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Old 09-15-2011, 05:08 AM   #16
Sunday Rider
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Wow, great pictures.

Where are you now at the present moment?
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:29 PM   #17
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Four Corners and Page, AZ

Hi everyone!! I'm still on my ride to Argentina. Sorry I haven't updated this ride report in a long while. A lot has happened since my last post! I'm in Central America presently. But let's pick up the story again from when I left Colorado…

After spending time in Mesa Verde, it was time to make my way to the west coast. My next stop will be Page, AZ (by Lake Powell), about four hours from Cortez on US Route 491 / 160. I'll be passing through the Four Corners region where the borders of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico converge to a point.

US 491 is the new name for US 666 aka "The Devil's Highway". Portions of this highway were among the most dangerous roads in the US. In 2003, the highway was renumbered and safety improvements made in a bid to improve tourism along the route.

I am intrigued by the geology of this region with the numerous buttes and canyons. The lands here are part of the Colorado Plateau, which includes Monument Valley and Grand Canyon.



Chimney Rock, Ute Reservation near Towaoc

I rode past Towaoc, admiring the landscape, when suddenly there was a sign welcoming me to New Mexico. What?? I glanced down at the GPS and it was constantly recalculating: I was heading south instead of west.

Oops, I must have missed a turn! 491 splits into 160 right at Chimney Rock and I wasn't paying attention. I pulled a quick u-ey and headed back to Colorado.



Welcome (back) to Colorado (dumbass)!

I guess it was an "opportunity" to see Chimney Rock from a different angle.



I finally joined Hwy 160 west to the Four Corners Monument. We're in Navajo territory now. As I approached the monument, the words "tourist trap" immediately came to mind. I debated whether or not to stop.

The kid at the entrance asked if I was a member of a Native American tribe (free entrance). Aren't we all brothers? Nope! Haha. I happily paid the $3 fee and took a few pictures.



On all fours (states)

Page, AZ was still about 3 hours away. I wanted to get there before nightfall since I wasn't sure where I was going to spend the night. Travel sites report that every hotel/motel near Page was booked solid that day.

Surely there must be something? I got to Page and soon I was directed to the Best Western Plus where apparently a room is available. For $250/night! Ha! No thanks, I'll keep looking!

Amazingly, it seemed like every hotel in town was indeed full. Even the local campground at Wahweap was full. Soon I passed another campground with a "No Vacancy" sign. I stopped anyway.

The attendant confirmed that they are full but they have a rough "overflow" area where I can pitch a tent. I checked out the area and it was perfect!! Rough for an RV maybe but great for a tent. They wanted $15, which includes the use of all facilities (w/ hot showers and wi-fi). Done deal!!



Scouting the "overflow" area. From my shadow's angle, one can tell it was 8:35pm on August 8, 2011

I set up my tent and soon a couple riders on nice big Harleys also came by. They were from Michigan on a three-week tour of the US. Sweet!

The next morning, as we said our goodbyes the Harley riders mentioned they were going to check out nearby Horseshoe Bend. Apparently it's one of the most photographed parts of the Colorado River.

I left late in the morning and wasn't sure where this Horseshoe Bend was. I rode down Hwy 89 and saw an area with lots of parked cars. I pulled in and saw the two Harleys; yup, I came to the right place.




And a short hike later, the overlook with its 1,000 ft drop. It gets pretty "exciting" to get close to cliff's edge!



The rock formation here looks very strong, but the structure underneath is prone to erosion and can crumble at any time. Last summer a young tourist from Greece fell 600ft to his death when the ledge he was standing on suddenly gave way. According to the locals, Horseshoe Bend is also the "suicide capital" of Arizona. Yikes!
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:41 AM   #18
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Nice Photos! Looking forward to more!
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:28 AM   #19
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Thanks for continuing the trip. WE WANT MORE!!!!!
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Old 11-26-2011, 07:21 AM   #20
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excellent pics! thanks for sharing. safe travels..........
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:24 AM   #21
Manolito
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I'm in
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:05 AM   #22
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Great report and pics. Page, AZ is a total tourist trap because of Lake Powell and its closeness to the Grand Canyon - got stuck there in a hotel for week (really expensive). Looking forward to details of the rest of your trip.
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:51 PM   #23
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peekay

I think I saw your bike at a hotel in Ensenada.. is this right? I don't remember when but I think I did!!

any way, I am enjoing the RR!!! keep it up it is very nice!!

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Old 11-26-2011, 10:58 PM   #24
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Hi Damasovi, I ended up stopping by Ensenada twice, for a few days each, so it was probably me!! Too bad we didn't meet up, it would have been nice to meet a local rider. I really enjoyed my time there and hope to come back!!
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:08 PM   #25
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Antelope Canyon

My original reason to ride through Page, AZ was to see the picturesque Antelope Canyon, a mecca for "landscape" photographers popularized by Australian photographer Peter Lik.

