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AN AMERICAN WESTERN CLASSIC 2010 EDITION

Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
222
AN AMERICAN WESTERN CLASSIC 2010 EDITION


PROLOGUE

This all started a year ago. My buddy Noel (ImGoin) got a wild hair up his butt and built a bike, did a good portion of the CDT and then turned around and did the Western half of the TAT. He did this without my permission. I joke here as he is a successful in his self employed endeavor. Read that as he can take off for important things …..like riding. I do have lots of vacation but getting big chunks at a time is just unheard of. I have been reading ride reports on here for a long time and the TAT has been but a dream for this 45 yr old until now. Early this year Noel asks me how much time CAN I get off? I tell him two weeks is pushing it. This is the foundation for the trip.

THE PLAN

I have a new general manager at work who I hope I have made a good impression on as I know he has denied most vacations requested longer than a week. I plead my case and tell him what I am doing. I get 17 glorious days for Noel to work with.

Im sure Noel was pouring over maps for awhile cooking up the PLAN. In the end he settled on combining what he thought was the best portions of the TAT/CDT. Our handler, Priscilla (Noel’s wife) was going to drop us off at Denio Jct NV and we would ride the TAT east from there until we crossed the CDT in Salida Co. From there we would head south on the CDT deep into southern NM. Finally, we would hotfoot it over to Roswell NM where Priscilla would pick us up for a one day return to our North Texas digs. If we did it right, we would have 3k rolling under our tires on the bikes.

The PLAN was about to change. Change came in the form of a grand reunion with an old high school friend. I hadn’t seen him in 5 years and it was great to get reacquainted. He came by to show me his *****ing new Challenger (with a supercharger). I showed him my bike collection. We wheeled a couple out for him to try. I got a message the next morning saying what a bad influence I am as he was signing papers on an XR. Truth be told, Im not popular with bunch of wifes and mothers of my friends.

Noel and I were to do a shakedown in AR in late August and we invited Rod (Big Rod1) and another high school buddy Chris. Trip went great and Rod was hooked.

THE PLAN REVISED

Now that Rod was hooked, it wasn’t hard to talk him into going with us. That meant Rod was going to be a busy boy on the internet and giving his credit card a workout. I call him RockStar Rod because he offered to roll out the Bus. A very nice bus akin to RockStar usage. He wanted to haul us to NV and drop us off. The plan was for him to ride a day or two with us and then hit pavement to retrieve the bus and push ahead of us to do it again. He thought ten days would be plenty for him. And so it that’s how this deal got started.


MEET THE RIDERS

OK. So this is us.

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I am tx246 aka Gene in this story. I am 45 and have ridden offroad for a long time. Im not an expert but I think Im proficient. I also do street on a Vstrom. Im also the midget on this trip.

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This is Noel and he has dirt in his DNA. This was passed on to his off spring who is a good enough rider to qualify midpack for the infamous Red Bull LMS.


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This is Rod and his bike background ended in his 20s but has found out recently that he has wasted 20yrs by not riding.

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Finally, there is Shadow Man who shows up here and there.

THE EQUIPMENT

Now for the equipment we will be sitting on, standing, picking up or depending on to move us from one place to another.

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This is my ride. Dusty is a 2000 DRZ 400s. Big tank. Big bars. Skidplate. Radiator Protectors. Case savers. Yosh exhaust.


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This is Noels bike. I think it’s a 2005 KTM 525exc that has been punched out to a 540. Lots of internal and external mods. Ill let Noel tell you about them. This bike attracted more than its fair share of attention from spectators.


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This is Rods bike and it’s a 2010 XR 650l. He has added big tank. Big Bars. Skidplate. Carb and FMF exhaust. Stickers are all aftermarket.

We all used Giant Loop bags. Noel used a Wolfman tank bag. Rod used a GL tank bag and I stored a lot of stuff in my PeakBagger Camelbak.

Navigation was courtesy of Garmin. I had a 76 and they used 60s.

All bikes were wearing new Dunlop 606s.

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This is our ticket to Nevada………….or so we thought.

GETTING THERE

Its Wed afternoon and I am ready to rock. We have a long drive and the rain has been pouring like we should be building a boat for two of everything. I head on over to Noels where we go over the LIST to make sure we havent forgotten anything. Rod soon arrives and we hook the bike trailer to the Bus. We make our way thru squalls on our westward bound route.

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We are on the way.

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Noel acting as copilot.

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Still wet

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Not raining but cloudy.

We soon settle in because its gonna take two days to get to NV. I try to sleep a bit in the back. I don’t have a bed in the back of my truck. We soon hit I40 and point the Bus to Albuquerque.

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Noel diluting bug guts at a fuel stop.

I wake up noticing that we are proceeding at a slower pace. Making my way to the cockpit I find some looks of concern. Seems we have picked up a vibration. Anything over 50mph and it worsens. We are two hours out of Albuquerque and have little choice but to continue. Finally, the desert city shows up and we arrive at 4 am and pull into the local WalMart rest stop for some shut eye.

Its soon 7ish and we make our way out of the Bus to see if we can locate the problem. Noel is experienced with large vehicles but this thing is on another scale. It isn’t long before he notices this.

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That cap isn’t right.

I check the ujoints and they look OK. Noel keeps looking and finds this.

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That shouldn’t be rubbing.

What the **** is that? Noel points at what is ultimately the problem and what a scary problem it is.

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Wow, the only thing holding up that side of the vehicle is the clamping force of the ubolts keeping the now two piece control arm in place. The Bus is done and getting her fixed is gonna be a chore.

Rod starts off by calling the folks at Good Sam and they get on it. We hook up Wifi and cruise the internet. Phone call after phone call results in nada. Nobody wants to touch it.

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Lookin for something

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I think this is good news.

I am going through the owners manual filebox and there is a brochure that has RockyMtn Coach (or something to that effect). They say sure bring it on over. This HAS to work. We find them and lo and behold there is motor coaches in the yard and on the lifts. Rod does business with the counter while Noel and I have been brainstorming for continued transport. We are dialing the Uhauls of the world and nobody wants to rent a truck. We cant even find a small mover. Noel locates a location that says they have a van and Rodney and Noel hop on the bikes and have a looksee.

They get there and while on the phone we are told it has a receiver hitch, in reality it does not. CRAP!

While they are chasing butterflies, Im considering the options. Oh yeah, somehow they got lost on the way back. It is proving to be an adventure. In my mind I tell myself that we are going to abandon THE PLAN and move to PLAN B.

PLAN B IS A GO!

Screw it! Im ready to ride. As I downloaded the track on everybodys GPS, I noted that our route shows just 50 miles or so West of here. They are still trying to find their way back to the garage and I have already made my mind up to hit the road today. I start cleaning up the coach and drag all of my stuff out in the parking lot. Nobody was 100% ready to ride as we thought we were going to have two days dinking around in the Bus on our way to NV. Another consideration was boom just like that this ride went from being semi supported to no support. That means once we leave, we gotta have it with us. I had packed lighter stuff for the original NV starting point in the way of clothes and outerwear and planned to add the heavy stuff as we left Utah. Now I had to carry it all.

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Packing food and essentials

I am just about done when they finally pull up. I pull Noel aside and ask him what he thinks about PLAN B. He replies that he had the same thoughts on the way back from the Uhaul. It was almost 3PM already and he thought it would be best to start in the AM. I showed him that it was only an hour ride to Grant where we could pick up the trail. The idea of riding got the best of him and we sold Rod PLAN B with little effort. The main thing was to get the Bus assessed by a mechanic and get confirmation that they could get it done. Rod went back inside and came out with the service advisor. The problems were pointed out and he said it was a straight forward repair if he had the part. Calls were made and the part would soon be on its way. GREAT NEWS!!!! Let the thrash begin. Gear started flying out of the bus immediately.

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Load em up.

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Rod is digging it.

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Im ready

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Noel getting strapped up.

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Rod getting geared to go.


Its 4:30 and we are tired of Albuquerque. Time to move on. We are already on the west side of town and I40 is but an entrance ramp away. D/S bikes are great until you are on 4lane. We ran 60mph, but most of the traffic was like the ideal day with the average in the upper 70s and low 80’s. We plodded along into a headwind and my bike was not jetted for this elevation. I had leaned it out for 7000ft or better and we were well below that. As a result, I didn’t want to push it. As yall know Route 66 intermingles with I40 and we kept seeing pieces of it right there beside 40 but there always seemed to be a fence in the way. After 20 miles or so I see a road on the GPS that parallels the highway for awhile. I decide to take it and take a break from the hectic traffic. There is the exit and lo and behold there is a sign stating Rt66.

DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE TRESSPASSING?

Getting off the highway is a relief. We make the turn on a decidedly unimproved road that is in plain site of the highway and make our way west. It isn’t long before I see a set of red/blue lights on a SUV on the highway side of the fence. Uh Oh. There is a guy jumping the fence and making a beeline for the road we are on. CRAP!! I pull up and meet Officer Lopez who isn’t very happy with our dirtbikes. The conversation went like this.

Do you know where you are?
No sir. I thought I was on RT66 like the sign indicated on the last exit.
You are trespassing! Where are you from?
Texas sir.
You are on Laguna Reservation. Do you know you are trespassing?
No sir but obviously Im not where Im supposed to be.
Where are you going?
Grants sir.
You are on the Laguna Reservation.
Sorry sir.
(Rod and Noel have made Uturns and headed from where we came)
Why are you on this road?
I thought it was Rt66.
Its not! You are trespassing!
Yes sir.
Where are you from?
Texas sir and trying to get to Grants on what I thought was Rt66.
Ok. Rt 66 is on the other side of the highway.

The conversation got much better and he gave me directions to our intended route. He went from yelling to Have a Nice Day in 2min.

Soon we found our little slice of Rt66 and Noel got some shots.

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We dump back on I40 and continue with the slab.

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We reach Grant in the early evening and follow Noel up Zuni Canyon Rd. It is a beautiful road and we wind our way back away from civilization. Soon we bail off the road into a secluded hollow to unload the bikes. Im noticing the fresh cutting and tree trimmings to go along with the shorter than normal grass. On cue, a big brindle Rot/Boxer mix comes out of nowhere barking its head off. It is obviously someones dog and lives close by. Im thinking another potential trespassing incident as the dog leaves. We unload and tents are pitched. Next objective is to find some fuel to make one of these.

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We open our stashes and snack our way through the evening. We are all beat and are soon parallel to the ground.

ZUNI TO CUBA

As the sun comes up, so does Noel. Write that down as fact. Everybody is soon up and moving around to keep the morning chill at a minimum. We quickly break camp as this is the first real travel day of the trip.

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Tearing down the lodge.

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Rod and his brush around the tent. Supposed to be an early bear detection feature.

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Noel is just about done.

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Rod is yelling something about I know it will go in this bag.


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Look who shows up not barking.

