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. Mendo

    Mendo Been here awhile

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    Great report!!! Really enjoyed reading it and its getting me pumped to do it myself soon :D
    #61
  2. eddyturn

    eddyturn Wannabe

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    Well done report. Glad it got bumped as I missed until now. Funny commentary too. :rofl
    #62
  3. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

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    Alright, I promised myself I'd actually finish the whole trip. It may be less organized, but the last few days were a lot of fun, especially our time in Portland.

    We woke up to the waves in the morning...and barking dogs...and yelling people...and a roaring car engine. What the? I opened up the tent and saw exactly what you'd expect: three meth heads with a bunch of JYDs and a Ford Focus buried to it's axles in the sand...25 feet from the tent. Welcome to Oregon ladies and gentlemen. :huh

    I threw on some clothes and went over to see if I could help them go away. The one guy was too busy scratching his body bloody (I'm serious, he looked like a tiger attack victim) and the other guy was giving me the crazy eyes and could barely talk. The lady was behind the wheel with the gas to the floor throwing sand in a huge arc over the car. I suggested that they may need to call a tow truck and the lady looked at me and, cold as ice, says "We pushed it out before." Yikes, I'm not going to go into the questions. I finally wrangled the methies and we started it rocking and managed to get them onto the pavement. They left and we immediately checked the bikes to make sure nothing was stolen. Wow.

    Okay, back to some scenic photos:

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    We just rode our bikes to the ocean...no big thing.


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    We had a bit of trouble getting ourselves through the deep sand and off the beach, but seeing as how we weren't high on meth, bleeding all over the place, and in charge of all of our teeth, we made it happen.


    The 101 calls us to Portland and a roof over our heads.

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    Yep, lots of bridges along the Oregon coast. Also, a ton of touring bicyclists, which was cool to see. Less cool, but still interesting (odd?) was the number of sketchy homeless and teen-runaway types making their was along the coast. Outside of Portland, ole Oregon gets weird in a hurry. Hipsters, hillbillies, and Klansmen. Forgive me if I don't move here anytime soon.:D It's a great place for a trip, though. Scenic, scenic, scenic.

    Rogue brewery for lunch.
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    Portland follows shortly where our gracious hosts Ty and Tara have offered to put us up for a few days.
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    The first and only time we slept inside all trip. It was awesome.
    #63
  4. Catalyst

    Catalyst Explorer

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    :lurk

    Great so far!
    #64
  5. muskeg

    muskeg Been here awhile

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    Hey guys, great report! Great friends having a great time out there on motorcycles. Good clean fun. Hope you get to do it again soon!

    Thanks for sharing!
    #65
  6. Giddy Up

    Giddy Up Pedal, Damn IT!

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    Portland was a lot of fun and lived up to the Portlandia hype. I highly recommend the Deschutes brew pub downtown. Great food and beers. A huge thanks to Ty and Tara!
    #66
  7. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

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    Portland! We reintroduce ourselves to modern conveniences. The bikes benefit from some running water.

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    After a shower for both ourselves and our motorized compatriots, it was out for the essentials, mainly new mirrors and oil changin' supplies. We saw a lot of this on the roads. Loggin' country.

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    With bikes squared away for the homeward blast, it was time to hit the town. Powell's Books was our first stop, then on to Deschutes Brewery. The food was fantastic, as was the beer and the company.

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    In true Portland fashion, Ty and Tara don't eat gluten, dairy, or meat (mostly). Only in Portland could we have such a feast laid out that didn't include any of those things. I had Mac + Cheese with extra sausage. I didn't want my old friends gluten, dairy, and meat to feel left out. :D


    On the way out of town we happened across this amazing edifice to man's need for speed. The Campagna T-Rex. How did I not know about these? I was immediately amazed and mad at myself. Oh, and terribly jealous...

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    For those that are in the dark like I was, its a carbon fiber 3-wheeler with a Kawasaki 1400 drive train. Seats two and has a sequential shifter on the floor mated to the Kawi tranny. 900 lbs curb weight and 0-60 in 4 seconds. Oh, and it's completely street legal.

    This brings us to a growing concern that affects all of us. While the rest of the world prospers, Lucky 7 goes without a Campagna T-rex and the freedoms to outrun Porsches. This tragic situation can be prevented. You can help. Your donation of only one dollar a day will ensure that Lucky 7 can one day afford this necessity. Not only is your donation completely non-tax refundable, you will be sent monthly photographs of Lucky 7 outrunning police cars. So donate today to the 'Little Lucky 7 Campagna Achievers Foundation'.

