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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,047

    Mini-tour to the Grand Canyon

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    I just got back from a four day bike tour experience to the Grand Canyon. It was planned for my husband and son Simon, but at the last minute, my husband's days off were not approved, so just the two of us went.

    My husband and I did a two night trip to Madera Canyon south of Tucson two years ago and last October I went for an overnight about 20 miles away with my son, but this was the most adventurous trip so far.

    It was an amazing trip. We hit a window of good weather between two storms, so the winds weren't too bad, and the day time temperatures were beautiful. It was a little cool at night (30's the first night, 40's after that). It took us about 7 hours to go the 60 miles from Williams to the Grand Canyon. We got in just before dark. The last 6 miles from Tusayan felt brutal- mostly uphill and we were pretty tired. After a quick stop at the general store to get some fresh veggies for our dinner a we made it to the campground. The temperature dropped about 15 degrees and I was shivering at the registration booth. We were happy to get camp set up and cook dinner. Dinner was not quite as good as we imagined it would be: a packet of Thai red curry with some fresh veggies and pre-cooked pouch of Jasmine rice. I discovered I don't really like the vacuum packed silken tofu and I don't think we cooked the pouch of rice enough. Or pre-made rice just isn't very good - I'm not sure which. But we were hungry so it didn't matter. I managed to slice my thumb with Simon's very sharp little knife while making dinner and it didn't hurt but it wouldn't stop bleeding for hours, but we finally got it taken care of.

    We had two days to explore and on the first one, we headed to the east side to Desert View. We went on to most of the side roads to viewpoints to ooh and ah and take pictures. We had lunch at Desert View, climbed in the tower and then headed back to camp. We met a number of interesting travelers in the hiker biker campsites over the trip: there was an Irish guy who had been mountain biking and left his stuff on the North Rim and hiked over to the South Rim for one night- then back. We met an older gentleman who had ridden up from Las Vegas took a shuttle home and came back with his car the next day to pick up his bike and gear. Simon connected with a young man who had just finished college and was traveling for 2-3 months on his own. There were a couple of other single male travelers, but no other women. Second night's dinner was spinach noodles with sauteed mushrooms and chive/onion cream cheese melted to make a sauce.

    Our second day at the canyon started with watching the sunrise at Mather point and a shuttle bus to Yaki Point. I hung out at the hawk watch site for several hours and enjoyed seeing numerous migrating hawks: Sharp-shinned, Cooper's, Red-tails, a few Harriers, Kestrels and several Broad-winged Hawks, which are quite rare in Arizona. Just after getting to Yaki Point and the hawk watch site, there was a sound like thunder and we looked across the little side canyon toward Mather Point to see a huge boulder careening down the slope. It left big dust clouds in its wake. Simon and I went our separate ways for the rest of the day and then we met up at camp after dark.

    We decided we didn't really want to eat the dinner we had brought with us, and picked some soup and made quesadillas over the campfire.

    Already time to pack up! Simon got up super early, packed his stuff and went off to watch the sun rise again. I wasn't so motivated, but packed up my camp a little later, and we were ready to get on the road around 9:00. The first half of the ride back went pretty quickly and we had lunch in Valle. The last 30 miles were marred by a series of flats on Simon's bike. After the third one, we had only one tube between us and it was 8 miles back to Williams. Somewhat reluctantly, Simon agreed to wait and I rode in to get the car.

    Aside from the flats, it was a generally a big success.

    BTW- the guys at the Bright Angel Bike rental were great. Simon actually had a few other mechanical problems. He had a front flat on the first day and had forgotten his pump. He also had a couple of spokes that needed adjustment. They showed us how the CO2 injector I had could work with a Schrader valve or a Presta valve and trued the wheel. The mechanic asked for $5 for truing the wheel and gave him two extra CO2 cartridges. Simon, being the great kid he is, gave the mechanic an extra couple bucks.

    I'll put a few pics here and some on the picture thread.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,047
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    6,662
    Wow, I commented on your photos on the other thread before reading this. What an adventure! Were Simon's flats from goatheads? That's one thing I reallllly don't miss from that part of the country. We didn't have any this year as I guess we didn't get quite far enough west, thank the cycling gods!

    Other than that, it sounds like a really good trip overall, and what a wonderful mother-son bonding experience. Amazing photos too! Great job by both of you!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    What fun, Sounds like the two of you biked well together. Love riding with my "grown up" kids. Did you see any Condors? Hiked rim to rim with my GF's a few years ago and we saw one on the south rim. Thanks for sharing!
    Sky King
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,047
    No Condors I was hoping. I saw them years ago before they were all put into the captive breeding program.

    Yeah, the son and I got along quite well.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    676
    Such different country than what I ride, but every bit as wonderful and even more spectacular. Thank you for sharing.

    Was wondering the same thing about those flats. Used to live in country with those goatheads and even with thorn liners and heavy tubes we'd still get flats. Would stop every so often and pull the spines out of the tires to keep them from digging in deeper. Don't mis them at all, either.

 

 

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