SnowCanyon – Feb 2015

Kim and I decided to take a break from the extremely mild Salt Lake City winter and spend a weekend in balmy St. George. Our primary objective was to explore Snow Canyon and enjoy some bike riding and easy hikes.

Snow Canyon trail map

We entered the park from the south, paid our $6 entry fee, and parked at the Sand Dune trail-head and picnic area.

Sand Dune picnic area

We unloaded our bikes and started riding up the Whiptail paved bike path. It was pretty chilly when we started, but we warmed up quickly since the trail was a lot steeper than I expected. I thought it would be similar to the Provo River Parkway trail in Provo Canyon, but this trail has more ups and downs and a few of the climbs were pretty intense for us.

Close up of the Whiptail bike path

We rode to the end of the bike path at the Upper Galoot picnic area. After a short rest, we zoomed back down the trail and continued about 1/5 mile beyond our car to the crest overlooking the sand dunes. There was a family with young children enjoying the soft sand in the dunes.

Kim on the Whiptail bike path

We then returned to the car, for a total ride of just over 4 miles.

We changed into our hiking clothes and drove over to the Pioneer Names trail-head. The trail was not well marked, so it took us a little while to find the panel where the pioneers wrote their names with axle grease.

Along the Pioneer Names trail

There are a lot of interesting rock formations

Pioneer Names written in axle grease

That was a short and easy hike, although you are walking in soft sand most of the time.

We then drove up the road and took a look at the lava fields, but decided not to do that hike. We then headed back down the canyon and hiked out to the Petrified Sand Dune. This would be a fun place for young children to play, but you would need to keep an eye on them.

Kim on the Petrified Sand Dune

View from the petrified dune

We ate lunch at the Upper Galoot picnic area, and then explored the short hike into Jenny’s Canyon. This was our favorite hike of the area. Jenny’s Canyon is a short, but narrow slot canyon with some interesting rock formations on the walls.

Jenny’s Canyon trail-head

Kim in Jenny’s Canyon

Dee in Jenny’s Canyon

Our final hike was up Johnson’s Canyon. Johnson’s Canyon is the only canyon within the park that usually has running water, so there is more vegetation and trees than other areas within the park.

“Smile Face Falls” along the Johnson Canyon trail

Kim in Johnson’s Canyon

Johnson’s Arch has a span of 200’. We thought it was at the end of the trail, but when we got there we looked all over and couldn’t find it. To my surprise, I had cell and data service so I googled the arch and found some pictures of it. It was obvious that the arch was not at the end of the trail, so we kept a look out for it on our way back down the canyon.

Well, there is was – in plain sight. I couldn’t believe we walked right past it without noticing it. When I got home I found that I even took a picture of it without realizing it (not this particular photo).

Johnson Arch

When we finished the hike my car thermometer said it was 77º. It really felt warm.

We still had plenty of daylight left, so we took a drive up to Gunlock Reservoir, and then stopped to take the tour of Jacob Hamblin’s home in Santa Clara.

Jacob Hamblin’s home

The missionaries told several interesting stories about Jacob and his family. They also explained the old saying; “sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite”. “Sleep tight” refers to tightening the ropes that supported the mattress, and of course the bedbugs lived in the hay stuffed into the mattress.

A very small bed with a rope support system

The Great Room on the second level

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Eastern Caribbean Cruise – Dec 2014

Dec. 6-14, 2014

For many years Kim and I have considered taking a cruise. We got invited to Florida to attend our oldest grandson’s baptism, so we thought we might as well take a cruise while we were there since airfare is a large portion of the cost.

Royal Caribbean International

We talked with several friends that have previously gone on cruises to get some ideas on how to plan such a trip. I can plan river trips and motorcycle trips, but planning a cruise was outside my realm of experience.

According to friends, the first step is to determine which cruise line best matches your personality, interests, and budget. We soon narrowed it down to either Royal Caribbean or Princes Cruises. We decided to go with Royal Caribbean because they offered more sport activities on-board (which we never took advantage of).

