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A Journey Across North America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by rudy4pl, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 8, 2019 Thu (Day 16)

    After midnight I started hearing thunders. I gaze outside the tent and now I see lighting to my left, in front of me and to my right. The winds are slowly picking up. I might not get so lucky after all.

    The lighting storm is getting closer and it's extremely windy now. I decide to go out and reposition my motorcycle so that it doesn't get blown over.

    My tent is getting blown all over. On the way in I saw a bunch of downed trees. There is an old tree leaning my way to my left with a chunk of its trunk missing, it wouldn't be pleasant if it were to fall over. The rain started pouring. The wind is so bad that I'm actually thinking about changing my location. This area is too open, there is no windbreak here. I was not able to stake my tent as the soil is hard packed.

    I'm not sure what's the actual forecast for tonight. What if there's some kind of a tornado brewing? The winds and the rain are blowing sand inside the tent.

    After a while, the thunders fade, the winds calmed, but the rain kept on pouring.

    I was able to get some sleep after the violent winds stopped.

    The hard rain kept me hostage in the tent and then around 10am it started slowing down. This is my window to get out. I dress up and start packing. The rain started coming down hard again. My boots and socks are soaked. the tent is all wet and muddy, it must weight at least 2x as much. I gotta say, breaking camp during a heavy rain is not fun.

    On the way out I have come across many signs stating that the roads flood during rain. They sure as hell did. I told myself that I will not proceed if they're flooded as my rear has 0 traction, but I went ahead anyway.

    Later during the day the rain started getting lighter and lighter, until it totally faded. All I was left with was muddy and flooded roads.

    The open fields with no human impact within view (aside from the dirt roads themselves and the occasional fences) are magical with the backdrop of the stormy skies. This day might have started off bad, but it is definitely looking better.
    2019 Trip (185).JPG

    I made some new friends along the way.


    The roads had gotten really muddy. My rear has no traction and is sliding all over. I've come across a couple muddy deep water crossings that were impassable with my rear tire situation. I would get stuck if I continued, so I decided to find a way around.


    After a while I reach a town, fill up on gas and grab some comfort junk food. A pack of pringles and a nasty beef jerky.

    "Would you do it again if you could?" asks the local with a smirk on his face as I'm sitting on the curb wringing out my soaked socks.

    "Uhh, yeah" I answer hesitantly, while in reality the answer was no. I would not do this again if I knew what was going to happen and what I was going to pass through. That would take away from the adventure aspect of this trip. I am enjoying going head first into the "unknown" and even though this trip has been tough so far with some sketchy moments, I'm loving almost every minute of it :-).

    The dirt roads are very muddy and slippery, it's crippling my progress towards Liberal. My tire is arriving tomorrow, but I'm still quite a distance away. I decide to slab it out for the remainder of the day today and I accidentally ride the wrong way for like 40 minutes as I had typed "Liberty" instead of "Liberal" into my gps. Great, that's another 1.5hrs lost.

    After a while of riding, I searched for a campsite that's on the way to Liberal. I found something a 100 miles out.

    Before I knew, I was racing the setting sun. I got there after dusk and it seems to be a local park. It looks like there might be some kind of a high school around as there is a running track. There are residential homes within view all around. It seems kind of an odd spot, but if others from freecampsites.net had camped out here then I guess I should be ok. They have restrooms! With showers! Jackpot! The showers were a little bit nasty, I had to place a plastic bag below my feet.

    After a refreshing shower, I've set up my tent and started preparing my dinner. I've purchased some organic potatoes earlier in the day and some polish sausage. I sliced them up and fried in my pot. A little bit of pepper and salt. Delicious

    As I'm cleaning up my pot, I see the local police SUV pass by through the park and right next to me. I wave and they wave back, I guess I'm good here for the night.

    My tent is still wet, muddy and sandy. The sand has gotten in my zippers and they are malfunctioning. They are taking more effort than usual to close and have trouble closing all together. Before I fall asleep, it starts raining again. Luckily no heavy wind this time around.
    #61
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  2. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    2,553
    Location:
    Tacoma Wa
    Wow!! Great report and kuddos to you. Really a great story and thanks for posting up. Waiting for more! Cheers!
    #62
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  3. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    Nice work so far of both riding and reporting. Keep it coming!
    #63
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  4. LostWoods

    LostWoods Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2018
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    PNW
    Great review so far. I am curious, have you competed your trip yet? Why such a delay in the start of this amazing ride report? Keep on trekking!
    #64
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  5. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    Yeah I'm back home. I feel like it would be really hard to this on the road, and even then it would have been half-assed
    #65
  6. Dirt Road Cowboy

    Dirt Road Cowboy I aim to misbehave.

