T1 Solo 2013

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by pizzaforbreakfast, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    I completed the T1 this week. Here is the story.

    I left California on Friday night, drove to Reno, and slept in the parking lot of the KTM shop. Got new tires put on at 8am Saturday. I wanted MX71's but all they had were 51's so I took 'em. I usually install my own tires but they had a machine and I had a long drive.

    There was a fire burning in NE NV. I was aware some fires were already burning in ID so this wasn't a good sign.

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    Got to the start of the T1, prepped everything for the morning, and went to sleep.

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    Woke up pre-dawn to get the first challenge point at 5:04 am.

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    The adventure had begun...
    #1
  2. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    It was my intention to complete days 1 and 2 on the first day, meaning the UT border to Arco. I peddled hard.

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    Up on top of Oxford Ridge. Very beautiful.

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    #2
  3. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,094
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Cool pics!
    #3
  4. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    The trail fairly straightforward up until this point. There is a single track connector between two main routes that was littered with downed trees. There were several logs per bike-length. Making my way through this connector took up a considerable amount of time and energy.

    This was also when I realized I had dropped my saw some ways back.

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    Got off trail here a bit.

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    I was on the left side of a creek trying to find my way when these two guys caught up to me traveling on the right side of the creek. It looked nicer over there so I crossed over and followed them up an obvious single track trail. Oops.

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    Couple of nice guys from Northern Idaho. They were riding the T1 also. They informed me of another rider on the trail ahead of us. He was from California and riding a trials tire. I had noticed the trials-tire tracks all day.

    We parted ways but I saw them a couple more times over the last few miles into the final check of the day at the TID flagpole. We waved goodbye and it was the last I saw of them on my Tour.

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    It was still early afternoon and I decided to press on. I heard day one was the 2nd easiest day to double up so I figured what the hell.

    I choked down two cheeseburgers and refueled while passing through Poky.
    #4
  5. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    Looking back towards Poky from the first point SW of town.

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    There is a little single track loop at this point. I was trying to make time so of course I didn't stop to take many pictures of the awesome trail itself, but rather my bike next to challenge point location at the far end of the loop. There is so much to look at it would take weeks if one stopped to snap pictures of everything interesting. Most of the challenge points are in memorable locations at least. This one had cows.

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    Onto some fireroads for the rest of the way into American Falls.

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    Not only did I lose my saw on the first day, but also the cap to my fuel bladder. Oops.

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    Last check before American Falls, looking towards AF.

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    Zoomed in you can see the windmills.

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    Dropping into AF.

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    I realized I wasn't making Arco tonight and started searching for a hotel. I was exhausted and starving. Got a pizza delivered, showered, and passed out.

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    Taking a shower was probably the most dangerous thing I did all day.

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    #5
  6. DingWeed

    DingWeed Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Oddometer:
    604
    Location:
    4 Corners
    Great Start!!!!
    Scott
    #6
  7. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    My 2nd day I left AF pre-dawn. I knew the desert would be hot and I was hoping to make Challis before I rested. I loaded up with fuel and water before the short jaunt to the beginning of the sand.

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    I was running a 5.3 gallon Acerbis tank. It was completely full for the sand which wasn't ideal, but overall not too bad.

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    The 2nd half of the leg between AF and Arco turned to high-speed dirt roads.

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    Big Southern Butte. I will be on top in 30 minutes.

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    Looking down from the top of Big Southern Butte.

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    It is a fun climb up to the top. The first quarter of the road up has a consistently steep grade and is covered with loose rock. Not a big deal for a dirtbike but I wondered how a truck would fare.

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    From the Butte I cruised into Arco. First thing I hit the hardware store to fix my fuel bladder. After Arco there is no fuel for 200+ miles (Old Sawmill Station). I found a PVC threaded cap that was too large for a snug fit so I filled it with JB Weld and screwed it on. I let it harden in the sun while I ate a sandwich from the Sandwich Shop.

    After lunch I topped off fuel +2 gallons in the bladder and headed out of town. There was a long section of high speed roads taking me to the Massacre Mountain Loop.

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    You could see smoke in the air.

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    Looking back south.

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    The MML starts up in this valley. I just read a post today from Martin stating that the loop is closed. I didn't see any signs that it was closed when I was there so I charged it. Didn't get any pictures of the sketchy switchback climb, or any of the really bad sections of course. I was focused on riding.

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    On my way in I spotted a Moose Racing bag on the side of the road. It had a tube and flip flops in it. The flip flops were a dead giveaway it must be another TID rider. I left it in the middle of the road in case they came back for it. When I found it again on the way out I strapped it on in case I caught the rider who lost it.

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    It was some trouble finding the route down. There were some goat trails leading to precarious places and no room to turn around.

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    MML complete. Time to rip some dirt roads deeper into the middle of nowhere. Notice the Moose bag now attached.

