1. Adventure Rider Print Magazine!
    We're doing a print magazine this November - 128 pages of high quality adventure riding stories, photography and interviews!

    Click here to purchase a copy for $9. Limited copies still available.
    Dismiss Notice

Colorado to the Wyoming TAT

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Blaise W, Sep 1, 2020.

  1. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Another night in a motel, in Douglas this time, and then the last day of the "official" WY TAT to Newcastle. Maybe I was getting a bit tired but there aren't many pics from this day. Maybe Dan can fill in. Lots of sandy roads with thin gravel, getting more and more rolling and bad-land looking in places. I enjoyed the ride, very remote, and when we got to the Cheyenne River Road we had a choice. Turn right for a short run to Newcastle, or keep going north to highway 450 and Gillette. One of my goals on this trip was to see the Little Bighorn, and the Fetterman battle site, both west of Newcastle. We opted for hiway 450 and Gillette for the evening.

    [​IMG]

    End of the gravel at hiway 450. I turned right here instead of left, and burned some fuel going the wrong way. Really, this is the very first time this has ever happened.......
    [​IMG]

    Realizing my mistake, we reversed course, but I was now worried about how much gas I had in the tank. There isn't much out here folks! Not to worry though, we made it to a gas stop south of Gillette and I think I had about .25 gallon remaining. Almost 70 mpg is nice! If I remember correctly we spent the night in Sheridan, WY.

    More to come, this evening!
    #41
  2. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Made our way to Fort Phil Kearney, a Wyoming State Park, and open! Even the visitors center! I had a long talk with one of the rangers there who filled us in on some of the history. I wanted to visit because I have read a bit about Lt. Col. Fetterman and how he led his men to defeat by Red Cloud. He disobeyed orders not to advance on a Sioux party (turns out it was a decoy party) beyond the crest of a ridge visible from the fort. He did anyway, and there was not a single survivor. The Sioux were waiting. Worst defeat of the US Army until Custer at the Little Bighorn, ten years later. At the Fetterman battle site you can see cars on the highway passing by just a hill or two over.

    [​IMG]

    You can walk most of the battlefield as it isn't too large, but what I wanted to see most wasn't marked. The bugler put up one hell of a fight before being overwhelmed and killed. The Sioux evidently respected this soldier's fight so much that he was the only one not mutilated. Or so I read elsewhere. The Ranger at the fort said that nobody ever marked where the bugler made his stand. Crazy Horse led the decoy party.

    We found out that the Little Bighorn battlefield was open, but that the visitors center was closed due to Covid. Because of that, I decided that the visit would wait for another trip, and we headed South toward Colorado.
    #42
    juno, Kyron, simondippenhall and 2 others like this.
  3. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    After leaving Sheridan the next morning we took the interstate for a few miles to Buffalo, then turned onto hiway 16 to go over the Bighorn Mountains to Worland, Thermopolis, Shoshoni, Riverton and to Rawlins.

    It was Cold! going over the Bighorns! But the curves were so nice that I didn't want to stop to gear up. Just at the western side of the mountains you go thru Ten Sleep Canyon. Trust me, this photo doesn't begin to do the canyon justice.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    There is a dirt road down in the gorge, on the other side, that I believe must be on one of the Best of Montana routes. If not, it should be. Perhaps worth going back to explore, and camp in Ten Sleep, a small community at the bottom of the canyon.

    An then, the Wind River Canyon out of Thermopolis, where we had lunch at the Black Bear Cafe i think.
    [​IMG]

    I didn't get any pics of the canyon, but if you haven't been there, look it up. The Wind River and Ten Sleep bits were some of my favorite parts of this trip, although they were not on the TAT portion.
    #43
    juno, Kyron, Ginger Beard and 4 others like this.
  4. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Last day, well, almost, was down thru Colorado via Walden, where we had a coffee and sweet break. Cherry cobbler for me, and I think Dan had hash browns of some sort.

    [​IMG]


    By Silverthorne it was looking like rain and it was pretty cool, so we grabbed a room for the night. Right next to the motel was a brewery! Yippee! Their Stout was only so so, but the fish and chips was excellent!
    [​IMG]
    #44
    juno, Kyron, Steve06 and 5 others like this.
  5. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    We only had a few miles to run the next morning, down thru Breckenridge (traffic!!!) and Hartsel to Canon City and onto to our start point. Downtown Canon City was a coffee and bagel stop for us, and the gal behind the counter even had Hal Ketchum on the speakers!

    [​IMG]
    Colorado is always beautiful to ride thru, and we enjoyed it going and returning. Looks like we left just in time because while it was hot when we were there, it's freezing now. It happens overnight! I'm thinking of heading back toward the end of September though, assuming that it warms up again before Winter really sets in.