8-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise

The next step was to determine which cruise to take. Many suggest that our first cruise needed to be at least 7-nights so that we can fully appreciate the experience. We decided to try the 8-night eastern Caribbean cruise, which had stops at Philipsburg on St Maarten, Basseterre on St Kitts, San Juan on Puerto Rico, and on the private beach Labadee on Haiti. This cruise started off with two full days at sea, which would give us time to get used to the ship and learn our way around. The final day was also at sea.

Our cruise route

Our cruise route

Unfortunately, our first and last days had cold and rainy weather, so we were not able to spend much time up by the pools and hot tubs. In fact, we never even got in the pools the entire week – although we did enjoy soaking in the hot tub.

Independence of the Seas

We considered taking one of Royal Caribbean’s largest ships; the Allure or Oasis of the Seas, but I didn’t like the idea of going with such a large crowd (over 6000 guests). We decided on their second largest fleet and selected the Independence of the Seas, which holds just over 3000 guests and about 1500 crew members. It is still a very large ship – perhaps the largest of any we saw at any of the ports.

Kim, with our ship in the background

The ship had 13 decks. They had a deck map near each elevator, which really helped us find our way around.

Deck map

Deck map

Our state room was near the front of the ship on deck 8. Our restaurants were on deck 5 and 11 at the back of the ship. The promenade on deck 5 was usually the easiest way to get from one end of the boat to the other.

The Promenade

The pools and hot tubs were on deck 11, which also provided a quick way to traverse the ship when the weather was good. Poolside is also were we found the self-serve frozen yogurt machine – which was a highlight of the trip.

View from the front deck

Deck 12 offered great views of the ocean and a jogging track

The state room was quite nice, but very small. We only had about 8” on either side of the bed. The bed was made by pushing two twin beds together. If you rolled into the middle of the bed, the two beds would separate, dropping you through the crack.

Our interior state room

The room also had a small couch, TV, closet, and a very small bathroom with a claustrophobic shower.

We usually ate breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer buffet. It offered nice views of the ocean, but being at the far back of the ship it rocked quite a bit, making it difficult to eat if you were at all sea sick. They had 3 main buffet lines with a fairly good variety of food, although the food wasn’t great.

We ate dinner in the King Lear dining room on deck 5. They offered three coarse meals from a menu of selections such as lobster, shank of lamb, etc. These were fancier meals than I am accustomed too, but the food was quite good and it was nice to try things I don’t often get to try.

The crew provided excellent service throughout the ship, but we really appreciated the helpful suggestions offered by our head waiter. He quickly learned our tastes and would give us recommendations at each meal.

If you don’t drink, gamble, or buy expensive jewelry, there isn’t all that much to do on the ship. I was quite disappointed that they didn’t offer more activities – especially when the weather was too cold to be up by the pools.

We did go to the nightly variety shows. Most of them were fairly good, and they were all family rated. Our favorite was the Elton John impersonator. He was hilarious.

The main theater

We also played one round of bingo, but it was far more expensive than I expected. It cost $55 for one set of cards, so Kim and I shared a set. On the fourth and final round I was one square away from winning the grand prize – an upgrade to a family suite with a balcony. That would have been nice!

We also attended a Big Bang Theory trivia contest. We got about half of the questions correct.

The ship had three main pool sections, one for adults, one for children, and one for everyone.

The kid’s pool

The ship offered several sporting activities, but we didn’t take advantage of many of them. We did play one round of miniature golf, but the course was very small and with a rolling deck, there wasn’t much chance of getting the ball to go where you aimed.

I wanted to try the Flow Rider surf wave, but never did. They only offered boogie board surfing from 1:00-3:00 PM each day, and we were usually involved in other things at those times. Standup surfing seemed too risky at my age.

They also had a climbing wall and various team sports like volleyball, soccer, basketball, or archery. It was usually pretty windy up on deck, so some of the sports were very challenging.


Flow Rider

Shore Excursions

We pre-booked our excursions through Royal Caribbean. Booking through the cruise line is probably more expensive than going private, but it offers the guarantee that if your excursion is late, the boat will wait for you. Being our first cruise, this seemed like a good idea.

St Maarten

At St Maarten we decided to take the bus tour of the island so we could see both the French and the Dutch sides of the island. It was pretty boring, but at least we got to see the island.

