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Old 12-08-2017, 04:28 PM   #1
tshelfer
 
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AZ Trip - Advice Requested

I'm considering a mid-May 2018 trip to Arizona to meet up with a high school friend who currently lives in California. I've done some traveling and camping in Arizona, but never riding, and not that early in the season. So I'm unsure of weather & road conditions, etc. I'll probably motel it the whole way simply because very few national forest campgrounds open before Memorial Day anymore. As for my riding style, I'm a curvy-highway guy. I avoid interstates (which will be somewhat challenging just getting there). I do a little dirt road riding, but it's really not my thing on a 500 lb bike, and I'm not interested in anything challenging.

Anyway, here are some areas under consideration:

Mexican Hat UT - Never been anywhere near there, but it's the gateway to Monument Valley.

Payson AZ - Never been with 100 miles of there, but the roads look great, and there's lots of surrounding national forest. Also, it's an easy drive over to Sedona, where I've been but not since the early 60s (I imagine it's a bit more crowded now).

Alpine AZ - Gateway to Hwy 191, or what some folks call "Highway 666". I've camped there and driven that road in a Cherokee (got the sore shoulders to prove it) but not on a bike.

Okay, those of you who know those areas better than I do ------ What weather conditions should I expect in mid-May? Any places or roads I should specifically hit in those areas? Any I should specifically avoid? What about other areas across Arizona I might want to consider?

What say you?
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Old 12-08-2017, 04:46 PM   #2
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Paging Texas T.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Obviously Texas T will have all the answers but I did take this trip back in early May of 2010.

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48651

Photobucket kept all my pictures but if you have some extra time Tim you may want to read it over. I went to a lot of the same places you're going to go to and we had a great time. What I remember most however was how strong the wind was on most days. That would be my biggest concern at that time of the year. I'd still go but I'd be aware of how tiring that can be.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:29 PM   #4
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

I'll look that over, Steve. Thanks. As for the wind, it's a constant across west Texas and several states during spring and early summer, a lesson I learned from my El Paso years. It's tiresome, but you learn to ride through it or you don't ride.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:53 PM   #5
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

May will be fine for most of the state and ideal for some of it. Obviously the possibility of snow will still exist in some of the higher elevations - Devil's Highway, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, etc. The wind will primarily be an issue on I-40, but since you intend to avoid that I wouldn't worry too much otherwise.

1. How long will you be in the state?
2. Where do you intend to enter the state, or do you have a preference?
3. Where do you intend to exit the state, or do you have a preference?
4. Other than Monument Valley are there any other sites that you would like to see, or would you just prefer road suggestions?
5. Do you want me to build a circular route or just give you road suggestions?
6. Where will you be meeting your friend, and will you be doing daily rides out and then back to him, or just seeing him once and then riding on your own from there?
7. Do you want restaurant/eating suggestions along your routes?

Let's start with that and see what I can come up with. I'm off this weekend (I work in Retail) so if you can get some answers quickly I can hopefully come up with some stuff before Sunday night.
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Old 12-08-2017, 06:57 PM   #6
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Canyon de Chelly. A few pics I posted: The 2 on either side of the cactus. http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=114586 You can drive along 163, but the actual road through Monument Valley is not paved. Another road through similar formations is Valley of the Gods, not paved, but I rode through on an FZ1. It's about 20 miles long. From Utah's web site: "Valley of the Gods is a scenic backcountry area is southeastern Utah, near Mexican Hat. It is a hidden gem with scenery similar to that of nearby Monument Valley." A pic I posted: After the Mexican Hat picture. http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthre...=114586&page=3 The forest Gump Point picture near the bottom of the second web site is on 163 about 10 miles south of Mexican Hat.
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:50 PM   #7
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

hwy191 Alpine Arizona 7 years ago in the last week of May, beautiful weather till the blizzard hit.
going north about 10 miles south of Hannigan's Meadow freak snow storm brought 5 of 7 riders down. snow clogged front wheel and fender and locked up the wheel. I was doing 15mph and let off the throttle and went down.
just sayin, keep close tabs of weather forecast. It changes rapidly in the mountains.
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Old 12-08-2017, 10:37 PM   #8
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested



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Old 12-08-2017, 11:42 PM   #9
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas T View Post
May will be fine for most of the state and ideal for some of it. Obviously the possibility of snow will still exist in some of the higher elevations - Devil's Highway, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, etc. The wind will primarily be an issue on I-40, but since you intend to avoid that I wouldn't worry too much otherwise.

