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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Trailace, Oct 2, 2009.
Port Orford OR
TAT Part II Sep 2009 UT to OR A new cast of Characters
After months of anticipation it was time to start the ride. Chief could not join me this year but there would be a few new characters along for the ride.
Finished a few things at work loaded the bike and headed north to meet Ron and Phil. I was going to ride the entire trip but decided to just throw my bike in the truck with them and save some time.
Loaded up and on the road.
We stopped in Clarendon TX to catch a few hours of sleep. This would be Ron and Phils first dual sport camping off the bike ride and Phil still had a few things to work out.
There was a stray black cat hanging around our room, hope it would not be a sign of things to come. It kept meowing at our door all night and in the morning. As I was putting a few things back into the truck the darn thing ran up and bit me.
It had tags on so I decided it had to have had its shots and left it at that. There was a strong smell of gas coming from the bikes. It was coming from Rons bike and we determined he had a bad gas tank seal that would need to be replaced. I also noticed that I left my camelback at home. So time to do a little shopping. We found everything we needed but the gas seal in Amarillo.
We would stop in Albuquerque at Motorsport Inc. to try one more time for the seal. The guys there were super nice and Shaw went above and beyond to help us out. He did not have the seal at the shop but was sure he had one at home so we followed him to his house and sure enough he had the seal. How cool it that!
Rons driving was so bad Phil wears a helmet most of the time.
We made it to Monticello UT right at sunset and found a place to camp. We would leave the truck there for a few weeks.
We camped at the RV Park on the north side of town. The site was $15 for 3 tents and the man running the place had a son that was a real pistol.
Set up our tents, took showers and off to bed. Oh no another cat!
It started to rain and the cat slept under Rons vestibule all night. Here he is checking out his new home.
I could not wait to get on the road and had a hard time sleeping.
This is going to be a fun ride!! Thanks for the intro and taking us along
We woke to a cold wet day with thunder and lightening. Not a get way to start the TAT so we went to have breakfast at a local eatery and met April.
She fills us in on all the local gossip and said it would stop raining when it stops. We could see the sky was clear just a few miles north so we broke camp in the rain and hit the trail.
The rain was not all bad because it kept the dust down all day but it did give us about thirty miles of mud to deal with.
Before long we would climb into Manti-la Sal National Forest and as always Sam would mix in a few cool paths.
This was nice.
Next we headed down to Moab past Slick Rock and the Lions Back.
In Moab we filled up with gas and grabbed a snack. Right next to the gas station was a car wash so we hosed off the 10 pounds of mud from the beginning of the day.
Just north of Moab we crossed 191 and climbed again, this time into red sand and rock ledges.
Looking back toward Moab.
A few nice pictures from the area.
We met Dan and Ryk who were on XR650R. They were also doing the TAT. We would have dinner in Green River with them later that night. Sorry no pictures.
The roads turned to fast flat gravel with hills all around. Here are Ron and Phil having a little fun on the hills.
Both Ron and Phil are retired F15 fighter pilots. Lets just say it takes a lot to get their adrenalin going. As for me, I just hope to keep out of their way.
We made Green River State Park and set up camp.
We would have dinner at Tamarisk Restaurant just east of the Green River on 6.
Not bad for a late start and rain.
Well we had a little wind and rain last night but that did not hamper my sleep. Also, moving my tent as far away from Phil as I could sure helped. He snores but not near as bad as Chief. LOL Here is a picture of Green River where we camped.
Packed and ready to go well not everyone.
Today would be one of the best days of riding on the trip but first we had to stop for breakfast and coffee. I don’t drink coffee but Ron and Phil can’t get going without it. We stopped at the local donut shop for a quick meal. It was Melon Days in Green River and I’m not sure what a dog has to do with melons.
Here are the girls running for the Green River Melon Queen.
Ok back to the TAT and the great riding we would have today. While eating we saw Dan and Ryk ride past us heading for the trail. We would be just a few minutes behind them. The road out of town was paved but soon we would cut off onto an old dirt trail that went under a rail line. However, with all the rain, the pass under the tracks was full of deep mud so rather then going back we just went over. I always seem to forget to take pictures when the road gets hard or there is an issue on the ride. Sorry!
After jumping the tracks we ran down an old abandoned road next to the freeway.
Then through a gate to Black Dragon wash. The wash had lots of technical riding and the scenery was just unbelievable.
The rain clouds were building all around us but we were lucky and never saw a drop. We heard later that Dan and Ryk got soaked and had to wait under a bridge for 30 minutes.
