Days 11-14: Bryce Canyon, Pioche, and Las Vegas (Ryan)

Day 11

We bade a sad farwell to Moab and headed south toward Bryce Canyon. I found us a place to stay in Tropic, UT. The day’s ride could have been pretty but we once again fought fairly heavy winds this time combined with sand. When you’re riding 65, sand getting whipped into your face hurts! We had to make use of our spare gas can for the first time. We ran out of gas about 3 miles before reaching Hanksville. The only really cool feature of Hanksville was that they have a gas station that is buried back into the rock. There really wasn’t much from this day of riding except for a few pictures. (which I’ll post when I actually get good internet again)

 Day 12

We decided that instead of going through Zion (where we couldn’t find a place to stay) we would meet up with my brother,Matt, who was in the Eagle Valley/Pioche, Nevada Area. We left tropic and rode through Bryce Canyon. After the beauty of Canyonlands and Arches, Bryce was nice, but not as spectacular. Of course the 40 mph winds and 37 degree temperatures weren’t really helping.

Bryce Canyon

Things did warm up a little, but when we reached Pioche we were tired and cold. A storm started to roll in just as we reached Pioche. Pioche was an old silver mining town that was one of the major producers in Nevada at one time. It was also known for its violence. According to town history 72 people died violent deaths before the first natural death occurred. Since it was memorial day weekend, we couldn’t find a room so we met up with Matt and camped for two nights.

 Day 13

Matt and I spent most of the day fishing…fishing, not catching. I caught one small trout and Matt caught two.

Day 14

In the morning we drove out into the hills and did a little shooting.

Shooting a .223 off the roof of Matt’s Jeep.

We returned to camp and packed up. The drive too Vegas was a fairly quick change from cool temps to scorching desert. Matt was off-roading most of the way back. He told me that 40 miles of that was hardpack after riding through an awesome canyon road. Turned out that desert hardpack is more like gravel hardpack. We made it down the 40 miles of road, much of it at around 50-55 mph.

The Shadow did remarkably well as a “dual sport” bike on the dirt road, but it definitely picked up some dirt.

Sadly…and I have to be honest here…I dropped the bike after the gravel! I had aired down my tires because Matt’s Jeep has an onboard air compressor. When we reached the end of the road we stopped and aired my tires back up. I needed to roll the bike back to make a valve stem accessible. I pulled the clutch from the side opposite the kickstand and rolled the bike forward. A piece of gravel caught the kickstand and pushed it in, so when I went to set it back on the stand it just kept going. Just one of those really embarrassing moments. No damage to the bike, only my ego. The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful, it just kept getting hotter and hotter. As we neared Vegas the temperatures topped 100. We stayed several days in Vegas, the worst day was 107 degrees. What I still can’t believe is the sheer number of riders I saw wearing full armor suits and full face helmet, in black!

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