Look in the Blog Archive in the box to the right for past ride reports going back to 2006. New material posted as rides or other motorcycle news occurs. Thanks for reading. Comments always welcome, be sure to log in below. Comments will be reviewed. Please note the disclaimer below.

About Me

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Motorcycling has been a life changing experience. I hope sharing the info and pictures on the Blog gives you some idea how impressed I am with the experience, travel and the people I have met. Made new friends especially among Riders here in Orange County. Special recognition to Johney (Wrench)-helps with all the maintenance stuff+rides, plus other great riding friends: Ken Y., Luis V. & Minita, Chuck & Patty, John R., Joe, Carolyn, Gregg, Charlie & Carol, Rick, Stan P., Ed & Susan P., Barry, plus Terry, Bob B., Brian H., Glenn, William & Daveta Jo, Bob (Concho) and others. ************* DISCLAIMER: This is my personal write-up (Blog) of motorcycling news, rides and events that I am involved with in some way and not affiliated with any group, organization or club that might be mentioned herein. There should be no confusion regarding the fact these are my personal comments and not those of any other entity.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.

Amazing scenery, great ride, wonderful time.
Monument Valley, Utah-9/2011 photo by Johney Harper!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sedona, AZ, Grand Canyon and a hot ride back! LONG REPORT

May 14, 2010 Friday, About 32 STAR Chapter 230 members meet at our usual parking lot at Best Buy in Orange on Chapman Ave.  Our trip destination is beautiful Sedona Arizona and as usual you never know what will happen or how it will turn out and this was no different.  I arrive about 5:30 am and as the others pull into the parking lot it becomes obvious that there has been a serious trailer infection going around.  The infection is transmitted by touching any new trailer pulled behind someones motorcycle.  As I looked around and see how much stuff the trailers are packing I turn to Johney Harper and ask him if the group is really going to be returning Sunday just 3 days from now, or did I miss a memo that says we are staying for up to 2 weeks.  Good grief, some of these trailers are packed to the top, and since they hold a lot for their size, that is saying something.

   I won't go into detail, but I can imagine the cable TV show Hoarders wants to talk to a couple of our members.  We wind up with about 27 motorcycles and over 32 riders total along with around 9 trailers. Johney, Wayne and Stan all show up as guest riders and will be departing after breakfast out in Banning at the Roadhouse Restaurant. You can spot the place off of the 10 freeway as the big red barn with a great big white chicken out in front.

It's chilly and I wear my First Gear Mesh-Tex jacket with liner and the quilted liner from my old Joe Rocket jacket as part of my on the road stay-warm gear.  I take the First Gear mesh jacket as it will be lighter for warm weather in Arizona and the Tourmaster is just too heavy.  As usual I wear my Draggin Jeans but no other cold  leg gear.  Some wear chaps, but I find them uncomfortable.

There are three parts to this trip, first is getting there in one day with 470 miles to go, then there is Saturday with a choice of rides or just stay in town and then there is the return ride home, a grueling 480+ mile ride back (more later).  Since the weather going is cool to mild it is basically uneventful until we get close to the town of Prescott in Arizona.  The road there is a beautiful twisting mountain road going up and down with some spectacular views of the desert valley way below.
  I fall back a bit in the unfamiliar tight twists and curves and then get caught behind a very slow moving car and it really slows us down, we make it to a stop but had to be flagged down as I had no idea where they were.  I hold up several riders behind me but no one complains, no one is angry (that I know of) or of the great things about the group is a belief in "Ride your own ride".  The next town beyond Prescott is Jerome and it's built on the side of a mountain, literally, and the road reflects that with steep hairpin turns taking you up  or down depending on your direction.

We arrive at our destination-Oak Creek Terrace, rather late and checking in find that our room has been changed.  Originally I took over a reservation on a 3 bed cabin with the idea of sharing with 2 other members, but they dropped out and then John Ruhland steps up and would share with me, but the cabin was $225 a night.  Evan Brown had booked a room but can't make it due to his wife hurting her back and  graciously offers me his smaller $100 a night 1 bed cabin which John and I swapped for.  On arrival it turns out THEY GIVE US THE ORIGINAL CABIN AT THE $100 PRICE, so John's purchase of an air mattress goes to waste.  Well that was great until we head down a steep grade to park the motorcycle by the cabin and I proceed to drop the motorcycle when I hit a downhill patch of sand and gravel.  I was able to wrestle the bike and only let it drop from a short distance so the damage was happily and delightfully very minor with basically a small dime size gouge on the saddlebag at the very bottom and a few minor hardly noticeable nicks on the bag and engine guards.  This was the best possible result in any drop you could have.  Nothing broken or bent or even really scratched, no personal damage except for some strained muscles the next day or two that was IT.  The next morning John helps push the motorcycles out of the hole they are in and then John rides mine and his out of depths of disaster into the light.  I park at the very top after that.
I was very tired and we join the festivities on a deck overlooking the motel area where several members had set up lots of goodies, snacks and drinks along with a couple large bags of small Jello Shooters.  Apparently several members really like Jello, who knew.  Now I find out why all the trailers...drinks, wine bottles, beer, chicken salad, wine, cheese, beer, fruit, wine, chips of several kinds, cold beer and even more goodies and wine.  Yes, you can bring lots more of the good life with you in those trailers.

A lot of credit goes to President Terry and his First Lady Vicki as they arrange among other events a breakfast in the morning before we all head out on rides or activities.  We miss seeing Luis, Minita and their son Pedro on his first ride in a long time on the new Stratoliner.  Turns out a family emergency has them heading back home after just spending the night, they even missed the breakfast notification. 

