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Old 02-18-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
wicked94s10 OP
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riding to arizona, looking for advice

I live in Columbus Ohio and am planning on riding out to death valley in early April. I was kinda curious about the weather at higher elevations in early April. I don't mind cold or snow on the ground just don't want to see any on the roads. Is this to early to be riding the mountains through Arizona?

Also any must see places I'm open to suggestions

On my list so far

Carlsbad caverns
Hover dam
Grand canyon skywalk
Page Arizona
Death valley
Antelope canyon
Arizona 191

By the way I'm riding a fjr1300 so this trip will be on road for the most part. I'm looking into renting a gs to do a few days of riding in death valley but not sure if that will happen
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:22 AM   #2
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I've encountered snow on AZ 191 near Alpine in mid-May. It wasn't sticking to the roads but it was snowing pretty hard. Anyway, snow is certainly possible in the higher AZ elevations in April but I'd probably just plan your ride to include those areas then abort if needed.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:55 PM   #3
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That's what the plan was, just seeing if people in that area thought that was to early or not. I know weather is kinda hard to call just finding out how it is on average
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:49 PM   #4
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I think if you look at the weather historically you will be coming at a really good time. The chance of snow is there but not a terrible chance of deep snow that would accumulate. Any later and you would roast your nuts in all of the lowlands not to say that you would need a cooling suit and have to tow a water tank behind you through Death Valley. There are a few places higher than Flagstaff that you could go but not many here is a link to the historical weather data for Flag. http://www.intellicast.com/local/his...ation=USAZ0068
When you are on your way back from Page, I would take a few mile detour and check out Walnut Canyon. http://www.nps.gov/waca/index.htm
Also, just my opinion, but I would rather spend the money on a helicopter ride to and from Havasupai than go to the giant piece of glass where no pictures are allowed. http://www.havasupaifalls.net/waterfalls.html
The hike to the falls and Colorado river are a bit strenuous but if this old fart with a defibrillator can do it, I am sure anyone can. (I didn't take the helicopter in that was maybe a mistake btw)
Also, may be out of the way...They did much more to preserve our gem of a cave. It is pretty f-ing amazing btw http://azstateparks.com/parks/kaca/
Good luck to you. I think the timing is right, -Paul

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Old 02-18-2013, 10:57 PM   #5
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Although I've never been, I heard the Skywalk is not worth it.

Do you have a route in mind? I love routing and can offer some suggestions.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:22 AM   #6
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Carlsbad caverns are really something

Carlsbad Caverns were great. About the neatest place I had ever seen. I would say get there early in the day and just go to the main cave area. I also went on the tour that takes you farther into the cave system. A different experience. I went back down after lunch and spent more time. You can stay in one of the nearby motels or camp in a campground to the south a few miles. I recommend the the Caverns to anyone passing through the area. As with any trip in the Sonoran Desert area, plan your mileage carefully, gas stations can be far apart.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for the suggestions im going to look into the places suggested.

Gas stations are not a big concern on the fjr she usually goes 225 miles minimum before the gas light even comes on.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:05 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by cyberdos View Post
Although I've never been, I heard the Skywalk is not worth it.

Do you have a route in mind? I love routing and can offer some suggestions.
I don't have a route in mind yet since i don't have all my destinations figured. I am certainly open to your ideas and routes
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:28 AM   #9
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any idea on how many days you'll be spending in AZ? With an FJR I assume you can do long days in the saddle.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:58 PM   #10
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Im planning on 14 days total. Usually I like to pace myself and do about 400-500 miles per day. I don't have a set number of days ill be in Arizona but I have alot I want to see there.


So far this is what I have in mind

On my way down I plan on hitting some twisties in Oklahoma
Stopping for lunch at the end of the trail saloon in Ok
Heading down into Texas
Then going across the lower part of New Mexico
Carlsbad caverns
Ar191
Then heading across to death valley
Sequia and Yosemite depending on weather and road conditions
Then back down for a quick stop and maybe stay the night in vegas
Lake mead and Hover dam
Grand canyon
Walnut canyon
Antelope canyon
The nuclear test site (can't recall the name)
Page arizona

Then maybe head back home depending on time remaining

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Old 02-20-2013, 01:54 PM   #11
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Look out for this road.

US89 south of Page AZ had a failure today.
http://arizonageology.blogspot.com/2...h-of-page.html

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...type=1&theater
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:43 PM   #12
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That's not good at all, ill certainly avoid that
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wicked94s10 View Post
Then heading across to death valley
Sequia and Yosemite depending on weather and road conditions
The road across Yosemite (Tioga Road, Highway 120) is almost never open that early in the season, so if you want to hit Yosemite you'll have to enter from the Fresno (Hwy 41) side. A nice way to get there from DV is to ride down to Ridgecrest (via 395/14 or Trona Road) then over to Kernville via 178. Overnight in Kernville then -- depending on conditions -- take the canyon road to Bakersfield, the mountain road (155) over to the Central Valley, or the *really* back way through Johnsondale (Population 1½) and Camp Nelson onto 190.

Generally, your biggest weather challenge in the Southwest -- besides rain/snow -- might be the wind. Spring can be a very windy time of year there, esp. in the high desert. Your FJR is a brick, so you might not mind too much, but on my Wee-Strom those 40-60mph crosswinds can be a female dog.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:37 PM   #14
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Ill take note of the suggested route to Yosemite if we end up going there.
The fjr is not to bad in the wind but at freeway speeds 60mph crosswinds do blow the bike around a good bit. Last year I did a northwest, central California ride and a few places had winds like that. I can handle heavy wind, rain, and cold with no problem, icy roads are my only downfall that brings me to a stop quick
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:56 PM   #15
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191

did not read all the post. But, they don't really clear the 191 of snow. they will run a snow plow until they can not. if they get all the way through, great. if not, then maybe in a couple days. They also throw a lot of cinders/gravel on the road so early spring rides are a bit eye opening. once traffic runs over it and forces the cinders off the road its good. usuallly mid may before the cinders are mostly gone. But, keep in mind all depends on the winter and snow amounts. Just a heads up if you ride it. be aware there could be black ice and loose cinders on the asphalt, or hit a snow blockage and have to turn around.

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