Tag Archives: touring

Grand Canyon North Rim

Today I reached the most westerly point in this trip: the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The ride from Page to the North Rim takes about 3 hours with some amazing scenic points along the way; the photo above was taken from the Navajo Bridge which spans the Colorado River.

Unusually for my road trips, I’m spending 2 nights in the same place.  The side effect was that I could leave my big travel bag at the hotel.  While it’s nice to travel a little lighter, what I didn’t think about, until I got into park, was that my rain and cold weather gear was in the big bag!

I had been warned that the North Rim tended to be chilly and it was.  When I stopped at Jacob’s Lake to gas up, the temperature had dropped a bit, but I thought I would be ok.  As I continued to ascend, I realized I was wrong.  There’s a few little shops along the way so I stopped and purchased a sweatshirt – temperature problem solved, or so I thought.

Continuing towards the North Rim, the next thing I encountered was rain – just a little at first, then much heavier.  My new sweatshirt was turning into a sponge.  When I reached the gate for the park, the rain was pouring down; I seriously considered turning around, but with only 12 miles to the rim, I decided to push on.

When I reached the rim, I was pretty much soaked, at least on the front side.  At the gift shop I picked up a parka.  Fortunately I had a t-shirt in one of the saddle bags – that t-shirt, combined with my new parka, meant that at least my top half was dry.

Unfortunately, the rain clouded most of the views and I wasn’t up for much of a hike, even with my new attire.  I did take a few pictures, but with the limited view, it wasn’t long before I headed out of the park.  Going back thru the rain storms wasn’t too bad – the new parka was quite nice – and by the time reached the hotel, I was mostly dry.

Even with the rain, it was great day of riding; the North Rim was my destination, but the highlight was the ride to and from the park.  Today’s pictures start in the photo stream here.

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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Motorcycle, Touring


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Destination: Page, AZ

Today started off on a high note with a ride thru the Rookie Mountains. The view from US-160 is amazing, but a friend recommended a particular sop: the area is known as Wolf Creek Pass, but there is a scenic view called simply Wolf Pass. When you pull off at the scenic view sign, the first bit of road is paved, but it quickly turns to gravel.

The gravel is severely washboarded, but steep climb and hairpin turns are the most harrowing.  Even though the road is only 3 miles long, it took me quite a while to get to the top.  The ride up was a little rough, but the view made it all worthwhile.

The next destination was quite a ways down the road: the Four Corners Monument.  I had always heard that the monument was misplaced by a short distance, but according to GPS, it’s right on.  I don’t begrudge the Navajo the measly $3 entry fee, but the monument is really just a novelty.  If I had gone far out of my way, I would have been disappointed, but it’s right on US-160 and I only stayed for a few minutes.

I had planned to stop at Monument Valley on the way to page, but when I reached the turn, it was already 5:30 PM and I just wanted to the hotel.  Even though I passed it by today, I may stop later in the trip, if possible.

The photo at the top of this page is not from Monument Valley or any other park.  It is not even a scenic view, it’s just on the road to Page (AZ-98).  Stunning as it is, this kind of natural beauty is normal here.

Today’s photos start here in the stream.

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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Motorcycle, Touring


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Two Lane Highways

Rookies Coming Into View

Today I left the interstates behind in favor of the two lane highways of Kansas and Colorado.

I started out on I-70, and at the first rest stop I ran into a local biker who was good enough to give me advice on my upcoming ride: for the most part, the roads are 65 MPH, but drop down to 35 or 45 MPH for each town; while the towns may be patrolled, the stretches of road in between are not.  The unofficial rule is that the 65 MPH sections are really unlimited.  (This is what he told me – I’m not responsible for your tickets if decide to test this advice and get caught.)  As I left I-70 for US-40, the sun was blazing and I was matching it, burning a path down the open road.

The scenery in Kansas and the first part of Colorado was not exciting, but I was loving the high speed ride across the plains.  I was struck by one aspect of the view: the fields were mostly brown, not green.  In many places the crops – which I’m guessing are supposed to be corn – were only about a foot tall.  Hearing about the drought on the news is doesn’t carry the same weight as seeing field after field of stunted or dead crops.

Eventually the Rookies came into view and the view changed from boring to spectacular.  The first time I came over a rise, and could see the mountains in the distance, I was struck by one thought: This is why I ride.

The original goal for the day was to make it to Cortez or Durango, CO, but that was overly ambitious (as usual).  Since it had been a nearly perfect day, I decided not to ruin it by riding thru the mountains at night: if I continued to Durango, I would have arrived around 11 PM.  I rode thru the Rookies in the middle of the night once before and it wasn’t fun, so I stopped for the evening in Alamosa, CO.

There are only a few photos from today, but they start here.

One final note: for the first time, during this road trip, it didn’t rain for an entire day.

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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Motorcycle, Touring


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