Featured Touring 3 States, 4 Friends, 9 Days, 1800 Miles, And Countless Smiles! Our Annual Tour Of The Southwest

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Jun 18, 2023.

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  1. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    #21 learningtofly, Jun 19, 2023
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2023
    What an absolutely amazing, and fascinating trip. To say that I’m jealous would be tne most massive of understatements, but I am at least able to experience it vicariously. And look at you two cuties on your wedding day, with your bikes in shot :grinning:

    PS Happy Anniversary to you both!
     
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  2. Dartplayer

    Dartplayer Crème de la Crème

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    Always look forward to your annual getaway, so I can “live” it too :heart_eyes: @Sandi T. Thanks so much for sharing the pix and adding detail. I always have to look up other details to help with the food choices and really enjoy the people watching :p.
    Happy anniversary to you and Steve :cool:

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  3. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Excellent info, @Dartplayer. And thanks for your kind comments. The two things you shared about--mole sauce and pozole mojo--are two things that Steve and I love to eat. One of the restaurants that's a Sunday morning ride staple for us, Mi Pueblito in Mammoth about 50 miles from Tucson, has a wonderful pozole rojo pork stew every Saturday and Sunday morning. Paired with handmade flour tortillas, it's a heavenly meal! Glad you enjoy the people watching pics. That's absolutely one of my favorite things to do when I travel. Maybe it's the psychologist in me? :joy:
     
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  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #24 Sandi T, Jun 19, 2023
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2023
    @Fireball

    Thanks, Ken! I've got about four or five more days to report on. My fingers are actually doing pretty well! In fact, typing and riding seem to keep my fingers, hands, and wrists working these days. Thankfully I have few extended negative after-effects of the carpal tunnel and trigger release surgery. Thanks for asking! :heart:
     
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  5. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #25 Sandi T, Jun 19, 2023
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2023
    Day #5: Santa Fe, New Mexico to Durango, Colorado
    Daily mileage: 223
    End of the day trip odometer reading = 1,033 miles

    Today was a "pack it up and travel" day. Although we were sad to depart Santa Fe, each of us was eager to ride to Durango on one of our favorite routes of the trip, I did realize that it's been nice to plan a trip where we settle in to one place for a few days. But we were about to do that again by staying in Durango three nights, too.

    Day 5.png

    The roads between Santa Fe and Durango are incredibly beautiful and incredibly varied. We see everything from massive New Mexico skies to layers of mesas to red sandstone cliffs and canyons to switchbacks through forests to meadows and pasturelands. I think it's one of my single most favorite rides I've been on to date. Others are more spectacular (like the upcoming Million Dollar Highway) but none are as diverse. If I could change one thing about it, it would be to make it longer! I did, however, make a riding gear selection error for this trip and it was more evident on this ride than on any other day. I elected to wear my mesh riding jacket thinking how hot the first and last riding days could be. Oops! Even with the layering I did, I should have had on a leather jacket with all the vents snugly closed up, a fleece neck gator, and WARMER GLOVES! Live and learn. ;) But you think I'd know by now! :joy: Always getting older but not always getting wiser......

    Our first stop when we came into the outskirts of Durango was Durango, Harley-Davidson. Ron, our BMW buddy, finds himself a comfy chair and pulls out his phone. Both Russell and Ron bought a couple of small items. But I, ace consumer, bought nada! For a change... :joy:

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    Two doors away and a two minute walk from H-D is Serious Texas BBQ, always an absolute must stop, partly for the food but partly for the outstanding patio that overlooks the Animas River that runs right through the city. We'd been rained on just a bit between Pagosa Springs and Durango though not even enough to stop to don rain gear. But during lunch the sun was shining and the temperatures were perfect. And I was warm again. :sun::)

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    The Animas River, known far and wide for world-class trout fishing and rafting. You can just see a six-person raft coming towards us. There was so much snow and snow-pack this past winter that all the Colorado rivers are running way about normal. One clerk in a fishing store said that he isn't even fishing right now because the rivers are running too fast and consequently the water is muddy from the run-off and it disturbs the fish. Ron was surprised they were even letting the bigger rafts out on the river.

