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Western Romanticism - A Loop Around 10 Western States

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by foxton, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    The way to Vegas was uneventful. I wanted to split off at Baker head towards Death Valley into Pahrump and then make my way down the mountains into Vegas but decided against it. The night before I had drank a bit too much wine and forgot to charge most of my electronics (hence the solar panel), so with my phone already at less than 20% and a road I had never taken before, I judged that staying on 15 would be the best thing to do. On the way to Baker though however, is a road called Zzyxx; strange and mysterious and I had to check it out.

    Unfortunately Zzyxx was closed... the secrets persists.
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    I got gas at a Chevron in Baker with a perfect few of the World's largest thermometer. It was hot. I soaked my jersey in a bottle of water, did some stretches and began my final 2 hours of riding into Vegas. Up to this point the riding was quite boring, no wonder Halloran Springs encounters so many accidents. The road is straight and boring, tempting to any traveler just a smidge tired to trust the alignment of their wheels. However once I came down past the solar farms, I encountered super strong headwind that had me rocking left, right, and clenching my bars to stay upright. But the 45 minute ordeal led me into Vegas where I'm staying at Caesars.

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    The heat plus the reflective mirrors had the solar farms feeling like a scifi compound.
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    I had lived in Las Vegas but never bothered to stay in a hotel, not even for a staycation. It is incredibly irresponsible for me to stay in a hotel during the Pandemic, but with a suite costing only 109 dollars a night it was hard to pass up. I still have a ton of friends out here, so I was always going to stop. All I can do is mask up and avoid everything (but the poker tables).
    #21
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  2. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    The room I checked into, resided at the tower farthest down the highway, which I attributed it to being one of the fancier ones. Just for myself, they gave me a 1200 sqft room with a bathroom that's probably larger than my personal room back home. I made reservations to a steakhouse, pictures residing on my phone somewhere, and proceeded to enjoy my home for the next two days.

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    Before leaving for dinner though, I ditched the shower and instead hopped in the Jacuzzi tub and blasted the jets. The knots and soreness I had felt like they melted away. I almost missed dinner just lounging around.
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    Got dolled up for dinner.
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    Of course, I had to stay safe.
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    The hallways of 57th floor was very Kubrick-esque. My room was only 1 of 3 other ones occupied. It was very spooky indeed.
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    #22
  3. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,293
    If you come out to "redrum", don't walk away, RUN!
    #23
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  4. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,418
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Good on you for helping out that stranded biker, can only imagine that made his day getting some fuel so he could get to the next gas station. I bet he won't run out of fuel again anytime soon...lol.

    So, I have to ask - did you actually pack a suit and tie in your luggage? Not that getting properly dressed for dinner isn't important, but I do my damndest to limit the clothes I bring along...like a couple pairs of socks and boxers and that's it :lol2 :lol2

    Hope the stay in Sin City is good, don't lose your arse at the tables :D
    #24
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  5. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    haha I did pack a suit, which I'm shipping home after today.
    #25
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  6. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    Masks are a requirement in Vegas, but other than that for the most part it's operating how it always has been. Bars are a bit emptier but they're still up and running. I took a stroll around Caesar's Palace with my camera to see if I could bring to life some of the more quiet areas.
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    I heard that this Gordon Ramsay guy knows a thing or two about cooking, so maybe his restaurant won't be terrible.

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    The pigs in a blanket were incredibly delicious, and for 15 dollars I'm gonna keep telling myself that.
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    I barely made it 25 yards when I got drawn into another bar. Here I had a glass of pinot and appreciated the decor.
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    Hailing from the liberal tech capital of the world, it was kinda of new for me to see people that didn't fall left on the Political Spectrum. I met this man and his family who saw my sharks hat and immediately made fun of our ongoing lockdown, asking how I escaped. They turned out to be really interesting folks who trekked out to Vegas from San Diego to have a good time. Despite what your political beliefs are all people go to Vegas for a great time.

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    Question: Is Rod Stewart still in?
    Answer:

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    Overall I was mostly shocked at how well Vegas is maintaining social distancing and mask wearing. I was very apprehensive and worried about walking around but the environment was very clean. The workers were very quick to clean any surfaces that people had recently touched.

    Even Caesar himself was following the guidelines.
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    #26
  7. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    No trip to Vegas is complete without shooting Assault Rifles. My good friend Cory is a proud owner of fifteen billion guns and was kind enough to let me shoot a couple of them. Nothing smells quite like exhaust fumes from a 5.56 cartridge. The smell entices you to keep shooting, but at close to half a dollar a pop I had to really practice that finger discipline.
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    Cory: "Did someone say Free Ammo?"

