Key West to Prudhoe Bay on a Triumph Street Scrambler

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SirBones, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 31 July 3rd - 303 miles

    Since it had taken me longer to make my way up through Canada then expected, I decided I would use July 4th weekend to make the journey. I wouldn't have to work on the holiday, and the owner was going to let me take Friday the 5th off. That gave me till early Monday morning to be in Lacey Washington. The plan was to get to my father's house by a reasonable time Sunday night. Being in Alaskan time, my work hours were 6:00am to 3:00pm. So after I was done with work, I would hit the road for an easy ride of 300 miles to Tok Alaska. That way I could start fresh and early on the 4th, hit the border right away, and start making my way to the Yukon. For a few dollars more than a tent spot, I decided to book a teardrop. That way I wouldn't have to set the tent up. Easier to pack in the morning.

    For some reason I was more nervous about going back thru Canada than anywhere else I had been on this trip. I think I got use to traveling with Sidd and having a partner. Or perhaps it was having the break to spend time with Caitlyn, and remind me what I could lose should I make any mistakes. Maybe I was just remembering how remote the Yukon was incase I broke down. Either way I was all packed up and on my way shortly after the end of work. Since I hadn't ate, I decided to stop at the local Taco Bell in Eagle River. I must say, I don't think I've ever ate as much taco bell in my life as I have on this trip. You would think they sponsored the trip... They didn't, I just kept having cravings for those damn Dorito tacos.

    Back on the road after pretty much a three week break. I did a little riding around Eagle River/Anchorage, but it was time to get use to riding all day again. Surprisingly, much of the road was out. Got a good amount of gravel and mud to ride through. Pot holes too. Much of the Dalton Highway was in better shape. It was an interesting turn of events. No issues, but of course the views were killer. Including a bunch of glaciers. Nothing too eventful happened. The odometer clicked on and the beautiful scenery went by. Eventually I made it to the campground, talked with some fellow travelers, and settled down in the teardrop. I did wake up freezing at one point. In hindsight, I should have busted out my sleeping bag, but it wasn't that cold when I first went to sleep. Ah well.

    Glaciers!
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    Home for the night
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    Comfy enough
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    #41
  2. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 32 Tok Alaska to Watson Lake Yukon - 643 miles

    I got up at a fairly early time and was ready right away thanks to the teardrop. Border was about an hour away, and overcast skies was my farewell from Alaska. One thing I learned about Alaska, was that it really deserved the moniker of "The Last Frontier." I would be tempted to and curious to live up there, but boy have I outgrown winters...

    Once again no issues going through the border checkpoint, although the officer working sure did grill me more than any of the others. Perhaps because I had interrupted his cigarette break. Once that business was over it was time continue east through the Yukon. I needed to get to Whitehorse at the minimum, but my goal was to get as far past it as possible. All the way to Watson Lake was ideal, and I did have the entire day to ride.

    Every now and then when I would stop for fuel, I'd run into some bikers. Typically on the GS1200 adventure, but there was a sprinkle of other ADV bikes as well. Saw an Africa Twin or two, a Tiger, a few KTMs, but a ton of beamers. Of course this meant I stuck out, thus plenty of conversations were had. Early I had decided that I didn't really need extra fuel since I didn't use gas from my Rotopax going through Canada. So I had poured most of it in my tank and left a small amount for emergencies. Since it was strapped to my bench seat, I didn't want to bust it out unless absolutely necessary, as I would need to take off virtually all of my luggage.

    Not too deep into the Yukon I had a huge moose run out in front of me. It turned and started running down the road in the same direction I was heading, which was fortunate for me because it gave me enough time to get some video of the moose before it finally finished crossing the street and disappeared into the wilderness. It wasn't the only moose I would see today either, as later in the evening I saw one drinking water from a river, and took a break for some video/photos.

    There was a point before Haines Junction where I thought I'd run out of fuel. My dash was reading zero miles to empty, but typically I had about ten miles or so from when you get the flashing lines. I was close to Haines Junction at this point, but signs for how far away it was had ceased. Naturally I slowed to about 50-55mph to make every last drop count. Finally I arrived in Haines Junction and got fuel without issue.

