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Thread: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip- 7,300 miles, 25 days

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    Junior Member SteveJonesMO's Avatar
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    Curvy Road My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip- 7,300 miles, 25 days

    This is a report of my 7,300 mile 25 day loop to see the MotoGP at Laguna Seca in July of 2005. It was also my first stab at trip reporting and road photography, so apologies for any weaknesses found in either.

    In particular, the photos are lacking in the first half of the trip... be patient though, they get better once we get to Monterey.



    Quotes o'the day:
    The ensemble looked like something from the Beverly Hillbillys. All I was missing was a live chicken.
    The only way you could tell you were on the road was by carefully watching the flowing streams of sand for hints of the road edge.
    There were really two influences that came together to produce this trip.

    The first is really simple - I have always enjoyed motorcycle roadracing, including a brief undistinguished stint campaigning the WERA endurance series in the mid 80's. I was a big fan of the GP's in the days of Freddie Spencer and Eddie Lawson. Once I was on the track in open practice, getting passed at light speed by (later World MotoGP champion) Kevin Schwantz.

    In 2001, after about a 10 year hiatus from motorcycling, I fixed up my old bike (an '83 750 Honda Interceptor) and started riding again. My wife Jane seemed interested, and enjoyed some day trips - except for the horrible passenger ergos of the Interceptor. After months of agonizing debate, we bought a 2003 Honda ST1300A and were set for two-up sport touring.

    Having Speed Channel and a Tivo facilitated a reignited interest MotoGP - an interest which Jane immediately shared.

    We toyed with the idea of going to a MotoGP. Probably Assen (in Holland). Maybe in '05, or '06. Then we heard the announcement that the MotoGP was coming back to the US, and immediately knew we would be at Laguna Seca to welcome it home.

    For the next influence on this trip, I need to tell you a bit about a roadtrip I took in 1979.

    I was a Spec5 in Jimmy Carter's peacetime Army, stationed in Patton's "Hell On Wheels" 2nd Armored Division at Ft. Hood Texas, where I fully expected to remain until the end of my enlistment two years later. Ft. Hood was a miserable, awful place, and my working situation was unpleasant. In time and place it was misery as far as I could imagine in any direction. Granted, the peacetime army challenges I faced were nothing compared to what todays volunteers deal with in a war zone, but what did I know.

    Then, one day, a miracle occurred... "Hie thyself away from Texas, young Specialist Jones, to the urbane and exotic environs of West Berlin..." the orders read. Or something like that.

    Omygawd. Omygawd. I had been saved.

    I had over a month of leave saved up, and planned to take each and every day of it, to put Ft. Hood behind me as soon as was humanly possible. When I rolled out that Gate in May, on my 1970-something Honda CB750K - loaded to the gills with all my worldly possessions - my heart sang. I was a liberated young man with an endless adventure spread before me:



    I stopped at Mission Taco and bought a dozen burritos (they were on sale) and bungeed them to the bike - they would be my larder for the next 2 or 3 days.

    I soon learned about dehydration on naked bikes in dry warm weather, and bungeed a gallon jug of water somewhere else on the bike. The ensemble looked like something from the Beverly Hillbillys. All I was missing was a live chicken.

    The trip was like a dream... I saw things I had never seen, and fell in absolute love with the road - always delivering a fresh surprise. The solitude of riding alone on a trip like this was intoxicating.

    I had only taken up riding a few months earlier, and had never toured at all. The longest ride I had under my belt was probably from Fort Hood to San Antonio. My gear and experience were sorely lacking, but somehow that added to the adventure. It all went well. Even getting snowed in for 3 days in Flagstaff AZ (in late May!) was fun.

    The final day of the trip I awoke in Bullhead City Arizona and decided to make the final leg of the trip in one day - about 700 miles. This trip took place right in the middle of one of those 2 gas crises in the 70's. There were long lines at many stations, and some were closed with "no gas" signs. I had not had much trouble so far, but I had heard that the pickings would get slim after I cleared Las Vegas. Each time you filled up, continuing on was a real leap of faith.

