A Weekend Tour Close to Home

In recent years one of my oldest friends and I have enjoyed meeting in Jackson for a long weekend tour (he lives across the border in Canada), but the other day he called to let me know he was stopping by for a visit and wondered if there was anyplace to ride around here. “Is there anyplace around here to ride?” I thought.

First, I took the next Friday off work. And second, I put together several of my favorite local rides into one epic 744 mile weekend.

It was a brisk 40 degrees at 8:00 am when we hit the road headed over Parley’s toward Wolf Creek Pass (the first of several mountain passes we would climb that day). As we headed toward the summit the hoar frost and low hanging clouds made it one of the most beautiful fall mornings I think I’ve ever spent on the bike. Wolf Creek is a fun ride and I couldn’t help but smile as we wiggled our way to the summit.

I stopped to see how he was doing, and he said, “There must have been a horrible accident down near Heber—because I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

After dropping down into Tabiona we followed the river into Duchesne where we topped off our tanks before heading up Indian Canyon. I’ve come to think of this as the perfect way to add a few miles to a ride over Wolf Creek before heading home, but we were just getting started.

After dropping down the other side of the pass, we jumped on Highway 6 heading up out of Price toward Spanish Fork Canyon for a couple of miles before exiting for Scofield, and another pass on part of the Energy Loop to Fairview Canyon before winding down into Fairview for lunch. After three beautiful mountain passes, Steve’s mind was just about blown as we stopped for lunch at the Home Plate—one of my favorite stops if I’m in Fairview around meal time.

“Every pass has been different and some of the best motorcycle roads I’ve ever been on,” he said.

We live near so many incredible rides I admit I sometimes forget how great the motorcycle riding is at home. I’ve ridden all over the west, and we don’t take a back seat to anybody.

We jumped on 89, one of my favorite highways headed south to Torrey and detoured around Fish Lake so we could take the long way. Although most of the fall leaves had already dropped from the trees, it was a beautiful ride and a great way to wind down before calling it a day at the Chuckwagon Inn. I’d been told by a friend that it was the place to stay in Torrey, and we weren’t disappointed.

After dinner we sat in the living room of our two-bedroom cabin until the wee hours of the morning telling stories and trying to one-up each other. We’ve been friends for over 30 years, but only see each other once or twice each year (he claims that’s why we’ve been able to remain friends for so long). In recent years we’ve met for two-wheeled adventure and we’d certainly had a great day in the saddle. I was looking forward to introducing him to Boulder Pass and the Devil’s Backbone in the morning.

After a quick breakfast, we were on the bikes again by 8:30 headed toward Escalante via Boulder and started the climb over another beautiful mountain pass. I had tried to map out a route I thought would make the trip down from Canada worthwhile, but I’d been on these roads so many times I’d forgotten what it was like to see some of these places for the first time. Steve was all grins—from ear to ear.

I stopped to show him how the canyons fell off on either side of the road heading into Escalante over the Devil’s Backbone and we took some photographs. I love this ride from Torrey through Escalante to Panguich, and it felt like another world compared to where we had been riding the previous day.

The ride into Panguich included some wonderful sweepers that were perfectly designed for my Road King. Steve was on a Buel and has been riding sport bikes since his café racer days in the 70’s and showed me a couple things that had me zipping around the twisties a little faster than I normally do—all in all a very fun ride into Panguich where we gassed up, enjoyed a candy bar, and celebrated another perfect day watching the road pass by underneath our feet.

 

We jumped back on 89 headed north to Gunnison and shot straight up to Nephi. We stayed on the old highway to Mona where we took a great little detour to Goshen (via the Goshen Canyon Road) before we headed north on the west side of Utah Lake.

When we jumped on Bangerter Highway and then I-15, it was the first Interstate highway we’d been on in about 740 miles. “When can we do that again?” Steve asked as we loaded his bike into his truck for the ride back home to Alberta. “We need to do this again next year.”

Most of these rides I’ve done as day rides, and they’re some of my favorites. Linking them together like this made them a lot of fun and a great way to do a weekend tour without leaving the back yard. Utah has some of the best riding anywhere and I’m going to start thinking of other ways to add a few more miles for next time.

Any suggestions?