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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 22, 2019 Thu (Day 30)

    I must have scratched the bee sting on my forearm, it has swollen quite a bit.

    The chain was making some odd noises when taking off yesterday, I'm pretty sure I will have to replace it in the near future. In the meantime, I will make sure that it is well lubed everyday from now on until I'm able to get a new one.

    A lone antelope passed by in the morning and checked out my camp.

    Friday, Oregon, that is my goal. I will have to put on quite a bit of miles in order to get there tomorrow.

    2019 Trip (567).JPG

    A lot of fences today, I must have hit about 5 in the last 20 minutes. It's kind of a hassle to dismount, open it, ride a couple feet, dismount, close it, mount and move on. After a while of riding, I finally reach the highway. This shall speed up my progress and assure my arrival in Oregon tomorrow.

    Ohh I forgot to mention, the highways in Nevada seem to be slightly different. This is the historic Lincoln Highway.

    I then realized that I was missing something. A lot of the areas around here seem monotonous, and when I think of the west, the first thing that pops into my mind are the spectacular canyons. If I continue on, I won't see canyons and the likes anymore, and I've only seen them briefly. Back around Moab in Utah, the TAT splits off either going to California or Oregon. The split going to Oregon does not hit Grand Canyon area while the California one does. It's about 400 highway miles to get to that junction and if I don't go back and ride that portion of the country, I know I will regret it as this was supposed to be the highlight of the TAT for me.

    I pack the gopro in my bag and disassemble the helmet shade that sticks out above the visor. This shall make the high-speed highway ride a little bit more enjoyable. I stop by Baker, where I ran out of gas earlier, to fill up. I notice that my chain is loose again, it needs to be adjusted by 2 notches.

    The sun is setting and I figured I'll put a good couple of hours in the night in order to reach my destination.
    2019 Trip (568).JPG

    As it is getting darker, I realize that my low beam must have burned out as it is not working. Crap, well this ruins my night plans. I think I'll just start looking for a place to camp instead. In the meantime, I'll ride on my high beams. Ohh that's right, I connected my relay to the "headlight". The relay supplies power to my charger, and when I connected it to the "headlight", I actually tapped into the low beam :fpalm. Now my whole charging system does not work when I have the high beams on, sigh...

    It is pitch dark right now and I figured I'll try to just camp on some random turn off. I stop at 3 different ones, but ultimately puss out as I cannot really tell what's around me. I don't want to camp on someone's driveway. I resort to the internet to find a legal camp spot and locate something 35 miles to the east. Perfect, it's on the way to my main destination. I mess around with the headlight when traveling on the deserted road. It is trippy riding in pitch darkness with the headlights off in the middle of the desert. I pull over multiple times. There's total silence, lack of any light pollution and I'm in awe of the amazingly starry sky and the milky way. I just can't get enough of it.

    I make it to the gravel turnoff that takes me to the camp spot and on the way there I'm met with a constant onslaught of wild rabbits crossing right in front of me. I arrive, set up my tent, and start thinking about the chain. It is stretching out pretty quickly now and surely can't last much longer. In the morning I'll try to order a new one.
  2. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 23, 2019 Fri (Day 31)

    First thing in the morning I've ordered a new 520 chain, 44 tooth rear sprocket to lower my gearing a bit and a spare usb charger. As for the front sprocket, I've brought a spare one with me before departure. So far I've been running the stock gearing and it has definitely been tough in places such as Colorado. My package is going to arrive on Sunday in an amazon locker in Las Vegas. Once I slab it out to TAT junction in Moab, it's going to roughly take me about 2 days, or 400 miles to reach Las Vegas following the tat tracks going to California. Once I hit Vegas, I'll slab it back to the spot I had just turned around at, and will resume riding out to the Oregonian coast.

