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Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by DR. Rock, May 23, 2008.
An old church:
We crossed the Cimarron River. I had read a little bit about the history of the Santa Fe trail, and the Cimarron cutoff -- faster, but with the risk of no water availability.
"Historically, the Santa Fe Trail branched southward from the Arkansas to the Cimarron. One branch was known as the Cimarron Cutoff, and another, the Aubry Cutoff. The lack of water along the Cimarron Cutoff route from the Arkansas to the Cimarron led American traders and travelers to call the area the "Cimarron Desert". Mexican traders called it the "Jornada del Muerte" (Journey of Death)."
While I was planning our route from the point where we deviate from the TAT to get down to Albuquerque, I noted that in the GPS database, the Santa Fe trail appears as a dotted line, as if it's a regular dirt road. Unfortunately, I coldn't find anything corresponding on GoogleEarth satellite images. A little digging revealed the historic nature of the Santa Fe trail, and that it doesn't really exist, except for visible ruts carved into the earth from years of covered wagons getting stuck in mud. (Actually visible on GoogleEarth if you increase the elevation topography amplitude, and tilt the viewing angle -- very cool)
I was excited to be in this part of the country. We were covering about 200-300 miles in a full day. Wagon trains were lucky to make 10.
The Oklahoma panhandle has an interesting history. It seems it was orphaned and abandoned in the western land grab era. Again, from Wikipedia:
"When Texas sought to enter the Union in 1845 as a slave state, federal law in the United States based on the Missouri Compromise prohibited slavery North of 36°30' parallel north. Under the Compromise of 1850 , Texas surrendered its lands north of 36°30' latitude. The 170-mile strip of land was thus left with no formal territorial ownership. It was officially called the "Public Land Strip" and was more commonly referred to as "No Man's Land."The Compromise of 1850 also established the eastern boundary of New Mexico Territory at the 103rd meridian, thus setting the western boundary of the strip. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 set the southern border of Kansas Territory as the 37th parallel. This became the northern boundary of No Man's Land."
I'm not sure all that much has changed... it is desolate and remote.
Shade is a commodity. There aren't many communities...
Just antelope: (look close)
And open road... that's sand, pin it, baby! :
This was supposed to be an easier day after yesterday's long slog in the wind. Well, for the most part, we were on packed gravel / dirt:
And we could wick it up a bit
But as the day wore on, we started to get into more and more sand, and the wind picked up, and we (I) underestimated how far we had to go to get to Liberal.
This was the mental aspect of the trip, and can't be underestimated. Look, I'm not complaining, but we were tired, sore, hungry, sun-baked, wind-burned, and just wanted to get there.
We had started the day saying that if we couldn't make it all the way to Liberal that we would just stop and get there in the morning. At a certain point, though, it became clear that there wasn't really any convenient place to stop, and we were committed to getting all the way there.
And this was in fair weather... imagine if it had been raining, or cold, or sweltering hot... yikes. :eek1
Right here is about where I got yelled at, followed by the silent treatment for claiming we'd be there in 20 miles, 30 miles ago when we actually had about 50 to go....
"HOW MUCH MORE OF THIS SAND IS THERE????
MY SHOULDER IS KILLING ME!!!"
So from among the half dozen or so motels, we pick this one randomly.
For $35/night, it seems clean enough,
Let's see what we can get done the rest of the afternoon...
Our riding stats... what's interesting is that we still covered almost 200 miles in about 2/3's of a day riding... this was more than we did most days in Nova Scotia... We're starting to get acclimated to riding hard. But after 7 straight days of this, we need a break.
So we eat at the Mexican restaurant next door. (we later learn it's the best in town), and like good pioneers, divide the labor straight along traditional gender lines... LDF gathers our dirty clothes and heads off to the laundromat, and I get cracking on the wagon train.
First order of business is to replace blueberry's drivetrain. I knew both bikes would need a chain replacement, and I had bought parts to do both... That's some heavy parts, though, so I left one chain / sprocket and chainring set at home, and only brought one. I was hoping one bike would make it to Albuquerque with what it had, and I waited as long as I could for the worse worn one to declare itself. By Liberal, Blueberry's snail adjusters were all the way out, and I had been tightening them almost every other rest stop for the past day... it was cooked:
I filed down a pin,
And broke the chain with my $16 DID knockoff tool from Mike'sXS.
Yeah, these rings are done:
So is the front sprocket:
And the chain... stretched about 1.5 links compared to the new one:
I scavenge a discarded chair from behind the restaurant, and voila, instant dirtbike lift:
Actually wasn't too bad:
But I had decided to gear both bikes to 15/47, mostly for chain longevity (minimizes the frequency with which each link falls on the same tooth)... Blueberry started out 15/44, so she'd have a little more torque down low... perfect for the next sections. Honeybee was already geared at 14/44, which is almost the same, (lighter weight), but wears the sprockets a little more quickly in theory.
