The Grand Staircase

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by kickstandsup, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Day 6 - Marble Canyon to Flagstaff

    An odd tidbit: both my phone and satnav had the time at 9:00, so I get ready to leave. Fire Ginger up, look at the clock on the dash, says 8:15. Phone and satnav agree, 9:15. They apparently didn't recognize the timezone change coming back into Arizona. Oh, well, nothing wrong with getting an early start.

    Decided to do a swing north to Page, Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam. Glad I did, more interesting topography.

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    Heading to Flagstaff, you know you're close when the San Francisco Peaks come into view.

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    A swing into the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.

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    Got lava?

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    With a much better view of the peaks.

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    Staying at the Little America Inn in Flagstaff, a peculiar name for a great hotel on very picturesque grounds. Good restaurant and bar too.

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    #41
  2. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    The Turn for Home

    Day 7 - Flagstaff to Tucson

    Dangerously windy, that's today's Flagstaff forecast. All day, and supposedly getting worse through the day. I've plotted a backroad route thru the forest that will hopefully shield me from the worst, but we'll see. Breakfast at the Little America was fantastic, contactless check out, Ginger's packed and ready to roll. A pleasant 52 degrees but, yes, windy.

    Into the forest

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    I head past Upper and Lower Lake Mary, or I should say, what's left of them. From the National Forest Service:

    Sometimes it's a lake. Sometimes it's not. Lower Lake Mary, the smaller of Flagstaff's twin lakes, has a tendency to disappear during the long dry spells that periodically hit this area.

    Well, if you have any doubt we're in a long dry spell...

    Lower Lake Mary

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    Upper Lake Mary

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    Riding through the trees, the wind wasn't too bad. But there are several open sections and it was absolutely fierce...tough riding that I was glad to put behind me at Happy Jack.

    And, boy, did I hit the weather perfectly...I'm traveling "Today"

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    I can guarantee Jack would not be Happy traveling a few days later. Route looks like this.

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    Drop out of the forest and back into the desert, with a rest stop at Roosevelt Lake; the blue water against the desert landscape as beautiful as ever.

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    Water break, it is now HOT, in the 90s, with a high of 94 before home. Typical mountain/desert day, a 40+ degree swing.


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    The dam and the bridge

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    And there you have it, seven days of perfect weather and beautiful scenery. A great post-vaccine kickoff.

    Perhaps the best news of all, this headline:

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    Hoping to visit Ginger's sister Mia sometime this summer; she's patiently waiting in Heidelberg, Germany.

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    Get your shots and let's all get back to living! There's no time to waste.

    Cheers!

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    #42
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  3. live2ridetahoe

    live2ridetahoe BSN, RN, CEN, TCRN, MICN Supporter

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    I expect a full RR from Germany!! I enjoyed this!

    Tahoe
    #43
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  4. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Fingers crossed! :photog
    #44
  5. danisOTR

    danisOTR Living Life on the Road Supporter

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    Good thing Mia is already there. According to Air Canada they are not shipping bikes this year.

    Keep us apprised of your plans. We may shoot for Fall to Portugal but without bikes.

    Thanks for posting this excellent ride report. We’ll be referring to it over the next few weeks as we work our way through CO, UT and AZ.
    #45
  6. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Not surprised at all about Air Canada, bike shipment has to be a very small business for them and likely not worth the aggravation in these uncertain times. Very glad Mia is already there; I just hope I can follow! Everything is flexible, so waiting on more information to come out on details.

    Thanks for the kind words, it was a great trip, you can't go wrong riding around this area. Ginger got her 36k service today, so she's tanned, ready and rested for whatever comes next. :photog
    #46
  7. aclearspot

    aclearspot Adventurer

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    The only thing you missed in my book was a visit to "the swinging steak". Best steak I've ever had
    #47
  8. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Been there, done that...just not on this trip! :photog

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    #48
  9. Brakelate

    Brakelate Supermoto Adventurer

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    Wow, you went right by my place and never even waved! :lol2

    OK, so where exactly is "The Swinging Steak"? My belly is commanding me to mount up and head there ASAP!
    #49
  10. PvtPts

    PvtPts Wanderer in training

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    Here is the Hogback from the air - circa 2016 -
    #50
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  11. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Mexican Hat, Utah, right next to the Hat Rock Inn. https://www.hatrockinn.com. :photog
    #51
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  12. Brakelate

    Brakelate Supermoto Adventurer

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    Oh Man! I love Mexican Hat and that area! So much so, I sank my previous truck in the San Juan River there on a Thanksgiving Weekend. Of course, after soaking the truck for 30 Hrs and digging around with everyone in the muck, we found out the river had been freshly contaminated with heavy minerals from a mine clean up that went bad up in Colorado. That was with the family and, all wet, muddy and frozen, we had to hitch a ride with one of the locals all the way back to the camp site back at Goulding's in Monument Valley! But that is another story for another day.