    No suicidal rabbits this time around, just some salt flats that were creeping in the darkness last night. It's always a fun surprise to see where I find myself after riding in here in complete darkness.
    2019 Trip (573).JPG

    At one point on the highway I hit reserve, it seems way too prematurely based on my total tank mileage. I flip to reserve, but it doesn't start. I decide to use my newly learned trick, blowing in the gas tank. Fires right up. I continued on very conservatively and managed to reach the next gas station. It's actually pleasant to be riding paved highways for a change. I kind of learned to appreciate them just a little bit more as dirt and sand can get rough at times, slowing down progress quite considerably. At the next gas station, I also decide to address my oil situation. I've recorded the amount that I've drained and the amount that I have added. It turns out that there was about only 800ml missing :D. The magnetic drain plug seemed to have a little bit more shavings than usual.

    Back on the highway I'm climbing a summit and it appears I have no power in 4th and 5th. No visible clutch slippage, just no power, hmmm... This does not seem normal. There were some headwinds, I am loaded up and I'm climbing. Maybe it's just that and I'm overthinking it.

    My chain feels loose again. I pull over at a scenic stop off of pavement and have to adjusted it again, by 3 notches this time.
    2019 Trip (577).JPG
    2019 Trip (578).JPG

    I don't think this chain will make it to Vegas if I go hard on it. I will have to go easy on the throttle and not make any sudden movements that would put stress on it.

    It's 6pm and I made it to my destination, tomorrow I will head south west on the TAT. I find a nice group of dispersed camp spots in the mountains off of the paved road.

    The trees sang to me.


    2 dudes are riding around in a pick up while I'm making dinner. They don't look like they're here to camp. They pull up.

    "Is there any stream behind you?" he asks.

    "Hey, didn't hear one." I reply.

    They drive off without any further communication, something seemed off about them. I sleep with my blade and bear spray close by my side, there's no other soul around here.
  3. TomJoad

    TomJoad Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    87
    Location:
    Greenville, SC
    The food you make at camp looks amazing. I don't think I could do it at home. Do you buy the fish pre-cooked and just warm it up?
    juno and rudy4pl like this.
  4. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    I buy all raw and cook it myself
    juno likes this.
  5. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 24, 2019 Sat (Day 32)

    (b)
  6. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,372
    Location:
    CT/NH

    NOOOOOOOOOOO!
    rudy4pl and Oldschoolrocker like this.
  7. Cobra5150

    Cobra5150 What? Where?

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    574
    Location:
    N.E.Jawja
    THAT'S NO WAY TO LEAVE US HANGING!!!!!
    rudy4pl likes this.
  8. 10-96

    10-96 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    48
    Excellent RR. Really enjoying.
    rudy4pl likes this.
  9. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 24, 2019 Sat (Day 32)

    In the morning I was finally able to start heading west again, this time through the portion of the TAT ending up in California. I told myself that I will have to go easy on the chain, but these terrains up ahead are not going to be pleasant. Rocky and sandy uphill climbs, I had to scout out a couple times up ahead if it's even worth attempting. With picking the right lines, I figured I should be able to make. I drop the bike a couple of times and figured I will have unload as the rear keeps spinning out since the rear is pretty worn. I ride the bike all the way up with quite a bit of effort and then start the grueling process of carrying all my gear up.


    With the fully loaded rear, the front just wants to wheelie all the time while coming up this steep ascend.

    It was smooth sailing coming down the other side.

    2019 Trip (581).JPG
    In no time I reach Escalante. Fill up and buy some ice. I've stuffed as much as I could into my cooler and struggle closing it, just like every other time. This time though, the slider totally snapped. I use up all my duct tape to keep it shut for the time being.

    2019 Trip (583).JPG
    Riding through Escalante is fairly easy, just very hot. Around midday, I come across a downhill turn, that's slightly rocky. I zoned out, approached the turn too fast and ended up crashing into a rock on the side of the road.


    Immediately I see smoke and oil is spraying somewhere from the right side. I quickly turn the bike off and drop it onto the left side so that it does not lose too much oil. Upon further inspection, it turns out that I've struck the rock with my clutch cover, around the oil filter cap. The oil filter cap is cracked in multiple places and the clutch cover is cracked and slightly bent around the area of impact.