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She is telling me that the day is going to be good.

Noel has us backtracking down the road to see something that shows up in Google Earth.

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This is the road we are on.


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And this is what he wanted us to see.

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Note the sign above my head.

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Rod and I breaking the law.

The lava flows were cool but our stomachs were demanding breakfast. So we hopped on the bikes and flew back up Zuni towards Grants. It looked like this.

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Standing still.


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At speed.

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Go Go Pro!

Noel led us to this little joint.

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Awesome burrito.

Note us inside waiting for our food. Noel is coming out of a very interesting door combo that leads to the dumping ground. Very good breakfast but we are burning daylight and make for the hills north of Grants. Rumor has it there is some elevation ahead.

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Pic of AB (Awesome Burrito)

Before we hit dirt, gotta fuel up.

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The 10 megaton warhead was not going to stop us. Nice try.

We entered the NF and started climbing. The weather was perfect and there was just a bit of breeze but 3 bikes kick up dust and we needed to stop and take care of Rods air filter. In our rush to get off the bus, we failed to install a filter skin. This item is a must. Every 3 days you get a brand new air filter with a quick yank.

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Noel leading us uphill.

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Getting that air filter taken care of while I wander around and take some pictures.

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Don’t know why, but thought it was interesting.

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Could see something out there but the view was obscured.

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Rod checked out the inside of the facility and made a comment about how tough the door was as only two rounds had penetrated.

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Noel led us up to “The Fly” on this road.

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Rod doing the Fly thing.

I follow and it isn’t long before we are all at the top. Of course if it a high enough mountain, there will always be equipment and in this case there was plenty. The road up was fun. On the pegs and on the gas. Rod and Noel talked to some from the Hunting clan. They had made it up on their ATVs. They dressed the part but I thought they had on way too many clothes. You decide.

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Well, what did you decide?

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Rod at the top of The Fly.

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A look back at the road.

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This is for you with wide screens.

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This is for regular.

Pretty nice view eh. I wanna be a Texas/Canadian

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View off the backside

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Small version.

If you look carefully in the flats and see that cone coming out of the ground, we will be there in a bit.

On the way down, I had to shoot some trees. Aspens are always good to shoot. Don’t know what they taste like but still good to shoot.

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It wasn’t long before the Pines went away and the temps got hotter. The terrain changed back to its good old high desert self.

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Here comes Rod. Look a no hander.
After letting Rod through, he pulls up and his bike needs an adjustment.

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I pulled up to a gate and a bunch of horses took off from the water trough. Only when they were this far away did I realize…………..
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THEY WERE WILD.

They are in the center of the pic making a dust cloud.

Remember that Cone I was talking about on top of the Fly? Here it is.
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We were entering gates regularly now. The road was a D/S delight. Rough, rutted and sandy in places. There was evidence of rain though.

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DRZ trucking along.

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Action shot of Noel. Here he comes

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And there he goes on the Dakar looking KTM

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Almost gone.

I turn it up in this valley as it feels like trail. Im whooping it up and railing but a close call where a wash out sucked a hole from the middle of the road almost got me. That would of sucked. I check myself as I keep reminding myself that I am a long way from home and have a long way to go. We get out of the valley and climb on a little mesa. Noel pulls off the road and I mean off the road.

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Noels bike doesn’t want to play with us anymore. Turns out we have a mechanical. Kickstand has kicked the ground for the last time. From now on the KTM will be leaning on things.

We soon make it to Cuba where we find this to eat.

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KTM doing guard duty.

Man, we just came out of the desert and were looking to get indoors to cool off. But not at this store. It was cooler outside so we sat on the ground and leaned up on a big cottonwood to eat Jarod sandwiches. They got snacks and I went to the liquor store before leaving town. Noel led us back into the NF and boy there were a bunch of good looking sites to camp but Noel ran into Rainbow crazies in this area last year so he wanted to push on. It was a great evening ride. The road was twisty and we were back in the green.

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To avoid crazies, we off roaded down a cow trail ¼ mile and hid back up in a meadow. Camp was set quickly and we let the day soak in around the campfire.

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Another kickass day.


CUBA TO CHAMA

Well, it’s new morning and to be sure last night was a bit cool. I think Noel sleeps in all of his clothes to stay warm. He is the king of packing and has ultralite everything. I would of froze to death in the little bigger than a blanket he called sleeping bag. Im not kidding, it could of fit in a shoebox. At the last moment, I caved in and bought a Kelty 20degree down bag. I have always avoided down because of cleaning and water avoidance. This bag has changed my life. Packs smaller, sleeps warmer, and I found myself too hot unless I unzipped.

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Noel getting up and moving about.

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Sunshine feels good.

Noel walking about waiting on us as usual. He is the guy that is done packing before you can get dressed. Im hurrying Im hurrying but I got to take some pics.


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Ok. Im ready to go and waiting on Rod in the far background.

We fired em up and followed the BIG BLUE LINE on the GPS. We were worried about having to reroute due to an earlier fire but that didn’t happen. You could tell there were a bunch of big trucks using the road. Lots of sand and some ruts. Right out of camp though the road got nice and rocky. Up on the pegs and picking our way through. Just the way I like it. Small bikes rock in this terrain.

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Bike that gets me through it all.

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Hanging with my bud.


We top out of the forest and make our way to the end of the high mesa. The switchbacks down were spectacular. I dead engined all the way down taking in the scenery all around me……….without a functional camera. As Polish ADVrs like to say SULPHER!! At the bottom I couldn’t help but notice the graffitti on this building.

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Thanks for taking this one Noel.

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KTM still holding stuff up.

Its getting warmer and it is lunchtime as we pull into Abiquiu. The store is hopping and there seems to be boats everywhere. The boat thing amuses me. For the lack of lakes, there sure were a lot of boat owners in Co/NM. There was a Corps of Engineer truck and the driver confirmed that indeed there was a lake nearby. As I said, the store was jumping. We headed to the grill to find that they had some premade burgers ready to go. The one that caught my eye was chili/cheese. Now in Texas, that means chili with beans and some sort of meat. In NM, it means chile as in green. Was surprised when I opened it, but not surprised by how good it tasted.

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Owner of the store.

Lunch was soon gone and we had a ways to go. So it was back on the bikes and back to the woods.


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Ntl Forest

Noticed a lot of woodcutting. Stocking up for the winter I suppose. FS had designated areas from the looks of it that they wanted thinned out and the locals were obliging.


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Nice little valley.

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These guys had rolled a bunch of cut logs off the hill and onto the road making it impassable. When they saw us, they were surprised and worked quickly to make a path for us. It was tight and I was just hoping not to scratch up their trucks or take a mirror off.

Soon we are at high elevation at the scenery was incredible. In Cisneros Park we ran into some Canadians doing the CDT. We chatted a bit and answered some questions as they were using paper instead of electronic maps. Again, sorry for the lack of pics here but my camera was acting up and I guess everybody was too busy gawking.

Hunting season is well under way and we pass many hunting camps at elevation. We slow down when we see them up ahead as not to dust em. Here comes my unproud moment of the trip. Rod was on point and I gave him a ½ mile gap to stay out of the dust which was getting bad. I came up to his dust cloud and then I see him and he is behind a 4wheeler that is doing 20-30 making its own dust cloud. Rod is right on their tail but the quad is erratic and prevents a clean pass. This goes on for 3-4 miles and Im up beside Rod now. At this point, Ive had enough and when the quad veered a bit right, I blasted left at 40 headed to 60. Well, I made the pass just fine in case you were wondering but as I flew by on the left I was in some serious gravel that Rod said shotgunned the quad pretty good. The rider of the quad ducked their head and then they noticed Rod. Rod shrugged his shoulders and made his way around the rider. The rider had no helmet/goggles and I feel bad for that. On top of that, the rider was female. Im double sorry for that. I hope my internet apology helps. Rod says he has a mirror on his quad for that very reason.

We wind ourself to a big beautiful meadow and pull off. Its 10000 feet here but the sun is shining and we are giving ourselves a shorter day. We are sharing this meadow with a very healthy herd of cattle who don’t seem to mind.

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Setting up camp.

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Here I was jacking my bike up to look at something. I had been hearing a horrible noise coming from the rear of the bike. Anytime I hit an obstacle, and the rear was in compression, the resulting noise was worrisome. Turns out I installed my exhaust hanger bolt backwards and it was coming in contact with the tire. Easy fix. No more noise.

I took advantage of a small creek that ran though the meadow and knocked some of the funk off. Today was Sat and I hadn’t seen soap and water since Wed am. The others elected to keep their funk for one more day.

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The sun fell on the backside of the mountain and we soon saw a cow elk cut across the meadow. We just hung out and enjoyed the situation. Following the blue line today made for a great ride.

Darkness always brings on fire. Tonight was no exception. I fired up my micro burner and cooked some water for my Ramen noodles. We gnawed on candy bars and other edibles. Tonight, I made hot chocolate with coconut rum. It was tasty.

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What up Noel?

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Diablo de Rod

Clear skies brought the cold. Just cant get night skies like this back home. It was a new moon so the black velvet with diamonds was pure as it gets. About 3am, a coyote goes off 3 ft from my tent. Yes, it got my attention. In reality, it was 75yrds, but in that cold still air, sound is crisp. She wouldn’t shut up until every dingo in the county answered her back. I check the regulator on the O2 bottle and go back to sleep.


CHAMA TO DEL NORTE

OK. it’s a bit frosty this morning. The sun that was soaking us in warmth yesterday afternoon is several hours away on the backside of the mountain. We crawl out of our tents in spite of this and get crackin.


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Rod getting it done.

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Noel ready to ride

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AGATT

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Rod ready to go.

As we were leaving I was part of an incident that required the FAA. The nature of the accident and the altitude in which occurred dictated that they had jurisdiction. Pilot report is as follows.

We had pulled a hundred yards off the road and now I was cutting through the meadow looking for it. Im standing on the pegs and maybe going 15mph. Next thing I know, the bars have been snatched from my hands and are swapping against my thighs. The ground was coming up fast and I didn’t have time to deploy the flaps or the landing gear. The vehicle came to rest on its left side with me under it. I was not happy as I was spilling fuel at a high rate. I got out from under it and got the thing in a vertical position. That hurt. Handle bars rotated in the clamps and that was about it. Closer inspection revealed a nice dropoff in the grass that was hidden. could have been bad but wasn’t.

The crash inspectors from the FAA threatened to pull my license but didn’t. I paid an extra $20 for them to destroy the pictures.

Finally, I made it to the road and we headed towards breakfast. We hit pavement to find the IronPony getting ready for work.
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Cumbres and Toltec RR

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Oiling er up.

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Waiting for tourist.

We continued on pavement until Chama where we pulled in here and ordered the standard issue BB or as some call it the breakfast burrito.

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Looks good.

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Waiting for eggs filled tortillas.

