Trans America Fail

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Mini Trail, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Oddometer:
    3,094
    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    I'm glad you made it home, I was thinking you were going to be calling the wife again and.............



    Ending up with another new bike. :lol3
    #21
  2. NightShadow

    NightShadow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Toronto
    Great RR - With all those break downs, I probably would have given up and gone home.
    Lets hope your next ride is going to be worry free of break downs. :thumbup
    #22
  3. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    676
    Location:
    Oregon
    Are you going to finish TAT next year?
    #23
  4. lowbudget

    lowbudget _twin brothers on the go_

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    324
    Location:
    the old world
    You had me laughing hard! Great report, real nice writing.
    #24
  5. bigblockbarry

    bigblockbarry Random Misfire

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    59
    Location:
    Millington TN
    Looks like half of a brake or clutch lever.
    #25
  6. lvscrvs

    lvscrvs Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    956
    Location:
    norcal
    +1

    i was smiling all the way.... funniest, most tragic - in a good way, if there is such a thing - rr i've read in a long time... keep'm comin'
    #26
  7. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,391
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    I did that in February. [​IMG]

    I thought my wife and kid would enjoy seeing some of the sights I enjoyed on the motorcycle.
    [​IMG]

    They were thrilled.
    #27
  8. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,821
    Location:
    Andover, N.J.
    Time to dumb it down to a DR :lol3

    Great story!
    #28
  9. acesandeights

    acesandeights Asperger

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,664
    Location:
    So. Oregon
    Yep, if you'd have had a DR your RR would have ended with microbrews in Port Orford, Oregon :D
    #29
  10. MacG

    MacG Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Ga.
    Cool stuff.great story. Thanks! :beer
    #30
  11. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,391
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    Someone else's misfortune. Those creek crossings are legendary for their slippery-ness. Even trying to walk the bike across the front tire can just slide to the side rather than roll.
    #31
  12. 805gregg

    805gregg Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,626
    Location:
    Ojai, Ca
    I wish I had a KTM, because it's not an adventure untill something goes wrong.
    #32
  13. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,391
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    2012 was definately going to be my year for the TAT. I soaked up a bunch of time off due to my surgery plus I gained a whole extra week for a work anniversary. I had 12 days off planned around the Indepence day holiday and wanted to finish my Oklahoma part and ride Colorado through to NM then drop south and visit Mesa Verde (have been wanting to see this since I was in 4th grade) and Great Sand Dunes NF.

    Things do change though, the 690 started smoking. I got it apart and discovered that the piston and rings were worn almost certainly due to dust getting past the paper filter. I wouldn't be able to get it back together for the trip so I decided to skip it for yet another year. We had another vacation to Disney planned then my daughter would be back in school and cheerleading and all the crap and riding around that is involved with that.

    But Adam was planning a trip with a friend of his to ride from Arkansas all the way to the coast. Their schedule was loose but if things went right and with some Marathon driving, I thought I could ride with them and slip Oklahoma and Colorado into a long Labor day weekend.

    I put a new piston and rings in the 690 and took it for a test drive in anticipation of the trip, but it broke again. This time a failure of the intake rocker arm. When she had to come to my rescue, my wife was a bit perturbed that the $10,000 motorcyle that I bought just so I would have something reliable was fucking up a third trip in 7000 miles. Plus she had to help push it up a huge hill to get to the truck.

    I too was a bit set back but I had already gotten the permissions to take the trip. I weighed my options. The parts weren't available and I couldn't trust the 690. I still had the 450 but it would probably go through another set of wheel bearings and God knows what else. But, as a great puppet once said, "there is another".

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    I bought this Xt225 for my wife with just 600 miles on it. She rode it some in Pensacola two years ago and all over at Bike week this past March but it has mostly been a dinghy for the motorhome as pictured. It is bone stock except for the S-12 takeoff tires and an extra link in the chain to clear the bigger tire. I had just a couple of days to get it ready for the trip and I wouldn't have time to build a rack for the backpack that is my normal tail bag so we dropped by Cycle Gear and purchased some cheap saddle bags that are just big enough for my tent and sleeping bag and also a tank bag.

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    Here it is all loaded up, I am carrying most of my clothes and prvisions in a larger backpack.

