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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Thumpstart92, Jun 24, 2014.
great reports guys. more, more !!!
Your group sounds like the guys I ride with from Corinth,Ms. Say anything anytime. And a couple of them can quote every line from Lonesome Dove. Fun guys to ride with.
Thanks for the intel on that! Awesome RR!
I just used my flimsy mess kit (all in one) and it was wholly useless. Nothing big enough to boil enough water in for anything remotely useful... too bulky. That what you have looks to be perfect!
It also has the added benefit that the diameter matches the fuel bottle, fits just right in the bottom of a saddle bag with the stove, and is also the same diameter as my thermarest pad... The other bag holds my sleeping bag and first aid kit, worked like a charm, at least unto the last day, when my bags gave up the ghost:
I would rather get hung by my friends than a bunch of strangers- Jake Spoon
Salida always gives me the impression of a "jumping off" spot, where I feel like I'm really "in" Colorado... Today I fully realized the impact of this trip when I was waiting to see a customer who had a map of US on his wall. My eyes naturally gravitated to the areas we had just returned from, and I actually felt a wave of depression start to build in my chest; I have to remind myself that trips like this aren't meant to be permanent, and that the time in the valley is what makes the mountaintop experiences possible.
Here's a great article about Gothic that was published just days after we left; wish we could have stayed and seen this spectacle!!
Awake by 7AM. I complain about waking up early for work but when I'm not at work I wake up even earlier. I unzip my tent to reveal paradise. The sun partially striking the snow capped mountains taller than this Arkansas boy had ever seen. Clouds littering the sky, green fields and clear creek flowing next to our tents. That'll make a fella not want to go home.
We start breaking camp and we have this younger fella walk into camp. "Can one of you guys give me a ride into town? I need to call a tow truck" After listening to his accent we ask the fella where he's from. He replies New Orleans and Dogjaw excalims "Coonass!" The fella looked confused so we left it be. Dogjaw obliges and says hop on. Its only 2 miles. No sissy bar or passenger pegs. This ought to be fun. The young guy was apprehensive and asked if he could borrow a helmet. Dogjaw scoffawed its only 2 miles down the way. As the young man saddled up I heard a squeaking sound coming from his butt squeezing a hiccy on the seat.
We continue to break camp and we Dogjaw zoom by without a Cajun riding behind him. I reckon he's just going to check out whats down the road. He returns in a few more minutes and told us that we need to get our boots on so we can help some cute researchers get their car unstuck. Cute Researchers? An outlet to show our manly aptitude? We all retrieved our boots in a hasty fashion and zoomed off to the rescue.
Turns out they were stuck on a rock and with the 3 of us and Dogjaw orchestrating we managed to get the VW off the rock. So of course we have pictures.
From here we headed to Gothic all loaded up and decided to stop at the General store and refill our camel backs. The researchers brought their kids to work and had 2 other researchers watching their children and teaching them about the outdoors. My kind of daycare.
We get some petrol in Crested Butte. I see Jaw sending a text before he pulls out of the pump. No biggie. I'll just sort out my tank bag.
BANG! EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE. I whip my head around so fast my eyes about came out of socket. A white truck is backing into Jaws bike and Jaw is on it! Holy moly. The bike goes down as the truck pulls forward. My little short fanny runs over to see if everything is okay. One Taco'd front wheel and this trip is ova. We get the bike up and get it moved while Jaw is embraced by a shaken older women. She had a death grip on him and wouldn't let him go. I've never seen a woman so relieved a stranger was okay. Her friend with her Manuel didn't speak a lick of English but he helped moved the bike so he was alright I reckon. We inspect the damage. A bent shifter. God I love indestructible bikes. Straighten it out calmed down granny and as soon as she was done shaking we zoomed off to our new destination. She said next time we were in Crested Butte find her and she would get us dinner. You never pass up on a free meal.
From here we headed towards Coebbler Pass. Half paved and half dirt it twas a good mixture with lots of vistas.
Met this guy on the side of the road. He lived in Crested Butte where his paintings fetched a few thousand dollars a pop. I can draw a stick man does that count?
One of the places I've been hearing about for the last year was North Rim of the Black so we incoporated that into our route.
2 words to describe it. GOOD LARD!!! The roads were perfect with fantastic scenery and beautiful curves. I think I may need to dig a thesaurus out to find more adjectives for this ride report.
The amazing thing about North Rim of the Black and most of Colorado is how out of scale things are. You don't realize how far down it is until you see a little boat down there that turns out to be a yacht.
We begin our way down to Cimmaron to take Owl Creek Pass over to Ridgeway where we would camp for the next few days. After going through some construction We came across Little Cimmaron Rd. Out come the GPS's and maps. It looks like it but not completely sure. We see a sign that says "dead end" but signs are usually not right, right?
