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Old 08-15-2013, 11:34 AM   #1
SurfnnRide OP
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Eek 6,000 miles, 31 days, Countless NP/SP's and Sturgis!

After spending most of my younger years (Pre-38) traveling all around the world I decided it was time to see some of the US on a motorcycle. I always figured I would save the US for when I was too old to go through the rigors of travelling internationally but I figured how long could I wait to do it on a motorcycle with my wife?

I have been riding/racing dirtbikes for awhile now so I have some experience on two wheels. Some district racing in San Diego and one Baja 250 race just to see if I should have a "mancard" or not

After some serious coercing of my wife I managed to talk her into doing a long road trip around the Western US, hitting up all the sites, with a final destination (for her) in Sturgis SD for the Rally. It would be 3,700 miles for her and 6,000 for me for approx 30 days.

So like I was saying before I've done mostly dirt with limited time on a street bike. Basically I had done one fast trip in Spain from Sevilla to Cadiz to Jerez de la Frontera to Gibraltor and back. That was her first time on the back of a bike and she did good until we started getting up there in the miles. We were on a BMW1200 for that ride.

I have put a bunch of miles on the street on my XR650R though so I wasn't exactly a newbie to street riding but I didn't have 10's of thousands of miles under my belt so this was going to be an adventure to say the least for both of us.

In order to keep the Mrs. happy I figured I should get as comfortable a ride as possible so we ended up with a 2007 Harley Ultra Classic Electra Glide with 12k miles on it. Normally I wouldn't go Harley (first one I've ever owned) but I tried to sit in a Goldwing and I couldn't fit. The front fairing took up too much leg room so I had to look for other comfortable options. I'm 6'7 and my wife is 4'11 so we make quite the odd couple.

And just so you know ADV.... Selling it now and just waiting for the KTM1190R Adventure to be released in the US!

(Insert drool icon here) Throw some knobbies on this bad boy and the world is my oyster! 150 HP and tons of clearance and a 21/18 tire set up!!

>




I saw soooo many trails on this trip and it was killing me that I was on a harley and couldn't hit them up. Not that a 1100 lb (fully loaded without the Mrs) harley stopped me from climbing a dirt trail up a 12,800 foot peak in rocky mountain national park!(o.k. it was just a graded, rutted, off camber road that cars could make it up very slowly but hey! I still did it on that beast!)


Got the UCEG and immediately started tweaking it to fit me. Took off the lower fairings (too cramped) and threw on longer shifters and pushed the floorboards out, adjustable highway pegs raked all the way out, pushed the tour pack back, backrest installed, and 18 inch apes so the back of my neck wasn't killing me. I tried to ride with the stock bars but after 50-60 miles it felt like a spike was being driven down the top of my spine. 18 inchers put the bars right below shoulder height so my position was basically like sitting in a lazy boy.

Ready to do 6,000 miles!



It was an adventure all along the way and we hit up all the National Parks/ State Parks we could and pretty much any other attraction we found including the Beartooth Highway and Million Dollar Highway with side stops at Mt Evans and various other places.

I just got back last night so I'll start downloading the picture and start writing a blog about the adventures, routes, things to do/see and various other mishaps we got into including detailed pictures of the different stops and things we did...

Plus..... a Sturgis recap with pics of things that you might not ever be able to erase from your memory! Some good.... MANY bad!

I'm not going to promise a short story of this trip or a fast updating. I pounded 1,000+ miles in 15.5 hours yesterday to get home and I'm a bit foggy/hurting today. Plus I'm going to be sending this blog to my family/friends so I'm going to be detailed in the writing of it so they can experience the adventure.


Thanks for following and more to come in the next few days!

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Old 08-15-2013, 11:52 AM   #2
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:lurk

Looking forward to reading more and seeing some pict's from Sturgis.

