Stupiders Travels - Two weeks on the TAT from Denver to Portland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lucky 7, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. Giddy Up

    Giddy Up Pedal, Damn IT!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Denver
    :D
    HA. There were some technical sections of this trip that I wish I had one of those old 175 2 strokes. It looked like you could toss those bikes around.
    #21
  2. Giddy Up

    Giddy Up Pedal, Damn IT!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Denver
    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:DontVertAlignCellWithSp/> <w:DontBreakConstrainedForcedTables/> <w:DontVertAlignInTxbx/> <w:Word11KerningPairs/> <w:CachedColBalance/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> <m:mathPr> <m:mathFont m:val="Cambria Math"/> <m:brkBin m:val="before"/> <m:brkBinSub m:val="&#45;-"/> <m:smallFrac m:val="off"/> <m:dispDef/> <m:lMargin m:val="0"/> <m:rMargin m:val="0"/> <m:defJc m:val="centerGroup"/> <m:wrapIndent m:val="1440"/> <m:intLim m:val="subSup"/> <m:naryLim m:val="undOvr"/> </m:mathPr></w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> The Killer's radiator fan, started to make funny noises outside of Silverton and on the drive into Montrose. I checked it at camp and noticed that one of the mounting bolts rattled off. No problem, new bolt at Davis Service Center, attached and ready to go. . . As I we are pulling into Moab, my fan started to make some very unpleasant noises, so I pull over and notice that the actual fan is really loose. (Oh no, we are entering the desert section during one of the hottest summers on record and through some of the most technical riding of the whole trip.) :eek1


    We stop to get groceries and talk to a local (not the crazy offensive one) and find out about Arrowhead Motorsports (http://www.angelfire.com/ut/moab/ ). After talking to Fred (extremely knowledgeable about KLR’s and overall nice guy), he said that this is a common issue with KLR’s. (Wait a minute, I thought the only problem was the doo hickey?) We discuss ordering parts which would take too long. He mentions a quick fix with epoxy, so I risk it and I was hoping to fix it when we got to camp for the night.



    The fan was in 3 pieces when we got to camp.



    We drive on into the desert with no radiator fan. . .:huh

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    #22
  3. advantagecp

    advantagecp Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Cape Carteret, NC
    Great RR!
    #23
  4. PDX Alamo

    PDX Alamo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    588
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Im in, looking good fellas; Iv'e been looking for a route like this to do :lurk
    #24
  5. Hevy Kevy

    Hevy Kevy ADDRider

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    S. Ontario
    I'm in. The bit about the rain reminds me of when I set up camp in the dark, in a wash. Woke up with 4 inches of water in our tent. Silly Canadian!! ain't got no deserts where I'm from... All the best boys!
    #25
  6. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Denver
    Okay, I'm back to it! I got whacked with work the past few days. Excuses, excuses...

    Day 5

    After almost a full night of rain, we woke up to cloudy, but mercifully rain-free skies. The temperature was perfect, the trails were tacky, it was going to be a good one. We dropped off of Crystal Peak and shortly thereafter found ourselves entering the mighty wastelands of Nevada. Little did we know that the majority of our formative memories would be made here. For the next few days, our contact with our fellow species will dwindle to nearly nothing.

    [​IMG]



    Right at the border is the aptly named Border Inn. We get gas, call home, and, praise lil' baby Jesus, take a shower. Well, I took a shower. After his phone call, John was missing the girls and antsy to get back on the road. Diamond don't need no stinkin' shower! (yes he did) :D
    [​IMG]



    We decided later that out in the middle of BFE, no business can survive if it just does one thing. This place was a gas station, a motel, a cafe, a laundromat, and a casino. If you can't do it at The Border Inn, you shouldn't be doing it. With both of us gassed up and half of us clean, it's off into the desert, which looked suspiciously un-desertlike on this particular day.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Somehow we chased storms all day but never actually got rained on. The temps we fantastically mild and the trails were bordering on muddy all day. It was like every section of trail got rained on 20 minutes before we got there. It made riding an absolute joy.

    [​IMG]
    "Grip it and rip it!"


    Today was our introduction to ranch land as well. We'd be seeing a lot of these in Nevada. Eventually I started getting annoyed by all the stopping, fence undoing, bike pushing, and fence redoing, but at this point it was still sort of novel.

    [​IMG]



    Sam mentions private property a bit in the maps and charts, but we never really got comfortable with the idea of trespassing. On this occasion, we came out of the desert into somebody's yard and had to drive down their driveway and go out through their entry gate, which was emphatically marked NO TRESPASSING. Since we came from the back side of their land, we couldn't have known, but we both felt a bit guilty about being there. We closed the gate and moved on, secretly glad to have avoided being shot at.