Dogjaw says this has to be it lets go.
So we hippity hop back on the bikes and motor on down the dirt. I was skeptical at first its just a dirt road. Then it started to get windy and I saw more hills. Okay this looks promising. Dirt road turns into double track. Double track turns into single track. Single track turns into single track with cows littering the trail. And single track with bovines grazing turns into no track with a barbed wire fence and rushing Cimmaron River on the other side. Hrm. Skepticism sets in once again. I guess the sign was correct. Its starting to get dark so we start heading back to the main road 14 miles away. We were going to try and make it to Ridgeway tonight. Key word "were"
I'm riding behind Fletcher the "Flex" and I hear a BAM CLINCK CLINCK CLINCK (the sound effects sound much better when I say them than when you read them on here) I thought the chain came off the sprocket. So Flex, Bryan and I stop to see assess the sititation. Its a flat tire. No problemo I've gotten pretty good at changing tires and I have a cool set of Bead breakers from Motion Pro. I was just bragging to Flex how good they are. Time to try them out.
NOT. We look down and there's a bolt extending from the sidewall to the top of tire. No patching that bad boy or even a tube would help. So Bryan rips down the road to catch up with The Jaw to tell him whats going on while Flex and I try to limp towards the main road. We catch up to Jaw and he says lets try and get to the main road and go from there. So Bryan and he go ahead and I stay behind Flex for encouragement. We get a few miles down the road and tire just comes off the rim. If your looking for a good way to break the bead thats always a good way.
Hmmmmmm what to do what to do. We could borrow Bryans wheel put it on Flex's bike and get him to a campground where we could go get a new tire tomorrow? Or push it. I go looking for a suitable place to set up camp for the night and get to the main road where I find Bryan and Jaw. Jaw has a friend in Montrose whom he called and had just bought a new truck and was on the way to our rescue. I go back down the road to courier the news.
Insert new charactar in our story. Kyle. The Fun Pig. He lived in Arkansas for years and at some point came out to Colorado to live up life. He and Dogjaw have been good friends and running buddies for years. If you want to see a good time get Jaw and Kyle together you can close down a restaurant. Ask me how I know.
Look Ma I bagged a KLR. Should I get it mounted.
From her Flex rode Jaws bike home while Jaw and Kyle caught up with each other. This is where I saw the prettiest skys on the trip. Just absolutely jaw dropping.
We arrive at Kyles house where we would be staying until we got everthing situated where we meet Kyles lovely girlfriend, Linda. Who treated us like kings. Big shout out to Kyle and Linda for bailing us out especially on such short notice.
Tomorrow we would go to Davis and pick out a new tire for Flex. Nice thick carpet to sleep on. A vagrant owns the vast entire earth so anywhere to lay my head is good enough for me.
Live through it," Call said. "That's all we can do.
Boy howdy, kin that Thump rite purty or what?
Had just gassed up in Crested Butte and took this picture:
I was texting it home to Sukirider aka Mrs Jaw, when I felt a "WHUMP", looked up just in time to see my front wheel disappearing under the bumper of a large truck. I had stopped cursing many years ago, but some old habits tend to surface in times of great stress; I didn't know that Granny Clampett and her Hispanic Jethro were in the truck, and I don't think it would have mattered; I cut loose with a string of expletives, she panicked and threw it into drive, yanking the bike forward and over, with me under it. Before I could free my self from the carnage, she had leaped from the truck and grabbed me in a bear hug, crying and apologizing profusely, which immediately took the fire from my cannon, but also prevented me from assessing the damage to the DR. Fixing the damage wasn't too difficult, calming granny down not so much, but the situation went from tongue scorching to "you Arkansas boys are just the nicest people!" Maybe we laid up a little karma that day...
The sticker above mine accurately depicts me reaction at seeing my front wheel disappearing into the angry maw of the Tundra:
As Fat Tire Week was happening in Crested, Kebbler Pass was closing, so we had to sneak past the barricades and skedaddle out of town; Kebbler is a fantastic mix if asphalt and dirt sections, on we began to really get our mojo working:
Until we got behind this tiny brained animal food trough wiper in his wee red truck, and got dusted out for the next 10 miles, but who's counting?
We stopped to regroup in Hodgkinvillopolis, a Uncle Rico-type wearing a shirt emblazoned with pot leaves, spots our Arkansas tags, hands us a business card and starts touting the quality of his herb. Bryan tells him that if he's not providing samples, he's just talking, so he quit talking and tucked his bud and left.
