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Ride the Western Trans America Trail 2015

#1
Hello. My name is Bruce and I have an addiction. I love visiting remote parts of the country and I love getting there by motorcycle; a.k.a. adventure riding. This addiction became evident in 2007 with the purchase of my first dual sport motorcycle; a 1983 Honda XL600R. My riding buddies quickly named it the Honda Davidson as parts tended to vibrate lose and develop oil leaks while we were riding. My initiation into adventure riding took place at the very first Texas Adventure ride in 2007. That wasn't enough to satisfy my new addiction so I started planning my own rides and searching for routes that challenged and satisfied my addiction. My first ride of my own was near Leakey, TX on the dirt roads mingled among the Twisted Sister. We called them the Dirty Triplets. I lost the love of the old Honda after receiving a sprained ankle on the kick start only beast. I caught my toe on the foot peg while kicking down. My fault for bad technique and not wearing proper boots but the damage was done and the love was lost. Next I tried a 1985 Triumph Tiger. After a single trip to Big Bend I learned quickly that big heavy bikes have their place and deep sandy places are not were they belong. So, I began searching for a better fit for my addiction. I began reading ride reports on ADVRider.com to see what others were using for their adventures. Might as well try to learn from others experience, right? This is how I was introduced to the Trans America Trail (TAT) and how I settled on the Suzuki DRZ400 as the bike that I would use to get through the challenges of those remote places. So, this trip has been on the list of rides to do since early 2008 when I spent the first months of that year pouring over ride reports. Many rides have come first but this one was always looming large as the one I had to do. All the others have really been preparation for this. The ride was completed from September 14-October 30.

My partner in crime for this event is Perry; a.k.a. the Nomadicfireman. He was with me on the first adventure ride in 2007. In fact if I recall correctly it was he who named the Honda Davidson. He helped me pick up the Tiger every time she went down in Big Bend. He rode the Great Divide Route with me. And we have been on many fantastic trips to Big Bend as well as many road trips. This trip would not have happened without his eagerness to go along.

Many have contributed to this effort and I'd like to thank them before I start the report:
My wife Sandy for understanding and supporting me in coping with my addiction.
Perry's family for letting him go away for an undetermined amount of time whenever I have a crazy idea for a ride. His son Jacob for helping with mechanic info when it was needed.
My niece Lindsey, and her in-laws Bob and Tina, for letting us park the hauler in front of their house.
Scott, a.k.a. M38A1, for babysitting the SPOT tracker; ready to assist as needed and rallying the help when it was needed.
Erik, a.k.a. E.Marquez whose mechanic expertise probably saved the trip.
The people who started Two Wheel Texans and ADVRider.com who are responsible for my addiction. Thank you!
Sam Carrero for pioneering the TAT
The many people who have ridden the TAT before and shared their adventure on the motorcycle forums.

So, let's get on with it! Thanks to all of you readers in advance for your patience as I struggle through the photo processing and writing of this report.
 
#2
Getting started

The plan: Ride approximately 2,200 miles of dirt to the Pacific Ocean.



The trip really started early this year when I approached Perry with the proposal. I was nervous bringing it up as it is quite a big commitment of time and money. He accepted with little hesitation. Prepping the bikes for a trip like this is a serious undertaking. New tires and tubes (spare tubes), new chain and sprockets, a spare for everything that could break (cables, levers, bolts, bulbs, etc.), and checking every bolt and connector to make sure things are tight and secure.

We would start the ride in Colorado Springs and ride west to meet up with the TAT east of Salida, CO. My plan was to ride from sunrise to sunset to make the most of every day so we would carry camping gear. Many have done the TAT while staying in hotels. But this ties your day to the towns with hotels. Depending on challenges along the way you may loose riding time by having to stop early. Since Perry was using vacation I wanted to take full advantage of the daylight. So we would get up with the first light and start looking for a camp spot about an hour before sunset. From my research I allowed 14 days riding west from Colorado Springs and 3 days for the return trip. I allowed a couple of days for unforeseen issues. With a couple days hauling the bikes each way from Austin to Colorado Springs we had 3 weeks.

I retired from the Austin Fire Department in May so our start day depended on Perry's work schedule. He had to work a shift of overtime on 9/13 so we loaded the bikes on the trailer on the 12th so we could leave ASAP when he got off work on the 14th.

The bikes loaded and ready to go.



Everyone was anxious and waiting for Perry to get home so we could go.



We were able to get on the road north to Colorado by 1 PM. We drove as if it were an Iron Butt ride only stopping for fuel. We traded driving duties with each stop to avoid fatigue and made Clayton, NM around 10 PM. We had called ahead and reserved a cabin at the former KOA that is now just Clayton RV Park. At about $45 it was less than half the cost of the hotels there and was quite comfortable. The next morning we were greeted by a wonderful sunrise to start the day.







We stopped for breakfast at the Denny's in Raton, NM. Maybe we were both real hungry because we both agreed it was very good. We make the climb up Raton Pass and were in Colorado by about 9:30 AM.



I've always loved making the crest of Raton and seeing the mountains off in the distance. It just says welcome.



A couple of hours later we were parked in Colorado Springs at the house of Bob and Tina who graciously allowed us to park there for however long it took to get back.



My niece, Lindsey, made the arrangements with her in-laws and met us there on her lunch break.



It wasn't the plan, well there wasn't much of a plan, but since we still had half a day we decided to get on with it and hit the trail. It took about an hour to unload the bikes, load up and gear up and we were ready to go! Me on the right and Perry on the left.



We got moving about 12:30. We rode across Colorado Springs the the southwestern part of town near Cheyenne Mountain. We passed the Broadmoor resort and connected with the Old Stage Road. Winding through the neighborhood it starts to climb up from the town. And just like that we were on the dirt.



View of Colorado Springs from up on the mountain.



Old Stage Rd. turns onto Gold Camp Rd. and provides an easy start to the trip that allowed us to get the feel of the dirt again. It is very different than riding on paved roads as the bike moves much more underneath the rider. The road follows and old railroad route as do many of the back-country roads in Colorado.





We got back on pavement just before Victor, CO.





After Victor and Cripple Creek we had about a 30 mile run to Guffey on pavement before we would get back on the dirt. This is where we connected with the TAT.



We rode through the hills north of Salida...



and made it just in time for supper at my favorite pizza place. Amica's



I wont' post a picture of every meal; only the ones that were exceptional. And pizza at Amica's is always very good. Possibly the best I've ever had. They are also a brewery and they have a green chile ale that is amazing and goes very will with the pepperoni/sausage pie.



We had a just enough daylight left to continue on toward Marshall Pass and our first camp sight. The first day was only about 140 miles but we were on the way and that was great!.



Tomorrow: 8 Passes!
 
Last edited:
#14
Day 2: 8 Passes

We spent the night at a nearly new campground located a few miles off the highway on the Marshall Pass Rd. or CR 200. It can't be more than a couple years old as the landscape timbers still had that new from the lumber yard look to them. The place was called O'Haver Lake. Since we are usually racing darkness setting up our camp you will get to see the photos the following morning. A little pricey for primitive camping at $20 but a very nice spot.



It was pretty cool. My cheap button thermometer was registering around 45* so we bundled up and headed up the pass. We had broken clouds which got thicker as we neared the top. They would often form along the ground resembling smoke which gave a first impression of a fire.



It took about half an hour to make the summit of Marshall Pass; #1 :rider:



And looking west; some clouds to the north and on the horizon.



From the summit we descend towards Sargents, CO and the Tomichi Creek Trading Post. We both had plenty of fuel and no need to stop so we continued on. A bit of backtracking on US 50 then north toward a bit of a loop through another pass. The final hay harvest for the winter was in full swing. Most get at least two, sometimes three cuttings in these valley pastures.



There was pavement up until the large ranch complex that ran the valley then we were back on dirt. The road twisted up the hillside winding it's way through an aspen grove to the summit of Blacksage Pass; #2.



The other side went into a large park that was private land. Public road but all the surrounding land was private property. We had to slow down and always proceeded slowly through the groups of cattle that seem to like to hang around the roadway.



The big cows mostly just stare as we ride by. You have to watch the young ones. They don't know what we are and are unpredictable as to which way they will run. They will wait until you are close, maybe 20 feet, then bolt in whatever direction their instinct tells them. So go slow and then maneuver around them was the plan that always works. We also tried to avoid making them run. The ranchers appreciate that as it doesn't stress them :zen:.

