When spare time is available, which happens rarely, I have had the desire to develop a connector route from the beginning of the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (UTBDR) to the beginning of the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route (NVBDR). The connector route is now in my GPS after spending about 50 hours studying route options, rerouting areas of concern, and looking for the most scenic and iconic destinations along the way. This ride will take in sites such as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Moki Dugway, Goose Necks of the San Juan, Canyon de Chelley, the Little Colorado and many more. I have made numerous rides across the pavement in the area over the years so it's time to see the real backcountry by adventure motorcycle!
This adventure will be on new ground and a true exploratory experience done my favorite way, solo, with lots of expected and unknown challenges. Altogether I expect to ride just shy of 1,100 miles over 5 days and according to the weather forecast it looks like, as usual, rain is expected for the last half of the ride. Here are the know challenges: nasty mud the first couple of days (if it rains) that could make the first days all but unridable. I brought my trusty mud stick along that helped save my behind when Jeff and I tried to ride from Wells northward last year about this time. That stick has helped remove a lot of mud from wheels, tires, fenders and sprockets so it is now a trusted piece of standard equipment. It looks like just a stick but it is a "special tool" (ha!) that has helped save me in lots of muddy situations.
After the mud will be miles and miles of sand. I'm concerned that there may be so much sand that it will not be ridable by most and it may make for a lot more hard work than I want. I'm riding a fully loaded Africa Twin (DCT), my favorite adventure bike, so fighting sand for 50 miles may be exciting at times. It if rains in the high country there will be a good chance of flash flooding. There are a lot of washes and bottom land that will require vigilance since rain 30 miles away could cause flash floods along my intended path.
Lastly, I am going to be traversing across 3 Indian Reservations that may prove to be a bigger problem than anticipated. All the route numbers are not known and the alternates that may be required make it impossible to obtain permits from the Tribes in advance of the ride. As a responsible motorcycle adventurer I have reviewed the Hopi Code and find nothing regulating off-highway travel and the Navajo Nation appears to allow off-highway travel with no off-road travel. It looks like it is permissible to travel on designated roads and trails; however, there may be some ambiguity regarding interpretation. The intent is to following known tribal laws, codes and regulations and then confirming everything with the Tribes. The original draft route, alternates and work-arounds will be used to create the final route to obtain permits from the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe before sharing it with the Backcountry Discover Route organization. Hopefully, they will allow access and be able to issue permits; however, I suspect there will be sections that will not be acceptable. This will create a secondary issue of changing sections or entire portions of the routes, as needed.
Stay tuned. I will be sending out details and photos of the experience along the way as cell signals allow.