Grand Canyon Loop, Waptki, Sunset Crater

Wednesday July 18, 2012

Something is missing here

Something is missing here


yes, there is a hole in this bike...

yes, there is a hole in this bike…


How quickly we settle in to this kind of touring. Coffee, breakfast, check bike and get on the road. I shouldn’t speak for other riders, but I get into an altered state of alertness and relaxation, that flows along the road as long as nothing goes wrong.
The bike Alison, a special guest from Australia, was supposed to ride.  On the first day it lost 8 parts.

The bike Alison, a special guest from Australia, was supposed to ride. On the first day it lost 8 parts.

Today was a day many were looking forward to – the Grand Canyon. From Flagstaff, we got on highway 180 and traveled north to the South Entrance of the Grand Canyon. We stopped, checked out the view and continued through the park to the East Entrance.

The Jennings and Gwen enjoy the view

The Jennings and Gwen enjoy the view

While the route seemed simple, other conditions provided challenges. One was the heat. Flagstaff is high enough (in altitude!) to remain cool. The rim of the Grand Canyon and the roads around it were much warmer. One way to deal with the heat is to ride without protective gear. Wearing a helmet is not required in Arizona, but goes against my experience and training. I like to protect my skin from the sun, the bugs and road rash were I to fall off my bike. Evaporation is another way of staying cool so I frequently wet my scarf, hair and/or t-shirt.

Jeff helps by throwing a hat full of water at me.  photo by Gil Loe

Jeff helps by throwing a hat full of water at me. photo by Gil Loe


Another problem was fuel. Gas stations were not always available where we expected them to be. One rider ran out of fuel, not once but twice on this day. My bike managed to cover an indicated 144 miles on 1.8 gallons of gas. The tank holds 2 gallons.

However before we reached the gas station in Cameron, Jeff’s Venom stopped. We were in the middle of the desert, but he managed to find a place to pull off the two-laned road. There was no shade. There was no water except what we carried. We looked at the flora. We shared a drink of water. Various VOCNA members stopped by and offered to help. Jeff diagnosed the problem as a stuck float bowl, and took it apart.

Jeff examines float bowl

Jeff examines float bowl


Fred supervises Jeff's work

Fred supervises Jeff’s work


Fred gives Mirek a push

Fred gives Mirek a push


Pete rides down to find out if we have any oil.

Pete rides down to find out if we have any oil.


About half a mile away, at the top of an incline towards the Grand Canyon, we could see the silhouettes of other Velo riders also broken down. It wasn’t until Pete rode down to find out if we carried any oil (I did), that we heard what happened. The Endurance that Jeff had lent to Dai had puked oil all over Dai’s leg. Both of Jeff’s bikes broke down within half a mile! I figured there was an energy vortex here with Jeff’s name on it.

Jeff however, was determined to fix something. He hitched a ride back to where Dai was broken down. The problem was that a rocker fitting feed came loose. Using the spanners that Pete carried, Jeff was able to tighten the connection. Then the oil I carried, plus some from Alison’s truck went into the bike and Dai was on his way.

It was another story for the Venom. Jeff found no dirt in the float bowl. Everything seemed to be operating correctly, but the bike wouldn’t start. He put the Venom on the chase truck and rode back to camp with Alison and Judith.

Jeff's Venom rolls into camp on the trailer

Jeff’s Venom rolls into camp on the trailer


All of this took time. After I got fuel in Cameron, Fred and I decided to skip the Wuptaki National Monument and Sunset Crater and we headed straight for camp.
Story time at camp

Story time at camp

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Velocette & other British Motorcycles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s