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

Covid Reimagines Newfoundland As National Parks Out West - Old Guys On The Move Again

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Fuzzy74, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 11 Richefield, UT to Ely, NV

    Wind, Cold, Rain, Wind, Snow, did I say "wind?"

    With bad weather forecast we slept in with plans to leave hotel at 9:00 am. Route was to go north then cut southwest of Salt Lake to I-80 and into Nevada. Morning news was a Salt Lake Station. I thought they were showing reporters on the gulf coast with the latest hurricane coming ashore. They were in Salt Lake. "Down slope" sustained winds qualified as a hurricane and gusts were recorded to 112mph. Gale Force might have been OK to us Navy guys, but hurricanes are something to ride clear of. Forecast looked better going due east so we reversed our circle of Utah and headed for Route 50, America's Loneliest Highway.

    By the time we left hotel rain had stopped there and temperature was into low 40's. A good sign or so we thought. Route was northeast a few miles on I-70 then west on hwy50. On 50 we went over a pass where temperature dropped below freezing and we were level with the snow line from night before. After dropping back down 50 joined up with I-15 to head south over another pass. We had caught back up to light rain which at the top of the pass was mixed with snow. Luckily it was a fairly quick up and down so we did not stay in snow long. After the pass 50 split from I-15 and headed west. This is where the real fun began. The north wind from Salt Lake was a cross wind on hwy 50 sustained above 25 mph with gusts much higher. The only saving grace that with wind from the right, trucks going other direction did not nail us with blasts of wind. Passing motorhomes traveling same direction was another matter though. We stopped for lunch just across the border at Baker, NV and stopped early at a hotel in Ely, NV.

    We were beat. Not long miles but longest day of riding even though we started late and stopped before 3:00. Should have turned around and gone back with wind from left to even out the wear on our tires.

    A clip of wind at lunch stop.
    #21
    LM15 likes this.
  2. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 12 Ely, NV to Fernley, NV

    Winds had calmed down some and we continued on hwy 50, The Loneliest Highway. I had expected this portion of route to be boring. It is lonely for lack of traffic, but multiple mountain ranges were crossed and mountains were never out of sight both in front and behind the route. Gas stations can be far apart so think twice before passing one with half a tank.

    Our GPS told us there was food and gas ahead at Middlegate Station, so we planned for a stop in the town. Town was a huge exaggeration. It was one building that other than electricity and one indoor bathroom had probably not been updated since the Pony Express riders got a fresh horse here. There was a single beat up tank and pump providing regular gas. We gassed up and headed inside.

    Middlegate Station
    IMG_2117.JPG

    Trip Advisor gives the food 4.5 stars. Harley rider at next table ordered the Monster Burger. Start with 22oz of meat and there is reportedly 4 total pounds of food on plate. Notice he is holding with two hands. He said it was the best burger he ever had, but good as it was, he was unable to clean up his plate and earn a t-shirt. They were on 2 Harleys riding 2 up from New Jersey. Nuke and I had normal size burgers that were very good. Some Top Gun memorbalia was on the walls so apparently they come over from Fallon for a bite now and then.
    IMG_2116 (2).JPG

    Missing a horse to continue down the road.
    IMG_2121.JPG

    This one needs more than a horse.
    IMG_2119.JPG

    We continued down 50 to Fernley where we checked into a hotel for the night. On the way we passed Fallon Naval Air Station, the home of Top Gun. Only activity visible to us was a couple F-18s taking off in formation and quickly disappearing in distance. My daughter in law, in her Super Hornet, was one of the first women pilots to complete the Top Gun course.
    #22
    severely, LM15, Essbee and 1 other person like this.
  3. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 13 - Fernley, NV to Winnemucca, NV via California and Oregon

    Woke early in Fernley and started researching wildfire locations and status to verify we could complete our route for the day. This was a frustrating exercises and the official web pages seemed to only be updated to add fires with related restrictions but not to cancel the data when over. Did manage through local Facebook posts and one call to a sheriff's office to confirm our route was OK for that day. This year the fire fighting folks had enough on their hands that timely updates of fires out can be easily forgiven. Thank God for these first responders attempting to control the fires out west.

