Kawasaki Vulcan Forum banner

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tavelin' Mexicans SouthWest Ride Report- Day 1

Hello Fellas':

A while back I mention a trip was in the planning for a Tijuana/San Diego to Albuquerque trip and as I learned when I started travelin', A ride report is a must, not only to entice you couch potatos to go out and ride but it also lets me re-live the ride and put the experience and scenery in proper order in my mind.
Later on I'll be able to tell the same lies without discrepancies and therefore won't get caught.
:surprise: 0:) 0:) :grin2:
It also forces me to move the pix from my phone and camera to my laptop or else they would remain there until I have to make room for the next trip's recordings.
:wink2:

OK, here it goes, pix are from packing the triailer and getting the last sip of coffe b4 launch:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Day 2

This will be the third ride I take with wife and trailer, wanting to bring my better half is what prompted me to get the trailer in the first place.
We left Tijuana on October 06, early departure, I know with her the progress will be reduced as she is not use to ridding all day. We intended to get trough the first desert crossing and spend the night camping on Havasu Lake, basically go over the mountain/ across the desert going N-E and get to the base of the AZ moutains just as we got out of CA.

As we were approaching Havasu it started getting dark and got a lot colder than expected. I had not taken into account we were going east and would be lossing some minutes of light every day (kinda like a Julius Verne effect in that hot air balloon trip book), so we opted for a hotel instead. Man, I was glad I did, Next morning I get news that it had snowed in Flagstaff, Az, the very direction we were planning on going.

Because we were doing some 320 miles the first day, a bit of a stretch for her, we did not stop for pix and who want to see a pic of cross winds while ridding in the dunes, right?

The next day's route was adjusted and shortened a bit so we would not get to early to the higher elevations, I chose to scratch the ride up to Oatman and went straight to Kingman for Bfast, kept riding, bypassed Peach Springs and stayed on the I40 for a while, as we went up in elevation, the closer we got to Flagstaff, the colder it got. We expected some cold and were prepared for it, but not this cold.

It was the earliest snow in Flagstaff in some 40+ years!! About 50 miles before we got to the snow we turned SouthEast toward Prescott and headed toward Jerome, all the while getting a few sprinkles and trying/hoping we could avoid the rain. I could tell it was not as cold during the day to worry about getting snow.

The Jump from Prescott to Jerome Az, is a beautiful 12-15 mile ride full of twisties and you emerge at the other side with a wonderful entrance to the the town of Jerome overlooking the desert :smile2::smile2:, we stopped at a view point but had to leave in a hurry b'cus the rain caught up to us right there, rode the last 10 minutes in light rain to get to the small Artist town/ Tourist trap for a hot lunch while the rain fell for about 40 minutes.

On tha last pic you can see the storms hitting the valley below as we were leaving the little town, at that moment the storm was hitting Sedona, the very place for our night's stop.

:serious: :surprise: :surprise:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Day 2.1

From Jerome to Sedona is only about a 40-45 min ride, we even slowed down a bit trying to let the rain move on but we still manage to catch it as we rode into town. Did not want to wait any longer 'cus it was getting late in the day and therefore colder.

The only thing worse than ridding in the rain is ridding in the rain at nigth, we had a hotel for that night so I did not mind getting a bit wet. As we got into town I just kept looking for a gas station knowing I needed to fill up and that we could also get under a roof and let the rain finished up with that town. while there I checked my phone map and we were 1 block from our hotel.

:grin2::grin2:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Day 3

For our 3rd day, we woke up to a beautiful sunny sky and opted to skip the cold in Flagstaff (again), instead spending some time walking around in Sedona, getting b'fast and do at least a ride by on Slide Rock and Red Rock State Parks before hitting the road toward Moctezuma Castle (in case anyone catches what you would think is a "misspell", that IS the right spelling for the Aztec Emperor's name).

No pix during the drive by's, a lot of times we have to choose b'tween enjoying the view and feel of the place or act like a typical tourist and keep clicking at every little thing we see, more often than not we choose the mental memories than the digital ones. Still, we need some shareable, site specific, captures to keep the kids at home up to date on our progress, to let them live the adventure with us trough the images.

WE even ran into some Hardley riders there (see last pic) :wink2::grin2::grin2:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Day 3.1

After the castle we were behind schedule so went toward Roosevelt Dam by way of Payson, Az.

