***Click the pics for full size***
That would be the Grand Canyon shot from the South Face. We rode a 580 mile loop from Las Vegas around the North Face to the South Face through Flagstaff back to Las Vegas. The problem with the North Face was that it was closed due to snow, deep, deep snow.
This piece includes a bit of the problem with the whole loop - Flagstaff is about a mile elevation and the Grand Canyon is up hill from there - ie. damn cold on a motorcycle. You'd think that if there were two live brain cells talking to each other amongst three boys from Baker City, OR at 3500 ft elevation surrounded by mountains that this little factoid would have entered our thinking. Nope. Popsicles.
Riding around Las Vegas for a week certainly doesn't explain a month. That would have a lot to do with my thinking process that included being south of snow and my son's home in Bartow, Florida about 40 miles east of Tampa. A map was generated which used "other than Interstates" diagonally from Las Vegas to Bartow. Quickly, Las Vegas - Phoenix - Show Low, AZ - Roswell, NM - Lubbock, TX - Dallas, TX - Lufkin, TX - Alexandria, LA - Baton Rogue, LA - New Orleans French Quarter - and I-10 to Tallahassee, FL and I-75 to Bartow, FL. The return trip duplicated the route minus I-75 & I-10 running up into GA east of Tallahassee and cutting across GA & MS & LA by way of Dothan, AL to Natchez, LA. The entire trip, including the Las Vegas riding totalled just over 8,000 miles with the side trip down to Key West, FL and other tourist type things in FL.
My object in the trip was to use full access roads, primarily US Highways and to a lesser extent State Routes. A motorcycle is not a reasonable method of short travel times. Given that, the opportunity to stop in smaller places and meet folks from "real life" as opposed to Freeway stops and to see the country closely pays dividends. The freeway portion of the first route was the result of a cold front in TX and northern LA - I just had to get south to near the Gulf to get away from freezing my hind end off, highs in the lower 40s are pretty brutal on a bike with no windshield or other cover when covering hundreds of miles per day. Both ways I averaged mid-400s miles per day a bit short of my goal of 500 miles, but interesting places and some cold weather interfered.
The VLA in New Mexico, not all that far from the infamous Roswell. From a distance some very large strange mushrooms out by the horizon, kinda spooky.
Kayaking east of Tampa, and yes that guy is a rather large alligator not a stone's throw away. My son and I were in a two-seater and spent around 4 hours seeing things up close and quiet.
A couple blocks from here and you're swimming to Cuba or getting your bike very wet in the waters off Key West. Mainland to Key West is 140 miles. This place is a sort of R-rated Disneyland mostly dedicated to separating you from your money, fun though. I don't guess there's any way to get farther from Baker City, OR.
This is the second time I've seen my model bike on the actual road. This was ridden by a gal in the Lakeland, FL HOG Chapter. I spotted the bike on the way to a rally in Leesburgh, FL.
I have no idea how many bikes were at the rally. For about a mile the street was parked both sides with bikes backed in side by side and about 6 blocks of downtown also had bikes parked side by side on the center line.
Before I left Las Vegas I had a 30K mile service and on the return trip the next 5K had turned over outside Roswell, NM so after spending the night Sunday morning I went to the Harley dealer to see about that. Closed. Being shut out of my service and Harley coffee I went to a nearby gas station to at least get coffee. This bunch rolled in and as per usual my bike invited conversation and the up shot was I went on a run with the Roswell Eagle Riders and Scuffy put me up for the night.
Monday morning I got my service at this dealer. Yes, aliens are, well, a thing there.
At least it was pretty warm up here. I suppose just being here made it worth a picture.
Northern Arizona and southern Utah are the Navajo Reservation and the country is spectacular - so much so that a camera doesn't really capture it. The wind eroded buttes and plateau faces make it easy to see how people could get mystical about the country.
The last day was 620 miles from Price, UT home and it involved once being over a thousand feet above the snow line, lots of cold and rain off and on including a down pour in Boise. A rough last day and one that made me very happy to be home from a trip that started 3/19 and ended 4/20.
Every place I spent any time I found people being nice to me. More than a couple times I had people trying to kill me with their vehicles, which is why you stay very alert. The bike performed flawlessly and a hat-tip is due some Harley dealers - Henderson, NV Harley (service), Lakeland, FL Harley (tire replacement), Roswell, NM Harley (service). This is about absolute friendliness, timeliness, and quality of service. I stopped at too many dealers to note for coffee, a stretch, and maybe a T-shirt and found with only a couple exceptions the same dedication to customers or just a Harley rider from far away. As I noted, this bike starts conversations, especially being a rare cruiser bike* so far from home.
*A cruiser has no windshield, faring, or built-on bags, rare is 2500 in the world ever. This is the FXSTSSE3 - Screaming Eagle Springer Soft-tail CVO (Custom Vehicles Operations). Screaming Eagle is Harley's performance and pretties division and everything on the bike is from them other than the stock main frame. It is a pretty hot-rod Harley with outstanding handling and power.