2008-TAT Vintage Ride - UT, NV, and OR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Vinnie the Snake, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Well - as I had originally said waaaaay back in post number 99 (hard to believe there are 340 posts in this thread!), I will go back along with Vinnie and try to flesh out the trip and add some more pictures.

    One thing we found out was that working from the road, there is not always a good internet connection, and after a days ride, pounding the keys in a hotel room is not that much fun!



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    Is this thing ever going to upload?

    Well - to make a long story, even longer, a tad bit of background.

    Originally, I and Mark were to leave SW Washington with 4 bikes in tow (2 - DT400's, 1 - DT360 and a DRZ400) Our plan was to rendevous with Dman in Pocatello, then take all 5 bikes to Monticello. Mark's twin 15 year old sons were going to drive our vehicle back home, then Dman's understanding wife was going to drive us down and bring that vehicle back home, leaving us and our gear and bikes in Monticello to do the ride. I mention this, because if you do a ride like this, there are logistics that you gotta figure out. Getting all your crap to the kickoff point, then getting it all home, with this many folks coming from different areas, makes it kind of like planning an invasion. That explains why we invited the Enduro Doctor due to his ex-military background.

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    As some of you already know, Mark had an unfortunate accident a day before we were to depart, smacking his foot into a tree on a short trail ride and tearing up his ligaments. When I got that call, I was, of course, concerned about Mark's foot, but hey - let's be serious here - how the heck was I going to get to Pocatello?!?

    As all good friends do, Mark decided that since he was already scheduled off work, and his kids already were excused from school for a few days, he would still take me and all my assorted TAT equipment to Pocatello, then take the twins and their dirt bikes to Moab for a few days riding! Talk about taking one for the team!

    We left at '0-Dark thirty from Longview, WA headed east along the Columbia Gorge.

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    (disclaimer - photo taken along the same route on last year's ride, but it gives you an idea!)

    Arriving in The Dalles, OR, we stopped at the local mom and pop cycle shop and picked up Oregon ORV tags for the boys back east. There is some controversy whether we needed them, but at $10 for two years, it is cheap insurance against a $200 ticket! Oregon was the only state that needed special tags for the out of state bikes.

    The drive to Pocatello is not really too exciting, but it was sunny, and we were propelled by adrenaline . . .

    Mark at the Helm:
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    Makotosun (Gary) riding shotgun:

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    Apparently the Twins' Power drinks wore off after the stop at Subway:

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    In order to keep Mark company, I kept a steady flow of caffein in my system at all times:

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    We were in off and on again contact with Dman in Pocatello who was chomping at the bit (SEE THIS POST) but was really still getting his stuff ready. I think the moniker of "screaming turtles" would be good for our Gruppe T Shirt! Nick. Anthony, Joe Vance and Robert were heading west with the chase truck and a rental car (see - all this logistical stuff adds up!) at about the same time we were heading east. We were able to check on our progress and compare notes as we went.

    Dave decided to meet us at the Junction of Highway 84 and Highway 86 in Idaho, which would save Mark and his boys about an hour detour via Pocatello.

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    We hooked up a some nameless mini mart and moved my bikes to Dave's truck, and offloaded all of my parts, cloths, electronics, etc. I also got an overpriced 110 inverter so I could use my laptop in the truck on the way to Moab, since my 12 volt adapter had died somewhere near Pendleton, Or. Dave and I decided to get some grub at the Carls Jr., and true to his normal experience they screwed up his burger - only discovered after getting back on the freeway! NO obligatory meal photos, as there was nothing of note.

    Mark and the boys headed off towards Moab while Dave and I headed to Pocatello to load all of his stuff and extra bikes. Since Mark had dropped out, I was taking my main TAT bike, and a backup TAT prepped DT400:

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    (Backup Bike)

    Dave took his TAT DT400 and his big Honda 650 as his backup:

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    (Dave's Backup)

    We got all loaded except for a few loose items that needed to sit in the back of the truck, then hit the sack around 9:30 with a planned early start the next morning.

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    We arose to somewhat overcast skies in Pocatello, and only slightly chilly. Of course there is the obligatory pre-departure photos:

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    This actually proved to be a good learning experience, as I had never used the self timer on this camera before. It took a couple of misfires before we got this one.

    My shirt logo is chosen just for this trip:

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    Then, after a short stop at the local store to stock up on chips, peanuts and caffeinated sodas, we hit to freeway towards Salt Lake with a goal that day of Monticello, Ut.

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    We made it to Price, UT before needing gas and raised the eyebrows of the locals with the truckload of vintage iron in tow.

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    Next it is on down the 191 towards the I-70 junction near Green River. Dave had scoured the TAT GPS tracks so figured we would be crossing the TAT trail just before the junction. It was obvious when we did.

