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Off to the races 2012; The Story of the Ride

Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Myself and three friends left on 5/22/12 for a trip to the World Superbike Races at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT. The trip up would be four days of super scenic roads. We stayed at the track for the three days of racing activities to include FIM Superbike; AMA Superbike, AMA Super Sport, and AMA XR1200 races. The trip home would take another 4 days through some even more scenic areas. The trip log would end up reading 4,283 miles in total.

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This will be a huge report so please be patient as I load videos and photos to share the adventure. Hopefully you won't be disappointed.

Here we go!


The trip for me started on May 22 at around 0550. My new Yamaha Super Tenere' only had around 1200 miles on the odometer and was loaded with gear. Still room for more if needed on another trip.

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I also have a new camera that I was trying to figure out on the fly. The old Canon IS200 was wore out from several years of dust and use on moto trips so a new Camera was needed. I got a deal on a Pentax with a 16x optical zoom lens so this trip will put it through it's paces. Also new for this trip was a Contour Roam video camera that spent it's time mounted on the handlebar in between the clamps. I couldn't wait to use it so here is a shot as I rolled down the street to meet up with Perry, aka NomadicFirefighter, and his Kawasaki Concors 14.



Kickstands up and we were on our way, on schedule, at 0600. Our plan was to head west on TX29 and make our way through Mason toward Junction. We would rendezvous with the other riders there around 0900. The morning was bright and the skies were clear as we roared toward Burnet.

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First stop for a bit of breakfast was Gude's Bakery in Burnet, TX.

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I grabbed a kolache and a jelly doughnut while Perry ate a banana :shrug: A couple older gents struck up a conversation and we ended up listening and swapping stories for around 20 minutes. We excused ourselves explaining we had a bit of a schedule and a long days ride ahead and continued west on TX29. Coming out of Burnet is a good section of highway as you travel toward Buchanan Dam. Come along on the ride.....



West through Llano and Mason then angled toward Junction on US377. We pulled into the Valero at 0855 for fuel and our meetup with Dave and Sean.



First thought; I don't see anybody here. Perry informed me they had been stuck in traffic in San Antonio and would be late. Perry, Dave and Sean all had Scala Rider comm systems and Dave had called on the cell phone to give Perry the news. So, we had plenty of time for coffee and a break in the 20 minutes waiting. No problem, we are on vacation. :rider: Finally they arrived and we exchanged greetings getting ready for a long ride.

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Rolling out of Junction onto IH10 westbound.



Perry on his Connie....

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The brothers; Dave, aka Turbohawk, on the left, Sean on the right also on Connies.

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And my view for the next several thousand miles on my Super Tenere'.

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Speed limit on IH10 west of Junction is 80 mph. The further west we traveled the more the wind picked up until we had about 20 mph head wind. We were adding a few to the speed limit so our relative airspeed was well over 100 mph.



I was feeling a little short on power compared to the other three riders on their Concors 1400's. Another concern for me was fuel mileage. At 70 on the way from home to Junction the on-board computer was telling my I was getting 47 mpg. Now with the head wind and the speed it was registering between 32 and 34. To make sure we didn't run out coming into Fort Stockton at 193 miles from Junction we made a stop in Ozona for fuel.

In Fort Stockton we grabbed some chow at Taco Bell (hey, it was quick) and then began the northwesterly move towards Roswell, NM on US285. A little slower but still making good time.



Sometime before getting to Carlsbad, NM we caught up with a lone BMW rider cruising along to maximize fuel mileage. Translation; going slower than we were. His panniers were covered with stickers; no telling were all he had been. Never got to chat but he waved as we all passed safely when the road went to two lanes divided.



Next stop for fuel; Roswell, NM. Rolling into town from the south.



Fueled and rested the last stretch would cover US70 from Roswell to Ruidoso, NM. A friend of ours had granted permission to use his cabin for the night. I think the best accommodations we would have for this trip. Thanks Scott.

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Nice place to park the bikes under the deck.

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Up top we would hang out for the evening and enjoy the view and some pizza delivered for dinner.

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Delivery of supper took a long time because the driver got lost and had to call us for directions, we could barely find it using gps. The roads up there are very confused. While waiting, the guys with comm got together to work out pairing issues with the two models, G4 and Q2Pro.

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Gorged with pizza we settled in for an excellent night of sleep. Miles traveled for the day... 651.

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Last edited:
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 2

With the windows and screen doors open in the cabin I got a real good nights sleep with the cool mountain air. I woke up pretty early and started moving around. Soon everyone else was up and packing to get on the road. We had done some internet searching for a breakfast spot and settled on the highest rated on Yelp. Only one negative review; some guy from Michigan had complained about the coffee. :roll: We rode down the maze of streets on the east side of NM48 to our destination for food, The Log Cabin Restaurant.

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At 0700 they had just flipped on the "Open" sign. The sky was thick with smoke for a large forest fire that was growing over in the Gila National Forest so it darkened the morning sun a bit. Everyone checked phones for proper funtion



and we went inside for a good breakfast.

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The coffee was great. The food very tasty and in belly swelling proportions. And the decor was cabin rustic. Overall very nice for what we needed. I recommend to anyone traveling in Ruidoso.