    I was fortunate that the gas stations in and around Death Valley had been amply supplied. Shortly after Death Valley (where it was HOT!), I crested a vista looking down into the Saline Valley which looked as if fog had settled in the bottom.

    Odd, I thought, this is the middle of a hot day. Fog? And I rode on into the valley. To find that it wasn't fog, but a nearly zero-visibility sandstorm.

    Surely this can't go on for long, I told myself, and pressed on. The only way you could tell you were on the road was by carefully watching the flowing streams of sand for hints of the road edge. About 10 mph was the fastest I could go. It lasted a long, long time.

    After climbing out of it, removing and soaking my chain in an oil bath at the first gas station I hit, I carried on - crossing the Tioga pass in Yosemite near sunset. The pass had only opened from Winter closure the day before. Twilight was upon me, and the temps had dropped below freezing. It was a nifty trick spotting and dodging the ice patches on the road in the failing light.

    Then I was out of it. I rolled into my parents driveway in Newark (an hour southeast of San Francisco) probably about 1 in the morning. I stepped off the bike, and never really rode it again, selling it in prep for my overseas assignment.

    That trip stuck in the back of my mind and has never become dislodged. After buying the ST I fully planned to take some 3 day weekends, heck, maybe even a week, for sport touring adventures. In 2004 Jane and I took a
    wonderful weeklong 3,000 mile loop
    through the northen Rockies, and had a blast.

    So after Jane and I decided to fly out to Laguna Seca for the MotoGP, the wheels started turning. "Hmmm...." I would say, stroking my chin. "What", Jane would ask. "Hmmm" I would say. "Uh oh" Jane would say. And it was all over but the planning.

    Speaking of planning, about then some sick individual introduced me to Microsoft Streets and Trips software. I was doomed.

    For the next several weeks I fell into a trance. I bathed little, ate garbage, and haunted sport-touring internet forums looking for secret roads and must-not-miss ideas to drizzle into Streets and Trips, for later deposit into my GPS. Click here to see the original plan. We would ride to California and watch the races together, but then Jane needed to fly home and back to work while I carried on 1-up for a meandering 2 week trip home.

    Of course we looked forward to the ride out to Laguna, and were wildly excited about seeing a MotoGP live. But I also anticipated my long solo return. It seemed like an exciting sequel to my 1979 trip. How could that be 27 years ago?

    So the plan came together, and the days and weeks dragged along in slow motion, our June 29 departure date looming out of reach in some endless, imaginary future.

    But the plan had one little dangling thread in my mind... The final two days would be strait-flat-boring, which I can hardly stand. But I live in St. Louis so - as Tony Soprano says - wuddya gonna do.

    A little tiny twisted voice in the back of my head started whispering things about reprising the final day of my '78 trip with another crazy long day. About maybe trying to fit over 1000 miles into that day, the minimum required to qualify for a "Saddle Sore" award from the Iron Butt Association.

    I had no thought of attempting an official "Saddle Sore", with record keeping and such, just wondered if I could do the miles. I ignored the voice, realizing the idea was absurd, and didn't put anything about it in "The Plan". The voice never got much louder, but then again it never really went away either...

    Next: Day 1, Sullivan MO to Salina KS.
    Last edited by SteveJonesMO; 09-18-2008 at 07:29 PM.

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    Junior Member SteveJonesMO's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Day 1 - Sullivan MO to Salina KS

    Wednesday June 29

    Finally underway! 404 miles today.

    Quotes o'the day:
    We decided to get three screwups out of the way real quick.
    400 miles is not far, but I thought it might be far for us
    After months of planning and preparation, our slightly overloaded ST1300 crunched along my gravel driveway towards what turned out to be a 7300 mile trip. We were prepared for heat, cold, rain, tire problems, and maybe too many other eventualities. We had everything but the kitchen sink, and had even shipped some stuff ahead to our Hotel in Monterey. A unigo trailer might be in our future if they ever start producing them again.

