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Old 10-08-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
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SMB Tour of the Southwest

We recently returned from a little tour of the southwest. We headed out kinda late and decided to overnight in one of the casino parking lots at the CA / NV Stateline. Up the next morning to check out INTERBIKE, an international bicycle show in Las Vegas. After I did that and my wife did a little shopping, we headed up to Cedar City, UT where we overnighted in the parking lot of a big superstore that is open 24hrs.

Now the fun began as we were heading east out of Cedar City up the 14 toward Cedar Breaks National Monument. Cedar Breaks wasn’t on in our itinerary but it will be on another road trip. We stopped at Navajo Lake and rode (mountain bikes) the lake loop trail through some great single track and some glorious aspens that were “going off”! Sorry that I don’t have any pics of those trees to post but take my word, it was spectacular.

From the UT 14, we headed north on the UT 89 then east on the UT 12 past the entrance to Bryce Canyon. We skipped Bryce this trip as we have done it several times in the past. We were looking for new roads and new scenery.



The original plan was to take the road to the Burr Trail out of Boulder UT. After further review, I noted that the first several miles of the Boulder-Bullfrog Scenic Road a.k.a. the Burr Trail was paved. We decided to head north to Capitol Reef National Park and take the Notom Road along the Waterpocket Fold down to Cedar Mesa Campground where we would spend the night. Cedar Mesa is a small unimproved (free) campground. Surprisingly, it filled up shortly after we arrived. We enjoyed a great meal and campfire and spent the evening looking at the stars and watching satellites drift in all different directions.



The next morning we continued down the Notom Road to the lower end of the switchbacks on the Burr Trail. I have read about the switchback section of the Burr Trail for years and so we drove up the switchbacks and then back down them. It is really nothing more than a dirt road with several sharp turns. The road does cover a good deal of elevation in a short distance. The photos that I have seen over the years (and even the ones that I took) don’t accurately depict the topography.







Bottom line, the Burr Trail is easily doable by any two wheel drive vehicle with dry condition and in good weather.

...more to follow.
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:36 PM   #2
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We left the switchback section and continued down the Boulder-Bullfrog Scenic Road toward Lake Powell where we caught the ferry across the lake. We shared the 30 minute ferry ride with a couple of other cars, an adventure motorcyclist and a group of school aged kids that ride the ferry twice each day with their school bus.



We drove from Lake Powell up to Natural Bridges National Monument. I had been here before on a motorcycle trip but my wife hadn’t. This time, instead of just driving from lookout point to lookout point, we hiked down some of the trails to look at the bridges from a different perspective. I highly recommend this as the bridges are somewhat camouflaged when viewed from above.

After a little lunch in the rig, we drove down UT 261 and turned off at Muley Point Road (CR-241). The road was a little corrugated but once we got to the end, it was well worth it. The views off the cliff of the San Juan River canyon, Johns Canyon Road and to the south with Monument Valley in the distance are nothing short of spectacular.



After returning to the UT 261, we drove down the Mokey Dugway, an unpaved road that is like the Burr Trail, easily doable by any two wheel drive vehicle with dry condition and in good weather. Once you drop down what seems like thousands of vertical and look back from the valley below, you can’t believe someone actually built a road up the cliff. It is pretty cool.

Welcome to Valley of the gods (VOG).



We rolled into VOG from the west just before sunset. This is an awesome place that needs to be cared for. We located an existing campsite that was above and away from the road. We had dinner outside watching the glow of the sun on the red rocks give way to a full sky of stars.







The next morning, after breakfast and coffee, we rode the mountain bikes for an hour or so in the cool morning air. After we got back to camp and showering, we saw a Sportsmobile pull onto the trail that leads up to our camp. It turns out that we passed each other at the So Cal Meet & Greet. They recognized our rig from as one that was leaving the M&G as they were arriving. It was fun to meet them and talk about our respective rigs, trips and families. How cool it is to see a young family out using their rig. We chatted for a while and then they were off to Telluride CO. I totally spaced and didn’t find out what name they use on the SMB Forum.

After VOG, we drove down to Monument Valley and drove the “loop” in the park. It is pretty spectacular but is quite touristy. We grabbed some lunch over at Goulding’s, just across from MV.





We drove south toward Flagstaff AZ and watched some serious thunderstorm action to the southeast. We stopped in Wupatki National Monument to take some pics as the sun was going down.



The balance of the trip included Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Prescott, Mesa, Scottsdale and Kingman AZ. After our last night in Kingman AZ, we drove through Laughlin NV and were heading up the NV 163 to the US 95. We saw a sign for Christmas Tree Pass. It looked to be dirt and so we took it. The road got more challenging as we got toward the summit but it was not a problem for the SMB.



This is a shot as we were leaving (with full stomachs) Matt's Big Breakfast in Phoenix AZ. It is not that the portions are huge, they are ample, it is just that the food is so darn good and the owner's are great. Check it out.
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Old 10-08-2008, 02:41 PM   #3
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Sorry for the long report. Here is the route.

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Old 10-08-2008, 04:21 PM   #4
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Sorry for the long report? shoot dont be! Thanks for sharing man!

I was already sneaking a peak and drooling over your pics in your album yesterday
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Old 10-08-2008, 04:36 PM   #5
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Blackeye,

Great post. Thanks for sharing your trip with all of us.

John
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Old 10-08-2008, 05:50 PM   #6
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Excellent Trip Report and Photos!
Thanks for sharing.....
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:52 PM   #7
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Is that a Turner on the back? (On further review I'm guessing 2 Treks.)

We're doing another week long trip next spring to the 4 corners area and might have to steal some of your destinations. Fantastic!
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Old 10-08-2008, 08:26 PM   #8
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Fantastic Report! Thanks for sharing it.

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Old 10-08-2008, 09:05 PM   #9
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Garage

Excellent, thanks for posting this report.



Cheers,
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:42 PM   #10
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Great report and pics, thanks.
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