DirtyDog's Solo TAT 2011

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DirtyDog, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Tom Krein

    Tom Krein Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Gentry, Arkansas
    Congrats on persevering and completing your trip!!

    Thanks for taking the time to post and allow us to tag along!!

    Tom
  2. lewismedlock

    lewismedlock Follower

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,539
    Location:
    Bow and Arrow OK.
    Great thread for a first post. :wave
  3. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,476
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    Day One: The Approach and TAT section One (NM/CO)
    Broken Arrow, OK to La Veta, CO

    I always like to get an early start. Here's the bike loaded and ready to roll at 0530 hrs.
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    I make my way west into a severe headwind. It's so bad that I'm noting a severe wobble in the bars at 70 mph. WTF? Oh, I have a flat tire. Already? Pull over at Lahoma around 0745 hrs, a mere 150 miles from home and get busy fixing it. Turns out when I installed the tubes and tires the week prior, I had pinched the tube between the bead and rim. It chafed and made a hole.
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    With the loaded bike, I was concerned it might fall off the stand (and onto my head), so I used some available materials.
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    Slapped in my fresh tube and was trying to seat the bead when my new Slime pump shit the bed. It made a clicking noise then silence. No working POS. That's what I get for a $10 pump, I guess. Trashed it and sourced a new one. Fortunately, the quickie-mart across the street had air and I seated the bead and headed onward.
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    First of numerous flat repairs. I'm pretty damn good at it now. :rilla

    Tried to build some karma credits by stopping to aid a fellow rider. His name was Gary and was from Florida headed to CO (with family in OK). He had a service truck on the way and my lowly KLR tools are unworthy of BMW-certified maintenance, so we parted ways. Hope he had better luck after this setback.
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    The TAT begins!! I got to the border at 1600 hrs or so. Last time I had seen this sign was on my OK TAT ride last summer at about 2300 hrs. Now to see how far I can get today... I've already ridden 450 miles of slab at this point. The days are long, so I'm confident I can cover some ground.
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    Some wide-open roads for a bit. Jamming to Rage Against the Machine. :super
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    Horse was taking a dirt-bath. Too slow with the camera.
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    I must have missed the pirate parade.
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    D606 is my guess.
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    Woot! New Mexico is in the bag. We are in Colorado, folks. No welcome sign to be found, so I figured this would suffice.
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    TAT jail.
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    Bridge construction- KLR style. Note the bailing wire.
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    In case you were curious, most of these spots where I stopped to take a pic were also pee stops. My SPOT map basically represents a tour-de-urination across the west.
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    Remnants of some coke ovens. Had some of these in AZ, but they are much harder to access.:ricky
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    That John Denver's full of shit, man.
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    Getting darker.
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    Time to switch to night-vision goggles.
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    Yes, I was counting wildlife. Keeps the mind sharp.
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    Heck of a day.
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    Btw- the fuel cost stat on this screen isn't really accurate. I have it set at 44mpg and $3.50/gal. Both of those are inappropriate on this trip.

    Summary: Had a personal goal of La Veta for Day 1, but after the flat, I was afraid it was too lofty. It worked out well at the end and I was already tired, but excited for what was to come...
    Miles Today: 652.6
    Total Miles: 652.6
    Lodgings: Lathrop Lake State Park (~$13-27, depending on amenities)

    Random Comments: I wish New Mexico had a bigger piece of the TAT pie. I like the terrain. Looking forward to more desert riding as I head west.

    More to come on Day Two
  4. tomski74

    tomski74 Silesian American

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,806
    Location:
    Skiatook OK - Osage Indian Reservation
    Sweet! :clap

    You wanna go riding tomorrow?









    :hide
  5. LXIV-Dragon

    LXIV-Dragon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    649
    Location:
    St Cloud, FL
    RR was already good :evil Looking forward to the rest :clap
  6. ReardenSteel

    ReardenSteel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    44
    652 miles in a single day... Even with some of that on slab... Dude, that's impressive. Love the shots of the sun going down.

