Go West OFWG

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by drdubb, May 29, 2016.

  1. 8gv

    8gv Long timer

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    Hey Dale,

    I'm enjoying your report. I wish I could have joined you!

    Get your doctor to prescribe Meloxicam, aka "Mobic" to tame that shoulder. It made my hips tollerable leading up to their replacements.

    Keep the pics coming!
    #21
  2. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Good to hear from you too. Wish you could've tagged along. I think i would have enjoyed the trip even more with a friend along. Thanks for the meds tip. Currently doing ok with steroid injections every 3-4 months. Will probably do the replacement around Thanksgiving.
    #22
  3. rascalman

    rascalman GhostRider, the clock is ticking

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    Awesome report. Looking forward to future installments. The videos are fantastic.
    #23
    EZMoney likes this.
  4. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Thanks. I've got two three more to finish.
    #24
  5. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Fun ride...thanks for letting us tag along!
    #25
  6. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    I've certainly been envious of your travels. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get a TW..
    #26
  7. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

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    Great R.R. & pictures,brilliant videos as well,looking forward to the rest of the adventure.
    #27
  8. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Day 8

    Firsts: Hoodoos
    Theme: Enough Bloody Canyons
    Destination: Cedar City, Utah to Blanding, Utah
    Miles: 414


    The early sun was filtering into the canyon as I climbed back up to Cedar Breaks. The twisty climb and cool air was an excellent wake up for this early riser. Despite running this route the previous afternoon, I was delighted by the sights nature was providing. Cool Aspen forests, tight, rocky canyons and cool mountain meadows provided fodder for my camera. I again spied the unique rock formations popping up in the middle of the Aspen groves. I imagined a large truck tipping the black boulders amongst the trees. Having researched these formations the previous night, I knew that they were recent (1-5000 years old) volcanic “seepage”. Fissures opened and these black boulders were the result. I saw little piles of these renderings in the trees, by a lake and covering entire hillsides.

    I surprised a few deer, but they were kind enough to not jump in front of me. I've found that the deer in the road is a hazard of early morning riding.

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    After a pleasant time in the forest, I rejoined highway 89 for the quick jaunt to Bryce Canyon. The entry gates were not manned upon my arrival, so I breezed into the park without having to show my “Old Man” National Park Pass. ($10 at most Federal offices) Crowds gathered at various bus stops along the road, waiting to be transported to the various overlooks. The motor carriages weren’t running yet, so it was very lonely at those overlooks. Yes!

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    Bryce Canyon is another of those amazing places. The road through the park is pleasant in itself, but the scenes from the overlooks...wowza! The shapes resembled volcanic droppings, but were actually formed by erosion. Those shapes or “hoodoos” reminded me of the terracotta army in the Chinese tomb. I can also see how native peoples would see this area as a spiritual place.

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    My route was retraced after the photo orgy and off to Escalante I trod. A restaurant in Henrieville called my name so it was a fine breakfast for lunch for me.

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    Satiated, I rolled on towards the “Grand Staircase” of Escalante. The Staircase is a series of ridges which culminate with the road following the top of a narrow ridgeline, serious drops to the left and the right. Quite invigorating.


    I passed by a road, the Burr Trail, which a group of BMW riders had encouraged me to ride. The Butler Map rated it as a “best” road, but it looked very lonely on the map. Sitting at home, I wish I’d taken that road, but at the time, I did not know how the remainder of the day would go or whether I would be able to find shelter as my poor body pooped out.

    I was surprised to climb again into the Dixie National Forest. It provided relief from both the heat and the prevalent color scheme.

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    Highway 24 intersects highway 12 at Torrey, so I turned east into Capitol Reef National Park. This route follows a seemingly endless red cliff. It eventually turns into a canyon, with a small stream that paints the base of the canyon green. I was surprised to ride through a narrow, but long orchard in that canyon. I should have checked the map. The little area is called...Fruita.

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    The canyon spat me out onto the surface of the moon. The stretch into Hanksville is gray. Gray hills, gray fields, piles of gray...everything was gray. I found it quite depressing.

