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West Coast Ride Report 2008

Joined
Dec 28, 2004
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872
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Somewhere
Ok, this is just the beginning and will include a bunch of photo's as I add on to it. We still have to sit down and sort photo's and I have to edit and assemble the day by day report. Dee was in charge of 99% of the photo's and with a 4 gig memory card there are over 1700 photo's to sort.

Stats:

  • Total Mileage: 4,480
  • Lowest Altitude: -196 ft (Furnace Creek, Death Valley NP)
  • Highest Altitude: 10,850 (Wolf Creek Pass, CO)
  • Highest Temp: 117°F (Death Valley NP, Ca)
  • Lowest Temp: Upper 40's (5:30 am, Kaibab National Forest just outside north rim Grand Canyon gate in Az)
  • Highest mileage day: 935 miles (day 1 GPS mileage log-FTW, Tx to Tucson, Az)
  • Average MPG: 44
  • Average Speed: 59 mph (95 km/h)
  • Average Distance covered per ride day: 450 miles (724 Km)
  • States covered: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado
More later....
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
1,409
Location
PF, TX
  • Total Mileage: 4,480
  • Lowest Altitude: -179 ft (Furnace Creek, Death Valley NP)
  • Highest Altitude: 10,850 (Wolf Creek Pass, CO)
  • Highest Temp: 117°F (Death Valley NP, Ca)
  • Lowest Temp: Upper 40's (5:30 am, Kaibab National Forest just outside north rim Grand Canyon gate in Az)
  • Highest mileage day: 935 miles (day 1 GPS mileage log-FTW, Tx to Tucson, Az)
  • Average MPG: 44
  • Average Speed: 59 mph (95 km/h)
  • Average Distance covered per ride day: 450 miles (724 Km)
  • States covered: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado
Wow, I'm already hooked... get those pictures up!

trey
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
Messages
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Location
Yuma, AZ
First Name
Adam
Last Name
McCreight
I am also hooked. I live in Tucson, and the best part of your trip is that I do not have to do the 1k first day :clap:


Give me tips, I get to do a NW trip in a few weeks.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
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but was it FUN?

:popcorn:
I wish we were still out there...

The deserts were my favorites...DV being the crown jewel. Wish we would have had time to get to the Badwater Basin which is -282 ft. The day we did DV was the hottest day of riding with 90% of it in triple digit heat for the majority of the 550 miles we covered.
 
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Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
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DAY 1
Wednesday July 16th
935 miles GPS Log
Fort Worth, Texas to Tucson, Arizona
Departure time-4:50am

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Day one and two had one objective, get to Ramona, California where we would be staying, until Sunday, in the shortest amount of time possible. The map above shows that route which is a easy ride with only two cities posing any issues, El Paso and Tucson. Get the timing right and with an iron butt you can make good time to Cali. Our photo’s, however, did not start until NM due to rain at the very beginning of our journey.

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I will save you some disappointment; all there is to see in West Texas is pump-jacks and not much else. That being said, personally, I find it peaceful and interesting. I will learn something about myself later on during the trip.

I was going to get a photo of the most beautiful site on IH-20W but just didn’t feel comfortable stopping on the side of the road. That site is located approximately 350 miles west of Fort Worth and has a big 80 on it. DPS apparently was on vacation on our way out. Woohoo. That being said, the speed is 80 not 85 and from what I understand, that will be explained to you if you push the limits.

The bike loaded and parked at a gas station in NM while we filled our Camelbaks again. I highly recommend some sort of hydration pack and we also recommend you purchase and carry with you a spare set of bite valves. Mine fell off at a gas station later in the trip when I was putting the pack back on. We cleaned it and went about our day. On the last day, Dee’s popped off at a gas station, we didn’t notice it right away, and had to go back for it. Thankfully, it was sitting there under the pump. In over two years of using Camelbaks we have not once had the bite valves come off. We have a spare set on order that will be here first part of next week so that will not be a problem.

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This is what much of the highway looked like.

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Getting close to Tucson, Arizona, Dee let me know that she was reaching her stopping point. We are at a rest stop taking a glance at a map. I’m really enjoying the views along the way and they were going to get better for a long while. In Tucson, we grabbed dinner at Macaroni Grill and parked overnight at a Hilton. We were planning on camping but night was falling and we had not located a campsite. This would plague us throughout the trip.