The trail loops back to the south then crosses US 50. For about 30 miles we were on well maintained dirt about 40 feet wide; smooth and fast. Most of the back-country roads were comfortable at 20-30 mph except for the really rocky sections of the high passes, they were first gear climbs. This particular section was really fun at 60 mph. This continued after crossing CO 114 for a while then slowed down to the usual pace; 20-30 in second or third gear. It was in this section that we met several riders out for a day trip. The first help up 4 fingers, meaning 4 riders following. The second help up 3 fingers and so on. The last rider held up a clenched fist meaning the last one. A great way to communicate so you know what is coming down the trail at you.

More lovely scenery as we headed generally southwest.



We came back onto the highway at the summit of Slumgullion Pass; #3.

There is a downhill ride of several miles into Lake City. I've read of some riders being low on fuel and coasting into town. I don't know about that. We had plenty of fuel and just enjoyed the twisty downhill pavement. It was about 1100 or so and we had been just snacking on trail food so it was time for a meal. We stopped at this place; Poker Alice. I had read about it in reports and had been by on several road trips over the years but had never stopped.



These stops are always good opportunities to interact with local folk and are a fun part of any trip. We placed our order; I believe we ordered the same calzones and claimed a booth. While Perry was taking care of some personal business ;-) a guy walks in and sits in the booth next to ours and facing me. He asks is we were out riding passes and I tell him were we have been and were we were headed. He asks where we were from and I replied. He asks if we had heard of this forum. Well, yeah and he tells me his is Scott; a.k.a. Tourmeister the owner and founder of Two Wheel Texans! Well, small world isn't it? What an amazing encounter. Of all the folks to run into on a trip I never would have imagined this. He was vacationing with his family. We had a great time with Scott and his family visiting with them. Had to take photos.



A great lunch and pleasure meeting Scott and his family. But time to get back on the trail.
 
#15
Day 2: 8 Passes cont.

After lunch we continued on the TAT heading generally west winding our way through mountain valleys headed towards the high passes. You can see from these shots how the aspens had started turning at higher elevations.





It takes exposure to a freeze to start the leaves turning. So, higher elevation and trees that are exposed to the wind get to change first. The process continues as the fronts move through until the winds has blown all the leaves off the branches. I love this time of year in the mountains.



As we climb in altitude the road gets narrower and a bit rougher.



The rub is that we are so concentrated on not making mistakes, and not being able to stop in the steepest roughest parts without much difficulty in getting moving again, you only get to see the pictures of some of the better road conditions. If you stop in the middle of a switchback, of which there are many and they are usually steep, you may have to go back down to be able to get momentum to get through it. Remember, it is always steeper and rougher than the pictures show. ;-) Then we made the summit.

Cinnamon Pass; number 4. 12,640 feet.



The bikes seemed to be handling the elevation pretty good. My DRZ was having trouble idling but not anything I couldn't deal with. The vistas are, of course, amazing.





The road goes down this valley towards Animas Forks.



Animas Forks



Animas Forks was populated from 1873 into the early 1920's when precious metals prices fell sharply. The Gold Prince Mill was built in 1904 with a price tag of $500,000 making it the most costly mill of it's time. The mill had 100 stamps and processed 500 tons of ore each day. It was connected to the Gold Prince Mine by a cable tramway 12,000 feet long that brought the ore to the mill in buckets. The mill only operated for 6 years. It was built with structural steel instead of the normal timber construction and was later salvaged to build the Sunnyside mill in Eureka in 1917.







We could go into many of the houses. "Enter at your own risk." This one had indoor plumbing.



This had quite a view from the front bay window.







The above property actually had a for sale sign next to it and a modern cabin on the hillside behind it. Off The Grid of course.

After our sightseeing stop we continued west up California Gultch.

The summit of California Pass; #5 12,960 feet





Down the other side to the next pass.



Hurricane Pass; #6 12,730 feet.



I took a shot of the sign but Perry said his bike wanted to be up there behind it so I took this one.

Another breathtaking view around every corner.



This was from a wide pullout at the summit of the next pass.
Corkscrew Pass; #7.



Heading down from Corkscrew Pass.



After taking this photo as I was riding down I took my first tumble of the trip. The road is narrow, varying from 7-10 feet maximum width. And remember the roads are always steeper than they look in the photos. After making this corner there was a white Jeep Unlimited crawling up the road. The general rule is that uphill traffic has the right of way so they can keep their momentum. The secondary rule is the rule of gross tonnage; the bigger less maneuverable vehicle has the right of way. So I did my best to make room for him to pass; I stopped at the inside edge of the path as close as I could to the drainage ditch leaving him plenty of room to pass. Problem: he would not move any closer to the edge. He had at least two feet of road but he stayed square in the middle with a white knuckle grip on the wheel and wide eyes glaring at me. So I tried to move over more into the rocky ditch to help him out. When I did this my front wheel, which was carrying most of the weight of the bike due to the downhill slope, got tangled in the rocks and I fell over into the road. I was able to wrestle the bike back up in the ditch and the guy rolled by barley missing my left handlebar and still not using any more room on the opposite side. He wouldn't even look at me as he rolled by and I mentioned through his open window that he had 2 extra feet of room on his right. I climbed back on, not easy facing downhill in the ditch, and continued on. Perry told me later he had Texas plates. :lol2: A rookie flat-lander. :-P

At the end of this trail we got on the pavement and soon made another summit.

Red Mountain Pass; #8



I noticed that Perry's headlight wasn't working on the old KLR. We were also getting short on fuel. So, as we rolled down the highway I made a command decision to head on down to Silverton for fuel and to see if he could remedy his headlight issue. It was getting late in the afternoon and I rely on that headlight to make sure he's still back there. We stopped at the gas station on the south side of town, filled up the tanks, and he went to work.



After a bit of poking around under the seat he found the problem. A bit of melting from overheating (he had been using a heated jacket liner) had caused him to loose power to the headlight circuit. This is the little box that holds the fuses.



After scraping the melted goo off the fuse clips and with strategic application of some electrical tape he was back in business.





It was getting late in the day and the clouds were looking a bit dark so we didn't spend too much time getting back to the trail.



When we turned off the highway I saw a couple of folks on bikes that were stopped beside the road so I stopped to check if they were OK. They were fine just had stopped to take a photo. I remember seeing them as we descended Corkscrew and they must have passed us as we made repairs. This is Ed and Rachel who have been traveling from Alaska to Argentina on Honda C90's modified with a 120 cc engine.



I had read about them over on ADVrider.com while doing my research for this trip. An amazing couple with a real spirit of adventure. She started talking and telling stories while he started circling my DRZ giving it a real close look. He mentioned the manual cam chain tensioner and a couple other modifications from stock so I knew he was the mechanic of the pair. He had a bit of an envious look in his eye and would probably trade if I asked. It was great meeting them but light was fading as we had to move on.

Heading west we made another much easier climb to another summit.
Ophir Pass; #9.
Oops I lost count. :doh:



Close up of the sign as it is kinda hard to see in there.





I tried to get a couple of shots to show the scale of the scenery. It's a bit hard to find Perry in the second one. I think he is only a couple of pixels.





We rode down through the town of Ophir (pronounced o fer by the locals :shrug:) and then made a short detour north to Telluride for supper.



Perry was given the assignment of picking a place to eat. We road all the way through town and came back to a place he picked based on the smells coming out as we passed by, a placed called Butchers and Bakers. Turned out to be a small kinda trendy cafe/bar. Probably not many dirty bikers dining here. The waitress treated us like long time loyal customers. And the food was pretty amazing. This is a 1/2 pound angus burger with pepper jack, onion ring and fried egg.



Daylight was fading so we rolled south in search of a campground. The first couple of Forest Service camps were full so we pulled off onto a side road at Trout Lake and started looking. Perry stopped and asked some bicycle riders if they knew of any spots and got a great tip. We made it there before total dark but were setting up camp with headlamps on.

Had we gone just a few miles further we would have bagged another pass; Lizard Head. That would have been 10 for the day. Oh well, can't be greedy. :trust: Nine will go down in the book for this most amazing day.
 
#17
Request

Perry went to the doctor today and found he has a broken fibula (lower leg) that he suffered in a fall in northern Nevada. He finished the trip injured. I'll tell the story later. He has surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning to straighten out the mess. Prayers for a quick and full recovery will be appreciated. Thanks
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
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#18
Re: Request

Perry went to the doctor today and found he has a broken fibula (lower leg) that he suffered in a fall in northern Nevada. He finished the trip injured. I'll tell the story later. He has surgery scheduled for tomorrow morning to straighten out the mess. Prayers for a quick and full recovery will be appreciated. Thanks
:tab Dang Perry! Sorry to hear that but glad the surgery will take care of it! Snoopster just got her cast off for breaking the same bone in her left leg. She followed me down a dirt road that got REAL sandy all of a sudden. He foot got caught under the bike when she went down. Fortunately, no surgery was needed for her, so only four weeks in a cast and then a few more in a walking boot. Hopefully Perry will be that lucky as well. I had to spend 10 weeks in a cast and on crutches the entire time following surgery on my ankle after whacking a deer.