I splurged and was mounting a fancy aluminum / steel sprocket which is supposed to wear really well... the theme here is durability, in case you haven't noticed.
The reason I wanted to get this done this day was that if I ran into a frozen bolt, or any other difficulty, I'd know what I needed first thing in the AM when we would go to Milhon's Cycle, rather than start, get stuck later in the day, then have everything be delayed...
But everything came apart smoothly, and went together the same. Blue locktite for the nuts:
Red for the sprocket splines:
And blue for the sprocket lock nut.
Point being, I have read the DRZ thread here, and the forum on ThumperTalk religiously.
Thanks, fellow DRZ riders.
(Sorry about the mess, Ms Innkeeper -- that night, she swept up the dried mud I'd knocked off the bike. I felt bad -- I'd have done it, my bad.)
Now for the last small matter of riveting the new master:
Oh, did I mention that I've had about 4 Jim Beam and Pepsi's by this point. They're very refreshing.
Press the plate on:
So far so good:
Anybody see anything wrong with this picture:???
And can you predict what will happen next?
Epic trip, and Epic thread.
Lemme guess, ya broke the riviting tool.
I haven't used one but it looks like the pin is going to bend/snap.
Why didn't you use a master link?
I'm glad you did your research on DRZ's on TT. Endless source of info there.
Bingo, we have a winner!
Why a rivet master? Personal preference... If riveted correctly (as demonstrated below ) I think it has less potential for failure. Nothing flagrantly wrong with clip masters, but starting with a new chain, I try to rivet.
For my field repair / spare parts kit, I have a short section of chain, and two clip masters so I can splice in a few links if necessary. The Motion Pro T-6 tool that I usually carry when I'm not planning to replace a chain as I was on this trip (and the next leg) is not capable of riveting -- only breaking and plate pressing -- it's also much lighter than the DID knockoff.
Of course, this is the end of the pin I was supposed to use:
Which was still functional even though the chain-breaking pin was broken.
One down, one to go:
For the record, boy scout had a spare pin up his sleeve...
But I'm keeping the broken one in my kit, just to remind myself to measure twice and cut once, humble pie, don't drink and wrench, keep yer head in the game, and all the rest.
Yeah, and probably some Tow Straps too! Quite inpressive, the bikes don't look all the overloaded considering all the stuff you've probably got stashed.
Need to check out your list!
I put one of those bi-metal sprockets on the 400. Pricey, but a good design I think. Aluminum is definitely the best material longevity-wise for a sprocket.
btw - My shoulder is killing me. Is a tetnis shot supposed to do that?
(Dr. Rock's actually Dr. Rock)
Great ride report. I really look forward to finding new installments - makes the day a bit more interesting at work! Loved your Nova Scotia RR too. I've read it through a few times in preparation for my trip there in July.
LDF is definitly my hero! You rock Francine!
Hello again Dr. Rock and LDF.
I'm just letting you know I'm still following your adventures and I'm jealous as heck. :tb
Whats with red locktite on the splines I have never heard of that but maybe I should have, Nice Report
Check out here,
More Ride reportage tomorrow... been out with local hooligans tonight.
With the maintenance day off riding... but it was a memorable day
And ultimately necessary. On our NS trip, we didn't ever take a full day off. It was something we decided we'd try on this trip, and it really helped. Seven days of riding put us way ahead of a pace to get us to Albuquerque, and we were tired, and the bikes needed some TLC.
First stop (after breakfast) was Milhon's Cycle to pick up supplies. They had held on to a 21" knobby for me, in addition, I picked up a spare tube to replace the valve-torn one from MS, some air-filter cleaner and oil, a bolt to gerry-rig Blueberry's front chain-roller back on which had come loose, and fresh oil, (I had filters already).
Back at the motel, (not wanting to pull a TDB Baja field-oil-change fiasco ) we pulled the bikes around back to drain the oil, catch and recycle it.
I quickly realized that I didn't have a 14mm socket long enough to reach the drain plug. I didn't have a 14mm socket at all, and wasn't to excited to take skid plates off both bikes... luckily there was a NAPA within easy reach, and I was able to procure a 14mm tall 1/4 in socket which now lives forever more with the DRZ tools and spares kit.
Next job, front tire change... no problem
We took a side trip to find a battery for the VaporTech on Honeybee which was necessitating resetting the clock every time I started the bike. While I worked on that, LDF got cracking cleaning the air filters:
We are a good team, I don't care what she says.