Annual Arizona Ride - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
Travel Log & Trip Reports For all your trip reports and the where to go along the way topics.

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post #1 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Annual Arizona Ride

Sorry Forum people, I'm re-hashing this in "copy & paste" form to keep this forum up to date with my lame stories.
Taking a moment to escape from headaches around work & the house to reflect again on a great ride. ----


Plans for the Annual Arizona ride in April were made, and I wasn't about to miss this one. Jon planned an awesome ride and I needed it this year.

The time arrived to start packing and hitting the road south. I'll leave Tuesday April 5th and take the long way. My neighbor/riding partner had been asking me all along about this ride I was going on, and how he wished he could go but "If I get that done, and then call work...."
Ray was telling himself that it just wasn't going to happen for him.

Until Monday evening.

Ray walks across the street as I'm packing and says,
"Which way are you going? Did you say you're going down 395?"
I laid out my plans again for him and how I planned to Camp in Alabama Hills the first night. Which then prompted the "Do you mind if I ride along to there? My dad's sick in LA, and I'll split off there and see him."

"You better get packing"

He runs home and starts swapping tires on his GS and packing. We'll head out at 7:00AM for Tahoe and drop over the Sierras on Kingsbury Grade to the East side and head down.
Tuesday morning; he backs out of the garage and hits the brakes.
Remember the tire change the night before?
He forgot to pump up the brakes and backs right into his wife's van and knocks off his Jesse luggage before he dumps the bike in the driveway.
Toilet plunger to the side of the van, dent's mostly gone, maybe she won't notice?
Quick! Load up and let's hit the road before she comes out.......

Traffic jam in Sacramento, we hit the foothills and coffee calls me.
He has a GS, we can stop at Starbucks right?



Onward and upward!
We stop for lunch in Tahoe at the Red Hut Cafe (shameless plug, the old one on Kingsbury Grade Road) and then head over Hwy 207 to Hwy 395.


We head south and stop in Walker to see old friends who helped me out years ago when I totaled my truck up there.

I see the Indians and figured rental bikes, but asked "Where are you headed?"
All I got was a petrified look and then the guy says something to the gal and she responds in a heavy Russian accent "We are from Moscow!" We chat for a while and she tells me that they are making one HUGE loop of Grand Canyon, Moab, Zion, San Francisco, and then back down Hwy 1 to LA to fly home.
All in a week.
"Ya better get going..."


Back on the road and miles click away......





to be continued====

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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and so I was saying..........


Can't get much better than ............
Ray starts waving and pulls over. "Have you ever been around the June Lake Loop?"
Detour-------------- WOW!




Yeah, it got better.

We turn on Whitney Portal Road and find the kiosk and map. What movie set do we want to camp at tonight?


Ray's always wanted to ride here (and me too).


We see lots of people scattered around and go farther "out" on the bikes to get a nice private spot. We set up camp and get dinner ready.




I'm pretty happy to be here and then......... my tent..... it looks... so ...small.



GS guys, I just tell Ray that my mule sleeps outside with the rest of the animals.



I sleep so good under SO MANY stars, but wake up early to catch some sunrise pictures.






Next up....... Death Valley.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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And the road goes on

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
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Day two & three
As I woke up to the wind howling thru the tent, I figured to get the sunrise shots and explore the area. A little hike around with the camera gave me some great quiet time to get philosophical.
Dad's been gone eight years, and I know I get my wandering/traveling spirit from him. He taught me how to ride a motorcycle when I was ten, took us to great places growing up, and always had plans to see more of this great country.

Ray was starting to pack, so some quick coffee and we headed out on the bikes.
Like two kids playing cowboys, we rode off across the great west looking for "the pass".


All the little trails & roads around Alabama Hills lead off to cool little spots that remind me of some old movie. Wonder why?



The metal gate prevented me from going into the abyss of an old mine.


As we rode off into the sunrise (and Lone Pine) Ray recommended a great diner in town. Breakfast was great at the Mount Whitney Restaurant and then a fuel stop. Met more great bikers at he station, another GS rider "going home" to Canada from wintering in Baja.
(note to self- add "wintering in Baja" to bucket list)
Ray and I said goodbye and parted ways as I turned on Hwy 136 east towards Death Valley.
Now I knew that China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station was always good for supplying an air show most of the time, but as I met up with Hwy 190 and looked ahead at very open stretch of road with no one around, I got the feeling I was being watched. About then I noticed a fighter jet about 1200' off the deck overhead and it banks off to the north. About two miles down the road, and I look back to see the jet bearing straight down on me about 500' off the deck. With no one around I played insurgent and tried my best lane weaving maneuvers and he waved his wings at me as he buzzed overhead. Glad I could support our troops in training.
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Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:21 PM Thread Starter
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It was already warming up so I looked for some shade before Panamint Springs.

Shade, in the Death Valley area? That can be a challenge, and I know why why people avoid this place in the summer.



One goal was to see the Charcoal Kilns as I was riding thru. Check that one off.



Stopped where I wanted, when I wanted and explored Death Valley only to realize that I don't have enough time. The day evaporated and I headed for Furnace Creek only to find a "Campground full" sign where I wanted to stay, so the next place was $18 a night, I was tired & hungry, "OK, give me a campsite".
Seriously? Should have rode down the road another 1/4 mile to the other one. Oh well.


