Terre Haute to Poway to Terre Haute September 2017

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by scarysharkface, Oct 15, 2017.

  1. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Pinktoad (Tracy) and I took a jaunt westward to check-in on our daughter, Sarah, who recently landed a research gig on the Left Coast, and her dog, Neko.

    Many miles were ridden. Many good times were had.

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    The trip was exactly two weeks, Friday to Friday, having left home the evening of the 15th and arriving home the evening of the 29th.

    I've barely started pulling pictures together for this, but figured I'd better start posting before I forget all the details..

    John
    #1
  2. ts3doug

    ts3doug Long timer

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    In
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  3. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Our first order of business was to buy a couple of sleeping bags that would zip together but also of the light and small backpacking variety. I made some phone calls earlier in the week and found a store that had what we wanted in-stock and would hold them for us. While we normally avoid getting off the highway in St. Louis, this time we didn't.

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    Rest areas across Kansas kind of all look the same. Or maybe this was still Missouri. I dunno, because they all kind of start to look the same.

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    John
    #3
  4. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    I've been fortunate to do a reasonable bit of travel these last several years at times when Tracy hasn't been able to get away for myriad reasons, so this trip together has been a long time coming for us.

    As it happens, I'm running the same front tire that took me to Alaska and back in '15, to CADVR and back later that summer and to California and back in '16. I don't ride nearly enough, and yes that's some incredible mileage for a motorcycle tire.

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    Tracy's V-Strom is at the 50k miles mark, so even though the wheel bearings still feel good, I order the parts to replace them before we head out. Once I took a look at the not-sealed OEM bearings, I'm really glad I decided to replace them. Valves, plugs, air filter and such had been gone through ~1500 miles ago, so we were good there.

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    I'd redone my fuel pump fittings to metallic in August, and took care of preventive maintenance (valves, air filter, brakes, plugs, etcetera) in the weeks before departure. I didn't change the alternator belt, but I did carry one with me.

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    Really wasn't much to do now except wait for the calendar to get to Friday.

    John
    #4
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  5. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Obviously, the calendar had gotten to Friday and we'd picked up our new sleeping bags from REI and had put some miles in by this point.

    Saturday night got us to Oakley, Kansas. I'd been fighting the onset of a cold of some sort, so I'd been eating vitamin C and zinc lozenges like they were going out of style (trust me, they have gone completely out of style as far as I'm concerned at this point). So it at least felt really good to be within several hours' ride of the mountains. The Annie Oakley Motel was reasonable and the proprietor was actually a great fellow to chat with as we checked-in.

    On-street parking just outside our room..

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    The big happening place in town is the bar just down the street.

    Folks are friendly and we both kind of melt into a booth with our food.

    The look of exhausted fulfillment..

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    We were having a good laugh about how there was absolutely no traffic down the main drag on a Saturday night, then as we stood in the middle of the street we about got mowed-down by a car..

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    Good times. By the time we got back to the motel it looks like the place had gotten some more motorcycle traffic.

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    John
    #5
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  6. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Rest stops along US40 in western Kansas and eastern Colorado all kind of look the same..

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    We got a good night's sleep and there was a bit of rain overnight, so the morning feels fresh. It's good to get some miles on before breakfast.

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    And breakfast is in Kit Carson, Colorado. I did not opt for the high plains seafood.

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    Coffee was good, as were the bacon and eggs and heated gear..

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    I've always made it a habit to get fuel at Kit Carson, but our waitress says there is gas available 20 miles south, so we do that instead.

    Our plan is to drop in on a friend at Great Sand Dunes National Park, and that's why we're taking a more southerly route toward Walsenburg.

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    Even the straight roads are great out here.

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    As we blast westward, it's looking like we might get wet.

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    And we do. Seriously. Gas in Walsenburg then head over the mountains with the heated gear cranked. It's pouring and some douche in a black Volvo SUV tries to kill us (and others) in traffic up in the pass. Of course, said douche also makes a U-turn in traffic on the other side once we hit civilization, but I digress. It's miserable weather in Alamosa and up in the park, so we keep going west. Lightning, hard rain and hail in the next pass and we finally ride out of it at Pagosa Springs. A quick hop on the internets and Tracy has us a motel room for the night.

