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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by BSGrimes, Oct 15, 2020.
Glad to hear I’m not the only one to melt a rear caliper for not using loc-tite on a bolt. Motorcycles punish stupidity quite hard. Ok. So back to my ride report!
Day 21, I woke up in Gunnison and set my sights on Moab. I had friends riding there, there was no snow/ice to worry about, and I knew it would be an epic day of riding. I took this photo at Curecanti National Recreation Area just outside Gunnison.
Now I know what you guys are thinking. “This guy is skipping half the TAT!” Well it was November 4 and winter was coming, so decisions had to be made. The forecast gave me four days before temps dropped another 40 degrees for the forceable future. So tarmac was hit and Moab was made! I did enquire about alternative methods to finish the trail though.
I got into Moab around 6 and got a hotel room. The ride approaching Moab is awesome. You realize real quickly there is something special about this place. I also had a fresh rear MotoZ RallZ sent ahead to Mad Bro Powersports.
Day 22, I swung by Mad Bro and dropped off my bags and extra stuff. I also swung by Gearheads Outdoor Store to grab an extra fuel bottle. The mission for the day was White Rim Road. I can get up to 190 miles offroad on my fuel tanks, but have gotten as little as 136 on the highway, which makes it hard to plan. From my research I needed to make it 150 miles without getting lost. I also picked up this sweet saw to take off my leg incase it came to that.
I rode out to the park, paid my $25 entrance fee, got my permit at the visitors center and set off counter clock wise on the 100 mile White Rim Road loop.
A herd of Bighorn Sheep!
The ride is amazing. I would rate it a difficulty of 6/7 depending on how fast you are cranking. Some fun rocky hill climbs, some 9 inch rock ledges you may have to go up or down, lots of cliff edge switchbacks, some sandy spots, and the most amazing views. This loop has a tremendous return on investment. You’ll be riding fast for 5 minutes laser focused on the trail and then look up and be blown away by another rock feature you didn’t see coming.
If you are a skilled rider you could definitely do it on a big adv bike in a day, but like most fun offroad trails is best for dual sports/midsize adv bikes. I say this because you can ride them faster and not having it be about surviving, but rather enjoying the ride. Don’t let my photos of smooth dirt roads fool you into taking your brand new 1250GS out there solo! If you do, making this a two day loop is not an awful idea. It looked like a phenomenal place to camp.
I finished the trail in around 4.5 hours and then headed back to Mad Bros for an oil change and a fresh rear tire. Super awesome store. They stock a ton of stuff, but you can also call them and have them order whatever you need. Definitely a good spot to stop for maintenance along the TAT.
I rode up to Green River, UT after and hoteled for the night. It was down in the 30’s and I wanted a warm cozy bed to rest in.
I am very much looking forward to editing the footage from this ride for a stand alone video.
Day 22, November 5th I realized it was time to get off the trail and head towards Boise. There was snow and freezing conditions predicted to hit Utah/Nevada starting Friday. This trip was never about proving myself or my ability to survive a blizzard in the backcountry. It was about getting some amazing riding in, escaping NYC, pushing West, and exploring places I have always dreamed of visiting on a motorcycle. The plan also always to stop for a while in Boise, Idaho where I partially grew up and where my mom lives.
That being said, I ate breakfast at Tamarisk and hit the road!
Knowing it was likely my last day to hit trail, I did jump on the TAT for a small section to just see what I was going to be missing.
I then headed up to SLC and across to the Bonneville Salt Flats for a bit of wheelie practice and drifting about. It’s been on my bucket list to see this place. The surface is quite remarkable. It was super dry and hard and very grippy.
Day 23, Friday the 6th, I woke up late and headed up to Boise. The 6 hour ride into town was absolutely freeeeeeezing as soon as the sun went down. It also did not help that I didn’t zip in the goretex jacket liner or use my goretex gloves that day. I got to my mom’s house around 8 and was greeted with a hot bowl of homemade French onion soup! It was such a relief to be in a place I call home and to be able to escape the impending weather. I think I will stay here a while.
Fun ride report.. but daym.. that soup looks gooooood!!!!!!
Some TAT lessons of the day.