Next morning I headed out for Kingman Arizona and meet up with Mike. But, I'll stop along the way.
Badwater Road was closed but I had to see the valley a little and Westside Road proved worth exploring. My GPS showed 262' below sea level here.


Pictures do Death Valley no justice. The colors, the changes in the landscape, it's worth seeing in person. If you can, make the trip.

One of the many overlooks.




Met some guys at the overlook who were saying "I should have gone through Twenty Mule Team Road". I saw it later and turned.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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I could only dream of the hardships that people faced back in the day trying to cross, let alone live out here.

Cruised thru Las Vegas and got out of town as fast as I could, but rode across Hoover Dam while I was there. What was I thinking?





Rolled into Kingman with the threat of rain and spent the night at Mikes house and then loaded up to head down to Prescott.


Mike showed us his knowledge of the Arizona backroads and lead us on the "old" Hwy 93.




The miles clicked away and the scenery was awesome. Putting along taking our time, but don't discount those cows. They will run right out in front of you.

Rain off & on all day and then into the evening didn't dent the Friday night BBQ atmosphere at all. Jon had the perfect base camp setup for all 20 riders gathering from New Mexico, San Diego, Prescott, Flagstaff, Phoenix, and some other places.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Continued----

Saturday morning arrives with a little rain, but in Arizona, that means the dust will be less. Friday night threw some surprise texts messages at Jon, and the permits for crossing Tribal land were in question. But all is a go at the moment, so we head out.


The group broke into smaller units to keep dust down, and headed out on more backroads.




All backroads & dirt up to Hwy 40, and then the old Route 66 to Seligman for lunch at Westside Lilo's diner. It's awesome, and they treated us very well as a large group. Jon did give them a heads up that we were coming and they planned accordingly giving us a great experience.
Pulling in, we parked 20 bikes at an old closed down gas station (on Route 66?) next door.




Now if you've ever been in a group ride, you know that large groups of motorcycles attract attention. This time was no different, and a young biker wanted to join our group. After showing us his ride, and getting a full tour of our KLR's, Yamaha's, KTM's, and BMW, his mother finally convinced the avid rider that he had to load up "his bike" back into the mini-van and continue on to Texas.
(if I have a grandson, he's doomed)

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:28 PM Thread Starter
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Lunch settling, Jr riders off to Texas, we hit Route 66 for Peach Springs.

I love Route 66, :screwy: the thought of a simpler time...





Fuel & last minute supplies in Peach Springs and Jon arrives with a grin on his face after getting the permit from the Tribal office. Months of planning went into this and a group of motorcycles is not really high on the priority list for the Tribe. We were checked out by various Police SUV's, and later visited by one of the Rangers at the campground.
Off we go............

Deeper and deeper







As the walls get taller, I start to realize that this will be one to remember forever.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Then when we enjoy the ride and arrive at our destination, some just felt compelled to wade into the Colorado River with our boots. Good friends enjoying riding into another story.



Camp get set up, stories told, food cooked, a light sprinkle keeps that dust down and then the stars came out.


As I stumbled out of my tent at 2:30AM (yeah, I'm the owner of an old bladder) I wander around for 30-40 minutes looking at the night sky.
Sorry, no tri-pod for night shots.
Waking up up to some light, I wonder what kind of sunrise I'll see this far down in the Grand Canyon. And another one of those moments.



Breakfast was supplied by our gracious host, some more pictures taken, more stories, and then the packing started.





Packing and cleaning up, the Sunday plan changed quickly as some had to be back at home at different times. A couple had to leave early, and the rest of us headed out back to reality and Peach Springs.



Most of us met back up at Peach Springs, topped off with fuel, and then said our goodbyes. Some headed east, some headed west. I had 690 miles to get home, and planned on Tehachapi for a midway point. I hung out and wondered if buying an old gas station on Route 66 would be a good retirement gig....



"I don't think so..."

Finished the coffee and hit the road.
Great view ahead meant it would be?



Hit rain two miles outside of Kingman and pulled into a gas station. Checked the phone for radar and then added some layers to the rain gear. Ten miles of rain then gave way to some clear skies right up to the windstorm at Edwards Air Force Base and riding at a 30 degree angle. I was getting tired of riding straight thru, and decided that yes, I was a wimp. Another night in that sleeping bag was not really what I desired as the Holiday Inn Express sign appeared. The rain starting again steered me to the offramp and I checked in. Started to strip the bike of luggage used the wheeled luggage cart to haul everything upstairs. Should have seen the look on the Hostess' face as I cruised thru the lobby with a sleeping pad, tent, sleeping bag, two Pellican boxes, tank bag, tail bag, and my helmet on that thing.
Showered and walked next door for food when the rain started.

Next morning had more rain down the pass but it cleared out and then the boring ride up Hwy 5 started. Met more people at stops, answered more question, and made it home on day seven.
All in all, 1,902 miles in a week of fun.

Get out there and ride.
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Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation."

Jeff in Napa California
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-20-2016, 09:16 PM
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Nice, that is the kind of riding I want to do!
Next year I may come out if you will all will have me. I am not that far away..
I have lots of gray hair to match the group...

Gordon

"Things are made out of Stuff"
Bill Nye~

"Singularity is a scientific term for - We Just Don't Know"
Neil DeGrasse Tyson~

(2011 KLR)
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