Featured Our 4-day Utah Trip: 2 Days Of Adventure And 3 Days Of Misadventure

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Jun 4, 2024.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #1 Sandi T, Jun 4, 2024
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2024
    The following adage is (unfortunately) apropos of our most recent motorcycle trip to see some of Utah's national parks.

    “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” Despite our most careful planning, the Road of Life is unpredictable. We might have driving and destination strategies but scenic new vistas might beckon us or unforeseen roadblocks can deter us.
    Psychology Today, Feb., 2016

    But "unforeseen roadblocks" can make for good learning opportunities...and even better stories. ;):joy: Our trip was in early May but I'm finally ready to turn this particular trip report into a story. :)

    Here's a map of our original plan. Our primary destinations were Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. We did get to see Zion--which is glorious!--but will have to return to see Bryce another time. I will give you a little info ahead of time--my story does NOT involve any accidents or injuries thank God!

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    Day #1: Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada

    Five of us hit the road early on Thursday May 2nd bound for the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street in Vegas. Our group included Steve (hubby), Russell (#1 riding buddy), and a two up couple, Ek and Crystal on Ek's BMW. We've stayed at the Golden Nugget many times and love both the ride up as well as an evening of "The Fremont Street Experience".

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    We stopped in the town of Wickenburg which is about an hours ride northwest of Phoenix. It's a great little town known for rodeo and all things western. This time around we dined at a restaurant we'd never been to before called Spurs Cafe right next to the old and super cool movie theater (where we have been before).

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    You can see Wickenburg's western influence in the art and photos on the wall.

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    My delicious Eggs Benedict brunch

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    Our whole ride from Tucson to Vegas was smooth sailing and we arrived at our hotel in time to check in, freshen up, and head to The Chart House for dinner. This photo of our hotel was taken at the main Fremont Street entrance after dinner.

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    Because Steve's birthday was the next day on May 3rd we decided to celebrate that evening with a great "blow out" dinner at The Chart House which is in the Golden Nugget. Steve and I love this place and this evenings meal was no exception. He and I arrived a bit early for our 7pm reservation so ordered martinis at the bar. Yes, that's a HUGE aquarium behind the bar! :grinning: As a scuba diver, this is one of the other reasons I like this restaurant so much.

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    I took lots of food pics but will just share this one of my beet salad. It looked good enough to eat :rolleyes: but tasted even better than it looked! The martinis were outstanding, too.

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    Before we left I made a visit to the restroom and this is the sight that greeted me! She graciously allowed me to take a photo. :)

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    After dinner we ventured out onto Fremont Street to check out all the craziness of "The Fremont Street Experience". . If you've never been to see this in person, it's a total trip! The canopy over Fremont Street changes designs throughout the day and sometimes those designs are quite psychedelic. :eek::p I LOVE Fremont Street! My hubby, Steve, isn't quite so "enthusiastic" but he puts up with it. ;):heart:

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    Day #1 continued in my next post (more Fremont Street pics!)
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #1 continued: Las Vegas and Fremont Street

    There seemed to be a bit of a "theme"on Fremont Street when we were there. Check out the first three photos in this post and you'll see what I mean. :eek::joy: I guess it's clear which street performers are a hit--no pun intended.

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    There are many different types of street performers and it seems that each time we're here the acts change. Here are a few more that we saw on this particular evening.

    For the ladies...

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    And for the animal lovers!

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    For the country-western music lovers

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    And for the kiddies. I do have to say that I can't quite imagine brings kids to this particular part of Vegas!

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    I was bound and determined to ride the Fremont Street zip line (known as "Slotzilla") this time around. Russell always says he will, too, but he wouldn't consider joining me when push came to shove. However, Crystal said that she'd ride the zip line with me so we checked out how it worked. Hmmm, $79 for the SuperMan position long ride. I'd have done that in a heartbeat but the next available time slot was at 10:45 (it was 9:30 when we inquired at the box office) and there was a 45 minute wait up in "the tower" where they prep you for your ride! :p As much as both Crystal and I wanted to ride that zip line, we changed our tune when we learned all that. :( But live and learn! Next time we'll sign up early and do our gawking while waiting for our turn.