    Nayati needed feeding, so I pulled into the first service station in Hanksville. It was midday and no one was about. The place seemed open, but it was locked. The Pepsi delivery guy was there and could not find anyone to accept his sodas. I moved on, hoping this was not a one horse town. I did find a second fueling stop before exiting onto a flat plain.

    It was hot while crossing the plain. Predictions were for temps close to a 100. Sure felt like the predictions were true. I looked in envy to the cool peaks on my right, Mt. Ellen (11,522 ft.), Mt. Pennell (11,371 ft.), and Mt. Hillers (10,723 ft.)

    The road began to descend and the scenery turned red as I pulled even with those peaks. I was entering the Glen Canyon Recreation area. Butler Maps also had this as a “Gold” road, but I was hot, tired, and had seen enough red canyons to really appreciate this section. I did however, enjoy the sweeping turns.

    After Glen Canyon, it was an uneventful ride into Blanding, Utah. I found a motel and was settled in by 3 P.M. I’m glad I got there early, the place was filling up fast. I just wish I had that time to ride that road I had passed.

    Interesting talking with the fellow at the desk. He had lived many years just down the road from my home. He was not the talkative type, so I didn’t discover why he had moved to this sun blanched place.
    #28
  9. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Day 8 Video

    #29
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  10. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Day 9

    Firsts: Man eating midges
    Theme: Mars Landing
    Destination: Blanding Utah to Moab Utah
    Miles: 314

    I left the sparseness of Blanding at sunrise and enjoyed the lonely road towards Monticello. The sun silhouetted the hills to the east and at one point, a solitary horse feeding on the ridgeline. That was a photo that I hate I missed.

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    In Monticello, I turned onto Hart’s Draw Road leading to the Indian Creek Scenic Byway, through the Abajo mountains and into Canyonlands National Park. I had not expected to be “in” Canyonlands, but the road curved through the canyons, with the bluffs, buttes and cliffs forming the horizon. This was a beautiful ride and included “Newspaper” rock. This is a large painting by ancient native americans on a flat rock face.

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    I doubled back to Hwy. 191 and rode north to the next park entrance, the “Needles”. At the end of this road was a true overlook and it was spectacular. Located at a midpoint in the park, the “Needles overlook provides views to the north and south.


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    Doubling back to Hwy 191 a second time, I continued north. I glanced at my gas gauge and noticed with a start that I was in reserve. The gauge also had already counted down 20% of the remaining reserve. The distance to Moab was pretty close to the estimated remaining fuel’s capability, so I went into conservative rider mode. Strapped to the back of the bike was a Rotopax tank carrying an extra gallon of regular, so I really had no worries. I was more upset by the surprise of my fuel situation.


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    Moab was attained with no problems and the fuel situation alleviated. I passed on through Moab headed to the North Entrance to the park. A fork in that road takes you to Dead Horse State Park. This park derives its name from a terrible incident in its history. Cowboys rounded up the wild horses in the area and corralled them at the end of the mesa, overlooking the Colorado river. The cowboys took the horses that they wanted and left the rest to die of thirst on this peninsula of land.

    The view from Dead Horse is spectacular, although some small midges will eat you alive if you tarry too long. I took a few pics and moved on to Grand View Point.

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    This location is spectacular. Once again, I have no words. Below the cliffs, the White Cliff trail is visible. This is a popular route for the off-road crowd. I bet it is amazing to ride, but caution is needed. It is 100 miles of isolation. The midges attacked again and chased me back onto Nayati.


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    Turning again, I and headed back to Moab. An overpriced motel was booked and I settled into a freshly cleaned room by 1:30. The toothless women running the main desk chatted with me while I waited for my room to be readied. She was surprised that I had not been afraid to ride through Canyon of the Ancients and Bluff. She said she never went down there herself, that it was dangerous. I didn’t sense any threats when I was there, so I’m not sure why she had that fear. Maybe it’s a difference in outlooks to the world.

    I’d hoped for a nice dinner within walking distance, but the two diners across the street closed at 2:00, so that left a Wendy’s. The girl that waited on me was Chinese and didn’t have a strong command of the language or the workings of a modern cash register. I wondered if she were a student who was working here for the summer. Many resort towns bring in kids from overseas to do work/study programs in the summer. From what I’ve seen, the employers take advantage of the kids and they see little of America. I hope she is able to venture out of the Mars scape of Moab.