    Aside from some very familiar enjoyable roads between Sullivan and highway 50, and a tolerable trip along highway 50 to Jefferson City, the only highlight of the day was 179 from Jeff City to I-70. A very pleasant road that, and the last time I would need to lean the bike for the next 7 or 8 hundred miles or so.


    Google Earth's take on Hwy 179

    I-70 from Columbia to Salina held no surprises.

    We decided to get three screwups out of the way real quick. Screwup #1: After a gas stop, Jane unbungee'd (is that a word?) the bag from the top of the tail trunk to get something out. About three miles down I-70 she asked me to pull over to check it, because she thought maybe she forgot to re-attach the bag. Sure enough, it was just perched there with nothing but gravity holding on the rack. If we had lost that bag it would have been a real drag. Whew. Screwups 2 and 3 coming soon...

    It was a little hot - in the 90's. This was a good day for us to get used to using the water filled backpack I was wearing. We were wearing full coverage mesh gear and flip-front HJC Symax helmets.

    The heat was a little uncomfortable but we followed a planned routine of drinking lots of water while moving, and slamming a Gatorade when we stop for gas. We seemed to handle it ok. Note to future travelers - if you aren't drinking enough that you need to pee periodically, you aren't drinking enough. Even if you are not acclimated to the conditions, drinking enough will go a long way toward keeping you out of trouble.

    Entertainment was handled via recorded books, gotten from Audible.com and stored on my Ipod. The Other electronic assistance came from a Garmin 60CS color GPS, an Escort 8500 X50 radar detector, a Roady II XM Sattelite radio (to keep up with the Cardinals games, don'cha know), a Garmin GPSIII+ (for data), an accessoryworkshop.com passive mixer to tie my radar detector mono audio output to my stereo audio outputs from either Ipod or RoadyII. The mixer feeds into my StarCom unit to bring these sources to our helmets. This also allows good rider to passenger comms.

    I also had recently added a SmartTire system, which keeps me informed of my tire data and sets up an alert if pressure or temperature get out of spec. This particular tool is interesting... and provided some valuable and sometimes potentially misleading information. More on that in later reports.

    Long story, but I had recently re-installed the original stock front tire - which had plenty of life left for 1000 miles of slabbing - and a "new" Dunlop D207 Sportmax on the rear. The 207 was a discontinued tire that had been on a shelf for 3 years when I bought it. According to my SmartTire unit, the D207 was running as high as 177 degrees, with ambient temps being in the 90's. Seemed high to me. The front was running about 40 degrees cooler. We had a new set of skins and an installation appointment waiting for us in Colorado Springs.

    We had reservations at the "America's Best Inn" in Salina, a little over 400 miles from our start.

    A very nice place, with a web-connected computer available in the lobby for guests.

    We had room reservations for every night between home and Laguna, which made me nervous because that left no flexibility for unplanned delays. But this part of the trip straddled 4th of July weekend, so reservations were not optional. I wasn't sure whether we should expect to have trouble riding that far the first day. OK, 400 miles is not far, but I thought it might be far for us. Turned out to be no problem.

    Listening to audio books makes the miles just fly by... so we still felt pretty fresh when we rolled into Salina. Normally slabbing is very mentally fatiguing to me. We quickly unpacked and rode "downtown" to enjoy a nice meal at Martini's Steak & Chop House. The bacon wrapped broiled shrimp were wonderful, and the ceviche stuffed jalapenos were quite a treat.

    After the hot day, it sure felt nice to enjoy the short ride to the restaurant without helmets and in jeans and a short sleeved shirt. No, I don't normally do that, but the wind in your hair sure feels nice after a day of roasting in a full helmet. When I am in a helmet optional state, I still wear the helmet about 99% of the time, but I sure do hate the gummint taking it upon themselves to remove my choice.

    Here comes screwup #2: Jane paid for the dinner on her credit card. After we were back at the motel and ready to collapse, she realized she had left her card at the restaurant. So back to the restaurant we go... and successfully retrieved the card. Then back to the room, cover the bike with my TourKing half cover, and to bed.

    Next: Day 2, Salina to Colorado Springs.

