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I'm just here for the mountains - the Great Divide Ride 2017

Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
We were up reasonably early on Sunday, eager to begin our 5 day ride north.

"Milton, I'm so excited I can't sleep anymore. Are you awake?"
P6110010-XL.jpg


Our spirits were high and we were ready to go. But we had one final task before leaving the hotel parking lot on Sunday morning - a group photo.
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We immediately deviated from the planned route and went north on paved Hwy 15 - know as the Trail of the Mountain Spirits - out of town. It was a twistier route but added about 20 miles to the total distance for the day.

The scenery along the way was quite nice.
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This is Lake Roberts. Jon is the only one in our group that has been here before.
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Finally, we reached the first dirt on the GDR. I found the sign to be very encouraging. High clearance vehicles? No services? Sharp curves? Steep grades? Hey, this is what I signed up for. Let's go!
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Alas, it was not to be. The route was pretty much all easy class 1 consisting of gravel roads as pictured above though the views were nice and the forest was interesting.

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copb8

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Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
1,137
Location
Highland Village (Dallas) TX
I take pictures of all the important documents in my wallet and store them in my smart phone. Photos may not be the real thing, but I figure they are better than nothing if someone needs I'd.

I also keep a stash of emergency cash some place other than in my wallet when traveling.
Second this.

Long story short, I headed out one morning on my brand new bike to drop of a DVD up the road. One thing led to another and ended up 75 miles away. That's when the low fuel light came on. No biggie. Until I realized I'd left my wallet and phone at the house.

Ended up having to basically panhandle for a couple gallons of fuel. Very embarrassing. Great fellow biker came along and I offered him $20 in the mail if he'd trust me for 4 bucks of gas. He ended filling my bike and absolutely refused to let me pay him back. Just said pay it forward sometime. Love the biker community.

Now I keep some nominal cash stashed in every vehicle I own.
 

kubotamiketx

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Joined
Feb 29, 2016
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794
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Austin
You guys are starting to make me mad. Here I am stuck at my desk working like a fool watching post after post of amazing pictures where other people are having way too much fun. Really having a pity party for myself right now.

Great posts, keep them coming !
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Messages
1,585
Location
Tyler TX
Great stories fellas! Except yours misterk. Hate to see it end like that. Glad you and the bike will be back in the hunt again soon. I'm with you Richard on the class 2&3 stuff only. There are some nice sights to be seen on class 1 roads, but no full range riding action to be had. I want to be challenged to get up on the pegs, have to transfer body weight, and enjoy some of that good full range of motion dirt riding action. This is what removes any chance of boredom occurring while riding. Also for me personally, it is a very needed thing in order to keep my sciatic nerve from becoming highly irritated from too much consistant time in the saddle on the same old contact points. I'll take a gnarly stand on the pegs trail over a class 1 spend all day fixed in the saddle roadway most any time...unless my leg looks like yours misterk. Did you really ride 800 miles home like THAT? If so, You sir are the man!!!
 
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
720
Location
Austin
3 hours fixing a flat. What a beat-down!
I think it was more like 2 hours, but either way, it took a long time.
We just couldn't believe our little air pumps were working properly, we couldn't get a tube to inflate. After pulling out the 3rd pump we reckoned odds were against all 3 pumps being bad. They weren't. It was the tubes.
 
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Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
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Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,755
Location
Huntsville
:tab Don't feel bad about the flat issue. We did a Montana trip that had us stopping multiple times throughout the day for a rear flat on the same bike. After the third stop, we finally checked the tire itself and found there was still a small sharp piece of nail embedded in the tire that was popping the tubes we were putting in each time. On the first change, a nail was pulled from the tire, but apparently there was more than one and the first check missed it. With rain and lighting coming towards us and it getting late in the day, I donated my spare rear tube and we were finally on our way again, just beating the rain to our camp for the day. On a Mexico trip, we had a rider get a rear flat that soaked up the better part of the day. In the end, we wound up not even getting to do that day's ride and had to abort and head back to town. A truck was eventually located and sent to retrieve the bike. But that meant we got back to town in time for an incredible and unexpected steak dinner :eat:

:tab It's all part of adventure riding. Stuff happens. We deal with it and move on if possible. I promise I'd rather be out somewhere like that fighting a flat than sitting here at my desk at work... :suicide:
 

jqueen

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Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
3,202
Location
Denton, TX
We had 3 flats - KLR at the hotel in the morning, DR mid-day on the last day, and F150 when we got back to load up and head to Texas.

But we've had lots of practice. JQ1.0 timed the DR flat, and it was 25 minutes from kickstand down to strapping the tools back on the bike.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2016
Messages
288
Location
Sachse
We were up reasonably early on Sunday, eager to begin our 5 day ride north.

"Milton, I'm so excited I can't sleep anymore. Are you awake?"
P6110010-XL.jpg


Our spirits were high and we were ready to go. But we had one final task before leaving the hotel parking lot on Sunday morning - a group photo.
P6110015-XL.jpg


We immediately deviated from the planned route and went north on paved Hwy 15 - know as the Trail of the Mountain Spirits - out of town. It was a twistier route but added about 20 miles to the total distance for the day.

The scenery along the way was quite nice.
P6110016_17_18_19_20-XL.jpg


P6110021_2_3_4_5-XL.jpg


This is Lake Roberts. Jon is the only one in our group that has been here before.
P6110026_27_28_29_30-XL.jpg


Finally, we reached the first dirt on the GDR. I found the sign to be very encouraging. High clearance vehicles? No services? Sharp curves? Steep grades? Hey, this is what I signed up for. Let's go!
P6110036_37_38_39_40-XL.jpg


Alas, it was not to be. The route was pretty much all easy class 1 consisting of gravel roads as pictured above though the views were nice and the forest was interesting.

P6110041-XL.jpg


P6110046-XL.jpg


P6110048-XL.jpg

I would like to know what screen is this on 690? Screens for bikes from Australia?
 

misterk

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Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
910
Location
Colleyville
Misterk, what lead to the crashes? Sand?


Fatigue and lack of skill on a bike with minimal suspension and ground clearance, I had to be very choosy with my lines.

I will say the DCT saved my bacon. Never stalled the bike once LOL. Curtis called my bike the mountain horse.

Now....with that being said, I would like to do this ride again next year....but on an africa twin.


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misterk

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Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
910
Location
Colleyville
Here are some water crossings from New Mexico day one,,,sorry for the poor video, this is the first time I have ever used a helmet camera.

https://youtu.be/A7lPxoFPTKM

Here is my riding crew (i dont know their screen names)


Curtis 1290 ktm white
Collin gs1200 red
Cory f800 orange
Brett f800 red
Chuck gs800 grey and black
Adam ktm 950 big orange
Steve gsa 1200 white (likes to rollover and play dead)
Kevin nc700 little red

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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
I had planned that my group would ride the dual sport sections during this ride. My logic was that we were all experienced riders on smaller bikes so the dual sport sections should be an extra bit of fun. And, sure enough, the first section was a lot of fun, with a bunch of water crossing (how many times are we going to cross this same creek!?!), some two track, a bit of bushwacking trying to locate the trail, and a particularly challenging, rocky, class 3 climb followed by a nice, rocky, class 2 ride along a ridgeline.
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Though it was enjoyable, it also took more time than I anticipated, mostly from the delay of having to locate the trail (it is a very lightly travelled path). After we returned to the main route I wondered if we were going to have enough time to ride each dual sport section and still finish before dark.

Once back on the main route, we made good time.
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But then the first significant delay of the day showed up - Mark got a flat rear tire.
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We had a few challenges getting the flat fixed (we pinched the new tube we installed and then couldn't get a patch to seal on the old tube) that delayed us at least two hours.