BTW - you can totally trail ride a cruiser, even fully loaded.... Sure, it may take a bit longer, but there's nothing really stopping you.
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Old 08-15-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
SurfnnRide OP
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O.K. now I'm done with the blah blah blah and it's time to commence with the adventure.

I'm not going to bore you with pack lists or what camera I have or what helmet I have or what type of fruit of the looms are rubbing my butt raw along the way. Just the ride, lots of pics and the stupid stuff we got ourselves into.



Day #1. San Diego to as close to Sedona as we can get while not killing each other on Day 1......

Packed up and ready to hit the road. With what we have planned to do we have known we were leaving for this trip for over 9 months so were ready to do this. I've checked & double checked all the supplies, tools, spares, loctited everything so it doesn't rattle off (it is a harley), spit shined everything, farted, burped and emptied the system and it's time to rock and roll.

I've got visions of roaming the countryside free as a bird with my wife on the back laughing and smiling telling me what a knight in shining armor I am and how I would have been Christopher Columbus if I was born back whenever the heck he lived. At some points it was like that but... well you know. Its traveling on a motorcycle. Don't need to go into detail on ADV.


Anyhoo.... It's 7 in the morning, July 13th, and the forecast for the desert is looking to be 105-110 degrees. We have to make our way past Palm Springs and then we get into the Anza fun times on our way to Sedona.

Our plan is to do the least amount of interstate as possible along the way which is going to be slow traveling but more scenic and a more relaxed pace since I had learned an approximate breaking point on mileage with mama on the Spain trip. 300 miles seems to be a good # for her and if things fluctuate over she should still be good.

So off we roll and the adventure begins....



Nice cool morning and the miles are flying by.... Clocks ticking by, miles are clicking by and the music is blaring... Freedom on my mind and miles to pound.



Get through Palm Springs and start making our way into the desert and the temp starts picking up. All good in my mind and we roll on.

And it gets hotter...and hotter...and hotter...


This is when I figure out that anything above 95 degrees (at highway speeds) is like a freaking furnace and at this point the harley temp gauge is reading some foreign # that doesn't even register on the Kelvin scale. The heat from this friggen V-twin is roasting my thigh like a slab of beef jerky.



I've ridden dirtbikes a lot in hot 100+ degree dez stuff but typically you're not going 80 mph in 106 degree heat for hours on end and you can just drink out of the camelback and spit it back on your face or neck. Not so on a harley... I felt like a friggen turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Luckfully I had read about ECV vests and had purchased a couple to help deal with this. Soak them up, strap them on and they act like swamp coolers for the body as long as you have a mesh or perforated leather jacket to let air in.

So at the gentle urging of mama that she was about to pass out and do the worlds longest belly slide down the freeway (longest freeway section she did the whole ride) I pulled off and we soaked down the vests.



LIFE SAVING!!! If you have never used these in extreme hot temps before I highly advise it. I'll definitely be using these on an future hot rides on the dirtbike.



Anyway... Jammed on to Blythe and called it a day to ease the Mrs. into this long trip. The Spain trip was about 300 miles split in 2 days so I had to start small and see how things were going and go from there.

Day one over! No issues. Happy times and pretty much a boring day #1 just trying to get through a crappy dez ride. 200 miles down... 5,800 to go....



Pics for the day.... Just two quickies. Nothing to show/talk about on Day 1




Morning Departure.... Told you we're a freak show!



The route for the day:


">



(P.S. she might create a login here to so you can hear the wife's side of this trip also. Maybe we'll have an epic online forum fight for all of you to enjoy!


SurfnnRide screwed with this post 08-29-2013 at 01:35 PM
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:46 AM   #4
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Day #2 - Blythe to Sedona.....

So we pop up quickly in the morning so we can beat the heat and start getting up into higher altitude which should cool things off. Bags are packed and out the door we go.

Once we push open the hotel door we quickly realize our early departure doesn't mean a damn thing as were already getting accosted by 90+ degree heat at 5 in the morning.

