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Old 05-29-2007, 01:33 AM   #1
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Marcos, CA
Oddometer: 250
Took a ride before the bambina arrives - North Rim, Southern Utah

My wife and I are expecting our first baby on 5/30 so a few weeks ago I went for a ride to the North Rim of the GC and to southern Utah. Here are a few pics. I opened a Smugmug account and have some of the photos posted:

I left San Marcos, CA on a Thu evening. Stayed in Vegas w/ my parents. Left for Toroweap, AZ which overlooks the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. You have to take a dirt road for 75 miles when leaving from Colorado City. I came out by way of Fredonia which was only 61 miles of dirt. From there I went back up to Kanab and through Grand Staircase Escalante on Johnson Canyon and 38 miles of Skutumpah Road. That evening I made it Escalante and I and ended up camping at a small lake called Lake Posy. Getting to the lake was 16 miles of slippery washboard hell. I bet it would be unnoticable on a WR450 but on the 12GS it rattle my brain. Next day took me to Grosvenor Arch via 16 miles of soft sand going in and again coming out. Then to Bryce and a night in Zion. Monday was a long ride home w/ lunch and a nap at my parents' home in Vegas. I made it back home Monday evening to find my wife and baby still as one and healthy.

I'll post my GPS tracks on SMR when I get a chance too.

Some pics:

Leaving from work.

My production mgr takes clever photos.

The gas stations in Baker are clearly "green" and wanting us to reflect on our carbon footprint. $3.99/gallon. Ouch.

Here's my GPS telling me I'm in the middle of Lake Mead.

Callville Bay, Lake Mead. I think the water is down 75 feet or so.

Leaving Colorado City for Toroweap. 75 miles to go. I almost crashed a couple times in soft sand but it wasn't too bad. 2nd and 3rd gear. After you get to the ranger station, the last few miles are 1st gear stuff, but nothing the GS can't handle easily. The soft sand and the constant washboard were the only pain.

In the middle of nowhere.

21 miles to go to Toroweap. This is the intersection that you can take to either Colorado City or Fredonia coming back out.

My campsite in Toroweap. Nice view of the Grand Canyon looking NE.

Looking up the Grand Canyon and over the edge. It is hard to tell the scale but the guidebook says that's 3000 feet down. The trees on the other side are tiny and sort of show it but they're hard to see.

I had to take this for the guys at work that are afraid of heights. You DON'T want to slip or trip. You'd have a long way to fall and time enough to realize what an idiot you were for killing yourself.

Looking SW. You can hike all along the edge and the few people out there are hard to find until you get back to camp. I hiked over to that other point and took more photos.

Here I am trying to look cool while not looking nervous as hell. You don't want to step back too far.

Camping essentials: Water. Water. Water. Jetboil was a fantastic surprise in efficiency and ease of use. I will never buy a stove after using that bad boy. The freeze dried foods pack down to nothing and when you're taking your trash back out w/ you that's important. Note the flask and cigar. These are must have survival essentials but I put my life in jeopardy by bringing a nice tequila instead of my favorite, The Macallan. I thought w/ all the desert, the tequila would be great, but scotch was the mood. I put a review of all my gear on this thread:

On my way out. Just a pick of nowhere. Nice to be all alone, but on the way out I went to Fredonia. This road was much faster and there were a few ranch trucks that went by. 3rd and 4th gear going out. No soft sand, just washboard. Notice anything funny about the gear on my bike?

Wow. I'm an idiot. Rokstraps need to be tight, not just snug. I almost had a long ride back to get my sleeping bag.

I just had to take a photo of the jet streaks.

Back out near Fredonia. I stopped to put air in my tires. Rode away and after a mile I realized I didn't put the stupid air valve cap on my front wheel. Go back? Sure. I'm anal. Why not? Anyway, after looking for a single tiny cap in the gravel, I realized I couldn't see. "Where the f--- are my glasses?" Not on my face. Luckily they were stuck between my Motofizz bag and my sleeping bag. Wow. 2nd lucky break of the day. I never found the stupid cap. Oh yeah, I also thought I left my phone at the campsite which was 61 miles back the way I just came. After 5 minutes of frantic swearing and digging through my bag I finally found it. The vibrations had "sifted" it to the bottom of my gear.

The Johnson Canyon Hwy ended. 38 miles of dirt to go. I guess that's why I bought a GS. The pavement ends and you get to keep going.

Mile 0 of 38.

Almost there. Canaan Peak in the distance.

Canaan Peak from the SE on my way to Escalante.

Damn it. I guess I'll have to finish tomorrow. I just lost the last half of my post. It logged me out or something and I lost the last hour of my life. Crap.

GS_AP screwed with this post 05-29-2007 at 11:35 PM
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Old 05-29-2007, 05:23 AM   #2
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Looks great!! Good thing your sleeping bag didn't melt from the exhaust fumes!!

