Dunn Bryce Canyon Ride

Posted in Dunn Brothers by mrzip67

So pat showed up last night, well prepared with a bottle of Glen Livet.  I had it in my head we were going riding that night and make it to bryce, so we could head up highway 12 the next morning and be back by night.    Then it started raining, so we had dinner, polished off a fine bottle of scotch and caught up.   It was great.   Pat is the first of my brothers to ever come down and stay in my home.  Skip did once, but camped in my driveway in his rig and that was cool too.    Even so, I love my brother and enjoy his company.   Friends are friends, but blood is blood.    I enjoy it when we get together.

So this morning we headed out with intentions of somewhere north.   On the way to zion, we pulled off in rockville and I showed him grafton, a local ghost town where butch cassidy and the sundance kid was filmed.   Remember the raindrops keep falling on my head scene?  That was filmed in grafton.   If you don’t, here it is:

Theres an old bridge in grafton thats pretty awesome.   Got some good pictures below.  Im too lazy right now to add them up here so you can check em out right now.

From there, we headed up to zion and went through the tunnel.   Thats always a nice ride, and hearing my bike thunder in the tunnel always is just a perfect sound.  Pat had never been through there, and it was a nice ride.  Headed up to mt Carmel and got our bearings, and I took a picture that I just have to post:

We wouldn't have it any other way....

We wouldn't have it any other way....

From Mt Carmel, we bolted north to bryce had lunch and pat split to head north and I headed back to mt Carmel and continued through to kanab, on my way home.

Stopped at the buckskin tavern for a minute.  never been in there, had a beer and headed south again through Fredonia and on to pipe springs.   Ive probably passed pipe springs a hundred times, and never really had more than a minor curiosity of what it was or all about, and since riding the fat boy for all those miles made my ass feel like it was sitting on a cinder block (or a bag of marbles as pat would put it), i decided to stop in and see it all.   It was pretty cool.  theres a fort there, and a whole history that was pretty significant to the area.   I eat that stuff up.

Then I headed home.   I had a good ride.   The fat boy is not in the same league as my street glide as far as riding long runs goes, but at least I felt I got to know her a bit and she is what she is.   She ran great, and she almost asked me to put some saddlebags on her, and my ass clearly asked me to get another seat, and even some freeway pegs.   I may do both.

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Easy Rider Movie Route 66 Bellemont Pine Breeze Inn

The Pine Breeze inn from the Movie Easy Rider on Route 66

Friday June 6 2008

Asked Meg if she wanted to go for an overnighter to Caliente Nevada and be back by noon on saturday. She said yes, so we went to northern Arizona instead. Theres nothing to do in caliente, thats a ride to do by myself.

Friday around 3pm we loaded up, and headed out with one saddlebag of stuff. The other saddlebag had a tent and 2 sleeping bags. We were going hardcore: ride hard, sleep on the ground! oowrah!

The weather was nice and warm, but pretty windy. Gusting Bike-leaning windy. We went through overton and behind lake mead, and over to hoover dam to get to kingman. We stopped on the Arizona side andHoover Dam at Dusk took it all in, and took a break to stretch our legs and I noticed a pillbox on top of the hill. I figured there must more on other hills, but didnt see any, and the area was blocked off so I couldnt get up there. The lady inside told me it was the last remaining from WW2. Back then, like today the hoover dam is a place of high national security. In one of my pictures you can see the new bridge theyre building across the colorado to protect the dam more. Im sure theyll convert to a tram system like they did at Zions.

Roughing it at the KOA in KingmanWe got into Kingman around 10 and my nav or google maps wouldnt work on my phone so had a helluva time finding the campground. Robyn as usual was the most reliable option, she helped us out. Damn verizon. My phone comes with a built in GPS, but verizon disables it so its dependent on their network now.

Anyway, after getting to the campground, and 2 more unorganized trips to get a flashlight to set it up, and another to get food, we finally crashed out and we sleeping on the ground like we’d planned. Im too old for this. I need a bigger bike where I can bring an air mattress. Even so, it was a cool experience. Havent slept in a tent for years, and the first time we’d slept in those tiny mummy bags was when robyn and I slept in them at the same campground in 1991, 17 years earlier.

We rode 250 Miles that Day.

Hackberry, Seligman, Grand Canyon Caverns and Kingman:Saturday, June 7 2008

Breaking CampSlept ok, but we both woke up early so we broke camp and headed to get breakfast at Denny’s. Today was a mellow day, we had about 170 miles to ride and all day to do it. After breakfast, we took our time, drove around Kingman a bit, took some pictures of Trains and Old route 66 Motels, then headed north on the mother road.

I dont really remember the hackberry general store when I first hit route 66, but wanted to see it now. It wasnt open for yet another hour, so we just looked around and then headed out again. The ride was nice, windy still, but it had that feeling that it was early morning on the first real day on vacation, and with my daughter with me, it made it even better.

