Highway 89 Grind

Cages were made for slabbing, not motorcycles, at least not dual sports. (If you’re new to the vernacular of motorcycle culture, cages are cars, trucks, SUVs and the like. Slabbing is motoring down mind-numbing interstates just to burn up the miles.)

Harleys can have the interstates. I’m of the opinion that the point of motorcycling is lost if all the rider is doing is gaining ground. But, I did that today, too, a necessity after six hours in the saddle since 4:30a just to quickly get from Springville to downtown Salt Lake City on I-15 by lunchtime.

Otherwise my trip up today – 353 miles – was all on Highway 89 with the I-70 merge to get past Richfield. Thank goodness. I’ll be returning on the same route on Monday.

If you want to be immersed in Utah’s rural contexts, 89 is the most expedited way to do so. I picked it up from Highway 9 through Zion Canyon at Mount Carmel Junction. If you’ve been through there you’ll remember the Thunderbird Restaurant, home of the Ho-Made Pies. I’m not making this up. I’ll grab a photo on the way back.

Going north, 89 meanders through funky little rural hamlets like Orderville, founded by my great, great, grandfather, John R. Young where Mormon settlers could practice living the United Order – since defunct, but the town’s still there. Again, I’ll grab a shot on the way back. It was too dark this morning when I passed through.

There are miles where the road is adjacent the Sevier river, winding along side with a fast current.

I’m partial to Panguitch along this route, a place where the Blackbird lost its stator a while back and where my spouse and I road a 50 mile road bike race. Both experiences taught us the charm and hospitality of the place. Panguitch gets away from Utah’s rural kitsch with some serious approaches to dinning and lodging. There’s a vibrant art community as well.

I stopped at Kenny Ray’s for a great breakfast.


You might have noticed the KLR has changed a bit. The last ride helped me sort out some issues and she’s undergone a few changes since: Different paint scheme, SW Motech additions including skid plate, crash bars, handguards with integrated turn indicators, Trail Tech LED lamps in place of the old front turn signals, a center stand, bar risers and a few other farkles to make these commutes a bit more comfortable.

What you can’t see are the new Progressive Springs in the front forks making the biggest difference overall. I ordered a Top Gun heavy duty spring for the rear, but it arrived too late for me to get it installed for this trip. Next week. Can’t wait.


Further north I stopped south of the town of Sevier along its namesake’s river.


More to come on the return trip.

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