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The Badger Hole

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by threewinmag, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    I'm threewinmag (3WM). I've been riding motorcycles for six years now. I started on the road and only recently acquired a dual sport, the 2008 Kawasaki KLR650. I know the local dealer and when he said he had a couple on the floor, I was interested. I've done a fair amount of mountain biking so dual sport was the next logical step.

    In January, I picked up a slightly used (one of the shop guys had it before me) '08. It was red when he got it and didn't like the fenders so he ordered black. I can't say that I wouldn't have made the same decision. Consequently, I have a hybrid that I really like. I threw on the usual mods and started riding the first day the snow melted. Three thousand miles later I decided that it was time to plan a trip. That's where Nefiii (N3) comes in. You see, he's Mr. Miyagi to my Daniel-san. We started planning for the summer. It seems there's a micro-brewer's rendezvous the first Saturday after the 4th of July in Salida, Colorado and I just happen to know of a Bed and Breakfast in nearby Cotopaxi. I've spent many years in this valley, skiing it's slopes, fishing it's rivers and hiking it's trails. And so it begins…

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  2. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    Hi I’m Nefiii (N3); I’ve been riding dual sport bikes for the past 20 years. I’ve been the street bike route, but somehow seem to gravitate back to my beloved DS bikes. I currently own an early 90’s KLR 650. You know the model, back when Kawasaki felt cool colors were blue, white and PINK GRAPHICS!!! I hope the reference to pink doesn’t taint your (dear readers) image of my masculinity. In fact, as you read on, my riding reputation may be so damaged, that the reference to pink may be completely forgotten anyway.

    As I write this report, an overly elaborate work of lies about my off road riding skill and prowess, I begin by using the words of my eloquent fellow rider and friend Corndogg: “You see, what had happened was…” to preface my myriad of excuses.

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  3. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    DAY ZERO

    3WM: This trip really starts the day before it started. N3 and I decide to work a full day and then drive all night in an effort to not waste any time. Naturally, we decided that sleep was the first thing that we could cut out of the schedule. So, on through the night was drove, our bikes resting comfortably on the trailer. You see, there's one thing about dual sporting in western Kansas, unless you're insane, you just trailer. I was born and raised in Kansas and even I know that western Kansas is just something to drive through!
    #3
  4. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    DAY ONE

    3WM: We arrived in Cotopaxi after a short Denny's stop in Canon City, around 5:00 a.m. It was still too early and so we napped in the truck. After a couple of hours, we arrived at the BNB and unloaded the bikes.

    N3's was starting rough and wouldn't idle. We had anticipated this and had the nearest Kawasaki dealer way-pointed and, after loading down the bikes with all our stuff (which would later prove stupid), we rode to Salida. The good news is that it wasn't jetting, it was the choke cable. The bad news? They were too busy to help on a moments notice…or were they? Meet Don Bullington, owner of High Country Connection.

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  5. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    After N3 stuck his bottom lip out (or in this case, kept it in) and took the bike apart himself, Don decided that he couldn't leave us to chance on the first day of our trip. If you're in Salida, buy something from Don, or better yet, buy his shop and help stranded dual-sporters. His dealership is for sale. Seriously, he's first class and highly recommended.

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  6. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    more...

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  7. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    N3: Don was a life saver. I expected 3WM and I would get run off like a couple of beggars, but Don took time to help me solve my bike’s initial ailment. Soundtrack: Get Money / Beatnuts / Unknown CD. During this trip my bike had a full case of the “gremlins” and an equally serious case of owner oversight. There were several issues which I believed I addressed properly during pre-ride maintenance and packing, which came back to haunt 3WM and I during our expedition. Examples? Examples, you ask? Why I hoped you could save the heckling for the end of the report. Being the tolerant author I am, I’ll pause and share a few: Re-re-re-tightening and thread locking fasteners, packing too heavily (and top heavy) for the intended route. Soundtrack: No Excuses / Alice In Chains / Unplugged. 3WM has made the observation that I live life to the tune of a soundtrack. (He’s more inclined to tell a story and include the sound effects for shock value.)

    3WM: We finally left and headed to the top of "S" Mountain to look around and hopefully take a few jeep trails into the hills north of Salida.

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  8. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    The lessons soon learned from day one was that we had too much stuff for the type of riding we thought we wanted to do. So we decided to stick to main dirt roads and away from 4wd trails. So we head north out of Salida towards Turret.

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  9. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    Higher elevations (note the pile of impending doom we call "luggage.")

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  10. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    Turret is a small mining ghost town that is turning into a small residential sub-division in the national forest. It was quaint but there are no services. At this point we try to move further north. We got turned around and a lady and her husband pointed to the only road leading north. (Darth Vader theme song here).

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  11. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    We moved slowly north and the road, while small and challenging, wasn't inhospitable. I was new to all this and these skills were slightly above me but I was hanging tough. N3's encouragement kept me going.

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  12. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    The farther we went, the harder it got. The skies were darkening as they do every afternoon along the Continental Divide. It was mid afternoon and we were hoping to find a crossroads and get back by late afternoon.

