Louisiana to Alaska on as much dirt as possible

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ejtv, May 27, 2011.

  1. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    Edwardo,
    Noboby could say you didn't do everything possible to complete this ride.
    I'm glad to see you overcame the setbacks with your Yamaha and caught back up with the group.
    Now get back to the ride report so I can know how the rest of the trip went.:lurk
    Bert
  2. jakbrand

    jakbrand 100 octane

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    297
    Location:
    Hurricane Alley
    5 riders gone....2 to go.

    Dwip and I continued west via Burr Trail to Boulder (Utah) where we splurged on dinner at Hells Backbone Cafe. :dg Dinner topic centered on how five experienced riders could disappear after two days and if we were all doomed to failure.


    Capitol Reef
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    Long Canyon
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    The next day we tracked south across Grand Staircase Escalante and Kaibab Plateau to Point Sublime at Grand Canyon north rim.


    near Big Water
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    Campsite at Point Sublime
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    Although ET and Tbang intended to rejoin Grand Utah Roulette somewhere near Bryce, we knew that possiblity was remote.
  3. redog1

    redog1 KLR650-2009

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    Ride on...:lurk:ricky
  4. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    The night was very windy, probably around 20-25 knots. Tarps survived. Just needed to be smart about placement behind some protection.

    Sunrise at Smokey Mountain Road campsite:

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    Not quite Point Sublime, but it'll do...

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    Breakfast:

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    One of the things I experimented with this trip was to see if we could self support (with the exception of fuel and water) all of our needs, including all the food for 7 days. It is possible, but the weight, despite all food being dehydrated except for Cliff and Luna bars and mostly ultra-light tarps, poles, sleeping bags, shoes, etc., does make the very technical sections more challenging.... Note the stove, titanium, solid fuel ESBIT tablets or wood and titanium pot. I estimate total weight of our giant loops around 20-25 lbs at Day 1. Heaviest items inside the Giant Loop were food, followed by tools/tubes and next first aid kit.

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    Leaving campsite and heading to Alstrom Point:

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    More Smokey Mountain Rd:

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    Kelly Grade and descent into Lake Powell was out of this world…no wonder it was used for scenes for the original Planet of the Apes…


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    George Taylor, played by Charlton Heston, and two other astronauts after crash-landing back to earth around 2600 AD...

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    Playing around Alstrom Point:

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    Alstrom Point is stunning,

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    but upon reflection, also bitter-sweet...knowing that where the boats now play and still water now sits there was once dry canyon land, and that

    "...the river was no longer there. Somebody had removed the Colorado River. This was old news to Smith, but to Hayduke, who knew of it only by hearsay, the discovery that the river was indeed gone came as a jolt. Instead of a river he looked down on a motionless body of murky green effluent, dead, stagnant, dull, a scum of oil floating on the surface. On the canyon walls a coating of dried silt and mineral salts, like a bathtub ring, recorded high-water mark. Lake Powell: storage pond, silt trap, evaporation tank and garbage dispose-all, a 180-mile-long incipient sewage lagoon…."
    The Monkey Wrench Gang--Edward Abbey
  5. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    From Alstrom Point we make it to Big Water to refuel, eat a snack, and drench our clothing in water--nature's AC in the desert--before heading out again, slabbing on 89 west for a few miles to rejoin the original route that jakbrand had prepared to enter into Bryce from the south. Here we are as we turned north from 89:

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    The dirt road got narrower and sandier after this gate…

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    What happened next is not documented in pics and is the stuff you cannot plan…the sandy trail turns and climbs up a narrow canyon until, after a 90 degree left turn, it climbs up a veeery steep wall of sugary sand. The KTM 450 made it half way up the climb. The WR 250 about 1/4 of the way up. We both turned around and tried there times, same results…so we resigned ourselves to the inevitable, unloading of the giant loops, carrying them up the climb and walking the bikes. The KTM made it first after much huffing and puffing....

