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Old 06-06-2012, 12:41 AM   #1
nanotech9 OP
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK
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OKC to Moab, the White rim in a day, and on to Calgary...

Probably not very interesting to most of you, but I've got a few friends that don't get on facebook so I'm posting a few updates here so they can stay in the loop...

To get up to speed, after some great advice from folks over in ride planning, I took off on Saturday (6/2) from Oklahoma City with a final destination of Calgary Alberta on Friday evening as I need to set up and attend a trade show for the company I work for starting Saturday.

The only set plans I had was to camp in Eagle Nest Lake Saturday night, and make Moab by Sunday night, and spend the entire day Monday riding around Moab.

I made Eagle nest fine but with a VERY late start (which included a last minute oil change the morning I left) and a quick dinner which included once again what I consider the worlds BEST burger and some delicious ice cream, I asked for some camping advice from the hostess(es). Some discussing between themselves about where their sons had camped before I was off with three great candidates, one of which was a bit in the wrong direction and supposedly very remote. With a "danger" of bears and cougars in the area, I decided to check out the first two places.

The first one was at the top of a mountain top, and on another day in the daylight and on my KTM 525 I might have tried to make it to the top, but loaded down on the 12GS and well after dark at about 10:45, I decided it was just a little too rough to risk this early in the trip.

The second recommended area was a hiking trail only, and not even open for the season yet... I assumed the third was a bust as well, so I headed back to the state tent-camp area 5 miles down the road only to find out all 6 spots were already full. Not to worry, I got some good advice from a friendly camper, and snuck into a clearing behind his tent, well away from the bear box, and hidden from the road. I lucked out and snuck the bike in close for a quick unload, and rode it back over to the parking area. Those panniers are rather heavy so the short hike really saved some effort.

The drop into Eagle's Nest Lake in the morning after camping down the road a bit...




Sunday I headed out with another late start (this is a habit) and headed up towards Durango.. Somewhere around Tierra Amrilla I ended up on about 100 miles of two-track forest roads... a couple of Private property signs and U-turns, but it was a blast.





After I made it to Durango, I took the 550 on up to Silverton and Ouray.

Halfway there I took a little side-trip up a random dirt road just to get a picture at over 2 miles high... 10,600ish ft high.




Wow, what a ride! The posted limit is about 25 half the way... It wasn't hard to coax myself down to nearly the posted limit. The sheer dropoffs with no guard rails kept me on edge the whole way. I'm not necessarily afraid of heights, but they do make me a bit edgy. I was having a blast, but happy to make it into Ouray for a bite to eat at the Ouray Brewery.

about 5 - 10 miles outside of Ouray.

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Old 06-06-2012, 01:16 AM   #2
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After dinner in Ouray, I headed west towards Moab just south of Ridgeway on 62W...

Very cool section of highway... I ended up chasing this glorious sunset for about 3 hours... It sped ahead as I dropped down into Moab and found my way over to the Lazy Lizard Hostel (recommended here on advrider for $28 / night for you're own room).





The Lazy Lizard happens to be the first Hostel that I've EVER stayed at... I wasn't sure what to expect. It was late, there was about a dozen random people hanging out in the common areas inside and out, and almost none of them could speak english.

I finally got checked in and settled down for the night. The shower felt great as did the bed.

The plan the next morning was to hit up White Rim, unloadad (leave the bags at the Hostel) and blast through it as reasonably quickly as possible.

Again, a late start to the day. Projected high in MOAB was 100deg by 3pm. A buddy told me it was about 4.5hrs to do all 100 miles, and I overestimate my riding skills a bit. Thinking I've never downed even HALF of a Kreiga 2L water bladder before, I filled it up to the top, full of water and ice, and threw in an extra bottle for good measure. Turns out it wasn't enough.


Couple of guys on street bikes at the start of the trail (clockwise) told me there was guy on a Tiger 800 about 5min ahead of me... I headed down the trail and find him about 15min later, loaded fully down. He was planning on camping halfway through, and had one entire pannier full of water. Excellent planning I must say, but i'm not sure he knew what he was getting into... but neither did I.








about 30 miles in I was too stubborn to turn back, but already starting to get worried about water supply. oops. I tried to keep a fast pace, but theres a type of rock garden out there that I have to describe as a field of half-footballs sticking out randomly, but with a complete lack of definition. The overhead sun made everything look bright white, and completely smooth until you were right on top of it and realized you're bouncing in and out of 6" or more dips and bumps. the 12GS doesn't have the suspension to absorb this type of terrain at any speed, and frequently bottomed out... A concern since I'm still using the stock bash-plate.

4hrs in and I was barely past the halfway mark, and a bit under 50% water. I was getting tired, worried, and extremely hot. Temps while moving were on average 108deg, and about 118deg when stopped.

Taking a break in some "shade"...



I had to keep moving, hoping that the last half would be faster paced...

It was, but not enough. I was seriously trying to plan the point at which it would be wise to hit the "rescue me" button on my SPOT 2 so that someone would find me before I was too severely dehydrated to make it out alive.