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    I always get the same thing because it's so darned good. Here's my smoked pulled pork sandwich with jalapeño cherry BBQ sauce and a side of delicious cole slaw with a coke on the side. I was tempted to get a beer but decided to not ride and drink and also to "save myself" for a beer at dinner.

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    When we walked back to our bikes at Durango H-D we saw that the sky had definitely turned ominous so we didn't waste any time mounting back up and high-tailing it to our hotel, the Best Western Rio Grande which was only about 3 miles away.

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    Well, we made it back to our hotel in the nick of time to beat the rain and HAIL! But the storm began dumping on our bikes before I could even get my new Nelson-Riggs cover on my bike. So ironically I actually missed putting my cover on during the worst weather on our trip. :scream: On a positive note, we didn't end of riding in it and we were able to unpack our bikes and get stuff into the hotel room before it started up, too. And although it was pretty violent while it lasted, it didn't last long. Our room was on the 3rd floor and I took this photo looking down and my poor little bike. :eek::joy:

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    And speaking of gear choices, I have had an umbrella tucked down in a corner of my left saddlebag for ages. But for some unknown brainfart, I chose to take it out and leave it home. :eek: Luckily, however, the rain and hail stopped, the sun came out, by the time we agreed to meet up for the hotel's complimentary cocktail hour. Yep, we love the Best Western chain. A great breakfast, biker friendly, points toward stays, and FREE DRINKS! :D I did not receive any financial remuneration for that BW plug, BTW.

    Having having a beer (and a diet Coke for Russell), we set off into town. "Into town" was a whole block away. :joy: Unlike how we planned ahead and made reservations at the restaurants in Santa Fe, we decided to wing it in Durango. I have to admit that I did do a little recon a few weeks before we left home. Winging it is not really in my nature. :rolleyes:

    This first night in Durango we decided to eat at Carver's Brewery which still has their main street sidewalk outdoor seating which they instituted because of Covid. We agreed that we hope they continue having this outdoor patio in the summer because it's a great place to eat and be outdoors and people watch all at the same time. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture! :(

    But I did remember to take a photo of my dinner which consisted of roasted asparagus and a heaping bowl of the best mac and cheese I've ever had. I had the same thing the last time we were here two years ago. On the way to the restaurant I ducked into a fairy-like candy store and bought a "few" items including some Jelly Bellies. You can see the bag above my asparagus creating a balance between health food and junk food. ;)

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    On our walk back down Main Street to our hotel we saw this young man preparing to ride off on his v-e-r-y loaded bike. I asked him if I could take a photo of him to send to our friends who'd started the trip with us on their loaded-down H-D FXR. He said of course and asked me to text it to him so he could send it to his mom and dad. He was riding solo to Kentucky to meet up with his family see the land that his parents recently purchased there. I asked him what model his bike was but only remember that it's a Softail H-D model from around the early 2000's. What I was really focused on was all that he had packed onto that bike! :eek: We wound up seeing him again the next day in Silverton when we stopped there. :)

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    And to end Day #4 and I'll leave you with this aerial photo of the little town of Durango. (Thank you, Google Images)

    Population: 19,000.
    Altitude: 6,512 feet

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    Tomorrow it's a 230 mile loop around the San Juan Mountains through the San Juan National Forest including the Million Dollar Highway. :D Stayed tuned for Day #6,,,,,,,
     
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  6. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Armando Morales. Glad you're enjoying the report. I'd love to compare our plates with yours, too. Pozole is more common in New Mexico than it is in Arizona. And when we see it in Tucson it's usually in a pork and either red or green chili broth as a stew.

