To Colorado via Hades, should be fun.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ShiftHead, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. RickS

    RickS Long timer Supporter

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    A long shot you might check the connectors for corrosion. Never know.
    #21
  2. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    #22
  3. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    #23
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  4. Desk_Jockey

    Desk_Jockey Adventurer Supporter

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    Hope your local solution sorts out the problem. Am enjoying this report immensely; I was fortunate to live in CO for 13 years before life events handed me humid air and flat geography. I recall my first night camping at altitude after I'd moved there - had to deploy one of those foil-like "space blankets" inside my east-coast sleeping bag to stay warm. Immediately ordered a zero-degree bag when I got home.
    #24
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  5. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    I wake up in a bit of a somber mood. I'm on a timeline at the end of the day, so dealing with a broken bike was not part of the plan. As I was poking around the bike I found that my rear shock is seeping oil too. Oh, I forgot to mention that on the way over one of my front calipers stuck and warped a front rotor. This bike is really not cooperating with me right now. I'm one of those morons who get emotionally attached to inanimate things like motorcycles, and I'm attached to this one. We've been places, lots of places, together. No matter what I've asked of the little Suzuki, that bike has given me without complaint. But I'm in a bit of a pickle here. So with regards to the running issues, here's the dilemma; if I can find this part, and if I can get it in a day or two and install it, I've wasted a couple more days. That's best case scenario. Worst case scenario is I've wasted a couple more days, a fair bit of coin to get the part and get them to put it on (which was going to be tough, the shop was really busy) and I still have a broken bike and I'm back to square one. If I had all the time in the world I wouldn't be stressed about this, I'd just wait for the part or parts and fix it myself. But Fate has other ideas. So, I resign to my fate:

    20200812_124045.jpg

    I mean, it could be worse, right? When life serves you lemons...you buy a new DL1050. To be fair once I accepted that I was going to be paying for a bike again it didn't take much arm twisting. I'd been looking at and reading about the 1050 for a while, but I never expected to actually buy one in the next 5+ years. But when my wife said that she was onboard with a new bike, I mean, who am I to argue? The dealer gave me a fair deal too. They gave me about what my elderly bike was worth as a trade in and took a bit off the top on this one. And trust me, they didn't have to work with me at all. They are selling everything that shows up on the truck. People are sick of being inside and they had, literally, 3 new bikes. The past 3 months have been their biggest months ever. I love the Africa Twin, but the reality is that I'm not Chris Birch, so riding the gnarl isn't what I want to do anymore. This bike had the bags, had cruise control and IMHO looks a hell of a lot better than the old one. And all I really need to do it be able to ride between smooth tarmac to rough forestry roads, so this one was the smart choice for me.

    Once the paperwork is signed I get busy pulling off all the stuff that I can to swap over to this one. I haven't even taken it for a test ride yet, but all the stuff I read about it and have heard about it was good. Swapping over everything was a bit of a chore, but after a couple hours we are loaded up. I don't have a top case anymore, so that sucks, but otherwise all the essentials fit into the side bags and what didn't the sales guy offered to mail it back home for me. To be honest, the entire experience at Davis Service Center was top notch, every person there was good to interact with and very professional.

    I took lots and lots of pics of the old girl, said goodbye and imagined a young kid getting her and having new adventures. Maybe I will see her here. That would be pretty awesome. We took lot of pics of all the stickers and will reproduce them. Yeah, they aren't the original ones with the original cuts and bruises, but at least they will be good stand ins, so there's that. So long Stromboli, you've been a good friend.

    We head out up through Monarch Pass again, but in the opposite direction, so it was a new road again. I like that the ODO reads 000000 as we leave. Every single mile on this bike is gonna be mine. Pretty cool.
    20200812_122736.jpg

    First thing I notice is that I feel like I'm on top of the bike verses in the bike. I feel way more exposed because the fairing and cowling seems so much smaller, but the reality is that the wind is actually smoother and I am no more exposed that before. Next thing is 649cc's vs 1037cc's is pretty noticeable. Whereas before I'd be working the little 650 pretty hard to get up through the pass, the new bike seems happy in whatever gear I pick. And let's not forget that cruise control. That wonderful cruise control. I had installed a universal Rostra setup on the last bike and it was a life saver on these trips, but it had it's issues. This one is completely seamless and smooth. Needless to say I'm happy as a pig in shit again.

