The Stand: Breaking out of the outbreak

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AJxr, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,054
    Location:
    Blue Mountain, NY
    The backstory:

    Upstate NY resident. Been wanting to do a big ride out west for the last decade. The line of work I am in makes it near impossible to get a decent amount of time off in the summer months. Seems like a pipe dream. Early 2020... Enter Covid... the world changes. I see the way things are going and ask for the time off. I get approved of 18 days off in July/August. Time to plan.

    WHERE to ride wasn't much of a question. Over the years Ive compiled a list that would take dozens of long term rides to see everything. Having only 18 days to get myself and bike from the Catskill Mountains to the Rocky Mountains, ride a loop, and get home was the hard part. Making the choice of what to see and what not to see was somewhat a challenge. A couple months in the "screw it, i'll see what i see" mindset took over.

    Like most of you I have been scoping out the Yamaha Tenere 700 for quite some time. For awhile it was rumored to be released in 2020 but no specific date had been announced. I thought great! I can buy one out west, fly out, ride the route, then slab it home! That was the plan for a month or so.

    Eventually reality set in and after talking with dealers around the country there was no definite time that I could get my hands on one of those machines. Whats next?

    The bike:

    A huge inspiration for this trip was a ride from user Swamp back in 2011. The crazy mofo rode an xt225 from Sacramento California to Alabama, offroad, on a crazy custom route of his own, hitting some of the most epic riding areas our country has to offer. Traveling light, with only the bare necessities over the course of a month or so. He did an incredibly detailed ride report with killer images and story telling. Plain and simple it was a straight work of art. The thread had a huge following but I like to think I went back and re-read every post more than anyone. I had contacted Swamp about the route a few times over the years but I never put myself in a position to actually have the time and resources to attempt it.

    swamp.png
    Swamp, Area 51, 2011


    So that whole deal was in the back of my thought process for this trip. Travel light, get off the beaten path, hit some epic areas. What kind of bike should I get? Ive got some motocross bikes and a street plated YZ250 2 stroke in the garage. Ehh those wont work.

    Usually, for something like this, the go to for most is an Orange steed. Not me. Ive had a handful. Ive raced a handful. I totally respect the awesome performance, reliability, aftermarket support, and everything else... but I just dont like them! haha.

    Then it hit me...

    4 years ago I found a 1989 Honda XR250R under a tarp behind a mechanic shop in Tivoli NY. Bike was complete but it had sat for a couple decades or so. For $400 it came with zero paperwork and it needed a complete overhaul. It sat in my shed for the last few years. I thought "if i can get this thing registered I will ride this!" Long story short... with some luck and persistence I made it happen. Ive got a full build thread here --> https://advrider.com/f/threads/1989-xr250r-adventure-build.1446200/

    xr.jpg
    the xr after returning home

    The plan:

    Ill make this part short.

    Trailer the bike from here to Colorado Springs. Put towing unit in storage.

    Ride the epic parts of Colorado I have always dreamed about.

    Work my way north using parts of the CDR and various other little "sideshows."

    Get to Canada.

    To make the most of my time I will have to truck the bike back to Colorado Springs to get my rig.

    Tow bike home.

    Drink coffee. Write this report.

    FIN

    The trip took place between 7/24 and 8/9/2020.

    Bonus:

    Whats with the thread title?

    The Stand by Stephen King is one of my favorite stories. One could draw a lot of similarities from the story and how things were at the beginning of this pandemic in the USA. Was the outbreak in NY? no. Was ny the hotspot for covid at one time? NYC was anyway.. ...anywho...

    I dont do much story telling so excuse me if there are some rambling posts. Thanks to anyone taking the time to read this. For those who are interested stay tuned to see how it all played out.
    #1
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  2. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
    558
    Location:
    Coal Creek Canyon, CO, USA
    Misfits fan?
    (And I agree...The Stand is one of King's finest works)
    #2
  3. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
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    Location:
    Blue Mountain, NY
    yes and yes!
    #3
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  4. svo_jon

    svo_jon Adventurer

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    May 10, 2019
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    62
    Location:
    Bend OR
    Bombidy, bombidy, bombidy.....!

    In!
    #4
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  5. swamp

    swamp Shut up. Ride.

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,712
    Location:
    lower appalachia, Alabama
    In.. and totally excited. lay it on dude.

    :thumb
    #5
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  6. grogger

    grogger Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
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    434
    Location:
    OR
    In!

    Ramble on.
    #6
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  7. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Dec 11, 2016
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    Location:
    33.202738 -117.384040
    :lurk
    #7
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  8. RicoSuave

    RicoSuave Mayor of BF Nowhere

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Central Ca coast
    you da man AJ...looking forward to this. Rick from Colorado:clap
    #8
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  9. NLS1

    NLS1 Dirt=Fun

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    243
    Location:
    Minnesota, USA
    I'm in, bring it!
    #9
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  10. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,054
    Location:
    Blue Mountain, NY
    Friday July 24
    4:00 AM

    Car is loaded. XR strapped to a 3 rail trailer. Passenger seat of the 2004 jetta tdi has been removed and a small cot built in its place. The sleeper. 260k miles on the clock. "rollin coal" due west begins. Ive driven old VW diesels coast to coast a half dozen times, they havent let me down yet.

