Backroad Bob's Motorcycle Adventures
Utah - Stark Naked Beauty

Utah - Stark Naked Beauty

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl.

Snow and Ice

With snow and ice on the ground, this is the time of year to start planning that road trip you’ve always dreamed about. Maybe you’ll want to go out West and follow Horace Greeley’s advice, but not too closely (he only made it to Ohio when that was the West). Maybe one of those fly and ride motorcycle shops will let you rent your dream bike to take on your dream trip. Maybe you’ll want to go to Utah. Here are a few good reasons and a few good roads to help you plan your trip there. Whatever way you get there, just get there!

Four Corners And More

When you follow the signs off US Route 160 to Four Corners (Colorado/Utah/Arizona/New Mexico), you find five flag poles - one flying the American banner, four flying state flags, and a six-inch brass medallion denoting the exact spot the US Geological Service figures the four states’ political boundaries join. Both the flag poles and the medallion are buried in the ground. This is in the middle of a featureless flat desert with nothingness as far as you can see in every direction except for the occasional butte jutting skyward like an ancient civilization’s monolith.

Free-Ranging Cattle

Passing through the northeast corner of Arizona, I encountered something new to me - free-ranging cattle. At first it was a bit unnerving to pass within inches of 1500-pound livestock grazing at the edge of the fenceless road, but the cattle didn’t seem to mind. They wouldn’t even raise their heads when a tractor-trailer passed them.

Utah Route 14 joins Cedar City to the original north-south route in Utah, US Route 89. This road’s scenery never quits. It has highland meadows covered in yellow goldenrod, spring creeks lined with purple loose strife, turquoise glacial lakes, and black basalt rock formations. If you join Utah Routes148 and 143 with Route 14 it forms a 35-mile loop that will have your jaw-dropping around every corner. Utah’s best kept secret is on Route 143 - Cedar Breaks National Monument. This undeveloped gem has almost no traffic, no guide rails, and nothing between you and mile deep kodachromic chasms.

Breathtakingly Beautiful

Bryce Canyon’s traffic made it hard to enjoy the park, especially after having Cedar Breaks all to myself. At the visitors center I cooled off in the air conditioning and soaked my shirt with cold water to fight the desert heat. I was surprised to learn settlers chose to live in this hot, arid, unforgiving land, but it all made sense when I learned they were Mormons. It seemed the puritan populace of America wouldn’t let the polygamous Mormons live anywhere else.

Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Cedar Breaks are full of breathtakingly beautiful geological formations, but the land’s emptiness and nakedness make passing through it a strange experience. It’s nice to look at, but you wouldn’t want to live there with the desolation, the desert climate, and the rugged terrain.

Hogback Road

Utah Route 12 runs through Dixie National Forest and connects Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef National Parks. Although it’s only 120 miles long, it has to be one of the most scenic roads in America. The only traffic I saw was two truckloads of fire fighters. Route 12 rides atop 9000-foot ridges barely two lanes wide through Escalante Canyon with 1000-foot drop offs on both sides. The locals call it Hogback Road. The views are spectacular.

Cowboys and Indians?

The next day, I’d cut across Wyoming’s southwest corner looking for the cowboy and Indian West of my youth’s imagination. It was half-fulfilled by the Indians at Four Corners and maybe I’d find cowboys in Wyoming. After all, Wyoming license plates show a cowboy atop a bucking bronco. Hopefully, I’d find the cowboys in a more prosperous state than the Indians.

Utah - Stark Naked Beauty

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl.

Oily Pipes Garage Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013

Can’t get enough of those two-strokes!

More from the OPG Rally

Oily Pipes Garage Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013

OPG Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013 -

Where You Don’t Mind If Someone Blows Smoke Up Your _ _ _.

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl.

All Rights Reserved

Oily Pipes Garage Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013

OPG Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013 -

Where You Don’t Mind If Someone Blows Smoke Up Your _ _ _.

by Robert H. Miller

© 2014 RHM Co. Intl.

All Rights Reserved

Last August, Oily Pipes Garage held its third annual Vintage Motorcycle Daze in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. Oily Pipes Garage is a service, parts, and hop-up shop mainly for Yamaha RDs, but they’ll work their magic on any two-stroke motorcycle. In 2010 they decided it was time for the enthusiasts that frequented the shop and the online two-stroke forums to meet and greet so Vintage Motorcycle Daze was born.

The motorcycle show had some as-promised rare bikes that you’ve probably never seen. Like the 1946 Francis-Barnett (British) “Merlin” with its 173cc Villiers single-cylinder two-stroke engine. Not many were made or sold - they were a premium product in post-war Britain when no one had extra money to spend. It was a jewel. Another little jewel was Lou Palumbo’s (Cinnamon Bay Cycles) 1972 Ducati 250 “Monza” road racer. Built up from just a rolling chassis, he eBayed the rest of the parts including the unique plastic-injection molded inside a steel tank gas tank complete with authentic championship decals.

Alongside that was a 1967 Bultaco “Metralla” 250cc two-stroke that was brought back from Germany by its Army veteran owner when it was new. In 1967, the Metralla was the hottest 250cc on the planet winning at the Isle of Man as a road racer, taking European ISDE medals, and winning Jim Pomeroy, the first American to win a 500cc European motocross race, several motocross titles in the U.S. and Europe. The owner, Tom, even had it signed by the late Jim Pomeroy when he attended Vintage Motorcycle Days.

The rest of the show had the obligatory Yamaha RDs in every stock, cafe, and race configuration imaginable with some original RZs, the RD’s successor, Suzuki GTs, and Kawasaki H1s and H2s. A very authentic-looking race-replica 1971 Kawasaki 500cc H1 triple two-stroke attracted a lot of attention with its Kawasaki “lime green” factory paint job complete with number plates. The owner said he gets stopped by the police every time he rides it. The other Kawasaki attracting attention was the mighty, and mightily-feared, wheelie-prone 1975 750cc H2 triple two-stroke. Just the sight of it, then or now, struck fear into most riders as it was the fastest thing on one or two wheels in a straight line, but couldn’t safely negotiate a turn at speed thus earning the nickname “Widowmaker”.

Held the second weekend in August, head on down to southeast Pennsylvania if you want to say you’ve been to one of the only two-stroke rallies held in the U.S. - just be prepared for someone blowing smoke up your _ _ _. The address is 1000 Anvil Lane, Blue Bell, PA 19422 and the GPS coordinates for the park are N40.1594/W75.2838. Oily Pipes Garage is at www.oilypipes.com. Maybe they should call it Vintage Motorcycle Haze.

Oily Pipes Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013

Oily Pipes Vintage Motorcycle Daze Rally 2013
Triumph Twin Sound Check
Snap, Crackle, Pop - RD400 with expansion chambers.
1971 Kawasaki 500cc H1 Race Replica