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The Big Ride III

Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
Preface:
Rick and I have ridden together almost since I started riding back in 2000. He got me into camping and that has expanded my touring fun exponentially. A few years later we added Steve to the mix and did The Big Ride and then a couple years later Khris as well and did the 4 States, 4 Fools trip aka The Big Ride II. Khris couldn’t make this one as he moved to CA and busy becoming a pilot so it was back to the 3 Stooges for this ride.

However, a late addition to the trip is Andrew aka Trosty from the UK. He’s been living in the states for about a year and was between jobs. Instead of staying home crying about not being employed, he decided to go to the Sturgis MC Rally and when I mentioned our routes he was intrigued... So, I invited him, we’ll see if he’s all that interested after a couple more days.

The purpose of this ride are 3 fold: 1) Attend the MotoCampers event, 2) Scope out campgrounds for future MotoCamper or ST-Owners/NT-Owners events and 3) Have a blast.

DAY 1 (8/1 - Thursday) - Get to Eureka Springs (Kettle Campground)

Joe and Andrew:
Pretty easy ride for us, just 400-ish miles. We stopped about half way to meet my parents so I could give my mom some spices from Dallas that she can't easily get in that part of OK, well, and to see mom again.

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Andrew and I hit the AR sign on the way:

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Rick:

Rick had about 600+ miles to Eureka Springs. Oddly enough, he had the longest to get there and was the 1st to arrive - if you know Rick, that's not really a surprise.

Even his dog wanted to come along:

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Here's Rick grabbing the AR sign on his way:

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Steve:

Well, Steve is a lawyer so it took him the longest time to go the shortest distance - this wouldn't be the 1st time we picked on him.

At the Campground:

Rick was having a strange issue with his boot - it was leaking oil:

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So, we found a loose bolt on his GS and I just happened to have the right hex key that would fit it, all good for the bike with 180,000+ miles on it.

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This wasn't the only technical issue we had to deal with on this trip - Andrew was having a problem with his gloves, gladly, we figured that one out.

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Dinner was courtesy of Subway - for which I think Steve is sick of by now:

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Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 2 (8/2 - Friday) - Eureka Springs to Interlochen, MI (Cycle Moore Campground)

Andrew’s previous long-day was 570 miles, we chuckled and said we’ll beat that today.

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He only slept about an hour due to the tree frogs or crickets or whatever was making the noise in the area, he also had a 1" self-inflating mattress that was not helping but he was up and bright-eyed with the rest of us and we headed out.

The Missouri sign:

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I stated previously, this is deer country so we need to take it easy - I may have fibbed a little.

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We stopped after a tank of gas for breakfast at McDonald's and Andrew walked over to the nearby Walmart to get a better air mattress.

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... then, back on the road.

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We had to make some time so it was interstate at this point for a while - St Louis is always 'interesting' to get through.

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Here's the Illinois sign, not real easy to pull over for a pic.

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At the ½ way point we had a gas/rest stop and as we were leaving Andrew got rear-ended by at 15 year old kid. The kid saw Rick and myself pull out together, then when Steve pulled out he was thinking Andrew would go as well and moved forward but Andrew was waiting on the traffic for a better space to pull into. The small SUV tagged his left saddlebag and caused the handlebars to turn so the bike tipped over on the right side. Andrew landed on his right elbow - ATGATT - and it was swollen but the armor made it so he could continue his ride albeit in discomfort.

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Steve, being a Lawyer, had to document the ‘incident’.

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Apparently, it's illegal in IL to have a British Accent or as the police officer stated 'You aren't from around here are you?"

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Steve - again - trying to reenact the incident in case it needed to go to court.

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"No Officer, you say it Toe-mah-toe, not tomato"

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"oooh... that tickles".

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Andrew did great!.. He was disappointed as most of us would be but it didn't let it spoil his riding plans.

Always inspirational to pass by this:

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We couldn't find a good Indiana sign so stopped at a rest stop and we also wanted to see how Andrew was doing.

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Indiana was a really nice state to ride through - it was strange but looked like everyone mowed their lawns on the same day for several cities. Do they have a state-wide lawn mowing day?

It was late when we hit the Michigan sign.

