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Didn't see a better place to post this; if there is, please move it there. Thanks.

In all of our motorcycling "careers" there comes time for a final big ride. Looks like mine will be this Sept. I've ridden all over the U.S.A. and a fair amount in Canada and Brasil. Wouldn't mind doing a ride in Argentina/Patagonia & Andes, but doesn't look like it's in the cards. So, I'll settle for riding my '85 GL1200 Aspencade from Minnesota to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in southwestern Colorado in Sept, meet my brother-in-law (a Valkerie guy) at Arches National Park in southeastern Utah and we'll ride that and Canyonlands while in that area and ride a while together towards Salt Lake City. I'll spin off to Jackson, WY (it was called "Jackson Hole" when I was a kid) for a final visit to the Tetons, my favorite NA mountains and then head back to MN. Should be excellent. I'm not giving up riding after this, but really don't have long rides left that really need to happen. After 45 years of riding, y'know......

If anybody has insights to share about the Black Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands or stuff on the way there and back, I'm all ears. Hopefully by Sept. the parks will all be open without any more COVID hysteria.
 

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I've done a lot of riding in that area. The places you mention are great, but there are a lot more things to see. What's your time line?
 

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I'll spin off to Jackson, WY (it was called "Jackson Hole" when I was a kid) for a final visit to the Tetons,
Jackson and Jacksons hole are 2 different places pretty close together.
 

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Amazing area, hope you enjoy! My blog entry for that day included:

"One does not simply "go a little wide" in the Black Canyon. I haven't figured out the formula these westerners use for deciding where to put guard rails yet, but it doesn't take into account the consequences of a motorcycle "coming in hot". If you go a little wide, your carcass when it finally comes to rest will be a little wider, a little longer, a lot lower, and a lot flatter than when it first launched off the turn. That road is an asphalt snake that darts inside into the mountain "wee!"... and then carves an outside turn of sharp rocks and atmosphere "****!"... Do that a hundred times, and you'll have a case of the wee shits. "
 

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On your way out go through Colorado Springs then drop south to HWY50 going through Salida and over Monarch Pass then along the Gunnison River to get to the black canyon area. Montrose has campgrounds and motels and is close to the Black Canyon. At Black Canyon be sure to take the first right turn and go down to the dam, it is a truly fun road just watch for cows as it is open range area. The Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction is also a pretty neat place to drive through, a half day trip could take it in. South from Montrose is Ouray then the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and Durango which is a road every motorcyclist should do at least once in their lives. Head East out of Ridgeway over 62, 141, 145 and 90 to get over to RT191 then north to Moab. We made this trip in September continuing around to include Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon and we hit snow between Bryce and Zion parks. We had hard frost for a couple of nights in Williams AZ then had to detour south through Albuquerque instead of Durango and Wolf Creek Pass because there was 10 inches of snow on Wolf Creek so the weather has the potential to force you to change plans on the fly.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I've done a lot of riding in that area. The places you mention are great, but there are a lot more things to see. What's your time line?
I'm loose as a goose! All suggestions appreciated and will be researched on my end. My wife of 38 years says, "Take your time!":unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Kevin,I have Utah in my mind for the fall. If you want we can tag along for awhile. And I think your final ride is still far away
Hey Peter/Gizmo: It would be cool to see and ride with you again, esp. 1500 miles west of the last place. I'm pretty much fixed on Sept., mainly to avoid the toughest of the summer heat and the vacation crowds. Otherwise the agenda is open for now. The more the merrier!
 

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Amazing area, hope you enjoy! My blog entry for that day included:

"One does not simply "go a little wide" in the Black Canyon. I haven't figured out the formula these westerners use for deciding where to put guard rails yet, but it doesn't take into account the consequences of a motorcycle "coming in hot". If you go a little wide, your carcass when it finally comes to rest will be a little wider, a little longer, a lot lower, and a lot flatter than when it first launched off the turn. That road is an asphalt snake that darts inside into the mountain "wee!"... and then carves an outside turn of sharp rocks and atmosphere "****!"... Do that a hundred times, and you'll have a case of the wee shits. "
Don't threaten me with a good time!
:p
 