The next stop was the Grand Canyon Caverns. Meg had been there before, but didnt remember it, so we took the tour again. It struck me how much Route 66 has made a comeback, even in the 20 years or so that I’ve been interested in it. The guide told us that before the bypass in 78, they did 500 people a day, then overnight, nothing. Now its doing well again, and the tours are going strong. They do around 150 people a day steadily, enough to keep it going well and keep jobs going in the area. Pretty cool.

Then we hit Seligman. Everyone knows the snow cap, and as we pulled up the place was packed. Still, the BEST hamburger ever made, period. Juan’s kids are running the place and have kept up the tradition, enough to make my 13 year old daughter laugh and have a good time. They even spotted me the 3 bucks I was short (I went and got them the money later), PLUS they had a terrible towell, signed by Big ben himself right inside the window. I couldnt be any more loyal now.

we went down crookton road, and crossed the freeway to see the Partridge creek bridge again. Took a breather, then headed east through williams, parks, and to the harley dealership in Bellemont. I finally was able to get internet on my phone, so looked up the overnight low in Flagstaff, and decided 40 degrees was a hair too cold in a tent for my daughter. So I called Robynski and she was able to book us a room. Apprantly the night before there were NO rooms in flag for under 200 bucks, but whatever convention or whatever was gone now, so she got a room with no problem. While at the dealership, Meg and I sat on a 2008 Ultra classic. Megan decided she loved the back seat. Dammit, I gotta get one. Granny glide or not, I want to tour and don’t want back seat comfort a problem. Im hoping its comfortable enough Robyn will want to go ALOT once the kids grow up.

after we left the dealership, we went a quarter mile down the road to the pine breeze inn. Whats that? In the opening scenes of Easy rider, toward the end of the opening credits Wyatt and Billy go to get a room and the guy shuts the door and turns on the no vacancy sign.

\

Well, its in Bellemont. Looks like this now:

Someone is trying to turn it into an RV park now, hopefully it flies, and he restores the building. It had an easy rider poster on the wall and some inside too, so the guy is a fan. Here’s another screenshot from the film, and if you really want to geek out, you can watch the whole intro. The pine breeze inn is the last sequence.

From there, we headed the 10 miles into Flagstaff. We parked at the hotel, and within seconds 2 drunk indians stumbled across the street, and one passed out within a foot of my bike. Kind of awkward, I pretended I didnt see him and got my daughter inside the motel as quick as I could. He was there 15 minutes later when I decided it would be best to move the bike. Nice motel, i thought.

After a full days riding, I thought I had meg wore out, but she doesnt go down without a fight, so we kicked back for an hour, then went and saw the new Indiana Jones Movie. After that, headed back and I was asleep within an hour.

Sacred Mountain Gas Station from Easy Rider: Sunday, June 8 2008

We woke up, had breakfast at the motel restaurant (aptly named “hogs”) and then hit the road. At the bottom of mountain outside flagstaff was another Easy Rider Icon I was wanting to see, so we stopped again. Here’s the picture from the movie:

Sacred Mountain Gas Station from Easy Rider

And here it was, this Morning:

Sacred Mountain From Easy Rider Movie

A guy who must live there popped his head over the wall and confirmed that this was the one from the movie (the pictures pretty much confirm it) and he also told me about another little stretch they rode that was in the movie through wupatki national monument, 5 miles away. We needed to head out, so I’ll go check it out another time. Im wondering if it was the scene where they slept in the ruins, I bet it was. Its been a national monument since before then, and the story goes the park ranger watched them like a hawk as they filmed. Now that I type this, that makes sense. I’m nearly sure thats the place.

We stopped at Cameron to get get some water, rest our butts a bit then flew on to Marble canyon, another hour away. We stopped for a minute to check out the old Bridge spanning the colorado river, built in 1927. It was a pretty big deal that bridge. The grand Canyon and the colorado river is still a major obstacle today, and building that bridge was huge. Before that, Lees ferry was the only way to cross the colorado for hundreds of miles.

After that, we went over the bridge to marble canyon and ate lunch, and fueled up again and headed for the home stretch. It was a little cold over the Kiabab, but nothing too big of a deal. From there, it was pipe springs where we made our last butt resting stop, then opened it up and made the last hour home.Last Stop

I had a blast. I love it when my girl’s go riding with me. We don’t spend alot of one on one time together, and when we can do 2 or 3 days at a time traveling together and enjoying each others company it means the world to me. I couldnt ask for better kids. I hope they never get tired of going with Dad on motorcycle trips.

Ride Totals: 702 Miles, 3 days, 3 States.