    The weather was great throughout our trip with very moderate temperatures. But now that we're back in southern Arizona, we, like you, are experiencing temperatures over 100ºF pretty much daily. It's definitely summertime in the Sonoran Desert! :cool::sun:
     
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  7. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

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    Jeez, you don't do things by halves Sandi, that's a fact!!:joy: Superb write up.:)
    I was planning a few days in Scotland later this year but it'll be a run round the block compared to this! :joy:
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Well, I'll be eager to and LOVE to read about your Scotland run, @Pegscraper! :heart_eyes:

    I think part of my deal, l and that of hubby and friends related to "not doing things by halves" as you put, it is that we're not gettin' any younger and want to pack in all we can before we can't or don't want (eek! strike that "don't want" part) to do trips like this. I always say that my only regret about riding motorcycles is that I didn't start years before I did, which was at age 52. That was really driven home when I had my blasted bicycle accident and missed nearly a year of really being able to ride like I like to ride.

    Thanks for the positive comments about my write up. I really appreciate the feedback. :kissing_heart: I'm glad you're enjoying my tour report. I'll resume the report tomorrow or maybe even later this evening with Day #6. The next episode will be about one of the most iconic rides in the United States, the "Million Dollar Highway". When I do that ride I always wish I had a camera so I could snap pics while I'm actually riding to share with others. Maybe I'll add that to the equation one of these days. :)
     
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  9. steve lovatt

    steve lovatt Something else

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    Another great write up of your fabulous journey Sandi, including route maps, photographs and additional information! Makes my own efforts look quite lazy by comparison :cool:
     
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  10. steve lovatt

    steve lovatt Something else

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    Keep going Sandi, you're doing really well, more excellent reporting!
     
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  11. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Loving this write-up, makes me feel like I'm with you all (which I wish I had been!).
     
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  12. andypandy

    andypandy Crème de la Crème

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    Love the Vans Sandi, and your write up and as a bit of a "foodie", i'm always interested in your food pics. Of course, i'm not at all jealous. ;):D
     
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  13. Armando Morales

    Armando Morales Noble Member

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    yes a bowl of pozole red or green with broth is the usual thing over here
    I grew up in Mexico city, and did not have pozole until I moved to Guadalajara, initially, it was a bit strange to have a humongous "soup" as the main course.
    My wife makes it occasionally and I have grown to like it, but still I wouldn't order one at a restaurant
    1 plate and I'm stuffed !
     
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  14. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #6: San Juan Scenic and Historic Byway
    Daily mileage: 240
    End of the day trip odometer reading = 1,273 miles


    Today's day ride out of Durango is considered one of the most iconic motorcycle rides in the U.S. And it is truly spectacular! All four of us have ridden all parts of this route (all except for the short connector road between Dolores and Mancos). But none of us had ever done the entire loop in one day but we were excited to do just that today. And the weather cooperated beautifully with moderate temperatures and sunny, blue--and dry!--skies. :sun::cool::) If you're interested in reading about this loop which is often referred to as the San Juan Scenic and Historic Byway, here's a Wikipedia article. The "San Juan" in the road name come from the fact that the roads are located in the San Juan National Forest which is in the San Juan Mountains. Thirteen of Colorado's 56 "14ers" are in the San Juan's. 14ers are mountains with peak altitudes of 14,000' or more. Most all of the areas through which we rode today were known for silver and gold mining.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Juan_Skyway_Scenic_and_Historic_Bywayl

    Day 6.png

    Thank goodness for Google Images since I don't have a GoPro on my bike! Though on days like this I certainly wish I did! To give you a bit of an idea our route, here are just a few photos. I saw one article that called the stretch of road between Silverton and Ouray (known as the "Million Dollar Highway") one of "The Most Terrifying Roads in America". I don't know about that, but you most certainly want to be paying VERY close attention, especially on a motorcycle! :eek: :joy:

