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The Adventures of LoneStar & The Iron Butterfly...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by LoneStar, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Dec 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Texas, Zip Code EIEIO
    LOL thanks Belstaff

    We gotsa long way to go to be in the league of all those ADV'ers but we're having fun so far :lol3
    #21
  2. Old Yeller Moto

    Old Yeller Moto New to site, be kind

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2016
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    South Texas Mostly
    Mr. Savant: beautiful post, as usual.
    You are having fun. I am looking forward to doing that; Heading that way, then to Grand Teton, Jellystone, Glacier NP, and on to leave the bike in Seattle in August. Fly back to Sa, then fly back to Seattle. Return to Texas, alas, in September. That will be via Pacific Coast, Vegas, Grand Canyon, back to San Antone- Ee- Oh! When you get back, come down and stay awhile and give me your best recommendations. Gonna go see Hank this weekend or next.
    This is a far cry from Real de Catorce!
    Loving the new Sony a6000. Took 2500 shots in Sweden. Need help processing! Show me how you do it.
    All the Best, Larry
    #22
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  3. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
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    Location:
    Steamboat Springs, COLORADO
    IN! :D

    Wait a minute ................ "warts and farts" ? ...............OKAY, I'M OUT! :lol3

    Oh hell, I'm in again. :confused I think .....................


    Hey Joe,

    Great to see this ride report of y'alls. What a big leap out into the unknown. Must feel great! Lovely photography ........... you always set the bar pretty high amigo.

    Holler when you and Kimberly get up this way. Actually, I'm working and traveling, so holler BEFORE you guys get up here. :brow

    Safe travels.

    Rob

    Okay ................... IN!
    #23
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  4. Timba

    Timba Luckiest Man Alive

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    249
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    Somewhere in the Hill Country of Texas
    Well hell's bells. I never got to ride with you when you were a neighbor; perhaps I'll see you and Kim out on the road this year or next!
    #24
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  5. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Hey bro! Glad you snagged the Sony - excellent system...

    We may be in Washington in Aug/Sep time frame and might be able to meet up... we're looking at the west til Octoberish then into Mexico
    #25
  6. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Lol! Rob I'm working on "smellavision" for the internet and will be the first to let you know when it's done :lol3

    Kim and I have been planning on being around Steamboat for the 4th - I remember the fireworks and parade were awesome.

    We had to hit the pause button for a couple days and make a fast run for El Paso - I had forgotten to cancel my mc permit after the last run to Real De Catorce and the due date would be when we are in Canada or the Northwest. Needed to cancel it while still a day from the border :D

    We may not get back to northen CO before the 4th, but if you're in the home area when we do, would love to meet up!
    #26
  7. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    You know how it goes - probably bump into you in Montana :D
    #27
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  8. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Over Ophir


    We'd ridden the Million Dollar several times just to soak in as much of the road as possible before moving our trek northward, ending up in either Silverton or Ouray for lunch or a dessert on the sidewalks and people watching.

    Folks seem to be intrigued by riders in their gear and sidewalk conversations are common. We were in the midst of a chat while sitting on a bench in Silverton one evening when I saw a guy who seemed familiar walk past, eyeing us and then turning to say hello. Turns out he was a fellow photographer, Kent Barker, who had been in the advertising industry in Dallas at the same time my studio had been there. We'd never actually met but had connected on FaceBook. Kent said he recognized us from our travel postings and we had a good laugh and talk. Kent's sons had followed him into the photography and film business, one based in Jackson Hole who shot extreme sports films and Kent was on the way up to visit.

    The weather in the region has been a bit spotty with more rain than usual sidetracking several of our explorations, but this day dawned crisp and clear with no weather warnings and only a 20% chance of rain, so I told Kim today would be a good day to test her riding a bit with an attempt to cover a mountain pass road.

    Ophir Pass, running between Hwy 550 on the east and Ophir, just south of Telluride on the west, is just shy of 12,000 feet and generally an easier pass ride than others. My concern was not wanting to push past Kim's limits on the bike, but she was game to try. The high mountain passes are always a gamble on big bikes like the GS's, as they can be rough and dangerous at the best of times and especially with weather coming in. Ophir is known as an easier one but that is always relative.

    There wasn't a cloud in the sky as we rode north from our campsite, just a crystal blue with not a wisp of white and brilliant stinging sunshine despite the cool air around us. We grabbed gas in Silverton with a stop at the small grocery store for some Italian dressing for pasta and chicken we'd brought for a high mountain lunch.