Nice road but not much to see and enjoy, after the ride trough Jerome, with spectacular road to ride and wonderful scenery, the beautiful surroundings in Sedona the high desert seem kinda bland. Until we got to the lake and it got a bit more interesting.

Just a couple of quick leg stretching stops and on to Globe, Az, went right trough trying to find a nice place to eat... Nothing but fast food chains places, held out for a place that announced "Apache Burgers" and I thought "Good, something more local".. What a disappointment!!. We stopped at the place and it turned out to be a burger and chicken nuggets kinda place, not even a good one at that.

Choose to keep going 'cus it was almost sundown, the map showed 3 small towns b4 we got to that night hotel in Safford, Az. The night caught up to us in a hurry, rode the last 60-90 minutes in total darkness and got the wife tense, which in turn got me tense.

We ended up having dinner instead of lunch in our destination town for the day, went to rest cus' one of the main reason to head South again was to ride Az191 hwy, formally Az666, that one was in the schedule for the next day.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Day 4

Safford turned out to be a not so small town and we got (just by chance, sort of) a good hotel with comfy bed. Got ready and packed and took off, for some reason the map kept showing me a slow progress on Az-191 and trying to send me on NM-108 road, a parallel to the 191 but on the New Mexico side when I asked to go from Three Way to Springerville. The ride in the dark the previous day and the cold on the mountains led me to scrap the plans to camp at Joe Skeen campground and shorten the day by almost a 100 miles, just to be sure we would enjoy the day and not be in a hurry.

Once We got to the mine (biggest Cooper Mine in the US, HUGGGE) at the start of Hwy 191 we found out one of the reasons for the slow route, the road was being re-routed for a sections so we rode for about 5-6 miles in bumpy dirt, some of it muddy from the water trucks trying to keep the dust down. Once we got out of the construction zone we were already in the mountain road (= curvy section) and there was the second reason for the slow route.

As the map showed, reality did not disappoint! A lot of curves!!

The road goes up and down the mountains going North and as it does in those roads, curve after curve, most of them well banked but the road surface was not in optimal condition. A fellow rider we encountered (one of the very, very few) going the opposite way mentioned the road had deteriorated a lot on the last 2 years. We saw very few cars, the area was not populated and had the feel of a very remote area.

The road as a whole was fun, but it went up and down mountains for 7 or 8 times, it started feeling endless and a bit repetitive, in part because when you don't know the area, you tend to slow down more just from the uncertainty of what you will find on the other side of every curve. Makes for a slower ride than you would want 'cus it's long, I would have enjoy it a lot more had I known the area a little more, had I known some reference points. Must be a very good day ride for locals.

:serious::serious:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Day 4.1

Just as I was getting close to feel... lets say "not great" the road stretched out some and let me increase the speed, I got my groove back. It started getting colder, we could tell we were at a higher altitude and before I knew it we were at the very summit (the highest of the several summits we had hit on that roller coaster) and then we hit what was the best part of the road so far, a beautiful curvy section going downgrade but not steep, we must have crossed a county line or something, the road surface was perfect and you could take the curves without much effort and with no need to slow down. Picture perfect scenery... but way too good to stop for pix.

Finally got a chance to dace with the mountain!!!

:grin2::grin2::grin2::grin2::grin2:

After that section we got to Hannagan Meadows and had to stop just so we could take it all in, very cold up there, some snow on the side of the road and on the steps of the inn (See pix), where we found what seemed to be bear trax. :surprise::surprise:While we had a hot chocolate we found out they were dog trax from a pair of Humongous canines the owner has.

After that we got to Big Pine for lunch, very good restaurant for such a small town. It was early enough (thnx to the shorten ride for the day, close to 200 miles only) that we took a side road instead of going straight to Springerville on the recommendation of local folks.

'Nother beauty of a road going to Blue Lake, felt like we were on a movie. We even catched view of some deer by the road a a LOT of cattle, some of it on the road (we had been warned 'bout them).

Once we were done with the good section, the next road, the shortest route to get to Springerville, Az from there, was awful asfalt, washboard like. Lucky we did not have long to go and we got to the hotel with some daylight to spare.

I did not regret the adjustment to the schedule ride, made for a much more enjoyable day.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Day 5

OK, I can put a "check" one of the objectives for this whole trip, all in all The Devil's Highway" delivered and the day was very satisfying. I was glad we shorten out the day because we were able to relax and ride without any hurry.

