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Old 06-14-2009, 10:11 PM   #61
Grad OP
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Here is the latest, so we are now back in "real-time"

Day 9 - 175 miles to Torrey, UT

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we explored downtown Moab for a little bit, exploring the shops and cafes that comprise the main strip. Moab is a very cool little city that has a nice, outdoorsy vibe to it. After seeing the surrounding areas, I can see why Jeeps, mountain bikes and dirt bikes are so popular around here. After a bit, we decided to go check out Arches National Park, which would turn out to be one of the more beautiful places we have ever been.

We crossed the Colorado River, not far from downtown Moab.


A few miles later we hung a right into Arches


Immediately, the landscape became incredible


The ride through the park was very nice, literally 360 degree views of ancient rock formations


With the interplay of light on the rock, the ground, and the clouds, it was great for some HDR shots. Here are several that I took throughout Arches










We walked up a trail to explore several of the arches, which were amazing to see up close. Right after I snapped this shot, we started walking back down and I realized that there was something wrong with my knee.


I don't know what I did, but for some reason each step down was excruciatingly painful. I had to stop several times to let the pain subside, and I was having visions of the trip having ended right there. Val and I talked about going to a hospital, and all I could wonder was if I was capable of riding my bike. After a very slow and painful descent from the arch, I walked around a bit on flat ground and found that my knee felt better. I have no clue what happened because I have never had a problem with my knees before. It still hurts, and I am afraid that it is going to stiffen up tonight as I sleep, but I am able to walk and ride so I hope that it gets better over the coming days. Regardless, it is a reminder of how quickly things can change on a trip like this.

While gimping down the path, we came across this little fella...not sure of the exact name.


A little more scenery




We rode around the park a bit more, checking out all of the formations and scenery













It started getting a bit later, so we left Arches and rolled up to Interstate 70, stopping in Green River for a late lunch. Afterwards, we headed west on I-70 for a bit, then exited onto Hwy 24. This was one of the longest, loneliest highways I have ridden. It stretched straight to the horizon, and we did not pass one house or business for over 40 miles.


After passing through Hanksville, the scenery picked up a bit as we crossed into Capitol Reef National Park.







Pulling into the quaint town of Torrey, we decided to hole up in a Days Inn for the evening. There are a ton of motorcyclists in town, with almost every hotel parking lot being full of bikes. There are around 10 French-speaking people on Harleys staying at our hotel, I am guessing it is a tour group of some sort.

The view from the parking lot is pretty nice...


After unpacking, we decided to check out the heated pool and hot tub...I was hoping to keep my knee from tightening up. Fortunately we were able to enjoy them.


Pizza for dinner, and some beer for dessert. Considering our location, I thought that this beer would be perfect. I love the slogan!


Tomorrow we do Bryce Canyon!
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:12 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by KLRoger
Oh man!!! Mesa Verde (green table/ green plateau) to the four corners area to MOAB. What can be better then that? Not bad eats or brewskis at the MOAB brewery either.
But we have to get you to a real Restaurante Mexicana. I don’t think any place named Mexican Party will fit the bill. Now if it says Cocina Mexicana or Comida Mexicana you should check it out.
If your wife rides you might want to rent a couple of small bikes or even a jeep and check out the area. Driving the slick rock is like driving on concrete, but the views …the views!!! It sounds like you are making great time. Why not spend an extra day in Moab?
Great ride report. Great trip!
We loved Moab, but we know there are a lot of other incredible places to see, and we are trying to see as much as possible. Bryce, Grand Canyon, then Vegas are coming down the pike.
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:05 PM   #63
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Man you are making me really want to head West.



Think I will look into it for September.
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Old 06-15-2009, 03:33 PM   #64
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Great RR

Enjoying the RR so far, great job. My wife and I are keeping up with y'all and hope to plan a similar journey soon. Being from the middle Ga area ourselves, we can see what sort of a westerly trip we can make and where to stop along the way.
Look us up when y'all get back. We would like to hear some pointers, pros/cons, etc.
Safe ridin' till then.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:00 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grad
Afterwards, we headed west on I-70 for a bit, then exited onto Hwy 24. This was one of the longest, loneliest highways I have ridden. It stretched straight to the horizon, and we did not pass one house or business for over 40 miles.

Welcome to the “Wide open West”!

