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Mellow's Summer Trip

Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
Heading out Sept 1st for a week, I'll report when I can while on the trip, here's the route.

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Day 1 - Dallas, TX to Lathrop State Park near Walsenburg, CO (716 miles)
Met up with Gunnar aka G-Man at McDonalds off I-35 and Sandy Lake Rd and we had a quick breakfast then hit the road at 5:45 am.
We meat up with Kent Johnson in Amarillo for lunch around noon and had a nice conversation/break in the ride up to CO. The route was actually nicer than the one
I typically do through Raton. This one took 287 to 160 then westward towards Trinidad.

Once in Trinidad, we took Hwy 12 (Highway of Legends) which I always try to do when in the area, it's just a great road and Stonewall, CO is such a unique
little town with, you guessed it, a natural stone wall going through it.

We got to Lathrop State Park, the front of it looked really nice but the campground were a bit more primitive than I expected. Not a big deal as you feel more
like you're camping in nature so it's all good. We were able to get the last campsite they had available - Labor Day weekend...
We set up out tents and I went in town to get a couple subway sandwiches for dinner.

Rod House stopped by to say hi as he lives in nearby La Veta, CO - it was good to see him again.

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This was Gunnar's longest day ever so we did accomplish something for the day.

Day 2 - Lathrop State Park to Grand Junction, CO (743 miles)
I headed out about 6:30 am just before the sun came up on my way to the 4 corners region, Monument Valley and Moki Dugway. I was able to catch some nice sunrise pics.

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Wolf Creek Pass
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This route was pretty much just US-160 through Durango, Cortez and the 4 Corners area and into Arizona, then US -163 to Monument Valley which never gets old.

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Mexican Hat

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I made it over to the Moki Dugway where I placed a new Putt Memorial Geo Cache box. I also met Stephan Wolfe from Germany on his 23 year old
XT500, he hasn't been to Moki for 10 years and was making a month-long journey around the area.

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It was time to get back on the road. It was sprinkling a little but never really started raining until I got near Moab, UT. The big rig in front of my
was pushed to the right a little when the wall of rain/dust/wind hit him.

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I got a little wet but needed gas and pulled into the 1st station, by the time I filled up it wasn't as bad and I left, by the time I got out of town it was dry again.
Hwy 128 was great as usual. Lots of those little polaris atvs running around this area now so be careful.

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The rain was looming around the entire time but always seemed to go off in a different direction before I got there.

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I ended up at a KOA in Grand Junction, the guy there had a nice 90 lbs red Dobermann that reminded me of the black one I used to have.
It was Labor Day weekend so the campsite I got was the size of my tent LOL.

Day 3 - Grand Junction, Co to Vernal, UT (560 miles)
Today I started down 141 in Colorado, the Whitewater-Gateway-Placerville section. Been a few years since I've ridden this road and it was something
inspirational to do as the sun was rising.

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At Placerville I took 62 over to Ridgeway and then part of 550 to Montrose. Not all that much to see until you take 50 eastward to the Blue Mesa Reservoir.

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Then, YOU JUST HAVE TO take 92 into the Black Canyon of Gunnison Nat'l Park.

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Today the rain caught me pretty good in one section and even got some small pebble sized snow/hail mix. That's okay, any day on the bike is a better
day than sitting in front of the computer at work.

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I ended up in the KOA in Vernal, UT. I was planning on a state park just north of there but my headlight connectors were melting - seems to be a
common issue with the Super Tenere if you upgrade the bulbs and sometimes even if you don't. So, I got some spade connectors just in case I
needed to cut the connector off and replace. I also replaced the bulbs back to the 55w oem specs and that seemed to work just fine.

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At the KOA I met a guy from Belgium on a 3-month ride from Anchorage, AK to Denver, CO - he had one week left to make it to Denver. I asked
what his average mileage was and he said 50-100 miles a day. He seemed like a nice guy and had a collection of license plates he'd found on the road during his trek.

Day 4 - Vernal, UT to Greybull, WY (850 miles)

This day was epic. I was only supposed to be a 600-ish mile day but, well, sometimes you just don't know when to quit.

I headed out of Vernal, UT early and into the Flaming Gorge Nat'l Rec Area. Very nice roads and an easy pace. On my entire trip, this short section is when I saw the most wildlife, I had to have seen 50 deer/antelope/whatever and even had an eagle or hawk swoop down in front of me on the side of the road and pick up something and fly off. My camera skills weren't good enough to capture it unfortunately.

Here, the deer are apparently confused at the look of a Super Tenere, oddly, most people that saw it had the same look.

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... right before they ran away...

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Here's the bridge right before the Dam.

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Not much for a while until you get into the Boyeson Reservoir area but it's a very cool place to ride through with the tunnels carved out of the
rocks and the river and railroad running next to you.

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There was some contruction I had to wait on and go through but not a bad road surface at all.