    Farther down the road there were construction zones here and there. Each time, other than having to wait for the pilot vehicle, they did not present any issues. Mosquitos were out since the weather was more favorable than when I came up. Otherwise it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. Got myself to Nugget City just outside Watson Lake and paid for a campsite. In the morning I'd go see the sign forrest in Watson Lake, and then take 97 down for a change of scenery since I had taken 37 coming up.

    Ready to leave in the morning
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    About to leave Alaska. No more phone photos, I decided I'd go through the trouble of setting up the camera/tripod and do things right.
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    Overlooking a river in the Yukon.
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    A moose hydrating in beautiful scenic Yukon.
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    #42
  3. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 33 Watson Lake Yukon to Fort St. John British Colombia - 569 miles

    Wake up
    Get dressed
    break down the tent
    Pack the bike

    All while answering questions about the bike and the trip. One thing about having a classic looking Triumph is that it certainly is a magnet for older guys. The ladies care not, unless they are a rider, which of course is the best kind of lady... But anyhow went to the sign tree forest first thing in the morning. Interesting place, did not bring a sign. Maybe next time. Went to Kathy's Kitchen afterward. Did not meet Kathy, but had an interesting waitress from France. Considering I didn't eat a hot meal the day before, it was a really good breakfast.

    Once stuffed I got back on the road. 97 absolutely contrasted my trip up 37. It was sunny and warm all day with more traffic. Not in an annoying way, but a safer if something happens kind of way. Similar to when I took 37 up there were quite a few bears making appearances. However, wildlife varied a lot more. Bison, sheep, all kinds of stuff. Road was in great condition and extremely easy. It was a great ride. At times you were on mountains overlooking valleys or rivers, other times beautiful lakes. It did not suck. Unlike 37, which just had been rainy or misty and cold. Of course, 37 did also have great views though.

    Other than great riding and wonderful views, it was a pretty uneventful day. Had a few sections of gravel, but was cake as it wasn't super deep. At one point I was stuck behind a few houses, but on a long straight away I got to open it up and pass the trucks/pilot vehicles. Since this was the road well traveled and the weather was nice, I talked to more people. Specifically fellow riders coming from or heading to Alaska. Eventually I decided to call it a night around 9pm as I was tired and it was getting cold. I splurged on a cheap Super 8 in Fort St John. Figured I get a good night's rest for a good push in the morning.


    Sign Tree Forest
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    Gazing at a river while taking a break
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    Muncho Lake
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    #43
  4. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 34 & 35 Fort St John to Lacey Washington - 885 miles

    You may have read the title and thought to yourself, great, he's summarizing two days in one post. Well, didn't I already mention that I'm not necessarily the most intelligent ape on the planet? What actually happened, was I decided to ride through the night again, therefor getting to Lacey in the late morning on Sunday. I'm getting ahead of myself, I'll get to why shorty.

    The recurring morning processes took place and I got on the road. I decided to get on 29 because it looked more interesting on the map. It was, but I did get stuck behind slow cars at times. The views were worth it. I pulled over to put more layers on because it got cold, got back on the motorcycle and realized I left my sunglasses on the back of my luggage. I tried to twist around and reach for them, which unfortunately caused me to lose my balance and I toppled over on a declining slope. Dope...

    As fate would have it, a few bikers appeared to spread a passed rider's ashes at a waterfall. They gave me a hand and I didn't have to take the luggage off and try to pick the bike up hill. Damn I'm lucky!

    I continued on without much excitement, but as I got to Prince George and stopped for food, the weather turned ugly. It rained pretty heavy as I discovered you can get poutine fries at McDonalds in Canada. I decided to take my sweet time and let the rain chill out a little bit. Eventually I put the rain gear on and got to it. It pissed on me here and there but wasn't bad.