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We hit a nice thunderstorm cell just about 100 miles out from the campground and I found out that the Bell Photochromaic shield which automatically darkens and lightens with light levels but not great when it rains is 0% useful when it rains and is dark out. I had to pull over and told Rick I'd just set up my tent right there in a field be cause it was too dangerous to ride with that shield in those conditions - I've ridden in many similar conditions with other faceshields and never had issues. He had the bright idea to switch helmets with me. His bike shield has a flip to it so he can open the helmet shield up a bit and peek through it to see whereas I would get pelted with rain and my eyeglasses would be an issue then. It was enough to get us past the storm and back on our way - 1st thing to order is a regular dark shield - oh, yeah the clear shield was at home sitting in the garage - I didn't think I needed it.. LOL

I think our miles for the day was 1,037 so Andrew now has a new big-day and the following day was a rest day.

Also, we found out today Steve's CB does not transmit but he can at least hear Rick and I.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 3 (8/3 - Saturday) - Hang Out at the MotoCampers.com North Woods Camp Out III (Cycle Moore Campground)

This was a rest day and reserved for being at the event and just taking it easy.

The event was great with lots of folks I've met in the past and many more new friends we got to meet.

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We decided to take Steve's bike apart while we had the chance and see if his transmit issues were due to a loose connector. He kept saying we were messing with him the whole time. A little history - on our 1st Big Ride he had a handheld CB he threw together at the last minute and it kept having issues so he wadded it up and tossed it in his saddlebag after day 1. On the 2nd Big Ride we messed with him on the 1st day 'til the 1st gas stop pretending we didn't' hear him when we could, and he had just gotten a new J&M CB installed... LOL So, he probably still things we're messing with him.

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Well, as you can see in this picture, Steve got me back at the very last moment - it still hurts - that's okay though, his CB still didn't work LOL.

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Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 4 (8/4 - Sunday) - Interlochen, MI to to Buffalo River SP

Today was going to be a grind to just get across the country toward the best riding of the trip in Montana.

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We left around 8am and came across a draw bridge on our way towards the Mackinac bridge.

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The Mackinac Bridge was very cool.

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Just after the bridge, we stopped at the Country Girl Diner

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The lady that runs the place was hilarious. Andrew asked what could we have and she said "anything you want'. Then, gave him 'the look' when he asked for beans and A1 steak sauce with his breakfast. The rest of us just shut up and ordered what was on the menu.

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The Wisconsin sign:

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and Minnesota:

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We stayed at Buffalo River State Park just before the North Dakota border.

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Just under 800 miles for this leg and Steve's CB still isn't transmitting. He's also reporting some crackling - so he's wrapping it around his camelbak straps to get a better connection.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 5 (8/5 - Monday) - Buffalo River SP to Red Lodge, MT - KOA

Another grind today to get to Red Lodge, MT.

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Andrew split off from us this morning - he was headed for the Sturgis MC Rally but had family there so had a place to stay. His elbow was still a little sore but it never seemed to dampen his enthusiasm. Not sure if he'll ever go back to the Rally but I suppose some have to try it at least once.. LOL

The remainder of the report is just the 3 Stooges at this point.

We missed the North Dakota sign.... not sure how we did that - maybe we were all asleep... going across ND is Booooorrrriiiinnngggggzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. But, none of us had ever ridden in ND so we could mark that one off our list.

The Montana Sign.

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Just ignore this pic, the routing was flawless - since I did them.

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LUCK!!!!

After all the miles today, we pull into the KOA and stop at the office - we get off our bikes and Rick says "Do you hear that?" - I thought it was a water pump for a small pond but it was air - then I figured he picked up a nail coming into the campground - nope - his valve stem picked the last second of the ride to give up - you just can't get any luckier than that.

So, we get a campsite and start figuring out what to do - 1st off - both Rick and Steve have spare valve stems with them... LOL More luck.

Rick pulled out the bad stem, pulls the wheel, we use Steve's sidestand to pop the bead at 'luckily' the perfect spot then install the new valve stem and use a small compressor to pop the bead back on - all this in about 15 mins.

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We head into Red Lodge for dinner - amazing how many bikes are in the area on a Monday.

