Denver to Portland on dirt

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jhax, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. jhax

    jhax "No matter where you go, there you are" BB

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    Golden, CO
    Took mainly highway from Bend to Portland. Certainly spectacular riding, and I was passed by folks on 1200's and Harleys. I was happy to tool along at 65 with a strong headwind. Relaxed in my melancholy mood. Eager to visit with friends but not happy for the ride to end. I arrived Saturday afternoon and had a flight out Sunday back to Denver. The plan was to leave the bike in Portland at a friends place. I would either truck it back to Denver or down to Vegas. ow my plan is a ride in March/April from Portland to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Dirt of course!
    I will admit a certain part of me wants to do this same ride in reverse. It is worth doing more than once and would be less stressful knowing the route and what to expect.

    Final thoughts - logistics: US Forest Service Maps are absolutely the way to go in the national forests. Tip the hat to Smoky Bear, he makes a great map. It is worth the stop at the forest service ranger stations to pick one up. US National Forests have tons of roads, sidetracks, illegal cuts, etc. Pick one up and you will save many days of frustration. Even if you think you know the area, unless you have actually done the ride you will end up wasting time on route finding. For non forest serve lands I found the Rand McNally state atlas' to be very good. Not always perfect, but hey, it's a big country. I did not want a yellow brick friggin road.
    Food: I always had about 12 of the 450 calorie energy bars and a spare gallon, at least, of water.
    Fuel: The beauty of Utah and Nevada is that you can find 92 octane zero ethanol gas. I was getting approximately 85 miles to the gallon. Fuel turned out to be the least of my worries. Even so, I always had a spare 1.4 gallons. Ride a few hours and dump the spare in the tank. If you get lost in this section of the country you'll be happy for the extra 120 miles.
    Mileage: This was my first real adv ride. I had ridden pavement, and occasionally enduro, but never a ride of this duration solo. As fun as it is to charge down a dirt road at 65 mph, I had to stay cautious. There is little margin for error in this section of the country. I did one day of 400 miles. Foolish! Not only did I nearly crash, but I missed some beautiful country because I was too damn tired to appreciate it. Blind turns, loose rocky roads, riding solo; plan on averaging 30 miles an hour. Throw in route finding, stopping for pictures, rest, food, etc and this average drops further. So I think 250 miles is reasonable. Especially over the course of 10 days. If I had a riding partner, then the chance of really catastrophic problems is significantly decreased. 350 miles might be more attainable.
    My bike: BMW F650 GS 2007. Perfect for most of the ride. Not so good for the haul from Bend to Portland. This is not a bike that is happy at higher speeds. Especially with the knobs. But when dropping from 3rd to 2nd, back up to 4th, down to 1st, up to 2nd. well you get it, it was perfect. I'm short and so have a lowered seat. Fully loaded, extra provisions, etc, this bike is 400 lbs. With not much clearance! It is not an Enduro bike. I learned this the hard way in Hancock Pass. Once it starts bouncing your toast. Put a leg out to brace yourself in rocky terrain and you will quickly learn the difference between your tibula and fibula.

    Route: Other than a few local routes in CO, I would not change a thing. This is some of the most beautiful, remote riding I think you can find in the US. I would love to do this ride again. Anyone has any questions, feel free to look me up. Anyone needing a jump off point from Denver, Mi Casa su Casa. My only words of caution, respect the ride and your own abilities. This is lonely country, and as the sign in one of the pictures says, "Use Caution".

    Final Thoughts: Damn guys, next time you find yourself looking out an airplane window, wondering what the hell is down there or what your doing with your life, get on it. Stop making excuses, buy the maps, gas up, and just go.

    Till the next ride, the best ride,
    John
    #81
  2. jazzer

    jazzer Lost again... Yeah! Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Oddometer:
    294
    Location:
    Tracy, CA
    Great report! Thanks for posting.

