My Grand Vacation begins

Clark White

Explorer
While I would love to take a truly grand trip, taking a year or ten to travel around, I'm not quite ready to sell everything I own, leave family and friends behind, and live as a motorcycle bum. So instead, I'm taking the spring off from flying, taking a complicated leave from the ambulance company, and heading south for 6mo. We will be departing 2JAN, but in the mean time James (room mate) and his boss (my girl friend) are on two week x-mas vacation so I'm starting my report early.

Last weekend however, my room mate, girl friend and I took my truck to Vegas, LA, and back. We spent Friday night camped on the edge of the Grand Canyon just south of Lees Ferry. It wasn't too cold (only about 27f), but that was plenty cold enough for Ustadza to freeze with no camp fire.

The ghost of Ustadza after she froze to death...




The next morning we got up to a solid layer of ice over everything and a low of 27f. We had collected enough firewood to run the Kelly Kettle and have a little fire though, so that made things much better.









James packing up his tent.


James balancing the Kelly since we didn't have a level place to leave it.


We packed up camp and drove north through Kanab and Zion, where we stopped to do some sight seeing and walking around to stretch the legs.

Ustadza walking the trail to Zion Canyon Overlook.


Doing a valiant effort of holing the mountain up for people to pass...


The view!


While at the overlook, James was kind enough to take some pictures of the two of us.




While driving Zion Canyon we came across a bunch of deer, but this particular buck was utterly fearless and right on the edge of the road, so I took some pictures.




We drove on to Vegas for the night where we met Ust's mom who was there for work. We had Korean for dinner, but Ust was getting sick so we turned in early for the night. The next morning we got up, checked out, and loaded the truck, only to find that my fairly new Diehard Platinum battery was deader then a door nail. We tried jumping it off another truck in the parking garage, but that didn't work so Ust's mom called AAA. AAA was able to jump us no problem, so we drove to breakfast where I immediately noticed the battery was still dead as the dinosaurs when I shut the truck down. We had a great breakfast, called AAA again, and headed off to Sears to warranty out the battery.

New battery installed (and a $20 install charge for their battery that failed early) we headed off through Red Rocks. We had originally planned to do some hiking, but all the dead batteries had delayed us too long, so we just drove the loop.





We arrived in LA late, dropped off Ust's mom, and went over to her sisters for the night where we had spaghetti and meat balls for dinner. Monday morning we took a walk through the original Farmers Market for breakfast and took a walk through the new mall outside.







We had planned to camp in Anza Borrego Tue night, but Ust was getting sicker so we opted to come straight home instead. Was a long drive, stopped for a late lunch in the desert, but no pictures as we were just driving straight through. Ust is still sick, but slowly getting better so hopefully we will be able to go camping again soon!

Clark White
 
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Clark White

Explorer
Thanks Rex!


Stolen from the ADV copy of this thread, James posted these...

IMG_20111216_165610.jpg

Took us forever to shake the truck shadowing us!

IMG_20111217_080640.jpg

Marble Canyon sunrise.

IMG_20111217_080824.jpg

Yar, it be a frosty morning.

IMG_20111217_080659.jpg

Two people wanting the fire to make itself. [not shown: third person, ditto]



So today Streakerfreak went for a ride, picking up a nail just north of Black Canyon City, so James and I went down to help, but the damage was more extensive then we could repair at the time, so he just called AAA and got a tow back to town.

The offending nail



James and Phill


Having some fun on the way to meet AAA, it was the only part of the road that wasn't well graded, so I couldn't resist


Clark
 
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Clark White

Explorer
I'm a little late posting this, but last Tuesday the 27th Streakerfreak, James, Forrest (going south with me on his KTM640 ADV) and I went for a loop ride around the center of the state. According to the reports that Phil had read the entire thing was 2wd car worthy...this was WRONG. Phil had done the same loop for Christmas, but had the before mentioned flat and had missed a turn, so we wanted to complete the entire loop on the right trails.

Antique store in Cordes just south of Mayer.


Forrest


The gang with Porky (my BMW).


We rode down through Bumble Bee and stopped in Black Canyon City where Phil topped off his tank, before we continued south to the New River exit and FR41. The first part of FR41 was well maintained and we stopped shortly for some lunch.





The view from my seat...


It didn't take too long before FR41 went rapidly from well graded road to a much rougher, rockier, muddier trail. We stopped before a mud hole to stretch our arms before riding through. The first three of us rode through, I told Phil and Forrest I would continue down the trail to take pictures of them riding down. I waited at the bottom of the trail for a few minutes, but no one came down. Wondering what was taking so long, I started walking up and noticed that there were two bikes, but no riders at the top of the trail. As I got a little closer I see James bike sideways in the trail, while he inspects it with great care; Phil standing next to him holding the windscreen. I come walking up and to get the story, and James looks up;


Turns out, when he went through the mud, he caught the edge of a rut, spun sideways, high sided, got in a fight (and lost) with a mesquite tree, broke his top case, and landed in a ditch with a bush.




The windshield went back on with relative ease as it was only held on with rubber grommets, and amazingly nothing was actually broken on the bike. James shook it off and I got to take the pictures I had been waiting for earlier.










The trail continued to get worse as we went, well beyond the abilities of any 2wd I'v ever seen. Less then a mile from the mud hole where james tried to wrangle the mesquite, we came to a rather steep hill covered in fist sized ball bearings. Having just fallen, James took one look at the hill, at Forrest and Phil having trouble on their much more worthy dirt bikes, and started to wonder, "how far is it back to the interstate?"