My main disappointment with the days at port is that you have a limited time. You basically have time for one activity – and there are many activities at each port that would be worth the time.


Kim in St Maarten


Christmas in the Caribbean

Beach chairs for rent

St Maarten shopping

St Maarten harbor

St Maarten is a very popular port. I think there were seven cruise ships docked there, so it was very crowded. We had a little time before our bus tour, so we walked through the shopping district. I was a little disappointed that everything was fairly dirty and really packed in. We don’t really like shopping in tourist traps, so we tried to just get a sense of the place and avoid pushy salesmen.

St Kitts

Our next stop was St Kitts. I really liked this island. The streets were wider and well organized, and everything seemed to be clean. Many of the shops would let you use their WiFi if you bought something, so we could check our email and check in with the family at each port.

St Kitts

Kim at St Kitts

The highlight of our trip was the catamaran ride and snorkeling excursion we took at St Kitts. It wasn’t the best snorkeling spot, but it was a fun activity and the catamaran crew was very entertaining.

Catamaran & snorkeling excursion




San Juan

Our third port was San Juan, Puerto Rico. Being an American port, we could use our cell phones without international roaming charges.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

We wanted to visit the old El Morro Fort, but from Internet research it looked like it would involve a lot of walking. So we decided to take the Segway tour. That was really fun, but your feet get really tired from standing on the machine for so long. It only takes a few minutes to learn to ride and control a Segway. They are really amazing machines.

Segway tour

El Morro Fort

View from the fort

A ship entering the harbor


Our final stop was at a private beach resort leased by Royal Caribbean on the island of Haiti. Labadee is on the north shore of the island. There is only room for two ships at the pier, so this stop was less crowded than the others.

Labadee, Haiti

Kim at Labadee

We spent the day lounging in the shade on some beach chairs. We tried snorkeling in the swimming area, but we could not see any fish. It was a very relaxing day. They offer more adventurous activities like a zip line, a small coaster ride, a water slide, or you could rent wave runners, kayaks, or paddle boards. We didn’t want to spend the money, so we just enjoyed a day of relaxation.

Relaxing in the shade


Many people really love cruises. Kim and I enjoyed it, but it really isn’t our thing. We would prefer to fly to some destination and then spend a few days exploring that area. Traveling by ship was kind of boring and we both suffered from some sea sickness. Kim was nauseous the first morning, so she had to take sea sickness medication. I didn’t get nauseous, but the constant rocking of the boat did affect my sense of balance. In fact, weeks after the cruise I was still having balance issues.

Things we liked:

  • The service from the crew was excellent.
  • The dinners were nice.
  • Having time to relax and not worry about work.
  • The evening shows were enjoyable.
  • The catamaran ride and snorkeling excursion was our favorite activity.
  • Riding the Segway.
  • Seeing the Caribbean.

Things we didn’t like:

  • The constant rocking of the boat causing some sea sickness.
  • Many of activities or specialty restaurants cost more money.
  • The crowds – making it hard to get anywhere.
  • There was a lack of activities for those that don’t drink, gamble, or enjoy expensive shopping.
  • The small and cramped state room.
  • Having an interior room with no window made it difficult to know the time of day or night.
  • Having a room near the front of the ship made the sea sickness worse.
  • The breakfasts and lunches were mediocre.
  • Not sufficient time to fully enjoy each port.
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Symtec Grip Heaters – Nov 2014

I have previously installed grip heaters on four of our family bikes.  I bought them from Enduro Engineering, but I think they are identical to the Tusk heaters and they may also be labeled under other brands.  They are made in Taiwan, but their quality is lacking.

Cheap grip heaters

All four sets broke within the first year – some of them broke on the first day.  There are two primary problems with these heaters:

  1. The plastic toggle switch breaks internally due to vibration.
  2. The heater wires are very brittle and break easily – especially the throttle side.

If you choose to use these heaters, save your self some grief and replace the heater wires with a good grade automotive wire and replace the switch with a quality on-off-on switch available from Home Depot or Radio Shack.

It is also helpful to insulate the bar on the clutch side with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape.

