How I spent my summer vacation, or 6000 miles on a WR250R

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by skierd, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. avbjessup

    avbjessup Growin older but not up

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Clearwater, FL
    Seems like only yesterday, but it was 30 years ago that I rode the Skyline Drive on a bicycle with 3 friends. Took us 2 weeks to go up the Drive and back down through the Shenandoah Valley. I went back a couple of decades later and was disappointed in how it seemed to have changed. Maybe it was only me that changed . . .

    Great RR!!! Keep it coming!
    #81
  2. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,395
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Day 9 - into Oklahoma

    Woke up early to the sounds of insects buzzing around my campsite, the bugs here were simply horrible. Fortunately I had gotten pretty efficient at packing up camp by this point so I was able to get out without getting bit or stung again...

    Back on the wonderful national forest roads!
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    Finally came to whats considered the first truly difficult section of the trail, Warloop Road. This is a big reason I stopped early the night before, as I didn't want to go down it tired.
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    Not so bad at first.
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    Around this corner, it basically turns into a large and loose rock strewn piece of single track for about a mile.
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    While I had seen worse trails back home, it was by far the worst actual "road", with signs and houses on it, I have ever been on up to that point. Definitely not terribly big bike friendly, but so long as you look ahead and take your time its not too difficult. Thankfully it sees some maintenance, couldn't find the ADV log though...
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    Being comfortable enough on the bike and on the dirt to look ahead was probably one of the biggest things I gained during this trip, followed closely by being way more comfortable standing and operating controls on the pegs. Both make riding on roads of questionable character so so so so much easier. Looking ahead was a skill I had originally learned autocrossing, and I remember the feeling of when I finally "got it", and it was the same feeling I started to get in the Ozarks and cemented on Warloop. In both cars and bikes, its what really allows the rider and the machine to work together as one...

    Enough philosophy for now, there's miles to cover!

    Crossing into Oklahoma:
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    Out of the mountains and into the prairie
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    I loved these old river cuts
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    I made it to Pryor, OK and had to make a stop at the local library to sort through a few things.
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    Specifically tires:
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    The rear wasn't too too terrible, but I was very worried about the front. All the gravel was particularly unkind to them both and I was starting to worry about the safety of riding on them, especially with how misshapen the front knobs has become. I searched a little in vain for shops along the route, made a few posts on the WR250R mega thread, and decided to soldier on, praying they'd get me to Colorado.

    Is it getting flat yet?

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    Great sign for a dual sport!
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    Home... home on the range...
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    I absolutely loved the landscape in Oklahoma. Wide open spaces stretching to the horizon in all directions. No hills, trees, and barely any structures to obscure the view. Simply fantastic, and very humbling.

    Another day, another reroute... well, lets investigate...
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    Nope, definitely closed lol.
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    Crossing into the Cherokee Reservation
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    Another cool old bridge
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    I ended up making it to Sedan, KS and stayed in the only motel in town. They were familiar with people on the trail, were nice enough to let me park the bike on the lawn in front of my room. I went a step further and parked the bike inside the room as it and I had attracted a little too much attention riding out to get dinner. Even with the computer break for an hour in Pryor, and the tires, the roads in Eastern OK were very nice and allowed me to motor at a pretty good clip and managed to make 300 miles on the day. I was defintiely getting tired and frustrated by this point too, and was starting to have my doubts about being able to finish the trip.

    I was just about settled in for a decent nights sleep to continue worrying about the tires and the ride, when the phone rang. It was another ADV'er, Highfive, offering up tires and a place to do some maintenance in the morning. Only problem was, HF lives a solid 100 miles back the way I already came... took one more look at the tires and said "I'll see you in the morning".
    #82
  3. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
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    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Clif bars are basically healthy candy bars. Instead of being made of sugar and chocolate, they're mostly made of soy, oats, dates, and other natural (and usually organic) ingredients, depending on the bar. I also find them delicious, easy to carry and eat, and packs 240 much needed calories into a very small, easily digestible bundle. A box of 6 at Walmart is usually under $6, and I can fit two boxes (out of the cardboard) in my camelbak no problem, so I also get some variety out of them too.

    http://www.clifbar.com/
    #83
  4. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Day 10 - Rancho Highfive and more of the great plains

    Time for a high speed run back to Tulsa. How does the bike handle high speeds? How does the lil 250 handle the revs? Put it this way, I held the throttle to the stop for 90 miles, tucked down into a stiff headwind, and all that happened was my gas mileage went to shit (ran dead out at ~90 miles). Used the rotopax out of necessity for the first time and rolled into Rancho Highfive a little later than I wished.

