Big Fat Tat on a BDR Roll: aka The 2021 U.S. Dirty Dirty Ride

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ikeya-Seki, Jul 9, 2021.

  1. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Tuesday, August 24
    Days:
    44-46

    Nuts & Bolts: After a huge breakfast, I leave Justin’s backyard at Fields Station and ride southwest to Cedarville, California before turning north again to Lakeview where I stop for dinner & a room. The following day I review my ride plan with some fire fighters, check in at the local National Forest headquarters for a fire update and then ride on to Lakeview and Crescent, Oregon where I break for lunch & an IPAs. I ride on until dusk and camp trailside. Sunday I dance in and out of the Umpqua National Forest and am re-directed by fire fighting personnel around the Rogue Patch Complex and make a b-line to Ashland, Oregon for rest and repairs.

    Miles: 208.2 / 236.4. (Excludes Sunday’s mileage)
    Total Miles: 8100. (Excludes Sunday’s mileage)
    MPG: 58.7 / 56.1

    Weather: 55-78F, 48-75F, 37-86F. Sunny, chilly and dry. Blue skies above with smoke hazed horizons, which increase in intensity closer to Rogue Valley area. Chilly start to Sunday morning with icing on on the tent. Nice weather for riding. Layers.

    Trail Conditions: Hard-pack sand roads with some loose stones and soil in spots as I leave Fields and turning to sections of volcanic rock gardens and some climbing. Similar conditions elsewhere then turning to sand, sand, and more sand in the flat cattle pastures, some with deep tracks of bull dust. Lot’s of steering dampener and throttle work. Sand subsides with elevation and back onto groomed National Forest fire roads, some with a layer of pine needle carpet. Extremely dry and dusty conditions.

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    About a pound of hash browns served up at Fields Station.

    Stops: Eagles Nest Food & Spirts for a sad, cold steak & mashed potato. Bigfoot Tavern for chicken wings & a couple Juicy IPA’s (and a surprise), Trailside Cafe in My Tentville for Spanish rice and kielbasa. Caldera’s Brew Pub in Ashland for Ahi & avocado sammy.

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    Earth waves

    Lodging: Interstate 8 motel in Lakeville, me tent, Ashland Hotel & Suites.

    Observations: Fire & sand. Well, smoke and sand.

    Before that, I have to note that I had been expecting extreme heat and fire conditions for the majority of this ride. It has not happened. I hit 100 degrees only twice since leaving New Hampshire and have, very happily, ridden in 60-86 degree weather, nearly every day. If anything, it’s been chilly enough to keep my Mosko shell on. No disappointments.

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    Surprising Nevada

    Man, it’s dry. Every single body of water except one marked on my GPS was bone dry. Some should be huge; they are nothing. Not a drop. In the antelope preserve, the animals were in the middle of the dry lake thirsting for water, licking at holes in the ground. Sad. Pine trees drop their needles at once it seems, carpeting the red pumice roads in pale green. Parched cowslips clatter in the breeze like paper wind chimes. Dust. The danger of fire is palpable. Rain please.

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    Dry lake with thirsting antelope….. tiny dots in center.

    I’m close to finish the TAT portion of this ride as I expect to arrive in Port Orford and camp at Cape Blanco sometime Wednesday evening. Before then, I am hoping to have a new Motoz Desert HT installed in Medford. I called ahead and they have one and are holding it for me.

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    A little taste of California along the way.

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    Greetings with Dan the Pizza Man from Lakeview. He digs the TAT adventure and offered me tent space.

    My plan is to power wash the 10lbs of crap off my bike this morning, head to the KTM shop, drop the rear tire and tool on Katy M in the parking lot until my tire is ready. I have shaken one of the Rottweiler mirrors off and they other is loose. I have a new set of brake pads to install and I plan to drop the extra two links out of my chain. I am not expecting extensive mud going forward.

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    Sand here is firm like cake.

    Fires are an issue and my original plans include riding the Oregon BDR to the Washington BDR and then Idaho, etc. I am going to try to return to where I left off, but my impression is that I will be prevented from entering. Hopefully I can find someone who can properly advise me, but if I am going to run into re-routing often, I am considering adjusting my plan to ride the Oregon coast to Washington and pick up the BDR then, saving Oregon for another, less smokey visit. I will know something later today.

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    Toasted mountain.