Symtec Heat Demon Grip Heaters

For my two new KTMs I wanted a higher quality grip heater, so I decided to try the Symtec heaters.  So far I am very impressed.  Their quality is far superior to the previous heaters I have used.

Symtec Heat Demon heaters

Here are some of the things I like about these heaters:

  • Good quality toggle switch with a mounting bracket.
  • Comes with heat shrink for the clutch side bar.
  • Good grade wire.
  • Dual element heaters eliminate the power resistor.
  • Optimized clutch and throttle side heating elements.

Installation is fairly straight forward.

Remove the clutch side grip and clean the bar

Do the same on the throttle side

Install the heat shrink tubing on the clutch side

TIP: Apply some glue to the bar to prevent the heat shrink tubing from spinning on the bar.

Stick the clutch heater element to the heat shrink with the wires exiting from the front of the bike

Install on the throttle side to the throttle tube, also with the wires to the front

Reinstall the grips

TIP: Use glue and safety wire to prevent the grips from slipping.

Secure the wires to the bars

TIP: Make sure you leave sufficient slack in the wire for the throttle to turn fully.  Also ensure that the wire does not snag on the brake mechanism when the lever is pulled in.

Mount the control switch

Find a convenient place to mount the control switch.  The included mounting bracket may prove useful.

Locate an appropriate source of 12 volts, preferably one that is only powered when the motor is running to prevent draining the battery.

Locate a convenient chassis ground or ground wire.

Hook up the switch and heater elements as per the wiring instructions included with the kit.

The end result

Fire up your engine and test to make sure both grips are heating in both the high and low settings.  I found that both grips heated very evenly.

Safety wire

Go out and ride and keep those fingers nice and warm!

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Cherry Creek – Nov 2014

Nov. 8, 2014

We had another gorgeous fall weekend, so we went out to Cherry Creek to enjoy some fun single track trails. Joining Jamie and I were Paul and Sarah, Scott and Peter, and a neighbor of Scotts – Bill. We covered approximately 33 miles with a good mixture of open trail and tight twisting trail through the trees.

Bill quickly learned that a KLR 650 with a bald rear tire was not the best bike choice for this type of terrain. We started off by riding a short practice loop near the car to make sure everyone could handle the type of trails we would be riding. Bill crashed on one of the loose, tight corners and smashed his foot. He was in pain and realized that he could not manage such technical trails, so he opted to ride his KLR home while we continued on our way. He later learned that he had broken his fibula and separated his ankle. I am amazed that he was able to ride home in such condition. I hope he recovers quickly.

Bill on his KLR

The only other incident we had was when Jamie somehow rode off the trail going up a gully. It was a quick, but painless crash, and she had her bike back on the trail before I could get there to help.

There are trails all over the place. You can basically just pick and trail and see where it goes. Since I have been here several times now, I have some favorite trail sections that I like to ride. So we tried to pick trails that would move us towards my favorite sections.


For the most part, this worked. But we did pick a few trails that fizzled out or dead ended at a deep gully. At one point I think we were actually riding a cow trail rather than a dirt bike trail.

Jamie on the hill climb

But we eventually found our way and discovered some new trails in the process.

Sarah hitting some whoops

My favorite trails are the ones that weave in and out of the trees or work their way up or down a narrow gully. Others prefer more open terrain with fewer turns. I think we found trails that everyone enjoyed.



Jamie riding through the dead forest

Jamie weaving through the trees

Jamie on the rocky ridge

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Center Trail – Oct 2014

Oct. 30, 2014

Center Trail (#09) is a popular dirt bike single track trail in the Diamond Fork area just west of Strawberry Ridge. It consists of five major sections, as shown on this map:

Strawberry OHV map

Bob and Ron (a former work colleague) where planning on riding Center Trail before winter set in, so I decided to take the day off work and join them. We began our ride near the Tie Fork rest stop in Spanish Fork Canyon. It was a very cold 20ºF when we pulled into the parking area. My fingers were freezing as we started our ride, but the early morning sun was quickly warming things up. It wasn’t too long until we were shedding layers.

What better way to start off a cold morning ride than do about five deep stream crossings. I was surprised how deep these crossings were this late in the year. I suspect they could be very challenging during spring runoff.

