When fellow inmate, DavidQ, mentioned an out west trip to the Grand Canyon several months ago, I enthusiastically said, “Yes!” I have never been but have always wanted to visit. He figured we needed two weeks; no problem. Two weeks away from work sounds like just the ticket! The plan was to both camp and motel, so we would have to carry all of our camping gear on the bike. We had both ridden out west under similar circumstances (Does Size Matter?), so we knew what to expect and tried to pack accordingly. Apparently, I am still not very good at that, but I really had to have all of this stuff! The gypsy goat wagon: Before the test ride: Bikes loaded and waiting on departure: Picking up DavidQ the next day: Notice how much more compact his gear is than mine? Finally, we are on the road: My English buddy Richard asserts that no trip is really started until there is a bag of Funyuns: I think there was some beef jerky and other inconvenience store junk food laying around too. Rain near Dallas: We had arranged to leave my truck with a high school friend of mine in northeast New Mexico. After driving all night, we finally made it. Ken made us breakfast and then we unloaded the bikes and headed out, but not before a picture of his family and myself: Ken makes homemade bread and had no trouble sharing it, but I did not get a pic of it! Good stuff! Thanks bro! So, off we go! The beginning of Day 1: I did not do the routing for this trip, so I only remember some of the routes we took. DavidQ has his own ride report here that I believe includes the routes we took if you would like to see the specific routes. This first day we rode some highway and National Forest land and ended up in Dulce, NM. Random pictures: A little snow left: Cool clouds: Self portrait: I scared up about a zillion of these: We were so very tired that first day. When we arrived in Dulce, we both felt like we could not go on, so we stopped at the Wild Horse Casino on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation: The casino had a restaurant and after checking out that restaurant and the sports bar next door, we decided that we would try our luck at the casino restaurant. The food was ok, but I don’t exactly remember what either of us ate. After dinner, I fell asleep before the sun went down. DavidQ ended up having to get another room since I was snoring and talking in my sleep. Day 2: Riding several reservations, Four Corners, wild horses! Lots of big sky: Wild horses!: Cows: Odd: Starting to warm up: Near Shiprock: I am always amazed at the different types of terrain. At every turn the scenery changes: Rare: Four Corners: On the road again: The wind was blowing like hell this day. I think we did 80 or 90 miles of this: I believe this horse was bridled: My camera battery died so I had to pull out the cell phone. We found a spot and made camp: Our dining room and observation deck for the upcoming sunset: I love any kind of curry and Indian or Thai food. This was very acceptable and filling after a long day and a pre-meal toddy: The setting sun: We managed to pass through these two states, although, these pics are out of order: Day 3: Mexican Hat Leaving the camp: Stopped for breakfast here in Blanding: Good roads: Did he say, “You're number one?”: I don’t do well in sand. DavidQ seemed to have no trouble: These next few are of, I believe, Valley of the Gods road: Met these lovely ladies from Australia who had secured a YEAR LONG holiday to ride through the States!: We decided we would stay in the town of Mexican Hat, so we shot over there and obtained two rooms at the San Juan Inn, a fairly nice hotel right on the San Juan river. The staff was very nice and they had a laundry. We got back out for more riding; Moke Dugway and Goosenecks were two of our destinations: On to THE Mexican Hat: I started up this hill that took a left up a steeper hill. Once I made the first part, I chickened out on the second. By then DavidQ rode up there and got stuck; nothing to do but turn them around. We headed back to the hotel, showered and went to the world famous Swinging Steak restaurant. I’m not sure what the swinging of the meat over the fire does, but the steak turned out pretty good. After dinner, I met with four guys, all related, that were originally from Rhode Island. They were nice guys and we sat around their bikes and talked the usual bike/guy stuff. There were two Moto Guzzis, a Tiger and some sort of BMW. Pic the next morning: Day 4: Hell’s Backbone, Ferry, two Kansans on KTM’s: There are supposed to be four planes in this picture, but now I only see three: Cruisin': Saw these two adventure riders disembarking the ferry: I believe this is Lake Powell: I had to use the restroom and luckily there was one soon after we hit dry land. I thought I kept hearing a bunch of motorcycles go by, but when I came out, I found this: I was cracking up, so I asked him what was up with that and he explained that he was just trying to make some air; it certainly was hot that day. It looked like fun, so I had to do it too: On we go: More terrain change: Hell’s Backbone: Met two fellow inmates, but I don’t remember their names: And their trusty steeds: I had been having trouble with my bike running very poorly. At speed, it seemed to do ok, but at idle, it was coughing and sputtering. I tried some octane boost, but that didn’t seem to help. One of the inmates we met asked if I had checked the air filter. Well, of course, I hadn’t. And, of course, when I got it apart, the air filter was pretty dirty; not completely clogged, but enough so that it seemed like that issue could be the culprit. I spent some time scraping the oily dirt from the filter in the hopes that that would help, but it didn’t. I didn’t get a picture of the filter, but I did of the air intake: I had also developed a valve tap. Dang, this wasn’t good. This was also the evening that DavidQ said he was ready to go home. So, the next morning, he left. Coming up: Day 5: Poorly running bike+lots of sand+poor sand rider=disaster?