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    You cross it just under the lower of the two "highway 6" logos on the map. At the left end of the red "trail" you will later see some photos of our "railroad crossing"! That brief sighting was not a good indication of what we were getting ourselves into!

    Past Green River going east on I-70, you cross the trail again. We had to get off on the overpass to take a closer look. This sign was pretty accurate:

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    This gal did not like our presence very well:

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    You will see this photo angle taken again a few days from now:

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    Along I-70 in this area, the scenery is pretty much like this:

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    Finally we find a sign that we are moving closer to our goal:

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    I think there was a spontaneous round of applause that broke out int he truck, but I can't be sure. It is not clear in this photo, but the Lasalle Mountains in the distance still had a lot of snow - not a good omen for an 8:30 departure tomorrow morning!

    We had talked Mark into having one of his kids drive our truck and trailer back to Pocatello on his way home from Moab, saving Dman's wife from doing it, and giving Dman a prayer of a chance of . . . Better leave that thought unprinted :rofl. That means we needed to find where he was staying in Moab, drop a couple of bikes, then head down to Monticello (about an hour away) drop everything else there, then drive the truck and trailer back to Moab, then ride our previously dropped bikes back to Monticello. Have I confused you yet? Can we say L O G I S T I C S ? This trip is getting complicated, but we are almost to Monticello.

    We head up the Colorodo River valley from Moab towards the location of the hotel that Mark had given me directions to. We drive up the valley for a long time. MP5, MP7, MP9 - we decide that Mark is messed up and turn around to Moab to get better directions. The place we were looking for is the Red Cliffs Lodge and we can't figure out how anyone could get the OK to build anything up this pristine valley.

    Back to Moab, get a map, and find out we were just not quite far enough. It is at MP14! Crap. Back up the valley to find this:

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    Crap - how much is Mark spending on this fiasco? We find out and decide that he is spoiling his kids a bit too much. The folks at the lodge are very helpful, and allow us to park a couple of dirt bikes WAAAAAAAAy out at the edge of the gravel lot, past all the Hummers and BMWs. No - they weren't GS's.

    So off we go back down to Moab again, then off to Monticello for a predusk arrival!

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    What happened to the trailer? you ask - we decided it would be simpler to just toss it into the back of the truck so Mark's kid would not have to deal with a trailer. Worked pretty well. Probably saved some gas. Who knows.

    We then hit the road back to Moab and the Red Cliff's Lodge and our bikes. Suit up and head back down the road to Monticello.

    I had decided that this would be a good road test of my not completely broken in TAT bike, so I was riding it out front of Dave on his big Honda in case I had issues.

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    Not a fair fight, but I was able to keep up pretty well. I figured I'd rather have it break on the highway, than in the backcountry if it was going to burn up. Thankfully, no issues except an obvious need for a rejetting at the hotel. (I was still running very rich "break in" jetting.)

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    Back at the hotel, we all were doing last minute tweaking of the bikes, prepping misc, and loading everything else in the chase truck. This went on into the evening just a bit.

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    Dr. Enduro had already put his steed to bed early . . .

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    I never heard if Joe made him pay for 2/3 or the room or not :huh

    We all charged up our batteries, and made last minute arrangements, then hit the sack. Tomorrow would hopefully bring great adventure!

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    The next post should actually get to some TAT riding! :freaky




  2. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the report and all the great pics. I have been following it from the beginning and have really enjoyed it. Is there more to come?
  3. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    I will be updating with more pics and background stories from the rest of the trip. The above post is mostly just getting us to Monticello. The best is yet to come! :evil
  4. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

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    Alright cool!
  5. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    After a few days of trying to get my Post TAT Ride life back into a semblance of order, I'll start back up with the more detailed ride report.

    DISCLAIMER: You may have seen some of these pictures before, but since they are really good photos, you'll probably forgive me!

    Dawn came early in Monticello on Saturday morning. When I first looked out the window at about 4:30, the parking lot was wet - glad we had slipped our bikes up on the sidewalk next to the rooms under the overhang.

    I tried to go back to sleep for a bit, but the adrenline was pumping too hard for such things. I was not the only one.

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    Everyone finally got organized, packed, ate some grub,

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    (quite the motley looking crew - even after a shower!) and lined up for the obligatory pre-launch picture.

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    Left to Right: Robert - KTM 625, Dman - DT400, DEET - RT1 360 Superbike, Makotosun - DT400, Nick - Chase Truck, Joe - RT1 360, Vinnie - DT400

    All the bikes fired, and we hit the trail taking US 191 north towards Moab and the hookup with the TAT. Turn East at North Long Drive and we are on Gravel. Get used to it. There is gonna be a LOT of this stuff coming.

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    Our initial goal is in the distance - The Lasalle Mt. Range.

