SgtMarty wandering around Earth

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SgtMarty, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. ShadyRascal

    ShadyRascal Master of None

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    Hey Marty, nice to meet you at West Fest. I see on the way there, you went by a sign directing you to this park:

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    Right on the Snake river. Nice little spot, camped there a couple times. I always chuckle when driving by there, named after famous trapper Beaver Dick. Sadly, this big arch sign is gone now. Maybe it's over some FF's driveway.
  2. TopC

    TopC Adventurer

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  3. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    :D
  4. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    Thanks, Shady! You did a great job making things good for everyone up there.

    I'm going to have to return to Darby when I have the DRZ or the KLR with knobbies (and hadn't just done 10,000 miles already).

    I got to throw some dirt around the next weekend in South Fork, so that felt good.

    Marty
  5. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    ROCKY MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE RALLY 2010
    ===================================

    I had only been home (from the last ride to Alaska) for one day, but I really wanted to get off the pavement and throw some dirt and mud around for a while. I had registered for the RMAR only last week, since I wasn't sure until then when I would be home from the ride up north.

    There were several people at the RMAR who I had just seen the previous weekend in Darby, Montana, at the WestFest rally, but there were lots of folks at RMAR who hadn't been in Darby and this was another great opportunity to meet friends, make friends, and ride some more.

    I wanted to get off the KLR for a while, so I drove down with my gremlin-possessed DRZ400 on a carrier. The bike has a problem in the carb that causes the RPMs to race up and get stuck. It's like riding a rocket bike, and you don't always have control of the throttle.

    I drove down to South Fork, Colorado, on Thursday, July 29th, getting there in late afternoon.

    There were rain squalls along the way, and this proved to be an omen of weather to come.

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    Many were there already, but more riders kept showing up over the next couple of days. I parked my Tahoe next to the cabin that some friends had rented, but I slept in the SUV.

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    I won't narrate much here for this report; just some photo captions.

    On Friday, Randy (in the black and yellow jacket) led a medium-sized group of riders to the south. The route was moderately difficult at times, but mostly pretty easy. A few loose rock sections and some slick stuff when the rain came in.

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    We stopped a few times along the way to take breaks. At Poage Lake, I hiked the quarter-mile to see people fishing and cattle wading in the water.

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    The trail was muddy during and after the rains.

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    There were over a hundred riders at the rally, and they had broken up into several groups for the day. Breakfast and dinner was provided each day, and after the evening slide show of the photos taken that day, the fires were good gathering spots.

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    On Saturday, Scott (on the left) gave everyone a ride briefing for the route that he would lead. We ended up with a too-large group, so after a while, the faster riders took off ahead on their own (which is the right thing to do).

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    On the early dirt roads, we stopped to keep organized, and I saw this old bike being swallowed by the weeds.

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    Easy roads started us up into the higher and less-traveled trails.

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    When we really started climbing, it was slow going because we had to avoid bunching up and because some of the riders either didn't have the right tires for these sections or they didn't have much riding experience on these kinds of trails. We picked up a few bikes over and over again.

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    The rain came again and that changed the dynamic again. Scott's description of the route wasn't what some riders thought it was, and they were really being pushed to their limit. On some of the level sections, water puddles were common.

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    Free range cattle and horses were also common. My DRZ's racing engine was keeping me on the brakes and working the clutch. I went into many turns too hot and I almost went into a tree at one point.

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    At the apex of the ride, the rain eased into a light drizzle. We stopped to rest after the hard climb. Several riders had gone down, some had gone down several times. No serious injuries, and only minor damage to the bikes.

    BubbleTron (the gal just right of center, below) had ridden her KLR from Los Angeles, but this was the first time she had ever ridden on mud. She did great.

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    Island Girl was having fits with her BMW F650 Dakar, mainly because it was so heavy for her, and the tires weren't good in the mud. She had a determined attitude, though, and despite having mud all over her, she still had a smile at the end of it all.