    N3: Here is an image of me, as my dumb ass allowed my front tire to slide out from under me in a turn on loose sand; I could almost “hear” the Beach boys, mockingly harmonizing the lyrics to “Wipeout.” 3WM wasted no time documenting how good I was becoming at being prone.

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  13. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    3WM: The loads were too heavy for this type of terrain, and that was beginning to wear on us. Then came this:

    Being the ingenious people we are, we decided to make our way even if we had to build the path ourselves.

    N3: 3WM and I came across a trail area which had been badly eroded by fast moving water. The trail intersected a dry creek bed which obviously was a flash flood zone. Although there was only a trickle of water crossing the trail at this point, the trail itself was in desperate need of repair. It had become a “staircase”, a series of ledges that were nearly 3 feet tall. We began building rock ramps to cross the section.

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  14. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    During one of our federally mandated 15 minute breaks, 3WM and I surveyed a small wooded area which surrounded the trail. We immediately noticed nearly every tree, was missing bark from 2 feet off of the ground until 2 feet above my head. In fact there was wood missing. These trees were all gouged to crap. The marks appeared to be Elk rubbings. At least that was what 3WM believed. I, being the wise, intrepid outdoorsman I am, firmly believe Bigfoot himself put those rubbings on those trees, and was clearly warning us that he was in the vicinity. Some of these rubbings were so fresh that they appeared to have been done earlier in the day. Now, I am a relatively dashing 6 footer. Why is this relevant you ask? Dear reader, if I am 6 feet tall, whatever put those marks on those trees was a hell of a lot larger than 3WM and I are (and I had no intention of becoming Mrs. Bigfoot, if you know what I mean). We promptly found a path to circumvent the “staircase” chugged along on our merry way.

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  15. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    ...forest of rubs...

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  16. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    more trail maintenance...

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  17. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    3WM: Eventually, we went around but not before spending time on the trail reconstruction. Eventually the trail dead ended and we were starting to think we were in a bad way, especially considering the weather the time and, you guessed it, trouble with N3's bike. During the day the crazy, rock strewn, rutted trail became the bane of N3's existence. Each time traction was lost and momentum ceased, N3 was too short to hold the bike up on a rutted incline and down the bike went. After 7 times, we decided that unpacking the bike, lifting it and repacking the bike was too much!

    N3: Remember, earlier I waived my right to an attorney and made several admissions of guilt about how I screwed up on maintenance or packing and negatively impacted our trip? This was the beginning. Initially 3WM and I planned on riding a circular route which would take us a week to complete. Soundtrack: Around the World: Harder Better Faster Stronger/ Daft Punk / Alive 2007. I had never ridden Colorado before and was not familiar with its true topography, terrain features or facilities. I have read many ride reports on the ADV forum, but just as the authors always mention, the pictures just can’t tell the true story. Our plan was to pack everything we needed to camp and eat for the week. We would ride as far as we could in that time and come back to our initial jump off point on the last day. This was why our bikes were packed so heavily. I quickly learned that my luggage was too top heavy for the terrain we were riding. Many times while “crawling” really rough or loose sections, my bike would begin to lean. The bike was so top heavy that once it began leaning I couldn’t keep it from laying over, so I tried to save it from excessive damage by assisting it to the ground, but couldn’t save it every time. I only had one true get-off during this ride (the slide-in high-side 3WM took the picture of). Every other paint/dirt contact was a top-heavy lean-related event. Soundtrack: Lean like a Cholo / Down / Definition of an Ese.

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  18. threewinmag

    threewinmag Happily Lost

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    3WM: It was a LONG way back and the worry was that I already new what lay ahead given that I'd spent all that time getting there. Fortuantely we were able to troubleshoot the bike problem and down is often easier than up. Tomorrow, we apply the lessons we learned.

    N3: Today was an exhausting day as well as an exhilarating one. On one hand, my bike and luggage were the cause of some grief, but I saw 3WM improve numerous off road skill sets throughout the day. His technique was hesitant and tentative at the beginning of the day. As we encountered more obstacles on the way, 3WM successfully negotiated them. He became much more confident. By the end of the day, he was a different rider. He just handled whatever the trail threw at him calmly and efficiently. Threshold braking, steering with the pegs, feathering the clutch to negotiate obstacles, you name it. He became a regular Charlie Boorman. Soundtrack: Fresh Azmiz / Bow Wow / Wanted.

    BTW: We were so dirty and nasty after the first day’s ride we decided to stay at a Holiday Inn Express, in order to clean up, rest. Soundtrack: Ridin’ Dirty / Chamillionare / The Sound of Revenge. The question begs to be asked. “Did you have fun on Day 1? “No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night…
    #18
  19. willp

    willp V-strom

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    Those funny marks on the trees are where elk have been gnawing on the aspen bark. Now if you can go find some claw marks about 7 or 8 feet up the tree then you will have something. Good report I will be following your trail through the area next week. Ride on.
    #19
  20. Motodisiac

    Motodisiac Moto Terrorist

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    Nice beginning..... :lurk
    #20