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RandyShields

Westward Ho -- Torrey and Beyond

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MikeRC

 

First person account verified (at least the events in Torrey).  

 

Lots of helping hands considering the small number of participants.  And Eddd was the "go to" man for fetching oil and JB weld (to act as a counterpoint to the nail joke). 

 

Thanks for reporting (and nice to meet you) Randy. 

 

Mike Cassidy

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eddd

I bugged out for home from Escalante after lunch on Saturday due to the weather forecast for Sunday.  The gif is from the traffic camera in Hatch, UT on Sunday right about the time I would have been traveling through.  I definitely made the right choice.

US89mile116.gif

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Indy Dave

Enjoying your trip from the warmth of my home!

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RandyShields
On 5/18/2019 at 12:35 PM, Whip said:

80F5626D-6673-40C7-8AA3-DE8B950D6940.jpeg

CCC193C9-FD93-4756-9F7E-6668314D5425.jpeg

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6D92B31E-2DFB-48FF-AFD2-9CA9023DCA37.jpeg

Great photos, but that facial hair is white just in case you hadn't noticed.

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RandyShields

Day 12 – Mt. Carmel Junction to Flagstaff, via the Grand Canyon

It just wouldn’t be a motorcycle trip through the west in the spring without more snow.  As the temps started to rise and what I thought were the final portions of the cold front moved out, I waited a few hours to depart.  The route was adjusted to avoid the higher elevations of the North Rim and the route there, but it was still cold.  Thank goodness for heated gear.  I briefly considered heading west to Las Vegas where the temps were in the 70s and there was no threat of snow, but I really wanted to see the Grand Canyon.

A quick side story: the Best Western where I stayed was connected to the Thunderbird restaurant and gift shop. I raised an eyebrow when I saw the sign “Ho-Made Pies.”  All I can think of when I see Ho is Eddie Murphy doing his Velvet Jones comedy skits.  (Indeed, the title of this blog was changed from Western Ho to Westward Ho so there wouldn’t be any unintended allusions to Colorado hookers.)  The history of the place was on a laminated card on the tables of the restaurant.  It is really a heartwarming saga about a couple starting the business in WWII, and only having enough space on the first wooden sign for Ho-Made instead of Home Made.  When chuckles began, likely after Eddie Murphy popularized “Ho” in his skits, the grandchildren who run the place decided to embrace the innocent history.  Good decision.  I did note a couple of typos in the story, so I sent them an email with corrections, along with another couple of helpful edits.  Because that is just who I am.  We’ll see if they respond.

Back to the ride, there was more snow passing over the Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park east of Kanab, but the temps improved at lower elevations, and there were just some sprinkles as I headed into AZ.  Passing through Page, I went over the bridge of the Glen Canyon and saw the dam over the Colorado and the beauty of the canyon below.  It was hopefully a taste of the dramatic sights I would be seeing soon. 

When I entered the Grand Canyon park, I stopped at the furthest east vista, as there was a storm approaching from the west. That turned out to be a sleet/hail storm that dropped the temps from 60 to 38 in a few minutes, and the severity of it had the shorts and tee shirt covered tourists scrambling like ants.  Luckily, I was strolling in with full gear, including my helmet, eating some jerky and drinking a Red Bull, so I was poised for my photo op when the storm quickly disappeared and the sun reemerged.

From there, it was a 25 mile ride further west to Grand Canyon Village.  Needless to say, it started snowing.  Hard.  Thankfully, it was sticking to the grass and trees, but not the road.  It was near whiteout conditions when I got to the visitor center, as the snow was creating a winter wonderland while we were in the cloud.  There would be no canyon viewing here.  With no cell service, a ranger let me see the radar on his phone, and it looked like a break in the storms was almost upon us.  Instead of waiting around to see if visibility would improve between the storm cells, I hustled to the bike to brush off the snow and head south to Flagstaff instead of possibly getting stuck at the park.  At least I got to see some of the canyon from the first vista, but I will have to return some day.

My wife was worried (as was I) and said it was not a race to Flagstaff, but it was!  On the ride south, I could see three more storm cells approaching from the west.  I outran the first two, but the last one got me just 3 miles short of I 40.  (The mountain route into Flagstaff was rejected when I learned it was over 8,000 feet and likely snow and ice covered.)  I then outran storm no. 3 in a few miles heading into Flagstaff at max speed.  I was never cold in these storms, just worried about traction.  But there were no slips on the day and the bike was quite stable, even with the new sport bike tire on the back.  I checked in and just got all the gear into the room when the next snow storm hit.

That is supposed to be it with the cold and snow.  We are expecting warmer temps Tue, climbing into the upper 70s the closer I get to Vegas.

Let me add that I really appreciate all the positive comments and Likes on the ride report.  It has been a very cathartic experience focusing on what to write and capture in photos.  Lessons learned on this trip: (1) depart later in the year next time; (2) build and carry a better tool set; (3) test the air inflator hook up before I leave.

Mileage today: 310. New states: AZ.  Total mileage: 4315.

