Monday, November 7, 2016

Riding Dirty - Three Reservoirs

I really, really wanted to start this by saying, "We Ride at Dawn", but we didn't.  We rode about 10ish this morning.  So much for an early start!  Oh well, didn't really matter because we weren't going far.  We left home and rode about three miles before I realized I left my wallet at the house so U-turn back for the wallet and THEN back on the road :-)  There are very few ways to get out of Ivins, UT so we took our favorite route along the Gunlock Road up to Veyo where we stopped for breakfast.  What?  No brekkie?  Dang, the restaurant we were going to try had closed up.  We debated just having pie at Veyo Pies but decided instead to ride up to Enterprise, UT and have burgers and fries at Marv's Drive In.  Good choice!  Sorry no pics, but it was delish.  After chowing down, we mounted the bikes again and headed to New Castle to pick up the dirt road to Pine Valley.

This is when the fun really began.  Don't get me wrong, the ride up Gunlock Rd. to Veyo and then up Hiway 18 to Enterprise is beautiful and the sun was shining and there was pretty much no traffic.  All of that combined with a fair amount of twists and turns makes for a dream ride so far!  But, I wanted to get some more dirt practice under those wheels and that was our objective today - dirt!

A few years ago I had been on this dirt road on my F650GS, practicing my off road skills in anticipation of the Top of the World Highway.  I was petrified!  Eric kept telling me that 1st gear was not a travel gear but I wouldn't listen.  I think I rode the entire 25 miles in 1st gear.  So, in my mind, this road was pretty gnarly and I was determined to conquer it on the R1200GSA.

At New Castle we turned right onto the gravel/dirt road that would eventually take us to Pine Valley.  As soon as we hit the rough stuff, I changed my motorcycle into Enduro Pro mode.  Hahaha, I kind of have to laugh at myself because there is a plain "Enduro" mode but I never seem to be able to make the mode changer land on that - it always lands on Enduro Pro.  I guess that's good for my ego, Enduro Pro, yeah baby!

It really is amazing the difference in the bike when I change the modes.  Before I actually bought and rode the bike I was like, pffttt, really? Pffttt!  Now, I'm a believer, it DOES make a difference!  So, locked into Enduro Pro, I was ready to hit the rough stuff.  Unlike the first time I was on this road, this time we entered at New Castle rather than at Pine Valley.  So we were riding it the opposite direction.

Just a few turns and bingo!  There was the New Castle Reservoir so we had to stop and take some fashion shots!  Yes, the reservoir is noticeably low, low, low.  This would be the first of three reservoirs on our ride today.
 Oh, look!  I'm finally getting some stickers and decoration on my bike, yippee!
 Just another awful day (not)!  We encountered a number of sharp, slow turns.
 Here, the roadbed was almost perfect.  Yes, there was some washboard and ruts where water had run over the road surface.  But, for the most part, the road was awesome.  We just puttered along, enjoying the magnificent scenery and dodging the occasional rancher in a huge pickup truck pulling a trailer full of cows.

 Here are two of my riding buddies, Wonder Woman and Skelly!  They keep the path clear in front of me :-)
 Random shots of scenery from either direction.  This is looking south (we are on an west/east road).
 And here, looking north.  Simply a fantastic day, sunny, upper 60's to low 70's, no wind and no traffic.  Oh, yes, it was good!
 Nothing but road ahead!  So far, the ride has been awesome.  I haven't yet had any pucker moments and I was NOT in first gear!
About 10 miles into our ride we came into the metropolis of Pinto, UT.  We were here a few weeks ago on a ride but came in on the North/South road.  Today we're on the West/East road.  So, we stopped and looked around for a minute and what did I spy?  Coyote skins hanging on a fence!
 Yup, here is a closer view.  This is a true west kind of thing!  The folks who live way out here are ranchers and their livestock is their livelihood and coyotes are a big threat to their means of making a living.  Wow!
 While I was busy taking pictures of coyote pelts, Eric was entertaining the horses.  Two horses immediately came up to the fence when Eric stopped.  The other horses paid no attention whatsoever, but those two, they were curious!
 Ah, this spot.  I remember this spot from the last time I was on this road going the other direction.  I had to stop, catch my breath and get my brave on.  Hahahahaha!  Today, it was nothing, just a pleasant place to pull over and take a little break.  The Beastie Bike eats this stuff up, I just hang on :-)

The road took us up, up, up the mountainside with a good measure of tight turns in either direction.  I still didn't have any pucker moments!  Sometimes I get a bit of vertigo but not today.  Today was perfect, I handled the tight turns without even thinking about them.  And, I wasn't in first gear! Actually I achieved 4th gear at times, hahaha! Even when we went down, down, down the mountainside with more tight turns!  It was simply glorious.  I was amazed and a bit disappointed when our lovely dirt road hit pavement just outside of Pine Valley. I wasn't ready for pavement, I wanted more of that great dirt road!

We went ahead and rode into Pine Valley and to the park and reservoir there.  We had it all to ourselves and it was stunning.  Nestled in the mountain valley with green pines all around.  Yummy, it smelled good and looked good.  Nice place to stop and have a look around.

 They did have lots of rules here :-(
 More rules!
 Ah, this is better.  Just a very small reservoir but full of jumping fish!
 Yeah, I know, I just can't take enough pictures of the Beastie Bike!
I wanted to go back the way we came on the dirt road but, alas, Eric was low on fuel so from Pine Valley, we turned around and headed to Highway 18 and back to Veyo and then Gunlock where we stopped at our third reservoir for the day.  And, again, we had the space all to ourselves.

So, no pucker moments, just lovely riding a gravel road through the desert and forest with my Honey for company.  It was simply awesome.  I'm so astonished that this was soooooo easy for me considering my last attempt on this particular road was not a good one.  I'm thinking the Beastie Bike is a good choice for me, I have more experience and probably most important, I have more confidence.

I'll be searching out more off pavement riding and probably something with a bit more difficulty as I progress on my dirt riding skills.  Sure, I'll keep you posted.  Heck, I'll even post pictures of my crashes (hopefully few and far between).

Yup, it was all giggles and grins today!

As always, thanks for following along.  Who knows where the next adventure will be, but I'm pretty sure there's going to be one!  Oh, I almost forgot to tell you....I now have 12,000 miles on the Beastie Bike, not bad considering I picked it up on June 18 of this year.  Wish it could be more but you know, those darn responsibilities sometimes get in the way of having fun.  Anyway, more fun stuff to come, stay tuned :-)