4 Corners states

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by cb60130, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I was at work about 6 weeks ago and stumbled across some info for the Flying Monkey Rally in Zion. I was kinda interested since I've never been up in that neck of the woods. I threw the bait out to a couple of my buddies and they were lukewarm at best in their interest. I threw the bait to my wife and she took it. I sold it pretty smooth since it was my birthday weekend. As soon as she gave me the hall pass I requested a couple days off work and it was set, I had a 5 day weekend.

    It wasn't long before my buddies lukewarm interest had gone cold. I had already secured the time off so I was planning on going with or without them. Full disclosure... I wasn't really in to the big group ride idea as much as I was in to just seeing the area. I'm sure they are fun and it looks like they put together a really cool event but I'm just kind of an introvert so flying solo to a rally just isn't in my nature. In addition to that, life has been a little bumpy lately and I just really wanted some time to decompress. I thought maybe I'd just plot my own course and take a walkabout. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of a few days to myself. Nothing but radio silence on the rally from my buddies... I had 5 days and a blank canvas.

    I sat at work one afternoon looking at google maps. Originally Zion was my destination. Then I started thinking about other stuff I wouldn't mind seeing. Eventually I had put together a loose loop close to 2000 miles and never even made it to Zion. As time passed I continued to refine my route. Gas stops, food, lodging/camping options, alternate routes. My walkabout was taking shape.
    #1
  2. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Having never been on anything longer than an overnight camp and ride I was new to planning the logistics. This would also be all road miles, another new adventure. I had spent the last few trips trimming the excess bulk from my kit so I felt pretty good about not over packing. It was time for some new shoes for my bike so I opted to try some Shinko 705's. They were a more road friendly tire than what I was planning on for my next set and they are super affordable so I didn't have to burn up a set of knobs in 5 days. I also had to get some cold weather gear since I'm a desert dweller and every piece of gear I have is max cool vented. The temps on my route were going to be flirting with freezing temps, I'm a little soft when it comes to being cold so I wasn't going to chance it. As my blast off approached I got my affairs in order. Tires, jacket, pants, gloves, new shorty touring boots and a new tail bag.
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  3. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    The week finally arrived... I had gone over the bike, had my kit all packed, route finalized, GPS loaded with routes.

    Wednesday night I gassed up, loaded the bike, crossed all my T's and dotted the I's and went to bed like a kid on Christmas eve.

    I woke up Thursday morning and got rolling just after the sun came up. P1010362.JPG
    There were a few clouds in the sky which was nice as I headed East out of town, kept the low sun out of my eyes.... P1010364.JPG
    I'd leave city traffic just about the time the sun cleared those clouds and I would hit HWY87 out of Fountain Hills and head North towards Payson. Smooth sailing for 100 miles or so as the sun climbed up in the sky. A little bit before Clint's Well I hit some road construction... sat and waited about 10 minutes or so for our turn.
    P1010367.JPG
    Stopped for a splash of gas in Clint's Well and pressed on to Lake Mary Road which would take me in to Flagstaff.
    #3
  4. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I'd catch HWY89 North out of Flagstaff toward Cameron where I'd get another splash of gas and a Whopper at Burger King. As you get closer to Marble Canyon, on your left is just rolling hills covered in knee high grass and to your right are red rock cliffs. I'd be interested to know the geology at work there.
    P1010372.JPG P1010370.JPG
    I'd take a left turn at HWY89a and head toward Marble Canyon. The Red cliffs just seem to go on forever....
    P1010378.JPG P1010381.JPG
    and so does the road...
    #4
  5. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Eventually you end up at the Navajo Bridge across The Colorado River. The water here is kind of an electric green color...
    P1010387.JPG
    There's a bridge you drive over and one you can walk over. P1010395.JPG P1010390.JPG
    and a visitor center...with a bathroom!
    P1010392.JPG
    #5
  6. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Just after you cross the river there's Marble Canyon Lodge and a store with gas if you need it...

    From there I headed toward Vermillion Cliffs. There's some cool rocks that look like they were the inspiration for Wile E. Coyote cartoons.
    P1010398.JPG P1010399.JPG
    At this point... coming or going... the views are pretty cool.
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    Along the Vermillion Cliffs...
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    After passing the end of the cliffs I started to climb out of the desert...
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  7. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    The climb out of the desert took me to Jacobs Lake at about 7900' elevation. I arrived right around 2:00pm. The campground here has a handful of sites available on a first come first served basis. I found a spot and laid claim by setting up my tent. KIMG0343.JPG
    I had about 4 hours of daylight to work with and I was about 40 miles from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon so I made tracks to check off a box on my itinerary.