    The temperature reached 101 that afternoon and the direct sun shining on the window curtains in my room kept me at bay until sunset. It was a good day, I got a little rest, but the next day would see me escape Mars and head for some green.

    A little video from the day.

    #30
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  11. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Day 10

    Firsts: Down Rider
    Theme: Red to Green
    Destination: Moab, Utah to Gunnison, Co.
    Miles: 410


    I packed and was in Arches National Park by 6:30. This park was another scenic wonder. The road snakes through the park with many opportunities to walk into the individual sites. I tried one or two, but hiking in motorcycle gear at my age and condition was not in the cards. I took many photos and enjoyed the silhouette shots as the sun rose.

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    At one of the arches, a drone was buzzing about. That really chapped my butt. It was calm and peaceful except for that damned drone. Wish I had a Hellfire missile.

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    I left arches and headed south. There were thunderstorms predicted for the Colorado mountains and that was where I was headed. I had originally planned to ride a big loop out of Aches that included highway 128 along the Colorado river. I skipped that and headed south for the LaSal mountains and a shorter route back to the big mountains.

    The road back to Colorado provided a break from the red Utah landscape with a green view. The road was entertaining, the altitude high enough to cool this rider and the destination was glorious. The route descended into a little valley with a road straight as an arrow towards Naturita, Colorado. This was a much more interesting route than I expected. I passed through several small burgs and river valleys that were quite scenic.

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    I eventually picked up Colorado 145 and retraced part of my Day 5 route over the mountains to Ridgeway, Colorado. I stopped for a stretch and saw a group of about 20 female riders on Harley’s and Indians. I think they were part of a tour group. They had no luggage and a man seemed to be leading the group.

    I headed north into Montrose. Again, uneventful. While maneuvering through the town I was passed by a fellow on a sport bike. He seemed way too tall for that motorcycle. I was to see him again later in the day.

    Heading out of Montrose I traveled on a well groomed highway 60 through some rolling landscape. As that road dropped down towards the Gunnison River it narrowed, starting twisting a little and the traffic began to thicken. I ended up behind that sportbike I had seen in Montrose. I decided to cover his six and stick with him for awhile. As we were descending a steep decline he wavered over towards the shoulder and suddenly went down. I guess he lost concentration and panicked a little, stabbed the brakes and the front end washed out. He was lucky in that the bike was teetering on top of a 15 foot embankment. I stopped and helped lift the bike. He went to the front and started pushing back up the hill. I’m glad he was strong because all I could do was brace the bike and keep it from sliding down the hill. As I strained against the motorcycle I noticed a Purple Heart medal pinned to the rear of his seat. I assume it was his. I stayed with him until he got it started and rode on. I turned across the river at the bottom of that hill and crossed the dam leading to Black Canyon Road.

    The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is the steepest, narrowest, craggiest canyon I’ve ever seen. It looks like the earth just cracked. Black Canyon Road runs along the northern lip of that canyon. It is so steep, that it is difficult to see the canyon from the road, and there are precious few safe places to pull over. I fell in synch with two other riders and followed them through the canyon. After about 20 miles of hard riding, we pulled into an overlook. The duo was a father and son. The dad had ridden up from Florida on his Kawasaki and junior had ridden his Triumph Speed Triple from his home in Boulder.

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    I left them at the overlook and headed north. My plan was to find route 12 into Crested Butte. Twelve is a gravel road that crosses Kebler pass. It is supposed to be a beautiful trip. After 50 miles I stopped for gas. While having a Choco Taco I asked the proprietor about highway 12. Apparently, it was closed due to landslides. I had to turn around and retrace my path through the Black Canyon. I was actually getting a little tired by this point, so I welcomed the easy ride after the twist fest. There was some construction along 50, so the going was slow. I rode through Gunnison and stopped at a Comfort Inn. I asked my usual question about places to eat. I was directed to the gas station across the street. It served craft beer and supposedly the best hamburger in Gunnison. Well….I’ve never had a better one.