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    Joe had a problem staying on the road . . .

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    And Vinnie takes a long drag off his Oklahoma Bottled Water before moving on.

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    As we get a bit closer, we approach the little town of Lasalle (wonder where that came from :huh) via Copper Well Road and Highway 46. We were a little concerned about fuel at this point as one of our members had forgotten to top off his main tank and had to hit one of the Kolpin's halfway to this point. Luckily, there was a neat little store and station next to the post office where we met up with Nick in the chase truck.

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    The pump was a kick as it was one of the old manual types, didn't take CCards, but still did a nice job of topping up the old girls.

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    We ran into a group of half a dozen large street bikes out for the day, and needless to say, we raised a few eyebrows.

    After the stop it was back up the side of the mountain, looking for the pass that we hoped would take us to Moab, via this baby.

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    For some reason that escapes rational explanation, Vinnie decides that the fairly nice, gravelled, fire road we are travelling is simply not challenging enough for the boys, so he decides to deflower anyone who might be some sort of "Poser" on the trip. Dman, after watching the rest of us fishtail like some drunken teenagers after a prom, decides to go up the road. We soon discover he was the smart one.

    I don't have a lot of pictures of the next little section, because I was holding onto my handlebars for dear life! It was basically wet rocks, mud, some snow, a few downed trees, and melting permafrost if you got off the trail! When I did get to take a breather I got to snap a few shots.

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    Doesn't look like much, but is was slicker than snot and filled with loose rocks.

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    You discover quickly on this type of trip who your friends are. There you are, up to your elbows in muck, stuck in a rut, and before assisting you, your buddy yells, "Hold it right there, I gotta get a picture . . ."

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    It happened on more than one occasion that day:

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    After extricating ourselves from this fine kettle of fish, we get back to the nice road that Dave had decided to take instead of the goat trail. Note to self, If you have a choice of following Vinnie or a VW - learn some German!

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    Much like a sophmore realizing his advances would never get past second base, we headed back down the mountain to LaSalle planning on dropping down around the south end of the LaSalle Range and going up the back roads on the western slope. Turned out the re-route was probably at least as much fun as the original!

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  6. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    Shortly after that last photo, we re-connected with 191 and headed north into Moab.

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    The ride into Moab was quite uneventful. We stopped at a little Italian sandwich and pizza shop and had some lunch. The name escapes me, and I must have paid cash as it is not on my statement, but it had a great sandwhich and super pizza. No photos as I didn't want to get any cheeze on my camera. :freaky

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    We left there and fueled up again, and headed north on 191 across the Colorado river and up 191 to hook up once again with the TAT. So far today, we have had really no mechanical issues, no injuries, and it is really beginning to shape up into a really amazing trip. Little did we know at this point, what we were yet to run into!

    About a mile or so north of town, you turn off of 191 and cross a RR track. We had passed this point on our way into town the day before, so kind of know what to expect. "Kind of" really means we know were the turn was. Not what the trail would be. As we had driven by this on the way down, Dave had exclaimed there was NO FREAKING WAY there was a road up the side of that mountain! . . . . He was wrong.

    Before the assault, it is time for a film change.

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    Then it was up the TAT.

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    The green arrows indicate our direction of travel and the red arrows point to the yellow line that is our GPS track as it shows up in Google Earth. The photo of the film change was taken actually off to the left of the picture where we actually crossed the RR tracks. The upper yellow line is probably several hundred feet above the valley floor. Guardrails? We don't need no stinking guardrails!

    After making the turn that headed back into the hills above you ride through a gorgeous vally carved out of the red rock.

    This is a Google Earth snap of the route after the turn.

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    Where it looks like the cliff ends and the valley starts things were a bit less unnerving. Nice gravel and sand covered jeep roads. A fair amount of traffic as this is a popular jeep, mountain bike, and ATV trail.

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    This following Google shot shows the turn where we encountered a nasty hill climb. It was not that steep, but it was covered with about 5-6" of loose sand which was impregnated with lots of rocks of the baseball to softball size. Conveniently hidden under the sand . . .:huh

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    Where the sharp turn is located is the bottom of the hillclimb.

    I took a panorama from the top of the hill looking back at the way we came and then tried to duplicate the view in Google Earth and got this neat comparison:

    The Computer Simulation:
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    The Real Meal Deal:
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    This gives you a pretty good comparison of how good the Google Earth images and 3-D terrain mapping is!

    A little better view of the hill climb from the driver's perspective:

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    It actually was a lot more exciting the first time up!

    After this little climb, the terrain was a combination of slickrock, sand, gravel and singletrack trails. We made pretty good time, including a stretch of highway you end up on transitioning between TAT sections.