  3. #3
    Junior Member SteveJonesMO's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Day 2 - Salina KS to Colorado Springs

    Thursday June 30


    Another day on the slab... 422 miles today, 826 total so far.

    Quotes o'the day:
    Talk about feeling like someone filled your guts with icewater. ... I felt like laying down and practicing breathing for a bit after that.
    I had been aiming for the more, um, economical side of things when making motel reservations. This turned out to be an unpopular decision in the opinion of half of our party.
    We got up feeling pretty good, and were on the road by nine. We are not big breakfast eaters, usually having just a granola bar or something to go along with the mandatory coffee. On the trip, we also developed a morning addiction to energy drinks. Sugar Free Red Bull or Rock Star seemed to do the trick. Spendy stuff tho! We have since learned to buy it by the case at Costco... about $1.30 a can that way.

    It had rained overnight and the bike cover was wet, but the day was clear and bright, and with pleasant temps. We loaded up and hit I-70 for another slab session.

    Screwup #3: I was just getting up to speed when I wondered if I had put my wallet back in my pants after setting it on top of the bag we had bungeed to the top of the tail trunk. I patted the usual location, sure enough it was empty. Talk about feeling like someone filled your guts with icewater. I had about $700 cash, my credit cards and all my id, and my road service cards in the wallet.

    I pulled over and there it was, still perched peacefully on the bag where I had left it. I felt like laying down and practicing breathing for a bit after that.

    So we had survived three screwups with no damage. I am not superstitious, but somehow I felt like three was the magic number and that the rest of the trip would go without a hitch. I think I even said it out loud. Was I tempting fate?

    Nowhere on the rest of this trip did I find the kind of radar density I found from Salina to the Colorado border. It was absolutely ridiculous. Not that I was in a big hurry, but it sure was irritating. This is one of the straightest, flattest roads on the planet, it was a beautiful day, and traffic was light. There is no excuse for the massive police presence we saw, except as a revenue generating device.

    None of these revenue generators ever took notice of little old me, but on two separate fill up opportunities I had people approach me to tell me my headlights had something wrong with them. "You mean they were modulating?" I would ask. Yep, they would say. "That is what they are supposed to do" I would say back, and explain the purpose and legality of headlight modulators.

    About the time we crossed over into Colorado (and gave my radar detector a moment to cool down) the wind started to come up. Soon it was blowing quite hard, straight out of the south, making for a tiring crosswind.

    After a couple of days of slabbage, let me say what a joy it was to have my new SteedSticks highway pegs, and Utopia rider backrest. The ability to move around and change position was a real boon to comfort, and being able to get your legs out of the legendary ST1300 shin cooker airflow when the temps were into the triple digits was a great help.

    One other thing that worked well for us was to keep changing things. Every day, and sometimes when stopping for gas, I would change the adjustable front seat position. And some days I would move the AirHawk seat pad (we only had one) from the rider to passenger seat, or visa versa. It worked well.

    Not much really happened of interest... Jane saw some pronghorn, and a mule deer buck in velvet. At a rest area we chatted for a while with a pleasant Harley fellow who was in the middle of a trip from South Carolina to California.

    After what seemed like an eternity, we finally arrived at Limon, which was the exit that took us off of the slab and pointed us towards Colorado Springs via 24.

    The last 20 miles or so coming in to Colorado Springs we watched a rip-roaring thunderstorm off to our right. It was very localized but had a lot of lightning. We were pretty sure we were going to get wet, but somehow we dodged it. Only a couple of drops hit the windshield.

    Aside from the wind, the day had been pleasant with the temp in the 80's and the weather mostly clear. I think we were at about 2000 feet as we crossed into Colorado, but crested at near 7000 before we descended into Colorado Springs and found our motel, the Travelers Uptown Motel.



    This was not quite as nice as the previous motel, but it was sufficient and within walking distance of Apex Sports, where I had my appointment in the morning to get new tires.

