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Topic: Trippin' Connies 9 - Snowed Out  (Read 5286 times)

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« on: August 22, 2017, 09:12:06 pm »

Pre-Ride

With Alaska out of the question (for now), I thought about the places I’ve yet to see that would be worthy of a Trippin’ Connies trip.  The first place that came to mind was Crater Lake National Park.  I brought it up to dad and he didn’t have any objections, so I began planning this year’s route around a ride through there.  I initially planned on 10 days, taking my required 10 consecutive days off of work.  When I told me wife I would be leaving on Wednesday, she asked why.  I explained to her that I was trying to not be gone for too long, and she basically said 2 extra days wasn’t going to kill her, so just leave on Monday.  She's the best and there was no need for her to repeat herself!  The extra time would allow us to fit in a few extra roads I’ve been wanting to revisit, at the top of that list was US 191 in Arizona.

With the route planned along with hotel reservations made, my attention turned to my bike.  To be honest, it was a mess.  I’d ridden it twice since last year’s trip.  Both were trips out to COTA, one for the MotoAmerica tire test and the other for MotoGP.  When cleaning it prior to that first trip to COTA, I noticed the bottoms of the forks were covered in grime.  I’ve changed the fork oil before, but replacing the seals felt a bit out of my league.  I decided to turn them over to a professional and gave Patrick a call at Motorcycles Unlimited for a quote.  It sounded reasonable to me, so I pulled my forks off the bike and brought them to his shop at 2 pm.  He called me at 5 and said they were ready for pickup!  I couldn’t make it back out that night, so I picked them up the next day.  Great service and I’d definitely recommend them.

I decided to tackle the rest of the bike myself.  I’ve had a nagging oil leak for a couple years now, so I decided to investigate.  After pulling off the plastics it was evident that oil was coming from the cam sensors, both as far as I could tell.  There seemed to be a layer of oil on everything, stacked with miles and miles of road grime.  Leaking cam sensors are a known problem with the Connie.  Murphs’ Kits sells a 2 pack of “Oversize Cam Sensor O-Rings.”  They are just slightly thicker than the OEM o-rings and supposed to solve the problem.  

Several weeks out from the trip, I began spending every night out the garage from the time my daughters went to bed until midnight or later.  This went on for about two weeks straight.  I work slowly when it comes to my bike.  I’m terrified of forgetting to properly cinch something down, causing problems down the road.  Thus, I work slow and methodical.  It takes me about 5 hours just to get to where I can pull the valve cover off the engine.  The list I completed prior to takeoff is below:
-Replaced both cam sensor o-rings
-Checked valve clearances (first time since 18k miles, and all were still in spec)
-Synced the throttle bodies
-Replaced spark plugs
-Changed engine oil and filter
-Changed air filter
-Removed and reinstalled forks for fork seal change
-Replaced front and rear brake fluid
-Replaced clutch fluid
-Flushed and changed coolant
-Cleaned all brake calipers and replaced front brake pads
-Replaced front and rear tires
-Installed 90-degree valve stems (batteries on the TPMS finally quit, too expensive to replace)
-Removed old Autocom wiring
-Installed Ronnie’s highway pegs (explanation below)

In mid-May, I found a set of Buck’s Sport Touring pegs posted for sale.  I told dad about them and he said one of us should get them.  I bought them and decided to give them to him as a present.  Being jealous that he would be riding in more comfort, I posted a WTB thread on the Connie site for a set of highway pegs of any variety.  I about gave up, but a week later “cogger” offered to sell a brand new set of Ronnie’s highway pegs.  With the deal done, I could now rest a bit easier.  The installation for my pegs was much more involved, which for me, took a full night.  Dads took about 10 minutes.  





22 Days prior to takeoff, dad had an incident with the battery on his travel trailer.  He was tightening down the connection on one of the terminals when he completed the circuit between positive, the wrench, his gold ring, and the negative.  Once he let go, he was able to get his ring off prior to it swelling up, but he said his finger felt like it was on fire.  It was perfect timing to mess up his throttle hand.  Over the next few days layer after layer began to peel off where his ring was.  He ended up going to the doctor to have it checked out because it wasn’t healing up.  The doc gave him some ointment to keep on it, but there wasn’t much he could do other than that.  Below is what it looked like 10 days after in incident.  It ended up starting to heal right before the trip began but certainly was not 100%.  Luckily, the best position for it to stay in was slightly curled, so it was ok when he was holding the throttle.