Those miles we took out from that day had to be made up somewhere in the next day 'cus the arrival to Albuquerque was what they call "time sensitive".
:serious::serious::serious:

Luckily I had originally planned a short 5th day to arrive so I had room to maneuver. The only adjust in route was eliminate a short ride Hwy180-Hwy12-Hwy32 the day before to get to Quemado, NM on our way to a campground Near Grants, just about 75 miles from Albuquerque, NM.

That section from day 4 and the camping on a clod mountain night was changed to a colorful small hotel in Springerville and a shorter ride on Hwy60 to Quemado before re-taking the original route trough those high planes that can remind you of all the cowboy movies you have ever seen, it sure made it interesting to ride trough that scenery in one day as I could imagine people riding wooden wagons and horses for weeks and months trough what was then very rough country.
:cowboy::cowboy::cowboy:

Just as we got to "Malpais National conservation area" the scenery got very interesting, still very much western postcard all around us, riding below some cliffs for a short section before we got to I40 near Grants, NM.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Day 5.1 and Very Early Day 6

A couple of hours later we were approaching Albuquerque, I've been watching a couple of storms from the distance and was trying to hit just the right stride to get to town between the 2 moving showers sections, we manage to arrive at the hotel with only sprinkles and I had time to cover the bike and trailer just before rain hit. It was also windy so the rain pass quickly.

The rain along with the wind managed to have the nights event canceled so with all the adjustments we had made the last 2 days it turned out we did not missed a thing. Next day's festivities were schedule to start very, very early. So we took advantage and got to bed early.

As you would expect, the was a lot of traffic to get into the event, advantage biker, As I got into the parking lot my bike was about to hit 40,000 miles.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Day 6.1

For a long time I had wanted to attend a Balloon festival, it was when I started looking for a specific event in the western US that I found out this one was the largest of the Americas and maybe the world.

It was then that occurred to me to combine with some pending Arizona roads and a short view of the south west (West Az and New Mexico as a whole).

As we left the event mid morning my odometer hit 40,000 miles.

:grin2::wink2::grin2:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
GREAT trip!! I'm glad you've got a riding partner that will go with you. My wife used to but then dropped all interests in it.

This is one reason that I'm happy with my 750 as it's more of a "personal" one seater. If I ride by myself, its just fine. It may also be the reason she refuses to let me get a bigger one.

I'd love to take a trip like that, or like the one TrapperAH1G just took a few months back.

I'm jealous of all of you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thnx 7fifty!

To tell you the truth I was starting to think some of this travelin' might never happen, first I had to take the plunge and go on a few by myself (not alone, just w/o the wife) and it was like a life long dream come tru'.

Got really hooked on it, to the point my wife realized it was not going to stop, so she either start to come along or I was going to keep taking off without her.

Also, I think my enthusiasm b4 and after each trip got contagious, I started visiting places she also wanted to go and after a car trip to Yosemite, as we were leaving the park she mentioned how great it would be to come back on the bike :surprise::surprise: both of us :surprise::surprise:.

As soon as I got home I started planning that trip, she liked it so much that now she wants in on all the trips (not really, but she's really into it now).

:wink2::grin2::grin2:

These are some of her pics of the first half of the trip.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Day 6.2

The balloon Festival was the main reason We went so far east, I got so many places I want to go in the Western states (Ca, Nv, Ut, Wa, Co, Az, Or, Wy, Mo) that I had made no plan to go to New Mexico, So once we were there, we took a couple of days to get to experience and enjoy it. It is the kind of thing I really enjoyed having done once and pro'bly wont do again, unless I stumble into it on my way to something else.

Just in case somebody's interested, the balloon thing only happens very, very early in the day, a few go up right before dawn (I think to test wind force and direction and stuff like that) and the rest go up right a sunrise, so before 8 AM the thing is already done.

They have activities going on all day but they were of no interest to us, not much anyway. In Albuquerque they make a BIG deal out of it, they do a whole week of balloons going up almost every dawn, The only other thing we did was to go watch the special shape ballons get filled and lit up at night (they do not fly them at night), a nice thing to see when the turn the burners on all at once.

