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Old 10-13-2020, 05:07 AM   #1
norcalkid
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WeeStrom does Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Arches, etc

Just thought I'd do a little write up on my recent trip. Be warned, this report is Wee Strom pic heavy!

It was a bit strange traveling during COVID19. No question it is being handled differently in different states.


Day 1 404 miles

I had planned to ride the Sonora pass but due to the fires and smoke I posted on here looking for alternative routes. I ended up riding up 88 and over Monitor Pass. The ride was great with very little smoke. Got gas at Bridgeport, $4.49 a gallon WTF! The smoke really started at about Mono lake. Mono lake to Bishop was smokey.

I ended up camping about 18 miles outside of Bishop on 168. Not too much smoke in this area. Really nice campsite with cool hosts that ride. Chilled out, had a creek behind my campsite. A bit chilly at night but a nice place to stay.

Can see a bit of smoke on 88.
IMG_20201006_094916 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Fall colors
IMG_20201006_105450 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

IMG_20201006_105507 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

The real smoke started at Mono Lake.
IMG_20201006_130056 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

My little campsite
IMG_20201006_163333 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Creek maybe 30 feet from my camp site.
IMG_20201006_182257 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Smoke wasn't too bad at the campground.
IMG_20201006_181843 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Morning coffee view
IMG_20201007_073415 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Not sure how cold it got that night but the little frost indicator and the temp was flashing on the dash after I was all packed up and leaving. Dash said 37 but it was colder earlier. I had all my cold weather gear on with the heated grips cranked up for the 18 mile ride down into Bishop. In Bishop I changed into mesh. It was that much warmer 18 miles away.
IMG_20201007_073139 by Norcalkid, on Flickr


Side Note: Of the 5 or so campsites I saw on 168 3 of them were closed. I was told they are all closed in Mono county (I don't know if that's actually the case). This was the first week of Oct.

Last edited by norcalkid; 10-13-2020 at 05:12 AM..
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Old 10-13-2020, 05:49 AM   #2
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That creek looked really nice. Great views of the eastern Sierras.

(But then, aren't they all great...)
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:01 AM   #3
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Day 2 315 miles

Had a nice ride today. Headed down 395 to Lone Pine where I topped up on gas then headed into Death Valley. I thought Death Valley would be hot and miserable straight roads. The ride into the Valley was actually a nice windy road at about 82 degrees. Wearing my mesh jacket it was really nice. The ranger station entering the park was closed due to COVID19. The self serve kiosk was open but no way of buying a America the Beautiful pass(mine expired in Aug). Guy at the little store there told me to go to a visitor center near Stove Pipe Wells or Furnace Creek to get the pass? I never actually saw the visitor center (and am not sure where it's actually located?) but the campground at Furnace Creek had a sign that passes were available at the campgrounds ranger station. So I was able to get an annual pass there, $80.

I saw 101 degrees on the dash at the Furnace Creek gas station. But the rest of the ride was mid 80's through 90's. Very nice ride.

Got through Death Valley and cut through State Line road toward Pahrump. The road kinda runs parallel to Ash Meadows wildlife refuge. From there 160 to Vegas.

Death Valley
IMG_20201007_122750 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

You can see my jacket under the dry bag holding sleeping bag. This is what I have been doing lately. Take a mesh jacket for when it's hot and my waterproof winter jacket for when it's cold. No amount of vents will make a winter jacket comfortable when HOT. Under my sleeping bag the second jacket doesn't take up any of my storage. I don't have a fancy compact sleeping bag. Just a 20+ year old Coleman.
IMG_20201007_134143 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Stayed at The Oasis at Gold Spike in Vegas. Even did the $5 upgrade to a poolside building room. Total cost was $55 for a decent room 3 blocks from the Fremont Street Experience(I didn't have any reservations or anything). I'm not sure about non COVID pricing but I thought $55 was a good price. This is kind of a young pool party type place with music playing out at the pool all day long.

