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2 Amigos on the Grand Canyon Backcountry Adventure Route (GCBAR)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cactus_reese, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    191
    Location:
    Tucson
    GCBAR Day 1, Sep 13, 2019:
    Our plan for Sep 2019 was to ride the COBDR but the snowfall during the past winter had Russ worried. In about July, Russ writes Rick and I to tell us about this route around the Grand Canyon he came across. It was mapped out by dave6253 on the Advrider forum. He tells us we can ride it instead of the COBDR and won't have to camp in snow caves. We are in.

    We quickly begin new preparations, planning out gas stops, and seeking backcountry permits from the National Park. During this preparation period Rick informs us that he has had a few family emergencies occur and can't make it. The three amigos are now the dos amigos for the trip.
    When the time arrives, we load Russ's trailer and drive to Kingman, AZ to unload and begin.

    We leave the trailer and truck at this storage unit in Kingman.

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    #1
  2. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    191
    Location:
    Tucson
    Helmet Problem:
    The face shield bolt came off of Russ's helmet during the long freeway ride on I40. Tape held it until we found a bolt and washer combination at the True Value store in Williams AZ.
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    After fixing the helmet, we can ride on.
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    We arrived at Tusayan and gassed up, then helped some young German ladies figure out how to pump gas into their rental car. We next filled our bellies and our water containers at the National Geographic Society Visitor's Center, then headed out on the dirt road for Havasupai Point.
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    Havasupai Entry Fee Area:
    We met Hansen who was collecting the $25 per vehicle fee to cross the tribal lands. When you look at a map, it is clear that the road goes out of its way to cross the tribal lands. Clearly there was a political agreement involved here.

    Hansen was very cheery and wished us well. He said he was leading a crew on a work project out here.
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    Below is a VIDEO LINK to day 1
    https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-9C5b3vn/0/99fe25d5/1280/GCBAR Sep 2019 Day 1-1280.mp4
    #2
    Comrade Art, larryboy, Foiler and 3 others like this.
  3. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Road to Havasupai Point:
    After the entry fee area, the road degraded. I learned later that the park has a policy to not improve or repair roads in the backcountry of the park.
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    Nearing the Rim

    The road becomes more rocky as you approach the rim.
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    South Bass Trailhead:
    The first stop along the way was the South Bass Trailhead. The Bass trail goes into the canyon from rim to rim, so there is also a North Bass Trailhead; however, the North Bass Trailhead was closed because of a fire on the North Rim.

    We arrived at the trailhead at the beginning of the magic hour before sunset.
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    Here is the view into the canyon from South Bass Trailhead
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    The next stop on the way was Ruby Point. You can see Havasupai Point jutting out from the Ruby Point vista.
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    Havasupai point can be seen to the left.
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    #3
    Serp, ArdenLoneWolf, KLRalph and 5 others like this.
  4. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Arriving at Havasupai Point
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    The narrow ridge visible from Havasupai Pt is known as the Grand Scenic Divide
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    There was no camping allowed at Havasupai Point so we had to backtrack to find a camping spot at Signal Hill.
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    There was a full moon.
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    END OF DAY 1
    #4
  5. wilddoktor

    wilddoktor Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2019
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    NorCal
    In!
    #5
  6. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    I'm reading this from my tent at Havasupai Point right now!:happay
    #6
  7. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    Dave,
    We were very impressed by what you must have done to put this together. We had an enjoyable experience following the route. It was challenging but doable on a big bike...very similar to the BDRs. I will say that Nutter Twists were a bit more than I expected but the scenery on that route was amazing.
    -Bryan
    #7
    Foiler, Ginger Beard and dave6253 like this.
  8. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    By the way, Dave, if you are heading to Tatahatso, there was a sign at the Cameron Navajo Parks and Recreation building saying they were no longer issuing permits for Tatahatso Point. Don't know why. We arrived at the office on a Saturday and discovered they were not open on the weekends so we couldn't even talk to anyone.
    #8
  9. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Yes. Tatahatso Point is only accessible through guided tour now. I'm fine with that as I've already been there 3 times. Everyone else waited and missed out. Every other trail is open out here on the rez. Today I rode the BDR tracks from Cameron then added the Confluence Overlook where I'm camping right now!:super
    #9
    Blaise W, Foiler and cactus_reese like this.
  10. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    The confluence overlook would be a good add to the route.
    #10
  11. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    #11
    DesertSurfer likes this.
  12. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    Day break at Havasupai Pt.
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    We braved the crowds at Mather Point
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    #12
  13. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    Duck on a Rock
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    Grandview Point
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    The was an old mine on Horseshoe Mesa in the center of the picture above. The Grandview trail leads down to those mine ruins.

