Well, here we are in mid May and the hot weather has shown up right on schedule. Mother Nature is easing us in with a string of 8 straight days of 100+ degrees to get us used to what we will be seeing in July and August. Glad I got my Iron Butt ride in when temps were only in the high 80's. If you missed last week's newsletter about my experience of doing 1137 miles in a day on an Iron Butt ride, Click Here to read.
While is was over 1100 miles on the bike a week ago, 3 weeks ago it was 500 miles
the easy way. From the first time that I heard of plans to construct the
Grand Canyon Skywalk, I was intrigued with idea of going to see it. In case you have been cut off from communication
for the last 5 years, the Hualapai Indians built an engineering marvel that allows you to walk out on a horseshoe
shaped, glass bottomed walkway suspended 4000 feet above the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon. Apparently it
supposed to be quite the tourist attraction as they are expecting over 1 million people walk this glass
bottomed structure this year.
Unknowingly, my desire to see and experience this novel way of viewing the Grand Canyon was about to come to fruition by a chance meeting with Chad Dube of Western Destinations. Chad invited me out to take a look at the new Rawhide located at Wildhorse Pass. They are very motorcycle friendly and wanted to give me a tour of the place to see if there might be a fit for a motorcycle event at their location. By the way, it was very impressive and I think there just might be something we could do there. After some discussion about the Western Destinations involvement in managing properties, the subject of the Skywalk was raised and they invited Mrs. C. and I up to be their guest at the Hualapai Ranch that they manage, and take a stroll around the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
I've often thought it would be fun to make this a Day Ride to the Skywalk, but the only 2 ways to reach it involve several miles of rough dirt roads to make the trip. One way about 40 miles of dirt and the other about 14 miles. Word is that within the year, the 14 miles will be paved. Not wanting to traverse those roads on the bike, I did a little research and decided to take the next best way, flying. As luck would have it, Grand Canyon West has a 5000' runway 2 miles from the Skywalk.
So we packed an overnight bag, hopped in the Cessna 172 on a Saturday afternoon and were wheels up at 2:30pm for our hour and a half flight to Grand Canyon West located approximately 50 miles NW of Peach Springs off of old Route 66 and 80 miles North of Kingman on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. We landed right on schedule at 4:00pm where Chad and Clem were waiting to pick us up. If you ever fly into this airport don't expect too much, it is little more than a than a double wide with a gift shop. The tarmac doesn't even have tie downs for your plane. But I expect that will be changing soon as they are anticipating as many as 1 million people to visit the Skywalk this year, and a lot of them will be getting there on commuter flights from Vegas and Phoenix.
We were picked up in a van by Chad, Jennifer and Clem from Western Destinations and went directly from the airport to the Skywalk that had opened to the public just 3 weeks before. One interesting thing that I found in preparing to go onto the Skywalk is that you cannot have anything at all in your pockets. You have to have someone hold your things or get a locker to store them. No keys, no cameras no nothing. Then you go through a metal detector to make sure that you have removed it all. When you reach the entrance you have to put little cotton booties over your shoes before walking onto the glass walkway.
As you approach the Skywalk you will see that it is about 5 feet wide in a horseshoe shape with the middle 3 feet being clear Plexiglas with a foot on each side being the beams that hold the structure up and clear Plexiglas sides. As you take your first step onto the center of the glass you are immediately looking several hundred feet down to the ground below. It is not exactly the 4000 feet directly below you that they advertise, but it is looking down to the Colorado river below. As you slowly walk to the center of the structure and look down and over the edge you get the feeling that this is indeed a unique feeling and an absolutely gorgeous view as you have a direct view of Eagle Point and the river far below. After a couple of minutes of getting used to the fact that you are not going to fall through the glass, it really becomes a pretty cool experience. And once you realize that the skywalk would be capable of supporting the weight of 72 fully loaded 747's, it makes you feel even more comfortable. In fact, I decided to get a photograph testing out the soundness of the structure. Click Here. If you are afraid of heights, it might take you a little longer to adjust.
The Skywalk facility that is currently under construction will also include a 6,000 square-foot visitor's center on three levels - underground, first story and second story. Inside is a museum, movie theater, VIP lounge, gift shop, and several restaurants and bars. One high-end restaurant is called The Skywalk Café that offers outdoor patio and rooftop seating on the edge of the canyon. This will really add to the experience as Eagle Point and Guano Point are very beautiful parts of the Grand Canyon.