    We get up to the visitor center and park next to a guy on a beautiful Indian Chieftan. Man I love those bikes. Harley better watch out! We chat for a bit and I mention I had come through there a few days ago from South Carolina. He looks at the bike, "Oh, not on this bike." "Yeah, that bike doesn't look like it came all the way from South Carolina!" I'm at 120ish miles on the ODO at this point and they have been really easy miles too. It's so much smoother than the older smaller bike. We part ways and he heads out towards Montrose a few minutes later and we stroll inside. Paul gets a sticker and I just meander around. We load back up and keep on rolling a bit later. It's actually already pretty late in the day so we start looking for camping at the next gas stop. I open Freecampsites.net and find an entry about 20 or so miles away just past Poncha Springs and head that direction. It says it's a mile on dirt after you get off the main road, and Paul says he's fine unless it gets too loose. We find the entrance to the public land and head up the dirt road. As I crest the first big hill I see a campsite immediately off to the right and I pull in. I'm thinking don't look a gift horse in the mouth, we should probably grab this one. Paul says he wants to check a little further but I offer to go instead, I head a little further and the road starts going down into the next valley and it keep heading down for a ways. There are no more campsites for a good ways it appears from my vantage point. I turn around and we agree to stay put. Here's home for the night:

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    We get camp all setup in short order and Paul heads back to the gas station we saw a few miles back for his nightly Pepsi. I sit there appreciating the almost complete silence, I can still hear a little noise from cars back on the main road, but it's pretty faint. Paul is back and the sky is getting dark now. A few cars drive through looking for spots, so I'm glad we got here early. The stars come out and I'm enjoying another of my cigars. There's worse things you could be doing on a Wednesday night. I grab a few more shots with my pillow-stand setup. I think they turned out pretty good, right?

    DSC_0614.jpg

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    So, today was a better day, hell it was a good day. Any day on a new bike is bound to be a good day. Not a ton of time on the bikes, maybe 6 hrs in total, 5 on the new bike. We are headed back east now and tomorrow is our last day in Colorado. I will miss this place, it's always been a wonderful place to visit, so I'm already looking forward to my next visit. Tomorrow Kansas. How will she treat me this time? I'm afraid we're about to find out.

    Day7.jpg
    #25
  6. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    Always like a new bike! :thumb
    #26
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  7. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    There's very few problems that MasterCard can't solve!
    #27
  8. chudzikb

    chudzikb Long timer Supporter

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    When life deals you lemons, well, buy a new bike! That is one hell of a camping spot, you did alright on this day.
    #28
  9. RickS

    RickS Long timer Supporter

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    When I go on a long trip I always tell my banker to be ready to transfer money via wire if the bike breaks and can’t be fixed in a reasonable amount of time.
    #29
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  10. jathkajoe

    jathkajoe Been here awhile

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    Like your "local solution". Since you name your bikes that's not a bad one.

    Grand night shots of your camp.

    Jathkajoe
    #30
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  11. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    Here's a story that's related to the Davis Service Center you might like.

    https://ridermarcblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/meet-ray/

    (copied from the blog)
    Meet Ray

    Ray is sitting at the counter when I walk into the restaurant and is the only customer. He is talking to the man wearing a cook’s hat who is behind the counter. I sit at one of the two tables and look over the menu.
    Cheeseburger it is!

    So, this BMW GS rider and I begin talking about bikes and nearby places to ride. Ray is 77 and has owned many bikes. His latest few were a Honda XR650R, KTM 990 and 690, and now his 1200GS.
    Ray has lived in Montrose for 26 years now and knows the area. He suggests a road about five miles back up the road I just traversed. “Oh, P77?” I asked him. He confirmed this.

    So, this is what road I will ride after the cheeseburger gets into my belly!

    Ray then mentions his house is near the Davis Service Center. This is the multi-brand motorcycle shop in Montrose.

