Day 4. Home again, Home again, jiggity jog. 7/8/2010
We got up early, loaded up the bikes, & were on the road by 7am. We gassed up at Tusayan, then took a NF road east. We were going back through the Navajo rez, & would take the Gray Mtn. truck trail to Gray Mtn, then go up to Cameron & go south on Rez sand roads through Grand Falls & to the Townsend/Wynona road near Flagstaff.
The road from Tusayan was graded gravel.. easy & very nice through the pines. But we took a few turns to get to the east, went through a gate, & the 'road' turned into this.
We had to climb some pretty steep & sharp turning switchbacks, which were a bit of a problem for Tom on the big Honda. He got the back tire buried in some loose cinders on one of the switchbacks. The bike stood up on it's own as Tom had to dig out behind the tire so he could rock it out of the hole. I went on ahead, then waited.. on these obscure trails, we didn't want to get too far apart. He didn't come for a bit, so i backtracked.. all the way to the switchbacks. No Tom. So i slowly went along the road looking for a cliff he went over, or a detour. He had gone off on a rabbit trail & lost the main road, such as it was. But he heard my engine & came back to the trail. We decided to stay in sight for the rest of this trail.
Here's a few short clips of this part of the road.
It was only about 10 miles or so, but eventually it opened up into a bigger, main road. We were still in the pines.. the air was nice & cool & the road was easy.
I was cruising along, enjoying the scenery & cool mountain air when i came too fast upon a sharp curve. I saw i wasn't going to make the turn, & ran off the road into a ditch. I wallowed around in it for a while, then finally got straightened out & made it back to the road. Tom was wondering what my side trip was about.. Unfortunately, i didn't have my camera on when i went off the road, & i didn't feel like doing it again.. we had a lot of miles still ahead.
Very quickly, we got out of the pines & into pinons, junipers & sage.. chaparral vegetation. You could see the turns coming up, so we could open it up a bit more.
Almost to the end of this road.. going to connect to the old Gray Mtn. truck trail going through the Nav rez. Now it was very barren.. little vegetation.. sage & scrub brush & a few junipers dotting the vistas.
We had a mile or so of pavement before we got to the GMTT. It starts going up right away, with some nice views to the north of the little colorado plateau.
This is a nice road with a lot of variety, great panoramic views, & no traffic. I think we say one pickup from the GC to Gray Mtn... about 60 miles.
Lots of wide open spaces. But we were not alone. We came upon several groups of wild horses.. many with foals. They are very smart & know where to go to be safe from the crafty motorcycle hunters.
The road was mostly open, with tremendous panoramic views.. but there were a few spots where we crossed deep washes & small canyons. The road got rougher in them, but no problems.
In the distance, we could see our mountains coming up.. the San Francisco peaks. To the right on the next pic, there are more wild horses.
They would go up into the rocks.. daring us to follow them. We wouldn't follow.
This lone maverick got caught out in the open.. it looks like he stumbled & fell trying to get away from the road. But he got right up & galloped off.
As we got down from the higher ground, it flattened out & the roads got wide & straight.
We stopped a couple of times to take pics of the horses, & one time i came upon these bigger 'hedgehog' type cacti. It is unusual to see them this big. I left my glove to show perspective.
This was a large group of horses.. but they were distant. I zoomed in to get them, but they were still a ways off. I liked the mountain backdrop, though.
Soon we came to the pavement, & gassed up at Gray Mountain. We then headed north to Cameron, where we could cross the mighty Little Colorado river & take some Navajo sand roads back.
This is another stretch of open, desolate country. Some homes are visible in the distance.. every 10 or 20 miles.. but not much out here. .. a few sheep, some cows, & a couple of noisy motorcycles.
There were a couple of roads we got on that were less travelled.. some pretty narrow, but nothing too challenging to ride on.
We were heading for the mighty grand falls.. or chocolate falls as it is sometimes called. During the spring snow melts, it has some pretty impressive sound & water volume. But in the summer before the monsoons, not so much.. Here we ride up to the majestic grand falls..
I knew the water got low in the summer.. but there was nothing! I didn't know it dried up completely.
Here's what it looks like with some water in it.. this is from a trip my wife & i went on this march. You can see here why it is called 'chocolate'. The pretty lady in the video is, of course, my lovely wife Darlene.
Tom & i left Grand Falls, crossed the Little Colorado river again, & rode on another sand road for about 40 miles to pavement. It started to rain a bit.. the sky darkened, so we decided to take pavement the rest of the way home.
Tom continued on to Prescott, & i went down to Sedona. It was a good ride home.. lots of miles, but easy roads, mostly. I'm looking forward to this ride again, next year.
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