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On your way out go through Colorado Springs then drop south to HWY50 going through Salida and over Monarch Pass then along the Gunnison River to get to the black canyon area. Montrose has campgrounds and motels and is close to the Black Canyon. At Black Canyon be sure to take the first right turn and go down to the dam, it is a truly fun road just watch for cows as it is open range area. The Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction is also a pretty neat place to drive through, a half day trip could take it in. South from Montrose is Ouray then the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and Durango which is a road every motorcyclist should do at least once in their lives. Head East out of Ridgeway over 62, 141, 145 and 90 to get over to RT191 then north to Moab. We made this trip in September continuing around to include Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon and we hit snow between Bryce and Zion parks. We had hard frost for a couple of nights in Williams AZ then had to detour south through Albuquerque instead of Durango and Wolf Creek Pass because there was 10 inches of snow on Wolf Creek so the weather has the potential to force you to change plans on the fly.
Excellent suggestions! Thank you, Doug!(y)
 

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Amazing area, hope you enjoy! My blog entry for that day included:

"One does not simply "go a little wide" in the Black Canyon. I haven't figured out the formula these westerners use for deciding where to put guard rails yet, but it doesn't take into account the consequences of a motorcycle "coming in hot". If you go a little wide, your carcass when it finally comes to rest will be a little wider, a little longer, a lot lower, and a lot flatter than when it first launched off the turn. That road is an asphalt snake that darts inside into the mountain "wee!"... and then carves an outside turn of sharp rocks and atmosphere "****!"... Do that a hundred times, and you'll have a case of the wee shits. "

I doubt it is more challenging than riding the "Million Dollar Highway" south. Route 550 between Ridgway and Durango, CO
 

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I doubt it is more challenging than riding the "Million Dollar Highway" south. Route 550 between Ridgway and Durango, CO
LOL, it wasn't, that was day 6 on the tour, and it was whiteout snow conditions which the Goldwing didn't like. Part of that blog entry was:

"We left Ouray early, to multiple "Special Weather Statements" and "Winter Storm Warnings" above 9,000 feet, not that you could tell from the beautiful sunrise reflecting off the cliffs above. Destination - Silverton, then Durango, and ultimately Cortez. But we'd need to make it through Red Mountain, Molas and Coal Bank Passes first, all near or above 11,000 feet.

We hit the first switchbacks literally at the end of Main Street and climbed quickly above the town, all matchbox houses and early morning shadows. It was 34 degrees with driving snow and we had a lot of climbing to do if we were going to make it over the first pass. Susan would have loved the ride - a cliff on the left and a sheer precipice on the right with nothing but the white painted line to keep you from falling a few hundred feet.

The temperature kept dropping as we wound our way up the S-curves, some posted at a glorious 10 miles per hour, and I cranked the heated grips from STUN to KILL. It started to snow even more heavily halfway up the eastern slope, and the temperature dropped to 25 degrees. By the time we got to the top the road was a slushy combination of melting snow and that red cat litter they use on the roads in Colorado, coming up through the tunnels and collecting on the controls. Snow plows went past in the opposite direction with the blades down, and I began to question my better judgment.

We made it through and down, passing dozens of avalanches, their broken trees lining the chutes and still pointing downslope to the pile of concreted snow and jumbled trunks at their bottoms, at one point driving right beneath one - through a tunnel that was built in what is probably an annual avalanche zone. I was never so happy to see the temperature return to 30 degrees as we pulled into Silverton for coffee with two more passes to traverse on the way to Durango.

We departed after about an hour, snow still falling heavily and by now coating the bikes and making the roads a wet mess. As we climbed the face of Molas Pass the temperature dropped again and the snow fell so hard it was impossible to see the surrounding mountains - it was us and the road. It began to collect on the evergreens, and then along the roadsides, tenuous fingers reaching into the lanes..."

 
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At Black Canyon be sure to take the first right turn and go down to the dam, it is a truly fun road just watch for cows as it is open range area.
Seems like that road down to the dam was gravel. Have they recently paved it?
 