    Then as we were starting to work on the 250, we hear the sound of another motorcycle. We know jakbrand and dwip were not ahead of us because the sand had been without any recent tire marks, but could this be them?…So we get the 250 out of the way as best we could and I walked down the climb right at the 90 degree left turn and yelled GO GO GO!!! as jakbrand stared :eek1 stunned at all the information overload: a maniac yelling go go go, a bike thrown to the side, a wall of sugary sand and his 530 leisurely putting along in first gear…he tried hard, but it happened, the KTM went down for the first and last time the whole week, something veeery seldom seen…

    Then came Dwip, same result.... Jakbrand then turned around, got the 530 up to speed and second gear and sailed to the top effortlessly, like snowboarding on fresh powder.... Dwip tried a couple of more times and eventually we walked his bike up the climb. Finally jakbrand tried with the 250 three or four times, just not enough HP, and then he walked it up with Tbang's help.

    So here we are resting in the shade at the top, in disbelief that we had found each other on that trail:

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    Jakbrand on the right, having the worst and longest coughing and :puke1 spell we had ever seen, surely a cracked rib would be possible, and Dwip smiling on the left, hoping, Herzberg Rodeo style, that he would be the last Grand Utah Roulette rider standing if jakbrand kept coughing…:clap
  6. jakbrand

    jakbrand 100 octane

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    Location:
    Hurricane Alley
    I could have camped at Point Sublime for days, but needed to stay on schedule.

    Grand Canyon
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    Dwip and I ate a modest breakfast, packed our camp gear and headed north through Kaibab National Forest to Jacobs Lake for fuel.


    Sublime Road
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    Trying to rendezvous with ET and Tbang would be at best, an exercise in futility. Yesterday we lost hope of crossing paths out in the desert. Eventually, we would see them again in Moab. I felt sorry for the boys, because they were missing the highlight of the tour.



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  7. jakbrand

    jakbrand 100 octane

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    in the wilderness.

    After Jacobs Lake Dwip and I continued north on Arizona's Great Western Trail and crossed back into Utah. We rolled along Utah's Great Western Trail for hours flanked by sage brush and juniper stands without encountering a single soul. Beautiful.

    Trekking up Seaman Wash I could not believe my eyes when I rounded a sandy berm and saw the clean line clogged with motos. Son of a Biscuit! Wait a second....It's ET and Tbang!

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  8. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    Southern approach until the first few climbs up to Bryce…very sandy…KTM 450's and 530's did great, simply get them up to 3rd gear and go...

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    WR 250 struggled in 1st or 2nd…

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    Refueling the rental KTM prior to the initial climbs up to Bryce:

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    View after a few climbs:

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    The unmistakable formations of Bryce Canyon without the tourists, crowds, cars, campers, motorhomes…priceless:

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    We skipped the final section of ATV trails and took the main road…It was a race to Tropic Reservoir campsite as the sun went down…

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    Tropic Reservoir and the rented KTM…

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    After almost two full days with the KTM and after having ridden the WR250R for the better part of three years, I can say that having those extra 20 HP and the race ready suspension make a huge difference in the technical sections, especially sand.

    When we finally go to the campsite, I was ready to heat up some water, add it to my soup mix, eat and crash, the rest went for a real :dg. I was sleeping when they came back…

    Overall a great day and the half way point of the Grand Utah Roulette. What else could go wrong?:jack
  9. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    Good morning! Look mom, I'm missing two teeth! :rofl

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    So Dwip actually needed the new front cog after all!

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    Getting ready was slower today. Cold. Plan was to ride up to Ruby's for breakfast and fuel:

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    And then catch the Fremont Trail going north all the way to our next fuel, water and lunch stop--Circleville, boyhood home of Butch Cassidy:

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    Final descent into Circleville:

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    And lunch break!

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    One happy family at Circleville…(there IS gas there, you just have to look hard…it's at the RV Park & Country Store, a bit out of sight…but shaded picnic tables and a good store for snacks, water, soda, etc.)

    …A picture perfect :ricky first half of the day!!!

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    What could go wrong now? :jack
  10. Tbang

    Tbang n00b

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    Jakbrand, after reliving the trip via this RR, I've got a question for you...Was there a single trail that turned out as you WERE expecting?
  11. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    From Circleville we headed east to the Paiute ATV TH and began our climb north into the Fishlake NF.


    From a very hot 6,000 feet…

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    to aspen forests at about 8,000 feet...

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    to just above treeline at a cool 9,000 feet...

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    and just less than a mile after I took the above 3 pics, when we were ahead of schedule and seemed to have settled into a nice leisurely pace with temps in the cool 70's…

    This….

    :becca

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    My rented KTM just quit

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    Gas…check…kill switch…check…air box…check...fuel line..checked all the way from the tank to the carburetor…nothing...