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    At the end of the canopied section of Fremont Street there's another area that's fun, too. This area is known as East Fremont and has a number of good restaurants and cool bars.

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    It also has a shopping and dining area composed of railroad car containers called The Container Park. We wanted to show Ek and Crystal this mantis which stands guard near the entrance.

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    My next post--Day #2: Heading to Utah
     
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  3. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #2: Las Vegas to Utah to see Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

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    Our plan for today was to ride up Interstate 15 from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah and then take smaller roads into Zion National Park and then ride on to Bryce Canyon National Park. That turned out to be a bit ambitious and we realized that Bryce would need to be saved for Day #3. What neither Steve nor I realized, however, is that we'd be riding through a spectacular area in the very northwestern corner of Arizona called the Virgin River Gorge. We didn't even realize we'd be riding into (and out of) Arizona today at all! I don't have any photos but here's a great AZ Department of Transportation web site with wonderful photos and some interesting information about this gorgeous corner of my home state. As usual, pictures really don't do it justice and I couldn't find any good YouTube videos. But this give you a bit of an idea...

    https://azdot.gov/blog-article/road-trip-i-15-virgin-river-corridor-hidden-engineering-marvel

    After we entered Utah and rode on towards St. George, we made a gas stop and a bathroom stop. Thank goodness for needing the bathroom stop or we wouldn't have met "Bucky", the two-week old baby goat! He was SOOOO cute.

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    I'd always wanted to see St. George, Utah, and we finally got a chance to ride through that town and get a bit of a feel for it. But as we weren't leading the ride (Russell was) so no stops and we continued on to our next ride destination, Zion National Park. Again, I don't have photos that I took myself as we didn't make stops. Well, we did make one stop when we started descending on the other side of Zion Mountain but that side doesn't do the park justice. Maybe someday just Steve and I will go back and make LOTS of stops! :joy: I will say that the ride through Zion was one of the most beautiful rides I've ever done and it was WAY more technical (very steep, hairpin turns, and cliffs) than I anticipated. Crystal probably got the best views as she was riding pillion with Ek. :)

    Thank you, Mr. Internet...

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    At the top of Zion Mountain there's a tunnel that's between a mile and a mile and a half long that's really cool. We had to wait about 15 minutes to enter the tunnel as they were only letting one lane of traffic through at a time. For those interested, here's a Wikipedia article about this cool--and very old--tunnel. :heart_eyes:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zion_–_Mount_Carmel_Highway

    Before our trip I'd asked Russell (who was leading because he's done this trip several times before) if there were good places for photo stops. He said there were plenty! Well, unfortunately I think he forgot about that conversation. :joy::joy::joy: Anyway, we did make one stop after we went through the tunnel and began descending the back side of the mountain. We did see a wild goat on the road. In fact, we had to stop and wait for it as it stood there looking at us before it finally ran off! So here are a couple of pics at our one stop in Zion.

    Steve & Russell and Ek & Crystal


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    It was well past our usual lunch time when we came off the mountain so we stopped in a little town called Mt. Carmel Junction. We'd stopped there last summer on our way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally but only to gas up. This time we had a terrific lunch at the Thunderbird Cafe, "Home of the Ho-Made Pie". ;):eek::joy:

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    After buying a few souvenirs in the gift shop, we talked about our next move. At this point it was well into mid-afternoon and we decided that it would be wise to ride the 55 miles to our hotel and venture into Bryce Canyon National Park tomorrow. The temperatures began to drop as we rode towards the hotel so we made a quick stop along the road to add some layers. This was the view from the road. :heart_eyes:

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    By the time we arrived at our hotel is was nearing Happy Hour. Fortunately, even though we were in Utah, the restaurant at the hotel had beer and wine.

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    And I was REALLY happy that the restaurant had beer and wine when I saw this as we were unpacking the bikes! :eek::scream::mad: And this is where the "misadventure" part of our trip begins....

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    To be continued tomorrow........
     