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    Riding down steep grades is harder than riding upward, and those who didn't know how to use engine braking, dead-engine braking, or were relying too much on just the front brake were going down over and over again. Other riders stationed themselves along the harder sections to help pick the bikes up.

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    BubbleTron's legs are long enough to manage the tall KLR. Her saddlebags are small, orange Pelican-style boxes.

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    The rain came back.

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    There was another woman rider who had gone ahead with the faster group, but Island Girl and BubbleTron stayed with the slow-pokes.

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    Near the end of the long day, the roads got nice again, and it looked just like it did when we started.

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    Just before we got back to the pavement, great views were hampered by the rain again. I didn't manage to protect my camera's lens as well as I would have liked.

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    The group split again once we were back on asphalt. Although wet, most of us went north to Creede for something hot to eat and drink. Back at the event site and campground later, the drizzle kept up until after a great steak dinner, then the weather cleared just at dusk and we were able to have another slide show of the day's ride photos.

    Big John finished raffling off the prizes and I did a ceremony honoring (or joking with) the ride leaders. Scott really knows how to entertain a crowd while squeezing through a 17" tire.

    We had another large group around the fire that night, but my camera's batteries were dead. Sorry. We took turns telling jokes, telling true stories, telling lies, and trying to get BubbleTron to show us her "thang." No, it wasn't anything naughty.

    Dang.

    Sometime after 02:00, we put the fire out and staggered away in separate zig-zaggy directions. Yes, there had been lots of bottles passed around and beer cans emptied.

    Sunday morning came on bright and hot. I was cooked out of my Tahoe, so I got up and said good-bye to those were where still there. I had taken a gal's F800 BMW for a test ride the previous evening, and she kept trying to sell it to me. I liked the bike, and I will ride one in New Zealand next year, but I wasn't ready to add to my bike stable just yet.

    While on the subject of the F800, I had noticed that the steering was very touchy--almost too twitchy to be safe. I almost caused a 40-MPH tank-slapper when I lightly wiggled the handlebars to see how the bike would respond. Then, when leaning into a turn, the steering kept wanting to turn too far inward and I had to fight it back out. I asked the bike's owner about this and she said that it was normal for that bike. She didn't like it either, and suggested that a steering dampener would be a good addition. Everything else about the F800 seemed fine to me. Too expensive, though.

    Near mid-day, four KLR riders pulled into the campground, each heavily loaded. I had chatted online with these guys, so I knew they were headed for Canada to begin their southward ride along the Continental Divide. I will try to mosey along with them for a while when they pass south through Colorado again in a few weeks. We talked for a while, but they had to get moving. I saw them again later on the road north to Lake City. I had new batteries in my camera, so I got their photo.

    These are the G.O.D.S. Geezers On Dual-Sports, get it?

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    Anyway, geezers or not, that's Wayne, Mike, (Hilligan), and Curtis. (Gosh, I hope I got that right... I met a lot of new people this weekend.)

    I stopped for a couple hours in Cripple Creek to throw some money at the Blackjack dealers, then cruised home and got the Tahoe unloaded.

    In the rain.
  6. Bonnie Abbzug

    Bonnie Abbzug Property of Hayduke

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    :lol3 They're like rock dwelling hobbits!


    As always, a great report you two! I'm glad we got to see ya for a couple of days in Darby too!! :wave
  7. Blagadán

    Blagadán Kevin

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    Its taken me the best part of a day and a half to get through this thread, enjoying every word and photograph to the max. Thank you for taking the time and effort Marty. Its made for one heck of a read. BTW..... I congratulate you on your taste in wine.
  8. BgDadddy

    BgDadddy Leg Humper

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    Marty,

    It was a true pleasure meeting you at Westfest and RMAR. You are the definition of a true adventurer and one hell of a nice guy! :freaky

    Sorry my jokes can get a little offensive when I start drinking.

    See you next year!