IMG_20201007_164336 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Pool was open but with a limit on number of people at once. (there weren't a lot of guests there anyway so it was kind of a non issue)
IMG_20201007_165636 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

I went out and checked out the Fremont Street Experience that evening. Masks are required in Nevada and if not smoking or drinking people were wearing them.
MVIMG_20201007_183434 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

MVIMG_20201007_181924 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

MVIMG_20201007_182340 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

IMG_20201007_185606 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

MVIMG_20201007_192231 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

IMG_20201007_191320 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

The parking at the Oasis wasn't the greatest. I took all the boxes off the bike and brought them inside.
IMG_20201007_180756 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

When I realized just how much crap I had with me.
PXL_20201008_135859219 by Norcalkid, on Flickr


As for Vegas. The Fremont Street thing was up and running. Looked like not all the street performers were there. The casinos were open though I never set foot in a casino so can't really comment as to what's going on inside in regards to COVID precautions.

The Oasis would be a good location for someone young looking to pool party in Vegas steps from Fremont street. As for with the bike, I wasn't all that comfortable with the parking.
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Old 10-13-2020, 06:08 AM   #4
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awesome ... camping creekside in the eastern Sierras one night to the Fremont Street experience the next. there’s ultra moto-travel style for me.

subscribed for moar DL pics ...
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Old 10-14-2020, 08:38 AM   #5
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Day 3 374 miles

Left Vegas and headed to Kingman Az. From Kingman I took historic route 66. This was the first signs I saw of closures due to COVID. There is a Indian reservation on Route 66 in this area. There were big road signs announcing no visitors. There were police checkpoints going into neighborhoods and signs announcing a 8pm-5am curfew. None of this really affected me as I just rode on. Was just unexpected. Route 66 was kinda mahh, I certainly won't be planning a trip across 66 any time soon.

Headed up toward the Grand Canyon. The park was cool and I was able to ride about 25 miles East along the rim to the watchtower before the road hit Navajo land and was closed. I knew this and advance and new I'd have to double back down toward Flagstaff to get to Monument Valley eventually.

My plan was to either camp in the park or at the public 10X campground. That didn't really work out. The in the park campground was full and 10X was closed. Though online it said open until Oct 15 and even the park rangers were recommending it and were surprised when myself and other campers told them it was closed. Anyway, with nowhere to stay I set the Garmin to show dirt roads and headed to the national forest just South of the park. Headed down a gravel road and then down a fire road and found a campsite. I knew this could happen and was kinda watching the national forest when riding in earlier in the day looking for backup camping options.

Route 66
PXL_20201008_170735332 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201008_171601053 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Grand Canyon NP
PXL_20201008_211742773 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201008_204902258 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Gota have the selfie.
PXL_20201008_205635468 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201008_214931909 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

CLOSED
PXL_20201008_210745006 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

My free national forest campsite.
PXL_20201008_235510554 by Norcalkid, on Flickr
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Old 10-15-2020, 05:55 AM   #6
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Day 4 275 miles

I left my camp site in the Grand Canyon and had to double back to Flagstaff due to the Navajo Nation closing the road through it. I did look over the dirt routes but couldn't figure a dirt route out. In Flagstaff I hit Walmart and picked up some sweat pants and a top to sleep in. I had been cold the first couple nights in the tent.

Rode up to Monument Valley from Flagstaff and found a crappy $10 campsite that night. There was almost no shade but the sunset and evening was great there.

The ride to Mexican Hat
PXL_20201009_203319482 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201009_203331825 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201009_204105621~2 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Mexican Hat rock
PXL_20201010_150104984 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

My camp site. I don't recommend this place, no shade.
PXL_20201010_000751459 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

The view from camp. Awesome view at sunset but I didn't get any pics.
PXL_20201009_213708639 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201009_212741826 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Last edited by norcalkid; 10-15-2020 at 05:59 AM..
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Old 10-15-2020, 07:50 AM   #7
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What were the night time temps?
I've been thinking of doing almost the same exact ride, but have a friend who travels to Blyth quite often and was going to put the bike in the back of her truck in an effort to avoid the slabbage.
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Old 10-15-2020, 09:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by norcalkid View Post

Rode up to Monument Valley from Flagstaff and found a crappy $10 campsite that night. There was almost no shade but the sunset and evening was great there.