    [​IMG]




    From here we got a bit of pavement en route to our next gas stop. There is, shall we say, tremendous opportunity for expansion in Nevada:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    A bit of pavement leads us to the booming metropolis of Preston. 'Town' is probably a big word to describe Preston. More like a few trailers, some houses, a lot of cars on blocks, and the ubiquitous motel/gas/cafe/casino/laundry/shooting range/taxidermy/haberdasher/cheese operation on the outside of town.:D This one left an impression on both of us. The gas station was manned by a high school kid who looked like a fat Napoleon Dynamite. I'm not thinking he got much business in his little 6x8 gas shack. When we rolled up, he was staring at the wall, sweating and swarmed by flies. Just sittin' there...wearing a huge 'Just Do It' T-shirt. We tried to talk to him, but he wasn't much of a conversationalist, probably because he was in a rush to get back to sweating and staring at the wall. That's Preston for ya.

    [​IMG]
    "I'll sweat whenever I want...GOD!"


    We saw some for sale signs on the way out of town and got into a contentious bidding war. We were both captivated by this beautiful mountain hamlet and were loathe to leave it's beauty behind us.
    #26
  7. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Denver
    Back to the mountains! More tacky trails and overcast skies await.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Eastern Nevada is beautiful! There's National Forests, craggy mountains, water, trees...just like how you imagine planet Earth. This was going to change in a quick hurry, but for today we were loving it.
    [​IMG]



    Toward the end of the day we came into this old abandoned mining camp. The old buildings and equipment were pretty cool to check out. The relatively new pole barn was a bit eery, though. It was still full of remnants of its use but was well on it's way to decay. The old mattress inside looked like a good place to camp, but John wouldn't even go in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    I guess this is better. We found a proper campsite for the night, had a fire and turned in.

    [​IMG]



    Against all odds, this was my favorite day of the whole trip. Nobody seems to have much good to say about Nevada, but the central eastern portion was really fun. Granted, a lot of it had to do with the weather we got, so your results may vary, but there is some amazing scenery and very fun riding to be had in this part of the state. Just watch out for fat Napoleon.:wink:


    Mileage: 236
    #27
  8. Giddy Up

    Giddy Up Pedal, Damn IT!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Denver
    I second G's nomination as one of the best days of the trip as riding through Eastern Nevada. After talking with my family in the morning, I was missing my wife and my baby girl. I was / am very thankful for this trip and that we were able to work out the logistics with additional family members flying in to help with child care. It was great that I was able to leave for 2 weeks. I realized the great support we have with our extended family and missing them was overwhelming. I think that was one of the reasons the riding was so great as I was able to put that energy into the riding.

    It also helped that the weather made the dirt tacky and perfect.:clap
    #28
  9. Giddy Up

    Giddy Up Pedal, Damn IT!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Denver
    Here are some more photos from the day.

    Trails were just slightly wet and really perfect for riding.

    [​IMG]

    Long and straight. Gavin was flying down this road.

    [​IMG]

    Cool photo of G. This is Nevada. It was small mountain range, then a deserted valley, then another mountain range.

    [​IMG]

    The cattle are very coordinated in Nevada. :-)

    [​IMG]
    #29
  10. GSF1200S

    GSF1200S Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Oddometer:
    977
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I dont know why this RR doesnt have 15 pages of replies by now; I think its awesome. Hows that KLR handling the rougher stuff? My DR is about the same and im curious if im going to fight hell doing the type of exploring you guys are :p3rry

    I think everyone gets caught up in the wilderness of Alaska or the mountain view scene of Colorado; it seems they neglect the beauty of places like Nevada, Wyoming, etc.. Sometimes the openness is exactly what I want to feel, and those states excel in that. Yet another report thats influencing my ride next year :thumb
    #30
  11. alcanrider

    alcanrider alcanrider

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Back in Superior, Colorado!
    I lived in Colorado and Alaska before that. I won't say that the desert territory of Utah, Arizona, or Nevada are prettier, but I am alwys just amazed every time I go to those places. They are all very pretty.
    #31
  12. Giddy Up

    Giddy Up Pedal, Damn IT!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    55
    Location:
    Denver

    Thank you, GSF1200S, I guess our RR is a diamond in the rough. In response to your KLR question, we will be doing a full gear review at the end of the report. Stay tuned for details!:ear



    I have never been to this part of Nevada, only Vegas, and the remoteness and solitude of Northern NV was great. However, we both were thinking about the possibility of a crash or a major mechanical. We would be a day from help in some sections of the NV TAT. The TAT is the real deal and I underestimated the TAT's ability to put me in the middle of nowhere on some very technical sections.
    #32
  13. prince_ruben

    prince_ruben Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,774
    Bad ass report; I love love Cycles South. I could watch that move 1,00 times. Keep up the posts and photos!
    #33
  14. scooterman

    scooterman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    10
    I don't care who you are. That right there is funny!
    #34
  15. manybike

    manybike Omnipresent

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    631
    Location:
    North America
    Great photos, great ride...keep it comin
    #35
  16. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Denver

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the cattle piles. To quote Jurassic Park, "That is, uh, onebigpileofshit."