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  4. FellZebra

    FellZebra First Class Member

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    @Sandi T my like on that post is for the journey and places visited.........
    definitely not for the dented wheel :worried:
     
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  5. Markus

    Markus Crème de la Crème
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    @Sandi T: Thanks for your great report with this terrific photos. You gave me many hints for my next years planned journey in that area. :)
    I am looking forward to read the next parts. Sorry for your bike. I feel there will come some horrible stories soon. :(
     
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  6. Glenn2926

    Glenn2926 Noble Member
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    Looking great so far. Re the trip that is not re the dinged rim. That has hit something hard. Hopefully you were able to get it sorted and continue.
     
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  7. Bolosun

    Bolosun Well-Known Member

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    We have been to Zion and Bryce parks. Absolutely stunning places.
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Glenn2926. Yeah, the trip was good (well, the first 1/2) but definitely not the rim. It has been sorted but at the expense of the 2nd half of the planned trip. And at some additional expense in other ways as well.I'm about to share that part in the continuation of this thread. Stay tuned! :eek:
     
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  9. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

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    Wow what a trip and more to come. As usual @Sandi T another stunning set of pictures and storyboard to support them. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
     
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  10. David Cooper

    David Cooper Triumph Rocketeer.
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    Thank's Sandi, I really enjoy your write ups and brilliant photo's
     
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  11. Armando Morales

    Armando Morales Noble Member

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    Great report so far !
    Looking forward to the second part
     
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  12. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #3: Bryce Canyon Pines Motel to....Bryce Canyon Pines Motel (me)
    Steve and Russell -- 540 miles from Bryce Canyon Pines Motel to Tucson


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    Well, yesterday afternoon we all learned that our "roadside assistance" insurance plans only allow for transport to the nearest Harley dealership (Harley Owners Group Roadside Assistance) or the nearest repair shop (Progressive Insurance Co.). That really didn't help at all as it got my bike and me no closer to home. :( In fact, the nearest Harley dealership was back in St. George about 125 miles in the wrong direction. And they didn't have the wheel in question in stock. And that wheel, we learned from another dealership in Flagstaff, Arizona, was back-ordered until the end of October! Sigh.... So at the end of Day #2 after lots and lots of brainstorming over dinner (with beer, thankfully), it was decided that Steve and Russell would hit the road early the next morning (Day #3) and ride the 540 miles home to Tucson. Ek and Crystal would proceed on with the trip as planned since there really wasn't any reason for them to miss out and there was nothing they could really do to assist.

    In the meantime, I would stay put with my bike and make the needed phone calls to get a U-Haul motorcycle trailer rented. I also reserved our hotel room for another two nights plus an additional rooms for the next night for our friend, Chris, who graciously agreed to make the drive back up to Bryce with Steve on Day #4 and help load and transport the bike back again to Tucson on Day #5. So altogether, Steve put in over 1,600 miles in three days by bike and pickup truck! :p I also had to rearrange things with our dog sitter who was "back at the ranch" taking care of Ellie.

    We all got up bright and early on Day #3 to meet for breakfast at the hotel restaurant right when it opened at 7:00am. Our bikes were covered with frost it was so cold and Steve, unfortunately, hadn't anticipated needing warm gear. Fortunately, he was able to squeeze in to the winter gloves I had packed. I have the tendency to pack for pretty much every circumstance. Usually I return home thinking I didn't need to bring everything that I did. In this case, I was mighty glad I "packed for the weather". In fact, I had packed my heated vest which I wore constantly in the next two days! It made me glad I opted for the battery-operated heated vest rather than the kind you plug into the bike. :)

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    When I asked to extend the nights for our hotel room, I was told that the room had been booked for another party and that I'd have to move. And there was only ONE room remaining for the night of Day #3! So I said of course I'll take it and, of course, it was as far removed from our original room as was possible on the sprawling property. It wasn't that big a deal, though, because I had nowhere to go and only time on my hands. :joy::joy::joy: It was just indicative of the last three days of this trip that, if something could be more complicated or problematic, it was. So I rode my bike from the original room to the new room then schlepped my gear over a bit later (the only time I rode it after seeing the rim until it had a new wheel several weeks later). The new room (mine's at the very end) did have a lovely location! :heart_eyes:

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    After cleaning my bike thoroughly (lots of bugs from the first two days!), I moseyed around the property to see what I could see. I was "stranded" in beautiful country but miles from the nearest town. I think this is the last time that Russell gets to choose the hotels. ;):joy: On a side note, I'd brought a 3/4 bike cover along on this trip but opted not to put it on as the weather was lovely. Hmmm....that turned out to be a poor decision as you'll see on Day #4. :eek::expressionless:

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    The sky in this photo should have been my cue--and clue!!--to put that cover on.