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Back on the bikes we went north on NM48.



Then west onto NM37 for a few curves. Refreshing after the long haul across west Texas.



The smoke from the Gila fire was obscuring the view of the mountains but the riding was nice in the cool morning air.

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The sky cleared the farther north we got until it was nice bright sunshine. Dave and Perry in the lead....

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Sean taking rear guard.

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A couple of the guys were concerned about the fire and road closures so when we stopped in Carrizozo for fuel we had a discussion. My point was that if there was a danger, the folks in charge will close the roads and we will go around a different way. No worries. Whatever will be, will be. Let's just ride and deal with whatever gets thrown at us. So we proceeded without worries, at least from me. :-) We turned left onto IH25 south for a run of about 80 miles to Caballo Lake. Heading to the south put us back in the smoke after a while. We could smell the fire that was 100 miles to our west. The winds had picked up and were blowing 20-30 from the SW and the smoke was laying down on the ground. Visibility was low but not enough to worry.

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Soon we were back riding under clear skies and make the turn west onto NM152.

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It wasn't long before we were enjoying the twisties on this awesome stretch of asphalt.



And some more...



As we got close to Mimbres, NM thoughts of fuel started to enter my mind with the wind from the west I wasn't getting the greatest mileage. This was the first major worry about how far I could go on a fill up. We stopped for a discussion.

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GPS listed the Mimbres Store about 5 miles north. But we thought we could make it to Bayard on what we had. Better safe than sorry, we headed off route for fuel. Bad news, the Mimbres Store was closed. No fuel and we just used 10 miles of fuel. So the next section of highway would be done with a very light throttle hand as I tried to eke every bit of fuel economy out of the blue beast. I found that if I kept speeds to 55 in sixth gear I could manage over 60 mpg. :clap: With the guys slowly following behind we made it to Bayard and stopped to fill up. We started talking about tank capacity so I pulled the manual and checked. According to the manual I had fuel capacity of 6 gallons. I had been thinking I only had 5 :doh: I had never run it that low before, I don't know where I came up with 5. Maybe just confused after all the comparison shopping I had done before getting the Tenere'. So the Connies, with only 5.6 gallons capacity, should run out before me if we are getting close to the same mileage. And generally we were based on our digital readouts. This issue will come up again, stay tuned.

After fuel it was time for a break, There was a Blake's Lotaburger next door. I went for a strawberry shake.

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And, the fire continued to grow being fed by the fierce winds that had increased as the day wore on. There are no clouds in the sky this day besides the smoke.

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After Silver City we were headed toward Clifton, NM. There was a navigation error, probably from a route recalculation as we were searching for fuel around Mimbres, that caused us to miss the turn north west. This error took us southwest and into the desert. Buy the time the error was realized it was to late to backtrack so we just rode on, all the way to Lordsburg and IH10 before we could turn north toward Clifton. This was by far the absolute worse part of the trip. It added maybe 45 minutes to the route. The bad part was as we dropped out of the mountains into the valley floor the temperature soared to above 100. And the wind picked up to above 30. When we turned north the wind was from the side and gusting. Not really fun but it was over soon enough as we made tracks into Clifton.

More video to upload. To be continued.......
 
Joined
Mar 7, 2006
Messages
248
Location
Santa Fe
Cool report Bruce. Waiting for more posts.



[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10N2qQu_nGM&feature=player_embedded"]Bunny Eating Popcorn - YouTube[/ame]
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 2 cont.

After fighting the heat and the crosswinds of the desert we started the climb to elevation on US191, aka The Devil's Highway, aka The Coronado Trail Scenic Byway. The road got it's name from it's former designation as US666. The old town of Clifton, AZ is at the start of the highway. The town is in a narrow valley and only a few blocks wide at the widest point. An interesting feature is the railroad that runs trough town. The main street crosses back and forth across the tracks several times. We stopped here to fill up with gas and refreshments. At 1:10 in the video you can catch a glimpse of the old jail, next to the locomotive, that was carved into the rock wall. The cells were below street level with only one way in/out.



As we proceed up 191 on further up the hill is the newer part of Clifton that includes a modern hotel/casino. Then the headquarters for the open pit mining operation, where we stop at the traffic light. Dave had to stop at the end of this segment because a spider had gotten into his jacket and was attacking him. A couple bites out of his chest. :eek2:



As you move up the hill you get some great views of the open pit mine. The Morenci Mine



Past the mine, the curves get tighter and the drop offs get higher as we climb in elevation.



Sorry about the dust on the screen in that last one. :doh:
Here is a chart of the ride up US191 showing elevation change from 3500 - 9500 feet.

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Up on top the road opens up into a high open ridge.



We had to stop at his photogenic old corral for a few pics.

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The smoke from the Gila fire is still visible in the background. From on top the highway winds it's way back down through nice sweeping turns until you reach the town of Alpine. Evacuated last year during their big fire, there was still a lot of resentment from locals towards the forest service who wanted to burn everything in the fires path. The local FD Chief and the county Sheriff were able to keep the back fires out of the town and the immediate area but the hills around show the fire damage, all backfires set by the US Forest Service. One of the backfires is evident on the hill to the left in the next photo. We met this local guy diving a near original M38A1; the tires/wheels are not stock. Check out the mechanical winch on front and the jumper cable connection in front of the passenger door.

