Alone at the Grand Canyon - North Rim, Toroweap...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by dave6253, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Solitude at the Grand Canyon
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    I can hardly believe it's been an entire year since my last Grand Canyon experience. Last June I rode All the Way Around the Grand Canyon.:super I did that trip with a point-and-shoot camera. Since then I got my first DSLR and have been working to understand more about photography. I find myself wanting to return to some of the beautiful and lonely places I've ridden to recapture the light and solitude.

    WARNING: One rule of photography I've definitely not mastered, shoot many, share only the absolute best few. I'm trying to be more selective, but if I like it or think it adds to the RR I'm sharing.:wink:

    This ride will be different than the last. Instead of trying to completely circumnavigate the Grand Canyon I plan to cut out all the boring parts. My focus will be The North Rim, the west side of the Kiabab Plateau, and Toroweap. Of course, not everything goes as planned...

    The Weather Forecasts:

    Accuweather.com
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    Weather.com
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    I'm pretty sure the meteorologists were just GUESSING!:loco
    #1
  2. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

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    Very nice:clapand very jealous.
    #2
  3. Rainier_Rider

    Rainier_Rider Gone

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    Delete this account.
    Those photo's are great!
    #3
  4. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Friday

    "Be prepared to change your plans. It will be good for you." I stare at the small strip of paper and let those words sink in. I'm at lunch with co-workers only hours away from starting a motorcycle journey. I wonder about the message in my fortune cookie and it's implications.

    Once underway I head straight out of the furnace on the fastest route possible. I-17 Sucks.

    I pass a photo radar van. The good news it that these are going the way of the Dodo Bird. Photo radar ends statewide in July!:super We've had the most photo radar in the U.S. for the last year. Local Jurisdictions may still use photo radar, but the statewide program of fixed and mobile photo radar ENDS.
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    SLAB. YUCK.
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    But the slab is the fastest way out of the desert and into the cool country.
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    I grab dinner in Flagstaff.
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    While the bike takes a break.
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    Then we head north on the 89.
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    My initial plans were to camp near Flagstaff, but I got on the road earlier than expected and have plenty of daylight left. There will not be camping available again until I cross the Navajo Nation and reach the Kiabab Plateau. It will be dark by then.
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    The clouds ahead become interesting...
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    #4
  5. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

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    Great pictures
    #5
  6. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I cross the new bridge next to the old bridge at Cameron, AZ.
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    I stop to gear up for the rain on a section of the old highway that sometimes parallels the new highway.
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    I figure I should get the rain gear on, even though it's warm and dry. I'm apparently heading towards a storm.
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    I suffer for another hot 30 minutes or so in the rain suit before the rains come. On the approach to the Kiabab Plateau the skies looked clearer to the south end of the plateau. I had planned to camp near Jacob Lake, but it was raining pretty good there when I gassed up. I decided to head closer to the park entrance hoping the rain would stop.

    It was dark, cold, rainy, and foggy. To make matters worse I'm wearing the wrong helmet. I wore my old Nolan Flip-up because I can shoot the DSLR without removing the helmet. I didn't bring the pin-lock insert to prevent fogging(it never worked anyway). I have to ride with the shield cracked open. Visiblilty is bad as water gets on both sides of the visor and fogging is still a problem. The rain and cold hitting my face causes my eyes to tear. This is not good. I must ride slow and be extra vigilant for deer.

    I should have worn my old Scorpion. That thing NEVER fogs.
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    I make it to Forest Road 22 just north of the National Park Entrance. I run a mile off Highway 67 and find a camping spot. The rain has let up allowing me to set up camp in the dry. It was about 10 PM when I crawl into the tent.
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    If the rains hold off I'll get up at 3:30 to ensure I get to the North Rim in time for sunrise photos. Then I'll spend the morning riding out to Point Sublime. I then planned to eventually make it over to Toroweap for sunset tomorrow.
    #6
  7. MikJogg

    MikJogg Weekend Adventurer

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    Really nice pics!
    #7
  8. exoff-roadgoat

    exoff-roadgoat Will ride for food

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    :clapDude, are you touching those photos up? You must have a very good camera and some talent because I don't think I've seen pictures that vivid. Do you wash your bike before a shoot? Its too clean. Regardless, keep up the good work.
    #8
  9. wallache

    wallache Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #9
  10. Roadengn

    Roadengn Amature Adventurer

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    Great Photos! Thank You for posting. I went to the south rim last year, now You inspired me to visit the North Rim.
    #10
  11. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Post-processing with Lightroom.:type I'm still very much an amateur. The bike was fairly clean when I started, but don't worry. It will get muddy soon.

