April Turns Fifty and Gets Viola-ted: Grand Canyon North Rim
We stand at the edge in awe watching the thunderstorm across the Canyon.
We have about an hour of riding to our campsite in the woods.
As we watch the last glorious light of the day fade away we realize
It will be a long ride in the dark dodging deer.
I can hardly believe I'm at the Grand Canyon again. This is my fourth motorcycle trip here in the past year.
The last trip was only two months ago when I shared The Best of the Grand Canyon With My Son.
This trip began with a PM from my friend Diek.
Diek is well-known by most here as viola-tor of the long running RR: VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos
Hmmm... With the hottest August on record in progress and the recent big forest fires consuming Arizona,
I figured the North Rim just might be the only cool place left.
The last time I rode with Diek was in 2009 when we spent a day riding KTM 990s on Southern Arizona Border Roads.
I was looking forward to getting out to some of the remote viewpoints down rough trails.
There are still plenty of places I have yet to explore up at the North Rim.
Diek ended up with last minute electrical problems with his KTM. He would work feverishly (Literally, he was working
outside in Tucson heat) up until the morning of the trip. With the bike still not running he informed me he could borrow
his girlfriend's new Ducati or her older Ninja. He didn't feel right about wearing out her new bike so would be taking
the little Ninja 500. He has plenty of experience riding the Ninja on rough dirt roads. The trip is back on!
Viola-tor fits on a NINJA, Right?:lol3 KEEEAAH!
I go to the garage. The big KTM is all loaded and ready to go, but sitting in the corner was April, saying "Pick ME! Pick ME!"
So as Diek started across the hot desert from Tucson to my place in Phoenix, I hurriedly unpacked the KTM and loaded up April,
My beloved 2002 Aprilia RST1000 Futura.
The Road Warriors
That first pic is a stunner, thanks for the new background!!!
I am sooo going to the north rim next summer!!!
Bring it on, Dave!!
We meet at my place in Phoenix after Diek rode across the hot desert from Tucson.
He had to ride through some dust storms which can be a real hazard along I-10.
It's late afternoon before we depart my place. We planned to head straight up to
Flagstaff for dinner and a campsite outside of town.
While heading up I-17 the skies are threatening to dump on us. We pass a sign warning of a crash and closed highway ahead.
The rain wouldn't be unwelcome since it was 118 degrees leaving Phoenix.
I quickly decide to change plans and jump off at HWY 69 towards Prescott. We'll just have to take the scenic route.
We get cooled down with a brief shower and miles of wet roads as we continue to skirt the edges of nasty looking storms.
We stop for a break at a scenic spot on Mingus Mountain.
The viola-tor makes a few passes for the camera on the Ninja.
From Mingus Mountain the highway runs down to Jerome, across the Verde Valley, and to the red cliffs of Sedona on the other side.
We stop for fuel in Sedona. Diek is tired from wrenching on the KTM so long, and we are both getting hungry.
We sit outside of a sandwich shop in Flagstaff (Something you wouldn't want to do in Tucson or Phoenix right now.) for dinner.
We spent about two hours there visiting before leaving to find a place to sleep. I know a spot where we can set up
camp for the night not far from town.
As we are leaving town Diek notices April's tail lights stopped working. We pull over on the freeway to check it out.
When punching it didn't work this time, we ride ahead to a gas station to attempt repairs. We disassemble April's
tailsection to get to the bulbs. While Diek runs inside to check for replacement bulbs, I notice the damn things are now
working. We put April back together and headed off to set up our nylon mobile homes.
I am awakened by the light and shoot the sunrise from inside the tent.
Diek is still sleeping, so I head off to shoot the wildflowers.
Awesome pics! Thanks for sharing!
Sunset Crater & Wupatki National Monuments
After packing up camp we cross the highway and take the loop through Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments.
We stop at the visitor center for Sunset Crater. There is FREE COFFEE! We walked around looking at the photography books
enjoying our FREE COFFEE and FREE INSPIRATION!
Diek is up for a hike, so we decide on the short, but steep hike up Lennox Crater.
The viola-tor was like a gazelle bouncing up the steep trail. I hike often, but didn't realize how out of shape I was until
I tried keeping up with him. The conversation up the volcanic crater was mostly one-sided as I gasped for oxygen.