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    and...a little video
    #31
  12. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    That whole area is awesome... I'd like to go back to Bryce sometime soon.
    The light was great in your photos of Arches. Pays off getting up early.
    #32
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  13. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Rhode Trip
    Looking at your recent posts reinforces in my mind how much i missed in the Moab area.
    #33
  14. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    ay 11

    Firsts: Snow shoes
    Theme: I passed
    Destination: Gunnison, Co to Silverthorne Co
    Miles : 310

    Holy cow! It is amazing the difference a few miles makes. I woke up to 48 degrees after enduring triple digit heat the day before in Moab. I wisely put on my Smartwool Long undies and my heated jacket before mounting Nayati. I also added glove liners and switched on my heated grips. Today’s ride would include two high passes where I could expect the temperature to drop from its current state. Gunnison was quiet at 6:30 as I exited the town and started the steady climb to Monarch Pass. The countryside was green and pleasant. While the dry, red, broken landscape of Utah was impressive, I much preferred the green valleys and granite gray outcroppings of Colorado. Much more soothing.

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    Highway 50 is smooth and wide up the pass and I quickly reached the apex and the Monarch Pass Restaurant. It was closed, but the manager arrived as I milled about taking photographs. The young cook managed to produce a hot cup of coffee and a bacon and egg flatbread which warmed my core.

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    I motored down the mountainsides and turned north on 285/24 and enjoyed the mountain scenes to my west as the flat valley made the riding easy. My route turned back west on highway 82 and past Twin Lakes. The view here is fantastic. Very beautiful, very calm. This is also the place where I saw my first speed trap. There is a little village and the speed limit drops quickly. Look out fellow travelers.

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    The climb up to Independence pass is gorgeous. You can see the tall mountains ahead, the road is tree lined and smooth, and there are glimpses of snow in the background.

    The pass is covered in foot deep snow and the parking lot is full of outdoor folk with skis, snowshoes and other paraphenalia. Bicyclists are also cluttering the place. There is a race the next day that will cover this ground.

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    I walk out through foot deep snow to an overlook. I talk with a nice family and they take my picture. Thanks guys!. Once again, a drone breaks the peace of the mountains. Arrgghhhh.

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    I saddle up and start chasing bicycles down the mountain. As the the road levels, civilization appears and I enter the sprawl of Aspen. I don’t stop for coffee, but head on out to the towns of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. I then turn onto I-70 and pass through some mighty steep rock canyons. Again...gorgeous. Alongside the interstate is a roaring river full of rafters. I’m able to glance at them from time to time. There is also a paved bicycle path that goes on for 20 or 30 miles. Wonderful engineering and planning.

    I had originally planned to take the old Highway 6 back up into the mountains, but the day is late, storms are predicted and I see dark clouds in the hills. I stop in Silverthorne and get a room at the Days Inn. I’ve found that prices in Colorado are about half of those in Utah. Huzzaah.
    Another bonus! My room has a garage for Nayati, so she is able to sleep soundly.

    The clouds continued to darken, but never did dump on me. I’m not sure about the high places nearby. This was a beautiful day of riding that ended well.

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    And...a little video.

    #34
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  15. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Day 12

    Firsts:
    Theme: Glorious
    Destination: Silverthorne, Co. to Pueblo, Co.
    Miles: 334

    I pulled out of Silverthorne at zero dark thirty. It was colder than yesterday….41 degrees. Woolies and heated gear were deployed and off I went. I changed my route (now wishing I hadn’t) to save a little time. Storms were due in the mountains between 10 and 12 and I was headed across some high, open ground and I didn’t want to BE the ground for some lightning bolts.

    Route 9 was nice for awhile and then I hit a stretch of construction. This stretch was about 10 miles long, the asphalt had been stripped, there were giant potholes and it was one rough, twitchy ride. The only saving grace was that it was 6:00 on a Sunday morning and no one was working and there was no traffic.

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    The highlight of this stretch was a highway sign listing a couple of businesses at the next turn. One was Master Bait and Tackle. If it weren’t a DOT sign, I would’ve thought it was a joke. I didn’t get a pic myself, but I did look it up when I got home.
    https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=e...d=0ahUKEwiQjabmxqjOAhVCYyYKHUgqBmwQoioIjgEwDg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


    I made the first turn at the tiny town of Kremling. I was surprised to see an air strip and two antique military flight trainers sitting on the strip. I think one was a T-34 and the other an old Stearman.