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    #7
  8. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
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    Smoke from the Mill Creek fire to the NW. Getting late in the day.

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    A fork of the Salmon River. Flowing north.

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    It got dark on me. I pushed on.
    I was running the stock KTM headlight which sucked. I had wanted to upgrade before I left but didn't have the time.

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    For the next two challenge points it was too dark to take a useful photo of my surroundings. It looked like it would have been a fun trail with some light.

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    At this point I was exhausted. I was cramping up and needed to rest. As soon as I got off the trail and onto fireroad again I stopped and laid down for a minute. There were many miles to go until Old Sawmill Station and it was after 11pm. I put on all my clothes, wrapped up in my space blanket and went to sleep. The space blanket was useless. I should have stopped on one of the wood bridges a little ways back up the trail so I could have kept myself off the ground. I woke up at 4:30am too cold to sleep.

    I pushed on. China Wall was the next challenge point. It was amazingly beautiful up there in the pre-dawn light.

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    Those aren't clouds, it is smoke.

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    From here all I had to do was descend French Creek into Sawmill Station and get some breakfast. I started down cautiously in the poor light. I wasn't cautious enough.

    Out of nowhere a barbwire gate appeared in my headlight. I am not sure how I escaped injury but I was very fortunate. I broke the gate properly and fully wrapped my bike in wire. I went over the handlebars.

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    #8
  9. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    I don't quite understand how it happened but I lost both clips holding in the pin which holds my front break pads in the caliper. Maybe the barbwire pulled them out when I was tangling/untangling my bike?

    Foolishly I wasn't carrying any wire to fix the pins. Instead I cut the lanyard off my ACR beacon, tied it to the hole in the end of the pin, and then zip tied it to my fork guards. Worked well enough to get me down the hill into Old Sawmill Station.

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    Descending French Creek.

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    Old Sawmill Station is a great place to stop. Warmed up, had a hot breakfast, refueled, and was given a length of wire by a friendly local. I replaced the lanyard with the wire, which lasted the remainder of the tour.

    The back of my left leg was tore up from shifting inside my sweat filled boots. I have worn these boots for many miles previous to the tour and never had an issue with blisters. My socks were fairly thin so this may have been a contributing factor. I also got some band-aids to cover the sore spots.

    After breakfast I headed out of town for the final 40 miles into Challis. It was a fun section. There were several puddles on the trail, all of which were shallow until this one...

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    It swallowed my bike up to the seat and then threw me off to the left over the bars again. I don't know if you can tell in the pic but there was water up to the top of the seat.

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    The rest of the way into Challis was uneventful other then the smoke lingering in the air.

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    Looking down into Challis.

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    I refueled quickly in Challis, got some water, and pushed on to Salmon.

    On my way out of town on my way to the next challenge point I was stopped by a ranger blocking the road. The Mill Creek fire had caused them to shut down the route. The next three challenge points were blocked by the closure. The lady ranger was very nice about it all, gave me a map, and offered her suggestions as to the best re-route available. I skipped the first 3 points of the day and tried to not worry about them.

    Off I went. Challis to Salmon was an easy run with mostly all fast fireroads. I hoped to make it to Salmon in time to change tires, oil, and replenish my 2-smoke oil reserves. If I didn't make it before they closed then I would have to stick around the next morning to buy what I required.

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    Looking down into Salmon.

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    Once in Salmon I immediately headed for the motorcycle shop. The first shop didn't have any 18" tires available, but it did have 3 other tour riders in the back working on their bikes. It was a great feeling to have caught up with some other riders and I went to chat. One of them was missing their Moose bag and happy to be reunited with it.

    They were doing oil changes and drinking beer. One was even doing a valve adjustment. Looked like a good time but I had to find a new tire so I headed off to the other bike shop in town.

    The 2nd shop had what I needed. They even stayed late to help me get my oil and rear tire changed. When I started calling around for a hotel for the night it became apparent all the rooms in town were booked. This was due to the nearby wildfires and the sudden influx of fire crews staying in the area. Dixie, working the front counter at the shop, came to my rescue by setting me up a room with one of her neighbors. After we were done with my bike I followed her over to the house, got settled in, ordered a pizza, and went to sleep.
    #9
  10. Cyclenaut

    Cyclenaut Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    104
    Location:
    Desert S.W.
    Great ride !!
    #10
  11. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    My fourth morning of the tour started pre-dawn again. As I was leaving town I spotted the other three TID riders from the night before fueling up (they were from Utah). I stopped to say hi then pushed on ahead of them. We would pass each other multiple times through the day.

    Here at the first challenge point they caught up to me for a moment.

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    Made it to the Shoup Store which was open for business. Oldest working pumps in the US and all that. The pic is of the new owner who was very hospitable. They had rooms available and hot food. The Utah boys caught me again here. They stopped for breakfast while I fueled up and pushed on. I regretted not eating breakfast for the rest of the day.

