Father and Son ride the AZBDR and more

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dusty Pipes, Nov 17, 2019.

  1. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Hello All, This is my first ride report on ADV Rider, heck anywhere for that matter, I have read and enjoyed many ride reports of other inmates adventures. Some have inspired me to do rides like this one, and others have just kept me sane during the long cold winter days of Northern Idaho. I figured I was due to give back to the adventure community and write my own report, maybe it will inspire someone to go on a ride, maybe it will help someone else make it through the winter, or maybe it will just occupy my time and allow me to revisit this epic ride we did. We are both long time dirt bikers but we are new to the dual sport/adventure riding, the IDBDR was our first big offroad adventure, we have done several long street bike trips including the entire PCH and back, so at least we are not a stranger to long trips on a motorcycle. The ride was completed as best as we could do given the weather and other parts of the adventure, and it was epic. I am writing this report to record our adventure, I will hopefully be able to do 1 post per day.

    Planning

    The ride came about in November 2018, my son and I had completed the IDBDR that August, and with winter setting in I started to read ride reports about the AZBDR and the GCBAR, and the planning started after that. I wanted to do something different for this ride, so with talking to a friend that was also going to join us we decided we would start in Moab, ride the White Rim Trail, ride a portion of the UTBDR south to Four Corners, hit the corner of Colorado, ride a part of the NMBDR until it got close to the AZ border, then slab it down to the Start of the AZBDR, ride the entire route north, then explore some viewpoints of the Grand Canyon, explore Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods, then back up the UTBDR and for the finale do Lockhart Basin, before returning back home. The total days we could do were 17, 1 day down trailering the bikes to Moab, 15 days doing the loop, and 1 day to return to Idaho. Tight, but doable. The go day was May 11, 2019.

    Preparation

    I did the IDBDR on my 1190, it was good, but being a dirt biker I prefer lighter and smaller bikes, the 1190 did all it was asked to do, but hearing that the AZBDR was more technical, I decided to go with something smaller, the chosen weapon was my 701, I needed to figure out which type of luggage to use, extra gas capacity (mostly for the GCBAR part of the trip) and comfort.
    For extra fuel I decided I would just pack a 1 gal rotopax, my son's 690 already had a safari tank so he would not need to carry extra fuel, so he would pack the water rotopax.
    For comfort I went with the Seat Concepts seat and decided for wind protection and adventure cred put a Nomad tower on it with cyclops lights. Also installed a kouba link to lower the seat height as the bike is a bit tall for me, bar risers to raise the forks to balance the bike, kickstand pad for the sandy sections, and greased the linkage shock bearings, and steering head bearings as well, since I was in all of those areas anyways. The bike only had less than 2000 miles on it but I know the factory can be fairly skimpy when it comes to grease, I knew this ride would be bumpy so more grease the better.

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    #1
  2. black 8

    black 8 coddiwompling motographer

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    In... just completed the CABDR a week ago and now looking to do other BDRs later down the road...

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    #2
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  3. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Welcome to the journey, the CABDR is on my rather long list of future rides.
    #3
  4. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Luggage

    Not having any luggage for the 701 I had to figure out which way I wanted to go. My son's 690 has racks with Giant Loop bags attached, I wanted to go with something more compact and closer to the center. I do like the quality his Giant Loop bags are so I decided to try out the Giant Loop Great Basin, some smaller accessory bags for tools and a wolfman tank bag. I really like my wolfman on my 1190, but went with a smaller size. I wanted a compact setup that kept the weight as far forward as possible for better handling, I also wanted a setup that could go on any future bikes I would have. I did a trial loading of the bike, took it for a local ride and really liked the feel of everything, the backpack I use for hydration and other items I like to keep handy would rest on the great basin bag so my shoulders and back wouldn't take any of the weight, it was also a nice backrest as well. I like that the majority of the weight is forward of the rear axle and close in to the bike.

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    I put a new TKC80 on the rear and my bike was finished.

    Son's Bike

    Now it was time to turn to my son's bike, it didn't need much, or so I thought, since we put new rubber on it and did a service at the end of the year last year, it only need the valves checked and to mount a rotopax mount on the rack for the water. Since my son was away at college and we were leaving literally the day after he returns I figured I would be nice and prep his bike. The valve check was super easy, it was my first time doing the valves on an LC4, the exhaust were out of spec but only slightly, was able to get them in spec the first try, I got lucky, no skill involved here.