UGH......



At that point I just figured I might as well get the ECV vest on now and just pin the throttle and get the heck out of the dez as fast as possible.


So off we go and things are clicking right along and we pull into out first gas station even though we've only done 70 miles because the GPS is telling me there is a long gap until the next gas station and I don't want to run out of gas in 100 degree heat in the middle of nowhere.


Go to unlock the gas cap and..... No keys....

WTH??? I just had the keys when I took off this morning. Where the heck are they?



I'm digging around and after a few futile minutes I get annoyed and ask mama where the spare keys are. In her small purse thing she has which is locked in the side saddle bag.

AWESOME!



I can't fill gas since I can't get the gas door open without the keys and the spare is locked on the bike.

The Mrs calls the hotel to see if we left them there and LUCKILY some nice person found them on the ground in the parking lot and turned them in.

WHEW!!!! THANK YOU NICE PERSON!!!




Now all I have to do is go back 61 miles (122 round trip) to go get the keys.


Except for one problem. I was pinning it the whole way and my gas gauge is hovering just over the middle point.

Uh-Oh....




So now I have 2 options... break the side saddle bag lock with a screwdriver or take a risk and try to motor back to Blythe to get the spare keys.


I went with option 2 but quickly realized that taking mama back with me on this ride for another 122 miles in 100+ degree heat wasn't going to make for a happy time.



The place we stopped at is in the middle of BFE. Pretty much a sad place with nothing going on and maybe 50 people in the entire town (well technically it was a trailer park town). I didn't have any other options but to leave my wife there in the shade with some water and get to pounding miles to go back and get the keys.

Normally I wouldn't be to keen on leaving my little tiny wife in the middle of nowhere but we have traveled all over the place together and she can take care of herself just fine. We've lived in Central America for 4 months at a time before and been all over Brazil, Peru, Panama, Mexico etc... She's a trooper!


So I give her the water and off I go... Throttle pinned trying to get back as fast as possible because I still wanted to make it to Sedona and I needed to get back quick because I still didn't like leaving her alone in BFE. Seriously this town looked like it was out of some horror movie. It was somewhere on the 60 and I felt like I was leaving her to star in some "Saw" movie that was not going to end well.



Anyhoo... Off I went.. Banging miles back to Blythe and cooking myself to death in the rising heat that was probably tipping around 107 by this point. FUN FUN FUN!



So I'm about 20 miles out from Blythe and the gas light has been on for awhile. I'm watching the gas gauge plummet quickly and I realize that this gas gauge sucks! Apparently it likes to say its full for a long time and once it gets below 3/4 tank it drops as fast as the stock markets did in 2006.

I'm starting to get nervous now. 20 miles out. The needle is already hovering over the E symbol, it's 107 and I have no water. Left it with her.

Getting stuck in the middle of the Anza desert, in 107 degree heat, in leathers, was not going to be fun.



Long story short I made it back on fumes, got the keys, and filled up the gastank with 5.2 gallons of gas. 2007 UCEG has a 5 gallon capacity. I must have been on fumes the last few miles.

Fun 122 mile detour:




Flip a bitch on the 10 and back I go....



Get back to where the Mrs is and she's not there. Check my phone and she apparently got a ride from some nice lady to a diner down the road and she had a nice breakfast in an air conditioned place the entire time. Told you she would take care of herself. Sad part was the lady who gave her a ride was on a long trip with her husband and he died and now she was stuck in this tiny trailer town until she could find someone or someway to get her big truck and trailer home because she couldn't handle driving it all the way back to Michigan. Hope she figured it out and made it home!! THANK YOU for giving my wife a ride to AC/Food! You're the best!!




So then I go to fill up so we can continue on with a full tank and I go to reach for my CC and..... nada...

WTH??? Start checking all my pockets, wallet and windshield bags and nada.

SOAB did I really just lose my CC on day 2 of a 30+ day trip? YUP.




