Southwest by Versys

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by klaviator, May 18, 2015.

  1. Kawi-Mike

    Kawi-Mike Been here awhile

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    TBickell mentioned Mexican Hat It. If you go thru there you have to eat at the Swinging Steak if they are still open. My brother in laws and I did a bike trip thru there a few years back and end up eating and have more than a few drinks. Live band and everything. Please let me know if it is still open
    #21
  2. cdwise

    cdwise Long timer Supporter

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    If you have a Kroger card you already have a City Market card. Same company, different name. Other names that use the same loyalty cards are Bakers, City Market, Food For Less, Dillons, King Soopers, Owen's Market and Ralphs.
    #22
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks for checking in.



    I spent a week riding Moab back in 05. I rode the WRT on my KLR. No way would I do the whole thing on my Versys. The Shafer switchbacks is what I had in mind. I do have detailed maps of the area but won't be there long enough to really need them this time.


    Thanks. I'll keep it this in mind but doubt I'll be in Mexican hat at dinner time. My plan is to make it up to Blanding or Monticello but then that could always change.
    #23
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks CD. I do have a Kroger card.
    #24
  5. Bicyclist

    Bicyclist Been here awhile

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    Good to know. I can whittle down my collection of cards some.
    #25
  6. TBickell

    TBickell And away we GO !!

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    I was at the Swinging Steak in Mexican Hat 4 weeks ago. It's still open and it's about the only game in town as far as grub. The Top Hat motel is within walking distance so you can stumble back and not have to take the bike. :evil:evil
    #26
  7. Raptorman

    Raptorman Adventurer

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    Kroger card also good here in Utah at Smith's. :ricky
    #27
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Back in 89 I made a loop through the west starting and finishing in San Diego. I did not make any motel reservations since I did not have any definite plans. I never had any problems finding a room and generally paid $20 - $40 night. I decided to play it safe this time and have been booking rooms in advance. Prices have gone up a bit since 1989:eek1 I hate doing it this way but don't want to end up without a room. Am I getting old, cautious and losing my sense of adventure?? I wonder how difficult it would be to find a room as I go along?

    I think next time I do this I will bring camping gear and not worry about planning so much in advance.
    #28
  9. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

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    #29
  10. bluestar

    bluestar sheep shagger

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    Yep. :D

    Seriously, there really isn't anything wrong with that type of planning. I've done it before but I don't plan on doing it again. I don't want to be that locked into a plan that has me at a definite destination every day.

    If I was worried about not finding a place to sleep at at a certain time, I would probably consider making reservations but not for every nite of a trip.

    Hope your trip is a good one. :thumb
    #30
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I didn't book all the nights but I probably over did it. It will be interesting to see If when I get into these town if there are still vacancies or not. I'll also take a look at the campgrounds in case I come back to the same area.
    #31
  12. Bicyclist

    Bicyclist Been here awhile

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    I do some general planning and look around to see what's available where I think I might be. Then as the trip unfolds, I'll make a reservation the night before or morning of, when I have a better idea of where I expect to end up that day. Friday and Saturday nights can sometimes be a problem, but the rest of the week usually isn't. If I'm going to be in a popular place like Moab, I like to have my flop nailed down ahead of time, not because I think there won't be one, but so I can grab one of the cheaper ones before they all get sucked up.

    You're right, it's a lot more expensive than it used to be.
    #32
  13. WheelsnKeels

    WheelsnKeels Bikes n Boats

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    Subscribed.

    Klav, maybe consider taking a camping hammock w/tarp (or small, 1-man tarp/tent), along with 3/4 length air mattress (or cheap pool float), a fleece sleeping bag, and 2 of those mylar 'emergency blankets'. All that won't take up much room, maybe 1-1.5 cubic feet at most, but will give you lots of flexibility in a pinch.

    The mylar blankets are noisy as all get out whenever you move :), but on a 'really cold' night placing them on the outside of the fleece so they are reflecting heat in and keeping wind out should suffice to keep you warm in whatever you hit out there, I would think? I may be wrong - maybe night temps drop a lot more drastically there - but I have used them that way when caught out with a 40* bag in 20* temps and it worked very well, I slept warm, if not nonstop. ;)

    Looking forward to the adventure! :)
    #33
  14. notsofasteddie

    notsofasteddie Semi Slow Rider

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    One thing I've become aware of is that a lot of motels are getting into "Revenue Enhancement", to the point of seminars for motel managers in this area (Northern Arizona, Southern Utah). The idea is the last room rented is the most expensive. That leads to rooms that would go for $100 or $150 ahead of time going for $250 or $300 a night (at least here in Page, AZ). BTW, in this area, consider small motels in Fredonia or maybe Hatch during the summer. You can save a lot money, but the eating options will be cut down some. And, even with those, you still may not have a room there if you just show up at dusk without calling ahead.