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    944
    Location:
    Tyler, Texas
    Mama always said, "Don't do things half-assed." So, I became an ass hole! :jack
    #66
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  7. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    2,553
    Location:
    Tacoma Wa
    I think you had enough on your plate anyway! You ever count how many near high speed crashes and times you picked up that bike? Your lucky to be a walking man. Unreal but awesome!
    #67
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  8. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    There have definitely been quite a few, most at lower speeds though.
    #68
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  9. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    I gotta remember that one :-)
    #69
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  10. LostWoods

    LostWoods Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2018
    Oddometer:
    33
    Location:
    PNW
    Oh, that's a good point. It would be difficult to update and do on the trip. Especially with everything you have encounter thus far in your story. Although, its like watching a new movie and knowing who the star character is. Knowing they know how it ends, but yet you have to sit, wait and keep watching before you can find out. :lol3
    #70
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  11. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 9, 2019 Fri (Day 17)

    It was raining again all night and into the late morning. I decided to once again wait out the rain before starting the day. A quick breakfast consisting of granola with kefir and I'm about ready to go.


    I pack up and decide to slab it to Liberal as my tires have almost arrived and I'm in a desperate need for them.

    At about 2pm I arrive at my destination and park by the check in area. The lady that I've spoken with over the phone was not there, so instead some guy that works there helped me out. I picked up the tires and left a tip for the owner. I ordered a shinko 244 rear again and decided to purchase a fresh front IRC TR8 as well. The front wasn't really necessary yet, but I figured I might as well just in case there is going to be trouble shipping it in the future.

    My bike is dirty so I decide to give it a power wash. I prioritize the rims as I want them nice and clean for the tire mounting that's about ensue.

    The day started off cloudy, but the sun has just made its presence. Good, I'll need to use every trick that I know to make this possible. Yesterday I was googling some tire changing tips and it finally clicked for me why the tire bead should be kept in the center (I knew about this trick before, but it just didn't make sense to me so I did not employ it). :bash The inside of the rim is smaller in diameter compared to the outside. If I keep the bead in the center of the rim on one end, the other end is going to have more wiggle room. I did not employ this vital trick on my last tire change. It was all brute force and that cheap shinko 244 stood no chance.

    I stopped by Ace hardware store and started looking for some clamps that would squeeze the tire and put the bead in the center of the rim. Ultimately, I decided not to make the purchase and simply try to change the tires in their parking lot. If I was going to need the clamps, I would then purchase them.

    As I attempt mounting the pig in order to move to a parking spot that has a little bit of shade, I accidentally drop her as my rain pants were sagging and I wasn't able to swing my foot over to the other side in time. After one attempt I realize that my back is a little bit sore and this thing is fully loaded. One of the patrons that was in the parking lot decided to help me out, at the same time I could see 2 workers from Ace who saw me drop her come out to help as well. I manage to pick her up with only the patron.

    "Wow, this is so much easier with 2 people" I say.

    I laid out the tires in the sun and in the meanwhile started taking off the rear. Popping the rear bead with the spoons took some patience, but once I've gotten that one good bite, the whole thing basically came apart. I then broke the bead on the other side and took off the old tire.

    The new tires have been in the sun for about half an hour now, they're pretty hot so hopefully they're more flexible now. I started mounting the new tire. I made sure that the bead on the disc brake was set first as the disc itself interferes with the spooning action. The first part is always easy, now comes the test. I put in the tube, pump a little bit air, and proceed with a couple of spoon bites in order to insert my bead buddy tool. I keep dipping the spoon tips in lube, not sure if it helps, but I'm using everything I've got. I'm working both sides and after a couple more bites, I insert a wrench on each side in between the bead and the inner part of the rim. This should help keep a greater portion of the tire in the center. I start spraying windex. As I stick each spoon in, I make sure with my finger that the tube did not get caught. After every successful bite, I put pressure on the tire with my knees, slowly making my way to the end.