    Waiting was hard, Adam has a Spot tracker device and I went to work on Tuesday and Wednesday tracking their progress. I was hoping they would get a slow start and I would catch them before they got to the Ozarks but on Tuesday they managed almost 300 TAT miles. I didn't know it at the time but they skipped the MS portion all together and started the trail in AR. It was still pretty good time. Wednesday they made it almost another 300 miles into OK riding late into the afternoon. I calculated that they would make it to Newkirk, OK (exactly where I ended my last attempt) around noon on Thursday and I could meet them there so long as I left around 3:00am.


    8-30-2012
    So that's what I did. I hauled ass accross three states with just a hiccup in Tulsa. I sent Adam a text that I would buy him lunch at the Sonic in Newkirk.

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    I went right back to the Napa parts store that had been so helpful before and directly accross the highway from the Sonic. The same guys were there as the last trip, the manager (owner?) and a man visiting sitting on one of the stools at the counter. I never saw the cat but he promised me it was there. They were just as helpful giving me a place to park the truck for a few days (he even offered me an indoor spot), the computer to look at Adam's progress on the Spot and they told me stories of other TAT travellers who had passed through since we were last there.

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    The Grenada out front is the visitor's car and the red truck on the right of the building is mine.

    I unloaded the bike, topped off the oil in the Big Red Truck and had barely started waiting when the boys pulled into the gas station accross the street. I hollered out to Adam who was very surprised to see someone he knew in bucktussle, OK. He had never read my text and they hadn't even planned to stop there but were low on gas. The guys at the Napa said everyone stops there eats at the Sonic and has gastro issues later.

    Then this happened.
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    Justin had a flat on the rear of his DR 650 so he set out working on it. I got snacks from the Sonic and talked to my wife.

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    Photo courtesy of Trials Bike Adam

    Justin only had a 21" tube and I couldn't talk him into using it in the rear. He found a bike shop and used my truck to retrieve a 17" tube while Adam and I cooled our heels. We finally left the Sonic about 3 hours after I started waiting meaning I could have slept until 6:00am, but I was happy to be on the trail finally.

    I had been plannning to sell the 225 and get a street bike for my wife and was trying to keep the mileage under 1000.

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    My old OK maps were slightly different than Justin's new ones and I lost them for a while and almost couldn't catch up.

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    We rode on to the next Gas stop at Alva through incredibly dusty farm roads following Giant Tractors and oil field service vehicles. It was hot, dusty, miserable and slow. It was the first riding I had done on the trip but Justin and Adam were ready to get out of OK. So the next 100 miles were all highway.

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    Desolate

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    Boring

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    Endless

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    Smelly

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    Highway.
    Seriously we met 3 cars in 100 miles except when in the tiny towns through which we passed that didn't have gas stations.

    Not having any idea what my range was and since it was getting late I persuaded the guys to stop for gas in Liberal, KS. It was probably the first time in KS for at least two of us. It really smells bad in Liberal, KS. Having grown up around and occasionally living on cattle farms, I am familliar with all of the smells from hay barns to cow pattied pastures to sour grass. Liberal, KS smells like the part of the farm that is 6" from a cow's asshole. Not just where we were but everwhere we went. We bought gas at a Sinclair station and I picked up some Chesterfield cigarettes and Falstaff beer. Seriously I had no idea there were still Sinclair stations.

    <iframe width="562" height="314" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp;safe=off&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;q=dorothy's+house+liberal+ks&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=dorothy's+house&amp;hnear=Liberal,+Seward,+Kansas&amp;t=m&amp;layer=c&amp;cbll=37.033111,-100.910324&amp;panoid=uIPKwYmqNP1Uq57gvMA0oA&amp;cbp=13,329.59,,0,-10.91&amp;ll=37.033111,-100.910324&amp;spn=0.001096,0.77179&amp;z=10&amp;source=embed&amp;output=svembed"></iframe><br /><small><a href="https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&amp;safe=off&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;q=dorothy's+house+liberal+ks&amp;fb=1&amp;gl=us&amp;hq=dorothy's+house&amp;hnear=Liberal,+Seward,+Kansas&amp;t=m&amp;layer=c&amp;cbll=37.033111,-100.910324&amp;panoid=uIPKwYmqNP1Uq57gvMA0oA&amp;cbp=13,329.59,,0,-10.91&amp;ll=37.033111,-100.910324&amp;spn=0.001096,0.77179&amp;z=10&amp;source=embed" style="color:#0000FF;text-align:left">View Larger Map</a></small>

    I wanted to get a pic of me on the dinosaur (I swear there was a dinosaur) but it was getting dark and I really wanted to get to the other attraction in town. I can't believe this isn't in every TAT ride report.

