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Old 09-30-2010, 09:46 PM   #46
MotoLara OP
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Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Oddometer: 852
Day 12 (336 km): Taking the Scenic Route (as recommended by the map)

This morning we woke up to frost. A nice thick frost over everything. Luckily the sun came up and started to melt everything, the melting however was raining inside my tent. I guess the fly sheet isn't designed for frost; it's only a three season tent after all. Once we were sufficiently thawed we were on our way to Steamboat Springs.

The temperature: -2.0 C

My frosty wheel

Frosted tent

We are Canadians! it wasn't too cold.... brrrr

We stopped in Steamboat to check out the camping stores. Dad was was happy to be in the heart of Big Agnes country. After Steamboat we planned to ride through the Rocky Mountain NP. Again we were expecting some amazing mountain scenery, something like glacier NP, and found sad forestry roads. The road surface was very nice, and there were lots of nice curves but the speed limits and traffic preventing us from really enjoying the road. Finally at the summit we got some decent scenery but the park was a huge disappointment. The only wildlife we saw was two zebras. One was driven by Nick (Hi Nick).

Steamboat Springs

Rocky Mtn National Park's Continental Divide

A zebra truck

At the top

Alberto enjoying the cool air

The view

Back out of the park we picked up HWY 7 south. It was a nice change. Some good twisties and barely any traffic. Some funny signs though “Motorcycles use extreme caution” and “In case of flood climb to higher ground”. We settled in Nederland for the night. While Dad was shopping for beer I checked out the Mining Museum. They had a Bucyrus 50-D (I think that was the name) that was used to build the Panama Canal. They also had a little Bucyrus 10-D. It was so cute. We are now resting easy in the Kelly Dahl campground, there was a free campground but it was very primitive.

The largest Steam Shovel in the US

Sun sets @ our campsite

Done for the day

Bed time after a fun day

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Old 09-30-2010, 09:49 PM   #47
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Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
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Day 13 (303km): Officially South!

How do I classify south? Well last night we were not the only ones camping in a tent. Not only that but there were SEVERAL other people in tents. Also today was the first day I did not use my heated vest. There was a tiny bit of frost on the ground when we woke up but nothing like the previous morning. Our plan for the morning was to let TomTom lead us back to the CDT. In doing this we stumbled upon the holy grail of biking roads. Being a Saturday, we saw probably 50 bikes out today and in particular a Ducati club (oh that was great). This amazing road goes by the name of HWY 93 I believe. Then onto HWY 285 which was a very bizarre experience indeed. First it was a two lane fast, boring highway, then all of sudden traffic came to a dead stop (because we found out later the road merged to a one lane). After that we came through a small town where a high school parade was happening... again at this time the road was going from a two-lane to a one-lane and traffic was backed up. The road was surprisingly busy, or so we thought. Again we came upon a slowing of traffic and cars were parked everywhere on the side of the road, and there was a full parking lot. We were frantically looking around hoping to see a grizzly but all we could tell was that there was a trail head and a bunch of Aspen trees and people were photographing. Quick lets get out of here. To top it off, at the end of our journey on 285 the road was closed due a traffic accident. The detour took us on a pretty dusty back road. My white suit now has a redish hue, I now look more authentic. I felt sorry for all those street bikes we passed on the detour though.

The dusty detour

Lost in Colorado

Where are we?

Going back to the main dirt road

Profile of La Gringa

Phew off 285 finally and onto some nice dirt roads. The scenery looked a lot like the foothills of Alberta. We took a wrong turn, or rather TomTom lead us on a detour, where we went through a housing development. No worries, it was a nice view from up there.

After breaking back out of the wilderness we had lunch in Hartsel. Burgers all around.... well Dad had a taco salad. Then back onto the dirt to Salida. It was a nice road and we had our first river crossing. We all survived. On the decent into Salida you come out of the dry hills and sit perched above the Valley. It was an amazing view. The road takes you winding down into the Valley and then you come to Salida. It was a very cute little town with lots of nice little houses. Since this looked like our last chance at civilization we got some groceries and got out of dodge (the heat was killing us). We camped for the night at 9200ft at O'Havre Lake just outside of town.

