Cross Country CRF230L

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

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  1. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Really enjoying your take on life and adventure. Living is an amalgam of moments and the feelings that they create, each one a lesson and a story. Choosing to embrace them for the gift that they are is something that many never learn. Good on you man.

    Looking forward to more!
    #61
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  2. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Great stuff! I love the great wide open.

    I'm also beginning to see the wisdom of a smaller, more versatile ride.
    #62
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  3. Madhouse

    Madhouse Semi-Goodlookin! Supporter

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    Got your card Matt!
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    Looking forward to the story from Texas to StGeorge Utah and your Ministry.
    Great things Amigo!
    #63
  4. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Spent an extra day in El Paso, just outside of the Franklin Mountains. Hoping to be on the road early, the morning happened to slip by quickly. Seems that has the day progresses, the winds begin to pick up until late morning, where the gusts were still too powerful to continue onward. It was nice to have a day to rest and do laundry.
    Having mailed myself a package, was looking forward to picking it up from the El Paso post the next morning and then finally make the way out of El Paso. Studying the map, there is a little road that follows the border very closely, it would be a long ride, but certainly more appealing than the interstate. I was told it is incredibly remote.
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    Watched the sun set over the city from the mountains. It was wonderful! I was filled with a happiness and a joy; the love of life radiating from within. Such beauty exists in simplicity, for instance the sunset. It is something that happens every single day, yet how often is it overlooked? How many sunsets have I missed? The beauty and peace experienced in this intentional way is a gift, but it is so important to carry that same peace in everything--to find the beauty and stillness of the sunset/sunrise in all instances of life.
    Woke up, packed up, and rode over the mountain pass back into the city towards the USPS to claim my package.
    Off in the distance, the cloud of dust could be seen rolling in over the mountains on the horizon.
    Okay, pick up the package (mostly oats), and get moving out of Texas!
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    On the way to the USPS, the winds picked up. I bailed on package and bailed on the plan to follow route 9 along the Mexican border. +100 miles on I-10 to Lordsburg. I have ridden on the cusp of a hurricane. I have found the beauty of the sunset/sunrise in that experience, however, would prefer to avoid another dust storm.
    #64
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  5. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Altitude

    The remainder of Texas was cloudy, cold and solitary--both literally and figuratively. It was physically cold. The cold front, from my understanding, somewhat contributed to the dust storms and strong winds. More metaphorically, a long strong stretch on the interstate, riding along a vast and open landscape, tucked down on a small displacement motorcycle, throttle close to wide open, 75mph, very much a solitary experience. Cars, trucks, other bikers, all passing by. A group of riders pull up behind me, then slowly pass by. I imagine their thoughts being similar to the reactions I have received along the way: "you rode that? from where??"
    The thought of the Marfa to El Paso ride still in my mind, the signs every few miles keep my mind from wandering too far; keeping a constant prayer on my tongue.
    DUST STORM AREA: next 15 miles
    (15 miles later)
    DUST STORM AREA: next 15 miles
    (15 miles later)
    IF CAUGHT IN A DUST STORM...
    DUST STORM AREA: next 45 miles
    (so on and so on).
    A local in El Paso mentioned that I would be in a steady headwind, it wouldn't be fun, and I would be in the clear once hitting Lordsburg--this being reflected by the drop in fuel economy, down to 58mpg.
    Cold hands, cold feet, cold face, stiff neck, and safely arrived in Lordsburg. Stopped at a truck stop to warm up before heading north, grateful to be off the interstate and almost out of Texas. This has been the longest state with the greatest range for climate. Long underwear on and half a cup of gas station coffee, and it was time to proceed.
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    At first the change was gradual; the open vastness being slowly reshaped as distant mountains drew closer and closer; the dried and cracked ground becoming sparsely populated with grasses, flowers and then shrubs. The shrubs are joined by more greenery. The greenery becomes richer. Then, like most well-planned surprise party, the Arizona state line.
    This state line had been the most dramatic. Instantly the surrounds changed, the atmosphere changed, the blue sky revealing itself behind its clouded facade. Texas had been incredibly kind to me, but was hesitant to let me pass through. I am grateful for the time in the state, but was happy to be in Arizona.
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    Up and up we climbed, hills turning into mountains. I saw my first snow-capped mountain. Then, elevation brought scattered rain showers and a reminder that the CRF was tuned for sea-level, east coast life. Sixth gear was topping out at 65mph, and with any more throttle, I was quickly shown how rich the bike was running. I was tempted to just pull the lid off the airbox, but was hoping to end around 1k feet after a long decent into Phoenix.
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    #65
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  6. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    If you have an interest, please do not hesitate to find this account on instagram: notMatthewReid
    It has more updates and pictures, mostly through the "stories" feature.
    #66
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  7. Fat Chance

    Fat Chance Been here awhile

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    I’m thinking, when you were in Lordsburg and almost out of Texas, you were in New Mexico.