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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 09:39:27 pm »

That finger looks familiar.  I did the same thing working on a car in my 20s.  I managed to get the ring off which had melted through at its thinnest point.  Hurt like hell!  Took awhile but the scar did go away.  No more jewelry when working on machinery. Smile
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2017, 07:45:47 pm »


That finger looks familiar.  I did the same thing working on a car in my 20s.  I managed to get the ring off which had melted through at its thinnest point.  Hurt like hell!  Took awhile but the scar did go away.  No more jewelry when working on machinery. Smile


Yikes!  Yeah, it was his right hand, so it wasn't his wedding ring.  It was a gold nugget ring he's worn every day for over 30 years.  The ring was pretty messed up, but the jeweler said he can make it new.  Almost 3 months later after the incident, his finger is basically all healed up.  I'll never install a battery without thinking of it, that's for sure.
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2017, 11:25:50 pm »

Day 1 – 6/19/2017 – Houston, TX to El Paso, TX – 758 Miles

Houston, TX to El Paso, TX – 758 Miles – MAP LINK


This year dad met me at my house at 6:30 for the launch.  This gave me the chance to see my girls in the morning and wave bye as we began the journey.   Also, my wife was able to get this picture of us, unfortunately it was through a layer of fog on the lens due to the extreme humidity.



The starting mileage for my bike was 55,855.



Morning traffic leaving town was fairly uneventful as we were going against the grain and able to make use of the HOV lane on I-10.  The first stop for gas was in Seguin.



The man, the myth, the legend…



“Which card do I use?”



Continuing on, there were no problems getting through San Antonio at all.  I was expecting construction and traffic, but we breezed right through.  Past Kerrville gas begins to get sparse.  Knowing this, I told dad that I planned on stopping at shorter distances than usual, which I knew he wouldn’t argue with.  The second place we stopped was in Junction.  We took some time to snack and be out of the saddle here.  I found a nice shady spot where we avoided the tow trucks and bird poop.



Chugging on, I wasn’t sure if we could make it all the way to Fort Stockton, so we decided to do a quick splash in Ozona.  I ended up seeing an exit sign with gas on it, so I took that exit.  As we approached the gas station I didn’t know if it was still opened, it looked abandoned.  Turns out it was open, and while we were there a few other people pulled in as well.  A couple miles up the road was the actual town of Ozona, I had stopped short, but all was good.







Sticking with the shorter stretches, we stopped in Fort Stockton for gas as well.  In preparation for the ride, I stocked up on almonds, smoked sausages, and beef jerky.  The good news is I have the snacks I want on me at all times and it costs much less getting them before than at gas stations.  The bad news is the extra weight and room it took up, but it was worth it.  





The first test for both our highway pegs was crossing west Texas.  My pegs do not allow my legs to stretch as much as dads do, but they make the slabbing experience manageable.  Dad was enjoying his.  The only complaint he had was that the heat deflectors on the bike dug into his legs a bit while they were on the pegs.  We both wondered why we waited so long to add something like this.  The last gas stop for the day was in Van Horn.







30 Miles outside of Van Horn, a wicked looking storm appeared on the horizon, but no worries, it was to the southwest of us.  A few miles later the road took a turn to the southwest and right at the storm.  As we approached we could see it was quick-moving and stirring up lots of dust across the desert.  The road straightened out to the west and I thought we may be able to miss it, right about that time I got hit with a ping pong sized piece of hail on my finger.  Of course, it hit right below my knuckle protector.  It was the only one at that time and I started wondering if I was dreaming and it was actually a rock.  As we rode on, people in cars were freaking out and pulling along the shoulder of the road and waiting.  We pulled over for a brief second and discussed what to do.  We’ve never been riding and caught in a hail storm before, much less in the middle of the desert.  We took off again and started to get pelted with hail.  For some reason I was getting hit much more than dad.  Then, we approached an overpass that had cars jammed under it.  I tried to find a spot to fit into to wait it out, but we ended up still somewhat exposed.  After a few minutes of watching everyone panic, we took off again.  It was still hailing but we could see that we were right on the edge of the storm.  A couple of slow-riding miles later and we were clear of it and on our way to El Paso.  Getting caught on the edge of a hail storm was the last thing I expected in El Paso, but it was an interesting experience.  

