Monday, September 26, 2016

Discovering Utah - The Dirty Way

After last week's dirty adventure, I decided to check out the map and find another interesting dirty route for our ride today.  Bingo!  No, Pinto!  We are going to Pinto, UT.  We had been to Pinto before, about two years ago, but from a different route.  This time we were going north on Highway 18 and would make a right on Pinto Road which is about halfway between Central and Enterprise, UT.  This should take us to Pinto and then on to Irontown and eventually Highway 56.  Okay, the course was set, the weather was perfect and our bikes were crying to be let out of the garage!

We left the house shortly after noon and took one of our favorite roads, the Gunlock Rd. to Veyo where we turned left on Highway 18 heading north.  Scooting along at a good clip it didn't take long and we were at the designated turn for Pinto.  We made the right turn onto a gravel road.  More like a gravel highway!  It was smooth, wide and fast!  I did stop to put the Beastie Bike into Enduro Pro mode and Eric changed his traction control on the Super Tenere.  Off we went.  It was tempting to really turn the throttle but we passed a sign that said something to the effect of "SLOW DOWN - THIS IS "NOT" A FREEWAY!!!  So, out of respect for those who might live along this road, we kept our speed much lower than conditions would allow.

Initially, the surface was pretty hard with little pebbles and the dust wasn't too bad.  Of course it wasn't bad for Eric, he was in front of me, lol.  I kept enough distance that I wasn't engulfed in dust but I still managed to get plenty dirty :-)

Yup, that's me.  Here I come around a corner, up on the pegs, looking forward, practicing all those skills I learned at the ADV Woman Rally and Rockmor.

The road was like this for quite a ways and then it began to narrow and became a one laner.  We rode into and out of Pinto (sorry no pics).  There are maybe a half a dozen homes out there in the middle of nowhere.  We continued on toward Cedar City and Highway 56.  Shortly after passing through Pinto we had a truck approach us from the opposite direction.  Since the road had become so narrow, we pulled over and let him pass.  He was considerate, slowed down and waved as he passed.

We motored on.  The road surface changed many times.  Sometimes hardpack with pebble gravel, sometimes looser with bigger rocks, sometimes it was grey and sometimes it was red.  When we hit rough stuff, I refused to acknowledge it!  I just looked ahead and rode over it!  Pffttt, there!  Take That!  I do not acknowledge your ugly, scary, slippery surface - you don't exist!  I have BEASTIE BIKE and I can go anywhere, lol.  Hey, it helped in my mind to think that way :-)

After a bit, we came upon this place all boarded up.  It had a nice circular pullout so we went in, parked and took a break and a lookie lou.  Well, to be entirely honest, Eric pulled in and told me on the comm what was there but I was going a wee bit too fast and hit the brakes in order to pull into the drive.  Ummmm, yes, I slid a bit.  YIKES!!!!  That's a big bike to be sliding around!  I gently let up on the brakes, re-applied and was able to slow down enough to make the turn without turning upside down.  Yippee!
 An old, decrepit wagon was parked in the front yard.
 Along with an ancient hay mower.
 Pretty cool stuff out in the middle of nowhere.
 Turns out this is a Utah Historic Site along the Iron County Utah Centennial Circle.  Who knew?  Page's Ranch.
 Apparently, Page's Ranch was an important place back in the day.  It was along a major transportation route and also served as a hotel and rest stop for travelers.
This home was also unique because of it's architecture, a two wing style home that was not the ordinary style here in Southwest Utah.  Quite the palace of its day.

Here I am being tour guide with a long shot view and....
a close up shot!  The house is boarded up and is private property although it has the historical markers and signs.
 A look around found this stock pond surrounded by cattails off to the left of the house.
 Eric caught a pic of me wandering about...
 It was a very lovely place to spend a few minutes and take a break.

 I found this paddle boat pulled up into the cattails.
 Then, I found this mini-campground behind the house.  Power, water, picnic tables, port-a-potty (no photo of that).  We decided this must be the family homestead and peeps still come out here.  There were plenty of cattle around along with round up pens, etc. so I suspect they bring in their RV's and camp here while rounding up the cattle.  Bet that happens in a few weeks as the weather is beginning to change.  Anyway, I thought it was just awesome!
 This sign was on the front of the house.  I really don't think there were any cameras but I could be wrong.  Maybe we were on candid camera!  hahahaha

 It was just a totally cool place to stop and look around.
 Here is the view from the other direction.  Beautiful mountains just starting to show some fall colors.

