The Mobius Trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DR. Rock, May 23, 2008.

  1. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    We woke up bright and early, got coffee, geared up, and waited for the rest of the clan to roll out of bed so we could say our goodbyes. The bikes and Mr. Happy Puppet were rarrrin' to go.


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    Finally, we dragged everyone out of bed, said our goodbyes and thank yous and see you soons and be safes and then took one fly-by up and down the block for the benefit of the kids, and we were off. :ricky:ricky

    Our plan for the day was fairly long in miles, but with only about half of the 200 miles as dirt. The goal was to head east from Flagstaff, then north into Hopi & then Navaho land, ending up at Page to refuel and stock up on food, and then across the CO river to camp at Glen Canyon.

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    with these elevation changes:

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    Before we were at the end of the block LDF was saying to me through the Scala Q2: "I can barely hear you"... I pulled over, and reached to her helmet and showed her where the volume up button was, but it was all the way up.

    I turned my unit off, then on again, and said something... "AAaak!!! stop YELLING!" I turned the volume down again. "It's all static-y," she said.

    Hmmmm. Well, let's ride for awhile, and see what happens. We'll check in when we fill up with gas on the way out of town. :scratch
  2. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Right out of the blocks. :waysad

    We paid our homage to Route 66 pavement,

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    But by the time we got gas, it was clear that Francine couldn't hear me at all. I could hear her fine. Grrr.

    The devil box, auto-routing by shortest distance, put us on a nicely graded dirt road...

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    Hmmm, I though. I don't recall having routed us on dirt until we had gotten 50 or so miles out of Flagstaff. I had wanted a few easy miles of tarmac at first, just to shake out the cobwebs and get used to the feel of the DRZ's again. I zoom out and check the GPS, and it seems to be just a little short-cut which meets back up with pavement in a few miles. Not to bad, heck, let's go with it. Bad idea. :arg
  3. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

    Joined:
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    1. Talky no worky.
    2. Bad GPS.
    3. ???

    :lurk
    Q~
  4. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    So we make a turn onto a smaller dirt road, which quickly narrows, and then enters a maze of what appears to be ATV trails following some power lines and maybe a pipeline. Would have been a fun way to finish the trip, but not to start it. Today wasn't supposed to be technical. It's getting hot. LDF balks at some of the climbs and descents. I take the lead so she can follow my line. Even though she can't hear me speak, I figure I'll hear her if she falls. I clear a steep rise, and lose signal with her intercom. I wait. I kill my engine. I listen. I don't hear anything. She was right behind me. :scratch

    I hear some static, interspersed with some shouting in a pretty panicked tone: "AAAkkk, David... I can't hold it up.... I'm AAaaak!"

    :yikes

    I drop my bike (I did this several times... it just takes too long to find a stable spot to place the kickstand), and ran back up the hill. We got her back upright, we took a little rest, and figured out how to get back to the pavement as quickly as possible. No damage, but it's already an hour & 15 minutes into the trip, and our intercoms aren't working, we've had one pretty hard crash, we're sweating our asses off, half our water is gone, and we're only about 10 miles from where we started. :brow

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  5. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    [​IMG]

    And finally put the San Francisco peaks deep into our rear view mirrors:

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    The Scala set up has me thinking... we can both hear our music, I can hear her, she can't hear me... yet I can voice-activate the connection by shouting. Problem with my microphone? I start twisting it around as I'm riding, hoping to re-establish some loose connection. "Can you hear me now?" Silence. :dunno

    The terrain meanwhile flattens out,

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    and we see what I consider to be the first step in the Grand Staircase.

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    Technically, I know that's not correct, but that's what I was thinking. :dunno

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    at least we were finally putting down some miles. :rayof It felt good. :wings
  6. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Screen just goes blank. :cry Is this the dreaded v.3.90 bug stalking me?

    I grab the lead, and pull us into a little country store at the crossroads that we just happen to be passing by. It's late morning. I shout to LDF, "Let's take a break... helmets off."

    I'm a little frustrated. Technology is great when it works, but sucks when it doesn't, and sucks even worse when it sort-of works only intermittently. :becca

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    Troubleshooting the GPS, I find that I've been running of the internal battery the whole time and the AA's are simply drained. I pull the bags off my bike, remove the seat bolts, pull the side panel, and sure enough, I hadn't reconnected the positive wire when I reinstalled the battery. :baldy

    At least that was a simple fix. Since we're in a bit of shade, I decide to have a quick go at troubleshooting the Scalas. How about a factory reset, and then re-pair the units, and see if that helps. I have the .pdf of the manual stuffed into my Treo, but it's taking FOREVER to scroll around and find the appropriate section.