Once we were back on the road, we moved with a purpose because late afternoon was upon us and we knew we were in a race to finish today's route before dark.

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We thought we were back on schedule but then the second major problem cropped up.

The main route on day 1 doesn't have any gas for 267 miles. A bit too far for most riders. The solution was to detour from Pie Town either 25 miles west to Quemado or 25 miles east to Datil, gas up, return to Pie Town and get back on track. Of course, that adds about 50 miles and an hour to an already long day.

Or, twenty miles before Pie Town you can take an alternate route and go straight to Datil, saving about 30 miles of riding. That's what I planned for us to do. Once gassed up, we would ride to Pie Town and continue on the main route.

Except for one small detail it was a fine plan. The missing factor was the gas station in Datil closes at 5 pm on Sunday and they don't have pay at the pump. Which means if you get there at 5:01 pm you won't get any gas. And that's exactly what happened.

About a dozen riders arrived at the gas station in Datil between 5:01 and 5:20. The old guy who runs the place (presumably the owner) was there when the first group arrived at about 5:01 but he steadfastly refused to sell us any gas, despite our multiple pleas. I didn't personally speak to him but those who did said he was anything but pleasant in his response to our requests for help. "You should plan better" or something along those lines seemed to be his answer to our request for a little fuel. How frustrating!

The solution was to backtrack 28 miles or so to a small station (closed) in Old Horse Springs that had a single pay at the pump. We had seen it earlier but had bypassed it because out KTM's run on premium gas and this pump only had regular. Still, regular gas was better than waiting until 7 am on Monday morning to buy gas from the old codger in Datil.

Bob and I had plenty of gas to make but Jon, Milton, and Mark were all running on fumes. Jon and Milton borrowed a half gallon of gas each from a rider that was carrying a one gallon rotopax and were able to make it back to Old Horse Springs. Mark, unfortunately, was not able to borrow any gas, and ran out 14 miles short of our goal.

With a bit of back and forth hauling gas, we finally got the entire group to the gas pump in Old Horse Springs and gassed up. But it took 2 hours to do so.

Now, we were really in race to get to the hotel before dark. As we rode away from the gas pump I thought to myself, "At minimum, I hope we finish all the dirt sections before dark." And sure enough we did. Just as darkness set in at 8:45 pm, we exited the last dirt section of the day. Now for a leisurely 40 mile pavement ride in the dark to our hotel.
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But fate had other plans for us. Major delay number three showed up as soon as we arrived at the pavement - Milton had a flat rear tire.

Within a few minutes of reaching pavement it was completely dark. So, using flashlights and headlamps we fixed his flat on the side of the road, which, thankfully, took much less time than we had taken to fix Mark's flat. We had the tube swapped out in about 20 minutes - a new land speed record for me.

But then we couldn't get the darn tire reinstalled on the bike. The DRZ400s rear tire was not designed to be reinstalled quickly. I've owned two of them and have changed the back tire many times and it's never easy, even when sitting in my driveway with all the tools I own at my disposal. The DRZ has two shallow spacers you have to hold in place while simultaneously slipping the rotor into the brake caliper, ensuring the chain is positioned correctly to go over the sprocket, and inserting the axle. It's not a big deal if you have a minimum of four hands. And old brake pads. But we only had two hands each and Milton had installed new brake pads right before this ride. So trying to get everything lined up was quite the chore. It only took about 30 minutes of wrestling, prying, and cursing before we finally got the everything lined up correctly.

Finally done, we rode the last 40 miles to Grants, arriving at around 10:30 pm. It had been a long day.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
296
Location
Heath
Not to get off-topic, but what class is BBNP's River Road? I'm trying to calibrate my brain around the classifications.


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kubotamiketx

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Feb 29, 2016
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I am wondering out of all the flats was any of them tubeless and if so were you able to repair on the trail? Of all the bikes were any of tubeless?