    Outside the store sat a loaded, dark green Triumph 800XC, sporting signs of appropriate abuse. I spotted the rider sitting in the shade outside the store enjoying a sandwich in his riding gear. We introduced ourselves and talked bikes for a bit. His name was Joseph and he'd ridden from Florida, Orlando IIRC, in 3 days and was doing a portion of the Backcountry Discovery Route, as well as as many dirt roads as he could squeeze in on his way north to Wyoming. We exchanged contact information and said God Bless's and goodbyes then headed north for Ophir Pass road.

    [​IMG]


    At the pass entrance, we stopped and I explained the rules of "right of way" for vehicles traveling up and down hill, with the caveat that tourists driving the ubiquitous jeeps we'd encounter and heavier GS's needing a decent place to stop threw much of that out the window. We turned off the ABS feature on both bikes and launched for the top of the mountain.

    [​IMG]


    The lower section of the road up was nice and smooth dirt, clouded by dust from a Jeep who'd passed us as we'd been getting the bikes set, but after a bit the driver was kind enough to pull aside so we could pass. The road continued to rise into high meadows with stunning views and patches of snow ahead on the grey rocky peaks. Small streams and snow melt crossed the road here and there and as the rockier switchbacks started Kim got a bit more silent, concentrating harder I'm sure. As the elevation increased, I was informed that any Jeeps coming down were going to have to take the outside lane, as she was not about to pull over to the edge to stop for anyone. I completely understood.

    [​IMG]


    Three riders on dirt bikes passed us, heading downhill in their motocross gear, the first flashing what appeared to be a peace sign, the second flashing one finger and the third a closed fist. She commented on their differing signs and I told her the first rider was showing "two" which meant there were two riders behind, the second showing "one" for one rider behind and the last guy showing "zero" riders left behind him.

    When we had opportunities to stop, the views were awesome, the crystal clear skies, the grey fields of scree, patches of snow clinging for life in their battle with the sun, green trees and flowers here and there made the effort worth the trouble. As we finally approached the pass over the top, the road got much rougher and rockier. At the top there were a couple of 4x4's parked and I found a spot in the rubble where each bike could get a decent place to get a kickstand down.


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]


    Just as we stopped, three dirt bikers on KTM's passed, the last rider shouting to us that the way down we here heading "is very rough and rocky!"

    [​IMG]

    We enjoyed the top and it's amazing views, shot some pics with cell phones of the other guys at the top for their memories and squeezed in a few ourselves. A guy with his snowboard on his back rode past on a dirt bike as we shot put selfies.


    [​IMG]


    Finally the other 2 vehicles headed down, followed shortly by a speeding car coming up and stopping quickly. A family of three piled out for pics. They were from California and we shot some photos for them. They were intrigued to hear of our trip and wanted the blog address so they could follow. They pulled out the cameras and shot photos of us as we headed down the west slope for Ophir and Telluride.


    [​IMG]


    As we had been warned, the west slope quickly became rough as we exited a large snow bank down into the scree field. The rocks were loose and ranged from the size of oranges to cantaloupes. It was obvious that a rock slide had wiped out the road and only a temporary repair had been possible. As we worked our way down, the length of the area of the slide increased and I told Kim to stop and let me proceed. Kim's bike is still a bit too tall for her and I knew picking her way downhill in the big rocks was going to be difficult. The ride down was a challenge as the large rocks were loose and slid under pressure, and when I finally cleared the section I was sweating.

    I walked back up to her elevation, huffing and puffing in the thin air and told her I'd need to ride her bike through the roughest part until we got to better road sections. As I dog paddled her shorter bike down, I was only able to use the front brake which eventually rolled over a football sized rock and I did a slow drop.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    It took a bit to finally get clear of the first section, only to find that another really bad stretch was ahead. Since I was already on her bike I went ahead and took it all the way down to the end of the first switchback. As I looked back up to where my bike sat, this low-elevation-texas-out-of-shape-fat-boy's heart sank at the sight, a long out-of-breath climb back up in my hot riding gear ahead.


    [​IMG]


    About 2/3 of the way back up, a dark green Toyota Tacoma with matching topper rumbled to a stop next to me. The lady passenger in her mid 60's told me what a nice bike I had, and proceeded to tell me she'd had a BMW R80GS Paris-Dakar and ridden to Alaska on it, as well as many other places and had met all the BMW guys in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". I politely smiled and nodded along, secretly dying for breath and not wanting to waste it talking. Kidding aside, it was fun to speak with her and her companion, a Geraldo Rivera look-alike.