Lunch break

Wouldn't is be better to write: Open every day from 7am to 4pm?

Hamburgesa Americana

Beemer being washed

Aspen trees

Mountain ride

First river crossing

Cute casas in Salida, CO

We finally found a campground

Good times it was

Beer by the lake, nice

Ahhhh so good!

Dead fish found

It was a nice campsite by the lake

Stary night

Our home for the next few months

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Old 10-01-2010, 10:45 AM   #48
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Interesting read, looks like fun.
Go faster than everyone.
Only worry about what's in front of you.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:25 AM   #49
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Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
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Day 14 (105km): One wrong turn....5 hrs later

We only broke 100km today because we used my bike to go back into town for groceries.

It was another typical morning, a little bit of frost but not too bad. It soon warms up with the sun. We stopped for a picture at the campground which was at 9,200ft. Off we went down the road to join the CDT. We didn't bother loading the end of the itinerary we were on, instead we loaded the next one and tried to join it. This was a bad move.

We started out on a pretty rough/rocky road. And when I say rocky I no longer mean little rocks.... these were pretty big rocks, with some small loose rocks thrown in for fun. We approached a small river crossing with a rocky creek bed. I dropped my bike before the crossing in the loose rock and it was at this point that I didn't want to go any further on this road. It was getting increasingly more challenging as we climbed and my bike is not the tool for the job. At this point we realized we had taken the wrong road for Marshall Pass. We were not ˝ way but I was out-voted in the group and we decided to continue forward.

The point of no return.... apparently

Going up the treacherous trail

Doesn't look too bad on the pictures eh?

The problema was that it was too steep for such heavy bikes

The end of the rough patch of rocks

Bringing Naomi's bike up

I pretty much spent the next 5km walking to Marshall Pass and either Alberto or my Dad rode my bike for me. I don't mind challenging roads, but I would not choose my F800GS out of the toolbox, I would be more inclined to use my jeep, or a dirt bike. Anyways, it got to the point where my Dad had dropped his bike in a large rocky section and him and Alberto had quite the job driving it up this section (since my dad had already made it 1/3 of the way). Next they tried my bike; but it ended up in the bush. It was at this moment that a group of dirt bikers lead by Hayduke (sp?) came across our path. Hayduke and his posse helped get my bike to the top; he actually rode mine up for me. Thanks Hayduke and friends for your help. Alberto managed to drive his bike himself, and earned himself the nickname: full throttle. He almost crashed straight into my Dad's bike, but didn't so I guess good for him. After a stop on the trail for lunch (we were all exhausted) we finished the last part and made it to the forestry road we should have been on. We stopped for gas once we were back on the highway and met a group of Dutch guys riding the TAT. They had started it last year but were rained out. Good luck this year guys! After that it was smooth sailing to the highway. So 5 hrs to do 24 kms. I'll pass on doing that anytime soon.

Alberto crashing my bike into a bush

Going going... gone

Hayduke to the rescue!

Alberto's time and everyone is watching...

Alberto: 'if you hesitate you go down'

Alberto: 'I had to drop the bike before crashing into Graham's ride'

Muy cansado

The fun continued

Alberto avoiding the rough part

Going back down for Naomi's bike

I went around the corner just to see Graham going down

At the end we made it out :)

Aspen trees in Colorado

From the bike

Looked even better in person

Colorful patches

We got some gas back on the Highway and only made it as far as Gunnison before we cut our losses and gave up on the day. By that point the sun was shining and we were in search of somewhere with showers. Bonus, we got showers, laundry AND wifi all for $22. Seek out Tall Texan RV park. Also this is the first place we've stayed that has grassy campsites. We'd missed good old fashioned green grass.

