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Over the weekend and on June 21, Eureka City via the Elks BPOE 711 facilitated yet another great Poker Run.



A friend of mine and I took off pulling my 43' 5th wheel. Sadly, on the steep climb up toward Eureka, my trucks transmission decided to give up the Overdrive clutch pack and valve body, leaving me with 1-3 gears.

We got situated in the High School parking lot and went for a short ride around the Tintic Mountain. Just prior, we hit the 3 Prospectors and were the last guests just as we overheard that the folks who owned the adjacent gas station were doing a "hostile take-over" of the restaurant and converting it to a BBQ place. The current tenants/proprietors were being made unemployed. Sad.

The next morning, we hit the 3 Prospectors again for a great breakfast before setting out for the Poker Run. Although the run wasn't supposed to start until 0830, we were told that a few machines had already hit the trail 30 minutes prior.

Before the first station, I had already come up on the first machines to hit the trail. They were rolling at a leisurely 5mph (or so). At an intersection, they paused and I managed to get around and ahead of them. Sadly, my two riding companions weren't quite so fortunate and continued to be "stuck" behind them for most of the remainder of the run.

I completed all five stations and had a great time. The locals and Elks that were manning the poker & fun stations were all very nice and polite.

On Saturday evening, I waited until just around 11pm before hitching the 5'er up and making the very slow (35mph) trek back home. Being locked in 3rd gear, it took almost 2 hours to do the ~40 miles home. As of this writing, my truck is already at J&G Transmissions.

Rattlesnake trail / canyon.. easily the best trail of the day:

A few photos and GPSr tracks from the day.

Derek, Shawn and I after completing the Poker Run.

A view from the mountain directly South of Eureka.


A view from the peak directly North from the top of the "Rattlesnake" trail.

Tracks from our route that day, to include a large loop past Vernon Reservoir and through Cherry Creek:

3 Months of ATV Follies

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Caution: Some language and gestural profanity involved in this movie.

This is a compilation of at least 3 rides that took place from Aug-November 2013, where the best goof-ups and oopsies occurred. 

ATV Follies III 2013 from Midnight Rider on Vimeo.

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3+ Weeks on the trails

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For the entire 2nd half of September and first half of October, I was fortunate enough to get in some camping, fishing, hiking and ATV'ing.


GPSr tracks found here:




05 Oct 2012-Jacob City-Soldier Creek Ride.gdb




I spent the first 7 days between Koosharem, Utah and Marysvale, Utah. My goal was to ride as many "new-to-me" trails as possible while in those areas, with an emphasis on filming and riding the much-touted Barney Lake trail.


The first four days were spent at the Koosharem RV park; a small park that can host approximately 10 RV's. I was quite surprised that I was able to get my massive rolling Marriot into their park.


Day 1, I found myself wanting to go fishing at Otter Creek reservoir. Sadly, the lake was at 50% of its normal water capacity, and I was able to drive my truck across a sand bar that placed me about where the middle of the lake used to be.




With the water as low as it was, I was unsuccessful, but I did still manage to net about a dozen crayfish and boiled them up for dinner that evening (along with a great steak!).


Day 2, and my friend Gary Elias (and wife) arrived to join me. After getting his camp setup, we thought we'd make the ~80 mile round trip to Otter Creek and back. Unfortunately, Gary's diabetes were acting up and we changed course, instead heading toward Monroe.




While leaving Monroe and heading back toward the trails, we saw a couple towing the most interesting camper (with their ATV) that I've ever seen.




Day 3, we decided that we'd make a run at the Barney Lake trail. This trail was known for being brutally steep, rock covered and for advanced riders; it really didn't seem to be any of those (to me), but did have a few decent technical sections.


Barney Lake trail



My favorite trail though had to be the PST65 coming off Monroe Mountain and into the town of Monroe. This trail had tight switchbacks, some interesting terrain and a descent of over 7000' in elevation.