    [​IMG]


    She said to keep the faith in the Beemers and they continued down for Kim's position. Finally getting aboard the Adventure, it felt good to roll downwards, despite the rocks. Kim informed me that the couple in the Tacoma said there was another bad stretch ahead. Indeed at the end of the second switchback the road was as rough or worse, having been taken out by the same slide that had smashed the section we'd just cleared.

    The Iron Butterfly was determined to ride through this section and she made it a ways down before a large section of loose rocks slid away and she went down, leaving the bike with its wheels higher than the tank. The way it lay, it was impossible to spin it on it's guards and cases. The wheels were about 12 inches higher than the tank and we had to dead lift it together, then hold while repositioning and forcing a long final lift up. The heat of the sun and the thin air had us both sweating and breathing hard when the task was done.

    [​IMG]

    It would have been easier to have ridden uphill through the loose stuff rather than going down but we had no choice in the matter. Once again I rode her bike through the worst section, only to see that the entire scree field section was bad completely down to the tree line. I went ahead and took her bike all the way down through the rock field. It turned out to be a good decision as the rocks were bad all the way and it wasn't worth the risk of Kim getting injured in one of the inevitable falls.

    From my position at the bottom of the scree field, the look back up to my bike seemed ten times more depressing than my first trek near the top. I could see the GSA as a dark dot perched on the edge seemingly a mile away and a thousand feet above me. I was really tired and hot after wrestling her bike down in the giant marbles and DEFINITELY not excited at the thought of the climb back up.

    I slowly started the trudge uphill, eventually meeting Kim as she walked down to her bike. I hoped that a Jeep would come by so I could grab a ride up, but it was not to be.

    My shin was squawking from an injury and subsequent infection acquired a week before, and my hot Forma boot agitated the fire out of it. At a previous camp site in the mountains my sandal had gotten in an argument with the jagged end of a log, the log winning the argument with a bash to my shin. A week later it was in full bloom, swollen and stinging and the walk back up in my boots wasn't helping.

    A blue 4x4 pickup rolled slowly down past as I continued my climb, the driver rolling down the window to say "Nice Beemer dude! You must have some balls to ride that thing up here." I was too out of breath to do anything but smile and my balls didn't care either.

    After what seemed an hour I finally got to within 50 yards of the bike and stopped to watch a Jeep coming from below. By the time I made my bike, the Jeep rolled by, it's occupants waving cheerfully. I smiled to keep up appearances but was bushed.


    T.I.B. be down yonda somewhere
    [​IMG]

    Kim and her bike weren't visible below and she didn't answer in the headset which had disconnected due to distance, but I got the GSA started and began the sliding descent going. The moving air felt better but it was a concentration event picking my way down on the beast. By the time I reached Kim I was hot, tired and ready for an ice cold Mexican Coke in Telluride.

    We rolled down into the trees and eventually the community of Ophir before turning north for Telluride and some long needed food. Telluride was bustling with tourists carrying shopping bags and walking the streets, the entire downtown reminding me of an outdoor mall. Years before when I'd ridden through it didn't seem quite as polished and there seemed to be less eateries. Most were closed in the late afternoon but a small Middle Eastern diner with an outdoor patio provided good food.

    [​IMG]


    "Oh. My. God! What.Ev.Er!"
    [​IMG]

    As the day had gotten late and we had a long ride back to Durango ahead, we decided to roll for Ouray, smothering in the heat but still enjoying the views of the mountains on the way to Ridgway, before the turn south.

    A coffee break in Ouray sounded good as our energy had faded from effort and the long day, but we ditched the coffee and grabbed some chocolate and a huge glass of milk instead. We sat weary and tired on the sidewalk until the setting sunlight told us to leave.

    [​IMG]






    [​IMG]

    The ride back was beautiful, the late sun and sky that had remained clear all day lengthening the light until we rolled into camp just at dark. The dirt road up always proved interesting, with two tiny fawns running in front of Kim for a distance and then a literal ball of small raccoons in the roadway keeping us on our toes til the bikes stopped in camp.

    It was a long day, full of effort, and full of life.
    #28
  9. JT105

    JT105 Let's Ride!

