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Trippin' Connies 4: Blown Away

Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Warning: This ride report will not be built in a day.


The players in this year’s edition of Trippin’ Connies are my dad, brother (Brett), and myself. I’ve maybe put 500 miles on a motorcycle since the trip to Colorado last year. Brett has rode 0 in that time. Dad, well, he retired earlier this year and rides all the time, but only short little jogs. But none of that means anything, we’re ready to pile some miles on. Dad was once again generous enough to offer up his Honda ST1300 for Brett to ride since he is currently bikeless.


I originally had this year’s trip all planned out to Glacier National Park. Right before I started booking hotels, I read on their website that the Going-to-the-Sun Road that runs through the park would not be fully opened until the week after we had already planned on being there. There’s some sort of 5 year reconstruction process that is currently in place. It wasn’t worth practically riding to Canada and not being able to ride the whole road. So I started looking at the other big park that was on my list, Yosemite. The good news is I have most of next year’s trip already planned.


Day 1 – Saturday, June 2, 2012

Houston, TX to Amarillo, TX – 593 miles





This year, instead of sitting at home while I'm gone, my wife decided to take a trip to Virginia to visit her friend who had recently moved there. She’d be leaving for the airport with our daughter the same morning we were taking off on the bikes. I set my alarm for 4:15 am in hopes of getting to my dad’s house by 6. I’m working on a Project 366 where I take a picture of my daughter every day for the year of 2012. When I woke her up this morning she was in a daze.


Daddy, why are you getting me up so early!!!
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My mom picked my wife and daughter up at 5:45 and I left shortly thereafter. My starting mileage is 31,524.
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I filled my tank up on the way and was pulling on my dad’s street right at 6. After a short time we were off and running.
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Dad and I were going to give his newish SENA SMH-10s a try this year after my Kenwood walkie attached to my Autocom crapped out last year and we were unable to communicate the whole trip. As we were leaving dad’s house he mentioned something about the Honda revving wildly. He had attached a RAM mount to his bars for his iPod and it was making the throttle stick and tough to turn. He’d ride several hundred miles the first day before deciding to fix it.


The first and last days of these trips are always the worst. There’s nothing to see that we haven’t seen before. It’s generally hot and all you’re trying to do is get out of Texas. The first gas stop of the day was made in Rice, TX.


The day before leaving Brett told me he was going to run a mustache for this trip. He said his hair already made him look stupid, why not add a mustache to the mix.
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Brett’s also going old skool on this trip, FILM ONLY! He brought along his Nikon F100, 40 year old Yashica medium format, and a saddlebag full of film.
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These little guys were swarming the station in Rice.
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The second stop for gas was in Wichita Falls, TX.
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And here Brett decided he had had enough of fighting the throttle, so I whipped out my tools and a couple of zip ties and he rigged his new RAM mount up. His iPod was “broken-in” on last year’s trip.
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The third and final gas stop for the day was in Claude, TX.
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Today was warm, but certainly not unbearable. We’ve been doing these trips at the end of July, so with this being early June it seemed to help with the heat. We pulled into the hotel at 4:30 pm.


We flipped on the A/C in the room, unloaded our bikes and made the short trip to Coyote Bluff for dinner. When we arrived there was a line outside. They are open for lunch but close and reopen at 5 for dinner. We got in line and ended up being the first ones to be left out of getting a table. It’s a small place.
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We’d have to wait until a table opened. In the meantime we hydrated.
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And Brett took a picture of a toilet with fake flowers in it.
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The food is good and the burgers are a mess. The waitresses are entertaining and do a great job. I’d certainly recommend this place if you end up in Amarillo. This was our second time there.
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They even brought us a bowl of green chili soup on the house.
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When we got back to the hotel Brett and I got in the freezing cold pool and never could warm up. The sure sign for us to get out was when the little league baseball team all jumped in.


We had a photo session with some horses in a trailer in the hotel parking lot.
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At some point before we went to bed it rained, but it quickly passed over. I told the guys it was going to be a tough day tomorrow, about the same mileage with some scenery thrown into the mix. We went to bed pretty early. Night night ladies.
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cdc

Registered Lurker
Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
2,977
Location
Katy, TX
Your reports are always good. Plenty of pictures and enough text to complement.
:popcorn:
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
4,626
Location
Jennings,La.
Not sure of your planned route but, some beautiful country in your path. Your gonna LOVE , LOVE, LOVE Yosemite. One of my TOP FIVE Places to Return to. Only advise is plan to get to the gate at opening time and have it to yourself for a bit before the tour buses arrive at 10ish.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,253
Location
Far East DFW
Not sure of your planned route but, some beautiful country in your path. Your gonna LOVE , LOVE, LOVE Yosemite. One of my TOP FIVE Places to Return to. Only advise is plan to get to the gate at opening time and have it to yourself for a bit before the tour buses arrive at 10ish.
Note the date of Day 1. June 2. He's already back and is doing the writeup. :mrgreen:

I''m subscribed also, I've read the first three and know this one will definitely live up to the rest.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 2 will not be posted until tomorrow, so in the meantime I leave you with a picture I can't stop laughing at. This was taken by Brett on day 1. I'm trying to take a picture of some bug on dad's back. Look at that concentration on my face and the look of annoyance on dad's face. :rofl: The funniest thing about it is the picture sucked! :doh:

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Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 2 – Sunday, June 3, 2012

Amarillo, TX to Bluff, UT – 618 miles



Day 2 - Map Link, Non-Embedded

My alarm went off at 6 am and we took our time getting ready. Breakfast at the hotel didn’t start until 7. I guess we missed the memo because when we walked in there right at 7 everyone and their boy scout was in the little breakfast room. Oh well. After breakfast we got rolling at around 7:45.

Dad went to Sam’s Club before the trip and got royally prepared. Brett and I are carrying photo equipment, dad opted for the 5-Hour Energy.
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It was a nice cool/comfortable morning as we headed West on I-40. We crossed into New Mexico and gained an hour on the day that we’d need. We stopped for gas in Tucumcari. This taking pictures of each other is starting to get old, we need some scenery.
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So I headed back behind the gas station to see what I could find… and maybe I had relieve myself as well. Two birds, one stone. There were a couple of rabbits running around back there, but they wanted nothing to do with me. Here’s the wall hangers I came up with. Ha!
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The riding is still uneventful other than getting around the eighty-three thousand semis on the road this morning. Next stop for gas and a break was in Santa Fe.
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This is quite possibly the first capture of a medium format film camera, headphones, and a sheepskin in the same frame.
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After I took these pictures, Brett started roaming around the gas station looking for something to photograph. I guess he looked suspicious/homeless because it didn’t take long for one of Santa Fe’s finest to pull up and start questioning him. I’m dead serious.