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From Alpine it was short 15 minutes down to Springerville, AZ. After shopping around a bit we settled on Reed's Lodge on the east side of town. The lady behind the desk had a story about her father having regular card games with John Wayne who spent a lot of time at his ranch nearby. He would ride into town on his horse and most of the time stayed sober enough to ride back. One night he started back and stopped at another hotel down the street after realizing he couldn't make it home.

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And, Reed's Lodge is directly across the street from the best food in town; Booga Red's. One of our regular stops out west. 10% discount if staying at the lodge. ;-)

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We got two rooms. Perry and I had the "Cowboy Golf" room. Bikes out front and golf art on the walls inside. Nice place.

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We logged 488 miles for the day which isn't bad considering the 95 miles of US191. One calculation had reported 2,200 curves in that section from Clifton to Springerville. Maybe. I'm not going to try to figure it out.

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Next; Day 3 into Utah.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 3......finally

I must first apologize to anyone trying to follow this report as it is being written. I am new to the whole video online world. I was relying a lot on the mounted video camera to show and tell the story of our ride. It is taking FOREVER to upload some of these videos. I must try using a different setting on the camera for sharing online stuff. I was able to figure out a way to save as a different type of file for a faster upload but it is still taking longer than expected. I promise, next trip, I will stop for more photos and rely less on the video. I have been uploading almost non-stop for the past week trying to get everything ready to go. One that was critical for the 3rd day failed so I had to reload this morning :doh:. I think we are ready to proceed.

The third day on the road dawned bright and clear if not just as windy as the second day. Our bikes gained a companion in the lot.

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And I was able to get a shot of this van that we had seen a couple times previous. Not exactly my favorite way to haul a bike but it seemed to work OK.

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After a good breakfast at Booga Red's we continued north on US191. The wind blowing at about 20 from the west. Noticeable but not too bad. Let's go....



As we traveled north we got into the Navajo Nation. If you never been you will be surprised by the beauty of the area. Lots of terrain changes with rock outcroppings. We saw a lot of native foot traffic and even the occasional rider on horseback.

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A couple examples of the scenery.....

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Eventually we crossed the border into Utah. And we had to stop for photos.

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If you never been riding with several bikes; this is the scene when the group stops for photos. Everyone carries cameras these days.

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Some have the need to explore the area off the road. I aint saying what they were looking for. ;-)

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And then there are photos for Facebook. You have to share with FB Friends while you are on your journey. Sometimes it takes a couple shots to get one worthy of the social network. :-P

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That's no good, try another.

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There. That'll do.

Continuing north we made a slight detour into Blanding, UT for fuel and a bit of lunch. This stop ended up taking nearly 90 minutes; not exactly Iron Butt pace but hey, we are on vacation. Right? Back on the bikes and back on track we took UT95 west into the canyon lands. Started to increase in elevation and the scenery factor increased as well.

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Long vistas from the high areas.

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We blew past the entrance to Natural Bridges National Monument; I saw the sign anyway. There's an excuse to go back if I've ever heard one. :trust: Then started to descend into the canyons. Lot's of rock formations along the highway. This rock was called Hat Box, or Cake Box. I can't recall. It's the little round pointy one in the center of the photo.

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As we got closer to Glen Canyon the rocks became more spectacular and the ravines became deeper. We rolled across a bridge, made a u turn and parked for some photos and taking in the view. In a word; spectacular.

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Sometimes you have to work at it a little to get the right angle for a good shot.

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The result....

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. There is no way I could take enough pictures as we rode through to capture the beauty of this place. So take a little time and watch the video of our transit. It's worth it. Don't forget the full screen option. ;-) I enjoyed watching it again as I was posting this. I could have done some editing but I though it worth while to keep the whole thing intact.



At 10 minutes into the video you will see how to get shots like these....

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These guys are still learning. :-P

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From there we went through Capitol Reef National Park. We went through so fast I didn't get a single photo and did not turn on the video camera. Another reason to go back. We made the hop over the mountains and dropped into the valley that holds Richfield, UT where we stopped at Walmart for some supplies and partook of some Chinese buffet. The shadows were getting long as we approached our spot for the night, Monroe, UT. Specifically Mystic Hot Springs.

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We paid our fees and set up camp on the "lawn".

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Once settled in we changed and went for soak. The hot water from the spring felt wonderful. The facilities were quite run down. The swimming pool had been drained and there were trees growing out of the bottom. But, the people were friendly. The wind was still blowing hard but I slept well after the soak in the hot springs.

For the day: 533 miles.

