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Monument Loop

Old 02-12-22, 10:27 AM
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Monument Loop

Came across the idea of riding the Monument Loop that connects Monument Valley to Arches Nat'l Park to Bryce Canyon, to Zion Nat'l Park to the Grand Canyon as part of a cross country ride. Has anyone done this loop? If so please provide your impressions of the trip.
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Old 02-12-22, 11:45 AM
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I've ridden Highway 163 thru Monument Valley once. No shoulder, lots of RV's. Probably one of the worst days of bicycle touring I've ever had.
I don't know anything about the "Loop"
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Old 02-12-22, 01:54 PM
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We've done what are perhaps segments of the route you have in mind (Vegas, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon), something we thoroughly enjoyed.

I was curious about the "monument loop". A search and a few hops later, I landed on this great source of ideas for touring destinations.
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Old 02-12-22, 02:40 PM
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All of those parks have campgrounds that fill up fast. But you might have luck in the campgrounds if you rode through and found some tenters that might be willing to let you put up a tent in their site. We were car camping so I can't comment on it for bike touring.

I dug this lat and long out of my GPS records from when i was there, N35.96207 W111.96467 (degrees and decimal degrees format), that is on a gravel road out of grand canyon, this spot is on national forest land, not national park land, you could wild camp there if necessary. But no water or any other resources other than land to put up a tent. I do not remember if we had to open a gate through a fence or not on the boundary between national park and national forest. I was there in Mar and Apr 2014, weather was great. But at higher elevations there was a chill in the air.

It is my understanding that some of the parks are instituting a permit system, you need a permit and the permit specifies the date and possibly the time you may enter. But that is for cars or other motor vehicles, bicycles do not need a permit. But I could be wrong on that, I suggest you check the website for each park first to make sure you do not need a permit to enter on a bike.

That said, there would be a fee charged to enter, such fees are not new.





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Old 02-13-22, 07:49 AM
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I donít believe any reservation requirements apply to people arriving by bike. It did not at Glacier last year.

And yes. There will be a fee. Bryce, for example, is $20/ person.
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Old 02-13-22, 05:53 PM
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You'll need knobby tires for the goat thorns. My car tires got dozens of them in 2019. LOL.
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Old 02-13-22, 11:24 PM
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Monument Valley!

IMO, Monument Valley is a bucket list ride. We've ridden once in each direction, 2019 and 2020. Heading south, you have views for miles and miles. But, the wind definitely comes from the south.

Our loop isn't exactly the one you propose, but it's close:

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/illprepared/

Here's a link to our journal. This ride was one of my favorite tours ever. You need to enjoy wide open spaces and solitude. Take the heat and wind into account when making your plans. Carry plenty of water. Make reservations ahead, this is prime tourist area and people are on the move, post COVID.

The only road I remember having issues with the traffic was coming out of Moab on the first day. Traffic was relentless, but considerate. On 163 through Monument Valley, traffic was light enough I can't remember the width of the shoulders either good or bad.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/chevy/ - this is a link to our second trip through Monument Valley. It wasn't a loop, but might provide an interesting perspective on the area.
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Old 02-14-22, 12:24 AM
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yes, you want to do this!

monument valley is well worth the visit. i believe there is a "loop" thru the valley you can ride off of hwy 163. back when i done it, i camped on blm land near mexican hat, left my trailer and tent for a day trip to ride the valley. think it's a bit over 20 miles each way from mexican hat to monument valley. before the era of cell phones, carried pages from a gazetteer with road/track detail including location of public lands.

