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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TreblesAllRound, Sep 3, 2017.
Trebles... we enjoy your updates and perspecives and look forward to following your ongoing journey.
Reasons why I didn't stay longer in Moab cont. from above. I still feel a bit like I'm missing something, but its now clearly mentally marked as a place I've saved up to come back to in future:
4. The power of the bike was starting to frustrate me. I'm looking forward to getting it back down to lower altitudes. Lacking power has a few issues. Firstly, its less fun. Part of biking is the thrill of acceleration, or at the very least knowing its just a twist if the wrist away. Secondly, when I get to road stretches I'm tired of lugging up hills at 45mph in third peering at upcoming traffic in the mirrors to check it moves out in time to avoid running into the back of me. Thirdly, something which I've not really seen discussed elsewhere is the *variation* in power over the course of minutes at these elevations makes the bike harder to ride. Over the Colorado/Utah sections you can be gaining and then loosing 4k feet over an hour or so, with a few 1k lumps between. That means what happens when you turn the throttle is constantly changing. You never know quite how much to twist for a gradient. Proper gear selection also changes all the time. I find part of the pleasure of riding is proper gear selection and a smooth, nearly silent 'snick' between them. When the clutch bite point is in constant flux it's hard to get it right and feel someway competent.
That's not to say I wouldn't choose the Rally again. Just that the next time I'd get the one with a 450cc in it (and no extra weight of course).
The rollercoaster has taken another turn and I feel back on it. I got up early but delayed leaving Green River until 9 to let the rain ease off a bit. There was a 100m desert loop west of Moab on the TAT that I chopped off as it had been raining all night and I wanted to make progress. I intended to do a bit of interstate to get to the next 50m cross country TAT section to Castle Dale. Whilst on the interstate it started snowing and temperatures were near freezing. Suddenly the Utah desert landscape was transformed into something magical. The pretty white flakes brought some contrast to the endless red I was complaining about yesterday. I got to the 50m TAT section. Given that I've given up ambitions of any serious desert riding around Moab (that will have to wait for another time with a bike more suited, no luggage and more time), I didn't fancy a rocky 50m trip cross country, with no road get out points in what was by now pretty heavy snow, on my own. The road around was longer but more predictable.
I rejoined the TAT at Castle Dale for a great 70m off road section through the Manti-La Sal forest. It went over two passes (around 3.5k feet of climbing on each). The autumn coloured trees and greenery were back and it felt a bit like Colorado again. Great. The temperature gradients from top to bottom on each were substantial. Going up the second to 10k feet it started snowing. It was already muddy. I dropped the bike near the top in the mud. When I first tried to lift it, I couldn't as my hands weren't gripping properly. A minute of flexing the hands and jogging on the spot got the circulation going and the Rally was back out of, but covered in, the mud. I could see the mud was starting to look pretty solid. After putting my helmet back on breath on the inside of the visor wasn't clearing...but freezing as a mist. Time to get down as visions of California pass flashed before me. A fairly buttock clenching descent in black cloud with moderate snow followed worrying about the front wheel wasbing out in the mud/freezing mud. Fortunately it was a good wide dirt road. The other great thing was that every 500ft of vertical descent, I could feel it rising a few degrees. I broke through the cloud half way down. All of a sudden I was on a different planet. The sun warmed my hands and jacket, mud icicles were dripping off of the bike (a small river formed next to it on a quick stop for sun bathing) and I could see fluffy clouds and blue sky in the deep valley floor. When stopped I noticed a strap had broken on the left pannier. Bugger. It was all still attached fineb but I didn't want to put any undue tension on the remaining straps, so I took it very easy after that.
There was another 50m offroad section to the overnight stop of Nephi, but I wanted to get the bag sorted out. I took a lovely 35m road route through the gorgeous valley in the sun instead (this is my kind of mountain scenery - lots of greenery and colour with hulking snow capped mountains in the background). Now the crud had started to thaw off the bike, I noticed there was actually a nut and bolt missing from the rack, not a broken strap. A quick stop in a friendly hardware shop got me a nylock replacement (for the side that hadn't yet fallen out too).
I notice that there housing and towns seem to have returned to the more familiar American standard: wooden construction with no more Mexican looking houses and restaurants. Every third house has an American flag outside once again. Alsib no more of those crazy business signs with wonky arrows.