Sometimes it pays to do your report in Word and then copy and paste it here. I hope you'll be able to continue this great report

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Old 05-29-2007, 05:33 AM   #3
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Looks like a good time. I am looking forward to the rest.
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Old 05-29-2007, 06:52 AM   #4
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Yeah, cut and paste with a WP program is much easier than typing it all out here.... but great post so far and nice pictures of the GC!
"A man turns his back on the comforts of home, and when the dust all settles and the story is told, history is made by the side of the road..." - DBT

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Old 05-29-2007, 03:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GS_AP
...Left for Toroweap, AZ which overlooks the North Rim of the Grand Canyon....
Great trip!

Where is the nearest Gas to Toroweap?

Grand Canyon is well, grand. I have been on the South Rim and also down to Phantom Ranch (at the bottom) but not North Rim. Would like to do it on a DRZ or similar, but am concerned about fuel....?
Advanced pancreatic cancer found 04/2010. Have outlived +/- 97% of patients with this diagnosis, but 08/2013 cancer now in liver, vascular system and lungs with 20+ lung tumors. Sick/weak sometimes, not riding much. No more treatments & now under Hospice care.
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:52 PM   #6
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Fredonia or Colorado City

Originally Posted by viverrid
Great trip!

Where is the nearest Gas to Toroweap?

Grand Canyon is well, grand. I have been on the South Rim and also down to Phantom Ranch (at the bottom) but not North Rim. Would like to do it on a DRZ or similar, but am concerned about fuel....?
I think Fredonia is the closest but the access road is 9 miles west of town or something like that although it felt like 2. 61 miles from the highway to Toroweap. 130 miles or so back and forth to gas. I can go 200 on the GS but I would take extra fuel on a DRZ.
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Old 05-29-2007, 10:51 PM   #7
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Part 2

Well, the baby is scheduled to come tomorrow morning at 7:30 am. We need to be at the hospital by 5:30 but I'm determined to finish this damn post. I had a post of a giant white sea bass on Big Waters Edge that I caught on my kayak this Sunday so I'm a posting fiend these last days.

Lake Posy, UT. I got to Escalante and I was beat. I saw a sign that said 16 miles to Lake Posy. Cool. Little did I know that 14 miles of it was washboard hell. Slippery too. I know anybody on a normal dirtbike would have been fine, but it was like bumpy ice for me. I was too lazy to stop and take any air out of my tires so I guess I deserve it. The lake was beautiful. Nice short hike around the lake and to a lookout. Peaceful. I think it was about 10K feet.

I saw this huge monster. Actually I thought someone had dropped a shoelace and I was going to pick it up to throw it away. Cool little guy.

My cozy campsite. I got to have a fire this night. Neighbor had some nice dogs that kept coming by to say "hello". It got cold at night and I left my rain fly off of my tent so my head got cold to the point that I put a pair of underwear on my head while sleeping. I won't say whether they were clean or not but it didn't matter as I wasn't clean. I didn't tell my wife this part.

Getting ready for some wonderful freeze dried spaghetti and a cigar. The food was fine, but the egg breakfasts were like eating little yellow egg flavored peeps from 3 Easters back or yellow kitchen sponges w/ egg from breakfast still on them. Packed w/ nutrients but not flavor. The dinners are great though. Kanetsu keeping me warm. Gotta love the old man transition glasses (that I almost lost) and the MotoGP fishing hat. So stylish.

I woke up the next morning to some wild turkeys. I took photos but they're too far off. They're big and LOUD. I also found a weird pattern on the inside of my faceshield of my helmet. After a quick inspection I found this little guy was trying to make a home in my helmet. I guess he wanted to go for a ride. I assured him he was better off staying near the lake.

The next day I was off to Grosvenor Arch. I missed it the day before. The road was next to the entrance to Kodachrome Basin. It was full and I was late so apparently I missed a large phallic stone feature. Damn. I guess I see my own every morning anyway.

Going straight instead took me 14 miles to Grosvenor Arch. Soft sand. Soft sand. Soft sand. Stand up. Lean back. Watch the front wheel go wherever it wants to and speed up when you think you're going to crash. You don't crash but you sure think you're going to die.

This is actually a shot I took on my way out but it shows my completely out of control track that I took going in. I almost lost control of the bike and my bowels. Stupidly the left side was hard-pack that I easily rode back through coming out. It also didn't help that I hadn't let air out of my tires. After swerving back and forth a couple times I stopped to catch my breath and let my privates drop back down from my abdomen. THEN I let some air out. BTW, a RAV4 had no trouble going through. I felt like a 3 yr old little girl.

Here's proof that I actually made it. I tried to share my "triumph" w/ the people there in their RAV4s and CR-Vs, but it turned out they were all German tourists and stared at me w/ blank stares when I told them about my death-defying feat of manliness and motorcycling skill.

Puddle. Once again RAV4 had no trouble.