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    After about an hour of balls to the wall down some fun but challenging gravel byways, we all needed some hydration. Fortunately we picked a bunch of rocks that were not being used by snakes for sunning.

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    From this point on it was decent gravel roads

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    until we reunited with I-70 at a spot that will look familiar to those of you who have been paying attention . . .

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    A short run into Green River down a blacktopped frontage road brought us to the end of riding for day one. The Motel 6 was not set up to put our bikes right outside our rooms, but enterprising TAT Gruppers are undaunted. It is a lot nicer to oil your chain and do other maintenance on the "grass" next to the pool . . .

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    No one seemed to mind . . .

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    A great buffet dinner at the little restaraunt next door

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    was the last order of business for the day before the gang hit the hay.

    Tomorrow (assuming I get time to post) we will go from Green River to Salina - Things are just starting to get interesting! :D <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://i220.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=http://vid220.photobucket.com/albums/dd309/makotosun/tatwest/hillclimb.flv" height="361" width="448">
  7. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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  8. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

    Joined:
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    Keep it coming.
  9. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    I just checked the Fedex site and my new POV camera should be delivered to my office tomorrow! :clap

    I will be posting some more stuff on the ride, day two, hopefully later tonight!
  10. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

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    Broken Arrow, Ok
    Gary, you saying it all, thanks, :clap :clap :clap

    Only real thing for Day one to add is the reroute we took from LaSalle was actually one hell of a good ride after busting snow. I think we could have busted the drifts there but time was critical and after an hour of grinding away, we needed miles behind us.

    Keep it going,
  11. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Broken Arrow, Ok
    The end of Day 1 actually turned out to be a little erie for me personally :eek1. Nick had procured rooms at the Motel 6 where I had spent the summer of 1980 working on a pipeline as a laborer with a buddy from college. Even more weird was we ate at the same damn place I had eaten so many times before. Kinda funny when one passes along a trail how many times you may pass over it again.

    The morning of Day 2 started with this. Kinda like the horse waiting to go, first thing I saw was the Mountain Bike.
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    Day 2 turned out to be a real blessing and challenge as well. Day started as normal. Little Navigation issue as this is part of the ride where the TAT is a little shady, took a little reroute before we finally dicided that the TAT route was the only way.

    I had utilized google earth to get points, converted them into the garmin, then replotted them back to google earth for final confirmation I was on the right track. Here is the field result of the exercise. Close enough to give me some security I knew where we were at.
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    After the first turn, not much else could be said. TOTALLY Overwhelming the maginitude of the surroundings and how small I really felt.
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    DOCTORENDURO on the fly
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    Makotosun and Jgresh doing the same, taking it all in!!!!!!!!!!!
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    This way gentlemen, "Its all GOOD, lets Ride"
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    "Vinnie, you shitten me right? Your sure!!! OK, I go where the Yellow bike goes."
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    At the end of this trail we got separated by the big ass rocks. We couldnt have been more than 200 yards ahead of Makotosun and off in the distance I hear him grinding up the other side of the canyon. We called on the radio to get him to stop. Finally I could see him maybe a mile away, but he never saw us. Again, made me feel real damn small in that big world.

    Makotosun worked his way back down and back to us, where in the end I think he was less than 200 yards away when he finally saw us. Very distrubing how big those damn rocks are, how small we are, and how damn easy it is to separate. STAY TOGETHER!!!!!!

    More to come
  12. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    How right you are Vinnie.

    But I digress. On day three of the ride we woke up to nice weather in Green River, and since everyone had done their maintenance he night before, we were able to get things going fairly quickly.

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    What the heck have I gotten myself into this time?
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    After a day of some trials and tribulations yesterday, we all were starting out with high spirits and expectations. We also had some trepidation, as the Corerro maps indicated we would be coming to a "Dual Sport Bypass" today.

    Riding through Green River on a Sunday morning was a bit eerie, as there wasn't a soul about, no traffic, just the 5 old Yammies and one KLR droning down the empty road. It could have been the beginning of a "B" movie from the 70's, but little did we know that the Utah terrain we would be seeing was of Schwartzenegger proportions!

    Just before we got to the I-70 junction, the GPS indicated a turn down the frontage road, so like the mindless lemmings we tended to emulate on the trip, we all headed down the road. Dman was in the lead, following the Zumo down a track that quickly degraded to a two track dirt road,

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    then basically across the open desert until we reached the infamous RR crossing. I have some belief that the actual trail was on the OTHER side of the RR tracks, but who am I to say?

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    This led to a somewhat humorous attempt to get the bikes over the tracks before someone either arrested us for trespassing or a train came along and squished us.

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    Luckily, we all made it, though it truly was a group effort to get over.

    A couple hundred yards past the crossing, we got to 191 where Dave and I had passed over it on our way from Pocatello, two days before. Then off down the frontage roads of I-70 for half and hour or so.