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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Day 4

We rose with the sun and the wind was still blowing; hard. A quick check on the smart phones showed forecast 30 mph with gusts to 40+. The chance for rain had also been increased for the next morning. The decision was to cancel our second night at the springs and refunds were obtained. Dave and Sean decided to soak in the hot springs one more time then head to Tooele, UT where Dave had out hotel reservations for the weekend. Perry and I opted to go see some more scenery. So, we broke camp before breakfast and loaded up the bikes. We would go check out Bryce Canyon National Park the head north to Tooele, hopefully arriving before dark.
We had to go back to Richfield to find a restaurant since Monroe had nothing open. After breakfast Perry and I headed south, into the wind, in search of scenic roads. The rough plan was to visit Bryce than circle to the west on a road he found on his phone to make a loop of about 200 miles. Then make the run north to Tooele which would add another 120 or so.

The wind was mostly out of the southwest. So for the first hour and a half it was on our right quarter at about 45 degrees from head on. We rode US89 into the mountains. We came across a real cattle drive......



Here is another video showing the scenery along US89. Around the 5 minute mark you get to see the instability caused by a gust of wind as I come around the corner. :eek2:



Along the way we passed The Rock Candy Mountain.



We stopped for fuel in Panguich then turned east onto Scenic Byway 12. First on the list for scenery is Red Canyon. The source of the name is obvious.

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The ride into Bryce Canyon National Park is a ride down and back, no loop. At the entrance is the "village" then a nice entrance sign to grab a few pictures. Some other tourists did the honors.

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At the sign we met a rider from Australia on a Tenere' 660. :thumb: He had shipped the bike to Santiago, Chile and had ridden up from there. A BMW couple with all the official riding gear and ADV stickers was talking to him non-stop but he seemed more interested in something on his phone. He would answer a question with one or two words. We moved on as he seemed preoccupied. I bet he gets hammered with question from every rider he meets along the way.

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The road is along a ridge line with Bryce to the east and national forest to the west.



Since all of the vistas are on the east side of the road, we rode to the end and came back up stopping at all the turnouts. Here are the photos in no specific order.

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Facebook again....

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In between the vistas and the village was an area of fire damaged forest. Big fire up here last year.



On the way out through the village....



I had been creating the route on the fly using the GPS. The route we had seen on the phone earlier involved a loop back up to US89. I was supposed to turn left coming out of the park. I turned right. for some reason that I couldn't figure out the Zumo kept trying to get me to turn around. I kept recalculating as we rode east on Scenic Route 12 and the mileage kept getting larger and larger. We rode on, it was a scenic route after all. We rode through Kodachrome Basin and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park. A couple of videos to show the scenery.







We eventually came back out on UT24 in Capitol Reef Park. We went WAY farther out of the way than we had planned but the detour was well worth it. Now we took the most direct route to the hotel. 24 to IH15 to IH80.

The Oquirh Motor Inn. Pronounce like ocre.

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For the day: 499 miles.

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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
3 days at the track

We spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Miller Motorsports Park a few miles west of Tooele, UT. On the schedule were World Superbike, AMA Superbike, AMA Supersport, and AMA Harley XR1200 series racing. Saturday the predicted rain had set in with wind at around 20-30 and temperatures in the low 40's.

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Once we got to the track we just left our rain riding gear on. We popped up into the closest grandstand to watch a couple practice runs. They just put on rain tires and get after it. We would wander from one grandstand to another so we could get the feel of the different views and try to decide where to sit on race day. We hit the vender area in between grandstands (behind the main grandstand with reserved seats and pit garages). I wanted to visit Yamaha and get a ballcap to keep the rain of my glasses. Guess which bike was getting the most attention at the Yamaha tent. :trust:

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The crowd was small with the weather so not problem walking around and seeing everything. Some cool bikes were set up on display. One that I particularly like was this BSA Scrambler the early '70's IIRC. It looked brand new.

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The Utah National Guard was there on a recruiting mission as well as the Marines and Air Force. We got to climb in, on and around this big beast.

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Hats off the guys that ride in these things loaded down with all the gear they have to carry. There is not much extra space in there. I barley fit in the driver's position, pretty small space. Perry's legs are a little shorter so he had a better fit.



One well informed Specialist gave us an indepth tour of this bad boy too. Tracked 155 Howitzer.

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This was a nice recruiting tool although I would not want to ride it very far. An Orange County Chopper creation; more artwork than ridable motorcyle but nice anyway.

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As we made our way to the next grandstand for another practice session we walked through the garage area. I caught this shot for all you fans of the orange.

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Mustang GT Pace Car

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And a machine with winning potential. :-P

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This is how to warm up a Suzuki GSXR.



We sat in the Turn 1 grandstand for a while, facing directly into the wind. It was COLD! Here is the view as the bikes rode around.

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195+ mph down the straight then hard on the brakes into the turn.

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This shows the wind and the bike speeds.



There was a medic chopper on stand by for all track sessions.

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To try another place we walked back through the garages and the vendors and took up seats in the Clubhouse turns. These are "S" turns that lead up to the straight. Pretty good view of most of the track from here.

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This guy and two of his brothers had taken up residency in the rafters. They stayed the entire time we were there.

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We walked back by the bikes and picked up winter gloves. My hands were about frozen by now.

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Our last stop for this day would be the grandstand for Tooele Turn, the southernmost part of the track. The big bonus here was the wind was at out back so the stands shielded us somewhat and it wasn't so cold. Quite comfortable with all the rain gear on.

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Sunday started pretty much the same way; cold, cloudy and light rain.