    I rolled on a little further and the terrain grew a little more mountainous. I passed through a few small towns, saw a couple of GS’s at a local breakfast joint, but I had planned to eat in Estes Park after crossing Rocky Mountain National Park.

    The town of Granby led me to Grand Lake and as I passed Granby Lake, I was surprised at how many sailboats were in the mountain water. The area grew more forested and I was quickly in the park.

    The climb started in heavily forested foothills, that quickly steepened. A sign warning of ice ahead raised my apprehension levels. There was sporadic snow melt on the road and I could easily imagine that each “damp” spot was black ice. I crawled up that mountain. Glad there was no traffic.

    A campground appeared in my visor and a few people were observed stirring about in that sleepy, groggy way. While missing the camaraderie and new friendships that camping may yield, this morning demonstrated the benefits of motels. There was no equipment to pack, tents to dry, stiff joints to endure. Getting out early was the priority for me and was a successful strategy.

    The climb continued through the trees with piles of white snow to accent the forest green. Then I burst out into the open spaces; a carpet of tundra decorating the space. The views were breathtaking. I motored up to the peak of the climb and spent a few minutes walking around the empty parking lot of the closed visitor center. Absolutely amazing. I was so glad that I had saved Rocky Mountain National Park for last. This was an appropriate culminating place.

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    Arctic tundra covered mountains was an unexpected sight. I was unaware of the composition of the area until reading the signs encouraging visitors to stay off the fragile flora. Some of these plants take up to 80 years to bloom. Carelessness could cause tremendous damage.

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    I remounted and motored on, enjoying the views of the mountains from above. The descent was most pleasant. Cars in great lines were ascending in the other lane and the wisdom of the early hour of departure was confirmed once again.

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    A bakery was spotted on the edge of Estes Park so breakfast was sourced from this place. Being the rube that I am, I had difficulty with the menu. I was unfamiliar with many of the ingredients so a tried and true egg & sausage sandwich was ordered. The type of bread is still a mystery.

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    A route was devised across the front range to take me south. Colorado highways 9, 72 and 119 were the crux of this section. I enjoyed some freshly paved roads with plenty of sweeping corners and forested views. I would guess at least a hundred motorcycles passed in the opposite direction. This area is a blessing to the Denver motorcyclist. As I neared I-72 my navigation became sloppy and some good opportunities were missed. I did pass through a narrow valley filled with casinos; Black Hawk, Colorado. This is the only place that I saw a facility for selling medicinal herbs, but then again I was not searching for the healing powers of plants.

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    I-72 and then I-24 carried me towards Pueblo. The storms predicted for the morning had not arrived, but the clouds were building. If I were to do it again, I would have followed my planned route back into the mountains for a more bucolic ride and avoidance of the bumper to bumper traffic on the interstate. I was afraid of the unknown and getting caught out in the open during severe storms.

    A motel was found and Nayati settled for the night by 4 P.M. An IHOP in the motel parking lot was a welcomed sight and breakfast was my supper. Upon exiting the IHOP, the clouds opened with a horrific volley. The storm was primarily to the east and headed further in that direction. Large hail and heavy lightning were reported. I watched the storms growth and path on radar and that observation moved me to reroute back into Kansas rather than enter Oklahoma. The red and orange radar reflections covered much of the latter.

    Long hot ride tomorrow.

    The video:


    #35
    Rapturee2 likes this.
  16. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

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    Day 13

    Firsts: Feedlots
    Theme: No lineman
    Destination: Pueblo, Co to Wichita, Ks.
    Miles: 472

    This morning was overcast, after a long night of severe storms. I checked the weather radar and large areas of Oklahoma were orange. I decided to take a northerly route, back through Kansas, rather than fighting the storms raging in the Sooner State. The good news is that the clouds would hold down the heat as long as they lasted.