:tab I HIGHLY recommend getting some of those fly swatters that have the twisted metal handles. They are GREAT for scratching/rubbing inside the cast :trust: The rounded off metal won't abrade the skin and is thin enough that if you really try to torque it against the cast to rub extra hard, the handle just bends before you can do any damage to yourself. Just be real careful around the actual incision location. You don't want to mess up the stitches.

:tab I used a trash bag with a heavy rubber band to keep the cast dry when showering. I also wrapped a dish towel around my leg just above the cast and then put the bag over it all. The towel kept any water that got past the bag and rubber band from getting down into the cast. I would also strongly recommend one of those little shower stools. They make life MUCH easier...

:tab Keep the pics coming. You have been getting some great shots!! We did Cinnamon, Engineer, and California Gulch in a jeep the day after seeing you guys. The kids loved it! They got a kick out of that "indoor plumbing" in Animas Forks as well.
 
#21
Day 3; on to Moab, UT

The spot we camped in was far enough off the road that our bikes were hidden by a narrow band of trees. Beyond the trees was a very large meadow with a view of a box canyon to the east. Near the end of the canyon there was a water fall and we could hear the water crashing down the hillside when the wind wasn't blowing. It was an amazing place and the best campsite of the trip.







It was a fairly cold morning and I didn't bother stopping to take a photo of the summit at Lizard Head Pass. I missed the turn off for the trail as I had not zoomed in close enough on the Zumo. The trail almost ran parallel to the highway for several hundred feet before a switchback as it climbed the hillside. Good road except for in a couple places there were washouts with warning signs. Easy enough for us to get through. However someone wasn't so lucky.



I had missed that but Perry told me about it when I stopped to take this photo. A very nice morning.



Good roads meant we were making good time as we rode through the Black Mesa area of CO. It was late morning when we arrived in Dove Creek, CO. I'd say it was around 1030 but don't know for sure. We rode through the town and fill gas tanks on the far side. Then rode back to a place I had spotted as we came through that had potential for a good brunch. The Dinner Bell.





Not very large but was a good choice. I ordered an omelet and Perry order a dish that was literally called "A plate of crap". Basically everything in the kitchen scrambled in 3 eggs. He LOVED it!



After eating we were milling around the bikes and I noticed something missing from my Zumo. The lowest button was gone! And the one above it was cracked around the rubber seal and fixin' to go away.



Well, I guess after about 8 years of dual sport abuse it was finally falling apart. Being the superb mechanic that I am :rofl: I whipped out the duct tape and made a repair to last the rest of the trip.



It sealed the hole with the circuit board exposed and held all the remaining buttons in place just fine.

We rode north out of town and then turned west towards the mountains in the distance. We could definitely tell we were leaving Colorado.



But those mountains were just teasing us. After about 15 miles we turned north to head towards some other mountains as the road changed from dirt to old patchy asphalt and back to dirt again.



And once again we turned away to some other mountains off in the distance.



This time we were rewarded with getting ride up into the hills.





The dirt road was pretty smooth so I blew right past another trail that I was supposed to divert to. Following tracks there are no voice prompts like there are on normal routes so if you aren't zoomed in close enough it's easy to miss a turn. And this turn was onto an ATV trail so it wasn't even an actual road. Those are my excuses. Anyway it wasn't too bad until it went up a hill. ATVs tend to dig more ruts and holes in hills than bikes do so it became challenging. And, I failed to meet the challenge about half way up. I bounced around in the rut an the bike pitched sideways and "I had to lay her down". I really didn't have a choice. Anyway, it was fall number 2 for me. She was laying downhill but we managed to get her upright before any photos were taken. First looking up.....



then looking down the hill.



I rolled back down the hill a bit and made another run at it with success. Then it was Perry's turn. He made it without much trouble after I showed him how to do it and how not to do it ;-)





We finished that trail and got back on the road to ride around the north side of the range and through Geyser Pass. We decided it should be pronounced "geezer" since we were able to make it. From there it was downhill towards Moab. Great view s from the mountainside.



As we got lower in the valley the road was more gravelly with stretches of sand. Nothing too bad....yet. And the vegetation started getting more like desert.





A selfie for Facebook...





And we were in Moab. We rode all the way through town from south to north to the Slickrock Campground. I hadn't made any reservations and asked at the desk about tent spaces. The guy gave us a map showing open spots and said they were all $26 dollars a night. OK We went and picked one. This one.



It's a double site. Back at the office we told the lad our choice and he says "oh that's a double". Perry said "You said they were ALL $26, right?" And he said "I sure did". So we got the double for the price of a single for 2 nights. :clap: We cleaned up and were ready to go find some dinner. Perry had spotted a place he was interested in on the way through town. So he led us up the hillside road to this place.





Great view of the town from our table.



I tried the local brew.



Pretty good. And dinner was very good. Perry had a steak and I had some Idaho trout. We arrived early so we were done before sunset and got back to camp before dark. But the trip was starting to wear on us and we had no problem getting to sleep early. We would be up with the sun for a long, hot day tomorrow.

231 miles for the day.

 
M

mr-roboto

#22
The folks you met look interesting. I would like to see them do Black Bear Pass on those rigs. Although several folks have done it on a Tenere.



Nice report!
 
#27
Day 4; White Rim Trail

We knew this would be a long day. The White Rim Trail is a 106 mile loop road in Canyonlands National Park. With the road miles going and coming from Moab the total for the day would be 140. It doesn't sound like much until you are out there. ;-) Here is the plan for the day.....



It looks easy enough. We started with a full breakfast at the local Denny's. It was the closest restaurant to the campground and our breakfast in Raton was still bringing good memories. And, it was really good. They have a meat lover's omelet with bacon, ham, chorizo, onion and bell peppers covered with pepper jack queso that is quite good. :eat: With hash browns and toast it got us off to a great start. We would eat trail snacks throughout the day and get back in the early afternoon. I left my fuel petcock on and my bike was flooded when time to start. :doh: The bowl float valve is sticking open so if I forget to shut off the fuel the cylinder fills with fuel. The starter isn't strong enough to pump out the fuel so we end up pushing it to get her going. Nice start to the ride. So we got to riding about 0830. We head north out of Moab then follow Hwy 279 along the Colorado River finally turning north onto Long Canyon Rd.



The road goes for a mile of real good road then starts following the creek bed before beginning the climb up Pucker Pass to get up to the mesa that is the Island in the Sky.



Pucker Pass is appropriately named because the farther up we climb the higher the "pucker factor". There was one flat spot where I could stop and take this photo.



This was pretty cool to ride through.



Then we just popped out on top and had a couple of miles of straight flat road before turning toward the visitor center to take care of entry fees and to get our back-country permits. The turn off to White Rim Trail is before the visitor center but after the entry gate. Permits are required and the rangers do spot checks so get your papers if you go. :deal:



Even the view from the visitor center parking lot is pretty good.



We take the turn onto Shafer Canyon Rd and then the right fork where the road forks with Potash Rd and we were on the White Rim Trail. The road basically follows the edge of the canyon walls as it winds it's way along first the Colorado River and then the Green River.

Literally riding along the edge in many spots.



And dropping down to the lower level above the rivers....



through a series of switchbacks cut into the cliff face.











The road conditions vary from smooth dirt to gravel to slickrock to rutted sand. Most of it was first or second gear riding occasionally slipping into third for short stretches.











Here this section of road is right along the edge.





We met this guy riding a bike who stopped and talked to us a bit. They do these rides with support vehicles carrying food and camping gear. The bike rides take 3-4 days. I personally do not see submitting to such abuse. This is why intelligent man invented motors. :rider:



about 3 hours into the ride this happened.



I was making my way down what seemed to be a simple downhill using the engine to brake in first gear. Easy right? I thought i'd slow a bit and feather the front brake. Then I bumped over a rock I wasn't ready for and grabbed a bit of throttle along with the brake. :doh: The bike spun sideways and I went down falling into the hill but staying on the road. Fall #3 for me. I rolled the bike the rest of the way down the hill to survey the damage. Broken clutch lever and broken inside mount on the hand guard. I also lost the tip off my vent tube. The little metal piece with the valve that keep fuel from flowing out when the bike is laying down. An important piece for my riding style. :lol2:
Perry went back to the spot to try to find the valve but no luck.