That last pic is for my friends that are running DARKSIDE, we were represented well in the festival.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
Back in '79 - '80 I was stationed at Luke AFB on the western side of Phoenix, Arizona. Driving to work on base every so often I'd see a group (5 to 10 perhaps at most) of similar balloons off to one side of the road getting ready to fly. Pretty neat sight.

I know what you mean about your pre-trip enthusiasm. I enjoy the planning and such. I just ordered a kind of throw-over saddlebag arrangement (NOT saddlebags, just similar in concept) that goes on top of the gas tank with the storage compartments hanging off the sides. I figure it'll let me move a few pounds of "stuff" forward instead of having it at the rear of the bike. Since my 750 weighs a lot less than your bike it doesn't take much weight (normally put in the saddlebags/sissybar bag/luggage rack area) to make my front end handle a bit strangely, especially at lower speeds. I discovered that this past summer. This should allow me to at least transfer some of it more forward, between the wheels. My current tank bag can still be used, too.

I'm thinking about going down into the garage in a few minutes and grabbing my tent so I can set it up in my downstairs den. I need to take a few measurements of it set-up since I am thinking about buying a lite-weight cot to toss the sleeping bag on instead of using the air mattress that I have. This coming up summer I'm hitting two bike rallies in Oregon, one right after the other, and will be camping out the whole time. May as well be as comfortable as I can.

You're racking up some decent total miles. Ride carefully.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Day 7 - Startin' the way back

After the Balloon Festival (seeing 300-400 balloons take off in the span of 90 minutes is very impressive and well worth the trip) and a couple of nights rest in Albuquerque it was time to start heading back, even having Taos and Santa Fe at hand (Albuquerque as a town did not impress us much, either did the food).

First of, I did not want to back track the same way, there had to be some interesting places to visit and there is plenty of land to explore while you travel west from the heart of New Mexico. Still, it was hard not to take a bit of I40 to begin with, we did about the same stretch we had done 3 days before, only until we hit Grants, NM then turned Southwest to try to visit "El Morro" National Monument.

Our first stop was a leg-stretching at a truck stop/casino place and OH SURPRISE!!! As we finished our coffee and walked toward the bike I notice my left saddlebag was hanging tilted... A screw had broken of and we were lucky we did not dropped it on the highway, Also glad I did not have the saddlebags heavily loaded.

We ended up spending some 2 hours taking off the hard bag, locating the parts and doing the repair work. there were a Wallmart and auto part stores near by so not much trouble other than the delay.

First pix are from the B-fast place as we were about to take the highway, pro'bly the best food we had there, then the broken screw (there's always some sort of mechanical fix to do on the road, when you are lucky is minor like this).
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
Ahhhhh ……..its all part of the wonderful experience of a long trip! Paul (Trapper) had to swap a rear tire on his recent multi-state expedition. Look at the extra character you now have!! :)

But, narrowing the subject, for a moment, down to your broken bolt, it goes to add substance to the idea of making the saddlebag bolts what we used to call "time change items" in the military. On military aircraft there are certain components that are swapped out for new after a given amount of time has passed. Period. It doesn't matter if the item being removed hasn't displayed any issues. Their criticality of function necessitates being certain that they will be fresh parts.

Back in September there was a long and interesting thread on broken saddlebag bolts: https://www.vulcanforums.com/forums/49-vulcan-900/291826-issue-mounting-viking-bags-900-custom.html

Your experience tends to make me lean towards simply swapping them out after either such-n-such amount of time or some not-yet-decided-upon hours/rides of use.

Back to your ride report: A most-excellent report my friend. Reading this sort of report both helps the rest of us gain some experience by proxy and makes us jealous of missing out on the adventure. But we can stay dry while anticipating the next chapter of your still ongoing mission. Good reading material.

Thank you!!!! Keep yourself and momma safe!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
down to your broken bolt, it goes to add substance to the idea of making the saddlebag bolts what we used to call "time change items" in the military. On military aircraft there are certain components that are swapped out for new after a given amount of time has passed. Period. It doesn't matter if the item being removed hasn't displayed any issues. Their criticality of function necessitates being certain that they will be fresh parts.
Yep! I remember reading the thread with a lot of interest. It is a 2nd bolt of the batch that suffers that faith, they are not the originals and not the ones that came with the bags either, As I have added the sissy bar for backrest I have been trying out different lengths and it would seem those I got did not turned out to be very good.