    We had 10% battery on the only iPhone with reception…one bar...thank you Verizon….when will ATT get your kind of coverage?…text to Jim at Dual Sport Utah for tips…he responded with "check for spark"…we did and texted back "no spark"…

    A few minutes later another text from Jim: "where are you?"

    He was not going to believe what we texted next: Paiute ATV Trail near Circleville…:wink:

    "What???"…I am certain nobody had ridden one of his KTM's 225 miles away from Moab….

    And then: "What's the closest paved road? I will bring you a new bike"...

    We texted: intersection of Paiute ATV Trail and SR 62, east of Kingston…

    He answered: "OK"….and next our Verizon iPhone battery proceeded to die…oh, our USB Powerlet phone charger had died earlier too...

    After a short discussion, the whole group, fools, decided to return and wait with me for Jim at SR 62, 10 miles south...

    I took out the trusted little rope:

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    And once again, Tbang towed me...

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    Here we are at the Freemont and Paiute THs, where we decided to set up camp and freshen up in the East Fork Sevier River…while jakbrand went back to Circleville via pavement to hunt and gather…

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    coming back with 7 piping hot homemade bacon cheeseburgers with local grass fed beef, fries, fry-sauce (a Utah concoction served everywhere: mayo, ketchup and secret spices), water, soda, etc. from Dottie's home cookin' at the Circleville Cafe :dg

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    In case you have not noticed yet, jakbrand finds his Sidi boots so comfortable that he sleeps with them on :getiton …there isn't one picture this whole trip where he doesn't have them on…

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    We went to bed wondering if Jim would show up or not and what the next day would bring…:confused
  12. jakbrand

    jakbrand 100 octane

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    Yes. The paved trail between Needles Outpost and Canyonlands NP pay station turned out exactly as I imagined.:lol3
  13. EbarDP48

    EbarDP48 100.5 Octane

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    ejtv,
    Seems that little rope I spotted wrapped up in your rear wheel came in handy on more than one occasion. So, what accessory will you always bring with you from here on out? And I think I remember Jakbrand saying," We don't need no stinkin rope!"
    Bert
    :clap
  14. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    At 1 AM the sound of tires crunching gravel wake me up:

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    Jim delivering a new KTM to the Freemont/Paiute TH:

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    Jim is a hyperactive talkative guy, there he is above showing off his new camera and wildlife pics, who loves to show his videos and pictures. A jack of all trades: river runner, KTM renter, taxi-driver, movie crew/equipment transporter. After exchanging a couple of pleasentries he gets to work trying to start the old bike once, then exchanges CDI ignition boxes, tries again, nothing, and gives up, it seems like it is something a bit more complicated,we unload a new bike, load the old one, and we proceed to watch pictures and moto videos until his wife called him, OK, OK, I'm on my way. I thank him for responding to our needs, he says that's part of the business…"it doesn't happen very often, but I stand by my customers." I can only say that he could have waited until the next day for a time convenient to him, or complain about how far away we were, or charge me an arm and a leg, but no, he covered my back.

    I highly recommend his KTM/Gas Gas rental outfit to all of you out there for your Moab moto and other transportation needs.

    Below is the sunrise at the Paiute THL (lower right hand corner of the pic), the southwestern leg of the Fishlake Cutoff of the Old Spanish Trail along the East Fork of the Sevier River.

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    The Old Spanish Trail was the first major "highway" across the SW US, a 1200 mile trade route put together and used by Spanish explorers and merchants from the mid 1700's until the mid 1800's, partly knitting indigenous indian trails, partly taking advantage of the geography, partly pure will. "The general route of the Old Spanish Trail began at Santa Fe, NM and looped northward through central Utah to avoid the deep river gorges of the Colorado River before descending down across western Utah to the artesian springs located at Las Vegas. This was a significant watering hole before heading off across the dry Mohave Desert and onward to the San Gabriel Mission near Los Angeles." It has to be considered as one of the most difficult and commercially risky trade routes ever established in the US, all by private entrepreneurs, without the help of modern technology, and without tax subsidies nor DOT, OSHA, Worker's Comp, Obamacare, etc. Blankets and woolen goods from New Mexico were exchanged for burros, mules, horses. The trail had a series of shortcuts, including this one going through our campsite, taking advantage of better terrain, grazing lands for livestock, water, I assume fishing at, where else, Fishlake, etc. If you're history buff and ride motos through these parts, the above link, plus this one, has a ton of info on the Old Spanish Trail. Here's an interactive map. Our Grand Utah Roulette would cross or ride along the Old Spanish Trail at least three times: Kane Creek, Fish Lake, Green River.
  15. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    On the way back down from my hike to take the sunrise picture, I spot Dwip walking to the restrooms when I see his un-staked tent picked up by the wind tumbling across the parking area. :oscar I yelled and screamed but he was to busy wiping.