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Crew Chief

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Joined
Nov 11, 2007
Messages
3,325
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Rendon TX
Facts and figures:

The routes on four of the five days were too long. Those four days were 200+ miles, which was completely do-able on the mostly class 1 roads as long as you started early enough (8 am) and nothing went wrong (flats, crashes, bike problems, difficult terrain, etc). But something always goes wrong. The first day my group didn't finish until nearly 11 pm. Which delayed our start on day 2. Which caused us not to finish day 2 until about 10:30 pm.
Fatigue and lack of skill on a bike with minimal suspension and ground clearance, I had to be very choosy with my lines.

I will say the DCT saved my bacon. Never stalled the bike once LOL. Curtis called my bike the mountain horse.

Now....with that being said, I would like to do this ride again next year....but on an africa twin.
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I really wanted to do this ride. I've come to realize that fatigue can become as big a factor as skill. The long days and the lack of personal fitness were what guided me to skip this and after reading these posts, think I made the right decision. It still sucks to be at home looking at other peoples pictures again!

I hope the leg heals quickly and well.
 
Joined
May 2, 2009
Messages
64
Location
Austin
Clarification on what you're calling "dual sport" sections, is this hard options? From GPS Kevin routes there is the standard route and then easy and hard options.
Pretty sure they did the hard section. I was in Kevin's group and we did the standard routes except for the red loop on Day 1 that almost made me give up. This is the class 3 and 2 hill climb that Robert mentioned and on my 1200GS with luggage it about did me in.

Collin
 
Joined
May 2, 2009
Messages
64
Location
Austin
Kevin I want to see picture of the closed mountain pass we made it through going from New Mexico to Colorado with Adam. That part was the hardest of the week for me with snow, downed trees, mud and a missing track. I dropped my bike probably 6 times and I think Kevin took a picture every time. I am glad we were able to get help for Chuck....:)

Collin
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
296
Location
Heath
Class 1 and 2


That makes sense. I could bomb down most of River Road at 20-45 MPH on my '09 Multistrada, although a broken fairing bracket was an unanticipated casualty. Off-road pegs would have been nice as well.

Sidebar: a slice in my rear TKC 80 about 7 miles from the end of River Road had me riding on ~10 PSI from Rio Grande Village to Telingua. Then to Alpine. Then Fort Stockton and finally Midland where I finally found a replacement tire. Yeah, 260 miles on a semi-flat. But the TKC performed admirably and could sustain up to 70 MPH, finally forcing a very controlled ride just a few miles from the Yamaha shop.


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dannyboy

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Sep 26, 2007
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379
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NW HOUSTON
Did any of the flats have Slime or Ride On in the tubes?

I have this in my tubes but have not had a puncture yet so I do not know if it really works.

The one time I did get a nail I did not have anything in the tube so after that I put it in all my tubes but do not know if it really works.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2013
Messages
296
Location
Heath
TKCs were tubeless. And it was a 1"+ slice, not a puncture. We shoved 3 heavy-duty plug in it, along with a full can of fix-a-flat. It would inflate to about 20 PSI, then settle at around 10. I could depress the tire slightly with my thumb, which told me I have enough PSI, but barely (didn't want to use the gauge after filling the tires with FaF). That didn't prevent me from performing some rather non-standard acrobatics diving into Alpine.


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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Clarification on what you're calling "dual sport" sections, is this hard options? From GPS Kevin routes there is the standard route and then easy and hard options.
Yes, I'm referring to the "hard" sections on the GPS routes as dual sport routes (as opposed to the main route which, in my mind, I call the adventure route).
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
I am wondering out of all the flats was any of them tubeless and if so were you able to repair on the trail? Of all the bikes were any of tubeless?


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Mike,

All, or most, of the big adventure bikes were tubeless.

The smaller dual sport bikes (DR650, KTM 690, KLR, KTM 500 EXC) all ran tubes. None of the 5 bikes in my group were tubeless.
 