In summary then: Oddly only around 70m of off road in a 200 mile day, but a great mixture of trails, scenery, progress west and weather adding a bit of adventure and challenge. I've even got some nice mud patches on my left leg to prove it.
Thanks. Yes, I think the 'tourists' (realising I'm part of the problem) were a bit of a shock.
That was really the first time I'd felt I was in a touristy area in 4k miles. Colorado was was full of visitors, but they seemed to be repeat visitors from nearby US states who knew the place well. Moab was the first time I've seen coaches on guided tours. The campsite was full of French for some reason. In the first 3k miles I met plenty of people who really seemed to have no idea why I was there, but pleased I'd come to see their part of the world regardless.
Haha regarding the Aussie comment. As @timl1641 says I think I'd enjoy it if combined with some proper mountain biking/riding. Maybe the landscape would even grow on me, but I'm not betting on that one.
I know I'm not great at posting pics, but here are a few of the Rally rescue:
Hurricane peak on foot as sun goers down the night before:
Back at the top the following day trying to tow the Rally up a snowy slope:
My heroes. The sarcasm only comes now a day or two has passed. At the time they really were just that and may have saved the thing from being stuck up there the whole winter as the snow came soon after. Many, many thanks Rod and son!
View of hummer from ATV on way down to Silverton:
Yesterday got to border inn on Nevada/Utah border. Their Wi-Fi was broken and was virtually no mobile phone coverage so couldn't post. Today, did the section dead north to Wendover. Rest day in Wendover tomorrow so will post some thoughts then.
For now I'll just say the last two days have had the sense of space I imagined (saw one car/person in 125 miles today) and what I think may be the most majestic scenery of the whole trip. It's the kind of stuff that probably can't be captured in a photo. You have to be there.
That is a great stretch, I was envisioning being one of the pony express riders or station managers back then. A hard life.
The next section is almost as empty. I hope you find a comfortable speed on these sections of washboard.
Leaving Nephi this morning the temperature was back down at 3 deg and The mud from yesterday had frozen solid into the bike.
I fitted the nylock rack bolt. According to tv weather news, it has been unseasonably cold in utah this September/October. It was 3deg when setting off. 175 miles today only first 25 on the road getting back to the TAT. The last 75 were very remote. Some of most spectacular scenery I've seen. Desolate valley floors with salt flats 25 miles wide surrounded by mountains rising 1500m on each side. Very lonely and deeply impressive.
Worked out up to 5k feet Rally is fine. I start to notice deterioration between 5 and 6k. After 6k I would say it starts to get annoying.
Stopped at border inn. Every TAT rider must stop here due to it being 50 miles from anywhere itself and the next section being 175 miles without fuel. It is however right on the TAT and has everything you need. If the whole TAT had a petrol station, motel, restaurant and small supermarket all in one building, at 200 mile intervals, logistically the trip would be a doddle!
I arrived earlier than expected around 2:30 partly due to having made good progress but also because of just crossed another time zone and gained another hour. Had a good meal in the restaurant. Then stocked up on food and cash for tomorrow which is a big day. The first 75 miles are in a valley 25 miles from a road. In total there are 175 miles until refueling.
I finally got around to putting the ride-on tyre sealant in my tyres. I don't wasn't a puncture in the next few days.
Decided today was a day for a big cooked breakfast and a start in good time. The border inn is on the self proclaimed 'lonliest road in America', highway 50. The day starts by turning off highway 50 onto a dirt road!
The dirt roads looked long and straight but that first 75 miles where you are a days walk over a 2500m mountain from a paved road was concerning. All you can do is hope the bike doesn't break down. As it turned out nearly all of it was a good quality dirt road that you can cover at 45-55mph. When moving at that speed the distances are only a few hours, but having to walk it is always in the back of your mind.
I stopped a few times in the first 75 miles for a break, but I always left the engine running. Partly because I didn't want to have any issue restarting it, but also partly because I just think it's comforting to hear it running.
Around mile 75 the road starts to get windier and climbs over a small mountain (compared to some of the stuff in the last 10k miles). Somewhere in this section, nearer to the road, I did stop for a bit longer for a bit of lunch. I did this time turn off the engine. The view in the stillness down into/across the valley towards wendover/sake lake city is staggering in its proportions. Even more when you look on the map and work out how far away the mountains are in the distance.