    :nod :nod :nod :nod
  7. fotobo

    fotobo KTM rider

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,654
    Location:
    Coweta, Ok
    Great pics so far Jason.
  8. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,476
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    Day Two: First Crash and KLR Welding
    La Veta, CO to Salida, CO

    Camp was nice. Weather got a bit cool, but I was prepared for a variety of temps on this trip.
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    I enjoyed cowboy coffee most mornings. Much easier with this little strainer. Just boil some water and pour it into my mini-mug and steep some coffee for a few minutes. I brought oatmeal to make, but I only did one time. Most mornings, I just had coffee.
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    Spent a few minutes doing chain maintenance. I rarely did this on the TAT section of my trip. Lube just attracts dust, which I figured would be counter-intuitive. I adjusted a few times along the way.
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    I generally go old-school, low-tech with my small scrub brush and a bottle of ATF. Takes longer but prolongs the inspection.
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    Once on the road, it didn't take long before I had some issues...
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    R side mermite got pretty damaged.
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    Lesson learned for future pannier mounts. Larger hardware.
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    Temporarily got it secured before heading back into town for new hardware.
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    Fixed up and ready for the trail.
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    Made it to Salida, CO.
    Found a decent restaurant and had a mexican meal. So so, but the manager was helpful in my search for a repair shop. Eventually, I found someone that could help me.

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    Will at ARC Welding in Salida really took time out of his schedule to help me get fixed. He was clearly busy and it was almost closing time. He did a quality job and reinforced both side mounts for my luggage rack. Many thanks, Will.
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    This is Will's shop pup. Any guesses at what a welder would name his dog? He was chasing some sort of phantom rodent.
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    Good as new. Lasted the rest of the trip.
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    Next leg of the trip was the passes, so I decided to find a camp and begin fresh in the morning. Managed to find a nice free BLM campsite on the bank of the Arkansas River headwaters. This was fitting because the Arkansas River flows through my hometown of Tulsa, OK.
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    Since it was still early, I took a few moments to document some of my gear.
    One of two power ports on the bike. This one runs my GPS at all times and occasionally the XM radio, iPod charger, and phone charger.
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    XM Radio.
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    Second power source so I can charge things in the pannier.
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    Situated my top box so I could access tools and tubes without removing my dry bag.
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    Summary: A simple mistake cost me some time, money, and motivation today, but fortunately it was nothing I couldn't handle. I was fortunate (as always) to find kind people to assist me when I was in need. Today I could see snow on the mountains in my future. A bit apprehensive about the passes. Campsite was nice and peaceful.
    Miles Today: 217.1
    Total Miles: 869.7
    Lodgings: BLM campground (free) on Arkansas River, Salida, CO

    Random Comments: Enjoying riding in Colorado- beautiful landscape.

    More to come on Day Three
  9. lewismedlock

    lewismedlock Follower

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    14,539
    Location:
    Bow and Arrow OK.
    I didn't know you had a stand made out of an old crutch. I have one just like it.
  10. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,476
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    It is one leg off of a shower bench. I gave one to Greg (IIRC) and have two more to make. In fact, I have the legs off a similar one that I could use to make more... :hmmmmm
  11. Vinnie the Snake

    Vinnie the Snake Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,102
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, Ok
    Great ride. looking forward to all the pics.:clap:clap:clap
  12. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,476
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    Day Three: Let there be Passes
    Salida, CO to Durango, CO :huh

