The Trans America Trail does me

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cantrma, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    I gave a reclusive government conspiracist a ride and when he climbed up he said, "This is the first time I've been on a motorcycle since 1968 when I was smuggling hashish from Istanbul to Berlin."

    My boss told me I needed some time off. That's always a bad sign. I have a 2002 F650GS Dakar I bought last fall for a South America trip that fell apart. So I called Sam Correro and ordered maps. With typical precision planning, I had them rushed to a friend's in Colorado, then when the trip was delayed (three times) , she shipped them back to my Mom's in Tennessee.

    I wrote a very wordy PDF with over 200 pictures for friends and family, then read BigDog and GasPipe's thread. This is my version. Believe it or not, this is much condensed. If you're bored, quit reading. Unlike them, I was alone, on a much heavier bike, woefully underprepared, sober, no sidekick with a funny name, rode in jeans, tee shirt and hiking boots (no ATGATT PC for me), and freely wandered on and off the trail. Oh, and I was on the trail 32 days in June (more or less), less snow and drier. Like them, I'm a West Tenn redneck (just working in Ohio for the last 10 years), and I enjoyed the trail also.

    I didn't like the bike. Compared to my street bike it was tall, too lightly sprung, had a miserable windshield, had half the horsepower and worst of all, it sounded like a lawn mower. Oh, and the seating position looked like a librarian. Compared to my dirt bike, it would barely loft the front wheel with the throttle (but it was easy to walk a wheelie if you started with the clutch), it had an odd sized rear tireĀ—17 inches, weighed more that twice as much unloaded, geared too high for the trail, and had lots of breakable stuff like windshield, turn signals, electrical stuff, a battery, ABS, etc. I took it on the interstate a few days before I left and the windshield I didn't like already put off such strong turbulence that I couldn't read the exit signs at 75mph. I ordered an Aeromax from Frog Specialties and it was better than stock, some, and actually looked real nice. I put on a set of Jesses. Later I found they liked my legs, but my legs and feet didn't like them. The single cylinder put some mild vibrations into the bike making the mirrors useless under throttle. It will cruise at 80mph all day but there isn't much left after that.

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    Left on Thursday before Memorial Day for Paris and Palmersville TN to visit folks. Then to my sister's lake house in Table Rock Lake in Missouri to see her family. Then highway across Oklahoma to the east edge of the panhandle. But starting at the panhandle, I took the first gravel road, from Hooker to Hough (real names!). Stayed on the gravel until I was on 545 in New Mexico. Started my hate/hate relationship with sand here.

    Sister's house on Table Rock Lake
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    Oklahome antelope butts, I'm slow on the draw
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    Lost in NW New Mexico, late in the day
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    #1
  2. Zen Slug

    Zen Slug Spineless Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Near Vana
    :lurk
    #2
  3. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    I just had the CO, UT, NV, and OR maps so I found the road that the trail must take from NM into CO, got lost, lost my GPS. Found it! Lost it again! Looked for a couple hours, idling with lights and fan on, killed the bike. Starter chattered, then barely growled. Tried again and it caught. Now I'm paranoid about the bike not starting. Last light, decide to go to Raton but I don't have enough gas. Asked a rancher that was walking across the road and he gave me some gas. Was talking with them when a cow comes wandering up to the barnyard. One brother asked what the other saw. He said it was a Brahma Angus mix, three times as smart as an English bred cow. Smartass, I said does that give it an IQ of 12. Wrong move, he was proud of that cow and was curious what she knew that brought her to the barnyard. I meant nothing by it but really stepped in it, thanked them and went to Raton.

    Came back and kept looking for the GPS but never found it. New Mexico was beautiful, mesas, elk, deer, and antelope. Switchbacks into boring flat southern Colorado, through Branson to Trinidad.

    NW New Mexico
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    Southern Colorado
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    In Trinidad, a guy at a gas station asks if I work on my own bike. Sure. Why'd he ask. Oh yeah, the K760s strapped on the back. He say's he'll change them for me, he has a shop. Hmm. How far? About a mile. I'll follow you. Several miles out a dirt road, he pulls into a tall cyclone fence around a very lonely trailer. Trust him? Adventure time? Pull in and there's a shop. His Dad rode in a Triumph gang in the '60s and is doing a frame off on an old Bonneville. I have one like it in my garage. Tire changed, good company.