    As many of you know, a lot of folks extend a helping hand to us motorcycle travelers. It happens often, most lately Dan the Pizza Man offered to let me pitch a tent behind his pizza parlor. And consider Rod, a USMC veteran I met at the Bigfoot Tavern in Crescent who lost his son, a Marine sniper, in the Middle East. Rod and I chatted over a couple beers and before I could ride another mile, Rod was out in the parking lot filling my chill box with smoked sausage, extra sharp cheddar and a sleeve of Ritz crackers. What a man. He made my next tent stop 100% improved. I love our country, the world really, and I can tell you that in the capacity of motorcycle travel, politics never comes up. We strive to find our commonalities, not our differences.

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    Rod stocks me up with trail grub.

    I also enjoyed the company of an old friend Tammy for dinner in Ashland and she was kind enough to help me make a supple run. Great to see her again. My front tire was not holding air and rather than risk a plug, I went ahead and put on a Motoz Rallz to go with the Desert HT on the rear. New brake pads went on the rear and I’m changing oil myself. I have some fasteners to tighten and away we go tomorrow.

    We ride on,

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
  2. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    14,955
    Location:
    FLat Lander
    "... in the capacity of motorcycle travel, politics never comes up. We strive to find our commonalities, not our differences."

    This is a sentiment that has followed me throughout my moto travels. So often we become entangled in the belief that our differences are more important and more powerful than our commonalities. Road trips seem to always hit my mental reset button when I've become lost in that particular brand of negativity.

    Really enjoying the ride along and thanks for the reminder!
  3. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    By all means think what you want, but, keep it out of interactions with people and good things happen!
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  4. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Sit Rep: Port Orford

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  5. Phreaky Phil

    Phreaky Phil Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,067
    Location:
    NEW ZEALAND
    Port Orford. Woohoo. You made it. :beer
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  6. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Well done sir, well done!
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  7. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Thursday, August 26
    Days:
    47

    Nuts & Bolts: After an orange Jarritos & a couple pollo from Tacos el metate, I leave the Ashland/Medford area and ride route 62 north until intersecting with the TAT in the Umpqua National Forest. I continue toward the coast, meet with fire fighting personnel and arrive in Port Orford 20 minutes after sunset for dinner. I make camp at Cape Blanco State Park where I will stay for 5 nights.

    Miles: 254.3
    Total Miles:
    8615.6
    MPG: 51

    Weather: 57-73F. Sunny & smokey start to the day with decreasing smoke and temperature closer to the coast. Much of the day was in the low to mid 60’sF with increasing sun and coastal breeze. Sweet day for finishing the TAT in Oregon.

    Trail Conditions: From twisty mountain tarmac to more hard packed forest service roads. Some sections followed narrower paths with a layer of grey cut 3/4 inch gravel with deeper spots, but easy. The wider forest service roads are packed sand with 3/8-1/2 inch somewhat rounded gravel that acts a little like cornmeal on a pizza peal. Some sliding.

    Also, some climbing. Most climbs were 3rd gear rips but one in particular was extra difficult, maybe the single most technical section of my ride so far. Steep, rocky, loose and nasty, very nasty

    Stops: Tacos el matate in Medford, trailside for salami & cheddar on flat bread, and a grilled chicken on ciabatta w/ IPA’s paired at the Salty Dawg in Port Orford.

    Lodging: Cape Blanco State Park

    Observations: Still dry and in fire danger, Oregon closer to the coast is five shades greener and a lot closer to how I picture and remember this wild state. Pine trees tower, shade dominates and rhododendron and ferns flourish. Tree lichen dangle from branches of enormous pine trees and the soil becomes dark and rocky again. Cape Blanco, one of Oregon’s oldest parks on the coast has some of all of it in one place it seems, plus an ocean.

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    When you know you’re in Oregon…

    Luck was on my side when I came upon the first “closed road” encounter along my route. Two young men on watch ultimately let me go as the road was not a “hard closure” as they described it, and apparently they were given discretion on who “needs” to get through. Lucky me, they saw I needed to get through.

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    H2O

    As I pushed west I probed my memory for details from the last time through in 2017. Clear memories of a landslide with an impassible boulder (at least for me) were not matched with it’s exact location and so I kept expecting to run into it “anytime now.” Beyond that and some climbing, I did not recall Oregon as being especially challenging, technically speaking. As a matter of fact, I was pretty much giving myself a premature pat on the back, thinking, “this is it, not much more to endure.” I was wrong.

