Mike & Cec Lary challenges

Challenges from 2016

As new members of SEAT Cecilia and I thought we should begin the Challenges and document the rides.  Our first ride on February 21st was a test to see if the camera, tripod and 10 second delay would work. We chose to go to Laughlin and Bullhead City to pick up Davis Dam, Lake Mead Recreation Area and Lake Mohave. 

As an experiment it went well but we forgot to get Lake Mohave.  We corrected that when we meet up with SEAT in Laughlin for the Death Valley Ride. ( We went to Lake Mohave and took the picture but found it was not on the list.  Didn’t want to waste the pictures so included it anyway.)

For our next outing on the Challenges we chose to work on it from March 4th to the 9th in conjunction with Cecilia’s annual “Sisters Week” when she and two of her sisters get together for a few days of quality time with out the male distractions of husbands or kids.  Works for me, we agreed to drop her off at the Tucson Airport and then pick her up after 3 days at the Airbnb they had rented. 

We left Las Vegas the morning of the 4th and headed to our first stop, the Courthouse for Mohave County in Kingman.   This was the real test.  Cecilia had developed  a spread sheet with all the challenge rides and locations, she then uploaded them to a Google map and sent them to me.  I plugged  them into a program located at the Honda Trip Planner application. Then we downloaded a GPX file to upload on our Goldwing Navigation system.  Every thing should be wonderful.  (This was a new trick for us.  I have been using Garmin GPS’s for over 15 years with out many problems.  This was going to change.)

In route to Kingman the GPS kept trying to take me on many (probably interesting) unwanted roads. I begin to have suspicions about the veracity of the device.  We finally made it with a little help from our  I phone. 

Our next stop was the Joshua Forest Parkway of Arizona.  We located it without the help of the GPS which kept giving us interesting route interpretations.  

From there we went to Rock the Frog.  Not too hard to find but the GPS kept trying to make it a longer ride. 

Our journey then lead to the Jail Tree in Wickenburg.  I am really beginning to appreciate the challenges.  As many times as I have been through Wickenburg I never took time to stop and enjoy the old downtown area.  A great time and enjoyable stop. 

Now on to Picacho Peak State Park.  A nice ride except we needed to use a map and I phone to find it. Dang GPS. .

Locating Tucson after this wasn’t too hard and the GPS seemed to be working better?  At our stop at the Pima County Courthouse I discovered the GPS found it OK but if you followed it you went into the alley behind the courthouse and it tried to enter the under building parking.  Cecilia has now made up her mind that when we return to Las Vegas I will mount my Garmin 665 and turn off the Goldwing unit. 

On to the Diamond Back Rattlesnake Bridge.  GPS did a good job?  What the heck?

Next the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. Easy find, close and kind of wonderful walk/shop/arts area. Will have to return with Cecilia.

Tumacaori National Historical Park. Nice will again have to return with Cecilia.

It was at about 2:00PM when we meet my wife's sisters at the Tucson Airport. She sent me to work on our quest of the SEAT Challenge Rides while she set out on the family bonding that occurs annually.

 

First Stop Titan Missile Museum. It was really hard to find but in doing so I learned that often the GPS was right. For some reason I thought it was off of I-10 and started that way ignoring the ongoing reminders of the GPS until about 20 miles and it came to me that I had to be wrong. Upon arrival at the Titan Missile Museum a new problem arose. Wind, it took three tries to get a photo as the tripod kept blowing over. I will not share the weird angle pictures taken while trying. Just the bike with me hand holding the camera.

To Nogales and the Santa Cruz Courthouse. Interesting while trying to find the Courthouse I was held up by a convey of 6 blacked out large SUV’s with 6 Border Patrol Vehicles escorting and several others blocking traffic and running interference. Probably some big Washington DC mucky muck out to spend one day in the area and come up with Huge ideas of how to change everything.

The next experience was the Sonority Patagonia Scenic Road. Great ride, little traffic and wonderful scenery. It was a blast. For some reason I expected a harsher desert with less plant population. I guess it is the effect of living in Las Vegas.