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Near Story, WY there was a forest fire going and you could actually see the flames, it was a very windy day and seemed like it was going to
contribute to a major catastrophe. I came back through this the following day and it looked better but I'm no firefighter so just guessing.

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I stopped in Dayton, WY for something to eat. Had some nice Meatloaf and a Coconut Cream Pie at the Branding Iron and met a nice older couple
that were just sitting there being a nice older couple. Reminded me of my parents.

I knew I was going to do Burgess Jct - 14a. Very steep w/10% grades. Don't we all hate to see signs like this?... LOL

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This also goes through the Big Horn Nat'l Rec Area which is majestic to say the least, I missed some good scenic shots but that's okay, I'm planning on returning.

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My goad was supposed to be Cody, WY.. but as you can see... when I arrived, the skies opened up and something said 'Joe, ride further...'.. so I did.

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I think it was 5pm and I knew I had at least a couple more hrs of daylight left and I knew Chief Joseph and Beartooth weren't really long sections
but that doesn't always mean they won't take all day. Well, what the heck, ever look at that burger and say "I'll have two" ? Well, I had two.. LOL

I thought I'd ridden Cheif Joseph before but I was wrong, what an incredible section and I was lucky to hit it when the sun was about to set, it was just amazing.

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I stopped at a couple of forest campgrounds but figured if there were this many on this side of these roads, there should be just as many on the other side.
Beartooth pass here I come.

I wish Beartooth was longer but it was still a blast to ride and I got to the top at the very moment the sun was about to disappear.

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Now, this is where I should have stopped at the campground at Red Lodge or even the forest campground after that... but, I kept going thinking there must be a
few more down the road. Well, nothing but little towns and very few dirt roads even to pull off and find a place to hide a tent for a night.

I ended up at a KOA in Greybull, WY for the night that had the deepest white-rock gravel I've ever seen and it was like going off road. But, after 850 miles I was ready to stop.

Day 5 - Greybull, WY to Vermillion Lake, SD (666 miles)

I took some time to day to do laundry and just get a late start since the previous day was a bit taxing. I did do 14 and over to Burgess Jct again which was nice.

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The smoke from the Story, WY forest fire was making it's way across this part of the state so there was a smoke haze over most of the area.

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Today was pretty much just about heading eastward and getting some miles done, not much site-seeing. I'm a bit spoiled with TX/OK/AR as you see
state parks peppered all over the place, in South Dakota I was starting to wonder if I would end up at another KOA. But, I happened upon Lake Vermillion
Rec Area. Very nice place and it was empty except for just a couple campers.

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I was even able to find Rita a unique shot glass for this trip - which I try to do to keep the trips coming.. LOL

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Day 6 - Vermission Lake, SD to Spring Green, WI (411 miles)

An easy day today. I met Charles aka suvcw04 from the NT site and we had a nice chat before I continued on to the WiSTOC event in Spring Green, WI.
I got to the Riverside Resort in Spring Green, WI and it was a nice turnout already for the early-show'ers.

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George even showed up with his grocery store.

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Kevin - and all involved - did a great job on the event. Oddly, he was only expecting it to be 'this' big of an event, he was wrong.

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Day 7 - Rest (0 miles)

Ugh... I need a new seat, Sargent is supposed to have one coming out for the Super Tenere on 9/17 and I'm sooooo in.

Someone did vandalize my bike when I wasn't looking. I'm a bit perturbed and not sure I'll ever show up again. LOL I just don't get it myself,
a smurf would have made more sense.

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Day 8 - Spring Green, WI to Eureka Springs, AR (675 miles)

Not much to say here, just a liesurely ride back towards home and ended up at the Kettle Campground in Eureka Springs, AR. Love those Southern
MO and Northern AR roads. Ate at the Roadhouse - Swiss and Mushroom Angus burger with sweet potato fries. mmmm

Day 9 - Eureka Springs, AR to Dallas, TX (390 miles)

I got to ride hwy 23 south 1st thing in the morning, this is the pig trail scenic byway and about 90 miles of it before the interstate. The rest is just a boring ride home.

Total: 5,011 miles

Great trip. I wish I would have had more time to plan this one as I snuk up on me quickly and I wouldn't normally have stayed at KOAs as much as I did.

The bike ran well. I was getting crazy gas mileage in CO, 50-60 mpg running hard but that disappeared once I got back to sea level. The headlight connectors
melting was a little issue that I have a plan for if they failed and they never did. Fixed them yesterday so that shouldn't be an issue anymore.

The BMS seat I have was okay for the 1st 3 days and about 2400 miles but then things started to hurt and never stopped. On the ST1300, the
Sargent seat would get uncomfortable after several long days but never to the point I felt on this trip.

It was wonderful to have such a scenic trip capped off by meeting some old and new friends at an event.

Here's all the pics:
http://mellow.smugmug.com/2012/August-WiSTOC-Trip-91-8/24799030_5TrKZB#!i=2040652653&k=Wf5d2t8
 
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