    Since the previous night I got back to actually darkness for a few hours. The more south I went the quicker it started getting darker, naturally. I found this a little annoying as I had gotten use to the sunsetting at midnight. I think the sun had set around 10:00 in Fort St John, and it actually was dark afterwards. This did lead to better sleeping. When I looked at the weather, I could see it was going to be raining all day. I was quickly running out of money due to all of the unintended hotel stays coming up, so I really needed to camp if I was going to stay the night. But I didn't feel like breaking down the tent in the rain, and then have a long day a rain riding. I figured if I just pushed myself and rode through the night, I could avoid all the rain and get to my Dad's place so early that I could chill out on Sunday before getting bombarded with work.

    What I didn't count on, was the weather app being wrong. I decided on riding through the night thinking it would be a clear night. But nope, it rained all night. Most of the dingbats in cages drove with their brights on in the mountains, blinding me because the visibility wasn't bad enough already. I had to often ride with my visor open to see, even though I was getting sprayed in the face the whole time. Of course once it got late in the night, I soon became the only vehicle on the road.

    The worst was a mud slide in the mountains at some point around 2:00am. It wasn't actually too dangerous, but it certainly helped wake me up a little. There had been an emergency truck with its lights on and sign that there was an accident ahead. However when I turned a bend there was no accident, just potential for accident! A boulder half the size of my bike was in the road, and then there was a good amount of dirt and gravel stretched across the road. I became alert again assuming there would be more, but that was it.

    Surprisingly I didn't have any issues finding gas stations that were open. I did look ahead to be sure that I would be able to hit 24hr stops, and that I did. Plus I had to keep my speed around 45-50mph due to lack of visibility and I was getting the best gas mileage I have ever had. At one point averaging over 80 miles to the gallon.

    The sun began rising as I exited the mountains and began heading for the border. The US agent chatted to me about motorcycles for awhile, and then I was on my way with my still expired registration... I had to think happy thoughts to keep myself awake once on the highway again. Eventually I arrived at my Dad's place before noon, and after a little bit of time chatting, I took a nap for a few hours. Pushed my luck and I wouldn't recommend people doing it, but here I was safe and sound. Oh and I had a packaged shipped to Dad's house from The Bike Shed MC in London. I was alive and now had some cool new shirts.

    My last night in Canada
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    The bike gets a must needed wash in Seattle
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    Pushing the bike inside the garage and rocking a cool new jersey
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    #44
  5. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Days 36 - 39 Chilling with Pops in Washington

    You know the deal by now, working from my Dad's place in Washington and doing a little work on the bike. Changed the oil since again since I've been pretty hard on the motorcycle. It was time to change my front brake pads as well. Also I wasn't sure of the Karoo 3 would get me all the way to Tucson since it would be around 6,000 miles on it at that point, with the bike fully loaded up the entire time. So I swung by Cycle Gear in Tacoma and purchased a TKC80 for the real. Perhaps a questionable choice, but I've been wanting to try them and was planning on riding around the desert with Marek once back in Tucson.

    Originally I had planned to go through the northern midwest. I've never been to North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Thought it would be cool to check out the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee as well. However, that is a great distance to cover while working during the weekdays, so I'll save it for another time. Then I thought about just going down the way I came. I definitely wanted to spend more time in Tucson, and I wouldn't mind seeing some of the sights in California that I flew by. But then I thought about my trip last year.

    See last year I was going to take Aaron around Utah. In 2017, Marek and I rode up to Valley of the Gods in Utah, and it gave me a small taste of what Utah had to offer. I wanted to hangout in Salt Lake City, see the Bonneville Salt Flats, visit all the national parks, etc. But unfortunately, I couldn't get my replacement to cover me around the time I needed. Just like 2017, I wasn't able to take a vacation in 2018. Bummer. So then I thought, I might as well swing through Utah on my way to Tucson.