Behind the gas station there was an interesting looking graveyard.
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I had heard the area around Los Alamos was scenic so I planned the route through there. Before reaching the town we finally hit some curves, elevation, and scenery.
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After these pictures I wasn’t paying attention to my GPS and missed a turn, no harm done, but it wouldn’t be the last in Los Alamos. There must have been some new roads through there because my Zumo was telling me to turn into parking lots and I didn’t think we’d ever get out of town. We finally made our way to NM 501 and then reconnected with NM 4. The ride on NM 4 was nice and you could tell the area was recovering from some previous wildfires.
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Somewhere along NM 4 we came upon a huge green valley that was an elk viewing area. Indeed there are some elk somewhere in my pictures. This place was beautiful.
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Up the road we came across the Las Conchas Trail area that runs along the east fork of the Jemez River. The area was crowded and there were quite a few people rock climbing. We walked down to the stream and watched some climbers briefly, but didn’t venture down the trail.
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It had been slow going ever since Los Alamos, so when we hit US 550 and headed North we started making up some time. Somewhere South of Bloomfield we stopped in an area that was rich with red dirt and rock.
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While I went in another direction to take pictures, Dad and Brett watched a lady make some authentic food in a stand on the side of the road. (Photo courtesy of Brett)
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We stopped for gas in Bloomfield right next to the hotel we stayed at on Day 2 of last year’s trip.
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Brett realized he had some donuts left from yesterday morning. I forgot to mention that Brett works the night shift, so getting back on our schedule was brutal the first couple of days.
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Leaving Bloomfield we took US 64 West. On the Western side of Farmington we could see a huge rock formation in the middle of nothing else, it was about 30 miles away. It turned out to be Shiprock. We would have needed to take a detour to go right next to it, and that wasn’t in the cards today. So I had to settle for a long distance picture.
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And then the exciting road we were headed down.
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I planned the route to go right by the 4 Corners Monument in case we wanted to stop there. None of us really cared to see it, so we looked at it from a distance as we rode by on US 160. We rode through the corner of Colorado before getting into Utah. The last 50 miles of the day we saw basically no one on the road.

We arrived in Bluff at 7:15 pm, and that was Mountain time. It was a long day in the saddle. Pulling into town the guys were doubting my trip planning abilities because it looked like there were 30 people who lived in Bluff. But, we rode down to the Desert Rose Inn & Cabins and checked into our oasis for the night. The lady at the front desk said we had two options for dinner. The fist was within walking distance so we tried that without looking at the menu. We walked to the steakhouse and there was nothing on the menu cheaper than $18. None of us are ballers, so we opted to walk back to the hotel to ride our bikes to the other restaurant.

This was the view from the back of the hotel.
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This is Bluff, UT.
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Dad headed straight to the restaurant while Brett and I rode a mile up US 191 to a cool looking area.
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Across the street from the restaurant the sun was golden on the rock walls, so I couldn’t resist some more pictures.
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Finally, Twin Rocks Café.
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The ladies in the restaurant rushed us to order since they were trying to shut down and were planning on a busload of people very soon. The tour bus full of Europeans showed up quickly, I have no idea what they were doing in Bluff, UT. We all had burgers… again, and the hummingbirds fighting outside entertained us during our meal.
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We were treated with some free ice cream, I’m guessing there were a few less Europeans than expected.
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We filled up on the way back to the hotel.
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I tried to Skype with my daughter but the internet wasn’t working and the office was closed. So all I had to work with for my photo of the day of my daughter was a picture my wife had sent me earlier, from Washington D.C.
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Before going to sleep Brett and I messed around with long exposures.
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Today was long and tough, tomorrow was going to be the same. Not as many miles, but we would be doing some light hiking that would eat up time.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 3 – Monday, June 4, 2012

Bluff, UT to Ely, NV – 509 miles



Day 3 - Map Link, Non-Embedded


We got up at 6 again and took off about 7:30 Mountain time. One of the downsides to the hotel is they didn’t offer any breakfast. That just meant we’d snack at gas stations all day long. The problem is we wouldn’t hit a gas station for many hours. We took US 163 West and rode by the Valley of the Gods. We took a right on UT 261 and headed North. If you look on a map several miles up UT 261 you will see a tiny cluster of switchbacks. This section of the road is called Moki Dugway. As we approached the wall in front of us, I told dad we were climbing up to the top. At the time we really couldn’t see how that was possible. We stopped at the bottom for a couple of pictures.
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Here’s where we came from.
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Dad headed up.
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The 3 mile section is dirt/rock/gravel and not too tough on a loaded down tourer. We stopped almost at the top to see if we could find a memorial of a fallen rider on the Honda ST forum. Unfortunately we were unable to find it, I’m convinced it was taken or moved. It was a bummer, but the views from the this spot made the trip down UT 261 completely worth it. There was a trail that skirted the rocks, so we followed and were treated to an amazing view overlooking the Valley of the Gods. We took a bunch of pictures while here.
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We finished off Moki Dugway and then took a left on Mulie Point Road. My research had told me the view at the end of the road was incredible. Well, it was. It’s a five mile ride one way with a nice mix of dirt, rock and…. sand. Sand on a loaded sport-touring machine is never a good thing. While I was waiting to turn on the road as dad took a picture of the Moki sign, Brett started riding ahead. Not 50 yards down the road I see him get into a huge tail wag. It looked like he was going down but saved it somehow. That served as a nice warning for us all. Some of the sections were grated and if you hit it too fast it felt like everything was going to shake off the bike. We all made it down the road to the point without any incidents.
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As we’re standing on the point dad yelled out something about a plane. A few seconds later a fighter jet came screaming through the canyon. It something I’ll never forget.
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We had the place all to ourselves. It would be a great place to camp out. Although, you’d have to run it past the birds first. There’s nothing like standing near the edge of a rock with a thousand foot drop and a bird buzzing by your head sounding like an arrow. Every once in a while the swallows would dive bomb us and scare the crap out of us, or at least me.
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We had to turn around and go back down Mulie Point Road to get to UT 261. Just 5 more miles of dirt, rock, and sand. It was nothing we hadn’t already traversed, but in one sand section my bars turned to the left and my left foot went down to the ground. It immediately ran through my head that this is where I was going to drop her and how fun it was going to be to pick her back up. But, somehow, and I really don’t know how, I was able to save it. We averaged 15-20 miles per hour down the road and when we hit UT 261 again and got up to speed 70 mph felt like 150.