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    Not everybody finishes

    Turns out there’s a climb - I don’t know maybe 50 miles before the coast. Turns out there’s a climb. Yeah, only this one runs steep for at least 1000 feet of nonstop up with a couple shitty switchbacks tossed in.

    Okay, if it were just steep it would have been tricky. I’m no good at judging grades, but this was steeper than some people I know could walk up, no chance of a mountain bike ever making it and just about steep enough to make you turn you feet sideways to walk on. But it wasn’t just steep.

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    Photos never do justice to slope

    This little mutherfucker was festooned with 4-5 inch rounded and rough cut stone and at no time offered a clear and consistent line up. First gear, maybe second for a dab then back down to first. Bouncing, skidding, bucking and ripping up the mountain I went, stopping abruptly about half way or else off trail, then digging a deep traction control hole to get going again. About 8/10 the way to the top I came to a loss of traction stop & drop in the middle of the trail, but it was a good drop and I had Katy m upright in like 15 seconds.

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    Deeper coastal green

    Still, there was another 150 or so yards of rocky vertical, as far as I could tell. The thought of going back down that rock chute was a horror I’d didn’t want to fathom so I left Katy M resting on her side stand and made the trek up the hill on foot to scope out a potential landing. I’d have to send it to make it.

    Nasty: that’s all I say. “This shit is nasty.” Even so, underneath, I knew I could do it. I had to try. Going back was no option.

    I drag-swept away some of the larger stones I might hit on the way back down the hill and scouted the best possible line. It was so steep, I had to be careful not to tumble rocks onto Katy M below. For the first time this trip, I decided to increase my odds of success by removing the duffle and tank bag from the bike. The side bags stayed on to help if she lays down.

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    What a fresh Motoz Desert HT does

    I set a good stop-rock behind the rear wheel and after my breath came back, I swung a leg over and gave her a go. That stop-rock must have helped a bunch because unlike last time, no traction hole and up, up, and away we went. I felt like Superman as that beautiful mechanical contraption bit, tore and chewed it’s way up to the top. Bullet proof. Tall buildings, the whole lot. (Traction control on 2 I think). I took a minute to celebrate, again.

    Ah, the coast. I could smell it, but two more obstacles would stand in the way. First, a gate.

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    Landslide

    When it comes to fire country, I don’t play around. If a road is closed, it’s closed, especially if I smell a whiff of smoke. But I hadn’t. Not for some time. The smoke was well behind me when I made the decision to skirt a gate. There was no signage, but a clear route around perfectly sized for motorcycles. It was a short section where a go-around would be miles and I reckoned the barrier was intended for 4 wheeled vehicles, so I went for it.

    Probably 9 times out of 10 this works out fine. No harm, no foul. This time was one of the 1 in 10. About 75 feet from the left I needed to take, I came upon a locked gate. No signage, but a sturdy, well fortified gate. It was one of those gates that blocks a bridge and time had been taken to fortify the edges with large, impassible boulders. Still, as motorcyclists will, someone had fashioned a go around that included a romp over a steep set of camel humps flanked by rocks and pine tree. One of those one shot make-it-or-break-it deals. Unless your me.

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    I can relate to this lil’ pine tree sometimes

    Coming to a nice rest on top of the first hump and bottoming out on my skid plate, I decided forward was a no-go. So back I went, clutching first gear and feathering front brakes. The right rear pannier biffed off the pine tree and down I went, sliding backward. Not bad really except I not only took a good walloping to my left ass cheek, my right foot got caught under the bear-trap rally foot peg, sustaining a nice tenderizing of my talus. Yowza.

    After resetting, I just ripped a fuckin’ valley up that camel’s back and was done with it. I may have treated myself to a snack after. Deserved.

    The pace picked up again after all that and a glance at the now falling sun suggested I might be in with a shot of making the beach by sunset. Would’t that be classic. All that remained was the landslide & the boulder, the same shit that cost me sunset in 2017. I vowed that if it looked at all impassible, I wouldn’t waste a minute trying to pass and just route around.

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    This was at the top of that nasty climb. Someone else knew.