    Great RR, thanks for posting.
    #67
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  8. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Thank you! that is right!
    #68
  9. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Down into Phoenix, and the scattered storm clouds retreated back into the mountains, not only allowing me to pass through but also for my clothing to dry. The bike was happier being out of the mountains, no longer coughing from rich jetting.
    Several years back, at a monastery in the mountains of Sonoita Arizona, I had met an older couple of whom I had befriended and stayed in touch with. When we first met, they had offered a place to stay in Phoenix, if the road had ever lead that direction. With the dust storms rerouting the course towards Utah, Phoenix was now a destination. With very little warning, I had reached out explaining that life was redirecting me that way.
    Prior to arriving to their home, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Tim from Forty Times Around. It was relieving to speak with someone else who was letting go of many things in order to travel great distances on a motorcycle. We spoke about travel, motorcycles, being a nomad, relationships, and life beyond ourselves. A really pleasant time, and I would recommend checking out his channel (Forty Times Around) if you haven't already, let him know Matthew with the CRF230 sent you over there!
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    I left Tim and took a short ride to my two friends who were happily awaiting my arrival. We stayed up late to catch up on many things, then off to sleep, and a wonderfully deep sleep it was.
    My friends had to leave the house early the next morning, so after having a tour of their "off the grid" homestead in the city, we parted ways and I was bound for mountains again, looking for a short day into Prescott, Arizona where I hoped to camp out.
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    The ride to Prescott was beautiful, twisty and steep mountain roads all the way into the small oasis surrounded by peaks. Glad to have the spare gallon of fuel as stations were sparse. In Prescott, I met a man who invited me to stay on his couch, which I thankfully did, as the weather that night dropped significantly. He too shared a love for touring on two wheels, having crossed the country a few years back on a bicycle.
    A very loving and kind gentleman, he left the house early, leaving me to shower gather my things and wait for the sun to warm things up before I headed out.
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    #69
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  10. kojack06

    kojack06 Long timer

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    These are the threads/ride reports that keep me coming to Adventure Rider. They always take me back to 1980 when a young man packed up and headed west to finish his last two years of college and start his Army career. All of America was spread out before him and everyday was an adventure. This is a great read. Thank you very much.
    #70
  11. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    A slow morning leaving Prescott, examining the map, planning out a route. I was overcome with an emotional wave, realizing how close Utah was. The journey has been, to this point, incredibly humbling.
    The map shows that 89 splits with 89A, the later looking like the more scenic route, winding and twisting northbound through Sedona and into Flagstaff. After the many climbs the day before, and having put many miles between oil changes, I check the oil before heading off, and as luck would have it, the oil level was on the lower end of the dipstick. Super grateful to have checked the levels before heading through more mountain passes!
    A quick detour to the auto store to top off the oil level, won’t take long.
    Walk in just after they open, buy oil, add a bit.
    Add a bit more.
    Okay, you added too much.

    It is funny, in general, when we rush through the most simple tasks, they end up taking much longer than expected. It makes me smile to have these moments as reminders how important it is to slow down and take your time, allowing every task to be meditative and prayerful.
    I purchased a battery syringe and took out the excess oil.

    Already behind schedule! Okay, forget everything you just learned about not rushing, check the map, and get moving!
    Beautiful ride through the mountains, up and up in elevation, then down and down and down…. And down? That’s unexpected. The road ends and the sign tells me that to the right leads to Prescott and to the left leads to a small town I passed through the day before.
    Well, it was a beautiful detour to take! One of the more scenic wrong turns. Backtracking, the road was even more beautiful in the opposite direction.
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    Back in Prescott, looking at the map and the time, all the while hoping to make it to the Grand Canyon, it seemed that taking 89 around the mountains would be the more timing appropriate route.
    The ride leading up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was interesting, sort of how people have described Las Vegas—you are just driving and driving, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, there it is. Having never been to the Grand Canyon before, seeing it in the evening sunlight was heart melting; the entirety of the landscape appears to be a hand-painted backdrop. While this was beautiful, even more incredible was watching the sunrise the next morning from the rim.
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    It is important to make a daily practice of acknowledging the sunrise or sunset. It helps to realize how lucky we are to be alive. I think I mentioned it in an earlier post as well, but certainly worth mentioning again. How many sunrises have come and gone without my enjoying or simply noticing it? How many sunsets? The setting sun paints a beautiful picture in the sky every evening, yet how many times have I been too distracted to notice it?
    What a gift each day is!
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    #71
  12. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Life elevated


