Hypothermia or Bust! Texans on a DR650 and a KLR try to escape the HEAT!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by mathewsturtevant, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    :(:So again, this is one of those fear episodes that I create in my brain. I'm riding up, gaining altitude.. well there's two versions of this short episode. The reality version is as follows: The weather is absolutely perfect. Low 70s and even brisk at speed. I am riding up a river valley with sweeping turns. Hardly any traffic and there is no wind to speak of. It continues winding gradually upstream and up hill. The picturesque valley interspersed with pine trees and little tiny cottages with stone chimneys that later, at dusk, will warm tired trout fishermen who come to this slice of heaven to fish. Okay, you get the idea of what is actually going on, you know, everything is great, full tank of gas blah blah blah.
    So in my head I've been anticipating some sort of inevitable problem at altitude. I reason with myself, "if I get out of breath tying my shoe at 10k feet altitude, what about fixing a flat tire????"":eek1:What if I'm not jetted right? Will the bike stall? What if my chain breaks?? Anyways, all this b.s. gets into my head and to top it off, I wonder with this stuff happens or even if it doesn't, what if I just have a no particular -reason -panic attack? What about THAT??:(: If any of you think at all like this, you might already know that this is the worst case scenario because then if you have no actual problem, other than your head, how are you going to convince some poor confused tourist to let you in their car and get you off this Godforsaken mountain!! They will surely think you're bonkers. I'd be humiliated for being so weird. etc etc.
    Well nothing happens. I ride up and over the pass still a little worried (cause I'm still way up there). But eventually I see a mile marker that say Chama 11 miles. I figure I could probably coast most of the way if I needed to. And I finally start to relax.
    So, brief summary: everything is totally fine and I completely freak myself out just for fun. For no reason. Yup.

    Hopefully the above is entertaining to some. I sure didn't think of ANY of this stuff when I was in my 20's or 30's. I'd just go down to Copper Canyon by myself for a week and never really get around to worrying. God. Is this what it means to get old? Did I destroy my central nervous system with my wilder ways in my youth?:freaky:photog Well, I hope actually that the more I do this kind of stuff the less I worry unnecessarily . I would love to do the TAT someday, but JEEZ that whole thing is in the middle of nowhere and remoteness and altitude seem to freak me out the most. So I will continue my baby steps and we will see where that gets me.:eek1 turns to:rofl: hopefully
  2. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    Actual proof that everything is not only okay but beautiful. To any young Adv riders out there. Just say "no" or your brain might get weird like mine:loll

    The picturesque Conejo river valley:
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    On the other side following the narrow gauge train tacks down toward Chama.
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  3. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    I'm riding west towards Chromo, New Mexico and an extremely rare occurrence happens. I actually catch up to some riders that had ridden past me a while ago when i was taking a photo of something. I never catch up to anybody.:hmmmmm something is weird here, but Im not sure what it is. Well, they're going so slow I am right up on em. I guess we're going 60 or maybe 65. They look normal enough… I guess... couple of Harleys. Wait a minute. Harleys and these people are wearing head to toe protective gear.???? Well I keep wondering, but then have to pee so I pull over somewhere and water a tree.
    A brief while later, I come to the Welcome to COLORADO sign and the two Harley riders are there. I ask them if they want me to take their photo with the sign. They say " ahh jes, thees wood bee great, Heer take zee Camuruh."
    OOOH now I get it. I caught up to these people because they are vacationing Frenchies and not like most harley ridin 'Merican folk.
    Now eet all makes sense.:nod

    Anyway, they take my photo . They were very nice people. :[​IMG]
  4. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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  5. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    I just love that western states have forests roads all over the place in Texas we have next to nothing.
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    [​IMG]:ricky[/url]
  6. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    Almost got hit by a large arrow:huh
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    mesa Verde is weird because once you are there, you still have another 23 miles to go to get to where the stuff is. The wind had picked up and was blowing me all over the road. I ws was kinda tired and feeling bleh. but Hey I 'm here let's see some stuff:

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    About half of the whole park suffered wildfires. The scale was huge. I know fire is sometimes natural but man Texas New Mexico AND Colorado seemed to be suffering. Drought and warmer temps every year. I might have to move north.:
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  7. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    the wind wouldn't die down so I figured I would probably slept better in a hotel. So I got one and took a nap. Then I rode around a bit met another ADV rider from San Jose on a 1200gs . Jamie was his name. we talked about travel and hung out over dinner. Next morning I decided I had got far enough west and started heading east.:ricky
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  8. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    near Durango there was this thing that told me to let off throttle a bit. Went on for a few miles. interesting :clap
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  9. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    This was near Durango too
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  10. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    I always marvel at how Dramatic Colorado's peaks are.[​IMG]

    Riding down the road I see a dead elk on the side of the road in the grass. No big deal. Then it MOVED...What the ...then this rather guilty looking bear cub looks up at me surprised. Then he runs away and clumsily climbing the fence. I hung around to take photos but definitely kept an eye out for Mama.
    Cute lil guy[​IMG]
  11. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    :evilI'm not done with ride report Still have two more days to document, but the next post will be gear that I really dig.:evil
    Here's a few things that Really made a big difference or have always been favorite pieces of gear:

    My iPhone charger that plugs into wall just quit working so I was VERY glad I had this thing. I would charge the AA batteries as I rode along in the GPS which acted better as a battery charger than it did a GPS. There are many devices like this. I have a Spot but it's $150 a year to activate, I whish I could be on adventures and need year round coverage, but man, come on Spot, sell 3 months or 6 months .. something that's not more expensive than the device!?. 80% of the time I am somewhere that has cell phone coverage, sothis time I just phoned it. it's just peace of mind.[​IMG]
    Great little laser thermometer. Awesome. Just point it at my tires. If one tire's temperature is 78 andy the other is 130 degrees I know I need to pull out the gauge and compressor. Only happened once but I new I needed air. Actually makes a tedious safety check more likely to happen in the first place. With My front tire especially it will feel Rock hard but can be pretty low and Id never know otherwise. For example it is recommended to be 33psi and at 15 psi it shows NO sign of being low. every time I get gas I just point laser at it and I can asses much quicker.[​IMG]

    North Face Tadpole tent and Blue Kazoo sleeping bag. My buddies for 20 years. Countless miles kayaking the Rio Grande, The Pecos, the Devils river, Utah, Copper Canyon, Backpacking, Great gear. The tent is under 5 lbs, freestanding simple to set up not too hot. Love it. I have a newer one too, but I like the color, size and weight of this one.[​IMG]

    Petzl Headlamp. I've had many of these for 20 years, can't imagine camping, going out to the shed, outhouse, my car, walking the dog or anything at night without it.I guess everybody has caught on by now, but...[​IMG]

    Brunton propane stove.Simple, reliable, on off and even Simmer. True not great at really high altitudes, but otherwise very convenient . I worked at REI for 5 years and decided there are 2 types of people in the world. Ones who want stuff to work and ones who think it's interesting to work on stuff that breaks down, Folks who buy MSR whisperlite stoves, which are finicky, dangerous, loud, overly complicated swear by these frustrating little fire hazards. Also, they tend to like Volkswagons and BMW, KTM, bikes usually fall into the second category. BMW and KTM bikes easily has 5 times the sex appeal of my Suzuki but read the forums, weird major problems do happen. Sure they'll go 100k miles or more, but You will definitely be in some repair shops more likely than with a simple Japanese bike. I'm not e mechanic but I can do almost everything with basic tools.
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    Crappy, made in China, walmart huntin gloves.....actually perfect for my needs.
    90% of the time it's hot when I ride. Motorcycle gloves that are windproof/waterproof would be 80 to $150 dollars. These were 19 bucks, and have the added benefit of helping keep me faithful to my wife. What's that you say? Well no woman is ever going to talk to a guy wearing a Hi viz vest AND camp gloves.:evil
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    Neck gator doubles as soft pillow when wrapped around stuff sack. [​IMG]
  12. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    :waveThe least intuitive piece of technology I have ever had the displeasure or wasting my time with. The very popular Garmin map60csx. Yes, it's tough. Yes it is accurate and still works in canyons or dense forest. However I seriously spent over 8 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!! TRying to get customer service to help me load routes and have them actually STAY in the unit. In the END, nobody was able to figure it out. Why??? because I use a macintosh computer I was told. STUPID. Stupid .Stupid. Some day soon satellite capabilities will be easy to get on iPhones and iPads and Gamin will be out of business in a year or two. User friendly is not in their vocabulary. I even met with other adv riders who were familiar with the unit and nobody could route maps on a mac and transfer to device. Yes, It will kinda tell me where I am but I can't plot a map to the grocery store with this thing. Oh and it randomly won't power up with or without earplugs stuffed in battery case. I don't like much about this thing, but i'll probably continue to sorta use it because I'm 500 dollars into software and ram mount/charger etc. Hate it!
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  13. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    Down through Abiqui , by the Ghost ranch and into Santa Fe for lunch. I was pretty tired. I just sat on a bus stop bench enjoying the shade eating Smoked salmon with sprouts, avocado and pita bread. Oh, and pepperjack cheese.
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  14. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    The Pecos River is an old old friend of mine. I know stretches of it that very few people have seen. I know of place where it looks like the Carribean running through Chiuhuahuan desert. I frequently have dreams about it. So far, in my 42 years I an not sure If I've seen more interesting country. Up here in New Mexico it's a totally different river, really more of a stream these days. Irrigation makes it pretty wimpy. It runs red over softer earth. But I love all of the different moods of this river.http://fotomatt8.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/AdventureMotorcycling/i-SKxdFtV/0/L/P9190968-L.jpg[​IMG]