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    At that point, there was some confusion as to where the aforementioned "Dual Sport Bypass" was located, or what the "Non-Dual Sport" Route might entail, so Dman and Robert decided to take the highway route up to the next section. At first, I was sure they had made a good decision, as Vinnie routed us up what was clearly a "goats only" trail, which seemingly ended with no way around.

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    We headed back to the spot we had last seen the others,

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    and headed down I-70 a mile or two and got back on the trail via a gate along side of the freeway. The next section should have it's own thread as it was so amazing.

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    As we rode down the trail towards what appears in the distance to be an impregnable hillside, it becomes obvious that we are going into a special place. As we rounded the bend, the cliff opens up to a canyon that it should be considered a great privledge to ride in.

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    We stopped near the entrance to take it all in.

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    Almost a religious experience. Little did I know that shortly I would be trying to summons up Divine Assistance!

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    I knew I was reaching the end of my current roll of tape in the video recorder, so we stopped for a break and a tape change.

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    I was having some issues with the equipment, so Vinnie, Anthony and Joe headed off ahead, and about 10 minutes later I followed. What could go wrong? We were in a narrow canyon - right?

    :huh

    Well, as luck would have it, I made a wrong turn up what APPEARED to be the main trail up a long hillside. I could not raise anyone on the radio due to the canyons, so after going up this really neat road along the cliffs and dropoffs, Vinnie spots me fromt the other side of the canyon and in his calmest of voices :lol3 says I should go back down and catch up with them. I go another 100 yards, turn around and backtrack to the missed turn, then up the proper goat trail. I finally caught up to them maybe a half an hour after they took off. As Vinnie stated, it is not a good idea to get separated in these remote canyons.



    Also, Note to Self - don't plan on learning how to use a GPS unit while you are on your first big adventure ride with it!

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    Well - now that the 4 of us were back in a group, we headed off down the trail once again, rocks, slickrock, sand, dirt, sagebrush, vistas - amazing stuff.

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    At one point, the two riders on the other trail, were able to see us across a huge canyon, and we were able to chat with them via radio off and on over this section until we met up with them. BUT FIRST . . .


    The amazing trails suddenly got just a bit ugly. Without any obvious warning, other than the feeling that you have a pair of flat tires on a bike going way too fast, the road surface morphed into about 12" of loose sand which caused some piloting issues. I was bringing up the rear and was able to get on the binders as I watched the other three fishtailing like a bunch of teenagers leaving a Kegger with the Police in hot pursuit! Suddenly all I see is a massive dust cloud, then I see Vinnie stopped sideways in the road, no Joe at all, and, as the dust settles,

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    Anthony being attacked by his bike! I get my bike off to the side where the surface is solid, and Vinnie extracts Anthony from under his amorous 360 then helps him right the beast.

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    Nothing broken except a vent tube, a sore shoulder, and a somewhat chagrined pride! Amazing.

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    Anthony dug a 12" deep trench in the road surface with his body, while the bike rode on top of him like a wildabeast in heat! I think it is a direct result of him allowing the bike to sleep inside his room with him on the first night in Monticello . . .

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    20 minutes later we meet up with Dman and Robert, and head down more frontage roads until we meet up once again with I-70 and the crossing that we believe will lead us to what is detailed on the map as a long section of sand - large dual sports not recommended!

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    We press on, until the trail turns into what looks like a long sandy section, at which point Dman and Robert decide this is the bad section and backtrack once again to the road to meet up with us at the other end. Anthony is nursing a sore shoulder, but soldiers on.

    The sand is short lived, but the excitement is not. The trail was just wide enough for a 4 wheeler to get in there, but it is deceiving, as it is filled with rocks, drop offs, switchbacks, debris, and the like, all in 100 degree heat, and after already wrestling with our bikes all morning. To me the stuff is a playground, albeit a challenging one.

    We stopped about halfway through the canyon for some fluids and a snack.

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    We find what is probably the only shade in the canyon that has a good rock to sit on and discuss our fate. Anthony is dreaming of the chase truck, but to go back he would have to ride things he clearly does not want to repeat. To go ahead is anyone's guess. We goad and wheedle him enough so that he decides to continue along.

    This is the canyon that crosses under I-70 under some signature bridges that have graced these pages before.

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    What I don't recall reading about before tho - is the dead end to the canyon that we reach shortly after the bridges. A sharp turn left up a sand covered hill is the only option.

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    The yellow is our gps track, the orange lines are I-70 - This is looking North.

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    Another view showing better the terrain, looking W by NW

    The sand hill quickly turns to a rocky trail up the side of a cliff, too narrow to be comfortable, with a line that is nearly impossible to follow. Anthony later comments that this was the hardest hillclimb of the trip for him. No pics as the video was down for the count and no way to get my hands on the camera!