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    It's clean and warm and dry..

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    John
    #6
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  7. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Truth.

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    So much goodness in Pagosa Springs. So much yummy goodness.

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    Pretty much we didn't take pictures until after Bluff, Utah, which is okay because I'm pretty sure the stark beauty of the section of Hovenweep/Bears Ears we rode through is hard to capture with a cell phone camera.

    Our first view of Monument Valley in the distance..

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    We stop in Mexican Hat for fuel at the Shell station.

    Tracy and I pull up on either side of the most-southwest pump island. I'm behind an older 4Runner with the hood and lift gate open. In the back there's an REI sleeping bag and a bunch of rock-hounding shovels and such, and a bunch of dead leaves. The older guy at the pump turns to me and tells me he'll be out of my way in just a second. He's almost done. It's Fred Willard in all his white-haired glory. He walks back to me to explain each separate step he's taking next to get out of my way as quickly as he can. He gets in the car and starts it, then gets out to explain that his hood is still up. He adds a quart of Pennzoil, then comes back to tell me he's going to move it out of my way. I tell him I'm in no hurry. He gets back in, starts it, shuts it off and walks back to tell me about the open lift gate that he's going to close so he can get out of my way. He is exactly the same character as I've seen in all of his movies. Exactly the same. Smile, eyebrows, jubilant delivery and grand animated gestures are all there and integral to the presentation. It's truly a beautiful, wonderful private scene. The pump to my right opens up, and I tell him that I'm in no hurry and not to worry about it, then I sidle-up to the open pump. There's a Nissan Titan pickup pulling a Land Yacht on the other side of this pump island. The driver door hangs open and there's someone in the front passenger seat. Up walks Christopher Guest wearing an air cast on his right leg. We mumble pleasantries as I move out of his way so he can get into the truck. I don't believe it's him, but we google them both later and yep, it's them. It's also Fred's 78th birthday. What a cool day. In Mexican Hat, Utah.

    So we grab some lunch while we're in town and discuss what we think we've just seen.

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    I'm a big fan of the Moki Dugway. Tracy's driven it a handful of times, but hasn't ridden it. Of course, she's completely forgotten that it's gravel, so as we climb I'm wishing I could record her on the headset as she's grumbling and cussing it, the gravel and me. I pull off to catch a pic of her riding by, but she's actually right behind me.

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    She's telling me how she wants to kill me while laughing about having completely forgotten the gravel part. She hasn't ridden gravel in years.

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    Suddenly we're up top and it's just another mostly-flat, mostly-straight, wonderful road..

    We head up toward Fry Canyon and beyond..

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    The sweeping turns have been a blast. It's another great day on the bikes.

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    This little guy/gal attacks my cell phone whenever I trip the camera shutter. It surely looks like an eye of a competing life form to him/her.

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    Gas at the Hollow Mountain and then onward..

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    John
    #7
  8. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Noor hotel in Torrey for the night. Clean rooms and good food next door.

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    If you can see past the parking lot bits, the view is pretty good. Of course, here all of the views are pretty good.

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    Does she know?

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    Being the good husband that I am, I'm handling the dirty work on the trip.

    Lubing her chain, I am kind of horrified to discover that the clip is missing from her master link. So I ride 20-ish miles and am actually able to locate a clip from a 520 master link that will fit her 525 chain. Life is still good.

    We're parked adjacent to a couple of guys on Harleys who have befriended a couple who fly and sing, and who give the four of us a grand send-off in the morning.

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    John
    #8
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  9. ts3doug

    ts3doug Long timer

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    Great photos and story so far
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  10. eaglescan

    eaglescan Borrego rocks

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    I was slightly lost, and fell into Mexican hat for a night. Only saw the Gooseneck view, so a trip back for Moki is on my list. I love small towns, if you can call it that.
    Thanks for the RR
    #10
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  11. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    We grabbed an excellent breakfast at the Capital Reef Inn and Cafe, picked up a couple of stickers and hit the road south toward Boulder.