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    Spent the night in La Veda in a great but pricey gentrified inn. Next day to Salida, around Spanish Peaks and the Sand Dunes Monument. Scenery improving.

    Spanish Peaks (or Dolly Parton National Monuments)
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    On a bad sand road, about three turns lost, about to take faint trail to right. Stopped to stare dumbfounded at the map and roll chart. Not a house in 5 miles, middle of nowhere. A tap on the shoulder. That'll clear the arteries.

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    A friend from Parachute CO, we used to date, met me in Salida and again in Ouray. In Salida was an old inn of small log cabins on the Arkansas River just south of downtown. Left late and took the dual sport bypass because I was on a heavy bike, had a late departure, and was meeting my friend in Ouray for supper. Oh hell, who am I kidding, it was Potentially UnSafe for Sedentiary YankeeS. Slipped into a sun dress and skipped Tomichi and Hancock passes. Probably snowed in anyway.


    Improving scenery
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    Over Marshall Pass. First snow, first flat.
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    Wonder why it's flat? (Tool shows up in the story later)
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    La Pena Pass. First getting lost when actually on the trail. Crested it three times.

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    #3
  4. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    After the late start, snow, flat tire, being lost around La Pena Pass, got to Lake City about dark. Then at last light headed up to cross Engineer Pass to Ouray. Fortunately I was stupid enough to get lost about 20 miles west of Lake City right at dark to run into a river high and fast enough I couldn't cross it and snow I couldn't get through. I turned back and rode in the cold and dark through Gunnison and Montrose to Ouray. If I hadn't got lost, I would have probably gotten hurt, going down the west side to 550 is a truly rough road in the daytime. My Kenda 760's went knobs to nubs on the asphalt.

    Spent the day with my friend in Ouray and Silverton. Passing the road up to Engineer Pass, two up, I rode maybe 2 miles up on a whim. I'm real glad I didn't do that downhill in the dark last night. Took the tube I swapped yesterday to service station, told owner about getting snowed out at that river, he said I must have been lost, Engineer is already open. Doh!

    Scenery around Ouray
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    Only intact picture of me on the entire trip
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    Next morning, late start, heading up 550 for Ophir pass and west to Monticello. Again, on a whim, fully loaded at 750 pounds, I head up toward Engineer Pass. Beautiful day, rough road, great ride. Rode over to Lake City, then down south of Animas Forks, then back to Ouray to thank service station owner for the tip about Engineer.

    Camera went screwy for some 70 pictures. Sorry, I'll only post a few.
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    Back at the pump, a 60'ish guy was checking out my filthy heavily loaded bike. Turns out he lives in Ouray during the summer riding a KTM 525 up around the old mines in the area. Led a group at the KTM rally there last year(?). Rode flat track in the 60s. Then six day events. Tough guy. Lives in a motor home with his dog now, riding around Ouray in the summer and warmer in the winter. He designed several multipurpose tools, homemade looking for the six days 35 years ago, now Motion Pro makes some of his. My tire spoon/axle wrench is one of his.

    Larry's original six days multipurpose tool and his current toolkit

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    Larry and his dog, last purple photo
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    Very, very late start (maybe 4:00) up 550 to Ophir, Lizard Head, and Monticello UT. Got there after dark.
    #4
  5. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Next day is short, to Moab over the La Sal mountains. Stuck in snow then 45 minutes and 7,000 feet later 105 degrees in Moab. Next day was 108.

