Father and Son ride the AZBDR and more

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dusty Pipes, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 8 continued...

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    And then the roads finally started to widen again and become smoother, it still felt rough to me because I had been shaked so much for so long, my wrists and hands were glad to see the smoother roads, even if we had to deal with some minor water crossings.

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    We made it to Young, we decided to hotel it that night so we could shower and have a bed to sleep in.
    #41
  2. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 9 Young, AZ to Flagstaff, AZ.

    So far this trip we have had really good weather, not too hot, not too cold, but today when we woke up that was all changed. At the start of the trip I knew there was risk for some bad weather that was in the long range forecast that would hit us as we got near Flagstaff. I was hoping the forecast would change, the storm would go further north, arrive earlier, etc, but unfortunately it did not. For the first time the weather was cold, windy and cloudy, there was definitely a storm coming in.
    So we had breakfast in Young, it wasn't going to be too long of a day, but it was a section I had been looking forward to, it was Mogollon Rim day!!! We left Young on paved roads, then eventually we turned off and the roads were wide and fast.

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    Given that this was a Sunday, there was a lot of trailer traffic on the rim road and surrounding area, it is too bad it was so cloudy, I can imagine the views when the sun is shining.

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    The pics do not show the temperature at the time, it was cold and very windy here, I was wearing lots of layers and had my grip heaters on at this point. As we left the rim and crossed over AZ87 we started to climb and came upon this high alpine prairie. I think this was by far my favorite section of the AZBDR so far, it was flat, and some sparse trees here and there.

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    #42
  3. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 9 continued...

    There was even a high alpine lake, the water looked cold and with the current low temps I had no intention or desire to get wet.

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    Once we got past the lake the road became more primitive and less traveled, there were more rocks and a lot of volcanic rocks in this area.

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    There were times on this section that the road, maybe better to call it a path, would split up and take multiple directions around rocks steps, bushes, it was slower going here, you had to be careful and pay attention to what was coming up.

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    We then popped out at an intersection and the road was much wider and faster, it was super cold at this point and there was the occasional snow flake, we still had a ways to go, I was wondering if we would get stuck out here and have to spend the night. We were also hungry as we didn't stop for lunch. You could see the impending storm closing in on us.

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    #43
  4. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 9 continued...

    Even though it would have been faster to just stay on the main route and not risk being hit with the impending storm, we still kept to our goal of riding all the alternate difficult sections, and boy was I glad we did, this section was awesome, I completely loved it, not much traffic on this part at all, at times it felt like we were making our own trails, just following the tracks on the GPS. By far my favorite part of the AZBDR.

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    Some nice technical descents thrown in for good measure, loving it!!!

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    And then what must come down, must go up.

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    My only complaint about this section was it was too short, I would have loved to have more of this. By now the snow/rain was becoming more frequent, we were going to get wet. When we popped out at Winona, we got gas and put on our rain gear, I was already fully geared up to keep warm, but the other 2 needed to gear up, it was raining now and we were on the interstate to Flagstaff.

    When we got to Flagstaff we ate first since we had skipped lunch we were pretty hungry, and then found some rooms online. We timed it almost perfectly, when we got to the hotel, the skies opened up and unleashed full downpour and it was cold, eventually it turned to snow. Luckily the Best Western Pony Soldier inn allowed us to park our bikes under the cover near the front door.

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    The forecast was not looking too good for us at this point, we decided to see what tomorrow would bring and decide what to do at that point.
    #44
  5. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    Great stuff and glad your posting this trip! Always waiting for the next segment. Cheers!!
    #45
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  6. Drybones

    Drybones Fish bones are on my truck seat cover, too

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    Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 3.56.52 PM.png This was where I ran into problems going the other way on my street bike :)

    Attached Files:

    #46
  7. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Ouch, hopefully nothing serious happened. That's not a good area for a street bike, way too many roller rocks there.
    #47
  8. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    :clap Great report so far!
    #48
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  9. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 10 Flagstaff, AZ Shelter in Place.

    When we woke up the storm continued to deliver us with rain and snow, so we decided it would be good to just stay in Flagstaff and make it a laundry day and take care of any items or adjustments on the bikes. Luckily we were making great time so far and were ahead of schedule so we had a day or so to spare.