Close to the HWY

Meeting the Dutch riders

On grocery duty.... the picture is a blur cause we are so speedy

Our best campsite to date

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:34 PM   #50
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Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
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Day 15 (370km): Hola New Mexico

We had a nice leisurely morning this morning. Our campground neighbour had a really sweet set-up. He was a biker that also was a mountain biking enthusiast. So he installed a bike rack to his Goldwing and he carries his bike with him when he travels. Enjoy your ride to the family reunion.

We picked up a new turn signal bulb for me at the local Napa. The owner was very helpful finding me something that would work. We took scenic byway 149, and finally the map was telling us the truth. It was a great ride, both scenic and enjoyable for a biker. Take note Rob and Rick to check out 149 next time you are in Colorado (if you haven't already). Then we shot across on 160 to 84 and soon we had entered New Mexico.

Nomi liking the pavement

Snack pit-stop

The view

Random lumberjack-er


Unreal landscapes - Nomes & Grahams riding down

Enjoying the good riding

It looked unreal in person

See Nomi and Graham? I do!

It was a very hot day and Dad was desperate for an icecream. We stopped in Chama to determine our plan of attack. We picked up groceries and the check-out lady wasn't going to give Dad his beer because he couldn't get his driver's license out of his wallet. It was touch and go. We made our way to the Heron Lake State Park and that is where we camped for the night.

Lunch break in New Mexico!

Ice-cream + map = route planning

Bugs bug me...

Camping under the stars

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:36 PM   #51
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Location: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
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Day 16 (531km): Campers beware

Since we had camped in Heron State Park we were already on a nice backroad that would take us in a South-West direction. Perfect, we set out on the backroad when we got going in the morning. There were lots of different campgrounds in the park, we just happened to stay at the first decent one we saw.

The start of the day

The road we had planned to take looked a lot more straight forward on the map than in real life. We had only gone 10 kms or so and there was a fork in the road. Hmmm.... left? Then our road ended and we were at a pavement junction. Where did this main road come from? TomTom to the rescue. We followed him but he wanted to take us on a road that went through Apache land. No through traffic. Hmmm... Back to the HWY I guess? We eventually made it to 537 and there went our plans for the morning. I did see a porcupine and a very large spider (probably the size of a squash ball). So I got my wildlife content from our morning adventures.

New Mexico brought new landscapes

The first strange intersection

Booh! hiss!

Where do we go now?

back to the main road

So we were on 537 and giving up on taking backroads to try and stem the boredom of New Mexico highways. We ended up on 191 which turned into 9. It was pretty boring. Luckily there was some interesting scenery, but not many safe places to stop and take pictures. So that was it, we flew through New Mexico and into Arizona. We made tracks towards St. John because our map showed they had camping.

New Mexico

The tragedy of straight roads

Oiled road sucked

Some of the really cool scenery

Taking a short break

It looked like this on both sides of the road

They did in fact have camping but it was the worst camping experience of the trip so far. It seemed harmless at first, but things went downhill. At first we were having trouble finding it due to a road washout so we stopped at a gas station for directions. Sorted. We made it to the RV park and set-up camp. I had noticed a large amount of tiny ants on the ground, but no worries. Turns out there are ants everywhere. If you took a cross-section of the town I imagine you'd see little ant tunnels going everywhere underneath the town. After we had the tents up Dad and I walked back towards the main drag in search of supplies. On the way, we were practically chased down by mosquitos and my Dad probably ended up with 50 bites. When we came back to the campground it was pretty much dark and we both drank our beers in our respective tents (safe from the mosquitos). Not very sociable. By this time I found out that my sleeping pad had been punctured by these plant spikes that were all over the ground. Alberto's pad was also punctured. He's such a sweetheart though because throughout the night he kept giving my pad an air boost. Also when my Dad went to have a shower he found out that he was sharing the bathroom with toads. So I guess he got his wildlife content as well. In conclusion St. John is not a place for campers, based on our experience.

a BIG grasshopper

Hot hot hot like Rio de Janeiro

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:37 PM   #52
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Day 17 (325km): My god the heat!