    Climbing La Sal's[​IMG]

    Road narrows
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    Then almost disappears
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    Who didn't see this coming?
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    Take of bags, dig elbows and axles, get bike through, carry bags, put bags back on, repeat next drift:
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    Hot dry desert just below cool watered mountains
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    Through slickrock area before Moab
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    Did I mention I dropped my bke above Ouray yesterday? Now why do some of y'all use soft bags?
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    Meant to ride the White Rim Trail but went up the Shafer Trail to the visitor station at Canyonlands first, then back to the White Rim Trail, realized I might not have enough gas (100 miles with no turnoff), decided to do 30 miles in and back but come back tomorrow better prepared and do the whole thing. Road is on cap rock most of the time. Rough rock. With sand traps in between. Scenery good but slow changing. Beat the crap out of me. By 30 miles in, I didn't even want to think about coming back. My buddy who got me jacked up about the White Rim Trail, after heaing about this: "That's what some of the guys I ride trials with said about it, but I just figured they were old." Them old? What about me? Wish he'd shared that little tidbit with me before I left. Arrowhead Fred replaced my well worn K760's with some Dunlop 606s. Now on my third set of tires for the trip. There'll be a fourth.

    Road Runner style rocks
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    Road Runner style switchbacks and road
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    It's much higher and steeper than it looks, or maybe I was wearing a sun skirt.
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    Musselman arch
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    Typical cap rock road
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    This IS the road
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    Back in Moab, I tore up a slickrock type trail, until my nemsis, Captain Sand ate my front tire in a berm.

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    #5
  6. scottr

    scottr Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,768
    Location:
    Pedernales R., Tx Hill Country (Ihadthisavatar1st)
    Ummm! Good! :lurk Please sir, may we have some more.:clap
    #6
  7. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    6,803
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Yeh---you've got my attention. Can't wait to see what happens next. I guess you didn't die out there all by yourself or you wouldn't be writing this.

    I applaud you for doing it alone.

    Yeh--those hard panniers will get you---me and GasPipe have said we would never ride with hard panniers again. In the last 10 years i've been lucky and have only been injured once-----the panniers got me.

    So lets' hear more :lurk
    #7
  8. Red Zebra

    Red Zebra Signal 3

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Oddometer:
    309
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    :lurk
    #8
  9. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Off to Green River and Richfield. Started beautiful, Gemini Arches and dramatic Moab topography, went through open desert, then into Green River. Out of Green River, took a sand wash under a railroad that literally ate my bike. But the trail turned beautiful by an unofficial exit off of I-70 (barb wire gap) into an almost scary, narrow, high sided canyon. Sam can really pick the scenery, but in fairness scenery is almost everywhere in Utah. There was another "Dual Sport Bypass" which stated it avoided deep sand and a steep hill climb. Avoid sand? I'm in. I avoided some Pretty but Unusually Steep SandY Situations by wearing another skirt. Great day though. Another late night, ending with a turnoff up some apparently no longer existing powerlines (or I was lost in the dark). Rode about 7 miles down the interstate instead of finding that last trail segment.

    Gemini Arches
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    View looking down from the arches
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    Onto empty desert
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    Sandy wash under railroad tracks
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    Entrance to Black Dragon Canyon
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    Inside the canyon
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    Typical UDOT efficiency
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    The decorator's been playing with the rocks again
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    HUD's been here, Utah projects
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    #9
  10. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Next day was one of my favorite trails, the Paiute Trail from Richfield to Kanosh UT. Some washed out areas, just enough to make you feel manly on a Dakar after the Dual Sport ByPass sundress yesterday. Got lost and crossed and recrossed a soft bottom creek that wasn't even on the trail, DOH! In Kanosh, there were three old men jawing with the service station owner. I bought a Coke and jawed with them for an hour or so. Before you think it's hypocritical for a 50 year old to call someone else old, the youngest was 82, the oldest 92. I mentioned I was headed to Baker, NV about 80 miles of open desert, through Sevier Lake on gravel. The older guy said "If I was going to Baker, I'd go on the oil." I'd never heard an asphalt road referred to as "on the oil". That's the way I say it now. Newest favorite expression.

    After desert yesterday, mountains west of Richfield are cool and green
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    Great trail, just a few washed spots. Note laundry drying in the bungees.
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    Trail is steep in places. Poser butterfly.
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    Cool and watered never lasts long in Utah, back to hot, dry, barb wire gaps, and cow patties.
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    Well, Sam never takes you on the oil, but always shows you something even in the most desolate places. On to Baker, NV.