From the Skywalk we went to visit Guano Point which has a gorgeous view of the Colorado River and the canyon (Click on it to enlarge). During the 1950's and 60's, bat guano (dung) was mined from a cave across the canyon and trammed back on cables. Rich in nitrates, it was used for the production of makeup, fertilizer and explosives. Some of the mining relics still exist and are very interesting. You can also do some hiking and exploration in this area. Unlike the Grand Canyon that is run by the National Parks, there are no guard rails and signs keeping you from being as curious as you want to be. Taking pictures of the old mining building, enveloping the incredible beauty and learning the history of this part of the Grand Canyon was almost the highlight of the trip.
With the sun starting to set and casting shadows across the canyon, we made our way back to check into our cabin at the Hualapai Ranch and strolled into the Old West town for some dinner at the Dance Hall and a photo op of Mrs. C. and I. We were fed an excellent chicken dinner and entertained by one of the best close up slight of hand entertainers that I have ever seen. He simply blew us away with the tricks he was doing right in front of our eyes. We then made our way outside to the campfire with a cowboy playing the guitar and singing songs. It was a wonderful end to an exciting day.
Sunday morning we rose early to blue skies, sunny and 45 degrees to get some breakfast at the dance hall before we saddled up to take a horseback ride led by a Hualapai Indian out to the edge of the canyon. I will admit to not being a big fan of horse back riding, preferring the steel horse with 90 horsepower instead of one, but this trip was really special and enjoyable. Our Hualapai Indian guide known as "Broken Sky", took us off the beaten path for a special ride to the top of a small rock mesa to the edge of the canyon for a beautiful view of the Colorado River below. I have to say, it really was an enjoyable experience.
We returned to the stables, parked the horses and loaded our bags into the truck for our short ride back to the airport. I pre-flighted the plane and we were wheels up shortly after 11am headed East, with a great view of the Skywalk from above, following South of the Canyon over to the Grand Canyon National park airport near the South Rim for a touch and go and then on to Sedona for a fuel stop before returning to Deer Valley Airport at around 2:30pm. It was a great little trip that consumed all of 24 hours, but we sure soaked up a lot of eye candy and unique experiences in that short amount of time. I want to thank Chad Dube and Western Destinations for their hospitality at the Ranch and the Skywalk.
Once they get the road paved all the way, it will make a great Day Ride destination for motorcycles. In the meantime, if you want to make a family trip out of it as well, there are a lot of other things to do including Jet Skiing, Rafting, Horseback Riding and Helicopter rides through the canyon. I will include some links below for you to explore the possibilities. I have also included over 150 pictures of the trip from the air and on the ground that I think you will enjoy. And of course, Google for more information. It is $29.95 to walk on the Skywalk.
Click Here for Photos.
Click Here for Map.
Western Destinations and the Hualapai Ranch
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Detailed information on activities at Grand Canyon West
More Grand Canyon Skywalk
Eagle Point and Guano Point
Video History of the Skywalk
Highlights This Week
Westgate Bike Night has been extended to July 2nd.
Will be moved to Wednesday for the last 2 weeks of May. The 20th and 27th only.
Then back to Thursdays through July 2nd. Thursday this week.
Saturday, May 16th
Black Patch Choppers Grand Opening. Black Patch Choppers invites you to the Grand Opening
of their brand new state of the art motorcycle shop in North Phoenix. Music, Food and Prizes.
Saturday, May 16th
Chandler Harley-Davidson Foothills H.O.G. Chapter and Ladies of Harley Women Only Ride.
Join us in celebrating Women riders. This FREE scenic ride.
Saturday, May 16th
Inaugural Arrowhead/HOG “Iron Horse Run” to the Verde Canyon Railroad!.
First in a series of HOG Membership Drive Rides sponsored by Arrowhead Harley-Davidson/Buell,
Take a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad!