    Parked next to the infamous R²:
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    The man himself:
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    We basically pulled the equivalent of a NASCAR pitstop for dual sports and had the tires changed, wheel bearings repacked, and air filter cleaned in 2 hours. And by we, I mean HighFive. :lol3 He and I both knew better than to let me get in the way. Rolled in with dead tires, left with a basically new OE front trailwing and a brandy new rear Dunlop D606.

    Of course, then it was time to play a little. Got to see the brandy new motocross track he was building in his backyard, made me kinda upset to have all the luggage and live so far away. I also had the opportunity to ride R² and see what all the fuss was about. The power mods are now a definitely consideration, it definitely wakes the motor up all over but especially up top, and the added oomph would definitely be a fun addition. I also got to ride his son's KLX250S and came away very glad I went blue instead of green.

    Highfive is also trials rider, and a good one at that...
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    with his own little playground in the backyard.
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    He even let me putter around on it
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    That may have been the most nervous I was the entire trip. :rofl After all his generosity, the last thing I wanted to do is drop this thing. So light and easy to control, there's definitely a fairly steep learning curve to riding one skillfully I imagine. A 280cc 2-stroke with controls so light that they work when you think about it and no seat to sit on will do that. I need one of these once I get a car again, I can see this being illegal amounts of fun, especially around campus and my apartment complex. :evil

    After riding, I was invited in for lunch and got to meet the whole family. A nicer and more generous group of people I've ever met. Again, thank you so so much for the tires and help and restoring my faith in people, and allowing me the phyiscal tools and mental refresh/reset to be able to finish this ride.

    Back on the road again, and back to the reservation and on the trail. Another cool old bridge:
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    and another
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    and another...
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    the bridge from yesterday
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    Shortly afterwards, the road turns into the open range land. I saw a lot of these oil storage tanks and wells pumping away across the state.
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    An abandoned farm house that looked like it was an extra from the wizard of oz
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    And then there's this...
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    I just had to stop, turn the bike off and take my helmet off, and just sit. It was entirely empty of human presence and except for me, the bike, and the road, and so utterly beautiful its beyond description to me. I could have stayed there all day, just staring at the rolling hills and the grasses dancing in the wind. But I knew there were still a lot of miles to go, so back to it...

    A short detour. HF had told me it was more than worth my while to make it into the Tallgrass Prairie preserve, and I'm very glad I did.
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    Cows have to be the dumbest and laziest creatures. As you approach them, they will first get up, and look at you like "are you really going to keep coming and make me move?" Then, as you get closer, they run just far enough to get out of the way... in possibly the lest graceful fashion I can imagine a 4 legged animal moving. :lol3
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    Ohh... hello...
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    Thats right, free range bison. Thousands of them. No fences, no controls, nothing between you and them. They're smaller than I imagined, but have a... fierceness in their eyes utterly devoid in the eyes of their bovine cousins. The signs explained it, but looking at them made it clear that these were wild animals. Its a shame there are so few left...
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    As you leave the buffalo range, you come up over a hill and see this giant goddamn TREE. Now, I haven't seen a tree this big since I left Arkansas some 300+ miles ago. There isn't anything this size as far as the eye can see in any direction, and there wouldn't be anything like this again until I got to Colorado. Its completely dead save for the small bit at the top.

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    Riding into the sunset of another day...
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    I only made about 150 trail miles (another 300 on the bike though) and ended the day in Blackwell, OK. Tomorrow would get me most of the way across OK and the next day would see me into Colorado...
    #84
  5. ramon

    ramon weezin' the juice!

