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Old 06-03-2004, 10:05 PM   #226
MikeO OP
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3rd June

I wake early. Actually, I wake about every hour, as a succession of freight trains say good morning to Holbrook in the time honoured way – by sounding their horns… The room actually shakes, when one goes past during the night, enough to shake the ice bucket of the table – I’m reminded of the Blues Brothers’ apartment…

A beautiful cloudless morning, I’m on the road at 0720. I’m going to head north east towards Monument Valley. I’ve already ridden the main roads in that direction and they’re not inspiring, so I’ve decided to try a couple of dirt roads. I fill up with fuel at Keams Canyon and then enter the rabbit warren of dirt roads that criss-cross the Navajo Reservation. The quality of the roads vary, from almost concrete like baked hard mud…

to sudden washes of soft sand, which, unfortunately, is of very similar appearance – I almost come a cropper on a couple of occasions, until I ‘get my eye in’. It’s pretty warm and the engine, always being kept in a low gear and often revved quite hard, is getting warm. I’m able to hear it rattling despite earplugs!

Luckily, I come across some asphalt and I’m able to get some cooling air across the oil cooler…

Eventually, after negotiating my way around the outside of the Black Mesa Mine (the mesa is apparently black with coal), I reach the top of the bluff and see the 160 laid out on the valley floor…

…the pipeline like feature is a covered conveyer belt, carrying coal from Black Mesa to the large Silo on the railway line in the centre of the picture.

I’m soon travelling north east along the 160 and, after filling up at Kayenta, head up the road for Monument Valley. Last time I was here, the 17 mile track which loops around the valley was waterlogged - I don’t anticipate this being a problem today – it’s already over 100º F…

I pay my $5 entrance fee, then step up to the viewing platform…

…the view is stunning. I go to the restaurant and have a light lunch (including some ‘Navajo Fry Bread’ – a local delicacy – imagine naan bread which has then been pan fried :eek ), before stocking up on bottled water, getting kitted up and starting the trail.

At first the track is OK, gravely, but firm. These two buttes are called ‘The Mittens’ – nobody I asked knew why :. I stop often to take pictures and get into the habit of drinking whenever I stop – did I mention that it was hot? Soon I come across deep sandy sections, though, and life gets less comfortable. The views of the Mesas take mind off it though – there’s something really peaceful and ethereal about this place…

Although there’s a fair amount of traffic about, there are still long enough gaps to get a little silence now and again…

If you think these pictures are familiar, you’re probably a John Wayne / John Ford western movie fan. ‘Stagecoach’ and ‘The Searchers’ were both filmed here (as were parts of Back to the Future Pt III). This is John Ford Point – where queues of tourists were waiting for their turn to be photographed on the back of some poor horse with this view in the background. Personally, I don’t thin it needs any additional help to make its statement…

All too soon, it seems, despite the heat, I’m heading back towards the visitor centre.

It dawns on me that I’ve not really planned today beyond visiting Monument Valley – so I turn right out of the Reservation and head north into Utah, a state of which I have many fond memories. I soon pass through the small town of Mexican Hat, named for this rock formation…

I feel hot, but not tired, so I keep pressing in a northerly direction. I stop, for a much needed drink and cool down (it’s now 107º F) at the Twin Rocks Café…

There’s a clue as to why it’s called this looming over the building…

The owners’ children put their handprints and names in the wet concrete of the steps when the café was built – a nice gesture, I thought…

Feeling suitably refreshed (it’s now about 1430), I get kitted back up and notice that the café isn’t the first enterprise to be started here – I hope they have better luck than the owners of the Cow Canyon Trading Post…

…anybody want to hazard a guess as to the make & age of the car?

I carry on riding through the canyons of Utah – beautiful enough to keep my mind off the fact that it’s over 100º F – I’ve ridden some of these roads before. I see a signpost to Hanksville – 152 miles. It’s a long way, but I know it’s a great road and the Whispering Sands Motel has great rooms and a good restaurant next door. I ride fast through the spectacular canyons – I seem to have the roads to myself…

I still love the landscape and this bridge – I’m approaching Lake Powell now…

When I get to Hite Overlook, I’m certain the lake is much lower than last time I was here. Bridge fans will recognise the one I just rode across.

I look back at the bike – suffering in the heat – it’s even thrown off the sheepskin seat cover – time to rest.

I arrive at the Whispering Sands, to be greeted by the owner ‘Nice to have you back Mike – do you want your usual room?’. 380 miles today, in pretty warm conditions and about 50 or so of it off road – good riding, but I’m in need of a shower (which was great) and something to eat (Dutch Oven BBQ Chicken ). Good day.

All text & original photos © Mike Oughton 2004 - 2015

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Old 06-03-2004, 10:36 PM   #227
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Man, this just gets better. This would be a good time of the year to swing around and drop down the Kaibab Nat'l Forest and end up at the Grand Canyon North Rim (which is VERY different than the south rim where 90% of the tourists go). I believe you can stay in very rustic cabins at Kaibab Lodge somewhat cheaper than the North Rim Lodge (which is $$$) (but do call and verify this, its been 15 years since I've been there). Kaibab Lodge is about 18 miles from the National Park North Rim Lodge.