    Shortly after departing I started to see the signs of fall arriving...
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    The Aspen trees were in full glory
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    and the buffalo roam....
    P1010416.JPG
    #7
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  8. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Passed some turkeys, a hand full of deer and plenty of fall color before arriving at the rim of the canyon... P1010430.JPG
    P1010435.JPG KIMG0356.JPG
    sorry....shameless selfie...
    KIMG0358.JPG
    #8
  9. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Daylight was starting to dwindle and I still needed to get back to camp before dark and the big critters started to creep closer to the edge of the road... time to beat feet back to camp...
    KIMG0359.JPG
    yeah.... those critters... the ones I don't like to see by the road when I'm on my motorcycle...

    the shadows getting long...
    P1010454.JPG
    a little stop for some oat sodas and a postcard...
    KIMG0365.JPG
    made it back to camp about 30 minutes before dark and the campground host came by peddling bundles of firewood... it was chilly and a fire was definitely in my future.
    KIMG0367.JPG
    #9
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  10. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    with the fire going... I had other business to tend to...
    KIMG0366.JPG
    After making short work of the Chili Mac I needed to put the other oat sodas to bed while I warmed my bones by the fire.

    The moon was in full glory...
    KIMG0370.JPG
    Just about the time I ran out of oat sodas, the firewood was gone too.

    Time to crawl in the bag with 426 miles down.

    Life is good....
    #10
  11. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Must have had something to do with those oat sodas.... I woke up and had to pee. It was light enough that I didn't need a flashlight in the tent. I laid there for a minute thinking the sun must be coming up. I unzipped my sleeping bag threw on my sweatshirt and shoes and went to answer nature's call. The full moon was bright, but the horizon to the east wasn't. I checked my phone... it was 12:09. Sweet... I could still get a few hours of shut eye.
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  12. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I woke up another time or two when I rustled around enough to let a cold draft in to my bag. I could tell it was cold. I wasn't uncomfortable but when you let a draft in the bag you knew it was cold out there. Some time shortly after 5, I woke to the sound of a pack of coyotes(?) making a heck of a racket. I don't know if there's wolves up that way, they just seemed to have a bit deeper voice than the coyotes closer to home. It was a bit cooler than when I woke up around midnight so I opted to stay in my bag for a bit since it was cozy. I tried to convince myself that I'd fall back to sleep but 5:30 is my work week wake up time and I was pretty well rested. After 15 minutes or so I quit fighting it and decided it was time to get the day started.

    I crawled out of the tent as the sky was starting to get light in the East. It was quiet, I just kind of hung out for 15-20 minutes enjoying the first light before I started making coffee and breakfast.
    #12
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  13. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    P1010456.JPG
    Got a little something warm going to fill my belly... KIMG0373.JPG
    Got busy breaking camp... KIMG0372.JPG
    #13
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  14. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I wasn't in a huge hurry to get moving as it was a tad bit chilly... dropped in to the mid 30's overnight. By the time I got all packed up and ready to roll it was just getting in to the 40's. Across the road for a splash of gas and I'd be on my way P1010459.JPG
    My route this morning would have me back track to HWY89

    On my way down to the desert a nice view across the desert floor at the Vermillion cliffs again. KIMG0374.JPG
    Once I got back to HWY89 a little climb and a look at where I had just come from.
    KPNR0379.JPG
    I just think... VAST is the best way to describe what you're looking at here. Like usual, a picture with a pocket sized digital camera or a phone rarely does justice but I think this kind of conveys the spirit.

    Just at the crest of the climb there was a little pass where they cut the highway right through the rock... I think it's cool when they do that kind of stuff P1010472.JPG
    #14
  15. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Once I hit Page AZ, I got a splash of gas and headed East On HWY98 to HWY160, over to Kayenta where I would head North on HWY163 toward Monument Valley.