    Day 40 - 41 Lacey Washington to Wells Nevada - 796 miles

    I was hoping I'd be able to hit the road earlier than I did. A pretty common issue due to working from the road. Has anyone ever seen As The Magpie Flies on YouTube? I had stumbled upon her channel a few months prior, and I liked that she actually road. She ended up watching some of my videos, so I figured I'd hit her up to do some type of collaboration. Hopefully good for both of our channels. She decided it would be best to meet up around Southern Washington, so we went to Cougar Washington. I spent far too much time being silly than productive, but it was fun and she was a great person. You can check out the video I did with her (mostly goofing around) and her page here:

    It had gotten dark by the time we finished, so I thought about disperse camping where I was. However I didn't have cell service, and a hurricane was going to be possibly hitting near New Orleans. Enough to flood the city with some rain. A few days earlier it had rained pretty heavy and our street flooded, while Caitlyn was unfortunately parked on the street instead of the garage. Womp womp. So I wanted to be somewhere with cell service in case something bad happened, like another levy breach and water came inside the apartment. Should go upstairs and stay with one of our neighbors if needed, but I still wanted to be reachable if she was freaking out. So I decided I couldn't stay where I was.

    Riding back into cell service I spoke to Caitlyn for the night, and then searched for a place to stay. Portland was expensive for a Friday night. More than I wanted to spend. So naturally, I decided to ride through the night, again. So that was what I did, without issue. Twice I had to pull over because I was getting tired. The first time around 2:00am at a random rest stop, and again around 4:30am at a Love's in eastern Oregon. Both times I left all my riding gear on, put the bike on the center stand, and slept with my helmet resting on my tank bag. Both times I could only sleep for about an hour, but it was better than nothing. Eventually I would wake cold and uncomfortable. At the Love's, since it was then past 5:30am, I went inside to have breakfast. The guy at the counter asked if that was me sleeping on the Triumph. When I confirmed he said that I was hardcore, but I politely corrected him. I was merely only a fool.

    Throughout the night it had been mostly in the low 60s, while dropping a little lower in the mountains. But by the morning the sun was warming things up quickly. I made my way through the high desert of eastern Oregon and eventually dipped into Idaho. By the time I got into Idaho, it was around 103-105. I had only been to northern Idaho around the same time of year, and it was pretty cool, so this caught me by surprise. I knew Utah and Arizona were going to be hot, now I knew I'd be dealing with the heat sooner than I thought.

    While in Idaho I almost ran out of gas again. Hit zero on the dashboard when there wasn't anything around. Saw a sign that gas was coming up in two miles. No worries I thought, since I can go about 10-15 miles on "empty." But a mile later the bike started choking and losing power. Uh oh... It did this a few times but also came back. Just enough time for me to reach a pump. Wooooo.

    I passed through Twin Falls Idaho with the intention to stop for food and then head south to dip into Nevada. I didn't know it would be scenic as well. I didn't go to the falls, but I did check out the bridge and the canyon. I contemplated staying for a little while because there were some young guys about to jump off the cliff with parachutes, but I was hungry. After getting food and finding 93 south, I cooled off by riding through a storm.

    Northern Nevada was empty and barren, which makes sense. I'd hide a secret Air Force base in this state too. I was starting to get concerned about fuel when I arrived in Wells Nevada. I had about an hour to go until I reached the border of Utah. There was a KOA I could stay at right before Utah, but when I check the hotels in Wells, I found that the Motel 6 wasn't that much more than the campground. Screw it, I'll stay here and get some needed rest in a bed. Then hit the Salt Flats in the morning. I checked it, hit a vape pen I bought in Washington, drank a beer while talking with Caitlyn and went to sleep. The hurricane had paused off the coast for awhile, and New Orleans dodge another bullet. There was some wind, a little drizzle here and there, and that was it. In the end I didn't need to ride through the night, but it was good to make sure I was available if Caitlyn needed me.

    Our street in New Orleans a few days earlier
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    Not far from where I was sleeping on the motorcycle...
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    Eastern Oregon
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    Twin Falls Idaho
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    Stopping for the night in Wells Nevada
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    Attached Files:

    #45
  6. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 42 Wells NV to Green River Utah - 360 miles

    Nice and refreshed, but woke up later than planned. I had been considering getting up by before dawn, to reach the Salt Flats for sunrise. Would have been cool (cooler to be precise), but atlas did not happen. Enjoyed a nice can of liquid crack (Rockstar Fruit Punch is my weakness, not a coffee drinker) while I worked on some photos for Instagram and packed my bike. After an hour of heading east I reached the Salt Flats.