Yet when I got to Page, I started to have some doubts. Due to safety and other reasons, a Navajo guide is required to visit Upper Antelope Canyon, so one must join one of several Navajo-authorized tours in the city. I'm fine with that, except that virtually all of the tour operators had extremely poor reviews on Trip Advisor and elsewhere.

I also had that lingering feeling whenever I visit a popular place: thousands of other photographers and visitors have taken pictures of the canyon -- what more could I possibly contribute? I had a feeling that any picture I take will probably look like any other Antelope picture taken by anyone else.

Well with that defeatist attitude, I contacted the tour companies anyway, and was promptly shot down: advance reservations required, and all of their tours have already sold out for the next several days!

And that was that.

I was at the campground office when one of the clerks suddenly said, "you know, you could just go to the canyon yourself, and grab a guide there." Huh?

"Yeah," he continued, "most tourists don't know this, but you don't actually have to reserve a tour at all." Another alternative is to just show up at the Navajo territory, where they run trips to the canyon all day long from inside the reserve. I guess most visitors get directed to the city tour companies because whoever sends them there gets a cut. Hmm!

So after Horseshoe Bend, I rode to the Navajo reserve, signed-up for the next trip and within 30 minutes we were on the way to the canyon on a 4x4.



Navajo territory. I was happy not riding my fully loaded bike here.



Dom our excellent Navajo guide caught a little mouse


Many photographers come to Antelope to "catch the light" (see Peter Lik's work above for an example), done by throwing sand/dust in the air to create a shaft of light, then taking a bracket of exposures using a tripod. I decided I was just going to enjoy being there and take a few snapshots handheld.


Entrance to the slot canyon



Neat patterns formed by erosion

Looking at the sandstone patterns is like looking at cloud formations. One formation looks like Abe Lincoln, another looks like a heart. The huge range of light intensity from almost pure dark to blinding highlights was amazing (a tripod would indeed have been useful).


It's a bird! It's a fish! It's a (sandstone formation)!

Despite my earlier skepticism, I really enjoyed walking through Antelope Canyon. After the tour, the day was getting late, and I still had to ride to my next destination: Vegas, Baby! But before that I need to make a "small" detour.
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Old 11-26-2011, 11:20 PM   #26
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Nice pics.
Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:27 AM   #27
Morinite
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Outstanding job

Fantastic work thus far. I'm subscribed for this, Antelope Canyon looks amazing, I will go there too one day. Thank you for sharing... eh?
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:27 AM   #28
Sunday Rider
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WOW Peekay, Those pictures are breathtaking. I am glad you went to the canyon to take those. Thanks for posting them.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #29
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Detour

Hi everyone! One more quick post today to try to catch up to real time…

It was quite late in the afternoon when my Antelope tour ended. I didn't feel like staying another night in Page, so onward to Las Vegas is the plan. Google estimates a 5-hour ride to Vegas, which means I'll arrive there at night (and once again break my resolve not to ride at night).



Lake Powell at a distance, circa 2011

I had a small dilemma. There was so much to see in that beautiful country. From Page, Grand Canyon is a short ride south-west. Bryce Canyon is a short ride north-west. Monument Valley is a bit to the east. Zion National Park is just a little bit out of the way. Not to mention, I'm literally a stone-throw's distance away from Lake Powell.

All these great places I've always wanted to visit, and I was going to miss them ALL.

"I'll ride through them next time," I said to myself. But I was afraid there wont be a next time.

I looked at the map, and decided to ride through Zion on the way to Vegas. If I get there fast enough, there might JUST be enough daylight to enjoy a section of the park, before riding hard to Vegas.

So off I went. My ride will take me from the Arizona border into Utah, then south-west to Nevada. Of course not long after entering Utah, the traffic crawls to a stop east of Kanab. "I don't have time for this!", I thought as the shadows started to get really long.

Soon though a couple of F16s streaked low and fast through the skies, burners on -- pretty cool!!! I wish I had my camera out. They were probably from Nellis AFB. (Later I checked the aviation "sectional" maps for the area which showed a Military Training Route parallel to the road I was on). That took my mind off the stop-and-go traffic for a while.



Nearing Zion, where the buffalos roam


It was almost 9pm by the time I arrived at Zion; not much sun left. The Ranger at the gate was a bit surprised to see me arrive. I showed her my Park's Pass and went on my way.



The promised (park)



Lots of wildlife at Zion



Beautiful curvy ride through the park


Night arrived and the moon came out to play. I took a few remaining pictures. I do hope there will be a next time.



A little bit of light remaining

It was 10pm by the time I left Zion. I stopped by a gas station and checked the GPS: 3 hours to Vegas through a couple small mountain ranges. I got there in about 2.5 hours. After Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion, and now Vegas, I was totally beat! I thought about taking some pictures, but hit the sack instead and slept for like 2 days. Haha!

From Navajo territory to Mormon country to Sin City -- all in a day -- I have to admit I have nothing to complain about!
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peekay screwed with this post 11-27-2011 at 11:39 AM
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:13 PM   #30
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What is your timeline for the trip?
Are you riding down and shipping back or a round trip.

Be safe and relax and see and smell the roses.
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