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Old 11-05-2013, 08:08 PM   #1
Southmt OP
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Location: NM, USA
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KLR at Bonneville

Well, I took my KLR to Bonneville. Rode it up there, camping, ran it on the salt, rode it back home. 1940 miles. Here's a photo running down the salt...




Ok, it's Photoshopped. But it was fun thinking about it.

Left home between Albaturkey and San Taffy, rode down the Hagan Basin, a nice dirt-road cutoff. Goes past some cool rocks, some ruins of what was once a thriving town, now in the middle of nowhere, through a trench, and it ends up here, an Indian casino on I-25.









This is something you'll run into, at least in NM. "No Trespassing" signs on both sides of the road, looks like it's private, right? Nope. Public road. The first time I saw this, I turned around. Until I learned better.



Blow past the signs, you'l see the real story. It pays to know your rights. No pets?






Down the slab a couple miles, then on the back road (the original highway from the 30's) to Bernalillo. Man, I thought *I* was loaded down!



On past San Ysidro where our (BLM) trials area is, and past Cabezon Peak. This is the official "you're leaving" or "welcome home" point.



On upwards to Farmington, rain showers and rainbows, but I didn't hit much rain at all. It'd look like a big dump straight ahead, then the road would curve..... that was fine with me.



The goal that night was Angel Peak, a free BLM campground about 10 miles south of Bloomfield, and 5 miles down a good gravel road. Very nice place to stop. It's on the edge of some 'badlands' above the San Juan River.



Angel Peak



Camp. Pretty windy, but an extra tarp took care of that. The only downside of the place is all the oil and gas activity. Pretty noisy, pumps, compressors, etc. Not many people.



Onward past Shiprock, here's the mandatory Shiprock Photo.




I'd taken lots of backroad maps, was all prepared to be adventurous and figure out how to make my way up to Utah. Didn't need to, as there were road signs pointing the way....



The Moki Dugway is a really interesting road, switchbacks right up the cliffs. It was built to haul uranium ore down to a mill in Mexican Hat, I think in the 50's. It's on highway 261, north of Mexican Hat. At the bottom is Valley of the Gods, a 17-mile (?) loop through some fantastic rock pinnacles and spires.





Up top is Cedar Mesa and Grand Gulch, which flows south into the San Juan. The Gulch contains lots of ancient ruins. My destination was down highway 276, on the west side of the Gulch. The road from Moki goes on the east side, so it was about a 50-mile 'U', north, west, then south to get on the other side. Here's the other side, close to camp.



Camp at an undisclosed location that we go to a time or two a year, camping and riding. About a mile and 3/4 off the highway, pretty remote. I about did something stupid. Ok, I DID do something stupid. Took the bike a bit too far down to the best fire/camping place, down a ledge and through a slot. The next morning, on the way out, I had to thrash around a bit and got my foot caught for an instant under the pannier. Hurt bad, but was ok. If I'da busted something, it would have been very bad news.

Oh, that red thing taped to the bike's crash bar is a fuel bottle... empty! Didn't need it. But I can imagine a road-crash, sparks flying, and a full fuel bottle being ground down.... I'm crazy, and a little stupid, but not THAT stupid.





Onward down 276 to Lake Powell. There's a ferry that goes from Halls Crossing to Bullfrog. I wanted to take it a couple years ago, but the Glen Canyon Recreation Area entry (self-service) was $15, and the ferry was $15, and that'll buy a lot of gas, so I said "screw it" and turned around. This time, I was going to bite the bullet and take it. Paid at the self-service place, went into the store, and had a nice talk with the guy there. A very well-spoken guy from Kentucky with dreads. He told me the unwritten rule was that if you were just passing through, you didn't need to pay. Oh. This was confirmed on the way back, where there was a Nice Ranger in the booth.... yup, that's the way it is. Unwritten.

It runs on the hour, going either way, so from one side it leaves every 2 hours.

The ferry ride was worth $15. (A couple trucks showed up, my bike wasn't the only vehicle.)