As we rode into El Paso there was a huge wreck on the other side of the freeway involving an 18-wheeler that had that side shut down.  Luckily our side was clear and we didn’t have any problems until we hit the west side of town, and it was all due to some construction.  We arrived at the Best Western Sunland Park Inn on the west side of El Paso at 5:40 MT.  12 Hours on the road, but it helped the actual arrival time that we gained an hour going west.  I checked my GPS and the moving average for Day 1 was 75mph and our overall average was 60 mph.  I FaceTimed with my daughters before checking in as it was almost their bedtime.  

My wife and girls and I had lunch with our good friends Ryan and Lynda the day prior to going on the trip.  In casual conversation my wife asked Ryan where he was traveling next, and he said he was leaving in the morning for El Paso.  I told him I’d be there tomorrow night and we struck up plans to go to dinner.  

After checking in I gave Ryan a call and he said he’d be by to pick us up at 7.  I jumped in the shower and by the time I got out it was hailing outside.  Funny thing, the guy at the front desk said the weather always seems to miss this specific part of town.  Always, except for this particular night, I guess.  



Ryan arrived at the end of the storm.  Since one of the offices he has to visit frequently is in El Paso, he’s pretty familiar with the town.  He gave us 2 good options for dinner and we chose Track One.  It was on the other side of town but as Ryan says, “it’s just El Paso.”  It was Monday night and we had to wait for a table.  Not a problem, we just hung out at the bar and grabbed a beverage.



Here’s Ryan, my brotha from anotha motha, enjoying a wing he’d been looking forward to…



I had a chopped steak, and while it may not look like much, it was delicious.







After dinner, Ryan dropped us back off at the hotel and we went straight to bed.

Over 750 miles of riding  in one direction and we’re still in Texas.  Day 2 we escape.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 10:14:00 pm »

Day 2 – 6/20/2017 – El Paso, TX to Eagar, AZ – 391 Miles

El Paso, TX to Eagar, AZ – 391 Miles – MAP LINK

My alarm went off at 6 MT, except it wasn’t my alarm, it was my wife calling because the girls wanted to talk to me on the way to school.  After talking for a bit there was no going back to sleep, so I started getting ready.  Breakfast was supposed to start at 6:30, but they didn’t open it up until 7.  After eating a bit and getting some coffee, we hit the road around 7:30.  Things looked a bit different in the morning.





Into New Mexico we headed towards Las Cruces.  I was telling dad I wanted to make sure to stop for gas early, because I remember when you get on the north side of town on I-25, there aren’t many options.  Well, I didn’t even do what I was saying and ended up waiting too long.  I was worried I blew our chance but we ended up catching the last exit on the north side.





We continued north on I-25 until we hit NM152 where we headed west, and onto one of my favorite roads in New Mexico.  After climbing in elevation, we took a break.  







While we were here, a lady slowed down and approached us.  She rolled down her window and said that she had just seen a bear a few turns back and to be careful.









With our eyes peeled for bear, we continued on making a stop at the Emory Pass Vista.  




(Click for larger pano size)







As I was walking around and taking pictures, a guy on a Moto Guzzi pulled up.  We chatted with him for a bit.  He was a local, from Silver City; just a retired guy out for a Tuesday ride.  He said he had never seen the view with the haze like it was this day, certainly from wildfires.  We told him about the lady seeing a bear and he said he’d been up and down the road at least 100 times and has never seen one.  I did look it up and black bears do exist in Gila National Forest.  Enough of the bear talk and back to the Guzzi.  What a beautiful bike!  







With a long day still ahead of us, we had to break up the conversation and get going.  We finished off the good part of NM152 and headed towards Silver City.  As we passed by the Chino (Santa Rita) Mine, it peaked my interest, so we turned around to have a look.  It’s the third oldest active open pit copper mine in the world.