    While only at the Grand Canyon for less than 24 hours, the time there was powerful and moving—reminiscent of the first experience of Niagara Falls; the shear, indescribable intensity of nature’s beauty—of the direct work of our Creator’s hand. These moments are best described as heart melting.
    In my mind, today would be a long day. Got stuck in some New York style traffic before cutting through the park towards Page, Arizona. Not safe, admittedly, however, being stuck next to this bus, the idea of taking my photograph was too much to pass up.
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    Page, Arizona. What an incredible place! Particularly was the section of Glen Canyon which Page intersects.
    Spent some time chatting with some old-timer wrenchers who have been in the area most of their lives and seen the place develop over the years. We shared travel stories and prayers. A real great time. They did a once over on the CRF, singing the praises of the old-faithful air-cooled Honda singles—praises which undeniably have proven themselves to me over the years of touring on small bore bikes.
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    Leaving Page in the late afternoon, drunk with the wonderful conversations and beauty of the landscape, I was caught off-guard by the Utah state line. This was a pretty emotional moment, as you can imagine, and while many miles lay ahead still, and I would have to cross back into Arizona, then back into Utah, this was a whirlwind of joy.
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    #72
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  13. Mofrid

    Mofrid Been here awhile Supporter

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    You might have seen it at its greenest ever.
    Thanks for the RR!
    #73
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  14. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Zion

    Into Utah. The road through the east end of Zion National Park was closed due to a rockslide, and so the route dropped south to Arizona again and through the Kaibab Indian Reservation. The sun was going down, the landscape was dramatic and beautiful. Sunset was accompanied by the nighttime chill in the air. Back into Utah, towards Saint George, where I would spend the night in a bed, reflecting on the last three and half weeks. I would be in Springdale the next day. Having traveled roughly 3,500 miles in less than a month on a small displacement, street-legal dirt bike. I have been blessed beyond words.

    Woke up to see the clouds hanging about the distant snowcapped mountains. I am not certain how read the sky here yet, but it seemed rain was to be expected… the weather forecast would agree. Rode into Saint George, strong, cold winds blowing at 90 degrees to the road—nothing like the winds down in Texas. Spent the morning in Saint George, and before long was heading towards Springdale and Zion National Park.

    Several years back, while traveling through Blue Ridge, I spent a week camped out on the outskirts of Pisgah National Forest. Many nights I experienced very emotional and deeply healing dreams, I would wake feeling very sad and alone. Words cannot justify the perceived intensity of that week; I could not wait to get out of Pisgah and move on. Turned out that later on I would back track into another side of Pisgah. Hiking through the forest, looking to summit Mount Pisgah. Biblically, Mount Pisgah is where Moses was shown the land promised to the LORD’s people. He was told that he would see it with his eyes, but never cross into it.

    I hiked mount Pisgah, passing rain clouds, rolling thunder. As I climbed, the distant thunderstorm grew closer. I pause to take a breath and think about turning back down the mountain, and yet for several reasons, continued onward. Onto the summit, yet the clouds had arrived first. The overlook was clouds and the view was grey. After a break in the clouds and glimpse of the landscape, it became clear that this was culmination of the emotional discontent within. It was a beautiful moment, in spite of the less-than-ideal weather. Moses must have awed at the beauty of the land, although would never cross into it—I had been humbled by Pisgah’s forest and now was able to climb the mountain, but would not see the entirety of the land before, as if to force me inside, to see the metaphorical summiting of the things within—to let go and to continue to grow in love with our Creator.


    In Hurricane, Utah, the rains began to fall heavier. Stopped at a gas station, a man at the adjacent pump was staring at me, uncomfortably. I said hello and we got to talking. We spoke about life, about spirituality, and many other things. He and his wife we both very pleasant, and let me know I was only 25 miles from Zion. He insisted upon giving me some money for gas, which, with humility, I accepted.