Back on the bikes. I can keep up here.
Viola-tor Shoots Back
We stop at Wupatki NM to see the ruins.
Viola-tor poses on the ancient ball court.
Someone was in a hurry to see the Grand Canyon.
Tell us a little about your camera and settings. The first photo was stunning.
Still Skirting Rain Showers
We stop for a break
to walk down this old bridge
and stare down into Marble Canyon
and at the Colorado River.
The Kaibab Plateau Ahead!
Two very hungry riders arrive at a late lunch stop at a place I've never tried before.
It was highly recommened in another ride report I read long ago.
Diek shows off the menu of the Jacob Lake Inn.
I check in with the wife while Diek plays with the fisheye.
I order the most delicious item on the menu, "The Grand Bull". WOW!
That shot was taken with a Pentax K5 with a DA*16-50 lens at 16mm, F11, iso 80, exposure times varied.
More stuff about my photo techniques (of which I'm still learning) have been posted here: The Art of the Ride Report
Thanks larryboy, You would love it up there for sure.
So yeah, my beloved KTM Adventure developed an electrical issue only hours before my scheduled departure. I worked and worked, but had to face the choice of abandoning the bike or abandoning the trip. Luckily I had a selection of loaners! :clap
Here's how I was forced to leave my partner:
The saga of the problem and repair is HERE if anyone is interested.
The Ninja EX500 saves the day! I barely had time to check the fluids and tire pressure while figuring out how to load my gear. This top box is HUGE!!! Saddlebags, pshaw! I don't need no stinkin' saddlebags!
It's southern Arizona. It's August. Need I say more? Riding in an oven...
As I approach Phoenix from the south I encounter a huge sandstorm covering the interstate. Freaky! The sand and lack of visibility doesn't scare me so much, it's the other interstate drivers... :eek1
I evade the helicopters and find Dave's place. Holy hell Phoenix is no joke in the summer!
I'm sad we aren't going to be violating the back-country on our gnarly KTM Adventure bikes, but I'm sure we'll manage to have PLENTY of fun on the asphalt sport touring.
Luckily Dave didn't catch me taking pics looking up his tail-pipe... :D
And off we go! At least we're free to use the HOV lanes. Grand Canyon adventure here we come!
I love the tail section shot Diek. I would've never thought of that.
Roxanne, You don't have to turn on your red light...
We finally reach the Grand Canyon at the North Rim Lodge. We take a walk out to Bright Angel Point.
Viola-tor is like a Mountain Goat.
We plan to return to Bright Angel Point when the light is better and head back
to the parking lot where we spot some nice Old School.
Let's ride the fun road out to Cape Royal. I've taken so many pictures on this road before that I didn't do a
good job of getting many nice ones this trip. Definitely one of the best sections of curves in Arizona.
We make it out to Cape Royal for a marvelous light show.
Cape Royal Sunset
Again, we are surrounded by thunderstorms while we remain dry.
Everytime we look at each other we both say WOW!
We were so mesmerized by the Grand Canyon and sunset before us, I almost missed the pink rain behind us.
It's raining hard on those suckers at the South Rim.:D
We leave knowing it will be a scary ride in the dark dodging the deer. I wouldn't recommend riding in the
dark on the Kaibab Plateau, but what is one to do if he wants to see sunset or sunrise?
As we head north to find a place to pitch our tents we are greeted by the most amazing lightning storm.
For the first time ever I saw almost no deer in the dark here. Are they afraid of the lightning? Smarter than us?
We managed to remain dry and found a clearing to camp 2.7 miles down the FS 611 near the East Rim.
We set up camp and I boil the water for our meals as the storm gets nearer. The rain arrives in time to chase
me into the tent to eat my dinner along with a delicious cookie from the bakery at Jacob Lake Inn.
I wasn't really hungry after the late lunch, but ate most of my meal anyway.
We set the alarm planning to ride back at the canyon for sunrise.
I can't tell which of these pics I like better, so I'll put them BOTH up!
Post tail-light punching-fest
Nice tent. :deal
Rocks that float, dogs and cats living together, MASS HYSTERIA!!!
loving this guys!!!!!!!
Nice Pics Diek! I think #1 is the better of the 2. Keep 'em coming.
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