To finish the day I stopped at the Patagonia Lake State Park and the Sonita Creek State Natural Area then to Benson where I will spend the night.

On to Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Big mistake, over 8 miles in on a rough gravel road with evidence of recent rain and rough as a cob. Never again on the Goldwing. Shook me and everything I had loose and dusty dirt and washboard areas made it a trip for the V-Strom if I ever go again.

Next visit was the Swift Trail Parkway Scenic Road. What a great road. The only issue was that they must have had some snow or ice and had recently coated the upper reaches with a fine sand. After feeling the front float and the rear slide on my bike during a great set of hairpin curves the decision was made for me by a pickup truck going downhill which slid across into my lane at the curve causing me to have to dodge, stop and restart my heart. So I turned around went back down, will make the full run later in the summer.

Safford and the Graham County Courthouse.

Then Clifton’s Cliff Jail.

Interesting stop. As I approached the Jail a woman and three teen or near teens went into it and down to the lower level. The Devil made me walk up after they were out of sight and bang the outer bar doors like I was closing them. You should have seen the look on the woman's face as she raced up out of the lower area. She took the joke quite well, stating that she may need to have her cardiologist contact me about the damage to her heart.

End of the day and a final stop at the Greenlee County Courthouse.

Now to the wonderful Sky Island Scenic Route.

Day four of our Challenge Rides after spending a night again in Benson.  First Stop was not part of the Challenge rides but really caught my eye.  At East Marsh Station Road on I-10 I noted that on the South side of the freeway were at least 3 mile long trains consisting of nothing but engines.  WOW at an average mile long train of 100 cars that would be about 300 diesel electric locomotives which at an average value of  $1.2 million that would be $360,000,000. Picture doesn’t show them well but the dirt trail and me on a Goldwing. . . oh well.

Even with the snow it was nice and comfortable.

Now to Finger Rock Tailhead.  As a true motorcyclist I didn’t really walk all the way.  My bike boot caused me to cheat. 

Now Oracle State Park

Now Oracle State Park

Final stop of the day Catalina State Park.

After a good nights rest I got SWMBO back from here visit with the sisters and started our day five of this ride.  First stop Parker and the LaPaz County Courthouse.

Then Headgate Rock Dam.

We found an ice cream stop at the Buckskin Mountain State Park.

Rich hunting grounds as they are all close together.  Parker Dam

Cattail Cove State  Park

And our final stop on this trip Lake Havasu State  Park.

We had a blast and saw things we most likely would have never seen.  We really appreciate the idea of the Challenge Rides and will try to get them all finished as soon as possible.  More reports will follow.

 

Mike and Cec

More challenges completed in July 2017

Littlefield four corner

Pipe Springs National Monument

Grand Canyon North Rim

Glen Canyon Dam

Navajo National Monument

Old Spanish NHT

Four Corner Monument

Canyon Chelly

Hubbell Trading Post

Petrified Forest National Park

Dinosours of Holbrook

Wigwam Village

The Navajo county seat in Holbrook

Rabbit on RT 66

Homolovi State Park

Walnut Canyon National Monument

The Coroino county seat in Flagstaff

Riordan Mansion state historic park in Flagstaff

Sunset Crater Volcano

Wupatki National Monument

Flintstone Bedrock City 

I left Las Vegas early in the morning in the dark and dry and within 20 miles was very wet.  I did good planning and had rain pants and a rain coat but I  neglected the good execution and got soaked before I could get them on. So you know how it goes, once you are wet why stop on the side of the road in the dark and rain and try to gear up.  I thought it was a bad rain until I got to Cedar City where I was reintroduced to “heavy rain”.  

 

It was raining cats and whatever by the time I reached Cedar City.  I was soaked, unable to see or hear the GPS, and decided to dry out and get the rain gear on.  I found a laundromat and pealed off all that the public would allow and spend 20 minutes drying gear.   At the end I redressed and put on the rain gear and headed to Pipe Springs.  Somehow I missed and forgot the Parashant National Forest Headquarters so will have to visit them later.  All part of the adventure.  I don’t think the laundromat counts as a challenge ride stop.