    The last bite is always the toughest and the sketchiest. I cannot insert my finger to make sure that the tube is not in the way as it's too tight. I spray more windex, wedge the spoon in, and with some effort I manage to mount it! Yes!! haha. I spray more windex all around, fill her up and the tube appears to be in one piece. at 30 psi my pump starts smoking. I'll have to visit the gas station to seat the bead. I mount the rear wheel and begin the front. I've repeated the same procedure and I was again successful. The front was much easier in every aspect.


    I had to visit 3 different shops in order to recycle the old tires and 4 different gas station in order to find a pump that would pump beyond 30psi. It's always the simple things that catch me off guard and become difficult.

    It was already late in the day, so I started looking for a place to camp. I found something 80 miles west close to the TAT. Once I hit the gravel, the bike felt really good with the new tires. Soon I hit some deep sand.

    "You're supposed to twist the throttle and shift all the weight to the back, right?" I ask myself.

    I was afraid to go fast as the front feels so unstable in the sands. I'm not used to this type of riding.

    It was a sandy 2-track. the bike naturally wants to stay in one of the tracks, but as this pig wiggles from left to right, the front jumps to the side and I drop her.

    This is tough.

    I try to power out and it appears that I'm having some success, but shortly I drop her again.

    Luckily the sandy sections shortly concluded. I now know where I'm lacking. Later in the day I was passing through 2 tracks in open fields.


    I finally reach the camp. Funny enough, it's at another public park and once again, there are showers! I set up the tent and go freshen up. I then prepare some dinner.
    [​IMG]

    There's a light show in the distance. The storms do not want to leave me alone.
    #71
  12. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    Thank you all for the kind words
    #72
  13. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,939
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Forgot if I already said........but this is awesome........thanks
    BigDog
    #73
  14. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,870
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    Tremendous fortitude. I would have turned around after that first drop.
    #74
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  15. davide

    davide Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Oddometer:
    543
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    I admire your self-reliant attitude towards flat tires, parking lot repairs and crossing the sand-pits-of-doom. I too ride a KLR and, when fully loaded, they are definitely hard to stir in the sandy stuff. Glad you hung in there!
    #75
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  16. interceptor1972

    interceptor1972 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    279
    Location:
    Lawton, OK
    Just a heads up from my old Jeeping days - Chapstick is your friend when those zippers start giving you a hard time. Run the chapstick over the zippers and it'll lube them, and can help dislodge the dirt and grime. :)
    #76
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  17. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,372
    Location:
    CT/NH
    Yep, and you can use it to start a fire in an emergency.

    KR
    #77
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  18. Shekinahglori

    Shekinahglori Tired of winter

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2018
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Keep up the good work! I'm all in!
    #78
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  19. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 10, 2019 Sat (Day 18)

    At about 2am I'm woken up by thunders which are now clearly audible. The wind is picking up.

    I got out of the tent to check if everything is well secured so that it doesn't blow away. The rain never came down, great, maybe my tent will finally be dry.

    At around 5am, I'm woken up again. Apparently there are sprinklers here and they are now blasting my tent, sometimes briefly/intermittently and other times for as long as 15 minutes straight. I did not see any sprinklers mechanisms when I was setting up, where the hell did they come from?

    I figured I'll just wait them out, they'll stop shortly. After about an hour I think to myself, they can't be on for much longer, right?

    After 2 hours I still can't sleep as they're blasting my tent. They can't be on for much longer, right? I'll just wait them out.

    At 8am I've finally waited them out. Sleepless with bloodshot eyes, but I can taste the triumph :D. Not sure if this little victory was worth not getting out of my tent and simply moving it. It was staked in my defense.

    My usual morning cycle: stretch, wash up, 1, dress-up, breakfast, 2, brush teeth, pack up, and I'm ready to move.

    I planned on putting a lot of miles and hopefully expanding my skills in different terrains.

    And then things got a little bit more juicy.

