Wild Wild West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by freefallen, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Cross country. 7,000 miles in 2 weeks. As no two people are alike, everyone will see something different.
    The first section of the trip from East Coast to the Rocky Mountains will be the most tedious; nothing but straight highway to the horizon. I plan to cover these 2,500 miles in the course of three days, 900 miles each in the first 2 days and the rest on the third day.

    The following points of interest await me after the first 3 days:

    • Four Corners (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico)
    • Petrified Forest NP
    • Meteor Crater, AZ, which is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 700 feet deep
    • Winslow, AZ. Standin' On The Corner - The Eagles
    • Antelope Canyons - Mythical place
    • Grand Canyon (North Rim)
    • Zion NP
    • Bryce NP
    • Monroe, Utah, the Natural Hot Springs
    • Ogden, UT (Adventure Town)
    • Yellowstone NP
    • Grand Teton NP (5-day Backpacking)
    • Sturgis, SD - the bikers Mecca
    • Bighorn - an outdoor paradise filled with recreational opportunities
    • Black Hills - an oasis of pine-clad mountains on the Great Plains
    • Mt. Rushmore - epic sculpture features the faces of four exalted American presidents
    • Badlands NP - one of the world's richest fossil beds
    • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site - Cold War era sites, a launch control center and a missile launch facility
    Two like-minded travelers will join me to Grand Teton Park and the three of us will embark on a five day hike with backpacks, tents, bears and other delights.
    The same tedious journey awaits me on the way back but my head will be swimming with information and the impressions of the past three weeks.

    I'm not sure if I will be able to post on events as they happen as I expect to be exhausted at the end of each day.


    __________________________________

    I'll be updating the first post and add some pics here as I go.

    One of the Scenic Views in Colorado:


    011.jpg


    Colorado:

    005.jpg


    Four Corners (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico):

    013.jpg


    Winslow, AZ:

    032.jpg


    Petrified Forest National Park, AZ:

    016.jpg


    Petrified Forest National Park, AZ:

    019a.jpg


    Route 89, Arizona:

    127.jpg


    Lower Antelope Canyon:

    044.jpg


    Scenic View, Arizona:

    048.jpg


    Horse Shoe Bend. Page, AZ:

    055.jpg
    #1
  2. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Working process:

    057.jpg


    Route 89, Arizona:

    065.jpg


    Grand Canyon, North Rim:

    078.jpg


    Zion National Park, Utah:

    084.jpg


    Bryce National Park:

    100.jpg


    One of my loops in Yellowstone:

    129.jpg


    Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone, WY:

    166.jpg


    Grand Teton Park, WY:

    181.jpg


    Grand Teton Park, WY:

    333.jpg


    Saturday I rode 900 miles, Sunday 1,000 miles and the rest on Monday beating my most optimistic expectations. I was extremely lucky with the weather and traffic was almost non-existent.

    NJ, New Jersey: The Garden State.
    The state motto speaks for itself.

    PA, Pennsylvania: The State of Independence.
    Pennsylvania is a relatively pretty and hilly state and riding through it was interesting.

    WV, West Virginia Wild and Beautiful.
    Flew through it and didn't notice anything.

    OH, Ohio: So Much To Discover.
    I discovered: practically all roads are two lanes. A third lane will sometimes appear but will immediately disappear. Everyone's goal is to drive in the left lane going the speed limit, 18 wheelers are not excluded from this phenomenon. Where is my BFG 9000? :2guns

    IN, Indiana: The Hoosier State.
    The speed limit rose to 70mph. The roads look like they are from when the state was first colonized. Like a pattern every 500 ft was an invisible bump that would shake my loaded bike. My gas mileage dropped from 54mpg to 48mpg, must be my increased speed to 80mph @ 6.5k rpm.

    These are big freaking tires:

    001.jpg
    #2
  3. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Grand Teton Park, WY:

    194.jpg


    Leaving Grand Teton Park:

    335.jpg


    Hiking in Grand Teton Park:

    309.jpg


    Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota:

    337.jpg


    In Grand Teton Park:

    323.jpg


    Minuteman Missile Museum:

    366.jpg

    IL, Illinois: The Land Of Lincoln.

    Seriously? Is that this entire place is famous for? I would not come here just for this. Morning was a brisk 62F and by noon was rose to 90. I stopped by a rest area to soak my cooling vest. Another biker arrived fully loaded with saddle bags and duffle bags towering over his head. We greeted each other and asked where he is heading - Arizona. A fellow traveler I thought. I was prepared to brag about my starting point from the east coast, the furthest part of the continuous states. He turned out to be from Alaska. Before meeting him here he crossed the entire stretch of Canada to the east coast and is now circling back through the sates to Alaska. Damn it, how do people have so much time? God bless them!

