The Break the KTM 790 ride - A trip around the USA.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by windblown101, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    It is amazing how the routes change over the years. I rode 2 up on a KLR with my wife up Imogene when I was 52. A few years ago I did it solo and wondered how I'd done it with my wife on back. Traction and scree makes a big difference year to year. Black Bear was no problem on a KLR, but on a 990 Adv with rain, it was. You never know until you get there.
    #61
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  2. bmw111

    bmw111 Adventurer

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    Maybe a bit off-topic but try the Keto diet (low carb) for indigestion/inflammation. I used to take Pepcid AC almost every day until I went lo-carb and low-calorie. That shot with the abandoned mine reminds me of a Western video game. Thanks for the updates.
    #62
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  3. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    No Advils?
    Low carbs?

    Next thing ya know I'll have to give up cigarettes and coffee! :becca

    Reminds me of the story of the guy that went to see his doctor...
    :D
    #63
  4. bmw111

    bmw111 Adventurer

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    Heck no! That's specifically why I went lo-carb/lo-calorie! :lol3

    Dr.: Stop drinking or lose weight.

    Me: I'll have a bourbon with those rice cakes.
    #64
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  5. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Day 21 - Ouray Colorado / Tire Search Day

    I had started looking for a new rear tire about 4 days ago with dealers along my route but not really focusing on it. I thought someone in Moab would have one but struck out. With 5600 miles on the current rear and a 2500+ mile push back to the east coast ahead of me I'm starting to worry that I may have to ride into a big city to find fresh rubber. This tire has been great, in fact it's exceeded my expectations by about 1000 miles, but it's getting hard and has lost a fair amount of grab.
    20190916_110842.jpg

    The only dealer close that will be open today is up in Montrose. I wait at the campground until they open at 9am and call them. They tell me they have a couple of different tires that will fit the rear of the bike and I tell them I'm on my way as at this point I'm not inclined to get real picky.

    I arrive at Davis Service Center. Nice shop. Good people. I get taken in back to get shown what they have. I'm in luck, they have a TKC 80, a Mefo Super Explorer, and a Shinko 805. I kind of dug the Mefo Super Explorer and I had never run one before and they had a good price on it so that's what I went with. When I asked if there was a car wash nearby so I could hose some of the grunge off the bike before I pulled the rear wheel they offered to give the bike a quick wash in their wash bay for me, gratis. Nice! (Though I still gave the guy stuck with the job a tip).
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    I wheeled the bike back outside after the wash, popped off the wheel, and they had the new tire mounted in no time flat. I slipped the wheel back on and strapped the luggage back down. I doubt I was at their shop more than about 45 minutes from start to finish. Nicely done Davis Service Center. You guys get a big thumbs up!
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    With that task out of the way I head towards Gunnison for a base to start my day tomorrow from. I'm struggling with some decisions I need to make as to how to finish off the trip and I figure Gunnison is a good jump point from which to work. The options I'm considering are:

    1) Get back on my original route plan by heading SE and jumping onto the TAT once on the east side of Oklahoma.
    2) Make my way towards Taylor Park and some other interesting routes on my way to Longmont CO to visit family and convalesce at their place for a couple of days, then make an interstate blast back east.
    3) Come up with a new plan...

    While on my way to Gunnison I spotted an interesting looking two track headed up a large rise on the east side of Gunnison reservoir. It looked pretty sweet and I figured it might have a nice view from up top. Besides, I had not touched dirt today so far!
    20190916_132648.jpg

    I make a turn and head over to see if it's open to the public and it is! (Seems like almost everything is open to motorcycles here in the west compared to the locked down east coast). Just look at that smooth climb, and those gentle rollers on the way up. This will be sweet...
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    Those gentle rollers on the way up are a bit more like king size drainage ditches up close: Steep going in, and steep going out. Good thing fresh rubber makes me bold! :)
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    With two of these king-kong sized ditches successfully negotiated I continue to make my way up though the path sure doesn't seem as smooth and mellow as it looked like it was from a distance. At about 3/4 of the way up I'm running out of steam. I stop the bike in a fairly easy section to get started in for a quick rest and decide to take a quick peek around the next rise and bend to see what awaits me.
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    Yeah, this is getting out of hand and more than I intended to bite off with a full camping load on the bike. I'm tired, my stomach is on fire yet again, and I decide to throw in the towel. I'd like to claim this is the first time I've been suckered by a sweet modest looking climb from a distance but this is number three in recent years, and the second time just this trip! LOL.

    With no great way to get turned around I drop the bike on it's side and spin it around so it's facing downhill. After a brief 2nd rest using the bike as my chair I jump back on the bike and tuck my tail and make my way into Gunnison for an early supper, a hotel, and a hot shower.
    20190916_142052.jpg
    #65
  6. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens Supporter

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    That next section looks like what Top of the World would have looked like after a team with jackhammers went at it.
    #66
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  7. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Yep, I would have preferred it if it had been solid rock versus a line of rollers to negotiate. I really hate turning around once I start down a path, especially since the GPS indicated a network of trails once up top including one that would have dumped me back onto pavement close to Gunnison.