    After successfully riding a couple of muddy sections, I've met my match. I was standing on the pegs with my knees bent which shifted my weight to the back. I picked the wrong line next to a muddy grooved section. Instead of riding the muddy groove, I rode next to it, causing my rear to slide into it and then spin out. I slid 180 degrees and ended up in the field. Once again picking her up was hard. It's hard to get good footing as it's muddy and this bike weights a ton. I unstrap a couple of the bags and I'm able to pick her up. I pass by a couple more muddy sections successfully. They seem really sketchy, my front and rear gets very wiggly. It seems like the faster I go, the higher chance of success. But the faster I go, the higher chance of injury if I do fall.
    *In hindsight, maybe if I played around with the tire pressure I'd have better luck. I was simply sticking with the recommended street tire pressure.*

    2019 Trip (196).JPG

    Once again I'm passing through many flat fields. Shade is scarce. At about 1:30 pm I find a tree to pull over under, rest a little bit in the shade and make myself some lunch.



    I spot a hill in the distance (that tiny thing on the left). It caught my eye as it's something uncommon in these areas. Maybe the terrains will be finally changing, I'm a little bit over all these flat lands.
    2019 Trip (203).JPG

    I think that's a Pronghorn:
    2019 Trip (206).JPG

    The landscapes are now changing drastically. From flat fields, to beautiful mountainous terrains. I'm quite surprised how fast everything turned around. I'm digging this.
    2019 Trip (214).JPG

    The red detours on the Kevin's TAT tracks have been fairly light so far. I come across another one that takes me up in elevation. It's very rough, rocky and steep at times. The weight of the bike and all the gear is surely not helping. Halfway up, I decided to assess the situation. I've been moving very slowly. Looking at the track, there is a bout 25 more miles of the red detour. It's late and if it's this challenging for the next 25 miles, I will definitely not be able to get past it today. Almost all of my ice in the cooler is gone and a lot of the icy water had spilled out already. If I don't want the food to spoil, I'd better head back to town. Oh, it also looks like I'm running short on gas. I decide to turn around.

    Halfway back to the main tat track, I stop for a photo. There is a storm brewing in the distance. When I mount the bike, I'm unable to start it. Did I really hit reserve? I didn't feel any stutters in the gas delivery before I pulled over.


    I flip to reserve and wait a moment, still unable to start. I check one of the air filters going to the carb and it's muddy. I take off the muddy filter sleeve, but the bike still does not want to start.

    Earlier I saw some bubbling on the gas cap vent line. I took it off and inspected it, maybe it was not allowing proper air flow, resulting in a vacuum? The bike finally started. Yay. Not sure what the issue was, bad gas is my best guess.

    I was reminded of my trip from 2 years ago. I was almost out of Death Valley, but I knew I was running short on gas. Fully tucked, coasting off of hills with the engine off, I somehow barely made it to the gas station.

    It looks like it's going to be a similar battle right now. The closest town is Branson, Colorado. I ride over there with a full tuck just to find out that there is no gas station there. Next closest town is Folsom in New Mexico. It's about 15 miles south. If I really did hit reserve back then when I decided to retreat, there's no way I'll be able to get to Folsom. I'm not sure if I should try to buy some gas from one of the locals here, or I should try to get to Folsom, risking getting stuck midway. I drop the bike on the left side so that all the fuel in the tank goes to the left side as that's where the petcock is. I go for it and somehow I make it. I'm able to put 5.7 gallons into my 5.3 acerbis tank. I must have been really running on fumes.

    I purchased some ice, spare water and canned food just in case. I decide to head back onto the red detour. It took me about 40 miles to get from Folsom to the area where I stopped for a photo, I really don't know how I made it without running out of gas.

    It's getting late so I decide to set up camp along the way. I'm not too familiar with the wildlife here, but I remember seeing tarantulas in Big Bend National Park on my trip 2 years ago, these terrains seem very similar. Needless to say, I was very careful to watch out for snakes in the bushes and tarantulas while setting up. I can see and faintly hear a herd of cows in the distance over a valley. At about 9:30pm, I can hear branches crunching all around.

    "moooooo!"

    The cows have made their way through the valley and are now sniffing out my tent and my bike. Looks like I'll be sleeping with the cows tonight. I guess I really did join the herd haha
    #79
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  20. Themastermike

    Themastermike Think you caught me in a coma Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,290
    Location:
    So Ill
    Rudy

    You are a true Amerikan hero for tackling this on a DR with Stinko street biased tires.

    Ready for the next update. (Also ready to ride after reading. The Wild West is intoxicating)
    #80
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