Since the bike was leaking precious fuel we got it upright quickly. I got to work putting the bike back together so we could continue. We carried spare levers and tools so it just took a bit of time. I had 12 inches of fuel line that I put on the gas cap and fed through a loop on my tank bag that would work for the tank vent. The hand guard was held in place by a super heavy duty tie wrap. Not that it was back to full duty but it was in place, better than nothing.



Physically I wasn't too bad. The hand guard and my protective gear did it's job. I jammed my left thumb pretty good when I hit the ground and my left knee got twisted enough to cause a burning pain lateral and distal to the joint. And somehow a scrape inside the back of the knee joint. Never could figure that out. Pants and knee guard did their job well.



after about 30 minutes we were back riding and enjoying the views.

















Sometime in the afternoon I noticed the DRZ sounded a bit different making more engine noises than normal. I stopped and checked the oil and it was off the dipstick. I checked in the morning and it was fine. But this bike burns oil sometimes, sometimes it doesn't. Of course I had no oil. Perry had no oil. So we rode on. I stopped one of the camp support trucks and asked them. They had everything but oil. Next as we were passing Jeep Unlimited I asked the driver and he had some Mobil 1 so I poured about half a quart in to filler. I offered to pay for the quart and he refused. He said, "That's just what we do. If you have something someone needs you share." :clap: Nice guys from Denver. Bike was sounding happier and we continued on.



Here is one of the many hills. I got a little out of sorts about half way up. I didn't fall but was stuck in the sand unable to get moving again. So, Perry climbed up to help me get moving. Following me over the years he knows to wait at the bottom to make sure I make it. Otherwise he could end up getting blocked by my bike laying on it's side and getting stuck as well. I was able to get him riding up.







And we rode on.....



and on.....



finally riding along the Green River.







The road was a series of climbs and descents going over ridges along the river. Then we came around a corner and were greeted by this sight of what lay ahead.



Deep silt. There is a truck in there somewhere. We waited for about 5 minutes for the cyclists and the truck to clear out before we made our run. It was about 200 yards of 8 inch silt covering the rutted out bottom. I plowed through ok and caught these shots of Perry coming through.





It was late in the afternoon and we were wondering if we would ever find the end. I wasn't sure where we were because the GPS kept shutting itself off. At this point I had no idea why it was doing that. But I knew there was only one way out and we had to just keep on rolling. What goes down must eventually go back up to the mesa. The first climb up to the mid level was pretty extreme. Very narrow, maybe 7 feet wide, very rocky, with a drop of several hundred feet straight down. No room for any errors. First gear for what seemed like a half hour. And a bout half way up as I rounded a corner I met a Jeep coming down. Luckily it was wide enough there to get past and I hollered through the open window that one more rider was coming up. Perry met the jeep in a corner and was able to get by. The climb was so long and so steep I had to stop at a less steep section just to catch my breath. We must have climbed 1,000 feet, or it seemed like it.

At the top of that climb there were some rolling hills before we got to the final ascent to the mesa top. We took a break to enjoy the final bit of canyon scenery.



Then made the last climb on easy smooth road.









And we just popped out of the canyon onto the flat mesa top and had a wide flat dirt road that led us back to pavement on UT 313. We took 313 east for about 6 miles then south on US 191 back to Moab. The 140 miles took 8.5 hours to ride for an average of 16ish mph. We took short breaks with the longest break when I repaired the clutch lever. It was 1645 when we pulled into the campground exhausted. But I need another clutch lever before we could continue. I called Arrowhead Motorsports which I had heard of from several reports of folks getting parts and tires and service. I asked if he had a clutch lever for my bike figuring he wouldn't. He said he did. :clap: He had a universal lever and perch combo that would work if I needed it. I asked if he was going to be open long enough for us to get there as he was about 10 miles away on the south side of town. He said he wasn't going anywhere. Again :clap:. We pulled into his place right at 1700. The shop is behind his house and he had a couple guys there working on their bikes.



He took us to the other shop building where he had his parts cache. Tires stacked up in the corners. Parts and fluids. And for $!7 I had a spare clutch lever; just in case. On the way back into town we stopped at O'reilly's and we each got a spare quart of oil to stuff in our saddlebags. Back to camp we washed the dust off and we were both so bushed we just went back to Denny's for dinner as they were closest to camp. A two Denny's day. I can't remember what we ate but I remember it was good. Back to camp and crashed into the tents so we could get an early start on the next day.
 
Joined
Nov 22, 2003
Messages
1,900
Location
Bedford Texas
#29
Looks like a great time.
I torture myself clicking over to the Story Telling page. You guys take so many awesome photos.
I need to go get a 55gal drum to hold my bucket list!
 
#30
Day 5; Utah

After packing our camp we headed north on US 191 for several miles to about a mile before the junction of UT 313. Here we picked up the trail to Gemini Bridges. We reversed our direction and climbed up the hillside leaving 191 below.



We turned west and made our way through the long shadows of the early morning.



This rock looked to me like and eagle. Thought it was cool. :sun:



They had taken some kind of grinding machine to the rocks to level out the road a bit. I bet that made a racket.



As I got to trail intersections I would wait to make sure Perry saw which direction I was heading. He would hang way back to stay out of the dust and save his air filter.



Eventually we turned north toward Green River, Utah.



As we pulled into Green River the entire town had turned out and lines the street waving as we rode by. :wave: Actually they were getting ready for some kind of parade involving watermelons. I decided to ride all the way through to not get tied up in the parade. That left our options for breakfast with what was in the gas stations on the west end of town. So it was gas station Arby's. I think it was food. Anyway, we had to get back into town to pick up the trail out the south side. We tried to do that but before we could get to the first side street were stopped by the local PD. The parade was ending at the street we needed to get to. Without really looking at our bikes he asked if we could ride across this vacant lot and behind a business to connect with the street there. I grinned, patted my gas tank, and said that I thought we could handle that. He gave one of those :doh: head slaps, chuckled a bit and sent us on our way.

We rode south a bit on pavement then turned off onto wide county road and kinda looped toward the west making a meandering path over hills and through creek beds. Came upon this pond and had to snap a pic.







I think most of this is BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.









This was a road that went through a recreation area.









This was a hill that caught our attention. You know you've been out on the trail too long when ......





By now we were heading north toward IH 70. We crossed under and found dirt on the other side that would take us into Buckhorn Canyon.







There is a creek bed here.



And actual water in a creek along this section so things can grow green.



It was afternoon and time for a break so we stopped here.









:shrug:



And the modern version.



We stopped in Castle Dale for fuel and ice cream. :trust: The parking lot was full of Razr type four wheelers. They are street legal here. One of the guys approached us with lots of tips on where we should ride. We listened then wished him happy trails. I'm just following a line on the GPS. :rider: They all roared to life and took off like a bunch of hooligans. They were all owners, no rentals. Like some kind of wheeling club.





Our route had us continuing westward into the hills along UT 29 which turned out to be the way the guy had told us to go. We met the welcoming committee along the road.



Then we veered off 29 for a while and rode through the forest coming out at a lake where we rejoined 29, which was now dirt.



Afternoon rush hour. We had to wait for these guys to cross the road.



I think I could live here.







Had to stop for a little nature break after nearly missing the grill of a Cadillac driving way to fast around a corner.



Seely Creek Station.



We ended up in the town of Ephraim, UT. Cool old LDS buildings.



We filled our tanks then looked to fill our bellies. It had been a long time since Arby's. The main street was under construction as they were paving the middle two lanes. But we were able to squeeze in to park in front of this cafe. We watched the pavement laying and when the rollers went by the vibrations shook the whole building.



Great homestyle cooking. Searching for campgrounds we found a state park about 11 miles south in Sterling. They said they would hold the last spot for us on this Saturday night. It was after dark when we got there. Set up camp and crashed into the sack.

298 miles for the day.