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
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    Location:
    SE Michigan
    Wow. I would be whipped too. In shape or not, that was a lot of walking and climbing. Well worth it to have a great companion on the trip.
    #29
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  10. Vato Jinete

    Vato Jinete Feo del Norte Supporter

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    Dec 31, 2010
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    Location:
    Excelsior, MN via San Antonio, TX
    In
    #30
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  11. jbh

    jbh Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    48
    Hey Lone Star,
    I met you about a month before you left, I looked at and test rode your 650gs for sale and you were prepping the van. I end up buying a 2009 1200gs later instead which I love. I spent last week in Colorado with it riding all over the state. Glad you got out on your trip ok, really liked your setup. Have fun!

    Brad.
    #31
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  12. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Hey Brad very cool! Glad you found the ride report and also a 1200... Colorado is a good place for a maiden voyage lol. The 650 sold a couple days before we left to a tough chick in the Navy so we all be happy
    #32
  13. No False Enthusiasm

    No False Enthusiasm a quiet adventurer Supporter

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    Small Town, Texas
    As always, LoneStar brings the best narrative and photography to this site...

    NFE
    #33
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  14. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Check's in the mail NFE
    #34
  15. MadRider777

    MadRider777 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2016
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    264
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    Beautiful photos :thumb
    #35
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  16. Cyclenaut

    Cyclenaut Been here awhile

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    Feb 20, 2012
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    Desert S.W.
    Great post and pics !
    #36
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  17. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Kim's adventure lessons continue... while riding down from our campsite on Buffalo Pass, suddenly a huge bull moose bolted from brush on the side of the road about 10 feet in front of her at a full run. He was going full tilt from the bushes almost parallel with her and cut right in front of her fender charging full speed down the road ahead of us before rounding the next curve.

    We were both stunned at the speed, size and proximity - Kim more so than I for sure :O ... I told her to stop immediately and we waited to see if he was still ahead or if his fear had changed to anger. She was shaking as we sat, both from the shock and also the danger of moose. I told her to wait as I moved slowly down the road on my bike, trying to peer around each curve to see if he was waiting ahead.

    On the headset I told her to follow about 75 yards behind just in case he decided to come back out of the aspens. We finally got clear of his territory and headed on down - freaked at the close call and extremely excited to see such a big moose so close... he was higher at the shoulder than us on the bikes and a dark beautiful brown with almost black hair on top.

    Cool experience for sure and glad for God's protection! Sure wasn't expecting 2 moose encounters so soon on this trek
    #37
  18. LoneStar

    LoneStar WhoopDeDoofus Supporter

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    Wyoming Bound!

    Hey guys, we're going to be heading into Wyoming in a few days and would appreciate tips or leads for cool places to see, camp, etc... or just to grab a beer and say hello!

    We spent a couple of awesome days in Steamboat with Road Damage and will be reversing for new tires and such in Grand Junction before heading back up for Wyo. Road Damage Rob gave us a lot of information which we've woven in our ride plans.

    Will probably enter north of Walden, then do Snowy Range, Lander, Bighorn Range, Cody, Chief J and Beartooth. Will avoid Yellowstone/Jackson area unless there's been a neutron bomb detonated to thin the tourists.

    Would appreciate any input and many thanks bros!
    #38
  19. BELSTAFF

    BELSTAFF ADV NOMAD

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Arizona--Semper Vestibulum
    If you happen through GRAYBULL WY. a stop at Hayden Aviation might trip your trigger, that is the location of contract USFS fire fighting aircraft. Quite a few of unusual aircraft used to drop retardant on the nations forest fires & being a photog that might strike your fancy, also of interest would be the National Smokejumpers Academy at Missoula MT.

    By the time you get there, Going to the Sun Road should be open, so that means mandatory
    stop at Hungryhorse Mt. for Huckleberry pancakes & for an extra treat take the route west around Apgar Village (entrance to Glacier NP) to Polebridge Mt. in route to Kinitia Lk. nothing to see up there except grizzly bears, wolves' & a unique bar. Headed east out of Troy Mt. on Yaak river rd
    #508 you'll find "The Dirty Shame Saloon"---Best burger & fries ever----- Now your ready to cross over to Canada & the real fun starts here.
    #39
  20. rboett

    rboett posser noob 205

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    nwa
    nice! That coming down the mountain part made me tired just reading about it. In the long run, it will be the real hard parts of the trip that will be most vivid in your memories..
    #40
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