Moving on we stopped for a quick fill-and-go in Silver City.  We took US 180 out of Silver City and towards Arizona.  We continued west on NM 78, which crosses over into Arizona.  78 Is a nice road that I always enjoy.  Once in Arizona there is a great view and then the road twists down the mountain.  This time I didn’t stop for any pictures.  At Three Way we came to the junction with US 191 and rode north.   We stopped for gas again in Clifton since I knew there would be no opportunities once we left there.







The beginning to one of the best motorcycle roads in the country…



The road quickly climbs out of Clifton and then you are suddenly engulfed in the Morenci Mine, the largest copper mine in the country.  We passed a nice overlook and I thought I would stop at the next one to have a good look.  The next overlook was about 3 miles down the road, and of course it was closed.  Dad and I had gotten disconnected with our Sena headsets, so I pulled over.  I told him I was going to go back to the first overlook.  We did, but it cost us a bit of time and some extra miles.





The mine is something to behold and you can only understand the magnitude of size if see it in person.  The overlook is only of one area, it goes on for miles.  Those little black dots on the right side of the pano below are huge trucks, with tires the size of the ones our bikes are next to above.  Humongous is the only way I know to describe the mine.
(Click for larger pano size)











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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 10:15:32 pm »

Moving on, we only stopped one time in the extremely twisty part of US 191.  This stop was right after getting out a sketchy section where there was a layer of dust/dirt on the road for miles.  We ended up seeing a few construction type trucks that I guess were making the mess.  That section had me puckered up, I was thankful when it ended.  

















And when we’re taking an extended break, things like this happen…



As you can see from the pictures above, the sky began to threaten us with rain.  Right after taking off it started to sprinkle on us, but it only lasted a few miles.  The next stop was somewhere south of Alpine, but I have no idea where.  The temperature here was perfect, and almost a bit cool.  











We continued north and stopped for another break along Nelson Reservoir.  
















We arrived at the hotel in Eagar at 4:30, Pacific Time now because we gained another hour in Arizona.  As we were going back and forth to the bikes unloading them, dad noticed that our stands were digging into the asphalt.  It must have been newly paved, and combined with the heat, it was a recipe for bad news.  We both put our bikes on the side stand with pucks under it for the night.



We went next door to TrailRiders Family Restaurant for food, it was supposed to be one of the best places to eat in town.  It wasn’t spectacular, but it was good food.  I had the chicken fried steak along with a Four Peaks – Kilt Lifter.  I asked for a local beer, and Tempe was as local as they had.  I was completely fine with it though because I’ve actually been to the brewery before and enjoyed their beer.  Dad, on the other hand, was happy to have his lightly flavored water.  We both went back to the hotel absolutely stuffed and passed out.










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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2017, 12:47:50 am »

My chosen way of riding 191, South to North climbing all the way.
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2017, 05:28:04 am »

Great ride report  Thumbsup

Nice Moto Gutzi
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2017, 11:27:57 pm »

Day 3 – 6/21/2017 – Eagar, AZ to Kanab, UT – 489 Miles

Eagar, AZ to Kanab, UT – 489 Miles – MAP LINK

The time change had me a bit wonky, I ended up waking up around 4 PT and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I just laid there.  An hour later my wife and girls called on their morning ride to school/work.  We were already up and had breakfast by 6, and left 15 minutes later.  

We took off north on Main Street and rode into Springerville.  I was hoping there would be gas there, but it didn’t look like it.  We were supposed to take a left on US 191, but I turned right and headed back into town to hope to find gas.  There was a Shell station there, so we filled up.   We also bought a bag of ice to fill our CamelBaks with, since the hotel’s ice machine wasn’t working.  



We took off and headed north on US 191.  About 10 minutes later dad said he could see something shiny flashing at him from off my top box.  It was my key.  We pulled over so I could grab it out and safely put it in my pocket.  The ride north was pretty uneventful.  We crossed over I-40 and then hit the first construction stop of the trip in Ganado.  



The next stop was for gas in Chinle.  This station was busy!