We cruised up and took a left on UT 95 and made our way to Natural Bridges National Monument. We went inside the visitor center to pay our dues and we were on our way. The road makes a 9 mile loop through the park and along the loop there are 3 pull-offs to view each bridge and a trail to walk down to some ruins. You can walk down to each of the bridges, but that would take way too much time out of our day. So we decided to view the first bridge from the overlook, hike to the ruins, view the second bridge from the overlook, and hike to the third bridge.

The first bridge we came to was Sipapu Bridge.
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We continued on the loop and stopped to hike to the Horsecollar Ruins. It was a 30 minute round trip hike, and it really wasn’t worth it. When we got to the end, you could barely tell where the ruins even were.
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Another view from the ruin overlook.
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Next up was bridge number two, Kachina Bridge.
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Brett led to the third bridge, Owachomo Bridge. This is the one we wanted to hike to. It’s the oldest bridge of the three and most fragile. When we pulled up to the overlook, it appeared as if the trailhead may not have been there, but further up the road, so Brett took off. I stopped to pull out the park map and dad stayed behind me. From looking at the map, it did show the trailhead was there. Brett was gone and it was a one way nine mile 25 mph loop. I didn’t want to follow him and have to do the loop again so dad and I stayed. We decided to walk down to the bridge, if Brett came back, he’d see our bikes.
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The hike was something like .3 miles to the Bridge. Getting there was all downhill. Once we got down there, we talked to an old-timer who told us to get the postcard picture, we’d have to climb up this other rock where some people were at. I told him we’d pass and that my pictures from there would be just fine.
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Dad and I took our time with the hike back up. I was definitely winded and feeling the elevation, we were over 6k feet here. We were gone about 45 minutes. I wasn’t sure how we were going to get back together with Brett, but as soon as we got back to the bikes, he pulled up. Apparently he had gone back around and stopped at the second bridge instead of the third and had unloaded all his photo gear only to realize he was at the wrong one. He didn’t want to talk about it. Ha! We told him to hike down to the bridge since we thought it was worth it and we’d wait for him. It seemed like he was down and back in no time as we chatted with some people at the overlook.

By this time it was well past noon and we hadn’t gone but about 75 miles on the day. Brett was ahead of us with his extra 9 though. We got back on UT 95 and headed Northwest. I made a quick stop somewhere along the way for a picture. I pulled in way to far at this spot and got in some deep gravel, which you can see in the first pic below. It was fun getting out of there.
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We continued on until and then stopped at Glen Canyon at the bridge over the Colorado River.
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We rode up to Hanksville being pushed by a tailwind, so we got great gas mileage. It was scenic along the way, but I didn’t want to stop if I didn’t have to due to time. We filled up as the wind blew sandblasted everything at the station.
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The remainder of the day mostly sucked! That tailwind that was pushing us up UT 95 soon turned into a crosswind as we headed West on UT 24. I remember the first big gust that hit me as I rounded a corner, it turned my head sideways. Along UT 24 we rode through a brief portion of Capital Reef National Park. We made one stop in the park. The wind was driving me crazy, but it didn’t seem to bother Brett or Dad.
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We made our way to US 50 and didn’t stop anywhere between Capital Reef and Delta, UT. I passed up a couple of gas stations figuring there would be one where we exited I-15, but that wasn’t the case. We rode on to Delta hoping I could make it. The wind was killing our gas mileage. I average about 2 mpg less than dad’s bike due to the exhaust and my right hand and the Honda was getting the same mpg’s as mine, but it’s working with an extra 1.3 gallons. The wind on the West side of I-15 started to reach new levels. I actually rode behind 2 semis for a long time just so they could buffer some of the wind. We were getting blasted by dust. The looks on our faces sum up how we were feeling.
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Mmm, Sweet & Salty bar.
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I need Chap Stick.
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We talked to a couple guys at the gas station. They told us it’s usually windy there, but it was pretty bad that day. They also warned us it would most likely be the same for the rest of the day. Great!

It was 153 miles from Delta, UT to our destination in Ely, NV. We rode it in one shot. It was the worst 153 miles I’ve ever rode on a bike. The wind had to have been a steady 40 mph the whole way with gusts on top of that. That section of road isn’t technically the Loneliest Road in America, but there is nothing between Delta and Ely. I take that back, there’s a hotel/gas station on the border of Utah and Nevada. Other than two small sections of curves the road is as straight as can be. Luckily there were signs on the side of the road saying “Soft Shoulder.” That was comforting to know because I was doing my best not to get blown off the road, but if I did, at least it would be soft. My hands were getting cramped because I had a death grip on the bars and my head was trying to be ripped off my body. This part of the trip was a nightmare. On top of the wind, we timed hitting the mountains prior to reaching Ely just as the sun was going down. It’s a ball of fun riding curves with the sun in your eyes and the wind blasting you.

We pulled up to Hotel Nevada at 8:45 Pacific time. It’s a shame because Ely looked like a cool town to explore. Hotel Nevada opened in 1929 and at that time it was the tallest building in Nevada. The first floor is a casino and they offer each guest a free margarita, which made me feel slightly better.

At this point in the trip, dad was pretty convinced I was going to kill him with this trip and he wasn’t going to make it home. He was calling my mom to tell her his wishes.
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We convinced him to go downstairs and eat some dinner.
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Dad went back upstairs and Brett and I went out to take some pictures of the hotel.
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Back upstairs I took my daily picture of my daughter and we went to bed late and exhausted.
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M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,167
Location
North of Weird
The aircraft shot, B1 bomber?

And that stretch from Delta to Ely IS as horrible as you describe. I bet your GPS didn't waver a degree of 270 for the entire ride, right? lol......


Keep 'em coming. This is epic.


.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
1,685
Location
DFW, TX
The aircraft shot, B1 bomber?

And that stretch from Delta to Ely IS as horrible as you describe. I bet your GPS didn't waver a degree of 270 for the entire ride, right? lol......


Keep 'em coming. This is epic.


.
Definitely a B1.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
The aircraft shot, B1 bomber?

And that stretch from Delta to Ely IS as horrible as you describe. I bet your GPS didn't waver a degree of 270 for the entire ride, right? lol......


Keep 'em coming. This is epic.


.
I know nothing about aircraft, all I know was it was awesome. :mrgreen:

I didn't look at the GPS much during that stretch, but when I did, it was at the amount of remaining miles. :giveup:
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
4,626
Location
Jennings,La.
Fantastic pictures of a fantastic land. Keep them coming. Some days out there, I only do about 250 miles, Due to, what else but neck pains due to WIND.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,253
Location
Far East DFW
Yup, I was thinking B1 as well, thanks for the confirmation guys!