After we filled our tanks, we filled the bikes tanks. Back to the mountains!

We did a good bit of pavement but it was nice and twisty and it went by fast. We exited the hard stuff on the left and tested high speed compression valving on our forks all the way to Platoro. That river sure looked inviting. I fish and therefore I was daydreaming about 6W fly rods and 18” rainbows. We worked our way up the hill and somebody help me about the rusted looking peaks we were looking at. There was quite a bit of traffic and I didn’t stop to get pics.

Traffic lightened up and I pulled the camera for more documentation.

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Rod and Noel at the intersection.

We were now headed to the Summitville Mine and we enjoyed the views.

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Just about got that one gone from the map.

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Rod crossing the new dam.

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Here is what an alpine lake looks like before it is filled with water.

We left the mine and right around the corner this is what my goggles see.

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Very nice.

While I am taking the above picture, one of the CDT bicyclist stops to chat. I believe he was from Belgium. I definitely classify his riding as ADV worthy. He is asking how far from HWY 160 as he has a flight to catch in a couple of days.

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Not carrying very much.

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My load is sucking

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Bike man takes our picture before this lady tries to run us over.

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Rod is up ahead so we are railing to catch up. A couple of miles later we make it to the top. But I stop and yearn for this
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I come around the corner and there is a road that goes even higher.

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Headed to the peak on the right.

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Up goes the GoPro

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Showing the off camber and the incline.

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On top!

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From the KTM cockpit

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Trail Boss’s mug.

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Rod looking for oxygen at 12k

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Im adding to the elevation

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Don’t shoot

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This is what we are gawking at.

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No kickstand.

I am digging the view and wondering what it would be like to camp up here so I could see the sun set and see it rise the following morning. I can only dream as it is time to roll toward Del Norte.

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Back down the hill.



We are soon on downhill mode. Best news is that it is on gravel I like to call “Perfect Cushion”. The road is fairly wide with a hard base sprinkled lightly with small gravel. Predictable loss of traction induced with the right wrist is encouraged. It is a Safety Third kind of road.

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Noel cranking on the throttle.

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Yahoo.

We all get to lower elevation without having to call AAA and we are greeted with a really fast road on the flat.

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The end of the day is near and we exit the wild to find ourselves looking for something more civil. Del Norte Co fit’s the bill and we pull in here needing to wash the fun from our clothes and bodies.

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Nothing fancy and the price is OK. Caters to the CDT crowd as there were several groups there.

Here is our garage for the evening.
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Look at that pitiful packing job.

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Time to redesign the rear attachment point for the GL bag.

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Configurin

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Will this work?

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Still deciding

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Out comes the laundry

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Its just gotta work.

After we did our chores, it was time to take a shower. It is funny to see yourself in a mirror after you havent seen your mug in a couple of days.

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So this is why people are leery of me.

Favorite time of day? Food of course. It was time for dinner and we found the jackpot. It is called Boogies and it got the ADV stamp of approval from all three of us. They were swamped but they took great care of us. Rod and I snapped up the lasagne special while Noel had an open hamburger with green chile sauce. Pie ended the meal and we were full yet wondering if they served breakfast. They did and we pledged to be back in the morning. We stepped outside and actually got some cell service. We all called home then we headed to our temporary home.

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Rod soon flopped on the bed.

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I threw all my gear on the floor and had to make some decisions. I was going to leave DelNorte with less than I came with.

They crashed early and I let myself get mesmerized by SportCenter. Watching the Cowboy lowlights and Ranger highlights left me tired and I finally crashed around midnight.

The next morning, we honored our pledge and returned to Boogies for a fabulous breakfast. After breakfast, Rod and Noel headed to NAPA for some oil and I headed here.

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Crammed stuff in a box and $15 later it was headed home.

Met up with the crew at NAPA where I thought it would be a good idea to oil our chains with the 90% full oil bottle that Rod had left over. I also managed to make Noels bike unstoppable. I poured it on his chain and it slung over to the brake side. Yea! Rod got the brilliant idea to poke a small hole in the lid. This made the procedure much more accurate.

Time to hit the road.

MEETING OF THE MINDS

We head out of town at the crack of 9:00 and are soon greeted with a road work ahead sign. Going around said objects is our style and we continue toward the hardhats with heavy equipment. What is 100ft wide and 2000ft long? If you guessed a runway, get yourself a beer. Seems the county is adding a bigger runway and the current CDT route crossed it today but I doubt for much longer. Too bad because we soon hit this great whooped out rolling two track.

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Rod in the distance.

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It is cloudy and a bit cool but we are layered up and carry on this great stretch. We are riding in the Rio Grande NF and are having a good time. We pop off the county road and find ourselves on a perfectly graded NF road and I mean perfectly boring way. We stretch out from each other to avoid the dust.

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Noels view

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Its mid September and the aspens are starting to turn in places. Pictures just are a lousy representation of what you really see.

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We soon find ourselves on Carnero Pass

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Me

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Rod

By the end of the day we were going to feel like Peyton Manning. I say that because we were going to complete a bunch of passes by the end of the day. Right now we are one for one on completions with no interceptions.

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QB Noel waiting on us at the pavement.

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When we get on pavement, Noel becomes a stunter.

As the day goes on, the sun gets stronger as we maintain altitude. My bike is jetted sooo good, it is scary. Its running better up here than home. You know what they say. It runs good before it blows up. I know im on the ragged edge of the fuel/air ratio perfection. We are really flying and we enter the Dome Lakes area. While we are high, the roads are flat. Everything is cool until I try to take our a trophy pronghorn out of season. He was on route to sink my battleship. His nature provided antilock brakes with the instant turn and go feature saved both of us. He was within 15ft and I was going 70mph. Popped right out behind that knoll that was beside the road.

We didn’t take any pictures but the view was worthy. Finally we intersected with the black river of death AKA pavement. This river goes by US 50. We took it east to Sargents. We were looking for a place to fuel up.

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Got fuel here.

It is 3:00 and Noel says he thinks we can complete the loop he has planned for us. We decide to get lodging for the night now so we don’t have to worry about it later. As we are paying for the wooden tent, the owner asks where we are headed for the afternoon. Noel tells him the plan and he replies “See yall after dark.” Does he know something we don’t?

We pull out of the huddle and call the play. Off we go and the play is Marshall Pass. Into the Gunnison NF we go. The roads are a distinct black gravel made from the black granite in the area. We go through numerous deer camps on the way to the top. In the end, a nice little hill.

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Pass completed.

Through the cut we go and wind our way down on the eastern side of the Divide. We come across a little white truck that has wheelchair sticking up out of the bed. Just one guy in the truck that looks to be in his 30s. He has a device that swings the chair out of the bed so he can get to it. Don’t know his story but brings back feelings about a good friend of mine back home. Rusty, this ones for you. Sometimes life takes your legs from you, but yall don’t let it get in the way.

Soon Salida is in view and we do a roundabout the city. Noel points out the TAT/CDT intersection. It is just an intersection to some but for us, it is iconic. They sure have nice mule deer in town. We wind our way out of town and back to the hills.

Soon Mt Princeton is on our right and we are headed back into the NF. Wow! There is a bunch of traffic on this road and the dust is just hanging. We pass when it is safe and catch up to a quad convention. The dust is sucking my will to live. Im on Rods 6 and he is 15 yrds ahead. All I can see is that yellow jacket and a tail light. We hug left and start picking off the quads. As we go by each one, the dust is getting lighter. The last one is in view and we make our way around and into clean air. We make our own dust and twist the wrist.

The turn off to Hancock Pass is confirmed and away we go. This is good stuff. No more graded road. There are actual rocks and lots of them. I keep an eye on Rod and he never leaves that Corbin seat of his but he manages to bounce his way up the hill. I stop to check my load and wave Noel ahead. I follow but a couple of hundred yards up the hill, I find Noels camp chair. Crap. It is pretty rocky and steep but I find a place where the kickstand will work. About the time Im strapping on the chair Noel comes down the hill looking for it. We strap it on his bike and he waves me on. I pick my way up the grade and run into trail bikes scattered all over the hill. Some look worn out and or inexperienced. More than one helmet followed my loaded bike going by. I make a turn and Rod is talking to three guys doing a flat repair. In perfect road construction fashion, one is doing the actual work and two are supervising. They point the summit is just up a bit. Rods tongue is hanging out a bit when he says he is pushing on. I follow but stop at the sign. The weather is blustery and it is late, but man the views.

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I made it.

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Rod catching his breath.

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Nice.

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More nice.

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Rod presses on.

I am waiting on Noel at the sign. Here he comes.

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KTM hustle.

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Almost there.

He pulls up and says I lost my toolbox. Uh Oh. This is also his skid plate, shovel holder, tube holder and portable generator. Im joking about the generator. It is a nifty combo/box that holds lots of stuff.

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You can see how it looked but what you cant see is the other side which has slots for a shovel and quart of oil.

Noel tells me that he heard it hit a rock and fold up under the bike. He turns around and finds his work of art destroyed. The quart of oil is every where but in the bottle. He tosses the shovel into the bushes. (New ADV game called Find Noels Shovel coming soon). Noel grabs the oily remains of the box and takes off in pursuit of us. I forgot to mention one handed. The thing is heavy so he is carrying it with his left hand, arm hanging down by the peg. This aint no picnic of a road with two hands much less one. He says he was doing fine until he ran into the flat guys. He looked over at them and it must have been their look of astonishment that threw Noel out of focus. The bike fell over. As he was getting the Ktoom on its feet, the quads caught up. Noel asked the leader to carry his greasy pride and joy the rest of the way to the top and he agreed. Noel leaned his loved one against the summit sign and had a quiet moment. Of course we forgot pictures. We were cramming sockets, wrenches, tubes, wire, light bulbs, and everything you need on a trip like this in every available nook and cranny of his GL bag. We were in a hurry because we didn’t want to get behind the quads again.

I see it. Its iconic on this board and it didn’t disappoint.

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Cool.

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Pretty steep.

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The road out.

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About to go down.

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Noel rolling.

Soon we cleared Tomichi Pass and made our way down another great two track. At the bottom we pull over as one. Rod is friggin amped like somebody stuck RedBull and meth in his Camelbak. He was going on about how he wanted to kill us as he was taking a beating going up the hill. Then he moved from mad to “Im gonna die here.” Doubt was crawling in as he knew the day was fading. Finally, to the last emotion “Holy ****!! I did it! Everybody was feeling it.

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Kickass for sure.

Giddy as colts we flew the rest of the way back to Sargents.

Noel pulls up and the same old guy is sitting there. He whistles and says “****. Yall must have been hauling. It is now 5:30. We unload bikes and are still highfiving on our way to dinner. We beat all of the hunters in and are getting first crack at the food. After dinner, I find one spot with service and make a couple of calls. Its getting cold so we go inside.

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GoPro at work.

