Join Date: May 2008
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Seattle to Tucson Round Trip
Just got back from my longest bike trip ever. By far. My father turned 80 this Summer and threw a party/family reunion last weekend in Tucson, AZ. A good time was had by all.
I bought a 2004 GT in May with 14000 miles -- a serious upgrade from my F650GS. I haven't had much time to ride this Summer due to projects at home and work. My longest rides were a couple of 300 - 350 mile days.
Day 1: I left Seattle early Saturday morning under a gray raining sky. The weather broke somewhere south of Olympia. I headed from I-5 to Hwy 101 in Salem, OR and down the coast. I spent the first night at Coos Bay, OR.
Day 2: In the morning I headed down 101 before dawn in the fog which burned off within an hour, shortly after the sun came up. The coast was beautiful. I stopped and took photos here and there. I crossed the state line into CA at about 10:30 and had an amazing ride through the red woods. Man, that's some beautiful country. I spent the night with a friend in Santa Rosa. Good, well earned beer and BBQ!
Day 3: Another cold, foggy morning but I got started at 6:00AM. I meant to skirt SF but missed the turnoff from 101. Next thing I knew I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Very cool and beautiful. I couldn't get over to a lane where I could pay the toll so I blew through the toll station. I'm expecting a ticket in the mail. SF was beautiful and I stopped to get my barrings. 101 through SF at 7:30AM sucks and not in the good way. Traffic was pretty backed up until San Jose. After that 101 is in really good shape. I cut east in Paso Robles destined for my mothers house in Bakersfield. Road maintenance and LEO made this stretch a little slow.
Day 4: Hang out with dear old Mom!
Day 5: 5:00AM start for Tucson. This was my longest day, 660 miles. I headed east on I-40 to Needles then south on Hwy 95 to I-10. I took the route around Phoenix to I-8 and back to I-10. I was pretty smoked from the heat and by far my longest day on the bike. I arrived at my father's house just in time for a dip in the pool and cocktail hour. Jim Beam is my dear, dear friend. My cousin from Germany was already there and I was looking forward to spending some time with her and getting the scoop on my relatives from Europe. My father came to the US in 1955.
Day 6: My German cousin visits my father about 3 times a year and has an, um, Honda Shadow 750 that she keeps here in the US. We took a, by now very short, 130 mile breakfast run with some of her friends. More time at the pool and more relatives arriving. Of course, more Jim Beam. Good family time.
Day 7: Another short, 160 mile, peg-scrapping ride up to Mt. Lemmon. The speed limit there is a joke. One I laughed at and didn't pay any attention to. Fun road!
Day 8 & 9: No saddle time at all. Just good family bonding.
Day 10: Time to head north. Sedona was beautiful but I missed Sarah Palin - she was there preparing for the debate. No comment. The traffic through town sucked! Road construction had my feet on the pavement more than the pegs. I was happy to get out of there and feel the wind again. A pretty ride north. I stopped just short of the Grand Canyon.
Day 11: I hit the Canyon at 7:30. My first time. Pretty cool but I didn't spend too much time there. Took some photos and headed north through the Navajo Reservation. Stopped at Navajo Bridge and met a German couple. I caught them admiring my insect covered GT and the guy said that both he and his son have the same bike at home. I headed toward Bryce Canyon but more road construction turned me back toward Zion after taking a few photos at Red Canyon. I wanted to crash near Zion and take it in in the morning. I had to head through Zion east to west to get to some lodging just as the sun was going down. I needed to find a bed so I didn't spend too much time taking it in. Beautiful.
Day 12: I arrived at Zion before sunrise and stopped waiting for the light. This is the secret to missing the traffic through the park. West to east I maybe saw 6 cars, 0 RVs. Probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Really. I headed back through east to west (it's only 11 miles with a very narrow 1.1 mile tunnel through a serious chunk of rock) and on to I-15. Time to put on some mileage. Stopped for the night in Twin Falls, ID.
Day 13: I took off at 7:00 AM for home. Pretty uneventful ride up I-84 through OR to I-82 to I-90 to I-5 to exit 171 and home. I got back to Seattle at 5:15PM so the last 10 miles took 30 minutes. I just wanted to get home -- my ass hurt! I arrived home in the rain just as I left. This was my second longest day in the saddle, 636 miles. Total round trip 4067 miles.
Here's what I learned: Vacation is so much better than working. My speedometer is off by about 8-10% at 80 MPH according to my Garmin StreetPilot 820. I need a new seat for long distances. When you scrape the pegs just relax and don't shift your weight. I can get at least 193 miles on a tank of gas. Bakersfield to Tucson is a long freakin' way in the heat, even in September so drink -- alot. I should have planned at least one more day on the way down to take Hwy 1 south of SF. I already knew this but the 2004 K1200GT is kick-ass! It likes to go fast all day long. I love this bike!