    I had been aiming for the more, um, economical side of things when making motel reservations. This turned out to be an unpopular decision in the opinion of half of our party - it has been suggested that I should do better next time

    We had an enjoyable burger, fries and beer at Will's Sports Bar on Nevada Street, a block from the Motel. A nice cozy neighborhood bar, with a room that had a big screen tv and a very comfy living-room atmosphere. The Cardinals were in Denver playing the Rockies. Unfortunately the Rockies spanked us. We walked back to the room and crashed.

    Next: Colorado Springs to Montrose. At last, twisties (and better pix - I promise)!
    Last edited by SteveJonesMO; 10-02-2008 at 07:34 AM.

  4. #4
    Junior Member SteveJonesMO's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Day 3 - Colorado Springs to Montrose

    Friday July 01


    New skins, and finally twisties!... 290 miles today, 1116 total so far.

    Quotes o'the day
    ...an unintentional wheelie reminded me of how much luggage we had biased toward the rear.
    My heart was pounding with sheer joy for being on the trip and having those experiences.
    I wanted fresh rubber for the trip, but didn't want to christen it with nearly 1000 miles of slab, so I had a pair of tires waiting for me at Apex Sports, and (I thought) a 9AM appointment.

    I made the appointment well in advance, explaining to the service guy that I would be on the road and needed to get to Montrose that night, and needed to be able to count on getting in and out as soon as possible, holiday motel reservations being what they are.

    He took my appointment and assured me he understood my situation. He promised they would accommodate me and would get me in and out right away.

    Surprise, it was bs.

    I was there early, before they opened, and when I signed in I got a completely different story. The service writer told me they had other work backed up, and that an appointment only means they will do their best, but they could not make any commitment about when they would get to me.

    Suffice it to say I was not pleased. I tried giving him the evil eye, but service writers are second only to IRS agents when it comes to immunity to the evil eye.

    In the end, I can't complain about how long it took – only about an hour longer than I'd planned. It putt me a little behind for the day but no biggie. So props to them for getting the work done. But man, people on the road on holiday weekends do not have the luxury of flexibility. Do not make commitments to them you are not willing to at least acknowledge as a commitment.

    Another plus for Apex: they have a very large parts/clothing/accessories department with a good selection and variety, and the prices were not ridiculous. I know how much it costs to do that sort of business in this day and age of competing with web-based mail order houses, so again, props to Apex for serving the community well in that regard.

    We spent the morning lounging in the pool at the motel, not the worst of ways to cool your heels (and all your other parts) while waiting on the service industry. At noon we were on our way, south on 115 to 50 west at Penrose. Finally we were in what I considered to be the "official" beginning of the trip. It can't be a motorcycle trip until you scuff the sides of the tires.

    Ooh, speaking of tire heat. My new tires were a Metzeler Z6 on the front and an 880 on the rear. Supposedly the trick setup for loaded traveling on the ST1300, a good compromise of handling and longevity. The day was mostly in the 80's, about the same as the day before, and the SmartTire display seemed to indicate to me that the rear 880 ran about 25 degrees cooler than the 207. Interesting. Made me feel better about ditching that 3 year old 207 even though it had plenty of life left in it.

    Let me leave it to the poets to tell you how beautiful Colorado is. All I can tell you is that they are not exaggerating.

    Right away we got into the good stuff. 50 West out of Colorado Springs soon runs through Canon City. Now, there is nothing particularly interesting about Canon City, at least not anything that catches the attention of somebody rolling through on 50 - except of course for this odd dinosaur:



    BUT... a couple of miles after 50 hooks briefly northish at the end of Canon City proper, there is a right turn onto "Skyline Drive". I am not going to say it is worth traveling far out of your way to ride Skyline Drive, but I will say that if you are already in the area, and do not ride it, you are making a mistake.

    It is actually quite short, a one-way loop starting just off of the highway and ending three miles later in a residential part of Canon City, from which it is easy to rejoin 50. I'd ride it three times - at least once real slow to get the feel if it, another time to stop and take pictures, and a third to just enjoy it – not to go fast, just to enjoy it. It is barely wider than a bicycle path, but well paved. As you ride along the steep, narrow spine of the ridge, the views on either side are impressive.

