The Reconnection Ride: CA, NV, AZ, NM, TX, LA, MS, AR, OK, UT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rodr, May 30, 2011.

  1. onmttop

    onmttop Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Kernville, Ca
    Great report, thanks for sharing!!

    Ride safe,
    Ed
    #61
  2. Syntroxis

    Syntroxis Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    BryanTexas
    You went through some of my haunts - Sante Fe, Texas Hill country and Houston. Thanks for sharing the rr.
    #62
  3. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    The original plan for this day was to camp just before reaching Austin, NV via this route.

    [​IMG]
    Leaving Bryce Canyon.

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I decided to get out of the whole touristy mess and on the road for a while before stopping for breakfast. I picked the McD's in Beaver because it has wi-fi and I could work for a while and recharge the laptop battery, killing three birds with one stop.

    [​IMG]
    This was the only table with an outlet, and I had to stand on the chair to reach it. Didn't like that it was in the sun either, but that's life on the road!

    [​IMG]
    This begins the stretch on NV-487. There won't be any gas for a while, and it looks like some rain is in my future!

    [​IMG]
    I put the rain covers on the saddlebags, but otherwise didn't worry about it since it looked like on and off sprinkles and I didn't mind getting a bit wet. It did indeed rain on me for a couple of minutes, but that was it.

    [​IMG]
    The skies looking better again.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Hello Nevada!

    [​IMG]
    Goodbye Hatu! :lol3

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Stopped for lunch in Ely. I'll spare you the pic of a chicken sandwich and french fries. :D

    [​IMG]
    Blowing dust is a hazard around here.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Upon reaching the campground it looked very reasonable, rather isolated and I saw only one other person there. However it was cold and threatening rain again, and it didn't look like my mobile broadband would work there, so I went on to Austin to see what I could find.

    [​IMG]
    The ride to Austin was a pleasant surprise, hilly and twisty.

    There I think I got the last available hotel room. Yep I must be getting old. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    Next: Over the mountains and back home again.
    #63
  4. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Sounds like another one I'll have to get to someday. :deal

    Thanks to both of you for coming along!
    #64
  5. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,949
    Location:
    The Bluegrass
    I stayed at the Veiw Hotel in Monument Valley . I got a room on the backside away from the valley for $75 . It must have been low season rate though , late October.

    Keep up the good work on the report , you're doing great !
    #65
  6. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Thanks! Final day coming up....
    #66
  7. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    It's been a fantastic two and a half weeks, but I am very happy to be on the final leg and on my way home. Map here.

    Highway 50 in Nevada is billed as "the loneliest road in America". And indeed, the stretch from Austin to Fallon is 110 miles of almost nothing.

    [​IMG]
    Leaving Austin with a full tank of gas.

    This is high desert, a few thousand feet in elevation, and the riding was colder that I expected. I stopped on the side of the road to put on a sweatshirt and my glove liners.

    Now about the "almost". I wasn't expecting to have breakfast until reaching Fallon, but about 50 miles out of Austin I saw a highway sign flash by that said Cold Springs and included that food logo that you often see on these green signs. I immediately went on high alert, and saw a big gravel lot on the left with some buildings on it. One of the buildings had a Cold Springs sign, but there were no other clues that food might be there. I pulled in and parked near the building that had a few cars in front of it.

    [​IMG]

    The inside looked new and inviting. There was a large bar in the front area, and restaurant tables in the back. A woman with long silver hair greeted me, invited me to sit anywhere in either area, brought coffee and told me about their breakfast special which I promptly ordered.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    That's a squeeze bottle of syrup on the other side of my coffee cup. It was warm! :thumb

    I finished and paid at the bar, where a couple of patrons were sitting and one of them asked me about my BMW. :lol3 We chatted for a minute about my travels.

    "Hon, OK if I take your picture for my travelogue?" I asked the waitress/manager/cashier. She said sure, and something I can't quite remember about what not to do with it on the Internet. :D

    [​IMG]

    And then, warmed up and in a good mood, I took out the glove liners and got back to my lonely ride.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    A sign pointing to this said something like Sand Hill Recreation Area. Maybe for dune buggies?

    [​IMG]
    Fallon, NV

    [​IMG]
    A while later, the mountains come into view.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Lake Tahoe

    [​IMG]
    I pulled off at a boat launch area to take some pics.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Traffic jam!

    [​IMG]
    And its cause.

    [​IMG]
    This stream runs along the highway for many miles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Going through Sacramento.

    [​IMG]
    And home at last.

    Next, I'll wrap up with some final comments and statistics.
    #67
  8. rick505

    rick505 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    74
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Not to ask a too obvious question from a newer rider (I didn't say young), what tank bag and saddle bags are you using?? It may be obvious to others but they look to be almost exactly what I've been looking for.

    Thanks,

    Rick
    Albuquerque, NM
    #68
  9. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Hi Rick, the soft side bags are Nelson Rigg CL-850's. The tank bag is the Abrams by Rapid Transit. I've been very happy with both.

    Dave I'm truly flattered. Coming from you that's high praise indeed. Your own RR's were a big reason that I chose a Weestrom for myself. Thank you!
    #69
  10. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Figuring out how to wrap this up is a challenge. It has been an experience with many dimensions and there is no one simple take-away. Let's start with a little statistical summary, and I'll add some further comments from there.

    Code:
    Miles                             5,790
    Riding Days                          16
    Elapsed Days                         18
    Average Miles per Riding Day        362
    Nights in Hotels                     10
    Nights Camping                        3
    Nights with Friends/Family            4
    Mechanical Failures                   0
    Accidents                             0
    Pucker Moments                        1
    People who Pissed me Off              0
    Weather                         Perfect
    It was a lot of miles per day, and that was mainly due to time constraints. Ideally I'd like each day to be around 200-300 miles, leaving more time to visit and explore and enjoy the things around me. The time constraints were both self-imposed and real. It's not so easy to work while traveling, even in my "ideal" world of working via the Internet. It still requires a great deal of mental focus, and doing it with all the distractions and uncertainties of travel does not work very well. Having returned now there is quite a bit to catch up on.