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    Eastern Colorado didn’t have much in the way of notable scenery to write about. Farmland and an occasional small town made up most of what there was to see. In one small burg, I passed a railhead with cranes unloading giant metal forms. Just beyond that was a field full of the forms, and then I realized what they were. I was looking at the blades, hubs, towers and generators for wind farms. I had occasionally seen trucks hauling the pieces that make up the towers, but they just look like some type of holding tank. Seeing all of this together cleared things in my mind.

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    I was in China, specifically Beijing, a number of years ago (2006?) and they were having the 5 year congress. One of the pronouncements was to lead the world in the production of the machinery for wind turbines. I wondered if I was looking at the fruits of those goals. I also thought about the number of jobs I was looking at. The manufacture, the hauling, the assembly, the maintenance. In my home state, a company announced the construction of a windfarm in the sparsely populated east. The legislature got busy to block the farm. They claimed it was in the flight path of the US Navy’s bombing range. The Navy had already cleared the farm for construction. Our governor worked thirty years for the electrical monopoly in the area. hmmmm.

    Another sight, or should I say smell, of Kansas were feedlots. As I barreled down the road, I noticed this large, square on the hillside. As I got closer, I noticed white blotches in the darkness and then I noticed they were moving. Then….I noticed the smell. Holy Cow!..I passed several of these odiferous squares.

    I took US 50 out of Pueblo and then switched to 400 to take me into Wichita. This route roughly followed the Arkansa River, which strangely, just disappeared near Dodge City. While writing this report, I looked at Google Maps and realized I had missed some opportunities. Along this route is an old Japanese American internment camp and actual tracks from the old Santa Fe trail.

    The heat was fine until I neared Wichita. The temp rose as well as the humidity, so that by the time I entered the heavy traffic of Wichita, the air was pretty miserable. I found my motel, which actually was a suite in what looked like an old apartment complex. I ordered chinese delivery and settled in for the night.

    Day 14

    Firsts
    Theme: Fooled again
    Destination: Wichita, Ks to Poplar Bluff, Mo.
    Miles: 441


    Day fourteen was fairly uneventful. More Kansas plains. I had decided to skip Arkansas on the way home. They were having record temps, heat indexes of 110 or so, and lots of thunderstorms. I reentered Missouri at about the same place I had exited two weeks before and picked up the same route I had followed then. Near where I had previously found route 66, I saw a sign with route 66 pointing to a small concrete-paved road forking off to the right. I turned down that road which is probably one of the last pieces of the original 66. Narrow and winding, the theme song from the show played in my head.

    [​IMG]


    Back up on route 60, I was having deja vu all over again as the clouds filled in and I started to hit small rain downpours. I stopped to check the radar and it was not looking promising. While at a gas and ice cream stop, a fellow walked up and started asking me about the NC. Apparently, he has a 20 year old son who was born without a right hand. This son wanted to ride, so he was curious about the DCT. His idea was to move the throttle to the left side and with no clutch to fool with, he might be able to ride. I told him about Mert Lawill and his foundation that helped young people who were missing limbs adapt bikes to overcome the disability. I wish this guy luck.

    At the same stop an older fellow came in with a mint Honda Shadow. I had passed this guy a few miles back and decided to strike up a conversation. He must have told me 10 times that he is 80 years old and had returned to motorcycling at a late age. I wished I looked as fit and young as he did. He was on his way to Florida to visit family. He said he never went faster than 65mph. All I can say is good for him. I hope I can ride at 80.

    I continued on until I reached a town with motel options, Poplar Bluff. The sky was not looking good and it was a long ride to the next town. I found a Comfort Inn that was across the street from an Italian restaurant and decided this was the place to be. I checked in and had a little dinner before retiring to the room. The ladies at the desk let me park the bike right at the front door for theft prevention. As soon as I was settled in, the clouds disappeared and it was a beautiful evening. So much for my weather prediction skills.

    Day 15

    Theme: Running from the rain.
    Destination: Poplar Bluff, Mo. to Sevierville, Tenn.
    Miles: 511

    Today was supposed to be a short day. I was to ride a few hundred miles to Tom’s place near Nashville and crash there for the night. Because of the short day, I was going to take my time leaving Poplar Bluff. The usual weather check was performed when I woke up and a line of storms was bearing down on my location. I jumped up, packed the bike and hit the road. The storms missed me, but after crossing the Mississippi, the sky was cloudy and would occasionally spit some rain. I continued the slab all the way to Tom’s house and was there by 11 A.M.