 
#32
This might be a good time to talk a little about the route we have taken. The TAT has gone through several revisions over the last 15 years or so that it has been a route. There have been sections in Utah and Nevada that used to be public roads that have gone to private property or were ATV trails that have since been closed. Many of the folks that have ridden the original route complained to Sam about many of the tough sections like the Black Dragon Canyon in Utah and the sandy parts of Nevada. So Sam has bowed to pressure and routed around some of those very difficult parts. They are there if you ask for them. I think the latest version, released after I purchased the tracks that I was using, skips the entire state of Nevada and goes north through Idaho. And then there is a guy who goes by GPS Kevin on the internet. He rode the old TAT, created some connecting routes of his own from Los Angeles to Moab and from New York to the eastern start of the TAT, and makes his route available to download for free to anyone that wants it. His is based on one of the older versions with all the difficult parts but he provides easy detours for big bikes and even has some VERY difficult sections for those up to even more of a challenge. And nearly every ride report ever written has made a detour to go around a locked gate or a closed road or just as a change in plan for parts or whatever. So, one can't really say that any one route is THE TAT anymore. I used a combination of many routes that I had collected over the years including Sam's route that I purchased in the Spring of this year and had plugged into my GPS. It's a very dynamic plan that changes as it happens. That's part of the fun; dealing with the changes to the plan. Adapt and endure; that's the nature of the TAT.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
2,297
Location
Bryan-sort of-Texas
#33
Defining characteristic of an adventure rider:

"We carried spare levers and tools so it just took a bit of time. I had 12 inches of fuel line that I put on the gas cap and fed through a loop on my tank bag that would work for the tank vent. The hand guard was held in place by a super heavy duty tie wrap. Not that it was back to full duty but it was in place, better than nothing."

Great report! :popcorn:
 
#34
Defining characteristic of an adventure rider:

"We carried spare levers and tools so it just took a bit of time. I had 12 inches of fuel line that I put on the gas cap and fed through a loop on my tank bag that would work for the tank vent. The hand guard was held in place by a super heavy duty tie wrap. Not that it was back to full duty but it was in place, better than nothing."

Great report! :popcorn:
Thanks
 
#35
Day 6; barely making it out of the desert

Up early on a Sunday morning we packed and prepped to make the short highway run back to Ephraim where we would get back on the route.



Along the way we rode through Manti and drove up to look at the Manti Temple. Quite a structure. We pondered staying for worship but we don't know the password so they might not let us in.



The folks here are religious. But they are also very hard working and hold to the values that made this country great. They are self reliant and industrious and very kind to strangers that are passing through. But being Sunday morning the towns looked like they had been abandoned. Nobody in sight, nothing open. When we got back to Ephraim the Mikey D's was open so that was breakfast. As I finished eating I noticed the cafe at the bowling alley next door was also open. :doh: Their sign was the electronic message type and one of the rotations said open everyday 7 AM to 10 PM. Oh well. West of town we got into the hills that reminded me a lot of the western portions of the Texas Hill Country.





We came across this sign.



Since we weren't 'trespassing for any pupose" we continued on. Actually, what these signs mean is that land on either side of the road is private so stay on the road and move along. Other than one short nature break that is what we did.

Finally got some fall colors other than gold.



And some good views of the next valley to pass through. '



Another welcoming committee.



The road ended up going through a dry riverbed. Those are always fun.



We ended up in the valley at another highway crossing. We went south on this one for a couple miles before turning off on the next dirt section.



Each stop is a chance to adjust equipment and snack or get a drink.



The next road to the next set of hills.







I just thought this was a cool gate.



This peice followed along a railroad, where the power lines are, and led us to the town of Delta where we stopped for fuel and some gas station hot dogs. :eat:



I finally remember to take a photo of the vent tube that I had to fix after the White Rim episode. It works. Way back in the day they would just route the tube into the neck of the frame and any spilt gas would drip out there so I figured this would work. And it did just fine.



After Delta was more dirt roads. I know they all kinda look the same but each has little differences.



Now, any of you inspiring adventure riders, pay attention. You must always watch for this situation. Recognizing this could save you life; no kidding around.



This is a gate. If you are riding to fast and don't see the fence line converging at this spot your trip could end right here. You really don't want to be sifted by three strands of barbed wire. No flags, no warning and no second chances. This was the first fence of this type on our trip. There would be several more. They are designed to be easily undone. The first rider stops and opens the gate. The second rides through and the gate is handed off to the second rider. The first rides through and the second rider reattaches the gate to the fence. Sorry if that sounded too preachy but it's important.

And on to some more long straight dirt roads. We made really good time out here.



Then way out in nowhere there was a tourist trap.



Not interested we kept going and at the next turn found this ominous sign....



I can see why this turn might be dangerous.
followed by this sign....



with a view of the next valley...



and an easy ride down a nice little canyon. Nothing scary at all.





I imagine the name came from something that happened there rather than the valley itself. And we rode out onto the dry lake bed.





A rare photo of The Bruce i n the wild. I'm usually behind the camera. I'm not really this sunburned. I think the glaring white off the lake bed was messing with the white balance of the camera or something technical like that.



Across the lake and over the hills on the other side into the next basin.



And this is when things started going wrong. I noticed the GPS started loosing power and the message would pop up switching to battery then it would regain power. :ponder: Then I stopped at an intersection to wait for Perry to catch up and miss DRZ died. That had happened before at higher elevation due to rich fuel conditions but I knew we weren't that high, maybe around 5000 feet in high desert. :ponder: I knew it was more serious when Perry got there and the starter wouldn't engage. :eek2: I had lost power. And we were still 25 miles out in the desert. I knew where we were and from trip research I knew we had a straight shot to the highway then a 10 mile run to a place to stop. So I got Perry to push start me. She fired and I took off knowing he would follow the dust cloud like he had been doing. I got to the highway stop sign and keeping the rpms up high I glanced over my shoulder to check that Perry was still coming. He was so I headed west on US 50. As I slowed to turn into the station I used the turn signal out of habit. That made the dash go out with the power drain. She actually died when I hit the parking lot and I coasted to this spot next to the gas station store at the Border Inn, US50 and Hwy6, Baker Nevada.







Perry pulled in behind me. I told him what had happened and we discussed ideas as to what had happened. First hope was that something was loose on the battery connections. So I went to work digging into the circuitry.







Nope. All fuses good. All connections tight. I knew the DRZ has a history of stator issues ( I replaced the original stator at 17000 miles) but how to figure that out? Perry was on the phone to his son, Jacob, who had recently attended Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. He found the test procedure online and told me what to test. Perry had gone in to advise the manager what we were doing and she had already called a mechanic from the town of Baker which is 5 miles to the southwest. When he arrived he asked what we needed and I said a ohm meter. He had one and handed it over. Three wires come out of the stator and connect to the rectifier/regulator. There was a dead short between all three wires meaning a dead stator. It was fried. I checked the battery and it had drained to 8.5 volts. Tim, our new mechanic friend, verified my readings and agreed with the diagnosis.



Tim is an old bike rider and refused to charge for his service call. I got him to take $20 to cover his gas and he was happy. By now Scott (M38A1) had been in contact with Erik (E.Marquez) and we were talking on the phone. The battery getting sucked that low had probably been damaged and should not be relied on to continue the trip. He gave me some tips on ordering a new stator and some vendors to try. But it was 1600 on Sunday afternoon. I tried some online sights but decided to start calling first thing tomorrow morning so I could talk to a human and get what I needed, for sure.

The damage was done. We were stuck at the Border Inn for who knows how long. But, we had all we needed to get by for a while. A room with two beds, the gas station, the store, a restaurant and the casino. What more could we want? I wanted to be riding and camping in the desert!

230 miles

 
#36
We were used to early rising so we woke up before the sun was up. We made our way over to the restaurant for some breakfast. Pretty good home-style cooking. At least we wouldn't be going hungry.



I started making phone calls around 0810 trying to locate a stator for my dead machine. My web searching showed that Rocky Mountain ATV had 2 OEM stators in stock. A real person actually answered the phone instead of one of those menu mazes. Off to a good start. I confirmed what they had sitting on the shelf. I asked about overnight shipping and he pointed out that they were in Salt Lake City so that regular shipping would get there tomorrow anyway, and save me $22. :clap: He searched and added the correct gasket to the order and a new battery. He also got me a battery charger that would get enough charge into the new battery while I was installing the parts to get us going down the road as soon as possible. I placed the order and began waiting on parts.

Now we had time on our hands so we checked gear and assessed our overall condition.



We had been washing clothes as we changed them so we were good there. My left hand had some pretty good swelling around the base of my thumb and wrist from one or more of the falls I had taken. The one on White Rim was a pretty hard landing so that may have jammed things up a bit. I had been having to really struggle to get my left glove on over my swollen hand.



We really were in the middle of not much.



We spent the day watching TV and laying around. It got boring really fast but the time passed fast enough. We had a really nice sunset that day with the moon rising.





Later that evening we heard the rumble of a Harley pull in to the station. As the saying goes, this guy was "the real deal".



Kevin was riding a early 70's shovel head that he and his fellow mechanics had built up into a hardtail chopper. 1.5 gallon fuel tank and all. He was running points from a ford pickup so he could source new ones any time he needed them. Just one example of the special touches on his machine. He had been riding the western states all summer and was making his way back home. Like us he was camping wherever he could find a spot. He was heading up to the Great Basin National Park to find a spot for the night. He had been there for about 30 minutes and left his mark on the parking space by the pumps.