North Rim Visitor Center Grand Canyon

What a wonderful ride, rain at about 1-2 inch per hour and some small mixed hail for the last 40 miles.  After reaching the gate it quit raining, and in a few miles turned to heavy fog.  The picture shows some of the fog but doesn’t show the full effect of it on the road.  Nice light traffic but due to the rain and fog everyone in the park was in the visitor center.  There was a line waiting to get in so I didn’t.  So back to Jacob Lake and end of the day.  Day one was quite an experience.  As indicated I now have a much greater appreciation for the Arizona Monsoon Season.  

In the last month and a couple of days we have put about 10,000 miles on the bikes with trips to visit Nevada Parks, visit our kids in Oregon and California and a major trip to Hyder Alaska, then back across four Canadian Provinces  to Ontario, down through six states to visit my sister and mother in Kansas then back to Las Vegas. It was time for a different ride so when I went to work on the Arizona Challenges I decided to take the scooter.

 

In three days I visited 21 of the Challenge rides and enjoyed the wonder people, monsoons and heat and sun of the Northern Arizona region. Total trip was 1327 (bike) or 1373 (GPS) miles depending upon who you trust,

 

First stop a test of the camera in the rain at Beaver Dam or Littlefield. 

The next stop was Pipe Springs National Monument.  It stopped raining hard long enough to get a picture.   As a more severe rain appeared to be approaching I hit the road toward the North Rim Visitor Center. 

Hoping this day had less water than yesterday I left Jacob Lake early in the morning.  Temperature about 51 degrees and sun had not begin to glow in the East.  A wonderful ride which I prepared for by putting on my rain gear.  As we all know such preparation always prevents the event.  No rain, dry all day.  I would recommend that if you are riding around this wonderful forested area of Arizona early in the morning you travel with care and be sure you have your deer tags.  With little effort I could have bagged two deer before the sun was up.  Fortunately the deer and I managed to miss each other. 

 

First stop Glen Canyon Dam

The next stop was the Navajo National Monument near Shonto

Four Corners Monument

Old Spanish NHT near Church Rock

The next stop was the Navajo National Monument near Shonto

Canyon De Chelly

Hubbell Trading Post

Petrified Forest National Park

Navajo County Seat in Holbrook

Dinosaurs of Holbrook

Wigwam Village No. 6

The last stop of the day which turned out to be great riding weather a little warm in the late afternoon but otherwise wonderful.  Just a note, highway 191 south bound between Chinle and Ganado was so rough that I think about 20% of the ride was airborne.  Probably worse because of the wheel base on the scooter but definitely an adventure bike would be more comfortable.  

Day three starts out wonderful.  Temperatures in the mid 60’s to low 70’s.  Ideal riding conditions.  Stop one is Rabbit on Rte 66. 

Next is Homolovi State Park near Winslow

Walnut Canyon National Monument, arrived too early, they were not open.  Just as a side note I was advised that the Senior Lifetime Pass to National Parks will be going up to $80 from the current $10 in a week or so.  If you qualify and don’t have one you better rush.

Downtown Flagstaff the Coconino County Seat.  A beautiful building in an interesting part of old Flagstaff.

The Riordan Mansion sounds interesting and I will revisit the next time in the area.  Didn’t want to hang around for them to open.  This seems to happen a lot when you start early in the day.

The Wupatki National Monument has many ruins in the area to explore.  Which I am ashamed to admit I didn’t.  Maybe next time. 

The final stop on my scooter ride was the Flintstone Bedrock City.  Will have to revisit this when Cecilia and I do the South Rim trip. 

Sunset Crater Volcano was a fantastic visit.  I love the gray soil and ash beds and find the old flows wild.

From here I headed home.  On the way had a bird hit my face shield while I was going about 70+ mph.  No pain to me but destroyed the bird and when I tried to clean the mess from my helmet I found the visor mounting mechanism was no longer functional.  The helmet was new and bought in the last month.  This morning after I got home I took it to Cycle Gear and they without hesitation ordered me a replacement helmet.  Great treatment by those guys.

 

This give us about 50 of the Challenge rides so more planning and rides in the near future.  We again thank you all for the great ride ideas.

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