So today is the moment we've all been waiting for: Highway 191 in Arizona. When we mapped a route to Tuscon on the map this was the one road we saw that looked interesting. Our entire route since Chama had been leading up to this point.

The heat was uncomfortable this morning. People may think it's great riding a motorbike when it's warm outside. It's not, if you're safe. Riding a motorbike requires pretty heavy clothing and a helmet; not the best in 30+ temperatures. While we were riding this morning we discovered that we had changed time zones at some point. Bonus, we gained an hour this morning because we set off at our regular time.

We got onto 191 first thing this morning but the good stuff didn't begin until after a gas stop in Alpine. While stopped at the gas station we saw a guy in a pick-up with a nice looking head in the back. Where did the body go? My Dad also woke up sick this morning and was looked like he was in pretty rough shape. I think he appreciated the gas break so he could grab some water.

The head on ice

We were up in the forest and the temperatures were very reasonable. We enjoyed it. The road was instantly good. Lots of nice twisties and for whatever reason (time of year, luck …) we had the whole road to ourselves. The road continued to get better and better and by the time we were done (1.5 hrs later) we all had huge smiles on our faces. It was hands down the best road I've ridden. It's just turn after turn after turn and it seems like it goes on forever. There was one turn sequence were it felt like we were riding at Laguna Seca (the corkscrew). The road terminates (for us anyways) at Morenci Copper Mine. It's a weird experience because the road pretty much goes through the mine site. By this time the temperature was getting ridiculous. We stopped at a gas station and ate some icecream in the shade before we made the final push to Safford.

Say 'queso'!

At the top of the mountain road

Deep blue skies

Amazing road

HWY 191

This is near the end but you can still see how the road snakes

Zoom-in to see G & N

Hot rubber after the twisties

Chase Creek lookout

See the dust generated by the mine? mining sucks!

We picked up groceries in Safford and camped just south of the city at the Roper Lake SP. Pardon me for a moment while I complain about camping costs again. The park ranger charged us for 2 vehicles, giving us a deal because he considered 2 bikes on vehicle (4 wheels total). It just really bugs me that a motor home which occupies the same site I do pays less than me because it is only one vehicle. End of rant. It was a really nice campground though. We went swimming, took advantage of the showers and pretty much had a very nice time.

A much needed water break, lots of it

My dad and his new found fav drink: Chelada

Gotta watchout for ANTS!

Happy campers!

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:39 PM   #53
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Day 18 (203km): Turn up the luxury

We only had to make it to Tuscon today so we had a nice leisurely morning. By 9am it was pretty much unbearable to be in the direct sunlight. What a huge change from a week ago. There was not pretty way to get to Tuscon so we just took the fastest way.

We arrived into the city before lunch and went to the BMW dealer: Iron Horse. My Dad needed to get an oil change. Everyone we talked to at the dealer was great, both staff and riders stopping by the store. We met lots of great people and the time flew by pretty fast. Before we knew it we were heading to the Best Western in 41 degrees C to meet my Mom. It was like being blown in the face with a hair dryer.

Iron Horse BMW: Great service and friendly people

1930 BMW

A nice BMW dealer

Alberto checking out the competition. Do you think he should have gone for the 1200?

Might get this one after the trip

Unfair that the American version gives you mph and km/h

Welcome to luxury: air conditioned room, pool and fancy dinner. Life is good.

It was freakin' hot 'fall' day in Arizona: 38.5C

We made it to Tucson on time to meet up with Nina

Rotopax Gas container performing well under Arizona heat

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:39 PM   #54
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Thanks for the detailed updates! Enjoy the heat!! It beats the cold!!

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Old 10-01-2010, 03:41 PM   #55
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Laugh Day 19 (0km): Day of Rest

My Mom flew into Tuscon yesterday where we met her at the Best Western. It's not as hot as it was yesterday, but still very hot by my west coast standards. We are spending the day catching up on chores: laundry, internet, bike repairs ...

Right now the whole family is lounging around the pool (which we have to ourselves), some of us enjoying the sun, some of us hiding in the shade (me).