That was the total for this day. Zero miles. Not many stories. Tomorrow would go better, hopefully.
 
#37
Day 8; repairs and more damage

Once again we were up early and one of the first into the restaurant for breakfast. As we were leaving a bunch of Harleys pulled into the lot and parked in front of the restaurant. Their patches showed they were firefighters so Perry struck up a conversation. They were coming from Colorado Springs and the annual ceremony adding names to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial. A bunch of nice folk and brothers in the profession.



I knew parts were coming so I wanted to be ready when they arrived. So, I started to disassemble my crippled machine. I laid her on her right side in front of our room and prepped for surgery with the tools I had on hand.



Perry was there to document the procedure.







Dis-assembly was successful and I managed to secure all the fasteners in the holes they came out of. I laid a towel over the open side case and waited on the delivery. We took up our watch on the bench under the shade tree in front of the store. The Fed Ex guy showed up at noon just as predicted. A welcome sight indeed.



First, I checked to make sure every thing was in the box. All parts accounted for, I added acid to the battery and put it on the charger to get that going. We went ahead and had some lunch to give the battery a bit more time on the charge. After lunch I started installation of the new parts. First removing the old stator from the side case. I had left it in there so the way it was installed would be fresh in mind.



Compared old and new to make sure it was the right part. Yep, the old one is fried and the new one is correct.



In goes the new one. Perry would apply the loctite and I would install the screws. Team!



I got everything buttoned back up. I had drained the oil because I wanted fresh oil to start out with the new stator. I filled the oil, installed the new battery, hit the starter and no fire. :eek2: The starter was spinning but the engine wasn't coming to life. I took a deep breath and called Erik for advice. He said the only thing that could really go wrong was a bad stator was installed or the pickup sensor was installed wrong. OK So I laid the bike back down on the side to keep from loosing the oil I had just put in. I took the side cover off, again. And immediately noticed I had put the pick up coil/sensor in upside down! :doh: Yeah, I'm not a real mechanic, that's for sure. I checked to make sure no wires had been damaged; all was good. Installed the sensor correctly. It looked much better when installed properly. Replaced the side cover. And she fired right up with the starter button. :clap::clap::clap: We were so happy we threw our gear on and took off without taking any pictures leaving the Border Inn in our rear view a little before 1700. We had a couple hours of riding before dark.

After a couple miles on pavement the route veered off onto a two track road along a fence line through sand. This was kinda unnerving as thoughts of a mishap and entanglement in barbed wire ran through my head. I stayed in the track farthest from the fence and plowed through the sand.



That photo doesn't look too bad. But the sand was loose and not hard packed. You'll see from the map that the route zigzagged along fence lines and roads. It was slow going. The sand got looser and the ruts got deeper. And it wasn't too long until I got crossed up in a rut and fall #4 happened. What is wrong with this picture?



I got the tool kit out and started to remove the bent gear shift lever. You can see where I went down on the left side and the lever dug into the side of the rut. When I picked the bike up I laid her in the side of the rut to make it easier to access the lever without the fuel leaking out the vent tube. I had a spare lever in my kit.



Perry told me to smile. "It could be worse. It could be raining." And on cue about 4 rain drops fell. The only rain we would get on the entire 15 day journey.



I handed the bent lever to Perry and he thought he might be able to fix it. After a couple tries he found a spot on his skid plate where he could wedge it in and apply force. I steadied the bike and he was able to bend it back into usable shape. It was a steel lever; you cannot do this with the stock alloy lever, it will just break.



This was rally good as this lever is 2" longer than stock to accommodate the heavy boots and making shifting much easier. The reinstalled lever was almost as good as new.



And now we had spent 30 minutes of our riding time fixing my damaged lever. We were running out of light so it was time to look for a campsite. I told Perry to take the lead since he is better at finding spots than I am. I told him to stop at any intersection so we could stay on the route. Problem; in the sagebrush the two track roads are hard to spot until you are right on them. Even harder at dusk with failing light. So he blew right past the turn and I had to chase him down and get him turned around. Now we were out of light. He thought we could find a spot back by a lake we had passed so we backtracked to the lake and found a spot that would do. The highway ran about 30 yards to the east but only a couple of cars went by in the first hour; nothing after that. We set our camp my headlamp and crawled into the sack. I was beat and a bit demoralized after the venture in the sand. Very tired, I slept through the night.

Miles for the day; 27.

 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,356
Location
Huntsville
#38
:tab Great pics of White Rim Road! Rsquared and I ran that back in April, but we ran it counter clockwise so we hit that silt while we were fresh. I got that advice from someone here I think. Shafer Road was incredibly cool. You got a great shot of it! The problem with that place is that no matter how good you are at taking pictures, they fall utterly short of the reality of how HUGE everything is out there!!

Regarding the barbed wire "gate", we encountered one on Lock Hart Rd, which runs up the East side of the Colorado River back up toward Moab. Rsquared was leading. He came around a corner to find one stretched right across the road. He locked up the front end trying to stop in time, going down in the process. Fortunately he was not hurt and the bike was fine. He was not hauling. There was a sheer drop on the left and a sheer cliff on the right. Why there was a gate there is totally beyond us because there was no other fencing to speak of that we could see anywhere. I guess maybe some cows might wander up the road or something. Like the one you found, no warnings of any kind... Just seems really dangerous given the amount of traffic that road sees.

I couldn't help but notice in your thumb pic that your cuticles are peeling back near the nails. That can be VERY painful and it can get pretty bad out in that dry environment. I have a little tub of Carmex, about 1" dia and maybe 3/4" deep. I have had it for almost 10 years now. I keep it in my tank bag. It is great for rubbing into the area around the finger nails and really helps a LOT with preventing that kind of peeling. I also use it for when my lips start getting chapped. The stuff lasts FOREVER. My little tub looks like it has hardly been used at all. I think the metal screw on lid will wear through from banging around in my bag long before I use all of what is inside.

I love the "knee pads" for working on the bike :lol2: I will have to remember that one. Having a good mat to lay tools and parts on is a great idea. I carry a plastic table cloth for that purpose. Not only does it help keep stuff clean, it also makes it easier to keep track of stuff that you might loose if you just laid it on the ground.
 
#39
Thoughts inserted in Red
:tab Great pics of White Rim Road! Rsquared and I ran that back in April, but we ran it counter clockwise so we hit that silt while we were fresh. I got that advice from someone here I think. Shafer Road was incredibly cool. You got a great shot of it! The problem with that place is that no matter how good you are at taking pictures, they fall utterly short of the reality of how HUGE everything is out there!! You are absolutely right about the immense nature of those canyons. The lens just cannot capture the depth and the width of the vistas.

Regarding the barbed wire "gate", we encountered one on Lock Hart Rd, which runs up the East side of the Colorado River back up toward Moab. Rsquared was leading. He came around a corner to find one stretched right across the road. He locked up the front end trying to stop in time, going down in the process. Fortunately he was not hurt and the bike was fine. He was not hauling. There was a sheer drop on the left and a sheer cliff on the right. Why there was a gate there is totally beyond us because there was no other fencing to speak of that we could see anywhere. I guess maybe some cows might wander up the road or something. Like the one you found, no warnings of any kind... Just seems really dangerous given the amount of traffic that road sees.

I couldn't help but notice in your thumb pic that your cuticles are peeling back near the nails. That can be VERY painful and it can get pretty bad out in that dry environment. I have a little tub of Carmex, about 1" dia and maybe 3/4" deep. I have had it for almost 10 years now. I keep it in my tank bag. It is great for rubbing into the area around the finger nails and really helps a LOT with preventing that kind of peeling. I also use it for when my lips start getting chapped. The stuff lasts FOREVER. My little tub looks like it has hardly been used at all. I think the metal screw on lid will wear through from banging around in my bag long before I use all of what is inside. Carmex is good stuff for sure. My nails are pretty much like that all the time so I never noticed. :lol2: I used lip balm a couple of times before turning in for the night and kept the lips from getting chapped. Perry was better about his personal care as he was always putting on lip balm and using Visine for his eyes. I think we both used Burt's Bees lip balm. Good stuff.

I love the "knee pads" for working on the bike :lol2: I will have to remember that one. Having a good mat to lay tools and parts on is a great idea. I carry a plastic table cloth for that purpose. Not only does it help keep stuff clean, it also makes it easier to keep track of stuff that you might loose if you just laid it on the ground.Good catch on both items. The mat is a piece I cut from an old waterbed liner. Very thick. I've carried it for years. Keep parts clean and prevents dropping them in the dirt and possibly loosing them.
Great input Scott :thumb:
 
#40
Day 9; Nevada dirt

We awoke very early and has camp completely packed before there was enough light to take a good photo. We even had to wait a bit to get this one including Pruess Lake.