Stopped to check out Swasey Cabin.
Next we followed the wash under I 70.
There was a lot of deep sand but since it was wet from the rain it was a fun fast ride. I did go down in one corner but Phil has that picture. When he sends it to me I will add it.
Phil pic added
The rest or the day was just great riding. Here are a few pics.
Where did the rocks come from?
The plan was to stop in Salina but we arrived early so we pushed on to Richfield. We did run into Dan and Ryk again.
One of the roads on the way to Richfield and a cattle ranch we passed.
The weather has been great sun shining and cool most of the time.
When I first posted about this trip I let it be known that I planned on camping most nights. However, Ron and Phil would be happy to stay in motel every night. Last night would have been 3 nights in a row of camping and they decided that $29 at a KOA was just too much and we ended up at the Richfield Quality Inn, I think. It was two against one and I lost. I refused to take any pictures. I think Phil has a few. Unfortunately this would not be the last motel stay.
Before we could got back on the trail we needed to stop by ACE hardware to look for something to put on Phils gas cap because it was leaking.
Here is the first map of many today.
With the cap fixed it was time to hit the trail and in just a few miles we had climbed high above Richfield into Fishlake National Forest.
This section was loads of fun. It was a small ATV type trail with lots of elevation changes. The road was hard packed dark dirt and I bet it would almost be impassable if it was wet.
The trees were starting to change and there were cattle all over the area.
Small cabin on the trail.
When you come down out of the forest youre just a few miles from Kanosh so we stopped to fill up. Two things you dont want to do on the TAT is pass up gas or water.
After Kanosh the roads were flat and fast. We did see this little guy crossing the road.
Then we rode on Black Rock Rd past Sevier Lake to Crystal Peak Pass. You could see Crystal Peak 30 miles away.
Kicking up some dust poor Ron is back there somewhere.
As you can see in the picture above, me and Phil road side by side 95% of the time. So you could say for us 95% of the TAT was single track.
We stopped and climbed about 1/3 of the why up. If you look close you can see Phil and the bikes in this picture.
Then it was back to fast gravel roads.
Right before we crossed the border into Nevada, Sam gave us a little foreshadowing of things to come.
Also right before the border you need to ride north to Hwy 50 for gas. If you dont it will be a long way til the next stop. We met these guys at the station. I can't remember their names. They were following the Pony Express trail and took a bypass to ride down the loneliest highway.
Welcome to Nevada (Hey Dr Rock your sticker is still there)
I like this pic
Now we were in the desert and we would see lots of this for the next few
One of many fences we would ride along and with washouts and sand it will keep you on your toes. Foreshadowing
We did not take the big bike bypass and it was off to the 5 miles of sandy single track through Cottonwood Canyon. I missed the turn and ended up in a box canyon and had to backtrack a half mile.
This is the big rock that stopped us.
Not sure how I missed this road.
We blazed through the single track in no time but I want to give a big thanks to whoever hung the yellow tap in the trees along the confusing area.
We covered a lot of miles today and the sun was getting low so we just camped out on the trail.
Here is where we camped.
I think we ran a few cows off of their sleeping area but we needed it more than they did.
Ron cooking dinner
Rick in his cool Tot Spot chair.
Off to bed.
wonderful trip report.
Very nice report... photos are great... what an adventure..
keep it coming!
Wasn't that awesome single track?? Loved it
Is that what it's called - Cottonwood Canyon? I couldn't find a name on the maps or roll chart.
This is from TOPO 2008
Well done Ride Report.
I remember the road out to Crystal Peak and Baker NV.
I got so fed up with the deep loose gravel I threw a hissy fit.
But then I got back on the bike and wicked the speed up to 50 MPH - that helped.
As you can see from my top speed we might have been running a little fast on those section.
We woke to a cool dry desert morning after a great nights sleep. It was still dark but all the stars were gone and the sun was starting to rise. Again I was the first one up and about. These pilots sure liked to sleep late. Since they would want coffee before hitting the trail I decided to restart the fire. It would be breakfast bars and coffee/hot chocolate by a warm fire this morning.
The roads on this day were a mix of everything, rocks, sand, double track and no tracks, but it would all be fast fun riding. There were some gates but with our system they were no big deal. I would open them and leave them halfway in the road and Ron would close them.
The road leaving camp.
Soon we could see Sawmill Peak, which we would ride up and around.
On top of Sawmill Peak.
This is how most of the day would go, climb over a pass and ride the basin bottom till the next pass. We stopped in Preston for gas and much needed water. Phils front tire looked a little low and after checking we added some air.