    We once again reach a section of road and Anthony decides to go find the smarter 2/3 of our group, so Vinnie, Joe and Mako head up the sandy road of the TAT. The sand is ok at first, then begins to get nasty. We find ourselves on a rock shelf by a canyon and decide to fill our fuel tanks from the kolpins, check the oil, and have some water.

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    Still amazed by the country we are in.

    We left the relative confort of the rock and headed back along the trail

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    which started with sandy sections and rapidly changed to Sand with solid sections, and then to sand. And more sand. Kind of like trying to stand up on a floor covered with marbles.

    Speed is your friend, but can instantly turn into your enemy. This stuff never seems to end, until we finally get to a section past the sand in some open, fairly featureless desert.

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    Vinnie stops at the beginning of yet another section of sand and asks if we want to continue on the trail, or bag out and head over to the highway which he believes to be a mile or so off down the road we just passed. No one wants to weenie out. We finally say - screw it - we are here to ride as much of the TAT as we can and we are going to go ahead. It turns out to be a good decision, as the road hardens up, and the vistas are even better. We are able to make really good time and stop only a couple of times to get some photos.

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    After another 45 minutes of this stuff, we meet up with our crew at a freeway rest area and fuel up, hit the rest rooms, get some water, and in general, complain about how tired we all are.

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    What the hell is THAT Vinnie?

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    I guess that sand riding did make Vinnie crap his pants!


    We first thought this was a blown shock absorber - but it turned out to be a leaking oil cannister directly above!

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    Then, we head off again on the trail towards Salina! Dman decides to ride into town with Vinnie, Joe and Mako.

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    Looks like the ADV rider salutation! :rofl

    It turned into a really decent ride, alongside of I-70, corssing under it several times via concrete drainage tunnels, and passing through several abandoned train tunnels. Really, really cool.

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    The rest of the ride is fairly uneventful, excepting for the last 15 miles into town which I did after one of my contacts decided to blow out of my eye. I guess the title of this post should have been . . . this is bad . . .



    The Return of Old One Eye!

    We took over a section of the hotel in Salina, then head over to a little mexican restaraunt next door for a really good meal and swapping stories.

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    Later, the group gathered together in one room and we played a bit of the video footage so the riders who missed the amazing canyon can vicariously ride along. All in all, yet another amazing day on the TAT.

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://i220.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=http://vid220.photobucket.com/albums/dd309/makotosun/ridedown.flv" height="361" width="448">

    And yet tomorrow will - once again - outdo today! Jeez - we haven't even hit the snow, met the Rescue Folks, or lost anyone to injuries . . . YET!

    Stay Tuned!
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  13. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    Looks like two of the video clips have issues. I will try to get them redone aned reposted. :shog
  14. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,100
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, Ok
    DITTO:lol3 :lol3 :lol3
  15. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    Coweta, Ok
    Good, I thought it was probably just me or my computer.

    Really enjoying the report. You guys have really outdone yourselves on it.

    Makes me want to get going on our ride that we have postponed until Aug now.

    Hey! Did you guys see the ride report that Bigdog did in the latest issue of the AMA magazine? Looks like we got a celebrity among the Adv riders.
  16. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,727
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Word is---they made all that stuff up--and stole the pictures off the internet :D

    I distinctly remember that railroad crossing I saw in your pictures-----When I reached the railroad-----I rode under a low, small tressel thru a creek--thru some deep sand and got to the other side---GasPipe didn't see me (I was leading) and road beside the railroad for quite a bit---then saw me on the other side and jumped the tracks. God that is scary-----railroad tracks are spaced just exactly wrong to cross on a bike--at least for me. But he's a hell of a lot better rider than me.
  17. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,652
    Location:
    Coweta, Ok
    Hey BigDog, I think you need to file a suit against them for false representation. They did a really good job of misrepresenting you though.

    Know whatcha mean about those railroad tracks. I was following some guys once and they crossed some tracks but I failed to carry enough momentum and got stuck between them. They were long gone by the time I finally got over them.
  18. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    Man - I didn't see any trestle, but I would have investigated it if I had! I tried twice to get my bike over those tracks by myself and failed until Joe came and gave me a pull.

    Vinnie - of course - just got his bike half way over, stepped off, then reached back and stuck his finger up the tailpipe and the bike reared up and over by itself! :huh

    At least that is what it looked like . . .

    It took 4 of us to get the KTM up and over, so I guess maybe the old bikes have a bit of an advantage there.
  19. makotosun

    makotosun Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    166
    Location:
    Pacific Northwet
    Up to this point we have been pretty naive of what to expect as we have been graced with extremely good weather, good riding conditions (except for the snow on day 1 which was somewhat expected) and generally good luck. Most of the mechanical stuff was more irritation than anything else.

