One of my oldest friends, Steve and I had been talking about some of the rides down here in Utah for a couple of years. He’s from across the border in Canada and we’ve met a couple of times in recent years up in Jackson to ride together. He and I did Bear Tooth Pass a couple of years ago—it was my first time on that incredible ride and have been back a couple of times since.
When he called to let me know he was ready for a Utah ride I took some time off work and got busy planning a route. Since the point of the ride was to spend some quality time in the saddle, I thought I’d put together some of my favorite day rides into a tour and came up with an epic 744 mile weekend. In Fact, it’s started me thinking about other rides we could do this way.
We left the Salt Lake Valley headed to Park City and the Kamas Valley early on Friday morning. The temperature was a brisk 40 degrees and since we were going to be climbing three mountain passes and in late October, I plugged in my heated jacket and gloves just in case I’d need them. I turned them on leaving Francis as we started climbing up Wolf Creek Pass.
Most of the leaves had dropped from the trees, but it was still a beautiful ride—one of my favorites—and a great way to start the day. Climbing into the clouds and seeing the hoar frost on top of the pines was breathtakingly beautiful. We stopped to catch our breath at the summit where Steve said, “There must have been a horrible accident down by Heber, because I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.”
I couldn’t disagree. I have to smile when I notice the places on the ride where the road just kind of wiggles back and forth up the canyon. I was glad he was having a good time. Introducing someone new to a favorite place is like discovering it all over again. This was going to be a great day.
After dropping down into Hanna and Tabiona we followed the river into Duchesne. This is a peaceful little addition to the ride and allows us to avoid the busy Highway 40. After topping off the tanks, we started climbing up Indian Canyon toward Highway 6 out of Helper. They were doing some road maintenance, so with the exception of a couple places where the traffic was backed up, it was smooth sailing over another beautiful mountain pass.
After dropping down into Helper, we climbed up Highway 6 toward Spanish Fork Canyon for just a few miles before we bailed at the turnoff to Scofield and headed for part of the Energy Loop and the pass over into Fairview for lunch. These roads are ideal for wasting a few hours (or a weekend) on a motorcycle and this is another one of my favorite rides.
We stopped at the Home Plate (my favorite place to stop in Fairview if it’s meal time) for lunch. Steve was all grins and seemed to be having a good time. “Three mountain passes, every pass has been different and some of the best motorcycle roads I’ve ever been on,” he said. He even ordered a piece of chocolate pecan pie for desert to celebrate.
After lunch we climbed on Highway 89, one of my favorite old roads and headed south to Torrey. We had a reservation for the night at the Chuckwagon Inn.
We detoured around Fish Lake—a great way to cap off a fun day in the saddle. Although we were too late for the leaves, this trip was really more about the roads than anything else. When we arrived in Torrey it was about 6:00 pm and we were ready for dinner. Our two bedroom cabin was a great place to spend the night and we were up until the wee hours of the morning telling stories and trying to one-up each other.
We only spend once or twice a year together, which is why Steve claims we’ve been able to remain friends for over 30 years. I’m not sure if that’s a dig at me or if he’s acknowledging one of his obvious personal flaws.
I was looking forward to introducing him to Boulder Mountain and the Devil’s Backbone in the morning.