You can see in this picture what Im saying about riding the basin between passes.
At one point Phil and I were just riding along enjoying the view when Ron passes us and waves. We thought he was just having fun because he didnt stop at first. He finally pulls over and starts looking at his bike. Seems one of Rons bungee straps had come loose and was tangled in his chain.
We all broke out our old man glasses and took a look. The strap had broken the case guard and the case but it was no big deal. A few tie straps later we were back on the road.
We stopped here to make sure Ron took the right road.
One of the coolest things on the whole ride was when we saw these wild horses coming our way.
They crossed right in front of us. Ron couldnt believe his eyes. I have to say it was an amazing sight.
My side kick Phil
Lots of double track like this.
I routed us past the abandoned mine where Dr Rock had camped. However, it was too early to stop so we pushed on.
Here is what I call no track.
Not sure if we were on the right trail at this point but you could tell there had been a road there once. A half-mile later we were back on a gravel road that followed the telephone poles in the photo.
We could see Battle Mountain off in the distance but Sam would run us thought a bunch of talcum power sandy roads just for fun. Sorry no pictures.
Just a cool Pic
It was a long day, 255 miles, so the guys wanted to stay in a motel so a motel it would be.
Enjoying the trip!
After a great night of camping in the desert, staying in a motel stank. However, the sleep late team agreed to an early start the next morning. We loaded the bikes, grabbed breakfast at McDonalds and hit the trail around 9:30. Great early start guys!
This would be a day of talcum power sandy roads, gates, rock gardens and a cool pass bypass.
Off into the unknown
We crossed some more tracks today, looked right, all clear.
Sam loves to send you off perfectly good roads onto sandy two tracks just for fun.
The bad thing about doing this with a group is the dust. Phil and I would run side by side and Ron would wait for the dust to settle. Sometimes the section of dusty, sandy two track would only be a few hundred yards long. In that case we would have to wait for Ron, man what a time killer.
These guys were always looking for something to climb.
Not so wild horse
Here is a cool water crossing and if you ever did the TAT in Nevada you know where we were at.
Click for Video
Thats right the old abandoned farmhouse.
Soon after the farmhouse we were running though some deep dusty sand and when I looked to my left Phil was gone. It was a nice road so I wasnt sure where he could have gone.
I was stopped at a gate and could see dust off in the distance so I just waited.
First it was left.
Then right and back left but closer.
Then it was coming right at me.
Seems my almost 2 ex friends missed a turn and were looking for me. Sorry but I would have gone back to get ya if you hadnt eventually show back up.
Phil told me to make sure I stopped at all the turns. I think he was scared. LOL
Water and cattle out in the desert.
The plan was to eat lunch in Paradise Valley and its fast gravel into town.
Phil decides to stay in front of me for a while.
Hows this for a cool old building as you turn into town?
Rons new friend
He knows a good bike when he sees one.
Lots of dollars hanging in the Paradise Valley Bar.
We found where others on the TAT had put their dollars and would add ours after we ate.
This wonderful young lady told us the town history and made us the best burgers I had ever eaten. Right Ron? Her name was Jackie.
Our dollars added.
Phil at the bar
This is the Paradise Valley hotel that burnt to the ground and was never rebuilt.
Paradise Valley Bar
With our stomachs full it was back to the trail. Now you can back track back to the TAT trail or you can ride over Hinkey Pass. To me it was a no brainer and it was up and over the pass.
Here is the road toward Hinkey Summit.
Ron on the way up.
At the top there is a jeep type trail you can take to the Summit.
Ron and Phil said lets go so off we go. Everything was going great until about 200 yards from the top. The trail became steep and had lots of loose rocks. I sure missed the 20 pounds I had lost in the last year. I could not get enough traction to get the GX up the trail. I might have been able to go back down and take another run at it but I decided to just ride back down. The GX is about 2 inches too tall for me and that didnt help the issue. I saw Phil also having problems just a few yards in front of me. Its funny now that I think back on it I should have just continue on up but when Im on a long ride away from home I always seem to ride a little cautious. So far it has worked out well for me but I have bypassed on some fun riding.
Ron and Phil both made it up and you can see them on the way down the trail in this pic.
Back on the trail.
A little further up the trail was a rock garden that went on for miles.
About half way through, on a steep down hill, the bike started to feel funny. I stopped on a level spot to find the front tire going flat. I bet youre thinking pinch flat but no, it was a puncture. With the Nuetech TUbliss tire system, it took longer to find the leak then it did to plug it. Five minutes later we were back riding.
