Old Tom, Captain Dave, and the Squid do the COBDR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by OldTomRides, Sep 5, 2021.

  1. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    This is my first ride report on ADV Rider. I've taken long trips before, but never thought to put anything on here even though I've enjoyed reading the reports of others. But I'm going to give it a shot this time.

    Me (Old Tom), my brother Captain Dave (former Army Tank officer), and good friend Tim the Squid (former Navy submariner) are taking off Friday morning September 17th at Oh-dark-thirty from Spokane, Washington to ride the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route. Our plan is ride to Montana so we can take Beartooth Pass and Dead Indian Pass into Wyoming, then down to Baggs to start the COBDR, north to south. After reaching Four Corners, we'll head up into Utah to see the initial part of the Utah BDR and angle over to the Salt Flats and then up through Idaho and home again. We figure to be gone a day or two past two weeks. Captain Dave and I are on 2020 KTM 390 Adventures with Mosko Moto Reckless 80 bags. The Squid is riding a 2020 Kawasaki 300 Versys with the Tusk Excursion soft bags which is sort of a knock off of the Mosko bags but very well built and WAY less expensive.

    None of us is on the younger side so our ride will be appropriate for guys of a, ahem, more mature age (if not mentally mature) nor are our skills at the Poskitt level. So for example, Black Bear Pass down into Telluride is NOT on our list. Still, it's a going to be a long trip with numerous water crossings, high mountain passes, and plenty of adventure for us old farts.

    This entry will be the only really wordy one as I will be posting text and pictures from my phone as we have connectivity. I apologize ahead of time if I do it poorly. In fact if any of you have done reports like this just using your phone, please send me your tips in a PM so I can do this decently.

    We're about a week and a half out and fully into prep mode. We've changed tires to knobbies, laid out all our gear and making sure that we have everything we need to ride, camp, eat, repair (bikes or people), and take video. We took a shakedown trip earlier in the summer to see how the bikes ride with luggage, getting suspension set appropriate to the load and our style of riding. We have the tracks downloaded from the BDR site with alternates as well and are taking maps (never fully depend on electronics). We'll be watching for road closures right up to the point of departure and checking that along the way as well. We've been reading the COBDR FB page as well as searching the forum here for info on the route. Ingress to Colorado is all paved and planned; egress through Utah is some dirt, but mostly paved. Captain Dave and the Squid have both been to the Salt Flats and say it's a must-do, so we're headed there on our way home.

    I hope you enjoy our little trip. We may not have the skills of some of you experts out there, but we will get it done and have a riot doing it.

    Below are a few prep pictures. Captain Dave and I have each done a full load for practice to see what space we have for shedding layers and buying groceries. I threw in a picture of Squid's bike just for completeness.

    My bike - full practice load
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    Captain Dave - full practice load
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    Squid's bike (too lazy to take a picture of his practice loading)
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    #1
  2. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    :lurk
    #2
  3. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    20210917_074758.jpg
    We're off!!
    #3
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  4. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    375 miles to Three Forks, Montana for our first "camp". A long day on the slab (I-90), but we had a slight problem 30 miles out of Spokane. I had put new tires on myself weeks before and unbeknownst to me the bead hadn't completed seated on the rear tire. Stopped at the Coeur d'Alene idaho KTM dealer to see if they could help. Nope. We got there as they opened but even though we were on a trip they wouldn't help me. Worse than that was a guy from way out of state who would have to ship his bike home because they wouldn't help him. Why? Because they won't interrupt their schedule to help fix an emergency problem. For me, it wasn't a big deal. We went to a gas station, let all the air out of the tire, sprayed some windex to act as lube and just filled the tire until it finally seated. I'm not pissed, but disappointed that they wouldn't help the other guy who was in a way worse position. Not the way to gain good exposure. But for us, alls well that ends well.

    We're having pizza delivered and Captain Dave is on a beer run. Life is good!!

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    #4
  5. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Will be following along - glad you were able to deal with the tire issue without too much delay. :beer
    #5
  6. Krites

    Krites n00b

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    Very disappointing to read that the local KTM dealer apparently cant be bothered to help adventure riders....
    #6
  7. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

    Joined:
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    Day 2 - Three Forks, MT to Cody, WY.

    Had breakfast at Three Forks Cafe (great breakfast!) and then rode 100 miles or so to Columbus, getting hammered with high winds near Livingstone for about 20 min. Our lighter bikes can really get tossed around. From there it's Joliet, Red Lodge, and the Beartooth Pass which was cold, but clear. Highly recommend riding this if you're nearby. Then Dead Indian Pass to Cody, where we settled in at the local KOA, then had dinner at the Proud Cut Saloon. Another awesome meal. My wife thinks our trips are all about food, but that's not true, we like bikes too.

    Tomorrow: on to Baggs where on Monday we start the COBDR.

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    Addendum
    Learned today that bug spray will ruin certain types of rubber. Little pen sized spray container broke loose and went thru the zip lock baggie too. I have Mosko bags. That stuff got on the inside of the roll top bags and started melting the plastic, leaving it gooey. I'm lining the bag with cardboard to keep it from getting on anything else. Weird, right? Anyways, I'll have to pick up a spare when I get home.
    #7
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  8. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    Day 3 - Cody to Baggs

    Not much to report. Central Wyoming is super windy, north to south. Sign said 40+ mph and it was nearly always sideways. I think we might have had 5 minutes where it was from behind. Got to Baggs around 4pm, showered, serviced bikes, and had dinner. Tomorrow we start the route. Can't wait!
    #8
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  9. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    In from NZ!! :wave
    #9
  10. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    Day 4, section 6.