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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2017, 11:28:39 pm »

After filling up, we headed for Canyon de Chelly National Monument.  I was expecting a station at the entrance to pay at, but that wasn’t the case.  There was a Visitor Center, but I told dad we’d stop there on the way back out.  It was my decision in route planning to ride along the south canyon and not spend time on the north side.  The south is known for better views of the canyon and rock formations.  On the north side you can see more native dwellings.  I’d prefer the views.  The plan was also to ride to the farthest viewpoint first, then make our way back out.  That being said, the first overlook we checked out and the farthest one was the Spider Rock Overlook.  There was a 200 yard walk out to the overlook point and a great panoramic view from there.  It was already hot and for some reason I didn’t bring my hat with me.  


(Click for larger pano size)






















(Click for larger pano size)




(Click for larger pano size)







Of course, I had to take a cell phone selfie as well.

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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2017, 11:29:20 pm »

On our way back out, the next stop was at the Sliding House Overlook.  The walk out to the viewpoint of this one was about half as long as the last.  














(Click for larger pano size)




















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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2017, 11:29:49 pm »

The third stop was at White House Overlook.  This one was much more crowded than the last two, there was only a car or two at those.  I believe this spot was the start to a trail that you could use to walk down into the canyon.






(Click for larger pano size)







We skipped a couple of the next overlooks and made a final stop at Tunnel Overlook, which was right off of South Rim Drive Highway.  





We made our way back to the visitor center and went in to pick up some stickers and magnets.  By this time it was scorching hot outside, and would be for the rest of the day.  Back out on US 191 we continued north to Many Farms, where we cut over to US 160 using AZ 59.  At this point I was starting to get concerned about finding a gas station.  We hadn’t seen one for a long time.  Our route had us turning right on AZ 98, and thankfully there was a gas station there.  There was nothing else around there, just big oasis gas station in the desert.  It was completely covered and unlike anything I’d ever seen.  The pumps would not take credit cards, so I had to go in and give them an amount.  Not paying attention to how much I’d been spending on gas, I had no idea what to say.  I just told them to put $10 on each of our pumps.  I was able to squeeze all $10 into mine, but dad could only fit $8 in his.  They had to put $2 back on my card.  The whole process was antiquated and a pain in the butt, but at least it was all shaded.

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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2017, 11:30:20 pm »

We ventured back out into the heat after a break and took AZ 98 northwest for 67 miles to Page, where we turned south on US 89.  One of these days I have to make a point of going back here and doing a tour of the Antelope Slot Canyon.  It looks right up my alley, but there was no time to fit it into this year’s trip.  On US 89 we’d be passing right by Horseshoe Bend.  I debated all day on if we should stop there or not.  Dad didn’t care.  We’ve been there before, but what bothered me is that at that time I was just getting into photography and didn’t have the equipment to get the full bend in one frame.  We spent so much time in Canyon de Chelly National Park it was already getting later in the day.  But, not knowing when the next time I’d be back by there would be, I decided to stop.  It was also later in the day and I knew that due to the time difference, I’d only have a small window to FaceTime with my girls.  We pulled into the parking lot and I did just that.  Then we decided to make the hike over the hill to the bend.  We didn’t even change pants or boots, just grabbed our hats and headed out.  

This is after cresting the hill and on the way down.  Many sections of the hike have nice loamy sand, lots of fun with motorcycle boots on.  



It was crawling with people, including a couple of people flying drones over the edge, which I’m not exactly sure was legal.



But, I feel like I was able to exact my revenge on the bend.  Here are my favorites…


(Click for larger pano size)








(Click for larger pano size)


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I remembered to get a selfie before leaving.



We headed back over the hill.  Dad took off before me while I was still shooting a few pictures.  I’m not in great shape, but there were some people that shouldn’t have attempted the hike, especially in the extreme heat.  There was a lady who had to be stretchered out.  Here’s the view heading back to the bikes.



You can’t say they didn’t try to warn people.


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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2017, 11:30:54 pm »

We took off and for a few minutes it felt like A/C since we were drenched in sweat.  It didn’t last long, but at it sure felt good to be moving.  Continuing south on US 89 we twisted down into the canyon and took a right on US 89A.  We stopped at a place along there solely because I thought it would be a good spot for a couple pictures.  These are some of my favorite shots of the entire trip.















Riding on we stopped again at the Navajo Bridge over the Colorado River.  We checked out the bridge and then looked to see what the vendors there had for sale.  Hoping my daughters would like it, I bought each of them a dream catcher in their favorite colors.