Sandbar Mexican Grill Wednesday Bike Night. Ride by the Sandbar Mexican Grill this Wednesday night where the patio instantly sweeps you away to a tropical island paradise as thatch and tin roofs cover the bar. Sit on one of the many high topped tables on the sandy beach or sit at the palapa bar outside and watch TV while listening to music. Or go inside to the dining area featuring a huge bar with 30 HDTV's to choose from around the room all decorated in an island beach theme. Sandbar has a great menu of Mexican food and will be featuring build your own burrito's for $5.00. Choose any ingredients you want off the menu, pack them into your burrito all for $5.00. There will also be $2.00 off ALL Drinks which makes domestic bottles $2.00 and Margarita's $4.00. Ride by this Wednesday night to check out the Sandbar Wednesday Bike Night. Motorcycle Parking Only will be blocked off in front of the restaurant. Click Here to see Photos and details. Click Here for Sandbar Web Site.
The Bike Night At The Billet Bar. The Billet Bar was the place to be during Bike Week as well as the rest of the year. Set on the patio and watch the action. Voted "BEST BIKER BAR IN PHOENIX" by New Times. There is no better place to watch all the Bikes ride down Scottsdale road than from The Billet Bar Patio. The Billet is ALWAYS packed with bikes Every Day. Stop by and take a look at the New Flamed Booths on the Paradise Patio. The new bars front and rear provide spacious seating, fresh air atmosphere, perfect temperature and courteous staff. The food is amazing and always the latest in cold libations await. You can sit at the back bar and watch your favorite TV on any of the seven big inch televisions. Play pool, listen to the latest music and socialize. The front patio seats over 75 people and is perfect for people watching on Scottsdale Rd. The Billet Bar is located on 3752 N. Scottsdale Rd. Check it out this Thursday night and all weekend long. Info: at 480-941-1876. Click Here for the New Billet Bar Page with pictures.
Dirty Doggs Thursday Bike Night presented by Renegade Classics. The Dirty Dogg Saloon and Renegade Classics of Phoenix join forces to host one of the best Bike Night’s in the valley every Thursday. Each week a free raffle will take place along with door prizes for both guys and gals, drink specials and of course the Dirty Dog Girls doing their thing on the bar. The hours are 7-10; the Dirty Dog is located on the Southeast Corner of Shea and Scottsdale Road –480-368-8095. Renegade Classics is located at 3102 East Cactus Road in Phoenix and more information can be seen at www.renegadephoenix.com
Thursday, May 14th
Westgate City Center Bike Night in Association with Cyclerides.com. Westgate Bike Night Has Been Extended!!!
The ending date for this bike night WAS to be May 14th, but due to the overwhelming participation, we have decided to extend this event to July 2nd, where we will have a huge 4th of July celebration on bike night. IMPORTANT UPDATE! Due to events at the Jobing.com Arena the last 2 Thursdays of May, Bike Night will be moved to Wednesday for the last 2 weeks of May. Those dates for Wednesday Bike Nights are May 20 and 27th. They will then be on Thursdays again through July 2nd.
For the First Time, The premier entertainment venue in the Valley, Westgate City Center, will Host a night for motorcycles for the next 8 weeks. This Week: Live Music with Dok and Gal in Events Plaza. I have been wanting to see a Bike Night at Westgate for a couple of years and it is finally here. If you have ever been to an event at Jobing.com or University of Phoenix Stadium, you are most likely familiar with the Times Square feel of Westgate City Center. Starting Thursday, April 9th, for the 6 Thursdays, Westgate will open up Coyote Blvd. from 6pm - 10pm for parking of motorcycles next to the 6 Million Dollar Dancing Fountains. Restaurants including Margaritaville, Bar Louies, Shout House, Which Wich, Moe's, Kabuki, Johnny Rockets and Hell's Half Acre will have Bike Night food and drink specials and will be welcoming all riders.
You will be given a flyer that will get you the discounts at the participating restaurants.
Discounts include $2.00 Miller Lite, $5.00 Chicken Nachos and $6.95 pulled pork sandwich and fries at Bar Louie's and $3.00 drafts, $2.00 well, $2.00 off Margaritas, Mini Quesadillas for $5.95 and Sliders for $6.95 among other specials at Margaritaville. Sit out on the patios and enjoy the entertainment on the big screen.
Thanks to our Westgate Bike Night Sponsors - GEICO Motorcycle Insurance, Arrowhead Harley-Davidson, Ridenow Powersports, Chuck Franklin Law and New Sponsor Saxon Motorcycles.
Click Here for Photos From the Last 4 Weeks.