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Joined
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872
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Day 2
Thursday, July 17th
428 miles GPS Log
Tucson, Az to Ramona, Ca
Morning Departure


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Day two was just the finish of Day 1 objective to get to Ramona, Ca from Tucson, Az. Here is a view outside the hotel:

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Dee caught our shadow in the morning sun while riding out of Tucson.

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I was quickly discovering that I really enjoyed desert riding. So far most people believe I need therapy but that’s how it goes. The landscape I found to be rugged and beautiful. This was my kind of riding.

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Dee wanted me to stand in the middle of the palm tree while at a gas stop. We found out later that it was one of the more expensive, slow growing palm trees. It was awesome.

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More of the desert landscape along the way to Ramona:

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The temps reached a high of 112°F during this part of the run and the Miracool vests were working like a charm. Along the way, there were signs that let drivers know of radiator water up ahead. Dee grabbed a photo of someone working out, what looked to be, heat issues with their vehicle. You can see the concrete water container that they put along the road filled w/water. It’s non-potable so no drinking!

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Me and the bike at another gas stop. We took a pic of the gas sign thinking this was expensive gas but I won’t post that since it wasn’t even close. The highest we ended up paying was $6.50 per gallon and I’ll note that later in the report.

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Dee thinks that we hit some nice roads a few days later in the Sunrise Hwy area. We realized when we got back, she had nabbed a photo of the sign on the way in.

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Day 3 – 5 we are based entirely out of Ramona, Ca and I’ll have those days up soon.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
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872
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Day 3
Friday, July 18th
Local trip to Birch Aquarium at Scripps​

Local only today and just to the aquarium just north of San Diego. My uncle had scored some tickets that he wasn’t going to use so off we went in search of something free to do.

The sign at the edge of the entrance to the aquarium.

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I think these are supposed to be to scale but what do I know…

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Bite me!

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Yes, it was painful

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Flounder!

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Stingy!

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Big tank

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SoCal Pacific Coast

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Please don’t bite…please don’t bite…

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Back at the casa, relaxing for the evening!

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Day 4 on the way…
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
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Day 4
Saturday, July 19th​

Short day. Went for a ride with my aunt and uncle around Ramona in the rag top jeep and ate Mexican for lunch. Yum. We have a rule, no Mexican food on ride days. Montezuma’s revenge isn’t a good thing, in the desert, miles from nowhere….so this was really a nice change of pace. After getting back to the house, we relaxed for a bit, then Dee and I took the Jeep into SD to meet up with a friend that she had not seen in 15+ years. The ride home was after dark, we didn't have the top of the jeep w/us so the heater was cranked on high. The evening temps were somewhere in the 60 - 65°F range. Very nice until you get moving in the Jeep...in shorts and a t-shirt!

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Sophie and her dessert…

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Our desserts…

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Some sort of succulant I was fascinated by…

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Day 5 on the way….
 
Joined
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Day 5
Sunday, July 20th
Meet up with ST-Owners from SoCal
110 miles​

We met up with some of the ST-Owners that live in the area, ate breakfast, and went on a short ride through the mountains. Thanks to Fred and the gang for setting up the breakfast meet and to Dana for leading us around. Wish we had more time!

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Motomac and our paths crossed! It was cool to meet him again. I do want to apologize as I have a difficult time remembering names. Outside of Mac, I know/remember Dana and Fred but that’s it. I think it was Don that we followed back to Ramona but I apologize if I got that wrong. Dee doesn’t take photo’s when we are surfing asphalt so sorry that there are no ride photos…

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After we got back to town, Dee and I put on our suits and headed over to a a pool party with my aunt and uncle. I’m going to save most of you from the torture of the ‘hot bodies’ running around the pool but will leave you with this one of Jim makeing a splash...or about too...

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Our ride home after putting a dent in someone’s beer supply…

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Day 6…On the Road Again…the Pacific Coast…coming soon!
 
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Day 6
Monday, July 21st
370 miles
Ramona, Ca to Santa Margarita Lake, Ca KOA

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Mistake made today with some road confusion as to exactly when to get on the PCH or highway 1. This put a major delay in acquiring miles and distance. Although that doesn’t sound too bad, it cost us from getting farther up the coast line and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. The time wasted going through L.A. was around 3 or 4 hours but that’s how the story goes.