Me after fight w/ puddle. My GS didn't let me down and we had no trouble going through, but I should have put down my visor because I got a face full of muddy water. For the rest of the trip we looked like we had gone somewhere really cool and treacherous.

After coming out and getting some air back in the tires and drying the dirt water to a fine patina. Notice the sheepskin buttpad deluxe. I didn't realize how cool that was. I never should have let those old sheepskin seat covers go from my car in high school!

On to Bryce. I think everyone takes this photo. I know why. Canaan Peak is in the background again. It was watching over me like a big brother. I came across a bunch of people on BMWs and Harleys here but I think I didn't look very social as they didn't seem interested in speaking to the "dirty" dude.

Hey, I didn't have to take all the photos at arms length. Thanks, stranger!

This is at the top of Bryce. 9115 ft. Beautiful. On the way down, I stopped at the lodge and I met a guy from Frankfurt. He was deaf so we had quite a time trying to converse w/ each other. He understood me perfectly reading my lips and I think w/ time I could have understood him but I was only able to figure out that he was there w/ a bunch of buddies riding Harleys and that he might have owned a BMW back in Germany. Cool guy.

I met a couple on 2 F650GSs on my way to Zion. Nice. She was clearly beautiful although she didn't take her helmet off. They were from Hurricane and gave me advice on where to stay in Zion but I camped. They had gone on a 2 day ride which sounded wonderful. I couldn't imagine living there. I would never get any work done. Come to think of it, I met a guy on an R1150RT going into Hurricane 2 days before. He was really cool too. Dave? Gary? I'm terrible w/ names. I met another guy at the gas station in Colorado City and we chatted for a while. Lot's of nice people. You meet a lot of people when you're riding solo.

Zion before the tunnel. I took a lot of photos of Zion and found it absolutely stunning but it was getting dark and my photos sucked. I went on the free bus tour through the canyon at dusk. Beautiful to watch the sun set over the canyon. Lot's of mule deer on the road at night. I was glad I was already camped and not out riding.

My campsite in Zion. Man, the Aerostich and the Solas on the bottoms of my bags reflect some light. No spiders, turkeys, or snakes this time.

The next morning I was all packed and ready to head off to Vegas and then home. Wait... "Where the f--- are my glasses?!!" Shit. I didn't.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:08 PM   #8
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Part 3

So the saga of my glasses continues:

The night before I put them in that cute little mesh pocket inside my tent. "Don't forget those." After shaking out the tent and packing it up, my glasses were inside that nice tight little blue bag w/ the REI logo on it. SHIT!!

My father-in-law told me that I did the same thing a year ago camping w/ him at Rock Creek on our fishing trip. I guess I'm no smarter than the "stupid" hampster. The "smart" hampster would have only done this once and learned. Damn glasses.

After 10 minutes of swearing and unpacking/repacking I'm all ready to go w/ my glasses on my face where they belong. Off to Vegas! Wait. That's the part that sucks. It was 95 degrees going across the desert.

After lunch and a nap at my parents' house, my dad was there to see me off. My mom was there too and by then she had forgiven me. It was okay now that I hadn't died on my trip. She was going to be pissed if I had died and she seemed pretty convinced that was going to occur when I left their place on Friday morning. She made me rice balls wrapped in nori that I devoured in Barstow. Gotta love Mom and Dad!

Home sweet home. I made it. Dirty. Tired. Happy.

1500 miles. About 250 on dirt roads. Tons of fun. I could have used another 3 days to see all I wanted to see, but work, wife and baby-to-be were waiting for me.

Me. Pre-shower.

Me Post-shower. Apparently our tap water is high calorie, because I managed to get really fat taking my shower. WTF?

Anyway, it was a great ride. Exactly why I bought a GS. I love the distance touring but I hate having to turn around when the road ends. The GS lets you keep going and go to places you wouldn't normally go. I absolutely love it.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:19 PM   #9
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I was lucky.

Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Looks great!! Good thing your sleeping bag didn't melt from the exhaust fumes!!

Sometimes it pays to do your report in Word and then copy and paste it here. I hope you'll be able to continue this great report

I was amazed by this fact. The Seattle Sports bag held up fine. I think it must have just been far enough away to not get burned or melted. I was damn lucky.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:25 PM   #10
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Nice report !
I had fun watching it, Thanks !

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Old 05-30-2007, 05:46 AM   #11
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What a great trip you had. Nice report.
If you think its hard keeping track of your glasses now, wait till the little one comes. I don't know where ANY of my stuff is.
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Old 05-30-2007, 08:49 AM   #12
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Cool report

Having just done that same road to the arch 2 weeks ago I can attest to the evil sand out there. Just takes some practice I guess.


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Old 05-30-2007, 09:15 AM   #13
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Great report. Yep, many an ADVrider has snaped a pic from here.

"If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." -Henry Foster

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