    Rick
  9. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    No problems, Big D. We'll melt our shoes around a fire again sometime.
  10. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meeting, Silverton, Colorado, August 26-29, 2010
    ==========================================================

    We didn't know what kind of riding we would be doing this time in Silverton, so Laurie and I decided to trailer our bikes and various gear instead of riding. I was glad the HU meeting was back in Silverton, since the local riding was better than it had been around Gunnison last year. We also booked a Bed and Breakfast instead of camping, so it was going to be an easy event for us.

    I had volunteered to do some presentations, and Grant Johnson (the operator of the HU site) scheduled me to fill three time slots. I had re-worked my PowerPoint slide shows, but thought that they were maybe still too long.

    Laurie and I arrived in Silverton on Thursday and helped get the facility set up for the event. There were about 60 people registered for the meeting, still only about half the number who had attended here a few years ago. The slump in the economy was still taking its toll.

    That evening, I gave my first presentation to only about 25 people who had arrived that day. I had broken my South America presentation into two sections, so it was limited this evening to Don and I riding from Bogota to Ushuaia. I was right about the show being too long, and I ran over my allotted time. Everyone else did, too, so I didn't feel too bad.

    The other presentations were all good, including rides around Australia, Alaska, and Africa. The best thing about HU meetings is getting to meet and talk with riders who have been all over the world. This is why riders come to these meetings, and I encourage all riders to attend one of the Horizons Unlimited Travelers Meetings somewhere in the world at some point.

    On Friday, Laurie and I were joined by a few others for a ride over Ophir Pass. This is one of the easiest passes in the region, but it was still more than Laurie had ever done before. I had encouraged her to bring the XT225 instead of her KLR so she could get more experience on challenging routes. If we were to ride together in South America at some point, she couldn't plan on always having good roads.

    The initial ascent was easy and scenic.

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    The last few miles were steeper and had more loose rocks, so Laurie went slowly. She and Scott, the rider who had stayed with her, finally joined the rest of us at the top for some photos. (I had led the ride, so I didn't see much of her on the way up.) We met two other KLR riders at the top of the pass, both from New Mexico.

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    Another woman rider in our group was concerned about the descent down the west side of the pass, but she managed it pretty well. Everyone else had no problems aside from Laurie, who hadn't ridden anything that steep and challenging before this.

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    I stayed with Laurie on the ride down, and our group broke up so everyone could ride at their own pace. Our friend, Scott, stayed with us as well, but he and I mostly just stayed with Laurie in case she had any real problems. She didn't, but she was never able to relax and let the bike roll at a decent speed. Because of this, she was exhausted and had to stop frequently to rest. These photos are very deceiving--she was really struggling to keep moving without falling over. When she gets more confidence, she will find it much easier to move faster and let momentum help her over the rocks. Still, the views during her ordeal were very nice.

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    Once back down on pavement, we rode up toward Telluride and took a break. Scott went back over Ophir Pass, but Laurie wanted nothing to do with that, so she and I did the long, paved route back up through Placerville, Ridgeway, and Ouray, finally getting back to Silverton in time to catch a few of the afternoon presentations before dinner.

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    The evening shows were again good, and I gave an hour on my ride to Alaska in 2008. Other presentations included rides through Russia and South America.

    Laurie and I were totally lazy on Saturday, and didn't ride at all. All that riding gear we had trucked up went unused, but that's okay.

    We sat through all the afternoon presentations, despite the difficulty everyone had in seeing the video projector's image. During the day, the meeting room was too bright (lots of windows with inadequate shades), so that was something that would need some attention in the future. After dinner, there were more ride presentations, including Greg Frazier's standard show about having ridden around the world five times. I was the last presenter, and since everyone had again gone over their allotted time, I didn't get started on finishing my South America until after 10 PM. I, too, ran long and didn't finish until 11:30. Grant had videotaped the evening's presenters, so we might end up on a DVD at some point.