If you ride the pacific coast, DO NOT get on highway 1 until you are NORTH of L.A. During the day you can cut through L.A. on the freeway to get there but go around if it is during rush hour. The PCH in the L.A. area is a joke and congested w/traffic. Some parts don’t seem like it is in the best area of town, either.

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Dee self shot

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Pretty sunset

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Day 7 the Pacific Coast the way we wanted to see it…coming soon!
 
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Fort Worth
First Name
Dan
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Gill
There surely is some beautiful territory out there. I lived a couple of years in San Diego as a kid and my Boy Scout troop had some great hiking and camping in the Sierras. I'm looking forward to the PCH reports. Keep 'em coming! :popcorn:
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
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872
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Day 7
Tuesday, July 22ed
Dee’s Birthday
437 miles
Santa Margarita Lake, Ca KOA via Aptos, Ca to Bakersfield, Ca

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The run today was gorgeous along the pacific coast! The temp never got over 68°F, usually hanging around 65°F. Big Sur showed the tragic outcome of fire but new life will come again…it’s all part of the cycle. The roads were twisty, the scenery was to die for, and at times we were riding in the clouds. Enjoy the surf, temps, and greenery today….desert is the next few days. This was Dee’s favorite day of riding and the photo’s just do not do this road justice.

Our first campsite at the KOA. Went very well the first time around and was quiet throughout the night.

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Dee with the appropriate shirt on…

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We stopped at Hurst Castle and took some photo’s at the visitors center. The tours were expensive and would have taken all day. It’s a big house with expensive furnishing. Dee and I both could have done without stopping here but some of you all might enjoy it.

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Back to our regularly scheduled ride. Note that highway 1 is like this for miles and miles. Nothing but twisties and coast line.

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Self shot

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Waiting on a repair crew to let us pass. They were repairing some rock fall damage to the road. Apparently, around here, you’re supposed to look up. Personally, I don’t want to know…

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Big Sur and the fire damage…we grabbed a quick sandwitch here.

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We made it to Aptos, Ca just south of SF then turned southeast to Bakersfield, Ca. We would rest up in a expensive roach motel for the night there before starting my favorite days.

Day 8-The Desert Run through Death Valley, coming soon!
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2005
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Location
Yuma, AZ
First Name
Adam
Last Name
McCreight
Wow, this was a world wind trip! There is just so much to see.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
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Wow, this was a world wind trip! There is just so much to see.
We sport tour so don't blink, you'll miss something. We already know we'll be headed back that direction....we want to see Yosimite, the Redwood forest, and Badwater. The roads in Cali trump just about any other state I've seen. One has to make decisions...ours was to see as much as possible in the time frame alotted. We almost decided to stay in the SD/Southern Cali area and just ride the heck out of that area but the few plans we made on this trip, changed.

That's something else...we made few plans. We knew not where we would stop just general ideas on what we wanted to see. If we missed something, oh well. That's just another excuse to head back out there.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
Location
Somewhere
Day 8
Wednesday, July 23ed
507 miles
High Temp: 117°F
Bakersfield, Ca to Washington, Ut via Death Valley and Las Vegas

Day8Map.jpg

Hot. There are no other words to describe the temps today and, me being a sick and demented Texan than I am, loved every single second of it. Once we crested the 100°F mark, it did not go below until after sunset. After the 117°F run through DV temps went down to around 109°F or so until the sun started to set where we stayed at around 105°F until dark.

The ride to Death Valley was twisty and scenic.

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Self shot

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Ok...this is Bobcat alley...or that's what we call it. Along this stretch, Dee was shooting photo's and, out of nowhere about 50 feet in front of the bike, shoots a large Bobcat (which I would assume is male since they get larger than the females). I squeeze on the binders and watch the cat disappear into the woods on the other side of the road. I propmtly ask, "did you see that!?" Dee responds..."see what?"

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Continued in next post….
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
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Day 8 Continued


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Dee thought this was the main part of DV...it wasn't...not even close.

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Somewhere around this point, Dee said, “I’ve only seen a bird and a fly out here”

I promply responded, I’ve seen a bird, a fly, and a Hornet!