Tie Fork stream crossings

A few miles up Tie Fork the dirt road ends and the Tie Fork single track (#23) begins. This single track quickly climbs up the mountainside to the Unicorn Ridge road (#42).

Ron starts up the Tie Fork single track

The trail is fairly narrow and has some sections of steep side hill with some exposure. There are a few switchbacks and a few rocky climbs, but most of the trail is fairly easy as long as you pay attention. There are, however, a few hidden root clumps or rocks that like to snag your toes as you ride by. One in particular has snagged me all three times I have ridden this trail – regardless of which direction I ride.

The southern end of Center Trail begins at Unicorn Ridge immediately across the road from the top of Tie Fork. This first section of the trail is perhaps the easiest. This year some of the trail suffered some erosion, so it is a little more challenging than usual. You can ride at a good pace through this section, but pay attention when approaching some of the catch ponds or might miss a turn and get yourself wet. For photos and video of this section, check out my October 2014 Diamond Fork trip report.

This section ends at the intersection with road #501. You turn left and follow the road for a few hundred yards, then turn left again onto the 2nd Water Trail. This trail then splits; left goes down 2nd Water while right ascends a rocky section of trail letting you know you are now beginning the more advanced portion of Center Trail.

The first rocky climb on Center Trail

After completing the climb, the trail mellows out. Most of the trail is pretty easy as it winds through Aspen trees, Pine trees, or meadows. Being late in the year, much of the trail was covered in fallen Aspen leaves.

Fun cruising through the Aspen trees

The 3rd Water crossing is the hardest part of the trail. There is a steep and rocky descent down to the stream bottom. I remembered this section from my ride here about 15 years ago with my two oldest sons. We were coming the other way and had a difficult time making it up this hill. My younger son flipped over backwards, which he didn’t enjoy.

The rocky descent into 3rd Water

After crossing the streambed you begin a steep rocky climb out the other side. The climb has two switchback turns, so it is difficult to maintain your momentum. I got stuck twice through this section.

The rocky climb out of 3rd Water

I really enjoyed the trail from 3rd Water Ridge to 5th Water. There were a few rocky spots, but most of the trail was smooth flowing trail where you could relax and enjoy the ride.

More easy cruising

Just before reaching 5th Water you find an old aircraft fuel tank sitting just off the trail. One wonders how in the world it got there.

An old aircraft fuel tank just before reaching 5th Water

The crossing at 5th Water was quite muddy this time. The ride up and down 5th Water is pretty fun, and I have done it several times in the past.

A muddy crossing of 5th Water

To continue on Center Trail you turn left and go down 5th Water a ways. There are a couple of rocky sections with some steep side hill exposure that warrant caution.

From 5th Water (#15) to 5th Water Ridge (#14) the trail is intermediate difficulty, with a few rocky sections and some low lying logs.

5th Water Ridge is also a fun ride, but our objective for this ride was to ride Center Trail end-to-end and back. So, we turned left at the junction and began the descent down towards 6th Water. The first time I rode this section of the trail I thought it was really hard since it had a lot of exposed tree roots and ruts. But now I find it really enjoyable.

There is one section where you feel like you are riding through a tree graveyard due to all of the old fallen trees.

Riding through the tree graveyard

We came across a recent tree fall that was up in the air, making it difficult to get over. We could have bushwhacked our way around, but we elected to stay on the trail and practice crossing tall logs.

Ron getting ready to cross the fallen tree

Lots of fun riding through the Apsens

There is one really steep climb on this section, which includes one switchback turn. When I rode this section 15 years ago everyone in our group struggled to get up this section. This year all we all made it without incident.

A steep climb on the way to 6th Water

We stopped for lunch at the West Portal on 6th Water. It took us almost exactly 3 hours to ride from Tie Fork to 6th Water, covering 22 miles. (Keep in mind that we ride slower than most people.)

We wanted to continue on and ride the northernmost leg of Center Trail, but we did not have enough time. We will have to come back and try again someday.

After a brief rest we started back. We didn’t stop as often on the way back, so we made a little better time, but we did get pretty tired by the end.