I got off to check out the trail my self, and after some convincing, James agreed to give it a try (which he was quite successful at I might add).


After James went, it was my turn. I had a rocky start with Porky not wanting to get moving on a steep loose hill, but once we gained a little momentum and traction, we made it up with everyone else just fine.


Feeling good about ourselves and making it up with out any falls, we continued (but our confidence was soon to be bruised again). I stopped to take some pictures while everyone else continued:


Once again I missed out on some of the good action. I came around a corner to a beautiful creek crossing with golden trees, pools of water, and James standing on the far side of a ditch having just picked up his bike on a steep decomposed granite hill. I pulled up next to him, almost falling while crossing the ditch my self, and told James that I would return when I found a better place to park my bike. Nice thought, but my best intentions didn't last long. I could see Phil and Forrest parked at the top of another hill, so I figured I would just ride up to them and enlist some more help. I picked my line, gave it some gas, slid sideways, and stepped off my now napping pig.

The offending hill.


We managed to get both my and James' bikes down to a flat place, and Phil explained they had taken a bypass around the hill I had attempted. Before continuing however, we all agreed it was hot, sunny, dusty, and time for a break. I ate some left over lunch and we all enjoyed some shade near a shallow pool in the creek.

James and Phil


Your's truly


And Forrest resting his eyes


After resting, James remounted his steed, and following the bypass made it to the top with the other two bikes. Forrest rode his bike back down, and being the stubborn folk that we are, we were bound and determined to rode up the harder hill. A quick scoutting made me wonder about my sanity the first time around as it was plainly obvious that while the left side was fairly simple, the right side (where I had originally attempted) was virtually impossible. Forrest went first, and while he stayed on the bike, his first attempt was a complete failure, spinning him sideways and completely off the road.
 

Clark White

Explorer
With some help he backed down, used some less throttle, and made his way up with little effort.




I gave James my camera and made my way up with ease following the left side rather then the rutted right.




We didn't make it but another 1/2 mi before we had to stop to fix James' bent handle bars, where I also realized I had lost my Spot.

This isn't ment to be a flattering picture of James, but it clearly shows the thoughts of the entire group.


Forrest and I returned to our river side lunch spot while Phil and James continued on. We made it back down and up the bad hill, having found the Spot, and opened the throttles to catch up with James and Phil. The rest of the ride went well, though it took us much longer then we had planned, putting us well after dark. We all agreed that as much as we wanted to complete the proper loop, we were now very cold, tired, and more concerned with getting back for a late dinner. Interstate it was!

It was a great ride, and while it was more then we had planned, I enjoyed all the unexpected challenges. Forrest was quite surprised at how Porky did on rough trails and has finally stopped giving me crap about how his KTM is better, and I was rudely reminded of a lesson I learned long ago as a kid...always plan on being latter then you planned, colder then you planned, and hungrier then you planned...next time I wont bloody forget to bring extra warm gear and food!

Clark
 

Rexsname

Explorer
Well, Clark and Co. are on the road this morning.... Best of luck to one and all! So awesome that you have chosen to put your priorities in this order and that you are willing to share your trip with all of us.

Have fun, be careful, make wise descicions!


REX
 

Clark White

Explorer
Thanks Rex! Got an early start after breakfast at the Waffle Iron with Mom, Ustadza, and James, and we are now sitting in my Uncles beautiful back yard in Tucson listening to the birds. We'll be headed a little further south this-afternoon to stay the night at my grandparents before crossing the border to Rocky Point tomorrow morning with my Dad (he's on his was down for work).

Couple pictures of the bikes fully loaded.






Clark

P.S. Mom, Ustadza, and DOG; I miss you guys already!
 

timh

Explorer
Love the pics. This sounds like its going to be an incredible trip.

That KTM makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My 450X is great for most of what I do but sometimes I find myself wishing I had something like that also that I could load up for multi day offroad trips.

Have fun!!!:wings:
 

Clark White

Explorer
We're down in Rocky Point at my friends house right now, waiting for the third guy, Clay, to get caught up and join us this weekend. We had a nice ride down to Tucson and Green Valley to see my Uncle and stay with my Grandparents Tuesday night before following my Dad across the border in Luke Ville Wed morning. I didn't really have a good idea of what we were riding into, turns out my friends house is bloody massive and amazing, not a little condo like I had thought.

The gang at the border in Luke Ville where we split ways, Dad SE for work and we went SW for Rocky Point.


Parting shot of Dad


The crappy view from my bedroom window...


Looking east from the roof top patio under a moonlit sky...


And post sunset looking west from the patio


This morning I got up around 630 thinking I'd watch the sunrise, but that only lasted until about 6:30.30 when I said screw that and went back to sleep...Forrest and I didn't get up until 9am, when we then sat on the downstairs patio and drank a few cups of coffee before taking a stroll down the beach.

Forrest infront of the house playing with his new circular polarizer for the first time


The beach


Another shot of Forrest and his new toy...




Wild flowers between the houses




And a shot Forrest took while holding my camera. We were getting the "little" boat ready for 7am deep sea fishing tomorrow morning...gee it sure is a tough life down here, I hope Clay hurries up!


We'll be having fresh fish for dinner tonight with some Canadian neighbors, after which I'll try to get back and post up some pictures of this amazing house.

Clark
 

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