That sounds like an incredible day and a horrible day all at once. It's almost like your mood changes were as steep as the terrain.

I do have to say, that steak sandwich looks impressive though. Dang if that and a margarita wouldn't have been the perfect end of that day. I'd have gone back to my room and gone into a coma.

Enjoying this very much so far, thanks for sharing!
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Long way from home. Most are based at Abilene. Maybe you raised the interest of the Men In Black and they sent a Lancer to keep track of you? :eek2:
I wouldn't say I'd be surprised by that. I'm pretty sure we're wanted in several states across the country. :doh: :trust: :mrgreen:
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 4 – Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ely, NV to Oakhurst, CA – 412 miles



[ame="http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Aultman+St&daddr=California+State+Route+41&hl=en&ll=38.246809,-116.971436&spn=4.417187,10.217285&sll=38.401949,-117.58667&sspn=4.407752,10.217285&geocode=FbLgVgIdiN8m-Q%3BFfmyOQId6lne-A&mra=mrv&t=m&z=7"]Day 4 - Map Link, Non-Embedded[/ame]


The map above was not the original route I had planned for this day. We were supposed to ride the official Loneliest Road in America, the section of US 50 between Ely and Carson City. Plans changed. We got up at the usual time and I Skyped with my daughter first thing in the morning. She was busy playing, so she didn’t pay me much attention. But, it helped having Grandpa jump around in the background.
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I then took a picture out the window; it looked a little cool out there.
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After that I went downstairs and loaded up my stuff. I turned my key in the ignition to unlock the bars and when did my display went crazy on the engine temp side. Uh-oh. I turned it off and then back on again and it did nothing. Hit the starter key and nothing. The temps were in the 40s, so I thought it may have just been the cold. We were on a slight downhill, so I had Brett and Dad push me down the road. I bump started it and it fired. I tried to ride it around the block but I could barely give it any gas and the display was giving me a transponder error. I sputtered around the block and parked it on the side of the hotel. I tried to just let it run but it quickly died.

My Connie was hurt and so was I. How did I handle it, probably not so good. LOL! I got a tad snippy with Dad and Brett, but eventually pulled it together. I went inside to ask if there was an auto parts store in town. There was and they gave me directions. I got on dad’s bike and rode to the Parts Plus. They had a battery that fit my bike, the only problem was it needed to be filled and charged, which they said would take 12 hours. The battery that didn’t need charging was out of stock, but there was a smaller battery available. I asked the lady if there was another auto parts store in town and she said, “you’re in the middle of nowhere, you’re lucky we’re here.” But then she did say there was a NAPA right up the road. I told them I may or may not be back, depending on what I found at NAPA. The guy at NAPA was really helpful, but they didn’t have anything for me in stock. So I headed back to the Parts Plus and ended up buying the smaller battery that was ready to go. I was going to take my chances with it. $78.54 Later I was headed back to the hotel.

The whole time this was going on it was getting colder outside. I got back, pulled out my tools and started working on swapping the batteries out. As I was doing this, two guys on Harleys took off and headed down US 50 the way we planned on going. 10-15 minutes later they came back to the hotel. They were freezing and said they ran into a big snow storm right up the road. Holy smokes! They were headed to Yosemite as well and pulled out their map. They decided to wait a little while and take a more southerly route. As I was still working on the battery swap, it started snowing at the hotel. (Photo courtesy of Dad)
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My old battery had a ton of corrosion on the positive terminal which couldn’t have helped it. I got everything connected and she fired right up with the smaller battery. Nice, I was able to shave a couple pounds off my load. All it would need to do is get me home and I could replace it at a later date. As I buttoned the bike back up, we decided to wait out the weather and then take the southern route that the Harley guys had discussed earlier, which was US 6, to Yosemite.
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We went back upstairs and I took another picture from our room. It looks a bit different than earlier.
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As we waited out the storm, we went back to the restaurant downstairs and ate breakfast. The food was good and the hot chocolate hit the spot.
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My dead battery may have been a blessing. We probably would have been caught in the snow storm, and knowing us, we most likely wouldn’t have turned around. We ended up leaving town at 11:30 Pacific time. We filled up first and talked to a BMW guy who had just rode through US 50 the way we had originally wanted to go. He said it wasn’t that bad, but he also had heated grips and liners. Me on the other hand, I had left my liners at home (on accident) so I was working with full mesh gear. I did put my rain suit on to hopefully break the wind chill. We headed Southwest on US 6, taking the shortest route to Yosemite since we were getting a late start. It didn't take us long to realize that no one lives in Nevada. We took a short break here in the middle of nowhere.
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I had planned on taking some pictures of us like the ones below on US 50, but US 6 was a good alternative.
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And courtesy of Brett and the Yashica.
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We measured from where we took the pictures above to the end of the road we could see was 15 miles. 15 Straight miles. US 6 consisted of going over a mountain range and then 15-20 straight miles between the next range. We did this for hours. The dust devils did give us something esle to look at. Each valley seemed to have anywhere between 5 and 10 of them running about. One specific one I was narrowly able to avoid, Brett got hit by a little of it, and Dad got blasted by it.

Today was still windy, but the crosswind was out of the North instead of the South, like yesterday. For some reason being blown to the left didn’t bother me as much as the right. Dad felt the opposite way. It was really bothering him today. With the wind I was once again getting horrible gas mileage, sometimes in the low 20s. On the first leg of today I thought there was a good chance of me running out. My low fuel warning like was flashing for about 15 miles as we pulled into Tonopah. We filled up and took a break, making sure the GPS was taking us the shortest way to our reserved hotel room.
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US 6 was more of the same on the other side of Tonopah. Mountain pass, 15 straight miles, mountain pass, repeat. The road finally started to change a bit once we got close to the California border.
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A couple miles up the road was the California sign. Dad wanted to stop and get a picture of his bike with it. What a bute of a sign.
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After crossing into California we turned onto CA 120. The road and scenery immediately changed. It doesn’t look like much on the map, but it had some good curves and also a section that had humps in it like a rollercoaster. Many times I had to slow way down going over a hump because I had no idea what may have been on the other side. We’re cruising over the humps and then run into this guy.
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He said it was going to about a 15 minute wait until the “follow me” truck arrived. So, the above scene turned into this (Photo courtesy of Brett):
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The guy was actually really cool to talk to. He had some good stories to tell and kept us entertained during the wait.

