Once upon a time in the west - the CBXpo ride 2016

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Jun 6, 2016.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Tuesday 24th May (Day 11) Bryce Canyon UT to Rachel NV : 284 miles.

    Run for home...

    I woke just before dawn to the sound of traffic entering the park to watch the sunrise. Since I'd slept in pretty much all my clothes anyway, there wasn't much to do other than emerge from the teepee, and make a bee-line for my Jet-boil with the sole intention of sacrificing my last two sachets of coffee.

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    photo. It has been below freezing at 7000+ft last night...

    However, not only was my bike seat frozen, but so was my water bag! I expressed my displeasure at this temporary set-back, before begrudgingly wondering off to find some more firewood.

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    photo. At that moment, I freely admit I meant it!

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    photo. My once trusty gloves were also doing little to improve my mood.

    On finding another abandoned pallet, I dragged it back to camp, and set about it with Juan's folding saw (the 'Silky Big Boy' - ahem, you may not get quite what you imagined if you try and order that online ;o) - fortunately the fire from the previous evening still had a few glowing embers, and soon I had it roaring again:

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    photo. Juan had elected to sleep in his tent (rather than the huge and freezing teepee) in an effort to minimising body-heat loss, and supplementing it with some hot rocks from around the campfire in the bottom of his sleeping bag - clever!

    Soon my water bladder and defrosted enough to release its precious cargo, and not long after, things were slowing becoming right with the world again. Sarah and her boyfriend popped over to say goodbye on their way out, and Juan in his inimitable style, grabbed the chance to add another segment to his extensive video diary.

    Although we essentially planned to stay on paved roads today (and indeed for the remainder of our respective journeys home), Harold was concerned that his engine guard bolt had come loose again, and I agreed we ought to try and effect a more substantial repair - but first, breakfast.

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    photo. Heading into Panguitch with the intention of finding a suitable bike shop/workshop (where we might drill out the previously temporary repair) we all spied this rather delightful cafe, and had exactly the same* idea...

    *I say 'same' - personally speaking I was equally enticed by the prospect of hand-scooped ice cream, even if it was barely 9am ;o)

    On chatting to the owner, he subsequently offered us the use of his own power-drill, so in a 21st century homage to Mondo Enduro, I set about working in the gutter while the trucks thundered by:

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    photo (courtesy of Harold). Juan is so small, I just noticed that he is actually hiding behind me in this photo!

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    photo. Admittedly a luxury most motorcycle travellers tend to do without... We borrowed this drill, and fortunately there was a hardware store just across the street to buy everything else we needed, including a pair of longer M10 bolts and locking nuts. Job done!

    It was pretty much lunchtime by the time we were finished replacing the bolts, so what better way to say thank you to the owner than a quick round of sandwiches (and a trio of hand scooped ice creams of course!), before we finally hit the road.

    Harold was keen to get home as quickly as possible now (due to family commitments), so in an effort to avoid the huge storm clouds gathering a little way to the north, I suggested we follow our original plan just a little while longer, and head west first through the mountains and past the Brian Head ski resort (which is the highest ski base in Utah). While this meant we managed to avoid the worst of the weather, inevitably a trip maximum altitude of 10,499ft as we crossed over the pass above meant, well, you really need to see Juan's video of what conditions were like up there!

    The rest of the afternoon would be all about making up some miles... It was unrealistic that any of us would be able to make it home that night, but at least we could make good progress in the general direction - with the intention of waking early and finishing off our respective rides the following day. Once we'd left Cedar City behind and crossed into Nevada, Harold elected to head directly north now and brave the wet weather that was continuing to hang ominously over the centre of the State.


    And then there were two...

    Meanwhile, Juan and I continued in a west/north westerly direction, though some wonderfully remote countryside:

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    photo. It's a good idea to gas up whenever you can out here... for example, this sign is at the beginning of hwy 375 the 'Extra Terrestrial Highway' that passes close to the infamous military installation Area 51. We'd already ridden 85 miles since our last refuel, but fortunately there was a gas station a few miles south of this junction at Ash Springs (I mention this specifically if you are planning on riding in the area).