On Day 4, I said my goodbyes to Gary and his wife and departed for Marysvale. I had already phoned ahead and reserved a spot at Lizzie -n- Charlies RV park (easily my favorite RV park in central Utah).


From this location, I rode the Deer Creek 74 trail, the 606, Barney Lake (yet again) and the PST 65 (yet again).




After ~7 days, it was time to return home. Fortunately, for me, another friend contacted me and asked if I wanted to join him in riding from Kanosh to Marysvale (as a day trip). This ride is easily my annual favorite, so I gladly accepted and we departed for the Adelaide campground.




The PST97 "Al Gay" trail and Paiute 01 were our primary destination trails, and neither disappointed.




Sam Stowe


What a great time on the Paiute in September!


So, I'm back home, interviewing for new jobs and trying to find additional trails to ride. Again, the phone rings and my brother-in-law is wondering if I'd take him and his wife riding from Five Mile Pass to Eureka. Sure, I reply - so we head off to the Five Mile Pass area and enjoy a day of riding. Sadly, somewhere en route to / from Eureka, I managed to lose the keys to my truck. Fortunately, I have an awesome wife and she agreed to drive the 45 minutes to drop off my spare (and only remaining) set of keys.


The Snake Charmer trail @ Five Mile Pass


A week or so passes and I again get invited to ride the Jacob City Loop (Ophir, Utah area) with a new friend. We stage on Mercur Canyon road and depart for my secret trail on the south side of Ophir Canyon.


Jacob City Loop


Now, its almost mid-October and again I meet up with another new friend and we ride Little Moab to Eureka. We ride through (from East to West) Black Rock Canyon, then through Chilius Pass and into Eureka for lunch at the HWY6 Deli.




The best section of trail riding in this area is the Dry Lake, Mill Canyon trail. This trail is easily the most technical ride in the entire area.


Mill Canyon


So, its now the 12th of October and I'm prepping for 10 days in the San Rafael Swell, White Sands and Moab. That trip report will be posted later.

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On 01 Sept 2012 - 03 Sept 2012 (over Labor Day weekend), I set out for Lizzie -n- Charlies RV Park in Marysvale, Utah.

GPSr tracks here: Marysvale-to-Panguitch-Loop.gdb

Our goal was to complete a full loop from Marysvale to Panguitch and back, staying overnight in Panguitch before returning back to Marysvale.


We departed Marysvale at 0930 Saturday morning, following the Paiute 02 trail until it connected to the Paiute 01 South. We climbed elevation until reaching about 11,600' near Delano Peak. The views were breath taking.


After bypassing the Beaver High Adventure Camp and Three Creeks, we started onto the Paiute 88 trail. This trail was a very narrow two-track surrounded on all sides by Aspen and Pine. As the kids soon discovered, the trail was also quite technical in sections, with tight switchbacks, loads of rocks and other obstacles.

The 88 trail seemed to last 50 miles, as it just went forever. Somewhere high above and West of Junction, East of Beaver, we finally connected to the Paiute 67 trail and continued out southbound journey.


Again, we continued southbound until reaching the 68 trail, which then took us out of the Paiute trail system and onto the Panguitch system. At this point, the trail was foreign and not on my GPSr tracks, so we relied on our compass to continue navigating us to the South and to the East.



Finally, at around 7pm, we could see in the distance Bryce Canyon and what looked to be Panguitch (albeit three mountains to our East).

We continued on. Butts were sore, kids (and I) were hungry and tired. At this point, we were about 90 miles into the days journey.

We pressed on and finally made it into the far South/West corner of Panguitch. We checked into the New Bryce Western Motel, cleaned up and walked over to the Cowboy Steakhouse. Steaks were awesome, but I forgot this place specializes in traditional smoked/BBQ and not in fire grilled steaks.

Day 2: We fuel up and start searching for a place to have breakfast. A local informs us that a truck stop 3 blocks away serves breakfast. We are the only customers. We eat, head back to the motel to pick up the last of our gear and head out.