    I slept to the tranquil sounds of the Arkansas River. I awoke refreshed and curious what my day would entail. There were deer in camp as I made ready.
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    I called the Salida Ranger District and received some sad news.
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    So I made it to Marshall Pass- reported as open. What I found was snow. Rather than weigh my options, I tried to bull right through and discovered that under the 8" of remaining snow, was slush. this is as far as I got. :lol3
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    So I got it unstuck (after several more attempts) and pondered the options. I walked out the pass and realized that the road to the left of the pass (seen here from above) actually went to the same location as the main pass. :doh
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    Pretty dry via this route.
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    As opposed to the pass route- pretty soggy. Would have sucked.
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    Conquered my first pass (I guess).
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    I really enjoyed the descent next to Tomichi Creek. If only that creek were a road. TWISTY.
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    It was odd and interesting to see a birdhouse attached to numerous fenceposts- hundreds of them along this route. Kind of neat, actually.
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    Had to play a bit of cat and mouse with this guy before I could get a good pic.
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    Headed to Cinnamon Pass. Lots of snow.
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    Animas Forks.
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    Hmm. The road is getting narrower...
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    :dunno
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    Yes, those are snowboarding tracks. On the way to Ophir Pass.
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    Crap. The pass is open (technically over the top), but only plowed to the county line (pictured here). :baldy
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    Time to reroute. While I'm considering my options, two teenage boys emerge from the back of this F250 carrying snowboards. Mom and Pop were there providing the shuttle, I guess. Backcountry snowboarding this late in the year... and my parents think I'm crazy.

    So here's where my day starts to go sideways... Scanning the local roads and trails, I find one that leads me to the downhill end of the closed section of Ophir Pass. I set a waypoint and start moving. It is a sweet, narrow, steep, road loaded with switchbacks. Of course, it peters out into a snow bank. Strike One.
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    Now that I look at my tracks on Mapsource, I was on the wrong road to start with... doesn't connect. Regardless, the "right" road climbs to over 11,000 feet, so it would have likely been snowed too.

    Ok, let's find another route. My day is already significantly delayed at this point, so I'm considering camp options as I choose my route. I head south past Silverton and into Purgatory. I link up with Hermosa Peak Road and start climbing. This will lead me to several campsites and dump me back on the TAT beyond Ophir Pass (so I hoped). It was a fun road. Came to a swollen creek crossing which I was obligated to cross. All of these CO creeks were high and cold from snowmelt.
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    This creek, when crossed from the S to the N looks deceptively easy and shallow. In reality, the far edge is deep and swift. I make it a practice to walk out all large creek crossings as a precaution. This one could give some people issues. The sun is waning and I'm now soaked. The upstream side of the bike got a serious wave of water hitting it, as seen on the mermites.
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    The road was simple enough- a few more creek crossings and plenty of rocks. At some point, I must have been messing with the GPS or something and when I looked up, there was a large rock in my path. Not a big deal with both hands on the bars and looking forward, but I made it tough.

    Notice the unnatural positioning of the L mermite.
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    The large rock is behind me in this picture. It caused the initial deflection, which sent my front wheel into this puddle glancing off the second rock. Don't know if there is a sharp-edged rock inside the puddle or what, but it sent me careening out of the puddle and off the bike, which skidded into a 180 as pictured.
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    Somehow it derailed the chain. Nicked the sprocket a bit, but nothing serious.
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    But this was the kicker.
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    Four drunk quad riders passed me as I was repairing the bike. They were headed the same direction, so I figured I'd press on (gently) since it was a shorter distance to camp than any alternative. I can go anywhere they can go, right? Wrong. Came to this dead end after I had already cleared a downed tree within a snow drift.
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    Now what? Gotta backtrack. I really thought the rim was possibly a trip-ender, so I slowly crept my way back to Purgatory (i.e. civilization). Passed some campers along the way and considered requesting a share in their respective campfires to get warm and dry, but I persevered alone. One-man wolfpack.

    Crossed those cold streams again- nearly dark now. I make it down the hill to Purgatory and navigate to one, two, and three "hotels" as suggested by Nuvi. First one was nonexistent. Second one was closed. Third one was rented for a wedding. Dammit. Durango or Silverton? Durango is a bigger town and I may need services tomorrow. I wring out my socks, gear up for cold, nighttime riding, and head South. I snagged a seedy motel room and started searching for ways to fix the rim.