    Crossed the desert bare, man.
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    Almost every spring had a ranch parked on it
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    At times the trail grows faint, topo maps on the GPS are a lifesaver. I bought a new GPS in Moab, loaded topo maps on it at a Radio Shack there, keyed in waypoints from Sam's maps every night. Even this faint trail was on the topo map.
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    And this one
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    Rain (at least virga) over the desert
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    Only Utah could make Nevada look welcoming
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    Duststorm that left sand in my Jesse's and socks at The Border Inn.
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    Two views after storm blew past
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    Notice low layer of clouds conforming to the mountains
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    #10
  11. snowrider

    snowrider Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
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    1,109
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    More, please!
    #11
  12. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    With sand in my bags and socks from the duststorm the night before, I headed southwest out of Baker. There are inviting looking mountains just a few miles west, but Sam apparently has a thing for sage flats.

    When good irrigation ditches go bad
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    What, you can't make out the trail. Right there, on the NV side of the fence.
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    I worried before I left that the trail would be all well graded roads and boring.
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    Big Spring, well that's the name anyway
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    That little spring watered maybe 10 sections
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    Even had a little line shack
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    Finally rode the trail instead of taking a bypass because it said single track. It even mentioned deep sand. Maybe I was missing Ohio's great single track or was just tired of wearing a sundress.
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    I always get pictures of the easy parts because I'm busy during the rough ones.
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    But it was sandy, did I mention I hate sand?
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    On a small two track literally in the middle of nowhere, I dropped the bike at maybe 30mph. Not much excuse, riding the middle to keep the sage off my legs, distracted by a wash ahead, drifted left, it sloughed off and dropped me. Hurt my foot, bent the brake pedal up over the peg, broke off the brake lever at the hinge, broke off the front mount of the Jesse bag (damn thing kept eating my leg anyway). Declared myself unfit to ride, decided I'd die since I couldn't walk, so I lashed up the bags, straightened the brake pedal (kinda), and rode on.

    Still can't believe I biffed it here, of all places.
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    That's going to be expensive, but I can use those straps for now
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    That'll probably break off when I bend it back (it didn't, just too high and too far back after)
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    When superglue and JBWeld don't do it, you're screwed. No front brake.
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    This is ahead of me, but the ignorant are the lucky ones. Would've turned back if I'd known.
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    And this. Throbbing foot, no front brake.
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    But after a while the road comes back and it's this (notice the next switchback in to lower right side, it's steep)
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    Came out of hills maybe 5 miles east and 500 feet above Preston. Had cell service but couldn't get a brake lever delivered to Eureka until Monday. Tried every west coast BMW dealer. That was late Thursday afternoon and I'd be down until Monday. Screw that, I'm going to Vegas where I can get one on Saturday and get my foot Xray'ed. Truck stop in Preston is closed and for sale. Store with pumps in Lund closed for the evening. Head south on 318. Maybe 10 miles later a sign says next gas 105 miles. No problem. 98 on roll chart 105 to go, just ride 55mph or so. About 20 miles later, almost dark, it occurs to me that it was several miles to where the trail started that morning, then I quit using the roll chart when I wrecked maybe 20 miles, then it was 15 miles from Preston to the sign. Shit. I wasn't going to make it. Compressor out, 50 psi front and rear, lube chain, ride 40mph on the shoulder.

    So putting along on the shoulder, which wasn't necessary because there was absolutely no traffic, I crossed a small pass and a headwind that wasn't there before cropped up. Crap. Riding into a headwind is bad but worse, I don't know what speed to attack a headwind with. And I don't have the specific fuel curves and equivalent square plate area to figure it out (I used to fly and toyed with building an experimental plane). So while I'm pondering how to attack a headwind and try to guess how far I'll be limping tonight, a semi with a load of 2x6s goes by. As the taillights fade into the twilight, it hits me that I should have drafted it. That would take care of the headwind problem. About that time the low fuel light comes on a 43 miles on my trip odometer. From experience, it very reliably comes on with 6/10s of a gallon left in a 4 gallon tank. Several times I had gotten gas shortly after it came on and it was always 3.4 or 3.5 gallons. Now I don't stand a chance. That should get me about 40 miles at 50mph and no headwind and I had some 75 miles to go. Okay, time to abandon hope. Spent several minutes contemplating walking tonight or camping tonight and walking tomorrow. On a foot that hurt like it was broken. Hmmm, this adventure thing was losing some of its luster.