On the other side, you can take the highway way around to Hanksville, or the Burr Trail straight up to Boulder. The Burr Trail is why I took the ferry.

More cool rocks. I like cool rocks.



Along the way are the Switchbacks. I always thought the Moki Dugway was great... this is much better! The road goes up a slot, then up the end of the canyon. The photos don't do it justice.

From the bottom...



...and the top.



Further up the road, looking back eastward, the Henry Mountains (left) and Little Rockies (right) in the background.



The now-paved road goes over the mesa in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, then drops into this big crack in the ground.









Onward through Boulder, towards Escalante. This is where the good folks in Utah should have run me right outa the state. I saw this forest fire starting. Not my fault, right?



That night I'd planned on staying at another Secret Spot west of Escalante, 7 miles up North Creek on Forest Road 149. Here's a photo from a previous trip. Nice cottonwoods, old stone fireplace, I wish I knew the history of the place. Just over the bank was a nice little creek, and grassy meadows.



Here's what I found now...



Some &*&*%&$@ with a backhoe had really vandalized the place, broke down the old stone fireplace.... being on Forest land, right below a reservior (of sorts), I'd bet it was some public servant or rancher permittee that wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

So it was onward, I was too pissed off to stay anywhere near there. As it turned out, there were precious few places to camp along road 152. You could bushwhack here and there, but I didn't want to do that. Finally I came to a nice spot. Pleasant, and lots of bats all evening long, flitting back and forth working the clearing for grub.



Next morning, it was Forest Roads 152 and 154 on up to Loa.

High altitude lake/meadows. Pretty cool (temperature-wise) with threatening rain.



Posey Lake...uh...taking a break. Quite scenic, lots of ducks dabbling about in the shallows. Bearproof bins for camper's food and garbage all through the campground.



One of my favorite parts of the whole trip. A long high plain, between the higher mountains and Loa.



That little white blotch at the bottom of the mountain is the town.



When I got down almost into town, I saw this. Wow! I rode with that club when I got out of the Army in '72. Short story... stopped, tried to strike up a conversation, didn't feel very welcome. Left.



Onward on the pavement to Levan. Stopped here on a previous trip at a little hole-in-the-wall jerky place. Got a little package of a few little shrink-wrapped peppered beef pieces, not cheap. Well, that was real 100% gourmet top-notch jerky. I savored every minute of it, and wept a little tear when it was gone. Here's their sign out on the road.

http://wildwestjerky.com



Up the main valley that has Salt Lake City, Provo, and a whole bunch of other towns. Most of the population of Utah. This is Mt. Nebo above Mona. I remember it well, as when I got out of the Army I drove a produce truck around that area. Utah is great for big mountains looming over homey towns.



Going west out of the valley, back road to Goshen, nice narrow road, more cool rocks... did I tell you I like cool rocks?



Then west to Eureka. Eureka is an old mining town.

In about '72, they put on the Eureka Grand Prix, a desert race that ran through the middle of town. I was stoked, but got there in shorts and sandals, and realized I forgot my leathers and boots. Argh! But my riding buddy changed, and I had his long pants and work boots. Great! Starting line, flag drops, inta gear, BRRRRP!, shift into second... no second.... broke a shifter part. I wasn't meant to ride that race. Dunno...Guardian Angel on duty?

Anyway, it's a nice place and I wish the timing was right that I coulda stopped at this cafe, a courtyard that used to be a building.





Past Eureka, heading toward Dugway, UT, where I was in the Army. Straight arrow road heading northish towards the old Pony Express trail that crosses the hills straight ahead.



Across the pass. Remember this, we'll be here again.



Down the other side... wanna ride a pony across this in 1860?



So on to Dugway Proving Grounds, where I was an MP in 71-72. Sure is different nowdays. The entry is ten times bigger than before, with gates and inspection stations, and a lot of other stuff but I didn't dare get close enough to find out what it was. I did take a picture of this sign, which wasn't authorized by the Commander. Hey, I figure I'm grandfathered in, ok? I protected the place from the Vietnamese.