With everyone being exausted after Day 1 and the 101 miles covered, we decide to skip Casto Canyon and instead, follow the Fremont 02 trail into Circleville. Most of the Fremont 02 is wide open roads, so our speeds were averaging 30-35 mph. We were making great time!

At Circleville, we turn East and catch the Paiute 01 and follow that North, stopping for a brief break just before crossing Kingston Canyon.


Again, the trail pretty much was wide open throttle until we again reached the junction of the 01 and 02 into Marysvale.


We arrived back at camp filthy, exhausted and glad to be back!

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I am hosting an ATV overnight ride from the Panguitch KOA to Marysvale or the Castlerock Campground.

Date: Saturday 1 Sept. 2012
Stage: Panguitch KOA
Time: 0900am

What to wear/bring:

  • Wet weather gear
  • Jacket or sweat shirt (temps can drop quickly at elevation)
  • Gloves, boots, helmet, goggles
  • One change of clothes (for the overnight)
  • Tent/sleeping bag/overnight gear (if we tent instead of stay in a cabin or other lodging in Marysvale)
  • Snacks, water/drinks
  • ATV w/extra 4gal of fuel (we can fuel up in Panguitch, Circleville and Marysvale)

Jim possible track logs.pdf


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Brothers Ride 1

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Over Labor Day weekend (2011), both my brothers came into town. My oldest brother is retired Air Force, now IT Tech residing in Vacaville, CA. My youngest brother is a 7-8th grade Math teacher, residing in Olympia, WA. Although my oldest brother hunts and camps a bit, he and my youngest brother are still inexperienced ATV'ers.


My plan was to stage at the Panguitch KOA (south end of town), get the guys oriented with the machines on Day 1 (ride toward Bryce Canyon, etc.). On Day 2, our plan was to ATV tent/camp at Castlerock Campground, just off I-70 and West of Richfield (over 100 miles to the North).


Garmin tracks and Google KML found here:



Day 1: Staging at the KOA. We had hoped to come in Friday night, but the KOA owners were worried that our rig was so big that we'd take their trees and power lines down. Apparently through the night, they had friends at work clearing branches and making the campground accessible to our monster-5th wheel. I'm sure glad they did. It was still tight.



Day 1 went without issue. Both brothers proved they could handle the machines, not get lost or destroy anything. We retired back to the 5th wheel for the evening. Overnight, the temperatures dropped to the mid-30's. Far too cold to get up and turn-on the furnace. My brothers, now sleeping in the garage area (on two drop-down queen beds) were freezing and had no issues with telling me so the next morning. That morning, we got an updated map of the area and instructions from the KOA owners that temps overnight had been getting very cold. My youngest brother and I were the only two to have packed sweatshirts. My oldest brother started seeking out a source to purchase on (no success).


Off we went. Our first leg was to ride through the entire Casto/Lime-Kiln loop. After that, it was the Fremont 02 trail to Circleville.



As my older brother was staging this video, I had just had a collision (low-speed) with a tree. I pushed in the right headlight, bumper and frame. I was upset as evidenced in the second video below where I ram the gate and create new suspension issues that won't manifest for another ~80 miles. (upper A-arm bushing)

Somewhere en route, my youngest brother (who was in the middle) was no longer visible. Seems he had "popped off" the ATV and rolled down a small hill and my older brother had just passed him by. We all had two-way radios, so made contact, determined what happened, cleaned him up and continued on our way.



Shortly after the "pop-off" event, my oldest brother pulled up next to me while taking a break and I noticed a tire had gone flat. Apparently, he had cut several gashes in the sidewall of his front/right tire. I set out to plug the leaks and fill the tire with SLIME. To our surprise, it all HELD!


6 or 7 plugs later and we were back on the trail.

Prior to reaching Circleville, we decided to teach my youngest brother how to shoot. He had informed us that morning that he had never fired a handgun. Out came my trusting Walther P99 9mm and a few magazines of ammo and he was zeroed in. He was an quick learner!