    That trail represents unfinished business. If the fates allow I'll see it again some day, but not this trip.
    #67
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  8. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens Supporter

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    I know all about unfinished business. Took me 7 years to get back to Eagle Canyon.
    #68
  9. Motor7

    Motor7 Long timer

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    Awesome RR! I have been to Moab twice and base camped each time to enjoy the trails riding mostly solo. Having been through Montana, Wyoming and Idaho on a run for the coast my next long trip will be that area to explore.

    Since you seem to do most of your riding solo like me, how apprehensive do you get on the remote technical stuff? At that Kokopeli staircase(going in the other direction) I turned around. Partially because of the lower clearance of the DL650 and partially because I was alone. I don't regret it, but I always wonder what I may have missed...on the other side.

    I have two buddy's that are equal or more capable than I am, but getting them on a 3 week 5K+ mile trip is just about the same as hitting the lotto. Joining a small group here on ADV for the Eastern TAT years ago ended in a group dynamic meltdown(not involving me), so lesson learned. So like you I suck it up and just go, but does it bug you sometimes, or do you feel better off solo overall?
    #69
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  10. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    @Motor7

    The subject of solo trips versus going with a group is a great one. I enjoy riding with others for day rides and in general find that harder challenges can be overcome with more bodies. Riding with at least one other person also provides a degree of safety if things go horribly wrong.

    All that said, as you mentioned, carving out time for a long ride is not an easy task and that difficulty gets compounded for a group even if that group only consists of two. Then there are the group dynamics which when clicking smoothly can be awesome and when not they can put a serious damper on everyone's day.

    But more than that... I think it comes down to personality types. We can't not be who we are. Since I was a little kid I had the habit of wandering off to explore on my own. I didn't even really think about it as exploring, more just a curiosity about "What's over there?" Time was a rather abstract concept and my explorations might be all day long. When asked "What were you thinking going off on your own like that and not telling anyone?" In my mind the answer was always "I wanted to go and I wasn't worried, why were you?" But I was wise enough to not voice that as a response. Instead I would tend to give the classic "I dunno... I'm sorry." LOL.

    Hmmm, I'm rambling aren't I. Anyway, groups are great, solo is great. More can be accomplished and harder challenges tackled in a well functioning group. Traveling solo increases flexibility and raises the risk a bit which can be rewarding or regrettable. Traveling solo is a bet you make on yourself. I do carry a Delorme InReach Sat tracker when on solo adventures these days. It's my compromise for those at home that worry, and a potential safety net.

    And yes, I do moderate the technical challenges more when solo. It's fun to press the limits but there is fun and there is stupid, I try to not be tooooo stupid. ;)
    #70
  11. Frank.Wagner

    Frank.Wagner Adventurer

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    Great trip :thumbup

    PS: how would you rate the KTM 790 offroad experience after the previous tour route ?
    #71
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  12. Jetdr21

    Jetdr21 Been here awhile

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    I was looking at the same trail a month ago going to Gunnison and wondered about it.
    #72
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  13. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Compared to bigger bikes: Not as comfy for long high speed pavement runs but very doable. Even with -1 tooth on the front sprocket 80mph was not a problem to maintain for long stretches. Much better handling and competent in the rough stuff than any of the other big ADV style bikes I've had and noticeably easier to pick up as well.

    Compared to thumpers: Much easier to pound miles when needed. Of course it can't compare from a physics standpoint to a lighter bike though - Getting an extra 100-200 more pounds moving once stopped, stopped when moving, or turned when going a direction you'd prefer not to is always and undeniably easier with less mass. However the bike has great natural balance, turns well, and the low placed mass and good suspension make a ride through the rough stuff much less "busy" as far as the bike pinging off stuff goes compared to a featherweight.

    It's a great fit for me for what I'm doing with it. It's fast, it's comfortable, it handles a heavy load-out well. Take away some of the more technical terrain and/or want to run two up then a bigger bike would be better. Take away some of the long pavement runs and increase the technical difficulty then a smaller and lighter makes more sense. It's the "Destroyer" of the navel world. Not as agile as a Fast Attack Craft, not nearly as cumbersome as a Battleship.
    #73
  14. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Let us know how it was once on top if you get a crack at it! :)
    #74
  15. BLucare

    BLucare Inmate At Law

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    Speaking of heavy load: How much would you estimate your luggage weighs for this trip? Or, how much does it weigh exactly, if you know? Cheers! Loving the RR so far :thumb
    #75
  16. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Actually I did weigh it. :)

    Full gear load including the luggage itself and everything I took with me (but not the boots, pants, jacket or helmet that I wore): Mosko Reckless 80, Kreiga US-20 Drypack for tools and spare parts, Wolfman Enduro tank bag, and a Walmart hydro backpack with full hydro bag and another 2 liters of water stuffed next to one of the side bags weighed a total of 67lbs.
    #76
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  17. scorch

    scorch Poser

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    What a great trip! This inspired me to get a dirt bike and do this next year. Thanks!
    #77
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  18. scorch

    scorch Poser

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    When i saw the snow covered bike and you i decided not to head up north and stick to the south. Im a wuss.
    #78
  19. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Day 22: Gunnison to ?