    Just North of Kayenta things would start taking shape of what was to come. P1010477.JPG
    Wasn't long before I crossed in to Utah... my first official state line crossing on my bike. KIMG0382.JPG

    P1010491.JPG

    When you get to the Forest Gump spot on the highway it was a full shit show. People standing in the road taking pictures, cars honking trying not to hit them. I didn't want any part of that so I just pulled all the way off the side in the dirt and took my obligatory picture here. KIMG0386.JPG
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  16. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    From there a few more miles to Mexican Hat where I'd get a splash of gas and a green chili cheeseburger... P1010502.JPG

    Just out of town the hills are really cool looking...
    P1010503.JPG

    and there's Mexican Hat rock... P1010505.JPG
    and more of those funky looking hills...
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    Those dirt roads like that were really tempting but I hadn't really done any homework and I was trying to cover a lot of ground so I didn't leave myself a lot of time to dilly dally... perhaps next time though...
    #16
  17. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    Then there was a sign and a dirt road that looked like a place to explore, Valley of the Gods... again I hadn't researched or allotted time so I just snuck up the road a half mile or so to see what was out that way... next time...
    KIMG0390.JPG P1010512.JPG

    Back on the highway, eventually you start to climb out of the valley floor P1010514.JPG

    HWY163 meets HWY191 around Bluff Utah where I would head North through Blanding and up to Monticello.
    P1010515.JPG
    #17
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  18. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    as you pass between Blanding and Monticello Utah the signs warn you of deer crossing... and judging by the splatter marks that seemed to be spaced by no more than a 1/4 mile, I'd say they were an accurate warning. Every so often you'd catch a whiff of decomposition, a sure sign that there was a carcass rotting just off the road surface. Not going to lie... it was a tad bit unsettling buzzing up that stretch of road at 65-70mph thinking that any second one of those damn deer would jihad my ass on the road. As I neared Monticello the view to my West was nothing short of spectacular... again the sun was not doing me any favors with the pictures but I think it captures the essence...
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    If you look close you'll see that ain't your standard barbed wire fence post... it's like 8 feet tall... but there's still deer splatter what seems like every 1/4 mile...

    I rolled in to Monticello Utah and hung a right turn on HWY491, grabbed a splash of gas, pressed on and bid farewell to Utah...
    KIMG0394.JPG
    I crossed in to "Colorful Colorado" in a brown valley... shortly after I'd head North on HWY141.

    HWY141 was a beautiful 2 lane road that would wind it's way in to my target of Norwood Colorado for the night. I'd catch a glimpse or 2 of some big snow capped peaks on my way in....
    eventually I would hit Norwood, which like most towns along my route was just a bend in the road with a gas pump, a market, a bar 'n' grill and maybe a motel or lodge.

    After a little effort I secured a room at Hotel Norwood... KIMG0398.JPG
    I unloaded my bike a bit, snuck across the street to the liquor store to get some beer. I grabbed a hot shower, a cold beer and a fresh change of clothes, decided to go in search of some dinner. When I went downstairs I ran in to a hand full of locals who pointed me in the direction of the "Hitching Post" for some dinner. I made the walk, a couple blocks, to the Hitching Post and got another cold Coor's and a pulled pork sandwich with onion rings.... Devine!!!!

    The big ass moon was rising on my chilly walk back to the Hotel Norwood... KIMG0399.JPG
    #18
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  19. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I got back to my room and cracked a cold beer, laid down on the bed and fell asleep before I even had a sip.

    Day 2 in the books...

    383 miles behind me
    #19
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  20. cb60130

    cb60130 Been here awhile

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    I slept pretty good in Norwood. Really good actually. I woke up around 8 which was 7 according to my time but I lost and hour after leaving AZ. I rolled out of bed, grabbed a shower, made a cup of coffee and a freeze dried breakfast skillet meal while I packed up my stuff. Another perfect morning without a cloud in sight.

    My plan for the day was to take HWY145 East along the San Miguel River to HWY62 near Placerville then across to Ridgeway where I'd Jump on HWY550 South through Ouray, Silverton and Durango. Then South through Farmington NM to Grants and depending on what king of time I was making I wanted to get to a bend in the road town called Quemado NM.

    Dropping in to the San Miguel River valley P1010521.JPG
    The fall colors were unbelievable.
    P1010528.JPG P1010530.JPG
    There were a couple campgrounds along this stretch... note to self for next time through and don't forget a fly rod.
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    #20