did this as part of a larger loop that covered several of the parks in utah and bordering states. i'd suggest spending more time in the four corners, skipping the boring eastern usa with amtrak.....but that's just me.
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Old 02-16-22, 03:14 AM
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Sounds like I will need some tire liners, too! What was a simple cross country bucket list ride, has turned into a multi-summer plan for riding through several national parks out west. I just may skip anything east of the Mississippi.
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Old 02-16-22, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Sounds like I will need some tire liners, too! What was a simple cross country bucket list ride, has turned into a multi-summer plan for riding through several national parks out west. I just may skip anything east of the Mississippi.
Unless you're running metal liners, you're gonna get flats in that part of the country. Goat-heads are vicious little buggers and will get through any rubber less than 1/2 inch thick. Get used to the idea of fixing a flat or two a day. After a few days it becomes second nature and only takes a few minutes. Just enough time for a saddle break.
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Old 02-16-22, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Unless you're running metal liners, you're gonna get flats in that part of the country. Goat-heads are vicious little buggers and will get through any rubber less than 1/2 inch thick. Get used to the idea of fixing a flat or two a day. After a few days it becomes second nature and only takes a few minutes. Just enough time for a saddle break.
back then when i wasn't concerned about weight, i'd just cut the tread portion of a slightly thinner tire to stick inside each tire, then cut off the valve and slit an old inner tube to wrap around the new one.

added weight, but cuts down on flats....
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Old 02-16-22, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Sounds like I will need some tire liners, too! What was a simple cross country bucket list ride, has turned into a multi-summer plan for riding through several national parks out west. I just may skip anything east of the Mississippi.
I had some trouble with liners in wide tires, the liners did not stay centered and the bike rode quite odd.

I had a tire years ago that I could not find what it was that was causing flats, but I eventually slit an innertube and removed the valve, used that as a liner, put another tube inside it. That solved my flats problems. But that won't solve any long thorn problems, not thick enough.

Stay on pavement to reduce your chance at picking up goat head thorns. I accidently rode into the campsite and had to spend several minutes removing thorns. Later carried my bike to the pavement.



Years ago on this forum someone suggested that if you can't find the thorn or other sharpe pointy object inside your tire that is causing flats, take a piece of cotton and wipe the inside of the tire, the cotton will snag on the thorn that you otherwise could not see.
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Old 02-16-22, 04:55 PM
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At the bike shop I taught all the newbies that looking inside the tire was not enough. Have to run your fingers against the casing on the inside. When your finger(s) get pricked or gashed you have found the culprit. I suppose cotton cloth works as well, but in a shop environment it is quicker to just use one's fingers.

Well, flats be damned, I am going anyway!
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Old 02-16-22, 05:01 PM
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so, running tubeless you still get flats or does that work against those goatheads?
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Old 02-16-22, 05:08 PM
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tubeless + sealant... Mountain bikers in the SW made this change a *long* time ago
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Old 02-16-22, 05:18 PM
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sealant of course sealant
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Old 02-16-22, 11:34 PM
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My dad had a tire inside the tire for years, 28" x 1 1/2. I guess that was after he put over a dozen patches on the tube, that had to be 20+ years old. LOL. Nails and glass were way more common.
We have zero goat thorns anywhere in a thousand miles.
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Old 02-17-22, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Well, flats be damned, I am going anyway!
Oh, hell yeah. Don't be scared of a few thorns.
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Old 02-17-22, 07:36 AM
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That sounds like a beautiful ride with some of the nicest scenery the SW has to offer. I haven't done it, but have done some mountain biking in the area and have passed through the general area on a road tour. I'd run tubeless with sealant if that is an option for you. If not at least run tires that are fairly flat resistant, carry plenty of patches, and carry a few tubes. Also watch out for pulling off the pavement and be sure to stop and remove any thorns every time you do. Tubeless and sealant is much better though.

Not sure about that exact route, but water is likely to be an issue in that part of the country. Be sure to know where you will be resupplying and carry enough to get there.

I always wanted to get back there for an off road tour but thus far haven't. The water issue is usually enough to make me think about somewhere else rather than deal with infrequent and/or unreliable resupply and/or caching.