    About that time some headlights hit the mirror, in which you can't make out anything in even at 40 on a single cylinder bike. It got closer and was a semi. I was doing 40 on the shoulder, he was doing 70. I downshifted 3 times and as he got close I hammered it. Fell in about 200 yards behind in light turbulence. As I got closer the turbulence was worse and worse. At 100 feet, you could feel short bursts of still air with very heavy buffeting from one side then the other. This continued until about 10 feet from the truck when I would feel heavy side buffets from one side and then the other but a second or so between them. At 6 feet to the front wheel, there were occasional light buffets on the bags and at about 4 feet it was dead quiet. I could hear his trailer tires, my tires (50psi in D606s), my engine reving high but unloaded. And no gas robbing wind whatsoever.

    I don't know if I would be tense if I were healthy, in daylight, if I had a front brake, and if my back brake pedal weren't about an inch too high and an inch to far back toward the pedal. I'll probably never know because I'll never do that again. I don't know if the driver knew I was back there, I fell into his blind spot almost immediately after he passed and he probably forgot all about me. At least he never touched his brakes or flashed his brake lights. Thank goodness. And an antelope or coyote never crossed the road in front of him. And he never sneezed. As for me, there was a 2x6 about 5 rows up from the bottom, second one from the middle on the right stack, that was snaggletoothed where the wedge to fell the tree had pulled fibers up from the stump. I grew up around a sawmill. Anyway I focused all my intensity on the red glow of that fiber hanging back far enough to catch the taillights. Over two small hills, slowing on the climb and speeding up on the descent. For about 25 miles, I never even glanced away from that fiber. A truck passed the other way and I wondered if he would see me and CB my driver that a maniac was playing NASCAR on his tail and might try to get under him, get him loose, and drive him into the wall. But apparently he didn't. I could see the amber glow of the low fuel light in my peripheral vision.

    After about 25 miles, another light came on my dash. I didn't dare look at it, I was way too busy concentrating on that 2x6. All I knew is it was to the right of the low fuel light and was red. Hmmm, was there a double secret probation low fuel light I didn't know about? What the... oh crap, no air through the radiator. Not much load but high RPMs. Must be the overtemp light. Crap again, no telling what mileage I was getting drafting, wasted by a high temp. I let off the throttle, fell back out the buffeting and turbulence and in a half mile or so the overtemp light went out. I fell back into my mildly depressing 40mph on the shoulder. Which again was probably unnecessary because I never saw another car.

    Miraculously Hiko, the first town came into view maybe 10 miles ahead and a 1000 feet below me. Elated, I cut the ignition and coasted. I did coast but slowed to about 15mph and I thought who cares if I run out now, I can coast in after I do. Speed along at 40 and enjoy the night breeze. Hiko had no gas station, no store, just 5 miles or so of scattered ranches. Elation melts in the desert air. There is a long closed store or gas station where Hwy 318 joins Hwy 93. Depression deepens. Then about 4 miles later there's a Shell station! I expect to wake up to a rattlesnake while shaking off a dream, but no, I even smell diesel. Pull into the pump and drop the bike when my right foot doesn't work. Look around to see if anyone saw it. No, pick it up quick and limp around whimpering for a minute. With 108 on the trip odometer, I put 4.06 gallons in a 4 gallon tank. 65 miles on .6 gallons, that's almost 110mpg! I'm liking this bike better and better. Even with my overinflating the tires, lubing the chain, driving slow, slinking behind the puny windshield, and drafting a truck at 4 feet for 25 miles, that's still impressive.

    Got to east side of Las Vegas around midnight and treated myself to a Hampton Inn and talk the clerk into a bottom floor room. Leave everything but the tankbag on the bike because it would hurt too much to carry it in.
    #12
  13. tedder

    tedder irregular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    8,796
    Location:
    Portland
    :lurk:bow
    #13
  14. Motoplaner

    Motoplaner PNW Heel Rounder

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Oddometer:
    24,306
    I thought those tanks were 4.6 gallons. Good read.
    #14
  15. bpeterson

    bpeterson no other way to say it

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    1,106
    Location:
    NJ
    good report man. I was hanging on every word wondering if you'd make it to gas. That's your lucky 2x6!

