San Diego, CA - Grand Canyon, AZ

Camping near the Grand Canyon

A friend of mine and I decided to ride to the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately he was starting in Stockton and I was starting in San Diego. The other problem was I was riding my old Honda hawk with no storage options and a small tank and his only bike was a 250cc enduro.

I rode the usual Southern California Coast until Camp Pendleton and it was a good way to start the ride. Too bad when I left San Diego it was raining and the rain continued all the way until just south of Big Bear. Once dried out, Big Bear turned out to be a very nice mountain ride. Highway 247 south of Barstow would have been a boring ride except for the beautiful desert views and the 50+ mph cross winds that nearly blew me off the road.

I met up with my Stockton friend in Barstow. We ended up camping in Lake Havasu on the Arizona side that first night. It was a nice place to camp and by morning the wind had died down. While we were there we took a 5 minute trip to ride on the London Bridge. I think next time I will camp somewhere off of highway 95 between Lake Havasu and Kingman.

Old Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman was calming and full of many other bikers as well as many tourist stops and small Mom & Pop BBQ restaurants. We finally made it to the Grand Canyon and with enough time to hang out on the South Rim for a few hours before we had to go set up for the night. We camped just a few miles south of the Grand Canyon in the forest outside of the national park. A much better choice as it was free and there was no other human for miles.

After the grand canyon we rode to Hoover Dam which was very cool. I recommend taking the tour. We ended up stopping in Las Vegas, Nevada for lunch at one of those classic casino buffets. Our last night of camping was spent in Death Valley. We lucked out as at night it was only about 75 degrees which made for a very comfortable night compared to the below freezing temperature at the Grand Canyon.

The last day of riding back to San Diego was fairly uneventful as by this point I wanted to take a shower and eat a hot meal so it was all fast paced freeway riding.

Bike: Honda NT650GT
Distance: 1377mi (Other little adventures made this one around 1450 miles)
Time: 4 days
Sights: The usual Southern California Coast until Camp Pendleton

           Big Bear was a very nice mountain ride
           Lake Havasu, Arizona
           The London Bridge 
           Old Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman 
           The Grand Canyon South Rim
           Hoover Dam
           Las Vegas, Nevada 
           Death Valley

Warnings: When riding through Death Valley carrie lots of extra fuel. There are a few gas stations in death valley but they are very spaced out and charge a few dollars extra per gallon.

Packed and ready to go. I was a bit worried the gas can would fall off.

Highway 247

Met my friend at the Pizza Hut in Barstow.
His rear tire was looking a bit bald. Not a good way to start out the trip.
Stopped at a local shop in Barstow looking for a new tire.
They didn't have his size. Very surprising.
Somewhere along the way, tire a bit soft now and getting worse.

Made it to Lake Havasu and camped near the water. Sand was too
soft to keep the tent staked down so we tied it to the bikes.
Found a tire that fits in Lake Havasu! Good timing because
we could start to see the threads in the old one.

My friend and I at The Grand Canyon

Camping in the National Park was expensive and full so we rode
south of the park and camped in the woods. I think I prefer it this way. 

Rest area on the way to Las Vegas.

The only pic of our camp in Death Valley. We had a good night.

The Salt Flats in Death Valley.

Riding through Death Valley is HOT, but you can buy ice cool beer and
milkshakes at the General Store. They have over 100 different beers in stock.

Route going to the Grand Canyon:

Route headed back home to San Diego:


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