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GoPro camera doesn’t have night vision. Noel got 50 shots just like this.

I hope everybody has earplugs cause Im gonna snore tonight no doubt. Im that physically beat but in a good way if ya know what I mean.

Lights out.

TAT WEST HERE WE COME.

Ok. Im up and it is cold in our wooden box but we are burning daylight and this day will find us losing and gaining. The hunters were on their way to the high meadows well before dawn and that left Sargents a pretty empty place. Turns out that it is cold outside as well. How cold?

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The original TAT machine

As we were trying to get our horses started, we saw the real deal. Nothing like moving steaks across the road and getting em a little closer to the restaurant.

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Come on over to my plate.

We got all three of our ponies fired up and pointed west. Today we leave the CDT and continue with the TAT. First, we hit pavement and make our way back down the road the same way we came in. Blasting through Dome Lake area in the cold soon found drizzle coming from my eyes and muzzle. That is what the back of your gloves are for. The sun beat down on us but it was for nothing as 65 mph winds were stuffing popsicles down every exposed surface. We got off pavement and down to the 40-45mph range but the chill was setting in. The scenery was very nice as the Aspens were turning.

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Starting down the dirt.

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Aspens

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More Trees!

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Object de arrow……..cow elk

Finally, I called it. Pull over and build a fire. My hands weren’t functioning with any predictability.

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Homage to El Sol

Face the fire in the sky and soak it in. You would of thought we were reptiles. We grabbed exhaust pipes and other exposed surfaces our bikes in search of heat. It came but not fast enough.

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Noel catching star light in the back.

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Me I wonder if this exhaust is hot.
Rod I know this engine is hot
Both Ouch its hot

Secretly, both Noel and I know if we need to warm our hands we can put them close to Rods jacket as it is nuclear.

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Hey! Look! More Trees!!

We rode along a mesa for a good while. After our warm up, I could feel the controls again. Heat is a good thing. Now I could look around. As we came to the edge of the mesa, there was a spectacular view.

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Rod goes down first.

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I find a rock for a self portrait.

We wind down the mountain.

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Noel on the pegs.

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Closer


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Another KTM kickstand.

At the bottom we hit pavement. There is a sign.

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Lots of warnings about steep grades blah blah blah.

Weeee Roller coasters for dummies. All the way down to Lake Cities. Living the DualSport motto we look for fuel for our ponies first and find it here.

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We meet 10Cup and start up the BS. Seems he has been running the TAT West to East.

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Im showing him my parachute as I hear more passes are coming. Note the dude doing yoga on top of the roof.

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Talked to these two ADVers for a bit. Seems they are from the East. West Virginia? They told us about tire woes. Broke the bead while levering on after a flat. Guess what happens when you break the tire bead? It wont stay on the rim. They rerouted and got it fixed but lost a day. They were on a strict schedule and were going to have to push it to get the TAT done.

We shook 10Cup’s hand and wished him well. With our bikes full, it was now our turn. Across the street we found these.

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Calzones of the best quality. Good stuff.

For the last two days Rod was getting nearer to his jump off point. Try as we might, we couldn’t get him to continue. Rods feelings were that if he wasn’t there badgering the mechanics, his RV would never get fixed. He also noted every day was carrying him farther from Albuquerque. Noel and I tested him in the hills of AR before this trip and he had the stuff. On top of Hancock, Rod realized that for himself. We baited him with the promises of Moab but in the end, Rod needed to head south. I think Rod has a taste of the ADV life and likes it. We had to shake hands with him too.

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BigRod1 Checking out.

Now it was Noel and I. Time to chase the falling sun. I was told there were Passes ahead. I was full of food and the bike was good to go. Get on the Blue Line and roll. Lake City was soon gone and we headed upwards.

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Noel heading up.

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Lookng back down the way we came up.

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Now I see why its called Cinnamon Pass

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Noel coming up the trail.

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At the Summit

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Making like a Tourist

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Two dudes.

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Im too big for my camera. The air was cool and breezy. Cant you tell by my hair?

Time to roll on San Juan Co finest roads.

On the way to California Pass

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Sometimes 12930 ft isn’t good enough. So I scramble.

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From my 12980 ft vantage point. Note Noel in the far left of pic. I pull my oxygen mask away from my face to take this shot. With all of this altitude, I should be getting a pilots license soon.

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Shadow Man giving me the Shaka.

Again its time to move on. We soon come upon another vista and for the life of me I cant remember the Pass.

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God, I am short.

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Noel with a nice view.

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Yes. It is very nice up here.

Nowhere to go but down. And down we go. No. One more up where we meet these three.

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Yes, that’s right. A KLR with a trailer. Note the dog, a bathroom in the middle of nowhere, and the other KLR with BMW badges.

Conversation goes like this.

Me Wow how does that handle in the down hills?
Him I lost my brakes a couple of times. They got hot.
Me How do your chains and sprockets hold up?
Him Ahh the front one is skipping right now but I have spares.
Me Does that trailer make it over everything?
Him Look here. There is a skid plate and it gets used a bunch.

He has heard all of these questions before. He reaches into the trailer and opens a cooler and offers everybody a beer. That confirms what I suspected. A quad in disguise. Its got the right number of wheels and there is a cooler with beer. His rig is home built and has withstood punishment. Good Job there Mister. We bid our farewell and make for the top of Corkscrew Pass before a very long and steep descent.

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Noel shooting from the hip going down this long off camber of death. Im in the road ahead.

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Shooting over his shoulder.

We finally make bottom and there are mines everywhere. There is quite a bit of traffic and we pick our way to the highway given the title “Million Dollar Highway.” Soon we are in the traffic pattern and it slows us down. The ride is still scenic and our tires are better off for it.

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The pavement heads south but we bail at Mill Creek and head up for the final ascent of the day.

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Above tree line.

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Ophir Pass


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Looking through the Pass.

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Fixin to get steeep


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Hey there jeeper

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At the bottom looking up from where we have been. Noel took some excellent shots as my camera died or the batteries I should say. Its late in the afternoon and we have some trail to cover. We pitch pavement for a bit and head back up dodging fat cattle hanging along the roadway. The road gives way to ATV trail on Black Mesa. Man, this trail is fun. Lots to focus on to stay upright. I do manage a tip over while bushwacking around a mud hole. We think we are going to camp up here but in the end, we decide to push on. The descent off the mesa was very cool. Noticed an empty game warden truck along the trail. We touched off on pavement again. Shadows filled he canyon and the air was cooler. The NF was patchy here so I was dropping waypoints at likely campsites. The mountains of Colorado were falling behind us and the gravel roads were flat and fast. We blew by a road that looked like it was NF. I stopped and Noel came back. This is where we found Horse Camp.

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KTM with a wooden leg.

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Tents up, laundry hanging, and hammock tied up. We were ready to gather wood for the evening fiesta. First, Noel needed an oil change. Oil was dumped on the ground in the fire pit. Oil is a great fire starter. We threw on some tree and lit it up pronto. Stools got closer as it got darker. We tried to replace the calzones with candy bars and ramen noodles but it was no contest.

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Before it got dark and really scary.

We covered a bunch of ground today and my eyes were once again overloaded. They needed a rest from all of the optical goodies. One, two, three……snore.

(more in a bit)


HORSE CAMP TO MOAB
LOOKING FOR WATER IN THE DESERT.

Sun is finally over the trees and warming my bedroom. I hear Noel moving about so I undo the zipper and crawl out myself. The mornings have become routine. I fire the bike up and put on battery charger in an attempt to keep my camera functional all day. I found out if I charged them at night, they would die from the cold overnight. That’s how I came to sleep with batteries. Don’t judge out here in the wilderness. They like to snuggle and play with my feet. This ended my camera woes and let me shoot more pictures. We jumped on the gravel and headed for breakfast. The roads leading into UT were fast and flat. All of the sudden we were faced with switchbacks that led us off the mesa and just like that we were in a new state. The soil started turning red and the cedars thickened. We ran some county roads and found Dove Creek.

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Just what we were looking for.

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They served a good breakfast.

Out the door and down more straight line county roads. There were fields of sunflowers but they were always pointing in the wrong direction so I didn’t get any pics. I did find this lonely house.

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Then there was this striking image.

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In real time, the brown and green on either side of the road was stark.

Dust was heavy and we started riding side by side. I would drop back on rises until Noel waved me back up. This is a great way to avoid riding dust but you had better trust the right track rider with your life and I did.

I have been to Moab to ride both street and dirt but did not really check out the Blue Line as to how we were going to hit town. I saw us swinging much more north than I thought while I kept my eyes on the La Sals to my left. We ran through some open terrain that had active mines. The roads due to 18wheeler traffic were perfectly graded and wide as runways. This was in the Libson Valley area.

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Here we are waiting

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Because of this guy.

The Blue Line pointed north and at the La Sal range. Trees came with elevation and soon we were looking at this.

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Geyser I think.

The route had us on the backside of the mountains and mirroring the highway going into Moab. I made a change in the flight plan. We had half a day still and had to take Noel to one of the coolest spots in the region. Its called Top of the World and its NE of Moab by 30 miles or so. We jumped on the Castle Valley Loop and made our way around the mountain and into Castle Valley.

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Looks like a fire in the recent past.

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Nice view of the valley.

We reached the valley floor and made our way north to HWY 128

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On the pavement.

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Priest and Nuns.

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Noel on the fly.

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Soon we were on 128 and headed up to Entrada Bluff Rd.

We did pass the Sorrel River Ranch and the sprinklers were nice.

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We made the turn off and it was true. Some idiot burned down the Dewey Bridge. Had to be on purpose. Like I said idiot. Dewey was a historical bridge of significance. The Colorado River is a bad lady and there were few places to cross her a 100 yrs ago. Now all that remained was hanging wires. We continued up the road for a long time. It has been awhile since I have been here and was working off a dusty old map in my head. A guy on a DR was coming our way. I flagged him down and asked if he knew where the turn off was. He replied “just up the road”. We found it and started up the trail. It was the hottest part of the day and I guessed wrong on loading up on water in Dove Creek. I sipped sparingly in the glaring heat. The trail has lots of ledges and lots of rock. Classic Moab terrain. Most of it is in the top of 1st and lugging 2nd gear. TOW is always going up with little time for the bike to rest. I am handling the terrain just fine but it is hot and I am sweating. Ten min later I am wondering how much farther when the temp light comes on. CRAP. No steam so I keep pushing. I am noting that the fan has not come on. I try to run faster to get some air to through the radiators but it is just too technical. I cant see Noel behind me but I don’t want to stop and boil over. There are several false summits before the top. I am stressing but whats going on under me is stressing harder. That lean jetting has bit me in the ***. I smell it as I reach the top…..antifreeze. Water shoots out the overflow hose on to the ground. I can hear the water boiling in the radiators. Sounds like they are half full. I throw the kickstand down and then start beating myself up. Im hoping I didn’t crack a head, blow a head gasket ect. Noel pulls up and his fan is and has been running most of the way up. He has a rekluse clutch and that heats up the oil along with the high ambient temperatures of the afternoon. I decide to let it cool on its own before opening the radiator. While I am waiting, I decide to take the carb apart and richen the jetting. Not too many people will open a carb on the trail miles from nowhere, but Im not that bright.