    The sun turned from gold to red, sinking toward the sea. I hastened my pace and made straight line climbs and quick turn corners. And there it was: the landslide. I recognized it immediately except that the erosion was worse and more boulders of significant size had fallen, further blocking the route. I gave it a good scope anyhow and though some industrious hands and fashioned a rocky go-around, it was not for me, not for a solo rider on a fat bike. Maybe my 500, but not bigger. I shot a few pics for posterity and blasted down the trail for a go-around.

    Even though I could see the setting sun through the trees and even caught a few red rays on my face, the last 10 miles or so of the TAT dip into that Oregon shade and don’t spit you out again until it’s too late.

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    Fat pines

    So I rode that last few miles into town in the waning dusk and pulled up to the Salty Dawg both a little jubilant and defeated just like last time and left Katy M outside to watch my stuff while I followed the beat of the Charlie Watts and the Stones inside to celebrate where nobody cared but me.

    Now I sit in the shady pine wind stop of Cape Blanco State park, resting my body, contemplating repairs and waiting for maps, because soon enough, we ride.


    Ikeya-Seki, out.

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    Standing in Bill’s hat.

    Katy M update and gear set up to follow.
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  8. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Sit Rep: When in Rome….,

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  9. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,293
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Fantastic finish

    congrats :clap

    S
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  10. One Man Trail

    One Man Trail Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 13, 2021
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    27
    Location:
    Yuma, AZ
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    Oh my gosh I can’t believe you saw my sticker! I put that there way back in 2018 and its still on that rock! That section of Oregon was memorable. I don’t know about that Trans Am 500 sticker but it was there when I put mine on, so its been around awhile.
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  11. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Yes, I saw your sticker and thought someone else appreciated that hill. Looks new as if you were just there. Cheers.
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  12. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Sit Rep: camped at Nehalem State Park. Starboard side pannier mount (middle of 3) is cracked at the mount. Bolt is holding, but considering options. WABDR on deck.

    ready for warmer temps!
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  13. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Tuesday, August 31
    Days: 48-52

    Nuts & Bolts: After hunkering down at Cape Blanco State Park for 5 nights and six days, I ride north along the Oregon coast to Nehalem State Park where I camp and wait for parts before beginning the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route. Wear and tear begin to show for both bike & rider.

    Miles: 278.9
    Total Miles: 9029
    MPG: 49.3 (small sprockets & speed)

    Weather: 50-62F. Overcast with breaks of sun. Strong, gusty wind all day. Brisk, but a good day for riding.

    Trail Conditions: Slab. Mainly route 101. Light to medium traffic near town centers. RV factor: 2.
    Stops: The Dive Grub Pub for late breakfast & a strange conversation. The Fern for ordinary dinner.

    Lodging: Nehalem State Park

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    The rock

    Observations: A meandering ride north along the 101 with a smorgasbord of ocean vistas and turn outs kept me occupied at the handlebars most of the day. A couple of coastal loops got my turn signals flashing for a little explore, but mostly I stuck to plan and rode steady north, passing when necessary.

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    The Cape Blanco site.

    Oregon boasts plenty of seaside towns and villages that slow you down to 25 mph so your head can swivel and stop easy at any one of the many eclectic shops (lots of beads) and fish n’ chip joints. Some towns are more “chained” than others, but for the most part restaurants and inns seem locally owned.

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    Couple happy tourists at one of the local fish n’ chip shacks.

    Wind is a constant and so are the killer beach views. Geological tectonics have left the beaches and breakwaters full of rock formations that can tower hundreds of feet. Others break the surface almost resembling an alagators’ hide. A navigator’s nightmare. I stopped for breaks a number of times and found plump, ripe blackberries for the picking.

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    Roadside treats.

    Having made this run a number of times before, I found some familiar spots even conjuring up some muscle memory for a few of the fat, cliff side “S” turns. The only odd feeling I had was that I wasn’t in the woods anymore. The rules are different and I had to adjust.

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    Beached at Port Orford.

    Although I wish it were warmer, the six days at Cape Blanco proved to be a healing stop. Adrenalin or some other natural blinder kept a short list of injuries from claiming their pain and once I stopped, they caught me. It seems I did a good job tweaking a knee somewhere, smashing a foot, bruising my bottom and, of course, putting the vice grips on the back and triggering some nerve damage. Hobbling the first day eased into a fairly normal gate with 6 days of rest. I slept in until 12:30 twice, something I haven’t done since college. In Nehalem there is sun, and campfires.