    We headed north on hwy 447 and before getting out of town there was a digital sign stating road closed ahead and "Stay at home recommended due to fires". Immediately after the sign was a school zone. There was a line of cars with parents dropping their kids off. With nothing to lose we chose to continue. 20 miles up 447 hwy 446 split off to the west. Another digital sign warning was at the start of 446. The fire was west of Pyramid Lake with our route to the east of the lake and a light east wind blowing. We could see some smoke but it was all going other way.

    446 made The Loneliest Highway in America look busy. Only one gas station in Surprise Valley, California at 160 miles from Fernley so just in case, we topped off half Way in Gerlach, NV the only gas between. Pushing above the 70 mph speed limit on empty roads the 160 miles was close to our range. Shortly after Gerlach we passed through an area that had a major fire a month prior. Lots of scorched earth and smell of ash but had been out a month.

    Almost missed the sign at state line. The hillside in background had been burned in another major fire that was still active off the the west. The road was where they stopped the fire in this area.
    IMG_2126.JPG

    Surprise Valley is extreme northeast California in an areal east of mountains that define much of the California - Nevada border. Nevadans believe the surveyors got lazy and turned straight north to finish the survey line between states. There were law suits on the correct border that were settled in California's favor long ago. The map showed Surprise Valley road skirting the west side of 3 large lakes. We saw a lot of flat barren ground where the lakes were supposed to be, but not a drop of water. We bought gas at the only station Google Maps showed in the valley. Continuing north past Fort Bidwell the road turned to gravel. On the California side of border gravel was well maintained. We crossed a small bridge that Garmin indicated separated Oregon from California. We rode a total of 71 miles in California. The road quality went down as a further indication we had changed states, but there was no sign to be seen. After 25 miles of gravel the road went back to pavement and soon we were in Adel, OR. We stopped at Adel Store for gas and a burger. The store was the only building we saw making up the town. Burger was good and gas was highest price we saw on trip. Someone had to come out and turn on the pump and then had us the nozzle to pump our own gas. Always gets me in Oregon and New Jersey where their excuse for no self serve is safety but on a motorcycle they won't pump it for you. The gas pumping union is strong in these states preventing self serve.

    IMG_2128.JPG

    Research showed another major fire in Oregon 30 miles northwest of Adel. We turned east on hwy 140.

    This area of California and Oregon had a different style fence post than I am used to. Everywhere the fence turned or ended and occasionally in between this was arrangement holding up the fence. Of course they didn't have far to go to find the rocks. There is wire around the 4 posts holding the rocks in place.
    IMG_2129.JPG

    Hwy 140 took us from Adel well back into Nevada. We were 52 miles in Oregon. Hwy 140 in Oregon is another lonely road. Nevada portion pretty much the same.
    IMG_2133.JPG

    We continued to Winnemucca, NV. Campgrounds are few and far between in this part of country and not being into wild camping we checked into a hotel.
    #23
    LM15 and Amphib like this.
  4. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 14 -- Winnemucca, NV to West Jordan, UT

    Local news on hotel TV was from Reno, NV. Weather showed that winds were now from the west and smoke so thick in western Nevada that residents were advised to stay in their homes with windows closed. Winnemucca was at eastern edge of warning and we were heading further east. Did have plenty of smoke haze in the sky. Seems the previous day was the only clear day for us to have made our run to three corners of Nevada, California and Oregon. Weather a few days prior making us reroute the trip saved that run for us.

    East of Winnemucca the road options are hundreds of miles of I-80 or hundreds of miles of gravel We wimped out and rode I-80. We stopped at a casino in West Wendover, NV for a good lunch. If casinos don't have good food customers who go next door to eat may stay and do their gambling there. Nuke and I were happy to just get the good meal and move on with one hand protecting the hole in my pocket that would have sent money to the slot machines.

    Just across the border into Utah is a must stop to see.
    IMG_2138.JPG

    Not wanting to totally cover our bikes with salt and loaded up to prevent a good speed run, we just took a good look, took the picture, then stopped at gas station for the sticker. There was a camper in distance with a couple vehicles. Nothing made a run while we watched so not sure what they were up to. Surprised to see no fence or sign to prevent riding onto the flats.