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  15. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    I usually can find enough firewood at other comapsights to make a decent campfire here was no exception. Just loaded up my mule.[​IMG]

    This Villanueva State park is a nice little place. Never crowded. The hills are not as intimidating as the Rockies, just pleasant little topography with some little village community along the river. Some families have been farming here for a long long time..decendants of Spanish explorers I was told.
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  16. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    I actually slept pretty good after eating my Pad Thai and reading my Dan Rather autobiography. The last day is always sad for me on a trip. I am grateful that I've been places but know it will be a while till I visit them again. I throw a leg over and head out. As I happen to head out of the park a Rider on a V-strom just so happens to be leaving at the same time. She was from Arkansas and made it pretty obvious she didn't wanna small talk about bikes or adventure. Now she will think I am following her like a lost puppy, well, that's her problem. We ride up out of the canyon and she's slow like me. I made a video that was decidedly uh... boring, so I didn't attach it. But now it's ride through some country that looks exactly like Texas hill country until we come to the vast grasslands. I believe the Antelope is the second fastest land animal, capable of speeds of 62 mph!! And twice I had them running toward me!??! I had heard they won't jump fences and I guess it's true because they came towards me to shimmy under a fence.
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  17. mathewsturtevant

    mathewsturtevant Motojournalist

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    It's funny how distance shrink once you've become familiar with the territory. I guess what happens too, is the fears of whatever hypothetical problems I've conjured up become less as none of them come true. This is a good thing and precisely why I love to ride. My father had a bike a few years back and his brain works similar to mine in that we tend towards caution. He's in his 70s now and I guess I will probably not be riding in my 70's. I guess at some point you figure your luck in not having a serious crash can't last forever. Or maybe you just have had enough fun.
    In any case I hope in the next few years I can continue to push my own limits and grow as I learn to trust. Nature is my recharge and my church, and riding is a great way to experience it with most of my senses. I hope I can really stretch in the next couple. Thanks for reading y'all.


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  18. roberts

    roberts GS'er

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    Matt,

    Thanks for the great report! The terrain you rode through is my favorite. I need to explore along the Pecos River, and the campsite at Villanueva State park looks very interesting. I'm going to make it one of my ride destinations. :ricky
  19. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer

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    Hey, Matt!

    Nice report, great photos. Fun to see some places I've been–and some I haven't–through your perceptive lens.
    Enjoyed meeting y'all the other night. May the new year bring some great adventures on the TAT.
  20. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Great ride report!! Thanks for sharing. I grew up in Antelope country in Southern Alberta Canada and NEVER saw one go over a fence. I once saw one go under the bottom wire at a run. I have no Idea how or why they do that.
    Best Regards....just jeff