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Blaise W 03-08-2012 07:49 AM

Planning for Forever West 2012
I've been mulling over various routes for a long ride this summer with my son who is going to be visiting after three years in S. Korea, and before taking off to Australia for a year or so. Father & Son ride! He'll be on my WR250R which hauled me over the TAT last year, and I'll be on my new Husky TE630. The former is all farkled for long trips, and the latter is almost there too. Just have to install my Garmin 276C and replace the counterbalance shaft woodruff key. Think I'll get an Uptite single can exhaust too if George completes his development work on that particular model.

I spent some good time talking to Tony Huegel yesterday about the gps route and will buy it from him as soon as he makes a few modifications to improve a section or two. I thought long and hard about whether to make this ride a little more technical, but it appears that a few good sections are thrown in but most is on good gravel roads with spectacular scenery. We may miss the Fall Color prime time, but not by much, by leaving Colorado in mid August. Out third member has been put in charge of making sure we don't get a lot of rain. He is the guy we will blame if we do..... Looks like we are all going to have to carry a Rotopax can for extra gas for lots of the ride. I have a 6.6 gal on the Husky, and the WR has a 3.7 gal tank. That's not quite enough for the Big Empty.

Things to do yet: get warmer sleeping bags as it seems we can expect very cold temps at elevation, even at the end of August. Rawlins WY gets to 45 or so at night, and that's less than 7000 ft. elevation. We will be at 9000 plus so we can figure 20 degrees and more lower some nights. A 0 degree bag sounds about right even though it's Summer.

Next is tire selection. I generally run D606's but I'm thinking that with the better roads on this trip I need to go with something with a little longer life. I'm not sure anything will last the 2800 miles on the Husky other than a Heidenau or Mefo. The fact that they seem to be a bitch to install and remove doesn't warm my heart, and I am tempted to find something else, but what? A 50/50 would probably be ok, but as I recall Tony implied that we will be doing Eagle Canyon and maybe Black Dragon in Utah. Gotta finish re-reading DockingPilot's report to confirm that. Deep sand is not friendly to 50/50 tires! I missed Eagle Canyon on the TAT due to some bad thunderstorms and would really like to put my tires thru there. As for Black Dragon, we did that right after a flash flood and it was a lot of work. Road sections up on the banks were washed out, boulders and rocks in the wash were re-arranged, and not a single track thru there since the flood. 'Had to walk almost the entire thing to scout out a route, not fun in the heat and wearing riding gear. But that's another story.

Ah, just double checked and it appears the route doesn't go anywhere near Black Dragon or Eagle Canyon. My Bad.

Anyone make this ride since the 2010 ride report, and any advice or pointers as to route, other things to see, places to stay, fuel, etc.? The history along this route is just amazing and I can't wait to get out there.

officerleroy 03-08-2012 02:47 PM

I'd say a zero degree bag might be a bit overkill. There's a big jump in pack size from 20 deg to 0 deg bags. If packing room is no issue I'd say don't worry about it, but I don't guess you're running big hard panniers on either of those bikes. I'd also recomend down fill material, also for packing reasons (among other things). I live in Northen NM and routinely ride/camp way up in the rockies, as high as 11,000'. A 20 degree bag has served me well even on the late fall/early spring nights. If you're still concerned look at sleeping bag liners. It's better on your bag, plus it never feels as dirty when you've got "sheets".

Don't forget a good pad though. The thermarest neo air is unbelievably warm, comfortable, and packs to the size of a coke can almost, but its expensive and can be a little delicate and susceptible to punctures. There's another one out there that has down in the air core that's supposed to be pretty sweet, but i've yet to try it out.

Eh, just my 2 cents anyway. Good luck with your ride.

Blaise W 03-08-2012 05:42 PM

I have 20 degree down bags now, and I use an Exped air mattress. It's really nice thick for my old bones and packs small. You are probably right that 0 would be overkill. Lots of camping on this trip. I have one knee that doesn't like me crawling around on it so I motel it when possible. Don't think that will be possible in lots of areas on this trip, but so be it. Crawl around carefully in the tent!

CO-or-bust 03-08-2012 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by officerleroy (Post 18169548)
There's another one out there that has down in the air core that's supposed to be pretty sweet, but i've yet to try it out.

Officerleroy is talking about the Exped Downmat. There's a Downmat 7 (7cm or 2.8in deep) with a 5.9R value for warmth and a Downmat 9 (9cm or 3.6in deep - VERY comfortable and packs down to 5"x11") with an astounding 9.0R value (most Thermarests have R values around the 2.2 to 2.6 type range). Camped out a couple weekends ago on my "9" and a 40degree Marmot bag with a silk liner, woke to 19degree temps and was fine (probably closer to 15/16 degrees at 2:00am...). Wouldn't want to do it for a week or multi-week trip with my "40", but that Downmat is impressive... I did just go out and supplement the mat with a Mountain Hardware UltraLimina 15 sleeping bag (Thermic Micro fill handles moisture MUCH better than down and it compresses to about 7"x13" in the included compression sack) plus a Sea to Summit "Thermolite Reactor" bag liner, so I think I'll be just toasty on my upcoming planned 3 week jaunt out to Colorado and Utah this coming September (ok, "toasty" might be a little bit of a reach...).

Following in DockingPilot's shadow is always a good plan. I'll be following along with you on your "Forever West 2012". Enjoy!

