Big ride yesterday. My KLR buddy couldn't make it, but the weather was nice (but windy). I was set to go by 10:30 am. Intended destination was Twin Points, a Grand Canyon Overlook. 110 miles from St. George.
I came up about 5 miles short. Too much mud and the clock was starting to work against me. Needed to be back to St. George by 6 pm. So when I hit my turn around time, that was it. Twin Points will be there for the next time.
Here's the AZ Benchmark Map. Left this on the counter so my wife would know where to look . . . had my SPOT with me if this would become necessary. SPOT is a good idea for the AZ Strip.
St. George is ~25 miles north of Wolf Hole, off the top of the map. River Road exit from the new Southern Parkway.
I didn't make the detour to Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse. Just stayed on the Mount Dellenbaugh Road south from Diamond Butte. Saw one truck on the road all day. That's it. No help out here. Hit serious mud in Oak Grove. Continued south on #1019 into Grand Canyon National Park. Probably turned around just south of the 1019 mark on the map. No views.
Total round trip mileage from St. George was just over 200. Didn't get great gas mileage on the WRR. Too heavy on the throttle on the dirt highways, too much spinning in the mud, and very strong winds most of the day. Carried lots of extra fuel. Probably averaged about 70 mpg, perhaps a bit less. Good to have extra fuel.
First pic on the road. Wolf Hole. At the turn west to Black Rock Mountain (Elbow Canyon) and Rt #101 (Mud Mountain Road). My route continues straight south. High speed mileage at this point.
New gear for the bike. Long overdue. Should help with that tiny bet of extra speed or traction, whatever is needed.
The main dirt highway through MainStreet Valley. Starts as #1069 leaving the River Road exit. Same road. The signage on the ground doesn't correspond with Benchmark. The Grand Canyon-Parachant Map from the BLM is better with road numbers, but lacks detail. Both maps are worth having.
Mirror shot. Southbound through MainStreet Valley.
Turning on to #103 the Mount Dellenbough Road. This is about 12 miles before the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse. Once you leave the main dirt highway you are pretty much on your own. The main road sees some traffic to and from Toroweap and the Bar 10 Ranch. Help would probably come along at least a few times a day. Not so once you make the turn. Check your SPOT.
Still a very good road. Just a few more turns and elevation changes to keep things interesting. Scenic and vast!
Probably crossed 25 cattle guards. Every one had the Bicycle warning sign. Really?? Our tax dollars . . . Most of these are 50-100 miles deep into the Strip with no water for miles. There just can't be that many cyclists out here. And you'd think by the time they crossed the 10th gate they'd be good to go for all that followed . . .
The mighty WRR crosses the gate without problem. I actually have seen cyclists out on the Strip, but only the roads to/from Toroweap.
More miles and you enter the National Monument. Impressive sign. Road is still fast and smooth, but gradually deteriorating. Common theme on the Strip. Further south you go . . . road conditions decline. Also further south is generally higher elevation and more prone to snow and mud. And rockier depending on the area. The fastest miles on the Strip are closer to St. George, Kanab, and Mesquite.
Good signs. Never been through Hidden Canyon. Have to check it out on a future ride. Also called the Nutter Twists Road.
Road starting to have soft spots and show lots of ruts. Some like tank traps. Have to slow down and pick the right line. No rut jumping at speed out here.
Beautiful alpine lake, AZ-Strip style. Lots of the water holes looked low.
Cool road markers. Still on #103 heading south towards Oak Grove.
Getting closer. Getting deeper into the Strip. This would be 140+ mile roundtrip, beyond the tank range of my stock WRR without extra gas onboard. Beautiful blue skies, but still windy.
Typical section of road. If you like riding these types of roads then the AZ Strip is for you.
Only one gate. Very nice latch. Reasonable rules.
Another intersection with a dirt road heading west towards the Grand Wash Cliffs area. Still no significant mud, but I passed one truck returning from Oak Grove. Said he couldn't make it through to the small seasonal fire station. Was afraid of getting stuck. Nice guy. So I knew the mud was coming.
I made good time to this point. Left fork goes to Mount Dellenbaugh and eventually to Kelly Point. This is a long, slow road. Never been there, but read the jeeper reports online. My road to Twin Point is to the right.
Road is now #1019. #103 continue to Kelly Point.
Once you are in the big trees with lots of shade, the snow and mud start. Here's the beginning of it. This is about 6,000 ft elevation, at least 3,000 feet higher than St. George. Lots of shade = lots of mud.
Here's my new front tire. Everything was passable (with care), but time started to disappear. You wouldn't want to drive the bike into a mud bog out here. Solo. No buddy to help you drag it out. Sticking the bike here would likely mean a cold night, even if the SPOT did bring help. It wouldn't arrive until the next am. Have a nice sleep.
Cool sign. Lots to explore. Never knew about Snap Point. Is it reachable? Have to come back with more time and gas.
Entering Grand Canyon National Park or Lake Mead National Recreation Area, not sure which one. New rules, although I'm not sure who's around to enforce them. Perhaps its different in summer. Right now it's no man's land. Road keeps declining. Perfect for inmates on ADV bikes. This is no longer road bike territory we left that a while back.
More and more mud. And some snow. I did a bit of cross country work to avoid the worst of it. But, time had run out. I know I was close . . . but also didn't want to be late getting back home. Darling wifey had a girls night out and I had kid duty including a pick-up from a karate class. Back-up plans were all in place, but I didn't want them to have to kick into gear.
Plus I knew that if I pressed on to Twin Point I'd kill at least a few more minutes with the camera before leaving. Didn't want the temptation. Time to turn. So I did.
Here's what I missed. Ride report from 413-45, a local inmate. Thanks, 413-45.
While I'm grabbing links, here's the BLM page: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/rec..._overlook.html
One BLM guy I know described the route to Twin Point as a "dirt highway" the whole way. Most of it sure, but not the last part south of Oak Grove. Mud is a stopper. Even in dry conditions there's going to be some slower bits close to the rim. Plan on a full day for this roundtrip.
Big tree starting back. Some nice two track. A dry section with direct exposure to the sun.
Once you hit the large trees again, it is swamp city. Creative route finding helped avoid the worst of it.
Here's what the tires looked like. Not so good for steering or traction.
Once I got out of the mud it was 82 relatively fast miles back to St. George.
Look inside my bags. Extra gas. 5 liter bottles in my side bag plus a gallon in the tailbag. Probably had an extra gallon uneeded. But you don't want to be limping back to St. George on reserve coasting on all the downhills and nursing the throttle to make it. That's no way to live. Carry extra gas when going deep on the Strip. Extra water is a good move also. You can live for a long time without food.
Back to the intersection at Diamond Butte with Rt. #5, the main dirt highway. Still 47 miles to St. George. But at least here you might get help from a passerby if necessary. Of course, it might not be until morning . . .
The bumps and speed and washboard had knocked a lot of the dirt off my bike, but I was still sporting a bit of that Oak Grove Mud, complete with pine needles. Wife noticed some on my pants also.
Coming back into Wolf Hole. This small pass has the same names as my son and wife. I'll ask them if this pass was named for them. I'm sure they be pleased . . . Son says: "Daddy is chasing cows on his motorcycle on the AZ Strip again." Wife says: "Yes, it's boy time. Just like Mommy goes to book club with her girlfriends." All is right with world.
Last pic of bike just before descending to asphalt at River Road. Beautiful late afternoon light, about 5:30 pm. About 6 hours, 200 miles. Great trip, even though Twin Point will have to wait for another day.
Thanks for riding along. And thanks for all the positive comments and PMs. Be safe out there!