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Old 06-07-2014, 01:11 PM   #1
Johnnydarock OP
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Cirque de Southwest 2014 w/Big Bikes

This thread is about 12 desk-jockies riding big bikes for 9 days through the Desert Southwest (Arizona, Utah and Nevada) in May 2014.

It all started...about 9 months ago... I'm talking to a buddy of mine from Portland. OR, about where we can go riding this year. He says..."put together a ride through the desert southwest." Having a little experience in this part of the world I put together a ride with some off-road every day, only two nights camping and the rest hotels. Originally we thought a third guy would join us but as soon as the word got out we had 12 riders...all on big BMWs (except a Vstrom and a 1989 TransAlp).

Initially I thought "this is crazy, it's going to be like herding cats." How are we going to keep everyone moving in the same direction and still manage to have fun? Well...we're back and nobody died so I guess it was a success. Here you go...

DAY 0 - Los Angeles
I live in Los Angeles and three of the other riders were meeting here before we ride to Phoenix to meet the rest of the group. One was riding down from Northern California and two were flying in (one from Florida and the other from Switzerland). These guys rented bikes from an outfit called Motoquest in Long Beach. They were super easy to deal with and we put these bikes through hell. We brought them back in one piece but might dirty.

Some beers and cigars on my deck (yes...those are real Cubans).


Getting the bikes ready the afternoon before at my house.


Left Los Angeles at 6am. Taking a break along the way to Phoenix.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:40 AM   #2
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Arriving in Phoenix

Day 0 Continued - Los Angeles to Phoenix

Ralf couldn't contain himself...


While the four of us were riding to Phoenix...the rest were inspecting their bikes that were shipped from Portland, OR.


Cold beers were waiting for us once we arrived in Phoenix. It was like seeing the showroom of the local BMW dealer. The smell of brand new rubber was in the air.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:47 AM   #3
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Great start. Subscribed.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:41 PM   #4
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Wicked Stick around, it will be worth it.

Well since Johnny Da Rock will give the narrative day by day, I'll just add where I see fit.

When Mr. Da Rock called and mentioned this trip, my response was "IN."

Yet then I remember some of our past trip, and remember Mr. Da Rock's balls far outstrip my riding ability at times. I wondered, was I going to be left with a disabled bike (hole in the valve cover) and a broke wrist like the time we tried Steel Pass Road? Were, we going to find another road kind of like the horse trail. hmmmmmm

This was a fantastic trip. and made me really like my GS again, some times that big hog is a bit much on the dirt.

So stick around and see some bikes get dirty:




See if Dave here will post from his go pro this biff? No he did not crap his pants, it only looks like it.




See some stunning scenery:



A very pretty camping area ( i will let someone else post the bonfire):


The cover to my first CD, if I ever join learn to play the and join a band. ( rumor has it there might be some good video of the dry lake bed):



And a few good dirt roads:






There is also a picture of Mr. Rock in a sauna at a cat house.

So stick around and see how it all turns out.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:54 AM   #5
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in

this ought to be good!!!!

Big bikes in the desert. 12 riders, beer, scotch, wisky, rum----what could go wrong????

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Old 06-09-2014, 10:08 AM   #6
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:23 PM   #7
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Let's Finish DAY 0 - Start DAY 1

DAY 0 - Los Angeles to Phoenix

OK...Let's finish DAY 0. We safely made it to Phoenix and met the rest of the group. I rode with a few of them before but the rest were friends-of-friends or long-lost-brother. Everyone has been looking forward to this ride for months. After a soak in the pool we did a quick orientation to go over the itinerary...then off to dinner.

Back at Joe's place it was time to relax and enjoy a fat cigar.



DAY 1 - LET THE RIDING BEGIN

We were up early and messing with our bikes.


Check out all these sweet bikes...


Me and my ride...'10 F800GS...best bike ever made!


On the road by 8am. I wasn't sure how all 12 of us were going to stay together. After getting split up in Flagstaff we kind of figured out we don't start riding till everyone gets their helmet on.

We weren't prepared for cold. I had all the cloths on that I brought and I was freezing. We got hit by a snow storm just leaving Flagstaff...and it's the middle of MAY! Here's Scott with a little bit of snow left on his windshield.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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DAY 1 - Phoenix to Mexican Hat, UT (400 miles)

After the long slab ride to Flagstaff and freezing our asses off we thought we would go into Monument Valley Tribal Park for some quick photo opps. Then the decision was made to ride the 17 mile loop through the valley floor. I wasn't sure this was a good idea but I figured this was as good as any place to see who can ride in the dirt...and who can't.






These are the original guys that thought of this ride...Me, Kurt and Joe.


Getting to this point in the Valley proved to be a little tough for some. Sand was not their friend. Here's Jon stuck in the sand. I have some good video but I'm saving it for a movie at the end.




