers
Gotta love those tar snakes, we've got lots of them around this country! If it's not "the snakes", it's the chip seal projects!!

regards, Bob
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2010, 04:44 PM
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I missed this before so thanks for bumping the thread , some great photos , such a stunning landscape down there . You should cross post this in the Western Rally thread , give people an idea what they will be missing if they don't go the meet up . Tell your wife she should wear brighter gear , I could hardly see her in the pictures ..... .

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