Hacking our way through the Heart of the West

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Strong Bad, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Last year SWMBO & I took our 2007 BMWR1200GSA sidecar rig up the Continental Divide Route from southern New Mexico to Banff Canada. We followed Big Dog & Cannonshots GPS tracks with a couple of modifications for mechanical issues and meeting up with old friends.

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    The ride report for our CDR trip last year can be found here: http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/hacking-through-our-kids-inheritance.984587/

    We realized that there was still a lot more of the Rocky Mountains that we simply had to experience. So we decided that we would short cut a bit of the mapping and planning and go with Backcountry Byways Heart of the West route (HOW). http://backcountry-byways.blogspot.com/2012/10/forever-west-adv-route-revised-for-13.html Tony has put together a great route and with his base being in Idaho Falls, he does great work on keeping up with current conditions along the way.

    The one really nice thing about prepping for this year's trip is that we had our camping setup dialed in and fully refined by the time we got home last year. We didn't need to buy or add any new or additional gear.

    So even though we do plan on camping as much as possible, when I do get access to wifi I will try to up date this ride report the best I can. We won't be hitting the road until Sept 1st as I'm trying to time staying with friends up in Anaconda & Whitefish Montana over the Labor Day weekend, but I thought it would be a good idea to start the thread while I still have a bit of time.

    Our plan is to get started on the HOW loop up in northeastern Nevada between Ely NV & Windover UT. We will be heading up Hwy 395 in California and then cross diagonally across Nevada spending the first night camping at Nevada's Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park outside of Gabbs.
    #1
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  2. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    I've done parts of the HOW (the version that was current 4 years ago) and it really does appeal to the 1800's cowboy in me. All those John Ford movies etc. Parts will look suspiciously familiar since you just did the CDR last season. :D Including you'll be going right past Turpin Meadow (again) where I hope you'll stop and observe a moment of silence for the demise of WUMPA. Check your locktite and enjoy the trip. :lol2
    #2
  3. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Thanks Drone! We are doing the HOW in a clockwise direction so those couple sections we saw on the CDR (while going south to north) will be from the opposite direction this time through. If you have the co-ordinates for the scene of your "off track excursion", we will stop for sure!
    #3
  4. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    subscribed.

    good to see people i know doing the best of the west.
    #4
  5. CanadianRocky

    CanadianRocky No Bucket List... a Bucket full of Lists

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    Looks like a nice trip. Can you put in a couple of pics of the mounts on the bike to the rig? I would like to see how you did that.

    Also a few comments on how it handles in both the dirt and pavement.

    I had a hack on a Sporster back in the day, and I am thinking about putting one on my GS.
    #5
  6. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Here is a pic of the sidecar frame without the tub when I had it off to repair a shock mount in Taos New Mexico last year. My rig is a DMC M72D with DMC's subframe mounts. 2 mounts go to the bottom of the subframe and 2 go to upper mounts on the bike.:

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    another view with the tub on:

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    I have made quite a few changes in order to get the handling squared away including:
    • Custom built Works Performance shocks on the bike and the sidecar
    • Car wheel & tire conversion on all 3 corners allowing for a larger contact patch and better tire wear
    • Scott's steering damper to eliminate slow speed head shake
    After having the rig for a couple of years now and after last year's CDR trip I feel like I've pretty much got the rig sorted.

    On the road, I think that the biggest handling issue is dealing with the large amount of suspension travel associated with the big GSA. It can be difficult to get the beast to take a set when stuffing it into a turn at speed, but experience goes a long way with that. On dirt roads the rig works really well. I can take the rig with confidence anywhere you could take a well set up 2 wheel drive pickup. On the more technical dirt roads the high gearing of the Beemer is prolly the biggest issue. All of that being said, we are not in any hurry and we normally have a fairly relaxed pace.

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  7. CanadianRocky

    CanadianRocky No Bucket List... a Bucket full of Lists

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    Mounts look good and solid. I had the same squishy issue with the suspension on my Sportster. I got rid of it with Air Shocks on the rear, and I modified the front downtubes with heavy springs and air also. Not sure that is practical, or even possible with the single shocks front and rear on the GS.

    The front car tire conversion looks good.