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After dinner, we head to the gas station to fuel up for the next day and Rick goes inside to get a drink - big gulp size. He comes out and Steve asks him where he's going to put that on the way back to the campground. Rick says "don't worry about it" then admits that he already dropped one inside the store before getting the one he had. He places it on his bike and guess what?

it falls off:

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So, back into the store for the 3rd one - this one actually made it back.

At the campground, Steve makes and interesting observation about top box organizational skills - here's Mine:

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Here's Rick's:

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The bikes are lined up for the best part of the entire trip, like race horses before the gates open - the gates open tomorrow at 7am...

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Kinda funny how the whole trip folks kept asking us if we were going to Sturgis and all we said was Nooooooooo.

Just under 700 miles for this leg and Steve's CB still isn't transmitting - the crackling noise is increasing so even listening to music is difficult.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 6 (8/6 - Tuesday) - Red Lodge, MT - KOA to Colter Bay Campground - Grand Tetons

Release the Hounds!!!!

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We already knew this was going to be a great day and really the one we all anticipated as the real 1st day of the trip.

Note to self: When your GPS looks like this, enjoy every second of it.

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The Wyoming sign:

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After Beartooth Pass, we continued through Chief Joseph Hwy.

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Then we headed towards Boysen Res - Hwy 120 to US 20.

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I was able to document my 1st 10,000 miles on the Wee.

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It was starting to heat up a little so we'd stop for water more often and even drink some of it.

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We stopped at the [ame="https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Dubois,+WY&hl=en&ll=43.533672,-109.631694&spn=0.003189,0.006968&sll=43.373876,-110.009323&sspn=1.63711,3.56781&oq=dubois,+wy&hnear=Dubois,+Fremont,+Wyoming&t=m&z=18&layer=c&cbll=43.533672,-109.631694&panoid=DYVDKJQehWJ0uEBf1gmSSw&cbp=12,205.8,,0,0"]Cowboy Cafe in Dubois, WY[/ame] for pie...

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We reached the Grand Teton area in good time.

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We were originally going to camp at Jenny Lake but that campground was full.... in hindsight, if you aren't going to hike or boat or explore the area, it makes no sense to pay an entrance fee and campground fee just to stay the night then ride out - that was my mistake and it won't happen again but we still considered it an adventure and a lesson. We ended up further up the road at the Colter Bay campground.

Here, you see why Rick just doesn't understand why bear boxes are so small - you can only get one person in there - I suppose the fastest person wins.

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About 434 miles for the day.

Steve's CB cord is crackling more and more.....
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 7 (8/7 - Wednesday) - Colter Bay Campground to Stagecoach SP, CO

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We got this pic on the way out of the park.

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Once out of the park it's a bit of a grind to get to Colorado, especially after you've ridden Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph Hwy.

So, you have to chat on the CB a little - oops, Steve can't - but at least he can listen to music, sorta - except for the crackling sound.

Anyway, we kept seeing fence post sections with dirt built up around them and an opening to walk through the top but there was a drop off on the other side, never figured out why they built them that way, Rick had to look but it didn't help.

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We also kept seeing small rectangular green signs on some road posts but could not understand the positioning or reasoning. Some were oriented up / down or two on one post... just found them on the web, it was driving us crazy(er) trying to understand them.

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At some point today, Steve catches up with Rick and shows him his CB cord - the upper cord that connects to the CB lower cord - it's broken off completely. It's never to be seen again.

However, now we have another problem - Rick's is having an issue with his helmet.

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We're not sure how to fix that one....

We finally hit Utah and it's warming up nicely.

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Just before Colorado, we ride through the Flaming Gorge NRA - beautiful stuff.

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The Colorado sign.

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I hit another mileage milestone on this leg.

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We decided to eat in town and then head to the campground.



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It was a nice campground except for the kids that showed up a little later and stayed up the entire time until we woke up - we still don't know why they even set up tents.

About 529 miles for the day.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 8 (8/8 - Thursday) - Stagecoach SP to Mueller SP

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The original plan was to do Rocky Mtn National Park AND Pikes Peak... well, you Coloradonians know that's easier said than done. So, today ended up being just RMNP.