Ran into this guy at Hermit's rest on the North Rim of the Black, was riding an awesome old Gold Wing; I asked him which required more maintenance, the Wing or the 'stache, he said definitely the mustache. What a great guy, people like this are one of the reasons I ride.
The part of the story involving Fletch's rear tire shreddage has already been told, what wasn't recounted were the bear tracks I spotted in the creek bed. We have bears in Arkansas, and I've camped in the Ozarks and Ouachitas for years and not given them much thought, but the sight of these bad boys gave rise to a primal fear, and Uncle Jaw was not fixing to camp in this area. Little did I know that Corporal Goose, who shall appear later in the story, had shot the following picture a short distance away on Owl Creek Pass.
A quick note on my buddy Kyle; to say he is one of a kind is to say Miley Cyrus had issues.
He is the kind of guy to win a PT Cruiser by snorkeling through a swimming pool of creamed corn, finding the winning key in a promotional contest in which HE WASN'T EVEN ENTERED!!! I know it sounds like I have a man crush on the idiot, but he's one of my oldest friends, and a chance to ride with him and my son together is a priceless opportunity.
Luckily, he lives in Montrose, a short distance away, and had traded his precious little PT for a truck, so he quickly came to the rescue;
Fletch sprung for the pizza, we admired and fondled Kyle's amazing collection of guns, and we crashed hard in the basement, safe, for the time being, from the bears.
Gus-"here's to the sunny slopes of long ago"
Hey, ma!! I done bagged another milk crate for the mantle piece!!!
Talking about highs and lows, this day had 'em! Waking to the view of Gothic CO was doubtless one of the many high notes on the trip. Then the research assistant kid walks into camp asking for a ride. If only he had known what he was walking into, I do believe he would have just keep trudging along. We were in the middle of camp chores when he sauntered up. It took a few minutes before Bret was ready to load him up and pack him down the road. We used those moments to great effect. As the kid listened to our banter I could see a look on his face, as if wondering into our camp was the greatest and possibly last mistake he had made in his short life. Then we get him to divulge that he was 18 and from New Orleans, so young and far from home… how could he have predicted things could go so wrong so fast, to find himself in the wilds of Colorado surrounded by Arkansan ruffian hillbillies on motorcycles! On hearing the kids story Bret exclaims, "YOUR A COOOONASSSSS!!!" Now, some folks might take offense and see such a term as a pejorative, but most of the Cajuns I've met wear it like many Arkansans wear the term redneck, kind of a badge of honor.This kid just seemed baffled by the exchange. This got me to thinking about the etymology of the term. It turns out the origins aren't too clear. One theory has to do with a transformation of the French word "connasse" approximately translating to "dirty prostitute." I suppose that could have lead to the baffled look. More likely he was a nice kid from a decent family who never used terms like coonass, furthermore, perhaps not everyone from New Orleans is a Cajun, how are rednecks from Arkansas supposed to make such complicated distinctions? Anyway, now that he's asked he can't seem to find a way to rescind his appeal for help, so he climbs aboard Bret's bike. "Does anyone have a helmet I can wear?" A long moment of silence before Bret lies to him and says, "we're just going a mile up this dirt road, it'll be like walking speed." With a roast of the back tire the last I saw of the kid was his back disappearing in a cloud of dust. After an attempt to balance our karma by pushing the researcher's car out of the mud we get another highlight of the trip, Bret's telling of the ride up the road with the kid! When they took off from camp the kid was holding onto the luggage rack. Bret decided to make up a story for the kids benefit about how his wife wouldn't ride with him anymore, how he used to be a good rider but the last few years he's been wrecking a lot, his reflexes just aren't what they used to be, by the time Bret got to the part about being addicted to cough syrup he felt the kids arms wrap around him, holding on for dear life!
I guess we had done more harm than good that morning because our karma was way out of whack. Nothing that couldn't be overcome, but still.
•Bret getting his front wheel run over, then he and his bike getting knocked over by the lady in the truck.
•Getting stuck behind the pokiest dust creatingest truck ever in human history.
•I forgot I had wide side cases and ran into a pole at the gas station causing me to drop my bike, twisting the forks in the triple tree and breaking the subframe for my fairing.
•Getting lost and going for a wild goose chase down Little Cimarron Rd which led to more dropped bikes and great consternation.
•A flat tire that sounded like a clap of thunder followed by a clanging racket of the highest degree.
•Not only a flat tire, a flat that required a new tire while we were miles from a highway, much less a motorcycle shop.
Somewhere in there the good lord must have decided we'd had enough and bailed us out by sending Kyle.
Highlights of the day
•Rocky Mt Research Lab
•Coming to the rescue of the girls with their car stuck in the mud
•North Rim Black Canyon of the Gunnison
•Ending the day at Kyle's house eating pizza and getting an over due shower
•Even the challenges were highlights, maybe our karma was right where it needed to be.