We had to cross the fallen tree again. All three of us fell over attempting to cross this tree.

Ron crossing the tree on the return trip

Bob wheelies onto the log

I think this was Bob’s first bike drop of the year

As I was getting tired, I worried about the rocky sections at 3rd Water, but to my surprise, the trail was significantly easier going north-to-south. When I finished the climb I wasn’t totally sure that we had indeed made the climb that I had been worrying about.

We rode quickly back across the southern section of Center Trail and began back down Tie Fork.

Once again I snagged my toe a few times on hidden rocks or root clumps. I even snagged my toe on one of the switchback turns, which pulled me over with my leg pinned under the bike. And of course, I was riding in the back so there was no one to help. My upper body was wedged in some oak brush, so it was difficult to move. Being old and not very limber, it took me a while to wiggle free. It was actually quite comical.

We returned to Bob’s truck in less than 3 hours with no injuries except a little bit of pride. This was one of the most enjoyable rides of the year with almost 44 miles of mountain single track.

A storm moved into the area two days later and brought the first snow to the mountains. So this was likely our last mountain ride of the year. But it was a great way to end the season!

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Paiute ATV Trails – Oct 2014

Oct. 17-18, 2014

Two years ago Jamie and I went to Richfield during her fall recess to ride some of the Paiute ATV trails. Unfortunately, we got snow that week, which made it impossible to ride the higher elevation trails, and the lower elevation trails were pretty muddy. Since this has been such a gorgeous autumn, we decided to go back and try again.

Friday, Oct 17: Monroe

GPS track for day 1

Several years ago we rode from Monroe up to Manning Meadow Reservoir via Paiute Side Trail (PST) #65. Trail #65 was fairly steep and tight, but it was also pretty fun. We decided to try it again, but I worried that the trail would be severely eroded due to all of the rain we have received this fall. I suspect the trail was indeed damaged, but it had very recently been repaired and graded. It turns out that this made it really difficult on a dirt bike. The soil was very loose and consisted of small chunks of broken up shale-like rock. It was like riding in 3” of ball bearings. We were spinning and sliding all over the place. We let a little air out of our tires, which helped a little bit.

Loose and rocky terrain on trail #65

Jamie spinning out on one of the switchbacks

Once we reached trail #78 things got much easier (for a while). We took a side detour to check out Hunts Lakes and also rode up to Monroe Peak. The atmosphere was pretty hazy, so the view wasn’t as good as I had hoped.

Looking down on Hunts Lakes

Jamie on Monroe Peak

After reaching the main Paiute loop, #01, we found a nice meadow with some old logs and enjoyed our lunch break.

Siesta time

After lunch, we started on our main destination ride – trail #89. I had heard that this trail was really fun. Most of it was fun, but there were several steep and rocky sections that earn the trail its advanced rating. We also took the side spur out to Upper Box Creek Reservoir and back. This trail was also quite challenging. I would rate it as advanced even though my trail map lists it as intermediate.

An easy portion of #89

Nice bridges over wet lands

Upper Box Creek Reservoir

The southern half of 89 had the nastiest rocky section of the entire trip. This is the only section that caused Jamie to stall her bike. But it was a short climb and most of the trail was fun as it wound through the trees and meadows.

The hardest part of trail #89

We had a little extra time, so we decided to explore part of trail #53 and #54. #54 was very rocky. The first section was like riding on bowling ball sized rocks. I would definitely rate this section as advanced.

After completing #54 we worked our way back to the car via #01 and #78. These were very easy roads, but we were still very tired at the end of the day. We covered approximately 80 miles.

Manning Meadow Reservoir

After returning to our motel we enjoyed a soak in the hot tub and then a nice Strawberry Chicken Salad from Pepperbellys.

Saturday, Oct 18: Fremont Indian State Park

Our second day’s ride

After checking out of the motel, we drove over to the staging area near the Fremont Indian State Park and headed north on trail #01. This is perhaps the hardest section of the main loop. The first 4 or 5 miles are fairly steep and rocky. Neither of us had any real struggle, but we were pretty tired of rocks by the time we got past this section.