    Summary: Foiled by Ophir Pass. Unsanctioned reroutes ended in a crash that sobered me a bit while putting me off course.
    Miles Today: 292
    Total Miles: 1162
    Lodgings: Day's End Motel, Durango. Not bad. $64 a night.

    Random Comments: I'm amazed at the commitment it must take by our Forest Service (and possibly county personnel) to clear these passes simply for the enjoyment of citizens. How the hell they do it is beyond me. I was cussing every time I came to snow blocking my path, but I do really appreciate what they do to clear these roads. Cinnamon Pass was a prime example of this.

    More to come on Day Four
  13. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,476
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    Day Four: Rim Repairs and TAT Bypass
    Durango, CO to Moab, UT

    Mkay. When we last talked, I was stuck in Durango, CO with a bent front rim. I called out to my loyal ride report followers for advice and assistance. I got lucky and DesertRatliff was available nearby.

    I packed up and headed North. I got to experience the million dollar highway again, this time in daylight. Unfortunately, I was still a bit nervous about my speed due to the rim. I gently pressed my luck and eventually reached 70 with no wobbles or perceptible effects from the rim.

    As an aside- I got a handicapped room. This was the first of two times this happened on the trip. :dunno Maybe they thought I needed help getting out of the tub after soaking my tired bones. it was tempting.
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    Made it to Nick's (aka DesertRatliff) place in Purgatory and got busy. He graciously provided coffee, etc. and was fully willing to do whatever was needed to get my bike back on the trail. This was greatly appreciated. Though he didn't have a nice large garage at his disposal in the little ski village, we made due.
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    Before
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    Note the supermoto in the background.:evil

    He had a nice vise on a stand and a propane torch. We got busy heating and squeezing incrementally.
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    Getting better...
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    Here's the best way to finish the job- evens out the pressure on the back side, plus adds a heat-sink. (we really only wanted to apply heat to and bend the front side.)
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    After
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    Hardly any wobble at all. Sorry it's rotated- wasn't thinking.
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    I couldn't convince DesertRatliff to trade bikes with me. This would have been fun on the TAT.
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    Since I had this major delay, I decided to beat feet over to Moab and start fresh from there. Very scenic highways, few stops.
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    I was amazed at the topographical and geological change as I neared the Utah border (within 4 miles, in fact). The rocks and terrain almost instantly changed from grey, jagged formations to rusty sandstone. I knew I was where I wanted to be. I had anticipated riding Utah for the entire trip thus far.

    Made it to Moab and got a room at a hostel suggested by Tomski74.
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    DesertRatliff sent me on my way with a pair of local Durango brews.
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    The soothing sounds of the hostel laundry.
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    Went for dinner to Eddie McStiffs. California style beef burger was awesome. Never had purple potatoes till now. IPA was ok.
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    On my way back to the hostel, I saw some ADV bikes at Pizza Hut.
    I got back to the room, did some laundry and decided I didn't feel up to riding over to their camp. I hope they had continued safe and enjoyable travels.

    I took one of my Mexican Loggers from the fridge and stepped out to the hostel porch. To my left, I noticed a picnic table of young people next door in the shared yard. I approach and ask to join them. They were a great bunch- JB, Dillon, Sam, Kevin, and Amy. Rapidly, I realize that we have a lot in common. They were all in Moab completing their training as crew-leaders for invasive species removal on public lands (e.g. salt cedar and Russian olive).

    We sat and shot the shit for quite a while before they convinced me to join them at the bar. We cabbed to Woody's, which was a jam-packed nightclub. I had 2 Sierra Nevadas before eventually walking back to the hostel with one of the guys (it was way farther than I realized). It was great to meet them and hang for a while.