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    The roads were fast and this was a big day. I was going to cross the Magruder Corridor.

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    I had been following these trials tire tracks since day 1. It was reassuring to see them.

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    Once on the Magruder I came upon this fire crew. They guy was sitting in his folding chair doing a crossword puzzle and watching a fire approach the road from the south. He had a hot blonde with him who seemed to be busy running around taking care of all the work. This guy may have had the perfect job.

    He said they were in position to shut down the road at a moments notice. They had tin-foiled over a number of signs along the road. Around the next bend in the road to the west I could see the fires burning on the top of the ridge less then a mile to the south. I wish I had stopped to take a picture but was too focused on pushing forward. It is my understanding that the Magruder was closed a short time later due to the fire, and is still closed at the time of my writing this.

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    They day ended with an awesome atv trail that dropped you into Three Rivers, aka Lowell. Lowell is the lowest point on the Tour at ~1400 ft. As I descended down to the river the heat slowly turned up. I had only taken on 1.5 gallons of extra fuel for the bladder at the Shoup Store and now regretted it. I tipped the bike once during final approach to get all the fuel over to the petcock side of the tank. When I finally arrived I only had 0.3 gallons of fuel remaining for a range of ~10-12 miles.

    Lowell was great! My favorite night on the tour. The Utah boys showed up a couple hours after me with tales of a side adventure, log sawing, and a near mutiny. It was a pleasure to spend the evening chatting with them. They had run the T1 the previous year and started way too early in the season encountering snow and downfall the entire way. They were back to do it right this time and I listened eagerly to their stories/beta about the remainder of the trail. I hope one day to meet them again.

    There was a live band that night in Lowell, good food, and great people. I will be back.
    #11
  12. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    I had been warned by the Utah boys that the Lowell-Wallace section was the most difficult day of the T1. They were correct. It has the most singletrack of any day on the tour, much of which is precarious side hill.

    I started very early. Pre-dawn again of course.

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    My new rear was already thrashed!

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    I nearly got myself into a predicament in this next photo location. Coming around a right hairpin over a creek I let my front tire wander into the large rock at the bottom of the photo. It was hidden behind vegetation at the time. I dropped the bike to the right and it fell halfway off the trail to the right. The picture doesn't do it justice but the drop off into the vegetation was very steep. Had my bike fallen another 6-12" to the right I would not have been able to wrestle it back up by myself.

    As it was I managed to get her back up and on my way after only 5 minutes of fighting.

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    Fuel bladder with 2.2 gallons. Lowell-Wallace is 210+ miles. This system worked very well. Notice the custom fuel cap I fashioned in Arco. ;)

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    Crossing the East Fork of the Clearwater (I believe, not 100% on that).

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    #12
  13. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    I pushed on into Wallace.

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    More single track later in the day.

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    Some of these pictures aren't as interesting I know. A picture is required at each challenge point and I would sometimes set it up simply to be identifiable by Martin while conserving as much energy as possible.

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    Awesome tunnel at the end of the day. I switched on my headlight but my eyes were so used to the sunlight I still almost wrecked inside. It felt like my eyes were bleeding for 10 minutes once I exited back into the light.

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    Wallace is a neat little town. Got a room, fueled up, sweet talked the front desk lady into letting me park my bike in the lobby ("it doesn't even have a key!"), and passed out. One more day... I was pumped.
    #13
  14. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    Final day - one last pre-dawn departure. There was some great singletrack early on.

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    The last day you cross a river a half dozen times. It wasn't bad but I could see how it may be a big issue if it was running higher.

    2nd to last challenge point!

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    There were guys logging just before the 2nd to last check. When I came up on their work area they had a truck parked in the road and a bunch of cables strung just beyond that at ~8-9' off the ground. There were no signs and no one around to ask so I passed the truck, went under the cables, and further along, past a guy stacking the timber with a machine. He didn't notice me so I had to wait until he was turned in a safe direction and then zipped past to the tower.

    On my way down (you had to backtrack 0.5 miles) I noticed the guy stacking the logs had placed a 3' diameter one right across the road. Uh oh. He stopped what he was doing, dismounted, came over, and chewed me out for 3 minutes straight. I waited until he was finished, validated all he has said, then quickly explained what I was doing and why making it to the tower was so important to me. His attitude changed as I explained and in the end he simply said "I'll move that log so you can be on your way."

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    From here on it was all dirt roads and a little pavement to the finish. Right towards the end it seemed like Canada would never come... but it finally did!

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    And that was it, I had finished the T1. I had been wanting to do this for years and it was finally over. There was a moment of deep satisfaction, but more so an almost overwhelming feeling of depression. I can't explain it but it took me almost 24 hours to shake the feeling. I think it was sadness at being finished with what I had enjoyed doing so much.