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    Next was mounting the rotopax and I also wanted to improve the mounting of his bags. The setup was a special nut and then it is threaded through the rack and the bag, problem is on the IDBDR the one nut loosened and we lost it on the trail, luckily it was on the last section so we were able to cinch it up to the bike and continue on. With the current nut setup it was also a real pain to mount and dismount the bags, so I wanted to weld on the nuts to the rack so they wouldn't ever come loose and go missing again and it would make mounting and removing the bags much easier. I took the racks off, and noticed that the one mount was broken, probably last year during the trailtech rally he had a bad crash, went off the road and smacked pretty hard, it put a hole in the radiator at the time, we didn't realize it also broke the one mount. Good thing I was doing this and going to the welder anyways, so a repair as well as some fabbing was needed.

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    After some welding, cleanup and paint the brackets looked pretty good. 20190504_190011.jpg

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    Remounted everything, did a last check over any other critical components and his bike was ready to go.

    Logistics

    I had to find a place where I could keep my truck for a couple of weeks in the Moab area, I tried all of the storage lots and they were either full or did not return my calls. I recall in one ride report I read that mentioned hotels might be willing to let you leave your rig there while you ride if you stayed with them. So I tried a few places in Moab and none were willing to let me leave the truck and trailer for the entire 2 weeks, this was May and it is the peak season for the area. I then started to spread out my search and after several more unsuccessful attempts I found the America's Best Value in Green River willing to let me park the truck for the duration. If you are ever in Green River and need a place to stay keep them in mind, great people there. Green River is also the home of the Largest Watermelon, definitely a must see for the trip. It was official the Watermelon would be the start and end of the trip, starting out in Green River allowed us to ride a bit more of the UTBDR which was a good thing, we thought. I booked the rooms for the first night and the last night of the trip with the agreement my truck could stay at their hotel.

    Weather

    Unfortunately the winter of 2018/19 was very good for snowfall, too good. I was starting to worry the closer we got to the go day, at only a couple of weeks to go there were still areas showing a lot of snow with record snowfalls and even some recent snowfalls adding to the base. Rivers were high, so high that you couldn't get permits online for the white rim, as it was a day to day watch if it was closed or not in the one area where you get close to the green river. It was getting a little tense at times and I became good at finding webcams or snow reports or river flows with fingers crossed that we would not be too badly affected.

    7 Days to GO Day.
    #4
  5. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Final Preparations

    Here is a picture of Damon's bike with the racks fully mounted. As luck would have it the camera lens on my phone cracked and no spare bandwidth to get it fixed, the pics now have haze.

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    The last 2 days were busy, had to go get the son from College, then we started to finish up the packing and last minute purchases needed for the trip, can't forget a small and flexible funnel to add oil, they are both LC4s, the 690 could use a top end as it does burn about 1L every 2000 miles, my 701 is still good it only used 200mL the entire trip.

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    The long range forecast for the trip showed some possible colder weather on the northern part of AZ on the last portion of the AZBDR, hopefully the forecast would improve, but just in case I decided to pack some thermals, and boy was I glad I did.

    So after several months of planning and preparation, everything was as ready as it could be, bikes packed and loaded, alarm set for early in the am tomorrow to finish loading and set out on the long drive to Green River, it is about 900 miles from here. Anticipation and nerves all at once, not knowing what to expect but knowing it would be an adventure no matter what happens. Had a kickoff drink of some Courvoisier to help relax me and to sleep.

    Tomorrow is GO Day!!!!!
    #5
  6. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 1.

    Woohoo it's GO Day. This is when the fun really begins. Sorry for the preamble but wanted to record some of the prep that was done. Sometimes there is more involved with the planning than the actual ride. We awoke bright and early, finished up what little packing remained and then when Sean, our friend who is joining us, arrived, we rolled his bike onto the trailer and then started out. The 701 was in the back and the 2 KTMS on the trailer.
    First stop was at McD's for breakfast, took a pic to record the start.

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    Not too much to report, it was a long day of driving, the traffic was bad in Salt Lake even though it was a Saturday afternoon, although it did give us a chance to stop for some In'N'Out, I love those burgers and shakes, we need to get one in North Idaho.

