riding to arizona, looking for advice

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by wicked94s10, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    I live in Columbus Ohio and am planning on riding out to death valley in early April. I was kinda curious about the weather at higher elevations in early April. I don't mind cold or snow on the ground just don't want to see any on the roads. Is this to early to be riding the mountains through Arizona?

    Also any must see places I'm open to suggestions

    On my list so far

    Carlsbad caverns
    Hover dam
    Grand canyon skywalk
    Page Arizona
    Death valley
    Antelope canyon
    Arizona 191

    By the way I'm riding a fjr1300 so this trip will be on road for the most part. I'm looking into renting a gs to do a few days of riding in death valley but not sure if that will happen
    #1
  2. swimmer

    swimmer armchair asshole

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    I've encountered snow on AZ 191 near Alpine in mid-May. It wasn't sticking to the roads but it was snowing pretty hard. Anyway, snow is certainly possible in the higher AZ elevations in April but I'd probably just plan your ride to include those areas then abort if needed.
    #2
  3. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    That's what the plan was, just seeing if people in that area thought that was to early or not. I know weather is kinda hard to call just finding out how it is on average
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  4. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    Although I've never been, I heard the Skywalk is not worth it.

    Do you have a route in mind? I love routing and can offer some suggestions.
    #4
  5. layzrider

    layzrider Layzrider

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    Carlsbad Caverns were great. About the neatest place I had ever seen. I would say get there early in the day and just go to the main cave area. I also went on the tour that takes you farther into the cave system. A different experience. I went back down after lunch and spent more time. You can stay in one of the nearby motels or camp in a campground to the south a few miles. I recommend the the Caverns to anyone passing through the area. As with any trip in the Sonoran Desert area, plan your mileage carefully, gas stations can be far apart.
    #5
  6. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the suggestions im going to look into the places suggested.

    Gas stations are not a big concern on the fjr she usually goes 225 miles minimum before the gas light even comes on.
    #6
  7. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    I don't have a route in mind yet since i don't have all my destinations figured. I am certainly open to your ideas and routes
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  8. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    any idea on how many days you'll be spending in AZ? With an FJR I assume you can do long days in the saddle.
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  9. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    Im planning on 14 days total. Usually I like to pace myself and do about 400-500 miles per day. I don't have a set number of days ill be in Arizona but I have alot I want to see there.


    So far this is what I have in mind

    On my way down I plan on hitting some twisties in Oklahoma
    Stopping for lunch at the end of the trail saloon in Ok
    Heading down into Texas
    Then going across the lower part of New Mexico
    Carlsbad caverns
    Ar191
    Then heading across to death valley
    Sequia and Yosemite depending on weather and road conditions
    Then back down for a quick stop and maybe stay the night in vegas
    Lake mead and Hover dam
    Grand canyon
    Walnut canyon
    Antelope canyon
    The nuclear test site (can't recall the name)
    Page arizona

    Then maybe head back home depending on time remaining
    #9
  10. EZ300

    EZ300 Just wanna ride my motorsickle

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  11. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    #11
  12. vaara

    vaara Been here awhile

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    The road across Yosemite (Tioga Road, Highway 120) is almost never open that early in the season, so if you want to hit Yosemite you'll have to enter from the Fresno (Hwy 41) side. A nice way to get there from DV is to ride down to Ridgecrest (via 395/14 or Trona Road) then over to Kernville via 178. Overnight in Kernville then -- depending on conditions -- take the canyon road to Bakersfield, the mountain road (155) over to the Central Valley, or the *really* back way through Johnsondale (Population 1½) and Camp Nelson onto 190.

    Generally, your biggest weather challenge in the Southwest -- besides rain/snow -- might be the wind. Spring can be a very windy time of year there, esp. in the high desert. Your FJR is a brick, so you might not mind too much, but on my Wee-Strom those 40-60mph crosswinds can be a female dog.
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  13. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    Ill take note of the suggested route to Yosemite if we end up going there.
    The fjr is not to bad in the wind but at freeway speeds 60mph crosswinds do blow the bike around a good bit. Last year I did a northwest, central California ride and a few places had winds like that. I can handle heavy wind, rain, and cold with no problem, icy roads are my only downfall that brings me to a stop quick
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  14. Montek

    Montek Eternal Noob

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    did not read all the post. But, they don't really clear the 191 of snow. they will run a snow plow until they can not. if they get all the way through, great. if not, then maybe in a couple days. They also throw a lot of cinders/gravel on the road so early spring rides are a bit eye opening. once traffic runs over it and forces the cinders off the road its good. usuallly mid may before the cinders are mostly gone. But, keep in mind all depends on the winter and snow amounts. Just a heads up if you ride it. be aware there could be black ice and loose cinders on the asphalt, or hit a snow blockage and have to turn around.

    Monte
    #14
  15. buls4evr

    buls4evr No Marks....

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    There is no problem running US191 above Morenci to Springerville in April. I have done it many times. It will have sand and gravel on it but the snow will be banks along the side generally, and is kept open for mine employees going South to work. Do it during the day after the sun has had a chance to hit it as melt runs across it and takes a while to get the freeze off the road. The hi areas are Rose PK. and around Hannagan Meadows and it will be cold up there.
    The OP should read "The What Next Wander Tour" in RR to see what this area looks like. Evomx971 rode this road in January with no problems. I do believe the OP is going a bridge too far for a 14 day trip however. These states are HUGE out here and take longer than you think to cross. Too bad CA 120 will be closed to Yosemite as it is a great road.
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  16. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    I did 8000 miles in 13 days last year with as many stops. I will be riding morning to night all 14 days. If i can't see everything i want in those days ill just have to come back a second time. I usually ride with no map and just see where the road takes me most of the time. This usually adds a day or two to my projected return date
    #16
  17. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    That's pretty important when tackling a trip this ambitious in such a short span. It can be done but you've got to be pretty disciplined. Getting up at the crack of dawn to maximize daylight and places being open and having the foresight to schedule long stretches of highway at night to get from point A to B to chew up unwanted spans of land. If you did 8k in 13 days I'm sure you already know this.
    #17
  18. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

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    AZ1
    That route takes you through Phoenix. I like it because it includes Yarnell/Prescott forest and the whole 89A but it will add some really boring miles through Phoenix to the trip.

    AZ2
    If you want to avoid Phoenix then you head up from 191 and continue riding the rim through Payson.

    I'm just giving you that for now for AZ because I have no idea where you'll be coming from the day you enter into AZ. I assume through Silver City since you'll be visiting Carlsbad.
    #18
  19. wicked94s10

    wicked94s10 Been here awhile

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    Looks like ill be taking 82, 70 to 191 that way i can pass through white sands
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  20. sonoran

    sonoran Making ADV great again

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    Rt 2 is the better route, plus you can do a short detour to the south rim of the GC which is far better than the skywalk thing.
    #20