    2019 Trip (584).JPG


    (b)

    This seemed really bad initially, but as time passes, I feel a little bit more optimistic about the situation. The oil filter cap can only be screwed in with 2 out of 3 bolts, which is not enough to keep the oil from leaking and spraying, especially when it's under pressure from the running engine. Either a new clutch case is going to be necessary or maybe I can try purchasing a longer bolt as there appears to be thread in the clutch case beyond the stock bolt. For now I need a temporary fix to get to the next town which is about 50 miles away. There still happens to be some epoxy in the punctured container that's not dry. I mix it up, smother it on the broken piece of the clutch case and connect it. It's going to need a good couple hours to to dry so it looks like I'll have to spend the night here. Good thing this happened under a tree, or else this sun would have been unbearable. I cook myself some late lunch and explore the area a bit.



    A little bit eerie given the situation, but beautiful nonetheless without any man-made impact in sight, even the dirt road I came in on blended in with the surroundings.

    The night seeps in and the sky quickly lights up with thousands of stars. If we disregarded my gear and the "horse" I rode in on, in places like these it feels like it can be the 18th century. And then I see a moving, blinking light that's polluting the sky, dragging me back in.
    10-96, td63, CavReconSGT and 6 others like this.
  10. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,939
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Holy sheet---------I was a pretty early traveler to ride the TAT back in 2006-------and it was no where near the difficult stuff you are doing-----------but I was riding Sam's tracks.
    I was on a Husky TE610 which was a much better and lighter offroad bike than your 650--------------but you soldiered thru it all. At my age now I'd have thrown in the towel long ago if I suffered some of the things you have.
    Good on you my friend-----------your endeavored to persevere-------------Great story !!!!!
    BigDog
  11. rudy4pl

    rudy4pl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    100
    August 25, 2019 Sun (Day 33)

    First thing in the morning I decided to check out my handy work. I put on the cap and screw in the bolts. Immediately upon tightening, the piece of clutch case that I epoxied breaks off and the bolt does not hold, same for the epoxied oil filter cap. Great.

    There's an obvious leak at idle, it'll definitely get worse when I'm riding as there is more oil pressure. I don't even think the vibration of riding will allow the oil filter cap to stay in place without totally breaking on 2 bolts... I end up epoxying all around where the oil filter cap meets the clutch case. After a couple of hours of waiting, it seems dry enough. I turn on the bike and it still leaks, but much less. The oil level is just below the glass window. On my way out I make sure to rest my toes on the right peg and drive my heel into oil filter cap to help hold it in place. I have to utilize everything to maximize my chances of getting into town.

    2019 Trip (634).JPG

    Lake Powell in the distance.
    2019 Trip (635).JPG

    I reach the town which has multiple hardware/automotive stores, but apparently this place is on a lockdown on Sundays, and a lot of the stores are closed. Luckily I find one open automotive store.


    Longer bolt seems to work, yay!

    I fill up my oil and decide to browse for a new cooler for food, but ultimately decide not to spend money as based on the ratings, they don't appear to hold ice for very long. While browsing google maps, I realize that I'm 3 miles away from the famous horseshoe bend, I cannot miss that! I was under the impression that it was free, but apparently they just recently started charging admission. I have not directly paid for any attractions on this trip and I'm not going to break that rule now, even if it's only 5 bucks haha

    I end up continuing the TAT. At one point it leads me through some dry washes that were hard to enter. It doesn't appear as if there are any vehicle tracks in here and I'm led to a very steep and impassable hill, no other entry around.
    2019 Trip (640).JPG
    I search around but nothing. It's late so I decide to ride a different turnoff. It leads me through a bunch of fun dirt roads that are broken up by sandy dry washes that wrap around canyons.
    2019 Trip (642).JPG
    2019 Trip (644).JPG
    2019 Trip (648).JPG
    2019 Trip (649).JPG

    Great way to end the day.