01-03-2006, 10:16 PM
or if I could find a way to make cut and paste work, I'd do that...
Or a generous (and bored) soul can do it for ya....
- Ride Length: 2,817 miles
- Riders: John (all the way), Chris (Big Bend), Clint (Big Bend), Josh (Phoenix), Bill P. (Phoenix), Jerry (Phoenix), Jim (Phoenix)
- Weather: Absolutely perfect... cold once!
(Proper map coming soon...)
The Where should I ride? Tour started out as a discussion over on F650.com. I had several days of vacation left, so I decided to ask about places to go. I got lots of ideas, and ultimately settled upon going to Big Bend National Park, the Davis Mountains, El Paso, Las Cruses, Phoenix, then do a Saddle-Sore 1000 (SS1000 - 1000 miles in 24 hours) from Phoenix back to Houston.
If you are interested, there's the same version of this story over on F650, but in addition, there are pictures from other people who were on the trip. You can click here: http://www.f650.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=200482. Also, this version has all the pictures in full size...
Day 1 - Tuesday, December 27th, 2005:
I woke up at the crack of dawn pretty excited to get underway. I loaded the motorcycle the previous evening with everything I could possibly need for my journey... including my laptop so I can update this report as I progress through the trip.
Loaded and ready to go...
JetGorilla, AKA Chris, bought a Dakar a few days ago so he could come along on the trip. He and JetWife, AKA Laura, loaded the new Dakar in there trailer and drove with me out to Big Bend (I rode, they drove). RevJVegas, AKA John, and Dolomiti, AKA Clint, decided to come along for part of the adventure as well. Since we all came from different directions, we met at McDonalds in Castroville, TX and headed out from there.
The ride to McDs from the farm was nice until I got about 30 miles outside of San Antonio... FOG. It was more like riding through a rain cloud... It sucked--low visibility and soaking wet. It cleared about 3 miles from the McDs.
Breakfast of Champions...
As usual, there was a Wal-Mart stop involved...
Capitalism at its finest...
But eventually we got under way...
Rollin' rollin' rollin'...
Lunch at Chili's...
Dang, we eat a lot...
And finally... this time we really did get moving. We stopped for several pictures along highway 90. These were of a bridge over the Pecos River. Unfortunately the pictures do not really do the scenery justice...
A bridge being repainted on highway 90 towards Big Bend...
Is diving really a problem at this bridge?
A picture of another nice bridge along the route...
Chugga chugga chugga...
We stopped in Dryden to take a few more pictures of what's left of the town...
This little fellow was curious as to what we were doing...
Where's my apple?
We decided to try and take a shortcut from 90 down to 385 via a dirt road, but apparently the ranchers decided that they didn't want people taking this dirt road anymore, because they put up a locked gate about 30 miles down the road. We got turn around and head back to 90...
The road to nowhere...
Heading down 385, I nearly took out a herd of deer. Now that will wake you up...
We finally arrived in Big Bend around 8:00 in the evening, set up camp, ate, and went to sleep.
I had a bit of a cold when I left, and somewhere during the evening, it decided to turn into some sort of serious sickness. My nose was draining, my ears hurt so bad I couldn't hear or sleep. Pretty horrible to be sick in a tent when it's freezing outside... O well.
Mileage = 572.
Day 2 - Wednesday, December 28th, 2005:
Having been awake since about 3:00AM hacking and coughing, I finally emerged from the tent at 7:00. Twas a nice sunrise, but it was pretty darn cold...
We spotted this truck at the campsite... they're apparently doing some sort of around-the-world trip.
Mine's bigger than yours...
We headed out to the trails around 9:00. The first road we took was Old Ore Road. All four of us set out...
Sure, we stopped to take some scenery photos...
The first lesson of the day was not to ride 40mph around corners when you don't know what's on the other side...
Uhh... say mister, can you help me pick this up?
Seeing what I had done, Clint decided he needed to try it too--he was more successful...
That's gonna leave a mark...
Clint was a little shaken after this spill, so he took it much more cautiously for the remainder of the road. Chris and I would ride ahead, stop and wait for Clint and John, then take off like bats out of **** again.
Chris and I arrived at this sign and waited again...