At this point I'm already wound up like the Tazmanian devil on cocaine and my wife is just trying to stay away from me in case I explode. I give her credit for realizing when I'm about to lose it and she keeps her distance. Smart woman!


So luckily I have my debit card still and a business card to fall back on (which get into issues too later on this trip...) so we can carry on.


Get back on the bike and pound the rest of the way to Sedona. 270+ miles in 100+ degree heat for her and 400 miles of 100+ degree heat for me.

Route for the day -122 mile detour:





We get to Sedona and we're beat down from the heat and the days BS. Finally make our way to Junipine Resort and try to check in but they weren't ready yet (a theme we ran into all along this trip as we always were leaving around 5 to beat the mid day heat everywhere). It was still probably 95 in Sedona so all we wanted to do was get out of the heat before one of us keeled over and passed out from heat exhaustion.


Mother nature came to the rescue and there was a stream behind the resort so we hauled down there, grumbling and snapping at anyone who got in our way, and stripped down and dived in the river.


THANK YOU RIVER GODS!!! 45 degree mountain water was a miracle blessing!



So that was day 2 and at this point I'm wondering WTH we got ourselves into especially with many many more days of dez riding to go until we finally got up into the mountains. BAD time of the year to ride through these areas especially with a major heat wave all over the southwest US.


Oh well. Mom never raised me to be a quitter so on we'll plow.





Pics for Day 2:


First glimpses of Sedona:




Coming into town:



Past town heading to Junipine Resort:




Me in the stream. Yes I'm flexing the abs and yes I'm sucking it in. Trying to make a good first impression right???? I'm friggen 38. F it! I'm in Sedona and not on the bike in 100+ degree heat!





Day two down.... 460 miles in the rear view mirror with 5,540 to go...

SurfnnRide screwed with this post 08-29-2013 at 01:49 PM
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:55 AM   #5
linksIT
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congrats on finishing your trip looking forward to the report
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:13 AM   #6
mmonce
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Looking forward to the continuation of your ride report. I think the heat must be making you nuts and forgetting or losing credit cards & keys.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:19 AM   #7
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Thanks for the report!
I can so identify with the lost credit card & keys, been there, done that, didn't get the t-shirt...couldn't pay for it because I lost the credit card, remember?
What I finally trained myself to do is develop a ritual when riding. Keys ALWAYS go back in this pocket, CC goes immediately back in the wallet after taken from the gas pump, wallet immediately goes back in the same pocket every time, removed gloves are always put by speedo so I don't ride off and leave them (a buddy lost 3 pair of gloves between WA and Sturgis one year), sunglasses go in shirt pocket, etc., etc. I am incredibly unfocused in the best of circumstances, made worse by the giddiness The Road, so I HAVE to develop habits to have any hope of survival. Plus I've found stash places on the bike for spare keys, etc.
Now, on with the ride!
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:45 PM   #8
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Day #3 - Touring Sedona & other debaucles.....


So originally we weren't planning on leaving home until Monday the 15th but last second I figured why the heck not leave on Sat morning and get 2 extra days in Sedona to chill. I was over San Diego and needed a break so let's do it.

I won't go into all the restaurants, bars, touristy crap we did but I will post a couple pics and cover a couple interesting adventures.




1st adventure was me realizing that I did not have any cell coverage at the Junipine Resort and I need to be working while I travel. I have my work phone forwarded to my cell which is bluetoothed into my helmet. This way I can take work calls, get voicemails etc.. I have all of my work emails forwarded to my phone so I can handle those too. I can hear the email beep in my helmet so I know when emails come across.

So I figure I need to remedy this fast because I'm going to be here 5 days and I assume I'm going to have cell coverage issues at other places along the way.

So I ask a guy at the gas station what would be the closest town that would have somewhere to get a cell phone booster and he said there was a Verizon store in Cottonwood. Haul there and no go. They tell that they think there is a Best Buy in Prescott Valley AZ.