    I did snap my speedo cable in two on something which meant the GPS was my only accurate speedo for the duration of the trip. As I was to discover, my bike seemed to thrive on consuming some small part of itself each day.

    We awoke to solid overcast and a bit chilly, and as we were gassing up the bikes next to the hotel, it started to sprinkle. Before I even got off the tarmac I was adding some weather pants!

    We headed through Salida, and into the countryside parallel to I-70.

    20 feet before we hit the gravel road, Vance stops and starts digging through his pack and fishes out his rainsuit. We all follow suit - which turns out to be a good decision. Not hard rain, just a continous drizzle. What we from the NorthWest call a nice sunny day ;)!

    The track that Vance was leading us on went through numerous country neighborhoods, ultimately arriving at Richfield, UT. We merely pass through Richfield, Cross under I-70 and head up a road that leads up behind a big municipal water tank. Little did we know that at the end of the day, we would end up 1.5 miles away from this point!

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    Then up some more fairly steep gravel road to a locked gate. There is a small opening and a sign that seems to say that motorcycles and ATV's are OK, so we go on through and keep climbing.

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    We climb approximately 2,400 feet in the next few miles (from 5,400 ft at Richfield to about 7,800 feet) giving us some killer view

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    and . . .

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    Snow!

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    Yes - we had 80-90 degree weather the last couple of days, even in the LaSalle mountains it was pretty comfortable. But now it was snowing.

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    The road was not bad, just kind of a loose dirt/rock mix. I did notice that my front tire seemed to be throwing a lot more debris out the front than usual, but thought nothing more about it at the time. Was that ever a big mistake.

    A bigger mistake was when Vance stopped and asked everyone if we wanted to head out to the road - about a 5 mile downhill - and go around, no one took him up. Had we done that simple move, the next day and a half might have been a lot different.

    The snow kept falling, we kept going, shields were fogging up, the road was getting a bit slicker, some patches of snow, Dman hit the ground

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    and I nearly ran over him trying to stay upright. Of course I stopped to get a picture!

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    Joe had stopped unbeknownst to anyone else (he didn't have a radio) and was removing his front low mount fender as his front wheel had stopped turning.
    (We would later decide that would be kind of like our "canary in the mine" warning. If Joe's front wheel clogged up, we would turn around!)

    Then, at 8,450 feet, maybe a foot ball field away from heading down the other side of the mountain, we hit some impassable snow.

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    Vance hiked up to look, then came back and attacked the snow like some sort of dog in heat. The snow was not impressed. Dave and Joe climbed up to see if they could get him and his bike out of the snow.

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    Much like the last snow we hit, I climbed up to get a picture! What are friends for!!!

    So now we head back. It is still snow/raining and the effect on the road is much more pronounced. My front wheel is spitting out a continuous stream of dirt and rocks and it is getting harder to keep going in a straight line. I was having less issues than the others, as I was doing as you do in the NW - get up on the pegs and get up on the throttle. Kind of like the sand except you get a lot messier if you drop it! The mud is wreaking havoc with everyone else, completely stopping the bikes from moving forward.

    I headed down the hill, passing Joe as he started to go down, then a bit farther on, Vance who was stuck. I kept going, looking for something solid to stop on and found a cattle crossing.

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    First I tried to clean a bit of the accumulated mud from the nether regions of the bike.

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    It is hard to describe how sticky this stuff was and how completely it covered everything. If you walked across it, you would get about 3" of mud stuck on the bottom of your boot, and you had to scrape it off on something!

    I then tried to raise the others on the radio. I got Vance, and then Joe, but could not raise Dave. He was apparently the farthest back and no one had heard from him in some time. Vance could not get his bike to move, and was thinking he had toasted his clutch in the muck. I decided since I was still able to ride I would try to go back up the mountain and find Dave.

    I rode up past Vance, then before I could reach Joe, I spun a bit and landed, wheels down, about 10 feet over the edge of the road. Too bad I couldn't just ride up out here - it was nice and solid! But wasn't possible with the ravines and brush. I got back on the road and rode up to where Joe was finishing the extraction of mud from his rear wheel. He hadn't seen Dave in awhile either. So off up the road I went, slipping and sliding away, but still moving.

    I come around a corner and there is Dave's bike. Sitting in the middle of the road. Sitting on the side-stand. No Dave anywhere to be seen. I got my bike off to the side where it was solid then walked over to check out the bike - looking for blood as I went. Nothing. No Dave. Plus one of his Kolpin fuel tanks was missing. WTF?

    Then I hear his voice off in the brush. He has hiked over to a nice cedar type tree and has built a pretty nice fire and is settling in for the night.

