Monday, October 31, 2005
The Diary: Wednesday 24 August 2005 to Friday 2 September 2005
Wednesday - Today was an early start from Cody to Vernal in Utah, about 400 miles. Beautiful scenery through Sinks Canyon and Flaming Gorge. Destination Thursday was Moab, with a ride of 220 miles over the Douglas Pass and then a spectacular road along the Colorado River, with deep red canyons and weird rock formations. We had a day off in Moab, so Mike and I took a ride up through Arches National Park and then back through Bend National Park. Incredible scenery and fantastic sweeping bendy roads.
Saturday - a short run today to Mexican Hat, through some of the best scenery yet. First was the Mokee Dugway, a steep downhill twisty gravel road with 1,100 feet drop in 3 miles and plenty of tight hairpin bends. No safety rails either! Next was the Valley of the Gods, 17 miles off road through more wonderful rock formations and some hair raising moments when we caught some sand. A couple of the group members who took a different route were overtaken on their ride by a McClaren. They followed it and it turned out to be the Ralph Lauren! That night was the first birthday celebration of the trip for Dom.
Sunday - 226 miles of riding today to Jacob Lake. We decided to take the optional ride through the dirt road in Monument Valley, the scene used for many Western films. Mike and I rode through the Valley, but there were a few heart stopping moments as the road is very sandy, some quite deep and on soft ground, but we made it through!
We had another day in Jacob Lake which gave us time to ride off and explore the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Absolutely breathtaking and not at all busy. We met some Harley riders from Italy, who were touring the USA for their holidays. In the afternoon, we relaxed back at the hotel and Emmet, who is the only one of the group with hair clippers has become the group barber and gave us both a quick trim!
Tuesday - it was a long hard ride today in over 45 degree heat. Almost unbearable but we had bought some cool vests that you soak in water to keep the worst of the heat at bay and they worked very well. Stopped in Sedona for lunch and then on the outskirts of Tucson, we were met by Maynard Hershon and other local riders who led us into iron Horse Motorcycles, where the bikes were being serviced and had new tyres. Maynard is a well known motorcycle journalist and has a regular column in Motorcycle Sport & Leisure.
Wednesday - Mike and I decided to hire a car for the three days we were in Tucson and so we were able to still be on the move and visit some of the sights. We went to Old Tucson, a famous movie location and some local museums. Thursday - a great day. Kevin had been in touch with a local gun club and had organised a morning out on the range. We had at our disposal over ½ million pounds worth of machine guns and enough ammunition to start a war. Loads of fun shooting at targets (and not each other!) Friday a day at leisure in Tucson. Collected our bikes back from servicing and we had a team briefing about the border and riding in Mexico.