    Ask yourself: can you sleep at night if you don't donate to this worthy cause?


    With a heavy heart, we leave the 3-wheeled death rocket behind and head back to Ty and Tara's house for our last night under a roof. Goodbyes in the morning and we're back on the road. It feels like too soon. We had a fantastic time in Portlandia. To our generous hosts, we are in your debt.

    The road awaits.

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    It's not long before we bit farewell to Oregon.
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    700 miles is a lot for one day. Now that we're headed east, our families beckon and our throttle hands respond. Sometime after Boise, we sacked it in at a nice State Park.

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    #67
  8. Downhill Dave

    Downhill Dave Busco aventura

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    :deal Great RR and you are almost home.....:ear
    #68
  9. Sugar Pig

    Sugar Pig almost certain...

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    Really enjoyed the report and writing style. Glad you guys had fun!
    #69
  10. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    Great report! :clap
    Can't wait to ride the desert again.
    #70
  11. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

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    A refreshing sleep and a shower outside Boise has us ready for another long day. We were hoping to get to Colorado by nightfall, but we didn't quite make it. Aside from a brief stint on I-80, we stayed off of interstate all day. It was pretty, even if our asses weren't loving us.

    Slowly but surely, it was starting look like home:
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    So long Idaho, you were fast and hot.
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    Somewhere in here we realized that John's speedo cable had been slowly coming loose. For two days I've been wondering why Granny John was going so damn slow on the highway, but I wasn't in the mood to be the 'hurry up' guy. I figured he was enjoying the last legs of the trip. At some point I commented on the leisurely pace and we realized that he was reading 15mph under speed. So it goes. Speed increases and asphalt continues.

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    We took a little detour to drive through Flaming Gorge. We didn't have long, but it's pretty cool. The road over the dam was especially cool. It felt like something out of a James Bond movie. I enjoyed it too much to take a picture.

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    You can see the dam and bridge in the distance:
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    It was starting to rain and we were looking for a camping spot that didn't seem to present itself when we caught a glimpse of a nice rainbow.

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    Double rainbow all the way. DOUBLE RAINBOW!!! WHAT DOES IT MEAN??!!!


    We found a spot just before the weather blew in. It was in some old gravel pit and seemed like a place that the locals came to shoot bottles and do donuts. Oh well, the sky was amazing and we had a nice fire to close out our last night of the trip.
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    Our last morning. We both woke up itching to get going. We were hoping for some late breakfast in Steamboat.

    Look what we found!!
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    Home again! Colorado, I love ya.


    After some great food and some souvenir shopping in Steamboat, we were back in the saddle. Excitement grows as the landscape starts looking more like home.
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    #71
  12. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

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    Against the bikes wishes, we made it back into Denver safe and sound.

    John had blown a fuse again and pulled through the last day with no lights. His speedo cable had finally given up as well, so I set our pace for the home stretch. Who needs gauges, right? I had blown a cell in the battery just before our last campsite, so the last day of the trip had me humping the kick starter every time we stopped. Note to self: next time practice kickstarting prior to leaving. Let's just say I had to learn that one in the dark on the side of the road with John miles ahead. Awesome.:D

    Behind a random groceria on Federal Blvd we part ways and head home with much anticipation. I think the guys behind the groceria were wondering what we were up to. Two geared out motorcycle guys hugging and taking pictures in the alley. That's right, we're weirdos, now get back to work!

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    It was an amazing trip that we'll remember for the rest of our lives. It's an incredible (and huge) country that we live in and I feel undeservedly lucky to have experienced the small portion that we did in such a fashion. Two wheels and a long road ahead makes for quite an adventure.

    Our greatest thanks to everyone that made this possible, especially our wives and families. Without your support, this never would have happened. It was Ewan and Charley's fault, I swear. I'll do my best to talk less about motorcycles now...although that Moto Guzzi project I have brewing may come up occasionally...:wink:

    Let's not forget a shout to the nutters around here as well. What little planning we did wouldn't have been possible without advrider. You guys are great for a laugh and the occasional bit of real, actual info (although I maintain that only happens by accident).:amazon Kidding...just kidding...