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But even as we got to the track the clouds started breaking up. We still had the wind but the rain went away for most of the day. This is the bike parking area being staffed by CMA. They are a great bunch of folks and provided hot coffee and some really good homemade sweet rolls. :clap:

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The weather from the previous day left a nice dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains.

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And we started at the south end of the track with our backs to the wind.

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Nearby, Dodge had set up a display and demo of this year's car lineup. The main feature of the display was a drifting demo using a Super Bee Charger. Free rides. :clap:



Perry and I signed up and went for a ride. I don't know how to imbed a Facebook video. And it left my phone as soon as it was uploaded on to FB. :doh: I hate FB at times. You will have to take my word for it; it was really cool.

On to the garage area there was more action than yesterday.

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KLR?

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And we happened to walk by when the only girl racing this weekend was posing for some snaps. Melissa, can't recal last name. Look it up if you must know.

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Dave was wanting to do an oil change so we spent some time here trying to get a deal on some oil.

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they had a nice old Bultaco.

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There was one race on Sunday among the practice and qualifying sessions. The AMA Harley's took to the track towards the end of the day. They run good but are about 20 seconds per lap slower than the sport bikes.



The highlight of Sunday was our chance to do a couple laps around the track. Sean had bought us all the tickets. THANK YOU SEAN. It was pretty cool. Keep in mind, they called this a "parade" lap. We did the best we could under the rules.



The scooter guy kept trying to pass us but he couldn't hang. :lol2:
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Memorial Day; Race Day

Memorial Day was such a beautiful day it made up for the two previous rain and wind days. Zero wind and temp would climb into the low 70's. I call that perfect.

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One of the neat things about an event like this is the variety of the bikes that show up. Here is one that really stood out from the crowd. An old Kawasaki four with a sidecar in Flying tigers motif.

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Check out those gauges in the sidecar dash.

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We caught the first race from the south stands next to Tooele Turn. Check out the guy taking the short cut coming out of Attitude Turns.



We wandered on over to the paddock area. It was a beautiful day.

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We caught one of the Pit Walks were they allowed us into the main pit area to see the World Superbike garge area. There were two main attractions; the umbrella girls and the bikes. Teh ubrella girls are there to shade the riders before the race so they don't overheat in their leather riding gear. Perry and Dave got in on the action with the girls.

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Dave had to talk his way in. :-P

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But he was accepted anyway.

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More shots from the pits.

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And they had some more races.





WSB



WSB Race 2 from Tooele Turn



There was a crash during lap 3 in Race 2 which brough out the red flag. The race was stopped for nearly an hour and they cleaned up the oil spilled on the track from the cracked case on the bike. This was cut to one commercial break in the TV coverage I saw when I got home. :thumb:



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They finished the race without incident.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Tuesday, May 29. We head for home.

With the racing done we packed up for the trip home. Our team of intrepid riders would split up. Dave got a call from home reminding him he had somewhere to be before the four days we planned on taking to get home, so he and Sean would take the most direct route back while Perry and I would go the scenic route. We would stay in touch and track progress using Google Lattitude on our phones. We left Tooele at 0800 heading east to Colorado. First on IH80 through Salt Lake City. Then south and east on US40 through Heber Valley. We both made notes to come back here later with wives in tow to do more exploring of this area.

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Continuing east on US40 we caught up with a guy on a KTM 990 riding at a leisuely pace. When we reached Strawberry Reservoir we all pulled off at a scenic point and had a conversation.

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We rode together for another hour or so before we stopped for fuel in Roosevelt, UT and he went on. He was going to make Vernal, UT before heading south toward Grand Junction. Soon we were in CO. If you pause around 10 sec you see the sign. It wasn't all that colorful at this point of the trip.



The roads in this part of CO are straight and the scenery pretty boring. Here we had our only encounter with the long arm of Johnny Law. We were rolling along at about 75 gps speed. The limits in this area are 60. :yawn: The law up here are all in either pickups, Tahoes or other large SUV type vehicle and they are mostly white or some other nuetral earth color. With the number of ski racks on top of cars they are hard to spot at any distance. I saw a pickup approaching when all of a sudden the small LED light bar on top lights up for a couple seconds then goes off. As we meet the officer is smiling but pointing down towards his dash. OK, we slowed down to about 70. :rider:

In between Craig and Steamboat Springs we had to stop for about 5 minutes at a construction zone. The scenery was getting better and greener.

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And soon we were rolling into Steamboat and looking for a place for lunch.



The Rio Grande is a great place to grab some tasty Mexican food while in Steamboat. And as a bonus they have rooftop seating so you get a great view.

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We had stopped here before on the first leg of our Continental Divide ride. Still just as good.

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From Steamboat we continued east on US40. Up and over Rabbit Ears Pass; can you spot the ears?

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Then back down the other side towards Kremmling.

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There is a canyon coming into Hot Sulphur Springs, CO that reminded me of being in a full size model train layout. The rock cliffs, the highway, the river and a coal train.

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Near Granby we made the turn north onto US34 to make the climb over Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park. First we rode past Grand Lake.

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Then did some posing in front of the sign.