By the way, I was there at the end of October the year I was there and it was lovely weather that last week of October. I'd think the heat would be brutal in summer. We did get a surprise cold snap and snow the first days of November, even down in town (Moab). The local folks said it was very unusual. It got interesting on a solo ride I did when all of the rock cairns got covered by snow deep enough to hide them. I couldn't navigate further by them and couldn't backtrack on my own tracks because they were covered too. To make matters more interesting my water bottles froze solid and I was under dressed having underestimated how cold it would be. Finding my way out alive was just a little in doubt. It became a real "adventure". I was really happy when I found Sand Hill road at the top and rode down it to town where by then at that lower elevation it was warm.
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Old 02-17-22, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Oh, hell yeah. Don't be scared of a few thorns.

it's not the goatheads.........it's the mesquite.

be afraid.

https://earthbuddies.net/wp-content/..._juliflora.jpg

https://th.bing.com/th/id/OIP.Zmz8OC...id=ImgDet&rs=1

https://th.bing.com/th/id/OIP.wjfZbS...id=ImgDet&rs=1
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Old 02-17-22, 11:50 AM
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terrifying...

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Old 02-19-22, 01:49 AM
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Holy smokes, those are thorns!
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Old 02-19-22, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Holy smokes, those are thorns!
Yep, but I am not aware of any of my flats being caused by them.

Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus View Post
so, running tubeless you still get flats or does that work against those goatheads?
Not as sure about with skinnier higher pressure tires, but with fatter lower pressure tires it works very well. With 2.1" tires I find that I do lose some sealant and need to either run more sealant than is standard or add some extra sealant over time in thorn country. I suspect that if I started out with the recommended amount in bad goathead country, I'd be adding right away, otherwise it might be either weeks or months depending on how much off road I was riding and how bad the thorns were.

Even around home in Tallahassee for trail riding I find it to be the case that I need a bit of extra sealant beyond the recommended amount with the blackberry and other thorns here. Tubless works perfectly, but I use a bit more sealant than the Stans No Tubes directions call for. On a road tour it may be a complete non issue.
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Old 02-19-22, 07:04 AM
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A bit over a year ago a long thread started on the Randonneuring forum on tubeless tires, thus oriented towards long distance pavement riding. There was a lot of information there from people with a lot of experience using tubeless on pavement. That is here:
Ready to give-up on tubeless road tires

I have never used tubeless tires and have no plans to do so. But if I was going to do a tour in thorn country on normal touring width tires (if there is such a thing as normal touring width any more), I would consider sealant in tubes, or the prefilled sealant tubes from Slime. If there is a reason why this would be a bad idea, if some of you have used sealant in tubes on tires in the 32 to 37mm range, I would like to hear it.

I used tube sealant on a mountain biking trip a few years ago, car camping for a week and riding on mountain biking trails. I did not have any punctures from thorns.
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Old 02-19-22, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I would consider sealant in tubes, or the prefilled sealant tubes from Slime. If there is a reason why this would be a bad idea, if some of you have used sealant in tubes on tires in the 32 to 37mm range, I would like to hear it.
We used Slime tubes briefly on the TA back in 2007. At that tme we judged them to be a big fail. We still got flats, but they were hard to get patches to stick and it was a big mess. Not sure if we gave it a fair trial or if they have gotten better, but we hated them and threw them away infavor of regular tubes without sealant.

I later (2011) stayed with a host in New Mexico who used sealant with tubes in a riding mower he mowed his pecan orchard and yard where there were lots of goatheads. The tires had what looked like thousands of them and he said they were fine. He said he never patched any. Granted they were VERY high volume tires and I think he put in a lot of sealant. I forget what brand sealant he used, Orange Seal or Stans maybe? He said before the sealant patching was constant

In some circles conventional wisdom is that sealant in tubes doesn't work and my limited experience in 2007 seemed to bear that out He said it worked great for his mower. There are a lot of differences in the two limited experiences so I am hesitant to read too much into either. My experince does say that tubeless and sealant in wide-ish tires (2+") absolutely does work very well for thorns. I won't say much more than that with too much certainty.
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