Riding Potash and Schaeffer again… Utah

Sunday, May 10th, 2009
old faithful orange flower

Happy Mother’s Day…

The best prescription for an ear ache, tooth ache, for that matter “any ache”, mental or physical, riders will agree with me, is a good ride… It is Saturday and I finally figured out what a Dr and Dentist did not, one tooth has to go. Shockingly painful to the touch. So I will endure the weekend and appointment or not I will be parked first at this Dentist’s Office on Monday morning. His photos on his web site look a bit washed out, I was thinking if maybe he would barter for an extraction. If not… well, will think of some way to get it done!

colorado river  

Bartering is good, I should try more of it. I think it is a path that we might all need to envision closely as even many communities are printing their own money, just another form of bartering. I have been very fortunate these past months to be approached by company’s like Smugmug which sponsors my Photo Galleries, “Motorcycle Shipping”, a very gracious company that basically works on biding the transport of motorcycles, SPOT, which can be a Life saver giving me the assurance that we are really not alone, also displaying a shared web page showing in real time a map of our riding, “Riders Discount”, a candy shop for anything one needs when riding, and just recently “Cedar Rapids Tire” for all motorcycle, ATV and trailer tires.

balanced rock d  
balanced rock a balanced rock c

Joe Grieving is the owner of the shop. I happen to get him on the phone for a couple specialty tires for my rear wheel and placed my order. Being the Boss, I guess when he stopped cracking the whip around he must have decided to do a search on us, and after reading the Blog wrote me back as he would be more than happy to sponsor us with tires. I don’t have to write this, I just like to give credit where credit is due as their service even before the sponsorship was outstanding. Bartering can be such a powerful way to move around in Life, willingly giving away as we know some day we will receive in turn as this is the only way the World is going to continue spinning for us. I just hope you give them a try, I know that a tire is a tire, but service and cost these days are worth much for us.

the pool  

We actually rode Potash Rd/Schaeffer Trail twice. I by the way have stopped looking for the proper spelling as it is spelled three different ways all over the place. Strange enough the ride felt much more challenging the second time around. It is a bit enterprising for a hack, some bits of rock crawling, little sand, tilted roads and no pictures of the rough spots. High clearance is a must, 4 wheel drive even better. Potash Road has always been magical for me. Starting as a paved road it turns into an unimproved road by the potash plant. Today the Colorado River runs down below joining the Green River a bit further up, the Mesa including Dead Horse point is up the red cliffs, and here we are riding just about around 150 millions of year ago, right in between.

on the bank  
colorado river bank a  

Sometimes the riding and good photography will not go hand in hand. The riding was great, the lighting was too harsh with much haze and no clouds which I like, enhancing the surroundings. Cannot have it all! This was part of the reason we rode it again the next day, actually my days are mixed up right now, that scenario did not work out either very well as we arrived late in the day when all was already into the shadows, keeping however the temperatures on the cool side.

dead horse point  

“Dead Horse Point” up above, “Colorado River” down below… squeezed in between two present eras with so much time in between…

potash rd b  
face red fowers on the trail

The loop, ending up in Canyonland, Island in the Sky, and back down the black top as we cannot ride Long Canyon, is a loop of a thousand photos! There is no end to the majestic forms and shapes and hues of red surrounding us. It is endless and so often the enjoyment of riding without even thinking about photography due to bad lighting takes over. I was going to avoid Moab this time around, the logistics of “pain” and having to order some parts and mail made me do it. There is never a regret as again I feel as I had never been here before.

salt a  
salt white flowers

There is no boring sections, for sure, however the excitement really starts on Schaeffer trail when we start climbing the many switchbacks. I like riding uphill, with loose ground and 1100lbs going down it is a better choice. I am also fortunate to have this wonderful mud and snow tire in the rear and a tall first gear…

shaffer trail g  
Shaffer trail c  

Technical it is, but also more intimidating than anything else. Fairly flat, meaning leveled, the road is, generally with enough room on the switchbacks to pull over and let the ones going in the wrong direction pass by. It is up on the pegs and much attention given to that throttle. Not too fast, not too slow as I stalled a couple times the first go around, did fine the second time. I think Spirit was then happier!!! I do manage to glance at him at times and he is so funny with his excitement of the bouncing, sliding a bit in the curves, hanging his head out on the side at times to watch the ground passing by and jumping a bit when a rock hits one of the bottom protective panels. He is quite the passenger. None like him.