While waiting, eating beef jerky and drinking water, I took the obligatory motorcycle photos...
About 30 minutes later, John shows up, but no Clint.
Twas getting warm...
How could it have been 25 degrees only a few hours ago?
We waited about 15 more minutes, and Chris and I headed back down the trail to make sure Clint was OK. He wasn't.
He was climbing a hill and lost it. His motorcycle was on its side, but it was facing downhill. One person picking it up just wasn't going to happen. We got it back on its wheels and had a difficult time getting it in a position where it could be ridden up the hill. We got it though.
Apparently this particular wreck damaged his radiator; it was leaking and the temperature light kept coming on.
By this point, Clint had had enough. I think John was getting sick of it too--he dumped his in the sand as well.
I was still having one ****-of-a-good time... sick or not, it was a ****ed fun trail.
We took it a bit more slowly for the remainder of the trail helping Clint get off the trail.
I still stopped for lots o' fotos...
We finally got off the trail around 1:30. And headed back to the base camp for some lunch.
Clint decided he would go ahead and head home. His radiator was shot; he was shot... can't blame you Clint... hope you made it back OK.
John made a new friend...
It was getting later in the afternoon, and I was not through riding. John had had enough of the trails as well, so Chris and I set off for more adventure. We took River Road to Glenn Springs Road...
Then on to Black Gap Road.
Lesson #2 - just because you want to take the more difficult line doesn't mean your motorcycle has the clearance to do so.
Look Ma' no kickstand...
Chris helped me lift it off the hill and we pressed on... to Black Gap Road.
We didn't take many pictures on Black Gap Road because we were too focused on staying upright. I rode it last year, but it's amazing what happens to an unmaintained road over the course of a year. Old Ore Road was a mere walk in the park compared to this thing.
Black Gap also got Chris. He got smacked in the face by a branch right in some deep sand. Down he went. I turned around to snap the picture, but seeing me coming, he immediately uprighted his scoot and saved himself from the camera...
This next shot was taken on our way back to the motorcycles after we checked on the rabbit that Chris ran over (he didn't make it--the rabbit, not Chris).
Once we got off of Black Gap, we took River Road back to the camp, but we stopped at Mariscal Mine. Unfortunately it was getting too dark to take any good pictures...
We hauled butt back to camp. I had to lock up the *** end a couple of times to make the tight curves... what an absolute riot!
Mileage = 129 (about 100 off-road), total so far = 701 miles.
Damage = Leaky oil pressure switch (but it has leaked before) and one broken-off PIAA driving light... both things easily fixable.
Day 3 - Thursday, December 29th, 2005:
Since it was so cold outside, we decided to sleep in the back of Chris' trailer.
I politely woke up John with a flash in the face...
Then I had a little breakfast before beginning my day...
Breakfast of Champions #2
Today we took 118 into Terlingua and took a few pictures...
Then continued to Presidio via 170. This road my friends...
... let me just say this:
If you are thinking about coming to Big Bend in March to Darren's little deal, but are a bit nervous or whatever because you think it will only be dirt riding... well let me tell you... highway 170 is one of the best roads I have ridden in my life. So, instead of me telling you about it, have a look for yourself!
I did pull over a few times for some non-motorcycle shots...
This one I call "Love Hurts"...
There are also many old buildings and houses along 170...
This particular place had an old piece of machinery in it. I'm not sure what it was, maybe you know and can tell me?
After all the riding, I stopped for some water and drugs.
Lunch of Champions...
Here are a couple more shots of the roads...
We'd been with Chris and Laura... they in the truck and trailer, and John and I either following or leading. I went to pass Chris one time on 67 on the way to Marfa, and he told me to stay behind him, because he thought he was going to run out of gas. He pulled into Marfa on fumes. Check this out... this is the fuel gauge with the truck running...
There was one restaurant in Marfa--Dairy Queen. So Dairy Queen it was...
Ma'am... is there supposed to be a piece missing?
Since it was getting late, Laura wanted to hang around Marfa and see the "Marfa Lights". I needed to be in Phoenix by Friday night, so John and I pressed on for Las Cruces.
Things to do to keep you awake at 80mph...
At some point, John and I crossed into New Mexico...