Disclosure statement: The ‘Hornet’ belonged to the U.S. Navy, was banked in a hard starboard turn so the only part you saw was the top of the aircraft. Dee missed it…she was taking other photo’s. The Hornet appeared between two mountain peaks and disappeared after that. It was cool.

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Furnace Creek Resort...only open during the winter season. Couldn't figure out why. :sun: This was the peak of the heat...stayed at a balmy 117°F for a good while until we started exiting the park.

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Met this rider who's name was Dan just outside of Las Vegas. He was on a 2.5 month tour of the U.S. before starting his last semester at college. He happened to be in the DFW area this past Saturday and stopped by our breakfast meet. I will admit, I am/was a bit envious of his trip.

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Both of us could do without ever seeing LV again. It's just not our thing...although, we will admit that the only time to see it is at night and we went through in the day. Do not do this...do not do this...do not do this. We lost out on the Hoover dam due to this delay. Another reason to head out west! :rider:

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Sunset!

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Holiday Inn Express in Washington, Utah. They have 14 or so bike garages. I can highly recommend this hotel if you're wanting to see the Grand Canyon and Zion NP's. A little on the pricey side but good accomodations.

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Day 9-Zion NP and Grand Canyon NP...our second night in a tent! Coming soon!
 

Gilk51

2
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
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Arlington, Texas
First Name
Charles ("Chuck")
Last Name
Gibke
The ‘Hornet’ belonged to the U.S. Navy,
They were checking you out since you so brazenly bypased Ridgecrest and the China Lake Naval Weapons Center (not that you could have gotten in :-P ). Rest assured that they monitored your entire progress... ;-)

great story and photos! :clap:
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
Location
Somewhere
What is the item you have on the right handlebar? Intercom? Nice photos and report :)
Mounted on a bracket on the dash is the Cobra WXST CB radio. On the left handlebar is the Garmin GPS. The CB did great on the freeway and remained turned off otherwise. It has a weather radio built in that we did use several times later in the trip due to weather concerns.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
Location
Somewhere
Day 9
Thursday July 24th
198 miles
Washington, UT to Grand Canyon NP via Zion NP

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Wow…day 9 already. There are some notes I want to emphasize before I forget and things I learned.

Cooling vests are not optional, they are mandatory. Miracool seemed to be the popular choise amoung the desert riders I inquired from so that's the direction we went.

Hydration packs are not an option, they are also mandatory.

Hike Smart Information which applies to riding in the desert heat as well.

Also, for the mesh gear lovers, MESH GEAR SUCKS ROCKS. You want textile above 90°F and it is a requirement above 100°F. Mesh gear simply does not allow your sweat to do its job. Your body will just sweat more until it reaches its maximum causing your body to dehydrate and still not being able to cool down. Think of it like this, you’re standing in front of a giant hairdryer and you want out of the heat. In addition, the cooling vests will just dry out extremely fast with mesh gear causing additional issues. I know it seems counterproductive to wear gear that prevents airflow but really, that’s what you want. At minimum, wear long pants and long sleeve performance fabric clothing under your mesh gear. It’s better than nothing.

Today is national park day. Since I had heard Zion was pretty, we put it on the day’s agenda to hit it before we went to the GC. After all is said and done, we enjoyed Zion more than the GC and if you’re going up that direction, it is a definite place to see. There are plenty of hotels and places to crash around Zion if you’re not into camping. You’ll also want to make reservations for a campsite in Zion as it seems to be a extremely popular place. Camping in the GC is a definite reservation on your campsite. We’ll discuss that later.

The bike garage at the hotel in Washington, UT.

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There is a bus ride through the canyon with various stops along the way. The entire loop takes 90 minutes but we chose just to ride out to a particular quick 1.5 mile hike to some natural springs or pools up in the cliffs.

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The road out of Zion was twisty and fun, although with the tourists, you weren't going anywhere fast. The tunnel was a lot of fun...too dark to get any good photos from the back of the bike, though.

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Coming into the Grand Canyon through the Kaibab NF.

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Eating dinner at the Lodge. Most dinners are reservation only but if you get there early, they may have a spot. Most of the food was only average...well overpriced for the quality. The view out the windows was outstanding as it sits on the edge of the north rim with big windows overlooking the canyon.

