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dave6253 10-15-2010 08:25 PM

Another Sublime Failure
Thursday October 7th, 2010
I head out for another 4 days of solo riding in the great Southwest. I plan to use the first and last day for the highway from Phoenix to Southeast Utah and back. The best stuff will be on days 2 and 3. The plan includes;

Valley of the Gods Road
John's Canyon Road
Moki Dugway
Lake Powell Ferry
The Burr Trail
Boulder Mountain
Capitol Reef National Park
Hell's Backbone Road
Smokey Mountain Road
House Rock Valley Road
Grand Canyon North Rim
Point Sublime Road

Over the past two summers I've twice ridden to the North Rim intending to ride Point Sublime Road, but it was gated closed. Armed with new information about another route to get there, I plan to see if the place lives up to the name. This will be the 3rd attempt at Point Sublime.

Darkness Lurks

dave6253 10-15-2010 08:52 PM

Thursday - Day 1
I get a late start after working all day. It's 4 PM by time I hit the asphalt.

I join the steady stream of traffic heading north out of Phoenix on I-17.

The red rocks of Sedona come into view, but I'm heading to a region that is even better.

I stop during a typical Arizona sunset to add layers and change to a clear face shield.

Stuffed up the bottom of an impact-absorbant styrofoam cranium protective device and miniature personal comfort environment my mind wanders...

Darkness sets in as I near Flagstaff. ~200 miles to go.

I roll across the Hopi and Navajo Reservations in the darkness. I stop in Tuba City for a burger at America's Drive-In.

North of Kayenta I rode through Monument Valley in the dark for the second time. I was hoping for starry and clear skies for some night photography among the familiar silhouettes. It is dark and cloudy so I don't bother stopping. I started seeing lightning flashes to the east and north. I could only make out the rock formations when the sky lit up.

The weather was supposed to be clear all weekend with only a slight chance of thunderstorms left over tonight. Earlier in the week the entire Southwest had some heavy storms.

I fuel up at the closed station in Mexican Hat, Utah.

A few miles north of Mexican Hat I turn down a familiar dirt road. After about 4 miles I find a spot to stop alongside the road and shut off the ignition. I set up camp and crawl into the tent around 11 pm.

Tomorrow I awaken among the Gods.

dave6253 10-15-2010 09:13 PM

Day 2 - Valley of the Gods
At first light I peek out of the tent to see my bike begging to be ridden.

Valley of the Gods Road is pretty easy. Almost any bike could ride it. I've done it on my sport-tourer, although I wouldn't recommend it. The storms this week did quite of bit of damage to the road though. It was in the roughest shape I've seen it.

I make quick work of Valley of the Gods Road. I'm looking forward to a new road.

Up Next, Exploring John's Canyon

dave6253 10-16-2010 09:25 AM

John's Canyon Road
Last year I rode out to Muley Point. While I was awestruck by the view of Monument Valley and the San Juan River canyons, I was intrigued by the dirt road I saw on the rim 1000 feet below. It reminds me of the White Rim Trail. I discovered the road was a dead end named John's Canyon Road. I've dreamed of riding this road ever since.

John's Canyon Road as seen from Muley Point

The road starts out from the 316 that heads out to the Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park.

Muley Point

The road becomes fun as it skirts around the base of Muley Point.

I stop to eat a breakfast bar. It's getting warmer so I remove some layers.

These Boulders....

...are also seen in this view from the top of Muley Point.

More to come.....

dave6253 10-16-2010 10:12 PM

Stranded in John's Canyon - Time to Panic
John's Canyon Road is a dead-end. I've decided to try to make the 12 o'clock ferry at Hall's Crossing so I must limit how long I'm in this canyon.

After turning the corner beyond Muley Point the road enters John's Canyon. The canyon is named after John Oliver, a stockman who ran cattle here in the 1930's. John Oliver was murdered by a horse-theif who wanted him out of the way so that he could convert the canyon into his own personal stolen-horse corral.

The creek runs through a crack in the rock. It can be a tricky crossing as it's much deeper that it appears.

