Canyon Run 2007 – Day 8

Departed Page, AZ at 8 am this morning, with the group intact. Steve and Steve peeled off to return to Phoenix, and the rest of us headed down to Marble Canyon and south of Vermillion Cliffs to the Grand Canyon North Rim entrance. Speeds (and spirits) were high – into the 90’s on the dial (or 80’s on the GPS). Following a gas-up at the North Rim junction we headed north towards Fredonia and Kanab. During this stretch I managed to crank the V-Strom up to 113 mph on the dial (about 102 on GPS). But when I let off the gas to slow down, the front end began to oscillate pretty severely, and it only got worse the more I let off the gas. I was getting pretty nervous, so, realizing that slowing wasn’t the answer, I got back on the gas and the oscillation stopped, at which point I was able to slow down more gradually. I vowed to stop my silly experiments.
We arrived at the Bryce Canyon entrance, and stopped for lunch at Ruby’s. Willo and I were both pretty exhausted – thirsty and tired from 200 miles of high-speed riding. After lunch Frank and Barbara separated to head back to Denver, where their bikes are being stored. We lounged with them for a bit while the rest of the group went either into Bryce or onward to Torrey and the hotel. Then we departed ourselves for Torrey. We were too tired to really enjoy Bryce and didn’t want to just give it a quick skim.

As we headed north through the Escalante Grand Staircase, we decided to stop at the Kiva Coffeehouse, which we’d driven by numerous times but had never had the opportunity to explore. This being a kiva, or underground dwelling, the parking was on the roof. Inside we ordered up iced lattes and amused ourselves by doing a bit of work on a partially-done puzzle. Of course there’s always just one more piece to find a place for, and by the time we finished the puzzle we realized we’d been there for a couple of hours.

We took off and climbed through the Dixie National Forest north of Escalante – one of the best roads anywhere, we feel. The curves are so perfectly engineered it’s hard to make a mistake, and riding it is like dancing with gravity. Unfortunately, riding it at 6 pm is also dancing with danger, as this stretch is a favorite with the deer. I only spotted one but Willo saw a group of about 9. Still better than when we came through in 2002 – that time we saw perhaps 50 deer and a small group of elk.

We arrived at the Lodge at Red River Ranch at about 6:30, and I had a little fun riding the V-Strom up the dirt/gravel road. First chance I had to practice some of what I learned in dirt bike class.

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