    1.jpg

    PA. Not the longest state to drive through but it sure feels like it.

    I make great time. Stop at iowa 80 for some fuel and to stretch my legs. Coming from NY I am in social distance mode and while im walking around the truck stop im getting strange looks. Realize its because I am the only person wearing a mask. Strange times!

    2.jpg
    lil diesel trying to fit in with the rigs.

    I set a personal best and clock 1240 miles on day one. I park at an Iowa DOT scalehouse thats closed and spend the night. Anyone thats traveled an interstate knows its basically impossible to get any rest at a rest area with all the trucks and 24/7 bright lights. Unless you have a camper/van I suppose.

    Wake up around 5am and continue on.

    3.jpg
    Hershey, Nebraska

    Some of the truck stops only have diesel in the truck bays, not at the "auto" pumps. The clerk cancels my transaction 3 times because they assume i am trying to put diesel in a gas powered car. This happens often.

    I mentioned earlier I had driven cross country multiple times. Just wanna say every trip across the midwest hurts my soul. Whatever region it is... The bible belt, the corn fields, the nothing ... at least show me a tornado one of these times... ugh. :lol3

    4.jpg

    On day 2 I cover 669 miles. I hit colorado state line at 11am after going back in time 2 hours. Id still be in Indiana if I had to keep a log book. No trucker supplements were used.

    So after 8 states, 2 time zones, 35 hours, and 1909 miles I make it to my home for the night.

    The Circle-S Motel in Colorado Springs.

    5.jpg

    Cool place, nice people working there.

    I check in. I wash the grunge off myself and then head up to the Storage Unit place on Motor City drive. This is where I will be storing my car for the next couple weeks. I get setup there and then head to REI for a new sleeping pad. Damn those things are pricey. Spend the rest of the day double checking my gear, bike, etc.

    I live about 100 miles north of NYC, in the catskill mountain range. I always get a chuckle when i see people from the city coming up for a play day in the mountains and taking pictures of cows or whitetail deer. Stuff that seems like normal everyday things to me but new for them. I become this person every time I visit colorado or california except I take pictures of weed stores and send them back home :loco

    I mean look at this place

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    You've got something for everyone Colorado! :rofl

    So that gets the "cage" part of the trip out of the way. Day 1 on the bike coming up next!

    8.jpg
    #10
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  11. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Location:
    FLAT Lander
    Punk music references and an XRR ? Okay, I'm in! :lurk
    #11
  12. Daryloftexas

    Daryloftexas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2017
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    206
    Location:
    arizona
    I thought I was a weirdo in the adv community being into punk rock and not having they typical 9-5 office job. Nice to see there are other grown up punkers riding dual sports out there.
    #12
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  13. grogger

    grogger Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Oddometer:
    434
    Location:
    OR
    Drove OTR for awhile. You forgot lot lizards....

    Great start AJ :thumb
    #13
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  14. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,054
    Location:
    Blue Mountain, NY
    hah! you are right. i wonder how the lot lizard industry is doing during covid times
    #14
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  15. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale The Adventures of Peter Pan

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
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    315
    Location:
    Cleveland,Ohio
    :lurk
    #15
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  16. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2008
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    Location:
    FLAT Lander

    There're quite a few of us on here. :D
    #16
  17. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,054
    Location:
    Blue Mountain, NY
    7/26/2020
    Day 1
    Colorado Springs to Pagosa Springs
    300 miles

    Looking back I will say this was the only hard day of the trip. Mainly because of the pre-ride jitters, being shot from the drive out, unsure of how my bike will perform at real elevation. Also, I might have gotten lost in single track over 12k elevation in a thunderstorm downpour just before dark...

    I had put about 400 miles on the bike prior to the trip so i figured everything was broken in and ready to go. I knew i had a little extra in my luggage but I planned to hit the post office within the first couple days to ship back the non-essentials.

    I say goodbye to my VW and roll out at 7:30 am. Freedom. Slab it on route 115 toward Penrose. I eventually pick up some backroads and stay on dirt until I get to Westcliffe.

    9.jpg

    Fuel up in Westcliffe. Then head southbound to Medano Pass. The first bullet on my to-do list.

    10.jpg
    the start of Medano from the east side.

    Right off the bat I catch 4 jeeps moving at turtle speed so I pull over to drink some water and take this pic ^^ I wait about 15 minutes and get back at it. now I am riding at turtle pace trying to be mindful of my surroundings and actually enjoy this ride. heck thats the point right? dont want to catch those jeeps anyway.

    of course I catch them within minutes but they let me by.

