Cross Country CRF230L

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JamesHTrotter, Mar 15, 2019.

Tags:
  1. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    Awoke early the next morning to coffee and downpours. Joey provided an old rain coat to cover my bag with, and Stace provided a riding buddy to the Beaumont city limits, in the rain, on a TW200. With a honk and a salute, we parted ways. In the mirror, I watched Stace u-turn and fade into the distance. The rain continued, heavier at times, until reaching the Texas hill country. It was as if crossing into a different land. The sky was clear, the wildflowers were in full bloom and the air smelled sweet and crisp. The sun dried out my waterlogged clothing very quickly (yes, you guessed it, no rain gear).
    F8C57200-0433-47D0-98D4-E69D727CD2DB.jpeg 178E6454-D48F-42DF-B459-198FDF78AD58.jpeg 9FA65CBF-ADB2-4048-937C-C04F1C995154.jpeg
    Beginning to feel tired from riding day after day, a detour into Austin seemed necessary. A good friend had relocated there a few years back and the offer to visit had always been there.
    The old adage says that it takes a village to raise a child. In that way, we are never really alone. It takes all kinds of people to make anything possible. I have spent much time in solitude, fasting and prayer, and have realized that a similar sustanence comes from being around, and in some degree, dependent on people.
    82FF19F2-C589-46B1-BE17-B2A84C00A8A9.jpeg
    I spent the evening in Austin and am taking a day off today. It has been so humbling to have met so many kind and generous folks to this point, and it seems that will carry me through the next few days. Austin to El Paso should consist of mostly old farming roads. Looking forward to camping out in the desert landscape. It has been about two years since I have been out there, and now I embrace the physical, emotional and spiritual intensity which the desert provides.
    In hopes to answer some questions, will work on a post with what gear is with along for the ride.
    Until then, thank you for joining along the ride. I could not do it alone.
    #41
    kojack06, Cigar, lanztek and 10 others like this.
  2. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2018
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Prairieville, Louisiana
    I guess I missed my chance but I DID ask TWICE where you were. Would have liked to have met you along the way...

    Regardless, I am still following along and wishing you the best.
    #42
  3. Krider1

    Krider1 n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    so cal
    wow, great story I'm in.
    #43
  4. OldCoot

    OldCoot Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    449
    Location:
    Blue Ridge Mountains
    Interesting ride and nice report. Looking forward to more.
    :lurk
    #44
  5. ricko1320

    ricko1320 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    10
    Love your travel style and envy your minimalism. If you happen to pass through Kingman AZ post up, I've got room. I'll follow your rr.
    #45
    kojack06 likes this.
  6. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    9140F36B-7C43-40EC-B10E-9D6BE1B079A7.jpeg 0FF3CAF5-B38A-47FF-B02E-1C02504C3C3A.jpeg 89935808-7967-4D97-A7A3-143E33B406AD.jpeg
    Spent that night in Austin and woke up to terrenchal rain with tornado warnings. In between downpours, had coffee at a local spot with my two friends, before they had to go about their days.
    2F988722-E3F8-4A18-9C3D-6672B61DF7C4.jpeg
    I hung out for an hour or so while the rain continued on. From the overhang keeping me dry, the raincoat over my backpack looked like a pineapple with that plant behind it. The CRF needed a bath anyway.
    The forecast constantly changing, the time came to just make a run for it. In the long distance backpacking world the saying is basically that you are going to get soaked, so you might as well enjoy it. And thus, continued onward.
    73FA753C-D2DD-4429-AAE7-373C7B7E74D9.jpeg
    Further into the hill country and the clouds vanished. The wildflower blooms were abundnent and the air once again smelled clean and fragrant. Rode passed a wildflower seed farm, which was incredible. Very refreshing after so much rain.
    0188036E-C519-46FA-A30E-7F9C4347C5B7.jpeg 8E04594E-1265-422A-9187-0FB5036A2F61.jpeg 8AB4D758-3598-4135-9223-E76C98121476.jpeg
    It was a beautiful ride on the backroads into Fredericksburg, Texas. Continued through towards Enchanted Rock as the sun set. Winding roads, beautiful landscape, and some big horned cattle, which are very shocking if you haven’t seen one in person (or to me they were). As per reccomendations, was hoping to camp out there, but it turned out that it was totally full; a blessing in disguise, as the forecast call for more heavy rain and wind. Opting not to sleep out in a park, I began looking for a place to stay. Fredericksburg was swarmed with bikers for various bike events. That being said, most of my lodging budget was then spent on (presumably) the last hotel room in town. Exhausted, still damp, and in wonderful spirits, it was a great sleep on an overpriced bed.
    #46
    Halen, EZMoney, Ginger Beard and 9 others like this.
  7. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    Woke up the next morning to rain. As it turned into a light mist, I got talking to two folks from Canada riding a big loop through the hill country before trailering their bikes back into the snowy north—always nice connecting with other riders. Follow one or two of the three sisters heading towards Del Rio, a ride that, in my mind, is on par with Skyline Drive/BRP trek (something I have done a few years back on a CB250). Amazing twisty roads, complete with 10mph hairpins, switchbacks, and s curves, not to mention the unbelievable landscape. Still difficult not to stop and take pictures. The rain followed a little bit, but after exiting the hill country, I was met by dry and beautiful weather. DE45C43B-6A66-4FC6-AD7C-5666C79D10D1.jpeg 03B3380B-F7A4-48DF-BB44-94E4E210811C.jpeg
    BDF8AAC0-8CC5-4039-828E-48DCFA731951.jpeg
    C97768CB-EE63-4E44-BCDA-A96990A1E889.jpeg