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Pukin DRZ. Thanks for the pic Shadow Man.

Noel has lots of time to check out the scenery as it is going to take some time to change the jets.

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Capt Morgan aka Noel

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I stand in my Buzz Lightyear gear.

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Nice

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The afternoon light made for poor pictures but the view was still great. I had an important thing to check for though. I bellied up to the rim and dropped, not threw, a rock. Confirmed time was like last time I visited. Six seconds before it hit the ground. The cliff is that sheer and that high. This site and scenery is the birthplace of the RoadRunner cartoon.

Noel time lapses me working on the bike with the GoPro. It is pretty funny right until I put on the last Giant Loop strap and go to pack up my tools where I find a long spring in my fanny pack. Then the picture sequence has me tearing the luggage off and back to square one. The spring was the return spring that goes in the slide. Way to go master mechanic. I finish with that and we are both bushed. We have been on the road with no breaks for quite a bit. Noel says if we had some water I would camp up here. Man, I wish I would of tanked up on water. As it was, I used my remaining water in my Camelbak to fill the empty radiators. The DRZ came to life and seemed no worse for the wear. Time to find a place to pitch tents and get some food.

We roll 128 in the late afternoon. The canyon is empty except for our ribbon of pavement mimicking the great river on our right. Moab is in view and I head to the Portal where I have stayed many times. It is full but there are tents sites available and we set up.

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Future site of EPA investigation.

It is dark and we are starving. Off to the strip and we park in front of Zaks. Good pizza and we got our moneys worth. Waitress asked if we were D/Sing and she told us that she had one too. Noel thinks it was an angle for a tip. I was waiting for her to ask where Rod was. Back to camp where we showered and collapsed in our tents. Tomorrow is a “Rest Day”.

PLAYDAY IN MOAB

I forgot a little detail about my overheating story from the day before. While Noel’s fan ran just fine, mine did not. While rejetting, I was going to find out why my fan was refusing to spin. The reason was simple. I simply forgot to plug the thing back in. While bike prepping before the trip, I took the fan off to straighten the brace and shroud that goes around the fan blade itself. Dummy. After I plugged it back up, it came on when conditions called for it.

Today is a day of rest/play in Moab. We slept in a bit but the busy campground soon got us out of our tents. First thing on Noels list was to get his jets/filter done.

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Getting it done.

We had consumed several pounds of pasta and pizza and didn’t feel like eating so we set out on the second item in Noel’s list. This had to do with the freestanding KTM. While the bike is awesome, it will not stand on its own. It wanted a kickstand….No it NEEDED a kickstand. We were headed to open desert country and there would be nowhere to lean the bike. Noel called a KTM dealer who turned out to be a tour service who ran KTMs. He gave Noel a couple of numbers and it turned out one of the 4X4 shops had started selling/servicing dirtbikes. I cant remember the name but it is on the south side of town on the east side of the highway. They were great folks and had a really neat and clean place. They had an MSR kickstand that would bolt up……almost. Noel had fabricated a rack to keep the bags off the sub frame and plastic. That meant he needed a hole drilled in the MSR bracket. A mechanic hopped from behind the counter with a cordless and away we went.

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KTM getting a new leg.

Our mechanic was a three wheeler fan and Noel used to race’em. Turns out the mechanic found this on EBAY and had to have it.

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Former Honda factory ride. Forget the rider but Noel knows.

It was late morning now and I had planned to do Kane Creek which is one of my favorites. Down the highway to the trailhead that is just past the “Hole in the Rock” tourist icon. We started down the big incline to the creek and it was strewn with some big loose rocks. It wasn’t too long when we came upon a very stock looking Jeep that was in a twisted position that didn’t look promising. It was pointing toward a very exposed cliff at a 45 degree across a ledge and no room to back down as it had slipped sideways on the trail. I asked if everybody was ok. The lady passenger (who didn’t look the 4x4 type) nodded that they were fine. The driver, had his forehead on the steering wheel. We pressed on.

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Looking over the edge.

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Cooling off a bit.

It was getting hot and I was glad that we chose to go downhill on this trail. I wanted to take the Low Road but knew there were some big ledges we would have to deal with so we stuck to the High Road. Turns out I could see where someone had placed metal ramps to help with this very concern. We reached the creek and began the multiple water crossings with fun in mind.

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The only one I stopped to take a picture for.

The one thing I forgot about was the sand. There was quite a bit of it and it became tedious. Trying to be careful and yet fast enough to stay on top was challenging. There were several close calls. I remember railing through here on my CR 250 with my only worry being a head on with another bike doing what I was doing. As the heat wore on, we pressed down the creek. The trail took us back up out of the creek on a ledge trail and this is what it looked like.

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Now were at the intersection of Hurrah Pass. My plan included a jaunt down to Chicken Corners and get a view of the river. We took that left and headed that way. My memory said it was 10-15 miles out and I was about half right. It turned out to be more like 20-30 miles.

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Almost there.

We took a couple of breaks in shady areas along the cliffs but these were getting harder to find as the sun was right overhead.


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We pull up to the Chicken Corner and get off the bike. I go play at the pack off point while Noel chills in the shade.

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Pack off point.

Pack off point is an off camber goat trail that has a nice little fall on your right. It is 3ft wide with a 400 ft fall.

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Colorado behind and below me.

The view is superb. In the shade, it is nice and cool.


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Looking back up river.

Noel strikes up a conversation with another rider who has pulled in behind us on a DR
350. Retired and single. This guy rides a lot.

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Chillin with Noel.

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Noel has a story about this guy. Noel tell your story.

Scale is so messed up out here. Unless there is an object of known size in the scenery, there is no way to relate to the size of the landscape.

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This gives you an idea of the cliff should you fall.

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Again with the scale. If you look to the right of the island, you will see three specs. Each is a 17ft canoe.

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Looking back from “pack off point”

I sat and visited with Noel and Retired Guy. The shadows kept getting shorter and hunger was starting to factor in. Time to ride. Back we go all the way to town. As we hit pavement, we get the airconditioning effect off the cold water in the river. We were looking for Mexican and my first choice was not open for late afternoon business. La Hacienda filled the bill and was unusually good. I think I had 10 glasses of tea. Hydrated, I waved Noel off to camp while I went to the auto parts store. I needed antifreeze and oil. The overheating incident left me with plain water in the radiator and some very abused oil.

I got back and hung around camp for a bit but remembered that I needed to pick up some stickers for my daughter. She is a big Moab fan and wanted the MOAB sticker for her car. When I got back clothes needed to be washed. I took all of our grimy gear to the camp laundry mat. Man that water was nasty. When it came time for the dryer, the change machine said my money was no good. I practiced my English on a German woman coming out of the bathroom. Im sure she was freaked by the sort of panhandling request for bill swap. It all worked out and we had dry clothes.

I saved the best for last on this evening. I needed an oil change but had nowhere to dispose of it. I planned to incinerate it in our fire pit along with a nice pile of wood somebody had left. The oil change went smooth for the most part. I now had 2quarts of very used Mobile 1 to get rid of. I poured a good bit on the wood and set Noels lighter to it. Did not want to burn. It is synthetic and has higher heat protection factor but when it does go off, its crazy. Fire erupted and I soon had 3.5 flames in a fire ring that was maybe two foot wide. Rvs on the left of me, Rvs on the right with tents just feet away. I could see curtains pulled back by retirees wondering when the fire trucks were going to arrive. On top of that there was little wind and the billowing black cloud that couldn’t be seen in the dark was letting off an noxious smell. About that time there is a big gunshot bang. Turns out I set the lighter beside the fire ring and the heat melted the case until igniton took over. The fire finally settled down and was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to jail. Now I too could go to bed.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

WoodButcher

Admin
Joined
May 20, 2004
Messages
12,117
Location
Austin, TX
I fixed it. I just clicked edit, made sure I was in Text view mode (there is a toggle button in the upper right of the edit window), then I could see the tags before and after each picture. they were {url} and {/url}, but with [] instead of {} (had to do that here so you could see it). Then one by one I went through all half a million links and change it to img and /img. Okay, just kidding on the one by one part. I copied it to a text document and used the find and replace command and then pasted the trip report back in. But on short reports you can just do it one at a time.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
222
Thanks Rusty.

There is more to the report and as I add stuff Ill post it here.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
222
GREEN RIVER AND RIVERS WITHOUT WATER

The Blue Line on the GPS was taking us westward once again. We broke camp early and made our exit from the play land that is Moab. Heading north out of town, we passed Arches National Park on our right. We soon took a left and headed up Gemini Bridges Rd. The morning was cool and we were both feeling good. Yesterday, we had passed on the White Rim Trail as we had both ridden it but we did get a sniff of it as the route came close. Soon we were on Dubinkny Wells Rd and making dust.

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Somewhere north of Moab.

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Noel up the road.

We were heading north and looking for I70. The clear morning air had just the right crisp to it and I for one could not believe the great weather we had been experiencing. We were chasing breakfast and the speeds were according across this vast terrain.

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The red rock was giving way to grays.

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At one time, the rail was the ultimate way to travel these isolated parts. Now, it is still important but not the same way. Lots of freight crosses this desert to destinations unknown.

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Freight cars.

The sign we had been looking for finally came into view.

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We trail into town looking for the routine fuel/water stop. Next order of business was to find food for ourselves. We pulled up to a restaurant and found some of our brothers. ADVrs on a couple of KTM 690s, a DRZ and I cant remember the last bike. We all shook hands and found a table big enough for our BS session that was to come. Turns out that this gang was headed by BOBZILLA. The had started on the western end of the TAT and were heading east. They had a rookie that had kept asking what the road they were about to do looked like. He kept asking if there was sand. That was my first clue. Noel had been telling me about the sand we would be in today. I wasn’t too worried. Kane Creek was tedious but nothing I dreaded. Anyway, we shared our trip and they told us about theirs. I don’t know why but I had the CF Steak and eggs. It was huge but I managed. Bob asked us to perform a search and rescue for his tent that fell off somewhere on the trail. Sun was climbing and it was time to pay up and hit the road.

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They head toward Moab and we make our way west out of Green River.

There are three big washes that we will ride today and they each have their own flavor of terrain. The first is Black Dragon Wash. Like all of the washes, this one is runs parallel to I 70.

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You could really see the escarpment that dominates this area.

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Noel heads in.

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See what I mean about scale. That’s Noel in the bottom of the picture.