    This is what we woke up to. Hard to believe this is May 20 in Arizona, back in Idaho it was sunny and warm, probably because we weren't there. We weren't the only ones waiting out the storm, there were a couple other groups of bikes at our hotel and saw several more sets of bikes at other hotels. Fingers crossed this passes soon so we can continue, getting reports of over 12 inches of snow at the North Rim.

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    #49
  10. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 11 Flagstaff, AZ to South Rim Grand Canyon NP

    As luck would have it there was a clearing in the weather, for at least the day, it was forecasted for more mess later in the evening and at times the next day, we made reservations for rooms at Grand Canyon Village, we would ride to the Grand Canyon via the AZBDR, then break off and explore the South Rim and then stay the night in the Village. But first we had to get new shoes for Damon's bike, upon inspection he really needed a new front tire, it was wearing badly and since we were at it we decided we might as well put a new rear on so that it would make the rest of the trip. It was Tuesday morning and we were at the local moto shop soon after breakfast. They didn't have too much of a selection but we went with a TKC80 for the front and a D606 for the rear, I would have rather had something more road worthy for the rear, but it was all they had, so we made it work. After that and an early lunch we headed back to Winona to continue north along the AZBDR.

    The weather had cleared up sometime last night, it was drying nicely as we got back into the dirt, the soil is very sandy in this area which probably also helped with the drying out, you could see the cinder cones all around the valley, it was cool.

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    Then it turned into this volcanic sand, it was more like a fine pea gravel and it wasn't packed down, you had to be on your toes because if you hit a soft spot it was an "oh shit" moment, I had a lot of those this day, but never went down, it just felt like I was going to at any time. Again, I am not a fan of sand.

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    And the farther we went along, the deeper and looser it got.

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    Then we got past the volcano area and the dirt became like it was before, this was a bit nicer than the loose volcanic sand.

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    #50
  11. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 11 continued...

    Then we even got into an area of rocks, at least for me this is way more preferred type of dirt than sand.

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    As we got closer to the Canyon we noticed the dirt was changing again, and it wasn't drying out as much as it had been earlier. Maybe it was the dirt, maybe it was they had more rain in this area, but this dirt was slick. All throughout the AZBDR we saw many signs saying "Impassable when wet", this was also in this area, but we were too far in to turn back to Winona, so we continued on, carefully. I have ridden my dirt bike in a lot of different conditions, we have an area near home where the soil is clay and when you ride on it you need to maintain a smoothness or you will regret it, the dirt there is like a grease when it is wet. This dirt here, is way more worse than that dirt, not only is it like a grease, it is a thick clingy grease that sticks to your tires and your boots. In the picture it doesn't look that wet or that bad, but trust me it was. I got cross rutted on one spot along here and have no idea how I didn't go down, I think it was because it was so slimy that there wasn't enough traction for me to fall over, I went completely sideways and stopped still standing, it was crazy. Sean wasn't so lucky he went down, luckily he was fine, the bike was a little tweaked. Damon, the one with the new tires said, "It's not so bad", but for us with worn in tires, it was bad.

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    Luckily we were able to survive the slime and made it to the paved road in the park. I have been to the Grand Canyon a couple of times before and every time I see it again it still leaves me in awe of it.

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    You could see the snow on the North Rim, they got over a foot of fresh snow from this storm.

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    It was cold here as well and there was more snow and rain coming towards us.

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    We did more exploring, went to see some of the exhibits at the museum and checked out some more viewpoints, then left to go to the Village, when we got there it was 37F and just starting to snow slightly again. We made it and would be warm and dry tonight, tomorrow will be a challenge with the weather we are expecting to see.
    #51
  12. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 12 South Rim, AZ to Page, AZ