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    Got to the hotel late, checked in and went to sleep dreaming of the riding, tomorrow will be the White Rim Trail and Moab.
    #6
  7. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 2 Green River, UT to Monticello, UT.

    The original plan was to ride the UTBDR from Green River to Moab then do the White Rim Trail, but there was still snow in the one section so we decided to leave this for the return trip and slab it to the White Rim which was only about 30 miles from us.

    We unloaded the bikes from the trailer and got them ready for the adventure, my friend, Mike, from Colorado was in the area and would join us for the White Rim, he was on an FE450. We stashed the truck and then headed out to the Watermelon for some pics. It's funny, on google maps if you search for the giant watermelon in Green River you will see our picture, I guess maybe we are famous for a little while.

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    We started out, nice sunny day for us, we decided that it would be best to get the National Park Annual Pass, what a deal, for $80 you have unlimited access to all the parks and it even allows 2 bikes for the 1 pass, since we were going to be visiting several national parks this trip, it was well worth it. I highly recommend this pass if you can put it to use, it was almost paid for the first day. I have ridden the Moab area before on dirt bikes, cool area, very scenic from what I usually see and nice riding available. This was my first time on the White Rim trail, the views are amazing, the remoteness makes you feel like you are the only ones there, we only saw a couple of small groups, and 1 large group of mountain bikes, that would be an adventure by itself.
    The Shafer switchbacks at the start are crazy cool, the view before you drop into the valley is worth the price of admission alone, you can see the snow on the mountians to the south, unfortunately that snow prevented us from riding that portion of the UTBDR, even 2 weeks later it was still closed due to the snow. You can see 2 jeeps in the distance that we pass on the way down.
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    Damon stops to check out the switchbacks, the drop into the valley is breathtaking to say the least. You will notice on the back of his jacket a little bit of tearing. He was a little over excited after leaving the watermelon and decided to show the others how not to do a wheelie, he looped it and got a bit of road rash, tearing his jacket and pants, he got a bit of rash on his legs, but mostly his injury was a bruised ego. He got lucky that he wasn't going very fast and it happened on a straight stretch of road or it could have been much worse, it could have ended the trip for us. I was not impressed.

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    From here you can see the bikes heading down and the jeeps I mentioned coming up, the road is plenty wide, but I was still glad to be on a bike.

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    With the late snows and rain I was impressed at how colorful the desert was, there was a blue highlighting in the distance, hard to see in the pics, but cool to see in person. There were a lot of different flowers, I was surprised at all the color, the desert in bloom is very beautiful, such a desolate yet amazing area. The first stop was the Musselman arch, really cool, I am not good at heights and it was exciting to walk across it.

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    I just love all the rock formations.
    #7
  8. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 2 Continued.

    Another pic of the Musselman Arch, 1st person point of view.

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    The White Rim Trail is exactly what it states, you ride along this rim most of the time, the way the rock just gives away to the valley is pretty cool.

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    At times you are along the rim and then there are some places where you climb up and get an even better view of it all, you can see the road wandering along the valley below. That climb was fun, we passed a small group of mountain bikes that were going up as well, glad I had motor power instead of pedal power. We stopped for a snack at the top and the group of bikes joined us, we talked for a while, they were camping about a 1/2 mile farther, beautiful spot to spend the night, I put that in my mental notes for the future to camp along the White Rim Trail and spend the night out there, I can imagine the stars at night.

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    #8
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  9. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 2 continued...

    The area here along the river was where the flooding was happening, we were lucky for today there was no flooding and the trail was open for the entire loop, this was about 3/4 of the way already, we were all ok for fuel, but if we had to go back the way we came Mike would have needed more fuel, as it was he was able to make it to Moab for fuel, we sent him ahead after we finished the White Rim and said we would stop if he ran out, I was carrying my rotopax so he would be able to make it to civilization, he didn't need it, but he said he only had about 1/4 of a gallon left when he filled up. All I could think of was all of the snakes in the bushes and marsh, for some reason this trip I was really paranoid about snakes, yet the entire time I didn't see 1.

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    And then we climbed out of the valley and it was done.