    We stayed on I-80 until we had a glimpse of Great Salt Lake then turned southeast skirting the edge of Salt Lake City. We found a hotel in West Jordan, UT for the night.
    #24
    LM15 and Ride Now like this.
  5. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 15 - West Jordan, UT to Green River, UT

    Our plans centered around not wanting to be turned away again at Arches National Park with a Sunday arrival. Without paying exorbitant tourist town prices the best option we found was in Green River.

    Leaving West Jordan we went south a few miles to get past Provo to Fairview then turned southeast on hwy 89. We then went west on hwy 31. The 89 / 31 route showed up as recommended on some motorcycle maps and did not disappoint. It was then south on hwy 191 to I-70 and east a few miles to Green River.

    The smoke was still apparent in central Utah
    IMG_2139.JPG

    We were in Green River in time for lunch. Tamarisk Restaurunt was on the river and a good place to eat. Nuke failed to finish desert so had something to eat for breakfast. I had to eat all of mine or it would have melted before breakfast.
    IMG_2140.JPG

    Checked out the museum across street from restaurant. A lot of history in this area. Look at the ridgeline in this picture and think "Hole in the Wall." Butch and Sundance practiced their trade here until they headed for South America.
    IMG_2143.JPG

    We took the rest of the afternoon to relax with an early morning start planned.
    #25
    LM15 likes this.
  6. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 16 - Green River Utah to Mesa Verde, CO via Arches, Arizona and New Mexico

    We left hotel at 6:00 am to ensure we were in Arches before it was full and gates closed. We arrived before sunrise to find gate open and no-one there to collect fees. Seems our government is so fat with cash it wasn't worth it to have someone up before 8:00 am to collect $35 each from the many cars headed into the park. We were in the park in time to watch sunrise through twin arches.
    IMG_2148.JPG

    Spent the next 3 hours riding and hiking in park. Took this picture quickly then moved out of the way..... just in case.:kurt
    IMG_2154.JPG

    First hike in spot
    IMG_2160.JPG

    Cool enough early to leave gear on for hike.
    IMG_2170.JPG
    #26
    Cigar, LM15 and Dessert Storm like this.
  7. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 16 - Arches Continued

    In some of Bill Engval's routines he talks of warnings labels. He points out that for it to be on the package you know someone has tried that, such as on Preparation H "Do not take orally". The sign in the outhouse brought back memories of Bill's routine. I mentioned it to a ranger and his comment was the sign is still a work in progress. Not sure I want to know what gets added.
    IMG_2175.JPG

    Back to more of the beauty in the park.

    Approaching the Double Arches
    IMG_2178.JPG

    Double Arches
    IMG_2184.JPG

    View from between arches. I circled our motorcycles in case you were having trouble picking them out. Smoke from California still causing haze.
    IMG_2190_LI.jpg
    #27
    LM15, Essbee and Pekes1956 like this.
  8. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 16 Continued - South to Arizona and New Mexico then back to Colorado.

    We left Arches mid morning with heavy traffic coming in but gate still open so park wasn't full. We stopped at visitor center for our stickers on the way out. Here is view from parking lot.
    IMG_2193.JPG

    We headed south stopping for a good lunch in Monticello, UT at the Grist Mill Inn. A bit south we turned off hwy 191 onto hwy 262 for a more backroad experience into Arizona at Red Mesa. We turned west on hwy 180 towards New Mexico. Our original plan had been to cross New Mexico to the Texas panhandle, but New Mexico had a 2 week quarantine. All camping was closed. It was allowed to pass through, but far to do in a day. "Essential" stops were allowed but if checking into a hotel it was expected to go from front desk straight to room and not step out of room until going to front desk to turn in keys. Our revised plan was to stay on 180 past 4 Corners. If you check the map 180 is in New Mexico for less than a mile between Arizona and Colorado. New Mexico collected none of our tourist money.