In my mind I've already gone 30 miles to get here and now I have to do another 30 to get back.... Cottonwood to Prescott was another 32 miles back SW so now I'm looking at a 120 mile round trip for this charger... Ugh... Keep in mind it's still 95+ degrees.

Well not much choice so I head out and start banging miles.

Well... I guess he added a "Valley" to the city because I get to Prescott Valley and drive all around looking for the Best Buy and no go. Find out it's in Prescott not Prescott Valley.

DOH!! AT&T!!

So now off to Prescott. Only 10 more miles! What's 10 more miles by this point huh?


Get to Prescott and I find the Best Buy and get the booster. Haul out of there and on the way back I cruise through an old hippie town name Jerome. Kind of run down but it has that laid back/hippie vibe. Nice view over the Valley too and the 87 going through Jerome is NICE! Super twisty and nice views along the entire way.


Long story short I make it back to Junipine resort and I plug the booster in and it doesn't do anything. Piece of crap has to have a crappy signal to amplify or it doesn't work and we had ZERO signal there. A literal dead zone. $100 down the drain.


So today was another 175 mile detour to tack on top of the 122 mile detour debacle in Blythe. I'm adding miles to the trip but they are not going in the right direction!!!




Day #4.....

I'm friggen beat down the following morning and am looking forward to chilling by the river and putting down a few beers. My wife on the other hand is starting to get grumpy because she normally works out 5 days a week and she wants to go get some exercise.

We find out that there is a trail that runs behind the resort that is a decent length and she asks me if I think it's fine for her to go alone.

I think quickly about the area and can't think of any reason why not. Like I said before we have traveled all over and she routinely went on long walks by herself in 3rd world countries in Latin America.

Go for it I say... I'm going to enjoy my coffee and figure out the plans for the day.


Well.... Let's just put it this way. I still wasnt thinking correctly and I just sent a city slicker girl off into the wilderness.

She takes off and throws her ipod in and off she jams.


She made it back ok and we go do some sightseeing BS, drink a bit and then call it a day.


The reason why I write this is on Day #4 we decide to do the same hike she did so she can show me what she saw. As we're going I'm doing all the things I know what to do when hiking through the wilderness like talking, singing, clapping hands from time to time to let the "locals" know we were around.

My wife is looking at me like I'm a retard and I explain why. She gets it and then comments on how it probably wasn't smart for her to be wearing an Ipod while she was hiking yesterday and how she kept having an uneasy feeling the whole time.


Well low and behold later that day I'm stomping down a trail and almost walk right onto one of our "local friends". Luckily he heard us coming so he gave a warning rattle when I was about 4-5 feet away but he was coiled, right in the middle of the path, and ready to throw down with some rattle love. I don't think I'll have to worry about mama hiking with the Ipod in anymore.




So on this hike we read that it was a moderate stroll. Well I think we missed a turn or didn't read the trail map right because next thing I know we are going up a vertical climb with switch back after switchback after switchback. 39 total switchbacks that kicked our asses.

About 2/3rds of the way she was ready to call it and go back but once I start something I won't give up especially with the peak almost in sight. At this point she is definitely thinking


Up, up, up, up we go. Legs are burning, back is locked up, we've drank over 2/3rds of the 100 oz camelback I brought, no food (which I later found out was the reason why we were so jacked up for days because our body started attacking our muscles for nutrients) lungs are screaming for air since we are at 6,500-7,000 feet now (we live at 100 feet of elevation) and we're still not making it to the top.

At this point it starts.... We're both hot, tired, exhausted and getting pissy with each other but we won't give up!

About 8/10ths of the way up we meet the only other people on this mountain coming down. Two people from North Dakota who were in their low 20's just skipping and bouncing their way down the trail all happy. We stopped and talked to them awhile and then continued on our way with assurance from them that we were almost there.

