Saturday, April 21, 2018

UTB: More Temple Mountain Wash Uraling and am joined by Tim L.

Friday, not much to report, spent the whole day working on issues that basically remained unresolved anyways.  The weather was cool and overcast as well so not conducive to going riding anyways.  The sunset for Friday wasn't bad though:



Saturday was clear, sunny and much warmer than the last couple of days.  Rode out after breakfast to check out the sights along Utah Highway 24 first:

Sunrise was "meh"

 Visitors to the boondocking site
or I guess, the local residents really

 Cool rock formation next to Molly's Castle

 Molly's Castle

Turning back towards Temple Mountain Road, I tried the road that I though would lead further up the mountain itself.  I didn't get very far, the road got quite sloped and not in a good way.  So I turned around and got these two shots instead:



Uraling further along Temple Mountain Road, I stopped here and there whenever I saw interesting rock formations:



At the furthest point of the ride, I found a trail that led to some nice tent campsites around a small butte.  Riding around the front of the butte, I was able to get this shot of Temple Mountain:


I rode back towards the campsite but had to stop when I saw these two small planes who'd landed right next to the road that leads to Goblin Valley State Park!  Apparently, where they're parked is an old air field and the pilots had come to survey it with the idea of having it regraded; for use by the Back Country Pilots Association.  Cool Stuff.


I was joined by Tim L., a fellow Uralista from Longmont, CO.  He's here to try and do some astrophotography early tomorrow morning near Goblin Valley State Park.

We did go and try and catch the golden hour before sunset.  Got some shots but also got mobbed by midges or small gnats, clouds of them!

 Sunset lighting near Temple Mountain
with Tim L.


Tomorrow, we're going to try and ride the entire Cathedral Valley Loop.  It's about 60 miles of dirt road riding with a possibly impassable water crossing right at the start.  Could be interesting.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

UTB: Factory Butte SRMA while doing a Recce

After an unusual productive day at work, I left a bit early to run down towards Hanksville, UT to gas up, get some more groceries and do a little recon of possible boondocking sites to the west of Hanksville along UT24.

 We did have a pretty good sunrise

Uma, the URRV, was out of position for the sunrise, 
but her window captured it just fine.


Once I got to Hankville, I filled up and then continued west towards the last location I'd stayed near when I towed Scarlett with Martha's Bimmer almost two years ago:  Cathedral Valley.

About halfway there, I saw signs for the Factory Butte Special Recreation Management Area of the BLM (Bureau of Land Management).  It's basically about 2600 acres of open space and hills for the use of OHV (off-highway vehicles).  The first entrance has a rather large and mostly flat parking lot that's perfect for boondocking.  It had 3G (extended) in the lot but 4G LTE (1 bar) closer to the road. 

The second entrance didn't have any cell service but you can see that's where most of the OHV traffic is based on all the tracks.

At the parking lot
Not great but usable, probably better using 
the weBoost cellphone booster.

Near the sign at the entrance, closer to the highway:
"mo better"

I then rode closer to Factory Butte itself, you can see it from quite a long distance away, very majestic even when the light through thick overcast clouds made everything look a bit dull.

Factory Butte

Continuing west on UT24 I son came to the entrance to the boondocking site I'd used before (18 miles from Hanksville).  Absolutely no cellphone service for Verizon, nada, zip, zilch.  The site is accessed via the road for Caineville Wash Road.  From there it's 26 miles to the Valley of the Sun and Moon; and if I remember correctly, not for the URRV to traverse!

The sight one sees upon exiting Caineville Wash Road

I did try going west about another 10 km but found no cellphone coverage.  Though I did find an open WiFi access point called Blue Gate at the Sleepy Hollow RV campground which appears closed for the season.

Retracing my route, now heading east on UT24 and stopped at the parking lot for the Rodeway Inn, multiple WiFi access points but all secured.  I suppose one could go in and pay a fee to use their WiFi in a dire need case.

Back in Hanksville, I gassed up with non-ethanol gas and then went back to the Bull Mountain Grocery store for more food.

Heading back to camp, I tried for another shot of Little Gilson Butte but it didn't really turn out very good:


As I rode on Temple Mountain Road towards camp, and thinking that perhaps the setting sun (which was behind clouds during the whole ride) would shine nicer on the western side of this butte.  

I'd spotted a dirt road earlier that seemed to lead in the right direction so off I went.

3 km later, I hit some really deep and loose sand and got stuck.  Dammit.

Weather closing in, losing the light and even 2WD was of no avail as the sand was just too deep.

Took off my helmet, took some deep breaths, broke out the entrenching tool I carry in the storage box under the sidecar trunk.  A couple minutes of digging out a path to the rear of the rig, a little crossing of fingers, and voila....2WD got the rig moving again back to a firmer spot on the road.