We rode over the new bridge and continued on US 89A.  We began climbing and stopped for a bit to take in the view.


(Click for larger pano size)



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« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2017, 11:31:19 pm »

US 89A took us into Utah and to our destination for the night, Kanab.  We lost an hour crossing the state line.  We arrived at the hotel at 7 MT.  I planned on eating at the Rocking V Café, which was basically next door to our hotel.  But, mom had looked it up earlier in the day and told us it was closed on Wednesdays.  Bummer!  She suggested that we eat at Iron Horse, which was still within walking distance, so that was a win.  We took off walking and I realized I left my camera in the room.  Instead of turning around, I just decided to use my cell phone for any pictures.  I don’t think the restaurant had A/C, but we ended up cooling down after sitting there for a while.  

Sticking with my local beer theme, when in Utah…





We sat right by the entertainment for the night, a guy playing and singing random songs.



I had a burger piled high with goodness.  Dad had a pulled pork sandwich.





After watching the entertainment for a bit, dad said, “I don’t think he’s actually playing that guitar.” While we were trying to figure it out, I introduced dad to the “skeptical hippo” and other skeptical memes.  We quickly came up with the “skeptical Larry” face.  Ha!



I started really watching his hands, and it became blatantly obvious he wasn’t playing it.  We got a good laugh out of the whole situation and watching a guy by us with his own skeptical look on his face, it seemed as if he was trying to figure out if the guy was playing the guitar or not as well.  We then began to wonder if he was actually singing because he was able to mimic voices really good, especially Willie Nelson.  The jury is still out, but I think his voice was for real.

We walked back to the hotel and hunkered down for the night.  Today we spent quite a bit of time in blazing heat.  For the next day’s ride I planned a shorter route in hopes to recover from this one.


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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2017, 11:22:24 pm »

Day 4 – 6/22/2017 – Kanab, UT to Ely, NV – 303 Miles

Kanab, UT to Ely, NV – 303 Miles – MAP LINK

After my usual wake up call we had some breakfast and coffee and took our time getting going.  



We took off from Kanab at 7:40.  We got some gas at Shell before leaving town.  We rode up US 89 to UT 9, where we turned towards Zion National Park.  When we arrived at the entrance, we were greeted with a short line, but it went pretty quick.  I let dad go first and flash his senior pass.  It seems like half the people will let me in with it as well.  This time, the lady was extremely nice let me in on Dad’s pass, but she said not to tell anyone.  Whoops!



About a mile down the road there was a car stopped on the side and you could tell they were looking at an animal.  We slowly rode by and then I spotted the three bighorn sheep.  I grabbed a quick picture and we moved on.



The shorter mileage day today would afford for more stops in Zion.  I took advantage of that and soaked in the scenery.  We made 3 stops prior to getting to the tunnel.  Here’s stop #1.

















Here’s what I got from the second stop.

















And here are my pictures from the third stop prior to the tunnel.  While we were here a guy pulled up and parked, then set up his easel and started to paint.  





















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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2017, 11:23:47 pm »

We continued on and rode through the tunnel, emerging into the canyon and stopping for a nice break at the first overlook.  We snacked and watched buzzards soar.































From there we twisted down and stopped in the bottom of the canyon.
















Moving on, the next stop was at the Visitor Center on the west side of the park.  We lucked out and a spot opened up right as we pulled into the parking lot.  The place was packed and there were cars hovering over people waiting for spots.  In the Visitor Center I picked up some stickers, magnets, and some stuffed bighorn sheep toys for my girls.  Right by the Visitor Center is where you can catch the shuttle to view the other part of the park, Floor of the Valley Road/Zion Canyon Scenic Drive.  This part of the park is only accessible by the shuttle.  The line for the shuttle looked like it was several hundred people deep, so that was out of the question.  It really just gives me a reason to go back with my wife and explore the rest of the park.  

