Originally Posted by catalina38
How about a fall trip do over? October is a great time of the year for southern Utah
A definite possiblity John. There are so many roads and things to explore on Kaibab Plateau that a group could spend a few days just camped out and exploring up there. Hit Toroweap, then the Kaibab Forest, Sublime Point, all over the north rim.
From the Browneye...Day One
So, as mentioned, we had been prepping for this trip for weeks. As we got closer wouldn't you know it but a big weather front was moving in on central California and forecast to bring gale force winds to the area and temps 20 degrees below normal. So the normal 60 and 90 temps would now be 40 and 70. So much for the new vented gear I just bought.
My initial quandary was which bike to take. I have a Kawasaki Versys and the Husky TE630, both setup for hauling gear and camping off the bike. Joel said knobs on the Versys would be fine, (which it does not have) but that everybody else was riding dirt-type bikes. So that was easy, the Husky would be the right tool. But riding it 500 mles on slab to get there and back was just slightly unappealing. So I was the first to say I was trucking/trailering to Vegas or Mesquite. I guess that sounded like a good idea since we had plenty of adventure miles to cover once we got to Arizona. Since TBarstow is in the Vegas area it made sense to stage there. As it turned out, we all decided to stage at the Virgin River Casino which was a great call.
Getting there Friday afternoon and going for a swim in the pool after 6 hours on the freeway was heaven. Everybody got there and we got situated in rooms, had a couple a brews, and then out to dinner. Great little mexican place.
And yes, the wind blew 40-50mph with gusts to 60-70 on Friday, the drive up. Thus all the carnage on the freeways. We were all glad to get to Mesquite to the casino hotel, but apprehensive about the weather for our departure.
Last year there were a few comments about wind at Toroweap. I had visions of 40 degrees, 40-50mph wind, and there was a 20% chance of thunderstorms. Gee, sounds like fun, eh? Camped out in tents? YeeHawwwww! As it turned out, Toroweap was absolutely beautiful. The NOAA wind warning got called off for Saturday, the winds died off and it wasn't nearly as cold as forecast. We just lucked out and it was like that for the duration of our adventure.
Saturday morning heading out it was a bit breezy, but nothing like the day before. The guys will talk about Elbow Canyon. As I look at some of the pix it appears to be much more difficult than I thought at the time. I dumped 3 times going up the mountain, and bashed my skid on a big rock going thru one of the slots. My bike was so heavy it took all the strength this old weakling could muster to get the bike back up, get on it, and keep going. In so many ways, I had picked the right bike for the trek.
Riddler passed me waiting for the group about half way up. As it got more difficult it became apparent the group was going to have trouble. But Riddler said screw it, I'm not dealing with these rhino's that kept passing us so he kept going. I figured I would just follow. We got to the top and waited...and waited...and waited. Finally StuCazzo and RRuugger showed up. They had no idea what the status was on the rest of the group. There were 10 of us supposed to be riding together, first stop Bar Ten Ranch some 80 miles away. It was now 10:30 and we had gone 17 miles. WTF. I thought oh my, this is gonna be a long day.
There is a rustic cabin at the top of Elbow Canyon Road, right before the 3-way split up there. Easy to get going the wrong way....Joel the rogue rider....are you there?????
As it turns out, the three rhinos climbing the grade the same time we were, were up there as well. While we were waiting on the carnage below we walked down and checked this place out. The rhino people were three older couples and their dogs, gear, and their 4x4 "golf carts".
Turns out one of the rhino drivers' dad is who built the cabin so many years ago. What a coincidence!
Well, we waited for about an hour and a half up on top and decided since we had so far to go, and because there was still a group of 6 to help each other, and because we sure as hell weren't going to ride back down there just to ride back up, we decided to keep going. That's really the telling of the difficulty of a trail - if you're not willing to do it over again then you just got through by the hair of your teeth. So we built a huge arrow on the road with rocks and sticks, pointing to the correct road to continue, and off we went.
We were heading toward the huge plateau that borders the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. Fortunately we had excellent GPS tracks and were never in doubt about the route. Joel....????? Joel has bad luck with GPS's
The road seemed to go on forever...and ever. But now it had gentle slopes and a smooth surface so we were able to make really good time.
More to come.....later....much later....