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    Everything we read about the White Rim said it would take all day, we finished early, I thought we were taking our time, stopping for pictures along the way, taking breaks, but we were done and it wasn't even 2pm, we started it after 10, so it was only about a 4 hour trip, we headed for Moab for lunch and decided to push on to Monticello after we ate. The portion of the UTBDR from Moab to Monticello was open but we had a long lunch and decided to just slab it, it wasn't far and I think we were a little tired from the White Rim, so it was probably for the best. We parted from Mike, wished him well on the rest of his trip and he wished us good luck as well, he was going to check out some areas Northeast of Moab.

    We were not able to find camping in Monticello, but we also didn't look very hard either. In the hotel room we were trying to find a more adventurous way to Four corners, after studying the maps we had and google we had a route we decided on, I will save that for tomorrow.
    #9
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  10. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    I almost forgot about Damon's pants, his were shredded pretty good so we were able to find a pair of motocross pants that fit him and would work at a used sporting goods store in Moab, here is a pic of his pants, these were also offroad pants so there wasn't much protection from the pavement, he was lucky he only had minimal road rash.

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    #10
  11. Oldschoolrocker

    Oldschoolrocker a.k.a. EZE Supporter

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    Cool stuff and glad your posting this up!! Was a big surprise when you rolled up on us on Schaffer thats for sure!! Cant wait to see what all your trip included. Cheers!
    #11
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  12. Aikenrunner

    Aikenrunner 18 KTM 690 Enduro, 14 CB500X RR Supporter

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    Great RR, I'm following along.
    #12
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  13. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Yes, I forgot to mention that, small world the adv riding community. Here I am in Southern Utah heading out for the first day of our trip and the first bike I come across is another rider from the Spokane area, how cool is that?

    Welcome to the Journey.
    #13
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  14. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 3 Monticello, UT to Durango, CO

    The original plan was to only go to Cortez, CO, but we ended up going all the way to Durango.

    The route we decided on was to take the Montezuma Creek rd through the Montezuma Canyon to the small town of Montezuma Creek, from there we crossed UT 162 and found a series of old roads that would take us along the San Juan River and we would pop out onto UT 160 just a few miles west of Four Corners. After Four Corners we would slab it to Cortez.

    We started out with another beautiful day, sunny and not too hot. We easily found the Montezuma Creek rd and started to descend into the canyon, it got warmer as we dropped down.

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    Once you are down into the valley floor you follow along the creek, I was excited that we would be seeing some cliff dwellings later at Mesa Verde, but we even saw some here in the canyon.

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    Here was the first cliff dwelling of the day, not what I was expecting at all.

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    We even crossed the creek in several places, the water was not very high but the ground was very soft in the wet areas, so it was good to be cautious.

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    #14
  15. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 3 Continued...

    We eventually made it out of the canyon and it opened up to reveal the desert we had descended into, the roads were wider and more traveled here on the way to the town of Montezuma Creek. We were deep in Navajo Nation now.

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    We stopped in town, gassed up and had some snacks. The town had new schools and buildings, looks like a lot of investment had been happening, not sure where the money was coming from, maybe from some of the oil pumpers we saw before and after the town, I have no idea. While me and Damon were standing by the bikes having a snack and drinks a truck pulled up and this older native american starting yelling at us, but I couldn't understand what he was saying he was so f'd up that he was slurring his words to the point of not understanding him at all. Probably a good thing. He told us "F*** You" and we wished him a nice day. It was not even 11am yet, pretty early to be that wasted, sad that someone's life would be like that. I grew up around a really bad reservation and saw a lot of wasted lives, but that is another story for another time. Luckily that was the only negative part of our time in the Navajo Nation, everyone else we met were super nice and interested to talk to us for the rest of the trip.

    After our short break and experience we headed south to find our next route, we had no idea what to expect, we were literally discovering this on our own and wasn't sure if our route would even get us there. We went through a few gates and each time the road became less and less traveled. This area has a lot of old roads that were made in the early 50s when the government was looking for uranium deposits, we were on these roads, I wished I would have taken a pic in the one rocky area where we had to weave through fallen boulders, there had not been traffic on that part for some time. What an adventure.

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    We even came across some old abandoned homesteads.

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    #15
  16. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 3 Continued...

    We continued to wind through the desert getting closer to our goal but still not sure if we would make it or have to find another way. The only tracks were the 2 bikes in front of me.