The riding was great. Trail was rough 4x4 stuff. Lots of rock and loose sand. Technical for loaded up D/S bikes but I was having a blast while looking for Bob’s lost tent. Way too soon and we were finished with the Black Dragon.

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The terrain opened up but was still easy on the eyes.

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Next up on the agenda was the iconic Eagle Canyon

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Trail was the same. Great mix of sand, gravel and rock. Much of the time you are riding in a dry wash where you could see where the water had moved and relocated the trail after every flash flood.

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Do you see it?

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I do.

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In we go.

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Easy stuff. Im starting to think Bob’s rookie was making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I come around a corner and there it is…..the Bridges of I70. They are high above and we stop to take it in. After reading all of these reports on the TAT, it was good to see it for myself.

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Here is one of the tunnels that go under I70

Its getting hot but we are on schedule whatever the schedule is. The great thing about riding D/S with camping gear is you can fall asleep anywhere. We continue and Noel says the last wash is coming up. It is the Devils Wash and it turned out to be a devil.

The blue line lead us in and right away some serious sand was under our tires. It was deep and impossible to keep on top. Long stretches of the stuff with handlebars flailing and paddling like I had never ridden was getting me through. I bailed off the trail into the brush but quickly got back on the trail as the brush held flat wielding cactus. In this heat, I would rather wrestle the bike in the sand than fix a flat in this heat. Top of second gear with the rear tire spinning 30 mph and the front tire moving at 7 or 8 mph made for some tough sledding. Just when I thought my bike would blow up or overheat, it would relent and just be the normal rock/gravel/sand. We both had tipovers in this wash. I had two drops. Not bad given the conditions. Because we were so busy working our way out of the Devils Wash, we failed to capture it on camera. Believe me that it exists.

On the other side of the Devils Wash, we found an alkali field.

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Then it got really weird.

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The rocks were big chunks of lava. They look like God spilled his charcoal on the way to a big BBQ.

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Just random chunks all over the area.

We continued in the heat of the afternoon. Arriving here, we decided to take a break.

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This bridge was made from a cut up rail car that looked like it had been in a wreck.

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Time to cool off.

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Time to saddle up and start looking for somewhere to sleep. The country is open and lots of it is BLM but we don’t have BLM maps. Unlike Texas, there is rarely a fence. We start up again on this killer two track. It is fun to watch the BobZilla gang tracks. They are hauling as the tires go off the road at times. Lots of wheelspin and drifting going on.

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Lots of times the roads looked like they exclusively carried motorcycle traffic if you know what I mean.

Im calling this Hidden Ranch camp.

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Where is my tent you ask? Well, I tried my hammock for a change of pace and it worked well.

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Feels good to get these off at the end of the day.

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Looking rough.

The evening was cool and comfortable. We built a fire and sat around reliving the long day. The silence is at night is very profound. Something that most of us don’t experience very often. I lay there in my sleeping bag listening to my heartbeat.

BEAT IT TO THE BORDER

The sun came up ……again. Time to break camp and find breakfast. It is one of the colder mornings on the trip and the sunshine is slow to get things going. That down bag is feeling pretty special about now. Stomachs get the best of us and we move out to make them happy.

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Noel ready to go one more time.

Right now we are south of I70 but are heading north and I 70 comes into view. The blue line weaves under the four lane in much more satisfying gravel roads. They are fast and at times run beside a cherry looking stream. **** it is still cold and my hands are feeling it. Noel thought we would be 30 miles or so from Breakfast but it turned out to be a bit more. We pulled in Salina, UT still in time for breakfast at another ADV approved food getting place called Moms Café.

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Lots of good old fashioned neon.

The chow was good and I couldn’t finish the pancakes and that is saying something. It is getting warmer and we shove off to get fuel. At the gas station, I notice a truck with a nice bull elk in the bed. There are some that know what they are doing with bows and arrows. We ride through some valley with population and we meet these fine ladies.

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It is in this area that we find a killer junkyard filled with lots of cool iron. Of course we didn’t take a picture but it is worth mentioning. We also hopped up on irrigation right of ways and finished out west of town pointing north. We entered the NF and the road was cool. The foliage had much more cedar than pine. I could tell that the topo was a changing.

Next, we found ourselves at the foot of the Piute Trail System.

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We stayed on the main artery but you could tell there was some really cool stuff in here. Ill bet we could of made a week of it easily.

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Thumbs up from Noel.

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Then I found this. Looks like beary to me.

Visibility became noticeably less as we entered the next section. It was apparent that it was smoke and it was getting worse. Nothing left to do but ride it out and it was fun. The last section was a steep downhill which had our full attention. We cross the last gate and head to Kanosh so we can fuel up at John’s Place. We get there and are too shy to take pictures but we get the full hospitality treatment. We take a seat in the chairs in front of the place and we get to talking. About this time Bill, shows up. They know each other well and Bill pulls up a chair. I mention the bear scat I saw and that got Bills attention. “We don’t need no bears. Been trying for 200 years to get them out of the hills so a man can run some cattle and make a dollar. Must be more of those problem Colorado bears.” John agreed. Discussion turns to the fire and they calm us by saying it is a long way off and under control. Finishing our Cokes, its time to move off.

This next section out of Kanosh is big fun if ya like hauling, braking and sliding. It is NF but the road is more open and you can see around and through corners. It looks like there was a fire not to long ago. I am railing but a blown corner backs me down a bit. We then enter the Valleys.

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Noel in the fast stuff.

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Turns out the next 150 miles of silly high speed gravel is brought to you by Scotts Steering Dampeners. Problem is I don’t have one. The gravel is fairly deep and the bike wants to wander at 70.

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I try shooting at speed.

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I stop to take these.

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You can see the smoke from the fire coming from the right side of the frame.

You get used to the bike moving around under you and it goes better when you let it do its thing. Covering a bunch of ground in a hurry can be had if you twist the throttle.

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Springs never cease to amaze me. Water is everything out here. If you have it, your cows are fat and you have hay for the winter. If you don’t have water, you will just have to get used to having skinny cows.

We are soon going through Black Rock Pass and there are some big salt flats but a SUV turned onto the road behind us and dang if we couldn’t stop or we would have been eating dust for the next 30 miles.

There it is. You can see it from a long ways away. Another icon. Crystal Peak.

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From the approach.

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On the backside watching a KTM flying low.

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Me and the DRZ rearranging dirt.

The views are still coming on strong.

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Panoramic from the backside of CP.

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At some point in the afternoon we take a jog on what I call the Mule Trail. It is an ATV track that goes down and through a wash in some tight cedars. Somebody has marked the trail with tape and it helps immensely with navigation. I call it the Mule Trail due to the Mule/burro/horse crap piles that are all over the place. They use their used hay to mark territory and some of those guys have been here awhile. Some of it was three feet high.

We are now at the western edge of UT and looking for NV. The trees have all but vanished and vegetation is hard core and no more than two foot tall.

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The track is getting remote

We find a fence.

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We are in Nevada now and headed to our stopping point of the day. Baker is right where they said it would be and it didn’t take long to take the tour. We grabbed a bite to eat and made tracks for the Great Basin National Park. They have campsites you know. We found one but had incorrect change. The Germans come to the rescue again. I see a lady at a camp site and I start things off by startling her. She kinda freaks as she is alone and this Texas drawling, dust clod is asking her for something. Her English is broken and she says something about her brother and runs off. He soon shows up and his English is much better. I get the change and we talk of their holiday plans. I finish by encouraging them to make Moab. It is late but I want to run up to the top of the mountain drive and get some pictures.

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The sun sets quickly and in the twilight of what is apparent desolation, little lights twinkle to life in the valley floor. We ride down the mountain carefully back to our tents where our pillows will be the last things our heads touch for the day.

More in a bit.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
222
RACE AND PUKE

This morning was clear and cold but not cold enough that we didn’t want to get up. The sunshine is good for the head. It makes 30 degrees feel much warmer than cloudy and 30. The lack of humidity is a good thing too. For someone used to temperature extremes with humidity, this lack of water in the air made for a nice change.

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About ready to go.

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I sort of look rested.

Off to get breakfast. We returned to the scene of last nights feast. I had the standard chicken eggs with pig slab and it went down easily. With daylight burning we headed out the door to start on the blue line. Outside we had some fans. There are always people curious about the bikes and how far we have come. This couple was retired from N. Carolina and he was excited about what we were doing.

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Noel and a fan.

Right off the bat we are back in the basin on some awesome lonely two track.

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Still have my arms and legs.

The two track led across some desolate valleys but did run in and out of some pretty cool terrain. Here is a spring and old homestead.

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After a brief southward journey, the route continued West where we crossed some black stuff called asphalt. On the two track we saw markers bearing the Lincon Highway. Bikes were purring and we spread out due to the dust. There was nobody out here and that is just the way we like it. Bobzilla Crew’s tire tracks were still fresh and it still fun to watch.

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Lots of fence row.

After riding valley all morning, there was now a mountain range between us and lunch in Lund. The day has warmed up nicely and my eyes spend the hours soaking up the grand vistas. Things tightend up a bit as we ascended.

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Riding through the cut.

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Down from here is Lund.

We reach Lund at midafternoon. This is our stop for the day so we seek out something to eat. There used to be a café but it is closed so we are gathering food from the little store. They are cleaned out of a bunch of stuff. I noticed the poster on the door going in and realized that this might be a problem. Today is race day. The Silver State Challenge runs through here and the highway is shut down. Because of the race, there have been lots of people in here doing the same thing we are doing. I reach in the cooler and grab a packaged sandwich. At the same time, I notice a pile of sandwiches outside the cooler. Should have clicked but didn’t. I grabbed some other junk food and joined Noel outside sitting on the ground to eat lunch. We packed the extra food and filled up the bikes before leaving town.

The next bit of road was fast and flat but we did enter the next NF section and it was nice. Nevada was beginning to remind me of Big Bend……..except there was so much more. The terrain and vegetation are similar but the mountains seem endless in Nevada. We rode through areas that contained springs that are crucial to survival out here. Late in the day Noel headed for a camp he used last year. When we pull off on the ridge, we find the wind howling. Across the ridge is another peak and we head off that way to try and find a wind break.

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This is better.

Noel sets up camp

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I get to work on my bike. At Lund I noticed my carb was wet and I smelled gas.

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In Lund, I didn’t think too much about it but the rest of the day I thought of becoming a fireball and decided to take it apart and clean the needle and seat.

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In the picture I am smiling but the words coming out of my mouth weren’t funny. The freaking wind was blowing dirt, screws, and everything else. I got it back together but it still seeped.

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I set up my tent under the biggest tree on the mountain.

We had some time so I took pictures around camp right at last light.

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Peak that was blocking the wind sort of….

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We would ride that in the morning.

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Calm before the storm.