    Slept out that night near the Amistad Reservoir, just north of Del Rio, under a clear desert sky (but set the tarp up anyway just in case).

    E7CC1E1A-744D-4BD6-8AE7-C9F6D20AF8D9.jpeg
    50FC7159-3414-404C-9CAE-7FC1F1F930F8.jpeg

    Attached Files:

    #47
    kojack06, EZMoney, Halen and 8 others like this.
  8. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    Many years ago, a good friend at the time had relocated to Marfa, Texas. When visiting, we spent a day in Big Bend National Park. It was a heart melting experience. Everything about the park was captivating; the desert landscape, the vistas, the contrast of the mountains.
    This time around I had wanted to head south into Big Bend, but had not finalized the idea in my mind.
    958718A6-A181-4309-A9D1-982FB4A97FAE.jpeg

    Leaving Amistad was a nice ride, further from the hills and greenery, deeper into the desert. Some very remote roads, not many people or structures, or gas stations.

    CD338063-B8CC-4F0D-80DF-974EB3BC8C29.jpeg

    Once leaving the hill country, folks became more and more open to talk about having New York plates on such a small bike. Yes, I rode it from the east coast. The conversations were always wonderful and to date, my route since Saint Augustine has been mostly recommendations from people along the way.
    A man made mention that there are some pretty large stretches with no fuel, especially on the farm roads, back roads and desert trails.
    Thus, the purchase of a gallon fuel container. Super grateful for that suggestion. If not for myself, maybe someone along the road will benefit from it in the days to come. The longest distance so far has been around 120 miles, which the CRF made without evening hitting reserve, although I wasn’t going to take a chance and stopped at a lone gas pump about 60 miles east of Marathon, Texas.
    Fuel, water, bathroom, shade. Okay, look at the map. No, I can’t make it to Big Bend. Utah is waiting. It’s just a little too far out of the way. I’ll come back another time when I can really enjoy it. Take a breath. Okay, to El Paso!
    Enter Mike. A black pickup pulls up to the other side of the gas pump. It is trailering an Africa Twin.
    “Nice bike!” And so we got to talking. Mike said he would meet me in Big Bend, cover the camp site cost, and we could spend the next day riding together. It didn’t take much convincing on my end, and so having left me with directions to the campground, and he took off towards the park.

    744DE5B3-FD20-4522-9C2A-EE77D6806645.jpeg

    I made my way slowly into Marathon, stopped at the grocery store, brought a sandwich for a homeless looking gentleman, took a good stretch, and turned southbound toward Big Bend, with such joy in my heart. My excitement grew with the mountainous backdrop. Thank you.