    :thumb
    :clap
    #15
  16. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    MotoPlaner,

    Never has one man made me feel so ignorant in one sentence. I jumped up, looked in the Rider's Manual and ... 4.6 Gallons and a 1.1 gallon reserve light.
    Doh!

    I could've ridden the White Rim Trail without all the angst about 30 miles in 30 miles out, for 40 miles more riding, I would have seen 70 miles of new scenery. And I wouldn't have risked life and limb drafting a semi at night. With no front brake. And I wouldn't have worried about gas several days in Oregon.

    I was blissfully relaxed in my mistaken belief about the fuel capacity.

    Thanks buzzkill,
    Mark
    :-)
    #16
  17. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Rationalizing, I only put gas in it once since I bought it before this trip. And I told everyone up front I was woefully inadequately prepared.
    #17
  18. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    OK, back to the story, if not exactly the trail. I'm in Sin City, 250 miles from Eureka and the trail.

    Next morning called the Las Vegas BMW dealer to get directions, showed up and talked to the parts guy. No lever, same as yesterday. Can get me one tomorrow on Saturday. Sales manager comes by, I give him a hard luck story and he actually lets me take the lever off of a new Dakar!!! Feeling better I also get an oil change and new air filter. Two hours later I found I paid for the lever, the overnight shipping, 1/2 hour shop rate to take the lever off the new bike and put it on mine, and $140 for oil change and air filter. I started to argue but riding out on Friday instead of potentially having one on Monday in Eureka, I just shave a couple hundred bucks of the already skinny debit card. Nice of them but it hurts every time I go to a BMW dealer. And I was already a little tender there from the saddle.

    Foot isn't up to trail riding so I decide to let it rest. Because I'm an idiot, I didn't check into the casino on the strip with the hottest chicks at the pool and keep it elevated on a pool chair or in a hot tub for 4 days. I headed for Yosemite. I've been there three other times but always in the Fall, never when there's good flow in the waterfalls, just stains down the rock faces. If I weren't 50 I swear I would have gone to the Bellagio.

    Tonopah, west to Mono, Tioga snowed in to Yosemite, down to Bishop, wait that won't work, back up to Sonora Pass, spent the night near Sonora. Next day Yosemite, finally my pictures look more like the postcards.

    Mono Lake
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    Lenticular clouds over the Sierras
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    Now my Yosemite pictures have water in the falls, Yosemite Falls
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    I know, I know, not offroad, you've all seen Yosemite before, one last picture (of the 70 or so I took there)
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    Back up to Ebbets Pass, snow, very cold camp. Then over Monitor and back, up to Hwy 50, east to Tahoe for breakfast. Around west side of Tahoe, crowded, to I-80, Reno, Summerville, Adin, and Alturas for the night. In Adin, smelled smoked hamburgers, did a U-turn, and saw some men my age sitting around a picnic table, I got off and joined them and only then found out it was a restaurant. Didn't mind paying but I was hoping to eat either way. Excellent food.

    Snow near Ebbets, running out of daylight
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    Camp maybe a mile from that snow, shivered all night
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    Emerald Bay on Tahoe
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    Rainbow over Alturas
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    #18
  19. cantrma

    cantrma Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    82
    Finally feeling up to trying the trail again. Foot now fits in boot. Ride up to Lakeview, ride around and find where the Oregon section starts. Low range of hills, maybe 7,000 feet. See snow on top but not to worry, they're not very tall, I've been over 12,000 feet in Colorado. At 5700 feet, I was completely blocked by snow. Crap, I ride another 80 miles to get back to the trail on the other side. It would have been quicker back to the south but it was raining all along Upper Alkalai Lake by then and riding further over gravel sounded better than shorter over asphalt in the rain.

