Southwest Trip | New Blood

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by akupnt, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Going to try to post some of this RR real time. 2650 miles / 1 week planned down to NV | UT | CO | AZ | NM (touch) | CA. Got some long days and time might be a premium but will do my best to report and ad some pics along the way.

    --
    A few months back made the plan to get a long time friend riding again. Hes a single dad with a full time job but made some moves to get a bike together and some free time this next week. Picked up a 1st gen V-strom 1000. It was a little neglected so the last month went to fixing the clutch basket (tks werksparts) and all the other normal DL1000 issues. Got the bike running like new and the UPS man has been coming daily with gear for the trip. Leaving this Sat.

    Plans are to head east from Reno into Utah and than down into CO / 4 corners area. Scheduled the first week in Oct to try to hit that transition point between surface of Mars temps in the desert and Arctic storms in the mountains. Was looking good until last week ... pretty severe cold front coming in first couple days. Forecast even says chance of snow in Great Basin where we will be camping night 1. He went a little cheap on gear due to last minute planning so this could be a train wreck.

    Regardless ... got new rubber on my GSA for the planned 170 miles of dirt (weather permitting). Also updated my camera gear from a cell phone to an actual DSLR (+drone +360 camera) and doing my best to learn how to use it. Hoping to get some good footage from this trip that I will share when I get the chance.

    Did a similar ride in 2018. Link to that RR + media here. Screenshot of the planned route below.

    Any inmates reading this who may be in the area and happen to recognize us along the way (or see us on the side of the road fixing a V-strom) be sure to give us the finger or something momentous so we know who you are.


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    #1
  2. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Test ride of the V-Strom post update weekend before last south of Lake Tahoe. So far so good. Bike came with a Russel daylong seat ... its a little broke down and discolored (and I am sure Russel wont mind my pointing that out because they wanted almost cost of new to rebuild it). Crash bars, luggage, windscreen ... fluid changes, brake lines, etc. Ready to rip.


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    #2
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  3. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Shinko 705s for the GSA. Trying the less expensive option this time both because I have lots of freeway miles planned for upcoming trips and to offset the $ I have dropped on this bike since new in May.

    First test ride today. Initial thoughts are consistent with other reviews ... the biggest similarity being how these drop into corners. Unlike the battleaxes (or whatever the OEM junk was) you have to counter steer these back into the upright position. Its not bad, just different and will take a few miles to get used to. Put the same tire on the V-strom - he loved them but came off a pair of wore-out may-pops so there wasn't a high benchmark.

    And no its not a real Yenko.


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    #3
  4. woodzrider

    woodzrider Long timer

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    Like the Yenko! 427?
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  5. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Procharged 406 cid small block. Getting ready for EFI (and a new piston) after the trip.

    :hung
    #5
  6. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Typical day before departure.

    Me and other guy (J so I don't have to keep referring to him in the 3rd person to avoid the weirdness of invading his privacy on a public forum without consent) went to school together and are both now mid-40s, out of shape and wake up feeling closer to death every morning. So today we both got to make a trip to the geriatric doctor for some shots ... me for an elbow injury turned bursitis, J for gout. I found a walk in orthopedic ER and made it there first ... so of coarse I told the Dr to stab J in the joint. He showed mercy and stuck him in the ass instead ... bittersweet as I don't have to worry about retribution.

    Since then its been the typical game of MC packing tetris. First trip on the GSA involving camp gear on top of the full array of photo equip in a new top case so there was some uncharted territory. The FJR conditioned me to be frugal and I got it all in with room to spare. Packing for these trips is an art.

    Got an hour ride to meet up @ 6:30. Looks like we will be ahead of the winter storm warning issued in the Tahoe area, through forecast says 50% precipitation across hwy 50. Plans are to hit the lehman cave tours if we can get there in time (with lunch / shopping plans in Ely for the camp-out). J accidentally ordered the wrong sleeping bag ... the one he got is rated for 40-60*. Its going to be between 20-35* where we are at. He will probably be dead Sunday morning. I told him I bought a POS sleeping bag also to make him feel better ... but I actually got a new baller NEMO bag. F being cold. J if you read this sorry for lying.

    Guessing internet in the mountains surrounded by snow storms is going to be a long shot. Sunday were heading into Utah with plans to hotel it. Will update when time allows.

    Again ... the finger if you see us.


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  7. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    Subbed :D
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  8. zachd

    zachd Adventurer

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    I'm in for this one! Enjoy, ride safe, and make plenty of memories!!!
    #8
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  9. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Day 2. Good news ... J made it. Hit some rain / hail crossing NV. We camped @ 7500' and temps dropped down into the 20*s. More hail and lightning all night than woke up to snow. Packed and rode out with wet gear ... severe wind all day which was apparently regional.

    V-Strom is hanging in there. Had a few parts fall off including the bar end on the dirt road heading up to the camp ground. The nut likely fell into the handle bar and apparently blue laws apply to hardware stores in Utah because despite managing to find about 4 along the way they were all closed. Probably glue it in for the trip and fix correctly when we get back.

    Rode to Bryce Canyon than the 12 north to Torrey. Ate at a shitty Mexican food place.

    About 420 miles yesterday and 350 today. Riding south tomorrow ... < 200 miles for time to explore, grab a milkshake in Hanksville, hit a few overlooks near Moki Dugway and fly the drone. Plans are to camp in Valley of the gods. Forecast looking good rest of the week.


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  10. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Valley of the Gods than a hotel in Cortez last night. Long days. Caught some good weather. Slight route deviation from the 191 east to Telluride. Fall colors on the 145 south. Few pics below. Heading back to 4 corners / monument valley areas today. V-strom is hanging on there.