Click Here to See the entire route from the 1969 Movie Easy Rider

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Randy Beckstrand is a great friend, and has been for a long time. I really owe him a lot, he got me into riding. The stories that Randy has about riding are plentiful, and quite frankly with the exception of my brother Pat, theres noone I love riding with more. It doesnt matter how many miles, or what bike he has, randy is up for a ride. Before he got married, and I got married, we had plans to ride from the 4 corners of the USA, so its rides like this I really enjoy.

Dave Grisham I’ve known since high school. He’s an intense guy, and always has something interesting to talk about. Plus he is down to ride long rides.

Randy Lives in Kanab, so Dave and I headed out about 3 from St George to meet randy. We hooked up with him in Kanab about 5 or so, and started out across the desert.

You could feel the electricity in the air, and almost taste the storm that was just miles away. I wasnt sure if we would hit it, because it looked pretty heavy. Just a few miles away from the gas station outside of Glen Canyon dam, it hit. It hit HARD. Im not exaggerating when I say it was one of the hardest cloudbursts Ive ever seen, let alone rode a 700 pound motorcycle through. Cars were pulling over it was so hard, but we kept going untill finally we couldnt see anything anymore, so we just stood by our bikes and just enjoyed the moment, because all we could do is laugh.

We were all soaked. My leathers were saturated and heavy. It was great. The nice thing about rain in an August Desert is once the rain stops, you’re air conditioned for quite a while, depending on how long the sun is out. Since it was evening, I was pretty sure it was going to be a cooler ride till we hit flag.

The rain finally broke as we waited at the Gas Station, and we headed out. It was good weather the rest of the way, and by the time we started to climb the mountain heading into flagstaff, the sun had long set and it was dark. We rode through town, and checked into our room about 9 or 10 O clock. We then got a cab, and headed out to get a beer and dinner. Really, a perfect day.

Dropping off Daves bike and Pressing on.Dave noticed a noise in his bike, a bit of a grinding sound. Sounded like it was down by his primary. The next morning, we headed to the harley dealership in Bellemont to have them take a look. We hit the highway down to bellemont, which was about 15 miles away or so. We went through route 66 near parks, and stopped at the dealership. Dave took it all in stride. He rented a full dresser Ultra, and they told us theyd call us.

So we headed out, down I-40 to Williams. We stopped and ate at a outside restaurant in williams, and the town was pretty packed. Williams, everytime I go there has either some route 66 celibration, a classic car run, or a ton of motorcycles. Being the last town to be officially called Route 66 makes williams a pretty proud route 66 town. You always have to stop there.

We rode west out of williams, down 1-40 to Ash Fork. Ash fork claims to be the flagstone capital of the world, but to be honest theres not alot there. Its a tiny little town, that usually doesnt show much of a pulse to me as route 66 towns go, but Ash fork is another town that has history for me. Just outside of Ash fork is an old section of route 66 thats long been bypassed, that Robyn and I spent 2 years finding, from a picture in a magazine in 1990 that showed a bridge with a mature tree growing out of it. Everytime Im in the area, I head down and see that bridge.

At Ash fork we headed south, down Arizona Highway 89, and got gas in Chino Valley, then west to Jerome. I’d been to Jerome before, but never on a motorcycle.

Jerome is another really unique town. Its an old mining town built on a hillside, and the winding roads leading up to Jerome are great to ride. We pulled into Jerome and caught a really good, live band playing at a biker bar there. There were alot of bikers there, and it seemed like everyone was really friendly. Jerome is another ride I’d like to do again. Its worth the wide swing to hit it.

While we were in Jerome, Dave got a call from the dealership about his bike. They fixed it! It was a loose bolt in the primary drive, and was really close to coming off. If it had come off, it would have been a big deal. Like Complete rebuilt, expensive big deal. Instead, it was just 150 bucks deal. The riding god’s were with us. With that news, we needed to head back and get Daves bike. We had 3 or 4 hours.

So we mounted up, headed through sedona and north up through cottonwood canyon to get home. By this time, it had started raining again. It wasnt bad, but it was steady. The kind of rain that doesnt even bug you, because it just makes a cool ride interesting. Once you’re wet, you’re wet. Slow down, and enjoy the ride. It rained all the way back to Flagstaff, then broke and we headed west again into Bellemont to get Dave’s bike.

The dealership in Bellemont is great. One of the better dealerships, they worked hard and were extremely helpful in getting us back on the road from everyone we dealt with. MUCH better than Zion or Las vegas harley davidson, who I’d rather not give money to. Bellemont HD, you rock.

We spent the night in Flag again and crashed early. In the morning we headed back to williams on the freeway, and headed up to the air museum. Spent about an hour there, and then blew through the park, took a picture, and made time to head home.

Once the grand Canyon was out of sight, the vacation was over and we just made time to get home.

This will always be one of my favorite rides. 2 great friends, the rain, and the whole experience just made it nearly perfect. “effortless” as randy would say. I hope we can do it again.
It was a great ride

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