When the truck finally came we followed it for a mile or two, but the next 10 miles was under construction with grated pavement. Once we cleared that we got on the gas as the road surface turned into a race track. The ride downhill with the view of Mono Lake was nice. We continued on CA 120 as it joined US 395 and stopped to get gas at the station on the start Tioga Pass Road. The price of premium was $5.29 a gallon. Youch! You could still see Mono Lake from the station. I guess there was a premium for the view.
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It was getting later in the day and the sun was at the top of the mountains. I told the guys I didn’t plan on stopping anywhere in the park, we were going to ride straight through. After all, we’d be riding it the opposite way tomorrow and spending the whole day in the park. We were only riding through it today to get to the hotel as this was not the planned route.


As we climbed up Tioga Pass Road going west I was immediately in awe. For a moment there it felt like we were in Colorado riding the Million Dollar Highway. We were up in the mountains with nothing but a drop-off past the edge of the road. We got to the entry gate, which is just short of 10,000 feet of elevation, and paid our fee. The good thing was it would be good for 7 days, no need to repay tomorrow. On the east side of the park there was quite a bit of snow, apparently it had rolled through Yosemite that morning too. Brett had been to Yosemite a few years ago, but he didn’t see the eastern side. We didn’t run into much traffic, probably because of the time of day, but it was slow going through the park. First of all, it’s huge! Even riding straight through takes a while. On top of that, I was trying to soak it all in.

As we were going through an open area in the park I spotted a coyote running towards the road. I originally thought it was a wolf, but when I looked it up at home it turns out that wolves have never been a part of Yosemite’s wildlife. The funny thing was, once I looked back towards the road I saw a guy running with some serious camera gear trying to get a capture of the coyote. I wonder if he was successful.

I ignored what I said at the gas station and stopped at the view below. I needed a break and I couldn’t help myself with a few pictures.
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We rode into the bottom of the valley and then began climbing back up in elevation. As we were climbing the sun was going down, we were still in the middle of the park with some miles to go. I must say, riding along in Yosemite National Park, it was the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen in my life. The colors were incredible. It was a little too late, but I made the guys stop one last time to try to grab a picture of the colors. I’m sure they weren’t happy, but I had to do it.
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It was completely dark as we exited the park and headed south on CA 41. We followed a couple cars, I was hoping they’d run over any animals that appeared instead of me. We were twisting and turning down the mountains and dad said all the lights in front of him were messing with his head. It was a great sight when we could finally see the lights from Oakhurst.

When we pulled into the Best Western, I don’t even know what time it was. I checked us in, we got into our room, and we headed down to the hotel’s restaurant before it closed. Luckily we weren’t the only people in there. At this point in the day we were delirious and laughed hysterically about an incident that had happened first thing in the morning. At some point, what happens during Trippin’ Connies has to stay there, and this is one of those times.
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When we got back to the room we devised a plan of action for the next day. We decided we were all going to split up tomorrow. Dad had a low battery in his FOB, so he wanted to find a replacement battery in the morning. Also, he knew Brett and I wanted to spend more time taking pictures than he did. We figured we’d all meet up the next night at the hotel and try to stay in touch throughout the day. It was now really late and we all passed out.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,253
Location
Far East DFW
You gotta stop posting these at my bedtime. I keep saying "I'll look at it at work tomorrow...ok, I'll just check the map to see where they went." And now I'm caught back up and look at the time. Ugh. :mrgreen:
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
1,886
Location
Bryan, TX
Earlier this year I posted a thread to help me find good roads through Southern Utah. I didn't get many responses, but now I know that I should have just waited for this post. I researched and all the point that you rode through are on my agenda. I'm looking forward to Muley point and the Moki Dugway. Awesome ride, fellas.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Earlier this year I posted a thread to help me find good roads through Southern Utah. I didn't get many responses, but now I know that I should have just waited for this post. I researched and all the point that you rode through are on my agenda. I'm looking forward to Muley point and the Moki Dugway. Awesome ride, fellas.
You won't be disappointed by either. If you're on a dual sport, they'll be a piece of cake. ;-)
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 5 – Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oakhurst, CA to Bishop, CA – 217 miles



Day 5 - Map Link, Non-Embedded


It wasn’t too tough getting up at 6 because I knew today was what this trip was all about. We used our tickets given to us on check-in to get a warm breakfast at 7. When we got back to the room I got on the computer and Skyped with my wife and daughter for my daily picture.
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As discussed the night before, dad took off to find a CVS to get a backup battery for his FOB. Brett and I took a little longer to get going. We decided to ride into the park together, but first we stopped at the gas station to fill up and get some food and drinks to last us the day.
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I wanted to get a picture of the Yosemite sign.
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After getting to the park, we took a right to go see the Mariposa Grove. It was a two mile ride down to the Giant Sequoias. We parked and I walked around to get some pictures. They were definitely the biggest trees I’d ever seen. Several of them had a huge girth, but weren’t any taller than the others.
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I was good with this location and wanted to move on so I took off while Brett was still hiking around. I made a few stops for pictures here and there on my way.

Here:
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There:
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While at the “Here” location, my camera started acting up on me. When I would rotate the wheel to change the ISO, aperture, or shutter speed, it would just bounce between two numbers and not move beyond that. I started to panic. It was all I could think about on my way to “There.” What a perfect time for my camera to die on me! But, once I got “There,” I swapped lenses and it went back to normal. Even when I put the other lens back on everything was fine. I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Although, I was planning the speech to give my wife on how I needed to upgrade cameras since mine was now dead. Now I can save that speech for another time.


I was the only one of us three to make the trip down Glacier Point Road. It was 16 miles one way and there wasn’t anything I felt I need to stop for pictures for along the way. It did take some extra time, but I was handsomely rewarded.