Since there was so much wind, we nixed the idea of a camp fire. We pulled out the stools and ate our candy bar/jerky whatevers and blabbed about the day. My stomach wasn’t feeling to good. I was kind of nauseated and uncomfortable. We were both whipped from our busy riding schedule as we were covering 200-300 miles a day and had been from the start. Going to bed early sounded like a plan and we zipped up tents before the stars appeared. I was soon fast asleep……for awhile.

I hit the light button on my watch. It said 9:00 but my large intestines said get out of that bag now. I scramble out with my TP and barely make it out of living quarters before giving up whatever it was that my body did not like. This happened four more times. There were TP bombs everywhere. Every time I would go back to sleep for an hour before being disturbed. I have Imodium but did not want to use it as it will kill all travel in your digestive tract for 3-4 days leaving you stuffed and bloated. At 12:30 I answer the call again. This time as I am stumbling out of the tent, I get that buzzing sensation before you faint. I dropped on all fours and proceeded to empty my guts on the ground. This woke Noel up and he came out to help me. Not that there was much he could do but he did have a reserve stash of TP that I desperately needed. After the puke, I did one more from the other end and that was that. Noel and I had the same thing for lunch. The only thing we can figure is that I grabbed a sandwich from the cooler that had expired. I crawled back in to my tent and crashed for good. Food poisoning sucks.

More in a bit.
High Camp to Battle Mountain

I woke up cold but the wind had was gone. The sun was coming up on the other side of the mountain so it was no use to wait for the heat. We quickly broke camp but I was feeling the after effects of the food poisoning. I had pretty much puked my only nourishment from the day and that left me feeling flat and shaky. I wasn’t feeling too swift and did not capture the stark blue sky and the valley that we were about to ride in. Noel fired up first and off he went. The DRZ came to life and I stumbled my way down the mountain. Again, Nevada is king of wide open spaces. There are lots of mountains but the valleys are majestic in their own way.

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Saw lots of this kind of stuff.

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Miles of fences and of course a few of these.

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It was mid morning but still quite cool.

We rolled into Eureka in time for an early lunch. My head was hungry but my stomach was still undecided. I decided to eat light in the form of a grilled cheese while I watched Noel eat a good looking burger.

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We ate here.

We ran into an ADVr riding an XRR and he was on his way back to Louisiana. Noel and the young man were swapping tales while I was concentrating on keeping lunch down. Due to expanded mining operations, the TAT needed a reroute. Noel had already done his homework on last yrs ride and we quickly made it back out into desolation.

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Road to nowhere.

There were spectacular mountain ranges at the end of each valley. It reminded me of Big Bend except this was way bigger. Lots of mining activity old and new were everywhere. Speeds were high and ground covered in a hurry.

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One of my favorite views of the day.

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More awesome.

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Riding across a flat.

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Coming thru a small pass.

We stopped a few times and the stillness and quiet were omnipresent. On one particular part of the ride, there was some notable wildlife. Looked like big quail but Im sure it was some sort of grouse.

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Noel rides through the last pass of the day.

Noel was dreading the next bit of trail into Battle Mountain as it ran through the daunting silt beds. Last year they were deep and tedious. This year they must have been better as I didn’t think they held a candle to the Devils Wash. We could see BM from a long way away. Zig zagging across the desert floor, we gradually came into the outskirts of town. Dusty and now fairly warm, we looked for lodging. The lady at the desk of the first place we came to recognized our kind right away. “You are those dirt bike guys riding across the country arent you?” said the lady as she played with the computer. Looks like we don’t have any room. I think she knew we would be doing laundry and leaving our dust all over the place. We pushed off and ended up here sleeping with the train.

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We got rooms and set out to wash our clothes and ourselves as it had been awhile. Dinner was delivered pizza and it hit the spot. I felt much better than I did same time yesterday. The cheap mattress felt good and I had no trouble sleeping. Noel had the downstairs room and slept with one eye open watching the bikes out the window.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
222
BATTLE MOUNTAIN TO MCDERMITT APEX DAY.

We have been on the road for awhile now and every day while different was the same. Get up. Load bike. Ride to breakfast. Ride hard. Find food. Find fuel. Get off bike. Repeat. While there is the daily routine on a long ride there is what I call the Scenery Saturation Point. Your brain can process only so much. On a ride like this the topography, terrain, and vistas are coming in your goggles at an astounding rate that your brain fills up much like a computer and has to start dumping stuff so it can keep processing. I cant tell you how many times that Noel said “Did you see so and so?” and I would respond with “Oh yeah. I forgot about that until you said something.” Pictures on rides like this are irreplaceable. Today, I will carry what my eyes saw with no help for the rest of my life.

Last nights motel bill entitled us to a free breakfast at the casino and we cashed in. The sun was calling us through the window. Like most mornings it was a bit chilly but things quickly warm up in these parts when the sun is shining. Noel told me it was going to be a special day and he wasn’t kidding.

We headed west out of town on the main Hwy and found the dirt road that we were looking for.

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There isn’t much wind today and we spread out a bit. The range grass had a golden hue unseen in my parts. Noel was out front and we ran for quite awhile this way. I saw him stopped and I pulled up. “Did you see my bag?” he asked. “Uh, no I didn’t.” I replied. I suggested backtracking for it but the last time he knew it was back there was at least 20 miles ago. And then he noticed 20 yards behind us what he was looking for. It was in a shadow but it was right there. I bring this up because I had not ever lost anything off my bike in 20 plus years. All my bad luck came after this trip. On a road trip that found us rocking down a rock road in the middle of nowhere on the Tex/Mex border, I lost a bag containing everything needed to go to sleep. That’s right. Tent. Sleeping mat. Brand new down bag and camp stool. Sheeet!! Next D/S trip in the Texas Hill Country. I offer to carry someones tent….a Tarp Tent. It too goes missing half way through the day. New D/S rule. Anything strapped to your bike needs to have a loop or another strap to run the tie strap through.

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I was in front when I missed a turn. I caught it four or five miles down the road and did the turnaround. I did my best Indian and deduced that Noel had not missed the turn. Tire tracks don’t lie. I am glad that I came back as the next section was some really great two track. I cranked the DRZ up a notch as I was afraid Noel would think I was still ahead of him and he would try to catch someone that wasn’t there. Like a million times before a random fence would show up and there would be the gate that let you through to the next great pasture. It was at one of these that Noel realized that my tires weren’t there and decided to see if I rerouted or went back to the initial missed turn.

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We rode for miles without seeing any vegetation over 2 ft tall. Although it was short the sagebrush was thick. The stalks were 3 inches across. Kinda like fields of 2x4s sticking 2 feet out of the ground. The smell as you brushed the limbs was immediate. Something you don’t forget. We make our miles when we arrive at another TAT icon.

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We check out the amenities.

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Front yard.

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Barn out back.

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http://genejohnston.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/BM-to-McDermitt/image014/1120799782_yyj6q-L.jpg

Full kitchen.

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Words from Jim Wiseman.

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ADV trophy.

I was really surprised that there was not an ADV “guestbook” on one of the walls. If I would have had a pen, I would of started one.

What was really amazing was the size of this cottonwood.

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It was old and there must be some ground water pretty close to the surface.

As we ride away I am sad to see that things change even way out here. While the landscape is unchanging the way things are done has. This house built out of solid wood hasn’t seen paint in a long time but it is still almost functional. But in truth, there will be no improvements made here and year by year this house is falling in on itself.

We turn trail and while we are riding I am thinking of all of the wild horses that are supposedly in NV. The crap piles are still evident but I have not seen equine since southern NM. The road here is easy and I just have to stop and enjoy the view when I notice something in the distance.

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Could it be?

Noel coasts up on a dead engine. He says they are curious and he thinks he can get him to come towards us. He makes that click clack sound that all of the cowboys make in the movies and lo and behold the horse snaps his head up and….

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The horse gives us the once over and continues on his way. As he walks away we notice that he has been cut. A baseball player with a bat but no balls. That means somebody turned him out. A gorgeous horse that somebody couldn’t afford to keep. Big problem in NV. Horses are expensive and they are being turned out on BLM land in hopes that they will learn from existing wild herds.

We have gone across Paradise Valley and are now headed into the Santa Rosa Range of the Humbolt NF. That is all that is left to meet the apex of our ride. The scenery meter is pegged and Noel is leading. He takes a turn off a road and makes his way up the tallest hill in the county. It starts as a visible track but peters out as we get closer to the top. We are riding up a hillside that is using grass to hide the rock piles that litter the slope. Noel and the Magic KTM are picking there way up. The Magic KTM has an auto clutch. I don’t and DRZ doesn’t have a low first gear. Result is I am running up his butt because I am letting him run over the hiding rocks first and choosing my line accordingly. I swear he came to a complete stop more than once a la trials style. I don’t run into him and we make the top of Noels peak.

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Noel at the top.

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Master of his domain.

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I made it too.

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Its mid afternoon and we push off back down the hill and continue into the Humbolt NF. The afternoon is sublime and we havent seen anybody in the last 100 miles. Here is what it looks like.

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Cool huh?

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Noel cresting the hill.

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Goin

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Goin (one of my favorite pics)

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Gone

I tried riding while sight seeing and it didn’t work out too well. I didn’t crash but wasn’t far from it. I ended up riding a bit and stopping to look. There were holes in the road. Big holes from a big critter burrowing homesites. As we made our way down the road turned to this.

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While the road was tight, the gravel was perfect as our worn 606s spun on command. It wasn’t long before we were hammering until we met a vehicle in the form of an RanchHand wearing F250. I saw her on a switchback but was afraid Noel didn’t. She was cruising right down the middle of the road like she hadn’t seen anybody all day too. Noel survived as he had seen her dust cloud but she freaked when she saw him. We pop out on pavement and make our way to the Oregon border and stop here.

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We did some highfiving and general celebration over a Coke on the picnic bench next door. At this point we had covered 2000 miles but had no real exit strategy. After all, this was supposed to be our drop off point. We thought about running the trail backwards but our tires were showing significant wear and we had a long way to go. We decided to slab our way south to Winnemuca before darkness set in. Down the slab we go while watching a serious fire. Looked like a homesite too. We roll into Winnemucca late in the day and find this cool little motel.

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We unload bikes and seek food. I think it was called Chuys or something like that. Most definitely Mexican food. I ordered Carne Asada and a big schooner of DosXX. The waitress thought we both wanted beer so Noel drank one too. Hmmm lets say I was dehydrated and on that empty stomach the beer went right to work. Lets get another three. Dinner was great as we rehashed the trip. I am sure I was talking too loud and people were wondering what these dust crusted guys were up to. Things finally slowed down in my head and we made our way back to the hotel where I found sleep easily.