    I had been told they were overrated, but I had to see them. I mean, I was on a Bonneville after all. It was quite the scenery to see, and my first time every gazing at a salt flat. I knew it was terrible for the bike, but I had to ride onto it. Unfortunately my dreams of riding 100+ mph on the salt was not to be. It wasn't in very good condition. Just felt like riding in deep sand, but stuck to the tires like mud. Instantly caking everything up. Took some videos, rode around a little, then went to grab the camera and leave. That's when it happened. Bike felt good, but the kickstand sunk into the salt and sand (underneath), toppling over.

    For the life of me I couldn't get the bike up in the loose salt. I don't know if its because I've consistently dropped my bike in awkward spots, or if I've gotten weaker, but once again I couldn't upright the Triumph. Damn, I've picked up heavier bikes with improper technique before, but it wasn't happening here. Of course I had ridden pretty far from the road, and naturally other humanoid creatures. There was a husband and wife exploring in their SUV, so I started walking towards them.

    When I finally got there, the husband agreed to give me a hand. I insisted walking back because I didn't want to get salt in their car. He helped me lift the bike up, made sure it was stable, and then went on his way. I started packing my luggage and boom... sunk in and fell over again. Damn... Now the closest person was probably a mille plus away. Better start walking...

    Found some young college guys all working on their graduate degrees in physics. Not only did they give me a hand (and a lift back to the downed bike), but we got to chat space and physics. I put my tool roll under my kickstand, but asked the guys to stay for a minute just in case. They obliged and so we chatted while I packed the bike. Eventually it was all back on, and we parted ways. They went to explore more of the salt flat, I hightailed to solid ground and much needed water. The bike got squirrelly on my quest for pavement and fishtailed a few times, but eventually I got there. I still need to fight the instinct of going to slow when on sand. Faster is safer, easier said then applied.

    Fueled up the bike, hydrated myself, and removed as much salt as I could. I'd hit a car wash in Salt Lake City to get the rest. Heading east again I was keeping a high speed when I needed to pull over. My overheating light came on the dash. It had happened once or twice yesterday. I needed to keep my speed down. Like yesterday it was around 103-105 out. Eventually I reached SLC and found a car wash I could use. After a good hosing and some tacos, I continued on my way.

    Riding southeast from Provo was awesome. Curvy hill roads in scenic Utah, very nice. Eventually I intersected with 70 east. I was thinking about riding to Valley of the Gods and camping there, but it was Sunday night. Which meant I'd have to wake up early in search of place with wifi to work from. I looked at hotels near me, and found cheap spot in Green River Utah. I decided I'd call it an early day. that way I had somewhere to work from. After work tomorrow I would head towards Moab and Valley of the Gods. Then ride overnight through Phoenix to avoid the city at it's hottest, and busiest. For the rest of the night I chilled out and caught up with Caitlyn.

    I'm happy with this photo, but it took a lot of work in the end. I knew I should have gotten I side stand extender.
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    #46
    Ginger Beard, Shaggie, bobw and 2 others like this.
  7. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Day 43 - 44 Green River Utah Tucson Arizona - 638 miles

    Mondays for work are fun. By fun I mean, is riding into a brick wall an option? Cause it would probably be more enjoyable. But hey, I am working from a Motel 6. And it is the music industry, so I guess there are worst jobs out there. But there's better paying jobs too... I should probably look for one of those. I spend all morning working from the hotel room. By checkout time the bike is loaded, and then I spend a few more hours working from the break room. Towards the end of my shift, I take a lunch break to ride an hour to Moab. Once there, I end up at a place to eat and work from wifi. Finally when my shift ends, I can hit the road south. Moab looks cool though, one day I'll go back to explore for awhile. For now, my return to Valley of the Gods is calling.

    It isn't long heading south from Moab that I see an arch and I have to pull over. Look, I didn't even need to go to Arches National Park and wait in traffic. Not only do I need to stop and take some photos, I'm hiking up there despite the heat. It looks too cool to not explore. Once up there, I realize it's a lot bigger then it first seemed. Damn Utah, hitting me with the beauty and aw. After throughly investigating it's time to continue on.

