Father and Son do GWT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Terry500RS, Sep 26, 2017.

  1. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Goleta, CA
    Introduction​
    This was a spur of the moment trip sparked by the solar eclipse on Aug 21st. My son Matt asked if I thought his Italian Husky would make it to Rexburg, Idaho. He was going to meet his buddies there, camp at Yellowstone and experience the eclipse. I mentioned that the close ratio Husky transmission taps out at 55 mph. Later I asked him how he was going to return from Idaho and if he wanted to do the Great Western Trail back home. The seed was planted. I recommended he look for a more highway friendly dual sport. He settled on an used DRZ400. The plan was set for me to meet him in Idaho Falls after the eclipse and start the GWT the next day on the 22nd.
    We had about 2 weeks to get ready. Neither Matt or I have ever been on more than a two day trip, usually Dual Sport rides put on by Jerry Counts http://www.dualsportwest.com/ or D37 club rides http://www.district37ama.org/dualsport/ridingevents.php
    The other unknown was the GWT it self. I had heard about it on various forums and recently Jerry Counts posted tracks for the GWT on http://www.gpsxchange.com/ under "Private Libraries" "Countdown" section. Jerry and fellow riders helped compile a continuous track from Idaho Falls to the Mexican border. The track has many options colored in green for < 550cc dual sports, red for hard ways and dark magenta for ADV bikes. I usually do the GPS planning for our rides this time I let Matt pick the tracks he wanted. Once he was done I filtered the tracks to 500 points for my Garmin 60CSX. Matt has newer Garmin 76.
    We both bought Giant Loop Mojavi bags and packed them with an extra set of base layer undergarments and toiletries on one side. On the other side we packed walking shorts, tee shirt and sandals. With a small backpack with water and snacks we planned to travel fairly light.
    I wasn't too interested in riding my Beta 500RS 1,000 miles from Santa Barbara to Idaho falls on the freeway in 100 plus degree heat. So I found that I could rent a Dodge mini van for $44 a day one way. With the help of a couple of friends we shoehorned it in and I set off to meet Matt.
    [​IMG]P8190245 by 500RS, on Flickr
    I arrived in Idaho Falls a couple of hours before the solar eclipse and found a public park to hang out in and waited. I was surprised by how dark it was during the eclipse. All of the photos I took were crappy.
    After 1,300 miles on the freeway Matt needed new tires. He found an awesome shop Ben's Quality Cycle http://www.bensqualitycycle.com/ Ben installed new knobbies on his rims and let Matt change is oil. I think we are ready to go tomorrow.
    #1
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  2. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Goleta, CA
    GWT Day One
    Idaho Falls ID to Garden City UT (Bear Lake)​
    After working with the GWT tracks it looked like gas intervals would be 100 to 150 miles and motels 200 plus miles. The morning green colored track to gas in Montpelier ID was 155 miles. We left around around 8AM and settled into the scenic dirt roads on the rolling grasslands and forests of SE Idaho. After about an hour we came upon a moose standing in the road. We had a couple minutes of stare down and then he sauntered into the bushes.
    [​IMG]P8220261 by 500RS, on Flickr
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    We rode past he Smokey Canyon Mine, an open pit phosphate (fertilizer) mine.
    [​IMG]P8220271 by 500RS, on Flickr
    Then we turned on to the blacktop for a couple of miles into Montpelier for gas and snacks. My Beta 3.8 gallon tank had about half a gallon left and Matt had a 4 gallon tank so no problem for him.
    After filling our tanks and eating a snack we headed off again. We stopped and checked out the Paris Ice Cave.
    [​IMG]P8220275 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8220276 by 500RS, on Flickr
    Saw our first Great Western Trail sign post.
    [​IMG]P8220281 by 500RS, on Flickr
    We took a moment at C-46 Military transport plane that crashed in 1953.
    [​IMG]P8220285 by 500RS, on Flickr
    A couple of miles later we crossed into Utah. At the end of this 75 mile segment we turned onto the highway for a couple of miles and dropped down to Bear Lake. We stayed at The Lodge Motel in Garden City, UT. Day one was a success. The scenery was beautiful and we were tired. Distance 230 miles. My GPS was on Pacific time. We arrived around 6PM.
    [​IMG]P8220286 by 500RS, on Flickr
    #2
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  3. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    GWT Day 2
    Garden City,UT to Daniel's Summit Lodge​
    Matt and I went for breakfast at "Crepes and Coffee" just down the street. It was kind of drizzling and threatening to rain. The delicious crepes and hot tea really hit the spot. The morning track stopped in Evanston, WY for gas, with a distance of 111 miles. We took all green colored tracks today. We rode on more awesome roads through the 7-9,000 foot elevations mountain ridges and grasslands.
    [​IMG]P8230287 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8230289 by 500RS, on Flickr
    We crossed to Cut Off Ridge which led to Cut Off Canyon and it's beautiful red cliffs.
    [​IMG]P8230295 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8230296 by 500RS, on Flickr
    Somewhere during the morning my front tire went flat. We set the bike on a stump and changed the tube. When we pulled into Evanston,WY there was a way point for a motorcycle dealer there called Cycle City Wyoming, nice and friendly folks. I bought a new tube from them.
    [​IMG]P8230290 by 500RS, on Flickr
    Just outside of Evanston we were hit by a thunderstorm deluge. The lightening was pretty intense we didn't want to become targets. We zipped up and kept riding. By the time we got to the Southwest corner of Wyoming monument the storm was gone.
    [​IMG]P8230298 by 500RS, on Flickr
    The GWT passes through prime grazing land for cattle and sheep. We saw hundreds of cows and sheep everyday. Check out the guard dog on the left.
    [​IMG]P8230299 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8230292 by 500RS, on Flickr
    We arrived at Daniel's Lodge after 6 PM, tired after a long day. The Lodge is situated on the summit of Hwy 40. There is a nice store and restaurant next to the Lodge all of which are fairly upscale. We gassed the bikes and stocked up for breakfast at the store that night as the restaurant and gas pumps don't open until 8 AM. Distance 234 miles.
    [​IMG]P8230302 by 500RS, on Flickr
    #3
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  4. DresserCat