    The 4 Corners Monument was closed for Covid.
    IMG_2194.JPG

    Passing into Colorado the spectacular scenery continued.
    IMG_2195.JPG

    Our destination was Mesa Verde National Park. We quickly checked in and set up our tents prior to a look around the park. Note the deer by picnic table. Most spots had a bear locker as can be seen to right of my tent.
    IMG_2213.JPG
    #28
    LM15 and Pekes1956 like this.
  9. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 16 Continued - Mesa Verde National Park

    We had another campground above 7,000' Plenty of sites to choose from and half the tent camping area was closed off, not in use. After pitching our tents we mounted our bikes and headed out to see the park. This is where the natives had built dwellings into the side of cliffs. Unfortunately with Covid all the tours were canceled so we could only see from overlooks.
    IMG_2199.JPG

    IMG_2205.JPG

    This dwelling dug into the ground predates the cliff dwellings. Dug in the ground provided a cooler summer and warmer winter dwelling. The material used to cover the dwelling is long since gone. The hole in the back wall is a vent that is horizontal then up out of the ground.
    IMG_2204.JPG

    Sun starting to set and time to head back to campground 20 miles away.
    IMG_2211.JPG

    Bottom line I am thankful New Mexico was closed or we would have missed this amazing place.
    #29
    LM15 and Dessert Storm like this.
  10. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 17 - Mesa Verde National Park to Trinidad, CO.

    A little sad to leave Mesa Verde as it was the last of the destination points on the trip. We did have one day of riding east through Mountains of Colorado. We headed east on hwy 160 enjoying the mountains until we dropped down to I-25. We headed south on I-25 for 30 miles to Trinidad. Other than pulling onto the right shoulder to avoid someone passing in the other direction, nothing special to report and no pictures taken.
    #30
    LM15 likes this.
  11. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 18 Trinidad, CO to Liberal, KS

    We were both due for an oil change so Nuke identified a shop in town to do it for us. At 8:00 am we were waiting for Topar Racing to open. If you are in Kansas and need service for you motorcycle or tractor, these guys are great. As you can see from sign they cater to TAT riders.
    Topar.jpg

    For the previous few days I had been having trouble with my starter. It sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. It progressively got worse to the point that by the time we had arrived in Mesa Verde it had totally stopped working. Luckily the Versys 300 is easy to push start. On flat ground I could straddle the bike and get it going fast enough to pop the clutch and start. I did not expect them to have parts, but I asked the mechanic to verify if it was starter or solenoid. He tested and found 12.5 volts at the starter so solenoid good. He gave the starter a rap with a wrench and it started up. 3 weeks and 3,000 miles later it has not failed to work. He had the magic touch. For awhile I had been able to get it to work by bumping it back and forth in gear or dropping off center stand. His value was knowing exactly where and how hard to hit the starter. :clap:clap:clap

    With fresh oil and thus a late start we headed east across the prairies of southern Colorado and Kansas stopping for the night in Liberal, KS. In a town named "Liberal" I kept my political views to myself.
    #31
    LM15 and jspringator like this.
  12. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 19 Liberal to KS to Bartlesville, OK

    Another straight road and flat land day. Highlight was stopping at Braum's in Blackwell, OK for desert.
    IMG_2217.JPG

    For me, passing into Oklahoma closed in a gap in my states ridden to / in by motorcycle with a total of 8 added in the trip.
    IMG_2218.PNG
    #32
    NSFW, LM15 and dano619 like this.
  13. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 20 Bartlesville, OK to Robinson Point Park, AR

    Approaching northeast Oklahoma the roads gained character of the type we motorcyclists look for. We had found our way across another state without approaching any major cities and nothing but light traffic. We did find ourselves on historic Route 66 for awhile.
    IMG_2223.JPG

    We crossed into Arkansas on OK 20 to AR 43.

    In my travels my two favorite states to ride are northwest Arkansas and West Virginia. Their twisty roads rival anything in area of the Dragon but without the traffic. I was living in Arkansas when Mike Huckabee was elected governor. He put a focus on upgrading the roads and today the quality of the roads is as good as anywhere I have been. Prior to his administration Arkansas was listed as worst roads in United States by truckers associations. I was glad to pay an extra five cents a gallon for gas with ALL the money going towards road construction and maintenance.