May 14th will feature motorcycle displays by Jim Nasi Customs, Arrowhead Harley-Davidson, Ridenow Metro Motorsports and Swift Motorcycles. There will also be motorcycle programming and music on the Huge 30'x50' LED screen located in events plaza.
What to do:
6:00 pm - 10pm: Displays of Custom Baggers and Bikes From Arrowhead Harley-Davidson.
Sport Bikes, Cruisers, Rhinos and Spyder From Ridenow Metro Motorsports.
Custom Bikes from Jim Nasi Customs.
Custom Bikes from Swift Motorcycles.
Come park on Coyote Blvd. and enjoy the music or eat at one of the
7:00 pm - Live Music with the Dok and Gal.
Music and Videos all night.
Every Half Hour: Music and Performances by the 6 million dollar Dancing Fountains.
The weather will be beautiful at night for the next several weeks. Take a ride to Westgate, located on the SE Corner of the Loop 101 and Glendale Ave. Enjoy this beautiful venue that is offering a night just for motorcyclists every Thursday for the next 5 weeks starting April 9th - May 14th. Get something to eat or drink on one of the many outdoor patios in events plaza, watch the video presentations or just join in the fun and view the display of bikes lined up on Coyote Blvd. in Westgate. ALL MOTORCYCLES WELCOME. Click Here for photos of Westgate. Westgate City Center is located at the SE Corner of the Loop 101 and Glendale Ave. Enter Coyote Blvd. from the West next to Jobing.com Arena.
Saturday, May 16th
Black Patch Choppers Grand Opening. Black Patch Choppers invites you to the Grand Opening of their brand new state of the art motorcycle shop in North Phoenix that is owned and operated by two Harley-Davidson Certified Master Technicians. From Noon to 6pm Enjoy Music, Food and Prizes while touring their new 5,000 square foot facility with space designated for machining, building engines, diagnostic tuning and a full Dyno Room with Super Flow Technologies. Black Patch also sells parts, accessories, Magnetti Morrelli Conversion, IST Diagnostic Conversion. Provides full customization work as well as American V-Twin Services. Black Patch is located at 952 W. Melinda Lane, Suite C in Phoenix, AZ. One block South of Deer Valley Rd. off of 7th Ave. 623-466-0540.
Saturday, May 16th
Chandler Harley-Davidson Foothills H.O.G. Chapter and Ladies of Harley Women Only Ride. Join us in celebrating Women riders. This FREE scenic ride will be leaving Chandler Harley at 10am. This great ride will have FREE Lunch, Raffles, and Prizes as well at CK's Bar and Grill. ALL Women riders invited, not matter what brand of bike that you ride. Come join other Women Riders that share your passion of riding. Chandler Harley is located at 6895 W. Chandler Blvd. in Chandler. Please RSVP at 480-496-6800.
Saturday, May 16th
Inaugural Arrowhead/HOG “Iron Horse Run” to the Verde Canyon Railroad!. First in a series of HOG Membership Drive Rides sponsored by Arrowhead Harley-Davidson/Buell, 16130 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr. T-shirts made to commemorate ride. Take a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad! The ride will start at Arrowhead HD and will end with kickstands down at the Verde Canyon Railroad Station in Clarkdale, AZ. Those of you who purchased train ride tickets will then board the train for a scenic ride through central Arizona's canyons and gorges. The first 125 registered riders will receive a Ride T-Shirt & Pin!Plus we have 70 Discounted Train Ride tickets. $50.00 value for only $45.00 while they last! Registration fee of $25 per person. Click Here for Details.