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A storm was rolling in behind us but never caught up.

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A few photos along the way in the park of snow and elk. Perry stopped first after seeing some snow. Had to take a snow photo. I assured him there would be more.

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A hint of more snow.

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And yes, there was more snow.

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This was about as close to an elk as you can get without getting any on you.

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Now, if you've never been over Trail Ridge Road you can watch the video. Sit back, set for full screen and enjoy the ride as we did.



Our goal for the day was Estes Park. We didn't have any plan on where we would stay. When we arrived we still had about an hour and a half of daylight left so we choose to ride on until close to dark and find a place to camp. So, off we went. Through Estes Park we went south on CO7 past Long's Peak. Easily identified by the notch.

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Then onto CO72 also known as The Peak to Peak Hwy. In Nederland we stopped to confer again. Neither of us were very hungry so we agreed to snack in camp, once we found a spot and got set up. Perry is better at picking camp sights so I pointed him in the right direction and we continued on south on CO72/119 toward Central City. In only a mile or two we saw a sign for Kelly Dahl Campground of the National Parks system. BINGO! Nice place in a good location. We set camp in the twilight and settled in for the night.

For the day; i'll post the miles later since I don't have access to those numbers my office. :doh:

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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
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Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Homeward; Day 2

Miles for the previous day was 541.

Up with the first light I grabbed a photo of camp before we tore it down.

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We loaded up and warmed up and got on the road toward Central City. The morning temperature was 36'F. But with the dry air it only felt like 40 :mrgreen:. It really was quite comfortable, until after a few minutes at 60 mph, then it got pretty chilly. We both have electric heated jacket liners so we never got cold. Mine, however, had developed a serious problem. The night before I had managed to pull the controller cable loose from the attachment point on the jacket so that the controller was hanging by the wires. The controller no longer worked at all. No indicator lights and no on/off or level control. At least it was stuck on high heat so I stayed quite toasty. Hot enough that I had to unplug as soon as we slowed down coming into Central City.

We had a recommendation from the camp host for a casino that served $5.99 prime rib 24/7. :eat: To make sure we were in the right spot we stopped and chatted with the local Fire Chief, who had just moved up from Salida :thumb:, to get confirmation. We arrived at the Red Dolly Casino but were denied. Closed. A guy working out back in the open kitchen door said they don't open until 8 during the week. :doh:

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We continued on over the pass to IH70 and followed the route west. I saw the exit sign for Idaho Springs and remembered several small diners on the main street through town. First place was closed in spite of a couple cars in the lot. They opened at 8 and it was 0730. Next stop was a winner. No pictures but it was classic small town diner. A couple grandma's waiting table. One looked like a sister to the hostess. Great home cooked breakfast with excellent German sausage. :eat: We topped off the tanks with food and then fuel and headed west.

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Before long we were faced with the Eisenhower Tunnel. An unusual sight on Interstate Highways.

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We blew past Dillon Reservoir/Silverthorne/Frisco then turned south on CO91. A mix of mountain views interspersed with mining operations complete with off color retention lakes made this an interesting stretch. Things got better as we reached Leadville and got vistas of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert as we traveled south on US24. The largest mountain and the tallest mountain in CO. I heard one local guide say many years ago that if Mt. Massive was laid out flat that it would be larger than Rhode Island. :shrug: That's pretty massive alright.

Next we arrived at my, and my wife Sandy's favorite place in CO. If money were no object we would have a second house here I think. Twin Lakes, CO. I know of no better view in the state. This is on CO82 west of US24.

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I got me a good desktop photo here.

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A couple miles up the road is the old town of Twin Lakes. Like almost every other high country village it was once a mining community. This one however was know for it's brothel as much as anything else. The preserved brothel, know as Inter-Laken is located across the lake from this spot, hidden behind the wind screen of my bike. It is now an historic preserve.



From the web:
The world-famous Inter-Laken Resort, one of the state's most impressive resorts in the 1880's, once boasted a hotel, hotel annex, tavern, barn and pool hall. Quite notable for its time, the resort also offered a unique sixsided privy with separate room and door for each side reserved for hotel guests. The resort is now maintained by the U.S. Forest Service. The caretakers cabin, the laundry A fifteen-minute drive from Leadville, or hour-long journey during the summer over Independence Pass from Aspen, will take you to a peaceful world of pristine mountain landscapes. The Historic Village of Twin Lakes, once busy as a mountain transportation hub between Aspen and Leadville during the gold rush days, was described in 1885 as the most charming summer mountain resort in Colorado. More than a century later, Twin Lakes still retains its charm as a great escape. The Red Rooster Tavern and Brothel is now home to the Twin Lakes Visitors Center. The general store, hotel, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, and vacation homes of the early miners are part of the National Historic Register. The year-round population is less than 50, but you'll find hotels, lodges, cafés, gift shops, kayak and canoe rentals, boat tours and art galleries all within a short walking distance.

Continuing west on CO82 past Twin Lakes will take us over Independence Pass to the stomping grounds of the rich and famous, Aspen. But first we go over the pass. Scenery abounds. :rider:



A photo op at the top where we got some Harley riders from Houston to snap our photos.