Leaving there, we had a car sit and wait for us as we geared up and left the parking spot.   We exited the park and continued on UT 9 all the way to I-15.  Getting through the towns of La Verkin and Hurricane seemed to take forever as we caught light after light.  Riding a couple miles south on I-15 landed us in St. George, where we exited and took the Red Hills Parkway to avoid town.  We then turned north on UT 18.  As we were cruising along, I saw a sign that had “Massacre” on it.  I thought it may be and interesting stop, so we turned around and went back to check it out.  The official road off of UT 18 was FR375 then FR4018.  As we were taking our helmets off, another car pulled up.  Two guys got out, and struck up a conversation about the bikes.  They were brothers, and the oldest owns a FJR.  We talked bikes for a moment, and then the older brother asked if we new anything about the site.  I said we had no idea, we just decided to pull in after seeing the sign.  They lived on opposite sides of the country and had met up in Utah to do some outdoor activities together.  They specifically came to the site this day because the older brother had just finished reading a book about the massacre.  The book is Blood of the Prophets, by Will Bagley.  It was pretty neat because as we walked out to the memorial, he gave us the Cliffs Notes version of the Mountain Meadows massacre (occurring in 1857).  








The actual site was down the road in the distance.  The road was being worked on and completely tore up at the moment.



Continuing north on UT 18, we took it to Beryl Junction and turned left on UT 56, which took us into Nevada.  After crossing the border, the road number changed to NV 319.  The next stop was for gas in Panaca.   This was the most entertaining gas stop I think we’ve ever had.  I had been getting a “Transponder Battery Low” error on my display, so I checked in the station to see if they had a battery.  They did, and at a reasonable price, so I went ahead and swapped it out.  











After filling the bikes we were standing around eating some snacks and having a drink.  Then we heard a loud slam, which turned out to be the back door of an enclosed trailer.  They pushed out a short dragster.  A couple of guys opened the doors of the “Y Service” building and then set up some cones in the parking lot.  I assumed they were just going to wheel the dragster into the shop to work on it.  I was wrong.  It took them a minute, but they fired it up.



Our interest was peaked, so we stood around and watched the show.  



It wasn’t exactly a Top Fuel Dragster, but the thing was still pretty loud.  He backed up from the position in the picture above and everyone got their cell phones out.  I got my camera ready.  He did a burnout, turned, and headed right for us.  Looking through the lens of my camera, I thought he was going to mow ourselves and the bikes over, but I guess the brakes on it work.







He backed it up, and this time I protected myself with the pillar of the gas station… just in case.



He did several burnouts, literally going between the pumps and the station store, then looping back around.  







It was at this point that dad and I learned a very valuable lesson.  There was a guy getting gas next to us and we were talking saying what are the odds of us in the middle of Nevada, watching a guy doing burnouts in a dragster, in the gas station parking lot?  He quickly said, “it’s Ne-VA-duh, NOT Ne-VAH-duh.  You’re liable to get shot around here saying it the wrong way.”  Yikes!

Back to the drag strip action, the final time he did a burnout the opposite direction, starting right by us at the gas pumps.  For some stupid reason, I squatted down right beside him for pictures.  He took off and nearly blew out my eardrums.  









After that one, he shut it down and the show was over.  People started taking turns sitting in it.  I tried to get dad to get in it, you know, for the ride report.  He refused.  I think he was just being a sizeist.  If it would’ve been a Top Fuel Dragster, he would have done it.  

And possibly the best part of the whole stop, after everything was over an older lady came walking out of the store, looked at us and said, “it’s always excitin’ at the Y!”  After she walked away we just looked at each other and laughed.  Moving on from the Y, we headed north on US 93.  In the 81 mile stretch between Pioche and Majors Place there is absolutely nothing!  We stopped for a break somewhere in the middle because I wanted a couple pictures, just to break up the monotony.  



















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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2017, 11:24:17 pm »

US 93 intersected with US 50 and we took that to Ely.  We ended up topping off our tanks prior to getting to the hotel, so we would be good to go in the morning.  We had gained an hour coming into Ne-VA-duh, so we ended up arriving at the hotel at 3:30 PT, most likely the earliest we’ve ever gotten to a nightly destination.  We stayed at Hotel Nevada 5 years ago, and it was such a unique place, I wanted to stay there again.  At check-in, they give each person a complimentary drink ticket, good for one drink at the bar in the casino.  After lugging our stuff upstairs, we came down and used our tickets.  I tried the Hotel Nevada IPA.





