Four days riding AZ, NM and UT, 26 to 29 Oct '17 - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Four days riding AZ, NM and UT, 26 to 29 Oct '17

As I had arrived back in AZ on Sunday the 15th of October, and a week and a half is ENOUGH time to get things 'set-up' at our home here, by "week two" I was spoiling to go for a ride, so my neighbor (rides a BMW 'Roadster' R1200R) and I were ready to 'hit the road' at 0800 on the 26th. BTW - this is the FIRST time I'm using the Forum's picture-album feature, so please bear w/ me....



Our planned route was up the Beeline Hwy thru Payson, Pine, Strawberry, Winslow, but first we had to ride thru the Superstitions



and once we reached the 'high-country' above the Mogollon Rim I was reminded of all the forest fires I'd seen all summer in BC - a pall of smoke was rising S and E of us



soon covering us, the smell obvious.



We arrived in Winslow, then parked near the famous "standing on a corner...", made famous by the song from the Eagles.... -





(Note the ...girl in a flat deck Ford, slowin' down to have a look at me...)





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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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The route from Winslow, N and E, was via BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) highways, smoke still visible for awhile,



















altho' our plan included visiting the Hubbell Trading Post, a US Nat'l Monument that dated back into the 1800s,







some displays of 'trade-goods' on display there, along w/ the stable areas.


















ultimately to join AZ 191 to Chinle, AZ
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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We got a motel room for the night in Chinle, then headed E to ride the S rim of Canyon de Chelly, another Nat'l Monument, site of MANY Navajo 'cliff-dwellings', before it got dark. I was told - home to the longest CONTINUALLY farmed land in the western hemisphere.... BTW - Canyon de Chelly is pronounced "canyon de 'shay'...".

This is the "white house" ruins



along w/ other views of the canyon....
























The light was fading, so we headed back to our lodgings, and some grub. A GOOD day that had added 343.7 miles over about 9 hours under a clear sky.

Life is good....

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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 02:56 PM
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Great photos. And it seems you have the forum picture album thing figured out pretty well. Oh yes, and welcome back to the U.S. of A. for the winter!

We returned to San Antonio two days ago with horrendous colds and haven't done anything beyond unloading the car. Pathetic, but it's rained since we arrived so at least we're not missing good weather!

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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 from desert to Arctic!

Our plans for "Day 2" were to visit Shiprock, NM, then thru Monument Valley, up the Moki Dugway and across the S and E end of UT, ending up... who knows where...!

Up early,



next door for 'brekkie', a quick stop at Bashas for some incidentals, then E and N,















then E again to the SUPER TWISTY road across the border and UP a mountain (about 10,000' ASL) starting HERE



to view "Shiprock", the name becoming pretty obvious as it is viewed - named by early explorers and settlers, used as a landmark. It had been cool since we left, but got CHILLY as the road climbed....





There's a trading post at the bottom of that mountain we just rode across, a good place to 'warm-up'....

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Continuing E past Shiprock,





then the route became NW then W



(IF I remember right, this is called "Baby Rocks")



and an hour later turned N again, at Kayenta, the AZ gate to Monument Valley....



















The vistas become almost overwhelming....







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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 continues...





Here a scene made famous in the Forest Gump movie....



and here w/ a gratuitous shot of a Beemer.......



We rode thru Mexican Hat after gassing up, then turned N to the Moki Dugway.



As you approach the Dugway you are presented w/ an INSURMOUNTABLE wall of rock (about 1,000' vertical)



and if you look closely at the last pic you see how the road goes up in a series of tight switchbacks, as shown on my GPS.



Once on top (the road was dirt w/ paved bits at the switchbacks...), you see another mountain range ahead



and in 20 miles you turn NW.













As the sun descended in the W it got steadily colder. I was having some 'issues' w/ my camera, but had not yet realized that they were cold related, as I had my heated jacket liner turned ON for a while already....
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-01-2017, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 STILL continuing, and finally ending about 1.5 hours later....

The temps kept descending as we headed towards the Colorado River and Lake Powell, but the desert is ALWAYS awesome viewing!













A bridge over the Little Colorado River in this shot, the Colorado River ahead between the mountain ranges.





(I figured that BIG RED would fit right in w/ this landscape......!)







The road continued N, getting colder, and as we entered Hanksville, UT, we decided to make it a night, so stopped at the Hanksville Inn, partly because of the 'steakhouse' across the highway where we could warm up and eat (and get a 'craft-beer' or two.....)!



Today was a DAMNED CHILLY one despite being in a desert during late October, and we had put another 364.7 miles under our tires, the ride-total now at 708.4 miles.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 07:01 AM
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Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing and great pictures and captions. More, More!

BEST,
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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Arion View Post
Great photos. And it seems you have the forum picture album thing figured out pretty well. Oh yes, and welcome back to the U.S. of A. for the winter!

We returned to San Antonio two days ago with horrendous colds and haven't done anything beyond unloading the car. Pathetic, but it's rained since we arrived so at least we're not missing good weather!
Thanks Arion.