    In our hours of conversation, they asked me a bunch of questions about my trip. One was the typical "what's your favorite part so far?" I had to think a sec, but my honest answer was "getting to Moab." I have been there several times on MTB and rafting excursions. Furthermore, I did my grad research on the Colorado River and my first trip to Moab in 1999 basically seeded my desire to pursue desert research on endangered species and move to Arizona for 6 years. To cap it all off, my uncle Jim took me on that first adventure trip to Moab. We had a great time and I miss him and the influence he has had (and continues to have) on my life. All of these thoughts were honestly under the surface and I didn't really understand my appreciation for Moab until I started typing here...

    Can't wait to return and actually spend more time there.

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    Summary: Rim repairs went way better than expected. Sucks that I bypassed some of the TAT today, but for my attitude adjustment, I needed to make forward progress. It was fun to meet and hang with my hostel mates, if only temporarily.
    Miles Today: 224
    Total Miles: 1381.3
    Lodgings: Lazy Lizard Hostel, Moab, UT, single room, $26

    Random Comments: Again, many thanks to DesertRatliff for the shop assistance. :thumb

    More to come on Day Five
  14. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,686
    Location:
    Coweta Oklahoma



    1988 I went to the Barstow to vegas desert race. When we lined up on the start there was a really ratty looking 490 Yamaha next to us. The rider had on cowboy boots, a western shirt and a helmet that looked like he dug it out of the trash. His rear rim had a flat spot on it at least twice that long. We could see the inner tube. We thought that he would never make it to the finish, but he did, 175 miles. The next day at the banquet/trophy presentation they had a drawing and were giving away prizes. Top prize was a brand new KX 250. He won the KX.


    Fixing it was the good thing to do. If that wasn't possible I would have squeezed some silicone in there and rode it.

    Great RR!!
  15. Master Shake

    Master Shake Fishbutt

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Inside looking out - Tuscaloosa, AL
    The epiphany about your draw to Moab is what it’s all about man. I’m diggin this report.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
  16. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,476
    Location:
    Tulsa... it's OK
    Day Five: Epic Utah Canyons and Yet More Snow
    Moab, UT to Fremont Indian State Park, UT

    Though I had a late night in Moab, I was anxious to get back on the trail. I hit the road pretty early and got to it. First order of business was to stop at the Colorado River and pay my respects. It (like many rivers I saw on this trip) was running high and swiftly.
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    After that, I linked in with the trail which heads out of town via Gemini Bridges. This was a cool section of canyons, sand, rocks, and miscellaneous dirt roads. Enjoyable for a morning ride. For some reason, my GPS was glitching out / freezing on me. It wasn't really a navigational hindrance overall, but the negative effects weren't known to me till now. This section is one of two on this trip where the GPS didn't log my ridden track. It resumed doing so in Green River and I'm not sure what the deal was. The second time it did this was in Oregon. Those tracks are now lost to me, which sucks. I know I deviated a bit from the route at times and I was interested in looking into that after the fact, but no dice. Oh well.