Executing a 18 point turn u-turn later, I got Scarlett pointed back the way we'd come and got out of there as the weather moved in.  Visibility was like being inside a gray snow globe with perhaps a mile before solid gray surface is all one could see.

The wind was blowing up pretty good too, we'd be under a wind advisory until 9PM (it calmed down by 8:45PM) and Uma happened to have her rear end pointed at the wind so we were good anyways.

So, quite the ride.  Sorry the lighting wasn't that great for pics, maybe tomorrow the sun will be out in force.

UTB: Utah Boondocking.
Recce: Reconnaissance

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

UTB:Exploring North Temple Wash

UTB: Utah Boondocking.

The winds finally died down overnight and I awoke to clear skies but still somewhat cool temperatures.  The day would eventually warm up to 57 degrees Fahrenheit but it felt much cooler than that in the evening when the breeze picked up a bit.

After work, I went over to the river carved road in the North Temple Wash area that I'd briefly visited yesterday.  This time, I got more pictures but still didn't get too far along the trail; the rest may have to wait till fellow Uralista Tim L. joins me here this Saturday.

 I find these stone stacks fascinating.

 Narrow passages carved out by flash floods over the ages







Returning to the campsite, I stopped once more to pose Scarlett with Wild Horse Butte in the background.


Not much else to report, the starter control assembly continues to be balky at times so I fear it may be time to replace it.  The starter button is linked to the BRS (big red switch) in a way I haven't figured out yet how to bypass.  I'm now pretty sure it's the starter switch, and not the BRS as I consistently hear the fuel pump cut in when engaging the BRS.

And you can't just buy replacement switches from Ural, you have to get the whole control assembly apparently.  I'm trying to find used ones that might be cheaper than the reported $103 for a new assembly.



Tuesday, April 17, 2018

UTB: Another Windy Day at South Temple Mountain Wash

UTB: Utah Boondocking.

Another very windy day here, even had to reposition Uma, the URRV, to point her nose into the wind as it shifted from coming out of the South yesterday to out of the West today.  This meant Uma was broadside to the wind and that was a lot of rocking until I moved her.

The winds had made for clear viewing of nearby
Wild Horse Butte

While the light was still good due to the sun being not too high in the sky, I rode off on Scarlett to check out some of the sights along Temple Mountain Wash Road.  Temperatures were in the high 40s with a high of only 52 degrees Fahrenheit so I bundled up warmly.

The main road which apparently will connect with I-70 29 hard ridden miles later, winds its way up to several high plateau areas, one of which proved a nice spot to pose Scarlett.


 Highest point is Mt Ellen Peak

 The leftmost peak is Bull Mountain


The pyramid shaped hill draws the eye...

Making my way back to the main parking lot area for Temple Mountain Wash, I took the road posted as "Behind the Reef".  Not a bad dirt road which shortly leads one to a nice view of the backside of the San Rafael Reef or Swell.

 The back side of the reef

 A view of Temple Mountain in the morning sunlight

Just north of the main parking lot for Temple Mountain

Headed back to my camp site, I chanced to spy something quite unexpected in the RV parking lot for South Temple Mountain Wash:

 It's like the darn things are popping up everywhere!


The rig's owner didn't come out of the travel trailer or perhaps no one was home.  

Rest of the day was just work, working on the balky starter button, some minor repairs on Scarlett and with a break to reposition the URRV so the wind would hit her nose, not her side:


I rode out again shortly after 6PM, wanting to explore a road heading north along the San Rafael Swell that I'd seen some cagers driving on earlier in the week.  Turns out its a relatively good dirt road leading to some more dispersed camp sites and a delightful narrow canyon road that I hope to explore more tomorrow.

 An old river bed, this dirt road had many cool rock formations


 High rock walls with water eroded rock formations galore


 I turned around at this point, trail conditions got "gnarly"
and I was running out of daylight

Although I'd entered this narrow canyon road via a steep dirt trail I'd found off a campsite, turns out there's a much easier entrance further from said campsite.  In fact, I saw four cagers wandering about the trail, seeking places to camp I suppose.

Leaving the "young folk" to their camping business; I returned to the main parking lot area for Temple Mountain Wash and again took the Back of the Reef road seeking a good sunset watching spot.

I didn't find this sunset spot, and the sunset itself was nothing to write home about but it did provide some Golden Hour lighting for the below pics:

 Temple Mountain near Sunset

 Back side of the Reef near Sunset


Got back to Uma before dark, fixed dinner and enjoyed the fact the winds which had been blowing all day had finally settled down.  No more rocking RV tonight I hope.

Ending this post with a sad note, I just read online that Barbara Bush, a truly stellar First Lady, had passed away today.  My condolences to her family.