    I didn't find out about this until afterwards, but there are dinosaur tracks you can see alongside the roadway. Real ones.







    OK, that out of our system, we were back on 50. We wanted to see the Royal Gorge. It is very beautiful, but a bit of a ripoff. There is no way to ride across the famous bridge without first paying $20 a head (that's EACH, not 'per vehicle') to enter their lame funnel-cakes and carousels amusement park. So for $40, we skipped it.

    I had read a little tip in [ame="http://www.amazon.com/dp/1884313663"]"Motorcycle Journeys Through the Southwest United States" by Martin C. Berke[/ame]. He points out that, just before you enter the amusement park, on the left hand side about a mile before you get to the gates of the "park", is a gravel road to a public picnic area. Just ride to the loop at the end, park at the apex of the loop, and hike down the rough trail about 100 yards. Bring your camera. An absolutely great view of the gorge and the bridge without giving anyone a penny. I recommend the book.





    We crossed Monarch pass, which I had heard was very cold a couple of weeks earlier, but it was very comfortable when we rode through. In fact, the temps were comfortable the whole day.



    50 is a great road, both for riding and for scenery. Not so radical that your hands will get tired from clutching and braking, but amusing enough to keep you interested. It being the Friday, with Monday being the 4th of July, there was a bit of traffic – but with the power of the ST1300, even fully loaded and at higher altitudes we were able to pass at will and didn't remain stuck behind the RV's for too long.

    Though the first time I tried a frisky pass, an unintentional wheelie reminded me of how much luggage we had biased toward the rear. That was a "Fruit of the Loom" moment... Anyway, early on in the trip I decided that if I didn't pass on the double yellow, I would go insane – so within reason, and keeping it safe, I passed when I felt like it. Otherwise the whole trip would have taken on a quite different and less entertaining quality.

    I can't remember the name of this formation, but it caught my eye:


    Note the Ipod conveniently located for our entertainment director...



    Because we were so late getting on the road out of Colorado Springs, and it was getting late in the day, we toyed with the idea of passing up on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument. At the last minute, we decided to give it a go anyway, and man am I glad we did. It was one of the highlights of the trip.

    There is a western part of the park which is simply stunningly beautiful. It impressed me more than the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. I could go back there with a good camera and just spend days. I think that morning and mid-day light would be best for photography. We were there late in the day and our little camera couldn't do the views justice.


    This photo doesn't do the view justice... it was a real jaw dropper.



    The eastern portion of the park is an amazing 16% grade road which takes a few miles to wind its way down all the way to the bottom of the canyon. It was an exceptionally cool ride.

    You know how sometimes reality doesn't live up to your expectations? This was not one of those times. My heart pounded with the sheer joy of being on the trip and having those experiences.


    If you look you can see some of the road below cut into the side of the canyon.



    Oh well, chasing the setting sun, we split the park about the time all the mule deer were coming out to play, and rolled into Montrose about sunset. We checked into the Western motel, a bike-friendly motel. Unfortunately it is for sale at the moment, so if it sells everything could change.

    On the advice of the motel folks, we headed across the street to "La Cabana at Sicily's", a Mexican/Italian (yep) restaurant. It was some of the most unique food we've ever had. When you sit down, and they ask you whether you want chips with salsa or bread with marinara sauce, get the bread. I don't care how good the chips and salsa are, they cannot possibly be as good as the bread and marinara sauce. Yum!

    The menu was a unique mixture of Mexican and Italian offerings. The selections were innovative and unique - definitely not generic menu fodder. Somebody was really cooking back there. Jane had a sort of an octopus and shrimp ceviche (seafood) stew that was delicious but too big to finish... so we took it back to the room (which had a little refrigerator) to finish in the morning.

    Note to self: even though it was good, ceviche stew is not appropriate breakfast fare.

    Back at the room, we thought about enjoying a dip in the pool or a soak in the hot tub, but just didn't have the energy. We called it a night.