As for your colds - drink LOTS of hot-rum drinks w/ honey and lemon..., will NOT cure anything, but you won't CARE...!


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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing and great pictures and captions. More, More!
Andy - your WISH is my COMMAND!

READ on....

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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Day 3 - MORE Arctic in the desert....:o

Despite the fact that both the Navajo Nation and Utah use "daylight-saving", we stayed on AZ standard time, so when we woke at 0500, we got up, shaved/ showered/ shampooed, then looked across the road at the steakhouse. NO lights on yet, so we geared-up, and 'hit-the-road', UT 24 towards Torrey.

I MIGHT have mentioned having my heated jacket-liner turned ON, previously, but my buddy Bill was just wearing HIS heated vest under his jacket, but w/out power - his 12v controller had failed, so he "tossed" it - but he DID have heated grips on his BMW.

We hit the road in the pre-dawn darkness, dressed to the "nines" (MY controller started at "3", but soon was "4" out of a MAX of "5"...) as it was 'coldernhell', but clear-sky-beautiful none the less! About 30 minutes later there was enough light to take some pics....









I don't know how many of you (or IF any of you) remember "Chariots of the Gods" by von Daniken, where he posits that all manner of BEMs (Bug-Eyed-Monsters) from outer space had visited the Earth, as we can see from Earthly artifacts, one of which was petroglyphs by Indians in the US SW ostensibly showing men in space-suits....

Our pre-dawn 'romp' brought us to where he'd taken his pics, so we got off to warm-up (or AT LEAST to moderate the windchill - it was BLOODY COLD!) and here's MY pic



which shows native Americans wearing deer-antlers as headgear, NOT spacemen...! ...and here are the two bikes "chillin"....



A short while later the sun peaked over the horizon



and we started anticipating WARMTH, tho' it wasn't in any hurry! S of Torrey there's a pass on UT 12 that is at 9,200' ASL, and DESPITE being CLOSER to the sun - it didn't get any warmer....... tho' there WAS a great view to the E!



A few miles S of there is Boulder, UT, so we stopped for breakfast in a WARM cafe, very "hippy-dippy", and just at the start of the Burr Trail.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 11-06-2017 at 10:54 AM.
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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the Burr Trail in the Grand Staircase-Escalente Monument

After eating and 'ingesting' MANY cups of coffee, the early-mornin' sun bathing us in its glow, we suited-up, started our 'steeds' and headed E. The Burr Trail appears to be cut by water, and about 100 to 150' wide thru colored sandstone





to the end of the 'canyon'







where we turned back, retracing our route



but stopping at a largish "slot-canyon" for a pic of us



and the view of the slot-canyon from the road



before we headed S



then back out of the Trail.



- -
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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Just S of Boulder and the town of Escalente the road follows the top of a ridge, fairly steep cliffs on either side (unfortunately there's no SAFE place to stop to take pics of it), and here's the best I could do, at its S end



the rocks here more of a grey-white color after all the red we'd seen (and MORE red coming!)



as we headed into the aptly-named Red Canyon (close to the entrance to Bryce Canyon), then via



















the town of Panguitch at the W end of Red Canyon, and also the start of UT 143 to Cedar Breaks Nat'l Monument.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 11-06-2017 at 11:02 AM.
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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UT 143 climbs in a SW direction, passing Panguitch Lake





while climbing to 11,307' ASL - thank God that the sun was UP, as it was still chilly, but would've been BRUTAL w/out it! - and we rode thru a very extensive lava field, thousands of lava boulders of around 3' on a side, apparently resulting from a volcanic explosion, till we saw the look-out for Cedar Breaks Nat'l Monument pictured here.









At that time my camera AGAIN started 'acting-up', and not realizing that it was "cold-related" problems (I ride w/ the camera around my neck, so it takes the full brunt of the wind-chill...) and assuming it had just failed, I did NOT attempt any more pics till we arrived at our nights' lodging....

From Cedar Breaks we turned S onto UT 148, then SE onto UT 14 to join UT 89 thru Kanab, UT, then back into AZ on AZ 89A, onward to Jacob Lake, gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We managed to score a room (FAIRLY expensive! and w/out a TV [THAT was an additional $30/ night]), changed out of our riding gear then over to the cafe for supper.

FWIW - they make a burger that has bacon slabs over it, blue cheese in the center, and fries, which, when 'washed-down' w/ a craft IPA beer (or TWO... or THREE...) is AWESOME!

Then back to our room (the heat was turned UP)



where we 'retired' early... WHO cares about the World Series anyway? ... planning another early get-up for the morning to get sunrise pics (I HOPE!!!) of the Grand Canyon....

Today's 354.7 miles had advanced our ride-total to 1,063.1 miles.
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 11-06-2017 at 11:06 AM.
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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Day 4 w/ HARDLY ANY pics...:thumbdown:

Again we were up early (we'd gone to bed around 2000 hrs), the cafe doesn't open till 0630, so our plan was to ride to the North Rim in time for sun-up, get some pics (my camera HAD worked last evening) then back for brekkie before heading E and S back to home.