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    And…. The Cape Blanco lighthouse.

    Katy M and my kit in general are taking a bit of a beating. My chain and sprocket are probably good for another BDR & a half, but not much more. I’m changing them out. One of the Rade Garage panniers is failing at the tube/fasten plate joint and will either need to be welded or reinforced. My Mosko Moto tank bag is coming apart and I’ve pulled off a few more zipper pulls of the Klim wear. I also found a nice sized chunk of gravel from between the swing arm and catalytic converter, now dimpled for show. Others bits are breaking & fraying here and there.

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    If everything can hold on until I make it to my next replenishment spot in Mammoth, all should be fine.

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    As far west as you ride in the continental United States. Cape Blanco.

    I’ll post a Situation Report or two, but my next ride report will come once I’ve covered some ground on the WABDR.

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    Saturday night splurge at Red Fish, Port Orford.

    Ikeya-Seki, out

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    Remaining optimistic.
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  14. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    10,231
    Location:
    Hanover, NH USA
    If you have the patience to deal with criticisms, I'd love to see an Equipment thread posted by you where you link to this ride report then highlight the gear that succeeded and the gear that has fallen short AND how each manufacturer backs you up on repair requests. This stuff, most of it, is brand new. They should repair it even if it's a small fee. If a vendor leaves you out to dry and puts in writing some BS like "outside of expected use" then call them out. I want to hear how various things held up in more detail...maybe not call them out but that's what I would do (which is why I have no sponsors) :p

    Keep up the great work. Feel free to give me a shout on the phone if you want to catch up and just need someone to chat with. It can get lonely on the road.
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  15. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    [QUOTE="AdamChandler,…….

    Hey Adam, thanks for the input. I will do a full gear break down (see what I did there?) once I get back and the dust settles some. I think you make valid points regarding companies standing behind their products, even if I am hard on them. I’ll probably review/report on the final unpacking so I get everything in. I can tell you one thing: I will throw my Klim Badlands Pro pants in the garbage when done - 80k miles in them. Overall, they worked for me but I will look elsewhere next time.

    Thanks too for the convo offer, I may just take you up on it, but if we don’t touch base while I’m on the road, I will certainly look you up back in N.H. where we can do a proper debrief (IPAs) and maybe hack out a video or something.

    Cheers,
    Drew
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  16. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Sit Rep: Fire 504CDE45-CA11-4C0F-A95F-1371A6D95C61.jpeg
    P.s. I love my job
  17. svo_jon

    svo_jon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 10, 2019
    Oddometer:
    220
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    Bend OR
    That trans am 500 sticker on the rock was placed there by Jenny Morgan when she road the first rally raid cb500x up that hill as part of a proof of concept ride, after which she nicknamed that climb the Tiller Killer as it is outside Tiller. Last year I road down that hill with Jenny and Juan Brown on their Western TAT and Back trip. You are right, that hill is no joke! I would describe it as a multi pitch waterfall. Lots of big loose rocks. And as you say... no line... good for you riding up!
    Jonathan
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  18. Critic

    Critic More or less!

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,348
    Location:
    West of the Illinois, heart of the state!
    Cool! I lost track of your report very early on, but stumbled back on it today; just a few days following reaching Port Orford. So a little late, but I will gladly celebrate and salute to your success! Well, that will be glass for me and, since you are not here, I will drink one for you!
    Great job of reporting, while keeping up interest flow with photo's and details.

    " Most climbs were 3rd gear rips but one in particular was extra difficult, maybe the single most technical section of my ride so far. Steep, rocky, loose and nasty, very nasty"

    "Turns out there’s a climb - I don’t know maybe 50 miles before the coast. Turns out there’s a climb. Yeah, only this one runs steep for at least 1000 feet of nonstop up with a couple shitty switchbacks tossed in."

    "Okay, if it were just steep it would have been tricky. I’m no good at judging grades, but this was steeper than some people I know could walk up, no chance of a mountain bike ever making it and just about steep enough to make you turn you feet sideways to walk on. But it wasn’t just steep."


    Not sure it was the same climb, but your description sure sounds like our most difficult point; which was not far from Port Orford!
    Ikeya-Seki likes this.
  19. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    She must be pretty incredible.
  20. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    New Hampshire