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    We went on to Desert View Point and grabbed an ice cream cone at the snack shop. Russ was right behind me in line and I was surprised after I checked out to see a family was in front of him ordering in broken English. I thought he was being a nice guy and letting the family with the little restless child order ahead of him. Afterwards he told me he how angry he was that this French-speaking family jumped right in front of him in line after he was waiting for 5 minutes to get a turn.
    #13
  14. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    We were disappointed at the Navajo Parks and Rec building.
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    Not only were they closed on Saturday...

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    ...they wouldn't have issued a permit to Tatahatso Point if they had been open. We had to skip this vista.
    #14
  15. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    Russ and I continued on to the Navajo Bridge.
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    Next we were on to House Rock Road heading for Buck Farm Point.
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    At Buck Farm we found this guy in a camper van who had been there for two weeks. Keep in mind that this place is a long way from civilization and there isn't a tree anywhere around and it was 90 deg F when we arrived. The guy proceeded to give us a profanity laced history of the Grand Canyon National Park. When speaking of folks attempting to add another Dam in the canyon with the argument that it would allow people up close access to many canyon features that they don't currently have, "Why don't you flood the blankity blank Sistine Chapel so you can get up close views of Michelangelo's art!?"

    At Buck Farm Point you can view the river coming...
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    ...and going
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    We decided to leave the hermit to himself and find some trees to camp near on the road toward Saddle Mountain.
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    #15
  16. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    GCBAR Day 3, Sep 15, 2019:
    Today was our first day tackling some of dave6253's skull and cross bones markers on his route. The obstacle was Saddle Mountain Road. This was a significant vertical clime through rocky terrain from desert to pine forest in about 10 miles.

    Saddle Mountain is visible in the distance from our camp spot.
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    Each of us would have an unplanned dismount on this day. Russ hit a rock step that bounced him into a bush ...
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    ...and I hit a tree trunk with my handle bar.
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    Here is the VIDEO LINK for DAY 3
    https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-D3DJKzC/0/a6056420/1280/GCBAR%20Sep%202019%20Day%203-1280.mp4
    #16
  17. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

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    We entered the GCNP North Rim on Day 3...
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    ... and the first thing we came to was the Buffalo herd.
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    We visited Saddle Mountain Point...
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    Marble Point...
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    ...and East Canyon Point...where the rain started.
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    We took dave6253's 'more fun' route option and ended the day at Jacob Lake in one of their cabins. We were happy for a shower and to wash some undies in the sink.
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    There were a few other adventure bikers at Jacob Lake but none of them had bikes that were dusty like ours.
    #17
  18. 72 Yamaha RD350

    72 Yamaha RD350 Followed the Wrong God Home Supporter

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    My last visit to Jacob’s Lake was 21 years ago. Fond memories. On the list of places to return to.

    If you want to understand what the hermit was referring to, read the book “Cadillac Desert” by Marc Reisner. It details the Bureau of Reclamation plans for the Grand Canyon. They were indeed planning to dam the entire canyon the same as Glen Canyon but scaled back after public opposition.
    #18
    cactus_reese likes this.
  19. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    GCBAR Day 4, Sep 16, 2019:
    Today we visit the main attractions of the North Rim. We leave Jacob Lake with Russ in the lead and my gopro accumulates enough dust that the video is compromised whenever our route is into the sun. The still shots from my camera are fine, though. We get into spectacular overlooks and end the day riding a 30 mile rugged 4WD road to Point Sublime, where we have a permit to camp.

    Cape Royal:
    First stop of the day...
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    ...does not disappoint.
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    We meet two groups of other riders, one BMW group from Washington and one group on Super Tenere's from Quebec. They all recognized our bikes from Jacob Lake. We end up following each other around most of the day until we take off on the rugged road to Point Sublime.
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    DAY 4 VIDEO LINK
    https://photos.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/GCBAR-Sep-2019/i-FnLbkG8/0/ddb18ea7/1280/GCBAR%20Sep%202019%20Day%204-1280.mp4
    #19
  20. cactus_reese

    cactus_reese Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Angel's Window:
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    Washington Riders
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    #20