Touring tips? Vegas, Utah - Victory Forums - Victory Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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Question Touring tips? Vegas, Utah

My wife and I have done a few years worth of riding (maybe 30k miles between us), but all local riding within a few hours of home.

We were considering renting bikes out west and doing a roundtrip loop from Vegas along Rte 66 to Zion and Monument Valley. I was eyeing late April/early May so that we catch weather that's not broiling hot in Vegas but not nighttime frost in Utah or Flagstaff.

Can anyone share some tips and ideas, maybe things that I wouldn't think of packing, or ideas about mileage and stops? I was figuring on a week to do the 900+ miles, relaxed pace. We'll be lodging, not camping.

I searched on the forum, but "touring" appears to be too broad a subject. I've read some online guides but I would appreciate some words of wisdom from tourers on here. Thank you!

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Last edited by MalteseFalcn; 06-27-2014 at 03:53 PM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 03:22 PM
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I'm not a veteran tourer, but have two longer road trips under my belt. I rigged up a phone charging system off my battery tender cord for my saddle bag. Comfortable walking boots are good. An insulated Camelbak water bottle is refreshing. Tools to change a headlight, tighten the battery cables, or replace a clutch cable w/Sav-Ur-Ride. Spare gloves and/or waterproof glove covers. Points of interest for the route your taking, researched on the web beforehand. Just a few thoughts. Relaxed pace is a good thing.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-27-2014, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingpinRider View Post
I'm not a veteran tourer, but have two longer road trips under my belt. I rigged up a phone charging system off my battery tender cord for my saddle bag. Comfortable walking boots are good. An insulated Camelbak water bottle is refreshing. Tools to change a headlight, tighten the battery cables, or replace a clutch cable w/Sav-Ur-Ride. Spare gloves and/or waterproof glove covers. Points of interest for the route your taking, researched on the web beforehand. Just a few thoughts. Relaxed pace is a good thing.
Thanks!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 09:11 AM
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If you want to ride Route 66 in the west I'm afraid that you'll be disappointed that it doesn't come close to Vegas, Zion or Monument Valley.

Having spent 35 years living and riding a lot of miles in the area you're looking at I would suggest the following:

South out of Vegas on US 93 to Kingman AZ where you can indeed pick up Route 66 and enjoy a leisurely putt eastbound stopping along the way in Hackberry, Peach Springs or any other wide spot in the road that strikes you with a first nite destination of Grand Canyon Caverns (nowhere near the Grand Canyon by the way). From there you continue on 66 about 25 miles to Seligman (not a good overnite destination) where you'll need to stop at the Snow Cap for lunch. You can still ride old 66 out of Seligman but you'll have to get somebody to tell you where the road is before you get on I-40. You'll only have the old road until just before Ashfork but it'll due instead of I-40. From Ashfork I'd suggest heading to Prescott AZ then over Mingus Mountain to Jerome and the Verde Valley and Sedona. Unless you're made of money I'd prefer overnighting just about anyplace but Sedona, it's a serious destination for the beautiful people and they like their accomodations A LOT!! Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff is a beautiful ride and you'll want to make more than a couple of stops before you head up the grade towards Flag.

From Flagstaff if you really have to see the south rim of the Grand Canyon you have a couple of choices: You can get on I-40 westbound to Williams and take AZ-64 north to the south rim and follow it around all the way to US-89 or you can take US-89 out of Flag to Cameron and cut west on AZ-64 to see the south rim. I'd prefer the latter with just a side trip to the south rim on my way to Monument Valley and Mexican Hat Utah. There are accommodations at Monument Valley although I think you'll find that the area itself isn't as big as you might have been lead to believe from watching old John Wayne movies. Make sure that you turn both left and right when you get to Monument Valley and enjoy the area. I personally would use Mexican Hat Utah as an overnite destination simply because there is a really good steak joint there (and not much else). It'll allow you to ride pretty much the entire route through Monument Valley and see it from different angles and different times of day. We've been through many times and camped in the Mexican Hat area (RV ToyHauler) and it really is one of the gems of the southwest and very few tourists really get there because it's on the way to "nowhere".

From Mexican Hat/Monument Valley you'll need to back-track a little to get pointed at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Zion/Bryce area. From there you can either head up over Cedar Breaks to I-15 or continue on through Zion to Hurricane and I-15 and hop back to Sin City to end your tour. You'll also want to take an hour or two to stop at Glen Canyon Dam in Page. The town of Page isn't anything to write home about but it does have quite a bit of history surrounding it with the building of the dam. The dam itself is more impressive I think than Hoover Dam. If you plan on taking the tour make sure that you empty your pockets and leave everything on the bike, don't even get caught with a pocket knife trying to enter the visitor center.

One thing to note: If you enjoy the occasional adult beverage keep in mind that the sale of alcohol on the Navajo Res is prohibited so if you stay in Monument instead of Mexican Hat you'll need to bring your own libations.