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    My shoot guns attire. 92.png
    #27
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  8. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    The day started with me reluctantly saying goodbye to Vegas. I didn't realize I missed the grimy ol' city so much since leaving it a few years back. I packed my bag and headed into "The Valley of Fire" The road wasn't super long but felt like it could have been 200 or so miles, the heat exacerbating the hardship with every photon ejected. Eventually the Valley of Fire spat me into Moapa and I happily rejoined 15 till I reached St. George, where I gassed up and made my way towards Zion.

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    The closer I got to Utah, the greener things started to get.

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    #28
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  9. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    Zion was packed with visitors, the lines of vehicles trying to find a parking spot was ridiculous. The heat also wasn't getting any cooler. I made my way up the mountain path and saw two other adventurers taking a cooler. They hail from Montana and have pretty much done the complete opposite of my trip and parted with me some foresight: the winds are crazy in Wyoming. Up to this point the heat hasn't been terrible, what has really taken a toll on me is the wind. Struggling to stay upright is both physically and mentally taxing. I hate wind.

    Breathtaking is an understatement to describe Zion.
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    Traveling alone has you seeing things. This rock doesn't look too bad ;)

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    #29
  10. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    My stop for the night was an airbnb in Kanab, the last airbnb for a while. While initially an afterthought, a midpoint on the map, Kanab has prove to be one of the prettiest places I've ever visited. It feels like a town was dropped into the middle of an alien planet. Alien in both the environment and things I saw. I forget that Utah is not a mandatory helmet state and people were riding stickered dirt bikes on the roads with nothing more to protect their brain than a Jazz hat. Folks were driving ATVs on side roads.

    On the way to Kanab.

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    The airbnb was styled with a lot of Union Jacks. I made quick work of the pool table and took to the backyard.

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    The views of the mountains from the deck was stunning. Hummingbirds were also feeding on the many feeders set up. I'm glad I had my camera for the one shot you see here, before I clumsily approached too close and scared them all away.

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    #30
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  11. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    I headed into town for some dinner. It was cute to see around 10 people hold a small BLM rally on the side of the streets. They motioned for the big rigs to blow their horn in support to which there were a lot of horns being blown. I had food at two restaurants, Big Thyme and then meandered my way over to Rockin' V where I met Victor and Jillian. Both imparted on me their life experiences and were super excited to hear about my trip. Jillian tells me of when she biked from Arizona to San Francisco on a road bike. That woman is insane and I'd love to hear that RR.

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    Victor, the owner, appreciated my talking to him and gave me this sweet orange hat.

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    Great Folks

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    #31
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  12. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    297
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    Great photos!!!! Surprised you don’t have camping gear, considering amount of space you gear bags are taking up. Just kidding, I had to say. Be easier for you to deal with both wind and sand if the load was less. Again great photos. Do hope you move onto some roads less traveled. Take Care Petepilot
    #32
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  13. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    I left Kanab for Monument Valley on a sweltering friday morning. The heat was already driving me insane when the winds picked up once more. Like a sailboat, I rode cambered 35 degrees to the road the whole way it must've felt like. I saw a ton of trucks and suvs pull out to a side gravel road, naturally I followed. The gravel road led me atop a vista point where I could see the so called "Big Water". The contrast of the clear blue water to the arid yellows and browns of the surrounding was mind blowing.

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    I rode a bit farther into the town of Page where I grabbed these photos. The dam held back the clear blue water while the actual colorado river itself reflected the mud brown above it. The water is bluer on the other side of the dam.

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    #33
  14. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    @Pete Pilot hurt my feelings so I decided to find dirt road/trails that would lead me into monument valley. Turns out there are a bunch of trails that run in circles once you're within the area itself. I went to the local grocery store "Gouldings" and asked about lodging or camping. A fellow gave me vague directions about the first dirt road on the second exit of the turnabout, something, something. I had forgotten the instructions by the time I put my helmet on. All I knew was that it was near the closest butte to the turnabout. I had a general idea.

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    To quote attack of the clones protagonist, Anakin Skywalker... "I don't like sand"

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    this would happen 4 or 5 more times up this road. Not only was it physically exhausting, with me taking a long breather each time I went down, but the mental toll was starting to tack on. I eventually reached deep enough to where turning back or going forward would yield the same consequences.