    25 miles in the wind and the rain. Out in the open, wind blowing. The culmination of this cross-country ride would be cold and rainy, no photographs to show, no cliché picture of the bike in front of the Zion National Park sign. Just like Mount Pisgah, I would internalize this experience. It was beautiful. “If I can love this place in the rain, I can’t imagine how it will be when the rain stops.” This was my immediate thought upon entering the park. I laughed hard inside the helmet, felt like laughing the whole way down Scenic Drive.

    I have been here for about three weeks now. Working to save money before moving on towards Kentucky, where I have a research grant through a monastery there. I imagine that this journey will continue after that as well.

    I want to write up a more formal conclusion and pass along some pictures since I have been here. Although working many hours, I still and get out for a ride and hike almost every day; I never want to take for granted that I live in such a beautiful place.

    My endless gratitude for everyone following along, those who have given me a place to sleep, a meal, money for gas or ferries, or even a friendly conversation. I have been helped along by so many folks, total strangers, just lending a hand out of the kindness within their hearts. I can only hope that in some way or another, our exchanges have been mutual.

    -JHT
    #74
  15. MYUMPH

    MYUMPH 'Ol Timer Supporter

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    I'm still waiting to see that bag of oats you've been eating!
    #75
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  16. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

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    Again @JamesHTrotter, you are a character! Thanks for being real. Good work on the 230. That is a solid minimalist move to take that across the country.
    #76
  17. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Minimalism

    Minimalism, or in application to my life, monastic living. It is less about being a renunciant, more about being content with little. This extends to everything from possessions and spending habits to eating and sleeping. Having lived the renunciant life, its value has reinstated the importance being happy with what you have; the often clear line between a want and a need.

    This is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way, however it is important to explore this part of ourselves.

    I grew up in a middle-class suburb of Manhattan. A wonderful small town, three miles from the New York City line and 17 miles from midtown Manhattan. It is surrounded by some very wealthy areas of Long Island and some of the lower-income areas of Long Island and Queens. I was blessed to be so safely exposed to a large spectrum of people from many backgrounds and cultures, at an early age. I went to school with very affluent children, middle-class children, and children who had the same clothes on every day. At a very early age, the distinction of people who have and people who do not have was very strong in my heart.

    Fast forward:

    In 2012, a friend had asked if I was interested in joining her and her community church on a missionary visit to the Dominican Republic. Having thought about joining the Peace Corps., the idea of going to assist in a third-world setting was very appealing.
    Making this long story short, the first big mistake was this notion that “I” was going to help people. The experience of being in squatter villages was more humbling than could be expressed. All of the emotions from childhood came rushing back. People living with nothing. Children of all ages and sizes sharing one pair of shoes between them. People with the clothes that get donated—men in “Britney Spears World Tour 2000” t-shirts. Folks going to bed at night not knowing when their next meal would be.
    I cried many times. They were so happy. I was so embarrassed. It solidified many things I knew to be true for myself.
    Returning to the United States, I donated most what I owned. Since then, and through G-d’s grace, it has been a refining process of how to live in a way that does not waste, does not want, and has as little negative impact as possible. It is still a work in progress, but has been the journey of the minimalist lifestyle which I have been blessed with.

    Being content with little allows one to see the joy in smallest of things; sleeping on a little foam mat out under stars, eating a simple bowl of oats, it opens one up to blessings which are abundant but often over-looked.

    Okay so now the packing list:



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    #77
  18. JamesHTrotter

    JamesHTrotter Been here awhile

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    Motorcycle things: I carry everything which I would need to perform the maintenance which I am capable of doing. Not shown is the manual which comes on the road too.

    -Bungees & bungee net
    -Small ziplock of various spare parts
    -Tape
    -Small utility knife, given to me along the way
    -Small ruler for checking chain tension
    -Old shirt cut up into rags
    -Pen
    -Tire pressure gauge
    -Hand pump for on/off road adjustments.
    -Wet One’s
    -Small thin cap if it is super cold, fits under the helmet.
    -MiniT disc lock
    -White Out
    -Tool bag

    Inside the tool bag

    -Patch kit, old gift card for parking on loose terrain ,Spare helmet parts (HJC has the best customer service) ,zip ties, various tools ( each with a purpose, fitting all sizes on the bike), battery tender, USB connecter, mini bungees, spare fuses, tape, spare mini ziplock bag, spare spark plug, lever extender in case a lever breaks.


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    #78
  19. SpeedyTide

    SpeedyTide n00b

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    What a great, inspiring RR. Found it, and went ahead and read it all. Just WOW!!
    #79
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  20. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    Enjoyed your storytelling. Safe travels to Kentucky :thumb
    #80
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