The bike has behave in a very noble way, first break came after a 1500 mile trip (the first one with the wife and the trailer) and the damage showed up as we parked the bike in front of the house, not before, not on the road. This, the 2nd time (also with the wife and the trailer, mmmmh, I see a pattern here), it showed at a stop after about 1,700 miles ('nother pattern). Although I agree with your assessment of parts that need to be swapped at a certain age/mileage I think here I have a combo of bracket induced stress and bad quality bolt.

Out on the road, as I did the fix, I changed all 4 bolts not wanting to risk the next fail to happen in worse circumstances (on the road), and trying to eliminate the "bad bolt" factor. I believe part of the problem lies on the "scissor" effect of the brackets mentioned on the thread you referenced, partly derived from an attachment system that, in order to be as universal as possible, relies on 2 attachment point per bag, both at the same level, so all the bouncing of the weight in the hard-bag is held against the threads on the frame at the rear fender (the threads on one of my bolts has also fail and I need to re-tap it).

A permanent fix is already in the works, at least in the list of wrenching to be done, I will re-tap all 4 points for larger bolts and deeper threads and try to figure out how I add a 3rd attachment point to better absorb the bouncing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Day 7.1

Back to the trip, After fixin' the bag bolt we got the hell off the I40 slab, just way too many trucks and overall traffic to enjoy traveling on a bike. We went trough "Malpais National Monument" again but on a different road, on our way to "El Morro" where we intended to do our third camping night of this trip.

Again, the cold of ridding up in the mountains force the cancel of camping and we opted to get a hotel in Gallop, NM.

One thing that stands out on this area is the massive expanse of wilderness, again, making us feel we were smack in the middle of cowboy country. As soon as we got of the highway we started going up in elevation and down in temperature. Also getting some curves on the road which goes directly to enjoying the road more/better, nothing extreme, but still :smile2: :smile2: :grin2: :wink2:

You will notice by the last pic we even got above the timber line.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Day 7.2

Along the way we notice a place called ICE CAVE and it picked our curiosity, turned out very interesting place. Just a couple of miles of the main road there what seemed like a camping ranch, with a little museum and store at the entrance of 2 features within walking distance.

We opted to skip the volcano (to save the hour long walk, we had already spent 2 hours plus on fixing the saddlebag) and we did the ice cave, the weather was on the colder side but only in the mid to low 50's, when we got to the cave and went down about 25-30 feet on the stairs we could feel the temp go down and at the bottom there was ages old ice, the temp inside the cave never goes above 31 degrees F. so the ice never melts, even though the cave is not really "enclosed".

The short walk was also very pleasant and serve as a leg stretch before getting back on the road.

By the time we got to El Morro National Monument it was about to close so we could not get in (basically the time we spent on the fix eliminated the "El Morro" visit), we got to check out the place we intended to camp in and to read some of the story from the place. We did not get to see the very old graffity on the rocks but at least we made it there.

We made it to Gallup with plenty of day left but there were very limited options for the late launch, so limited we ended up on a Taco Bell and to a pair of real life Mexicans that is sacrilegious :surprise::surprise:, but.... going hungry is even worse.:serious::serious:
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
894 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Day 8

So day seven did not turn out to be great, still we manage to make the hotel in Gallup and get a semi-good rest for day 8.

There was some rain forecast for the area so we tried to get going before the 10:30' rain, my wife is still learning the art of packing small for motorcycle trips (not really there yet) so by the time we loaded up the trailer and hit I40 the rain caught up with us, only for about 15-20 minutes, the rain suits did their job well, we only got a bit wet while we stopped and suited up, still made for a coooold ride.

We headed to "Petrified Forest National Park" and we got to the Painted Desert Visitor Center (North entrance to the park) just as rain started falling again, we decided to waited out there and have lunch as the storm pass trough, impressively good lunch for a visitor center, better than most we had in 3 days in New Mexico.

The National Park held some impressive scenery for us, still the main concern was to avoid rain as we moved Southwest trough the park and took in the vistas, we did not stopped at all the attractions, we kinda chose the better ones as we rode to the South Visitor Center where most of the petrified trees are. We took our time there, we did not have long to ride and the only thing we wanted was to not ride in the dark 'cus it was gonna be a cold one again.
:snowman::snowman::snowman:
 

Attachments

1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top