    I use to love fine tuning the hack to get it right for the best handling. Just by eyeballing it, it looks like you have the center of the axle of the hack at about 1/3 of the wheelbase of the GS. That was right about where I had the HD. It was a Velorex on a 1990 Sporster. Sounds like an odd thing, but it handled like it was on rails. Except on those nasty right hand high speed corners, where my entry speed was a bit too high.....:lol3
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  8. DeepSea

    DeepSea electronically challenged

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    Congrats on the upcoming trip. Good luck and enjoy.
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  9. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Fortunately I live close by Works Shocks and was able to get my friends there to build a complete custom set up for the rig. Here is a pic showing the finned remote res for the rear shock. I mounted it our on the rear upper sidecar mount so as to get it our into clean air for better cooling. Note that there are 2 lines going into the res, one in and one out so that the fluid makes a complete "round trip" through the res.[​IMG]

    The front wheel was a custom build by a guy who hangs out over on the Hacks section here who goes by "Stoker". It is a Centerline wheel with hub and adapters built by Stoker. It allows the largest tire you can fit in the stock forks: [​IMG]
    #9
  10. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    :beer
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  11. Red Knight

    Red Knight Been here awhile

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    I'll be watching SB .. Good luck, you will love the diversity of the tracks.. As you know we just completed the route a few weeks ago. A few stretches could be interesting with 3 wheels ( never ridden a Hack), but im looking forward to the report. I'm just not very good at doing my own..
    #11
  12. DesertSurfer

    DesertSurfer Tail sprayin

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    Damn this is cool!
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  13. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    Nice summary of your findings, sidecars issues in general Strong !
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  14. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

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    woohoo!!!11
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  15. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Ok so we've got the first couple of days in the books. We started off by heading up 395 to Bishop and then turned right and headed into Nevada. Man, I love Nevada! With roads like this what could be better (until you get into the dirt that is!!)

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    So our first camp was in a little Nevada State Park called Berlin-Icthyosaur. Berlin from the name of the former gold mining town and Icthyosaur 'cuz they got dem big fossils there. Here is a shot of the old town:

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    Our camp up the hill a bit:

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    Leaving this morning we passed through the not so booming town of Ione. Therese thought it was funny how the sign says the town that refuses to die had vultures hanging on it!

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    Headed up about 30 miles of dirt road until we got to Hwy50 which we fought wind all the way to Ely.

    Stopped before the pavement at Reese River Cabins for a short howdy do to this interesting guy:

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    After a quick lunch stop in Ely we continued north on the pavement until we to a point where we could cut across and join the HOW on the Pony Express Trail:

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    One on the HOW route we finally started seeing herds of Pronghorn and wild horses:

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    #15
  16. Red Knight

    Red Knight Been here awhile

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    How's it going?
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  17. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Once we really got going on this ride I found it next to impossible to keep up with the report as we moved along the route. The camping was too remote for internet access or our stays with friends were too short to relax enough to sit down and catch up. Sorry guys but this is now all after the fact, but I hope you still enjoy the report!!!!
    #17
  18. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    OK so after starting out in Nevada I picked up a small nail and when I got out to the rig after spending the night in Wendover UT I woke up to this:

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    Easy peezey gummy worm fix:

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    First challenge not in less than an hour from the start of the day was a beautiful canyon that had been washed out due to recent rains. It would have been no problem at all for a solo bike, but our big, heavy, one wheel drive rig is just too wide to sneak through little stuff like this. So I dig out the shovel and do a little trail work to continue up the canyon:

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    Unfortunately the washouts just got deeper and too numerous to continue so we had to turn around before we got in over our heads.

    Continuing on, the route offered awesome views of the great salt flats:

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    The HOW followed super historic routes:

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    Amazing that some of the work still remains:

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    We got our first taste of rain later that day and we ended up staying in Logan UT rather than camping in Wyoming.
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  19. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    Heading up the canyon towards Wyoming:

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    Fall colors just starting to emerge:

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    Starting to get into "the good stuff":

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    Utah traffic jam:

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    Yeah I'm a Geologist, pictures are taken of rocks:

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    Lots of "Aspen Alleys" on the HOW!!

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    The lake:

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    Into Wyoming:

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    Just can't get enough of this type of view:

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    And with this quality of road what more could you ask for??

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    Well you could ask for less mud damaged road. If you are a solo bike this isn't anything to take a second look at, but again on the big beast out there alone you have to give every little crossing some thought. This was the one of the few times I had SWMBO get out for a technical section:

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    But then again, when the road gets like this, any slight technical difficulties are easily forgotten:

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    Campsite for the night right on the river: (Yeah I know, if it was raining my ground cover would no extend out beyond the tent). There were only 2 nights camping when we were not next to a river!!

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    #19
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  20. Strong Bad

    Strong Bad Former World's Foremost Authority Supporter

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    The gummy worm was holding in the first puncture, but now I get a second puncture that provided a very slow and annoying leak even after plugged, good thing I brought a small pump and "topped off" the tire every morning.

    The last of the Wyoming views for a while:

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    Out crop!

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    Large thunder storm caused us to detour around a really nice section of Idaho. I wasn't too concerned as I knew the area well from my college days as a geology student at Idaho State, so we "slabbed" it to near the Idaho Montana border.

    Crossing into Montana from Idaho:

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    We diverted from the standard HOW route to stay with our friends up in Montana between Wise River and Anaconda:

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    That night a wee bit of the white stuff fell at the higher elevations as seen from downtown Anaconda:

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    It was still a bit cool as we headed up towards Flathead on our way to see other friends who just moved to Whitefish:

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    #20
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