    002D1E78-2575-4AC3-A2F1-1A9D745C7C2F.jpeg

    Here is the rest of the story from Mike’s perspective (paraphrasing, but I’ll write it as he told it to someone we met):
    “So he [me, aka JHTrotter, aka Matthew] seemed like he really was going to stick to his word and meet me [Mike] at the campground. When I got there, I saw the campground was full. I don’t know if I could have just left knowing that Matthew was going to show up looking for me. I waited by the visitor center and asked everyone who drove by if they saw anyone on a motorcycle, they would say yes, and so I asked if it was a small red motorcycle, and no one had seen one. I figured I would drive back out of the park, ten miles, and if I didn’t see him, I would just head out towards Terlingua and not feel bad about leaving him. At 6.4 miles, there he was, just cruising along. I waved him down and told him to follow me to Terlingua where we could camp out.
    #48
    kojack06, Ginger Beard, Halen and 8 others like this.
  9. haystack

    haystack Just ride

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,878
    Location:
    Jersey Highlands
    Daniel and Carolyn from Quebec, Welcome to the asylum!:thumb

    Don't forget to start your own ride report!
    #49
    JamesHTrotter likes this.
  10. haystack

    haystack Just ride

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,878
    Location:
    Jersey Highlands
    He's a long distance minimalist without an adjustafork!
    #50
  11. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    The desert.
    25C89A9C-4CFA-44AE-BB52-675C89F5941E.jpeg
    Followed Mike to Terlingua, where we spent time talking and getting to know one another. Stayed up late watching the starts, met some other riders, including one heading west to east on an Africa Twin. We all stayed up pretty late sharing stories. However, sleep was inevitably calling. Mike didn’t want me sleeping out in the desert so he let me sleep on his trailer bed (that’s my sleeping system).
    3712F689-DEC2-4D22-ADC9-6E4DA554B517.jpeg
    It was a beautiful night, sleeping out under the blanket of stars. Very humbling to see the vastness of flickering lights in the sky. Back in New York, on a clear night, we are lucky to see a handful of stars. As kids we would visit my mothers parents in rural New Hampshire. The awe I felt as a child looking at the night sky presents a similar stirring as the night sky around Big Bend.
    DD0E481F-BC91-4845-B165-02AF5A10CC49.jpeg
    The next morning, myself, Mike, Matt (the Africa Twin west to east rider), and a local rider named Jay (who knows all the roads and trails in the area) headed into the park for the day. Beautiful roads, breathtaking scenery, drastic landscape changes, pleasant company and riding buddies. What a blessing it was to spend the day with those guys. In the afternoon, Mike and I went out into the Chisos Mountains. The CRF, being slightly geared up from stock could hang, but was not entirely pleased in 5th and 6th was not even an option. I once knew a girl who went to finishing school. Gearing the CRF up, even so slightly, reminded me of her—it refined the torque, grunt and wild nature of the already mild-mannered 230. On the steep, twisty inclines up the mountains, the bike would breath heavy. It yelled at me “I thought you didn’t want me to act like this any longer!” Like asking the young lady who went through finishing school to burp at the dinner table.
    Like the reliable companion it has been, the CRF handled the ride wonderfully.
    B02081DD-65E6-4EF1-9C73-1C06567197F2.jpeg 5666A6C1-3D64-475B-A2CA-40FA960360E3.jpeg F504B987-586D-4F01-8166-4E5F682259A0.jpeg CF4FD49F-5019-4C49-8B86-B181B2FEC357.jpeg FD0C76CC-5F37-4520-91AE-BA8956FBCEA8.jpeg
    It was a full day, but a magnificent one.
    FA4632F9-A87A-452D-BE02-C748E3B6ECB9.jpeg
    That night, we camped out in the basin of the Santa Elena Canyon so Mike and the other (west to east) Matt could take photographs of the stars. Again, the night sky is beyond what words could describe.
    Very late that night, I eventually fell asleep in the bed of Mike’s pickup, lulled to sleep by the wisps of cool air passing through the warm canyon basin.