shaffer trail f  
shaffer trail i Shaffer trail d

Eventually the road levels off and runs for a while in parallel with the vista points. We stop at the end where the trail meets the black top. Water bowl comes out, helmet comes off, it is time for a real break. There is a definite sense of accomplishment riding Schaeffer trail, I even take a bit of a deep breath and yet, I am ready to do it again. Amazing for a motorcycle that is 13 years old with over 200,000 miles on it.

guarding the trail  

Stopping on the trail a couple times and looking back toward the way we came, a fallen stump was as Nature’s Dragon guarding it’s entrance and keeping a vigil eye on this path carved into her bowels a bit over a century ago. The space laid ahead of us is so vast and yet we have managed to conquer it, built a road for it’s purpose when years ago only foot and horse traffic had taken place. How desolate those miles have been and yet not so as unfriendly as one could imagine when moving on with the due respect demanded by it’s rugged surfaces.

white rim trail sunset  
white rim trail b  

Different days, same grandiose feel when we also pushed to the “Grand View” at the tip of “Island in the Sky”. It is the road of the “White Rim Trail”, a road we cannot ride because of one point of difficulty and also because dogs are just not allowed. So we watch it from a distance, we sometimes talk to some that have ridden it, and who knows, maybe this too will change some day. My favorite photo of the day was the sunset a bit further down the road on the way back, looking out toward another area hard to penetrate called “The Maze”, only it’s silhouette softly and gently made it’s contrast toward the darkening skies of the moment.

The Sunset

We should be here one more week, much depends on this wonderful Dentist we are going to meet… I am going to meet. A bit more mail on it’s way, a few more trails to ride and we will then push on north or to Colorado, a State I have been missing for a while now.

Almost three years of Photography is finally in order on Smug Mug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through Smug Mug. If you like to order prints, all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload them on the Galleries.

Your support will help us continue these endless chapters you read. It will be more than greatly appreciated.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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8 Responses to “Riding Potash and Schaeffer again… Utah”

  1. bear Says:

    Ara, it was a great pleasure to meet you and Spirit this morning. Had i not been under the veil of passionately-singing-mockingbird-facilitated tiredness i am certain we would have indulged in a much grander conversation. Be well.

  2. Zelda Says:

    Hi again, Ara,
    I especially enjoyed these pictures and your commentary. I can’t add any words above the wind and occasional stirring of resident creatures breaking the quiet.
    Please allow yourself some downtime to get that painful tooth taken care of, rest, and follow Dr.’s orders.
    Your fellow traveler,
    Pam (& Randy)

  3. Randy Says:

    Wow, great pictures thanks! I hope the dentist fixes you up. Living in Cedar Rapids I tried Cedar Rapids Tire. They are great folks and had in-stock the odd ball tire I needed.

  4. chessie Says:

    Ara, you’ve seen my bike…could it take that trail? Could my little sporty take on Schaeffer Trail? What I wouldn’t give to see that vista….in person.

  5. mq01 Says:

    Beautiful, Ara, thank you. The desert flowers speak volumes to me…

  6. maxwell Says:

    I hope you don’t mind me sharing this blog with friends on my facebook and twitter. Love Spirit. he is a beauty 🙂
    Take care

  7. abraxas Says:

    Re: your thoughts on bartering, some people are making exactly that a reality.


    peace and love

  8. A Lady's Life Says:

    Wow! What beautiful shots!

    I don’t quite understand the blue water with potash? Is that a residue on the edges? How do you explain the soo blue water?
    Is there a copper mine?

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