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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Help with Tour

Hi guys, this is a first post form a UK Versys owner, sent your way by members on the Kawanow UK forum. I have a 2007 Versys and a 2005 Kawasaki 1600 Nomad Cruiser. I have visited the US on several occasions, the last one touring on a rental bike through Arizona/California. My wife and I are planning our next trip which will be for a week in mid July 2010, again on a rental bike. The plan is to fly into Vegas, pick up the bike and ride one way to Denver for the outbound flight home. We want to take in as much as possible on route thru Utah and Colorado. Any help with route suggestions would be great, I know some of you will have some first hand experience of touring both states, Ive seen some ride reports/photos, thanks in advance guys.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 05:47 AM
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Last Spring I flew into Vega (with some friends), then toured southern Utah, including Zion National Park, and Bryce National Park, and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (AZ). We didn't alow near enouh time to take in all that we wanted to see. There was supprisingly alot more to see in southern Utah that we had to pass on due to time.

I've toured Colorado a few times. When planning your route, it helps to look at googlemaps, with the "terrain" turned on. That way you can see the more rugged terrain, and route yourself that way. 98% of the roads and scenery are spectacular, but there are some wide flat valleys here and there that are boring in comparison. Mountain passes are a great destination.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Phot View Post
Hi guys, this is a first post form a UK Versys owner, sent your way by members on the Kawanow UK forum. I have a 2007 Versys and a 2005 Kawasaki 1600 Nomad Cruiser. I have visited the US on several occasions, the last one touring on a rental bike through Arizona/California. My wife and I are planning our next trip which will be for a week in mid July 2010, again on a rental bike. The plan is to fly into Vegas, pick up the bike and ride one way to Denver for the outbound flight home. We want to take in as much as possible on route thru Utah and Colorado. Any help with route suggestions would be great, I know some of you will have some first hand experience of touring both states, Ive seen some ride reports/photos, thanks in advance guys.
I personally can't help, but here is a website I have used that is excellent.
http://www.motorcycleroads.com/

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 03:33 PM
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 06:37 PM
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Not to be missed...

Monument Valley on US-163 in southern Utah;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_valley


Moab, Utah with Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moab,_Utah

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 03:14 PM
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+1 on Monument Valley
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 04:28 PM
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There is a group from another forum riding southern Utah the July 4th week. I know that a few are leaving from Vegas. http://southeastmotorcycleforum.com/...p?topic=2868.0

Steve

I bought a motorcycle because my wife said that I couldn't! Now I have two and she still says I can't have another one!
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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 06:50 PM
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Hom much time do you have?
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 03:39 AM Thread Starter
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We have a week, maybe only a day or so longer and it will be around 17th July onwards. There is pretty much common agreement on the Utah section of the ride, linking the N.P's. The Colorado section is not as clear cut, what are your views?

Last edited by Phot; 02-09-2010 at 03:42 AM.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 04:37 AM
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If you get a chance to go through Zion National Park, using the east entrance do it. I was there in December and that road is awesome. Look at the pic.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 09:56 PM
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that's a lot to see in a week, but you might as well add mesa verde and rocky mtn national parks to the list. black canyon is in the area, too. you could just go to nps.gov and see what's in those states, but i think we listed most of them. hoover dam is at your start point, if you're into engineering.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-10-2010, 11:32 PM
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Oh man, what an opportunity!

Leave Vegas (as quickly as possible!) and head for Zion National Park (Hwy. 9.) From Zion, head east to Carmel Junction and pick up Hwy. 89 north to Hwy. 12, one of the most spectacular roads in the United States. Head east on Hwy. 12 through Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon - Bryce is just a short side trip from Hwy. 12. You don't want to miss that.
After Bryce, continue on east on Hwy. 12 through Escalante and Boulder on the way to Hwy. 24, which will take you on through Capital Reef National Park. From Capital Reef, keep heading east on Hwy. 24 to Hanksville, then head south on Hwy. 95 through some spectacular red rock canyon country, crossing Lake Powell along the way, just below Cataract Canyon. Hwy. 95 will take you by Natural Bridges National Monument (worth a visit) before intersecting with Hwy. 191 south of Blanding, Utah. From there, head north on Hwy. 191. You may want to ride on up to Moab and take in Canyonlands and Arches National Park, or you can turn eastward again at Monticello on Hwy. 491. Hwy. 491 will take you on into Colorado, passing through some terrific mountains and canyon country along the way.
Follow Hwy. 491 until you reach the intersection with Hwy. 160 in Cortez. Stay on Hwy. 160 until you reach Durango and then head north on Hwy. 550.
Follow 550 to Montrose and then turn east again on Hwy. 50 to Poncha Springs. At Poncha Srpings, head north on Hwy. 285. You can then choose between the 'short' route to Denver across Hwy. 285, or head on north on either Hwy. 24 or Hwy. 91 to pick up Interstate 70 east of Denver.
The riders that are more familiar with Colorado will probably be able to suggest some great lesser-traveled roads than the ones that I suggested, but having driven those a few times, I have to say that I can't wait to hit 'em on my bike. As for Utah, I've driven most of the roads in that state and can't think of any route that beats the one I mentioned for the time frame that you have. I didn't include any dirt roads, but there are some great ones in both states if you're so inclined.
Best of luck and I hope that it's the trip of a lifetime for you!
Oh yeah, one thing to be really aware of is the large amount of wildlife on the roads in both states. Be especially wary within a few hours of both dusk and dawn.