After finally arriving at Circleville and finding the RV Park open, we refueled, grabbed cold soda's and proceed up the Paiute 01 switchbacks.  We left the Panguitch KOA at around 0900 and it was now 2:30pm.

I warned my brothers to beware all the fast-moving machines after we arrived at the top of the mountain (we went from ~5000' elevation to about ~10000' elevation on that single trail).

The views, wildlife and trees were phenomenal. Temperatures dropped from ~85F to about 75F in that 5000' elevation change.


After another 1.5 hours of riding, we finally arrived at Delano Peak. A high point that sits just under 12000' elevation.



Part of ride required that we follow the Paiute 01 toward Max Reid. En route, there's one little hill climb that's always been problematic for 2WD machines. We quickly found out that my youngest brother couldn't make the hill climb. I was equipped and ready for the challenge:

A mandatory stop before making camp was Hoovers. Just off US HWY89 between Big Rock Candy Mountain, Joseph and Marysvale. We arrived at around 6pm and each enjoyed a great dinner. I had the 18 ounce prime rib. There's nothing like coming in after 100 miles of dirt riding and enjoying a fine dinner.


Comparing our sun-burns.


We concluded dinner just after 8pm and by that time, the sun was mostly set in the canyon. After some brief discussion, we decided we'd take an easier trail (Paiute 22) to I-70 and follow the pavement ( a legal ATV trail) to Castlerock Campground. We arrive at the campground in pitch dark just after 9pm.

From our headlights, we could only find one spot open.. the CAMP HOSTS spot. They were set to arrive the following morning. Our fingers were crossed that they wouldn't arrive in the night and run over our tents.

Fortunately, they didn't and by 8am, we were again back on the trail. MRE's, two hot cups of Pilipino coffee and we were rolling.

My goal was to not back-track, but instead to catch a trail to the East of Beaver. Unfortunately, the track would have required us to go far out of our way and fuel was a concern. We back tracked..

The old Joe Lott (now Max Reid) is a favorite section of trail for everybody that rides the Paiute 01 between I-70 and Hoovers. Although I've now ridden this short trail at least 50 times, it never fails to impress. We started at the lower gate and worked our way up.

Big Ride 6 (or my one day ride!)

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On the weekend of Sept 22nd, I left home with my 43' 5th wheel and ATV en route to Emory. I'd never been to this town before and didn't quite know where I was meeting the rest of the BigRide 6 group.

After accidentally driving through town (its really small), I had to find a way to flip a U-Turn in my mobile Marriott; not easy to do on two lane country roads.

I found a space on the street that was out of the way and adjacent to a rest stop and open park, but not close enough to bother the locals. I setup the 5th wheel (since I needed to stay at least one night).

As the sun started going down, cars started pulling into the field and a live music event was formed. I wandered over and listened in. Apparently the locals do this singing every Sunday evening. What a nice event!

By that evening, almost nobody from the BigRide6 group had arrived. Bill and I were mostly alone waiting for the rest. To my surprise, after 10pm many others started to arrive.

We grouped up at 8am the next morning, made sure gear was loaded, stickers were handed out and that everybody was there. Garmin tracks for BigRide6 here:





We departed the staging area and started our Day 1 ride to Manti. The skies were clear and the trails weren't that dusty. It was starting to look like the makings of a great initial ride.


The first trouble started along Rock Canyon. Climbing these tight switchbacks and rocky terrain, my machine started to overheat. Somewhere along that trail, Bill Walke's RZR made contact with my machine and ripped my rear facing camera off. Fortunately, I had planned ahead and affixed a bungee to keep it from getting lost (falling off).

After several hours of riding, we stopped for lunch (about 2pm). I refueled (because it was starting to rain and I didn't want to refuel in a full storm).