    Anywhere I've been there are usually small mom and pop places that can save you a bunch of money and are fairly decent (but probably not places that my wife would be really happy about if she were along). I find Tripadvisor to be a great tool. It's really hard to tell from the outside of the place what the bed and bedding is like. Camping outside of a established campground is still pretty easy on most Forest Service and BLM administered lands, but some of the areas, especially the National Monuments (some are BLM) have tight restrictions on stealth camping or even riding off of "established" roads (even to turn around or park). And the rangers will fine you if they catch you. My point there would be to check with a visitor center or online before going into a National Monument for information on approved camping.
    #34
  15. conchscooter

    conchscooter Long timer Supporter

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    I am glad your plans are coming together. I love the tidy look of the Versys with luggage and the motel plan sounds comfortable to me. Smartphones make it easy to make and cancel reservations.
    #35
  16. SteveTheLocal

    SteveTheLocal Been here awhile Supporter

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    I rely on Booking.com. You can sort by price, proximity, customer satisfaction rating, reserve in a couple of clicks, get deals, ask for special consideration such as ground floor, away from traffic, strong wifi signal, etc., and it's great for last minute reservations. I've even used a motel's wifi to book a cheaper room in that same motel when the night staff is supposed to rent the last room for gouging prices but it's listed on Booking.com for a reasonable rate! The night staff just laughed because they weren't authorized to discount. :lol3
    No I don't work for them, but it really is handy and I hate driving around and taking the gear off and on as I ask for info on each place I see. I like to dial it in when I'm about half an hour from when I feel like knocking off for the day. Europe, NA and SA all worked out great. :clap. Just sayin'.
    #36
  17. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I used trip advisor to check out the hotels and then used various sites to book the rooms. I only booked the rooms for Hurricane, Torrey, Blanding and Moab. I used Booking.com, tripadvisor and Travelocity to actually book the rooms. Sometimes one site would have rooms another did not.

    As for booking rooms on the road, that's my plan. I don't find my smartphone very user friendly for getting on the web and doing stuff. It's OK for emergencies when nothing else is available. That's why I bought a small, cheap laptop about a year ago to take with me on trips like this. I can use it for this sort of stuff, looking at the pics I took, downloading them to Photobucket and updating my ride report.

    For Notsofasteddie; since you live in N. Arizona I have some questions for you. I still haven't finalized my plan for Arizona. Is Canyon DeChelly worth seeing?

    I will be leaving Albuquerque sometime next Sunday between late morning and early afternoon if everything goes according to plan. Gallup has plenty of motels and they are cheap. Or I could go to Chinle and get an expensive room. Or are there other options. Monday night I want to be in position to ride to the N. Rim of the Grand Canyon and then to Hurricane. Any route suggestions for getting across NE AZ?? Then I need to stay somewhere Monday night. Page would work but rooms are real expensive or are there some cheap mom & pop places there. Or I could stay at the Lodge at Marble Canyon. Cheap but no TV or phone. I'm guessing no WiFi or cell coverage either. Any other options or suggestions??

    Anything else that is "must see" or "must ride" in NE AZ?
    #37
  18. complexCarlo

    complexCarlo Adventurer

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    I will be riding a ery similar route to Colorado Springs and back to San Fransisco. You have my sub, excited to see how this turns out :)
    #38
  19. notsofasteddie

    notsofasteddie Semi Slow Rider

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    A friend of mine says I'm like the guy living in NYC that has never been to Central Park (there's a lot around here that I haven't seen). So, with that said, I've never been to Canyon De Chelly (pronounced də·shā′ by the way). From people I know that have, it is a beautiful place. You have to take the guided tours as I understand it. And, you are right, the rooms in Chinle will be expensive. You could go as far as Tuba City but it will mean riding a lot of "Rez" roads, maybe at dusk and the chance of livestock on the roads is fairly high. That would take you through the Hopi villages though, and there is some history there (some of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in North America). And, I'm not sure Tuba City will be much cheaper than Chinle.

    In Page there is a place that is owned by a rider (riding newer KTM 990 now) named Gary Sparks. It's "The Suites on 10th". It is in a commercial area and is surrounded by boat storage places, but the rooms are all brand new and I know people that stay there long term and really love the place. The rates are going to be about 2/3 or 1/2 of the other major hotel rooms in Page and he doesn't jack up the prices at the last minute. He has however been booked up full every night for a while, so call ahead. Here's his contact info:

    Gary Sparks
    Call: 602.684.9403
    E-mail: gsparks67@gmail.com
    http://www.suiteson10th.com/index.php/site/page/view/about

    Marble Canyon Lodge is a great place. I haven't spent the night there but I have relatives that did and they loved it. I have been down there and watched the sunset and also the sunrise on the Vermilion Cliffs and that doesn't suck at all.

    For the night after Zion consider Hatch Station in Hatch, Utah - south of Panguitch. Small locally owned place with good rates. Good cell service with Verizon and decent Wi-Fi. Clean but small rooms. Another more reasonably priced place in the area in the Grand Staircase Inn in Cannonville. Big homemade motel with big rooms, in great condition. My cell service sucks there (Verizon) but the Wi-Fi and cable TV work great, and you can go up on top to Bryce for great cell service if necessary. I've stayed at both these places with and without my wife, and they are both in line with your Highway 12 travels. You can get food late at both places (convenience store) and there are a few other options within easy riding distance. You will be surrounded by European tourists - much like the rest of the area around here.

    My experience is that from May to late October in this whole area you need at least call ahead the morning before you plan on staying. Even the little cheap places can be booked up by mid-afternoon.

    I'll send you a pm with my phone number and if you get a chance we can talk about some options while both looking at a map.

    I'm jealous. I did a ride up through Capital Reef, then Blanding, and then home through Monument Valley at the end of October. Done that a couple of times now to catch the fall colors through Capital Reef.

    Thanks for taking us along on your ride!

    Ed
    Page, AZ
    #39
  20. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Thanks Ed for the info. I got your PM and sent one back.

    I'm re-thinking my plan and am thinking of going to the Petrified Forest instead of Canyon de Chelly. Then it will be easy to get an inexpensive motel in Holbrook. It would be an easy ride from Holbrook to Marble Canyon even if I detour through Page.
    #40