    DresserCat Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2014
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    Great ride report. Thank you for taking us along.
    #4
  5. Pantah

    Pantah PJ Fan from Boston

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    Thanks for that! I scouted a little bit of the GWT from Verde AZ to Globe. I sent those tracks to Jerry Counts. He may have re-done my part of it, but there was one 11 mile wash called Camp Creek Wash that was pretty difficult because the sand was so deep. But it linked two really nice dirt roads. They were Seven Springs Road north of Scottsdale and Four Peaks Road east of Scottsdale.

    I am considering a smaller dual sport to replace my KTM 690. I have some experience with the KTM EX350F. I am curious about your Beta. Does it have a cush drive? Does it have enough oil capacity to ride say 1000 miles over maybe three days? How fast do you cruise it on the highway? Thanks
    #5
  6. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    Frickin' awesome man, good on you for doing that with your son! Reading this type of stuff makes me truly hope both our boys pick up the bike bug so we can do these types of trips - whether as a family or as father-son trips.

    Renting the van and loading your Beta for a 1-way trip is fantastic, definitely beats slogging 1k miles on a 500cc DS. Great pics so far, had no idea something like the GWT existed - will have to put it on my bucket list (with so many others).

    Looking forward to the next installment. And like @Pantah - I'm listing my 690 this weekend and will likely end up with a WR250. The Beta 430 and 500 also interest me, but there's a ton of great evidence out there for the 250; at least for how I'm planning to ride and adv it.

    :thumb:thumb
    #6
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  7. Adventure Scout

