Moab UT - Tuesday - 143 miles

We employed the same strategy today leaving before dawn and getting a start on the sun. We had driven to a spot on Mineral Canyon Road the night before to drop a gas can for our extended run on Tuesday. We began the day by heading out Potash Road all along the river which we had ridden the year before on our street bikes. It was more fun in 2009, but it wouldn’t be long until we reached Long Canyon Road and the fun on dirt really began. We were embarking on the signature ride of the entire trip. We thought this going in and the White Rim trail did not disappoint. We started up Long Canyon Road on a dirt that by all accounts looked easy. I had read anything about it and Google Earth made it look simple enough. Unfortunately what can’t be seen on Google Earth is the type of dirt, and about 3/4 of the way up it was no longer dirt but loose sand. We hit a very narrow section with implanted rocks and without much room to navigate I went down. My bike simply hit a rock on the left side of the trail and fell over without me even getting dirty. Traction was impossible so with Steve’s help we pushed it up about 10 yards and I was back on my way, but even then it took a fair amount of skill to continue up the rough section and I couldn’t get much traction and therefore speed. I made it the first time, and then we repeated the same process with Steve’s bike.

I thought oh boy this could be a tough day. We wanted to go up Long Canyon because we wanted to get up to UT 313 and come down Shafer Trail. This trail is not at all difficult but the scenery is worth it. Shafer Trail drops almost 1k feet in not much more than a mile.

At the bottom we were on White Rim Trail and we would follow that for most of the day. We had noticed White Rim Trail during our street bike trips overlook the area when we made stops, and we always someday we would ride that, and now we were on it. Our first stop along the trail was on the East leg overlooking the Colorado and you could see Dead Horse Point off in the distance. One of the consistent themes on the trail that we noticed was the lack of safety railing on the edge of cliffs. I think this is a good thing, and it provides a sense of danger. Literally at every stop one wrong step and you would fall to your death. We stopped at several more overlooks each time going right to the edge of a major overhang. The trail was in good shape and for the most part we cruised around 20mph. The trail wasn’t so much dirt but rather rock; slickrock I believe it is called. As we continued on we were really enjoying the ride. The trail began to descend as we rode on the West side and even dropped all the way down to the edge of the river in the Upheval Dome area. The trial up is known as Hardscrabble Hill and we had to climb back up and it was fairly difficult and taxed us to some degree. Up over the ridge and into Mineral Canyon we were about to take the trail up a huge set of switchbacks that were very easy, and before we knew it we were almost to UT 313 where we gassed up and continued on. We certainly could not have made the entire on one tank of gas. We cruised on back to Moab in time for dinner.