There are then a few little bits of pony track(?) dirt road which add a bit of technical challenge to the day prior to a 30 mile run down to wendover. Again the view on the way down to wendover is magnificent. I don't ever recall being able to continually see a place for quite long before I got there. You can see wendover in the desert for about 15 miles dead ahead before you get there.
On arriving, I liked it. There nothing that special about the town itself apart from the strange east/west split between gambling Nevada and Utah. But the way it is backed up into the hillside a little means from every point in the town you can look out (150 miles?) down the expansive valley if just ridden up during the day. It seems to be set up as a grandstand for the TAT rider to view the days accomplishment.
Also it was warm and sunny. The fluctuations in temperature are bizarre. 35deg plus in Oklahoma. Then down to 0 with snow in Colorado, then back up to 25deg in Moab, then back down to 0 with snow in central Utah. Now it's back up to 23deg in wendover (I fitted a temperature gauge to the bike on case you're wondering).
Slept in until 10. Think I needed the sleep again. Had to go and visit the bonneville speedway. There was nothing to see apart from the sign, the expanse of white, a few other people in cars taking photos, but it was great to in place is heard of so many times and where so much history has been made.
Tomorrow is another big day riding in an expanse of nothingness. I loved yesterday's day like that and I think I'll love tomorrow's, so long as nothing guides wrong.
Exactly, it's unnerving even with all this modern kit and a satellite messenger. People just setting off into this stuff without even a map were probably some mix of incredibly brave and stupid. Thank God for the rest of us that follow they did though.
Bike is outside now fully fuelled and my rotopax is full too.
Glad to read you are enjoying the ride again.
I am headed back home,staying with relatives in Dallas. When I left SC I was followed by a hurricane now looks like I maybe riding back into one. Our house is open to you if on the wild chance you are in SC
Was up before sunrise this morning. Wendover really does have a great setting:
The first 150 miles from Wendover towards Tremonton were more of the spectacular expanses of the last few days, but without quite the same sense of remoteness (I saw around 10 cars and crossed a tarmac road a few times). The want quite the same sense of space as the few days as the mountains were slightly closer. Possibly the air wasn't quite as clear too. Still these are big spaces:
Looking out across Great Salt Lake from the side I imagine most people in Salt Lake City don't see:
There were also various plaques song the way with information on the the building of the railway across these valleys.
The route then turned north for 40 miles. I was able to cut off a 25 mile TAT section on the road to a town (which I assume was just to get fuel) by emptying my 1gal rotopax into the tank. At this stage there was a pretty sudden change of scenery. I've not seen fencing to denote fields for cross and cows for some time. They are back. All I seemed to do was go over a hill and the desert scenery is gone. There are still mountains, but with vegetation, farms, combine harvesters and silos everywhere. The last 40 miles was a ride through golden fields in late afternoon sunlight. Plenty of people around so that nagging worry about breakdowns/accidents easing also matched the change of scenery. A very pleasant way to finish the day.
I'm getting a bit of a process together for getting photos up (awkward doing all of this on a smartphone from a motel room), and found a photo I like on another camera. This was near the border inn at sunset when I was testing something I'd fitted:
Good progress Trebles! Have you tried the tap a talk app? It makes photo posting easy.
My mind is turning a bit now to what I do when I finish.
Before I started I was thinking of riding the Rally back on highways to Florida and stopping off on the way to see thing different things. I don't think I've got time to do that now and the bike isn't suited to it.
I'm going to sell the Rally on the west coast. Will it matter much where I sell it? Do I just list it on Craigslist in Eugene OR? I wouldn't mind riding it a few days down the coast towards San Francisco or north towards Seattle for the trip, especially if it will pay for itself in a higher sale price.
One other thing is like to do before I go is to go to a baseball game. Never been to one and I don't know the rules, but it seems like a good bit of American sporting entertainment. Any recommendations that might fit in with the above?
Sounds like you are having a great ride. I really enjoy seeing the trip through your eyes.
Safe travels in the future.
Thanks. I've got a little collection of apps now to do it all but will have a look at that.
I think baseball is like watching paint dry but if you were to watch a gam, I'd say go to San Fran. If you were to try and sell the bike, you might get more in a larger city. You might be able to leave it at a motorcycle shop on consignment.
Who's still playing?
No one in the a Bay Area.
I have no idea. Read the first part of the post.