 Yeah, this picture just to show DIRT.  I was riding DIRT on the Beastie Bike and I was liking it!

Okay, enough of that, eh?  Oh, no, wait!  It's for SALE.  You could own this piece of paradise along with it's awesome history.  You can read about it here.  Page's Ranch.  Actually, someone buy it and let us come visit and camp there!  You can rehab the house, clear out some of the cattails at the pond and have your own oasis :-)

Rest stop over, we mounted up and continued on down the road.  Now, it was quite narrow but still a good hard surface.  There was a pile of loose gravel in the center but I didn't need to ride there!  We were looking for the Irontown cut off but apparently we missed it.  No sign :-(  So, we ended up on Highway 56.  No problem.  We made a left turn and a few miles up the road was the main entrance to Irontown!  Another left took us down a paved road (used to be gravel just a few years ago) and we arrived at Irontown, UT.  There is a nice community of homes there.  Appears some are full time use and others must be part time.  Regardless, it is quite nice and quiet.  At the end of the road was our goal, Old Iron Town State Park, Historic Site!

Yippee!  We parked our bikes on the now paved parking area and took a gander.  It was so interesting that I got all caught up in the history and the Discovery Loop Trail.  Had I known, I would have left my jacket on the bike.  Oh well....  Here we are, Welcome!
 The parking area with an information kiosk and of course, my beautiful Beastie Bike!
 Just another stop on the Iron County Utah Centennial Circle!

 What's this?
 It's big!
 Oh, it's one of the two Charcoal Kilns here in Irontown and the only one remaining intact.  The history here is fabulous and I really enjoyed taking the loop.  Follow along here and you can take it with me!  Read more about it here Irontown.

 A view from the inside.
 Sorry about the hand shadows :-(  But you get the idea :-)
 The rubble remains of the second kiln.
Yeah, the signs and trail got me hooked.  I had to take the trail and discover all the gems, jewels and odd things along the trail.
 After the main feature of the Charcoal Kiln, the next stop was some info on Utah Junipers!  First the information sign and then the real thing!  This was a giant Juniper!

Next was the Pinyon Pines.  If you have ever used pinenuts, this is the tree from which they come and they are very expensive and delish!

More Utah flora.  Quite interesting considering we have many of these plants in our own yard.  Now I know what to do with them :-)

 The Squawbush?  Who knew?

After a bit of a walk (in the hot sun with full gear), I came upon The House!

 Then the Big Sagebrush - gosh, we have a LOT of this around!

 Next was the Rubber Rabbitbrush - who knew?

 Pinto Creek - couldn't get there because of the fence.  So, I have no idea if there was water there or not.
 The trail somewhat deteriorated from a sandy well marked path to rocky, better watch your step kind of rocks and stuff.  But it was still lovely and enjoyable.
 Along my walk I spied this guy trying to hide from me.  See him?
 And then, back to the kiln - here is a pic from the back side.  It's still big :-)

 Back to the kiln and then off on another path took me here!


 I finally caught up with Eric who had gone the opposite direction than I.
 Back at the parking area we found a nice, clean restroom.
 And, bonus, a covered picnic area.
 What a beautiful place to take an hour or so and discover new stuff.  I'd been here years ago and it has been greatly improved.  A great place to explore, take a break, enjoy!
 Hahahah, my honey give me the obligatory grimmace, I mean smile :-)
 So, that was pretty much it for dirt exploring today.  We only rode about 20+ miles on dirt but they were a wonderful 20+ miles!  It way upped my confidence level.  I didn't have a single F bomb and only a few OHS or ICKS or GACKS!  It was a no cuss ride :-)

The rest of the way home was all pavement and I was "on" so the ride was awesome.  We hit some nice twisties on Highway 18 just out of Enterprise all the way to our original turn off for Pinto.  Zoom, zoom, zoom.  It was just incredible.  Again, Veyo to Gunlock to home.  Always a fantastic ride with lots of twists, turns and good fun.  I think our total was about 150 miles today.

I guess now I'll have to find a more challenging dirt route since today was relatively easy.  That's okay.  I'm ready to move on and improve my dirt skills with the Beastie Bike.

Next week we're going to Gerlach, NV so I'll have an entirely different story to tell.  Hope you stay tuned and hang in for the Gerlachfest Blog :-)  Used to be what happens in Gerlach stays in Gerlach.  However, with today's technology, anything is fair game. for it!

Cheers and thanks for following along,