The Gap Year complete

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by 95Monster, Sep 2, 2018.

  1. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    So it's 10am and we destroyed $10,000 worth of camera lens and Ken's foot is swollen. We get him to a tarmac road (US 285?) and he's off to Gypsum while Justin & I dove back onto the BDR. The route went from two track onto freshly bulldozed forest road with trimmed branches. It was fun roller coaster riding with the branches trying to snag you. I certainly got my share of cardio that morning! Me n J.jpg Then we got our second water crossing of the day; no big deal. WaterX2.jpg The first peak was shortly after, easy peasy. Weston.jpg And then it was easy gravel on Weston Pass Rd to Leadville. WestonRd.jpg But not easy enough for my X-Grip phone mount, it ejected the iphone for the second time, breaking its' screen. After replacing two phones and three screens on this trip, you can say I hate the X Mount. It's NOT for Adventure riding!

    After a snack in Leadville, alright a pizza, we headed up a dusty road towards Hagerman Pass. Once you start making the climb up Hagerman it gets rocky. No big deal, really. Just pick your line and thread through the big stuff. Rocks.jpg And it goes on and on. Remember Rule # 1 in Zombieland? Cardio? Well, I just ate a pizza and hadn't done cardio in like 7 years? So I was pretty winded from pounding rocks at high altitude. We were almost to the top. One big switchback to the left where some jeepers were standing around scoping their own lines for a descent. I had two choices: the highline on the mountain side or the lowline along the cliff. Between the two lines was a rut filled with very big rocks. I chose the highline, thinking if something happened I'd fall into the mountain. That choice ended in a step up too big for me to clear. I stopped to look for options while balancing on the pegs and fell over; not into the mountain but down on the boulders! Ouch. Luckily, I jumped clear of the bike and landed on my knees and elbows, the Klim armor soaked up the impact. The bike was wheels up on an uphill slope. I was gasping for air and Justin was laughing over the intercom. With arms and legs like noodles, no way we're righting this upside down pig by ourselves. Then, our new friends with the jeeps came running down to assist! Down.JPG Up.JPG
  2. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    I got moving up the switchback and climbed the trail a bit to catch my breath and get my heart rate down below red line. Almost.jpg
    Dang it. More rocks. ClimHagerman.jpg
    And then, cool air. HagermanTop.jpg
    We did it. HagermanSign.jpg That's the way down? Saddle.jpg
    Velvetdogmom and thirsty 1 like this.
  3. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    I rode all over the Western Hemisphere and dropped my bike twice: once in a creek bed in North Carolina, the other climbing Hagerman. Neither were very technical or difficult sections. Both drops came from indecision and taking too long to make a decision. This one really came down to poor cardio. I was wiped out and got sloppy. But it's all downhill from here...until the next peak. TopHagerman.jpg One more from the crash that should have been in the previous section. SortaUp.JPG

    Yay, change of terrain. Fancy a wash? WaterX3.jpg
  4. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    There was another pass on this section, Crooked Creek Pass, but I barely remember it. All I remember were road conditions. The route had at least three deep ruts, some parts 4 or 5. Tire tracks had dried into trenches. Justin and I were both amazed by the Dunlop Missions performance on this stuff. You fall in and they just climbed right out; no drama. This section was listed as 'Impassible When Wet" and I believe it. Somebody, or somebodies, in 4x4s had tore it up. We finally reached Gypsum and checked in on Ken who had found the tequila store and was comfortably medicating at our hotel. What a day!
    IMG_7034.jpg
    The next morning Ken was worse for wear and decided to stay another night at the hotel while we pressed on. Section 5 consisted of pretty mellow dirt to Steamboat Springs. Fun riding and a nice break from the rock pounding we'd taken the day before. Dirt.jpg Are we there yet?
    MapCheck.jpg Nice trees. Trees.jpg
    And after a pleasant ride we made it to that night's quality lodging.
    E86A8E42-FD35-41EF-8CCF-2E146C0572D4.JPG
  5. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Section 6 on our final day was very mellow. You ease your way down out of the mountains watching out for farm traffic. Cow.JPG And like that, it was over.
    The End.JPG
    Only one thing left to do.
    Sticker.JPG
    COBDR, you were the best one yet! That's three down but I look forward to riding them all! And a bummer we ended a man down. Ken's accident has us all seriously considering soft bags for future BDRs.
    IMG_7043.jpg
  6. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    With the BDR complete, there wasn't much left to do but head back to LA and wrap up this Gap Year which I wasn't anxious to do. I landed in Santa Fe next and had some tacos.
    IMG_7051.jpg
    And their tequila.
    IMG_7066.jpg
    and some more tacos.
    IMG_7067.jpg
    Then I headed for Arizona to take it easy
    IMG_7070.jpg
  7. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    After a week of decompressing in Big Bear, I headed down to LA to see a friend.
    IMG_7169.jpg
    Then I went to see my bestie. Not sure which of us was more excited.
    Dog.jpg

    And then it was time.
    Scrubby.jpg
    Pannier wash.JPG Four days it took to get the road grime off. Bike.jpg Then I needed a break to think about stuff...
    Pool.jpg
  8. JimsBeemer

    JimsBeemer 2017 R1200GSA Supporter

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    I'm loving this, and imagining possible future trips once we've finished with South America! If I'm up to it! Doubt I'd convince Carol to go along, lol.
    Jim
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  9. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    And I thought about stuff and decided The Gap Year was epic, for me anyway. I don't want it to end. There's so much left to see on this planet and I only get one chance at it. Why not continue?