(Aside: When I was there, if the MP on duty was your racing buddy.... the entrance was just a small concrete-block building with a lighted portal/carport on either side. Since the road was straight-arrow, the fun thing to do was turn your lights off a half-mile out - motorcycle, of course- and go straight and hit the portal at about 70. Just head towards the light like a moth. Fun? Yes. Stupid? You decide....)



Heading north up Skull Valley, there was a little teeny cloud, not a real thunderstorm, but pretty scenic. I took a photo.



Destination was White Rocks, a really neat place. A couple of big white domes on the edge of the valley.





Then the little cloud let loose some lightning, and shortly afterward I saw this....



Climbing up higher on the rock, I saw there were two fires, the other is that little smoke way over on the right. That's #2 and #3.



Nothing I could do about it. Having put in 10 season's Forest Service firefighting, I was chomping at the bit, but knew even if I could have gotten there, there was nothing I could do.

Camp from above (under that tree).



Camp from below. No campfire tonight.



Virga, Mother Nature's tease. Rain, but it never reaches the parched ground below, as it evaporates mid-air.



On to Bonneville. I've made a number of trips up there (on a Concours) as I do some tech work on Landracing.com, the absolutest bestest source of all information for people that like to go fast on salt.

Anyway, I met Bob (seated). He'd been on the road for 6 weeks on that Beemer in the background (I'm jealous).



Here's me, sporting a FastBeck's t-shirt, our friendly local dealer located at the bottom of the Sandia Crest road, 140,000 curves in 3 miles, or something like that. It says just how many curves on the back of the shirt, but I can't see that.



So, Jon and Nancy Wennerberg own Landracing.com, and each year put on a gathering called "Salt Talks", with dogs, burgers, beans, and socialization. Here's the Bean Master and his young helper.



Here's Jon selling raffle tickets. The prize was a quilt (handmade by Nancy) with patches made from all those old t-shirts that mean a whole lot to you. (In my case, they're too precious and rotten to wear.) Great idea. The red hats are 2-club hats, meaning you've set a record over 200 mph. First time I went there, I took my red Gas Gas hat.... felt like an imposter.



Salt. This stuff is sticky, nasty, and more corrosive than you can believe. I did a car-wash on my bike after leaving (my bike went into shock, being washed) and did another purge when I got back home.



Here's camp, on the mud flats which still have a considerable salt content.



Here are some photos of the weird stuff that shows up at Bonneville.

Not your typical quicky-mart.



A Cushman and a Harley got together one night...



Dunno what this is, but it's interesting. Bizarre pit bike.



My buddy's Kawasaki. Both Jon and Nancy have been over 200. Makes my blood run cold.



Working on the bike.



Next pit over was a homegrown sidecar, a very environmentally-conscious bunch of folks. They recycle.



A couple more weird things. The latter actually used the propeller for locomotion.





I want this truck!!!!!



But this one would do. Landspeed racing has folks that range from the zillion-dollar rich-folks to folks that scrape and scrounge and barely get there and run. Full spectrum... and people going for a 400 mph+ record, and folks trying to break a 50cc record at 55 mph, all in it together. A very nice scene.



Hey, I found a KLR there! But the owners weren't around. If this is your bike, speak up! Also saw a KLR at the Salt Talks, in the back of a truck, talked to the young owner but didn't get his name.



Cockpit of a streamliner. You can get right up close and see it all.


These folks shipped some pristine BSA's from England. 125cc. The bettered the old record by going 74 but blew the motor up in the process. They were busily rebuilding. Maybe tomorrow.



Ain't it the pits? City on the salt.



There are all kinds of vehicles there....



An intersting streamliner. What's the ground clearance on your KLR?



This one is the "Milwaukee Midget". On the web site, it has over 220 pages of posts in the forum, following its progress. Yup, these folks are addicted.



This says it all.



A new 'retro-bike'. http://www.sportsmanflyer.com/



Flamingos? Dunno. Those go-fast folks are fun.