    Attached Files:

    #51
  12. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
  13. 42WLA

    42WLA n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    TX (40 minutes West of Shreveport)
    Matthew,
    I’m glad you made it through Texas without drowning. We have been getting some serious rain, even today. It just doesn’t seam to stop for very long.
    By the way, the cattle you saw are called “Longhorn”
    Kent
    #53
    kojack06, JamesHTrotter and cochorro like this.
  14. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    857
    Yeah man, this cat JamesHTrotter is freaking loose!! I tip my hat to him.
    #54
  15. flashbang

    flashbang Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2011
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Va. mts.
    Great ride report,really like the small bike.I ride one similar to yours and I also love camping cowboy style.
    #55
    JamesHTrotter likes this.
  16. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    The ride
    EEE826D5-2D61-4D2E-8857-2B7A93A4CD60.jpeg

    Woke up early in the bed of Mike’s truck. No foam mat, no down quilt, wanted to leave the bike loaded up for an early departure, which worked out well. Said a difficult goodbye, and left the basin—cutting across a beautiful trail to the exit of the park as the sun began to rise over the surrounding mountains.
    3B3B3ADF-2649-44D3-82F9-E1AB300A4DF2.jpeg
    0AFB8442-11CC-4BFC-B330-E55100711816.jpeg
    C07B2D01-A1EE-4BB8-AED7-F988035D5E22.jpeg

    It was going to be a full day of riding and it seemed smart to get moving before the desert heated up. Took a winding and twisting backroad that ran along the Mexico boarder; another stunning ride, before entering a straight shot into Marfa, Texas.
    11408099-2221-468D-AA10-D6825D98BC46.jpeg
    CEE0DD01-99D6-466A-AFDA-33F68CA89ACD.jpeg
    F112392C-59ED-49FD-A8DF-0B45005B635F.jpeg

    Stopped in Marfa to rest, had a coffee (because I am drinking one a day now), filled up on fuel, had a good stretch, and started the long trek onward through the open desert.

    2821D359-5ADE-4162-A4DC-9AF7185533CF.jpeg

    Immediately leaving town the wind’s presence was very clear. A strong and consistent side wind, continually pushing me to the shoulder of the two lane road. By strong wind, I mean incredibly aggressive. Even riding at a 45 degree angle, I could not get more than 100 feet at a time.
    A Harley rider passes by in the other direction. We wave, and then a few minutes later he pulls up next to me.
    I explain the wind is just too much, he says he could ride through it with one hand and that the trick is just to get cruising at 70/80 miles per hour. He turns back around in the direction he was going and fades away towards Marfa.
    His plates suggest he was from Montana, and his bike weighs a bit more than the CRF. But grateful for the suggestion, I take off at the bike’s limit, 75mph. 100 feet later, back to the shoulder of the road.
    One more try. 45 degree lean into the wind, 70mph, full tuck, praying.
    30 miles out of Marfa there is the wall. I can’t see beyond it. A wall of dirt and dust as tall as the clouds and wide as I can see. The wind is blowing with a ferocity.
    Turn around, back to Marfa.

    Attached Files:

    #56
    kojack06, td63, EZMoney and 3 others like this.
  17. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    Plan B

    “Do you have a marker I can borrow?”
    “Sure!”
    “How about a piece of cardboard?”
    “No, but you can find some in the dumpster outside.”
    “Okay great! Thank you!”
    “What are you making?”
    “I need to get to El Paso, but the wind is too strong, so I’m going to hitchhike there.”

    The conversation went something like that. The young lady at the gas station was incredibly kind and helpful.

    “Too windy!!! El Paso” that’s what the sign read. I held it up to every passing pickup truck and pointed to myself and the bike. Thankfully most folks down there had a pickup truck. About twenty minutes later, a honk, I turn around to see an old Chevy backing up towards me.

    His name is Jose, but he introduced himself as Joe. His sister is there and she immediately offers me the front seat. He is a Mexican, Vietnam veteran, in his late 60’s.

