10-16-2010, 10:12 PM
Joined: May 2006
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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 ) 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. I'm not used to re-tracing my own routes. 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!