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    1,218
    Location:
    California
    Suscribed :D
    #85
  6. bash3r

    bash3r 790ADVR

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
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    Location:
    Wentzville, MO
    awesome, great RR, and I'm glad you were able to stop and enjoy the treasures of the ride! And then there's the hospitality of HighFive, God Bless HF!!

    Man, this could make a movie!
    #86
  7. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2006
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    19,124
    Location:
    In the shadow of the Uncanoonucs...
    Great RR!:clap :clap :clap

    Hats off to Highfive!

    Quite an experience, ain't it? Really puts things into perspective.



    :lurk
    #87
  8. Boxall

    Boxall Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    99
    Location:
    Northwest Georgia
    Awesome ride report! Keep it coming!:ear:D
    #88
  9. Kath

    Kath 2wheelmom

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    322
    Location:
    Sykesville, MD
    Those bison do look small...they almost don't look like pure bison. The ones I've seen out at Yellowstone (and around here on farms for that matter) are much bigger looking.

    In any case, I'm loving your RR!
    #89
  10. MeefZah

    MeefZah Curmudgeonly Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
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    Location:
    Eureka, Calif
    HighFive :thumb :clap
    #90
  11. Cycletroll

    Cycletroll Catastrophe Specialist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    Your fuel stop off the BRP on Rte 80 was about 10mi. from where I used to live. You probably got gas at Ballew's store. Rte. 80 along the South Toe River valley is so fun on two wheels; lots of tight twisties as I'm sure you found.:D

    Awesome Ride Report!:clap
    #91
  12. code

    code advcurious

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    669
    Location:
    Sykesville, Md
    I'm Lovin' it. Much better then mcdonald's and I'm actually loosin' weight:lol3

    Admire the fact that you went it alone too! Live it up now...when you get more responsibilities life tends to backhand you on these types of adventures. Not that having a kid and being married is bad, they provide a different sort of adventure:deal:lol3

    Any plans for next years ventures?
    #92
  13. Boxall

    Boxall Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
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    Northwest Georgia
    AMEN! I built a new house 3 years ago, have a daughter who is a high school senior, a wife and a full time job. I'm not complaining but life does have a way of adjusting priorities.

    I guess that I why I love reading all the ride reports, I'm dreaming about getting back to riding one day. Thanks to all of you who post reports!:D
    #93
  14. code

    code advcurious

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Sykesville, Md
    One day you'll be doing this report. And to think, if you're lucky and can get your daughter to tag along (like I'm hoping my son will do) you'll have someone special along the side of you to share in the adventure and the RR. :thumb
    #94
  15. FourStroke

    FourStroke TE 450

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    297
    Location:
    North East, MD
    I did the same thing last week. Hurts don't it.
    #95
  16. eastcoastzigzag

    eastcoastzigzag Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    348
    Location:
    Clayton/Utica Ny
    no not fair! i thought i was going to be able to finish reading the report!

    your fellow wrr rider is subscribed and anxiously waiting! :freaky
    #96
  17. donnymoto

    donnymoto Long timer

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    Oct 8, 2008
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    Location:
    NOVA-VA-USA
    Nice RR, enjoying this!
    #97
  18. rydnseek

    rydnseek reluctant poster

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,905
    great report, skierd.. I'm also interested in how the wr works for you, since i've just changed rides myself.. i've got a wr250x that will be my new 'adventure bike'. Luggage doesn't seem to be a problem.. fuel is. I'll probably do like you did & just pack some extra cans along.. finding the most simple, cheap & efficient is the trick!