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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Did any of the flats have Slime or Ride On in the tubes?

I have this in my tubes but have not had a puncture yet so I do not know if it really works.

The one time I did get a nail I did not have anything in the tube so after that I put it in all my tubes but do not know if it really works.
I tend to run Ride-On in my tires and it has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. I don't know why but I did not have Ride-On in my front tube - just a mistake on my part.

If I recall correctly, Mark had slime in his tube but the nail in the tube made a hole too big for the slime to handle.

Milton did not have anything other than air in his tubes (and didn't have that once the tire went flat. :-P )
 

misterk

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Jul 21, 2015
Messages
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Colleyville
Kevin I want to see picture of the closed mountain pass we made it through going from New Mexico to Colorado with Adam. That part was the hardest of the week for me with snow, downed trees, mud and a missing track. I dropped my bike probably 6 times and I think Kevin took a picture every time. I am glad we were able to get help for Chuck....:)

Collin


Coming


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kubotamiketx

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Austin
Guess I am hoping to hear a story of someone running tubeless that says "Wow, had a flat today, took 10 mins tops to plug it and air up, piece of cake!!!"

Someday I hope...
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
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Cibolo, Texas
It's all about the food too

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Coffee encrusted elk steak at the Windsor Hotel in Del Norte, Colorado. Best hotel of the trip and the best plate I've had in memory anywhere.

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Beet salad with added salmon and added shrimp, Mahogany Ridge Brewery, Steamboat Springs, Colorado. This was at the wrap up dinner.

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Two certainly edible but forgettable, overpriced Gucci toast and meat things, in an otherwise forgettable coffee shop, Breckenridge, Colorado. Hey, add a single, chinsy slice of egg to the production and you can jump the charge from $4 to $9 don't ya know. But hey, you're in Breckenridge and you deserve the prices you're charged.

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A seemingly banal, simple salad but it wasn't on the menu and the chef/owner at the Tomichi Creek Trading Post in Sargents, Colorado, made it up for me and I appreciated it. Our group came in for the burgers and they appeared to be amazing to everyone else that ordered them. Tomichi Creek is worth a stop in Sargents just to get the vibe of the place. Our pleasant and affable server, Hanna, even brought me the entire bottle of balsamic when I asked for extra dressing.
 
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Joined
May 29, 2005
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Out Riding
Guess I am hoping to hear a story of someone running tubeless that says "Wow, had a flat today, took 10 mins tops to plug it and air up, piece of cake!!!"

Someday I hope...
I had a flat on the rear tubless set up on the AT. Leak at spoke, wound up putting a tube in less than an hour after getting on the road to Silver City.

I am guessing that is not what you wanted to here.:lol2:
 

Tourmeister

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Messages
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Huntsville
Watching those videos I have a few thoughts.

:tab On the hill climbs, it is REAL important to stand up, lean slightly forward, and do everything possible to keep up your momentum. A little speed is your friend when it comes to those big rocks. Too slow and a glancing blow or trying to roll over one will put you on the ground in a heart beat. With enough speed, the bike is more stable and better able to deal with those rocks. The gyroscopic effect of spinning wheels is your friend. The standing also allows the bike to flop around a bit more without flopping you around, which makes the bike much easier to control. This is especially important on the big adventure bikes that have less suspension travel and can't go as far over before you reach the point of no return. Lastly, try not to follow too close to the rider ahead of you. If that rider has problems and you can't get around, then you might have problems as well. Stopping on a hill climb is to be avoided at all costs unless you just have no choice. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get started again. Remember, momentum is your friend and stopping kills it ;-) If I see a rider stalled and I have to get around him, I will continue to the top of the climb, or at least a mostly level section before the top if available, and walk back down to assist. That is usually easier than trying to stop and assist, then restart my own climb. This is especially true as the climbs get longer and more technical.