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They had trailed to northern New Mexico. Can't blame them too much this time of year.

Then down the west side of the pass.



Aspen is nice but not for me. I prefer the smaller less ritzy towns like Leadville and Bueva Vista. Nice to pass through on the way to somewhere else though. We did that and continued west toward Carbondale on CO82 where we turned south onto CO133.

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At Hotchkiss we turned back to the east on CO92. Passed through Crawford and by the building that was Joe Cocker's restaurant; now up for sale. We stopped at a scenic overlook for photos and a short break. Morrow Point Reservoir.

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While there a couple of guys rode up on some sweet old Goldwings. The better was a pristine '73, IIRC. Spotless, it was a sweet bike.

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Talking to the guys, they were from Montrose just out for a little day ride. They were 72 years young and enjoying life. I elbowed Perry and reminded him that would be us in 20 years, Lord willing. :rider:

The view back toward Montrose, CO.

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West on CO92 the pavement follows the north rim of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. You get an occasional view of the canyon along the way but the road is an excellent ride. Perry proclaimed it as his new all time favorite stretch of asphalt in CO. I don't like to choose favorites, I like too many of them and would hate to cause any jealousies. :-P I had intended to get video of the ride but my Contour Roam camera decided to die after the last video over Independence Pass so y'all are spared another 15 minute video. At the end of the road Perry spotted a dirt road leading up to the bottom of the dam and contemplated how to get there. Maybe another trip. :trust:

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My two equipment issues for the trip were on this day; the electric jacket liner and the video camera. Both have been sent back to the factory. The Contour will be replaced under warranty. Should have a new one by end of this week. The Tourmaster Synergy was returned to Lone Star as the selling dealer. I had contacted Tourmaster via email and described what had happened. Not supposed to happen according to the service rep so they wanted to check it out and determine if it can be repaired or replaced under the 3 year warranty. Their turnaround will be up around 30 days. Good thing it's summer down here but it sure was nice to have on that 36 degree morning in CO.

From the dam of Blue Mesa Reservoir we took US50 east then south onto CO149 toward Lake City.

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On the south side of town there is a wide spot in the switchback going up to Slumgullion Pass. A short trail leads to an over look of Lake San Cristobal.

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A look back toward Lake City.

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Over Slumgullion Pass, named for the landslide that formed Lake San Cristobal, was the spot that was Perry's "must see" for this trip. The Headwaters of the Rio Grande. I blew past it so we had to do a u-turn and go back. :doh:

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The next spot of interest along CO149 is the town of Creede. At the end of main street is the historic mining district. If time permits there are preserved mine building and trails to hike up into the mining areas. Some 4 wheel drive roads take you further back into the mining area. Another place to go back and explore another time. At the entrance to the mining district, on the left is a garage door built into the rock wall. This is the Creede Volunteer Fire Dept. The worlds only fire station blasted out of solid rock. :clap:

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Nobody home so I left a calling card and we went on to get some dinner. My favorite here is the Old Firehouse Bed/Breakfast and Restaurant right in the middle of downtown. In the old firehouse you will find gourmet burgers and chef quality dishes at reasonable prices.

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Our view from the window table.

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Being the middle of the week, before the heavy tourist season, the owner Richard took an interest in us and we had a great conversation about the area and potential camping spots along our route while we dined. He had ridden up on his Harley soft-tail after we had been seated. His family showed up soon after. Cute, well behaved toddlers. Dinner was good. :thumb:

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I'd like to try the B&B upstairs someday. We left our mark on the column just inside the door.

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My hand to the horizon method told me we had about an hour and a half of daylight left so we let out for Pagosa Springs, about 60 miles away. At the next intersection we took US160 west toward the springs. This took us over the summit of Wolf Creek Pass and it's snow sheds/tunnels. :rider:

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Perry had remembered a place north of Pagosa that he had stayed at before, about 15 years before. Hoped he would recognize it and that they were still opened, we would check it out as a potential place for the night. I saw him peel off in my mirror so I u-turned and followed. The High Country Resort. This place was awesome! They gave us a discount and we got a room for the night for $70. :clap: We checked in and within 20 minutes were soaking the hot tub out back as the sun set.

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For the day: 448 miles

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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
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Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Homeward; Day 3

I got some photos of the resort in the morning before breakfast. Three hot tubs and a dry sauna, several cabins to rent out back, and a hill for sledding in the winter.

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Our bikes out in front of our room. Always good to seen them still there in the morning.

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Look for the sign north of Pagosa as you are headed toward Wolf Creek. New mattresses were going in all the rooms as we were staying there. Nice place.

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After breakfast and a quick trip into Pagosa for an ATM we continued south on US84 under clear skies.

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East on US64, which is my favorite way to travel across northern New Mexico. Passed through Chama and on toward Taos we crossed the Rio Grande. The construction on the bridge is almost done and there was no delay.

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Passed Taos we took "The High Road to Taos" only we were going away from Toas, NM518. A very scenic road with curves and nice views along the way. This took us all the way to Las Vegas, NM where we would stop for lunch at one of our regular stops; Hillcrest Restaurant. Classic diner food with great service.