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    I don't typically bring a Kindle or book on motorcycle trip (though that may change now!) but figured there would be a lending library in the lobby. Nope. But there was ONE stray novel on a side table which I snapped up and began reading. On the plus side, I have always really enjoyed Tony Hillerman novels which are mystery stories set on the Navajo Reservation. So this evening it was Tony Hillerman and his main character, Joe Leaphorm, and a delicious IPA from Moab Brewery in Moab, Utah. Thank goodness for beer and books! :grinning: The staff at the restaurant got pretty used to seeing me as I had breakfast, lunch, and dinner there plus an afternoon piece of pie with coffee each day. :yum

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    Steve and Russell kept me posted on their progress and they arrived back home a bit after dinner time. They had smooth sailing the whole way and arrived home safe and sound though quite tired from the long day in the saddle.


    To be continued in my next post: Day #4

    :eek:Tomorrow is when things REALLY got "interesting"! :eek:
     
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  13. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
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    At least you can now laugh about the mishap @Sandi T
    So long as nobody is hurt, there's always a funny side. And sometimes, even if they are:grinning:
     
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  14. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

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    Great write up, but that rim :(:(
     
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  15. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising

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    Oh my goodness @Sandi T I had not realised the damaged rim would prevent you from completing your trip. What a nightmare for you and Steve.
    I hope you get it sorted.
     
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  16. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Wessa. Yep, our trip turned more into a story. :joy: In my next post you'll see how things got even more crazy as Day 4 progressed! I'll never agin ask that age old question, "What next?" or utter the phrase "Well, at least it can't get any worse". ;)
     
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  17. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    You are so right, @Dawsy! One of the very first things our friend, Ek, said when he saw the rim was "Well, at least you're not dead in a ditch somewhere!" And now that my bike is back in business, there are definitely some funny sides to all this. One of the "funniest" (though NOT at the time) things that happened will show up in my next post. ;)
     
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  18. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, @Bikerman. :kissing_heart: But, yes, that (frickin') rim! :mad: Of course a silver lining is we now have a great excuse to plan another trip to Utah to see Bryce Canyon National Park. I'm just a bit gun shy on the verb "plan" right now, though. :joy:
     
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  19. Pegscraper

    Pegscraper Elite Member

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    Yikes! This is like one of those Charley Boorman/Ewan McGregor trips, except there's no backup crewe! Fixing a puncture is one thing but there's not an awful lot you can do with that sort of damage. :mad: At least you're home safe Sandi and in days to come you can put your feet up, relax with a G&T, forget the lows and relive the highs!:grinning:
     
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  20. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Nope, @Pegscraper, no backup crewe! :( Last year on our Sturgis trip we did have a Prius "sag wagon" (riding buddy's girlfriend) which turned out to be pretty wonderful, particularly because it rained every day and nearly all day during the rally. We would just pile in the car to go do stuff. It would have been equally lovely -- perhaps even more so -- to have such a luxury on this Utah trip. But hey, who knew, right?? o_O

    What we did all know when looking at that rim at the end of that 2nd day was that the bike shouldn't be ridden, especially another 600--700 miles much of which would be at speed. Better safe than sorry. Yes, I'm glad to be home safe with my feet up. And it does make for a good story--along with a lot of gratitude for great friends and for the fact that it was nothing worse. :)

    Tomorrow I'll post about what happened at the end of our 3rd day. As they say, "when it rains it pours". But when it rains and the temperature drops--it SNOWS. Sheesh!! :eek:

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