    Every time we have been by there, in truck or by bike, that place looked closed. We had to stay and eat at the place overlooking the river, right in the elbow of the 163 right at the bridge. Not bad, but no where near as appealing looking as the location you pointed out. Damn!

    Now I gotta go back. :clap IMG952015112695151942.jpg image (2).jpg image.jpg
    #52
  13. Brakelate

    Brakelate Supermoto Adventurer

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    SmokeyMountain.jpg Alstrom4.jpg PXL_20210316_005824088.jpg Shoreline.jpg Let me know when you and the wifey head back in the Land Rover (or anyone else out there on 2 or 4 wheels)! In return for the 'heads up' on the Hat Rock Inn (for that Steak :dukegirl , I also never even knew they had a pool) and poking me with a teaser stick to get out and go visit Rt. 12 and the 'Upper Escalante', I would gladly show you around to some of our favorite 'not so well known, off the beaten path' spots. If you prefer the comfort and confidence provided by a 4WD, when back this way, you should also hit the route down from Arches NP down The Moki Dugway switchbacks, into Valley of the Gods, The Goosenecks and down into Monument Valley. Or we could run the length of Smokey Mountain Road (unmaintained) and swing over to see Alstrom Point (pics below) and some of the other little spots that haven't been discovered and swarmed by hoards of tourists in rental cars (Alstrom is getting that way). To return the teaser favor, here are some pics of those spots.

    *If interested in a preview, you can also check out my 'Tube Channel as I have posted much of this stuff on recent trips by bike and various 4x4 rigs here at my disposal. Also check out my 'Lee's Ferry' and 'Navajo Bridge' ride vid. Next time you should swing down there as well, since you were right there at Vermilion which is just below us. We reside up on 'the shelf' right above where you stopped at Marble Canyon. Ooo, we could also do Rock House Road and link up with the Mormon Trail, down to Jacob's Lake and see if we just can't finally both get down to the North Rim 'the fun way'. :beer
    #53
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  14. Brakelate

    Brakelate Supermoto Adventurer

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    Hey, KSU. Sincerely I apologize for the horrible thread hi-jack. You just happened to be right in 'my back yard' and thought I would share.

    And the offer stands for you and anyone else to act as a 'behind the scenes tour guide' two wheels, or four if the timing is right, and you have not demonstrated yourself to be a total AssHat. :lol3

    Back on track; Did you find the 'detour' on your run up the mountain into Flagstaff at the Sunset Crater Volcano NP worth your time? I've camped in the Cinder Hills, but never have committed to making that full loop off the 89 to go and check it out. I'm not a hiker, but is it worth the fuel to zip around on a bike?

    :y0! Also makes me wonder if there is a 'Sinclair Dinosaur' Photo Thread already in progress over in The Photos section. If not, that would be funny.

    #54
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  15. michaellmcc

    michaellmcc Been here awhile

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    Enjoyed the trip report very much - thanks! We did much of Utah in early September, and got to see that snow base that's still there laid down, when the Canadians sent us a big freeze that 'probed' well into the mountain states. Chased us back south.

    Two weeks ago I was back again, enroute to Baja CA, and did the dirt over the mountains from Tucson, including the Aztec Trail west from Roosevelt Lake...and I had to ride it twice since it was closed about 15 miles out.

    You live in a riding paradise - keep up the reporting!
    #55
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  16. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Thanks for the offer, not sure exactly when we'll get back. My focus right now is tracking the EU... :photog

    Re the Sunset Crater, I'd been before and it really is a short detour on the way into Flag. I needed to stop for some R&R anyway, so might as well be someplace pretty, especially b/c I've got the forever park pass. :clap When I rolled up, the ranger looks at me and asks the standard question, "Do you have a park pass?" "Sure do!" "You don't need to pull it out, I never ask the folks in full gear to do that, have fun!" Chalk one up for ATGATT. :lol3
    #56
  17. kickstandsup

    kickstandsup Devout Atheist Supporter

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    Thanks for the kind words and for coming along! Having lived here 15 years now, I've really come to enjoy the landscape. Going back to trees feels claustrophobic!
    #57
  18. sracer

    sracer n00b

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    Thanks for the great trip report!
    #58
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  19. Geezerguy

    Geezerguy In the shadows

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    Nice RR with great photos. Thanks for posting.
    #59
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  20. Hiff-Hiffs

    Hiff-Hiffs Adventurer

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    Awesome ride report with stunning photos! Thanks for sharing. We went through Zion/Bryce/Escalante/Moab a couple years ago via car and it is on our list to get back again on the motorcycle. Words can't describe how amazing Escalante was.
    #60
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