Your pictures are fantastic! But you are going to get me in trouble. If I keep seeing photos like this I will have to quit my job and head out on the Harley, or maybe the KTM, either way it will be all your fault!
The lizards name is Larry, no I don’t know what type of lizard he is. All I see around here are alligator lizards, so I don’t know what species he is. But that lizards name is Larry Lizard. If you don’t believe me go back and ask him.

Keep an eye on that knee. Hopefully you just tired it out from all the riding and climbing. But don’t let it go and get a serious injury. Remember you are young and have a lot of rides in front of you.

You are so lucky to have the wife you do. She will go camping off of a motorcycle with you in remote (admittedly beautiful but remote) places. She takes great photographs. She will eat fake Mexican food with you. All that and she is very pretty as well! Now how did you swing that?
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:36 AM   #66
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***here is a late installment due to the lack of Internet access from the previous evening. Forgive any spelling or grammatical errors, Val and I have had a long night of drinking and winning some decent cash at the casinos. It was a good day, hopefully I can get it posted tomorrow***

Day 10 - 224 miles to Jacob Lake, AZ

We got up pretty early this morning, knowing that we were going to have a full day and not wanting to be riding after dark. The Days Inn had a great continental breakfast, and then we made a quick trip over to the post office to ship off a bunch of stuff that we had bought that was taking up too much space.




After that, it was south towards Bryce Canyon national park. This road was one of the jewels of the trip so far, it snaked its way through the mountains, climbing high above 9000 feet and then dropping back down to 5000. The scenery was, as always, gorgeous, and the curves felt really good. Though it was just over 100 miles to Bryce, it took us almost 3 hours due to several stops as well as the slow speeds through some of the switchbacks.










This road ran along a narrow plateau for several miles. You could see way down into the valley on either side.




Simply incredible riding




You can see the road snaking its way up the side of the mountain





We stopped in Tropic, just outside of the park, to eat some lunch.



Afterwards, we motored on in to Bryce Canyon, saving the $25 entrance fee by once again using our national parks pass. If you are going to be visiting a lot of parks, you will save a ton of money by just purchasing an annual pass.




Bryce is beautiful, the hoodoos (formed from years of wind, water, and ice erosion) are almost everywhere you look, and the colors range from red to pink to white. We stopped at several different areas of the park, enjoying the overlooks as well as the heavily forested interior.









This little fella kept chasing after me while I was snapping some pics. I had visions of him jumping up and clawing my face, like something out of a Monty Python movie. :laughing


More photos of Bryce...some HDR and some regular










By mid afternoon we realized it was time to get back on the road, so we saddled up and started on the 100 miles down to Jacob's Lake, Arizona.




The beginning of the ride was really nice, but the end was kind of lonely and desolate. We started out heading through some tunnels:



and passing through some nice scenery



but we ended up on a road that didn't have much going for it.



Jacob's Lake is about 45 miles from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and all it consists of is a gas station, cafe, and motel. We grabbed a cabin for the tune of $89 a night, which is quite high but I guess the supply and demand thing is working against us in this area.




I picked up a 6 pack of Arizona microbrew and we sat on the porch, enjoying the north rim breeze.




Tomorrow we get up, hit the Grand Canyon, then roll in to Las Vegas for a bit of a hiatus from the road. The day will be a longish one, but it will be nice to relax in Vegas for a while...if that's possible.
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:37 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLRoger
Welcome to the “Wide open West”!

Your pictures are fantastic! But you are going to get me in trouble. If I keep seeing photos like this I will have to quit my job and head out on the Harley, or maybe the KTM, either way it will be all your fault!
The lizards name is Larry, no I don’t know what type of lizard he is. All I see around here are alligator lizards, so I don’t know what species he is. But that lizards name is Larry Lizard. If you don’t believe me go back and ask him.

Keep an eye on that knee. Hopefully you just tired it out from all the riding and climbing. But don’t let it go and get a serious injury. Remember you are young and have a lot of rides in front of you.

You are so lucky to have the wife you do. She will go camping off of a motorcycle with you in remote (admittedly beautiful but remote) places. She takes great photographs. She will eat fake Mexican food with you. All that and she is very pretty as well! Now how did you swing that?
I am very lucky, I don't know how I convinced her to marry me but I am not letting her get away.