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    Success, our route did get us to our goal, but we missed 1 turn that may have taken us right to 4 corners from the backside, it didn't even look like a road so we went the more traveled way and made it to the highway which took us to the 4 corners monument. There are little booths for people to sell their merchandise at the monument, there was 1 artist selling his clay pottery, Oh My Gosh, his work was incredible, he didn't allow any pics of his stuff, but it was impressive and VERY expensive. We bought a couple of t-shirts, they were in our price range. The t-shirt vendor grew up in the area and we were talking to him about how we got here and the route we took and he said there was a road that went close to the river, this was probably the road we decided not to take. But he said there was a lot of quicksand in that area and with the river being high it may also have been flooded, so it was probably better to save for another journey.

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    We continued on to Cortez for lunch, and then we went to Mesa Verde to see the real cliff dwellings. The road to the cliff dwellings was fun and curvy with not too much traffic. Damon and Sean were flying in this section, me not wanting to jeopardize my license I was more restrained. There were places where you could see the road ahead and noticed the 2 bikes were sitting behind this white SUV, as I was catching up I became suspicious of this vehicle and noticed from my vantage point that he pulled over and the 2 went by slowly, so I started to reduce my speed as I came around the bend and sure enough, it was a cop, he lit up his lights as a warning, I slowed down even more but nothing came of it, I don't even think I was speeding when he flashed his lights. That would be my luck, the restrained one gets the ticket when the 2 hotdogs go free, but luckily this wasn't the case today.

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    We talked with this older couple, they were seeing the sights on a scooter with their dog in a carrier, it was cool, they were interested in where we were going and where we had been. Their dog liked riding along with them. I was missing my dog that day because of this, but he is too big and heavy to be carried like that.

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    We continued on, there was a campground on the map about 30 mins away. Unfortunately the campground did not have the water turned on yet, there was still snow and muddy roads to the water supply and they were not able to get up there yet to activate the system for the year. Rather than go back we decided to continue on to Durango, there was a KOA with our name on it.
    #16
  17. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 4 Durango, CO to Grants, NM. The plan for today is to slab it to Cuba, NM and ride the NMBDR to Grants, NM.

    So last night while having a late dinner in Durango I noticed there was a phone and tablet repair shop in the same strip mall, so we would pop into the store in the morning and see if I could get my lens fixed on my phone, and they were able to fix it while we were having breakfast in a nearby restaurant. No more foggy photos!!!

    We headed out a little bit later but made up the time on the slab, not much to report there, you just have to turn up the music and try to let the boredom pass and keep thinking about all the good stuff to come later that day. We had lunch in Cuba, then headed out to the NMBDR. There was sand, lots of sand, but the roads were packed good, maybe from the recent moisture maybe its always like this. We skirted several storms, missing all of them, we hoped our luck would continue. There are a lot of cows on the NMBDR, and as a result a lot of cattle guards, they became jumps for us, they rise up slightly on each side, you take them at speed and they make for a nice fun ramp, most of them you could do this and get some nice air, it was fun.

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    For a lot of it it was just us and the cows, no fresh tire tracks since the last rain.

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    I can imagine what this would be like after a big storm, would not want to be down here, so much sand.

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    Just a whole lot of empty space.

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    #17
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  18. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 4 continued...

    We went by some abandoned homesteads, I just wonder what would bring people here so long ago, and then why did they leave? The history if those walls could talk.

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    We kept getting closer to this cool looking peak, we saw it a ways back, I don't know the name of it, but it looks like an arrow. If you look closely in this pic, you can just see it poking above the horizon. We saw it before the homestead and had been watching it get closer for some time.

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    Then closer

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    Then real close.

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    #18
  19. Dusty Pipes

    Dusty Pipes Riding Addict

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    Day 4 continued...

    The closer we got to Grants the higher we climbed, we started getting into actual forest, and it was cold.

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    If you look closely you can see some snow on the backside of that hill in front of us, it actually snowed a little on us in this area, it was much colder than it was lower down in the desert.

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    We made it to Grants, setup camp at a KOA, and found a nice pizza place in town to eat at, then enjoyed a nice evening of cold beers and moonlight.

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    #19
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  20. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Oh, yeah, I’m lovin’ this RR. Keep it coming, guys.
    #20
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