Our plan was to stay at Pig's, AKA Josh's, house (not Dr. Josh, another Josh). Josh was not in town, but his house sitter was aware we were coming and Josh was very kind to offer us a place to stay. I called aforementioned house sitter the other day to tell him we'd be there... he said he knew... looked forward to seeing us... yada, yada.
So we get to Casa Hamling...
No house sitter. Just this big mean son of a gun!
I called the house sitter. Turns out the dood had to work, so here we were with no place to stay, it's getting cold, and Kujo the warrior-dog-from-**** has no intention of letting us in.
We decided to simply find a hotel. After 50 more miles to Deming and stops at three different places, we finally found a room at La Quinta. And here I sit on the bed pounding out this report while my motorcycle sits downstairs waiting for tomorrow's adventure.
Lessons from today:
Lesson #3: ALWAYS have a backup plan.
And more importantly...
Lesson #4: When you are sick as a dog, avoid sneezing in your helmet at all costs!
Mileage = 496, total so far = 1,197 miles.
Day 4 - Friday, December 30th, 2005:
Today John and I got underway around 10:00 after riding so late into the evening last night. We slabbed it from to Deming, NM to Tucson, AZ and stopped at the Pima Air and Space Museum.
There's a lot of old one-of-a-kind aircraft and other military vehicles out there...
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Then we drove around the airplane graveyard, but we couldn't get in there. I did get a couple of shots through the fence though...
While in Tucson, I decided to have SW Moto switch out the rear tire... I was tired of lugging the heavy thing around anyway. Besides, it was only $11.
The final stop in Tucson was at CVS. My "crud" had turned into something extremely unpleasant. Me ears hurt so bad from the pressure... nose draining into my helmet... fever... just horrible. Dr. Josh called in a prescription of Azithromycin--"a full course of antibiotic therapy in 5 daily doses." Needless to say, I sucked down the first two pills at the water fountain in CVS.
Back on the road to Phoenix...
We finally arrived at beem_dubya's (AKA Bill P.'s) house in Phoenix around 7:30ish. After unloading the gear from our motorcycles, we helped Beem changed his tires.
Front = 20 minutes.
Rear = 2.5 hours. Son of a B!
Did I mention the tire changer yet?
As soon as we got the rear tire on (around midnight), I hit the shower and hit the bed. Two Tylenol PM, and I was out like a light.
Lesson #5: $11 is a small price to pay to have your tire changed and balanced.
Mileage = 339, total so far = 1,536 miles.
Day 5 - Saturday, December 31st, 2005:
Today's plan was to meet Dr. Josh (AKA Dr. Josh), Codeweenie (AKA Jim), and Two_Volts (AKA Jerry) for the ride. Dr. Josh and Codeweenie showed up 7:00AM, and we were off at 7:30 to the Waffle House.
Do you know what has 6 breasts and 9 teeth?
... night shift at the Waffle House.
Then we took off on our ride. We rode Apache Trail to Tortilla Flat.
We made a couple of scenery stops...
The Superstition Saloon was an interesting place. They had money stapled to the wall throughout the entire place. The lady told me there was about $90,000 on the walls. I think I may go back there later tonight... with a crowbar.
Here are some more shots from the day...
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Then we round a corner and see this...
Steaks and milk anyone?
Then we stopped at the Roosevelt Dam. When it was originally built in 1911, it was the largest stone dam ever built. It has since been raised and redone to its current state...
Then we saw and got to cross this bridge...
We stopped for lunch at the Butcher Hook. John ordered the Louie Burger... a 16-oz burger!
... check out these roads...
These were from the 4-peaks trail. "28 dusty miles of fun!"
More pictures of the trails and roads...
We climbed up to 5,640 feet. Awesome!
Then this... again...
... son of a *****!
That's going to do more than leave a mark...
The difference between this little get off and the previous one was that this one hurt...
I was coming down the trail about 25-30mph or so and pressed the rear break to slide the *** end around like I had been doing all day to make the corner. This time, the rear really slid, so I turned into the slide... just like I had been doing all day, and then the front washed out in the sand...
I landed on my left hip. It decided to go ahead and start hurting right away instead of waiting until the following day. I even landed on the armor... but it still hurt. So now I'm not only sick, I have a bruised hip. Stupid sand.