1. How long will you be in the state?

Probably 7 days tops.

2. Where do you intend to enter the state, or do you have a preference?

Too early to tell; depends on 1st stop. If I'm headed for Alpine or Payson, I'll probably come through Springerville. If Mexican Hat, then I'll come through beautiful Gallup and head north.

3. Where do you intend to exit the state, or do you have a preference?

Pretty much, see #2.

4. Other than Monument Valley are there any other sites that you would like to see, or would you just prefer road suggestions?

Mostly, I'm looking for fun, curvy, paved roads. Also, beautiful scenery. A historic site could be fun; I've never explored any Indian dwelling remains in AZ. Probably NOT the Grand Canyon; I love it there, but prefer to stay a few days when I'm there, rather than hitting the Rim & moving on.

5. Do you want me to build a circular route or just give you road suggestions?

Road suggestions, I think. I'm sure you can put together a fantastic route, but there are just too many variables for now.

6. Where will you be meeting your friend, and will you be doing daily rides out and then back to him, or just seeing him once and then riding on your own from there?

Meetup is indeterminate. Once we decide the major 2 or 3 places we're hitting, we'll figure out the meetup point. It'll probably the the farthest north or west point of where I'll be. We'll probably ride together for 5 or 6 days.

7. Do you want restaurant/eating suggestions along your routes?

Some restaurant suggestions would be great. Otherwise, I tend to fall back on Burger King and whatnot.

Let's start with that and see what I can come up with. I'm off this weekend (I work in Retail) so if you can get some answers quickly I can hopefully come up with some stuff before Sunday night.
Brian - Check my answers embedded directly under your questions.

I'm not sure my answers really help you that much. Mark & I just cooked this up about 2 days ago. I'm trying to get a jump on figuring out some good places to ride & sight see. While I haven't traveled as extensively in AZ as I have in NM and CO, I've been through the Alpine-Eagar area, and have always wanted to get back there on 2 wheels. I've passed near Payson, though never stopped there. The surrounding roads look really tempting; but also, I need to visit the family of a mutual high school classmate who died there last summer.

Just the weather info has helped a lot. It sounds like in a typical year, I won't have to worry about late snow. If it happens, we'll just have to adjust. As for wind - like I said, it's part of western riding. I'm not thrilled about it, but I've done 30mph crossing headwinds all day, and the VStrom handles it well.

Humanrace, I'll read your links when I have time. I am definitely interested in the Forrest Gump turaround point; I'm told it's actually marked now. The Valley of the Gods sounds intriguing. I'm on a VStrom and my buddy rides a TEX, so should be no problem for either of us.
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Last edited by tshelfer; 12-11-2017 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

If you do Payson then continue onto Jerome. I went thru there back in early May then up to Zion and over to Mono Lake. The weather was as variable as springtime TX. I was definitely glad to have electric gear.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:58 AM   #11
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

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If you do Payson then continue onto Jerome. I went thru there back in early May then up to Zion and over to Mono Lake. The weather was as variable as springtime TX. I was definitely glad to have electric gear.
I had seen that road and thought it looked promising. Thanks.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:55 AM   #12
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Roads and Restaurants

Come through NM so that you wind up on 180 out of Silver City. Take 78 west into Three Way AZ. It's an okay ride initially, and much more technical and scenic from the middle to the end. You will go through some low spots on the road, especially near Mule Creek, I think there are three crossings in total. If it has been raining hard north of you, be very careful crossing the water and look upstream before crossing to ensure a flood isn't coming your way. I can cross them on a Wing so you'll be fine.

Three Way is just south of Morenci so you're good for the ride up 191 at that point. If you didn't already do so, stop at the Mine observation point on your right as you leave Morenci. This is the second largest Open Pit Copper Mine in the world. 3/4 of the way up 191 you'll see Hannagan Meadow Lodge on your left hand side. They are motorcycle friendly and host our annual BMW gathering every year. Stop and get a root beer and sit on the front porch for a bit.