:tab On creek crossings standing helps for many of the same reasons as on hill climbs. It also can help you see rocks under the water easier. It is usually a good idea to wait for the rider in front of you to complete the crossing before you head in behind them. You don't want to have to stop in the middle of a crossing. The rear tire can sometimes dig into a soft bottom, making it VERY difficult to get moving again, especially if there are any rocks in the way! You have lost your momentum and gyroscopic effect, which are your friends when it comes to getting around/over any rocks. It also sucks to get roosted by the rider in front if he has to get on the gas :-P

:tab Fatigue is a BIG factor for this kind of riding. In my experience, it has been the biggest contributing factor to accidents/falls that I have seen on many many rides (including my own). I think this is more frequently an issue than even a lack of technical skills or experience. It is common when riders are camping. Most people generally don't sleep as well when camping as they do in their regular beds. Add to this the likely higher than usual energy expenditure over a day of this kind of riding and it does not take more than a day or two before many riders start to feel the effects of the fatigue. I often try to plan trips like this to have the long days up front and try to put the shorter days at the end of the trip, if possible. Either that, or I try to keep each day short, like maybe 200 miles tops. Even if you average 25mph, that makes for an eight hour day of riding. Ideally, I would like to ride three days, take a day off, ride three days, take a day off... Now if only I had a job that let me take that kind of time off for trips!

:tab This one looks like it was fun! I recognize some of the stuff South of Pie Town and I have been to that gas station in Datil. We too were getting iffy on gas... but they were open.
 
Joined
May 2, 2009
Messages
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Austin
All great advice Tourmaster and by the end if the trip I was a totally different rider. I was nervous on dirt and didn't understand the importance of standing and counterbalance. Rocks were much easier to ride over going faster and standing up. You made very good points and I was curious above standing and water crossings so thank you. I am in decent shape and didn't feel tired or fatigued.

Collin
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
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Location
Austin
Having not gone to bed until midnight, we were a bit slow getting started on day 2. In fact, we didn't roll out of the parking lot until after 10:30 am. Milton especially was feeling the lingering fatigue from the long day before and decided to ride pavement the first half of the day and then rejoin the group for the second half of the day.

I will tell you up front that day 2 was fantastic. Best riding of the entire trip. By far. As Jon Smiley said after we finished the first half, "I'm gonna find the guy who figured out today's route and marry him" It was happiness and smiles all around.
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What made the first half so fun was riding 60 miles across the desert (or what seemed like desert) with great desert scenery all around. It was sort of like riding river road in Big Bend but with better (yes, better) scenery.
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The sand was not an issue for us on our smaller bikes. I suspect the big bikes might feel differently about the first 60 miles of today's riding though.

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Never underestimate the power of an old man with a KTM 500. :)
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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
Then, slowly, the landscape began to change. We left the desert behind and entered the mountains.
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I kept expecting to run into John Wayne around every corner...
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In the movie Dumb and Dumber there is a scene where Harry & Lloyd think they are in the Rocky Mountains but are actually in the plains of Nebraska and are vastly underwhelmed with the Rocky Mountains. Well, we had been riding the Rocky Mountains for 300 miles so far and hadn't spent any time riding on rocks. Nothin'!!!

Then, finally - FINALLY! - rocks showed up in the Rocky Mountains. Praise the Lord!
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Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,978
Location
Austin
At this point, I had more than 300 miles on the KTM 500's tripometer so it was time for a little roadside maintenance.
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I keep hearing how the maintenance requirements for KTMs are so much more intensive than Japanese bike and that KTMs are also much less reliable than Japanese bikes. So, in an effort to prevent total engine failure I resolved to do maintenance on my bike by the book. If it says change the oil every 10 hours, then, by God!, I'm going to change the oil every 10 hours, even if that 10th hour is in the middle of a ride. I'm not taking any chances!!!

Trail side maintenance
 
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