Northern Az, Southern Utah. 9/28-10/1/09
Bikes & Riders:
Tom, Honda xr650L
Corky, Honda xr650L
Kim, Kawasaki klx250
Me, Yamaha wr250x
Wynona ranch road, Navajo sand roads, monument valley, mexican hat.
It was after 8 when we left sedona. Corky trucked his & Tom's bikes over from prescott & chino valley. We started heading north & east toward mormon lake. To make up for a little lost time, we cut off some of the dirt around mormon lake, & went up lake mary road to the wynona ranch road turnoff.
Tom & Corky suiting up for the ride from my house.
The wynona ranch road is a great mix of terrain.. it starts right off with some baby head sized boulders in the road/wash. Then it mixes in some flat hardpan (when dry), plenty of ruts, & a bit of graded gravel.
I got a new helmet cam a few weeks ago, & was wanting to use it for this ride. It worked pretty good, & the colors & resolution are much better than my old one. Here's a clip of the wynona ranch road:
The new camera records in high definition, so on the youtube vids, you can select higher resolution.. as long as you have a fast connection & computer. I have more vid clips on my youtube page of this ride.. i just didn't want to link them all to this report. Also, i turn the camera on, then off. Then i upload the clips. I don't edit them or polish them up.. my computer won't even display them very well in HD, let alone edit them! I've been getting along fine with my netbook, but might have to get some real computing power if i'm going to edit video..
Looking toward our faithful reference point.. the san francisco peaks.
Here is along a graded section.. a couple of elk cross the road toward the end of the clip. It's easier to see them in hd.
Most of this day had a lot of dust.. it hadn't rained in a while, & everything was pretty dry. On the sandy reservation roads the dust was very bad. We had to spread out or eat a lot of dust.
We crossed the highway, & headed up into the Navajo reservation. We took a road that crossed the little colorado river at grand falls.
This time of year crossing at grand falls is easy. During spring snow melt, grand falls is very grand. Now it's pretty tame.
you can see the mighty grand falls at the left side of this picture.
..from the other side, where we stopped for lunch.
We left grand falls, & continued north. The roads from here were very sandy, & got deeper & sandier as we neared monument valley.
..our mountains getting more distant. Corky was almost always ahead & didn't care to stop for photo opportunities. Kim & Tom had more patience, or were glad to have a rest break!
Most of the rez roads were right on with the gps... Some forest roads in the nat. forest aren't as accurate as the bia roads. We did have one setback.. this was one of the roads we were supposed to take. Tom said we could have ridden it, anyway, but it's probably good that we didn't.
We had a communication mixup.. i told Corky our next turn was about 5 miles ahead, & he went ahead because he liked to go fast on the sandy roads. I thought i *was* going fast! But Corky is an old baja rider, & has a different definition of 'fast'. Anyway, he ended up going about 20 miles, so we skipped the road we were planning on riding & took pavement to the next waypoint. Kim had an extra gallon of gas, but on the sand roads, his mileage was worse than expected. It would be a while before we came to the next known gas station, but then we came upon this.
It is the rocky ridge general store.. gas, drinks, snacks.. an oasis in the desert.
Corky enjoying a soda with his new friend.
Tom was so happy he broke out dancing while Corky & the cat watched. Kim tried to get Tom under control, but neither Corky nor i would try to stop him. I think the locals were somewhat amused. Entertainment in these parts is pretty scarce. Plus, he was pretty good.. :)
With full tanks, we made our way through the rez & toward monument valley. The sun was hanging low, & daylight was coming to an end. By now we were on pavement, & would be to mexican hat. The shadows on the rocks in monument valley were spectacular.. it was still a good time to view the scenery.
One last stop for gas.. Kim found someone to watch his bike while he went in for an icecream... but he didn't bring us one.. :(
This helmet cam handles the shadows better than my old one, but lighting is always an issue with video..
We rolled into mexican hat, ut at dusk. We stayed at the san juan inn, which is right on the san juan river. It has a very nice restaurant right on the premises, so we got our gear put away & went out for dinner. Morning would come early, at the usual time, so we wanted to be rested for the next day.
All the bikes happily resting outside our rooms.
The san juan bridge.
We did a total of about 300 miles the first day.. more than we routed, but a few detours added some miles. The first dirt section on the wynona ranch road had the toughest technical sections, but the deep sandy roads on the rez were challenging, too. No mechanical issues.. it was hotter than we expected, but everyone was ok. Everyone's luggage stayed attached, we had plenty of gas, & enough food & water. a good ride.
end of day 1.
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