Heading out of Stagecoach SP we spied a balloon taking off.

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Rick is leading this morning and I hear 'Moose!' over the CB... Rick and Steve go past them but I slow down and get a couple good pics before they trot off.

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A few nice roads before the park.

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You aren't going to make any time into or out of the park so you just sit back and crawl through the traffic with everyone else.

But, we manage to make it... LOL

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We parked and went in to get some souvenirs.

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When we came out it was training and then some hail, lol, always an adventure.

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We did a search for campground and came up with Mueller SP since it was pretty close to Pikes Peak. It's a VERY nice campground with excellent facilities. There are two offices, one is at the entrance to tell you to keep going another mile or so in for the office you pay for camping. The place is big and very modern and the campsite are nice, a bit small for tents but still good enough.

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This was our first and only campfire of the trip - excluding the one at the motocampers event.

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About 460 miles for the day.

PS: Steve is now using his corded ear buds w/Zumo for music since the CB is just there for looks.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 9 (8/9 - Friday) - Mueller SP to Rincon Campground via Pike's Peak

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We passed around the idea of bypassing the Pikes Peak... well, I can't tell you how much of a mistake that would have been, this part of the trip was one of the best stretches. This wasn't a high mileage day whatsoever, it was just an easy stroll and it was great.

We got up a little later than usual - 6:30 am vs 6:00 am - hey, I'm not a drill Sargent and they needed a break (me too).

These guys were hanging around the fire pit.

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Now... for this next picture, you have to understand how cheap Rick is... he dropped one of a .99 cent pair of ear plugs and the wind caught it and sent it over the edge... well, that's .49 cents and Rick could just see it... so, off he went.

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But, getting back up was a little tougher than he thought, he did need some help.

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Good news though, he got the ear plug.

Made it to the top.

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At the railway at the top we caught this little guy (Marmot?) running around, I got him in an action shot.

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Here we are posing with him while he's looking at us like a couple of idiots.

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Smart animals...

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Well, enough of that... back down we go...

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Rick knew of some dirt road out of Cripple Creek, CO so we headed there.

Cripple Creek has one gas station and it's very tough to find... and apparently even tougher to escape.

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CR88 is the road between Cripple Creek and Cannon City. The last small section is paved but most of it i dirt. Lots of washboard stuff.

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I'm the novice here so took it easy, very easy... I came up around a corner and saw this.

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Now, you're probably thinking "wow, he must have been going fast" or "gee, he slid that rearend around" or "must have caught air over that cattle guard".

Nope, the bike well over while he was stopped and trying to get a pic of the two of us coming up behind him. Hey, if it's gonna fall over, I'll take that one any day.

We had lunch in Cannon City and decided to just ride west until we felt like grabbing whatever campground looked good. We were off schedule with the original routes at this point but it didn't matter as we were all close enough to home to get there within a day or two so we were open to being flexible.

US-50 out of Cannon City is always a great road.

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We found Rincon Campground in a little canyon with no cell service at all - great stuff when you're used to being 'connected' 24x7.

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There was even a guy fly fishing and catching trout in front of us.

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About 179 miles for the day, probably the least amount any of us had ever done touring but we didn't care as we were on the bikes all day and it was a great time - sometimes it really is quality and not quantity.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
DAY 10 (8/10-11 - Saturday/Sunday) - Rincon Campground to The Crash Site then Home: OKC (Steve), Houston (Rick), Dallas (Joe)

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This would be our last day together as a group. It's always a sad time when good friends have to part ways but we have a great time together and we cherish our friendship as one of the most valuable things in our lives. We will continue to plan riding trips together as long as we can.

The New Mexico Sign

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The primary purpose for this leg of the trip was to visit Steve's crash site from our previous Big Ride II trip. He came into a corner hot and had to lean it over more than his hard bags would allow. He was okay physically, only having a sprained thumb - mentally, we're still not sure.

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Disclaimer: No alcohol was consumed on this ride, it was merely a prop for the picture.

Here's the curve:

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Here's the sign for the curve.

