First trip to Southwest USA. Any info appreciated.

Discussion in 'Americas' started by theshnizzle, May 14, 2018.

  1. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I will be riding from east,east of Toronto ,destination, probably Vegas but not sure. I am planning on riding across on 70 to Colorado Springs. Pikes peak, but only if I get there early enough. Wind my way across, mostly through the southern part, hitting up million dollar highway.

    Then going up and across to Moab, then south down to monument valley, Bryce Canyon and so on. I thought since I was in the area I might zip over to Vegas, just to see it, then Death Valley doesn’t look that far from there. Then down and across to Santa Fe. I was even considering popping down to Juarez to hit up a dentist.

    Grand Canyon is not on my list. I hate crowds. That’s why if I don’t get to pp first thing, I will pass.

    I just bought Colorado/Utah butler maps and I am using those for assistance. No dirt roads, pavement only please.

    Any routes or passes I should do, also good campgrounds to stay at. No off road BLMs.

    I have pulled this off butler maps that may be more or less what I am considering...

    Lizard head pass
    Independence pass
    East portal road
    Gateway/unaweep

    Pikes peak....antero....Carbondale....hotchkiss.....saperino......montrose....550 south....Durango...Cortez....placerville....naturita....Utah.....Moab.


    Utah.....191....95 n....24...12s.....89s....14w....15s.....to Vegas.

    I read that monument valley going southbound gives you the “iconic” view.

    For those who have been, and locals, above is what I have written on my paper so far. I know it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense presented like that but that’s kinda my start of mapping out a route.

    I don’t feel pressure to “have to do” something but I have heard that Bryce is a must see. Is that the road, 12....that the scenery changes every 20 miles or something? Since I have never been to the USA SW, I would like to see adobe homes, deserts, cactus, red rocks, typical SW scenery.

    70=across will be a slog but it’s what needs to be done. I will cross at Windsor and drop down 75 to 30 to 70. I’m unsure if it’s faster to not drop down so soon...any info is greatly appreciated.

    Oh, planning on leaving very late may or very start of June. I bought a mesh jacket that I will bring. I’m not sure what to expect weather wise considering the various elevations and hotter drier areas I will be hitting. Just trying to cover my bases.
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  2. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    I live in Denver

    It's likely gonna be HOT in moab and most southern utah.

    Colorado temps will be all over the place ! !

    Most paved passes will be open ...but ... there will be snow on the ground at higher elevation

    Keep in mind that the classic southwestern saguaro cactuses ( the tall ones with arms ...Snoppy''s brother Spike is always shown by these catus ) are ONLY found in Arizona and Baja. The area around cave creek AZ has some of the biggest and most spectacular ones ! !

    Mesa Vedra in Colorado has the classic desert cliff dwellings

    Taos NM has lots of Adobe buildings and homes. ..Very cool little town

    Good luck

    Scott
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  3. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    In your opinion would it be better to do this trip either early sept or mid September? I do have that option.
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  4. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The desert and Death Valley are best done winter time. You will see in AZ few folks outside in the heat of summer unless it's at elevation. CO you'll do better-my opinion by going into the mtns and stay as high as the season allows. Based on your post of riding passes and seeking roadside views let it be known you'll miss much of whats really there as it requires walking. As a 50 plus years rider I get the twisty part but I also know where the streams and good stuff are found an mother nature didn't put them all at roadsides.
    YES! on September. Read up on when the Aspens color up and try to shoot for that as a time frame. It will be cold in a.m. year round and really brisk when fall color comes. It's a fleeting, short season in the mtns but also when roads are open of most tourists except old farts like me.
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  5. k12lts

    k12lts Been here awhile

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    As noted above, Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez is worth the time. The ride south into Monument Valley is the picture you see all the time. The Indians have stands set up to sell some nice jewelry. We rode back north from there then took 261 to 95 to Hanksville, then to Torrey then south on 12 thru Escalante to Bryce Canyon. Beautiful ride. Get gas at Mexican Hat before your get on 261, it's 130 miles to Hanksville with nothing in between. 261 takes you from the valley to the top of a mesa up a great road. It's mostly gravel but the switchbacks are paved. Not a problem on any bike.


    [​IMG]

    12 from Torrey to Escalante is everything you've heard about, beautiful road.

    Consider taking US50 from Kansas City to Pueblo. Lots better than up on 70 and doesn't take too much longer.

    We rode Colorado and Utah in mid July. It was hot but not uncomfortable. Carry water.
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  6. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    Mid September may be better for the lower elevations but they could still be hot to f*^#ing hot. The big advantage of September would be the changing aspens in Colorado.