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Seems like that road down to the dam was gravel. Have they recently paved it?
It was paved when I was on it about 10 years ago. Just looked at the sat photo, it looks like it is still paved.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sounds like it should rival the northern motorcycling of Beartooth, Chief Joseph Scenic Byway, Lolo, 14 & 16 over the Bighorns, etc. and that'll be just fine. As for the methodology used to set up guardrails in the mountains, I'm pretty sure Frederich Nietzchsche was involved: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger.":oops:
 

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Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an extreme grade, 16-20% grade I believe. For braking use the front brake and only assist with the rear when you have to, not fun when your fluid boils. Are you camping? Thousand lakes Campground in Utah, they also have cabins for rent too, is an awesome central point for day rides no matter what direction you want to go, located on Hwy 24. From there you can head south and west and hit Escalante (highly recommend) Bryce Canyon, Zion. Just outside of the Campground is Capitol Reef. Keep south and east Glenn Canyon, Natural Bridges and Canyonlands is straight west and Arches. There is just so much in Utah. The western wonders you'd probably hit after Grand Junction Co. Now on the road home you want the Tetons, while heading north through Utah, take some of the by-ways. They are usually short little loop jaunts that show some amazing vistas. I'd ensure I did Beartooth Pass en-route home too.
 
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I make it a point to downshift as low as possible so the brakes to NOT have to provide all of the effort to keep the speed down.
 

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LOL, it wasn't, that was day 6 on the tour, and it was whiteout snow conditions which the Goldwing didn't like. Part of that blog entry was:

"We left Ouray early, to multiple "Special Weather Statements" and "Winter Storm Warnings" above 9,000 feet, not that you could tell from the beautiful sunrise reflecting off the cliffs above. Destination - Silverton, then Durango, and ultimately Cortez. But we'd need to make it through Red Mountain, Molas and Coal Bank Passes first, all near or above 11,000 feet.

We hit the first switchbacks literally at the end of Main Street and climbed quickly above the town, all matchbox houses and early morning shadows. It was 34 degrees with driving snow and we had a lot of climbing to do if we were going to make it over the first pass. Susan would have loved the ride - a cliff on the left and a sheer precipice on the right with nothing but the white painted line to keep you from falling a few hundred feet.

The temperature kept dropping as we wound our way up the S-curves, some posted at a glorious 10 miles per hour, and I cranked the heated grips from STUN to KILL. It started to snow even more heavily halfway up the eastern slope, and the temperature dropped to 25 degrees. By the time we got to the top the road was a slushy combination of melting snow and that red cat litter they use on the roads in Colorado, coming up through the tunnels and collecting on the controls. Snow plows went past in the opposite direction with the blades down, and I began to question my better judgment.

We made it through and down, passing dozens of avalanches, their broken trees lining the chutes and still pointing downslope to the pile of concreted snow and jumbled trunks at their bottoms, at one point driving right beneath one - through a tunnel that was built in what is probably an annual avalanche zone. I was never so happy to see the temperature return to 30 degrees as we pulled into Silverton for coffee with two more passes to traverse on the way to Durango.

We departed after about an hour, snow still falling heavily and by now coating the bikes and making the roads a wet mess. As we climbed the face of Molas Pass the temperature dropped again and the snow fell so hard it was impossible to see the surrounding mountains - it was us and the road. It began to collect on the evergreens, and then along the roadsides, tenuous fingers reaching into the lanes..."

I have spent the night in Cortez. Did you go on to the "4-corners"...??
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an extreme grade, 16-20% grade I believe. For braking use the front brake and only assist with the rear when you have to, not fun when your fluid boils. Are you camping? Thousand lakes Campground in Utah, they also have cabins for rent too, is an awesome central point for day rides no matter what direction you want to go, located on Hwy 24. From there you can head south and west and hit Escalante (highly recommend) Bryce Canyon, Zion. Just outside of the Campground is Capitol Reef. Keep south and east Glenn Canyon, Natural Bridges and Canyonlands is straight west and Arches. There is just so much in Utah. The western wonders you'd probably hit after Grand Junction Co. Now on the road home you want the Tetons, while heading north through Utah, take some of the by-ways. They are usually short little loop jaunts that show some amazing vistas. I'd ensure I did Beartooth Pass en-route home too.
Re: Camping I don't know. Normally I just stay at cheap local motels when I'm on a bike trip, but my brother in law wants to camp. There is no way I'm camping in grizzly country without at least a .45ACP; I'd be more comfortable with a .50 cal. but they're awkward to carry on the bike...;) Then you get into the crazy quilt of state laws re guns. I'll seek some guidance here in the guns & ammo thread. It's Colorado that might be a problem, I reckon. Then again, I'm a big believer in, "It's better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."
 

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Discussion Starter #20
With those kind of grades, Kyle, I might want to pack an anchor!:whistle: As John suggests, I'm happy to cruise down in 4th here and there rather than see how quickly I can burn up my brake pads. I've never been in much of a hurry to get to the BOTTOM of a mountain...
 
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