Gunslinger's Divide Ride - Do ya' feel lucky?

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DocAxeYarYar, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

    Joined:
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    Me and Ulybrad are taking off for about 9 days of dual sport adventure starting off at RDS World HQ, and going up the whole of New Mexico to Colorado, and back down! Temps are looking HOT, 100 in lower NM and 80s in upper NM.

    Thanks to all the INMATES for tips, tracks, and info rolled into my trip planning!

    All the Ride Planning is here: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=870716

    Route is looking like this roughly:
    Day 1- HQ to Capitan - 200 miles, camp Nogal Lake or Cedar Creek

    Day 2 - Capitan to Socorro - 175 miles, camp Water Canyon off 60

    Day 3 - Water Canyon camp to Pie Town - 210 miles, camp Pie Town or motel Datil

    Day 4 - Pie Town to Cuba, 200 miles, motel

    Day 5 - Cuba to Pine CO, 180 miles, camp Elk Creek

    Day 6 - Pine CO to Coyote Creek St Park - 140 miles, not including any extra mile in White Peak loop, camp Coyote Creek

    Day 7 - Coyote Creek to Capitan - 240 miles, camp or motel?

    Day 8 - Capitan to Guadalupe Rim entrance - 110 miles (camp?)

    Day 9 - Guadalupe Rim to HQ- 120

    We hit the dirt on Saturday, June 15th, which is when I turn on the SPOT tracker and you can follow along here:

    http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=01iz4QG9cQC6UEovXhEbl9Kf1cWrl0oi7

    On my return, pics and tall tales will get posted!

    Its the peak of wildfire season, and every year it seems New Mexico is on fire. This ride was first planned a couple of years ago by me and Kosmic, but we had to bail due to large severe fires ravashing New Mexico. Several are burning right now, but so far does not look to be on the same scale as a couple of years ago. I am monitoring them, and our route comes close to a couple of the fires. So far no road closures are affecting our route.

    - Thompson Ridge Fire, larger but mostly contained.....we may have to re-route here which is easily done. Roads are re-opened.
    - Tres Lagunas Fire, larger but only closure is the wilderness area.
    - Jaroso and Sawmill fires are much smaller
    - Silver Fire, has potential to be much larger, and seems to be burning in southerly direction, should not impact our route we are further north on loop to Pie Town.
    That all said, things can change!

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    Here is my XR650R, all loaded up for my first epic DS trip on this bike!

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    My riding buddy is UlyBrad, submariner, motocross racer, story teller and overall comedian.......I am lucky to have such a well seasoned and happy go lucky partner on this ride! A couple of other buddies were to come along, but mis-fortune struck.....so this ride is for them too, and I know one day they will make this stellar route.

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    UlyBrad rockin it at BBRSP!

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    Stay tuned the wide open dirt of NM calls!

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    #1
  2. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

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    Lightly packed. Well done.
    #2
  3. stevh0

    stevh0 Super Retard.

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    oh, Hello. Subscribed.
    #3
  4. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    Father forgive us for we have sinned.......2060 miles of pure heaven and hell........

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    More to come, stay tuned!
    #4
  5. motoged

    motoged Been here awhile

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    I see a boot in there....must be a guy underneath it all cursing and waiting for his buddy.

    Off to a good start :D
    #5
  6. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

    Joined:
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    Ulybrad and I set off for a 2,060 mile epic Gunslinger’s Divide Ride that I put together from various GPS tracks, and some I drew myself. Pulling out of Austin, I swung by Marble Falls to get Ulybrad and get ready for the 550 mile truck out to RideDualSport.com world HQ!

    Kosmic swung out early on his Yamaha Canary and was able to greet us, with Sahara fixing up a great dinner for out first night. While the evening started out calm, with some great views of the Guadalupe Mts, a super fierce thunderstorm blew in that night!

    The wind, rain, and lighting were torrential, with more than one inch dropping in a just 15 mins that the storm blew over us. Was this a bad omen? An ominous start? Even the electricity went down for a period of time! This really underscored the volatile nature of weather, which can kick you in the ass at any time!

    Both our rides ready to go, parked at RideDualSport.com World HQ!

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    The Guadalupe Mts, our return route will take us along the Rim Road a portion were vehicles are allowed. The view from RideDualSport.com World HQ!

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    Our hosts who fixed up a great meal and gave us a place to land and take off for the ride.

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    A bright and sunny start turned quickly into a black, windy, and stormy night…..what kind of omen is this???

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    Power down at HQ but still a pretty sight.

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    Getting ready to hit the road, with Kosmic following us out of HQ on his Canary.