    Hope you enjoyed the report and thanks for reading.:freaky


    At some point, John and I will post up our impressions of gear and whatnot. If we can pass on some of our meager learnings, we'll do our best!
    #72
  13. Gleado

    Gleado Adventurer

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    Thanks for taking us along!
    #73
  14. Mr Head

    Mr Head PowerPoint ADV

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    Very cool ride guys.

    Someday the pfig and I will get another chance at the unpaved expanses of the west, and beyond. Until then I get to read great reports like yours. :clap

    Thanks for the ride along.:thumb
    #74
  15. zekester63

    zekester63 Been here awhile

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    Tulsa, OK
    :thumb on the great RR!

    A buddy and I are a couple years behind you in our process, and enjoying every minute of the planning, gearing up, learning and short ADV rides phase. RRs like this inspire, but also humble us. Thanks!
    #75
  16. Old Codger

    Old Codger Adventurer

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    Great report and pictures,thanks for taking me along...:clap
    #76
  17. itsatdm

    itsatdm Long timer

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    Did you get any DNA? I don't know much, but I do know my S**t. I think those are stud piles left by competing Stallions for the mares affections. Kind of "this is what I think of you."
    #77
  18. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

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    Okay, as I have a chance, I'm going to try to get down some reviews and impressions of some of the gear and maybe just our general approach to packing. We were certainly aided by others doing the same in their reports, so I'll try to return the favor as best as I can.

    I'll start with the obvious: the bike.

    I'm torn on this one. On one hand, it chewed the scenery with reckless glee and was nearly trouble free (fork mishap aside). On the other hand, it's such an unruly beast that I had a hard time ever falling in love with it. I thought for sure I'd come back from the trip feeling sentimental and reticent to sell it. It's really not the case. It did it's job, now it's for sale. Anybody want a trip ready 640 Adv? :D Seriously, I'm amazed at what I could plow through on the bike, but I really couldn't ever get used to a thumper. I think a twin would have entirely changed my riding experience. I know it's for torque, but I'm still a bit confused over thumper engines in bigger bikes. Great bike, but not a long term love affair for this guy. I'll be forever amazed when I see a guy in khakis riding one of these around town. There are few bikes I can imagine wanting to commute on less than this one.

    Just my impressions, not intended to start any flame wars. At the end of the day, I can't imagine doing the trip on another bike...unless they make a 640 twin someday...:wink:


    Another obvious one is the cases. Mine was a Happy Trails setup that came on the bike. They did their job perfectly. They accepted a few go-downs without complaint, kept out water and dust, and kept all my stuff safe and sound. I sprayed bed liner throughout the inside, which is something I'd highly recommend to keep your gear from turning black. The only real mishap was when I almost lost one thanks to the hand-screws coming loose from vibration. If I did it again, I'd replace the hand screws with loc-tited bolts. Other than that, they were great. From a practicality standpoint, they were significantly more convenient than soft bags. Soft bags are way cheaper and get the job done too, but as John found out, they take a lot more fussing when it's time to pack up. I had a combination. My clothes were in a soft bag on top and that seemed to be perfectly convenient as long as the heavier stuff stayed in the boxes. Two big thumbs up from me. I'm really glad the bike came with these, otherwise I probably would have just gotten soft luggage...'cause I'm cheap.:D



    Riding gear:

    Jacket:
    I used a Revit Air jacket. It's a ridiculously vented sport jacket with a close 'Euro' fit. I bought this with the trip in mind but mostly because I wanted a vented jacket for normal riding. I really didn't like the idea of the BMW snowsuits. I wanted something protective but light and vented. This fit the bill perfectly. The best part was that because it fit so close, I could just throw a windproof soft-shell right over the top when it got cold. When it was hot, it vented like I wasn't wearing anything. It's certainly not a touring jacket, but it was exactly what I wanted MY touring jacket to be. And now that the trip is over, it's my favorite jacket for summer riding.


    Helmet:
    We both had the AFX touring helmet. I think it's FX39? Fly Racing makes a version of the same helmet. It was great. Another choice made for money reasons, but a good choice. I looked at Shoei and Arai and liked both of their DS helmets, but they're expensive. The AFX was comfy, had great visibility, and breathed incredibly well. It's a bit loud, but it really never bothered me. For $100, this had the feel of a much more expensive helmet. After spending two weeks in it, there was nothing that would have justified the extra few hundred dollars for the other lids.


