Updates keep rolling in from Darth and Esteban, which is a good thing, because it more or less means they are safe and out of trouble. It’s the modern day version of a series of postcards from the places they have been, only in digital format, delivered in realtime, then twisted and distorted by me to make it seem like they are really not missing the rest of the posse one bit on this trip. Current location, Goulding’s Lodge near Monument Valley. By the way, if you dig the photo effects in the images below, Darth is shooting through a new iPhone 4 with the Hipstamatic iPhone App (affiliate link). I highly recommend it. IAATB approved for documenting moto trips.

Motorcycle Touring in Shonto, Arizona

Darth hitting red dirt in Shonto, AZ.

Pabst Blue Ribbon on Ice

A bucket of ice and one can of PBR?

Esteban Frito

Malt Liquor always tastes better in your underwear.

Notes from the road: ...Hauled ass to get to Gouldings Lodge in Monument Valley in time for the sunset. Pulled up to the cafe to enjoy the fabulous desert expanse and enjoy a beer while I wait for Steve. Alas, all their beer is non-alcoholic. “But I want ALCOHOLIC beer!” I said. “Then you’ll have to drive 20 miles, back the way you came.” D’oh!

Darth Nater and Esteban Frito are out on the road, doing a grand tour of Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Two riders ain’t quite a posse, but it’s sometimes easier when you only have two to keep ticking off the miles, so I am sure these guys are getting along just fine. I would love to be on this trip, but as this summer was winding down, the pressures of work, and commitment of being around for my kid going back to school made it a 5 day trip unrealistic. Here’s a quick update from the boys on the road:

Red Bull and Fig Newtons: a motorcyclist's lunch

Photo from the road from Darth Nater

Note from Darth: “…The Skyline Drive was as good as it gets. Just enough sprinkles to make it tacky. In Salina now, making a few calls and enjoying an appetizer before 2 more hrs of pave to Brian Head. While still fun, these trips are always better with a few mates.”

Editor’s Note: I am grateful to Dave Fields for sharing the words and pictures from this epic adventure, and let me just say how glad I was to not have been part of it.

With my wife and kids in Michigan, I had a free Sunday and wanted to try Darth Nater’s Hanna, Utah ride. Our group of five became two by the time we left Center Street in Heber, on  Sunday, August 1, at 3:15 PM. Rich Morehouse aboard his 2005 KLR that had been in storage for four years, and me riding a 2006 KLR.

Armed with scribbled directions that Darth gave me over the phone, we were ready.

Directions to the Hanna ride.

Scribbled directions from Darth. Now was that a left at the big fallen tree, or a right?

The ride east out of Heber was beautiful and we soon reached an overlook that was a good place to take a rest. We could see Currant Creek Reservoir to our southeast.

2 Kawasaki KLRs in Utah.

Things are looking good so far. Are those clouds moving this way, or are we going that way?

And dark clouds to the northeast.

Dave Fields with his KLR

The clouds are getting darker.

Despite our detailed directions, we took a wrong turn and encountered a mud hole and several creek crossings. But nothing was going to stop us from experiencing the Hanna ride.

Moving a downed tree from the trail.

As Darth says, always bring a saw, for trees and the impromptu amputation.

Once we found the right road down to Hanna, things were going well. We saw all the landmarks Darth mentioned – ranch, deep river crossing, small bridge. Then we encountered rain-soaked mud. Also known as greasy clay.

Mud clogging rear wheel of KLR.

This is what happens when you ride through clay.

I tried to stop for a pick-up and horse trailer that slid off the road and it was like riding on ice. After five minutes of trying to get my kickstand to hold my bike I started hiking back to see what had happened to Rich. What I found was not good. Rich went down on the greasy mud and snapped the rear brake lever off his KLR.

Broken rear brake lever from a KLR.

The rear brake lever on a KLR doesn't do much when it is in your hand.

As the rain and lightning started in earnest, we began a two-hour slog over about a mile. The clay was so thick and sticky the bikes’ back wheels would clog and the bike would stall. We stopped and cleaned them out only to have them clog again 100 feet later. Even when the bikes would run it was so slippery you had to effectively walk down the road.

Rear wheel of a KLR completely caked with mud.

I sent this image to Moto with a simple question: this is bad, right?

Covered in mud and soaked from the rain, we headed for Heber. The sunset on Wolf Creek Pass was beautiful but cold and the deer and elk were out in force. We reached Heber around 10 p.m., had dinner, took the bikes to the carwash and then rode over Guardsman Pass, getting home around 11:30 or 12. Rich rode the entire way with his front brake.

We missed the return on dirt, so I’ll be going back, but it will be dry.

Double Rainbow All The Way

Indeed, it was a Double Rainbow All The Way.

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