The knee is better, and I am definitely keeping an eye on it!
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:37 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beechhunter
Enjoying the RR so far, great job. My wife and I are keeping up with y'all and hope to plan a similar journey soon. Being from the middle Ga area ourselves, we can see what sort of a westerly trip we can make and where to stop along the way.
Look us up when y'all get back. We would like to hear some pointers, pros/cons, etc.
Safe ridin' till then.
we will have to get together when we are back in Georgia. I will be happy to share all of the info that we gathered and planned for this trip.
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Old 06-17-2009, 03:49 AM   #69
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Fantastic trip.. looks like you two are having a lot of fun, and thanks for the awesome pics! Updated your thread title, as per your request

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Old 06-17-2009, 05:44 PM   #70
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Loving the trip bro. Bailey says to tell Mrs. Val she takes pretty pictures.
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:02 PM   #71
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I became addicted to this thread... Great photos

Have fun in Vegas
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Old 06-17-2009, 07:23 PM   #72
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Day 11 - 325 miles to Las Vegas, NV

We knew we were going to have a pretty long day ahead of us, so we were packed and heading out around 9. It was overcast and trying to spritz rain on us, but fortunately the showers held off for our ride in to the canyon. The North Rim is pretty isolated, there is one road in and out and that road is around 44 miles long. Jacob's Lake is at the beginning of that road, so we knew we had an 88 mile ride just to get in and back where we started.





The lodge at the canyon was a bit crowded when we arrived, although we had no problems walking around and checking out all of the overlooks. I have seen the canyon from the South Rim, but I think the North Rim is a prettier vantage point. It is incredible how large, how sprawling this natural wonder really is. It takes a while to really comprehend how far away the other side is, and photos simply do not do it justice.














After spending some time in the national park, we hopped on the GS and headed back to Jacob's Lake to refuel, then on to Fredonia, AZ for lunch.


The C&R cafe was really good, and to add to its charm it is owned and operated by a single individual. This older man greeted us, took our order, cooked it up, and waited on us. The prime rib sandwich was excellent.




Afterwards we headed over to Hurricane, UT and then down towards Vegas. The road was pretty straight and not terribly interesting, although the scenery wasn't bad.








We knew the ride would be long, but it actually went by pretty quickly. As we dropped from the 8500 feet (Grand Canyon) down to 1500 feet (interstate in to Vegas) it got a LOT warmer. The GS also had noticeably more power...it felt like we had lost 30 lbs of weight. While a bit boring, the ride was nice because we were looking forward to relaxing in Vegas.






Coming around a bend, we could see the unmistakable Vegas skyline in the distance. 15 miles later, we had exited on the north end of the strip and immediately found ourselves in heavy traffic. It was nice for Val to see the strip from end to end, but the GS doth protested as we sat at red light after red light in the sweltering Nevada sun.



Finally we pulled in to the Luxor Hotel and Casino, our digs for the next few nights.




We got a great deal online, and the woman at the desk was nice enough to upgrade our room. This was a far cry from the Days Inn, and the view was quite good.








After enjoying the pool for a bit,



we hit the Strip for some dinner and gambling. Pai Gow poker is my favorite game...we played for 4 hours, had an endless supply of free drinks, and won $160 in the process. Not a bad first night, and a great welcome to the City of Sin.

Tomorrow we hang out in Vegas...and hopefully win some more cash.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:06 PM   #73
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These are some beautiful Pictures, can't wait to get my first bike.
What program are you using to merge your HDR images?
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:21 PM   #74
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I'm using Photomatix Pro to merge them.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:25 PM   #75
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Day 12 - 0 miles in Las Vegas, NV

Sleeping until 10:30, we rolled out of bed and headed down to an excellent breakfast buffet in the Luxor. Afterwards we explored the strip, walking through some incredible hotels/casinos and seeing people from every walk of life. It was a great day, quite relaxing and a good way to rest our butts after all of the mileage we had put down over the past week and a half.

Here are some shots around the Strip:














We played Pai Gow poker for another 4 hours or so, drank a bunch of Heinekens, and sat by the pool (where I am currently sitting and typing up this ride report).

Las Vegas can suck you in, and while there is an urge to stick around for another day or so, we want to have some flexibility for the rest of the trip, so onwards it is.

Tomorrow we are off to California...not sure we will make the coast but we should get pretty close if all goes according to plan.
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