The ride to Mexican Hat
Nice photos, the postcards sell themselves.

Having no shade isn't surprising, given it's a desert, and can be a windy one at that.

A gazillion years ago, when I was in Monument Valley on a school trip, in February, it was quite cold. It was also quite windy.

Most of the students on the trip crammed in to the vans for the night, but I parked my sleeping bag next to one of the sorta-shelters they had at the camp (kind of like the covering in the picture above, but it had a wall as well).

It helped block some of the wind, but it was a lot better than being sardined with the rest of the folks.
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Old 10-15-2020, 10:29 AM   #9
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What were the night time temps?
I've been thinking of doing almost the same exact ride, but have a friend who travels to Blyth quite often and was going to put the bike in the back of her truck in an effort to avoid the slabbage.
Depends where I was. A lot of the trip was at high elevations. It wasn't that cold but I have a crappy 30 degree sleeping bag that's over 20 years old. I actually ordered a new Nemo Forte 20 degree bag this morning. I'm sick of being cold at night. Bishop Ca was the coldest place I camped in the low 30's. My banana was half frozen in the bear box by breakfast. I decided not to camp at Bryce Canyon because it was around 60 mid day and windy. Thought I'd freeze at night.

The daytime riding weather was perfect. Probably a total non issue with a better sleeping bag or if staying in hotels. I wasn't ever really cold camping, it was 3-5am waking up cold. I wore my mesh jacket about half the trip.
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Old 10-15-2020, 08:01 PM   #10
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Nice shots, I wish i could do a good write up like you. ��
I was there before 2 weeks, I coundt find any campsite in neddles ( Canyonlands NP ) and I was told Arches is more busier NP, so no chance of a campsite

I heard multiple times that Cal-wild fire made lot of traffic into Utah NPs, hope that is not the case anymore but please be aware of it.

It stinks to ride all day and then keep searching for a campsite

Good luck and keep sending good shots
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:55 AM   #11
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Day 5 274 miles

I was under the impression Valley of the Gods was closed due to being on Indian land. Turns out it's BLM and the couple in the campsite next to me drove it the day before. The turn off was only 5 miles from my campsite so I headed to the Valley in the morning.

Then headed north through Moab and checked out Arches NP. Arches was cool but packed. Had to wait to get in, lots of traffic in the park etc. Actually all of Moab was packed, tourists everywhere. I tried to get a hotel but no rooms available. Finally I just said F-Moab and headed south and got a hotel in the little town of Blanding Ohio. Turns out it was a dry town (not that I drink just surprised me). Anyway, back at the hotel a big firework show started across the street. No idea why but it was a big professional show. I watched the show and went to bed.

Valley of the Gods
PXL_20201010_155238835~2 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201010_152245126~2 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201010_153611851~2 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201010_155508566 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201010_155916092 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Last edited by norcalkid; 10-16-2020 at 07:08 AM..
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Old 10-16-2020, 06:59 AM   #12
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Arches NP
PXL_20201010_195610294 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201010_193702017 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

PXL_20201010_193203195 by Norcalkid, on Flickr

Ethanol free gas available everywhere in Utah.
PXL_20201010_223000283 by Norcalkid, on Flickr
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:06 AM   #13
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Nice shots, I wish i could do a good write up like you. ��
I was there before 2 weeks, I coundt find any campsite in neddles ( Canyonlands NP ) and I was told Arches is more busier NP, so no chance of a campsite

I heard multiple times that Cal-wild fire made lot of traffic into Utah NPs, hope that is not the case anymore but please be aware of it.

It stinks to ride all day and then keep searching for a campsite

Good luck and keep sending good shots
The Moab area was a total shit show. You would have no idea there is a pandemic going on. I didn't stay. The only area I visited that was packed with tourists.

Last edited by norcalkid; 10-18-2020 at 09:43 AM..
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:22 AM   #14
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Nice. We like pic heavy threads. What is the date of day one?
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Old 10-16-2020, 07:29 AM   #15
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Nice. We like pic heavy threads. What is the date of day one?
Oct 6 or 7th?
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