Union Valley Rider 03-11-2012 07:10 PM

saddle up!
Ken, I agree. The second half Sept is risking early snows. I have been in the Wind River Range on Labor Day and it snowed us in for 3 days. I think a 20 degree bag in late August will be fine, especially in a tent. I have 2 down bags, and one is 5 degree, the other is a Western Mountaineering bag with a Micro Fiber outer shell which is rated for 15 degrees. The first one is overkill, and the second does'nt compress and pack as well. Also, Micro Fiber bags tend to make your evaporation rate much slower, thus waking up in the middle of the night all clammy. So I'm going to look at some of their Extreme Lite series bags. Getting one rated for 20 degrees with a full collar should keep me plenty toasty if the weather turns on us.

Blaise W 03-13-2012 07:10 PM

Tony Huegel has come thru for us and put together routes for a great ride. It's a little different from the original so I'll just stay that it's been fine tuned. Problem is there are so many optional routes that it will be difficult to choose between them. Tony has been absolutely great to work with and if anyone else is contemplating a ride in that area I recommend him. We are going to have one day that extends 330 miles without a gas stop, so if someone comes across three sets of bleaching bones and a trio of dead bikes, just remember where you read this! I think DockingPilot mentioned a 260 mile day, and that worried me a bit. Ooof, another 70 miles! I think we will have less than a half gallon spare even carrying 2 gallon Rotopax.

I picked up a stack of Benchmark Recreational Maps too, and they are very detailed. But, after looking closely at some of the areas we rode on the TAT last year, it is still difficult to pick out the routes since some are just little thin red lines. I hand it to Tony and to Sam Correro for making the effort to put these routes together for all of us.


One Less Harley 03-13-2012 07:26 PM

Heidenau K70's (on my 2nd set for the G/S) will easily go 7,000 miles, I've gotten 8,000 plus on the R80 G/S which weighs a lot more than the Husky. They aren't an issue to mount by hand, just use tire lube, but you know that. I just put a rear on the G/S in 20 minutes three days ago, but no rim locks, but your probably using the tubliss. If you;re gonna be in sand or mud then you'll hate the K60's, go w/ the 606's you know what to expect with them. K60's will treat you good in gravel and hard pack.

I want to see pictures of the camp sites!!!!:rofl

RideFreak 03-13-2012 11:00 PM

How much pavement will you be riding? I'd be inclined to still run a 606 on the back. That's the end of the rainy season in the SW and you might just see a little mud :evil Hate to tackle that on 50/50 tire with a loaded DS bike. Personally I prefer to trade off some street manners for dirtability when it comes to tires, esp if I'm in the middle of nowhere. Sounds like a great trip!

Blaise W 03-14-2012 10:51 AM

D606's have always treated me right, and this trip has very little pavement as far as I can tell. I get 3K out of the rear on my WR250R, but the Husky has much more horsepower, and one has to be judicious with the throttle hand or the tire gets thin pretty quick. I'll just keep an eye one it and if need be will order a tire and have it shipped ahead. MC Superstore is very fast on tires! This is probably not the trip to go experimenting. The Heidi's or Mefo's sound interesting, but as One Less sez, NFG in sand or mud. With luck we won't have a lot of that, but we are at the end of the rainy season and who knows.......

One thing I have done is to get some boots that are in theory at least more water resistant. I got oh so tired of wet feet on the TAT. In fact, I lost my good humor completely at least once that way. But, when you go swimming with full gear I don't suppose any boot will keep your feet dry. I'll settle for little to no leaks on the stream crossings. My Gaerne Balance's took at least two full days of sunshine to dry, and that was without my feet being in them. Trying the Sidi Adventure Rain's this time. Fingers crossed.

One Less Harley 03-14-2012 03:52 PM


Originally Posted by blaisew (Post 18214943)
I got oh so tired of wet feet on the TAT. In fact, I lost my good humor completely at least once that way.

that's putting it lightly!!! :D

Bet you're gonna wish you had two WR250s on the trip. Those bikes are sweet for such a little motor. Good luck w/ your trip.

Blaise W 03-14-2012 07:07 PM

[QUOTE=One Less Harley;18217232]that's putting it lightly!!! :D


Shhh, that's inside information! Love the Husky though. It doesn't feel like a big bike, and someone said that it's like a "cheater" big bike. Hammered it pretty hard at Big Bend recently and it does fine. Turning radius like a truck though. Shouldn't be a problem on adventure rides like this one, but up in the Rockies, I don't know.....yet. Going to Death Valley in a few days and it will be perfect there. Folks talk about a few challenging places though, and I'm ready to give it a go.


Sourjon 03-15-2012 02:00 AM

Hi Ken! I'm wanting to do this ride myself later this fall. I'll be watching with interest how your trip goes. Wish I could've joined you guys in Big Bend. Some of us still have to make a living though :D


byways 03-16-2012 05:39 AM

Blaisew, it's been terrific dealing with someone so enthusiastic, experienced and prepared. For what it's worth, I've found Michelin T63s to be amazingly durable and tough, not to mention they can be had at more reasonable prices than others. I get about 2500 miles on the rear.

Let me know where you and your son need to connect from in Colo., and I'll be happy to look for a route to get you to the FW loop.

rallen 03-16-2012 07:13 PM

Hello, I was wondering how to get in touch with Tony Huegel. I did not know he sold the GPS routes.

Myself and a group of guys planned on doing the trip last year, but I had to cancel due to a move.
We are back on track and plan on doing it in September. It has been ahwhile since I have gone over the
route. Last year I spent alot of time going through the original tracks and cleaning up a few things, as well as changing the legs for each day. We had planned on starting in Wyoming to make it a little easier to hook up.

Anyway, where or how can I buy the GPS routes, I would like to see the updated/cleaned version-

byways 03-16-2012 07:24 PM ... but now we're crossing into "Vendor" country, so please email or PM.

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