The road is not maintained beyond the creek and it is apparent it's not as heavily traveled either. I guess many turn around before the crossing.

There are several short rocky sections, but nothing very hard.

I stop here as I've run out of time. I snap this photo while the bike is running in neutral. I have a ferry to catch and alot of riding planned today. I'll have to return here someday to finish exploring. I hear there is a nice campsite at the end of the road...

I stow the camera and reach for the clutch as I quickly click it into gear. Oh SHIT! I stupidly killed the engine by not getting the clutch pulled in fast enough.

I should know better, but sitting here with a dead bike doesn't seem like a good idea, so I immediately try to start it again. The starter says, "Eh." OH Crap! Try again. "Eh". Put it in neutral and try again. "Eh" Dammit! After about five tries I realize I'm just draining the battery.

I dismount the dead bike and take this picture.

Survival scenarios are racing through my head. I've got enough food for four days. I have water and there's more nearby. This road sees very little traffic, but tomorrow is Saturday. Maybe someone will come by. I gave my wife instructions to send help to this road, or Smokey Mountain Road, but not unless I don't call by SUNDAY EVENING! I could try push starting if I can walk the bike through the rocky incline ahead. I've never push started this bike and don't know if it's easy, hard, or even possible given the terrain.

Then I started thinking. I remembered the 990 can sometimes stop with the cylinders in the wrong position causing a sort of vacuum lock making it difficult to start. I jump back on the bike and roll the bike forward a couple times popping the clutch to move the cylinders a little.

Vroom! The bike 990 roars to life! I realize the ride is back on and I'm still in a big hurry. I check my watch. I had been stranded (don't laugh:lol3 ) 3 whole minutes!

The ride out was an absolute blast. Except for the rock incident. I hit a huge rock on the oposite side of a deep hole I was going much too fast to avoid. I had to stop to check the front wheel. I was shocked to see the wheel and tire had survived that hit. I couldn't even find a new dent in the rim. (An advantage of not airing down.)

As I rounded a corner I noticed a fresh motorcycle tire track. I thought to myself, "Wow, look at that! Someone had fun powersliding around that corner." Then I realized the track was mine.:loco I'm not used to re-tracing my own routes.:smile6 I wondered if any other riders were looking down from the more popular Muley Point watching as I blasted around below.

I made it back to the highway in time... If I really hurry!

Laconic 10-17-2010 03:47 AM

Nice camera work. :nod

Subscribed. :lurk

prometheus rising 10-17-2010 06:06 AM

Dig it :thumb

Faulkner 10-17-2010 07:19 AM

:thumbup Cool pictures.

GB 10-17-2010 12:08 PM

Awesome pics!! Thanks for sharing them :thumb

dave6253 10-17-2010 07:52 PM

Gotta Catch a Boat
I race up the Moki Dugway...

...which is easy on any bike as this Harley Davidson rider demonstrates.

If I can hurry I'll make the 12 o'clock ferry. The last one today is at 2, but that'll mean running out of daylight before my destination.

dave6253 10-17-2010 08:04 PM

Ferry Ride
Finally Lake Powell comes into view.

After a splash of fuel in Hall's Crossing I race down to the ferry ramp with only a couple minutes to spare.

$15 dollars buys me a one-way trip across Lake Powell to the start of the Burr Trail and a 25 minute break from riding.

There are only three other passengers. I strike up a conversation with a nice Navy veteran who was driving home in California from the Phoenix area.

Break is over. Time to ride the Burr Trail! I'm soo excited!

PJungnitsch 10-17-2010 08:29 PM

Beautiful pictures! :clap

AZ_ADV_RIDER 10-18-2010 09:18 AM

Sweet little trip!

noqmansan 10-18-2010 11:56 AM

These are fantastic pictures. Looks like a really fun trip. I look forward to visiting a lot of the same places.

dogmoon 10-18-2010 12:22 PM

Ride Report
Really Great pictures and ride report, I was out in that area in June on a tour bike, I defintely want to go back on a my dualsport. Thanks:clap

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