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  11. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Got back Sat. Days got too long to update from the road. Hit the weather just right for the rest of the week ... 70s in CO, 90s in death valley.

    Day 5 ... Cortez > 4 corners > Monument Valley > Page

    A missing phone charger compounded by a hurting elbow sent me into a melt-down. Unpacked my entire bike in the parking lot twice before finding it in the place that made the most sense to put it. So we got a late start because of me.

    And I have concluded home-made Navajo jewelry is not home-made.

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  12. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Day 6 ... 89A > Zion > Las Vegas

    Ridden this area several times. Doesn't get old. There was a fire and brief concern about getting past Jacobs lake but it turned out to be further south. The east entrance to Zion was a mess due to an over zealous toll booth operator who apparently though he was guarding the Vatican. Cars were backed up over a 1/2 mile. Consequently we got into Vegas late. Met a friend for dinner. Cruised the strip with the 360 Camera than a quick visit with family who coincidentally flew into town later that night.

    Best hotel of the trip but in the sleaziest town. I lived in Vegas for 12 years and realized this trip in that I dont miss it at all. The crime there, esp bike theft is rampant. And the local culture, with the exception of the security guards in charge of the casinos and wealthy neighborhoods doesn't really care. Thieves in Vegas are just getting theirs. Everyone has a scam ... even the white collar crime is just regarded as business. I prefer places where they get beat downs. Parked the bike in front of the window and everything not triple bolted on got hauled in.


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  13. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Day 7 ... Death Valley > 395

    Ridden several times but it was J's first so gave him the grand tour starting with Beautiful Tacopa (/sarcasm). We didnt make Titus canyon. The chaotic online updates implied it was recently closed for maintenance with no confirmation of it reopening. And today was Js day to F up packing so another late start.


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  14. Izzy58

    Izzy58 Been here awhile

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    Great ride report. What is the location of the Thunderbird Restaurant?
    Post more pics, even the mundane ones bring back good memories of past trips.
    #14
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  15. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    Love those Utah pics, wish I was there again..
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  16. kentuckymike

    kentuckymike Adventurer

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    excellent ride, love riding out west.....
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  17. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    Day 8 ... Camped west of Lone Pine > CA 395 North back to Reno.

    It was unexpectedly cold at the base of Whitney. J almost bought it. And one of the air beams in my tent got a slow leak - second time this has happened. They are kind of repairable but the model is discontinued and the air bladders are no longer replaceable. Might be the end of the line of the Nemo.

    Gassed up in Lone Pine which in retrospect was a great idea. Decided to head up the road for breakfast. Temps were still low and Bishop was going to give us the opportunity to ad a layer before ascending 3k feet on the 395. When we got there every parking lot was chaos and every restaurant had a line out the door. Assuming breakfast was just a really big f'n deal in Bishop on Saturdays, we decided to just continue.

    Froze our asses off on the ride up to Mammoth to find a scene from one of those apocalyptic virus-killed-everyone movies. Businesses were closed. Parking lots were empty. Phones had no service. Than a car pulled up and told us power was out and asked how far to the next available gas station. Not knowing wtf was going on I recommended Lee Vining ... which in retrospect was horrible advice because it turned out to be a regional power outage all the way to Topaz. Hopefully they didn't listen and went south.

    Basically for those who havn't heard ... (skip this paragraph if you don't want my jaded rant on corporate criminology) PG&E (with help from the insurance industry) was held responsible for wild fires in CA ... and now they are using rolling blackouts as apparently a 'precautionary' (retaliatory) measure. Guessing they will continue to do so until the state creates protections for future liability. But unfortunately on Saturday, it was at the expense of everyone in eastern CA.

    Regardless, we made it to Topaz. Grabbed some breakfast, reflected on the probability that the overly-friendly people camping next to us who seemed way too disappointing when we left were probably trying to coordinate a gang-bang, than headed home.

    J peeled off in Carson and I made it back to Reno a half-hour later. My pawn shop helmet cam rang the death knell pulling into my neighborhood with a final, semi-corrupted video clip. It was on the fritz past 2 days ... even tried to take the SD card with it.

    2400+ miles, 6 states. The new Shinko 705s on both bikes were about 50% down on the rear (loaded / high speed). Only expecting another 2-3k ... but the fronts will probably go 2:1. The Vstrom made it ... just a few minor issues to address over the winter. GSA was flawless - which it should be for how much that got damn thing cost. Despite only about 100 miles offroad, almost every pulloff and side road out there is still dirt so the upgrade was a good move. Anyone who has ever ridden gravel on an FJR can probably attest.


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  18. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    @Izzy ... careful what you ask for. I came back with over 700 lol.

    Link to personal page for about +200 and route info ... https://lousantilena.com/motorcycle/2019-southwest-mc/

    The Thunderbird is at Mount Carmel Junction on the east entrance to Zion. Home of the infamous 'hoe-made pie' controversy.
    #18
  19. Izzy58

    Izzy58 Been here awhile

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    Thanks ak, I knew I had seen The Thunderbird on a trip years ago but could not place where it is. On my 1st trip through Zion many years ago I purchased a Zion sticker for my panniers at the White Mountain Trading Post across the road from The Thunderbird, the sticker is still with me on my trips. I'll look through your pics.
    Have you been to Cerro Gordo Ghost Town located a few miles SE of Alpine, CA?
    #19
  20. akupnt

    akupnt Been here awhile

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    No on Cerro Gordo Ghost Town. Starred it on my map for the next trip down there. Tks for the tip.
    #20