    Nice views through the mountains.

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    The road winds through the trees and through the occasional herd of cattle (this is open range land, so watch out).

    Please forgive the foggy pic..

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    And eventually takes you across a backbone that has sharp drop-offs on either side. There's also a turn for the Burr Trail, but we aren't heading that direction today. After the backbone, the road drops into a canyon for a bit and it's very scenic with nice curves.

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    Before long we're back up on the moon.

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    We stop for gas in Cannonville, then out past Bryce Canyon..

    John
    #11
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  12. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Once Route 12 hits 89 we head north to 20 to hop over to 15 so we can catch 56 west.

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    Tracy's easy to travel with. We generally want to stop for the same things and it's easy to forget how nice it is to have her in the mirrors and headset.

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    Through Caliente to Alamo and fuel.

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    We backtrack a few miles to the Extraterrestrial Highway as the shadows get long.

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    We've often discussed how crazy it is that I enjoy riding across Nevada. She's been to the ugly parts and that's all she has to go on. This evening the chatter changes to all about how beautiful Nevada is.

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    John
    #12
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  13. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Rachel is where I want to stop. I had a great visit there last October, and I'd like to think that maybe the magic will persist for Tracy.

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    We check out the lodging options (mobile homes with community areas) and opt to camp under the stars out back. The weather is perfect for it.

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    Get that tent up. They stop serving food around 8:00pm, and I'm hungry.

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    Mostly clear skies..

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    We head inside and order Alien Burgers or something like that, then look around a bit.

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    The food is good, the people are friendly and we're too tired to stay up and look at the sky.

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    Tracy does spot a couple of satellites passing overhead, and she points them out to me, but we pretty much just crawled into the tent and collapsed. It's been another great day.

    John
    #13
  14. fastring

    fastring Been here awhile

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    Great RR, thanks for sharing!
    #14
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  15. keithg

    keithg Been here awhile

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    I am in!
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  16. Scott Parish

    Scott Parish Adventurer

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    I always like stopping in Rachel. First time I wanted to do a little shooting and asked directions from the bartender where I could go. Was told anywhere across the street is fine.....my kind of place. :)
    #16
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  17. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    We laze around in the tent listening to sounds until well after sunrise, listening to the coyotes and dogs calling out to each other.



    It was kind of chilly overnight. Excellent sleeping weather.

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    We break camp eventually, and ride the couple-dozen yards to food. Funny thing, thinking about the X-files, where they're the only ones searching for truth, and how in today's world many would consider Snopes to be the most iconic truth-seekers of our time, and to run into someone from Snopes out here at the back gate of Area 51, and, well, chew on the myriad implications of that for a while while we go inside for breakfast.

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    We chat at the bar with a fellow who's ridden bicycles all over the western USA, and who is a treasure trove of information on the local mines and area attractions. We really could have spent all day with him and not run out of stuff to talk about. I do not recall his name.

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    Our waitress, Betty, was phenomenal and kind enough to join us for a photograph.

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    And now we're off.

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    John
    #17
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  18. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Over the back side of the next rise is, if memory serves, Cedar Gate. It's a nice little pullout for pictures.

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    We have company.

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    Time to move on.

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    John
    #18
  19. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Ha! I stopped at that same gas stop in Hollow Mt. a few years back. I suppose that's not such a weird coincidence, since it's the only gas around for miles. They had no electricity when I stopped there so no gas, & there was a very nervous hour looking for the next station. (no Siri in those days to tell me where the nearest gas was)
    #19
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  20. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Truffle

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    Those are pucker moments (minutes, hours) for sure. I thought we might have that issue in Mexican Hat, as it took me probably 10 minutes to get the pump to work. It seems there are more gas stations out in the boonies now than ever before, but also that many of the old reliable stops are shuttered. The only thing I wish were different about my GS is the fuel capacity, but if it held more I'd probably just have bigger emergencies farther afield.

    John
    #20
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