Just before reaching Glacier Point there is the Washburn Point overlook. I made a stop here. The view included Half Dome and a lot of other amazingness. Wow.
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The road got really tight the last couple of miles getting to Glacier Point. Around one switchback I came face to face with Half Dome. Before I could figure out where to park to get a picture I was already passed it, so I thought I’d get it on the way back. As I pulled into the Glacier Point parking lot, there was a huge backup. I sat and waited for a minute until I realized no one was moving so I made my way around. Once I squeezed between a tour bus and car I realized the hold-up was due to a motor home parked and not allowing the bus to get through. While everyone else waited, I looped around and pulled into a great parking spot. The same cars were there as I walked by, making the short hike down to the point. I stayed down at the point for a while. There was a rock area to the right of where everyone else was, so I went there to be by myself. I ate, drank, took pictures, and was blown away by what I was looking at. (Many pictures are similar, but I couldn’t choose which ones I liked better.)
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I didn’t want to leave, but the show must go on. I went back to the Half Dome corner and parked on the inside of the road. If I would have parked on the outside, I wouldn’t be writing this report right now.
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I have a new fascination with Half Dome. The thing is just incredible to look at. I rode back down Glacier Point Road following a semi with an empty flatbed trailer. He/She surprisingly set a nice pace and I felt no need to pass. With most of the down hills in the park I’d just pull in the clutch and get 99.9 mpg. Back on the main road now, I made my way to the popular Tunnel View.
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I was using my cell phone to position my camera on when a guy asked if I wanted him to take my picture. I politely declined and said it just wouldn't be the same.
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From there I headed down into the valley, making a stop at Bridalveil Fall. I could see the falls from the parking lot, but decided to make the hike up to the bottom of the falls. I could have saved some time and not made the hike because as soon as I got to the base the wind picked up and I couldn’t even pull my camera out in the mist. I started backtracking and stopped to take a picture of the creek. My goal for the day was to get a slow shutter speed picture of some moving water. I pulled the tripod out and gave it my best attempt. I’m not completely happy with the result, it was mid day so there were dark shadows mixed with bright sunshine.
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I snagged a few shots of the fall itself as I walked back to my bike.
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And now with wind.
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I made my way further into the valley and circled through the Yosemite Village area. I actually spotted the Honda when I was riding through. Brett was visiting the Ansel Adams gallery. The Village area was crawling with people. I wanted nothing to do with that so I headed back out of the valley stopping at Yosemite Falls. I hiked to the base of Lower Yosemite Fall.
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Here’s more of what it really looked like with the mob of tourists.
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As I followed the loop around back to my bike, there were some good views of the fall.
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And a few more pics on the way back to my bike.
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When I got back to my bike and started loading up my stuff Brett pulled up. We both said we wanted to get the heck out of the Valley. There were just too many people. He said he wanted to go to Siesta Lake where some of Ansel’s famous pictures were taken. He took off and I left a little while after him. I then passed him climbing back out of the Valley because he had pulled over for a picture. There were quite a few cars in front of me so he ended up catching up to me. We were riding for a while and right about the time the traffic broke I saw a lake on the side of the road and pulled over. I didn’t realize it was Siesta Lake, but luckily it was and we spent a little time there.
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This little creek was running towards the lake.
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We figured we’d stay together for the rest of the day and headed on down Tioga Pass Road. We stopped for some more pictures at Olmsted Point. There were all kinds of things to look at here.
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From here the plan was to get back to some of the snow-covered meadow areas we saw yesterday and get some pictures. Unfortunately 90% of that snow was now gone. We only ran across a couple of spots where it remained but they weren’t good places to pull over. I regret not getting a picture in some snow the previous day.


We pulled up to Tenaya Lake for a quick look.
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By this time we were all Yosemite’d out. I certainly had my fill over the last two days. For once it wasn’t late in the day and we had maybe 75 miles left on the route. We exited the park and stopped once for some pictures at what I call the Million Dollar Highway section of Tioga Pass Road. The shadows were bad, but I did the best I could with the pictures.
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Later dad told us he had stopped in the exact same stop and saw the two Harley guys that ran into the snow yesterday in Ely.

When we reached US 395 we turned south and booked it to Bishop. The mountains on our right provided a nice view the whole way. We pulled into the Ramada Inn and parked where dad’s bike was. He had already checked in and surprisingly had only been there about an hour and a half before us. Brett and I arrived at 6:15.

We passed a Carl’s Jr a block back, and since I’d never had food from there, Brett and I walked down there to get take-out. On the way there we passed a place with the sign below in front. Say what?
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We ate our food back at the room. For my first time, it was nothing special. I’ll have to try something else next time.
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That was all she wrote for the Yosemite day. We were all exhausted and delighted to be at the hotel before dark for once. We were in bed by 8:00 Pacific. Ha!
 

Toe

Joined
Dec 28, 2005
Messages
513
Location
Plano, Texas
Love the pics..
Myself and 3 other guys & bikes are going out to Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia at the end of July. Your pictures are getting me excited to get out there.

I just hope the water is still falling in Yosemite at the end of July.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 6 – Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bishop, CA to Cedar City, UT – 425 miles



Day 6 - Map Link, Non-Embedded

Today was a pretty tame day for us. I tried to plan the tougher days for the way out west since we’d be fresher and also gaining hours on the days. On the way back, I tried to trim the miles a bit. This would be one of those “easy” days. The goal was to get back across Nevada and into Utah.

We woke up at 6 Pacific and got breakfast at the hotel at 7. We started to wonder why these signs were all around the hotel.
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We got gas in town before leaving. Dad was really enjoying using the California gas nozzles. We headed south on US 395 and turned east on CA 168. This road was a real treat. I wasn’t expecting much today, but this made a great start to the day. At the stop below, Brett said it was one of the most fun roads he’d ever been on. There were great curves mixed with up and down rollercoaster sections. It was a great mix and we basically had it all to ourselves.
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We turned on CA 266, which took us back into Nevada. Once in Nevada we started to see a ton of Joshua trees. It looked like we were about to see the last of them so I stopped along a straight stretch of road to get a picture or two of one. Brett and I walked about in the soft sandy soil about 50 yards to this one.
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Brett spotted this little guy. He wasn’t scared of us whatsoever.
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Ah, back in Nevada, land of the straight roads.
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Of course a little further down the road there were a ton more Joshua trees and many of them right on the side of the road. That’s always my luck. We took a left on US 95 and headed north back to Tonopah. We filled up at the same gas station as we did two days prior. We had to re-ride a section of US 6 to get to NV 375. If it was possible, NV 375 was even more boring and desolate than US 6. Instead of running perpendicular to the mountains, it runs parallel. We just sat in the valley and churned out the miles. I wasn’t even aware, but NV 375 is the Extraterrestrial Highway. We passed one sign displaying this near the junction of US 93. There were some people at the sign taking pictures, so I drove right by thinking we’d see another sign somewhere. I was wrong. We were now heading east on US 93 and made another gas stop in Caliente. It was about 190 miles from Tonopah and Caliente. There was nothing in between the two towns. We did see a few pronghorn along the way and Brett actually ran right up on one when he was leading for a while.
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There wasn’t much to see between here and our destination, Cedar City, UT, so I didn’t stop for any pictures. We cruised on and made good time, losing an hour when we got back into Utah. I realized that we didn’t drive one mile in Nevada without having some mountains to look at. The roads may have been boring, but being from Houston, I never get sick of looking at mountains.