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    photo. There is not a lot to do in this corner of the desert, unless you have a mountain of sheet steel and a welder perhaps...

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    photo. I always like riding in the late afternoon, long shadows and long roads...

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    photo. Close encounters - was it simply the sunset... or a spaceship?!

    As the sun once again started to slip away beyond the horizon, we finally rolled into a seemingly random collection of trailers and ramshackle houses gathered round a crusty diner in the middle of a vast desert plain. The sign simply said: "Rachel Nevada - all species welcome!"

    Jx
    #41
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  2. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Wednesday 25th May (Day 12) Rachel NV to San Jose CA : 584 miles.

    The big push...

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    photo. The 'Little A'le'Inn' is an institution in these parts. It is also the only diner, bar and motel for a 100+ miles in any direction, so you kind of get what you're given - including no chance of breakfast before 8am I'm afraid.

    I imagine if you are passing through these parts for the first time, then you'd choose to stay here just to see what it's all about - that is certainly what Juan and I had decided to do - and I have to say it is fun, in a surreal 'Am I part of some bad B-movie?' kind of a way...

    The accommodation is basic, but seemingly clean enough - and from my perspective at least, anything would be better than that freezing teepee from last night!

    The menu is not particularly extensive either, although fortunately both Juan and I are simple folk who were more than content to grab a burger each just before the kitchen closed the night before, and got our heads down in good time for an early start today.

    I'm always amazed how early a good number of Americans get up each morning - and subsequently expect the service industry to prove a full breakfast on every street corner... In Rachel however, there is clearly no such hurry to wake up - even if you do run the only restaurant in town - and at 7am with at least 500 miles to go today, we could either wait an hour, or forfeit breakfast there and press on up the road and find something a little later that morning. Fortunately, their in-room coffee was freshly ground and an excellent brew - so some compensation for otherwise missing out on my pancakes.

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    photo. Packed early and ready to roll...

    There were no signs of life (alien or otherwise) for over a hundred miles, until we rolled into the historic mining town of Tonopah (Tono-pah, To-no-pah, Tonop-ah? - again, see Juan's video ;o), where we gassed up the bikes and the attendant suggested the Mizpah Hotel just a block next-door would be an excellent choice for breakfast, with the restaurant open to non-residents.

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    I have to say, it looked rather fancy, but we were made most welcome and soon embarked on the largest breakfast I think either of us have ever had!

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    photo. Seriously, there were only two of us eating - we laughed when our waitress brought out the second plate each, and then the third with a stack of toast on too!

    On our way out we took the opportunity to look around the main public rooms, and were subsequently invited by the manageress to take a quick tour of the basement and listen to the various ghost stories that inevitably get attached to such historic buildings...

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    photo. Well, it is Nevada after all...

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    photo. Originally built in 1907, the Mizpah is the oldest (and grandest) hotel in town, and many famous guests have stayed here over the years - and seemingly left their cheques on the wall to the toilets rather than actually paying their bill!

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    photo. Perhaps most interestingly (other than the story of the murdered prostitute and the two dead bank robbers who had tunnelled into the vault with a greedy third member), this picture shows the original street level frontage which was now the wall of the basement we were standing in - the whole street having been built up one level outside as the town expanded. In addition, Tonopah purportedly has over 500 miles of mining tunnels underneath the town itself.

    Back on the road after this thoroughly entertaining diversion, I was conscious that yesterday had been the first time in a dozen days that we'd ridden entirely on the pavement - and having passed though Ton-op-ah once before, knew of a fast and easy dirt road that would cut the corner of the otherwise endless highway we were now on.

    So for our 'last hurrah' this trip, we turned north onto the wide gravel road and give the little CBs one last what-for as we ragged across the desert at a steady sixty miles per hour...

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    photo. The trail rejoined the highway not far from Middlegate Station - one of the old Pony Express and Stage Coach stops through the heart of Nevada on what is now hwy 50 - 'The Loneliest Road in America'.

