Just did 191 for the seond time this summer, last weekend. Here's the trip report I posted to alt.motorcycle.sportbike :
OK, not as famous as the Deals Gap or Ca's 36 but more than likely this 100 mile stretch of twistie asphalt would have most GAP riders, laughing in retrospect, or so stated from couple of first hand riders from Louisiana, on a two week tour of the rockies. (pictures below)
Both stated the DEALS GAP was all hype and they'd never seen twisties the likes of the Coronado Trail or Devils Highway (old 666 now 191). Their route was to include the North Rim, Vegas in the summer, no less, Utah and Colorado. BTW, the older guy at 48 was riding the 954. I asked them if there were any twisties in La but they just laughed and started in on the Bayou road conditions. They do have a track nearby thought.
At 200 miles East of Phoenix, the Devil's highway would take some commitment from the a West Coast prospective and with so many nice roads in California, a virtual blessing in disguise to have such a remote bikers paradise. 191 is normally devoid of cage traffic throughout the hot Arizona summer months. The northern route is the preferred cage entry point as the Southern route would have the kids barfing all over the interiors of those SUV's and minivans.
The mining town of Morreci Arizona marks the start of 191, with section #1: 30 miles of tight 10-25MPH climbing and descending switchbacks; altitude changing from 4K to 7K feet at Section #2: 10 miles of rolling sweepers on a high plateau. However, it's open grazing land -
Section #3 is 40 miles of unbroken 35 to 80 MPH-(8/10ths pace) climbing twisties peaking at 9100 feet in Hannigan Meadow. The final twenty odd miles or section #4 to Alpine is mostly pine forest sweepers with speeds posted at 50MPH and turns marked at 25 to 45MPH.
The road condition is mostly excellent except the tight bottom section that only two months back was in good condition. However, due our May/June forest fires and subsequent road closures, the bulk of thru traffic was diverted up 191 for at least a month straight. This made the bottom section dicey and I actually had to catch the rear with my foot on a sandy uphill 10MPH marked switchback. We stopped for a few minutes and took these shots.
Steve & Bill enjoying a quick break.
Up into section #3, got caught in a thunder storm but left post haste after experiencing nearby lightning strikes.
Funny too, nearly as soon as we got moving again the rain stopped as abruptly as it started.
Finally we arrived at the Hannigan Meadow Lodge and grabbed the key to the cabin. Steve and I took a short nap before the caged crew arrived from PHX via the Northern, less twistie route.
The trip was dual purpose, with my vacationing sister/hubby, now living on a sailboat docked in Tidisville Fl & sitting out the Hurricane season, up for some cool mountain air.
Dinner in the lodge.
Sunday morning, up at 7:00 and buffet breakfast in the lodge. Time for a romp down the trail before departing for home.
Riding at 7-8th's max, it took 40 minutes to go the 37 miles down the 20-35 MPH marked road. We passed a Sheriff mid turn and his only reaction was to give us a wide berth, moving to the far right of his lane. Nice huh? The conditions were better than the previous afternoon, with clear Sky's and few rocks & pine cones in the road. Ironically, at the end of this section, I stopped just as we approached two fawns standing in the road.
After a few minutes of discussing the ride down, we headed back to the lodge with Steve in the lead at a slightly less hurried pace. I watched as his F4i's track biased suspension jolted him as he hit bumps that seemed pretty gentle from my prospective.Then on the last 1/4 mile before the lodge, at about 75 in the marked 50MPH and just as we rounded a turn, a pickup truck was pulling out and froze as he saw Steve & I approaching. Steve broke hard but at the last second eased around the front of the guy, crossing into the oncoming lane (no cars ). After we stopped, he said, "I'm not positive I could have stopped had he not
froze". This upper section #4 could have been taken much faster but we agreed, no railing the top section, before we left PHX. I was more worried about deer strike potential but obviously there were other good reasons to moderate the pace.
We sat on the lodge porch and chewed the fat with some fellow bikers who'd ridden up from Payson. A colorful foursome, with an old knuckle head, an AMF vintage Harley and a Blackbird. One guy had raced RD's and other antique hardware back in the early 80's. Then we all got a chuckle when a guy drove up and pulled his non Harley cruiser out of one of those Harley badged Ford pickups and took off up the road with his wife. In talking to these grizzly characters, it occurred how little this bike bias thing becomes, once you get out on the road.
After this, we packed up and were heading for home by 11:30. My sister said they'd be 1/2 hour back for any mop up. Heading North toward Alpine, with me leading, I had another cage nearly pull out but pumped the front brake to cause my head lights to modulate & he stopped only a couple of feet out. Then just a few miles later, I saw 3 calves standing next to the road and slowed to 20MPH while passing. After Alpine & down the gently sweeping road, Steve and I picked it up to a buck for a few miles before entering Egar. Bill decided not to hang and after we stopped for gas, he didn't show up for ten minutes, I waited in case he came by and Steve went back to find him. After twenty minutes my Sister's SUV pulled into the gas station and she informed me that Bill had a flat rear tire and he and Steve were plugging in the tire.
Plug held (gotta love those repair kits) and we made our way west on 260, through the Apache Indian reservation instead of Show Low. We stopped to stretch out legs at the US 60 Junction and I took a couple of pics.
Sprint with new vanity (VFR style) rear seat cover.
About 30 miles down 60, we stopped at the Salt River Canyon (little Grand Canyon).
We waited for a 2 minute break in the "Conga Line" and railed the newly paved downhill twistie section before catching the pack near the bridge at the bottom.
On into Globe behind a solid line of cage traffic, we stopped for dinner and all dreaded that last 80 miles of afternoon Desert heat. Well, actually only the last 40 at 'really' hot temps. Steve & Bill soaked down their Phoenix jackets and me in Aerostich, tough'd it out that last 40 miles. I'd opted on the full suit instead of my PHX jacket, because of the rain potential.
Second time to "191" this summer and planning another trip in early October before the winter snows. OBTW, the temps at 9100ft were low 70's day and low fifties at night.
01 Sprint ST "RED"
Bob Nixon, Phoenix Az.