By the time you read this, the snow may be gone. From where I am sitting, it isn’t gone so I am dreaming of ATV adventures. About this time of year I get a bad case of spring fever and plan up the summer, filling every open weekend. By September, I am cancelling things to find some quiet time. It happens every year and every year I swear never to do it again.
Occasionally I get an email from a reader asking me if I have ridden this trail or that. Recently I got an email requesting information on The Trans-America Trail. I had never heard of it but my interest was piqued.
Setting that aside, Utah offers trails that connect one town to another. In fact, other states have patterned trail systems after the Paiute ATV Trail System in the central part of our state. The Hatfield-McCoy Trail System in West Virginia is a case in point. There is a thrill in riding an ATV or UTV on a backcountry trail from one town to another. Riding in a car on a highway just isn’t the same kind of fun.
Back to the mystery trail, the reader was able to find a website; www.transamericatrail.com. I will admit that my cabin fever was moving to the boiling point. I grabbed my calendar for some open dates.
Here is a trail that starts in the little town of Jellico in Eastern Tennessee and travels west some 4,800 miles through twelve states to the Oregon coast. I have friends who are just crazy enough to go. I looked at maps and learned that the trail is mostly off-road, that motels are available along the way, that gas is plentiful, and there are places to camp.
My excitement was at the peak of the bell curve when reality hit. I talked to a rider in Arizona who made the trip in 27 days in a Polaris Rzr S UTV. I learned that a machine has to be street-legal to travel through the various states. He was doing close to 200 miles per day and the longest distance between available gas was about 180 miles. He said making the trip with a few friends was a ride of a lifetime.
I have a UTV so that wasn’t an issue. An ATV is not practical because of the thumb-throttle. I wrote an article in August 2006 about a 270-mile ride in one day on an ATV. My thumb was numb for a month.
The wind began to come out of my sails as I counted the cost. With gas, motels, and food the numbers were rolling in my head so fast I was getting dizzy. The other money issue is getting my machine to the trailhead in Tennessee and home from Oregon when I finish the ride. Oil changes on the trail would also be a challenge and the fact that when I finished the ride, I would have an extra 5,000 miles on my machine.
I was back to stewing in my cabin fever. Another reader called about a border-to-border ride in Utah from Bear Lake to Kanab that Polaris sponsored through Triple S Polaris last September. We met and discussed the route they took. Most of the northern part was on pavement down to about Soapstone, which is above Kamas.
In our discussions, we determined that we could pick up this trail at Thistle and ride to Kanab and back on backcountry trails and miss most of the pavement. From Thistle we could take the Skyline to Salina, then the Paiute to Circleville, the Fremont to Tropic Reservoir, and then on specific trails to Kanab. From Kanab, we would turn around and ride back.
Alas, it is a dream trip tempered by the reality of responsibilities. However, it is a ride to put on my bucket list. It is only one of many I dream of exploring. Southern Utah is looking pretty good right now. When you go, pack for the ride and keep the rubber side down. Right now, I have to get back on my ATV and plow some more snow.
You may contact Lynn Blamires at firstname.lastname@example.org.