Luckily I ran across a foreign guy in a rented jeep who gave me a full bottle of water... It wasn't much, but It was the hope I needed to keep going... Knowing someone was behind me that could help if I was in too much trouble was fairly comforting.

Thanks for the water Jeep Guy!


I was still tired and dehydrated though, and soon came across my arch nemesis... deep rutted sand. I don't mind a few inches of sand... I can get the bike up on top, and fly pretty well through it (had been all day) but deep rutted sand gets me every time. I couldn't keep my speed up and sank down in and plopped over on the left side.. Not a big deal, but extremely exhaustive for me and I ended up puking out a bit of water. Not good.

I got moving again, and made it through a second section of sand... but after making it through I had to slide to a stop to once again throw up, but MUCH more water this time... Even with the jeep guy behind me I was VERY worried now. I knew I hadn't been absorbing most of the water I drank, and had now lost most of what I had in my stomach (which would have eventually worked its way into my system i think).

Now, down on water, dehydrated, exhausted, burning hot, taped up left palm (raw from working the clutch) I had to keep pushing forward.

I decided to sit for the first time in about 75 miles. Turns out it was a mistake. Not much later the bike swapped ends w/o warning. No damage, but I had to strip down to my under-layer. Thank goodness for a strong breeze and some clouds for a bit of shade. Got the bike back up and continued on, this time standing, despite the fatigue.


I was riding in the opposite direction... oops.



For the next few miles the trail gets very close to the river... but not quite close or low enough to get down into the water... I was desperate to dive in and cool down for a bit.

With a bit of relief, I came across a sign that said 12mi out to the Highway, and 1mi to a boat ramp. I decided to head to the boat ramp. I need to cool down.... The water was dirty, but it felt great soaking my shirt and head down. Ran into a couple more guys that shared two little bottles of Gatorade and some COLD water. The Gatorade really helped a bunch.

All in all, it took about 6.5hrs to conquer the White Rim on the 12GS. I'm not sure if "conquer" is the right word... but I made it, alive, and under my own strength and the bikes own power.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:36 AM   #3
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After a long shower and resting up a bit at the Hostel, I ventured out into the common areas and sat down for some random conversation.

Turns out one guy was there for skydiving, and the other is an old german guy thats been coming out there 18yrs in a row, to that Hostel, and to Moab, to rent airplanes and fly around the canyons.

Turns out he comes to the US three times a year to visit and drive across the USA and fly in and out of little airports all over. Everyone had some pretty cool stories and as strange as the Hostel was, it turned out to be a great choice.

Today I had no specific plan, except to work my way north. I plan on visiting Kurt and Martha Forget with Black Dog Cycleworks on Thursday.

I needed a easy day, so instead of heading north on about 500 miles of dirt road I had mapped out, I headed towards Salt Lake City.

by 10am it was almost 100deg in MOAB, and windy... and it just kept getting windier. Didn't take long for the temps to cool into the high 80's, and by the time i got to SL City it was about 65. The wind chill was so bad I was shivering and had the heated grips turned on high!

I stopped by Rocky Mountain ATV/MC but was really disappointed in their showroom, and lack of enthusiasm to welcome a long-distance traveler. Nobody entering the store even as much as glanced my direction. I mean who doesn't check out a loaded down dirty GS with an even dirtier looking rider checking out some paper maps...? I love talking to people (sometimes) and was kinda bummed. I would certainly think someone that looked like me, pulled up to the local Cycle gear with plates from 4 states over would warrant maybe a curious "where you headed?" from a friendly Oklahoman... but who knows.

I couldn't decide where to go next, so I said screw it, I'm checking out the Salt Flats!

after an hour of severe headwinds and insane crosswinds that were nearly snapping my neck, I pulled into the rest area on the west side of the flats.

As much as this place is downplayed, i LOVED IT. To me it was just like visiting Laguna Seca... except there was nobody there to keep me from getting "on the track"... so I did just that... I rode down onto the salt to see what it was like.

Its very strange. It looks like its loose gravel/sand like composition, but its not. Its very dense, very stuck to itself, and provides a good amount of grip. The strangest part is the pattern thats almost hexagonal that forms in the sand... to make an endless honey-comb pattern of 2" tall salt ridges as far as the eye can see. These make turning just a bit unnerving.



I lucked out and some kids from New York just stepped onto the salt so I asked them to man the big camera for an extra special picture. I wont say what it is, but to me it made the ENTIRE trip worth it. I'll post it when I can get the pictures off the camera (my memory card reader is already in Calgary with some of my other dress clothes and luggage).

Tonight I'm holed up in a casino/hotel in Wendover NV. I had planned to go another 100 miles NW, but heard there was a mining convention in town that had everything booked up, and I didn't feel like trying to tent-camp in 60mph winds.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:38 AM   #4
nanotech9 OP
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For anyone wanting to follow my progress, I turn my spot tracker on every day... Who knows where I'll head next.

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...K2gG1a3Yk1Ir5H
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:49 AM   #5
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Almost forgot... White rim took me 6.5hrs total. The german guy at the Hostel started talking about doing it in a Jeep a few years ago and asked if any of use had ridden it. I told him yes, just that day.

