A&R Broventure 2013: The Moab Expedition

08/29/2013 @ 11:39 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS


Moab, even the name sounds as foreign as its landscapes are to a city slicker like me. You see, there comes a point where you can only pound so much payment on your daily two-wheeled commute before you have to get away from it all…and with San Francisco currently undergoing its Bridgepocalypse, the timing seems right for Asphalt & Rubber to get a little dirt on its riding boots.

The truth is that I have wanted to go the parks that flank the Moab, Utah region since my early Boy Scout days. Once I got a car, it went on the short-list for road trip destinations; when I got a 4×4 it became the target for a four-wheeling adventure; and of course when I got a motorcycle…well, you get the idea. I have never made the trip happen though, but all that is going to change next week.

Just as Scott and David get back from Silverstone, covering what should be a very entertaining British GP, I will be embarking on a eight-day, 2,000+ mile, Santa Barbara to Moab and back, motorcycle trip. Like most of my foolish travel adventures, my college roommate Tim, a long-time riding buddy and occasional A&R helper, will make the adventure with me on two trusty steeds: a BMW R1200GS and Yamaha Super Ténéré.

Tim and I have traveled by box truck across the country when I moved to Pennsylvania for grad school (the truck leaked during an epic rainstorm in Arizona), and while I was working for the United Nations, Tim flew out to Europe so we could hike along Italy’s Mediterranean coast (among other adventures in Tuscany that involved a broken bus and Canadians).

Planning to camp at least five of the eight days on the road (no, sleeping in jail in Las Vegas is not considered camping), and tip our toes in the ADV waters, next week’s undertaking has officially reached Broventure status. What does this mean for you though, loyal Asphalt & Rubber reader?

Well, for starters Tim and I will be posting as much as we can from the road to Facebook and Twitter, with hopefully nightly updates on A&R about our trip’s travels. I say hopefully, because you know…motorcycles…camping…electricity…bobcats…Utah. What could go wrong, right?

The content should be a little different from our usual fare, and the daily news grind might not comes as lightning quick as you’re used to on A&R…but we should be able to keep up with the important stories during our roadside pit stops. Motorcycles are supposed to be toys for fun, so hopefully you will enjoy our tales from the road as much as we will enjoy having them.

Our rough route is in the image above, so if you know of some good roads along the way (or some good trails in the Bryce Canyon, Arches, or Canyonalands National Parks), drop us a line in the comments — we’re always open to suggestions.

We leave Wednesday 4th and return on Wednesday 11th, and will takes us through the following landmarks: Mojave, Zion, Dixie, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree — among others. Call our mothers if we’re not back by Thursday the 12th.

  • paulus

    Great! Hopefully the start of more off-road related content :)
    Have a great time…. enjoy the adventure that is off-road riding.

  • Richie Rich

    Sounds like an amazing trip, sure you’ll have a great time. If you haven’t packed it already, may I suggest taking Edward Abbey’s ‘Desert Solitaire’? An excellent read about Arches and other (disappearing) natural wonders in that part of Utah.

  • Starmag

    Jensen, sounds awesome. Thanks for including us. Can’t wait for the updates.

  • Steve NJ

    I was out in Zion & Bryce in mid May… wonderful weather, beautiful trip!

    The town of Springfield right before the entrance to Zion is a fantastic little town… great restaurants & nice hotels …. but since you are camping, there are campgrounds in Springfield & of course, in Zion.

    Once we left Zion for Bryce, we experienced a drastic change in weather… we left Zion in the 90’s & got to RT 12 heading for Bryce & it was 56 degrees…. but the real issue for us lowlanders was altitude sickness & then dehydration (we were hiking @ 9000ft)….. I noticed the altitude sickness in my girlfriend pretty quickly but it took 1 day to realize that I was being affected too. So just beware… symptoms include headache & acting crazy… (not kidding)…

    We loved Utah & would go back to Springdale & Zion in a minute. I am assuming you will go through Monument Valley Arizona on the way home…. how about the North Rim of the GC?? that road dead-end’s at the canyon….I always wanted to ride there on a bike!

    Good luck & I look forward to reading your trip notes!

  • Kevin


    Like life, the map is just a reference starting point and the best roads are the one’s that call your name when you pass them. Have fun.


  • Reed Parker

    This is a great route!! I have driven it with a friend, from Vegas in 1 day (rental car of course). We toured the Grand Canyon and then decided to go the “Long Way ‘Round” it was a great decision.

    The sweeping curves in Arizona are amazing and Hurricane Utah at night, the sky filled with bats. I only wish I can one day ride these roads on my bike.

  • Nick Napoda

    The route there is absolutely incredible. From Hurricane, UT to Hanksville, UT is the most beautiful stretch of roads I’ve ever seen, especially the Grand Staircase Escalante. Huge alpine mountains dropping down into endless canyonlands. Awesome!

  • L2C

    Have a great trip! And don’t worry, I’m used to getting the news here a couple of days late. ;-)

  • Doctor Jelly

    Hey, you’ll be passing right by me on the 40. I’ll give you an air five as you you go by!

    There’s a short but sweet twisty south of Flagstaff a little out of your way. If I remember right you did a bike review out there some time back on highway 89A passing through Jerome, AZ. Other than that the only good place I know about is Joshua Tree Park, and you’ve already scheduled that. It’s a blast highballing it out there with no cops around!

  • Krust

    If you are interested in some nice scenic dirt roads on your way through Flagstaff you can cut across the North side of the San Francisco peaks.

    From Highway 89 turn right onto FR522 follow that to a right turn on FR418 (or continue on FR522 to an do out and back to Lockett Meadow, beautiful place) FR418 travels along the North side of the Peaks and will end on FR151 (also called Hart Prarie Rd.) If you are done with the dirt take the right fork and it will dump you out on Highway 180 which you can ride into town, or if you want some more take the left fork onto FR151 and it will take you along the west side of the Peaks and end at Highway 180 much closer to town.

    Map Link: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5364169.pdf

    These are all well maintained Forest Service roads. Should be no trouble on a GS and Tenere. I would guess this would add about 1 hr (without the Lockett Meadow side trip) to your ride time as opposed to just riding Highway 89 into town.

  • Gabe

    You live in SB? I am surprised you’re not doing more of the scenic/canyon roads nearby (the 150 to santa paula, or the 150 to 33 to N2 to the 58….. I suppose you’ll be short on time

  • Paul McM

    I did a similar loop on a GTS1000 back in ’93. It’s spectacular — one of the most stunningly scenic rides on the planet. Truly. Our itinerary started and ended in Las Vegas. From Sin City we went to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, Moki Dugway, Monument Valley, Page (Marble Canyon), Vermillion Cliffs and back to Vegas in 5 days. If you’re contemplating such a trip don’t miss Monument Valley! It’s not a National Park so some people forget about it — but it is truly one of the highlights! The road going into page is also insanely Good on a streetbike.

    Jensen — enjoy the ride and take a pick from the Moki Dugway!

  • Jimboecv

    Flagstaff – Eat at Black Bart’s. Great food, fun, no dress code ;-)

  • Gabe

    Something like this for the SB > Barstow stretch. The 150-33-Lockwood valley is a good ride, the 138-14-58 are two lanes with minimal enforcement.


  • Thanks for all the tips folks!

    Gabe, I used to live in Santa Barbara (Tim still does), and Hwy 33 was pretty much a regular Sunday morning thing.

  • Dave

    Try Miguel’s Baja Grill in Moab. you won’t regret it.