    I had spoken with my extended family in Longmont CO last night and accepted their invitation to come stay for a couple of days. It wasn't my original plan to hit the Front Range however routes and plans are always subject to change on the fly. The reasons for the change in plans was twofold. 1) It's always good to see family. 2) My dang stomach has not forgiven me yet for all the advils I had been taking previously during this ride and improvement on that front has been slow despite a moratorium on NSaids and a regular helping of anti-acids. It's impacting my enthusiasm a bit. I figure a couple of days of home cooked food and rest will put me right. So this morning I got up and took a moment to look at the radar. A line of rain storms is approaching and will be chasing me along my planned route. I just can't bring myself to a full day of riding in the rain today... If I head southeast instead I'll get out of the rains path and have clear sailing to New Mexico. I picked up the phone and told the folks in Longmont I'd have to take a raincheck (ha) and pointed the bikes nose Southeast.

    Hwy 114 out of Gunnison is a nice paved route. Some twists and turns and nice scenery. Along the way I stumbled across this small herd of Rocky Mountain sheep while passing through the BLM Cochetopia Canyon Rec area. Oh, pro tip for other point and shoot camera guys - If your camera has a manual focus option and you turn that on remember to turn it back off, or FOCUS! I took several photos and this one was the closest to being in focus and it was still bad. :(
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    I see lots of trails with potential along Hwy 114 but the "plan" is to stick to pavement today.
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    I noticed this sign and recalled seeing it posted in trip reports before, not sure why. The only remarkable thing was that I had no idea I was a bit over 10,000' at the time. I guess I've been knocking around at altitude long enough that I don't notice the thinner air.
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    So I lied to myself a little... It's damn hard to stay on pavement ALL day.
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    This sign speaks volumes for the differences in public land management between this area and the public lands where I live. On the east coast you won't see the words "Your Public Lands" anywhere.
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    I spotted the southern end of the Great Sand Dunes NP in the distance as I rode past. I rode Medano pass up there on my 1190R the last time I was out this way 3 years ago. It was a nice route but didn't feel the need to hit it again today.
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    Folsum NM. - A railroad town from back in the late 1800s turned modern day ghost town though there are a few folks still living inside town limits. Rust never sleeps.
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    Later on I see a thin line on the GPS indicating I'm right at the NW corner of Texas. I decide to dip into Texas for a bit just because, ya know? Anyway, I run down one of the 1 mile grid farm tracks that cover much of the mid-west for a bit and then pull over to try to get a shot of the sunset. While there a pick-up truck rolled up and stopped. The driver noticed me smoking a cigarette and wants to trade a beer for one. I declined the beer but gave him a smoke and we chatted it up for a bit. I think this is the 4th time on this trip a conversation got started by my having cigarettes, and they say these things are bad for you. ;)
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    The sun has set, time to go. I thumb the starter and point the bike towards Boise City, OK to find a room for the night (I've been moteling since the stomach fiasco fired up. I don't care for moteling every night but I do sleep better, and at this stage of the trip I'll take every advantage I can get that makes getting miles during the day easier.

    The days progress:
    day 22 map.JPG
    #79
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  20. windblown101

    windblown101 Long timer Supporter

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    Day 23: The Oklahoma Grind

    I caught the sun rising from my motel in Boise City OK. The photo below may look familiar to some that have run the TAT. It's a pretty common stop for TAT travelers apparently. In fact the motel staff assumed I was doing the TAT as they don't get many "Dirt bikes" traveling in that neck of the woods who aren't.
    DSC00722.JPG

    First order of business is breakfast and a quick google search shows a nice little breakfast stop in Elkhart Kansas just a bit NE of my current location. What the heck, why not add Kansas to the list. I buzz up there and grab a bite and then drop back down into Oklahoma for the long run across the state. Speaking of the TAT, I'm not on a TAT mission, so while I considered dropping onto the TAT tracks for the west to east run i instead opt to focus on getting across Oklahoma. Crossing it's 478 miles width on the grid pattern dirt roads isn't a priority on this trip.

    Didn't hardly take any photos today. It's Oklahoma. A wonderful place and wonderful people, but it's not generally photogenic. ;) I do wander off into the dirt a few times during the day to take a break from the pavement though and snapped one pic.
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    I took a lot of breaks today and didn't quite make it across the entire state. It's hot. I did get an offer at one point in the afternoon while cooling off in the shade next to a gas station from a couple of Oklahoma gals to stop by their place for a shower but took a pass on that one... Traveling alone does make one more approachable to strangers. ;)

    Got to the eastern edge of OK and dropped the kickstand in Stillwell OK for the night. Tale of the tape for today. 526 miles on the trip log.
    OK map.JPG
    #80
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