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Old 06-27-2016, 06:15 PM   #1
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Location: Flagstaff
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Moab Near Miss

Although the Moab meet-up ended up being cancelled, I still had plans to go to the weekend before anyway. We were to meet two other couples and go rafting the daily section of the Colorado river. Yes it was hot, 100 degrees when I rolled into town, but it cooled off a bit the next day. And it was a blast. Here is what you missed:

Our campsite at Big Bend campground, right on the Colorado River...

Our view from our campsite.... some boaters can be seen...

We probably wouldn't have gone if we didn't have such a sweet campsite. They have a little beach at the campground where you could sit with your feet in the cold water, and a beer in the hand. The first night was really stuffy. Kristi complained she couldn't sleep, but I had no trouble. Adult beverage sedation always helps me... Boating during the hottest part of the day also was key. The second day cooled off a bit and was a little cloudy which made it quite enjoyable. We put in at Wilson Bridge, then had lunch at Hittle Bottom. Soon after we hit a couple of big rapids.

The La Sal's taken from my duckie...

The heat of the previous days really made the river raging with the accelerated snow melt. It was flowing at 28,000 cfm. Once we hit 'New Rapid' there were huge waves, about four feet high... Almost everybody made it through, but I got stuck in a huge eddy to the left, trying to avoid the eddy on the right. Then I looked back, and Kristi had flipped. She was floating in front of her raft. She got sucked into the eddy with me. Her boat was gone.... My buddy came to rescue, but his boat was so full of water he couldn't throw his life line. I told him to go after the boat and I would rescue Kristi. We would swirl around and start heading upstream until the cliff wall forced us into the rapids. I tried to enter the rapids with her hanging on the back of my raft, but the huge eddy fence started to suck us down and I almost flipped too. We swirled around a couple of more times, and I tried to paddle out at the bottom of the eddy but didn't have the strength or stamina to over come her hanging off the back of my boat. The duckies are just too small to carry more than one person, let alone one hanging off the back. She was able to gain some composure and keep from panicking. She told me to go and said she'd swim the rapids. Not a great scenario. Right about that time a paddle raft with eight adults came by. They were trying to run the rapids multiple times by using the eddy to run them back up the river and do it again. They swirled around a few times opposite Kristi. I finally got out and down the river and pulled over to shore prepared to run up river and throw her a lifeline. Kristi yelled at them to help her. By the time I got out of my raft they had come down river. I threw my hands up, and they responded in kind with all thumbs up. They snatched her out, paddle and all! We continued to float down river to my buddies that had wrangled her boat. We all sighed with relief. The only thing she lost were her sunglasses. Fortunately we had spares.

Take out beach.... (Day one)

The last couple of rapids were a little nerve wracking, but uneventful. We took the boats out at Take-out beach, and waited for our shuttle runners to grab the vehicles. About that time a guy was running up and down the beach yelling at some jet skiers. We could see some coolers and other items tangled in the opposite shore. I spoke to him and he recounted his story of his big raft flipping in New Rapid. He said he was experienced and got cocky, then flipped. Loosing everything not tied down. "That river is no Joke" were his final words as he was trying to recover thousands of dollars of gear (yeah those Canyon coolers are expensive). The evening was spent by the fire, with tacos, tequila and bacon wrapped Jalapenos. We recalled the day's events from everyone's perspective. Our resolve for the second day was to do the lower portion of the river which only had one rapid. We were all ready to just float and drink beer, without the worry.

Almost to the Bridge... (Day two)

We had done the same trip last year, and are already planning to do it again next year. Next time we're going to bring more cheap sunglasses!

Thanks for looking!

1995 Econoline E-150 Custom Campmobile "Jupiter I" RB, 4wd Dana 60s, 93 Eurovan poptop.
1976 VW Type II Transporter Westfalia Campmobile.
1994 Toyota 4Runner,2001 Ford Escape,1970 Chevy El Camino,2 Cargo Trailers, 5 bikes, 4 Kayaks, 1 Canoe
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Old 06-28-2016, 10:37 PM   #2
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Very nice!

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Old 06-29-2016, 09:04 AM   #3
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Scary story, but great story!

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Currently vanless. Weird.

Real name Eric
Finally found a pic of my first camper,
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Old 08-16-2016, 01:31 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Ventura County, California
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I also was in the Moab area around the time of the proposed meet-up, I think a few days before. I stayed in the RV park in Moab for several days, then went to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park for a couple of days. I stayed at the Needles Outpost there - only $15/night plus $6 for a shower (they have to truck all their water in).

Here's the rig at Needles Outpost:

There were tons of these orange flowers all over the place:

I saw three or four SMBs around, but never with anyone in them, or just driving by.

Once set up, I got around on my motorbike, riding the back roads. I've finally had the time to put videos together of my explorations.

On the first day, I rode out Kane Creek Road, through Hurrah Pass and down to Lockhart Basin. Here's a link to the video:

On day 2, I rode up Poison Spider Mesa, but didn't get very far. It was way too rocky and sandy for me!

On day 3, it had rained overnight so the dirt roads weren't in any shape for riding. I spent the day in town, shopping and such.

On day 4, I planned to ride around the La Sal Mountains just east of Moab, starting by riding up the Onion Creek Road, getting onto the La Sal Mtns Loop Road, then riding through the three passes in a big "S" pattern. That was a great ride, starting with typical Utah rock monuments, riding up Onion Creek with it's nearly bazillion crossings (none of them deep), then onto the snowy peaks of the La Sal Mountains. Unfortunately I got blocked by snow twice, once on the very rocky Miners Basin Road, and once at Geyser Pass. The road through Geyser Pass was closed until the day after I was there! As a result, I was only able to ride one of the three passes, but instead took part of the Kokopelli trail back to Moab, where I took one of the two spills of the day. Fortunately, neither rider nor bike were hurt!

I just finished my video of the day 4 ride:

This video ends at the parking lot to the Slickrock Trail. A few moments after I got back to the parking lot from the trail, a Sportsmobile was pulling out. I didn't have time to get off my bike to talk to them You can see that at the very end of the video. Does anyone recognize it?

I spent my last day in Moab riding around the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands NP: First to Dead Horse Point State Park (only $5 entry fee for motorbikes), then over to Mineral Bottom and back to Moab via Potash Road, always striving to take the least direct route possible except when it looked like thundershowers were on the way. Dead Horse SP was well worth the side trip!

It's too far for me to drive back to Southern California in one day, so I stopped at Capitol Dome NP and rode the Cathedral Valley loop after going to the back side of Factory Butte. I don't recommend the Factory Butte road unless you like a lot of sand wash, which I don't! The Cathedral Valley road was in great shape - saw some minivans and other low-slung cars along the way. I could have taken my SMB, but that wouldn't have been as much fun. Here's the video from the motorbike:

Finally, I stopped a lot to take photos and post some of them to my website, here...

You can go through the photos much more quickly than the videos, but you don't get as good a sense of the surroundings.

I want to go back next spring, maybe a little later in the year so the snow on the roads will be melted...

- Steve
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