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Steve claims because the vegetation was crowding the speed portion of the sign, he didn't know how fast to take the turn. To this day, we tell him, "Steve, it was a Circle! How fast do you take those?" He never answers us.

So, in the spirit of getting back on the horse that threw ya... Steve went back up the hill and did the curve again, the right way.

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Little did he know, my gps route had us doing a u-turn and we'd all have to do that curve again... LOL

This was the last part of the ride.

Steve and I got the Texas sign.

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Then Steve continued into Oklahoma.

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I think I was around 600 miles for the day. Steve probably 800-ish.

Rick got the Texas sign on his path back home.

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Rick decided he'd book it home - typical Rick - he made it home around 4am I think.

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I decided to stop at the KOA in Amarillo and make Sunday morning an easy day.

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Summary:
Miles Rick (5,818), Steve (~5,400), Joe (~5,600)

Rick's Pictures - Steve's Pictures - Joe's Pictures

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End of Story - 'til The Big Ride IV.....
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2007
Messages
8,823
Location
Fort Worth
That was quite the ride! Bravo!

I think the dirt mound between the fenceposts is a game crossing, probably for antelope, who really aren't great jumpers.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
That was quite the ride! Bravo!

I think the dirt mound between the fenceposts is a game crossing, probably for antelope, who really aren't great jumpers.
Thanks, yeah someone on STO said that as well.. just never seen it before, not sure why as I've been out that way before... guess you get bored when you can see 50 miles in one direction.. LOL
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,700
Location
Huntsville
What's up with this...? Were they taking blood? Or just wrapping the elbow to control swelling?
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:tab That looks like an awesome trip! I am heading up to the Western Montana, Idaho, Wyoming area in a few weeks to spend 7 days camping off the KTM 530 EXC. Amazingly, this will be my first really serious bike camping trip. I did a trip to Az a few years back on the KLR, but we alternated between camping and hotel each day. This will be 7 days of primitive camping...


:tab I just recently picked up the KLIM Badland Pro jacket and pants. I noticed Steve had at least the jacket, but could not tell if he had the pants. Any idea how he likes them? I've only been able to do a few short rides with them so far, but my initial reaction is that I really like them both. Pricey to be sure, but very nice! These will compliment my Motoport Airmesh Kevlar II suit which I REALLY like, but not so much for nasty wet weather.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2004
Messages
151
Location
Carrollton, TX
What's up with this...? Were they taking blood? Or just wrapping the elbow to control swelling?

:tab That looks like an awesome trip! I am heading up to the Western Montana, Idaho, Wyoming area in a few weeks to spend 7 days camping off the KTM 530 EXC. Amazingly, this will be my first really serious bike camping trip. I did a trip to Az a few years back on the KLR, but we alternated between camping and hotel each day. This will be 7 days of primitive camping...


:tab I just recently picked up the KLIM Badland Pro jacket and pants. I noticed Steve had at least the jacket, but could not tell if he had the pants. Any idea how he likes them? I've only been able to do a few short rides with them so far, but my initial reaction is that I really like them both. Pricey to be sure, but very nice! These will compliment my Motoport Airmesh Kevlar II suit which I REALLY like, but not so much for nasty wet weather.
Scott, they put an cold pack under his sleeve/elbow and were wrapping it to keep it in place - yes, for swelling.

Steve really liked his jacket. He had the Aerostitch AD-1 pants but they leaked a little in the rain, he didn't say if the Klim jacket leaked, I don't think it did... it's a great jacket..

Nice report Joe. You gonna make the RMR next month in Mena?

Steve
Steve, due to work I'm probably stuck home 'til October-ish.. but you never know. Looks like a fun event and great cause.. my parents live on a road just parallel to the OK side of the byway so I get to that area all the time and can't count how many times I've done the byway. As the time gets closer I'll see if I can get a weekend off from being on call.
 

cdc

Registered Lurker
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Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
2,967
Location
Katy, TX
What a ride and a very nice report!
Really enjoyed, thanks!
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
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Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
45,700
Location
Huntsville
This epic adventure totally deserves a bump back to the top. I would dearly love to have done a trip like this with these guys. I have since been up to Montana and Wyoming and it was superb. If you've never been, put it on your bucket list! :thumb:
 
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