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!:thumb
    #11
  12. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Thanks! The North Rim is much nicer for motorcycle rides, unless you like lots of tourists clogging a paved road and every vista point.
    #12
  13. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    It rained all night, so there wasn't much point in getting up at 3:30 like planned. There will be no good sunrise photos today. I sleep in and a big thunderstorm rolled through at 7 AM. Finally as the storm moves away to the north and the time between the flash and the thunder increases I crawl out.
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    Blue Skies!:thumb
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    Squishy Roads
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    The temp is about 33-34 degrees and there is ice on the bike.
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    Breakfast
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    I get on the road by 8 AM.
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    On the 67 I head south to the park.
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    What a beautiful morning!
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    Just look at those popcorn clouds. It's gonna be a great day for a ride.:super
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    #13
  14. ZaethDekar

    ZaethDekar Been here awhile

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    The pictures are amazing and it looks like a great ride. :-) You have some great talent!
    #14
  15. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Entering the park you can see where the wet roads end.:thumb
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    I decided to check out the conditions of Point Sublime Road. This road was closed last June supposedly for deadfalls. I REALLY want to make it out there on this trip.
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    Doh! CLOSED AGAIN!
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    I tried to find information on whether this road would be open prior to leaving for this trip. There is very little information on this road on the parks website. I called the "Weather and Road Conditions" hotline, a long distance call. After pushing buttons I get a recording. After several minutes of a detailed weather report (Which was WRONG) the recording ended and the line went dead. I assumed this means there are no road closures! I ask the fee collector at the entrance booth and even she had NO IDEA if the road would be open!

    What gives NPS? You have no problem collecting all of those fees, but can't keep a short road open, or at least inform the public when you decide to restrict the use of our land? A few miles away the roads in the National Forest are in perfect condition. Not ONE DEADFALL!

    RANT OVER. Time for a new plan.
    #15
  16. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Thanks, ZeathDekar! I would love to make it back to Washington State again. Beautiful Country!
    #16
  17. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    Great pictures. I just came back from that area a few days ago. Amazing place it is.
    #17
  18. DUC54

    DUC54 Giddy Up!!!

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    Dave,
    Please keep sharing your great pictures and report!!!! Thank you for taking us along with you!!!
    #18
  19. preacher dan

    preacher dan Adventurer

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    thanks for the pics they are wonderful...i enjoy the north rim so much and go as often as i can,it's like another planet and so refreshin,,,,
    #19
  20. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    I park at the North Rim and go for a walk towards Bright Angel Point. It's really warming up. It's almost 60 degrees already. I'm in motorcycle gear so I don't make it all the way out to the point. The light is already too harsh for good photos anyway.
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    I see what looks like scattered thunderstorms approaching from the south. Remember the forecast calls for isolated thunderstorms....
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    My plan for the day has changed. I will ride out to Cape Royal to get photos of Angel's Window. I then plan to ride out to as many National Forest Points as I can on the west side of highway 67.
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    The ride out to Cape Royal is heavenly! I highly recommend it for any motorcyclist.:thumb
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    Last year I made it to Crazy Jugs Point, Montezuma Point, and Parissawampitts Point. I didn't get off the bike to hike out to the view point at the last two though. Today I plan to make it to these and several other points that can be accessed on beautiful forest service roads outside the National Park. One of my goals for this trip is to camp at Crazy Jugs Point. I plan to do that tonight.
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    Meanwhile, it looks as though I'm headed straight towards those isolated showers.
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    Just a little shower?
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    Almost there. You can see Angel's Window from the road here.
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    #20