    The sun is starting to set by the time I reach Valley of the Gods. I wanted to do the entire loop of 26 miles or whatever it is. But I can do that and Monument Valley, and I do want to see Monument Valley. I'm only a few miles in and my rear tire is sliding around a lot. It's pretty flat in the center, and only has knobbies on the sides The Karoo 3 rear is a few hundred away from having 6k miles on it. I would probably be ok, but definitely wouldn't be able to do Monument Valley. I probably should have just camped from there, but I decide instead to head back to pavement and see Monument Valley. Marek and I will be riding around the desert anyway. I don't want to spend the day working in Flagstaff, and I desire to just get to Tucson already. Plus I definitely don't want to hit Phoenix during peak heat/traffic if I don't have to.

    I stopped at Monument Valley to finish out sunset. Beautiful view, talked to a local on a CRF250L too. After that it was time to continue south. It was darkness by the time I hit Kayenta. From there it was onward to Flagstaff. It did get cold at times despite being July. I would have liked stopping in Sedona, as I've always gone past it on trips. This time is unfortunately more of the same. One day, with Caitlyn hopefully.

    Even though I pass through Phoenix in the darkness of early morning, it's hot. Sure beats the late afternoon though. Two more hours of staying awake until I get to Tucson. I think about better reasons to be awake at this hour and it keeps me alert. Can't wait to be back in New Orleans... I pass thru downtown Tucson and arrive at Marek's house as the sun rises. Time for a two hour nap and then back to work. Sure beats the average commute though.

    An arch just south of Moab. It looks small...
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    But it's not!!
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    Valley of the Gods
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    Monument Valley
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    Made it back to Tucson
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    #47
    Ginger Beard, Shaggie, bobw and 4 others like this.
  8. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Days 45 - 53 Hanging out in Tucson

    Since Caitlyn was visiting her family in Charleston South Carolina for two weeks, I didn't need to rush back to New Orleans. This gave me more time to hang out with Marek, and actually be around for a weekend off. This gave me plenty of time to just hang out, catch up with friends, etc. Most relevant to you reading, this meant a weekend ride in the desert.

    On Sunday morning, we woke up early and were met by Ryan (beast of a KTM990) and Dale (Tenere 1200) to do Ruby road in southern Arizona. Leading up to this ride my back was in a lot of pain. Probably from the multiple overnight rides and long time spent sitting on the bike. It didn't hurt too much to stand up, so I needed to give it a shot. I had been looking forward to this for awhile.

    With over 6,000 miles on my front tire, the Karoo 3 was holding up alright. My rear however needed to be replaced. It was fine for the pavement, but I wanted something fresh for the dirt. I had carried a TKC80 rear tire with me the entire way from Seattle. With Marek's help, we spooned off the Karoo, and installed the TCK80 with a fresh tube. I was good to go!

    I was back to wearing my Rev'It Sand 3 since I had left it at Marek's house. Too hot for my wax jacket but I needed armor incase of, well you know... Water, tools to change tires/tubes, and camera equipment of course. I can't wait to get to that point in my editing for YouTube, but I still got a lot of content to go through first.

    We rode down to the start of the loop, passing through one border patrol check point on the way. They just waved us through. For those who don't know, the loop takes you pretty close to the border. Pretty easy riding, but would have been better if my back wasn't hurt and my suspension wasn't so stiff. Some of the washes had a lot of loose rocks, but otherwise easy going and very enjoyable trail. I do like the TCK80 too. Felt like it didn't slide around on me accept in a very predictable way when in first gear and giving a good amount of throttle. Then it was easy to crack loose if desired.

    There were some switchbacks with great views at times that were quite enjoyable. Towards the end of the loop the road was pretty corrugated, not the most enjoyable with a hurt back and stiff suspension. By the time we were done it was hot. Hit the highway north and stopped for lunch in Tubac. Then afterwards up to Tucson. No one had any offs, and it was a good morning ride in the desert.