The group started to fire up their machines, but mine wouldn't start. I had power, but the fuel pump wouldn't engage. I was dead. Fortunately, two comrades agreed to tow me to the our preplanned hotel in Manti. After ~20 miles of being towed, eating dirt and having my fog lights broken (from debris flying from my tow machine), I made it to the hotel.

A quick phone call to the wife and she came to pick me up. I left the ATV at the hotel and we drove ~80 miles back to Emory so I could drive the 5th wheel and truck back to Manti to haul out my machine.

And so ended BigRide 6 for me.

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On June 16-18th, my 13 year old son and I departed South Jordan en route to Marysvale. In tow, we had our massive 42' 5th wheel, two quads and my mountain bike. We were intent on participating in the Take Back Utah event at Lizzie and Charlies RV park.

We arrived Wed. early afternoon (after a nice lunch at Hoovers), staged the RV (can't camp without Satellite TV, XBOX360, Air conditionining, 50amp power and ice cubes!) and called it a day.

On Thursday, we met with the TBU group and initially participated in the ride up to Bullion Falls and Monroe Mountain. After eating dirt & dust for a few miles, we (my son, myself and Gary Eli) decided to leave the group and seek out our own adventure. Our destination: Koosharem via the 53 and 33 Paiute trails (some of the most Black Diamond rated trails in the area).

Considering we've ridden this area in years past without issue, we went with our normal half-day gear (wet weather, lunch, drinks). Normally, Marysvale to Koosharem is a 4 hour round trip. This day, it turned out to be a 9am-midnight adventure.

Why was it adventure? Let me tell you our story:

The ride up the Paiute 01 and 02 can be done in a truck; That was our initial trail up the mountain. Upon reaching 7000' elevation, we started to encounter many trails blocked by either downed trees or a combination of massive snow drifts and downed trees. Our only available trails to Koosharem were the 53 and 33. Did I mention Black Diamond rated? (BD=Extremely difficult).

Gary was in a Razr SxS while my 13 year old was in a 2wd Honda Rancher.

Both trails were not easily accessed due to the amount of trees that had fallen over the trail. We spent a considerable amount of time cutting the trees back. I initially used my trusty handsaw (never leave without it) until Gary came clean that he brought a battery powered Sawz-All. What a relief!


About 1/2 way up the mountain, we encountered our first creek crossing. Was the creek ever moving and deep. After gauging depth, we determined that creek was 2-3'. Probably not safe to cross without either taking water into the intake or having a machine pushed-over on its side. I decided to toss my winch cable across, get across the creek via a fallen tree and hook up the winch cable.

Without fail, a few feet into the creek, I found a hole and the front-end of the quad sunk to the front-rack. Quick action on the winch and throttle popped me out before I ingested water into the machines intake.

Upon arrival on the other side, I reversed the winch process and connected to Nick's 2wd Honda. He clearly didn't want to ride it across, so I tried to pull it across with the winch without a passenger. The power of the creek tried to tip the ATV over, so I quickly jumped into the creek to stabilize the machine. Water was rushing over the top of the quad, so I had to react quickly by shutting the machine off (to minimize any damage to the motor).   We got the Honda across and repeated the process with the massive Razr.

Other than fouled plugs, no harm or damage was sustained! (WHEW!).




This creek crossing process was repeated a few times while trying to make our way down the mountain.

Near the top (9800'), we encountered a trail junction: Monroe or Koosharem. The sun was going down and the trail we wanted to take was buried by a massive snow drift. Nick egged me on to try the snow-packed trail. I made it 30' into the snow drift before becoming high-centered and stuck. Gary decided he could get his machine in to assist, but also got stuck. Unfortunately, there was nothing close-by to winch to. After combining my 50' winch cable, my extra 50' nylon-coated winch cable, my 12' tow strap, Nicks 8' tow strap and a hand-winch from Gary, we were able to reach the sign post. Our fear was that we'd yank the sign out. We were grateful the USFS sunk and cemented those posts in well, because it got my machine free. In turn, I was able to winch Gary's Razr out. Another hour lost on the mountain.