As you reach Alpine, the Bait shop on the left side has 191 / 666 "I rode the Devil" type souvenirs. Turn right at that same intersection and the Bear Wallow Cafe is on your right side about 100 yards up the street. I always have a good meal there, but leave room for a slice of pie.

Show Low to Payson on the 260 is typical 2-lane. Nothing special. Watch for Elk everywhere but especially in the heavily wooded areas. A general caution... more trophy elk are taken in Arizona than in any other state, so ride with caution. Once you reach Payson and come to the main intersection in town, turn right to stay onto 260. If you go left you'll be on 87 going to Phoenix.

Once you're on 260 north of Payson, perhaps a mile ahead on the left is the road to the airport. They have a good cafe there called the Crosswinds. Sit by the large picture windows so you have a good view of the aviation traffic.

Payson to Pine to Strawberry can be very technical at times, and is another hot bed of elk. A ways past Strawberry, 260 will break off to the left and 87 will continue ahead to the north. Continue west on 260 to Camp Verde and I-17. Camp Verde is a good historical site if you want to stop and look around for a little while.

Jump on I-17 south for 3 miles and take 169 west. You may see a lot of burned out sections from this years fires. 169 will run into 69 north. You can take 69 to Prescott if you're interested in seeing the town, or you can take Fain Rd north to to 89A. Continue north on 89A to Jerome. This is some of the best riding in the state. There are a lot of eating spots in Jerome so I don't have any specific recommendations.

Continue on 89A to Clarkdale and then on to Cottonwood, and then north again to Sedona. Continue through Sedona and then up the cliff to Flagstaff.

From Flagstaff take 89 north (89A "to" Flagstaff. 89 "from" Flagstaff) past Cameron (east entrance to the G.C.) up to 160.

160 east to Tuba City. 264 south out of Tuba City to Burnside. Keep in mind that once you're on the Rez, time zones change. Navajo changes with the rest of the country, but Arizona doesn't. Hopi does not change and sticks with Arizona, but there is another smaller Hopi Nation "inside" the Navajo Nation so you could literally have 4 time zone changes in a matter of miles. This really threw me off one night when I was starting a SaddleSore from Kayenta.

Once you reach Burnside, take 191 north to Chinle, and Canyon de Chelly (canyon duh shay pronunciation) which is my most favorite place in Arizona. You can only ride the rim unless you take a Navajo guided tour into the canyon. There are many stops/lookouts along the rim, but if you have the time, I recommend a tour. Do your research before you leave home on which tour to book.

Continue north on 191 to 160. Go east on 160 about a mile and pick up 191 north again. Or you can continue east on 160 to Teec Nos *** (the forum software flagged P O S) and then take
a left and continue on 160 to Four Corners for a photo opportunity. Continue north on 160 into NM and then take 41/162 NW into Utah. This will bring you through Bluff and then onto 163 which will take you down to Mexican Hat and then further down into Monument Valley, my second favorite place in Arizona.

Continuing south on 163 brings you into Kayenta. Stop at the Burger King and see the memorial for the Code Talkers. It's not much, but it's something.

If you want to see a GREAT memorial to the Code Talkers, when you are on 264 going to Burnside, continue on through Ganado to Window Rock, which is the location of the governing bodies of the Navajo Nation. Just past McDonald's on 264 you will turn left onto 12. About a half mile up the road you'll take Window Rock Blvd on the right. When the road forks, bear to the left. You'll ride past a lot of administrative offices and the road (lane?) will curve to the right with a LARGE parking area on your left hand side (north side). If you can see the hole in rock you'll know you're at the right spot.

If you carry, it would be advisable to have your firearm tucked away in your luggage any time you are on Native land. I also don't suggest riding any more than 5 over when you're on the Rez. You will ride through some desolate areas where you think you can see for miles and miles, but you never know when a Tribal cop will be sitting behind something just waiting for an out of state tourist to come blasting by. Also, much of the Native land is Open Range, so now you not only have to worry about the elk, you have to worry about horses and cattle on the road.