    It rained pretty hard last night and there was frost on the bikes as we packed up. A bit cold from Baggs to the start of the section. We expected a little mud on the roads and initially it wasn't too bad. Until we got to road 503. We were dodging cattle as we battled 3-5 inches of mud with mud lakes as we went along. It took us about 2 hours to slog through with all of us falling multiple times. I've attached a couple pics which do not do it justice. Uphill in snotty mud isn't easy no matter what you're riding. To make things worse, the kick stand safety switch on Squid's bike broke, so we had to do a bodger fix to allow him to run. In the end we "adapted and overcame" and got out of there (see "Heartbreak Ridge" with Clint Eastwood). We were exhausted and intended to just ride into Steamboat Springs, but went thru the rest of the route anyway though we missed the next dirt section (around Steamboat Lake). We were too tired to backtrack. The rest of the route was beautiful and easy going. Had a late lunch in Steamboat Springs, then continued on to section 5. Discovered a closed gate at road 18 that heads past Stagecoach Reservoir due to construction. It's only open on weekends. We're spending the night in a motel in Oak Creek because it's going to be below freezing tonight. Should be warmer as we continue to head south.

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    Squid working on his kickstand problem:
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    After 503!
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    #10
  11. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    Sounds like an adventure...
    #11
  12. Jester777z

    Jester777z n00b

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    I got a Rottweiler delete kit ($15) for the kickstand switch. I was going to wait to put it in, but I think I’ll do it now! Hope today is a bit more dry trail for y’all!
    #12
  13. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    Day 5 and 6, sections 5 and 4.

    Just got to a place where I can update on our trip. The weather has been awesome the last 2 days. Perfectly blue skies, temperatures in the morning are a little chilly, but not bad. Day five found us leaving Oak Creek and heading south on easy dirt roads. Stopped at the Rock Creek Stage Station and walked around that for a bit. Very interesting history there. Just around the corner from that was our first water crossing. Very easy and much like the crossing of Long Creek on the IDBDR but shallower this time of year. No drama and we were off again. Day 5 was also the first day we really came into contact with other riders. A group of seven from Pennsylvania passed us on the last bit before Gypsum. Better skills than us, and probably younger, we stopped to let them pass us. They did that right at a bit of silt or fesh fesh that caught the Squid a bit sideways. They stopped to help him up. Very nice! We got some groceries and camped at Sylvan Lake State Park for the night which is in section four. A note for anyone thinking of staying there: you need to have reservations to camp there. There's a phone on the entrance building that Captain Dave used to get that sorted out. The phone number on the sign is a general number for the state, not just that campground. There's a camp host that will come by and check up on you, but he never showed until just before we left the next morning. Don't think he actually stays there. Beautiful place to camp though.

    Day 6 was a three pass day. First was Crooked Creek Pass which was no big deal. Quite a few bow hunters this time of year. Next up was Hagerman Pass which is rocky going up and down. I think for us that going north to south was easier. That is a very rocky road, but again, we managed with no problems. On the way up to Westin Pass we discovered that Squid's bike was over heating. Turned out his fan controller had partially short circuited due to water splashing up from the water crossing. We bailed out to highway 285 using road 22 and pushed into Buena Vista to figure out a fix. Ended up in Salida where we got it fixed at a local bike shop (I'll get the name in a follow-up post). Had dinner at the best Mexican restaurant I've ever eaten at (also getting the name in a later post), and then stayed at a hotel in town. I'm running out of time right now because we need to checkout in a few minutes and I'm typing this on their lobby computer. I'll follow up in another post with a few more details and some photos. But I can tell you looking out the window it's going to be another awesome day!!
    #13
  14. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    20210922_114012.jpg

    20210922_161413.jpg
    #14
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  15. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    Sylvan Lake campground:
    20210922_073603.jpg

    Our mechanic's shop:

    20210923_114903.jpg

    The Mexican restaurant to eat at here is Las Camellias. Highly recommended!!
    #15
  16. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    More details about Hagerman from our point of view. It was a tough road up and down I think no matter what you're riding. We took it slow and steady and while a bit nerve wracking at times, we made it without incident. The water crossing took us by surprise. We stayed to the far left which was pretty shallow. It's rocky, but all crossings seem to be, from my limited experience. The pass itself is treeless and windy, but cool in it's own way.

    20210922_115128.jpg

    As I write this we are STILL waiting for the mechanic to show up. It was cool that he was open late and diagnosed the problem, but he said he was going to be here at 11am and it's 1pm now. It'll be a short day's ride for sure.​
    #16
  17. OldTomRides

    OldTomRides Still on two wheels Supporter

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    This is just a short post to let anyone who was watching this that we made it home today. I will make a multi-post update to tell the rest of the story and provide some pictures from this amazing trip of ours. Bottom line: We successfully traversed the COBDR and it was awesome! Three old guys on under-400cc bikes made it, but we have some conclusions about that which I will also report on.
    #17
  18. MNRN OVERLAND

    MNRN OVERLAND Adventurer

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    Sounds like a great trip! It’s too bad the KTM dealer in Coeur D’Alene couldn’t be bothered! I just moved to Spokane in May and have a red 2016 Africa Twin, I won’t be a stranger if I see you around!
    #18
  19. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Super Ordinary

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    Looking forward to the rest of the story.
    #19
  20. caribryder

    caribryder Adventurer Supporter

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    What he said, same here
    #20