    The original plan was to ride the AZBDR to completion and then do some exploring of the North Rim area, I read some ride reports about the Grand Canyon Backcountry Adventure Route (GCBAR) and really wanted to experience this area, however the foot of fresh snow put a damper on those plans. So the new plan was to ride what parts of the AZBDR we could, depending on mud conditions and then stop in Page, AZ for the night. We checked out of the hotel early, it was cold, almost frosty, we stopped for breakfast at the most expensive McD's in the world, gotta love the Opportunist Capitalism of America, in other words greed. It is interesting, because the McD's in West Yellowstone has normal prices, but not here. Another showing of our Park pass at the gates and we were back in the Grand Canyon NP. I wanted to check out the Desert View Watchtower so we stopped there, I was disappointed, I originally thought it was an old Native American tower, but it wasn't, it was designed by an architect. While we were there checking out the tower it started to snow on us again, really big flakes this time. Did I mention it was cold?

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    It was snowing so hard you couldn't even see into the canyon.

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    So after a cup of hot coffee we headed out into the snow.

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    We rode on AZ64 to Cameron, just north of there the AZBDR resumed and went along the eastern side of the Grand Canyon, however the road was far too muddy and with the rain/snow mix we passed on this part and took AZ89 to Marble Canyon, we stopped at the bridge for some photos.

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    #52
  13. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 12 continued...

    We stopped in Marble Canyon for some lunch and to warm up. I had my first Navajo Taco here, I had heard a lot about them, but didn't have a chance to try one until now, it was good, very tasty and warmed me up nicely. We were looking at the weather radar and our last section of the AZBDR, it didn't look good, but we really didn't want to miss this section, the last section, I really wanted to get pictures of the AZ/Utah border sign and to see the Vermilion Cliffs, so we decided we would tempt fate and "Impassable when wet" warnings and go for it.

    It wasn't too bad at the beginning of the area, but it didn't look very good in the direction we were heading.

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    It looked much better towards where we had already been, but with common sense put away for the time being we continued to progress towards our goal of the border sign.

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    It wasn't too bad at first, the road was well traveled so it was fairly firm if you were able to stay out of the ruts and on the main section.

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    But the closer to our goal we got, the worse it got, we were being challenged to see how far we would push it. I have a saying I keep telling myself when I am riding the really difficult single track in my area, "Keep moving forward", and that is what we did, we kept moving forward, closer and closer to our goal, counting down the miles to the end flag of the AZBDR. There were more "oh shit" moments than I could keep track of, or wanted, no one went down this time, but it was a surprise we didn't.

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    #53
  14. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 12 continued...

    SUCCESS!!!! After what was the longest most challenging 8 miles of my life, we made it to the goal, the border sign.

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    Not too much traction when your tire is completely covered in sandy clay dirt.

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    And of course the one with the newest tires again claimed it wasn't that bad, ahhh, to be young and fearless again. You can see he was able to maintain a higher speed to keep his tires cleaner than mine, at my age it hurts too much after falling so I tend to avoid the risk of it as much as possible.

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    But it wasn't over yet, we still had some more distance to do on this road to make it out to the other side, after a few miles it seemed to dry out more and wasn't as bad as it had been. I have never looked so forward to pavement before in my life, it was so nice to be able to ride again without fear of losing it at any moment. We made it to the Glen Canyon Dam, and saw the Dam view, and had some Dam questions. You could follow our muddy tracks from the bikes right to us.

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    #54
  15. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 12 continued...

    Just a couple more pictures of the Dam view and the Dam canyon. Anyone recognize the movie references? Unfortunately we missed the Dam tour.

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    Our hotel room had a nice view of the local golf course, after a nice meal and a couple of beers I slept like a rock, the AZBDR was finished, but I want to go back and ride the section we missed and to explore the GCBAR, another time and another adventure, but for now we still had to finish this one.

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    #55
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  16. BigDogRaven

    BigDogRaven Been here awhile

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    Awesome! What an adventure. Thx for sharing. Great pics.
    #56
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  17. t1hybrid

    t1hybrid The bike whisperer

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    Thank you sir for the most excellent RR!
    #57
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  18. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Excellent. Many memories.
    #58
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  19. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Thanks for all the great comments, this is my first ride report, wasn't sure how it would be.
    #59
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  20. rjnutt

    rjnutt Desert tortoise

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    I enjoyed it, makes me want to do the AZBDR!
    #60
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