Somewhere along #01

One of many steep rocky climbs

Just as we finished the rocky section, we started seeing a lot of deer hunters since this was opening day for the hunt. We tried to ride quietly so that we wouldn’t disturb their hunt.

An easier section of #01

We continued on #01 until we came to the junction with PST #06. #01 is mostly very nice through this section, but there is one steep descent going down into Chokecherry Hollow. This hollow had some of the prettiest autumn leaves of our two-day ride.

Jamie enjoying the view

Chokecherry Hollow

Trail #06 was also pretty easy with one fairly steep and rocky downhill section just before the junction with #15. #15 is a very well maintained road and we made good time heading back south towards I-70. We thought we would stop for lunch at Three Creeks Reservoir, but the road to the reservoir had a locked gate. So, we continued south, crossed under I-70 and stopped for lunch at Fish Creek.

A great lunch stop at Fish Creek

Our view from the log

We finished #15 with time to spare, so we decided to ride up #13 past the old Kimberly mine and come down my all-time favorite Paiute trail – the Max Reid trail. This trail was rockier than I remembered, but it was still really fun. This brought us right back to our car for a total ride of just less than 60 miles.

The fun Max Reid trail

In all we covered about 140 miles of trail with a good mix of advanced ATV trail, intermediate ATV trail and road, and some really easy roads. We even rode a few miles of pavement each day.

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Wolfman Daytripper Saddle Bags – Oct 2014

For many years I have carried my dirt bike tools in Wolfman Enduro tail bags.

Wolfman Enduro Tail bags

The bags are well made, they have compression straps to keep your gear from thrashing around while riding, and the bag is removable so you can keep your tools safe while not in use.

The bag comes with a mounting plate that you bolt to your fender.  This plate uses hook & loop to attach the bag, and it has two compression straps to hold things tight.

Mounting plate

The bag measures 8″ long, 5-1/2″ wide, and up to 4″ tall.  It will hold up to 3.5 liters of gear.  It has heavy duty zippers around three sides, making it easy to access your gear.

Side view

Top view

I decided to try the Wolfman Daytripper bag for two reasons;

1) If I put all of my tools in the bag, it is so tall that I have a difficult time swinging my leg over the fender.

2) I wanted to reduce the weight of the gear I carry in my riding vest.

I like to be prepared for most emergencies when I ride.  I like to carry a fairly complete tool kit and a substantial first aid kit – including a SAM splint (which I have used).  I normally carry all of the first aid supplies and some of the tools in my Ogio Flight Vest, along with my two-way radio, lunch, water, a hat, and sometimes a jacket.  This makes the vest very heavy.

I find that on long rides my shoulders are usually the first thing to show signs of fatigue – so I want to reduce the weight that I am carrying on my body.

I have previously used the Wolfman E-12 saddle bags and found that they worked very well.  But they are larger than I want for most day rides.  So I decided to try the Daytripper bag, which mounts the same way as the E-12 bags, but at about half the thickness.

Wolfman Daytripper saddle bag

The bags hold up to 12 liters – 6 liters in each side.  The bag has several D-rings, which allow you to mount other bags, water bottles, or jackets to the bag.  They also have a compression strap on each side to keep your gear from bouncing around.

Top view

Most people run the main straps over the top of the seat, making the bags very easy to install or remove.  I decided to run the straps under the seat so the bags would sit lower and reduce the likelihood of theft.

The main straps support most of the weight while the rear straps and front straps keep the bag from bouncing around.

I was able to fit all of my tools in one side (except for a spare tube) and my first aid supplies in the other side and still have a little room to spare.

I think these bags are going to work out really well.

Field Testing: For the most part these bags work great.  I only have two concerns; 1) because they hold so much stuff, I carry a lot of stuff and the weight adds up – it does make the bike slightly less nimble, and 2) if you have to slide off the back of the bike (when looping out, or when you snag your foot on a tree root, etc.) you leg may snag on the bag, making it more likely that you will not land on your feet.

Update: These photos show an exhaust shield.  I found that I didn’t need it.  The bags stay in place very well, so I removed the shield.

Update 2: OBR ADV Gear offers a similar bag called the Enduro Saddlebag.  I think it is worth considering.

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