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    photo. The bar/restaurant had a ceiling full of dollar bills too...

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    photo. the ubiquitous pool table...

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    photo. ...and served what was quite possibly the largest hamburger in the world - 'The Monster Burger' (you get it for free and your name on their hall of fame if you can eat it all yourself!)

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    photo. Don't be silly, both of us were still full from that huge breakfast - it was this guy who had ordered it to share with his wife...

    Juan wanted to wrap up his filming with a couple of short* interviews, and some incidental shots, so we enjoyed a cold drink before heading outside to film the final segments, and to finally say goodbye after what had been almost two weeks of intense adventure riding.

    *I say 'short', Juan will tell you how I can gas-on once I'm on a roll ;o)

    And with that, it was time to take one last photo at Middlegate, before hitting hwy 50 west, and where ultimately I chose to take Interstate 80 over the Sierras to avoid a huge storm brewing further south.

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    photo. It had been another epic CB Adventure.


    Postscript.

    When Harold and I first discussed the idea of embarking on a week-long adventure ride to the Overland Expo, I wanted to try and incorporate as many elements of the Trans-Am 500 trip I'd completed last summer, into a more manageable time frame - aware that most people (not least Harold himself) simply cannot devote two months or more to adventure riding around the United States (even though I strongly recommend you do whatever you can to make that happen at least once in your life!).

    As such, Harold felt this condensed itinerary might also appeal to some of his customers and friends, and extended an invitation on the understanding that this was by no means any sort of 'official' or sanctioned event - we had said all along it ought to be about like minded individuals getting together and enjoying each others company, while inevitably they would also get to experience some of the best (and not least diverse) dual-sport adventure riding this part of the country has to offer.

    Certainly I'm confident that all of us involved this year now have some life-long memories to take away, and I feel proud I've been able to play a small part in realising that.

    It's early days of course, but I sincerely hope we'll be able to do something similar again for the Overland Expo next year - I know that John from Rally Raid is itching to explore this part of the United States, and of course what better bike to do it on than a CB500X with one of his Adventure kits fitted eh?

    I really hope you've enjoyed this story just as much as all of us involved have enjoyed bringing it to you. I also hope, as if you ever needed any more convincing, that we've shown just what an interesting and varied trip you can undertake on a bike like this - and that our journey particularly illustrates yet again what an excellent all-round, all-terrain machine the CB500X Adventure can be.

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    photo. We went way 'Beyond Starbucks', and then we came back... such is the nature of this particular beast.

    Toot toot for now!

    Jenny (and Piglet of course) xx
    #42
  3. 2 Dogs

    2 Dogs 2 Dogs Supporter

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    Thanks! It was my goal to go light and carry only one. Honestly, one more tube is no biggie for a long trip. Thanks for the thorough answer. Uber helpful as always!
    #43
  4. 2 Dogs

    2 Dogs 2 Dogs Supporter

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    Long, slow clap for this one.....:clap
    #44
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  5. AtypicalAlex

    AtypicalAlex n00b

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    Looks like a great trip, I'll need to add the Overland Expo to my to do list, I'm based in Phoenix and keep missing the dates, It's funny because the last two years I had ridden right by and had no idea it was going on until a week later.

    I'm curious, as I've been eyeing the Rally Raid engine guard for my CB500x, Are those triangular shapes in the heat shield being replaced and shipped with the slats now? I just noticed the one on your bike is different and I really like that new design.
    #45
  6. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Alex - yes, the Overland Expo is definitely worth a visit in future - plenty to see and do, and a great crowd!

    As for the engine guard - yes, we incorporated the more retro looking slots to fit in with the 'Heritage' design we introduced on the 2016 model UK demo bike at the Ace Cafe a little earlier this year (and which mine is essentially a replica of) - all future production batches of the heat shields will have the new design now.