    Thanks to Sam for putting the WY TAT together as I've always wanted to cross the state off pavement. There will be a return trip to explore some of the historical places in the northern part of the state, and a few of the scenic by ways too.

    [​IMG]
    #45
    juno, Steve06, Ginger Beard and 6 others like this.
  6. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    Follow up comments relating to bike and gear. Skip if you like.....

    CRF450L: Probably my last dual sport bike since I'm aging out, but hope to get in 5 to 10 more years of this silliness. My WR250R was an 08 and is still going strong in the hands of a friend, but I wanted to move up in horsepower a bit. Since Yamaha won't make the WR450R that I have requested, the Honda is the next best thing, or maybe the KTM500 is. 'Dunno, so take your pick. Suspension too stiff for starters, and the way I ride, but that's been addressed. Power is good for me, and so is the mpg! I won't go into all the little changes here but I'm calling it good, and I'm very pleased with the result. On this kind of trip I change oil at 1000 miles and it doesn't look bad. At 600 or so it looks almost clean.

    Mosko Moto Reckless 80: I have always used soft bags on racks, and still do on my Africa Twins. But for the CRF I wanted to eliminate the racks. Somehow Mosko Moto managed to get the Reckless 10's, 40's AND 80's into my shop. Since the kind of riding I do varies, I can (kind of) justify this excess. The 80's are more difficult to pack than panniers, but can do the job. I found that I needed to make a few changes though. Trying to fit my usual summer sleeping bag and Jet Boil Flash just didn't work. I had to go to a down sleeping blanket (Marmot) and one of the more compact Jet Boil stoves. Just this little bit size reduction makes a big difference. RTW Paul has a YouTube vid that does a great job of showing how to pack the R80's and I adopted quite a bit of that, especially the top duffel. I also had to fabricate a bar stand-off on the left side to protect the electric box. Pics in the thread. It worked fine.

    Klim Helmet: Fantastic! Quietest ever! By a big margin! Light, very well ventilated, but I did have a fogging issue on the morning of the last day when in the cold rain. I especially like the Transitions face shield and it changes shade very quickly. I found that I didn't need to wear sun glasses at all on this trip, and that gave the bridge of my nose a much needed break. I tend to make my helmets last (I'm cheap) but I'm glad that I made this change.

    Klim Baja and Enduro Gear: For the summer this is good stuff, and I wore them on both Montana and Wyoming rides this year. With the wind blocker (an extra) over a thermal liner the jacket is comfortable down to the 50's. After that, adding the Enduro rain outfit takes the comfort level a lot lower. If I'm expecting rain and cold on a semi regular basis, like in the Spring, I'll use my Traverse, but mid summer, the Baja takes the win.

    Anakee Wild Tires: I like them, and in fact have ordered a second rear for when the current tire wears out. This trip was over 2800 miles, and the rear looks like this:
    [​IMG]

    I think there is another 1000 miles or so in it, maybe more if you want to take it all the way. The front shows very little wear at all, and should be good for two rears. I ran about 17 psi in the front and around 20 in the rear when off pavement. That's higher than I use when no luggage is involved. Tires very quiet on the highway, and I don't recall any noise at all other than a slight harmonic at times. Certainly quieter than the D606. Grip is good pavement or dirt, and the front was OK in sand too. I don't really understand that. Usually I like the Goldentyre GT723 Fatty for soft conditions, and it's a pretty good all 'round dual sport front.

    Warp 9 Wheels: Glad I bought a second set. The stock wheels have more aggressive tires mounted for typical trail rides or where more technical terrain is on the menu. My Warp 9's include a cush hub at the rear and I think that contributes to much less wear on the counter shaft when substantial pavement is involved. I also went from the stock 51 tooth sprocket to a 45. I'm not jumping logs or boulders, just traveling. The 450 has plenty of power to pull the 45 and I never felt like the gearing was too tall. 'Never thought about it at all in fact. I am certain it contributes to more mpg as long as the rider isn't crazy with the throttle. We traveled at a good pace, but were never in a hurry. My rear has the 2.15" rim, which is fine for a 120 size tire, but I wish that for this set I had used a 2.5" rim which fits a 130 better. I may buy the 2.5 rim and re-lace to keep the tire from being deformed too much by the narrower rim. My new Wild is a 130, so time for me to decide....