    MO, Missouri: The Show Me State.
    The terrain is slightly hilly. The roads don't increase in elevation much and immediately decrease the same amount. Despite this the roads are as straight as Robin Hood's arrow. The bland scenery was interrupted by fields of corn every now and then. The scenery left little impression with me.

    KS, Kansas:
    The Sunflower State.
    The speed limit increased again to 75 mph but most people don't exceed it by much. Everyone's speed is around 80 mph and like in the previous states they do it in the left lane with a totally empty right lane. The scenery is just as unimpressive as before. The state is made up of 97% flat land. Attention: the flatness of a pancake is 95%, maybe I should backtrack to Illinois before it's not too late?:eek1

    The drive from East to West has its own specifics. In the morning you watch your shadow in front of you and it's fun to chase it. After 4 pm the sun has made its way across the sky and like a laser is aimed at your eyes, damn it.

    The compass glued to the West:


    002.jpg
    #3
  4. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    CO, Colorado: Welcome to colorful Colorado is written on a grey sign as I entered the state.
    The beginning of Colorado reminded me of pancake Kansas. To my relief the landscape soon started to transform to its well known topography.

    004.jpg

    Then it got more known forms of Colorado:

    005.jpg

    RT-70, which drives directly through my points of interest, started to bore me so I took to the local roads. The local roads had a speed limit of 65 mph. Not a single soul on them. By the way today is Saturday. The first road went for 90 miles and the second perpendicular road was 60 miles. The roads were just as straight as Robin's arrows but at least they started to warp vertically.

    Throughout all way not a single soul:

    003.jpg
    #4
  5. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    I'm like a ship in the open ocean, not a single movement in any direction. No one tends on these lands. If I broke down or ran out of gas I will probably have to set up camp and wait for the next traveler. I didn't even check if my phone has reception. The heat was unbearable, 110F. This wouldn't have been a big deal if it wasn't for the fierce crosswind. Not only burning me but trying to topple me over. I rode a few hundred miles angled about 15 degrees against the wind to compensate for it, one arm fully extended and the other angled at 90 degrees. In defense of the wind it was steady and you could at least adapt to it. When I reached a gas station I was asked: dude how did you ride your bike? I thought to myself, it was tough and my arms are still tingling. I had to hang my body off my bike like racers taking a sharp turn. Or did I imagine it? :wink:

    The road went suddenly up hill. At 10,000 ft the temperature suddenly dropped to 60F. I quickly took off my cooling vest and put on my coat:

    006.jpg

    The temperature dropped quickly:

    007.jpg

    Woooo-hoooo:

    008.jpg

    009.jpg

    010.jpg

    One of the Scenic Views:

    011.jpg
    #5
  6. dmitrizouev

    dmitrizouev Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Georgetown ,ON
    good ride.:freaky
    #6
  7. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    yes, indeed! but very intense.
    #7
  8. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    The winds continue to blow here. First I had to deal with cross winds. As I passed 18-wheelers I was rocked like a boat in a storm, continuing to ride became too risky. I pulled off to the side of the road which turned out to be even worse. The wind was blowing so hard from the left that the bike practically toppled over, I had to stand on the side of the road to support my bike. I started to get tired of holding my bike so I started to slowly make my way down the shoulder with my emergency lights. It was very hard to start going again; it was much easier to compensate for the wind at higher speeds. Then the wind turned into a head wind, I estimate 30-40mph. With my own speed of 70mph and the combined oncoming wind for 40mph I felt like I was reaching terminal velocity of 120mph during freefall. My average mpg dropped to 38. Of course it couldn't have been a tail wind, maybe my mileage would have increased to 70 mph :doh
    #8
  9. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
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    The next morning I left for the Four Corners. 18 miles on loose gravel, I love my V-Strom:

    012.jpg

    They say you can't sit on 2 chairs with one ass, what about 4? Here I sit and feel the warmth of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico at the same time.

    Four Corners:

    013.jpg
    #9
  10. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    I barely arrived to the hotel in Winslow, AZ. I asked if they had WiFi, the receptionist replied: have you seen the wind outside? All the lines must have tangled into a giant knot.

    On the bright side the town had a wonderful sculpture of one band members from The Eagles.


    The lyrics from the song "Take It Easy", written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, were made famous by "The Eagles". It's a song almost everyone knows hums and sings. It has put Winslow on the map.