    Jx
    #46
  7. juno

    juno Long timer

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    Great RR Jenny! I like the way the X is turning out! What other changes is RR planning?
    #47
  8. moto74

    moto74 displaced

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    Really enjoyed this thanks. Already a coyote user but now another bike (and ride destination) added to the short list.
    #48
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  9. acertainalias

    acertainalias Adventurer

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    Hi Jenny - I've been following this RR (and many others) - fantastic reading - thanks for putting in the time to post it all up. Can you elaborate a bit on what the issue was with Harold's engine plate mounting bolt?
    #49
  10. nerrrd

    nerrrd Adventurer

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    Another great report, really enjoy following your adventures and makes me miss my old bike (even if it was a bog standard one).
    #50
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  11. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi acertainalias - thank you! I was quite the journey, both at the time and reliving it for you this week as I was writing ;o)

    Regarding the engine bolt on Harold's bike - I pretty much covered the fundamentals back in post #27 on the previous page; but essentially one of the engine bolts had broken last year and had been badly repaired (someone tried to drill out the stud and missed, drilling a hole all the way though the lug on engine case at an angle). The then patched it up using a M8 bolt (in an M10 hole) and a nut which meant it really wasn't doing much other than hold the engine guard in place.

    The result was the correct opposite side engine bolt was under a lot more strain, and eventually loosened to the point where an impact (at some point during our ride down) had created enough force to shear that bolt (as I said previously, if the bolts are torqued up tight, there should be no chance of that happening). The dealer we visited removed the broken stud correctly and replaced it with a similar M10 bolt that threaded into the engine as before - but the problem remained that the opposite side bolt was still doing little if anything, and so the replaced bolt continued to come loose (although never broke again).

    Ultimately we drilled out both holes to M10, and replaced the bolts with longer versions with a washer and locking nut on the back - I understand some people have also resorted to doing this when they have cross-threaded the original threads in the cast engine case.

    Jx
    #51
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  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Juno - thank you! The core elements of the CB500X have pretty much been addressed already (wheels and suspension, plus luggage options and engine protection), but the range of products will continue to be expanded over the coming months to include some further upgraded suspension components, plus we still want to look at the current foot-peg location for example too.

    Smaller components (suitable for any CB500) such as the folding-tip gear-shift lever and a billet side stand foot are also almost production ready, while Rally Raid recently introduced a billet bar clamp for the OEM triple-clamps that allows you to mount a GPS and 12v auxiliary sockets to the standard bike. We'll also be working on some alternative graphic options to compliment the existing range of paint colours from Honda.

    Jx
    #52
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  13. Hoppsseeker

    Hoppsseeker Adventurer

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    Jenny great RR! Thanks for the details and great pics it was a pleasure to read. Sign me up for next year!!
    #53
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  14. GotMojo

    GotMojo Been here awhile

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    #54
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  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hee hee - you know I always wanted to get one of display tents for Piglet - although I think he'd get scared in a tent on his own ;o)

    Jx
    #55
  16. acertainalias

    acertainalias Adventurer

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    Glad you found a proper engineered solution to the problem in the end.
    #56
  17. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Jenny,

    Excellent ride report! So much epic riding on this trip and your pictures and prose let me enjoy some of the parts that I missed.

    It was great fun to ride with yourself, Harold, and Juan for the beginning days of this trip.

    If this ride becomes an annual tradition I will plan on joining again next year!

    Also on this ride I came to the realization that the Honda CB500X with the Rally Raid suspension and some help from a healthy aftermarket is pretty much the perfect 50/50 Adventure motorcycle. It just does whatever you ask you it to do without any complaining. City traffic, freeway speeds, twisty canyons, dirt, gravel, rocks, mud, it just does it all with comfort, efficiency, economy, and Honda reliability.
    #57
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  18. visualizerent

    visualizerent Raconteur

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    Jenny's wrap on the trip, and an open invite for 2017!

    CB500EXPO RIDE WRAP UP AND 2017 INVITE

    Juan
    Nevada City, Ca.
    #58
  19. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

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    Another brilliant R.R. Jenny,thanks for sharing,have to start looking around for 500X now to replace a heavy G.S.!
    #59
  20. OlafofOregon

    OlafofOregon Long timer Super Supporter

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    My other favorite day! Loved this bit!

    #60
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