- broken radiator (leaking slightly)
- left front turn signal snapped off
- left mirror mount snapped off
- bent clutch lever
- snapped off the other PIAA
- broken RAM mount
O well. Continuing on...
Josh and I decided to rally-race like complete and total idiots the rest of the way out. So for the next 18 miles, there were no pictures taken. There was lots of sliding, lots of speed, lots of passing people, lots of sweat (riding like that is one **** of a work out)... what a complete blast!
I got to the highway first and noticed that the leak from the oil leak pressure switch was really beginning to take shape. Pretty, huh?
The Red Devil thinks she's a Harley...
And that was that for the riding for the day... well, except the ride back to Beem's place.
That's all folks! (for today anyway...)
One **** of a special thanks to Beem and Lori for: A) letting us stay at their place, and B) taking us on some fantastic trails! It was truly an awesome day!!! Thanks again Beem!
For dinner we went to the Salty Senorita...
Somewhere between sitting down for dinner and getting up to go back to the car, my leg decided to go ahead and start REALLY hurting. As I was limping back to the car, I thought of the next lesson...
Lesson #6: Stop falling down.
Mileage = 145, total so far = 1,681 miles.
Day 6 - Sunday, Jan 1st; & Day 7 - Monday, Jan 2nd, 2006:
Sunday and Monday kind of ran together. Since there was no rest between the two days, I decided to make them one entry.
I woke up around 7:00 on Sunday morning and found Bill P. already tinkering on my motorcycle. I had a spare clutch lever, but it was bent. Bill P. had a new one, so he let me borrow it until I got home. Anyway, he had already replaced the clutch lever by the time I had made it into the garage.
Turns out I broke the clip that holds the master link on... not lost, snapped into two pieces. Bill P. removed what was left of the broken clip and replaced it with a spare he had. He was applying the RTV when I stepped into the garage.
While he did that, I began my 24,000-mile service. I tore into the motor and checked the shims. Fortunately all 4 were in spec, so we buttoned it back up.
Somewhere in the middle of it, Bill P. noticed my throttle cable was broken too. I had a spare, and we replaced it.
We changed the fork oil with 550ml of 10 wt. (550 because I have the TT progressive springs, and it calls for 550 instead of 600).
Next, we tore into the rear end and lubed the swing-arm bearings and all of the associated bearings in the linkage, etc.
Here's me... grease, a pinky finger, and 47 rolls of paper towels.
John snapped a few more pictures of the process...
Next it was on to repairing the PIAAs. Since John and I would be riding at night, I wanted to get them fixed before heading out. I simply cut off all of the rivets that had pulled out. I used Bill P.'s vice to straighten the brackets, and with some stainless steel #6-32 screws and nylon licking nuts we picked up from Napa, I put everything back together and aimed the lights. ... just like it never happened.
Somewhere in the middle of the 24K service we also replaced my spark plug with a new iridium tip, changed the oil and oil filter, changed the air filter and cleaned the oil out of the air filter box, etc.
Bill P. also took his mirror clamp off of his motorcycle and let me borrow it to get home. I have a spare, but I forgot to pack it. He also had a signal that had been in a spill, but it was in better shape than mine--cracked instead of snapped in two. John used some plastic weld and reinforced it. I'll send Bill P. back his mirror clamp, clutch lever and signal later today.
Bill P. let me get on his computer to order all of the broken bits and pieces. If you remember the damage from before...
broken radiator (leaking slightly)
left front turn signal snapped off
left mirror mount snapped off
bent clutch lever
snapped off the other PIAA
broken RAM mount
The new damage...
broken throttle cable
broken chain tensionser plate
broken master link clip
The prices broke down sorta like this:
turn signal: $15
mirror clamp: $11
clutch lever: $49
PIAAs: $3 (for screws and nuts)
RAM mount: $0 (warranty)
throttle cable: $11
tensioner plates: $30 (got the TT ones... the stock BMW ones break too easily)
broken master clip link: $0 (Bill P. had a spare... if it breaks again, it's getting a paper clip)
So for under $300 it'll be as good as new. Well, plus my labor...
Lori made us lasagna for lunch!