Preferred Places to overnite:

Grand Canyon Caverns (12 miles east of Peach Springs)
Cottonwood, Clarkdale or even Jerome AZ if they've got a place still.
Monument Valley AZ or Mexican Hat UT
Fredonia AZ instead of Kanab UT before entering Zion. (Fredonia is said to be home of the longest bar in AZ, I don't remember but I know I was there or at least that's what my buddy told me.)

Places to avoid spending the nite:
Kingman AZ, Seligman AZ, Sedona AZ, Flagstaff AZ, Williams AZ, Kayenta AZ!!!

It sounds like you've got a really good tour idea and I think that you'll have a lot of fun. The time of year you're planning on is perfect but keep in mind that you will be seeing some pretty good elevations (Flag is over 7,000 feet). If you have any questions regarding specific locations let me know and I'll see what I can do to help you out.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 12:06 PM
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I might also suggest the following:

Rain gear. Pay no attention to what the Weather Channel says. Rain gear.
12v portable air pump, can of Slime/Fix-a-Flat, tire plug kit.

If you hit Vegas first and then loop back around to AZ for Flagstaff, I also advise taking US89 north from there. the suggestion of Fredonia isn't bad either, if you take US89A instead of taking 89 into Page. I've never been into Page myself, since the last time we traveled that way the highway was closed. The scenery near the state line from Fredonia to Kanab is pretty impressive tho. I really enjoyed it.

I don't know if it's any concern, but in Utah the beer is 3.2% ABV and you can expect the small towns and even many larger ones to be more or less buttoned up on Sundays. Chain places (retail stores and restaurants) will often even have shorter hours on Sunday that you'd see elsewhere. Also, the drivers will try to kill you. Outside of that, it's beautiful and the people are friendly.

Some of the mountain passes that way I believe are in the neighborhood of 7- or 8,000 feet (maybe more), so it's possible you could see nightly frost up there even in the middle of summer.

US93 out of Vegas seems pretty desolate, but there are a few gas stations before you hit Kingman. the I-40 I/C in Kingman is a freakin zoo at any time of day. Be prepared. I haven't traveled much of I-40 except for between Kingman and US93, but that's a crap stretch of pavement for an interstate highway.

If you take US89 out of Flagstaff, I recommend checking out the Cameron Trading Post which is in Cameron, AZ. Town's on a rez, Trading post has lots of cool and overpriced Native American stuff and a nice restaurant with some Navajo-inspired dishes and freaking delicious fry bread. I kind of like tourist traps tho, so I might be biased. And seeing how I'm one of those Anglo-descended types who harbors guilt about the plight of the Native American, I didn't mind spending my money there.

that's all I can think of for now. Enjoy your trip!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Much appreciated!

This info is great, I really appreciate y'all taking the time to type this all out for me! Thank you!

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-28-2014, 08:22 PM
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If you are renting, the HD Electra Glide Ultra is nice for touring and should be available for rent. A Victory is unlikely to be available for rent. The HD Ultra back seat is comfortable enough that my wife actually fell asleep on ours. With the EGU you will have plenty of room for a week's changes of clothes and your portable PC. If you are each going to ride your own bike the Electra Glide, not the Ultra, has plenty of storage on each bike for one person and will be cheaper to rent than an EGU. Do not expect the power of a Vic from either bike, it simply will not be there.
You are going to need something to break up the monotony if you are going to kill a whole week and only go 900 miles. On a good touring bike a 500 miles day is no big deal unless you spend a lot of time walking around tourist traps and just exploring. Look for something that interests you for each day. It could be as simple as a visit to the grand canyon, a local museum, a particularly scenic stop on the road or whatever but do not expect the riding to be your main focus on such a short trip. If you decide to go on longer days, which would take you well over 900 miles, practice it first. Before I ride to my dad's place in 2 days at 1200 total miles, I take a few short day trips of 300 to 400 miles. It reminds me of what it is like to be in the saddle for a while and lets me get past the feeling that I have spent my whole life in the saddle when I do a longer day.
As already stated, they roll up the sidewalks in Utah. My favorite story from my dad, who is a story teller, is of him stopping at a restaurant in Utah to get some coffee before continuing his journey in the evening. According to his story the person who waited on him responded to his request for a cup of coffee to go with the statement that they probably had some since they had made coffee just that morning.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 12:53 PM
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I was rereading your post and noticed the time frame you wanted. Figured I'd better warn you that late April/early May can still mean snow in the high altitudes in Utah. I don't know how far north you might venture, but be careful. We came to Phoenix this year on April 26 and drove through heavy rain from Pocatello, ID to Fillmore, UT, where it turned to snow. It snowed pretty hard (and accumulated on I-15) from Fillmore to almost Cedar City. I would honestly wait till a little later in May just to be safe.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 02:21 PM
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Allot of great detailed replies already posted. Having traveled west several times,..the best I can add is simply ...if ya see gas ? buy gas...ya never know for sure how long to the next one. Sometimes the signs lie...
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you again for these helpful responses.

We would not be going any further north than monument valley or Zion natl park. Would that still put us in late April snow risk, in those areas?

Also, our intention would be to ride 150/200 miles a day, and lodge/relax/hike/sightsee in between. Hence the loose 900 mile-weeklong plan.

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