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[Journal] USA; WestCoast/MidWest; on an Electra Glide

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by carver, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. [Journal] USA; WestCoast/Mid-West; on an Electra Glide

    Never in my wildest dreams could i have imagined
    i'd be riding across Death Valley/Mojave Desert,
    on a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic. :D

    The view of the desert is so amazingly amazing! :D :shock:
    Felt that it was pointless stopping and taking any photos,
    not even IMAX(tm) could capture this sight!
    Definitely something that has too be experienced!!
    Plus the bike was running hot and i didn't want to stop unnecessarily.

    The (air) temperature gauge on the Harley was reading 120 Degrees Fahrenheit.
    (not sure if 120’F was the engine temperature or the surrounding air?) :?:
    The m/c hire guy almost suggested i should go another route,
    since the Harley is an air cooled engine, and the desert temperature was over 100'F.
    Luckily he recanted, as i would have missed out on awesome the desert view.
    Told me to watch the gauge and feel how the bike was running.

    Anyway, i could sympathise with the bike and the heat,
    as i was wearing my full kit, Full-Face Helmet, Jacket, Boots, Gloves.
    (i must stand out like a sore thumb, with everyone else in T-Shirts and Open Faces)

    I was riding at 80mph+ in the Slow Lane!! :shock:
    Even though the posted speed limit is 70mph every one else just hammers past,
    and you have to do at least speed limit + 10mph to avoid being swallowed.

    At one point i pulled out to overtake some slow(ish) trucks,
    whilst overtaking a police cruizer came from out of nowhere, with sirens a’ blazing.
    Even though i was doing +15mph, i just pulled back between the trucks
    and he took off, presumedly after some bigger fish! :)

    It is now 3am in Las Vegas,
    and since it has cooled down and traffic should have eased up,
    i am going out for a ride around town to see the city sights/lights.

    Got the Grand Canyon and either Flagstaff or Albuquerque in my sights for tomorrow.
  2. Hottest, Driest, Lowest: Death Valley is a land of extremes.
    It is one of the hottest places on the surface of the Earth
    with summer temperatures averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
    At 282 feet below the level of the sea,
    it is the driest place in North America
    with an average rainfall of only 1.96 inches a year. <more>
  3. Death Valley National Park Morning Report
    Wednesday, August 31, 2005 Weather Forecast

    Sunny with northeast winds around 10 mph. High around 110.

    Clear. Light wind with low in the mid 80s.

    Sunny. High around 111. Overnight low in the lower 80s.

    Sunny and clear. Highs 107 to 112. Lows in the upper to mid 70s.

    Temperatures Last 24 Hours

    Furnace Creek
    High: 112°F (45°C)
    Low: 83°F (29°C)
    Precip: 0.00 inch

    Scotty’s Castle
    High: 104°F (40°C)
    Low: 72°F (22°C)
    Precip: 0.00 inch
  4. [Journal] USA; WestCoast/MidWest; Electra Glide

    Day 2; Las Vegas(NV) -> Cameron(AZ)
    (Distance: 329 miles, Estimated Riding Time: 6 hours)

    Last Night (early this morning) i rode down the main strip of Las Vegas.
    Saw all the purdy lights and views.
    Stopped outside the Harley-Davidson Cafe to get some pics of the bike.
    Went back to Hotel for another hour of sleep before departure preparation.
    Have myself a Big Breakfast, then a quick Triple-S, and i am off again.

    Heading out of Las Vegas i get more desert views.
    As i am fuelling i see a helicopter tour for $29,
    very tempting but i gotta keep movin'.

    Soon after that i get an unexpected surprise,
    i get to ride over the Hoover Dam.
    Approaching the security gate i am glad to see they are not checking bikes, and i ride straight through.
    They are however checking anything bigger than a car (Vans, RVs, Trucks, …etc),
    as they figure these can pack enough explosives to be a threat.
    (if you didn't already know, the USA is mad about security)
    The Hoover Dam itself and associated views are very impressive.
    Stop for a few quick photos, but gotta keep movin’.

    Further down the rode my neck is getting a real workout with all the panoramic views.
    {Must remember to stretch tonight}

    Stop for fuel in a little town called Seligman.
    At the pump, i look out above the horizon, toward my intended destination.
    Dark Storm clouds are brewin'.
    Visually it reminds of the scene at the end of Terminator,
    where Sarah acknowledges the the attendant saying there is a storm approaching.
    Inside i make sure to buy some garbage bags to water proof my belongings.
    Also i see a lot of souvenirs, and it becomes apparent that i have happened upon Route 66.

    Riddin' down the rode i am flicking stations and hit 'Route 66 Radio'. It has all the classics.
    All this atmosphere makes me feel like i am inside an American Road Trip Movie.

    Considering today's destination (Flagstaff) i make a detour up to the Grand Canyon.
    Just before the Canyon, the Gas Station Attendant tells me i can ride from the South Entrance,
    along the rim and out the East Entrance.
    If i want can continue to Flagstaff, or head out toward Navaho Indian Country.
    And if i do go to the Indian Reserve Route, don't miss Monument Valley.

    Now riding into the South Entrance to the Grand Canyon.
    Round a couple of corners, and >>BAM<<, there it is, i am right on the edge!
    Weaving in and out the road leads me to many look out points.
    I hit the last couple right about sunset, awesome!

