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Old 04-29-2011, 11:03 AM   #106
CallMeBoog
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Wow that event sounds fun! Do you have to be a MILF to go? I am old enough but childfree! He He
Nice.... Sport Model!
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:31 PM   #107
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Day 10: April 13, 2011

Cheap motels, you gotta love 'em. Motels are one of those things that I hate spending money on. All I want is a place to lay my head and have a bath or shower. It has to be clean but that's it. Usually I look for a Motel 6 since they're consistent but I prefer the funky old Mom and Pop places if one turns up at a convenient time. During this trip I did discover one thing: while Motel 6 is usually the cheapest they charge $3 for wifi and the wifi is not iPad friendly. I could log onto it but generally it required me calling tech service and having them identify my machine for access - a pain in the butt. Other places would be a buck or two more but offered free wifi that was easily accessible so as the trip progressed I started changing my allegiance. On a related note McDonalds has free wifi throughout the US. Cheap breakfast and free wifi - what more could a girl want! OK, I can think of lots of things but this is a family thread.
I left Flagstaff on another gorgeous sunny morning and headed north on US89 toward Cameron and Page.

I came over those hills last night/



As I'm tooling along I come to a sign for the Sunset Crater and the Wupatki National Monuments. It's a 30+ mile loop that re-joins US89 further north. Looked interesting and I'm in no hurry so off I go and I'm really glad I did. The area around Sunset Crater is an alien looking landscape made up of lava and cinders with scraggly looking vegetation struggling to find a foothold.







The actual volcano









Can you tell I found this place fascinating?

From Sunset Crater the road winds north toward the Painted Desert.





North of Sunset Crater is the Wupatki National Monument. Here there are several sites of ruined pueblo. It's a really cool place too.








I exited Wupatki at the junction with US89 and headed toward Cameron. I love the scenery around here. The colours are amazing and it's so different from the Pacific Northwest. This is definitely Cowgirl country.



The Little Colorado Gorge





Entering Grand Canyon National Park from the east the first overlook is at the Desert View Watchtower.











I didn't decide to come to the Grand Canyon unitl day before yesterday - how'd they know?



As I left the park southbound the wind started up again and by the time I reached I40 it was again blowing a gale. Following semis in this kind of wind is horrible as they disrupt the flow and make things even more difficult. At one point I tried to pass a truck and the turbulence was so bad it sent me into a speed wobble at 70mph I was able to recover and backed off. Time for clean underwear!!
All the way from Kingman to Las Vegas the wind blew steadily - I made the whole trip leaning sideways but I no longer cared. Bring it on - I'm the Queen of the Wind!!!
I pulled up to the hotel just before dusk and my buddies from the band spied me so I was greeted by them calling my name. They all wanted to hear about my adventures over the last 2 days. I went to check in but the hotel had no rooms for the night, they were all taken up by various military bands. Now that was a disappointment! No room at the prime hunting ground I hung out with the band for a while then headed out to find a Motel 6 As I was leaving the parking lot I saw a group of motorcycles including a GS and two fellows standing with them so I had to investigate. One of the guys was an ADV inmate and we chatted for an hour and a half there in the parking lot about our adventures, Death Valley and various routes I might take homeward. He was a member of the Air Force Band and a really cool dude I hope our paths cross again sometime.
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:55 AM   #108
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Cindy, that is the perfect picture! I'm so enjoying your ride report.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:22 PM   #109
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Day 11: April 14, 2011

I dropped in for breakfast and to say good-bye to my new band buddies before heading off to Death Valley. Death Valley is one of those places I'd wanted to visit for years, for me it evokes romantic images of the west.

Leaving Las Vegas





Right about here I passed a gas station and I looked at the gauge. It looked like I had about a quarter of a tank so I just kept going figuring there would be another station down the road. Then I went by a sign that said Pahrump 60 miles and right then the gauge dropped to one bar. Hmmmm, well, there's bound to be a station before Pahrump. Guess what? Yep, nope.
I almost made it. I'm just about to town, I've already passed a shopping centre (no gas station though) and she dies I coasted as long as I could but there was no station in sight. I'm resigned to a bit of a hike, after all, it's my own fault. I look back and there's a couple of highways trucks coming down the shoulder so I decide to stay with the bike until they go by.
The first truck pauses and the driver asks me what the problem is. I tell him, he goes by then stops. The second truck stops behind me and the driver gets out and comes over, shakes his head and clucks. Yeah, I know, I'm an idiot. Then he says "Get in, we'll get you some gas." Way cool! The first truck and driver stay with my bike (even way cooler) and the second drives me a mile or two down the road to a gas station. Of course they don't have a gas can, not even one for sale, but the cashier helps me dig up a gallon bottle from the car wash next door and I fill that up then the highways guy takes me back to my bike. They both waited until the bike was running (fuel injection, she started right up) and then waved me on my way. A whole bunch of really nice people there in Pahrump. I don't think the whole thing took 30 minutes

Made it!!



Death Valley is one of the most amazing places I've ever been. Desolate and awful in the true sense of the word.















I don't know why it's so green here. It was a surprise.