    11.jpg

    the trail starts to climb. tight (for a jeep) switchbacks. starting to see more and more of the mountains peeking through the trees. sweet! nice dirt, no dust, the washboard surface I encountered at the beginning of the pass is gone. loving the ride.

    12.jpg
    entering great sand dunes national preserve

    13.jpg

    some rocks, nothing bad. my research told me that the only thing to worry about on medano pass were the water crossings. i had a guy in a tacoma stop and talk to me. he was coming from the west side of the pass. he had an accent, sounded germanish. I ask him how the water crossings are today. he looks me up and down and says "i dont know how much experience you have but ze bike will make it" i respond with an "ok thanks bud" while thinking "fuck off pal" in my head. I ride on.

    14.jpg

    the sand dunes starting to peak over the trees.

    I come to a gate at the other side of the pass. park ranger there. he has the trail blocked with this pickup. he gets out and walks around me and asks if my bike is highway legal. I say yes. he lets me through. I hit a flat section of mild whoops and then I get an awesome view of the dunes.

    15.jpg
    hell yeah thats what I came for.

    around noon time now. getting hot. stop for some water before slabbing it to del norte for fuel.

    fuel up. give a pan handler $1. eat a pouch of tuna. from here I will be riding the CDT south a bit into the Rio Grande National Forest then eventually make my way west. a few miles out of Del Norte I hit some nice dirt roads and weave up into the national forest. 10-15 miles in I hit some double track. knowing that I will be going at a slower speed I shed a layer.

    16.jpg

    17.jpg

    basically 5 minutes into the double track the sky opens up. MSR ISDE goretex riding jacket goes on. trail is becoming more and more awesome. technical rocks, stream crossings that keep getting deeper and deeper. I start wondering how the rest of the day will pan out. i notice there is no service and I am heading deeper and deeper into the national forest. rain still coming down. Also I should note that before the trip I didnt have any specific amount of ground to cover on any specific day. the plan was to just ride until I am tired, I hit a cool camp spot, the bike breaks. If I felt I was getting behind Id ride more the next day. If I was ahead of schedule I would detour around and see what I could find.

    18.jpg

    day one continued in next post
    #17
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  18. AJxr

    AJxr #395

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,054
    Location:
    Blue Mountain, NY
    day one continued

    about 10 miles in and its now 5pm. myself and all of my gear are fully saturated. Ive gone far enough south as I wanted to and now its time to head west.

    19.jpg

    I wish I had turned my gopro on before riding through this part of the trail. pretty serious water flow through here.



    the trail starts to climb again. I start hearing some crazy noise and I am thinking wtf? I come around a corner to find this herd of cows hanging out trail side. the one on the right didnt seem to be happy that I was on his turf.

    20.jpg

    Trail climbing more and more. you cant really tell in the pic above but it was semi steep. steep enough that I half loop out the XR and get it jammed upside down at a 45 degree angle in the trail and im stuck on the low side. i struggle to turn the petcock off as I watch my precious fuel drain out of the carb overflow hoses.

    I eventually get the bike upright and stop for a few minutes to get my shit together. I want to say I was about 220-230 miles in at this point and I was pretty tired and hungry. rain still coming down. time to start thinking about where I am going to spend the night. decide that the next time the double track intersects a dirt road I will ride toward civilization in search of a hotel.

    21.jpg

    finally out of the trail and back onto a dirt road.

    22.jpg

    23.jpg

    come across the summitville mine. cool looking place.

    still deep in the rio grande forest it was another hour or so until I hit route 160. kinda getting late now. still no cell service. eventually I realize I am headed toward Wolf Creek Pass and I know pagosa springs isnt far. around 8pm when I summit wolf creek. i get a little bit of cell service when I get near the ski area. try to call hotels in pagosa to see if any have a vacancy. I dont have enough service to get through. still raining. I say fuck it and slab it the rest of the way to pagosa, at 48mph. current top speed of the XR250R.



    i roll into pagosa springs around 9pm and pull into the first hotel I see. they have a room. victory!

    i finish the day soggy, tired, cold, and hungry but still super pumped on what I have experienced so far.
    #18
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  19. csmoore

    csmoore Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    New York
    I live directly across the river from you in NY and I've been dreaming of doing something like this for a long time too! Can't wait to see more photos. Great sand dunes is one of my favorite places ever. There's a wolf sanctuary in the foothills near westcliffe that welcomes campers, if you're still around might be worth checking out!
    #19
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  20. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
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    2,388
    Location:
    Sherwood, Oregon
    F*ckin' awesome @AJxr! Damn man, that's a great start to the adventure and I seriously dig your approach to this ride - getting an old XR back to life to tackle some serious stuff out west.

    Good on you man, look forward to seeing how this unfolds. Your first day sounds crazy, glad I didn't read about you running into snow...lol.

    Knobby side down and keep it coming.
    #20
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