From Las Vegas we went south on US84 and the fun was pretty much over. From here into west Texas the roads are flat and straight and the temperatures climb into the 90's. UGH!. But it's the only way to get home.

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Perry had been keeping a close eye on his rear tire tread. It was wearing faster than expected. We figured it was from the extra load of gear and the extra number of curvy roads. It was wearing pretty thin. In Fort Sumner he saw belts at the gas stop. He made some calls to Clovis and there was a shop with a tire that fit and another in Lubbock. We rode east on US84 toward Clovis, NM.

Every time I have visited Clovis for anything except just passing through I left with a bad taste in my mouth. This stop was no exception. The tire they had was a sport performance tire but it would fit. They had one. Price; $280 installed. No price cut for off the bike. Just $280. :eek2: No thanks. We rode on to Lubbock where they had a similar tire that was in the $180 price range. We got a spot at the KOA for $20. Hot showers and with ear plugs to keep out the highway and train traffic noise I slept like a baby.

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For the day: 488

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Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
Homeward; Day 4

Up early again. we found some breakfast and were at Family Powersports at 0830 before they opened at 9. They let us in and got to work on changing Perry's rear rubber.

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Not much left. Normal wear is 10K but only got about 6.5 out of this one.

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We spent the time looking at everything in the showroom, sitting on every bike they had in stock and chatting with other customers. By 1000 they were done and Perry was a happy rider again. :rider:

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And once again we were riding into the head wind from the south east as we made our way back to Austin. I chose the route south at Sweetwater on 153 toward Coleman. Why? I dunno. I was in the mood for that route. We have taken all the alternates and they are pretty close to the same. And this gets us off the interstate sooner. We rode through the windpower farm on the ridge.

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I knew the wind was killing my fuel mileage. We talked at Winters and decided to go for Coleman. It would be close. Too close. About 2 miles west of Coleman the Super Tenere' sputtered to a stop. I waved Perry on and pulled in the clutch to coast as far as I could. About 15 minutes later Perry pulled up holding a 2 gallon gas can in his lap. :clap:

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One more reason to always ride with a partner. ;-) It's like they are a machine or something. Gotta feed 'em.

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The owner of the 7/11 in Coleman had loaned Perry the can. We filled up and thanked him several times for his generosity. Stop there if you are in the area. He earned our business from now on. The rest of the ride home wan uneventful. we arrived around 5. In time for a shower and dinner at Serrano's. Really, I had gone 11 days without proper Mexican food or a Margarita. :eat:

My tire fared well even though it is squared off. About 5600 miles on the OEM rear. Still some tread left but there was no chicken strip left. :rider:

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It was another great trip. This trip was only possible due to Sandy taking vacation to stay home with my father while I went gallivanting about. Thank you Sandy! You get one when you want to take it.

Thanks to Perry for another great adventure. And, thanks to Dave for the original idea. And Sean. I'd ride with you guys again.

I neglected to mention that Dave had a radiator leak on the way home and was stuck in Ft. Stockton for several hours while his wife ran out there with his truck/trailer to haul his bike home. She's a saint.

Thanks for reading and sharing our journey. :clap:
 
Joined
Feb 29, 2008
Messages
24
Location
Texas
Awesome report Bruce! Still waiting on a radiator and money from insurance since the dealer (service manager backed by store director) was too stupid to realize that a leak from the back side of a radiator is pretty much an obvious warranty item UNLESS they can prove or show just how a "rock" or projectile can travel 26 extremely indirect inches to a spot directly behind one of the electric fans and hit the radiator so hard to actually bend the crosstube. The leaking area is a small fracture or hair-line crack. Keep in mind this radiator is PRISTINE on both the front and back side thanks to the guard I installed from day 2. If there had been even ONE tiny impact mark on the rear side of this radiator I would have digressed to their opinion. My former-professional opinion (as a factory-trained line tech, warranty specialist, service advisor and service manager for 12 years) is that the assembler at the factory nicked the radiator with a tool and decided not to stop the line for another radiator. So 23 months and 29,878 miles later the vibrations/heat/cold cycles finally cause a crack. These modern aluminum radiators are marvels of engineering for their lightness but can't say much for their durability.

Even with this hickup I got back to the ponderosa in time to take care of the details that couldn't wait.

Not sure where to go next but methinks west Texas has more to be seen in the fall. :rider:
 
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Joined
Feb 13, 2008
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4,622
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Jennings,La.
Nice trip and pictures. Trip of a lifetime. My favorite memory of Pagosa is forgetting my laptop out on the sidewalk while moving my bike out in the sun to pack. Didn't noticed I had forgot it till Santa Fe, N.Mex that evening. Called the guy at First Inn of Pagosa Springs and he told me he was looking at it on his desk and fixing to call my home phone. I gave him my Credit Card number and he mailed it to me. Forever having me as a costumer Anytime I'm close to there.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
8,233
Location
Between a Rock and a weird place, Pflugerville, TX
I do need to go back and spend some more time in Pagosa Srpings. I here it is mainly populated by Texas ex-pats anyway. More in the summer months. I know a couple of guys that have homes up there that they rent out when they aren't using them. Another spot to look at for retirement. :trust:
 
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