Jon still working on the bike. Last year at one of the events, on the first run Nancy got up to about 180, and things started to go south, so she (wisely) shut down. Their riding time was about 2 minutes for the whole event. It takes a certain mind set to be able to do that. I couldn't handle it.



Leaving. It's weird, you have "Land's End", where you check in and the salt starts, another mile or so to the start line, then another mile or so to the impound/tech/vendors, etc., then another half-mile or so to the pits. This is one of the weirdest things I've ever seen. Flat, totally flat, incredibly white and blinding. My friend has a motorcycle trailer with maybe 1" ground clearance. The guy that built it said "What!!!". But it works at Bonneville, roll the bike right up without a ramp. Weird.

Add in some of the most cutting-edge machinery on earth, screaming by in the distance at 400 mph.....



Headed east on the interstate, then south on, um... 196... back south to Dugway. The Goshute tribe wanted to open a dump for radioacive waste on their reservation, make lotsa bucks. It didn't happen, but here's this rather interesting sign. No doubt lots of politics and turf wars behind it.



So.... remember that couple of smokes I saw start at White Rocks? Well, here they are. I'd go put 'em out, but it says "No Trespassing". That's one nasty fire, spotty and patchy, and burning up on a steep rocky mountainside where only ground crews using hand tools could do anything with it. Lotsa work. Lotsa, lotsa work.



So on back down to Dugway, and planning on spending the night at Lookout Pass, remember Lookout Pass on the Pony Express trail? Well, here's what I saw, fire #4. Not my fault. I did see the cloud that started it, but didn't take a photo of it. Like the other fires, it wasn't much of a cloud. Just enough to do the job.



Closer, it's building fast. Real fast.







An Air Tractor slurry bomber appeared, made a couple drops. I can't imagine the thrill of doing a low/slow drop like that.





This is the crew that showed up. The dirty ones were pulled off the other fire, starting on a new one. Man, talk about bringing back memories.... do what needs doing. On a fire crew, you have no schedule.



Backed off to another camping spot, here's dinner. Kinda glad I hadn't been working on one fire all day, then have to go on the line and work on another all night... been there, done that, whippersnappers!



Back on the same roads, nothing new.... except a milestone, missed by a few tenths because it was a busy highway.



From Salina, east on 70 a couple miles to Gooseberry Road. Whew! Off the pavement, taking another set of forest roads over the hill to the next town.

Nice flowers.



High altitude stuff. Got a bit cool.



Going down, missed most of the rain (again).



An amazing stream. If I'd have seen a painting of this, I'd say "fake!". And it's not Photoshopped. Really.



The Forest Service "Travel Management" planning system is totally screwed up. Here I am, unfamiliar with the country, just passing through, looking for a place to camp, and I see... this. Sooo... what's a traveler to do and stay legal? Cheesh.



Went on to the place near Loa where the trials was. Quiet, very nice, pulled up behind some big boulders, aaahhh.... nice dinner, hit the sack early.



BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOLY SH*T! It was 2 or 3 people with semi-automatics all opening up on something at once, shooting as fast as they could. Very close.

I scrambled out of the sleeping bag....

BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Got my shoes on, ran out to the bike and turned the ignition/headlight on and honked the horn.

Waited to see what would happen, after a minute a guy came walking up below. "Did we wake you up?" Duh. Not to mention scaring the s**t outa me. (I've been about killed by careless shooters). "Yeah, but I just wanted to let you know I was here". "Sorry", he said, and there was no more shooting. I appreciated that.

Back up the same road as on the way up, different view. Love this country!



An old dude that's hanging in there. Been through a lot, still going....



Back to "civilization". I couldn't help but take a picture of this. They hung a poster up inside the Subway, but they put it on the window... and this is the back side. Don't you dislike it when they try to "upsell" you?



Now here's a great place. Kiva Koffeehouse, on Hwy 12, between Escalante and Boulder. I'd been past there numerous times, never stopped. This time, I was determined to check it out.