The route led us around the southern end of Great Basin National Park. Mostly two track among the sage brush.



As we wandered around through canyons and washes I saw our first wild horses. Sorry no pics. They were off in the shadows behind a ridge. If I had stopped they would have been long gone before I had time to get my camera out. They were all a very dark dappled grey. I counted 4 as they ran off around the corner. Well fed they looked to be in pretty good shape.

We came upon a wash that had claimed that section of the road. Completely washed out with sheer drop off of more than six feet. We bushwhacked along the edge of the wash going downhill as it looked to get more shallow going that way. Perry found a way across first so I followed in his tracks. We had to climb up the steep hill around 100 feet to get back on the road before it made a switchback and headed away from us. Right as Perry was approaching the edge his rear tire spun and he stopped short of the road. He started a controlled roll backwards to get another run at it. I was following too closely and had to stop quick and wasn't able to get my foot on the rear brake. The front brake was useless with the weight all on the rear wheel so I slid backwards and lost it falling slowly to the side. Fall #5 for me. :flip: No harm done. Perry made it on to the road on this second attempt. I picked the bike up and got restarted and made the road also without to much trouble the second time.

We rode a few miles further and came out into a large valley that we had to cross. The terrain in Nevada a series of hills or mountains with 20 or so miles of basin or high plains in between. The hills run north/south. Depending on direction of travel we were either alternating between plains and hills or riding distance in the basin or plains if we were heading north. There was enough altitude change that you could perceive cooler temperatures going over the mountain ranges.





Coming down from the pass we were routed onto an ATV trail winding through the trees on the hillside.





The trail started dipping into a river bed, following it then climbing out into the trees for a bit, then back down into the sandy river bed. Then the trail got even smaller ending up a single track horse trail. I saw no motorcycle tracks in here but I was still on the purple line on the GPS so we continued on. Eventually, after maybe 5 miles or so, the ATV tracks reappeared, the trail got wider and smoother then we were back on a road and climbing the next set of mountains.





On the other side was the town of Lund, NV at around 1200. Pretty good sized place. An active community. The route took us through the residential area to a store on the south side of town. Whipple's Country Store. I figured I needed a splash of gas to be safe and make it to the next stop. At $3.49 the most expensive gas of the trip but I only got a gallon. We each had a drink and a sundae cone and watch traffic go by while we cooled off a bit.

We were both pretty tired at this point so I thought and remembered a big bike option so we could have a bit of a break. We went northwest instead of west to the next mountain range. We got off pavement after about 10 miles and the dirt road was well maintained that took us through the basin. We saw more wild horsed out in the basin. Maybe 10 miles or so later the road went down to a two track path.



And after a few miles we routed onto what was barely two track and obviously not traveled very often. There were no tracks visible from bike or auto.



The dirt was pretty firm and easy to ride on. And I could see evidence of a road over against the base of the hill. We were on the track. We got to the dirt road and continuing northwest until we intersected with US 50. We had 25 miles of pavement over another pass to reach Eureka, NV. We stopped for fuel and agreed we would have a late lunch at a place we passed on the way into town. After filling up I had pushed my bike over to the side of the parking area out of the way. I was approached by three young ladies wearing dresses and black name tags. I recognized right off they were Mormons out doing their ministry. They asked about our bikes and had good questions about our journey. We had a really good conversation. Perry came over and the oldest, I think they were late teens or early 20s, asked if we minded if they prayed over us for a safe journey. Of course we consented and shared a prayer in the parking lot of the gas station and went our separate ways.

Here is our late lunch spot at around 1530.



The lunch special is a rib eye sandwich with fries for 10.95. :eat: The steak was around 1/4 inch thick but it was cooked a perfect medium and was very tender with sauteed onions on a bolillo roll. The bartender was cutting up and kept us and the other two customers entertained while we ate. A good stop.

The map of the first half of the day.



Leaving Eureka we rode about 10 miles northwest on US 50 before getting to our dirt road. We were headed north which meant we would be riding the basin most of the way to Battle Mountain, our goal for the day. We head out into the basin.





As we neared Battle Mountain there were a couple of mountain ranges we had to cross. The sun was starting to get low and as we crossed the hills heading west it was directly in our eyes. We rode through a couple of ranches riding right in front of the houses. One had a women out in front that smiled and returned my wave as we rode through very slowly as to not raise the dust. As we came down into the next valley I got to an intersection so I stopped to make sure Perry saw the turn. I glanced and didn't see any dust and could not see him anywhere because of the brush. I shut off the engine and didn't hear any noise at all. Total silence. So, I backtracked and found where he had gone down in a rutted out section full of sand. He was standing and his bike was up but he wasn't moving, just standing. He said the bike had gone down on his left foot and twisted his foot 90* sideways facing out. He said it felt loose and had rotated on it's own a second time. He looked real nervous. But he could put weight on it. I took care of tying the shrouds back together with tie wraps. The bike was ready to roll and we had about 20 miles to go to get to town.



We had another range of hills to get over. We came to an intersection that followed a shallow water crossing. As I got there a pickup truck was sitting there. He waved me on so after making sure Perry make it through the water I took off toward town. Then it got dark. My headlight is barely good enough, not great. Perry had followed close before after dark and his headlight in addition to mine made for pretty good light. We were winding our way through the climb over the pass and back down the other side. I would often check to see Perry's single light in my rear view when I made a curve in the road. His light was brighter than before so I figured he was using his high beam. I was keeping a pretty brisk pace and he was doing great keeping on my tail. As the road straightened without warning a pickup truck came flying by under full acceleration flinging gravel and making a huge cloud of dust. :eek2: Apparently he had passed Perry a while back. With the load behind my back and my barely legal mirrors I was only able to see one headlight behind so I though it was Perry. Had he honked I would have know and pulled over to let him buy. I stopped to wait for Perry. When he caught up he was laughing and told me he had watched me in that trucks headlight all the way down the mountain. :lol2:

We finished the last 5 miles into Battle Mountain and rode to the Super 8 that I had found on the GPS to try and regroup. They had one room left, a suite with a king and a queen bed in separate attached rooms for $99. SOLD. They let us park under the front awning and we carried what gear we needed up to the room. Perry made it up the stairs and to the room. Now came the unknown. Time to take off the motocross boot that was splinting his ankle and see what was going on. The boot came off and there wasn't much to see. His foot was still attached and it was starting to swell some. NO discoloration, yet. So I made him an ice pack with a zip lock bag and got him onto the bed with his foot elevated. Ibuprofen was distributed and we settled in for the night, waiting to see what it looked like in the morning.

Miles for the day; 322. The map of the run from Eureka to Battle Mountain.

 

Tourmeister

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#41
I see you are quote challenged... :lol2:

When you quote someone's post, you see the following inserted into your post.

(quote)Blah blah blah... stuff from the quoted post.

More blah blah blah...

And finally and end to the blah blah blah...(/quote)​

If you want to add comments like you did above, all you have to do is add the start/stop quote tags, like so,

(quote)Blah blah blah... stuff from the quoted post.(/quote)

:tab Your witty reply

(quote)More blah blah blah...(/quote)

:tab Your next witty reply

(quote)And finally and end to the blah blah blah...(/quote)

:tab Your last reply that is probably not as witty as you thought...​

Just make sure that every opening quote tag has the closing quote tag and you can do that all day long. Hit the preview to make sure it looks the way you want and then submit. Also, the () need to be [] for the tags to actually work. I had to use the () to keep it from actually processing the tags. But this is what it would look like if done for real,

Blah blah blah... stuff from the quoted post.
:tab Your witty reply

More blah blah blah...
:tab Your next witty reply

And finally and end to the blah blah blah...
:tab Your last reply that is probably not as witty as you thought...​
 
#42
Day 10: Battle Mountain

We woke up a little later than usual but not much. I checked Perry's ankle and he had started to get some bruising and it was pretty swollen. We talked and weighed options. He decided to forgo any clinic for now. We would give it a day and see how it did with more ice and rest. He was able to get downstairs for the continental breakfast; blah! At least the coffee was palatable. More ibuprofen and a day of rest. We ordered Chinese delivery for lunch. Not bad. In the afternoon I tinkered with a couple of adjustments on my bike. The tail light had gone out so I went to the parts store across the street and took care of that. I plugged my charger into an outside outlet and made sure the battery was well taken care off. We ordered a pizza delivered for supper. That was pretty good. :eat: We would decide in the morning what would happen next.
 
#45
Day 11; We must press on.