For a nice day ride out of Phoenix, take 60 east to Superior (breakfast or lunch at Los Hermanos just as you enter Superior from the west), then 177 south from Superior. At 33.165822, -111.005159 you'll have a turn-off to the Ray Mine lookout point. It's a little rough but I can make it on the Wing so you'll be fine. Back to the road and continue on south to Winkelman. As you get to Kearny, there is a cafe called the West End Cafe. It's decent for breakfast or lunch but nothing to rave about. I've always had a good meal there.

At Winkelman you'll go left onto 77 and head to Globe. 77 will intersect with 70 which takes you into Globe. We call this running the Winkelman Loop.

As you reach Globe you'll take 60 west. As you're leaving Globe you'll see 188 going north. Take this to Roosevelt Lake. Just before you reach the bridge, take the road to the left. This will take you to a viewing spot behind the dam itself. This is also highway 88 and you have the perfect bike for the next part. The next 15-20 miles is graded, not paved. I have not ridden it, but others on Wings have. Sports cars have made the trip. This will take you on the Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat. Once you reach the paved portion you will probably find a lot of riders if you're up there on a weekend day as it's a very popular road with some, but not a lot of law enforcement activity.

If you choose not to ride the dirt, you can leave from the back of the dam and continue north of 188 past the edge of the lake until the road intersects 87 south from Payson. You'll then take this road south (usually called the Beeline) back into Phoenix. Look for a road called Bush Highway and take that south past Saguaro Lake. It's been recently paved and is a good roller coaster ride. This will drop you into Power Road and then to the north side of the 202 Loop.

A ride to the NW of town will involve some time on I-17. Take I-17 north out of Phoenix to 74 west. 74 will take you to 60 north into Wickenburg. You then want 93 north out of Wickenburg. You'll need to deal with 2-3 roundabouts on the way. Take 89 north at the split. This will take you through Congress and then up the Yarnell Hill (lots of YouTube videos of Yarnell Hill including one of mine on the Wing). The Ranch House restaurant at the top of the hill is usually packed with riders on the weekends and it's a good place to eat. Bring cash.

Continue on through the Spars into Prescott (more YouTube videos on the Spars). Breakfast or lunch at the Hassayampa Inn is the thing to do when you're in Prescott.

89 becomes Montezuma St. Continue north. This becomes Whipple St going west. This becomes Iron Springs Rd going NW. This becomes 10. Stay on this into Skull Valley. South of that you'll hit an intersection at the Kirkland Bar and Steakhouse, turn right onto Yava Rd which becomes Bagdad Rd which becomes 96. You can take this all the way into Bagdad (Bagdad Mine) or you take take a left at 97 and go back out to 93. Both 96 and 97 are roller coasters and curves and sweepers with minimal traffic.

From there you have to slog back down 93 and 60 to get back into town. Now obviously, if you're meeting your friend somewhere outside of the PHX area I can find some other roads but this will get you started. I'm waiting to hear back from a friend who has ridden into AZ from the Shiprock area and raves about a road, but I can't remember the name of it.

Let me know what questions you might have.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:05 AM   #13
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Quote:
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As you reach Globe you'll take 60 west. As you're leaving Globe you'll see 188 going north. Take this to Roosevelt Lake. Just before you reach the bridge, take the road to the left. This will take you to a viewing spot behind the dam itself. This is also highway 88 and you have the perfect bike for the next part. The next 15-20 miles is graded, not paved. I have not ridden it, but others on Wings have. Sports cars have made the trip. This will take you on the Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat. Once you reach the paved portion you will probably find a lot of riders if you're up there on a weekend day as it's a very popular road with some, but not a lot of law enforcement activity.
Construction is scheduled for the coming year, so be sure to check the website before you ride this part.

https://www.azdot.gov/projects/centr...te-88/overview
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:10 AM   #14
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

My YouTube videos are here: https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ry=txmotorider

You'll see Yarnell Hill, part of Hwy 78 from NM into AZ, but not the more technical sections, The Spars, Tortilla Flat, and the Devil's Highway. No fancy editing or music. Just riding. Some on the Wing, some on the Concours. I haven't filmed anything in years.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:48 AM   #15
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

Wow, now that's a wealth of information; I'll be studying for a while. I've been over some of those roads, including up through Silver City and Glenwood and into Alpine (not a lot of fun dragging a trailer, by the way). I remember passing Hannigan Meadow last time, but didn't stop -- however, you had me at root beer. I also recall that Alpine has more elk per capita than any place I've ever been; the local forest service ranger's wife complained that they came up on the porch, ate out of her window box garden, and she had to shoo them off with a broom.