    Next: Montrose CO to Page AZ - A long day!
    Last edited by SteveJonesMO; 04-27-2010 at 07:16 AM. Reason: fixed a link

  5. #5
    stirring the pot Loki's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Interesting story so far. Well written. I noticed you have a trunk on your ST1300. Who is the manufacturer and where did you get it? It looks like a fairly decent size trunk. All I've managed to find are small trunks with a small back pad or no pad.

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    stirring the pot Loki's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Just read your day 3 adventure. As promised the photos are better. Definitely some good information/suggestions.

  7. #7
    Junior Member SteveJonesMO's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    Interesting story so far. Well written.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Loki
    I noticed you have a trunk on your ST1300. Who is the manufacturer and where did you get it? It looks like a fairly decent size trunk. All I've managed to find are small trunks with a small back pad or no pad.
    It's a Hondaline factory accessory, which Honda USA decided not to carry, apparently because one of their lawyers needs more roughage in his diet.

    See http://groups.msn.com/ST1300US/revie..._Message=74527
    for a good discussion/comparison of the Hondaline and the Givi offerings. If looking for the Hondaline, try cbxman.com or hondamotorcycleparts.co.uk (a.k.a. David Silver Spares), be sure to add shipping when comparing prices.

    Steve Jones

  8. #8
    Junior Member SteveJonesMO's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Day 4 - Montrose CO to Page AZ

    Saturday July 02

    Mountains and Desert. 415 miles today, 1531 total so far.

    Quotes o'the day
    As we got closer I realized that, yep, that was the road. Omygawd.
    When ... Jane saw it was another 65 miles to Page, I nearly had a mutiny on my hands.

    We awoke in the morning to find there was some sort of hot-air balloon event going on. Took this somewhat surreal picture.

    We hit the road around nine, and headed south out of Montrose on 550.

    It was a nice, cool morning. At the 550/62 junction in Ridgeway, if you are headed to Cortez you have a choice. An eastish route on 550 (the million dollar highway) to Durango and then west to Cortez, or a westish loop via 62/145. After listening to a lot of advice, and being a little leery of the traffic on 550 - this being 4th of July weekend - we opted for the west route, which allowed us to take a minor detour to see Telluride.

    Telluride is a very upscale, scenic little town, bustling with shoppers and such. I am sure it is a nice place, but it seemed a bit full of itself for our mood that morning. If we had it to do over again we might have skipped it. It seems a bit manufactured and artificial, with evidence of a strong controlling theme. The view at the end of the canyon is pretty spectacular though:


    As it happens, Jane had celebrated our night in Montrose with possibly one more martini than was prudent (she had 1 and a half). That, combined with an ill-advised breakfast of the leftover ceviche stew from the night before, resulted in events which - later in the morning - culminated in a critical need for something greasy and caloric.

    But even after several loops through the place, we couldn't spot anywhere that looked as if it might serve a burger. Plenty of places to spend $20 on a soy/avocado quiche made with organic free-range eggs, but not much in the way of comfort food don'cha know.

    As we stopped at the lone gas station on our way out of town, Jane emerged from the mini-mart with a cellophane wrapped sandwich. I gently relieved her of the mayo packet that was swollen to near bursting and threw it away... likely changing the character of the next couple of days significantly.

    Anyway, we were back on the road.

    The ride along 145 through the Uncompahgre and San Juan National Forests was very pleasant and scenic. A wonderful ride.

    At Cortez the habitat starts to hint of desert, and the temps began to climb. Hungry, we stopped at what looked like a little drive-in that appeared to be well attended by locals - and figured it was a good bet.

    Nope.

    Their "giant" cheeseburger was about the size of a McDonalds burger. And though I did verify it technically had cheese on it, it was more of a hint than a slice. The real funny thing was, I asked if I could fill my hydro pack water bladder. Nope, they said, couldn't spare the water. Ha!

    Just south of Cortez we headed west on county highway "G", which skirts along the southern edge of the "Canyons of the Ancients National Monument". Crossing into Utah, we were in the Navaho nation, a bit south of the Hovenweep National Monument. Sometime we'd like to go back and take the time to really experience these places when we have time to do them justice.