    Adventure Scout n00b

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2015
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    Location:
    USA
    The pictures you took of the scenery are just outstanding. please keep them coming!:clap:clap
    #7
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  8. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    11
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    Goleta, CA
    Thank you for the kind replies, this is my first ride report.
    Pantah the Beta holds .75 liter in the engine and .75 liter in the tranny, so I just dump 1 quart in each with no problems. It does not have cush drive. I just shift with the clutch on asphalt. Another thing is to use high quality counter shaft sprockets that fit tight on the splines to start with. I lowered the rear sprocket to 50 tooth. It cruises at 65 mph around 6,000 rpm very smooth. My son liked it better than the DRZ on pavement. In my opinion there is no reason not to buy the 500cc size of any brand. The bikes all weigh the same and use all the same parts. The smooth and lugable power of the 500's make riding in rocks and hill climbing so easy it isn't funny. Terry
    #8
  9. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Goleta, CA
    GWT Day 3
    Daniel's Summit Lodge to Salina, UT​
    We left Daniel's Lodge around 8 am and headed down the the highway about a mile and turned onto the dirt road. It was smooth riding for a short while until we turned onto the red "hard way" track which immediately turned to rocks. I don't mind rocks but it is the seemingly endless miles of them that wear you down. You try to keep the speed up remembering you have 200 more miles to go and balance that with not destroying your bike or getting hurt. We pounded along for about 20 miles and then miraculously in front of us was single track. We were surprised and excited.
    [​IMG]P8240305 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8240308 by 500RS, on Flickr
    The trail was about 20 miles long and looked like nobody had ridden it this season. We came upon only one downed tree on a steep uphill. It took a while to get around it treading lightly. Further along Matt slipped his rear wheel off the side of a very steep side hill. Lifting the DRZ was no picnic and the sun was hot.
    [​IMG]P8240309 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8240312 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8240316 by 500RS, on Flickr
    We finally arrived at Soldiers Summit gas station at 2 pm after riding only 65 miles of the 200 planned for the day.
    [​IMG]P8240321 by 500RS, on Flickr
    After riding the amazing single track and its challenges we were beat. We decided to take some asphalt for a while and meet up to the GWT again down the road. I didn't feel we missed too much as the scenery was great and I think we only saw two cars. We had thunderstorms again, just intermittent light rain this time. At Beaver Dam Reservoir we turned onto the GWT track to a road called Skyline Drive. We are at 10 to 11,000 feet in elevation here running across the top of the mountain ridge. The views for the next 30 or 40 miles were fantastic.
    [​IMG]P8240323 by 500RS, on Flickr
    Feeling it was getting late we left the GWT and turned down a canyon leading to Ephraim. We continued on asphalt to Salina, UT arriving at 6:30 pm. Another long day, the single track and Skyline Drive were worth it! Distance 192 miles.
    [​IMG]P8240324 by 500RS, on Flickr
    #9
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  10. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Goleta, CA
    GWT Day 4
    Salina, UT to Tropic, UT​
    This mornings track to Torrey, UT for gas was 100 miles. The trail varied from 6 to 9,000 feet in elevation. I was feeling like I was developing a rhythm for the ride. Up before seven, eat at the complimentary breakfast. Pack up the bike and hit the road by eight. We left Salina headed up Soldier Canyon which lead us to some ATV trails that took us to higher elevations.
    [​IMG]P8250325 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8250328 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8250327 by 500RS, on Flickr
    We stopped for a quick break at Johnson Valley reservoir.
    [​IMG]P8250333 by 500RS, on Flickr
    We rode only a few red hard way trails, mostly we rode the green colored trails today.
    [​IMG]P8250337 by 500RS, on Flickr
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    Rolling through patches of Aspen trees and acres of grasslands.
    [​IMG]P8250340 by 500RS, on Flickr
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    Sheepherders trailer.
    [​IMG]P8250342 by 500RS, on Flickr
    Matt and I were treated to spectacular views of the Capital Reef National Monument.
    [​IMG]P8250345 by 500RS, on Flickr
    As we were heading down the mountain into Torrey Matt saw a way point that said "5 miles bad rocks" We were both laughing at the irony, what about the previous 3 days of rocks? What's so special about these 5 miles?
    [​IMG]P8250347 by 500RS, on Flickr
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    We arrived in Torrey around 2 pm. It was pretty warm, we ate a quick snack and headed South to Tropic. The track climbed to 11,000 plus feet and we traveled through a high elevation plateau across the top of Boulder Mountain.
    [​IMG]P8250353 by 500RS, on Flickr
    [​IMG]P8250352 by 500RS, on Flickr
    The weather was threatening to storm and it was getting late so we decided to get off the top of the mountain and stayed on FR-154 which took us to Escalante. Matt and I then headed Southwest on Highway 12 and arrived in Tropic at 7 pm. Another great day. Distance 219 miles.
    [​IMG]P8250355 by 500RS, on Flickr
    #10
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  11. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    Awesome pics and day again!
    #11
  12. Countdown

    Countdown Long timer

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    Terry,

    Glad you finally got to doing your RR.

    Even more glad someone actually used my Tracks. One guy (Vaquero) said he was going to but never saw his report.

    Can't remember if I used Pantah's tracks but thanks for volunteering either way.

    Very good RR, keep it coming.

    Jerry
    #12
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  13. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
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    GWT Day 5​