I stopped at the Visitor Center at Furnace Creek for camping information and also to ask about Titus Canyon. From the first mention I had made that I was going to Death Valley everybody had told me I had to ride Titus Canyon. "But" I said "I have almost no experience off-pavement." "You'll be fine" was the reply. When I asked the ranger about it she looked askance at me but didn't tell me not to do it, she just asked if my tires were in good shape. I assured her they were. "Take water" she said. She also directed me to Texas Springs campground. "You'll want to camp there. No generators allowed." Thanks.
I went up and set up camp. If you read my other thread you know I'm a camping noob. I learned a valuable lesson that night. Don't pick the spot next to the one with the big tent After pitching my tent I went back to Furnace Creek for dinner. I ran into a couple of guys there, one on a 650 V-Strom and one on a KLR, they'd just finished riding Titus Canyon. Their advice - be careful on the switchbacks and watch out for loose gravel. Oh, and stay off the front brake. Thanks. I'm still not sure it's something I should attempt, I'll sleep on it.

There's still some daylight so I decide to ride over to Stovepipe Wells for dessert.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes





I get back to my tent and the family in the big tent next to me have come back - all seven of them I get to listen to screaming baby and whining toddler for the next 2 hours but they did lend me a hammer to pound in my tent pegs The baby doesn't keep me awake though.
Tomorrow Titus Canyon - maybe.
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Cougar tracks
The initial pawprints
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:33 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gitana View Post
Cindy, that is the perfect picture! I'm so enjoying your ride report.
Thanks Anne! The best part is coming up
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:39 PM   #111
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Hey CG
Been following your RR all through the dating thread and now this one. Love your writing and pics.
And now you've learned an ADV lesson "you never pass gas while riding"
Glad you made it safe and sound and a little wiser
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:45 PM   #112
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Hey CG
Been following your RR all through the dating thread and now this one. Love your writing and pics.
And now you've learned an ADV lesson "you never pass gas while riding"
Glad you made it safe and sound and a little wiser
Indeed! I learned a few lessons this trip and I can hardly wait to get out there again. Next trip starts June 12 but this one isn't quite finished yet
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:03 PM   #113
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Great trip, you travel trough some amazing locations, had a great time, and made some new friends, can’t be any better than that . .
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:11 AM   #114
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Thumb Cougers, ADVilf's, & Dreamers....Oh My

Things are looking up

Great RR...... I live down here in the Vegas area, [for many years] and I haven't been to half of those places.... I guess I should get out more.
I've also been back & forth to Washington [Olympia & Everett] several times, and recognize a lot of those pix.
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:07 AM   #115
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Old 05-02-2011, 01:12 PM   #116
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Hey Cowgirl, loving your report, great pics. Took me back down memory lane with the Sunset Crater, Grand Canyon and Painted Desert photos, we went through there when I was in 5th grade, way back in the 70's, it left a lasting impression and a love for the southwest. Bummed our paths didn't cross in Death Valley, I was there on the 14th too, perfect time of year to visit there.
Looking forward to more.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:06 PM   #117
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Day 12: April 15, 2011



I'm now hooked on camping as long as I get my coffee, that is! Hence this indulgence



I still had plenty of gas so I decided to avoid the $5.54/gal gas at Furnace Creek and head to Beatty, NV which is just past the start of the Titus Canyon road. I'd have breakfast there, pick up a hammer and gas up then check out Rhyolite before making my final decision about Titus. Way to procrastinate, eh?
I dropped into the Visitor Centre for one last check on road conditions through Titus Canyon and the ranger warned me again about loose gravel. He also seemed surprised and concerned that I was alone. I'm used to doing things on my own and motorcycle trips didn't seem like they should be an exception. I found that not many people think that way. That doesn't change my mind though.

Beatty turned out to be a drab, dusty little town but gas was $3.85/gal (bonus!) and I did find a hammer The only place that served breakfast was the casino and true to form the restaurant was buried in the bowels of the building and had no windows or ambiance. All the better to rush patrons back to the serious business of gambling. Somehow I didn't see Beatty as a tourist destination.

West of Beatty is the ghost town of Rhyolite. The grizzled curator of the museum there explained that when the mine played out and the inhabitants left they took all the wooden buildings with them due to the scarcity of wood in the Nevada desert leaving the brick and concrete buildings behind.





Rhyolite is also home to an open air art gallery. I didn't think my ride report would be complete without a few pictures of favourite ADV exhibits.



The picture I wanted to take here would have got me banned.



I would have called it "Red, White and Blonde"

A couple of miles west of Rhyolite is the beginning of the Titus Canyon road. For those of you not familiar with this landmark it's a 27 mile, one way, one lane gravel jeep track across the desert, over Red Pass and through Titus Canyon. When I pulled into the parking lot at the start of the road there were two serious dirt bike guys getting ready to depart. They hadn't ridden the road before either so they had no insights but they very altruistically offered to ride with me. I declined the offer since I knew I would be slow (if I went at all, I still hadn't made up my mind) and I didn't want to ruin their fun. They took off, fishtailing and spewing gravel and I knew I'd made the right decision there. I sat for a few minutes screwing up my courage, then thought, "I'm here, what the heck!" and started off. Those of you in the know can make your comments now



The first 7 miles weren't too bad. Washboard, yes, big rocks, yes, potholes, yes, but all in all I did alright and was starting to feel a bit more confident.
The road started to wind and climb, still OK, I could handle this.