    Now it is getting dark, so i gotta find some accommodation.
    As i leave the park i see a really heavy lightning storm in front of me.
    Riding toward it, i am hoping it is heading away from me, and it is! (phew)
    It is very dark, i am alone on the highway,
    and apart from the yellow line, the only other sight is the random discharges of lightning.
    This reminds me of something, and then it dawns upon me,
    i am in the Alien Abduction Capital of the World, :shock:
    and this scene is straight out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
    Only 30 miles/minutes to civilisation, can i make it without being Abducted?! :wink:

    Made it to Cameron(AZ) and take up lodgings in the Hopi Indian wing of the Motel.
  5. [Journal] USA; WestCoast/MidWest; Electra Glide

    Day 3; Cameron(AZ) -> Durango(CO)
    (Distance: 329 miles, Estimated Riding Time: 7.5 hours)

    Head out early this morning, got a lot miles ahead of me.
    Also, thinking of a (suggested) bonus detour.

    Now the desert has turned to red rock, and again the views are amazing.
    Not sure where to fill up, these roads are fairly well serviced, but you never know!

    Just overtaken a big old RV (Bus'ish lookin' thingy) and see a road works sign,
    just as i slow down i see a Police 4WD up ahead of me.
    Seems they are fairly strict about the road works zones in these parts,
    or, he has nothing better to do!
    Get stopped by road works and i am first in line,
    thinkin' i'll get a good run when this opens up.
    Turn off the engine and wait for some sort of signal from the sign holder.
    Appears though she has no CB, and there is no one in sight down the road.
    Waiting for ages, then finally a convoy comes down the road with a pace car.
    They sure do things funny round here, and there goes my clean run (damn).
    Another Cop Car at this of the road works as well (hmmn).

    Make it to Kayenta and stop for some breakfast, haven't eaten since yesterday.
    Now i decide to take the bonus trip to Monument Valley.
    It is only 20 miles/minutes from here, which should make about an hours detour total.

    The views along the approach are so impressive that i overshot the entry gate.
    Once the feeling comes over me that i've gone to far, i turn back and find the entrance.
    As i pay the $5 entry fee i am told it is not suggested to ride 'Heavy Bikes' into the Valley.
    I don't mind, as it was not my intention.
    Park the bike and walk up to the viewing station.
    Have a good look around. These Rocks, ROCK! Monument Valley is cool!!
    Google Earth has a High Res map of it;
    (entry gate is at 36°58'57.33"N, 110° 6'42.69"W)
    Inside the building there is a room devoted to the Navaho 'Wind Talkers'.
    It's a good read, but i haven't got time, so i take photos of the displays to read later.
    Had a good look around, now it is time to move.

    Back in Kayenta now, filling up at the gas station.
    Get the old, "you gotta pay first because you are riding a bike and we do not trust you!".
    A lot of bikes around here,
    actually now that i think of it there have been a lot of bikes all day.
    I ask some guy if i can take a photo of his cool looking Harley.
    He says OK, and starts to walk out of frame,
    and i say, "Naah mate, it's you're bike, get it the picture, you should be proud of it!"
    As he poses with his bike, a proud look comes over his face.

    Now i am moving again, heading i a direction that i am not quite sure about.
    Since i have made a big deviation from my intended route,
    my prepared maps don't have these roads on them.
    Make it to Teec Nos Pos, and remember it from yesterday's advice,
    so i am on the right path.

    Just out of Teec Nos Pos i have a MAJOR 'Easy Rider' moment.
    Long stretch of road, car coming toward me, intentionally drifts into my lane!! :eek:
    I realise this guy is gunning for me!!! :shock: :shock:
    Try to shed some speed in a controlled manner,
    whilst slowly moving to the very right of my lane.
    Luckily this psychopath pulls back just before collision.
    I have no idea what his problem was!
    I keep on riding and thinking if i can do anything??
    Not really, if i turn around and chase him, it will only make matters worse.
    Best continue on my way and keep my head clear.

    Next major town is a fair ways ahead, and i haven't had a break in a while.
    Nothing to do but forge onward.
    Getting fairly tired as i pull into a town called Shipwrecked,
    it also describes how i feel.
    Not much shade around here.
    One place looks abandoned so i pull up thinking i won't get hassled.
    As i pull in a lady walks out the door gives me the "Can i Help You?!"
    She tells me she is just about to leave in 15-20 minutes,
    but agrees to let me sit outside long enough to eat my fruit snacks.

    Off again on my way to Farmington(NM).
    This is a fairly big place, stretched out along the highway.
    So many different gas stations here, I see the same brand names repeated 2-3 times.
    I stop at what appears to be the last station before the junction.
    I am really fading now, brain is not working, forgot my helmet on the counter.
    Go back and buy an 'Energy' drink and decide to have a good sit down.
    Walk out of the store i see a nice H-D 'Road King'.
    Whilst perving at the bike the owner walks up and has a chat.
    Asks me if i am going to the rally?
    My reply, "What Rally?"
    Duane goes on to tell me all about Ignacio, Four Corners Rally.
    Thanks mate, i'll consider it.

    Whilst sitting down reality reinstates itself.
    I pull out the locations book of my favourite hotel chain.
    There is one right near Ignacio.
    Give 'em a call and they have a room.
    Jeff gives me directions and tells me to call back if i get lost.

    Now i am in Durango, just 30 minutes away from the rally.
    The hotel is cool.
    They have set aside parking for bikes.
    As you walk in the door there are a few buckets marked cleaning rags for your bike.
    How good is that for a bikers welcome?!

    Gotta sleep now so i can get up early.
  6. Carver,
    Your trip sounds amazing. Hope you post some more. I'm doing a similar trip May 2005, and hiring a Road King from Eagle Rider in LA. Travelling solo up through the Mojave, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco and back down the coast to LA.

    I'd be very interested in hearing more of your experiences over there.