    The good part of the cloudy day was the avoidance of heat. Tom informed me that storms had just left the area and the weather radar indicated they were not on my intended route. I decided to keep rolling. It was early in the day, the clouds were holding down the heat, and my path looked clear of storms. I hated to leave and I know that Tom wanted to hear all about the trip, but I decided to keep rolling. My goal was to get beyond Knoxville before I stopped and I succeeded in that goal. I checked into the Big Bear Inn at Sevierville and enjoyed a nice dinner at the Cracker Barrell. Love that place.

    [​IMG]


    Day 16

    Theme: Home sweet home
    Destination; Sevierville, Tenn, Raleigh NC
    Miles: 341

    The final few hundred miles were easy Interstate of which I was very familiar. About 60 miles from my current home, is Burlington, my childhood home. I pulled into town to have a hotdog at one of the old places in town, Zacks. Love their dogs. Pulling out again I pointed Nayati east and did the last hour of the many hours of this trip. I arrived by 1:00 pm and was greeted by a happy wife. Good to be home.

    [​IMG]

    Reflections in the next post.
    #36
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  17. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,095
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    Reflections


    At the start of the trip, I was on some plain jane, easy roads, lots of interstate and four lane road; all of which leaves the mind free to wander and to conjure up a wild combination of free thoughts. This is really not a Zen state and is difficult to stay in the moment, until the back muscles tighten and your nether regions feel like someone has beaten them with a sledge hammer. My remembrances are of having difficulty realizing that I was actually on this trip. It just didn’t seem real.


    I’ve read many complaints about the crossing of the plains, but I didn’t have the same experience. For one, the wind was not a problem. Many folks have written about the wind in the plains blowing them about, but I assume I was fortunate for not having this experience coming or going. Kansas was not as boring as I anticipated. Yes, the roads are straight, yes the landscape is simple, yet I would notice subtle differences from time to time and enjoyed those subtleties. The trip out on hwy 160 was more interesting that the return on hwy 400, yet the sameness did not bother me.


    Northern New Mexico was a surprise. I did not expect the altitude and high forests and meadows. I found them quite pleasant and enjoyed those areas as much as some of the high areas in Colorado. I wish I could spend a week or so exploring New Mexico. I arrived in Taos on a Saturday and the place was swamped with folks from near by Santa Fe. I just kept on riding.


    Colorado was my favorite state. Another trip there would certainly be welcomed by this rider. There is so much to explore. The Million Dollar highway, especially the first part, was much tamer than I imagined, but the scenery was spectacular. I know that the TAT and many other off road paths are in that area and I just can’t imagine riding up among the peaks and passes that I could see from the highway.


    Monument Valley was neat, but in my mind a little underwhelming. My big disappointment there was not riding the dirt road through Valley of the Gods. I don’t think it was too technical, but I was alone and my cell phone was not working. I thought it prudent not to wander into area. I’m sure there were cars traveling through, but if I were to have a fall, help might have been a long time coming. I was following the report of another fellow on a VStrom who had a pretty nasty off on that road, breaking a footpeg and leaving him sore and scratched. At my advanced age, my injuries might have been more severe.


    Page, Arizona was interesting just in the fact that I met some nice folks, Penny and Dennis from Australia. I’m an extrovert and I really need those human contacts. I tried to talk to folks whenever possible, but usually the encounters were brief. This, was probably the downside of not camping. Campgrounds usually yield conversations with a diverse group of folks, which I generally enjoy. However, the high temps and mile munching that I was doing prompted me to not camp and send that gear home. That worked for me.


    Because my body was on east coast time, I typically was awake and up by 4 to 4:30 local time. I’d make a pot of coffee, do some stretching, eat a banana, finish packing and get on the road by sun-up. I usually did not eat breakfast, nor lunch. When I replaced my phone, I would usually book ahead for a room. Each day would tell me how far I might go the next day. I had originally planned on 225 miles per day, but I ended up averaging over 400. One day I booked a room in Colorado, but was at that location by 11:00. I cancelled and moved on.