    2D6631AD-E6B8-42F0-AB26-B9C1560411F0.jpeg
    7DF7AD14-438E-4549-8619-586088A6CC3B.jpeg

    “We are going to El Paso, my sister said we should pick you up!”
    With the help of another person driving by, we put the CRF in the truck, and begin the long drive.
    6F570E42-8810-41A2-9D8B-59BCDE612F5F.jpeg
    2B63A259-6D89-4C44-BF6E-2D3DC646412E.jpeg
    We passed the dust devils, twins, as Jose calls them. He pulls over as one crosses the road and passes between the two before the second follows the first. He calmly tells me that when the two funnels meet, they can really cause some trouble. We drive into the wall of dirt and dust. From that point into El Paso, roughly five hours, we are in a dust storm. Sometimes it is necessary to pull over because visibility is so low, but for the most part, just consistent strong winds and massive amounts of dust.
    9312BBBA-EFA9-47CA-960A-BED34908669F.jpeg
    Not sure if it was the caffeine, the heat (no AC and the dust storm left the truck windows closed for the most part), the cigarette smoke, or being tired. I felt myself feeling a little weak and sweaty. I took off my jacket and shoes. It cooled me off immediately and I relaxed into the passenger seat. After so many days and miles on the bike, it was surreal sitting in the passenger seat of an automobile, being driven somewhere.

    Jose was a fascinating man. Very humbling to meet him. We talked the entirety of our time together. He invited me to spend the night at his sister’s home in El Paso, made me coffee, offered me a bed while he slept on the couch, I was able to shower. I gave him my hat. It’s all I had to offer. “I love hats!” Was his response. I also offered to help him during the harvest season at his pecan farm on the other side of the boarder.
    605D4EA9-6D18-4B3E-A15C-D223DD40F30D.jpeg
    #57
  18. psunami

    psunami Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2016
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    southeast texas, beaumont
    I can smell the freedom lingering on your words...keep it up brother, nothing else like it in the world!
    #58
    kojack06, Ginger Beard and yamalama like this.
  19. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2017
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    New York
    Memories

    About five years back, I had the opportunity to travel 5,000 miles in 11 weeks on a CB250.
    I camped, worked on farms and ranches for food and money, traveled some of the most amazing roads in Appalachia, hiked and swam. It was a wonderful time.
    Towards the end of those weeks, I ended up staying in Folly Beach, South Carolina with someone I had met weeks earlier while in western North Carolina.
    I left Folly Beach in a heavy rain storm. Wearing short running shorts and a tank top, I pulled over in between the space formed where two roads joined before the Arthur Ravenal Jr. Bridge.
    Bike turned off, I sat there in the downpour, gusts of warm wind blowing. I saw a clearing in the sky and decided to wait for it before crossing the bridge.
    A quick siren blast and a police officer pulls up next to me and rolls down his window just enough to talk without getting too much rain inside his car.

    “Everything okay?”

    “Yes, sir. Just waiting for this to pass before crossing the bridge.”

    “Want me to escort you across?”

    “No, thank you. I don’t mind waiting.”

    “You know there is a hurricane coming, right? This whole area is under a warning.”

    We parted ways, I thanked him for the information, and continued to wait for that speck of blue sky to reach the bridge.
    It eventually did, and I crossed safely and comfortably.
    I ride from Charleston to New York in three days. Just keeping ever so slightly ahead of the hurricane. Riding in wind and rain, then blue skies. Stop and nap. Ride in the mist and rain, then no rain. Stop to sleep. Do it again. By the time I was in Delaware, the storm was far enough south. I continued the ravenous pace up the east coast though.

    That has stayed with me. My mother encourages me to check the weather. I do, but still rely heavily on observation and intuition as well.

    And now, I wake up in El Paso, at Joe’s sister’s home. The bike and my bags are very dirty from the trail rides and the dust storms. Time to give the bike a bath.
    ECC3CB5C-3289-48F6-B511-B84D0B739C47.jpeg
    #59
    SuddenLee, kojack06, Mofrid and 6 others like this.
  20. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Oddometer:
    943
    Location:
    sunny san diego
    Beautiful report....last post was priceless!!
    #60
    kojack06 and Ginger Beard like this.