Distance – 340 miles (547 kilometres)
Time on bike – 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Low temp – 18 celcius at the top of the Grand Canyon Summit
High temp – 36 celcius on highway 89 around the turn off for the south side of the canyon
Picked up the bike at around 9:30. The ignition switch group was replaced and the regulator. Filled out the paperwork for the warranty which ‘should’ cover all the repairs – turns out I pay for the repairs now and get reimbursed through the extended warranty (hopefully that is really the case).
Set off down highway 89 and was glad to be moving towards my destinations again. The goal was to do some sightseeing and still make it to Blythe in California and push for a day or two In Mexico. Note how I say the plan ‘was’….
Just outside of Page is the beginnings of the Vermillion Cliffs and some amazing scenery that leads to the north side of the Grand Canyon. Since I haven’t actually been on the bike much or had time to see some of the sights along the way due to my bike’s electrical issues I decided to take a detour.
I spent the morning and part of the afternoon on a detour to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s absolutely stunning and only about 60-80 miles out of the way. This detour takes me back through part of the route that Led to where I was originally stranded. Subtle irony, not really.
The ride to the Grand Canyon has a massive elevation gain from roughly 3,500 ft to just over 8,800 ft. Not something I would have though since it is a canyon after all. At the junction you can see all the way across the plateau for miles and the views into the canyon from this side are breathtaking. The canyon viewpoint’s pathways are only a few feet wide and you literally walk along a thin edge right over the canyon. The pictures are posted in my photobucket account.
Apparently this time of year in Utah and Arizona is the ‘monsoon’ season. I found out first hand at the summit near the canyon. Never in my life have I seen such explosive rain events in such a short period of time. Huge thunderheads build in a matter of hours and unleash a fury of water that in many cases is gone in less than an hour. Also, I’ve never actually ‘felt’ lightning before. I had one that was so close I actually felt static and movement In the air behind me which was followed shortly thereafter by a canon-like thunder that felt like a gunshot had gone off right beside me.
After wandering at the canyon viewpoints I decided it was time to get moving again and get back on the road. I noticed that when I started the bike it didn’t seem to have the same ‘umph’ of previous starts. Uh oh!
Turns out that the voltage in the system of the bike was fine but it still is not producing enough to charge the battery. Decision making time.
Remember the lovely little town of Marble Canyon well I made a break back there as it is the only real gas station and phone for about 40 miles. Then it happened again – the bike stalled, died and would not restart. Ugh! Not again! Luckily with the help of a fellow biker we were able to push start it and so while it was running I made a phone call.
I tried finding a room in the same hotel – no luck. Page has no available rooms. I guess I’ll forge on ahead and see if I can make it to Blythe although it’ll be quite late.
I made it to the edge of the city of Flagstaff before I started to notice serious issues again. Headlights are dimming, warning lights for ABS are flashing, and the bike is beginning to hesitate. With forty more miles to Flagstaff this is not looking good. Cellphone coverage is weak at the best of times here – so I couldn’t use google to search for a motorcycle dealer. The GPS said there were dealers but it hadn’t updated to show local ones. Guess I’ll find a gas station and hopefully I can get a wifi signal or my phone will work and I’ll seek out a dealer here in Flagstaff.
When I got off at the gas station it died completely on its own. Now there is no power at all and not enough to get it going even with a push start. Phoned home to find out about another tow and kept losing my cellphone signal. Luckily I was able to find a local unlocked wifi signal and searched google for a honda dealer. As luck would have it, it turns out there I one literally a block away across the highway. Some good luck for a change.
They can get me in to fix the bike – no problem. The issue is the part won’t arrive until Tuesday. So four more days sitting pretty much idle until the bike is fixed again and about 500-600 bucks more for repairs. Ugh! With help from one of the mechanics we pushed the bike across the highway and I rode it down the sidewalk right to the dealers door. Luckily, with a 500 pound bike and gear it was all down hill. Whew!
The owner of the dealership was nice enough to give me a ride to a hotel and although it was full I was able to get set up right across the street. As luck would have it this is the busy time of year for hotels here anyway and the Arizona Cardinals football team is having their training camping literally a block away. All the hotels are full of football fans coming here to watch the training camp. So once again I was lucky to get a room at all.
So again, I wait. Four more nights of waiting and hopefully I’ll be off Tuesday afternoon sometime but maybe not until Wednesday morning.
I had a great dinner at ‘Monsoons’ – kung pow shrimp – “Mike likes his shrimp spicy.” I wandered around the trendy little downtown area until about 10pm and called it a day.