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 02:51 AM Thread Starter
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Guys, you are great, some really good ideas, thanks for taking the time to help. I am now pretty much decided on the route thru Utah, there is a definate pattern to all of the advice. Colorado is not as clear, are there any Colorado riders that have some suggestions? So far it seems that entering Colorado via Cortez/Durango is advised, but are you Colorado riders in agreement on the best route from there? I wouldnt want to miss out on the best the state has to offer.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-11-2010, 11:57 PM
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One other thing

Something to remember if you're doing the trip in July is to plan your travels across the high passes for early morning before the big afternoon thunderstorms roll in. You don't want to get caught up above timberline on the bike during a bad electrical storm. In Utah, the highest point may be Boulder Mtn., between Boulder and Capital Reef. You won't be above timberline there, but man, the mountain gets some awesome storms. Colorado is where the real thunderboomer action will probably occur though. I've been in some hellacious storms above timberline there where I really wondered if I'd make it back down. Most of the storms won't build up though until early afternoon.
Just thinking about your trip is getting me fired up for this year's trips that I have planned...


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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 02:06 AM
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help with tour

Spent 3 days touring Colorado. great roads everywhere!

The one ride I will do again this summer is hwy 149 south of Gunnison to hwy 160 to Durango. My best ride ever.

Just 150 miles from Durango to Monument Valley.

Have fun, kody
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 09:10 AM
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Something to remember if you're doing the trip in July is to plan your travels across the high passes for early morning before the big afternoon thunderstorms roll in. You don't want to get caught up above timberline on the bike during a bad electrical storm. ...
This is true to a point... but you also have to consider how much time you will typically spend in the high passes, and how short the thunderstorms typically last, and the chance that both events will occur in the same place at the same time. Yes, it has happend to me once. But it has also not happened to me many more times.

Some of my best rides in my life happened when I changed my route in order to ride around an unexpected/last minute storm system (both in the Colorado Rockies and in the Smokies.
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 06:27 PM
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In CO you do spend a lot of time going over high altitude and exposed roads and passes. Getting caught in a thunderstrom exposed on a mountain pass in the Rockies is not fun. Pasees over the divide in CO exceed 10K feet. Been there way to many times. If you are taking a route though CO plan ahead and keep weather in mind.

There are lots of scenic routes through CO. If you take the northern track through UT go across Moab. From Moab to Grand Junction make sure you deviate from the main highway and get on 128 along the Colorado river. It adds about 20 minutes and an additional memory card for the camera to the trip. While through Moab you will pass by Arches National Park that place is unique in the world. From there you can do a quick dash to Grand Junction While in Grand Junction take short detour through Colorado National Monument it's like a miniature Grand Canyon. US 70 is an interstate probably the most beatiful interstate in the lower 48. It climbs over the divide toping 11K feet and back down again to Denver. However, it is the main commercial road going across the rockies so traffic can get hairy at times. While on that route you might want to spend the night around Palisades. That is CO wine country (yes we do decent wines in CO). You might want to spend the night around after a couple of winery tours.

Here is a sample route

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...7,4.790039&z=8

If taking the southern track pass Zion get on 89 and cross over to AZ. You will go from mountain to desert and back up again. If you stay on the UT side you will go mostly through desert. If you take the southern side of 89 you will climb through Kaibab national forest pass right in front of the North entrance to Grand Canyon. The North Rim of the Canyon is still a little over an hour away though. 89 will go back down to the desert and get you through Native American country. Continue on 89 south, avoid 98, whole lot of nothing through the desert, bad place to get a flat tire ot run out of water. Go north east on 160 across the four corners to Cortez, CO. From there you can go north on 550. It is called the million dollar highway not for the cost but for the view on every turn. I always ride it or drive slowly to have time to watch the scenery. Continue on 550 till you get to Poncha Springs and head north on 285 to Buena Vista. From there it's a win no matter what route you take. You can continue on 285 notheast all the way to Denver, take 24 north to Vail and then to I70, or take 24 east to Colorado Springs and then CO 83 (not sending you through the interstate) to Denver metro. If you decide to go through Colorado Springs and north via CO 83 you will pass about 2 miles from my place so send me a PM if you are taking that route.

Her is a sample Google route for the southern track from the Four Corners to Denver
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...7&ie=UTF8&z=12

I you want to add another week to your trip I can give a few more routes through CO.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-12-2010, 08:05 PM
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+1 on Colorado. One can spends weeks there on great roads. Depending on what you rent for a bike? Those canyons west of Boulder are king on a sport bike. Leadville is cool.


And if you want to climb a 14,000 foot mountain? Ride your bike to Mt. Evans. A short ten minute hike to the top after you park the bike!
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-13-2010, 08:13 PM
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West of Boulder is peak to peak highway. Start in Golden and make your way north to Estes Park. Awesome ride. Hard to beat the temptation to go east in one of many east west roads across the canyons. This time of the year there's too much ice and snow. If not it's because CDOT have them covered with sand and ice slicer. I was riding last weekend southwest of metro and had a close call in an intersection. Patch of sand remind me I was riding in winter in CO.
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