    These things were all over the place. Sometimes they'd be 4 feet in diameter and 12 inches deep! We could never figure out what was happening. Ten cows crapping in a circle? One cow that stood there all day crapping? Or my favorite idea: a wind vortex swept it up and left it there....crap devils?:huh

    If anybody is trained in the cow arts, chime in. I'm curious about the giant turd piles of Nevada.
    #36
  17. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Denver
    Day 6

    It took a few days, but I was starting to sleep like a dead bear at this point in the trip. I still didn't make it much past sunrise, but the sleeping was good out here. I'd usually get moving first, start the coffee water, and start breaking down camp. Most nights we didn't even bother with the tent or tarp, so it went pretty quick. Then I had some time to read my book while John stuffed everything into his dry bags. As it turns out, hard cases make for convenient packing. Panniers...winning.:1drink
    [​IMG]



    Out of camp we thought we'd be into Eureeka quickly, but Sam had other ideas. His route along the road less traveled got a little out of hand at this point as the road nearly disappeared entirely. We finally made our way out to something resembling a trail.
    [​IMG]



    This took us onto the Loneliest Highway and into Eureka. The highway was aptly named, until we hit some construction and found it to be damn near the most social highway.
    [​IMG]

    We talked to a couple from California for awhile (the truck behind us). He said he'd done a cross country trip on a Harley in the 60s and come through this section of road. I guess it was even lonelier back then. Sounded like he had a good time. Finally the flag lady let us through and we said farewell to our highway friends. Around the corner was Eureka.

    [​IMG]


    We got gas and water and had a funny conversation with the Sheriff who accused us of being a motorcycle gang. He called us 3 percenters and then started laughing. Apparently he didn't think we were very threatening. Oh well.


    After Eureka it was back to the burnin' desert, which was really earning it's name today. The rains of yesterday had passed and we were headed into the mouth of the dust bowl.
    [​IMG]
    Dust hazard: Next 700 miles.


    [​IMG]


    Between Eureka and Battle Mountain, there's a whole lot of empty space. We would cross mountains and valleys and do it again between sightings of man-made structures. The scale of it all was amazing. You just don't want to think about crashing and having to get yourself out of there.

    [​IMG]
    No crash, no crash, no crash, no crash, no crash, no crash, no crash....



    Eventually we hit ranch land again and welcomed the return of our old friend the cow.
    [​IMG]



    This was a surprise. We didn't see any sheep before or after this. But here they were, packed into the shade like cord wood.
    [​IMG]



    More private property for us to amble through.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Don't shoot, we like beef, too. Well, not John, he's a vegetarian. Okay, if you have to shoot somebody, shoot John.
    #37
  18. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    18,459
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    nice and mellow adventure. can't wait for more.

    :lurk
    #38
  19. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    177
    Location:
    Denver
    Back into the mountains. This should be our last range before Battle Mountain. I decided I wanted some diner food and John was hoping for a shower.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    As we dropped out of the mountains, the fires started to show themselves. You should be able to see some mountains back there behind these cows. Smokey Bear is not impressed.
    [​IMG]



    In Battle Mountain we got some chain lube for John's very worn chain and asked the Napa guy where to eat.

    "Well, you got the Owl Club...that's purty good. Then you got the Hideaway Steakhouse. That's purty good too." (looks around conspiratorily) "It's REAL good."


    Don't question the locals, we say. On to the Hideaway Steakhouse. For reasons unexplained, they wouldn't let us in at first, then changed their minds and decided to seat us. We chose the table that already had somebody at it.
    [​IMG]
    What's that? An elk burger? I want some...


    The food was bad and the service was terrible, but at least we didn't spill a whole tub of soup all over the table. Oh wait, that happened too. Next time you're in Battle Mountain, I'd recommend trying the Owl. It might not be better, but it's probably not worse.:D

    After food, we almost got a motel but decided that open air was more important than running water. With no obvious campsites, we headed out on the TAT in search of BLM land.
    [​IMG]



    We found a spot in the middle of nowhere with a little holding tank for cover.
    [​IMG]
    I'm on a tank. I'm on a tank. Everybody look at me 'cause I'm standin' on a tank.


    There were mountains around in every direction, but you wouldn't have known because the smoke was so thick. Sunset revealed the truth. It was cool watching the sun drop behind nothing.
    [​IMG]



    This was our first day of real dust and desert. The expanse of the land was staggering to the point of being impossible to fully grasp. The world we're used to was starting to feel very far away. Time to rest the bikes and get some sleep. We both knew that there was a lot more of Nevada out there waiting for us.


    Mileage: 177
    #39
  20. MikJogg

    MikJogg Weekend Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    672
    Location:
    Oberkirch/Blackforest/Germany
    Really great report ! :thumb
    #40