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    There was a couple "coupling" in a porch swing so I didn't get to ride the entire yellow brick road. I did get to balance on the biggest wave.

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    Photo courtesy of Trials Bike Adam

    Wow that pic is creepy. Still they need a fence that you can walk on for photo ops.

    It got dark fast. Unlike me, Justin is fearless about pulling off the highway and flopping. I talked him into easing down this side road instead and we sacked out next to a gas powered water pump or something near a corn field.

    [​IMG]
    Photo courtesy of Trials Bike Adam

    I had been listening almost all day to the Republican Nation Convention and heard the Clint Eastwood bit over the radio without the visual to figure out what the hell was going on. Meanwhile Justin cooked an MRE on a rock or something.

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    That's my Kelty on the right, Justin brought the Bivy thing that Adam is sleeping in. Justin liberated it from the USMC and it rocks. You just throw it on the ground and it unfolds itself and sets right up. Justin slept every night in a sleeping bag out in the open where dogs could lick his face.

    Some city on the horizon. We are still only 1/2 mile from the main highway.

    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. bigborefan

    bigborefan Making new friends

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,167
    Location:
    USA - Midwest, Central Illinois

    I am a KTM guy, but I concur. Well, maybe a Honda XL anyway.
    #34
  15. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,391
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    8-31-2012
    We posed in front of a headless Iron Brontosaurus on the way out of town.

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    Oh there's the head.

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    They also had their own Tin Man.

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    The guys were done with the OK trail so it was back to highway till New Mexico.

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    Desolate

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    Boring. (Hey look almost 400 more miles of highway)

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    Endless.

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    Smelly.

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    Highway.


    The 225 struggled a bit. There was a head wind and it just couldn't hang with the big bikes. I tried to tuck as far as I could but it's a small bike with a tank bag and I'm wearing an overstuffed backpack.

    [​IMG]
    Photo courtesy of Trials Bike Adam

    I could draft better behind the BMW with the big windshield and big bags but Adam would drift off and change speed a lot. The DR was harder to find the sweet spot but Justin kept the speed solid. We did this forever. '

    And then we made it.
    [​IMG]


    Finally Back on the trail. Justin and I managed to resist shooting up the sign.

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    I have never seen prairie dogs before.

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    These are the holes they pop into when they suspect you are about to take their picture.
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    Having the lightest bike and best tires I was excited to hit some dirt.

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    I rode so far so fast that soon I was all by myself, which was a bad thing.

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    Adam was way the hell back there by the prairie dogs disassembling his bike.

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    We had the experience to know a fuel pump when we didn't hear one. Adam spread the towel to keep New Mexico out of his fuel tank. We had just topped off our tanks so it was full and the towel was soaked.

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    Prairie Dog!

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    Adam found a faulty wire at the fuel pump motor. We cut the connector off of the wire re-crimped it and Adam started the arduous task of Re-assembling the bike.
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    Justin did...

    Something.

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    I don't see my T- Socket wrench tool in the picture but this is the last place I ever saw it.

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    Adam's towel was soaked with fuel and useless but we didn't want to leave it there and no one wanted to put it away with their gear. I suggested burning it but there was a burn ban for most of that part of the country. Colorado was experiencing massive wildfires at the time. Adam suggested we tie it to a bike to dry it out and toss it at the next gas station.

    Finally back on the road.

    [​IMG]


    I'm pretty sure this is the house in which Lyle Swann knocked up his grandmother.

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    I have never lived West of the Mississippi River so most of this is fascinating to me. I love these block houses. Most of them are abandoned in the middle of a pasture but this one is part of a homestead still.

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    More stuff like which I have never seen.
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    In Tennessee we make fence posts from Cedar trees that grow straight and last forever. This whole fence line had posts that looked like this.

    [​IMG]
    But probably last forever.


    Coming up was the section that would be the talk of the day.

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    We climbed a ragged trail up on top of a plateau.

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    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Not much happens in that movie but it took a long time to upload.


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    With a beautiful view.

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    An Abandoned farm on the plateau,

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    We went to the little jail that everyone goes to.

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    I need to get around to writing this town and get them to put fuel information in this bulletin board thing.

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    Adam has one of those bluetooth things in his helmet and never got off the phone.
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    We did what everyone else does, got gas in whatever big city we traveled through (Trinidad?) and moved on into the night looking for a place to buy beer and bed down.