Holy cow! What a dumb a*s I'd been. Totally different than I'd expected. Fantastic place, circular layout overlooking the Escalante River. Great music, interesting people (and purty girls!). Good cappucino and such, I got totally caffeined-out. Check out those big tree trunks holding up the roof.





I feared the food would be overpriced, but this is the $8 quesadilla.... great! Plenty of it, and very very good. This is a must-stop-at place if you're going through there.



Up out of the Escalante River canyon, the road goes along this almost-scary hogback. Down, down, down on both sides.



Through Boulder then back on the Burr Trail. Getting close to Lake Powell, I saw this on Navajo Mountain. Fire #5. Really, they're not my fault.



First view of the lake.



Crossed on the ferry, after a mad dash to get some ... uh... provisions... and ice and still make the departure (last one of the day). Ever seen an ice machine that took credit cards? $5.00+ for a bag. Honestly, I'd have paid $10. When it's in the 90's and ya need it, ya need it.

Made the ferry. This was the hottest part of the trip. Pretty miserable. Forced myself to drink water, but felt a bit weird anyway. Bad scene. Warning to riders passing through the Southwest. Drink LOTS more water than you think you need, then drink more. Dehydration sneaks up on you, and can fog up your mind.

But this is a gorgeous valley, Hwy. 276, where I camped on the way up.



The destination that night was Muley Point. Go to the top of the Moki Dugway, then turn west and go 5 miles along the rim. I'd been almost all the way there before on a Concours, but couldn't handle any more washboard, and stopped at a nice place just short of the point. This time I went on... Monument Valley is just south of there, also the Goosenecks of the San Juan.



A tank, these are really important for the desert critters.



Camp and the sunset.





More virga. Navajo Mountain in the background.



Later, in camp, I kept seeing this little critter zinging about at lighning speed. (It was dusk, almost dark). I figured it was a little rat. Once he hid under my feet. I tossed out a piece of lettuce, and he checked it out, but didn't like it. Maybe he hadn't seen anything that green and leafy and succulent before, and didn't know what to do with it.

Anyway, after dinner, he streaked over to the pan (chili & macaroni-cheese) and thought that was pretty good stuff. I think he was after the water. See how he's hanging by his hind feet? Pretty cool, eh? I left the pan out all night.



Fantastic night! Warm, just a little gentle breeze, a zillion stars.....

Morning... geologic forces at work, big blocks getting slowly wedged off.



Along the road out, in the silt, saw these tracks. Big critters and little critters. This photo makes perfect sense, right?



Now, here's the same photo rotated. This is weird, at least to me. Let me know if this doesn't look totally different. Try rotating your head.



Ok, I gotta tell you about these two guys. I met them on the ferry coming back, Leon and Ray, brothers that go out having fun every year, road trip. One has a Concours and a homebuilt airplane, the other has a KLR.

Well, on the ferry, they asked about the road down the Moki Dugway. Sure, I said, no problem. So they headed down that way. When I was taking the turn to Muley Point, I saw their car at the top. Hunted them down, they said they were staying there for the night, they were really stoked (yeah, it's a great place).

Next morning, on my way out, they were still there. They had had just as fantastic of a night as I had. Actually, being from elsewhere, it was probably better. Don't these guys look mischievous?



A couple photos they sent me.....one from the ferry, one from Moki Dugway.





Here's their ride. Notice the GoPro stuck on top. Previous day, they got a pretty good speeding ticket courtesy of the State of Utah. It was just 2 digits. Could have been 3, or so they told me.

Troublemakers.



Back to NM, Farmington, down to Cuba, then over the mountain rather than take the slab. From Cuba east then south to Jemez Springs. When I hit the National Forest, I was somewhat confused by this sign.



This is the Jemez Mountains, NW of Albaturkey.



Nice campsite, near my most favorite trials place.

According to the new FS Travel Management Plan, this is illegal, as is practically all camping in the valley. Places where people have been camping forever. Lawsuits in progress.