    Then, it hit me!

    Does anyone recall the photo mom took at this bike shop where I was standing behind a 690 Enduro? Yup! That was Ray’s trade for the GS. I told Ray that the salesman mentioned you traded for the GS and that you were a former Marine too. He grinned at this.

    I told Ray I have picture of me standing with his old bike. He replied I would have had a good bike if I bought it. So, after we part ways, I head up to P77. This road will end up further west on the same hardball road–highway 50.

    When I get to the end, I see Ray sitting on a rock. So, I pulled up to him and turned off the 690. He recalled a better destination for riding and wanted to tell me. The turn off is just a few miles from here. I thanked him again and set off for the next destination.

    [​IMG]


    Anyone know Ray?
    #31
  12. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    That's pretty cool. I need to head back and see if I can find Ray on P77.
    #32
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  13. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    :lol3 After that, go ride to here. This is the other location Ray told me about. High Mesa Rd. Still snowed-over when I went there.

    38.291562, -107.512197

    IMG_20170603_152353939.jpg

    #33
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  14. Cpl.Goose

    Cpl.Goose Adventurer

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    Ray here, but not on P77, still in Montrose . traded the 05gs for a 2013gsa with 4200 miles on it, it now has 26000 not bad for 80 year old. Keep on riding.
    #34
  15. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    Ray, nice to hear from ya! Glad to hear you are still riding too.

    #35
  16. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    Next time I get through the area I'll drop you a line Ray. Ride on buddy!
    #36
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  17. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    It's a short update about today's ride. Honestly, I was so distracted about leaving Colorado I didn't think to take one single picture. I'm stupid that way. I'm so focused on trying to absorb the sights that it doesn't occur to me to take some pictures to make sure I don't forget them. Luckily I was recording on the GoPro so I have some screengrabs in their place. Anyway, it's bright and early and we are up around 9. Not a bad place to wake up, if I'm being honest. Clear blue skies and we are ready to roll again around 10:15. Today is the last day in the mountains, so a bittersweet day of riding. We head back to the main road and turn North. We are going north west towards Denver through the last few mountain towns. We continue along and through Fairplay, a beautiful area of flat land surrounded by mountains on all sides. It's still high up here so the temps here are nice. It's clear and the skies are a deep blue, but the roads are straight as an arrow. Oh well, good practice for what lies ahead.
    scene00201.jpeg
    These roads induce a yawn and I realize I haven't had my coffee today. We pull off the side of the road just past Fairplay and make some roadside coffee. The coffee helps as does a little stretching and we are moving again about 30 mins later. Along the way, on Hwy 285, we need to pull over real quick so Paul can make an adjustment. I see an entrance to a little place called Riverdale Village and pull into the second entrance. As I'm sitting there a fella comes up and we chat for a bit, he looks to be in charge of a renovation project, perhaps the whole place. He calls over his carpenter friend and I was glad to see they were a friendly bunch. He points to my camera setup, "This guy is setup!", I think that translates into "Look at all the shit this guy has." but I'll take it.
    scene01251.jpeg

    In a last ditch effort to maximize what riding is left I get off 285 and onto a back county road. It pays off as it reminds me just how much stuff there is to see out there. Just a few minutes onto the road we drive past something called Tiny Town. As we rolled past it I imagined an old guy extremely bored and who decided to start building small scale versions of buildings. Basically a model train guy who went a bit crazy.

    scene01451.jpeg

    As it turns out this place has been around over 100 years! It started off as a way for a guy to entertain his daughter long LONG ago; "1915: On the location of the Denver-Leadville Stage Coach Station, George Turner begins building Turnerville to entertain his young daughter. Turnerville was the precursor of Tiny Town." The website goes on to describe how the place has changed over the years and how it's seeing a resurgence in attendance as of late. Pretty cool.