LIARS!!!! LOL!

I'm sure they were just trying to be nice but we were really hoping to be close to the top.

Anyhoo a dozen + more switchbacks and we made it! What a view and worth the hike. We started at the very bottom of the valley and several hours later we made it. Approximately 3,000-3,500 vertical feet up and a round trip of 8-9 miles.

As all of you know who have taken pics of scenic places a picture will never do this justice but I'll put it up anyway.





P.S. Here was my hiking attire. Who's Awesome? I'm Awesome!!!




Lastly a couple pics of the scenery around Sedona:


Mama on the back....



View from Airport Road.



Butte's from around town:




So were here for a couple more days and nothing exciting happens beyond eating some rattlesnake and consuming too many local beers and prickly pear margaritas. Did the typical BS at slide rock and what not around town. Fun city but after 5 days it was time to start putting some miles on this bike.

I told you all I was easing my wife in!!!

Hope she enjoyed it while it lasted because everything is about to start going into fast forward.

We've been on the "road" for 7 days now and we've made it 480 miles of 6000 total.

Bodes well that 25% of the days are gone and we have made it 8% of the way!

SurfnnRide screwed with this post 08-29-2013 at 02:21 PM
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Old 08-16-2013, 01:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadHD View Post
Looking forward to reading more and seeing some pict's from Sturgis.

BTW - you can totally trail ride a cruiser, even fully loaded.... Sure, it may take a bit longer, but there's nothing really stopping you.

I completely understand what you're saying but when I say trails I'm talking about very steep/cross rutted/rocky/boulders everywhere type stuff... The type of trails that even on the KTM1190R I would be having serious trouble on. I could do them on my 330 lb XR650R but no way in HELL a harley would even make it up the first 50 feet. Atleast not on a UCEG unless you wanted $1,000's of dollars in paint/part repairs when you laid it down.


And who wants to dead lift a 1,000 lb beast on a 35-45 degree dirt trail?


Graded fire roads, gravel roads etc... the harley can make. We've seen the threads of guys going to Patagonia and Alaska on harleys but they're still not trails type of bikes.


I'm talking about real tight trails and a ton of singletrack that had me DROOLING with envy as I saw 450's and 250's ripping it up. I passed some guys in Ourey getting ready for the Colorado 500 and all I wanted to do was ask if I could borrow one of their bikes for 2-3 hours just to blast some hills and rip it up.

I'm not a huge fan of street riding. Point straight, turn throttle and follow a guided/paved path. ZZZZzzzzz.....

I want adventure and unlimited choices depending on where my mind/body/soul want to take me. Hence why I love riding in Mexico so much. Viva Mexico!!!

Sorry... Just my thing. To each their own....

I do have to say that I did see some die hard BMW1200 guys out there giving it a whirl without much luck. Props for trying though!!!

You never know until you try!!
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:53 PM   #10
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i like it, in! almost lost me there at first, but after pics of the petite wife, i'm back!

jk, enjoying the RR!
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
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You know I'm saving the naked Sturgis pictures for the end of the RR to keep you guys around. I'm not the brightest bulb out there but I'm no numbskull either (regardless of what you have read so far )


Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
i like it, in! almost lost me there at first, but after pics of the petite wife, i'm back!

jk, enjoying the RR!
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:14 PM   #12
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Hi from Sydney Australia...I've just subscribed to this thread, and I, also am looking forward to the nudie photos from Sturgis...
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:18 AM   #13
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Day #7 - Sedona to South Rim Grand Canyon to Marble Canyon



Wake up early Saturday morning itching to get moving. Sedona = fun but ready to roll as I'm getting bored.



We came into Sedona on the 87 freeway and we followed that north towards the GC. Fun, twisty road through a mountain pass with nice scenery.

