Grand Canyon and More

2019 Grand Canyon Down Under - gpskevinadventurerides: According to Gil in the style of Rick Sieman (SuperHunky)

Day 0: I showed up at the 15 Fwy and 138 to meet the guys and discovered that my gas cap on my auxiliary camel tank had come loose and fallen off on the freeway. A wad of paper towel became a temporary cap. Rode part of the California BDR and stopped at the China Date Garden for a date shake.

Brian crashes twice in a gravelly deep sand wash and destroys his Bumot pannier on a strategically placed suitcase-sized rock. Arrive in Boulder and find that Dan is sick as a dog and leaking at both ends. I go to the hardware store twice and get a stopper to put in the gas tank filler. Brian rejuvenates his shredded pannier with a handful of bungee cords.

Day 1: Everyone with a properly functioning digestive system goes to the bar across the street from the motel for a great breakfast despite Axel's advice that the food sucks. Interestingly Axel was there as well.

I performed a brief assessment of Dan's KLR and found a leaky fork seal, a tire missing every third center knob and a webbing luggage strap torn loose and wrapped in the spokes of the rear wheel. Dan is feeling better and is planning to ride with one of the groups that has formed. When I leave the motel with my group, I see that Dan is alone by himself and the other group has left. I initially think wow I should stop and wait for Dan and have him ride with my group but then it dawns on me that the KLR clan are survivors just like cockroaches are and I figure he’ll be fine. Martin, Rick (the bionic man) and Bob have an early deep sand baptism almost immediately upon leaving the pavement and getting off track somehow. Several samples are taken (lab results confirmed that it was sand). Axel decides to rework some of Lucas’s electrical work trailside and there is some adjustment of luggage taking place as I recall.

Somewhere in the sand my extra smartphone with music and GPS stuff disconnects from its battery cover and ejects itself off the bike. I know this because the battery cover is still held to the bike by industrial strength Velcro. We ride down and view the mine junk/art and the view of Lake Mohave. On the next blue section, we stop along the powerline road to shed a layer and what do you know my instincts were correct because here comes Dan (also referred to as the gatekeeper and Rick Moranis) on his not so shiny KLR (also referred to as the cockroach). He is doing fine and making good time and we send him out in front of us.

After we leave the wash and start winding up the sandy canyon, I decide to take a soil sample myself (definitely sand). I pin my foot under the bike but unlike the rider that did this last year, I was able to manage a self-extraction without the use of tire irons or any other digging implements. Next, we rode through the beautiful Xmas tree pass and I witnessed a hawk fly out of the bushes with a 4-foot snake in its mouth. Uneventful ride to Oatman for lunch and the donkey show (no not that kind). Somewhere this morning Brian lost his sunglasses with not much in the way of a reasonable explanation.

After lunch we headed out on old Route 66 and passed a contingent of riders headed the wrong way going back to Oatman after missing the black out and back route. Brian and I stopped and checked out Schaefer’s Spring which is a rocked in natural spring on the side of the hill with goldfish in it. When we got to Kingman Brian was able to replenish his designer sunglass collection at the local Walgreens.

At the Hualapai mountain lodge, it became pretty clear why Loren’s (Jethro’s) rear brake was spongy and ineffective. The rotor and rotor bolts were covered with galled aluminum from rubbing a deep groove through the caliper bracket and the pads were hanging out. It was determined that when changing his tire at home the brake side wheel spacer must have fallen out and stayed on the center shaft of the tire machine. Loren was able to scrounge some kind of Bakelite bushing out of the restaurant's junk drawer and get the wheel centered nearer to where it belonged. He disabled the rear brake and wired up the pedal so he wouldn’t have the urge to use it.

Lake Mohave at Eldorado Canyon
Dan the Gatekeeper.
Rear brake seems spongy.
Photo 4 of Grand Canyon and More
Shaefer Spring goldfish pond on old Route 66

Day 2: I routed Loren’s GPS to the Prescott KTM dealer for parts. Axel, Jereon, Gatekeeper, Barry and Mike braved the red route after a morning rain shower and got everything, if not more, than they asked for.