    The rest of my time not working was spent hanging out with friends. Our friend Robert came over on his Scrambler 1200 XC. Damn those bikes are cool. Last time I was in Tucson he had a KLR but really liked my Scrambler and wanted one for himself. Now he's got an himself an awesome Triumph Scrambler better suited for his height.

    Ryan (KTM990), Marek (DR650), and Dale (Tenere 1200)
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    On Any Sunday
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    The little Scrambler that could
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    The views of the desert
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    #48
    B10Dave, bobw, Ol Man and 4 others like this.
  9. SirBones

    SirBones Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Oddometer:
    32
    Days 54 - 56 Tucson to New Orleans - 1456 miles

    My final days. Sad to soon be over, but also in need of some time back in New Orleans and more importantly with Caitlyn. I think even if she was with me, I'd be longing to return to the city. It's like an interesting character that is fun to be around. I find myself missing the Big Easy as if it's a close friend. I parted ways with Tucson in late afternoon, once I was done working. Said my goodbyes to Marek, and was on my way. Tried to convince him to hop on the DR650 and come with me, but atlas I failed. Responsibilities and such, being an adult will hold you back. Why did any of us "grow up?"

    It's easy riding on I-10 east and there are no issues other than the heat. I stick to my jersey and avoid wearing my jacket, until the sun starts setting at least. It's darkness by the time I hit El Paso and I realize I've never really gone through it at night. Interesting light show they got, with some of the overpasses lit up by LEDs and changing colors. I'm down, I like it. All cities should try to inject some character in one way or another while they exist. I make it to Van Horn at some point, where I found a well priced Motel 6 and call it a night. Ironically, this is the town I worked from for a few hours one morning on my way to Tucson.

    In the morning I pack up, and have leftover Subway for breakfast. Haven't had it in awhile, so I hope it doesn't cause distress from the road. I'm going slight out of my way to pass through Marfa, and stop at the Prada (fake) store on the way. Unfortunately I am missing some friends by a day who were playing music in Marfa. I think their show was early afternoon on Friday. Anyhow, Marfa looks like a cool little town, but I pass through and start heading towards Fort Stockton. At least I bypassed part of I-10. I can't wait until Caitlyn and I are traveling full-time and we don't have to take highways as much or do high mileage days.

    Eventually I need to pull over because my bike is overheating again. I ran out of coolant at one point in Tucson, and Marek put distilled water in to get me home where I have the exact coolant Triumph specifies to use. Looks like that distilled water is gone, so I now have an air cooled bike. I need to back off the speed a little. I do so and all is good. Eventually I stop to get an energy drink because I'm falling asleep. I'm trying to get to Winnie Texas, which gives me a 732 mile day, but would also allow me an easy Sunday. Before I can buy a drink I talk to a fellow about motorcycles for awhile. He tells me about the KTMs he's had, and what he wants. We talk a little about my trip, a nice break from the highway.

    I stop in San Antonio for dinner, at a BBQ place I've had in the past. Does not disappoint despite the crowd and flies (last time was in January). I ride by the Alamo and then back on the highway heading east. Unfortunately there is construction and it's slow going for awhile. I ride into the night and stop at some point for gas. I talk to a homeless man who asks to borrow a light. I don't smoke tobacco, so I got nothing for him. He asks to borrow the bike and I decline. I tell him I need it for another day to get home, and that I'm on way back from Alaska. He doesn't believe it for a little bit, and then praises me for awhile before we discuss his story and how he ended up where he is. Eventually I realize I do have a lighter in my tank bag, as someone gave me one (stepmom in Seattle I think) incase I needed to start a fire. Now that I've wasted half an hour I get back on the road.

    I stop at another cheap motel 6 or Super 8 in Winnie. Sometime after 1:00am I believe. As always I bring in the essentials, and then I go to bed. I wake up in the morning to a bad down pour. This make sense, as I was thinking it hadn't rained enough on my trip. Soon I will charge for my services, who needs the rain? I pack the Scrambler in the storm, but it does let up a little once I start riding. Occasionally I ride through more storms, but nothing too bad. From Lafayette, I take all back roads because... why not? I'm going to be getting to New Orleans anyway. I'm been meaning to explore this state more and this is a good opportunity.