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The park rangers told us we can camp free just outside the park gates in the Kaibab National Forest. Cool! So…errr…any wildlife we need to be aware of (meaning bears)? Ranger said, no bears! We have mountain lions! Oh, goody, goody. I’m thinking I’m Kibble and Dee is Bit’s. He said they are rare to see, but if we did see them, don’t run, make noise and make like we are meaner than the cat. Great. Kibble and Bits here we go.

Off to find our campsite. Down the forestry department road that is gravel we go. We kept toodling down the road, looking to see what’s available and low and behold the holy grail of campsites. We come across one that has a concrete toilet! We pitch on a gravel pad next to where the campfire supposed to be and think we have it made. Yeah right. Rule number one, pitch where you’re comfortable. Problem was we had wandered 6.5 miles into the forest, no one else around, no way of communicating with anyone (no cell service), and no quick way back to the road. Storms rolling in, lighting around us, a heavy rain could have put the roads out of the ST’s capability to get us out. I think we slept all of 2 hours that night being awakened by a Coyote calling her pups in our campsite and a deer becoming spooked at our tent. Both well after midnight. The next morning was a relief and both Dee and I agreed that we should have pitched close to the main road. On our way out, someone else had done just that and we kicked ourselves for pitching so far in. Also, have a camp shovel…something we forgot to add to our equipment list. You need them to bury your business and to put out campfires.

I have camped a good portion of my younger days but have not pitched a tent since my senior year of high school. Dee and I have never pitched together so we are still working out the kinks of tent crashing. KOA was good, we were just not comfortable with the campsite we chose this time around.

Day 10-The Colorado Run coming soon!
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
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872
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Somewhere
Day 10
Friday July 25th
346 miles
The run to Colorado

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Today was mainly just moving towards home though Colorado after getting up, showering, laundry, and lunch at the Canyon. Time had gotten away from us and it was around noon when we left the GC making the run to Colorado a bit more rushed. Some of the photo’s you will see what we were guided through by God. We never got rained on…not once today.

Coming out of our campsite…sure was pretty in the daylight.

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Some famous burro from back in the late 1800's. I'm too lazy to go look up his name but it was a life size statue. Small.

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The Lodge from the lookout over the GC.

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Some of the windows in the Lodge.

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The skies were all dark around us and at every twist in the road; it seemed as though it would direct us strait into one of the looming storms. We were literally surrounded on all sides but heavy t-storms. As the day wore on, we missed all of them and landed in Cortez dry and safe. The Comfort Inn we stayed at for the night had a simple aluminum bike shelter out front which was a nice touch. At least they provided some cover for the bikes.

Day 11-The Southern Colorado Run coming soon!
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
Location
Somewhere
Day 11
Saturday, July 26th
537 miles
Altitude 10,850 @ Wolf Creek Pass
The Southern Colorado run to Amarillo, Tx

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The pic’s from today are not all that great. This was on the second day we had any rain to deal with and only for a hour if that. The threat of rain, kept the camera put away for a good portion of the ride. With much reservation, this was the least favorite parts of the ride for multiple reasons. I say with reservations since I’m sure that the roads we didn’t get to ride would make up for much of our disappointment. I have determined that if you’re going through Colorado; don’t be in any kind of hurry.

Tent setup in the hotel room drying from the rains the night before. Pizza guy thought it was funny.

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Day 12 - The Journey Home-Amarillo, Tx to Fort Worth via Palo Duro Canyon coming soon!
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2004
Messages
872
Location
Somewhere
Day 12
Sunday, July 27th
372 miles
Amarillo, Tx to Fort Worth, Tx via Palo Duro Canyon

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Decided to hit up Palo Duro canyon on our way home since we had heard so many speak of it. Very nice and may do a ‘camping’ trip up there soon. Other than that, nothing much to speak of on the ride home as this portion of the ride was the worst as far as scenery and roads go.

It was good to get home but was sad to have it come to the end. There are things we learned from mistakes made but we are not disappointed in the ride one bit. It was over too quick.

Cheesy pic of the ST on Route 66.

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On Saturday, August 9th we hit the road again to Michigan to visit Dee’s family. I’ll do a ride report on that one when we get back. Hope you enjoyed the report…the ride was much better!
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2004
Messages
590
Location
Austin
First Name
James
Nice ride report with excellent pictures and maps. I stumbled upon this while searching "Hoover Dam", only to find it noted as a place you did not visit, haha. :doh:
 
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