    We helped pick things up on Sunday morning before saying our goodbyes, and I promised Grant that I would see about locating another venue for next year's Colorado meeting.

    Anyone know a good place in Colorado to host maybe a hundred people, where there is a good room to give presentations, plenty of camping space, a few restaurants, nice riding nearby, and maybe a few cheap hotels in the area?

    Email me, would you please?
  11. N9921X

    N9921X Wins

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    Pagosa.
  12. Lunatic

    Lunatic Dan Keyhoety

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    Great job on the ride report !!! Nice meeting you and Laurie !!

    Cheers , Dan:jose
  13. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    LaurieD and I were ready for some street riding after our two-month ride up to Alaska on KLR650s, so we joined our local cruiser club for a ride into New Mexico for a few days. By popular request, Laurie has written the ride report, which freed me from the task.
    Enjoy!

    -----------------

    Our ride to Taos, NM with a group of riders from the Colorado High Country Cruisers (planned for September 9th-September 12th) actually sort of started on Wednesday, September 8. That's because we made a plan to ride down to Taos with Storm (who posts as in2dabluz on some sites) on Thursday, and we invited him to spend Wednesday night at our house so we could get an early start the next morning. He arrived shortly after 7 - bearing a lovely bottle of (what else?) Yellowtail Merlot - in time for Marty's delicious pork loin dinner. We made it an early night, as we were meeting other riders in Colorado Springs the next morning and needed to be there pretty early. (Sorry, no photos)

    By the way, for those of you used to a SgtMarty thrilling chilling ride report spiced up with narrow escapes and numerous breakdowns - well, this ain't one of those. This was a lovely relaxing street ride with Marty on his Valkyrie and me on my Magna 750; Storm was on his BMW 1150GS headed for Sipapu and the big Beemer rally there. My thanks to Marty for the photos (I haven't mastered the art of taking photos while riding). Also, my thanks to both Eddie and Dave (you know who you are) for letting me use some of your ride report information.


    Thursday, September 9, 2010
    ---------------------------

    We headed out around 7:30, riding I-25 south to Colorado Springs for a meet-up at Apex Motorsports at 9:00. After a quick gas stop, we met Dave (on an FJR) and Smoky (on another Valkyrie, with almost the same color scheme as Marty's), and headed for Florence via 115.

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    From Florence, we went through Wetmore to Westcliffe, and on to Walsenburg, where we picked up the Highway of Legends (Highway 12) down to Trinidad. It was very windy during parts of this stretch, which was exciting at times.

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    At Trinidad, we hopped on I-25 to head to Raton; during that stretch, my ride got quite exciting suddenly when a pickup truck on my right decided he wanted to occupy my lane while I was still in it. Fortunately, he heard my horn and moved back over before I wound up in the guard rail - but the median was looking pretty good right then. Marty was ahead of me, and he missed the whole thing.
    Anyway, at Raton we picked up US 64 to go west to Taos - a lovely road that I'd like to revisit.

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    US 64 has some tighter, more twisty sections (sorry, no photos), which allowed Marty and Dave to zoom ahead while Storm and I meandered a bit so we could see the rock formations and surrounding scenery, and Smoky rode sweep. At some point, Dave and Marty pulled over to let us catch up and pass them, which put me in the lead for quite a ways. As we approached Taos, I realized that Dave was no longer with us (he had taken a shortcut), and at the same moment realized that I didn't know how to get to the hotel. Smoky was kind enough to take over the lead, and he led us to the Quality Inn. We said farewell to Storm after making a plan for the ride home, and got settled in the hotel. We caught up with the rest of our HCC group out by the pool, and then had dinner together in the hotel.


    Friday, September 10, 2010
    --------------------------

    After breakfast, we headed off as a group to ride the High Road Scenic Byway and the Enchanted Circle. We rode the High Road from Taos to Espanola - it's a lovely ride, going through a variety of terrain.