    On a whim, I check to see if I have a signal. It'll be roaming charges, but I do. :nod I dial Cardo. I quickly explain the problem, and the Tech rep talks me through the ritual of resetting and re-pairing the units. It takes a couple of tries... pressing and holding buttons, while holding the phone is a cross between thumb-wrestling and twister, but eventually I get it, LDF writes the steps down for future reference, she listens on her unit, and can hear me perfectly! :clap

    We hang up with Cardo Tech support, gear back up, and before we can even start the bikes, We realize she can't hear me again. :baldy:baldy:baldy:baldy

    Which in itself is a bit of a comedy...

    "can you hear me?"
    "No."
    "Well, how can you answer if you can't hear me?"
    "I can hear you outside the earphones."
    "OK, how about if I walk over here, and turn away from you, and speak even more quietly?"
    "I can still hear you."
    "Through the Scala?"
    "NO!"
    "how about now???"
    "YES!"
    "Through the headset, or around?"
    "AROUND!!! YOU'RE SHOUTING!!!"
    "AM NOT!"
    "ARE TO!"
    :kboom It isn't working. We ride on.
  7. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    [​IMG]

    But my mind is still troubleshooting the intercom.

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    I'm mad it stopped working, and I'm even madder that so far, the trip has been about troubleshooting technology, and not about the ride.

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    As much as I want to be, I'm definitely NOT in the Mobius zone yet. A bit after noon, we pull off the pavement onto our first planned dirt section and take another snack / pee break.

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  8. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    I switch the pods, and the problem remains, that is; I can hear LDF, but she can't hear me. Most women will figure, "that's perfect, what could be better??" But, ahem. Guys, you're with me on this... the intercom must be fixed, or destroyed!" :lol3

    I mulled over the options. Page, AZ was our destination. I had a surprise for LDF up my sleeve if we had the time, we would stop and take a guided walking tour of Antelope Canyon, which was right on our route -- if we made good time, we could maybe just make the last tour of the day at 3:30. :deal

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    Now I was faced with abandoning that plan, and instead pushing on to Page to try to see if any of the motorcycle shops there carried Scala's, and hope that they had the microphone part, which I knew could be purchased separately:

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  9. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    So we gear back up,

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    and start moving again, off into the desert... this time on dirt.

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    At least one of us had the good sense to stop and smell the flowers. And it wasn't me. :(: I was still thinking about intercom electrons. :norton

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  10. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    routing through Indian Reservation land. So I was extra-careful to scope things out on Google Earth prior to leaving. If I was going to make any error, it would be to route something I thought would be dirt, only to find that it was paved. Never again would I follow a BIA-placed line on the map unless I had a clear idea that it actually existed. So far, so good.

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    We started to descend into an area that on the maps, merely looked like a squiggly line instead of a straight one, but at ground level, it was clear we were entering a canyon system... cool. :thumb

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    On the maps this is labled as "Blue Canyon" through the "Moenkopi Wash" on either BIA route # 6240, or Indian Route 7, depending on the map. :deal
  11. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    things started to get really interesting: :wink:

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    We hadn't seen anyone on this road for the past hour, and it was like we had our own little canyon to explore.

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    It had old ruins,

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    hints of danger,

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    neat contrasting colors,

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    bizzare rock formations...

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    challenging riding terrain,

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    We were in awe. I could hear LDF saying "cool", "WOW", "look at that" over and over, and all I could do was give her a thumbs up, or other sign of agreement.... damn these Scala's. :doh

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  12. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

    Joined:
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    on the other side, I could feel myself slipping into the Mobius zone.

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    This was good stuff.

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    the weather wasn't too bad either.

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    Once we climbed all the way back onto the plateau,

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    We hit our first batch of deepish sand:

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    Something I knew LDF wasn't looking forward to, but she kept her speed up, weight back, and feet on the pegs. :ricky I wished I could have given her some coaching tips as we were riding, but, damn those Scala's :baldy

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  13. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    for a rest at another cross-roads grocery store / saloon / liquor store / sandwich shop for some cold drinks and snack restocking:

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    I thought about calling Cardo again, but had no cell signal. :dunno

    We had a little more dirt (sand),

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    reminiscent of the dead guy episode, but this time with wild horses...