The ride was pretty uneventful except our first encounter with a nomadic monsoon that we played cat and mouse with for hours on the way to the GC. It would be on our left and then our road would spin around it and then the wind would change and it would blow right at us and then the road would turn and we'd go around it again. This continued for a loooong time and we were just waiting to get into our first downpour monsoon but it just didn't happen. Some light misting but we never got right in the middle of it where the rain was DUMPING and lighting was firing. Weird storms where it's just a mile wide black cloud dropping a spire of water on everything it goes over. Super intense but super small storms.


Anyhoo...


The ride to the GC was basically pounding somewhat scenic roads on your way to the GC and the road eventually turns into the desert and then it's just pin it and go.


I guess a lot of the land in the area is owned by the Navajo Indians and we even saw an old man who was one of the original windtalkers from WWII. A windtalker is the native navajo indians who created a coded language to use for communication in WWII. The Axis couldn't break the code because they didn't have access to anyone who spoke navajo. Our ability to crack their codes, and their inability to crack ours, was a major reason why the Allies won the war.

Anyhoo...


We arrive at the south rim and we had about 2 hours until we had to move on to the next destination at Marble Canyon.

Went out on a few of the viewpoints and OMG is the canyon impressive. I've only flown over it so to see the grandeur of this place in person was insane.



Snapped a couple pics and then jammed on to meet our appointment at 12:00. As usual the pics do no justice to this place.



Pics of GC from South Rim:


Me with a nice view and a nice drop:



Mama and the view:




The GC in all its magnificence:

">

to be continued....

SurfnnRide screwed with this post 08-18-2013 at 11:41 AM
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:36 AM   #14
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Day #7 Continued....

So at this point we've snapped a few pics and we're on our way to the El Tovar hotel to drop off our bags. The bellhop is nice enough to store them for us and off we go.

We arrive at lot D and Betty Price is already waiting for us in the backcountry parking area. We quickly lock up the bike, cover it for bad weather and jump in her ride.

Betty is a nice lady who gave us a nice countryside tour on our way to Marble Canyon. Beautiful canyon scenery along the way that was quite impressive.



I do have to say the 87 turns to crap once you head North of the GC main road entrance to the south rim. Betty told us that the road was paved across unstable ground that rises and sinks all the time so the road out was like a mini roller coaster of a ride. The whole time Betty is tinkering with the radio, the water bottle, etc...


To back track.... When we first saw Betty she was about 60-65 years old, had a cane, and was barely moving along. Turns out she had messed up her back when she was doing a side job and slipped carrying a bunch of food. True to her word of picking us up she still came to get us even though she was in a bit of pain. Tough woman!


So I guess Betty has been doing this "shuttling" for awhile and she is hauling arse to Marble Canyon pointing out all the sites and telling us the story of the area. Nice lady and can't recommend her any more highly if you are in the area and need a ride somewhere around the grand canyon or marble canyon. She's been in the area for a long time and most people know her. She basically gave us a guided tour of the area for free along the way and even took us down to our starting point tomorrow before dropping us off.


Anyway.... She showed us some Rock formations that formed from huge boulders falling from the top of the canyon that impact the ground when they land. Over time the wind/water erodes the impacted dirt under the stones and you end up with these formations. Kind of cool....



So she gets us to the Marble Canyon Lodge in one piece and we pay her and off she goes...

Great lady and a great little side tour along the way!


We arrive to find out that the Marble Canyon Lodge has partially burned down a month ago. The restaurant and a lot of the old building. It had stood for over 100 years so it was sad to see that old section go. So in the meantime there is a temporary restaurant in the back of the gas station and your check in desk will be in the gas station office too. Hey... It works and the food was hot!


Checked in and got situated, repacked all of our gear, and got ready for tomorrows adventure.

Here's a hint....




Me being an insomniac meant I spent most of the night standing out in the middle of the desert waiting for each minute to pass as I was so filled with excitement!!! There were 50-60 mph winds blasting me with sand but the sky was filled with stars and I was jacked up. I figured there was no way I would sleep. My wife sleeps like a rock so I try not to bug her with my tossing and turning by just getting up out of bed.