    Y'all are going to get real tired of hearing me whine about blocked roads in Oregon.
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    Made it past the log, but not the snow
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    Rain to the south forces longer detour off the oil to the north
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    Remet the trail west of Lakeview, ended up near Silver Lake where the trail ended for the day. About 20 miles from the end, there are interconnecting roads in a forest, then only one trail to some interconnecting roads on sage flats. I have no idea what keeps the roads from meeting. That one trail has been blocked. Probably some Sierra Club quota imposed through the courts. Anyway, they meant it when they closed this trail. Large logs every 50 to 100 feet. The trail is deeply plowed, looks like a rock ripper behind a dozer, maybe 10 passes up and down the trail. Impassible. Crap. 30 minutes of light left. Sun only on top of trees. There's a road maybe a mile to the south that my GPS topo map shows points more or less to a road on the other side. I'm not sure what it's the other side of, still don't know. But I figure the trail or road is faint and the mapmaker just didn't include a section of it. Worth checking out in the near dark. I get there and it's clear this trail ends in an intentional cul de sac. I'll be riding 50 or more miles to get out to a road.

    Back on the trail, crap, not again today
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    Trails as faint here as Nevada (almost)
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    This part of Oregon has boulder fields with red angular boulders and no vegetation. One with larger boulders enters story later today.
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    Back home, we just used large posts for fence corners, here they use cribs with rocks. All over the west I saw purpose built 4' round american wire cribs. Old school.
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    Old railroad bed for trail
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    Long shadows already and I'm not even close to the really closed road yet
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    They meant it when they closed this road, logs, boulders, ripped by a dozer
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    Nearly to the ill fated cul de sac.
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    Situation. Haven't seen a house, a building, a car, or a person in several hours. All I can see in the failing light is a rock field of angular boulders about knee or thigh high, some kind of mineral that prevents all plant life, about 300 yards, then a cedar break up about 50 or 100 feet, then no idea. In good light, with a good foot, a partner, with a truck and trailer nearby, this might be worth trying. If the bike breaks, I'm at least 10 miles from a house. If I'm immobilized I'm screwed. No way this is worth it. All nice conscious thoughts. So I plow across. Not only do I plow across, I'm riding too fast, like I'm afraid if I don't hit the rocks hard enough I won't get past them. My rims, skid plate, and Jesse Bags are taking continuous hits. About 1/2 across the rock field, I stop and check the GPS, need to bear right pretty hard. That takes me through some 10 to 15 foot high cedars. Get slapped around pretty hard. Can barely see the branches. Get to the cedar break on the climb to the ridge. At least I'm out of the rocks. Check the GPS. Now too far north, turn 30 degrees south. Now I'm off camber on a climb up a ridge and I can't see the ground for the dark and ground cover. Get clear of that. Maybe another 200 yards to where the other road should be. I think. I have to turn the backlight on the GPS to see it. Yeah, try straight ahead for a while. Opens into widely spaced trees with sage inbetween. Another check of the GPS or two and it says I'm right on the trail. No idea. 300 foot margin of error, it seems it's been closer than that. Get off bike, stumble around in dark kicking every unseen rock with sore foot. My bike is sitting in the middle of the trail but I can' make it out. Now I'm riding 100 feet at a time in the dark checking the GPS to see if I need to correct left or right. After 1/2 mile or so trail becomes distinct enough to see it in the headlight. Come across trail that crosses mine that isn't on my GPS' topo map. Better than my trail but I'm leary because I don't know where it goes. There is a landmark called out on the rollchart, a sharpened post, but I've relied on my GPS until I trust it more than I do the rollchart. It costs me a couple of miles on a much much worse road in the dark than the rollchart would have led me down.

    Come into Silver Lake and everything is closed. A very confused girl on the side of the road says La Pine would have a motel. 47 miles. Head out and run into the aftermath of a hell of a hailstorm. Road is covered with marble sized hail maybe two inches. There are tire tracks through most of it. Hail lasts 20 miles. In fact it's still there in the morning when I come back. Glad I missed it.

    I always take a picture when I first see something instead of waiting til it gets better. It got 2" deep on the road in a few miles.
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    Attempt to show size. Maybe 1/2".
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    With camera set for natural light conditions
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    All three motels in La Pine are full but find another just a few miles north.
    #19
  20. EVILONE

    EVILONE Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,315
    Location:
    Western NC
    Dude,This is one hell-of-a report!I didnt read all the words due to my large hang over,which is a result of strippers and beer,but Im sure I'll get back to it!
    #20