Thunderbird.jpg

Snow on bike again.jpg

Grand Canyon 1.jpg

Grand Canyon 3.jpg

Grand Canyon 4.jpg

Grand Canyon 5.jpg

Grand Canyon 7.jpg

Grand Canyon 8.jpg

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Bob Palin

Although snow and cold is not uncommon at this time of year I really can't remember such a long lived event in the time I've been in Utah (15 years). They got 20" of new snow above Cedar City over the weekend with more to come!

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Chris K

Great pics Randy, to go with a great story. Please bring some of that cool weather back with you as today is the start of what is supposed to be the strat of at least 10 days in the 90's here. 

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RTinNC
12 hours ago, RandyShields said:

Day 12 – Mt. Carmel Junction to Flagstaff, via the Grand Canyon

 

........... I did note a couple of typos in the story, so I sent them an email with corrections, along with another couple of helpful edits.  Because that is just who I am.  We’ll see if they respond. HA!  They may hunt you down! 

 

Back to the ride, there was more snow passing over the Coral Pink Sand Dunes state park east of Kanab, but the temps improved at lower elevations, and there were just some sprinkles as I headed into AZ.  Guess now I know why my old riding buddy Ron always said never ride the passes in the West before June or after Oct. and even then it's a crap shoot!  Be SAFE!  

 

 

........ eating sme jerky and drinking a Red Bull Should of had a DONUT! :18:

 

 

That is supposed to be it with the cold and snow.  We are expecting warmer temps Tue, climbing into the upper 70s the closer I get to Vegas. Hoping you are right! 

 

Let me add that I really appreciate all the positive comments and Likes on the ride report.  It has been a very cathartic experience focusing on what to write and capture in photos.  Lessons learned on this trip: (1) depart later in the year next time; (2) build and carry a better tool set; (3) test the air inflator hook up before I leave.

 

Mileage today: 310. New states: AZ.  Total mileage: 4315.

 

 

Snow on bike again.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

You Do realize all I keep thinking is with all the snow I bet there is salt on the roads!  I'd need a car wash hourly!  HA! 

 

Be safe !!! 

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RandyShields

Day 13 – Flagstaff, AZ to Las Vegas, NV

 

I got a later start today as the temps dipped below freezing overnight.  I waited for about 40 degrees to clean off the bike.  There was a great twisty road (AZ 89A) down the mountain, but I had to take it easy in case there was ice on the road.  Emerging at the bottom was a lovely winding road through a valley with steep canyon walls on each side and many small resorts.  Halfway to Sedona, and several thousand feet lower than Flagstaff, it had warmed to the mid-50s.

Sedona was a very quaint artsy town with a restaurant/gallery area that attracts a lot of tourism.  It reminded me of La Jolla near San Diego.  Further on the loop was Jerome, a cool old mining town built into the wall of the mountain.  It had tighter and narrower roads than Pittsburgh.  After going over the mountain, I also passed through Prescott before continuing.  It had a nice historical downtown area, but not the character of Sedona or Jerome.

Heading north up to I 40 for the run to CA and north into Las Vegas the predicted high winds began.  As they were from the south, they weren’t too bad, but as soon as I headed west on the interstate, boy things got interesting.  I got off after one exit to get gas and collect myself, as the bike was getting blown to the side hard.  I chatted with six riders from Germany who pulled up all on identical 107 ci HD Ultras.  They had come from the west and just shook their heads when I asked about the wind.  The flag at this station was whipping like it was going to come off the pole.  I knew I was in for a rough three hours in a gale.  The sustained winds and gusts were even more difficult than the ride into Torrey.  The bike was at a constant lean and I had to dodge tumbleweeds blowing across the road and through the air like you see in tornado movies.  Many trucks were pulled over to wait it out, but the forecast advised it was an all-day event, not dissipating until after 10 pm.  I saw one semi in front of me get blown into the berm before he recovered.  I was not dilly dallying when I passed those guys.  It got easier when the road turned south, and then north to Las Vegas, but it was still a struggle.  Temps moved all the way to 85 in the CA desert before moderating into the 70s.

I stopped at a couple of overlooks for a peek at Lake Mead before heading into town.  You can see the approach storm clouds over to the west of the lake.  Staying at the Golden Nugget was bad idea.  While the rate was good and lure of blackjack intriguing, it is downtown; parking was in separate deck with no carts or help with gear; and the walk to the registration desk and then to the tower with my room just not convenient.  After a quick bite of some Asian food, I treated myself to a fantastic massage, with the masseuse even getting up on the table for leverage.  Boy was my neck and back tight.  Too tired for blackjack, but may hit a few slots in the morning. 

Mileage today: 430.  New states: CA, NV.  Total mileage: 4645.

Ice on bike2.jpg

Near Sedona.jpg

Sedona.jpg

Over Jerome.jpg

Flag.jpg

Lake Mead 1.jpg

Lake Mead 2.jpg

LV.jpg

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Endobobdds

Randy - other than the cold, wind, snow and other interesting weather changes, it sounds like you are having a great trip!  I look forward to each of your new postings! 

Some of the roads, cities, and weather challenges brings back memories of a few of my rides out west. 

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RTinNC

Great read Randy!   Glad you enjoyed 89A and Jerome.  Of all the weather issues WIND is what I hate the most and it seems like it is always blowing out west.  Hope you get better weather on your return. 

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