Cooling down a bit


Cielo azul in Tucson

Catching up on the blog

Every 20 minutes a few of these jets flew by the hotel

Since nothing is happening today I will reflect on our travels through the United States, since we will probably be leaving for Mexico tomorrow.

What I really enjoyed about the route we took through the United States was the National Forests. Tons of land set aside with great camping opportunities. Especially in Montana where there was an abundance of cheap primitive campgrounds. I wish Canada had a similar set-up. Also the signage is great for the National Forests (you always know when you are entering or leaving).
The weather has been great, despite the snow at the beginning. We've been told by everyone we meet that the weather isn't normally this nice. So that was a bonus for us.
We managed to ride, by chance mostly, some of the best biking roads we've ever been on. We'll be making plans to come back on our sport bikes for the best ones (Colorado and 191 in Arizona). Not sure if we got lucky but we mostly had them to ourselves.
One thing we always like about touring in the US is the cheapness of everything: camping, food and gas. It makes a difference on a long trip, which we noticed when we went across Canada last summer and we did 2.5 weeks in the US.
Finally everyone has been amazing. We've met tons of really nice, friendly people. Also lots of people waving to us as we drive by. Oh and in particular, service is always top notch in the US. After coming back from South Africa earlier this summer it has been a welcomed change of pace. Actually even compared to Canada service is leaps and bounds ahead.

On the other side of the coin, the signage is lacking compared to Canada. Highways not identified, or signs being hidden by trees. It's hard to navigate by signs only if you're used to Canadian standards.
This isn't a complaint more of just a comment but driving on the Interstates on these types of bikes is a scary experience. The wind just blows you around and huge semis are passing you at 120-130 kph.
The dust suppressant experience was not favourable. Though that is more a reflection of our map showing the road as a normal road and it turning out to be an oil access road. But on the topic of road work, on some of the nice bike roads they were oiling them. Why? That sucks when you're on a bike and negotiating tight turns.
Road construction has been weird. There would be signs and reduced speed limits but no construction. It was particularly bad in the Rocky Mountain NP. And on the subject of National Parks the two we went through were a bit of a disappointment. What I like about NPs in Canada is that you're allowed to drive through without paying the park fee, not the case in the US.

We've had a nice trip in the US but now it's time for the real trip to start: Latin America awaits.

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Old 10-01-2010, 05:41 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by betitolara
The first strange intersection

This is an impressive trip. Even more impressive is the spirit that you all have given the 'interesting' things that have already happened. But maybe most impressive is that you have not shipped 50 lbs of stuff home. Holy cow you have a loto stuff piled up there!

Enjoy the trip, I know I am enjoying following along. keep up the great posting and I love the pics.
Whatever/Whenever, Father/son to AK

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Old 10-01-2010, 07:46 PM   #57
Needs a little work...
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pics too small!
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:06 PM   #58
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Keep it coming!

Great report so far. Can't wait for more. I agree, though, that the pics are a bit on the wee side...

'08 KLR 650

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Old 10-01-2010, 10:59 PM   #59
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Great report!

Would love to see some larger pics as the others have said.

Im interested in the way you have the pelican case set up at the front too? Never seen that done before.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:50 PM   #60
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Haha thanks GR8ADV, yeah we have lots of stuff for a long trip which we intend to camp whenever possible. The sleeping bags, sleeping pads, cooking stuff, tent and other things take up a lot of room. We packed very smart since we have done quite a few (long) trips on motorbikes.

We're always opened to the idea of shipping stuff home if we are not using them but so far, so good

To all the rest, YES I agree that the pics are way too small. I will make sure we post them properly.... I forgot they how small they are b/c we're using a 10'' screen netbook ... sorry!

Originally Posted by GR8ADV
This is an impressive trip. Even more impressive is the spirit that you all have given the 'interesting' things that have already happened. But maybe most impressive is that you have not shipped 50 lbs of stuff home. Holy cow you have a loto stuff piled up there!

Enjoy the trip, I know I am enjoying following along. keep up the great posting and I love the pics.
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