By now, it was nearly 5pm. Where did those hours go? Hmm.. cutting down trees, playing in the snow.. they all added up.

Shortly after extracting ourselves from the snow, we noticed the sky was becoming increasingly black and overcast. Temperatures had dropped 30-40F and the wind was picking up.

By now, we were thinking about an exit strategy and abandoning our route to Koosharem. Unfortunately, all other routes except the Black Diamond rated 33 and 53 trails were not accessible. The safe play was to get closer to civilization. Down the mountain we continued.

We finally reached Koosharem at ~6pm. The gas station and Cafe' were still open. Gary (being diabetic) needed food in order for us to continue. As we dined on burgers and corn-dogs, the storm started raging outside. Winds were easily 60+ mph with raging rain. Temps continued to plummet.

I had no cell service, but Nick's iPhone4g had some ability to dial out. I phoned the wife and put her on standby and to start contacting Flat-bed tow truck companies in Richfield in the event we couldn't make the ~60 mile trek back to camp.

We made two night attempts back up the mountain in driving rain & wind. Unfortunately, our visibility was so low, we constantly missed the trail we needed to take. Back down to Koosharem we went. As luck should have it, the gas station owner was just closing, but allowed us inside while the tow truck arrived (ALWAYS have a PLAN B). By ~10pm, we were loaded up on the two truck and en route to Marysvale. By midnight we were unloaded and back at camp.

Quite an interesting day.. and I'd do it again without hesitation!
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5 Mile to Eureka

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In early May 2011, I led a group of ~17 ATV's approximately 85 miles round trip from 5 Mile Pass to Eureka and back. My friend Bill recorded much of the ride and posted it online:

5 Mile Pass to Eureka 1 from Bill Zumwalt on Vimeo.

5 Mile Pass to Eureka 2 from Bill Zumwalt on Vimeo.

In early May 2010, my brother, youngest son (Nick) and his friend (Alex) all took off for Fillmore. We brought our rolling Marriott to stage at the Fillmore KOA.

Garmin tracks for this route:



The weather was moderate with temperatures in the high 50's and lower 70's. Our plan was to ride (and camp) from Fillmore to Beaver, stopping for food and fuel along the trail.


Rather than my normal route through Meadow and Kanosh, we decided to head out via Chalk Creek, exploring many side trails along the way. Water levels in the creek were moderate.




By the end of Day 1, we had already crossed I-70 and staged our camp  just between the Paiute 01 and 02 trails at about 10,000' elevation. Unfortunately, a massive storm blew in soaking everything. Fortunately, our little camp was well prepared to last through the storm.

Before getting too far toward Marysvale, we stopped at our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant (Hoovers) and enjoyed an excellent meal.



Nick made a bet that he could finish an 1 pound slice of chocolate cake. Needless to say, we didn't allow him to complete that bet.

Off to Marysvale we went.


We awoke the next morning, broke camp and headed into Marysvale for food and fuel. Next stop was somewhere near Beaver and the lakes above the mountain. First though, it was a nice jaunt through Delano Peak and Big John Flat.





We found a few lakes about 15 miles south of Big John Flat and decided to make camp again. Fortunately, we had planned ahead and brought our fishing gear. Unfortunately, the fish weren't biting, so we just enjoyed the day.


For the return leg, we definitely wanted to hit the Max Reid and Paiute 76 trails. Toward the end of the 76 trail, we encountered a washed out section of trail and had to build it up with rocks to make it safely passable.


Moments after reinforcing the drop-off, another group approached from behind and we gladly helped them down the 4' drop-off - were they ever grateful!



Most of the way through the Max Reid trail, we stopped to climb my favorite spot. I went up first to stage a rope so the boys could have a safety line.



All in all, this was a fantastic way to spend 3-4 days with family! For Sept 2011, we're planning something similar, but in a new and interesting location near Casto Canyon.

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 Where is James King?


Language Translation


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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Events category.

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