    I had soaked my feet in the river crossings that morning and had to take 30 minutes to take off my boots and dry my feet/socks. It had hurt to stand on the pegs or walk around those final miles but after drying off everything felt fine.

    I loaded up and tore off for home. I had a uhaul reserved in Sandpoint (Priest River is closer for future reference) and had quite some ways to backtrack before they closed at 5:30 pm.

    On the way back down I couldn't help but take one last picture. Did you know a KTM 300 xcw can do over 90 mph? :)

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    I drove the uhaul down to Poky, unloaded the bike and rode it the rest of the way to the Utah border and my truck. When I got there two more trucks were now parked next to mine. Whoever they are I hope those guys are having a great trip.

    I saw the trials tire tracks all the way to the end, and on my way back down to Priest Lake I passed the 3 Utah boys headed for the finish, so I know there were a total of at least 5 finishers so far this year.
    #14
  15. Hair

    Hair Free to a good home.

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    14,916
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    What a great ride.
    I would like to know a little about legalistic for such a long dirt ride.
    What you packed for bike spares. Did you change motor oil along the route.
    Is this trail to much for a 690?
    #15
  16. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    The T1 is an interesting challenge. I fully embraced what Martin laid out for us and it served me well. I appreciate him maintaining a standard and holding people to it. That standard made this all the more special for me.

    There are 65 challenge points with the last one being worth 2 for a total of 66 possible points. 66 - 3 (the 3 first points outside of Challis that I missed) gave me a score of 63 from the challenge points alone.

    For style points I received:
    +4 solo
    +1 self supported
    +1 no pre-run
    +1 one day less then 7 days

    Grand total 70.


    If (when) I do it again I will run lots of lights, dual gps units, and possibly a trials tire.

    Being able to ride at night (at a good clip) would be very helpful. Only having one GPS is dangerous since it could fail and is so important. Additionally, I used batteries to power mine which caused it to lose power on rough terrain and shut itself off. This was very annoying - I must have turned my GPS back on many hundreds of times throughout the trip. Next time I will run power from the battery. I trashed two tires on the trip and have heard that trials tires have much more life to them. I will be experimenting with one now that I am home to see if it works for me.

    I may add to this as I reflect on my journey over the coming weeks. I wanted to get it out while it was still fresh in my mind. It was the stories of the T1 that I read here on advrider that inspired me so much to go for it myself and I want to repay that in turn.

    If anyone has any questions in preparation for their own attempt I am here to help.

    Cheers!
    #16
  17. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    I packed all the tools I needed to take apart my bike, irons, a pump, spare 21" tube, batteries, TP, toothbrush, gortex shell, down jacket, warm hat, warm gloves, summer gloves, 2 smoke oil, ACR beacon, camera, JB Weld, spare plug, cell phone, saw (which I lost on day 1), space blanket (useless IMO), MSR bladder... I think that's it! I wore a flight vest and carried most of the weight in Mojavi saddlebags.

    I changed my oil in Salmon along with my rear tire.

    The T1 is probably too much for a 690, but who knows? I know I couldn't have done it on one. I didn't take pictures during the sketchy stuff but trust me, it is sketchy. The T3 is more setup for a 690. It is the same as the T1 minus all the crazy singletrack. Sections like the Massacre Mountain Loop and Lowell-Wallace would be very difficult on a big bike. They were tough on a 2 smoke.

    I thought a 2 stroke would be perfect for this trip and it just about was. The largest bike I would consider is a 500cc 4 stroke dirtbike. I think a 250cc 4 stroke would be even better though.

    In my opinion a 2 stroke is more reliable and lighter. My bike weighs 221 lbs dry so with 5.3 gallons of fuel I still weigh in at less then a brand new 500 exc dry.

    The road sections are easy and you can ride them on almost anything. It is making good time on the singletrack/doubletrack that will hamper your progress on a larger machine.
    #17
  18. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,970
    Location:
    Now serving just Snohomish County
    Congrats on finishing! :clap

    I have been eyeing the T1 for years now and now that I have a bike to do it on, will probably go for it next summer.

    Thank you so much for documenting your trip! Looks awesome.

    Looks like the Dromedary worked well. I was wondering if a shampoo cap would be a direct replacement for that missing cap.
    #18
  19. MasterMarine

    MasterMarine Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,970
    Location:
    Now serving just Snohomish County
    What date did you start?
    #19
  20. pizzaforbreakfast

    pizzaforbreakfast Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    65
    Thanks! I thought the same thing about the shampoo cap. :)
    I had heard some guys talk about taping the small cap shut/down/on for security but alas I did not listen. I would recommend just attaching it with epoxy before you go - fuel is still easy to pour out the big hole.

    July 21st.
    #20