We came to a set of gates that were right next to each other and were not sure which one to take. We went with the one on the right but in the end it didnt matter because they both went to the same place. This picture is looking back toward the gates. The side we came out on had a no trespassing sign. So if youre doing the trail take the gate on the left.
We stopped for the night in Mcdermitt and camped at Mitchells Stateline RV Park for $5 a tent. Look what Phil found in my rear tire. When I pulled it out it didnt leak.
I kept my eye on this cat, she looked hungry.
We set up camp, took showers and went to dinner at a Casino Café in town. After dinner we did our laundry in the sink and hit the bags.
Here are a few pictures of the RV Park we stayed in on day 6.
This was the hottest day of the trip but there would be a nice surprise at the end. There were a few long steep climbs and a few bike issues.
The roads out of Mcdermitt were pavement for a few miles.
It turned into fast easy dirt.
Soon we came to Zimmerman Ranch. There is a guard on duty so you better slow down.
Since you have to slow down anyway you also need to stop and say hi to Arly and Kayla (NOT Arnie and Kaylene like the TAT roll chart says). Arly was out selling some horses but Kayla came out to say hi.
She told us a few stories and also that she was allergic to some plant that was in bloom. It seemed that Phil was also allergic to something because his eyes were red and swollen. He was taking all kinds of meds with no real success. He should have tried Kaylas remedy, a chew of tobacco.
We told Kayla thanks for her time and moved on.
Just a few miles later my bike just stopped running. It was only a blown fuse but it took us a few minutes to unpack and repack my bike.
Back to riding.
For being out in the desert there sure was a lot of water around. We followed this stream for miles.
We stopped to check out this hunting camp.
Since were stopped, I looked down to see my temperature warning light was on. I unpacked the bike to check the fuses but they were all ok. The fan would turn when we hot-wired it so the sensor or relay must be out. I did not have what I would need to run temporary power to the fan so I just kept moving and turned off the bike when we stopped. There will be more on this issue later.
We pushed on to Denio Junition for gas and to see if we could find something to wire the fan with. The next gas station was 180 miles away so we needed to get gas here. The gas station was so small I road right pass it and Ron had to stop me. There was no wire at the store but I did wash all the mud and dirt out of my radiator. I thought this might help out some because it was very dirty.
We were having other issues as well, Phils eyes were so swollen and watery he was having a hard time seeing. We decided to eat an early dinner and give Phils eyes a break and let my bike cool down a little longer. We checked out the maps and decided to shoot for Virgin Valley Campground about 40 miles away.
Someone had some time and talent to make this.
We were going to try a little bypass to make up some time but the road we found on the GPS was not really there.
No road here.
So we backtracked to were we left the trail.
More fun 2 track.
Saw a few donkeys
The bike did ok until we had a few climbs in these mountains.
With my concern for the bike, I forgot to take any pictures of the hill climb. It was about a 2,000 feet climb in 6 miles, which consisted of loose rock and sand. I had to stop 4 times to let the bike cool and it always seemed to be on the steepest parts. I was running it as fast as I could to try to keep air moving through the radiator. Once we made it over the top, the bike made it to camp without any more stops. This just made the ride a little more stressful for me and I dont handle stress very well.
Here is a picture on top of the climb.
We made it to Virgin Valley Campground and set up camp.
There was a surprise waiting for us here. There is a pool that is fed by a warm spring that keeps the water at 86° year round. So of course we went for a swim.
Ron and Phil enjoying the pool.
Here is an underwater shot.
Although the pictures look dark, we had lots of daylight to do a little work on the GX. I was going to try to bypass the relay and let the fan run continually. I used my air pump cord to power the motor, it ran but it seemed a little slow even after we lubed it. Not wanting to burn it out by letting it run all the time, I decided to wait on the bypass until I could find a switch to turn it on and off.
Since I had the tank off we drained some gas into Rons tank because his range was right at 180 miles. Since he was running sweep, one wrong turn could cause trouble.
Phil has a picture will add later.
Moon over our camp.
Stats (Only 120 miles today)
I think we passed you guys on your way through Moab. It was on Sand Flats Road. With all you've seen on the trail, a flash of orange from a 640 Adv probably does not stick in the memory banks, so I won't blame you if you don't remember. When I saw your bikes with the bags loaded up going the other direction I knew what you were up to. It is great to see that you had good time.
I remember passing you but that's easy because Utah was the only place we saw any other bikes on the trail not counting Dan and Ryk.