    I did catch jakbrand here running across the gravel, without his trusty Sidi boots, to save the day. I could not stop :rofl

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    What? No boots? "I heard someone yelling and I wondered what is going on? When I saw his tent almost to the road, I thought about putting the boots on at first…

    We rode to Circleville Cafe for a hearty breakfast. Jakbrand, also a fabulous storyteller, provided us with the morning entertainment. Should have recorded it for his son. We gout out of the cafe way too late…we picked up the Pauite TH and headed north toward Fish Lake.

    Already in Fish Lake NF with Pauite Reservoir in the background:

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    This is Manning Meadows Reservoir:

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    Koosharem for gas, food, as we start heading mostly east toward our return to Moab, paralleling and meandering I-70:

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    We debated if we should fill the gas bladders or not, in the end we got an extra 1.5 gal, which proved handy since the next gas station would be at Green River.

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    Grass Valley Merc was a cool little general store.

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    Eating and resting across from the store:

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    Back on track:

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    Fish Lake below as background, some modeling pics from Dwip:

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    The final ATV trails at Fish Lake before descending into Cathedral Valley were :rilla

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    With Cathedral Valley looming below, three get to the startling...ready, set, go!

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    The descent into Cathederal was stunning, the transition from high alpine environment to treeline to desert…breathtaking.

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    Lunch stop, looking for shade in this little canyon:

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    As we approached I-70, a lot of sugary sand. Once again, the 250 really struggled. Any kind of slowing down the pace would plunge the 250 into a first gear all out rev to move at 5 MPH. No time for pics…

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  16. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    As evening fell, we started looking for a suitable area to bush camp:

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    Ritz Carlton accommodations for Dwip…

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    Motel 6 for me:

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    Preparing the last:dg on the road, a choice of ejtv homemade soup mix (declined by all except me) or Mountain House Lasagna with Meatballs:

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    Last minute phone calls home: hi honey, I'm safe….but haven't taken a shower in a week :crash

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    Watching the sunset from above:

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    jakbrand from below took the better sunset pic before we all crashed :snore:

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  17. stevh0

    stevh0 Super Retard.

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    great report, diggin the photos!
  18. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    The highlights of our last day riding to Moab would be Balck Dragon Canyon and Crystal Geyser Jeep Road…

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    Black dragon is the closest thing to riding a motorcycle up Zion Canyon or Coyote Gulch, both illegal. This one is not.

    Jackbrand's gallery for this trip has a lot of his KTM 531 featured in pictures that I have not included in this report…feels as if they are private pictures, but here's one anyway:

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    Black Dragon was enjoyed by all, but I :muutt :muutt on seemingly easy off-camber ATV trail left turns, both times the front end washing from under me. Those knee pads come in handy, my knee still sore a week later…and then I took the wrong turn into a sandy wash, more like a bath tub, and wasted a lot of energy getting out of it. Jakbrand says, give it all you can, you then can take the paved road from Green River to Moab…:bite me

    Leaving Black Dragon:

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    Another underpass before hitting it hard for much needed gas and breakfast at Green River:

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    At Green River we truly felt assured that if we would have had any emergency needs on the trail that the local EMS would be ready for a timely rescue.

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    Breakfast at La Veracruzana at Green River hit the spot. I had the huevos machaca, my son the huevos rancheros, and the two gringos in the group the breakfast burritos, all with authentic Mexican flour tortillas, lard and all.

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  19. bigdon

    bigdon Long timer

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    2,741
    What gearing were you running on the WR 250R?
  20. ejtv

    ejtv Per ipsum

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    Stock gearing. I do have the FMF exhaust, powerbomb header and power programmer, airbox modification, which gets me probably an additional 5 HP, maybe up to 25HP or so. But I believe the few problems in the sand and specially in steep uphills with sand have little to do with the gearing and more to do with lack of raw power and torque. Am I wrong?