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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had to move my bike from Tucson to Denver last weekend to reunite with family. The fastest way when caged is I-10 to Deming, NM, then take the-Hatch cutoff to I-25 to Denver. Boring. Instead, I decided to make a bit of a ride out of it.

At this time of year, you want to get out of the desert as quickly as possible. I had planned to leave Saturday and make Kanab, UT but AZ was in record heat territory (105) and Kanab is +7 hours of saddle time with much of it in the desert. Instead of leaving Saturday morning, I cheated and left Tucson for Phx Friday after sunset. Even at that, it was 98 when I got to Phx at 9:00 PM, but at least I was out of direct sun. Pizza oven. And it was going to save me two big hours I could put to use the next day.

The next morning I was up at 5:30. It was already in the mid-60s. By 6:30 I pulled out of the hotel parking lot and headed north toward the Mogollon Rim and Flagstaff via I-17. The Mogollon Rim is a geographical feature, an escarpment of sorts that rises above the desert and lifts a good portion of AZ real estate up to 7-8000 feet until it dips again toward the NE corner of the state across the Navajo Nation. The great thing Saturday was that as the sun climbed higher so was I, so while it was heating up behind me I kept gaining altitude climbing into cooler air. It was in the 60's pretty much the entire ride to Flagstaff. Nice.

In Flag, I spotted an espresso "food" truck so I grabbed a cup of joe before continuing north on 89. Leaving out of Flag on 89 you begin to bleed altitude again and things start to warm up a bit. Before Page, 89 forks into two; 89 to the right goes into Page, across the Glen Canyon dam and into Kanab or 89A, left, to Marble Canyon, the Vermillion Cliffs and Jacob Lake, entrance to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and then into Kanab. I went that way. Spectacular.

Sunday, I was back to heading north on 89 till I got to Hwy12. (Many of you know where this is going, right?). A big right on 12 takes you up a couple of thousand feet to the top on the plateau that forms Bryce Canyon, before dropping off again across some of the most spectacular riding on the planet, the Grand Staircase Escalante. Words fail me so I'll attach a couple of pics.

I hoped to make Grand Junction but I was tired and pulled up short in Green River, UT. Hotels were cheap there too, and the Tamarisk Restaurant, a restaurant that could compete in many a city, delivered to my room. Perfect.

Monday was pretty uneventful. Pretty, but uneventful. I stayed on I-70 all the way. There are some nice sweepers beyond Grand Junction and the Escort allowed me to take them at speed which was fun. Next up was Glennwood Springs. Interesting road. The interstate is kind of stacked as it winds thru a narrow gorge. It would be fun too but it's crowded, patroled, and always seems to be under construction. But by Glennwood you notice you've been gaining altitude too. By Eagle, I was chilled so I stopped for lunch at the City Market - great deli counter -- and upped my gear; more glove, a neck gator and a mid-layer. Good thing too; Temperature dropped to 41 at Vail pass and again at the Eisenhower Tunnel. There was tons of snow in Vail and Copper Mtn. Looked like good skiing but the lifts were quiet. Skiiers come to this area from all over the world to ski CO snow but sadly, this year, a couple of them brought the covid 19 virus with them. Covid hit the ski resorts fast and hard early-on back in late February bringing an abrupt end to the season.

So that's my ride report -- once through the tunnel, it was all downhill from there and an hour or so later I was home. Big pic takeaway: Traffic. Almost none. I will never ride this area with as little traffic as was out there. Really turned out to be special, once-in-a-lifetime kind of ride.

THE END

Be safe (and wash your hands!)
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Made parts of that trip in a cage about 6 years ago - would like to do it again on a bike someday, especially the Utah parts.
 

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Sounds like you had a great ride. I've been on those routes many times and could visualize in my mind what you were experiencing. Over the winter my brother Steve and several other friends had planned a week long loop ride through Utah for this week in May but alas we cancelled it thinking there would be no motels or restaurants open. Your report is encouraging and we may still do the trip at the end of summer.
Thanks for sharing your trip.
 
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