He corrected me and said no, it takes three days to complete... I had to disagree and promised him I completed all 100 miles of the loop in 6.5hrs, just that day, start to finish. He couldn't believe it.

....Also, right after the salt flats, I snuck through the "port of entry" (i.e. weigh station) right before the Nevada border...

Loaded down, but 4.5gal light of a full tank, Me and the bike weighed in at 860lbs. EIGHT HUNDRED AND SIXTY.

add another 28lbs to top off the tank for a whooping 888lbs all together!

Insane. I cant believe 888lbs of machine handles so nimbly in not only the corners, but offroad in the trails as well. INSANE
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:17 AM   #6
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Good lesson for all re: White Rim....
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:28 AM   #7
nanotech9 OP
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For sure... I should have taken at LEAST three liters of water PLUS another Liter of Gatorade or similar drink with electrolytes. The last think you want to do is panic about not having enough water. Taking too much will NEVER hurt you. You can always pour it out at the end, but you sure can't make it appear if you didn't bring it to start with.

I would also recommend going when theres longer shadows on the ground. Overhead sun makes the white rock almost impossible to read from more than 10ft away. Flying up to it at 45mph on a big bike will get you in trouble fast.

I'm ASTOUNDED that I didn't get multiple pinch flats, dented rims, blown shocks, etc. I bottomed out HARD and deflected a bunch off many many many rocks or rock formations in my effort to blast through in a race against my dwindling water supply.

I would say start the ride at no later than 6am in this heat.... and take something that has a little bit of compression and rebound dampening in it!

Don't try it with an Anakee / Tourance rear. You better be an amazing rider if you do. Most of the tail you'll be OK... but the very steep sandy climbs, or the deep sand downhill and flats will eat you alive if you're not on something like a TKC-80, Karoo, Michelin Dessert, or the Heidenau K60 that I was on (on the rear). I couldn't believe how little it slipped going up some of the steep climbs and hairpin uphill turns.... and yet it was predictable when throttle-steering in the faster areas.

Thanks to BDCW for getting me a rear in time for my trip!!!!
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:09 AM   #8
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You lucky

That's not fair!! The rest of us at the Circle K Ranch want to go next year!
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:41 AM   #9
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Hot Canyonlands

Nanotech,

Hey, I am glad you made it off the White Rim !!! To tell you the truth, I was a little alarmed at the amount of water you brought along. I used almost all of my water (about 2.5 gallons). I went down once on that nasty, steep, up hill bend to the left, just a ways before Murphy's Hogback. That uphill hairpin to the left was sandy evilness. I gave the Tiger to much throttle on the turn and...well....laid it down. I was roasting by time I got up that damn hill, and chuggged massive water.
I have a photo or two of you...as well as a very short video clip of you. I'll try to send it to you soon.

Dude, I KNOW you were thirsty at the end of that ride. Have a safe trip to Canada.

Argos
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:44 AM   #10
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:22 PM   #11
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This is turning out to be quite the ride! I look forward to more updates along with the great pictures.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:33 PM   #12
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The last couple of times I've done white rim in a jeep I took around 20 gallons of water and lots of ice. Usually end up giving away most of it to other folks. The dry heat and the sun dry you out amazingly quick. Glad you made it and that you found some one on the rim that could help! Sounds like a great ride so far.
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:42 PM   #13
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I rode the wrt in May and didn't empty a 3L camelback. But I don't know if it hit 80degF. Over 100, wow, that's crazy. Getting in the river was a smart thing to do. I'm sure you had some serious heat stroke. That shit can kill you. If it was that hot you probably didn't see the usual large groups of mtn bikers and their support rigs.

I hope you had fun otherwise. -al
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:26 PM   #14
route66dan
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Nano;
I didn't read your posts about the White rim before posting earlier, just took a quick check at work. Your are a survivor, that's for sure. BE MORE CAREFUL, YOU MANIAC! Your Tool & Die Department is counting on you to carry the torch to Calgary!
Is the big picture at the Salt Flats a STOPPIE ON THE SALT?
Take care and keep up the excellent ride report.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:36 AM   #15
nanotech9 OP
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Argos!!!! Rock on man. That uphill with the turn in it WAS nasty!!! I was completely unloaded and was easing the bike around it slipping the clutch instead of the tires. Loaded down HAD to be a heck of a challenge!

How did the sand treat you?

I passed three groups of MTB's... one about 4 bikes were laying at the entrance to a scenic overlook that was out of sight, the next group was a group of maybe a half dozen, some slightly more out of shape than myself, and a support truck a bit behind them. The last (about 1/3 of the way in, and all were headed towards me) was maybe 4 or 5 guys in good health, pushing hard, in fancy gear and even fancier bikes, no support vehicle in sight. They looked like they knew what they were doing.

Plains Ranger - as one of the idiots who didn't take enough water... THANKS! for taking extra along for those who may need it.

You know I hate to say it, but about halfway in i saw a 1/2 full gallon of water placed under a bush, and my only thought was "It'll be close, but I think i'll be ok... I better leave that for some other poor sap thats even dumber than me, and has less than even I do." (not to mention some MTB'er might have been counting on it being there)
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