Monthly Archives: June 2012

Zion to Escalante

Zion

Everyone was off to Zion National Park for a tour and then to Bryce Canyon National Park. The road to Bryce Canyon also goes through Red Canyon State Park, which in itself, is very unusual and scenic. But this is just a warm up for Bryce National Park, which is but just a few miles further down the road.

Road to Bryce CanyonBryce Canyon

Next is a night in the small town of Escalante, UT, to be followed by a trip through the Escalante National Monument and the Grand Staircase.

Trip to Zion

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Marly, Bill, George & Nick headed south from Hailey, ID through Twin Falls, ID to Jackpot, NV.  Then winds were very strong, so strong that they had to tape their helmet visors shut.  From Jackpot, NV they headed to that night's stay in Ely, NV.  Finally, after a long day, they arrived in Ely, NV

DSCN0877The Bristlecone Motel was the motel for the night.  It has air-conditioning, and that is what everyone was most anxious for (besides getting out of the wind).  With bikes parked for the night the group was off to get a drink and a Mexican dinner.   The next morning, not to be disappointed, the wind was up for their trip too.

As the group approached southern Utah, the landscape became more scenic, and finally they arrived, mid-afternoon in Springdale, UT, the location of the motel for the night. It was a case of park the bikes and jump in the beautiful pool set with a back drop of the splendor of Zion National Park.

Then it was off for a short walk to a local cafe for a burger and well deserved beer. Tomorrow would be a tour of the park on a bus and then a ride through on the bikes on the way to Bryce National Park.

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Mr. Happy is back!

Mr. Happy, to give readers a little history, usually appears when something really good or bad visits a tour.

The day started quite well and as we headed towards Ketchum's sister community, Hailey, Idaho, passing the scene of the terrible breakdown of Bill's BMW RT that ended with a tow truck ride for Bill and bike to Boise, Idaho.  Bill subsequently rented a Harley and the group did a tour of northern Nevada while Bill's bike was repaired.

Everyone on the tour always services their bike and has them checked over very carefully for any problems....... but...........

As Bob entered Hailey, he noticed his bike behaving very odd..........as if the brake was on!!!  Oh boy was the rear brake on - the rear brake was locked on, red hot, and had gotten so hot it melted the inside portion of the left side.  Nick and George worked on the rear brake until they could get the wheel to spin free.  To be safe, Bob and the group headed to a local bike shop that was open - and very few bike shops are open on Mondays, but two critical shops were - Woodside Motorsports in Haily, Idaho, and Carl's Cycle Sales - a larger Honda dealer in Boise.  The saga unfolds.........

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The above picture is a new way to get great mileage on your bike's gas and see the sights on the way to Boise for a diagnosis and to plan options.........things are starting to get really expensive.

The folks at Carl's are awesome, and Woodside had called them and they were waiting for the bike and quickly got it into the shop where asses and elbows flew as they got to work.
Two hours later, the diagnosis was in - the Honda ST 1300A with ABS brakes has the same integrated braking system as the Goldwing, which has had a recall for the same problem that now was causing the locked brake.  It was a corroded valve on the front brake that is controlled by the rear brake (that integrated part of the braking system).  Fortunately, the bike was covered by an extended warranty...except it does not cover express shipping $$, the excess mileage over AAA coverage $$$ and the two nights (minimum) stay in a local hotel with meals $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.  If only Honda had the corporate ethics to also order a recall on the ST 1300A's brakes, a known problem,.......none of this would have occurred.

Meanwhile, my champion, Marly, leads the tour south to Ely, Nevada, handicapped by quite a delay in Haily.  As Bob knew she would, bucking terrible winds, she got the group safely there.  Tomorrow Marly will take the group to Springdale, Utah, the entrance to Zion National Park, the beginning of the tour of at least 6 national parks.

Now, Bob on the other hand is planning,with Mr. Happy running the GPS, on which way to make one long and epic ride on Wednesday of 700 or more miles, hopefully, to either Escalante, or Mexican Hat, Utah, where he will catch up with the group and rejoin the tour for hopefully an uneventful rest of the tour.  He will miss two national parks, Zion and Bryce, but at least he has seen them before.

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We all can only hope Mr. Happy makes himself useful, minds his own business and calls upon some divine intervention to have the bike ready as early as possible on Wednesday.

River to Mountain Peaks

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Day 2 began with a beautiful ride along the Salmon River and up to McCall, Idaho for breakfast.......or we thought breakfast.  Now I am not saying the service was slow, hardy, it was glacial in pace.  Our order finally arrived 90 minutes after we ordered the food.

We continued south to just before Banks, Idaho, where we turned onto the road through Garden Valley to Lowman, Idaho. Lowman, along the Ponderosa Scenic Byway, was the site of a catastrophic wildfire in 1989 that consumed 72 square miles of forest.

This ride along a wild river full of rafters and kayaks was as pretty as the day was nice.  We arrived in Lowman and turned onto the road from Boise to Stanley, Idaho.  This is always a favorite ride that takes the rider along the backside of the Sawtooth range to the Stanley side, which is quite impressive.

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The ride to Stanley took us right through a wildfire that had started in a campground and spread into the surrounding forest.  The fire looked manageable as it was getting past the burning hour, but then the wind did its thing......making the wildfire larger and blowing us riders around.

It was somewhat humorous to be passed in by a young seasonal firefighter driving a tender all of ten miles an hour through Stanley, population 105, with little or no traffic just using his siren for all it was worth... kind of a slow motion emergency.

At the Galena summit, we stopped for a picture of the Sawtooth range and the fire.  In the picture, to the far right are two pine tops - look just left of these for the fire's smoke.  Obviously the wildfire, with wind, had taken hold and doing its thing.  As we rode along, we were passed, going the other way, by strike teams, tenders and overhead from other ranger districts who were responding to the growing wildfire.

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We all arrived in one of our favorite spots, Ketchum, Idaho.  Dinner was, as tradition dictated, at the Pioneer Saloon, one of the best places to eat.  Everyone had a good meal and time.

Big Bang Tour

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Here came the retired led (Bill & George) by the work for life gang (Bob, Marly & Nick)!  Weather, bikes (more about  a certain bike later) and attitudes all in order.

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At the Lewistown grade, we stopped for obligatory photos.  There stands Nick, Marly, Bill and George, all looking rather regal - don't you think?

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The ride south and east to Riggins, Idaho was pleasant and scenic. U.S 95, our route, led us through many small communities and is in the Hell's Canyon Recreation Area. The Salmon River is a big recreation facility and economic driver for many small Idaho communities.

As usual we checked into the Big Iron Motel in Riggins receiving our complementary beer and cookie..... you don't think we stay here for the amenities do you?  Actually, the room, a two bedroom suite with kitchen, was clean and nice.