Up ahead I could see the road went up the hill in a series of switchbacks. Oh oh, this doesn't look good.



The road got steeper and steeper and rockier and rockier. Now I had a cliff going up on my left and one going down on my right. Every turn was a hairpin. I have to tell you I was scared but there was no turning back - one way, remember even if there was a place to turn around ............... and there wasn't.
I came around one of the switchbacks right into a big patch of loose, fist sized rocks and I went down, hard. This is where I was really glad I'd bought that gear. My toe jammed in the rocks and the bike came down on my heel driving my foot into the ground. I'm sure the reason I walked away was entirely due to those boots. The armour in the pants kept me from having shredded knees as well. Now to get the bike back up. She was laying on the downhill side of the curve in a pile of rocks where I could get no footing. I struggled there for 20 minutes or so before a 4X4 came along and the two guys in it helped me. Once we had the bike on her wheels they literally had to push me out of those rocks, the tires could get no purchase. All I could do was wave and call out my thanks over my shoulder as I climbed the road - there was no way I was stopping on that hill! That was the last switchback before the crest and then I started down the other side - just as horrible except now I'm going downhill. I kept repeating "Back brake, back brake" like a mantra but it worked. Oh yeah, and once in a while "Breathe". On a steep downhill with a switchback at the bottom (and a cliff) I stalled. I got going again but then was too scared to let her roll to engage the clutch and I went down again. Again I had to wait for someone to come along to help me lift her up. I was relieved it wasn't the same guys, I already felt kinda stupid for attempting something that was clearly beyond my experience level. Somehow, once I was back aboard it didn't seem so hard and I continued on.
When I was looking for pictures of the road to get an idea of what I was thinking of getting myself into I couldn't find any, now I knew why. Once you're on the climb up, over and down Red Pass there's no stopping for pictures, there's just doing it. I should have taken some while Sunshine was laying there on her side but it wasn't my priority at the time. I've found some pictures and videos since but the road doesn't look nearly as rough as it felt to me then. Probably just my perspective but I've noticed that in pictures before.
Finally the road straightened out to gentle curves and the slope became more gradual. No potholes either. Whew, I'd made it. Wrong! What looked like good road was just loose crushed gravel. As I started to give her some throttle the rear wheel slid out sideways as the front wheel sunk in and bogged down. Crap!! This time I managed to stay upright and get the bike under control - guess I'll just keep going slow
I passed Leadfield but I didn't stop to view the ghost town. I knew if I stopped it would be very difficult to get up the energy and nerve to continue so I just kept going. The couple who had stopped to help me the second time had passed me earlier and were there. They waved and called "Only 12 miles to go!" They passed me again later.
What happened next made everything else worthwhile - I actually reached Titus Canyon! It's spectacular!





After a bit I met some hikers coming up the canyon and they took some pictures for me. Check out the left turn signal, there's a rock jammed in there from the first fall. I found it later and I kept it as a souvenir The signal still worked.



(I really have to do something about that bubble-head Cylon helmet)



When I came out the other side the couple who helped me were there in the parking lot. I kinda think they were watching for me because they came out onto the road and gave me a wave. I thanked them again for their help.
I breathed a sigh of relief, the trial was over. Wrong again I still had a few more miles of rotten, pot-holed loose gravel to cover. The only difference was now I had oncoming traffic to worry about.
I finally made it out to the pavement. It only took me 3 and a half hours to cover that 27 miles. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. I was scared a lot of the time, it was way beyond my experience level and the bike I was riding was way too big and not off-road capable enough for that experience level. Obviously if it wasn't for the assistance of random strangers it wouldn't have worked out the way it did. Was I foolish to attempt it? Probably. Am I glad I did? You bet! I learned a lot about myself and my own capabilities. Next time I'll be better prepared but the feeling of accomplishment will always be part of me.
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Cougar tracks
The initial pawprints
The blind date
A Cougar goes racing
Lead me not into temptation ............ just follow me, I know a short-cut.

Cowgirl screwed with this post 05-02-2011 at 11:12 PM
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:13 PM   #118
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Some of my best trip experiences have come shortly after thinking "Aww, how bad could it be?"

I now have proof that just because you can, doesn't mean you should take a Subaru down a path where you pinstripe your paint, and can't see what is in the plants you are driving through. Learned to spot where I drive very carefully, as the ground can give way very fast. I have the dents and scrapes on the bottom to prove it.

(Now I just need stuff like that on motorcycles.
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Old 05-03-2011, 01:49 AM   #119
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Well done Cindy you have to try new stuff to learn and there is no better way than doing it by your self (as long as the batteries don't go flat)
Keep it up and looking forward to the rest of the trip[.
Michael
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:15 AM   #120
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It was the hardest thing I've ever done

Am I glad I did? You bet!

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