    The positive of a motel was that it was easy. I didn’t have to set up or tear down a campsite, I usually had a comfortable bed and a hot shower. I could watch the local weather on the TV to assist in planning the next day. I tried to find motels with a restaurant within walking distance. If not, I would pick up a Subway before unpacking.


    The national parks that I visited were spectacular. I enjoyed the scenes and the photos, but I didn’t attempt to hike or wander about too much. I have arthritis in quite a few joints and the thought of hiking in some steep terrain was not attractive to me. Then there was the whole issue of changing out of my riding gear, hiking, changing back. I played the old man card and stayed on the motorcycle.


    Utah was a beautiful state, with spectacular geoforms, but not a place I would want to live. I really looked forward to getting back into Colorado. My thoughts while in Utah were how tough it must have been for settlers to the region. I could imagine topping a hill with my conestoga wagon, seeing one of those giant canyons or tall mesas and just saying….Oh shit!




    My early starts allowed me to enter a couple of the national parks before they opened. Bryce Canyon and Arches were two notable parks where this really helped. I was able to get ahead of the formidable crowds and enjoy the scenes in quiet. (except for the damned drones)


    On day twelve, Nayati carried me up to the top of Rocky Mountain National Park. This was a religious experience. I was truly moved by the majesty of that place. That morning felt like the culmination, the apex of the trip. Afterward, I was ready to go home.


    In retrospect, I wish I had done some things differently, but I don’t regret the decisions that I did make. Early in the trip I gave myself permission to make those decisions without regret. I was riding alone, which made me cautious. For several days, I had no means of communication, which influenced some decisions. The weather as an issue from time to time. Severe thunderstorms hit places I was traveling or right after I left. I was very mindful of being off the high slopes in the afternoons. Heat was a factor in some locations. Temps above 100 occurred several days and heat indices of 105-110 were also happening.


    Tom asked me if I would change anything and at the time I said no and I meant it. But as I’ve looked at maps while writing these reports, I might have made one or two changes.

    • Another day in Moab. There was some more exploring I could do, but the place was hot and expensive.

    • Another day or two in the Pueblo/Colorado Springs area. I could have ridden Pikes Peak, Mt Evans, and visited the Great Sand Dunes park.

    • I cut the corner in two areas that might have been some good riding.

    I used to think I was a mellow guy, but on a trip I get target focused and become a mile muncher. Tom has warned me about “GetHomeitus” and I may have a touch of that; I am compelled to keep moving. When I rode the TAT a few years ago, we were to wait a day at the TAT shack for some other fellows to join. I sat there 15 minutes and was ready to go, so I did. I felt like I might explode if I had to keep sitting there. I headed to the nearest town and started my journey home. In retrospect, I should have spent the layover day exploring the area, but I could not relax enough to even think in those term.


    On this trip, I also gave myself permission to be that person. I quickly saw that I was not going to reach that “Zen state”, so why not be ok with who I am. I really did enjoy the riding, even when my butt was sore and my back was cramping.

    I’m truly happy and somewhat proud that I made this trip. I was also able to make movies and photos that preserve quite a bit of what I saw and experienced. I can enjoy this trip over and over.


    The only problem is that I’m finding this type of riding addictive. I follow a fellow on the ADV forum who goes out west every spring. This year, he went to Alaska. Now he plans to go to Alaska every year. I could easily be that guy...and that surprises me.
    #37
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  18. sawride

    sawride Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Columbus, GA
    It's good to read the conclusion of your trip report Dale. I will be heading out in that same general direction sometime next week but don't think I'll get quite as far as you did. My only deadline is getting back to Arkansas by the end of September for a small gathering. I will try to post some pictures along the way here and on the NC forum but a full trip report with video like you did seems unlikely.

    Steve (sawride on the NC forum)
    #38
  19. drdubb

    drdubb OFWG Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,095
    Location:
    Durham, North Carolina
    Love reading about others experiences. Have a good time and looking foward to your posts.
    #39
  20. sawride

    sawride Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    Columbus, GA
    PS - Is the link for the day 12 video broken? I see volumes 1 through 8 then 2 again.
    #40