We pulled into Abbey Inn in Cedar City, UT at about 5:30 Mountain time. Brett decided he wanted to just get a sandwich from Jimmy Johns across the street but dad and I called the front desk asking if there was a decent Mexican restaurant in town. They sent us to Lupita’s. I was a bit leery about Mexican food in Utah, but it was actually really good.
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Back at the hotel I took a picture of my daughter. It was one my wife had taken and posted to Facebook that day.
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Once again it was nice being able to sit back and relax at night a little while before going to bed. Tomorrow would be a bit more scenic, which also meant a longer day of riding.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
I look forward to my son trying to kill me with rides he plans. :D
:rofl: :lol2: :rofl: :lol2:

I got a good laugh out of that one for sure.

Then you can tell him the whole time how you're twice his age and wait until he gets as old as you are.

Each year dad threatens to ride the Honda, but this is Trippin' CONNIES, not Trippin' Connie and Sewing Machine. :mrgreen:
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 7 – Friday, June 8, 2012

Cedar City, UT to Holbrook, AZ – 410 miles

The google embedded map below isn't 100% correct. For some reason, google will not let me map the route down the section of UT 14 we rode. The bing link below is correct, but I'm unalbe to figure out how to embed it here.



Day 7 - Map Link, Non-Embedded

We woke and I Skyped with my daughter and wife first thing. She was playing once again, but I was able to snag a picture of her.
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We had a great hot breakfast at the hotel’s “Breakfast House.” Back at the room we packed everything up for another day.
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We got on the road at about 7:45. We hopped on I-15 and headed northeast to get to UT 143. Heading back south now we immediately began climbing in elevation. We were going along pretty good until we were briefly stopped.
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We rode through Brian Head, which I never realized was a ski resort area. Continuing on we reached Cedar Breaks National Monument. We were now at over 10k feet, so it was pretty chilly since it was still early. From what I could tell by looking at maps, there were 3 main overlooks. I decided we would stop and the first and second before moving on. Here are some views from the first overlook.
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Cedar Breaks has a strong resemblance to Bryce Canyon National Park, just on a much smaller scale. While we were here a Harley couple that stayed at our hotel last night pulled up and we talked for a bit. They used to live in Fort Worth but now call California home. Below are some views from the second overlook, which I felt was much better than the first.
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We joined with UT 14 and headed east to US 89. The ride down US 89 was scenic but there was quite a bit of traffic. When we came into the town of Kanab, we weren’t in need of gas, but I pointed out a camera store to Brett and heard him say “awe, man!” as we passed. So through the light I saw a Shell station and we pulled in there. We filled up and told Dad we were going to walk to the camera store. He said he’d meet us there.
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But it was closed, and Brett’s day was ruined! He could only drool from the outside. It looked like a really cool place. It was probably for the best it was closed, we would have most likely spent quite a bit of time there.
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The place across from the Shell station reminded me of home.
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Continuing on US 89 we skirted the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Soon thereafter we could start to see Lake Powell. We ended up crossing Glen Canyon dam. I didn’t stop at the dam itself for pictures because I knew there was a spot just a little down the road where we could get some pictures with a different perspective. We stopped at the scenic overlook. Just as we were pulling up people were walking back up and loading a tour bus. It was perfect timing because we had the place all to ourselves. It was a short hike down to the view point.
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As I walked back up I got some pictures of the surrounding landscape. I found all the lines and textures to be very interesting.
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I had also read that right down the road was a famous horseshoe bend in the Colorado River. It was about 3 miles down from the dam view point. We pulled into the parking lot and there were quite a few cars there. We parked and read the sign there. It was a .75 mile trail to the bend, going over a hill. We took off, the walk didn’t look like much but the uphill in straight sand was tough. The reward was completely worth it. I knew I was going to be frustrated because with the equipment I had, it wasn’t going to be wide enough to capture it all. It was still worth it.
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Right before we headed back, Brett asked me if he could use my kit lens on his F100. With that setup, he was able to capture most of the scene. Here’s his shot:
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I must go back one day when I have the right gear.

A trudge back over the sandy hill and we were on our way. There were some people in the parking lot putting sunscreen all over each other when we pulled up and I thought they were wussies. By the time we left there, I felt like I was fried. The sun was blistering down on us there. It seemed like as soon as we pulled out of there the wind got crazy. Crazy enough to where I didn’t take a picture for the rest of the day until we reached the hotel. As we were once again getting blown around by the wind, I knew I would have to make the title of the ride report related to wind. There was some interesting scenery along the way, but we were just focused on getting to the hotel. We did have to make one last gas stop of the day in Tuba City, AZ. The gas station was an interesting place. They had coon skin hats for sale, and Brett couldn’t leave there without buying one. We decided we all needed at least one picture wearing the coon before we returned home.

The original route for today has us going through the Petrified Forest National Park before getting to the hotel in Holbrook. I told the guys we could either do it today, or save it for first thing the next morning. We were sick and tired of the wind, so we decided to save it for tomorrow morning, hoping it would be less windy. So we headed straight for the Globetrotter Inn in Holbrook.

The Globetrotter Inn was a great little place. It is now owned by an Austrian family. It looks like they have recently completely renovated the place. They kept the old Route 66 charm and have put their Austrian touch on it. They kept everything immaculate.
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We searched through the GPS to find a restaurant and settled on one. While riding into town a place stuck out to me and I asked the guys if they wanted to just eat there. It was a shorter trip than the other place, so we pulled in.
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The food was excellent. I had flat enchiladas with a fried egg on top. All entrees come with a huge sopapilla and the hot sauce was HOT.
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When we got back to the hotel, Brett and I wanted to soak in the pool. For getting as hot as it does there during the day, the pool was ice cold. It takes a lot of work to get a tan this nice….
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Dad’s sick of wind.
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After the sun went down, Brett and I walked around to get a few pictures.
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This place was across the street and down a bit. One of their signs said, “Have you slept in a wigwam lately?” We thought it was pretty funny.
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That’s all for Day 7, tomorrow we start off with the Petrified Forest National Park.
 

Duke

Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 7, 2005
Messages
4,622
Location
The Woodlands & Woden, TX
Did you hit up antelope canyon while you were in Page?

I was just reading up on the town and thinking of trying to get there this year myself, and then to see this is pretty much sealing the deal for me.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Did you hit up antelope canyon while you were in Page?

