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Old 06-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
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Utah road trip

I took a 9 day 2500 mile road trip with a couple friends last month. Goal was camping, biking, hiking, 4-wheeling, photography and some good relaxing. We left SF Bay Area at around 2:30PM on a Friday and arrived Saturday morning in Moab around 7:30AM (it rained nearly the entire drive through the night). Grabbed quick breakfast a few last minute supplies then headed out of town to Canyonlands and the White Rim Trail. We entered Canyonlands via Long Canyon (still raining) and hit the visitor center to register for White Rim Trail and try to get better spaced camps. The original camps we were able to get were not spaced well at all. We ended up with Taylor, Potato Bottom and Airport which was a little better. Of the three, I highly recommend Taylor camp. It is a single spot camp at the end of a 5 mile spur trail with stunning views. The moral of this part of the story is to make your camping reservations for White Rim Trail camping WAY WAY WAY in advance. The White Rim Trail is spectacular and I highly recommend it.

After three nights on WRT, we stayed in Sand Flats (Moab) for a couple nights. We biked Slick Rock trail and Kokopelli down to Porcupine. We then shot down for a night on Gooseberry Mesa (near Hurricane, UT) and biked that trail in the next morning. For any mountain bikers out there, Gooseberry Mesa is a great trail and you should ride it if you get a chance (at least I like it).

Next stop off to Mammoth. Arrived at Rock Tub hot spring pretty late and happy to see that it was vacant. A few beers and a dip in the hot spring was a great way to end the day. Woke up and off to bike Lower Rock Creek trail. A dip in the creek to clean off, then got our butts home in time for Mother's Day and our three waiting spouses.

The van was incredible this trip 4-wheeling loaded to around 12K lbs. Only problem was breaking off the stud at the sway bar. That was welded up in Moab without much issue.

One of my friends on the trip is big into photography and took about 20GB of photos. Here's a few photos.


It took hours to pressure wash all the Utah red clay from the under carriage. This is before the sway bar stud snapped off.


Long Canyon trail. This section was steep, sandy & wet, but the van never slipped once (love the Toyo M/T's).


Taylor Camp. My favorite! Each camp had a pit toilet and I have to say they were the nicest cleanest pit toilets I've seen. Especially for their remote locations.


Moses and Zeus from Taylor Camp.


Somewhere on White Rim Trail.


Again, on WRT.


Potato Bottom camp playing with time exposures and my bike light.


Potato Bottom area.


Another WRT shot.


And another one.


Good times had by all. Can't wait to take my family to see it.
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:44 AM   #2
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Re: Utah road trip

Wonderful pics and report, thanks. That is what SMB ownership is all about!
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:12 AM   #3
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Re: Utah road trip

When you say "WAY WAY WAY in advance" does that translate to more than 6 months?
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re: Utah road trip

Check the web site or call them to find out how early you can book. I booked 3-4 months in advance and had terrible campground spacing options. I took what I could get (Taylor, Potato Bottom, Taylor) and hoped I could better it when I checked in. I ended up with Taylor, Potato Bottom and Airport. It was a long day between Potato Bottom and Airport camps. White Crack camp is the most highly sought after camp and is very difficult to get as I found talking to people. If I were to do this again, I would definitely do Taylor again and try for Murphy Hogback and White Crack. I think doing this loop in anything less than three nights is rushing it. If I added a fourth night, I would put in Airport again although it was my least favorite (not that it was bad, just my least favorite of the three).

We bumped into a group at White Crack campground that said they had been trying to get that camp for 6 years (I think). The only down side to White Crack is that I think most people take the side trip to the camp just for the view then leave, so a little more traffic. Taylor is at the end of a 5 mile spur trail and quite secluded with stunning views. A truck showed up in the morning and just parked for a hike, but that was it for traffic. It only has one camp site as does White Crack.

Here's a photo stitched panorama at the Taylor camp. I haven't cleaned it up or figured out how to crop it nice, but you get the idea.

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Old 06-02-2009, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Utah road trip

Quote:
Check the web site or call them to find out how early you can book
Just curious, which website for reservations? Utah BLM, NPS? I'm thinking ahead to 2010. Thanks.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:02 PM   #6
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Re: Utah road trip

http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/reservations.htm
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Re: Utah road trip

I would say that if you just call them they will be most helpful. The guy I talked to worked very hard to find the best camps he could. Very pleasant to deal with.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:07 PM   #8
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Re: Utah road trip

Is there a max time for advanced reservations (like a year in advanced) and is there a charge if you can't make it for some reason?

Your rig is an EB correct, and any tail dragging happen?

BTW killer post...thanks for that kind of info.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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Re: Utah road trip

I have an EB and never dragged the tail (and was riding a little low in the rear with all the weight). This isn't really that technical of a trail, but enough to be fun in places. There are some steep sections and obviously enough twisting to snap my sway bar connecting stud.

I really am not sure of the max time for advance reservations. Just give them a call. Like I said, they were very friendly and helpful on the phone.

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Old 06-02-2009, 05:39 PM   #10
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Re: Utah road trip


Wow, looked to be a great trip, nice pics too.


Thanks for the heads-up with regard to the campsite booking info as well. We have never been there before... but it is high on our list of palces to explore one of these days.



Cheers,
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