    It's great riding and we get to the outskirts of Denver around 1:15. Denver is hot, real hot, and I appreciate how well the new bike is running, heat and all. Traffic, everywhere. Man, I already miss the mountains and it's only been 20 minutes. Working our way through Denver off the interstate is a time consuming ordeal. Eventually we do and get to the flatness that is the eastern half of Colorado. Back to grid pattern roads and 90 degree turns ad infinitum. This part of the country always kind of depresses me. It's flat as far as you can see and generally dry. But that's not what gets to me, it's the trees and the towns that depress me, both seem to be dying. We roll through Cope and it's probably easier to count the occupied buildings than the other, at least on the main drag. I just imagine a place that many years ago was a thriving community. People going about their daily lives, happy and prosperous. And I wonder how it all changed.

    scene00951.jpeg

    We continue to work our way north west, eventually crossing into Nebraska near Benkelman. We wanted to stay well north of where I was as I headed west on the way over. The hope being that it would be a little cooler, and so far it seems to be working. It did get hot today, but not crazy hot, I never saw it get above 96. One thing about what I've seen so far, Kansas has nothing on Nebraska for sheer table top flatness. It is amazing just exactly how flat this place really is. From one horizon to the other, not so much as a hill.

    scene00551.jpeg

    We are chasing our shadows again, so it's getting time to find a place to stay. We pull into a town called McCook and find a place to call home for the night. No camping tonight, we need showers anyway. We try to find somewhere to eat, but the place is shutting down by the time we get there. It was 8:30 by the time we roll into town so it's 9 or so by the time we go looking for eats. We call it and just snack on whatever was in our bags. Tomorrow awaits. Those long long straight roads through the plains. I just hope the heat and the wind aren't so bad this time, but experience has told me that even if it's not too hot, the wind is always there.

    Today was a pretty good one. About 11 hrs in total, maybe 9 in the saddle, about 400 miles. Easy day!

    Day9.jpg
    #37
  18. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    We are up early in the hopes to beat the heat, so we are rolling by 7:30. We head out of town, but not before Paul grabs a picture of the the that reads "Masks are not required but pants are." Kansas, how will you treat me this time? The route takes us down a bit and back into Kansas where we ride the straightest road on Earth. We were on Hwy 36 over by Denver before our little jog north into Nebraska. But our track puts us back on it today and we are on it for a long LONG time. So far though Kansas is treating us pretty well. It really foggy today so it's nice and cool for a good part of the morning. After an hour or so I can start to see the sun burning through, but right now it's pleasant.
    FoggyKansas.jpg
    And it's not long before the last wisps of the fog is all but burned away.
    FoggyKansas2.jpg
    We stop once for gas but keep making tracks. It's just us, Hwy 36 and corn fields as far as the eye can see. But it's not too bad today actually. I mean, it's warming up but it's not crazy hot. Lower 90s and the wind isn't blowing at 40 mph. And for what wind there is, it's now blowing right to left, so that means all the dirty air from the trucks is being blown away from us. So now the wind is our friend. Nevertheless there is only so much you can do to make several hundred miles of straight road not suck.

    Eventually we make it to Washington KS and stop for some gas and a drink. We are standing around after the fill up drinking when, like so many times before, some one walks up and asks "You headed to Sturgis?". We let him know we are on the way back to SC from CO. He is a nice fella, typical farmer type in an old green pickup. He is interested in the bikes. We shoot the shit for a few and he mentions he has a couple of old Vincents. My ears perk up. "Oh man, those are gorgeous bikes. And they have the coolest names too. Black.." "Blank Knight and Black Shadow" he says. "Yeah, those are some awesome bikes." We shoot the shit for a bit more and he says "You want to see them?" Me and Paul look at each other and in unison we say "Sure!". "I'm only about a quarter mile down the road, just follow me." We are following him, Dale is his name, and we are chatting in the helmets. "This is either going to be awesome or I'm glad I have the InReach so they have a pretty good idea where to look for my body." We park and Dale walks up to us "Yeah, I could tell you guys are real biker types. They are right this way."