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    There are many sections of road that have no shoulder and no guard rail--and a straight drop of many, many feet. :eek: And the are many, many hairpin turns with posted speed limits of 10mph or 15mph. And they mean business! Just to top that off, today as we left Silverton after a brief stop, we were greeted by signs saying "Motorcycle Use Extreme Caution" and "Loose Gravel and Oil Ahead". That'll tighten a motorcyclist's sphincter! :scream: It turned out there was indeed loose gravel--and some on those 15mph hairpin turns and on precarious areas like the photo above. But they'd not applied the oil yet. Thank goodness for small favors. Oh yes, there was one other sphincter tightening moment today when a big deer ran across the road close enough to Steve that he had to apply the brakes pretty firmly. Never a dull moment!

    We did the loop going counterclockwise today so our first stop was at Molas Pass with an altitude of 10,900'. Prior to that we rode over Coal Bank Pass which has an elevation of 10,600'. Molas Pass has a nice visitor area with the always important bathroom option. For the first time there was no one parked along the curb so I pulled up for a wonderful photo op! :heart_eyes:

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    Our next stop in Silverton was only about seven miles away. Silverton sits at 9,318' so the ride from Molas to Silverton was pretty much all a descent. And a beautiful one!

    Silverton was a mining town and now caters primarily to tourists and folks who are in the area to hike, jeep, and hunt or fish. There's a little Harley shop with clothing and souvenirs where we usually check out the offerings, get a bottle of water, and relax a bit. As you can see on the store window, Silverton H-D bills itself--and I'm sure rightfully so!--as "The World's Highest Harley Store". That's Steve, Russell, and Ron relaxing on the benches.

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    Inside the store was a super sweet little pooch named Pixie who loved to greet new customers. :)

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    We had all agreed that we would ride into Telluride for lunch even though it's just a little off the loop and parking is always, shall we say, a "challenge". But Steve found us some good spots before we got too far in on Main Street and we walked the few blocks up the hill to the main part of town.

    Telluride is tucked into a box canyon surrounded by 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks and the altitude of the town itself is 8,750'. It's a small town at just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long. Because of its significant role in the history of the American West, the core area of Telluride was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964.

    We've stayed here in the past at the New Sheridan which is an elegant old hotel with a fantastic restaurant. Today we ate at a new burger place and called it good. :joy: Although the skies were threatening rain when we arrive in Telluride, by the time we left town, the clouds that remained were fluffy and white.

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    At lunch the guys started talking about the herd of elk that they saw as we rode into Telluride. I said, "What elk?!" And why didn't anyone point them out?!" :mad: Sheesh. I was super disappointed because I'd never seen an elk herd.

    Well, that certainly changed on the way out of Telluride because we saw not one but two elk herds! They were beautiful and we estimate that there were about 70-80 elk. Of course, no GoPro, no photo. :( But I scoured the internet for images for "elk herd in Colorado" and found photo which looks very much like the views I saw including the colors, meadow, and backdrop. There were just a LOT more elk! :D:heart:

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    After Silverton and just above the town of Ouray on the east side of the San Juan Byway is a 3rd mountain pass called Red Mountain Pass. That was the highest pass we rode over today at 11,018'. As we headed south on the west side of the loop after lunch in Telluride, we rode over a 4th mountain pass known as Lizard Head. That pass is 10,222'. Nearby is a beautiful mountain lake called Trout Lake. I always wish there was a viewpoint or pullout because each time we've passed this lake I want to take a photo. But there's just no way to do that on this little two-lane mountain road unfortunately. So, again, here's a google image of Trout Lake that most closely matches just what I saw. Gorgeous! :heart_eyes: This is actually about how much snow there still was today. The snowfall and snowpack was well about normal. A fishing store clerk told Steve that the snowpack was 650% higher than normal!

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    The remainder of the ride meandered south through Dolores and Mancos then back to Telluride. It was a truly magnificent ride and reminded me of how truly blessed I am.

    Day #6 in Durango to be continued in my next post.......
     
