Wandering Ganesha

2015 Iron Butt Rally – Part 1.6: Cruising

Leaving the gas station on US 160 westbound was new territory. On Butt Lite VII I’d gone north to Monument Valley. There is a hotel just across the Utah border with a life-size painting of Jon Wayne on it that I’d taken a picture of. It was an amazing vista up there, but I wasn’t touring, so west I went. I knew I was going to go right by the entrance to Navajo national monument, but it was listed as closed by 5 PM. I figured I’d at least have a look to see if maybe the rally book was wrong like Canyon De Chelly.

At the entrance to the park, there was a sign that listed that the visitors center was closed, but it did not say the park was closed. There was no gate across the entrance, in fact, there was not gate to close at all. It was a 9.5-mile one-way trip, and at national park speeds that would be a good 30-minute detour if it was indeed closed. But you only needed a picture of the sign to the visitor center so I decided to risk it. Sure enough, 9.5 miles later there was my sign.

NAVA – Navajo National Monument
28.6 Miles Since Fuel Arrived 18:47 Departed 18:53

Navajo National Monument

Navajo National Monument

As I was leaving the park I noticed that my Radar detector was not working. It appeared to not be getting any power. This had me pretty worried. I now had two electrical gremlins, and the wiring for each were totally independent. I’d relocated the wiring for the radar detector a month ago so that it would be out of the way. I hoped nothing got pinched and worn though. I decided that I’d check it at the next stop. I wasn’t too worried, as I mentioned I go quickly but not really fast enough to warrant police attention.

I got back to US 160 from the park road just in time to see a squad car fly by with its lights on. Well if the electrical gremlins were my bad karma, I figured this was my good. I imagined that this had to be the only law enforcement in these parts for a good long while. I turned onto 160 and watched the officer disappear onto the horizon. Setting my cruise control to my usual speed I continued on after him.

About 2 minutes later I was passed by another officer. I have to be honest, when I’m in very rural areas I don’t watch my mirrors as closely as I should. I didn’t even know he was there until he was along beside me. He didn’t have his lights on, but he was doing at least 20 over the limit. I figured this was no better testament to my speed being below the radar than getting passed by a cop.

Soon after Navajo my fuel tank reached a level low enough that I could transfer fuel. Once again the timer came up short, but this time my fuel level rose as expected. Well, it wasn’t working perfectly, but it was working well enough.

As I approached AZ-98 I started seeing groups of BMW GS motorcycles going the opposite direction. 650s, 700s, 800s and 1200s were all in attendance. Groups as small as 2 and as large as 8 were going by. I waved, with mixed results. Only BMW riders wave less than Harley riders. Not sure what the hell that is all about. Never understood it. When I’m on my BMW K1200R I get better results from the BMW crowd.

Just after I turned onto AZ-98 an ambulance passed in the opposite direction. I really hoped that the glum reception from the BMW folks was not because they had a buddy in the back of that meat wagon. I still saw a few more groups of GS riders, but soon they were long behind me.

The scenery continued to flow by, and soon I was entering the bustling metropolis of Page, AZ. Once again my idiot Garmins saved my 0.25 miles by routing me through downtown rather than keeping me on the highway. Garmin makes the best, dedicated, motorcycle GPS known to man. But they leave a LOT of room for improvement, especially in urban settings.

But a few minutes later I was looking at the scenic Glen Canyon Carl Hayden Visitor center and its fountain.

GLCA – Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
90.7 Miles Arrived 19:13 Departed 19:16

Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon

I unplugged my Radar detector and plugged it back in. It fired back up. I guess my luck was looking up! My next scheduled stop was Zion National Park. However, Pipe Spring National Monument was on my way. Pipe Spring was listed as not being open until 8 AM but I figured I’d stop in and see if it happened to be open earlier. That meant I had 91 miles to go, but dawn was over 10 hours away. It was perfect timing to take my 8-hour rest bonus! Looking on the map I saw that just before Pipe Spring was the town of Kanab, UT. The ideal spot I figured for a little rest and relaxation. Mounting up on my trusty steed I headed off into the hills with the sun setting ahead of me.

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