    Kudos again on the good pics, descriptions, & occasional philosophizing..

    scotty
    #98
  19. bash3r

    bash3r 790ADVR

    Joined:
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    rydnseek, be sure to post us up some photos in the WR forum of your X once you get it adventure'd out. I've only seen a few X setup for dual sport so, we'd all like to see yours.

    welcome to the gang!
    #99
  20. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,395
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Day 11 - More Oklahoma

    I'm starting to feel good again. Weather was not:
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    Decided to take the "wait n' see" attitude... nope, lets get breakfast.
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    The storm passed quickly, maybe a half hour thundershower, and it was time to get back on the road. Moar nice gravel:
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    And sunshine returns!
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    So did the clay, for a few miles:
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    Caught this old homestead/farm out of the corner of my eye. One of the things I was continually amazed at was the sheer number of former homes that were either victims of tornados or some other forms severe weather. I lost count of how many Wizard of Oz'd houses and barns I came across, but this was by far the most interesting (to me anyways).

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    Seeing stuff like this, all I could think is... who lived here? Did the survive the storm, assuming they were here when it hit? If not, why did they leave? Where did they go? The left piano kinda got to me a little, you could almost here the ghosts of a long gone family...


    Fuel was getting low again, so I had to cut back up to Kansas to Kiowa for gas. When was the last time you saw a gas station like this?
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    Another place with just 87 and diesel, oh well...

    Glad I wasn't there, she would have had a field day with me. :rofl
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    Coming back to OK:
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    More open range...
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    and more cows...
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    One of my favorite pics of the trip. Flyover states? Hardly.
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    The road meandered like this over about 50 miles of ranch land, very few fences, almost no structures, just wide open space as far as the eye can see. And then, a reminder to its not so civil and peaceful state...

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    You gotta wonder how many times this story was repeated during the 1800's, but went unnoticed... As peaceful as it seems today, its hard to imagine this whole center section of the country as essentially a lawless war zone for the better part of a century.

    Moo cows!
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    Crossing the Cimarron "River"
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    Somewhere around here, I ran into Gary. I can't remember Gary's last name right now (its in my Garmin), but he's a farmer from just outside of Gate, OK. He was coming along on his quad right about when I stopped for a quick snack under the shade trees on the edge of his property and we had a nice long chat about riding, the trail, and the region. I learned that the county I was in (Beaver?) had a population right around 1500 people, and that there wasn't a stoplight in the county. The population peaked in the early 1900's, but with mechanized and commercial farming its been shrinking ever since. Really really nice guy... he is also a huge fan of the TAT and the many riders that go by. So if you see him, stop by and say hi. He mentioned that he has a guest house on his property and any TAT riders are welcome to stay the night. Unfortunately for me it was too early to stop, but if anyone doing the trail later on is interested I will send you the coordinants.

    Another small setback... my right eye had been bothering me all day the previous day and today, but I couldn't figure out why. I figured between the sand and dry heat that I was just getting dehydrated and the eye was just dry so I took my contact out to clean it. Thats when I noticed the nice little tear in the lense. Last pair of course, looks like I'm finishing the trip with my glasses that I fortunately remembered to bring as I'm blind as a bat w/o correction.

    Towns so far gone, not even the ghosts of structures remain...
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    Another abandoned home
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    Horses! Smarter than cows and more predictable than deer, it was fun riding along side and behind them for a while.
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    Just when you think you're doing something newish and kinda unique, you see something that makes you realize you're 468 years late.
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    Sorry about the blurriness, now you know how I see w/o correction (j/k... my eyes are worse lol).
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    I kept riding until the sun setting was simply too blinding and too low on the horizon, then cut north to Liberal, KS to find a room again. There simply was no place to camp (legally) out here, and there weren't enough trees to hang the hammock for stealth camping, which is one of the two reasons I'm selling it. The other is its a bit tedious to set up quickly correctly as you have to get the tension right, which is a little too much fooling around as the sun sinks behind the horizon after a long day of riding for me. I'll be replacing my REI Halo bag and gigantor REI 2.5" camp pad with a Big Agnes bag and pad and adding a MLD bivy and MSR e-wing tarp and some bug netting. Not only will it all take up the space formerly occupied by the hammock alone, but it'll weigh less and deploy much quicker and stealthier. I don't plan on going to ground completely though, I'm looking into other, lighter, smaller packing hammock setups to compliment the bivy and tarp to work together as a system. :norton

    Tomorrow... COLORADO AND THE ROCKIES!