Yummy yum yum!!!
Bill P.'s dog, Radar, wanted some lasagna too. He got a little angry when I told him he could not have any...
Gimme some that lasagna!
After Lori's AWESOME lasagna, we backed up the motorcycles and plotted a route back home. Bill P. showed us a much better way to avoid a lot of I-10 and get us around Tucson. I scribbled out everything on my rally paper (cash register paper) and loaded it into the holder.
Once packed, we said our good-byes and headed out...
Does this make my rear end look fat?
Bill P. and Lori signed our paperwork for the SS1000, and we got under way at 5:15PM Mountain time and stopped for our first time-stamped receipt at the gas station around the corner from Bill P.'s house.
It did not take long for it to get dark...
Now I am sure a SS1000 would be a lot simpler had we rested first, but what fun would that have been? I was able to overcome the lack of sleep by eating healthy meals to keep me going...
I knew my steering head bearings were a tad loose, and that was one of the things I had intended to fix as part of my 24K service, but we ran out of time, so I let it slide. As a result, every time I would get near 80mph, the front end would start to act as if someone were using the handlebars as a paddle on a kayak, and the entire front end would flip and flop back and forth. Cool! So I had to stay below 80 for the entire trip home.
We made a few stops. At one stop around 4:00 my body decided it was time to sleep. Unfortunately it decided to do this while doing 79mph on the freeway. Obviously we pulled over at the next gas station. I got yet another Red Bull (I think I was up to about 15 at this point) and proceeded to arranged two chairs into something that I could get my back and head into a horizontal position for a few minutes. "30 minutes John... I just need 30 minutes..."
29 minutes later I awoke to a bright flash from a camera in my face. I guess paybacks really are ****.
And we continued on.
During the early morning hours in Texas (about 400 miles west of San Antonio) it dropped to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. You know, it be cold on a motorcycle when it's 27 degrees outside.
At some point we stopped for breakfast at McDonalds. I was wiped out at this point... so much so, that I could only muster up enough energy to lift half of my face into view of the camera...
... fortunately, we only had 8 more hours to go (that's a joke).
The rest of the ride back was similar--slab, gas, Red Bull, slab, gas, Red Bull, and so on...
Then outside of San Antonio, John flags me to pull over. He said his motorcycle was surging, and he couldn't keep it at speed. Said it felt like it was "missing" or something.
Then I saw his chain...
... what a mess!
Not only was it a mess, it was extremely loose. So John went to tightening it...
Then we reloaded the motorcycles and continued on...
I pulled into my driveway at 4:05PM Central time after being awake for around 36 hours straight.
That was that. 1,136 miles according to the GPS... 1,154 according to the odometer... either way, enough for the SS1000.
Up went the garage door and out these two came running.
They said next time they are going with me. I told them there was no where for them to sit. My daughter decided there was...
So that's it. The end of the trip... aside from tearing the motorcycle down and repairing everything. And, most importantly, washing it!
It was good to see my old friends and meet new friends. I must also say, WAY TO GO JOHN! He hung with me the entire time. Very impressive!
Trip length: 7 days (6 nights)
Total mileage: 2,817 miles
Total number of riders on some length of the journey: 8
Total number of riders through the entire journey: 2
My spills: 2
Other people's spills: 4
Total cost: <$175 (excluding parts)
Total cost of parts: $300
Total cost of labor to motorcycle: $11 (tire change)
Number of pictures taken: 401 (didn't post them all)
Number of nights camped: 2
Number of nights in a hotel: 1
Number of nights at friend's homes: 2
Number of nights with no sleep: 1
Maximum speed: 101.7mph (I remember this... on a dirt straight away...)
Average speed over the 2,817 miles: 59.1mph
Time spent in the saddle over the 2,817 miles: 47 hours, 39 minutes
And finally, a special thanks to everyone, especially beem_dubya for letting me crash at his place... and Lori... for letting Beem have strange people over, and all of the Inmates on F650 for their words of encouragement.
O yeah, I am no longer sick... thanks Dr. Josh. And, my leg seems to be OK too--ATGATT.
Lesson #7: Sleep before you take off on a 1,000-mile trip.
Thanks for coming along on my trip!
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