1) Ride your own ride. I left October 15th from NYC, which was entirely too late to do this ride as I envisioned it on October 15th. That being said, I still have gotten to ride most of what I wanted to. I plan on going back to Colorado when it warms up for sure and will likely do a loop through Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah as well. The short of it was I have had fun and will keep having fun. I’m not going to make myself a slave to the Garmin.
2) West is best. No offense to the rest of the country, but nothing really compares to riding in the west. If you have the opportunity
to fast forward at some point and are on a time crunch, do it! Most of the MABDR and south all looks and rides the same. The magnitude of the rockies and the more challenging terrain, make west of Oklahoma the destination of the trip in my book.
3) Just because you can pack it, doesn’t mean you should. I see all these people online packing oil, tires, bulbs, cooking gear, etc. STOP! There is a website called rockymountainatvmc.com. You give them your money and they ship whatever you may need to wherever you tell them. Amazon.com works well too. Both usually within a day or two. The more shit you pack, the worse your riding experience will be. This goes double for you big bike boys and your metal pannier boxes. Stop! Also watch the Meet the Stroops video series on Youtube. They had an awful experience mainly due to all the shit they were carrying and trying to ride two up with a dog as well...
4) Eat local! You wouldn’t bring dehydrated spaghetti to Italy, why would you try and cook on the trail? Go find some local spots in each of the places you go. You’re on vacation! Also this is a lot of saved weight and space which means better riding experience.
5) Just do it. Don’t overplan your trip. It won’t go to schedule, weather will be bad, and you won’t be able to do the mileage you planned. Pack up two days worth of clothes, tent, sleeping bag, some tools, and hit the road. Overplanning doesn’t make you a better rider or make the trip anymore predictable. You will never make it to the campsite you made a reservation at 6 months ago. The Hotel Tonight app saved me countless time and also helped me crank more mileage because I didn’t have to start looking for a campsite an hour before sundown. I rode as far as I could for the day and then found a cheap (<$60) hotel for the night many nights. The camping was fun when it happened, but I found it was hard to count on.
Soup might have been the highlight so far.
Also want to clarify, the ride is not over. Just going to take a break in Boise for a while and then go back and finish it.
So Bryan, what's the back story to your trip? Did you have extended time off from work due to COVID-19? Thanks for posting
Well I was unemployed as of June, started doing some freelance work, and realized that this was probably the only time I would have this much time off of work to do a trip like this. I’ve been wanting to do the TAT since I bought the bike.
Now I need to figure out what next!
I’ve been considering the White Rim Trail for some time. Is there a particular reason you decided to ride counter clockwise?
Interesting report, thanks for taking the time to post.
That’s just what they suggested. I think it gets the harder parts out of the way earlier.
Awesome experience. Glad I stumbled onto this. Especially being a 701 pilot, myself.
how about an after action 701 bike review?
BSGrimes, I notice in the first pics of your 701 you had Mosko Moto Backcountry bags but the pics of your ride show the Mosko Reckless 80s. My 701 is set up a lot like yours but wondering about why the change in bags. This has been a great read. Thanks. Charley
I have had the Reckless 40 since Day 1. That is some other guy posting.
That being said, I am trying to sell my 40 to get the 80 so that I don’t have to have the big duffle up top and maybe skip a tank bag. More weight lower.
The 701 is an amazing bike, especially for the TAT. It can do the distances of the bike bikes, but it can also do most of the terrain of the smaller bikes. The guys I typically ride with in NYC are usually on dirt bikes doing single track out in the Pine Barrens of NJ. They would never be able to do the highway miles I did on this trip though.
I think if I did my exact trip and route over again, maybe a 790 Adventure R or other mid size ADV bike might have been slightly better, but if I stuck to the trail the 701 would have been even more ideal.
Smaller bikes are just more fun. I would not have wanted a 1250GS or 1290 KTM, but it’s definitely doable. At the same time a smaller, lesser powered bike would have made the long stretches exhausting. You can pickup used 690’s and 701’s for cheap these days. I’m not sure why people still love using the KLR so damn much.
Okay thanks. I have a set of the Backcountry bags left over from my 1090 adventure r. I want to go to the reckless 80 once I swap out the exhaust and put in a better heat shield. I am retiring in the spring and am looking to doing more multi day rides. Start with the WABDR and then maybe OR and Idahos..Plan to doing the La to Barstow to Vegas next year as well. Thanks again for allowing us to follow along on your adventure.