    BajaWorx Windscreen: A winner for this kind of trip. I "never" use a windscreen on my small bikes as they are always in the way visually. Well, maybe not really, but distracting. This time though, with all the highway work, the BajaWorx was just the ticket, and it never caused me any grief on the trail either.
    #46
    juno, Kyron, VTbeemer and 4 others like this.
  7. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,904
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    Ken, sorry for the tardy response. The pics are great. Wyoming has a lot of high desert, and the WY TAT seems to hit a lot. It’s fun riding for sure. Thanks for taking the time to post your ride. I sold my last smaller bike a few years ago. Too many injuries/surgeries/recoveries, etc.. I’ve got a cast on now from the knee down, from one of our trips to Big Bend, several years ago. (Ankle rebuilt again). We hit the ice cream shop in Farson in July, but only had pedal bikes along.. Your RR makes me wish I still had my XC. :muutt Ha!
    #47
    Blaise W likes this.
  8. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I know the day is coming...... two wheels as long as I can stay upright, but I have the Jeep already. It's the backup plan! My goal is to be riding at the Death Valley Noobs at 80, or older, and get that "oldest rider" award! I have serious competition though, and he only has one hand! Hard to top that one.....
    #48
    NSFW, C-Dub, MizzouRider and 3 others like this.
  9. MazztheSpazz

    MazztheSpazz Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    130
    Location:
    Steamboat Springs, Co
    Thanks for the write up, so much to see! Photos are appreciated! I call Steamboat Springs home and still have plenty of exploring to do. Ride an XChallenge but thinking of the CFRF450L as a replacement.
    #49
    Blaise W likes this.
  10. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    25,478
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    thanks Ken. that's a beautiful ride and makes me want to do the same.
    #50
    Blaise W likes this.
  11. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    2,423
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    Really enjoyed the report @Blaise W! Followed the “dogs” Wyoming TAT report and yours has just added to my desire to head east and ride there.

    Also appreciate you taking the time to add details about your Honda, I’ve been riding a WR too and it’s a great, reliable bike...but needs an extra 250ccs IMO. Was super excited when I learned of the 450, but grew disappointed in the valve schedule. Any concerns there for you? Think Honda missed the mark with that, especially when the little 250 has a 26k mile interval.

    Anyway, looks like a great trip, thanks for taking the time to craft the report :thumb :thumb
    #51
    Blaise W and dano619 like this.
  12. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    I'm not overly worried about the valve schedule. I'm at 4100 miles now and will likely check clearances soon. In fact I'm loading up to go ride in Utah for a few days, and will get on the inspection when I get back. As long as the bikes starts OK you are generally good on the valves, and I don't think they move much after the initial adjustment. The 450 has loosened up and smoothed out nicely now, and I'm good riding it all day long, at highway speeds if need be.
    #52
    liv2day likes this.
  13. Blaise W

    Blaise W Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,438
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    You need to come East a little bit and join us on some of our forays! Seriously!
    #53
  14. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    25,478
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    been wanting too....i'll be slowly heading that way. ID, MT and WY are on my sights.

    you inspire many of us older rider to follow your tracks....just don't roost us....:lol2
    #54
    Blaise W likes this.
  15. EsconDeasy

    EsconDeasy Ectomorph

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,353
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just wanted to add my kudos. Excellent report. The balance of commentary and pics of great scenery. I love long trips on small bikes!
    Well done :clap
    #55
    Jedi2Rider and Blaise W like this.
  16. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    299
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    Why go big, when that just makes it more difficult. Small bikes are the best. Thanks for the RR. A great read. Petepilot
    #56
    Jedi2Rider and Blaise W like this.
  17. Jedi2Rider

    Jedi2Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    Oddometer:
    333
    Location:
    Hokkaido, Japan
    ^^^^^^
    +1
    This attraction to big bikes by an apparently large portion of the ADV market has always been a real head-scratcher for me. At times it has made me think that perhaps I was missing something. :confused
    But then I pick up my bike, and it's light. And I don't think twice about my bike's capability when I decide where to ride...my bike is much more capable than I am, but I am glad that I don't have to make choices/compromises because of the bike.
    When I see someone announce they want to ride the TAT on big ADV bike, I just think, "Why on earth would you want to DO that?" :loco
    But, to each their own. Free country and all that.
    #57
  18. Pete Pilot

    Pete Pilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    299
    Location:
    Prince Edward Island. Canada
    Jedi, I much agree. Although a large bike with numerous bells and whistles would make one feel self important. Small bikes on dirt are just so much more fun. Don’t doubt that a great deal of fun was head on this ride.
    #58
    Jedi2Rider likes this.
  19. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,904
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    Best thing about taking a big bike is no trailer to leave behind somewhere making you come back to point A. I always make loops out of my trips. Ride out to WY, catch the Continental Divide trail, go north into Montana, head home. Just makes life easier going across Nebraska.. Smaller bike, no doubt, way more enjoyable on the trails.
    #59
    Son of MotoPolo and Blaise W like this.
  20. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,114
    Location:
    Jupiter
    Great report! Do you have an overview of the entire WY TAT, very curious about where it goes and ties in. I have ridden the TAT with the ID portion in it but I am not familiar with WY at all.
    #60