    Standing On The Corner
    Winslow, Arizona
    :velvt:

    032.jpg

    Everybody wants to get picture with him:

    034.jpg

    On the same corner:

    033.jpg
    #10
  11. ceebaileys

    ceebaileys Shield Manufacturer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2010
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Montebello, CA
    love the pictures! and really good routes of interest
    #11
  12. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    New Jersey
    thank you!
    #12
  13. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    My next destination was the Petrified Forest National Park. The forest of stone is a wonderful scene for a nature photographer.

    Pictures are very saturated by itself - I didn't do anything in Photoshop. The sun is very harsh here and I forgot my polarized filter at home.

    014.jpg

    015.jpg

    Looks like a layered cake:

    016.jpg

    017.jpg

    018.jpg

    I can result all scientific geological calculation about which I have learned here how this forest has transformed into the stone, but I think it'll be boring.

    019.jpg

    020.jpg

    Petrified crow.:hmmmmmWaiting her time:

    022.jpg

    Close-up:

    023.jpg

    The road in The Petrified Forest NP:

    024.jpg
    #13
  14. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    The entrance cost to any National Park is $25. But I bought an annual pass to the all US National Parks for $100. Way cheaper than paying individually.

    025.jpg

    The rain was chasing me all the time but it actually didn't hit me hard:

    026.jpg
    027.jpg

    028.jpg


    In the same day I witnessed what a meteorite did to Arizona 50 thousand years ago. Within a few seconds a massive explosion ejected millions of tons of earth creating a crater 3/4 miles in diameter and 700ft deep.

    http://www.meteorcrater.com/layout/img/HomeVideo.swf

    Panorama of 4 shots:

    029.jpg

    How it looks from an air. I have photographed this picture from the screen shown in a museum:

    030.jpg

    For comparison got people against the crater:

    031.jpg

    This is of course very impressive: the size, mass and speed (6400 km/h or 18 km/sec). There hasn't been a firework as spectacular since. The price we pay is also very impressive. While the man-made attraction Four Corners cost $3, the natural crater cost $15 to see. I wonder if they pay commission to the meteorite?:deal
    #14
  15. cleanair

    cleanair Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    212
    Location:
    just past resume speed
    Enjoyed the RR and the great pic's.

    Next time when you have more time, drop down in the state and enjoy some of the great roads in W. Va.
    #15
  16. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Thank you! I'm sure WV has the great roads and much to offer, just didn't have much time to explorer. But it's not that far from me so it's on my list.
    #16
  17. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Finally I started making shorter trips, 200 miles or less on beautiful scenic roads. Today at last I reached the road I've been thinking about from the start, RT-89:

    035.jpg

    Last year I planned on traveling across the road, it goes from Mexico to Canada passing through numerous national parks: Zion, Bryce, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier NP and so on.

    036.jpg

    This road needs a time commitment of at least 2 weeks not including the time it takes to get there from my house, 3 days each way. So I had to make a compromise. At least now this mountainous road will take me to my destination. It's magnificence cannot be put into words.

    Next Antelope Canyon awaits me ahead, near Page, AZ.
    #17
  18. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

    Joined:
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    Route 89:

    126.jpg

    Route 89:

    127.jpg

    Route 89:

    128.jpg

    Route 89:

    130.jpg
    #18
  19. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    In the morning I left from Winslow, AZ to the Lower Antelope Canyon. The Upper Canyon has wider passage and a flat terrain while the Lower Canyon was the exact opposite. Even though the upper area was easier to get through you are constantly rushed and it's overcrowded, once again the lower canyon was the opposite.

    The Navaho tribe separated itself from the government and my annual national park pass was unfortunately not accepted here. To enter I had to pay an entrance fee, tribe fee and a photo permit. On the up side I got to take my time and enjoy myself.

    From the top the canyon is indistinguishable from the rest of the surroundings, you can pass it without realizing. Its opening is a small narrow passage and in some cases the canyon required you to move sideways to get through. It could be an issue for someone with claustrophobia.

    The Antelope Canyon entrance looks as follows:

    045.jpg

    037.jpg

    Very often had to use a ladder:

    038.jpg

    039.jpg

    040.jpg

    041.jpg
    #19
  20. freefallen

    freefallen down with gravity

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    The canyon is very prone to flash floods. It can fill its high of 60ft within 30 minutes! Can you imagine? By the way, it is rain season right now but I've been very fortunate with the weather, not including the wind.
    On my way to the canyon it was overcast and I was very upset that I won't be able to see the sun rays piercing through to the canyon floor. This only happens between 10:30 and 12 and I was specifically rushing to get there during that small window of time. But by the time I got there the sky had cleared up.

    043.jpg

    I even had time to play in the sand:

    044.jpg

    I built my itinerary going by what time I need to be in what park with regards to my photography. If anyone is interested, I can share my information.
    #20