To be honest I tried everything I could to sleep... Xanex, beer, meditation etc.... and none of it worked.



Nice sunset though:


SurfnnRide screwed with this post 09-06-2013 at 09:02 AM
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:02 PM   #15
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Talking

Day #9 - Whitewater Rafting the Upper Section of the Grand Canyon

Rolled out of bed (got maybe 90 minutes of sleep) and got to packing. Was supposed to be down at Lee's Ferry to take off at 9:00 a.m.

Woke the Mrs up, slammed some coffee, and jumped into the van that the marble canyon lodge provided us to get down to Lee's Ferry 3-4 miles away.

Got down there a bit early so we just nibbled on trail bars and drank water in the meantime because apparently the canyon walls magnify heat at the bottom and it can get up to 115-120 degrees. We never felt it get anywhere that hot so no complaints.

We were the only people who did not meet up at Flagstaff for the "orientation" which goes over trivial stuff like what to do if the raft flips, how fast hypothermia sets in when the water is only 43-47 degrees, how to (and not to) pull people back into the boat, packing, what to do if you go overboard and get sucked down the rapids etc...etc...etc...

Guess some people would consider that important information. Me? Naaah!


So finally the rest of the people show up and we start to load things up into the two Canyoneers boats.

So I'm not a huge fan of crowded places or vehicles so I decided to sit back while all the other eager beavers started jumping into the boats. There were 2 boats so the boats should have been split into 12 person boats. Well apparently everyone wanted to be in one boat so once everyone else was loaded up we jumped in the non-crowded boat.

Final tally: 16 in one boat 8 in our boat.


HELL YEAH! We pretty much just scored a private raft for this 3 day whitewater rafting tour!!!

Best part is the other 6 people in the boat were one family of very nice people from Arizona. 3 adults and 3 kids. All the kids were super nice and well behaved whereas in the other boat there were these obnoxious teenage boys who (to be honest) were just spoiled pricks (we got stuck with them on the last day).

I'm serious on how empty our boat was. We could have all gotten up and had a dance contest with how much space we had! Everyone got to lay out where the other boat was packed like sardines and nobody could move from the seat the got until the boat stopped for meals/night.

Leaving Lee's Ferry: My wife feeling all special being surrounded by manly men.




Anyhoo... Off we go rolling into the Grand Canyon and I can't even begin to explain how happy I am. I'm not a geologist but I do love history, and the stories different places bring when I visit them, and to be honest the thought of being able to touch rocks that were around WAAAAAYYY before the dinosaurs (one rock was 1.5 billion years old!) was blowing my mind.

So off we went....

Canyoneers is one of the longer running tour companies down there and they have the largest (2 hinge) rafts of any tour company in the canyon. Personally I would have loved to be in a R4 raft instead of this huge thing but whatever raft it took to make my wife go on this trip I would take.

They handle all the cooking and navigation of the river but you handle setting up your tents etc...

Great company and knowledgeable guides. Never felt in any danger the entire time and our guide (Brandon) was cool enough to let me ride for 95% of the rapids on the front side pontoon instead of being in the boat.

Like this: (looks crowded on the boat huh?)




At least then it was a bit exciting. These boats are so big that they mow right through most of the rapids. Not like a small R4 boat where you'll be on a ride more like a Six Flags Magic Mountain Ride.


I bought a plastic phone cover that allowed me to protect my cell phone and take pictures/video at the same time. Worked like a charm and never leaked. I would fully endorse the Frieq waterproof cell phone case. I put it through plenty of rapids and not one drop got inside.


There was some fun times to be had on the side pontoons:




Not that being "in" the boat wasn't exciting as well!




to be continued......

SurfnnRide screwed with this post 09-06-2013 at 09:04 AM
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