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    And then a quick paved section up to Page.

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    I thought about the hike into Antelope canyon we were missing as we passed by the tour departure site right at about 3:30,

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    but then decided just to grind out the remaining miles, enjoy the scenery,

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    and see if we could get to Page in time to check out if anyone had a replacement microphone unit.

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  14. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    no Scala dealer either. :cry We stopped at a couple of moto-dealer shops. Chased down a couple of other possibilities from the GPS database which turned out to be closed establishments, and finally found a supermarket where LDF went in to buy dinner fixin's, while I stayed in the parking lot with the bikes and tried to get Cardo back on the horn.

    Cardo had closed up shop for the night, so as I hung out waiting for LDF to return with the groceries, I thought about what to do about these Q2's. On the one hand, I was frustrated enough with them to simply ditch them in our bags, and just forget about them 'till next time. On the other, it was definitely nice to be able to hear LDF while riding technical sections and know that she was doing OK. Maybe we could alternate having the good microphone each day... :dunno

    I hatched a plan to call Cardo, (even though I'd pile up some big roaming charges) 1st thing in the AM and request that they send a new microphone unit ahead to Nelson's Racing in Battle Mountain where we were scheduled to have our rear tires changed friday night or saturday. Yes, I would be listening to Radio-free Francine for the next 5 days, but that would be better than nothing. I hoped. :brow

    Off to cross the Colorado river, and make camp at Glen Canyon

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  15. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    The approach to the bridge which is kind of narrow,

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    2 seconds later: They don't know what they're missing.

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    and on to Lake Powell

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    :thumb
  16. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    view of the dam (scala's)

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    and a closer look at the lake:

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  17. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    unpacked, and got out of our boots.

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    We had an "OK" view of the water, but a really great view of the women's bathroom (into which a snake crawled in the middle of the night, scaring some woman who then left the door open which allowed the lovely fluorescent light to shine into our tent... :twitch

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    It felt good to be off the bikes,

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    We made a camp-fire, and cooked us up some dinner

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    of baked potatoes, filet mingon, and salad. Red wine, of course.

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    and slept well :snore, with bellies full. :thumb

    The day's stats:

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    A word on gas for this section: I wasn't sure if there would be any gas available in the 200 miles between Flagstaff, and Page AZ, so we carried 2L each extra in sweetcheeks soda bottles, and poured it into the tanks when we got onto the first (planned) dirt road. We ditched those empty bottles in Page, and replaced them with two full seltzer bottles. In fact, there were a couple of gas stations along our route, that aren't in the Garmin POI database, nor on GoogleMaps. But better safe than sorry. :brow
  18. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    The day began well enough, but quickly deteriorated into more frustrations. First, the Coleman Exponent multi-fuel stove, that reliable stalwart design that had served me well, in one form or another for 30 years seemed to be crapping out. The flame was dying, and would barely warm the water for coffee. Yeah, we do just fine without coffee.
    :dog:dog

    Next, I spent a good 40 minutes on the phone with Cardo's customer service trying to arrange a new microphone unit to be sent ahead to Battle Mountain. They did a good job, and in general I don't stress if a customer service call takes 40 minutes as long as the issue gets resolved, but I kept being put on hold since I was trying to pay for expedited shipping and double confirming addresses etc., and I knew I'd be paying through the nose for the call since I was roaming. It was pissing me off to pay more for the call than for the replacement + shipping. Plus, we were getting a late start for what had the potential to be a long day riding.

    Finally, it was pissing me off that all this stuff was pissing me off. :dood

    If that makes any sense at all... let me rephrase: What I wanted was for stuff to work the way it was supposed to. Barring that, I want to be able to fix it in the field. Barring that, I want to be able to live without the thing, and not worry about it. None of that was happening.

    Regardless, with arrangements made, we had wheels rolling by 8:30, and got a nice look at the dam (scala's) on the way back out of the park.

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    This is what we would be taking on for today:

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    Up to the town of Big Water, UT, where we would pick up Smokey Mountain Road. A little diversion out and back down Crosby Canyon to see if we could ride all the way to the shore of Lake Powell, then up Kelly Grade and past Smokey Mountain, and on to Escalante, into the Dixie N.F. where we would see how high we we could get before running into snow, which would determine our subsequent route choices and endpoint for the day.

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  19. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Looking great so far!

    Sweetcheeks soda bottle???
  20. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    :wink:

    See posts #13, and #970-971...