Not only did we have to contend with some deep sand but the Navajo's who own this place think the road is good enough for cars so you have to dodge car after car...and the deep sand. Kurt's leg after a little spill.




Kind of glad it was cold and rainy...it made for some great sky in our photos.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:50 PM   #9
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I am in lets go !!!
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:22 AM   #10
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DAY 1 Continued - Phoenix to Mexican Hat

So after watching everyone flop around in the sand in Monument Valley for a few hours we headed north to our first night's destination...Mexican Hat. The original plan was to camp but the weather changed all but me and Ralf's mind...so we camped over by the Mexican Hat rock formation. If you don't mind having no facilities...its a beautiful place to camp. The rain had stopped and we quickly set up camp.


The rest of the crew are not hard-core campers like me and my buddy from Switzerland was not going to pass up the experience...so here's our camp.


The rest of the group found rooms at the Hat Rock Hotel. We rode the mile back to town and met them for some fat steaks at a place called the Swinging Grill. Had to share the place with a bunch of French Harley riders.

Mexican Hat Rock.


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Old 06-12-2014, 03:23 PM   #11
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DAY 2 - Mexican Hat to Moab via Snow Flats Road

DAY 2 - Mexican Hat to Moab via Snow Flats Road

Ralf and I packed up our camp and reunited with the hotel princesses and we all road out to Goosenecks State Park for some awesome scenery.


I floated down the San Juan River two years ago with my family...beautiful trip. I remember looking up at this viewpoint from the raft.


The gang at Goosenecks State Park.





Then we rode up a really fun set of dirt switchbacks called the Moqui Dugway.


And...rode a 5 mile dirt road out to a spectacular viewpoint called Muley Point. Some of the crew...Scott, Elliot, Pete, Me and Joe.


What a crazy MF...oh that's me!


What a view!!!! No that's not the Grand Canyon.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:00 AM   #12
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Snow Flats Road

Snow Flats Road - Let the riding begin!

Up till this point all the riding has been on slab or well graded dirt roads. It's been 20 years since I was on Snow Flats Road and from what I could remember I thought it would be a good introduction to some off-road. It's 32 miles from leaving pavement to the next hard top. What I thought was going to be a technically "easy" road turned out to be more "medium" with lots of loose rocky sections and some long stretches of sand. Unfortunately we were 8 to 10 miles into it before it got really bad and by this time we were committed. Nobody died but one guy went down pretty hard and broke his windshield and bruised a few ribs. I took mostly video (movie will come at the end) so I don't have a lot of photos to share...so maybe some of the other riders can contribute here.

Fell over trying to take some video.


Taking a break...


Some great back country scenery...


I think some of the guys were a little pissed at me for not having better information on the road conditions...but nobody died. We managed to have a relaxing lunch in Bluff...at the Twin Rocks Café...before punching it to Moab for the night.
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:35 AM   #13
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very nice
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:27 AM   #14
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Looks like fun, keep it coming!
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:36 AM   #15
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DAY 3 - The White Rim Road

DAY 3 - The Whit Rim Road

For me...the WhiteRim Road was the nucleus of this trip...and something I've wanted to do since I bought my first GS 6 years ago...something every GS rider should do before you DIE. It's about 100 miles of dirt plus 60 miles of pavement getting to the start and riding back to Moab. I did most of this road many years ago and a 1/4 section of it two years previous and I rated it as "medium" to the rest of the group. But after mis-judging the degree of off-road difficulty the day before on Snow Flats Road...I knew some of the guys were going to bow-out. It was a good thing..as I should have rated it "difficult."

We were up and on the road by 7:30am leaving our hotel in Moab. We slabbed it north and then west onto the Island In The Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. About 10 miles before you enter the part we turned north on Mineral Canyon Road. It had been raining the day before and the road was trying to dry out and had the occasional patch of semi-hard mud. The guys were already feeling a little funky and we stopped for a big pow-wow at the top of the switchbacks that lead you down to the Green River.

Many of the guys were concerned with the road conditions and after a long discussion they decided to continue down the switchbacks as the road looked pretty dry. When we got to the bottom...the mud started.


It started out as small patched of mud...and then they became very long, deep sections. This is about the time five of the guys turned back.


It really wasn't that difficult to slog through...you just had to go slow. And...then...there was Dave. He decides to get up on the pegs and "go for it!" And...he took the most beautiful dive into the mud I've ever seen. He was filming on his GoPro and maybe will share it later. This picture is after we pulled him out...complete with broken windshield (and pants full of mud).


There was mud-pit after mud-pit and I was hoping it would end soon. Well...25 or 30 pits later it was over and we were all covered in mud.




And then the mud dried to a hard white cement...and we had only just begun. Who knows what was down the road.
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