    Here's a route for leaving the Las Vegas area. It's a pit as far as I'm concerned but I get it's something to check out but I started the route in Boulder City just because I like it more.
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Bes...c8f!2m2!1d-112.4357638!2d37.8227551!3e0?hl=en

    I'd leave at 0:dark:30. This route has you riding over to Boulder Dam which is worth checking out. Then riding north along Lake Mead - it has a low speed limit but is scenic. If it's hot, take a dip in the lake. Red Rocks State Park is super scenic. An advantage is the gas station at I-15 has the cheapest gas in that area. The Virgin River Canyon on I-15 is rarely mentioned but is incredibly scenic. At that point, I routed you through Snow Canyon in St George which has beautiful red rocks. If it's too hot you can just continue on I-15 to Cedar City as you quickly climb to 5000+ feet and cooler temps. The climb continues up up up to Cedar Breaks National Monument at 10,000+'. There are national forest campgrounds in the area and then the descent down to the city of Panguitch at about 5000'. From there you have access to southeastern Utah.
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  7. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Sweet! Thanks! I have been looking at 36 across actually,across the midwest. Dropping down after first night camp in laFayette indiana. I read in another post somewhere that could be recommended over 1.70.

    I have been considering a quick ride through death valley while I'm out there. Thoughts?
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  8. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    I can't be too late in September since it could be colder at home. After camping in Dawson city last year at overnight freezing temps, and taking g a long time to warm up in the am, that's not something I want to repeat.
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  9. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Whoops, reread above results DV. Fu..ng hot,yeah??:D
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  10. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra

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    I said Las Vegas was f*^#ing hot. DV may well be beyond f*^#ing hot. If it's a full moon, you have good lights, and like riding at night that can be a magical even spooky experience. That's about the only way you'd catch me in DV during your time frame. Plus, it's so hot even after dark that I have trouble sleeping while camping. Probably find inexpensive hotels in Pahrump
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  11. No False Enthusiasm

    No False Enthusiasm a quiet adventurer

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    I enjoyed Valley of the Gods more than Monument Valley...

    If you ride up Moki Dugway ( Mexican Hat), Valley of the Gods is just next door.

    NFE
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  12. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Page, AZ - Upper Antelope Canyon.:deal

    On Navajo Nation land...requires a guide but it is something to see. Midday best for interior canyon lighting/photography.

    Zion NP at sunrise. No traffic to speak of and the views are spectacular.

    Page, AZ - Upper Antelope Canyon.:deal

    Arches NP is similar.

    UT-95 between Hanksville and 191 is incredible.:ricky

    Page, AZ - Upper Antelope Canyon.:deal
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  13. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Valley of the gods and moki...what condition are the roads to get there? Hard pack dirt, whoops, potholes, hidden sand traps, deep gravel in spots, ect?
    I'm not a dirt rider by any stretch of the imagination, and I will be alone.

    Based on these relies and what I have been reading, perhaps Sept might be a better bet. It's interesting how you have 2 states side by side bUT with vastly different temps.
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  14. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    Most of the road to Moki is paved if I remember correctly, but the switchbacks are hard packed gravel. A full dress Harley can make it. The wind was strong enough to blow my wife's DR350 over, and it shook my 400+ lb Aprilia. The switchbacks are tight, but not that bad. That said, there is always a chance you might drop the bike through there. Can you pick it up by yourself? If not, someone else will be along eventually, so it isn't a deal breaker.

    We could see the Valley of the Gods formations off in the distance, but didn't go out there. Probably packed dirt as well. I have read that if it rains, Utah dirt gets slimy.

    Just northwest of Moki, there are a couple of dirt roads that follow a rock formation called The Comb. Those have deep gravel that was difficult to navigate on my heavy bike. They are easily avoided though. Just avoid road names that include word like "wash". :lol3
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  15. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    For Pete's sakes ,Lori lives in Ontario and after this year's winter she might need the warmth of the SW to thaw out from April still .
    Go for it , don't mind the softies who complain about a little warmth .
    If you have a mesh jacket with appropriate armour/ padding wear that , leave the leather or heavy black textile jacket at home. It will just take up your precious cargo space . The mesh with a fleece track shirt and a windbreaker outer shell will work great for anything you will encounter in June . Layer or shed and wet down as the situation requires

    If you Approach Moab from the south as you come from Cortez and Monticello you can leave Monument Valley for the return trip.
    In that selection you can avoid repeating the 191 south , one has to make choices .
    Loop 191 North from Moab to I-70 West and 24 S to HANKSVILLE .
    I like your route outside the brackets ..""
    {Utah.....191....95 n....}24...12s.....89s....14w....15s.....to Las Vegas ""
    image.jpeg
    The Moki- Dugway route ( vista above)of US 191 has ONLY 5 km of gravel road winding down the escarpment , piece of cake , no worse than any gravel RR in Ontario.
    All roads are scenic in this corner but taking UT 14 west to I-15 sort of restricts you to only the western pocket of Zion NP . If you stay on US 89 south to Mt Carmel and go west on UT 9 you could hit the main body of the park . Either choice is fine though , both put you on I 15 to St George and Las Vegas .
    In LV stay a night , there will be good coupon booklet deals and findable on booking.com for some of the chain hotels just west off the strip within walking distance - but you can't walk it all so do some riding up and down , see all the crowds without needing to jostle in them .
    And for sure do the Death Valley loop , bring water , enter from Beatty and after running the full valley floor south past Badwater all paved , go to Baker and I-15. With a morning start at Beatty you could hit DV early in the day , a nice ride even in summer .Pick up I-15 east to the 164 cutoff to Searchlight ,then Bullhead City and Kingman and east to Flagstaff , your choice of highway if you intend to bypass Grand Canyon .
    A shorter loop of DV could be Beatty- DV Junction- Pahrump- LV .