With the morning came another discussion of what we were going to do. We had decided the night before that we would not be riding any more dirt if we continued. Perry was able to walk on his ankle. His only concern was being able to shift up. I showed him how he could do that using the large heel guard on the back of his boot. He said he would give it a try. So we decided to press on westward staying on pavement but as close to the TAT as we could. We geared up and headed downstairs. The bikes looked ready to go.



When I started mine it had trouble idling. This had been going on throughout the trip so I bumped up the idle speed a bit and that worked. We got fuel, Perry said the shifting would be OK, and headed west on IH 70 toward Winnemucca, NV. We had about 50 miles or so before heading north into Oregon. We were doing good when about 25 miles into the run my DRZ started acting like it was loosing power. We were climbing to a summit and it would not respond to added throttle input, it just bogged down. Then she started slowing. I downshifted to try to get more out of her but nothing worked. She died and rolled to a stop along side a guard rail. She would not start. Plenty of cranking power and all electronics were working she just would not fire. We had to get off the narrow shoulder to a safe spot. I pulled out the tow strap I had been packing and put it to use. Using a caribeener I connected to his rear rack. I wrapped the other end of the strap around my foot peg and held it with my foot so that if needed all I had to do was pick up my foot and the strap would release. He took off slowly and towed me a maybe a mile to the summit where there was a truck parking area for checking brakes. Now in a safe spot we started thinking about what to do. Not even a minute later, before we had any kind of plan, a white van pulled in behind me and stopped. I asked Perry, "You think that trailer might be empty?". I walked back and the guy was on the phone and he held up his index finger so I waited. He opened the door and said he saw us using that bright green tow strap and though we might need some help. He was on his way back to Reno after delivering some cabinets somewhere and his trailer was empty. As we walked around to the rear of the trailer he had KTM in large letters on the back of the trailer; it was his bike hauler. He had wheel chocks and tie down straps ready to go. We lifted the dead DRZ into the van and headed toward Winnemucca where he knew of a cycle shop.

I don't know if he was sent to help us or if I was there to help him. Maybe both. The poor man was a wreck. His wife of 20 years had left him a couple days before. As we rode the 25 miles into town he poured his heart out, in tears much of the time as he drove. I just sat and listened and gave a sympathetic ear. As we got into town he started talking about riding and that cheered him up some. He has a KTM 525 EXC that he rides the trails of Nevada on and a 990 Duke for street stuff. Had some good stories of rides in the back country with his friends.

He dropped us off at a dealer that was Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. We unloaded the bike and said our goodbyes and thank yous. Jim from Reno.





Perry got out his phone and sat down in his chair. He started calling U-Haul to see if there was a van available. I started taking the bike apart to see what could be done.



I pulled the plug and it was black with soot. She had been running rich. I walked over to the shop and asked one of the mechanics if he thought that was bad enough to make it quit. He nodded and that was enough for me. I had a spare plug that I stuck in, reassembled, and she fired right up. We took a test ride through town, checking the eating establishments as we went, and stopped at a place called The Griddle; a cool older cafe with fantastic food.

The bike was running but should we risk going on? YES! While sitting there three riders came in. One of them said something about seeing Perry's KLR in the lot. Another said something like, I feel sorry for him, and Perry heard him. We figured they were on either KTMs or BMWs after a remark like that. ;-) A few minutes later the third guy came over to our table and struck up a conversation. He was on a DR 650 and apologized for the comments made by his KTM buddies. We had a nice chat about the trip.

After brunch I rode back to the dealer to pick up a couple of spare spark plugs in case I needed them. Perry called U-Haul and told them we would not be needing their services. We topped off with fuel and headed north on US 95 into the wasteland that is northern Nevada. We turned left onto the Denio Highway on 140.





We had already gone about 25 miles. This would be pushing it. But Google said there was gas available in a town called Adel in Oregon which was only 150ish miles. And if not I still had 1.5 gallons in the spare tank on the back. This road went straight for 28 miles before turning then another 20 before the turn at Denio Junction. I stopped here to let Perry know that this is where the TAT crosses this highway.



Nothing for miles. We found Adel and we found fuel. :clap: Google was right.





Inside there were cold drinks and an amazing collection of dead heads, saddles, and even a full body mount of a mountain lion taking a deer.







Perry had cell service so he called ahead to the KOA in Klamath Falls and reserved a cabin. Once again we were squinting into the western sunset trying to make it to our camp site. We arrived shortly after sunset; not quite dark.

Miles for Day 11; 335. Notice the gap east of Winnemucca when the GPS was in the trailer.

 

Tourmeister

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#46
Re: Day 11; We must press on.

We geared up and headed downstairs. The bikes looked ready to go.
I love the subtle foreshadowing! :lol2:

I don't know if he was sent to help us or if I was there to help him. Maybe both. The poor man was a wreck. His wife of 20 years had left him a couple days before. As we rode the 25 miles into town he poured his heart out, in tears much of the time as he drove. I just sat and listened and gave a sympathetic ear. As we got into town he started talking about riding and that cheered him up some. He has a KTM 525 EXC that he rides the trails of Nevada on and a 990 Duke for street stuff. Had some good stories of rides in the back country with his friends.
It is funny how these things work out sometimes! I had a similar experience years ago while heat stroking under the shade of a spindly cactus like plant in the desert of Arizona. I had just sucked the last of my water from my Camel-Bak. My bike was laying on its side about 150 feet from the top of a freaking LONG climb. I was toast...

As I laid there praying, I heard the distant rumbling of motors coming our way. Some jeepers came up the climb behind us and stopped to see if we needed help. I got a ride in the A/C to the top, my 3 liter Camel-Bak was refilled, I was given a big jug of ice cold Gatorade, and they got my bike to the top :dude: They even followed us a while to make sure we were good. Then just like that... they were gone. Like the guy that gave you oil, "That's just what we do for each other out here!" :clap:

I try to remember those experiences and pay them forward every chance I get.

While sitting there three riders came in. One of them said something about seeing Perry's KLR in the lot. Another said something like, I feel sorry for him, and Perry heard him. We figured they were on either KTMs or BMWs after a remark like that. ;-) A few minutes later the third guy came over to our table and struck up a conversation. He was on a DR 650 and apologized for the comments made by his KTM buddies. We had a nice chat about the trip.
:rofl:

Yeah, those KTM and BMW peeps can get a bit annoying at times :mrgreen:

On a positive note, now that this trip is over, given all the stuff you've fixed on your bike, you should be good to go for the next trip :nana: (Like I've never had those experiences too... :doh:)
 
#50
Day 12; We hit the beach!

After another great breakfast, had to leave food on the plate there was so much :eat:, at a place in Klamath Falls called Starvn Marvns we headed out for some sight seeing. About 60 miles northwest to this place....



If you've never been you must pencil this into your bucket list immediately. There is no question.





Crater Lake is actually an underwater stargate that other worlds use to visit our planet. I caught one of the sneaky UFOs on the shot.



Really it's some of the purest water on the planet. Kept full only through precipitation. It is a collapsed volcanic peak. They get up to 30 feet of snowfall in the winter. And the lake is nearly 2,000 feet deep, 6+ miles across. And one of the most amazing sights in the USA.



Diamond Peak is off to the north. Pretty cool too.





We entered on the south side and left through the north entrance. We rode trough a recently burned forest. There was some of the forest left along the road as it looked like it had stayed on the ground for the most part. Some trees had torched but it didn't appear to be a full crown fire. The smell of the wet ash was still quite pronounced.

North a bit more than we turned east on Hwy 138 that twists it's way along as it follows the Umpqua River towards Roseburg, OR. Yes, that Roseburg. It was quiet while we were there. We got fuel and continued on after a short run down IH 5 to Hwy 42 through the Camas Valley. We passed through such towns as Remote, OR and Bridge, OR. We even went through Norway in Oregon.

A left turn on US 101 and we were almost there. We ran south for about 15 miles. This is where we would have got 101 if we had taken the "official" TAT all the way.



And then we arrived at our destination.



A short ride through town got us to the beach.



What a beautiful sight!



There was a trail down to the sand and we saw tire tracks so we figured it was OK. No signs saying keep off so we went on down.









And the actual port of Orford.



We rewarded ourselves with the traditional meal of conquest.





Mine was the junior version. No clams.



And the local brew. I love how they do the marketing.



We still had a couple of hours of daylight left so we targeted Brookings, OR to the south to stay for the night. We had less than an hours ride so we headed off down the coast.







We picked a local hotel, family owned, and staked our claim. Perry's foot was showing a bit more color but he was getting along pretty good on it.



Miles for the day: 330.



Tomorrow we start the ride home.
 
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