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    I spent about 10 minutes and most of my energy reserves trying to get his bike over off the road (don't know why - no one was coming up!) and finally succeeded. So there we are. Sitting up on Watts Mountain Road (per the GPS). Joe crackles on the radio and says he is going to try to make it to our location. 15 minutes later we here the old 360 laboring up the hill - sans front fender!

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    Joe is fairly amazed by "Camp Desolation", and takes up residence along with Mako and Dave under the tree next to the fire.

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    Vance checks in and he cannot get the bike to move, so he is setting up camp where I had passed him earlier - about 1/2 mile below us. He is too tired to try and hike up, and we are too lazy to hike down. In retrospect, in reviewing the tracks, our little camp was only about 13 miles up the road from the big water tank where we had entered the mountains!

    <embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" src="http://i220.photobucket.com/player.swf?file=http://vid220.photobucket.com/albums/dd309/makotosun/tatwest/day%20three/Daythree035.flv" width="448" height="361">

    If you view the clip, you will hear my cel phone ring at the end. We were amazed we had good signal, so I check in with Anthony, Robert and Nick who were riding the sane route with the chase truck today. I give them an update, and Anthony thinks it is best to alert the Sheriff that we are up there - in good shape and no danger - but up there.

    Awhile later I get a call from a very nice 911 operator inquiring as to our status. I report all is good. We all have plenty of clothing, space blankets, food, water, a fire, some shelter and don't really need help. We had just planned on sitting it out on the mountain until the storm passed and the road became passable. The Sheriff apparently had other ideas. I told them not to send anything that would have any kind of financial bill to it - none of us wanted to pay for a helicopter!

    An hour or so later we hear the calvary approaching. A jeep, a small 4x4, a couple of ATV's and . . .

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    A Volvo Military Vehicle!

    At least we won't have to ride out on the back of an ATV with a teenage girl as a pilot! A real military vehicle somehow salvages the disaster of a day we have had. On the trip down, our driver agrees to help us out the next day to try and retrieve our bikes (they couldn't haul them out for us) as no trucks were allowed in the area - except for Search and Rescue! Now we know why they sent about 40 guys in their toys to retrieve 4 hapless riders in no apparent danger! A good excuse to go off roading in a closed area!

    All kidding aside, it was nice to get out, though it would have added immeasurable to the advnenture to spend the night marooned on a frozen mountain! We headed back to Richfield where our crew had procured nice rooms for the night.

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    We all got to sign in with a nice Deputy who couldn't have been more than 19 driving a Dodge Magnum Hemi. When we asked how fast it went, he indicated he had been up to 130 in it, and as he smiled, he said it was "real smooth" at that speed!

    It was a lazy afternoon as we had no bike maintenence to do, so we just chilled and relaxed. Then ext morning would bring our next assault on the mountain. They had a good internet connection and the Walmart sold Haagen Daas. What more could we ask!

    Tomorrow - Tactical Mission: Retrieve our Bikes!
  20. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,100
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, Ok
    While the others set up "Camp Desolation" I spent a little time getting my camp together for the night ahead. One main difference for me versus the others was I could only text the chase truck so I would get partial conversations over the radio. Finally sick of that I just turned off the radio and planned for the evening. Got a little fire, had a snack, dried out my wet garments, built a little shelter and sat pissed because of the dirt turning to mud in minutes.

    Camp Vinnie (video I took at my camp)
    http://s293.photobucket.com/albums/mm54/baoktiger/?action=view&current=M2U00033.flv

    I dont know how the hell to get this up like Makotosun's post. Damn thing.

    So after a while I could hear the grind and moaning of the rescue vehicules. Now I will say, they looked cool plowing thru the mud, yellow jackets, guns, rescue gear and all. But, how the hell were they going to tote my big ass out of there in a Nissan Pickup with a 4 wheeler in the back and two dudes bigger than I sitting in the only two seats in the cab. Followed by a Jeep with two seats, a second jeep with two seats and a 4 wheeler keeping in mind that all the above seating was full of rescue staff backsides. There were more of them than us and not to mention they brought guns.

    When the 6x6 pulled up I finally saw a method to the departure of the mountian, We talked a while then they headed on up the mountain to get the others first and return for me. I had to laugh, these arent rescue people, the been locked out of the mountains all winter and just up for a play in the mud.

    Anyway, thanks to those guys who do put it on the line when really needed and the sence of humor that they shared with us on the mountain. COOOL bunch of guys for sure and very efficient in their support. Great Job guys, Thanks.:clap :clap


    Now as far as me, this day sucked. I have never left a bike behind at any point in my riding career. Pride was at an all time low and pissed off about it. Nothing we could do, mud was more than the old machines could dispose of and the sheriff had the final say, but either way, hated leaving the bike on the mountain.