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San Rafael Swell TR
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SCM
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 2:35 pm    Post subject: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

This isn't the best trip report as I really don't enjoy documenting things. And, the trips we like to do mostly consist of parking the van and biking from camp, so all the van pictures look the same. But we can all use a break from mechanical discussions every now and then...

Wifey and I packed up the van for a quick trip south to the northern San Rafael Swell for a long weekend of mountain biking. We left MT after work and had a very pleasant drive from MT into ID. I had just realigned the driver's door to eliminate the horrible wind noise that I endured for years. I can't believe how long I let that go after seeing easy it was to do.

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We stopped at a mosquito infested mud hole to eat the burritos we brought from home for dinner then got moving again. It was too bad, the views of the Centennial Mountains across Island Park Lake were really great.

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We spent the night at a lovely rest area north of Blackfoot, ID. We set up lawn chairs, watched the stars come out, and called it a night. There is a nice walking path through the lava fields and the truck/traffic noise was not *too* bad. My wife likes sleeping with white noise so it was actually the best night sleep she's had in months.

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Just north of SLC a passing car kicked up a rock and gave us a gnarly rock chip in the windshield. Knowing I would obsess over it and the impending spider-crack the whole weekend, we made a quick detour to have it fixed. Twenty minutes and $10 later we were on our way.

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We arrived at "The Wedge", set up camp, and did a quick 12 mile mountain bike ride to stretch our legs.

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We had great weather for all but 30 minutes and did a ton (well, 75 miles) of bike riding, mostly on singletrack, and ate loads of great food. I even got to use my new "camping wok" to stir fry scallops, peppers, and rice noodles over the fire. Unfortunately the van doesn't appear in any of those photos so I won't bother posting for fear of having them deleted.

Well, here's one of me in the kitchen. And you're damn right, I can pull off stripes and plaid!

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Here's an artsy shot after a little rain and a lot of tequila.

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I'll try to sneak in a shot looking north during the sunrise. Google "The Wedge" and "Little Grand Canyon" for some really great scenery and to start planning your own trip.

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Here's another.

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During our last night, my wife and I realized that in 8 years of ownership we've never taken a photo with us together in the van. Box = checked.

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We woke at sunrise the last day of the trip and drove home.

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Last edited by SCM on Wed May 30, 2018 2:59 pm; edited 2 times in total
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jackbombay
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 2:46 pm    Post subject: Re: San Raf Swell TR Reply with quote

San Rafael Swell is a fantastic lesser traveled piece of Utah!

$10 to get a rock chip fixed?!? Bargain!
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SCM
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: San Raf Swell TR Reply with quote

jackbombay wrote:
$10 to get a rock chip fixed?!? Bargain!


I thought so too.

I pulled off I-15 for gas in Murray UT and thought, "well, if I can get it fixed somewhere in the next 30 minutes I will". As the gas was pumping I Googled for shops and found that I was apparently in the middle of the glass repair district with 6 different places within a mile (Exit 301, FYI).

The first 4 places had automated phone systems and looong hold times. I was getting discouraged but the 5th place I called picked up right away and said, "I can do it right now".
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dhaavers
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 5:23 pm    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

Love it! Plans to be out there for the first time in about 2 weeks or so...

Thanks for posting!

Cool

- Dave
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 5:34 pm    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

Enjoyed that trip report. I loved Bizeman for 5 years except I would stay for the work week, just long enough to stop puking from altitude.
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Blaque Jacques
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

The swell is a great place for so much off the beaten path fun. The biking is fun, Dylan wall and a few isolated towers for climbing, when its running the SR river is a blast. plenty of good canyoneering. Lots of great dirt roads to explore and very scenic camping. much less crowded than Moab except for the occasional 3 day weekend. It would be a national park if in any other state!
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this!
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SCM
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

Blaque Jacques wrote:
It would be a national park if in any other state!


I agree. I'm surprised it's not at least a Nat'l Monument.
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singletrackrod
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 8:03 am    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

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We are there at least twice a year.
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singletrackrod
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 8:24 am    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

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We are there at least twice a year.
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joetiger Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 10:35 am    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

SCM wrote:
This isn't the best trip report


I disagree--this a great trip report. Thanks for sharing!
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Love My Westy
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 12:50 pm    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

We made the mistake of going to the northern Swell at Easter one year. What a zoo. We saw multiple police cars responding to accidents, one rolled Ford truck with the lights still flashing, and offroad vehicles literally jumping the main road from side to side. It's a beautiful place, but not always peaceful. I would recomend going on weekdays and not on the big weekends.
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SCM
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

Love My Westy wrote:
We made the mistake of going to the northern Swell at Easter one year. What a zoo. We saw multiple police cars responding to accidents, one rolled Ford truck with the lights still flashing, and offroad vehicles literally jumping the main road from side to side. It's a beautiful place, but not always peaceful. I would recomend going on weekdays and not on the big weekends.


Sounds horrible. We actually wouldn't have gone over Memorial Day weekend but my wife's schedule is pretty tight and we were jonesin' for sunshine.

We were camped along the southern side of Good Water Canyon and saw relatively few people while in camp or on the trail the whole weekend. BUT the crowd at the overlook was a shock on Sunday! It was like an event was being held - cars everywhere, people everywhere, and even a woman taking a leak just 20-ft from where the trail joins the road (I will never unsee that).

We took in the view for 10 minutes, looked at each other, nodded, and hustled back to our camp.
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Kkinsch
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:49 am    Post subject: Re: San Rafael Swell TR Reply with quote

Can you tell me more about this...I have a super noisy driver side door:

Quote:
I had just realigned the driver's door to eliminate the horrible wind noise that I endured for years. I can't believe how long I let that go after seeing easy it was to do.
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