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    In the morning, a few of the dirt roads outside of HQ were flooded, and we hit some 2 foot deep crossings……off to an interesting start, and some mud too boot!

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    No dust to start out of HQ, heading into higher elevations from a 3,000 ft start.

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    We made a smart decision to back track about 20 miles one way to get gas in Weed. After doing about 160 miles on the first tank, Ulybrad was fixing to hit reserve, and doing a full 210 to Capitan, was not workable. So, adding 40 miles round trip, for a net 20 mile loss was worth it.
    Resting point before hitting Weed for gas.

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    GOLDEN RULE: DON’T PASS UP A CHANCE TO TOP OFF ON GAS

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    One of our first “technical difficulties” UlyBrad’s freebie boots he scored from a friend started to fail! So much for German craftsmanship! Several applications of JB Weld later were good to go!

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    In Ruidoso Downs, a little chilie was waiting for us! Not knock out tasty, but what the heck, had some local flair. But, UlyBrad’s taco plate was a few bucks too much!

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    So after more than 200 miles of mostly dirt on Day 1, we noodle around Nogal Lake looking for a camping spot. My tracks showed a campground but was having trouble locating it…I went down Nogal Canyon road, and a nice guy in a truck that rides a dual sport pointed us to a forest road with good camping!

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    Day 1 ends with some fine free camping, about 6,000 ft with cool, dry air and no bugs! Beats 100 degrees and 80 percent humidity in Austin!

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    #6
  7. davesupreme

    davesupreme grand poobah

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    i'm in.... looks like big fun....
    #7
  8. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Hey! :wave

    I came across your Ride Report and noticed your sweet XRR!
    Then I found your build report.

    Perfect timing.
    I just bought an 05 XRR and plan on converting it to a Dual sport (light) type of bike.

    It already has the Baja Designs stator, and Dual Sport lighting kit as well as a bigger gas tank.

    I'm planning on keeping the weight of the luggage down, traveling ultra light.
    Just a Giant Loop Great Basin. Do you think I need a steel rear sub frame?

    Subscribed to this Ride Report....

    Q~
    #8
  9. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

    Joined:
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    Questor, thanks for serving as part of the inspiration for this ride, with your excellent CDT ride report!

    Congrats on your XRR, awesome that your bike already has some of the higher costs parts on it like the BD kit and larger tank.

    If its in your budget, and you plan to keep the bike a while, I would invest in the steel subframe for peace of mind. My buddy's KTM on this ride was marginal with the alloy subframe and the bikes took a real pounding. The other key item is suspension rebuild to your weight and riding style.

    The XRR was flawless on this ride. 1-3 kick start up every time. Never missed a beat. Your going to love it!

    Thanks for checking in!
    #9
  10. Creekgeek

    Creekgeek Custom Sarcasm Dir.

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    Are those "Air Stich" boots? with the cloud pillow heels? :rofl

    Hope that is the worst flat of the trip.
    #10
  11. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

    Joined:
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    Day 2 starts us heading north, from what is really the epicenter of New Mexico riding. The Capitan area marks a turning point – head north and you start increasing elevations, head south and you only have two points for gas before the Texas border: Weed or Artesia just south of Roswell. This will become important later on the return!

    I’m making my file sizes a bit larger here, to take advantage of the great pics the new Olympus Tough takes. I am very happy with the speed and quality of the pics from this camera, highly recommended!

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2420057,00.asp

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    A couple of thoughts about my riding buddy UlyBrad: what a stellar dude to have on your side! UlyBrad off set my OCD Anal Retentive side with his devil may care attitude: “Lets just ride!” UlyBrad is as fun as a barrel of monkeys, providing entertainment and tall tales along the way. He stuck it out every day, riding as much as needed with no complaints. Being an IXL dirt bike instructor I had my own personal riding coach also! Our goal was to enjoy the scenery, ride as slow or fast as we wanted, and make sure to soak it all in. If it was camping, motel, restaurant, or some cans of sardines at the camp site, UlyBrad was cool with all of it. Even in some critical moments during the ride…..when the heat, pressure, and exhaustion were high….UlyBrad kept a great attitude: “Ya, its tough, but I’m lovin it and this is what we came for!”

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    We work our way north, to the point where the out bound and return bound routes split off. I attempted to gain access to a parallel road to highway 54, but my track comes up to a gate by this old railroad station. We hop on to the new 54, and after taking a couple of diversions UlyBrad ends up chatting with an old lady at her home who tells us “old 54” is now closed, and all private roads. At times this proved a challenge with my GPS tracks, as “road” is not always a good choice, and can often mean its private, and on private land. So, we take a short hop on to 54 North, then turn West towards Socorro.