    The Gap Year: 12 months. 47,000 miles. 15 Countries. 26 States. 7 Provinces. 10 sets of tires. 8 oil changes. 3 sets of brake pads. 3 tents. 1 rear rim. 1 front shock. 1 keyless ignition module.
  10. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    I'm wishing I were back down in SA with you both. I've actually thought about just doing it again:)
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  11. Slick13

    Slick13 Wanderer

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    Fantastic report, I’ve really enjoyed following along. You approach the tribulations and highs of adventure travel with equal measure of humour and acceptance, and your deadpan descriptions of the everyday weirdness you’ve encountered along your journey have made for entertaining reading.
    Congratulations on taking the leap and making this happen George, and for dragging us down the road with you.
    I’ll be watching out for the next chapter...
    95Monster and thirsty 1 like this.
  12. Cal

    Cal Long timer

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    Nice job George....what I did was go over to Europe and ride the west and the east, I enjoyed Eastern Europe as it was a lot like Mexico in that there was history and most of all the prices for accommodation and food was half of western Europe. Start looking there!:photog1 Euro a beer!
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  13. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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    +1 to @Cal. I did 2 months off and 9500 miles, my humble recommendation would be the continuation of riding without a destination or time frame.
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  14. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Thanks for riding along! It makes it all worth it.
  15. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    There are plans in the works, Cal. And thanks for your support along the way!
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  16. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    Thanks! I've got a 1 way ticket leaving LA in December! Perhaps we'll run in to each other again?
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  17. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    A year on the road eats up a lot of tires. I’m riding the new Dunlop Missions and after 6,000 miles, I say it’s the best 50/50 tire yet. I don’t really get the percentage jargon so I think of this as an “All-Terrain” tire. The bike is a 2018 BMW R1200GS ridden on as much backcountry roads as I could find. Here are the tires and mileages-

    Dunlop Trailsmarts- 4,721 miles. Rear to cords. Changed as a set in Oaxaca, MX.

    Michelin Anakee 3- 4,016 miles. Just to the wear bars on the rear. Changed as set in Cali, CO.

    The Dunlops & Michelins above were 70/30 or “Street” tires, ridden 'mostly' on rainy season pavement in through Mexico & Central America. Both are great sport touring tires for wet or dry conditions. Not the most fun when it gets dirty though.

    Continental TKC 70- Front developed multiple pinhole flats and rear corded on a very rocky Andes border crossing. Changed as set in Vina del Mar, CH. 6,214 miles. These saw dirt, gravel, rock and sand riding. They were my first 50/50 tires and I trusted them both on and off road. But…when they go, they go big.

    Conti TKC 80F/70R - TKC 70 rear blew out on a rocky section on Tierra del Fuego. Replaced at 3,204 miles in Punta Arenas, CH. TKC 80 front cupped badly and was replaced at 6,994 miles in Charleston, SC.

    Heidenau K60 rear- removed with plenty of meat at 3,696 miles in Charleston, SC. HATED THIS TIRE! No feel in the dry and no grip in the wet. Absolute stones. It went straight in the bin when I got to a place with decent tire selections.

    TKC 80s- To the wear bars on the rear. Replaced at 3,864 miles in Exeter, RI. Rode a very muddy MABDR with these. Excellent tire for off-road and pretty decent on pavement too.

    Mitas EO7+ Rear- Maybe 500 miles left . Replaced at 4,783.

    Mitas EO7+ Front- Replaced at 9,629!

    Mitas E07+ F/R- Mounted in Calgary and replaced in Fairbanks after riding the Dempster & Dalton Highways. No mileage data L

    Prior to the Mitas, the TKC 70s were my favorite 50/50. But the Mitas feel just as good and had a little more life in them. Note- Once back in the States, I tended to ride a little harder and change out tires a little soonerJ)

    TKC 70s- No data but mounted in Fairbanks and replaced in Denver. Rode the IDBDR but otherwise mostly street in the wet… enough wet to have me dreaming about switching to an Overland Vehicle.

    Dunlop Missions- A pre-launch set of Missions awaited me in Colorado. I put 1,500 miles on them bombing canyons before my buddies showed up for a COBDR ride. To be honest, I was a little nervous about riding the COBDR on Missions and not TKC80s. But, the Missions rocked it hard. I never missed knobbies once. We rode a lot of rutted out sections and these tires- with their side lugs- just climbed right out of every rut I’d fall in. Drama free! And now, I have over 6,500 miles on the set and they appear to have plenty of life. For aggressive street riding, I’d choose standard Trailsmarts. They perform like a sport tire. But for the backcountry…on a loaded GS anyway…the Trailsmart Missions are the best!.

    6,000+ miles on these=
    Front2.jpg Rear.jpg
  18. tferguson

    tferguson Been here awhile

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    I just can't imagine you being tentative, haha. Riding with you made me more throttle happy and confident when in a precarious spot. Not quite along the lines of Jeremy Clarkson's "POWER!!!" calls, but not far off.
    Took a little advrider hiatus, just got caught back up. Winter is setting in here, and back to the regular life, it's a bit discouraging.
    Not looking like December is going to work out unfortunately. Discussed with Nirbhai, might head to CA this winter for a quick escape and visit.
    I know it's tiring and a bit much sometimes, but glad you're keeping a rough update on the RR. I'll be tagging along, and want some updates from the next leg of the adventure
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  19. 95Monster

    95Monster Long timer

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    There’s going to be a new thread as soon as I come up with a title. I’m sitting in the Korean Air lounge waiting to board a flight to Vietnam. The plan, so far, is to meet RTWbyBike (Sascha and Kerstin) in Hanoi, acquire Honda XR 150s, and do a northern loop of Vietnam and Laos.

    Having a tough time coming up with a title.
  20. thirsty 1

    thirsty 1 Rider Supporter

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