Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21st, 2009 - Sawmill Canyon, the SPOT spot, and Salina

Having decided that leaving the SPOT behind would be a disappointing and potentially confusing thing to do, we reviewed a couple potential routes back to the stretch of Sawmill Canyon road where the video first showed it missing. We decided to continue east on the TAT to Patterson Pass Rd where we could pick up Shingle Pass Rd. West to 318 North to Lund. After a combination of 55 mph dirt and some highway, we were back on Sawmill Canyon Rd by 7 am and found the SPOT along the side of the road right where we expected it.

A successful rescue mission deserved a reward so we stopped back in to Whipple's for another huge plate of food. BTW, Ma Whipple said she's suspected that someone was handing out maps or something given the number of dirty bikers she'd been seeing coming out of the canyon recently. She said, bring 'em on!

Back to the TAT, we rode through the beautiful Cave Valley and up and over Patterson Pass before opting for the big bike bypass up and around some deep sand (thanks Sam!).

Coming around the south end of the Humboldt-Toiyabe, I saw a dust trail and three bikes coming from the left. Just as I thought “Hey, where are they coming from?” I looked down at the GPS to find I'd just missed a turn. We flipped around for the obligatory exhaust pipe sniffing and met two guys from Florida and one from New Hampshire (I think). They'd been on the trail for 15 or 16 days and one of the Floridians had just gone over the bars after an unexpected ditch. As he said, after so many miles, it's that one time you let down your guard that the trail gets ya.

The rest of the way to the UT border took us on double track through some fun bouldery washes, a stretch of pavement and loop of dirt with a surprise 2 ft deep, 8 foot wide “bike wash” hidden around a corner. We both hit it at pretty good speed, got drenched and couldn't stop laughing. By this time, we have a routine for dealing with the stalling on the F800GS. First time, we ignore it and start back up before it stops rolling. Second time, we start looking for shade trees on the horizon. Depending how long we get before the next one, we basically stall/cool/restart until we find a shady spot where we can crawl under a tree for half an hour.

It was during one of these cooling breaks when, hearing the fan on the KTM, I realized that I felt like I hadn't heard mine in a long time. On top of that, despite stalling from the heat, I didn't think I'd ever seen the engine temperature gauge over the middle mark (four bars). I know, German engineering and all but that seemed odd given the temps and abuse we'd been putting the bike through.

From the UT border, we'd planned to start working our way north to take 40 east across UT and CO. We would come back to this point on the TAT heading east on the way home. As soon as got on the pavement and revved up the big bikes, we realized a stop at the BMW dealer in Salt Lake wouldn't be too far out of the way. We took 50 to Salina where we grabbed a motel to recharge ourselves (and our gadgets) before an early morning detour to SLC.


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