Took the long way down, the road goes through the Gilman Tunnels.



On the other side, and down a few miles, is the world's narrowest two-lane road.



Crass commercialism at work here. Like burgers? In NM, Blakes are all over the place, and have great burgers. Love 'em. Get green chili and cheese on it.



See that blue bag? That's my cooler, in the Blake's parking lot. Works great. But it drips. I wish I had a quarter for every time someone told me "Oh my gosh, your motorcycle is leaking!".



Back up the Hagan Basin road, past the casino. Something really nice happened. I hit the dirt a ways behind a gravel truck. The truck stopped, I wondered why. Inched around and the guy got out, said he didn't think I wanted to eat his dust, so he figured he'd let me by. WOW! I thanked him profusely, then tried to keep ahead of him. The road was silty, I just couldn't do it. So after a bit, I gave up and let HIM by. Very kind and thoughtful of him...



So that's almost back home, end of trip. It was fun. Similar to other trips on the Concours, but MUCH more fun, as there were many more options as to the route, and where to camp. Loved being able to get off onto the dirt roads. 1,940 miles. I wanted to ride around some more for an even 2k, but my butt said "No!".

Southmt screwed with this post 11-27-2013 at 07:18 PM Reason: Fixing screwups
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:25 PM   #2
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Excellent! Great report, so many good images.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:43 PM   #3
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Looks like a fun time and well done on a great report!
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southmt View Post
So that's almost back home, end of trip. It was fun. Similar to other trips on the Concours, but MUCH more fun, as there were many more options as to the route, and where to camp. Loved being able to get off onto the dirt roads. 1,940 miles. I wanted to ride around some more for an even 2k, but my butt said "No!".
+1, I just did a coast to coast on my KLR to include off roading in Death Valley and TX. MUCH MUCH more fun than my Concours14 trips
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:07 PM   #5
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Tasty little ride report there, my KLR brother.

Nice roads, excellent photos...it was all in there.

Really well done.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:29 AM   #6
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Most excellent report and photos Bob!! That looked like a great ride! I've ridden many of the roads you did in this ride and it is truly some amazing country. Loved the Bonneville pics too!!
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
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Epic! Truly epic!!

Boo to the backhoe jerkoff.....

Yay to the flamingos!

I was supposed to go to Bonneville this year, but plans fell apart literally at the 11th hour. Now I really regret it.

Next year baby. Next year.......
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Old 11-06-2013, 08:38 AM   #8
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Awesome ride report, thanks for letting us tag along. Beautiful country!
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:11 AM   #9
NMTrailboss
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Even on a minimalist dual sport camping trip in Utah, Bob's still got the NM green chile!!

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Old 11-06-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Loved this ride report!! Do you have tracks by chance?
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:34 AM   #11
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This has been one of the most interesting posts I've seen (and read ha ha) in a long long time. You have seen so much interesting stuff all in one trip.

The "courtyard" cafe is so cool, as is the Gilman Tunnels, fire spotting, the fire fighters, Ferry rides, real people (the van), mouse in pan, of course the Bonneville, and so so much more.

Excellent Post. I'll give it a 10+.
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Old 11-06-2013, 09:49 AM   #12
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That was supremely entertaining.

Great RR!





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Old 11-06-2013, 10:27 AM   #13
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Great report! I hope to go out to Speed Week sometime, it would be awesome to show my boys the various cars. A friend of mine, Danny Thompson, does some of the LSR stuff. I have photos of my sons sitting in the Challenger II/Autolite special when he had it at his shop here in Colorado, with Danny showing them the transmission controls, chutes, etc..They were riding a big high when they realized they had just sat in one of the fastest cars on earth! When we left his shop, my oldest says, "So that car went over 400mph with 2 engines, right? When I get older, lets build one with 4 engines!" I like your thinking boy!
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:19 AM   #14
mefadv
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Awesome report... thanks for taking us along
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Old 11-06-2013, 11:28 AM   #15
apexeric
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Outstanding Ride Report!

Thank you.
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