    Camping would have been more fun without the need to work on the computer and have Internet access. Without electricity and an enclosed space, many limiting factors come into play such as battery life, lighting, insects and weather. Availabiity of cellular-based broadband is another issue. It also takes quite a bit of extra time to set up camp on arrival, and to take it down when done. I'd originally planned to do it 6-7 nights but instead camped only 3 nights.

    Speaking of broadband, one thing that really struck me is how badly Internet access sucks in this country. Most hotels have wi-fi, but it was usually unreliable and slow. The slowness is not so much about raw data speed, but about the poor quality of data transport. It was common for a simple "ping" test to show 20% or more of lost packets. This is grossly unacceptable, especially for a business setting. In addition both of the homes that I stayed in have DSL-based broadband, and in both of these cases it suffered in the same way as it did in the hotels. The broadband situation in the U.S. is disgraceful and debilitating, and given how much business depends on it I don't think it's too much of a stretch to give it some blame for our economic woes.

    OK back to motorcycling. Mechanical stuff. I am so impressed with the reliability of my mount. It just worked, never complained or hiccuped. I don't have enough experience with different brands of machines to know if I should thank Suzuki, or Japanese quality, or modern improvements in the industry as a whole. But thankful I am.

    I'll attribute the accident-free aspect of my adventure to a combination of luck and riding carefully. I'm getting too old for broken bones and such, and so I try hard to ride within my limits while still having fun. It's largely about statistics: If you ride a lot, and ride in a way that entails risk, it's guaranteed to catch up with you.

    By "pucker moments" I mean situations where the risk is just too high, and if you have too many of those you're going to crash and get hurt and maybe ruin your vacation. Mine occurred on highway 163 after failing to find a place to spend the night in Monument Valley. Going uphill on a one-lane gravel hairpin curve with the sun in my eyes and unable to see the road in front of me. Very dangerous.

    The weather was the luck of the draw, and I lucked out. Yes the Gulf states were hot and sticky, but that's to be expected and as a Mississippi boy I have a lot of experience with that. There were two very brief moments of rain, for which the rain gear that I brought along was unnecessary.

    People. Wonderful everywhere. You hear so many stories of stupid cagers and general rudeness, but I encountered none of that. Perhaps I was just lucky, but also I think there is an art to being non-confrontational and inviting others to be that way.

    So I'll leave you with those random thoughts, and wish you the best in your own adventures.
    #70
  11. Mechanoligist

    Mechanoligist Just along for the ride

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    115
    Location:
    Central Mass
    First class report! Just great from start to epilog. I am going to miss checking it out first thing. Have a great summer.

    :clap

    Thanks Again
    #71
  12. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,079
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Thanks for the great read!
    #72
  13. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Thanks to both of you for following along!
    #73
  14. Mike92

    Mike92 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    356
    Location:
    South Texas
    Thanks for taking us along for the ride! I always enjoy the adventures of a fellow wee rider. They are an incredible bike.

    I hope the hot Texas weather won't deter you from making a return ride someday. Look me up if you do!

    :thumbup
    #74
  15. Jenn

    Jenn praise seitan!

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,064
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Great trip report, Rod!

    That smoke in AZ looked horrible! I know how bad it was riding through distant forest fire smoke in Idaho for several hours - did you lose your voice after breathing in all that smoke?

    Love the pictures of that suspension bridge!

    Awesome surprise parade - like my surprise rodeo!

    Did you completely miss on New Orleans?

    I love your little summary - 362 miles/day for 16 days is pretty intense!

    I did 4000 miles in 25 days and I don't think I would have covered that much if I hadn't spent a couple nights here and there - just having to get on the bike and cover that much every day would have killed me. I encountered some really awful wind in some stretches - and nearly got hypothermia going into Yellowstone - it's amazing how much that drained me (I slept a lot in my two nights in Yellowstone!)

    Was wind an issue? Heat? Cold?
    #75
  16. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    Hi Jenn! :wave I loved your recent RR also (hint to others: see Jenn's sig).

    No, didn't suffer any ill effects from the smoke, other than the annoyance of the big dent it put in my carefully planned route. But I really pity all the people who live around there.

    I didn't get into the City of N.O. It would have been fun but with nobody to share it with and feeling some time pressure, I decided to press on. Was great though to spend some time with my buddy on the other side of the Ponchartrain bridge.

    I was very lucky with the weather, it was kind to me. That made it easy to munch miles. Houston was really hot but that was the worst of it. Many areas were quite windy but that was never a safety problem for me, the big annoyance was just terrible gas mileage when fighting it.

    Thanks for the comments!

    #76
  17. Jenn

    Jenn praise seitan!

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,064
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Oh, man - even without a partner to tour the city - you missed out by not going! If you haven't been to New Orleans - or post-Katrina New Orleans - there is so much to see. Also - much better po-boys than what you probably got at that little place you photographed! :)

    I wanted to do my trip via the south through NOLA & Texas originally but with all the heat and drought in Texas, gave it a pass. I love NOLA - if I could really get a good job there without starting from the bottom in some other field - I'd probably snap it up and go.
    #77
  18. rodr

    rodr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    687
    Location:
    Fairfield, CA, USA
    I actually lived in N.O. for 2 summers back in my college days. Way pre-Katrina, but that still made it easier to skip. Of course summers are pretty sticky there but I loved it anyway. Would be great to go back with a little more time and company!
    #78