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  15. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #6 in Durango:

    After parking the bikes, showering up, and relaxing a bit after an epic ride, the four of us met up in search of food and drink. It was still a bit early so we took our time strolling towards Main Street where most all the restaurants are. Along the way we some a few interesting Durango sights.

    Durango is home to the Durango--Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Both Russell and Ron have done the trip up to Silverton and back, but Steve and I never have. We considered doing it this trip but it's quite expensive and it requires a full day. So we still haven't ridden the train. But I love the old engines and I smile every time I hear the whistle. Someone recently bought the business and is switching over to new and "improved" engines. Here are photos of both. I love the old ones but evidently there have been a couple of safety issues. And if you look carefully at the photo here, you can see why any safety issue is cause for alarm.

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    Here's a great photo that Ron took of the older engine and the next photo which I took is of the newer engines parked back near our hotel parking lot. Sadly, this type of engine will eventually replace the older ones. The train station is only about a block from the Best Western where we were staying.

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    Durango provides horse and buggy rides through downtown, too. I'm always interested in and drawn to these because I love horses, used to have horses as a kid, and I drove a horse and carriage in San Diego for a living for six years back about 30 years ago. :)

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    I'd done a wee bit of research a couple of weeks prior to our trip to see what restaurants in Durango looked good. During my search I learned that Durango has more restaurants per capita than San Francisco! :eek: One in particular caught my attention partially because of the name--The Derailed Pourhouse--and partly because the atmosphere looked very unique and the menu was appealing. We hadn't made reservations so figured we'd see if we could get in when we walked over there.

    When we arrived at Derailed Pourhouse, everyone looked at the menu and agreed that it looked like a good place for dinner. And they had seating available. Better yet, they had a nice table out on the back patio. It was a perfect evening to dine alfresco as the sun set behind us. :sun:

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    Steve and I were in the mood for something unique to drink and the cocktail menu didn't disappoint. We both chose the same thing--the Kentucky Campfire. It was expensive...but SO worth it! The presentation alone was worth the price. ;):joy: I should have videoed the presentation so you could see the smoke curl and whirl up as he pulled the glass tops off with a flourish!

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    And the Kentucky Campfire tasted as good as it looked and smelled. Plus it had bacon in it! Everything is better with bacon. ;):yum

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    For dinner I had the fig goat cheese arugula flatbread. It was delicious and cost less than my cocktail!

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    Here's a photo of the interior of Derailed Pourhouse. Steve looked up the restaurant on TripAdvisor and it turns out that it's rated #1 of all the restaurants in Durango! Spoiler alert...we went back the next night, too. :p:D

    IMG_5519.jpeg

    Next up, Day #7: Exploring Durango on foot
     
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  16. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

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    It's quite obvious you're as adventurous with your taste buds as you are with your riding Sandi, I like your style:)
    More please!:grinning:
     
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  17. Armando Morales

    Armando Morales Noble Member

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    wow, would love to ride the million dollar highway !
     
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  18. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

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    I know a lot of Americans say that the UK has so much history, and that's true, but I think for me, a lot of us on this forum ( Not speaking for everyone here ) can relate to your history more, because we've all seen some of these places on the TV and films. I'd love to do a trip like that, it would be memorable that's for sure.
    good.gif good.gif
     
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  19. Bolosun

    Bolosun Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting some detail of your trip Sandi, because I will definitely be looking at doing the same. We have done a couple of trips, including Las Vegas (the tacky one), Grand Canyon and Moab. But we have an itch to come over again for another bike tour. And this looks perfect.
     
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  20. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Wow, what an amazing day that was, amnd what an epic route!!! Amazing that the risk of going over the edge on some of those turns are just accepted, though, albeit that guard rails would be quite intrusive, I'd have thought. I don't think it would happen here.

    Oh, and I laughed at "That'll tighten a motorcyclist's sphincter!", Sandi :joy:
     
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