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    The only downside was the 4-5 miles of dirt and gravel in the construction zone. Good thing I'd had some recent experience riding gravel - this was relatively straightforward, even on street bikes. Anyway, from Espanola we took 518 past Sipapu to Mora, picking up 434 to Angel Fire.

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    Marty's Valkyrie and my Magna:

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    At Angel Fire, some of the group stopped for lunch and some of us headed on up to US 64, where we stopped to tour the local Vietnam Memorial. The Memorial was initially built by the family of a vet who never came home, to honor the service of all those who fought and died; poignant doesn't begin to describe it.

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    Here are a few photos of the outdoor and indoor exhibits.

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    They've also built a separate chapel (no photo) as well as an outdoor amphitheater (pictured).

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    Those of us who went to the Memorial then rode on via the Enchanted Circle towards Red River via US 64 and 38. We stopped for a late lunch in Red River only to find that because we were a bit early for most restaurants our options were quite limited - there was a burger joint open, so we chose that and had a good meal.

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    The folks who had lunched in Angel Fire caught up to us, and there was the typical frivolity and mingling and even some shopping for souvenirs and T-Shirts. Marty and I weren't really in a shopping kind of mood, so we headed on back to Taos via Questa and 522. Once again, I wasn't sure exactly how to get back to the hotel, so Marty led us there once we got close to town; as it turned out, we didn't even have to make any turns, since 522 joined 64 which connected to 68 which is where the hotel was. One of these days I really should bite the bullet and get a GPS - ya think?


    Saturday, September 11, 2010
    ----------------------------

    After another group breakfast, we joined others for the day's ride, heading northwest via US-64 to Chama.
    Beyond Tres Piedras we found a lovely section of road that climbs the mountains with big sweepers, smooth surfaces, and almost no traffic.

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    It was beautiful and very relaxing, eventually climbing to the Los Brazos area and then heading north to Chama. In Chama, we picked up 17, and proceeded over Cumbres and LaManga passes, bringing us back into Colorado briefly.

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    We stopped for lunch in Antonito, Colorado, and then rode back to Tres Piedres via 285 to complete the loop before heading back on 64 to Taos. On that stretch of 64, we passed the Greater World Earthship Community (self-sustainable living) and later crossed the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. We've been over the gorge before, so we didn't stop for photos this time.

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    That night the group went to dinner at The Gorge restaurant in downtown Taos, followed by a casual club meeting back at the hotel.


    Sunday, September 12, 2010
    --------------------------

    Finished with the BMW rally in Sipapu, Storm arrived and joined us in Taos for breakfast at our hotel, and then we headed north together along 522 (it turns into 159 in Colorado) towards Fort Garland.

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    We picked up US 160 to Walsenburg, then took 69 back to Westcliffe and on up to US 50. Very easy, casual riding. Less windy than the ride south, too.

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    From there, we went east to Highway 9 and headed towards Florissant and Cripple Creek on 11. Again, very easy riding. Along the way, Marty heard the siren call of the Black Jack tables, so he detoured off to Cripple Creek while Storm and I headed for US 24 and Woodland Park. Storm then took 67, heading for Lakewood, while I stayed on 24 until I could pick up I-25 and head back to Larkspur to call it a day.

    (SgtMarty's short epilog: The Black Jack dealers were unkind to me, but they were sympathetic…)
  14. SgtMarty

    SgtMarty Retired, baby!

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    For those who haven't ridden in New Zealand, I've just returned. Two weeks on the North Island riding with friends, and two weeks riding the South Island with just Laurie and I.

    We then spent three weeks in Australia, but in a rental car, so it wasn't a good a time.

    Anyway, the ride report is posted on my travel site, Errant-Ronin dot com. The last bit of the Australia section will be posted in the next day or two, and we'll follow that with some afterthoughts.

    Enjoy.
  15. BgDadddy

    BgDadddy Leg Humper

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    :clap

    I'm so jealous, but I'm glad you're having fun... :beer