    Tropic UT to Grand Canyon​

    Matt and I stayed at the Red Ledges Inn. The restaurant next door was good and the Inn had a much needed laundromat out back. We left at 8 am again got about 4 miles down the road and I see Matt pulling over to the shoulder. He said the motor was working but the bike wasn’t going forward. We pulled the counter shaft sprocket cover off and saw that the sprocket had fallen off the shaft. We shoved the sprocket back on the shaft and tried to figure out what held it on. It looked like there was a circlip groove and the circlip was missing. His old bike was an Italian Husky which used circlips, hence that was the train of thought. We were in front of a KOA campground so Matt walked over to borrow their wi-fi since the cell reception wasn’t too good. He called a Suzuki dealer who informed us that there are no circlips but a washer and nut on the end of the shaft. We were stunned! The threaded end of the shaft with the nut had sheared off.
    [​IMG]P8260356 by 500RS, on Flickr
    After the shock that our trip was over Matt started calling around for rental trucks. He found a U-Haul in Enoch, near Cedar City UT. The charge was $89 one way with a four day time allowance, which was a great deal. Since it was his bike that broke I gave him my bike and he set out on the two hour drive to Enoch. He loaded my Beta in the truck and drove two hours back to pick me and the broken DRZ up. We loaded the DRZ up and drove two hours back to Cedar City to get on I-15 and head home.

    Overall it was a great experience. The 200 plus mile days and sometimes rough tracks can be grueling. Not knowing whats ahead on the trials late in the afternoon had us using caution and diverting to the highways and faster county roads. Special thanks to Jerry Counts and friends who put in the hard work to compile these trails for us.

    My Beta 500RS after almost a 1,000 miles had one flat tire, one leaky fork seal and a missing rear turn signal. We just finished splitting the cases on the DRZ and replaced the broken counter shaft. Now all we have to do is set a date to finish the GWT!
    #13
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  14. Terry500RS

    Terry500RS Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2017
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    The tracks we rode.

    Attached Files:

    #14
  15. levain

    levain STILL Jim Williams

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    Providence, RI
    We'll, that sucks! Looking forward to the continuation of your ride!!
    #15
  16. liv2day

    liv2day Been here awhile

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    Woof, that sucks about the sheared nut on the CS; really glad the chain didn't end up getting flung off and do any damage to your son or the rest of the bike :uhoh:uhoh Definitely not the way to end the adventure, but glad you guys were able to get back to a home base.

    Looking forward to when you're able to finish the GWT and post up your report on that :thumb :thumb

    Oh yeah, thanks for posting the GPX tracks. I'm collecting as many of these as possible for future planning (really wish I was already retired...lol).​
    #16
  17. NorthernTraveler

    NorthernTraveler Long time Adventurer

    Joined:
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    On the DRZ also get the countershaft bushing kit.... the stock bushing is soft, compresses and mushrooms damaging the seal and other things.
    Also, when it mushrooms, the sprocket loosens up and wears the splines... which may have contributed to the shaft shearing.
    Sorry that you didn't make it further, I rode from Salina UT north to West Yellowstone last fall.... on a loaded DR650 - it was work in places.
    #17
  18. Moto Vaquero

    Moto Vaquero Trail less traveled

    Joined:
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    Thanks Terry for posting up the excellent ride report. What a great ride! Just beautiful.
    I did ride this last year from Williams, AZ to Idaho then got on part of the Tour of Idaho trail to my cabin at Stanley, ID.
    Thanks for supplying the tracks Jerry and sorry about no ride report.
    Hopefully Terry won't mind me posting a few photos on his ride report :augie P1000961.JPG P1010001.JPG P1010018.JPG P1010023.JPG
    #18
  19. FamilyRider

    FamilyRider Been here awhile

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    Looks like a great trip. Those new Beta's look like sweet bikes! I have a KTM 350 and really like it, but wish it had a slightly wider transmission. I have to swap sprockets based on the type of ride I do. With my trail sprockets, it gets uncomfortable going above 55 on the pavement.

    The single track (#009) is called the "Center Trail". It is one of my favorite trails.

    You can actually ride the Skyline Drive all the way from Spanish Fork Canyon (Hwy 6) to Salina. I haven't done the entire thing, but the sections I have done are easy and scenic - although it can get rutted. And slick when wet.

    In Sept we rode most of the GWT from I-70 near Salina to Torrey. The part from I-70 to Elkhorn Campground was a blast! We did most of it both directions as the first and last day of our 5 day trip. We rode from Torrey to Elkhorn on our return on the last day. It got pretty rocky and nasty near the top.

    For more info on those trails, check out my trip report on my blog. Here are a couple of videos of those sections of the GWT.





    #19
  20. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

    Joined:
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    About 30 years ago I lost the countershaft nut on my KX500 during practice at a hare scrambles. There was a guy there welding on a gate. I got him to tack weld the countersprocket on. I rode it like that until the sprocket wore out. Then I ground off the weld and used a thin cutoff wheel to cut a groove in the countershaft and put a snap ring on it. I raced that bike a couple of more years with no problem. I saw the bike at local riding area about 10 years later and the CS sprocket was still being held on with a snap ring.

    A couple of dabs with a welder and you could have rode on.
    #20