    :clap:clap:clap
    #82
  3. Oilburner375

    Oilburner375 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2010
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    Beer Collins, CO
    "Damn guys, next time you find yourself looking out an airplane window, wondering what the hell is down there or what your doing with your life, get on it. Stop making excuses, buy the maps, gas up, and just go. "

    Quote of the Day!
    #83
  4. Clem1226

    Clem1226 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    17
    this deserves a slow clap......

    clap..


    clap..


    clap..


    clap..


    clap..
    #84
  5. 250Keith

    250Keith Been here awhile

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    Mar 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    139
    Location:
    Sonoma Co CA.
    I read the ride report last night, good job glad you made it and had fun!!!:clap
    #85
  6. Utah Bones

    Utah Bones Gas X ready!

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
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    1,628
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Great report! Thanks...:clap I get home sick looking at your pics of the Vernal area.
    #86
  7. K_N_Fodder

    K_N_Fodder Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
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    Location:
    Ten Sleep, WY
    jhax, are those mileages you're quoting for real? I've never come close to that on a 650, let along fully loaded on dirt roads...
    #87
  8. jhax

    jhax "No matter where you go, there you are" BB

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Golden, CO
    Yes. Blew my mind. I can only think that it was the 92 octane with no ethanol. I wasn't keeping a written log, but know I am pretty close. I think we just get used to running crap gas in our vehicles. I see a huge difference in my Tacoma when I run zero ethanol gas.

    FYI - I'll be riding your way in March. We can compare notes over a beer in Bend.
    #88
  9. K_N_Fodder

    K_N_Fodder Long timer Supporter

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    Location:
    Ten Sleep, WY
    Sounds good, could be an interesting ride if winter ever hits here... for now it feels like May, but it should hit eventually...
    #89
  10. scudrunner

    scudrunner Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Western Nebraska
    Great report!
    #90
  11. linksIT

    linksIT nOObie

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    San Clemente, CA
    Awesome thanks for sharing:clap
    #91
  12. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    Nice report. There are a couple places I may have to go look for this summer, now.
    #92
  13. bradrh

    bradrh Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    poncha springs, co
    Nice writeup & pix. Sounds like a great adventure. I'll get the route details from you later.
    #93
  14. causef0rconcern

    causef0rconcern Rift Explorer

    Joined:
    May 9, 2009
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    Location:
    Seattle/Naivasha, KE
    I just flew from Las Vegas to Reno back home to Seattle. The entire way, I was drooling out the window, wishing I could jump out of the plane and land on my bike, tire spinning. Thanks for sharing!
    #94
  15. jonesy250f

    jonesy250f Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
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    21
    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    Wow, this is meant to be! I decided to do a ride like this about a week ago and I decided to hop on this forum for the first time in ages just to spark some more interest in the ride. Looks like I'm going to be reading this whole thread.
    #95
  16. jhax

    jhax "No matter where you go, there you are" BB

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    Golden, CO
    Final Thoughts: Damn guys, next time you find yourself looking out an airplane window, wondering what the hell is down there or what your doing with your life, get on it. Stop making excuses, buy the maps, gas up, and just go.

    Till the next ride, the best ride,
    John[/QUOTE]

    #96
  17. Ironwood

    Ironwood Friday Harbor, WA

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
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    1,022
    Did I miss a route map in there somewhere? We are riding to RMAR in Silverton, CO. I would l like to have some of those route if thee was an easy way for you to share them. Joe
    #97
  18. jhax

    jhax "No matter where you go, there you are" BB

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    229
    Location:
    Golden, CO
    I'll put together a single reply with routes. As I mentioned, I was winging it and using various Rand Mcnally atlases. I can give towns and basic county roads. My basic route will get you to Fruita, CO. Some of the roads I took in central Oregon had no numbers. My maps are with my bike in Portland. I'll look them up on the internet and get back to you.
    #98
  19. Narsisco Lopez

    Narsisco Lopez Addlepated

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    Jul 11, 2010
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    Location:
    Golden (Showers), Colorado
    Definitely interested in your Denver to Fruita leg! I want to play on my new KTM 990 A in the dirt and your route sounds like a great way to warm up :1drink
    #99
  20. Ironwood

    Ironwood Friday Harbor, WA

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    Yes, I will look forward to your post. Joe