N. Rim Black Canyon of the Gunnison
N. Rim Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Little Cimarron Rd.
Little Cimarron Rd.
all the adventure this boy could stand in one day
At the end of day three, I wrote on my phone:
The day Joann said "yes"
The day my kids were born.
We had to deal with getting Fletch's tire fixed, so the plan was to drop off the tire at Davis Equipment, go eat breakfast, then go ride the Gateway loop, then Ray aka Corporal Goose shows up. I met Goose in my trip last year and he has already became a legend in his own mind, 74 years old, 6'5" and can out ride guys half his age; he can also dole out more crap than 5 normal men, I think he actually wrote the instruction manual on "how to codge", he's loud, obnoxious, and one of the finest guys I've had the privilege to meet.
To be continued...
When I left Little Rock last year on my first trip following the kerncountykidss route to Colorado, I was riding this 1991 Nighthawk 750:
Due to the twists and turn of that particular trip, I found myself trading for this at Davis equipment in Montrose, a 2013 CB500X
Shipped what luggage that I couldnt fit home via UPS, and rode it 1700 ,miles back to Arkansas.
Imagine my surprise to see my old beauty still for sale in Montrose, a bit overpriced, but thats their business, I guess; I still miss that old girl, the I-4 Hondas are unbeatable.
After Fletchs tire was taken care of, we decided to ditch our luggage for the day and take a ride with Kyle on his FJR, following him through Gateway, Co. the decision to ditch the gear would come back to haunt us, but we were thinking, hey, its just asphalt, what could possibly go wrong?
As it turns out, I inexplicably flatted on HWY 50; we had the means to break the tire from the rim, but no one had any air; so we strapped the rear wheel to Fletchs oversized rear rack, and the crew roared off of to find a station, leaving me alone in the desert to ponder the error of my ways. Hundreds of bikes passed in the following hours, the only one that even slowed down to render assistance was a German kid on a KLR; so much for the brotherhood of bikers. Makes me wonder whats up with all of this waving nonsense if one cant be bothered to help a stranded rider. This guy finally stopped to help, travelling with his autistic son with cochlear implants; he filled up my camelback with ice and water, and we stood there in the desert discussing conspiracy theories until the wild bunch returned, prompting Kyle to say, should have known we could drop Bret in the middle of the desert and he would find somebody to talk to!
The loop from Whitewater to Gateway, then south to Naturita and east back to Ridgway is the most incredible stretch of road I have ever ridden; I had dreamed of riding it on a street bike, but the DR650 did an awesome job, carving up the canyons with ease. Getting a chance to ride this awesome stretch with Kyle, Zach, Fletch and Bryan was as experience I will take to my gravel. Words cant begin to describe this magical place, but I will let the others try; on my last trip out here, I was moved to write the following words:
Gateway is a fortress so impregnable that negative thoughts are incapable of entering
If you have questions, Gateway has answers.
Great ride & report guys, l wish l'd still got the KLR when you 1st posted for riding companions, but l don't think the Versys would've been up to it!!
Give me a holler if you're planning anymore trips, although l guess that you've done trippin' for this year!
PS, the 1st time you went on the Honda, did you do blacktop or a mixture?
I'd be interested to know which route you took because l'm only around 150mls north of you..................
There is a very special place on this road, a natural spring hidden in the bushes gushing with water so cold it makes your front teeth throb. I bottled some up to bring home and put in the freezer in the eventuality that things get too unbearable, I'll have a taste of Gateway to get me over the hump.
Before we left Little Rock, a paid a visit to my Doctor's office for a steroid shot for the old knees; getting old is a pain. The nurse and I got to talking about the trip, she said she was from Naturita, had went to school in Nutra, so I told her that I would get a pic of the city limits:
I didn't realize that the guys were waiting outside, so I got to talking (big surprise)to the older guy behind the counter at the gas n go; turns out he had taught high school in Nucla since 1962, and had my nurse as a student.
He hooked me up with a killer smoked sausage with cheese and jalapeños, which made me very unpopular with the guys, both when I walked out with it, as well as later that night back at Kyle's, where it started wreaking havoc with my digestive system.
We stopped on the way back to Montrose at the Dallas Divide; it was insane to to go from the red desert to the blue mountains in such a short time... It's also awesome to be able to "feel" a mountain before you can actually see it; Mt Sneffels is such a mountain.
Nice report & pics - enjoying the LD quotes too...
Pea Eye: But...but where's Deets?
Gus, concerning the Hell Bitch: "she ain't looking at you like that because she loves you"