Saturday, May 16th
Puttin' For Pooches Poker Run. The event will begin at the AHS’ Nina Mason Pulliam Campus for Compassion, located at 1521 W. Dobbins Road, with registration from 7-9 am. Riders and passengers will enjoy a free breakfast, courtesy of Hill’s Science Diet, and coffee is being provided by Starbucks. They can also purchase lunch tickets for $8.00, which will be served at the end of the ride. The poker run stops will be at the following locations: Buddy Stubbs Harley Davidson- Anthem, The Billet Bar, Chandler Harley Davidson, The final stop will be at Rawhide Wild West Town. Registration is $10.00 per rider and $10.00 per passenger, plus a donation of dog or cat food or a donation of gently used clothing to benefit the AHS Thrift Store. Each registered rider and passenger will receive a Puttin’ for Pooches t-shirt. For more information, visit www.azhumane.org
Saturday, May 16th
6th Annual Power To Cure Huntington's Disease Roosevelt Lake Poker Run. Join us for a scenic day ride and poker run to beautiful Lake Roosevelt! At 10 a.m., Saturday May 16th, riders will depart from Hacienda Harley Davidson, 15600 N. Hayden Road in Scottsdale and head to the Beeline Highway. Heading north up Beeline Highway thru Punkin Center riders will arrive at Lake Roosevelt where a delicious free BBQ lunch will be provided next to the lake by the Roosevelt PERA club from SRP! Everyone will then head back down Beeline Highway and end at Fort McDowell Casino for more fun, activities and awards! Festivities will include a 50/50 raffle, door prizes, and other raffles during the ride, with winners announced and prizes awarded at the FORT! The first 200 riders who pre-register online before May 13th will receive a beautiful commemorative ride pin! Award for the club or team with most registrations!!! Enjoy a beautiful ride and free lunch while helping those with Adult Onset Huntington's Disease and Juvenile HD in Arizona! Pre-Registration fees paid online before May 15th: Single: $20.00 Two Up: $30.00. On-Site Registration Day of Race, May 16th (8 am to 10 am): Single: $25.00 Two Up $35.00.
Saturday, May 16th
Branded Phoenix Raffel Ride. Don't miss the Raffle Motorcycle Ride to benefit Branded Phoenix & Street Lights Programs with Food for the Hungry. Coffee, food, raffle prizes, music, 50/50 drawing at end. Four ride stops include: Superstition Harley Dealer, Desert Dog Hummer, Horny Toad in Cave Creek, NV Honda Dealer (approx. 100 miles). Check out the website to pre-register by 5/13 for $20 single/ $30 two up. http://www.brandedphx.com/. T-shirt to first 100 pre-registered riders.
Saturday, May 16th
First Annual Rock and Roll Bike Run. Citywide tour of some of the familiar biker stops in the Valley. Live music at each stop including the Chris Parker Project and Easton Ashe. Great raffle items including a plasma TV, tons of great gift certificates and other prizes. All to benefit Cystic Fibrosis. Registration starts at 10:30am at Cocomo Joes ending at Flicka’s. Cost: $40 per rider/$55 per couple (rider w/passenger) What does that include: T-shirt, $20 in gift certificates from venues and sponsors. For more information go to www.rockandrollbikerun.eventbrite.com.
Saturday, May 16th
A.B.A.T.E. of Arizona East Valley Chapter "Hard Ass Run". The Run sign in is at The American Legion Post 26, 505 W. 2nd Ave., Mesa, AZ. 7:30am to 9:00am. $20 Singles, $30 Couples. Live Band, Run Shirt and Run Pin Included at Last Stop. 50/50, Door Prizes, Poker Hands, 1st- $250, 2nd- $150, Worst - $100, This Ain’t Your Grandpa’s Poker Run. Tour through some of the Best back roads in Arizona and enjoy a FREE poker run to boot. As always, the route is A Mystery know only to a select few. Come join the fun. 300+ miles. For Information Call Jack at 602-696-3015. All Proceeds to benefit A.B.A.T.E. Of Arizona.
Monday, May 25th
3rd Annual Memorial Day Flags for our Fallen. Join Riders USA at the Phoenix National Memorial Cemetery to display “Flags for our Fallen” Flag Display & Salute to arrivals: 6:30am Official Ceremony: 8:00am Memorial Day Picnic Ride: 10:00 Picnic: 11:00am – 2:00pm $15 Donation includes lunch and a ride pin. Pinnacle Peak and N. Cave Creek Rd. (23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix) Click Here to register.
IMPORTANT UPDATE! Due to events at the Jobing.com Arena the last 2 Thursdays of May, Westgate Bike Night will be moved to Wednesday's for
the last 2 weeks of May. Those dates for Wednesday Bike Nights are May 20 and 27th. They will then be on Thursdays
again through July 2nd.
If you are trying to get out of a DUI, you might not want to be as obvious as these guys. Click Here to View.
This video of the wooden spoon contest is hilarious and makes me laugh every time I see it. Click Here to View.
This dog takes playing dead to a whole new level. Click Here to View.
Video of the Week!
This video of the of the Blue Collar Comedy gang talking about their decks is hilarious. Click on Video of the Week.