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    Moving west, attempts to get off the highway are fruitless…..as numerous turnoffs from 380 are locked gates on private land. But, also, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM with the KTM…..so slabbing it to Socorro is not a bad option, since the heat is ramping up, and the scenery is pretty flat.
    We make it to the turn off for our first New Mexico byway, which proves to offer some incredible riding!

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    How it was named after UlyBrad, I will never know! Must be a long lost Conquistador in the family that discovered this route!

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    Rolling on the Byway!

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    Here are a couple of indispensible items! As the heat ramped up, these little hydration tabs were awesome, replacing salts you lose in the heat. On some days, esp as we returned south, I could go through 2 100 oz.s of water in my Camelback. I added a couple of these tabs, helping me keep refreshed.

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    The other most important item: GOOD COFFEE! These Starbuck Via’s were great, taste good and easy to pack. Two cups of this in the AM, with some instant oatmeal cooked up and your ready to roll!

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    So, two days into our awesome adventure and its all going great…..but the KTM has a major issue we need to solve on the road…..
    #11
  12. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    To follow up on the KTM…..on the night of day one in our campsite I spy something that does not make sense on UlyBrad’s KTM. He just installed a brand new Kush sprocket and after one day’s riding it’s toasted! No bad reflection on the Kush sprocket, it was the chain that caused the problem.

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    Based on how it’s wearing, I can tell it wont last more than another day. We scratch our heads about how this could happen, and in the end figure that the chain was bad, with a huge tight and loose spot. During UlyBrad’s last SLAP ride in Arkansas mud he must have fried the chain…..which promptly fried the new rear sprocket.

    With Socorro as our second night’s stay, we figure get a hotel and figure out how to get new chain/sprocket in Albuquerque, our only hope. At the hotel I post up on ADV rider in the regional forum to get any suggestions for shops that might stock parts. Lo and behold, ADV DS rider Sy replies and is tremendously helpful! No hope of a KTM sprocket in stock, and he generously offers up the sprocket off his own KTM! We meet up at Sy’s buddy’s shop Moto Authority, who gets us in and out with chain and sprocket on a Monday, when all the other shops are closed.

    By the time we make it to Moto Authority here it is:

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    New chain and Sy’s sprocket from his bike and all is right with the world!

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    Huge thanks and props to Sy and Moto Authority! Sy would not take any compensation, but UlyBrad left him a credit for a new sprocket at the shop. So, while we had a 200 mile detour to fix the bike, we were on the road again and off to start our Pie Town loop out of Socorro!
    ADV inmate Sy to the rescue! Thanks so much!

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    Highly recommend Moto Authority! http://moto-authority.com/

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    So we hit Socorro by about 2 PM and are ready to rock and roll but need to fuel up. I always keep an eye out for small local joints to eat in and we were not disappointed!

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    We head out of Socorro to hit the national forests and some elevations, which rise up to 9,500 ft as we ride the forest roads. These roads begin as wider double track, smooth but as you work up the mountain become narrower and rockier. You have to keep your game on and concentrate, a fall off the side is bad news.

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    Working our way up the narrowing double track, hitting 9,500 ft elevation.

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    As we work our way up the mountains, the riding gets harder, with more effort and sweat. But, weather is clear, dry and excellent! One of the tracks provided to me by another rider does not pan out, as the forest road is blocked by downed trees. We have to navigate on the fly, and find our way out on other roads. This forces us to miss a large segment of the Pie Town loop…..but no worries because we have plenty of tough riding on hand! We find our way out on other roads to Datil, where I know they have one motel.

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    This shot perfectly shows UlyBrad’s dirt technique that is critical for dual sport riding. Compared to road riding its counter intuitive, where you must push the bike down into the turns, have your body counterweighted to the outside, and use the gas to make the front and rear tires dig in. With extra weight on the back, and going up hills, you have to lean over the front to balance out front and rear traction. My form starts going to pot at the end of the day when I am tired, but you cant go into it half-baked…..you must commit and stick to the form, and get results!

    UlyBrad's IXL page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/IXL-Rider/107164522652724?fref=ts

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    After a full day, fixing the bike in Albuquerque, riding back to Socorro, then tackling the mountains we emerge just as daylight is leaving us in Datil at 8:30 PM! The hotel has a room and the restaurant is still open!

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    Still not done with the KTM…..since its e-start was lacking, UlyBrad had to do a lot of kick starting…..and with a full load proved to much for the aftermarket kickstand. This is the third one to fail. UlyBrad goes nuts beating on his KTM with its own kickstand. More excitement to start our day 3!