    At least the sights were great.

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    Eventually I found a dirt turn off that ran parallel to the main road, I followed it and found Mustang Valley Campgrounds. There I met Atsa, Eagle in Navajo, who told me I could camp a bit down the valley close to the Giant Butte I was already on the way to find. I guess this was the campsite the guy at Gouldings was talking about.

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    #34
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  15. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    What's there to say about monument valley that hasn't already been said?

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    I set up camp after taking these pictures. I had pitched my tent and hammered down the stakes and proceeded to go and use the bathroom at an outhouse down the ravine. When I came back my tent has been blown roughly 50 yards away and counting. I chased in hot pursuit and eventually managed to secure it, only after it had gotten stuck on a bigger brush. I dragged the tent back to my spot and this time tied it to my bike.

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    Aaron, who hosted me earlier in the week, and my friend Lauren had suggested I get mountain house dried food so I went with the beef stroganoff. It was pretty good for just an add water meal. Prep took less than 20 minutes, and it was bon apetit.

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    #35
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  16. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    The sunset I got to witness was out of this world. I'm still wrapping my head around how flat the area is only to be juxtaposed with these towering flat cliffs. It makes no sense. Back to the sunset. The sky was a purplish pink for the entirety of the descent, and the cliff faces glowed red throughout.

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    I purchased a bundle of wood from Atsa and started a little campfire for myself.

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    I woke up extra early to catch the sun rise in its entirety. Sharing the experience with me were fellow campers Kayla and Vicky. We talked about life and traveling during the covid area and our experiences with working remotely. They were great ladies on their way to Arizona, not looking forward to the heat. We said our good byes and headed off in opposite directions.

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    #36
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  17. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    Leaving Monument Valley I had to take a "Forrest Gump Hill" photo. When I saw that traffic had quieted in both directions, I pushed my bike to the center to snap a quick photo. It wasn't until much later did I noticed the "Go Home, Stay Home" sign. Ooops.

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    On the way to Bluff I saw signs for Mexican Hat and proceeded to plot a route there. I noticed there were a bunch of trails showing up and decided it would be a good time to prove Pilot Pete wrong once again. I ended following the wrong route when my phone lost all signal and ended up 15 minutes in the wrong direction. I had only realized I was going the wrong way as I climbed a rock and spotted mexican hat down the hill. I backtracked and turned on the correct dirt road which turned into gravel, leading directly to mexican hat.

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    I continued on to Bluff only to be sidetracked once more with another sign "Valley of the Gods". I don't know about any of you but hearing that meant I had to check it out and boy am I glad I did. The sizes of the cliff faces and how they just drop off is surreal. All of Utah so far has been surreal.

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    #37
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  18. foxton

    foxton Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2020
    Oddometer:
    85
    Location:
    San Jose
    Once I hit Monticello I remembered of 3 Steps Hideaway. Taking summit road I missed the turn off to get to the hideaway (true to name), and kept going down the road till I reached a mine. Realizing my mistake and having no GPS to save my ass, I did a 180 and backtracked the way I came in when I encountered a sign I had missed. I took the turn off and end up at the hideaway where I was greeted by Scott, @DingWeed . There was another guest, I forget his name and I am very sorry but I think he goes by morningwood on here. Scott and his wife asked me about my trip and I told them everything that's happened so far. The other guest was an enduro rider, and when he heard of my mishaps on sand, told me to get some more aggressive tires and to live by the motto, when it doubt just pin it.

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    Somewhere along summit road.

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    Scott's 250R

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    "The bike looks heavy and needs more aggressive tires for Moab trails" -them, probably.

    We said our goodbyes and they wished me well, I'm definitely returning here and soon. What a lovely place. I need to spend at least a month in Utah.

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    I arrived in Moab pretty late with no time for trail riding, and the camprounds were all full. The city was extremely busy and even the motels were pricey. Running out of options I contemplated camping illegally but ultimately bit the bullet and got a room.
    #38
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  19. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    297
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    Well Foxton my promptings where well intentioned. Good on you for venturing onto dirt with road tires. The next go round you will find a aggressive knobby helpful, although the hot pavement does melt them. I am envious of your camping location and 3 step is a place I would like to spend a few days at. If you enjoy photography, you should put your talent to use. $$$$. I’ll be watching for more. Be safe. Petepilot
    #39
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  20. DingWeed

    DingWeed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    799
    Location:
    4 Corners
    It was Great to meet you foxton!
    Ride safe
    Scott
    #40
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