I had planned on eating at the restaurant in the hotel, which used to be a neat little café.  Mom called us during the day and informed us that the hotel restaurant was now a Denny’s.  Not wanting that, she told us that Rack’s Bar & Grill down the road sounded good.  It was within walking distance, so that’s where we headed.  





I had the beef dip with onion rings and a local amber beer, but I can’t remember the name.  Dad had a southwestern burger.



Dad had been feeling pretty congested ever since we got into Ne-VA-duh.  (See picture of him on US 93 above with tissue in hand.)  His nose was a constant draining faucet combined with lots of sneezing.  Walking back to the hotel, there was an old school drug store and I convinced him to go in and get some medicine.  We ended up talking to the pharmacist and he recommended something that he thought was more effective than what he originally picked as well as being non-drowsy.  No longer “skeptical Larry,” he was now “drainage Larry.”



It was still fairly early, but I wanted to take some night pictures of the hotel.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stay awake, but watched TV and managed to keep my eyes open until the sun went down.  I headed outside and played around with camera exposures.  















When I’d had my fill, I headed inside and gambled with $5 for about 30 minutes.  First with electronic black jack and then with nickel slots.  After 30 minutes I stopped caring at that point because I couldn’t take the cigarette smoke any longer, it was killing my eyes.  I called it quits, headed up to the room and went to bed.
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2017, 11:14:56 pm »

Day 5 – 6/23/2017 – Ely, NV to Red Bluff, CA – 545 Miles

Ely, NV to Red Bluff, CA – 545 Miles – MAP LINK

As mentioned we stayed at the Hotel Nevada 5 years ago.  When we had woke up that next morning, we had planned to take off and ride US 50, dubbed the Loneliest Highway in America.   But, as we were getting ready to go, my battery was absolutely dead.  I was able to find something in town that worked, and as I was installing it, it started to snow on us.  We waited it out for a bit, but were told the weather was coming from the west, so we changed our course that day and missed US 50.  When we woke up this morning, my bike started and there was no snow, we were already off to a great start.  It was pretty chilly though.

I had set my alarm for 5 and it sure came quickly after staying up to take pictures last night.  My wife and daughters called right on cue.  

Since the hotel doesn’t have a continental breakfast, we decided to forego breakfast and get going, taking off around 6:30.  It was about 50 degrees at launch.  Our first stop was a mile up the road, to get a picture of the sign.





US 50 was more entertaining than I expected, and that’s not just because there were jack rabbits running everywhere in the morning.  Sure, there were long boring straight sections, but I haven’t been on a road in Nevada where that wasn’t the case.  There were also several nice curvy sections, most notably just west of Ely.   We took a break during one of the straight sections.

















A Nevadan mirage…



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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2017, 11:17:51 pm »

There was a nice twisty section as we rode into Austin.  We ended up stopping while we were there to get some gas.  



Located inside was the friendliest gas station employee ever.  She was about 7 months pregnant and drove an hour and a half one way to her job at the Chevron.  We had seen several groups of people running along US 50, so I asked her if she knew what was going on.  She said it was a multi-day run down US 50 to raise money for a charity.  The rest of our conversation included her describing carnage she’s run across in the middle of nowhere Nevada to a group of guys riding their bicycles naked across US 50.  I asked her if she had any US 50 stickers.  She not only gave us stickers but also “Survival Guides” and stamped Austin for us.  I guess if you get stamps from each of the locations in the guide and send it in they send you a fancy pin.  





Continuing on, the next place we took a break as just along the road, with Sand Mountain Recreation Area in the background.  













It was here where the salt/sand section began.  It basically seemed like a mini salt flats.  On each side of the road for miles there were shapes, designs, words and phrases spelled out with black rocks.  We started seeing them shortly after taking off and I didn’t want to stop again, but I regret not putting a “TC9” out there.


As we were riding along, a military jet roared across the road in the distance and disappeared behind the mountains flying low.    Several miles later we saw road signs warning of aircraft testing in the area.  Then, while were entering the town of Fallon, we watched a jet land at Fallon Naval Air Station as we rode along.  Things slowed down considerably getting through Fallon and to Fernley.  Once there, we hopped on I-80 and cruised to Reno.  Our final conclusion was that US 50 was lonely, but the detour route we took 5 years ago down US 6 takes the lonely cake.  


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