Backtracking

Last night over dinner we decided to slab back in an effort to make it easier on our pickup person. She would be coming from north Texas and any mile made toward her would be good. Today we woke to grey sky and actual spits of rain as we got on the bikes. I had rain gear on in an effort to block wind off my body at highway speeds in the cool am. The rain never materialized and we made our way south to Battle Mountain where we had breakfast. Back on the bikes we buzzed east for 50 miles before turning south. Daylight ended in Baker. This time we tried the restaurant across the street before crashing at the RV park instead of the NP. We couldn’t find the owner so we paid the box. I hope I didn’t offend him but he was asking 20 bucks for tent camping. We paid 20 and put two tents on some packed dirt by the ally.

Baker to Burr Trail

Fuel. Food and gone was Baker. We crossed the Utah border and headed south. A couple of hundred miles pass and we run into the first black river of death AKA I-10.
No way around. We were gonna have to go swimming. We hopped on and tried to keep up with the 80mph traffic. Twenty miles later we get off on UT 20 and head to Panguitch. Its later than I hoped as I had mentally mapped our day which included a stop in Escalante for this.

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The most bad *** double bacon cheeseburger I have ever had. They have been making em here for at least the last 20 yrs. You can find them here.

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Golden Loop Café Escalante, Ut.

On the way here we blew by the crowds getting into Bryce Canyon. We should have been in line but we didn’t have the time. After lunch it was on to HWY 12. We stopped at the narrows and admired the drops on either side.

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We continue to Boulder where I see a turnoff to the Burr Trail. Hey Ive heard of this and we are on the right bikes. We make the turn and like what we find.

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Back in the red rock and I can live with that.

Late in the day we pull off and find off the grid camp site.

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I roam around camp and shoot the surroundings.

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There was actually mud and puddles in places. Who knew it rained out here.

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Shadow Man appears.

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Tires are looking good.

Before you know it the sun goes away.

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On to your local HD TV for the evening.

Great day but Im beginning to realize the end is getting close. I climb into my tent tired in a good way.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2006
Messages
222
Burr to Mexican Hat Pick Up Day!!!

“WE HAVE BEEN TRAINING FOR THIS OUR WHOLE LIVES” (IMGOIN)
ONE LAST ADVENTURE.

The day before we ran into an ADVer on a KTM 990 at a gas station and I asked him if he had done the Burr and he said no but had friends who did that moaned about the endless sand. Ahh SAND. I asked how big the bikes were and he did say they were on bigger GS s. I wont lie. The prospect of miles of sand did not appeal to me but we were on essentially trail bikes. When we got to the intersection, I mentally said screw it as we had been slabbing and it was boring. We found ourselves on an asphalt road the rest of the afternoon. We ended up camping off of the road 40 miles in on our way to BullFrog Marina where we planned to hop the boat and cut off going around the north end of Lake Powell. We were shooting for Cortez Co where Noels wife would be waiting for us. Info at a gas stop told us that the ferry ran every 30 min.


The morning breaks cold and clear. Again, we misjudged the sun and our tents hid in the frozen shadows. We do get out and break it down one last time.

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Noel ready to go

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Drz waiting patiently.

Its always a hold your breath moment when starting bikes with temperatures this low. My bike does not have the kickstart option and pull starting is always sketchy. But they both light up. I have a headlight bypass switch that I use the last hour of the day to help get a good last charge before shutting down for the day.

Again, we get to the paved road and make our way south. It isn’t too long and we find what we have been looking for.

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Yea! Im tired of black death. We pass the into the greatness.

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Sand?

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This is as bad as it gets.

Now Im not saying but Im saying. Im afraid there is a contingent of riders who like the idea of adventure riding but have a different sense of adventure than I do. I saw lots of adventure bikes on this trip. Most were in towns and on the short bits of pavement we had to do. There were way too many that were showroom perfect. Clean like they never played outside. I understand when a bike sets you back 10-18k its hard to think about dropping it but man it is a tool to get you from place to place. Adventure riding is about getting to places that most never do. It was bad……almost like Harley wannabes. If you own a Harley and ride occasionally fine but don’t come off hard core tatted up ****** as you unload your bike off a trailer behind your Escalade. Harley guys who actually live the road get the respect of the “lifestyle”. I saw adventure bikes without even dust on em. Its ok if you own an adventure bike and stick to pavement, but again I respect those with scratched up, not quite perfect bikes that have actually been off the beaten path. Sorry if this bruises any feelings but had to get it out there.

For the most part, all of this trip was done on roads that a 2wd truck could do but there were those sections that spiced it up. We were going to have one of those sections later in the day.

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I stop for a picture of ….

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I send Noel down so I can get his picture on this primo switchback off the mesa.

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Now its my turn.

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We get to the bottom and make our way on a fast gravel road that looks like this.

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Its either the Henrys or LaSals in the background.

Anyway, it is high speed stuff as we have a ferry to catch. The Burr proves scenic but not terribly taxing…..or is it? As we come off one more mesa we catch glimpses of the remote BullFrog Marina on the water. A splash of humanity and amenities in a remote area. We keep pushing.

Well, what do we have here?

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First tracks.

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Looks like something is missing.

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Its gooey and slick. Looks like a flash flood has removed some man made objects. We dismount and check it out.

Well the road/bridge is definitely gone. Water is only 1 ft deep with a seemingly hard bottom but there is significant sludge, a steep drop off and an equally tricky uphill out of the bed. Great thing is that the marina is only 3 miles away. Bad thing is its 80 miles to backtrack.

Negotiations go like this.

Me “Well, what do ya think?”
Noel “We ride at Bulcher” and “We have been training for this our whole lives.”
Me “You are right. This aint got nothing on Bulcher”
So I go first.

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Looks good so far and Im about to take a right into what I think is a hard surface.

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When in fact, it is quicksand.

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I stop as soon as I realize it as I don’t want to make it worse.

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Its getting hot and we have to peel some layers. The bike was stuck in suction and we ended up having to lay it on its side and drag it to solid ground.

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This is what she looked like after the romp in the mud.

Noel gets on his bike and takes another line through the salt cedar

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Both on the other side. I am sure the flash flood through the canyon was impressive as the water level looked to be 8 ft or so. Their was mud 50-60 yrds on either side of the road.

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Ironic isn’t it. There was no indication on the 80 miles before the washout. This is why you get gas every time you can.

Once on the other side, we were trying our best to get helmets and gear back on when I hear a vehicle on the other side. It was a solo heavily laden KLR. He got off before the mud and walked to the edge. As I took my helmet off, I told Noel Im gonna try and talk him out of it. We were on a schedule and I didn’t want to spend an hour digging out a KLR. We shouted back and forth across the river and in the end he said he didn’t want to bury the bike either.

We hopped on the bikes knowing if we hurried we had a chance to make the 12:00 ferry.

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Paying the lady to get in the NRA.

We hurry down to see this.

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Yes. We missed it buy that much.

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While the information was true about it taking 30 min to cross, the ferry only ran every two hours. That means we were going to take a 2hr lunch. We ease over to the marina and eat out of the convenience store. Its hot and there is little shade. We sip our drinks and watch the busy boat traffic. Clerk said this would be the last busy weekend for the season. I noticed that we had stellar cell service in the middle of nowhere. I am sure it had to do with the people who had large bank accounts who had toys at the marina. I am sure that some people who frequent this lake run the companies that decide where cell service is provided.

We had little to do but sip on our drinks and make some calls. Noels wife was en route and headed our way. Gassed up we headed over to the ramp and waited for the ferry. The line grew and we all waited patiently.

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We secured the bikes before checking out the boat. Sounded like some serious diesels pushing us through the water. We make our way to the front of the boat for the rest of the ride over.

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We arrive at Halls Crossing in 30 min and depart. Pricilla was in Montezuma Creek and heading in our direction. Slab rolled under our tires as I was headed for our last real spot of scenery. That mesa seemed 100 miles long but we finally got there. Its called the Moki Dugway. Its just north of Mexican Hat and it looks like this.

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When I first found it by accident in the early 90s it was a lot more narrow and rougher. It is still steep but the pavement is creeping its way up. We stopped and enjoyed the view while talking to a bunch of sport tour riders that we had been bumping into over the last two days. Noel checked his phone and he had service so he called Pricilla and she was in Bluff which wasn’t far away. We snapped our last pictures and finished the switchbacks pronto and headed for “The Hat”. We idled through town looking for a good loading point and settled for here.

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Our hero.

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Two Amigos

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Total for the Trip.

We loaded up quickly and and it sure felt funny to sit on a bench seat. We couldn’t resist sharing at cool spot with Pricilla and we ran her back up the Dugway. I think she was impressed. In the late afternoon we pointed the truck into the wind to start our long ride back to Texas.


GEAR

I really liked the way my bike handled this trip. Little enough to crank it up in the trail sections and enough juice to do the slab. I wish I would of spent more money on premium brake pads for the front. The extra weight from the gear and fuel required heavy braking up front in the downhill sections. The GiantLoop handled the gear just fine. I really needed a tank bag for those things I needed to get at quickly. One last thing is the camera. I had a simple 7meg point and shoot. I wish I would of spent some money on an upgrade. I think any camera shooting in those bright skies would of benefited from a polarized lens. I rode in Klim Mojave pants which were great. In the cold, I used lycra running pants. Up top, I was layered with up depending on conditions. Underarmor base followed by a l/s jersey, micro fleece l/s, finished with an Acerbis Rally jacket that had zip off arms. I did zip the arms off a couple of times. Boots were Sidi and they were great. My first pair of Sidis and I have nothing but good to say about them. I wish I had done a better job with the amount of music on my MP3 because 300 songs believe it or not get old. Raingear consisted of a Columbia Pack Jacket and FrogTogg bottoms. We didn’t get wet but I used it to shield wind when it was really cold. The Garmin was flawless. Ive used this unit for quite awhile and really like it. Tent was a NorthFace Tephra23. I call it a 1.5 man tent with a vestibule to keep the boots and dirty gear outside. I slept on a Exped air mattress. It is incredibly small and gives you 3 inches of cushion. Sleeping was done in a Kelty Cosmic 20 degree down bag. It was the bomb. I never got cold. This is my first down bag and I really like how it compresses compared to a synthetic bag. Of course, in Nov, I had a bag come off and lost the above tent, bag, mattress but I have replaced them. I bought the same bag and mattress because I liked them so much but couldn’t find the same tent. I ended up picking up a Big Agnes Seedhouse 2. Its been on one trip and it is similar to the NF.

EPILOGUE

This trip was pretty much what I would call perfection. The weather was spectacular. The company was superior. The route was An American Classic. The scenery lived up to the hype. There was absolutely no drama just day after day of dual sport nirvana. If you have read this far, thank you. I hope you enjoyed reading about this trip and may it inspire you to do and write a trip of your own.
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,765
Location
Huntsville
Very well done! :clap:

My only tip would be to use the URL tag instead of the IMG tag for those really wide images (anything much over 1024 wide). It would look like this:

(url=link to image)Text describing image(/url)

This way, people viewing at lower resolutions don't have to constantly scroll the screen left/right to read the text.
 
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