It was rumored that the 1190’s took several soil samples that when analyzed turned out to be common rocks. Brian had a slow front tire leak that required several doses of air through out the day. Skip, Craig, Brian and I rode the baby head trail in to the canyon and hiked to the hot spring and swimming holes down on the creek. The hike out of the canyon turned out to be all uphill and farther than I had anticipated.

On the way out I led Brian on a shortcut trail that included a 100-yard steep rocky uphill. About 80 yards into my ascent I thought I should check and see how Brian was doing so I stopped took a look and it appeared that he was doing well so I waved him by. He must’ve misread my signal because rather than playing through he stopped right behind where I had stopped and proceeded to throw his bike down in some randomly placed rocks. I tried to restart and get out of his way but Brian didn’t want me to remove his finish down to the primer and sandblast his headlight bezel. We agreed that we should get his bike out of the way first.

The timing for getting bikes stuck on the hill was perfect as it was 12 noon straight up in the desert and we had just finished a grueling hike and had not had breakfast today. I noticed that the temperature had warmed considerably from this morning's mountain rain shower and overcast sky. We let some air out of our back tires and maneuvered Brian’s bike so it was pointed away from mine and with me pushing and him throttling he was able to get traction and climb to the top of the hill. Unfortunately, nobody was around to push on the back of my bike but after 3 attempts and some rocking and clutching I managed to gain some momentum and climb the rest of the hill before Brian had to descend and assist.

Once we got to the pavement, we started airing up our tires and the crew from the red route showed up with an interest in getting to lunch in an expedient manner. On the way to lunch some fuel range gas tank capacity issues occurred with the 690s but they were resolved fairly efficiently. After a great lunch at Nichols West we ventured in on the blue section to Crown King which should maybe be black and blue as it has some technical sections that pushes the margins of the main route.

Upon arriving at Crown King, we find that Loren couldn’t get his parts but they are ordered and he has an appointment for service tomorrow morning. Bob had a cut rear tire that he patched and put a tube in. Brian was still losing air on his front and was considering replacing the tire as it had 1 plug already. The bars kitchen closed before most of us were able to get dinner so several industrious individuals got frozen pizzas, cookies and ice cream from the store and we had a bunkhouse buffet.

Photo 5 of Grand Canyon and More
Burro Creek, near Kaiser Hot Spring
Sampling soil - lab determined that it was sand.

Day 3: Brian put soapy water on his tire and found a new hole which Mike successfully plugged. Four of us had breakfast burritos at the mall that were fantastic. Through some kind of parking mishap, I threw my 800 to the ground at Palace station stage stop at 0 mph.

When we got to Prescott Bob went to the dealer and got a new tire installed. Loren spent a long frustrating day at the KTM dealer and his parts never came. I detoured from the route and checked out Watson lake just outside Prescott on the way to Chino Valley. We got some light rain before getting to the train grade trail. Some of the guys toured the ghost town/junkyard on the way into Jerome and had them start the Big Bertha generator.

We met up with Steve and Ron who rode in from Wickenburg to hang out with us for a couple of nights. I walked the streets of Jerome and visited the sliding jail. While critiquing the bikes I found Craig had a broken steering stop on his triple clamp and his chain looked loose (apparently because his chain guide was completely missing which I overlooked). The Gatekeeper's KLR was missing the chain adjuster on one side but overnight the KLR fairies came and remedied it with a washer and a couple of nuts.

Watson Lake outside of Prescott
Jerome Sliding Jail
Big Bertha generator, Jerome.
KLR fairy chain adjuster.

Day 4: Schnebly Hill pink jeep encounters, Mormon Lake full of water, Corvette club at lunch stop.

After arriving in Winslow 2 rowdy games of croquet were completed with Loren (Jethro) as the line judge Gil and Steve took turns on the podium.

Schnebly Hill, overlooking Sedona.
Near Munds park.
Corvette club at our lunch stop in Pine, Arizona.
Rooftop camper, Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour,
Nelson, Nevada.
Author of this article: bmgyver