Most importantly, perhaps... The north rim is heavily forested, and quite high elevation, so the temperatures are very pleasant even when the surrounding desert areas are baking.

Go south on Arizona Route 67 which comes off of US Route 89 Alternate somewhere south of Kanbab Utah. Be sure to ride out to the various promitories for monster canyon overlooks... some are on the end of 20 mile dead end roads, some of those are hardpack dirt.
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Old 06-03-2004, 10:44 PM   #228
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I second the nomination for the North Rim and would add Cedar Breaks
National Monument to the list.
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:02 PM   #229
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Mike, what can I say, at the beginning of your post I wrote it was great, now it is just fantastic!!!
I am only dreaming to do a trip like the one your are sharing with us.....your travel diary is higly interesting and your pics are GREAT!!!

Thanks for sharing with us!!!

If you are coming to Canada (Montreal, Qc) area, let me know, I would be happy to meet you!!!

Good luck

(p.s. everyday I am looking to find your new post hahaha)
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Old 06-04-2004, 06:46 PM   #230
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Originally Posted by ian408
I second the nomination for the North Rim...
Ah, here's National Park's map...

Head for the Grand Canyon Lodge. It's quite a piece of work, classic 1920's national park stuff. Walk around the lobby of the main lodge, check out the dining room. Walk out to the lookout on Bright Angel Point. Lunch is rather expensive and was rather mediochre fro the price when I was there 15 years ago. Then get back on the bike, ride to Point Imperial, walk out to the view, then out to Cape Royal, take the 1/2 mile walk to that point, take some big panoramas. When you get back to the main road, and if you're feeling up for about 35 miles of fairly level hardpack dirt, go out to Pt Sublime (17 miles each way) and experience a more remote wilderness feel...

get back on 67, and head up to the Kaibab Lodge and have a great steak dinner. you earned it.
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Old 06-04-2004, 07:26 PM   #231
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I will third that recommendation the north rim... It's my favorite place. That and Bryce Canyon... The north rim is also at elevation so be prepared...

• The hidden harmony is found with joy, while the obvious brings indifference.
• The farther you enter into the Truth the deeper your conviction for truth must be.
• There is understanding of the world precisely to the degree that there is understanding of the Self.
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Old 06-05-2004, 10:10 PM   #232
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Great trip and pics, the car is a Buick about a 52 I would guess. Keep safe and have fun
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Old 06-06-2004, 02:19 AM   #233
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Oil getting hot


Again.. great journal!!

At what outside temp did the engine get to heat up like this?

What kind of oil are you using?

I think it's best to remove everything in front of the cooler. You have a bash plate kinda thingy there, no?

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Old 06-06-2004, 05:07 AM   #234
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Your getting close to my house...

Your getting really close to my home in SW Idaho... You know I would take it personally if you did not phone in if you got closer...(208)631-0356

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Old 06-06-2004, 03:41 PM   #235
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Thumb Wow.

I got this link from a sportbike site, and I sat here for the better part of a beautiful afternoon reading this thread, and marvelling at the pictures. What a way to see the States! Good work Mike....Gives me a newfound reason to take a bike holiday again. Haven't taken one in years, except for my annual trip to Deal's Gap for a week. Time to see new sights for sure.
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Old 06-06-2004, 05:58 PM   #236
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How can I ever come close to a ride report like this??


I spent all morning reading half of it, and finished the other half this afternoon..

Beautiful, beautiful photos, great narration etc...

My pet peeve happens to be grammar..


Your grammar is impeccable, and it is so refreshing..

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Old 06-07-2004, 04:11 AM   #237
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Hithere, Mike......

4 days in hotels/motels without internet access, sukcs......
(for us journal readers..)

Stay healty .. Regards
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Old 06-07-2004, 04:36 AM   #238
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Originally Posted by kevlar
My pet peeve happens to be grammar..


Your grammar is impeccable, and it is so refreshing..

Mike O, You're in America now; Speak English!

When you have English teachers saying/modeling "Where's it at?" there is a problem. Don't get me started on our political leaders and/or athlete/role models!

Now, teachers are increasingly ordered to teach the standardized state assessment tests, and SAT scores are plummeting!

Luckily, this mediocrity has only led to increased resentment from other, less prosperous countries that have weaker economies and fewer social freedoms. Of course, we are now living in the era of The Homeland Security Act. Freedumb!
...its the best paint scheme that has ever been or ever will be on an Adv...-AussieRob
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Old 06-07-2004, 03:24 PM   #239
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Originally Posted by johnjen
I will third that recommendation the north rim...

as if it needs another, a fourth recomendation for the North rim. The view isnt as spectacular but the solitude is worth it.


Quo Vadimus?
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Old 06-07-2004, 03:28 PM   #240
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Originally Posted by KillerPriller
as if it needs another, a fourth recomendation for the North rim. The view isnt as spectacular but the solitude is worth it.

If you haven't gone to the North Rim, I'll fifth the recommendation and also recommend you take the off road route to Monument point. It's even more secluded, and the ride in is a blast (easy forest roads, although a bit of loose gravel).

PM me or just ask at the Jacob Lake intersection for a map. Very much worth the 37 miles each way.

Here's a pic:

Morgan Hill, CA - 2015 R1200GS, 2004 R1150GS.

Plays in traffic.
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