I was just reading up on the town and thinking of trying to get there this year myself, and then to see this is pretty much sealing the deal for me.
Sure didn't! :doh:

The guide part sounds like a bummer, but that place looks pretty amazing. Guess we'll have to go back. :trust:
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 8 – Saturday, June 9, 2012

Holbrook, AZ to Carlsbad, NM – 555 miles



Day 8 - Map Link, Non-Embedded


We woke up at 6 and it was already bright outside. Oh yeah, Arizona doesn’t celebrate Daylight Savings Time. So we were getting a late start on the day, and it was going to be a long one with adding in the Petrified Forest National Park. When we walked up to the front of the hotel the owner had us sign their board.
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He then took us inside and showed us where our personally set table was for breakfast. Each room had their own place setting. We enjoyed our breakfast and were the only ones in there at the time. This place was really neat.
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When we finally got going we got back to I-40 and continued east. We exited for the Petrified Forest National Park. When we pulled up to the entrance booth, I was given the usual map and then told it was a free fee day, to enjoy, and not take any souvenirs from the park. Sweet! The northern side of the park just has a few overlooks of the painted desert. I stopped at Lacey Point to get a picture of my wife’s name on a sign.
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And here is the view from Lacey Point.
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We rode on, and I forgot to mention that it was just as windy, if not windier, than the day before. It was blowing us everywhere just riding 45 mph through the park. I rode by the next stop, a tribute to Route 66 running through the park, and thought it was too cool to not stop at so I turned around and we got some pictures there.
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The park road crossed over I-40 and we continued south and stopped at the Puerco Pueblo ruins. This area supposedly once contained 100 rooms and housed as many as 1200 people. There was also a lot of writing on the surrounding rocks.
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Here I am, sporting some coon at the ruins. (Photo taken by Brett)
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The final place we stopped in the park was at the Giant Logs Trail behind the visitor center. The trail passes by numerous petrified logs, including the park’s largest, Old Faithful. Here are some views from the area.
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The wind was something fierce.
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As we left the park we had to tell a ranger that we did not take anything from the park. They take that seriously there. Back on US 180 we headed south. I was hoping when we got into the mountains it would block some of the wind. It didn’t help much though. The first stop for gas on the day was in Springerville. Continuing south, when US 191 and US 180 split, we stayed east on US 180, taking us into New Mexico. Somewhere along there we stopped at a scenic overlook for a quick break.
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When we turned onto NM 12 we finally got the wind behind us. I was getting 50 plus mpg most of the way to Socorro. Along NM 12 there were several areas that were base camps for those fighting fires in the Gila National Forest. US 60 took us to Socorro where we filled up for gas again. As soon as we finished filling up and I started to walk inside the store the Open sign went out. The station and surrounding areas had lost power and the pumps no longer worked. We filled up just in time.
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We took I-25 south for nine miles and exited on US 380. Several miles down there was a sign warning us of dust storms the next two miles. They need to update the sign; it was more like 10-15 miles. When we reached Carrizozo we could start to see smoke from a wild fire in the direction we were headed. It turned out to be the Little Bear Fire.
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Riding into Captain, NM dad pointed out that we were on Smokey Bear Blvd, ironic as we were looking at the smoke from a wildfire. East of Captain I was really thinking we were going to have to turn around soon, but would have hoped they would have warned us by now if that was the case. The smoke was getting thick.
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Further on, as we looked into our mirrors, we could see the sun trying to shine through the smoke. We had just stopped, but I had to pull over for a picture or two or three. I told the guys to keep going and I would catch up.
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I caught the guys and there we started churning out the miles for the rest of the day. We could see the smoke from the fire for the next 150-200 miles. The wind was blowing it along our path. It was slow going through Roswell and I stopped to fill up for the final time right before leaving town.

The sun set as we rode south on US 285 and into Carlsbad. It was a long day of riding, lots of wind, smoke, and miles. I checked us into the Best Western, which was huge. It was late and we didn’t feel like going anywhere for dinner, but I had seen a Pizza Hut a couple miles back so I called to order us a pizza. The call center gave me a delivery time of 10 pm, which was over an hour and a half from when I called. We decided to wait it out and during that time I got a picture of my daughter. My wife and daughter returned from Virginia today, so my request was for my wife to get a picture of her on the plane.
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After 10 pm came and went I decided to call Pizza Hut back. This time the call center informed me that the Carlsbad location was take out only, after they had taken my order for delivery. Needless to say, we went to bed hungry.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2006
Messages
2,449
Location
Houston, TX
Day 9 – Sunday, June 10, 2012

Carlsbad, NM to Houston, TX – 644 miles



Day 9 - Map Link, Non-Embedded


I set the alarm for 5 am Mountain time. We always like to get an early start on the last day. There’s nothing to see and at that point you just want to get home. It was too early for breakfast at the hotel, so we just took off. Dad was prepping for the day.
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The temperature felt great in the morning as we headed down US 285. We filled up at a truck stop in Pecos, TX and ate some food there.

We stretched the next gas stop out to Sonora. After we filled up, we pulled the bikes over to the side of the store and parked them sideways in a spot because no one was there. Then some lady pulls into the station and parks right next to our bikes, blocking us in. This was Brett’s reaction when he came out of the store. Really!?!
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It was getting hot and dad was fueling up.
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We were able to get through San Antonio on the next tank of gas and filled up in Seguin. My butt was officially hurting, legs starting to get uncomfortable, and it was hot! I planned it to where we didn’t have to stop for gas again on the trip. Knowing this, I went into gas station street photographer mode, my results are below. LOL!
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These guys look like they’re ready to be home, and so was I! For the past 8 days we had most of the roads to ourselves, so it was tough getting used to all the traffic again. I was averaging 10 mph over the speed limit between San Antonio and Houston and we were getting passed like we were standing still. That was until we ran into a standstill between Columbus and Sealy. There was a wreck and the freeway was backed up for miles. We dualsported our way to the feeder road and then came to a stop on there too. By the time we waited there for a while it looked like the freeway started to move so we made our way back on it and got going again. Being 50 miles from home, stopped, and having a furnace between your legs while wearing full gear sucks. The whole thing took 15 minutes, but it felt like an eternity. After that, it was just surviving the onslaught of cars getting back home. We all made it with no further problems.

This little amazing angel was waiting for me when I got home. She ran up to me and I swooped her up. She stared at me for a while and I swear she grew and changed so much in 9 days.
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Unfortunately my trip meter reset when I swapped my battery out in Ely, NV. Also, I forgot to reset my GPS mileage when I left the house. But, I still had my odometer, so when subtracting from my starting mileage I get 4,403 total miles. We didn’t encounter a single drop of rain while we were on the bikes.
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Below are a few parting shots after another successful trip seeing the country with Connie.
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Thanks for following along.
 
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