    Boots:
    Another one that we both decided on, again for price reasons. They were Fox Comp 5s, I believe. Again, I looked at Sidi and other more expensive boots but couldn't justify the cost for two weeks of wearing. These were cheap and crazy comfortable. No break in required. Also, it should be noted that these are the only piece of protective gear that really got a workout from me. I can think of twice that they saved me from real injury: once when I dumped and the bike landed peg-first full on my ankle and other when my foot hooked behind a rock at speed and twisted back under my hard case. Both times I got bruised up but felt like it would have been very serious if not for the boots. They may not last forever, but after two weeks of daily abuse, mine show no real signs of wear. Great boot.


    Watch:
    Totally useless review since it's not even riding gear, but since I love it I'm going to mention it (and I'm a watch geek). After some deciding, I wore my Vostok Anchar on the trip.
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    It's gigantic, so easy to read while riding. The chrono was useful occasionally, but best of all, it's tritium illuminated so I could read it whenever. This was actually pretty handy as we spent a surprising amount of time in the dark (literally and figuratively). I like this watch a lot and it handled 2000 miles of rough road without a scratch. Soviet ingenuity at it's best. I just saw an article about a guy that did Dakar with one of these. Vostok was one of his sponsors, but the guy wasn't a pro or team rider and finished the race solo. Made me realize that our little ride was probably a day in the park for it.
    #78
  19. Lucky 7

    Lucky 7 Been here awhile

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    In no particular order, here are a few more things that are worth mentioning, good or bad.

    Tires: I used Pirelli MT21s. I never changed tires on the whole trip. They're worn almost to the casing, but still have a bit of knob and never chunked. I was amazed they lasted. Buzzy on road, but pretty awesome offroad. Thumbs up.


    Vector Computer: Simply put, awful. Awful, awful, awful. I really wish the bike had it's stock computer. The Vector is difficult to read, overly complicated, and, best of all, would reset every time it got too hot. Daily mileage, time...all gone. It kept the odometer numbers, but everything else would zero. Thankfully John's trip odometer worked up until the last day, because mine would have left us in the dark. What a POS.


    Riding partner: Honestly, I think this is an area that I underspent. :lol3 Just kidding...Diamond, you know I love ya.:freaky


    General gear: We're both occasional backpackers so we just used all our usual gear. It was nice in that we already knew how to travel light. We were fairly sparsely packed and I actually felt over prepared. I didn't wear all of my clothes and I didn't use all of the gear. I could have gone lighter, but we went light enough that it never really mattered. We both got a laugh when we ran into some 1200GS guys who were loaded down like mules. They were out for the weekend and couldn't believe that we were out for two weeks. They said that they had even left some stuff at camp.:huh In general, we found that we really didn't need all that much. We tried to not over-think it. Backpacking essentials plus some tools. That's about it.


    GPS: We both had units...i forget what models. Either way, they did the job. Importing the maps was time consuming, but really not too bad. We should have done it sooner, but you know how it goes. When the TAT got confusing, the GPS was pretty nice. To avoid always being a slave to THE LINE, we frequently broke away from the route and made our own way through the paper maps. An hour or two (or 8) off the line felt liberating, but it was always comforting to hook back up with it. Certainly useful, probably not necessary. Sam's maps are great in paper form if you want to simplify. I rarely even had my GPS turned on. By the time we were closing out Nevada, both of us had them turned off almost always. Mostly we switched to paper maps and started making up our own route. I think the mix of both was nice. We would have missed some of my favorite parts of the trip if we had stayed true to the GPS.


    Extra gas: Jodie bought me a pannier mounted bottle holder for extra gas. I wasn't sure we'd need it, but it was a nice precaution. When John ran dry in the middle of Wyoming, it stopped being a precaution and became very practical. Glad to have had it. Thanks Jodie!


    I think my big realization was that we really didn't need everything to be perfect. Cycles South changed my perspective a lot. John wore work boots and jeans on all of our test rides. At first I thought it was unwise, but it dawned on me pretty quickly that we could have done the whole trip that way and been fine. Of all the gear, riding boots and a helmet are the two I wouldn't sacrifice. The rest just helped me be more comfortable but wasn't at all essential. Strap your shit to your back and grab your work gloves. The biggest step for us was just getting out the door. The rest was just convenience.


    Johnny, it's all yours for your thoughts. If anybody else has questions, specific or not, I'm happy to answer as best I can.
    #79
  20. wimj

    wimj Wannabee adventurer

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    Great reading, thanks for taking the RR trouble! :clap
    #80