    At this point with 3 weeks on the road we were ready to be home and did not take extra time to play. We did however take back roads crossing the northern part of the state. Looking for a place to camp near Mountain Home found comments on line of Norfolk Lake being held at a high level by Corps of Engineers and several campgrounds closed for flooding. Robinson Point was open so we had reserved sites there. Only part of Robinson Point Park was closed for high water. Apparently a storm had removed tin from picnic table shelters. There was some damaged tin on the ground in the park.
    IMG_2227.JPG

    The line of trees is a row of campsites.
    IMG_2226.JPG

    Luckily our sites high enough to not drown our fire.
    IMG_2224.JPG
    #33
    LM15 likes this.
  14. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 21 Robinson Point Park, AR to Chickasaw State Park, TN

    Half way to the Mississippi River the land flattened out and a north wind picked up. Not as strong as we saw on Route 50 in Nevada but enough to let us get some wear on left side of tires. We crossed the river on I-155 then turned south. It was a pleasant ride down past Jackson, TN to the park. The campsites int he park were not well maintained. The campsite we had reserved had a major wash out through it and no good location to set up tents. We picked another nearby site that did not show a reservation for the night and set up camp. It was a Friday with good weather and the campground nearly filled up with family campers. This was OK as although the children can be a bit noisy they did not stay up late to disturb sleep. Much better than camping next to rowdy partiers.

    IMG_2230.JPG

    After a good nights sleep was rewarded with sunrise across the lake. Someone else up early enough to have their campfire going in the right of the picture.
    IMG_2229.JPG
    #34
    NSFW and LM15 like this.
  15. Jeathrow Bowdean

    Jeathrow Bowdean Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    732
    Location:
    Western Canada Dream
    Thanks for sharing Fuzzy...

    I like those areas,,, East Colorado and West Utah puts a person smack dabb in the hart of the mountains,,, endless places too explore...

    Good times for sure...
    #35
  16. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    Day 22 Chickasaw State Park, TN to home.

    We were up early and packed the last day to head home. My goal was to ride the 228 miles home in time to watch the Navy - Tulane football game. We rode the first 120 miles together to Pulaski, TN where Nuke turned south towards Alabama then east to home in Georgia. His route home was 100 miles further than mine. Navy did not let me down with the greatest comeback in school history.

    I totaled 6,331 miles and 119 gallons of gas for 53 mpg on the trip. Other than the starter acting up the Versys 300X ran well. It could have used a bit more power at elevations with multiple days ridden above 7,000' elevation. Even the starter wasn't too big a deal as the light bike was easy to push start. When you can fix the problem with a hammer I figure I am riding the right bike.

    It was a great trip with a great friend.

    We are assuming the Canadian border will be back open next year and have much of the planning done for a ride to Newfoundland in August 2021. Nuke and I are of course going. 670cc is planning to ride with us again and MikeLM15 plans to go. It will be another epic journey.
    #36
    gavmac, LM15, David JM and 1 other person like this.
  17. ibebp

    ibebp n00b Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2020
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Thanks for writing up your trip Fuzzy. I'm looking at Newfoundland next year as well although my planning consists of .... head north east.
    #37
  18. AK Traveler

    AK Traveler n00b

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2019
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    Chattanooga
    How many total miles have you got on the Versys now. I have the same exact bike. I also have a bmw F700gs and its undeniably more comfortable but dollar for dollar the little Versys is tough to beat. I’m Thinking of adding a 3rd to the stable, how did Nukes Vstrom do.
    #38
  19. Fuzzy74

    Fuzzy74 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee
    I have over 31,000 miles on my Versys 300X. Very happy with it. My other bike is a Honda NC700. It is more comfortable on freeway but I like the lighter weight of 300X. It will do anything the Honda NC will do.

    Nuke could not have been happier with his Vstrom 650. Perhaps he will chime in here.
    #39
    AK Traveler likes this.
  20. fasteddiecopeman

    fasteddiecopeman Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    219
    Thanks for a VG write-up, w/ GREAT pics!

    When you mentioned snow (around 04 Oct) it reminded me of THIS from Oct '19 in Kayenta, AZ....

    [​IMG]IMG_4106BBcopy by Ed Copeman, on Flickr
    #40
    Fuzzy74 likes this.