    If you then still want to check out Monument Valley go from Flagstaff north and pick up US 160 east and you can camp at Kayenta and run up and down the MV for all of he views you want from sunup to sundown. image.jpeg

    Stay on 160 / 64 east at to Shiprock NM., it would set you up for a nice high country ride to Santa Fe.

    Do consider taking the side trip along Canyon de Chelley , great cliff side views of the canyon and old cliff dwellings , canyon tours in 4WD offered ( Take paved short route from Kayenta to Chinle where there is a nice campground )
    From Chinle there are excellent paved roads east to the junction at Tsaile where you can go north to LUKACHUKAI and take the scenic highway to RED ROCK and Shiprock ,ALL paved roads, or you can go south to WINDOW ROCK and eventually I-40 east to Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

    If you imagine seeing a lot of adobe houses be prepared for disappointment . You will see a lot of imitation - adobe-style houses in new developments but genuine old adobe is rather sparse. The most likely places to see it is on some of the native pueblos on the reservation , at Taos Pueblo and in the tiny antique section of old town Santa Fe , the stuff that shows up on the " iconic" postcards with strings of red chiles hanging on the walls .
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  16. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    On has to makes choices indeed SB!

    Lots of great info there. Thank you for your time. A local here I chatted with this am, who has done it twice, still recommended sept. Although, it' still a bit chilly here today...we are always min five degrees colder than anything g down by the 401.

    I bought a mesh jacket especially for this trip I was going to remove the liner and pack it, wear my klim overland on the ride there so I dont need to fuss with a rainsuit. I pack small and light enough now I could find room.

    I don' handle the heat as well as I used to BUT I am only used to Ontario hot and humid, not the drier heat. I don' really know what to expect in that regard.
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  17. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    A word of caution on mesh gear in the desert: over certain higher temperatures it can actually create bigger problems than it solves.

    Fundamental but your body is cooled by sweat. If the gear allows the sweat to evaporate before it can do its job you risk heatstroke.

    Might seem counterintuitive to us northerners but as an example...unlike back home, it can actually be cooler with your face shield down in the desert...or tucked in behind a tank pannier or windscreen.

    Think convection oven.

    Be aware. If you aren't sweating you're likely already in trouble. BTDTDWTTS
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  18. shrederscott

    shrederscott Long timer

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    Not sure where this urban myth comes from.

    I am a biologist so I know a few things about physiology.

    The biological process of creating sweat does NOT cool your body !

    The the cooling occurs due to the thermodynamic interactions of the sweat / water on your skin the change of the water from the liquid state to the vapor state.

    Also known as evaporation

    When the water evaporates from your body a cooling of your skin occurs this results in a cooling of the blood near the skin and helps keep your core body temperature from overheating.

    The evaporative effect / cooling is most effective in dry climates and least effective in humid climates.

    This is why if you put on a soaking wet shirt and a mesh jacket and ride in a hot dry climate you will get a tremendous cooling effect and virtually no cooling effect in a hot high humidity environment.

    In a hot dry environment the wet shirt trick works great BUT the effect is short because the shirt will dry quickly.

    The best way to enhance your body's natural cooling ability in a hot/dry climate is to buy the special neck bandanas that have a water absorbing crystal's built into them these crystals will swell up and hold like a hundred percent of their weight in water they will last for days before drying out and losing their effectiveness

    As the wet bandana is sitting on your neck --- and is losing water due to evaporation it is cool and because it is virtually on your carotid artery and the carotid artery carries a substantial amount of blood cooling the blood here is extremely effective in keeping both your brain and your body from overheating.

    Keep in mine in hot dry conditions your sweat will evaporate almost as fast as you can produce it so you never really get a soaking wet shirt like you would in a humid hot environment

    The other important thing to keep in mind is that you will lose a substantial amount of water with every breath that you take !!!

    The air that you breathe in is extremely dry and your lungs are extremely moist this will result in a substantial loss of moisture in your body simply by breathing the dry air.

    This is why you can become dehydrated in the desert even being still

    Hope this information helps

    Scott
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  19. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    Yes it is. Thanks for that. I had forgotten about the controversy about mesh or not to mesh. When I was riding in southern Mexico I was nauseous from the heat, fumes and dust.

    In WV one day I was in the sheetz parking lot on the blacktop with the temp reading 33/34 C and I was dying in my klim. I opened the jacket as far as I was comfortable to get some air flow once I got on the bike.

    It was still so hot. Very uncomfortable. I will have to put effort into drinking since I'm not a water drinker during the day.
    #19
  20. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Thank you.

    However you want to arrive there...like I said...be aware. If you aren't sweating you're likely already in trouble.
    #20