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Grand Canyon and More (page 2)

Day 5: Picture taking at Standin' On The Corner Park.

Lady taking the picture for us says it's too dark and Barry thought that it was because he was in the shot but we stepped back two steps into the sunlight and it was all good. After miles and miles of long dusty roads in the middle of the desert, we came to Grand Falls in all its glory. Normally pretty much dried up or too muddy to get to it appears that we hit it in its prime as it was flowing beautifully. We checked out the pueblos in Wupatki National Monument and got lunch at some new deli at the traffic circle. The food was fantastic and the service was horribly slow. We took the red route into the park which could’ve been driven with a motorhome and did some sightseeing. Riding into the village there were a bunch of elk as well as tourists.

Too dark.
Grand Falls taller than Niagara.
Elk in Grand Canyon village.

Day 6: The beginning of the end.

Barry gets the news that his car that he loaned out has been crashed and he needs to go home and deal with that. Loren’s phenolic spacer has worn down to the point that the brake pads are falling out and he is headed back to Boulder. Jereon clips a rock with his shifter and disables 1st -4th gears so he is slabbing back to Boulder and heading home to Houston. Martin and I are the only ones left with Grotto lunch and tour reservations at the caverns.

Grand Canyon Caverns, 200ft underground lunch stop.

Day 7:  Skip and Craig plan to tour Death Valley on the way home and leave at 5:30

Mike wants to get home and beat the heat and leaves at 6:30

Now there are 7 riding to Temple Bar Marina for breakfast. A route that is a perfect big bike route, scenic without boring and minimal difficulty. Brian and I ride to breakfast almost uneventfully. Because I forgot to disable my ABS when I left the gas station and failed to negotiate the first left turn at the end of the long high-speed dirt road. I did manage to get stopped just short of nosing into the berm. We have a wonderful breakfast looking over the marina, and Bob, Martin and Rick show up as we are getting ready to leave. Axel rides up as we are gearing up but Dan doesn’t show up 5 minutes later as he consistently does. After 10 minutes Axel decides to go back and find Dan as they were just together at the last donut.

After Axel goes back, I try to look up Dan on life 360 but I don’t have service. By then Rick, Martin and Bob come out after breakfast and Bob offers to go back with Brian and I to look for Axel and Dan. Nine miles back we find out why Axel hasn’t come back. Axel had found Dan laying in a wash on the road 40 feet from his cartwheeled KLR.

According to Dan there had been some confusion regarding the blue and red routes and Dan thought they were taking the red but Axel wanted to see the lake and followed the blue. Dan took off to run down Axel's 690 and redirect him to the red route and in doing so he came into a downhill righthand corner way too hot and crashed the KLR into the bank and tried to ride it like a berm (a vertical berm with rocks and bushes growing out of it). At some point the KLR cartwheeled and landed partway down the hill while Dan continued tumbling down the hill to the wash where he lay trying to get comfortable (there was evidence of a rudimentary snow angel in the sand).

Looking at the crash scene we found a watermelon size rock that looked recently dislodged but Dan vehemently denied having anything to do with it. The windshield, fairing, GPS, gauges, footpeg and brake pedal were busted off but the expensive doubletake mirrors were unscathed and the left blinker was still flashing and the headlight was working but pointing in a direction quite different than the front wheel was.

We went to turn off the ignition so the lights wouldn’t run down the battery but the switches weren’t where they had previously been so we had to search for them. Dan was sore and beat up, but was coherent and moving around. He tweaked his wrist and a few other parts and his back hurt but no glaring issues. Bob gave him some pain meds and zip-tied his footpeg back on. Axel cut off the remaining sharp shards of fairing and we got Dan on the bike and headed to the highway.

Axel rode to Boulder and got his truck and we loaded up the KLR and Dan. We didn’t have any concrete so the KLR monument idea didn’t fly. There were some other suggestions for KLR disposal but they fell on deaf ears. Axel got Dan to the U-Haul dealer transferred the bike and the gear got him cleaned up and Dan headed towards Ely to get his truck and head back to Michigan. Somewhere he stopped and got checked at a medical center and the good news is no broken extremities but some busted ribs.

On the way back home, it was 99 degrees (37.2c for Axel) in Baker and just after that on the uphill grade Brian’s bike overheated. He stopped on the shoulder to add water but the coolant tank was full. While waiting for it to cool down Rick coincidentally pulls up and loans him some stop leak. Meanwhile I am at Rasor road gas station talking to him on the phone. He manages to limp to the gas station and we start assessing the situation.

The bike had a lot of evidence of a coolant leak but the reservoir was full. Now we were perplexed! Stuck thermostat? We pulled the seat and played with the fuses because the fan wasn’t coming on and after messing with the fuses, we got the fan working but it was still pegging the temp gauge. It’s a real pain to remove the tank to get to the radiator and hoses so Brian started calling for a rescue. He was able to get his brother-in-law to go to his house and get his truck, ramp and straps and start heading to the desert.

Knowing that we were looking at a 3 hour wait with nothing but people watching at a desert gas station to pass our time we said what the hell let's tear into it and see what we find while we are waiting. We pushed the bike into the shade and tore off the shrouds and the tank and discovered some crankcase vent apparatus had bounced around and rubbed a hole in the radiator core and the radiator could only hold water ½ way up. We mixed up some quicksteel water putty and stuffed a wad into the fins where the leak was, filled the radiator and reassembled the bike. We jumped on the highway to test it and the temp was right in the middle where it hadn’t been for the last couple days. After ½ hour of trouble-free cooling Brian called off the brother-in-law rescue and proceeded home.

I rolled home at 8:30 and reminded myself that’s why they call it adventure riding, my friends.

Photo 5 of Grand Canyon and More (page 2)
After crash assessment.
Photo 6 of Grand Canyon and More (page 2)
Unscathed mirrors, broken gauges.
KLR brake pedal reattachment.
The elusive spacer back in Washington State.
Author of this article: bmgyver