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    #12
  13. AKASY

    AKASY Noob

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    Finally decided to look in Ride Reports---duh--should have looked here sooner:norton
    Looks like you got back roughly on track after the detour to Abq. Thanks for the new sprocket guys--not necessary but greatly appreciated and a real surprise:clap
    Looking forward to the rest of your report to see what you think of the desert around Grants-Cuba and then the pull up toward Colorado in the mountains. Keep it up!
    #13
  14. Oldone

    Oldone One day at a time!

    Joined:
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    Riding down those dirt roads are beginning to get to me! All of these many many years of street riding and now the urge hits me to go with a dual/sport bike like yours! Hmmmm? Where do I start I wonder? (Going on 70 yrs. old.)

    Thanks for taking the time to do this since it's very interesting.......

    Gary "Oldone" :gerg


    Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
    Grampa’s National Monument Ride
    #14
  15. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    Sy it was our pleasure! If you ever make it to Texas come visit us in Austin, and check out Big Bend Ranch State Park, some of the best riding in the state!
    #15
  16. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    Oldone, glad your enjoying the report! Jump into DS riding you will love it!
    Start out with an easy to learn and ride bike, a Honda or Yamaha 250, and take a dirt bike riding class!
    #16
  17. Rutsref

    Rutsref Been here awhile

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    Subscribed, and thanks for the mix of humor drama and lots of "pitchures".
    #17
  18. Krabill

    Krabill Long timer

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    Lovin' it! Keep in coming :lurk
    #18
  19. DocAxeYarYar

    DocAxeYarYar RideDualSport.com

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    Day 3 finds us all refreshed and ready to hit the dirt outside of Datil. We do a quick drive by of Pie Town, and come across the windmill museum just before Pie Town. Its an odd collection, the work of someone truly obsessed!

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    Here we are now picking up the motorcycle version of the Continental Divide Trail, which at some times actually goes on the same roads bicycles use, and diverges on its own. Our goal is to hit Grants, top up and refresh, then on to Cuba.

    We hit the Chain of Craters Byway, a moon-scape desert like plateau, which when wet becomes an impassable bog. This proves to be a beautify ride, its sunny but cool, perfect riding weather which keeps the motorcycles happy.

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    After a time, we arrive into more beautiful rock formations and peaks. This is a very surreal landscape – seems desolate which I love, and little used. But, signs of life appear from time to time, ranch land, mines and a few trucks here and there. But overall, you have the vast roads all to yourself not a soul in sight. This kind of isolation even surpasses Texas, which has the size, but not the public access to so much land.

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    We emerge in Grants where we are ready to eat and top up! Always picking local over any chain restaurant pays off again, as we hit a local Torta and Burger place! The staff was super friendly and the waitresses two little boys help us out and were endlessly fascinated with these too “rough and tough” guys all dusty, dirty and on big dirt bikes. Their bright eyes and eager to please service earned them extra tips!

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    Best onion rings EVER!

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    UlyBrad living on the egde with the “everything” combo Torta with home cut fries.

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    Needing a quart of oil for his KTM, we made a quick stop at the first motorcycle shop we saw but UlyBrad was told “we don’t work on metrics…” so off the auto parts store down the road. Oh well, for the better if UlyBrad put some HD oil in his KTM it might have thrown its rod.

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    After Grants, we make the next leg to Cuba, where I have fears that the Thompson Ridge wildfire may set us off course, but these prove unfounded. Lucky that none of the fires in NM affected us, did not even see some smoke. That’s what gave rise to the “Born Again” Gunslinger’s Divide Ride because two years ago me and my twin bro had to abort the route…..and the GSDR is resurrected! Amen!

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    Just a few miles outside of Cuba we score a great Nat Forest campground for the night….with cold well water to do a “French sponge bath” in with some Doctor Bonners soap! I offered some Dr. Bonners to UlyBrad, but he passed for his more manly “Dove” for sensitive skin.

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    UlyBrad now excelling in finding all kinds of ways to hold up his KTM for the next week!

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    We settle in for a mixed buffet for dinner: sardines, oysters, slim jims and chips….all washed down with a 24 oz Tecate I stuffed in my Camelbak, along with some ice to keep it cold! Thankfully I was not carded in Cuba like I was in Ruidoso, where my temporary Tx DL was "not good enough" for selling a beer to a scruffy 51 year old biker....

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    The next day finds us finally hitting some higher elevations and forests that will track right up on the CDT!
    #19
  20. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    You guys look like you have been having a blast so far! :thumb
    #20