Don't know the temp, but it was COLD and DARK, our two bikes were loaded, and we hit our starters - MINE started, but Bill's BMW didn't. As he was turning it over, I told him to stop, that we would push it out by the road to "push-start" it, as it was gravel in front of our room, and I didn't want him to run his battery down to the point where it wouldn't run the fuel-pump.

Two short pushes and it started, so I walked back to get mine, and we started the 42 mile 'grind' S on AZ 63 to the Canyon. It was VERY COLD, my camera around my neck (guess I didn't learn anything......), MY heated liner turned ON initially to "3", but soon up at "5" - warm but NOT as much as I expected, due to the wind-chill from our 50 to 60 mph motoring-wind - a slightly lighter 'line' along the eastern horizon.

I was cold, but I could only imagine how Bill felt w/out benefit of his vest 'heating'....

A few miles down the road and we saw one of those illuminated signs, this saying that "CONTROLLED BURN - DO NOT CALL IT IN", soon followed by another "CAUTION SMOKE ON HIGHWAY", but we continued S, soon smelling smoke and seeing a herd of bison along the right shoulder. We passed thru w/out spooking them, but Bill was going noticeably slower, he was so cold...!

Arrived at the Park gate about 0715, nobody there, so passed it and continued into the Park, smoke VERY evident by this time. The road branches a few miles in, and I took over the lead, taking the left fork.

A few miles later I realized that I hadn't seen Bill's lights for a few minutes, so did a U-turn, rode back till I found him in a 'turn-off' by his BMW, trying to warm his hands on the cylinders of his running-engine. He was so cold that we turned back, heading for the 'commercial' area of the North Rim, hoping for a cafe and hot coffee.

Nothing was open (CLOSED for the season I believe), so I walked over thru some trees to get a pic, but soon realized that the WHOLE canyon (at least from THIS point!) was invisible - shrouded in smoke from the "CONTROLLED BURN"...! DAMN! In addition - my camera would NOT take a pic, probably FROZEN!

Bill was so cold that we turned back, N to Jacob Lake (and breakfast...?), he leading as we passed thru the park entrance, STILL before it would open at 0800.

My heat was at MAX ("5"), and I still felt chilled. We came up to the buffalo herd again, along the right shoulder, several on the roadway as we stopped about 20 yards from them. AGAIN I tried to take a pic - no joy....

Several were turning to their right (N), but suddenly one in the middle began running W across the road, and in an instant we watched a BUFFALO HERD STAMPEDE from yards away as they thundered across the road, W into the field!

When they were clear we started N again, pulling into the Jacob Lake parking at 0830 - TWO AND A HALF freezing hours since we started! - and into the cafe. After a few HOT coffees, and something to eat, we gassed-up, headed E on AZ 89A past the Vermilion Cliffs, joining AZ 89 S towards Flagstaff. Bill needed something at the Cameron Trading Post (where you turn W to go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon), and it WAS warming in the sun



so he got it, we each took a "pee-break" then headed S again, gassing just a few miles N of I-40 in 'Flag', the San Francisco Peaks behind us W.



From Flag we took AZ 3 past Morman Lake, thru Happy Jack, then joined AZ 87/260 at Clints Well (it was becoming warmer than we'd experienced in what felt like WEEKS!) and I took a pic of Bill removing the rain-pants he'd worn MOST of our ride for the bit of warmth they provided by cutting the wind)



to Payson where it is re-named the Beeline Hwy, following that DOWN in elevation (temps rising to the mid-90s!), thru the Bush Hwy, Mesa, then home where we arrived at 1630.

The trip total of 1,524.5 miles included the day's ride of 461.4 miles, MUCH in freezing temps, but a VG adventure.

For those who wonder - I achieved 60+ mpgUS and 59+mpgUS, each, for one tank of gas, the rest being around 53mpg. Not bad for a nine year old Versys w/ 73,5xx miles on the 'clock'...!... I'm pretty sure my camera 'woes' were as a result of the temps we rode in.

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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 11-06-2017 at 11:08 AM.
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 06:59 PM
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Thanks for posting these great pics. I have been over much of the area you covered on my BMW and in cars. Love that country.
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-02-2017, 07:57 PM
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Just a beautiful area to be able to ride....

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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-03-2017, 11:25 AM
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Eddie thanks for the fantastic write up and ALL the wonderful pics. This has to be one of the best documented rides I have ever seen.

I have flown over all those desert S/W areas dozens and dozens of times and viewed them from FL 350 up to FL 450 but have not seen many of them from the ground...but now I have!

Good O'l ship rock. It certainly stands out from on high. And don't forget the “The Sleeping Ute." He is pretty cool too.

Me and a buddy took a ride yesterday and saw temps down to around 46 degrees. After riding in 80 to 90 degree temps for the last 6 weeks or so, I thought it was cold out...then I read your story. Crap I am feeling so cold now I think I will soak in a hot tub to thaw out...Lol.

Thanks again and ride safe.

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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 11-04-2017, 11:07 AM
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I've ridden thru some of that country............beautiful. As for those freezing morning rides, I've done one of those also (no heated gear of grips). Never again................
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