Yeah, the time changes drive me crazy, driving on & off reservation land, and in & out of national park space. Last time I was there, we got confused at one point and jumped the time the wrong direction in our minds. And that's how we ended up in Tucson, trying to get lunch at Bennigan's at 10am.

I don't pack - no worries there. Good advice about reservation cops, though. I'll be careful.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:54 AM   #16
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

I just happened to come across this on my GL1800Riders forum in the Arizona sub-section. It's good if you want "places" to look at:

http://www.gwrraaz.org/district/tour...h-points-2016/

I'll attach a PDF if you can't get to the site.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 2016_TouringAZMapwithPoints_FULL.pdf (781.0 KB, 3 views)
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:56 AM   #17
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

I'm always happy to help others see the value and beauty in riding Arizona. We are so much more than just cactus and sand.

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Old 12-09-2017, 11:07 AM   #18
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

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Just the weather info has helped a lot. It sounds like in a typical year, I won't have to worry about late snow. If it happens, we'll just have to adjust.
If you have heated gear, you would be wise to bring it for the higher elevations. It can change quickly from comfortable to snowing. If space is a concern, leave the gear at home but check the weather thoroughly before heading out each day.

May is when it "starts" to get warm, so again, it may be 60 in the morning and 100+ in the afternoon.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you're not stopping every 60-90 minutes to pee, you're not drinking enough. We lose a lot of tourists every winter because they come down here and go hiking in the mountains with a single bottle of water and wind up dead from dehydration. It will be even more of a serious threat when you're out here in May. I carry a large Geigerrig on the Wing with a long hose so I can sip constantly. I have had some massive leg/thigh cramps at night after a day of riding when I don't drink enough.

Sunscreen. I wear an LD Comfort helmet liner that covers the back of my neck, but if you don't have that you'll need sunscreen on that portion. Your face too if you don't have UV protection in the helmet visor. I've worn mesh gloves in the past and gotten sunburn on the back of my hands. Not fun.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:22 AM   #19
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

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Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you're not stopping every 60-90 minutes to pee, you're not drinking enough. We lose a lot of tourists every winter because they come down here and go hiking in the mountains with a single bottle of water and wind up dead from dehydration.
We've come a long way since my drill sergeants in 1974 who basically preached "real men don't need water." Even before my Camelbak, I trained myself to stop and sip at least once every 10 minutes. I also walked the Canyon in 1999 and took its lessons to heart. Went down the South Kaibab Trail, and the next morning came up the Bright Angel (which was shockingly crowded on the upper third). I did a lot of research, plus daily 7-mile runs in preparation. Based on some of the people I saw along the way, combined with the fact that nobody got airlifted out that week, I can only surmise that a lot of people are luckier than they are prepared.
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Old 12-09-2017, 08:43 PM   #20
Texas T
 
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Chandler, Arizona
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Re: AZ Trip - Advice Requested

My friend just got back to me. The road he raves about is BIA13 (Bureau of Indian Affairs). On Google Maps it is known as Indian Service Rte 13.

Pull up the map and look for Shiprock NM. Follow 491 south out of Shiprock about 5 miles. You need to be really zoomed in. You'll see 13 branching off of 491 to the SW. Follow that all the way into AZ and you'll see the town of Red Valley. Continue to follow 13 to the south and west to Lukachukai.

Lukachukai is about 5-10 miles to the NNE of Canyon de Chelly and my friend says that the best way to ride 13 is from AZ to Shiprock, so perhaps you'll want to make this your exit plan from the state.

I obviously haven't been on it, but he has ridden it several times and raves about it each time.
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