On Hwy 89A heading toward Flagstaff
I did not want to go on another group ride to Winslow, AZ a town up on the 40 freeway, rather my destination was the GRAND CANYON and at the last minute Larry and I hooked up for the ride.  I would have gone myself if no one else was interested.  Turns out it was the highlight of the trip.  Larry and I had a fabulous time with similar goals in taking pictures and taking in the sights along the way as well. We stopped at the overlook at the top of Oak Creek Canyon for pictures and I even bought Mrs. Wrinkle Rider a nice Indian necklace.  It was so nice I should have told her I paid $100 for it and might have gotten away with it, but she's pretty good on jewelry so told her what I really paid for it, maybe.

The GRAND CANYONIf you've seen one Grand Canyon, you've seen them all.  If you haven't been there in a while, it's all new, now it's wider, deeper, better coloring on the rocks, and all refurbished canyon walls along with more geological layers to ponder.   Well not really, but since I hadn't seen it since 1971 it was spectacular and breath taking in it's size and majesty.  It really is hard to describe, pictures can't convey the impact, you should see it for the first time or go again if it's been a while.  It defies reality as you walk up through the bush and desert and suddenly there is this mile deep- straight down drop off and 16 mile wide gash in the planet that seems to go each way to the right and left forever.  We spotted  a few Mule Deer in the bushes along the canyon walk and got a couple fairly decent pictures.  We both brought binoculars, but guess where we left them when we started our hike along the rim, yes back in the saddle bags and we are not going back for them.  Our ride back is easy and total for this day of adventure is 240 miles with just 5 gallons of gas.

People are out standing on the end of that precipice.
Somebody lives down there?
Back at Oak Creek Lodge a number of members are heading into town with wives for shopping but I just need gas so don't bother leaving with the group but head out separately.  As I get into the main part of town there they are all sitting on their motorcycles parallel to the street but due to slow moving traffic I just pull up and point to my tank indicating a gas run.  Next thing I know I'm in the middle of a parade as they all swoop in and join me as I created a break in the heavy slow moving traffic that they were waiting for.  From the gas stop it's over to the Barking Frog Grill for tonight's dinner party.  I had the Prime Rib, while not bad was not what I expected-hey it's a tourist town-what can I say.  The dinner was invigorating as we all get to thank some of the folks that helped make it another great chapter ride. Terry, Vicki, Dan our group ride leader, Susan P. for all the Jello, and the tail gunners and everyone that brought snacks to share with us non-trailer people. I noticed the tail gunners blocking traffic so no one would come flying up on the right side as we passed a number of trucks, real courage there to say the least.

Now, it's Sunday morning 5:30 am, we are getting ready to saddle up and head for home some 480+ miles away.  Our route will take us up 89A to Flagstaff, AZ to US Interstate 40, to Highway 95 south to Parker, AZ then route 162 into California and Yucca Valley then on the 10 Freeway to the 57 and HOME. Larry and I already did 89A to Flagstaff the day before so I knew what was coming with a number of 15 MPH turns and twists up the side of the mountain.  This time I keep up with no problem at all.  Did I get better or have more confidence since I had done it the day before, no idea or was the group slower with the heavily laden trailers and passengers-who knows.  Riding with Larry the day before on this road was a very pleasant experience as neither of us pushed into crazy speeds as might have occurred with one or two other members.
The temperature this morning is 50 Deg. and my Mesh Jacket and quilted liner combo is NO match for this or possibly lower temps in Flagstaff.  Layers, we need more layers, it's all about the layers and my hooded fleece jacket is the backup plan.  So now I'm wearing 1. T-shirt, 2. a long sleeve cotton shirt, 3. the fleece hooded jacket, 4. the quilted Joe Rocket liner, 5. the Mesh Tex jacket with 6. liner and my Cold-Tex gloves with a liner in just the right hand AND A NEOPRENE FACE MASK.  No chaps, nothing but my Kevlar lined Draggin Jeans and my secret weapon, the knee/shin guards I wear underneath.  My legs do not get cold unless it's freezing out.
The ride temperature report.  We leave Sedona at 6:10 AM and it's 50 deg., by the time we get to Flagstaff it's down to 44 degrees, as we head to Williams and breakfast some 30 miles from Flagstaff it warms up a bit, but all the gear stays on.  Our gas stop in Seligman, AZ where route 66 and the 40 meet it's warming up so I drop the fleece jacket and the quilted liner and just go with the Mesh-Tex and liner.  Oops, maybe a little early for that move as it's still a bit cool even if warming up but going 75 to 80 mph.  We hit Kingman and it's getting warmer so that last decision to de-gear is looking OK.  Now it's on to Lake Havasu and Parker where it's going to be even warmer, so I drop the liner.  When we hit Parker it's 102 deg. and I drop the cotton long sleeve shirt and it's just the jacket and one t-shirt.  I water everything down including the jacket, helmet and pour water over my head. We stopped for lunch here in Parker and between about 5 of us downed 4 pitchers of ice water before lunch.  I was beginning to become concerned about heat cramping or heat stroke, both very dangerous especially on a motorcycle.  Several riders were asking me how I was holding up, including Anna Felkel and Ed Palaoro and I appreciated their concern for the old guy on the trip.  Well it all worked along with more fluid intake at each stop, I survived.  Our last gas stop in Yucca Valley it was starting to cool down, so I put the long sleeve shirt back on thinking it would be good till I got home, it was still in the low 90's.  Well turns out, Orange County and beyond was rather cooler than I expected and  was a bit cold the last 40 or so miles.   Never the less we made it back home just wrung out but not bad as far as temperature goes.  Left Sedona at 6: 10 am arrived home at 7:15 pm.

Thanks to Susan Palaoro and Charlie Wolfe for photo contributions from their collection.Click this picture of the trailer to see the entire photo collection-Lots more pictures

Total miles start to finish was 1,250 and included my longest one-day on-the-road trip both time and miles.

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