Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 2nd, 2009 (Dave W): Moab to Green River

Originally posted by Dave W

After the White Rim Trail, the pool back at Slickrock Campground in Moab was fully refreshing. Dave & Ann ended up getting a hotel for the night, I stayed at the campground, and we planned to meet for breakfast at the place in Moab along main street that only serves breakfast. It was okay, not great. After that, we said our good-byes to Ann and left her at a cafe to catch a cab to the local airport in a couple of hours for her scheduled flight (more on that later).

Dave and I fueled up and saw a couple of guys at the gas station with a 990 Adventure and some other bikes in a trailer. They asked us about the WRT on big bikes and we said, "DO IT!" Hopefully they had a good time.

Without Ann riding pillion anymore, we lost our full-time photographer. We sort of spaced on taking pictures for a bit. In the meantime, we had a minor routing issue. Heading out of town on 191, our tracks (manually translated from Sam's maps and put into our GPS's) had us what looked to be cutting off the highway, and then what looked to be under the freeway and under/over some train tracks. After trying to go through a little bicycle tunnel and down a trail along some powerlines to a dead-end, we found our way back on the TAT. The signs led toward Gemini Bridges.

Dave was cruising along at a quicker pace now that he didn't have to worry about his passenger anymore, and we were making good time. Good time, that is, until we came to a decently aggressive ascent with some seriously fine, dry sand...

Dave was in front and ended up losing his momentum at about 30 or 40 feet. I gave it a shot, and after losing my momentum at about 80 feet, was able to get it going again and made it to the top. This was definitely one of the more difficult sections we had seen. Had the sand/powder not been so fine/dry/deep, it wouldn't have been bad at all, but it was squirrely, steep and already fully chewed up.

After making it to the top, I hiked back down to help Dave. He was in a fully rutted, deep sand pool, and was having difficulty getting traction to go up or back down. We managed to get the bike towards the left side, which was seemingly less tracked out, but it still took some serious revving to get the bike moving. After 15 minutes or so, he managed to get some grab in the right spot, and squirreled his way up the hill. I hiked back up with his topcase and helmet in hand.

Shortly thereafter he noticed his clutch was not grabbing like it had been. Thinking it might just be over-heated, we cruised along at a brisk pace to get some airflow across the bike, and as the clutch started to slip all over the place, we went back to the old routine when the fuel-pump was acting up and found some shade to let everything cool down a bit.

After letting the bike cool for 45 minutes or so, we thought it best for him to continue on to Green River via highways, and for me to take the SPOT and some of his water and continue along the TAT to Green River. We'd sync up in Green River that evening, and wishfully think the clutch would heal itself along the way.
I set off towards Green River, and if I felt isolated and remote before, I felt even more so now. I took a slightly slower pace with a little more caution as I was on my own if anything went wrong.

Once in Green River, I was a bit surprised to not see Dave, but to actually find decent cell service. I gave him a call, and he actually answered. What luck! Cell service is a rare commodity along the TAT. He explained he had made it to the intersection of 191 and 70/50/6?, but that the clutch hadn't improved and had only become worse...


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