    We did learn a neat trick at the gas stop. The guy there was used to TAT riders and told us to fill our camel backs in the fountain drink machine rather than buying bottled water. I used the trick for the rest of the trip asking the cashier if I could just "get some water" out of the machine.

    This place was littered with "keep out" signs that I didn't see until we were leaving.
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    The sun was falling fast. Right up the road there was an awesome spot. A hill by the road with a valley hiding behind it out of sight of the road.

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    We began to set up camp while the sun set and decided to forego the beer run because the nearest possible place was around 20 miles away.

    Then I noticed something odd about the 225
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    That zip tie is what was holding the gas-soaked towel. I wonder what happened. I actually barely remembered smelling some burning at some point but was never quite able to figure out where we were when it ignited. It has been decided that it was a good thing no one saw it because I probably would have stopped and then it probably would have burned up my tent. Scary shit given the drought and wildfire situation that we had been hearing about for weeks.
    #35
  16. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,391
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    Does this guy have a sheet metal cock?

    [​IMG]

    It's really hard to say. The 690 still isn't running we're thinking maybe a clogged injector now. Who knows if I will ever trust it again. I do love riding it though.

    Logistics are becoming more of an issue. I'll probably need a partner now that can make the 20 hour drive to Colorado plus we'll need a week and a half I think just to finish.
    #36
  17. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    106,192
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    :hmmmmm

    That TAT thing is really taking a toll on your equipment.
    #37
  18. Mini Trail

    Mini Trail n°°b

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,391
    Location:
    West Tennessee
    The next morning we rode the trail for a bit. The area was various homesteads and farms and was lousy with rabbits. I was riding first and must have scared 25 of them off of the road and away from the side. These three deer watched me pull up and patienty waitied while I got my camera out but took off when the next bike came.

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    We broke from the trail to get gas and breakfast in Walsenburg, CO.

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    A Fox theater
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    Some other bikers were there but they weren't particularly friendly. It may have been that they had slept in a hotel and eaten a breakfast wheras my group hadn't bathed in days.

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    We ate breakfast here, and defiled their bathroom. They are closed on Tuesdays.

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    Justin got his 650 inverted in this ditch.

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    Adam helped him up. After taking his picture.

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    We just don't see anything like these views at home.
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    Freaking Christmas trees on the side of the road!


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    We ran into these guys on 990 adventures at the next Gas stop.

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    We were on our way to Salida through some National Forest and it started getting cold as we crossed a mountain. I put on my insulated gloves and my jacket liner and was worried about camping in the cold weather.

    We caught up with another group before the decent,
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    More picture taking

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    When we decended into the town it got much warmer. People were walking around in shorts in town, a huge difference from the freezing emps 30 miles up.

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    When we got into town I looked around while Justin called around for a motel room, we picked the Budget Lodge because they gave him a Military discount.

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    That's where we met Brian known here as Newner who was from Oklahoma and was riding a KLR over some of the Colorado passes.
    Here's his ride report.
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=821188

    [​IMG]


    Newner was staying in the room next to us and joined us for dinner down the street.



    Decor in our room ranged from Wierd to strange;

    Wack Howdy 2nd ammendment advocate:
    [​IMG]

    Not sure what this business is:
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    Lamp with genuine spent shells:
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    You can caption this one:
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    I was kind in trouble. I was having a blast riding with my buds but I really needed to be at work on Tuesday and I was hell and gone from home. My rear tire was breaking down fairly quickly so I didn't want to get out on the interstate not that I wanted to spend hours and hours slabbing on the 225. Every mile that I rode west put me further away and used more time that I could use riding East.

    At dinner, Newner had a brilliant and generous idea. He had a truck stashed in Colorado and was heading back to Oklahoma and if I rode with him the next day, he could drive me right back to my truck in Newkirk.

    So that's what we decided to do. After Dinner Adam and I got warm beers at the most pretentious liqour store I have ever entered and we partied with our new friends Newner and these people who were staying in the room on the other side.
    [​IMG]

    They were celebrating an anniversary or something and split a bottle of wine while we worked our way through the case of beer.
    #38
  19. alcanrider

    alcanrider alcanrider

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Back in Superior, Colorado!
    Your KTM must have been made on a Monday or a Friday. You have totally spooked me from ever wanting to buy one though. Others do have better luck with their KTM's though. Thanks for posting this RR, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
    #39
  20. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    10,821
    Location:
    Andover, N.J.
    The fuel soaked rag bit !
    Oh man this could be the best TAT RR yet, too bad you had to cut it short.
    Enjoyable read :clap
    #40