    We were well into desert habitat, and were seeing lots of this sort of thing. Unfortunately, there were wildfires somewhere in Arizona that cast a subtle smoky pall over distant vistas for the next few days:


    It was getting quite hot. (Yes, I know the odometer is proof I don't ride my poor ST often enough... )

    I was doing fine, but Jane was starting to get too hot. We decided to have a lemonade and cool off a bit at a roadside place in Mexican Hat. In retrospect, though we were drinking plenty of fluids we really should also have put on our Joe Rocket Sahara vests. What is the point in carrying them if you don't use them? We were soon back on the road:

    Mexican Hat

    We took a short side trip to Goosenecks State Park, where the San Juan river has performed a nifty dance:



    Then we headed to the Mokee Dugway. Looking off in the distance we were riding, it looked like we were heading toward huge sheer distant bluffs. The map said the road went straight through them, but I couldn't imagine how. As we got closer and closer, I started to see what I thought might be road cuts in the bluffs, but my mind rejected the possibility as too ridiculous. Who would build a road like that??? As we got closer I realized that, yep, that was the road. Omygawd.

    What were we getting into?

    Spooky...

    A taste of what it looks like...

    The view from the top...





    We rode up and down the thing. If you aren't in a hurry it really is no problem. It is gravel but aside from some annoying washboarding in some spots, it is well maintained and no problem for street bikes. I suppose a heavy rain might do enough damage to it that I wouldn't want to ride it until it was graded.

    I really, really wanted to take the nearby 20 mile "Valley of the Gods" road, but it was gravel, and we needed to get to Page.

    The rest of the day was pretty much about making miles and dealing with heat. Heading south on 163 through Monument Pass, you see stunning views that you have seen in many Westerns. You've seen them so many times in movies that it almost looks fake, like some sort of iconic view someone painted and hung from the sky.

    We were a little saddle sore. When we turned onto AZ-98 and Jane saw it was another 65 miles to Page, I nearly had a mutiny on my hands. Unfortunately, we were in an "option poor" situation, and toughed it out. We rolled into Page and to "Bashful Bob's Motel" very ready to step off the bike.

    Now, Bob is a bit of a character. He doesn't take credit cards, and wouldn't take a deposit when I made the reservation. The rooms are more like apartments than motel rooms. Ours had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and living room. A little run down maybe, but not dumpy. The place has character. I did get a slightly raised eyebrow from Jane, who was starting to miss some of the comforts she is used to when traveling.

    Bob writes some campy but kind of fun poems.

    On Bob's recommendation, we had dinner at the Fiesta Mexicana Family Restaurant that was just around the corner. The salsa that came with the obligatory "chips and salsa" was actually spicy, a rare treat. Delicious.

    Looking at the menu, Jane and I both immediately zoomed in on the tilapia that was prepared and served whole. We like that. Jane ordered hers plain, and I got mine stuffed with shrimp, scallops and octopus, all covered with a nice spicy sauce.

    When they arrived, the waiter saw the stunned looks on our faces, and was afraid something was wrong. I explained that it was so beautiful we didn't know whether to eat them or take a picture of 'em. The camera was back at Bob's, and we were hungry, so the debate didn't last long. Yum! And the prices were nice too.

    Back to Bob's and a good nights rest.

    Next: Page to the Grand Canyon
    Last edited by SteveJonesMO; 10-02-2008 at 08:27 AM.

  9. #9
    The Lost Tourguide kluts's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    So far, so wonderful! MAN I like this trip and how it's unfolding.

    How many sets of tires did you go through....

    Gary: We need our recovering Californian to make this into an article.... it's shaping up real good.

  10. #10
    Yes, I'm the guy pashnit's Avatar
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    Re: My Big Fat Laguna Seca Road Trip

    Wow! What a meaty morsel!! Steve what an exciting epic trip! So many sights and views, and roads and mountaintops. It's been said before as to just how big this country is and how much there is to see, I'm sure this will inspire many to take the plunge to go out there and see what's over the other side of the hill, and the next hill, and the next! Thanks for writing this Steve!!

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