    We walk on up his paved driveway past a metal building/garage and on around the corner to another metal building/garage. It's nothing exceptional to be honest. I'm not expecting much either, but it'll a cool story nevertheless I'm thinking. "This is a beautiful place you got here, how much land do you have?" I ask. "In total you mean?" he asks. "Yeah" "Oh, about 5000 acres." "Well dang, that's a nice little homestead, eh?" "Yeah, I got into farming pigs a while back and make a couple of good calls. So it worked out pretty good." he says. Then he opened the door to the building.
    #38
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  19. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    And this is what we saw
    20200814_120348.jpg
    That's his Lead Technician on the floor prepping a bike for a show they are headed to tomorrow. The dude has technicians. WTF kind of pig farmer is this guy???
    20200814_121301.jpg
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    Bikes everywhere. Laverdas, Moto Guzzi's, Ducati's, Bimota, MV Agusta, Vincents, BMW Airheads, Sandcast Honda 750, CBX, and so on and so forth. And bikes I've never heard of too. This is a Mammoth. It says Clymer Munch at the bottom of the logo. And he said it's the same Clymer as the repair manuals.

    20200814_121943.jpg

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    I've got about 30 more pics. Suffice it to say this guy has a TON of extremely cool and super rare bikes. So here's the story with this one, as best I can recall. It was built by a guy name Friedel Münch, and the engine was from a local car company that he had a relationship with and could buy their engines. He then partnered with Clymer, of the service manual namesake, to build these special bikes. This particular one was not in this condition when he found it. He actually traded a Honda CBX project to a guy in Arizona just to get the information of the person who was supposed to have it. He tracked that guy down and bought the bike. It was in boxes and parts were everywhere and in the kind of condition you'd expect a bike that is over 50 years old to be in. He then meticulously restored it to factory plus condition, as it sits now. I am here to tell you I have seen lots of restored bikes and cars, but I have never, ever, seen restoration done to museum quality like this outside of a HUGE collection or by a museum. It was awe inspiring and truly each bike was a work of art.

    20200814_122144.jpg

    So back to this bike. He gets all the pieces parts and restores it. Then he finds "the guy" in Germany who knows all about these bikes, and has become the de facto historian for everything Mammoth and Friedel Münch and sends him the VIN. Turns out this is number 1 of 300 of these made. Yeah, holy shit is right. Anyway, it was an awesome visit and one of those true gems you only get from travelling around the country on a bike. People, just out of the blue, open their homes to you. I mean, come on, we are just some dirty guys at a gas station in his town and he invited us to view a collection of bikes that had to be in the 7 figures for value. Dale gives me his email address and asks me to let him know when we get back. I promise to do so and ask for a quick snap shot before we head out. Here is us and Dale, my new hero:

    20200814_124246.jpg

    For the next hour or so I'm still a bit tingly from the experience. I feel really blessed to have had this encounter. And then I realize what was going on, Kansas was apologizing for breaking my other bike. OK Kansas, we are totally good. In fact, hopefully I'll be back someday. Dale is a cool dude. He has a couple of Cagiva Canyon's that he still rides around. Like I said, cool dude.

    Tonight's destination is Jefferson City TN, I suspect I will meet Darius when we pull into town. It's nice to be off the plains again, we are starting to see a bit of elevation change in eastern Kansas. Dale did say that most people think Kansas is just flat, but that eastern KS isn't so bad. He's right, but after having just come down from over 11,000 feet a couple days ago these don't look too extreme to me. We continue on and cross over into Missouri before too long. We get to Jefferson City and find a spot to stay for the night.

    It's been a damned fine day. We got through Kansas without any real trouble and best of all, got to meet Dale! Dale single handedly got me and Kansas to kiss and make up. One of the coolest stories I've ever experienced, and some really fantastic memories. I'm gonna be sure and email Dale as soon as I get back.

    Today was about a 14 hr day, but really only about 11 hrs in the seat. There is no way around the grind of putting all those miles behind you, time and speed is the only thing that works. About 550 again today. Tomorrow we are meeting our other buddy just outside Nashville and will be camping at Land Between The Lakes campground near the MO/KY border. Should be a hoot!

    Day10.jpg
    #39
  20. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Adventurer

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    That is frickin amazing, what a find. Congrats on the new ride, too bad about your 650 but from all account the 1050 is a very nice upgrade.
    #40
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