    It was beautiful riding through the Bayou, but eventually I reached New Orleans. The Superdome came in to view as I approached. That's the arena that the Saints play in. You know, the team that's going to with the Superbowl this year... Hehe

    One of Caitlyn's coworkers had moved in while I was on my trip. Unfortunately we decided I didn't need my house keys for my return trip, so I didn't bring them. Caitlyn decided she was going home to Charleston for two weeks, and mailed my keys to Tucson. Unfortunately the keys did not show up... So once I parked outside of my apartment, I had to go get keys from my new roommate. Luckily she was a block away at an Mexican restaurant we frequent often, so I got an excuse to grab a beer while I was at it as well. So I did, and eventually took her key to get inside my home.

    I dropped my luggage off in the apartment, and put the Triumph in our garage for the first time in over two months. It was time to relax, and shortly after I arrived so did Caitlyn. Some how, I still had a fiancé. It was good to be home and back with Caitlyn. A few days later we were on a ride the local dealer puts on once a month. Cait's first time on the motorcycle for over two months. She missed riding on the back for my motorcycle, arms wrapped out me, and the wind flowing through her helmet. I think she was giggling half of the ride.

    I had successfully riden to Deadhorse and then back to Alaska without getting hit my a car or mauled by a bear. Sixteen thousand miles and no real issues. I knew I could come home from the trip with no motorcycle, but my Scrambler made it the entire time. I didn't wreck it in the Tundra off the Dalton Highway. It carried me through deserts, forests, swamps, mountains and coastlines. Allowed me to catch up with friends and family, see new places and revisit old places. All this while having a blast on two wheels and feeling as cool as Steve McQueen. Damn, motorcycles are awesome and they make for the best adventures.

    Thank you for reading!

    I hope you enjoyed my story, and I apologize for the delay in finishing it when I was about halfway through. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Otherwise I will post the playlist for the videos once they are uploaded. Will probably start in the next few weeks. You can also go to my channel and subscribe to be notified. http://www.youtube.com/scramblerstories

    Now it's time to start planning the next adventure...

    Cheers,
    Chris

    The Prada (art project) store in the middle of nowhere
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    BBQ in San Antonio
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    Rupert missed his dad
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    Caitlyn and I on the local group ride put on my TTR
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    #49
    AngusMcL, B10Dave, twowings and 8 others like this.
  10. wetwider

    wetwider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2016
    Oddometer:
    86
    Location:
    northwest
    Wow! What a great RR! `Hated for it to end. Mighty good photos, excellent descriptions and a bike & ride sorta like mine. My road/touring bike's an `03 T-100 with 34,000 miles on it, with only routine servicing and one speedo cable required. Its trips include long desolate desert & wilderness crossings, no help for miles. Anvil-reliable, just like your scrambler. I no longer give a damn if a few twits think it's a pretender, a BS copy of the old Bonnies (which I had when new in the `60s and don't consider the same brand - my 'new' Triumph's like a more reliable BMW airhead, with a chain.

    Regarding stuff coming lose on washboard roads, a revered NASCAR engine builder in Nawth Caralana (local spelling) told me he'd put Permatex never-harden gasket sealer on threaded fastners for years rather than LocTite with excellent luck so I've been doing that for a more than a decade. None of mine have come lose since on bike, vintage car, chainsaw, etc. Fastenings are easier to get undone, plus if you're roadside-wrenching, the stuff you put on threads & under the heads years ago still works when you reassemble the thing.

    Also, a mechanic's marking stick is a good little investment: Mark all critical nuts & bolts when snugged up (like some factories do) with a little bright yellow, orange, white or whatever dot across fastener mating joints and you can tell at a glance if it's starting to come lose. It increases the chance you'll catch a problem before trouble.

    `Gotta go to your YouTube site now, Chris. Many thanks again!
    #50
  11. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,003
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Nice to see you made it home safe. Enjoyed following along. Great trip.
    #51