    Furthermore, I guess I was really just enjoying the trail all for myself. I somehow neglected to take a single picture until I got to Green River. :dunno Maybe I was in some sort of electro-magnetic black hole or something.
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    From here, the terrain was a bit different. Open desert and lots of little cattle gates kept me busy. I was lost for a while. The GPS didn't recognize the roads, so I had to click it to "off road" mode which just connects the via points by straight lines. This isn't a big deal when there are few roads or turns. In this circumstance, I sort of had to bumblefuck my way around till I made the right choice. I was on the wrong side of the railroad tracks for a bit and had no way to get across without backtracking.
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    I'd hate to be around here when it's muddy.
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    This section included Black Dragon Canyon, which is epic. Pics hardly describe it. Excellent.
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    As often is the case, I made a wrong turn- a left at a Y when I should have gone right. It led me to the highway.
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    On the highway, I immediately stopped at the Black Dragon Canyon viewing area and proved to myself that I needed to get back in the canyon, so I did. In this pic you can faintly see the TAT on the opposite wall of the canyon.
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    The trail eventually crossed under the interstate bridges and morphed into a "higher difficulty" ATV trail (according to signage). I agree. There were some nice stair-steps and sand that would trouble an inexperienced rider.
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    Several days in particular on the TAT, my eyes got really irritated. It was probably just the desert sections because I needed the extra airflow with the visor up to stay cool. I didn't take pics of my severely sun and wind blistered lips. I discovered that Carmex and basic Chap Stick are vastly different products (the former worked much better, although the Nevada gnats stuck to it like flypaper).
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    I thought these were cows from a distance. Odd juxtaposition of geological formations. We had red sandstone, grey granite, and randomly dispersed lava boulders.
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    While following the Piute ATV trail near the town of Richfield, I came across a road that they clearly didn't want me to traverse (signs everywhere). What I saw was worthy of brief trespass. I'm guessing these tiny cages with calves in them are for veal. Barely enough room for them to stand, much less turn around. I won't soapbox about it, but I felt it disturbing. There were hundreds of these occupied cages on buth sides of the road.
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    On to happier sights. Stayed on the Piute ATV trail for quite a while as it entered the national forest.
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    Found some mud. I learned a thing or two so far and didn't just try to bull through (like the snow). Fortunately, most of the mudholes I saw here had simple detours.
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    The trail climbed into the forested mountains and I aimed to camp at Adelaide in the forest. The trail got into "no winter maintenance" status, and I began dealing with obstacles such as mud, snow, and downed trees- sometimes all at once.
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    I managed to cross everything successfully until I came to this- only 6.5 miles from camp.
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    Time to backtrack. I spun the Nuvi wheel and lucked out. There was a state park just downhill on the highway mere miles away. Fremont State Park (technically, Castle Rock Campground) was a nice option. They had an armload of firewood available for $3, so I got to have a campfire. First one of the trip. :clap Nice to modify the scent of my clothing.

    Here is my camp stove, which I call Sputnik. Not the smallest or lightest, but it's low-tech and can run on gasoline. I also brought a 0.5L MSR bottle with fuel that I never needed to use on the entire trip. Therefore, i determined that the stove is pretty efficient.
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    There was a stream right next to my site and the camp host was quite welcoming and polite. I got there pretty late, but can make camp like a champ. I tried to light my fire with my emergency magnesium starter, but lost patience and used the cig lighter. I should practice that at home before my next trip. This is the only item I used out of my emergency/first aid kit on the entire trip.
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    Summary: Woot! :clap Lots of miles today. Fun terrain, clean ride. Black Dragon Canyon was worthy of many more photos. Sucks that I didn't make it to my planned camp, but the alternative was great.
    Miles Today: 308.2
    Total Miles: 1689.5
    Lodgings: Castle Rock Campground (within, yet separate from Fremont Indian State Park), $13 to camp, $3 for firewood, plumbed restroom, potable water

    Random Comments: Rode lots of ATV trails today. Some of it was more techincal (in comparison), but a nice pucker diversion from basic dirt roads.

    More to come on Day Six
  17. TavisB

    TavisB @TavisB

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Oddometer:
    418
    Location:
    PGH
    Awesome! Black Dragon Canyon was probably my favorite section of the TAT. I had so much fun riding there.
  18. tomski74

    tomski74 Silesian American

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,806
    Location:
    Skiatook OK - Osage Indian Reservation
    :lurk

    Can't wait to hear it all in person at TTPC.
  19. Utah Bones

    Utah Bones Gas X ready!

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,607
    Location:
    Brain in Utah but homeless in Wisconsin....
    Great report...:lurk
  20. ReardenSteel

    ReardenSteel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    44
    DD, great photographs... I am enjoying every single image and the story to go with it...

    I am wondering how you feel about the age-old argument of soft bags versus hard panniers now...

    I can't wait until tomorrow's report... But you've told a great story about the Utah TAT!