Trans America Trail / TAT 2021: HONDA TRAIL CT125 Edition

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by anelog272, Jun 15, 2021.

  1. Timmy Tucker

    Timmy Tucker So Fresh. Too Def.

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    18" tube should be fine... certainly good enough to get you to Cycle Gear for the correct tube. If it were me, I'd throw the 18" on (not like you have a choice), go get the 17" from Cycle Gear, and just keep on running the 18" until it gives up the ghost.
    #81
  2. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

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    Also, pick up a patch kit, you can toss a patch on the old tubes while sitting around camp in the evening.
    #82
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  3. Major Taylor

    Major Taylor Been here awhile Supporter

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    No suggestions but great admiration for your tenacity for your pursuit of this adventure. Stay strong and never quit.
    #83
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  4. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    Fellow CT125er and greatest human Bret W is on a rescue mission. Beyond the coolest. Amazed. Will get the days ride report up sometime. It was a doozy.
    #84
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  5. Motochimp

    Motochimp Been here awhile Supporter

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    G
    I’ve only been on the trail for 2 days and I agree 100%, a guy in the chair would be killer. If you have time give me your thoughts on any camp opportunities midway between Ripley MS and Tillatoba MS. River view would be nice
    #85
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  6. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    Getting some things sorted with the help of guardian angel Bret. Will catch up on ride reports down the road.
    #86
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  7. Old Codger

    Old Codger Been here awhile Supporter

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    Love the ride report and pictures, your proving what small bikes can do Keep moving and stay safe.:clap
    #87
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  8. Mofrid

    Mofrid Been here awhile Supporter

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    Bret … We all love you! Thanks
    #88
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  9. trialstech

    trialstech Been here awhile

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    Mission Control here. Ang made it up int the Ozark mountains yesterday it appears, and is still rolling. It's looking more like I should move my flight to Friday. I'd rather be early and relaxed than rushing.

    Looking forward to hearing the tale of the great rescue after the flat tube issues.
    #89
  10. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

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    Just got caught up, great ride report, thanks!!
    #90
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  11. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

    Joined:
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    Asheville, NC

    DAY 6 June 28, 2021
    FROM: Lake Enid, MS to Little Rock, AR
    MILES: 201 (until I couldn't go anymore...)
    HOURS: Unknown (many)

    Note to self. Stop closing up all your bags and loading them on the bike and strapping them down before you’re 100% ready to turn the key and takeoff. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten everything loaded up and strapped down and then found a headlamp or some bullshit thing laying on the ground forcing me to unstrap everything, unroll the dry bag, put it in, and then redo it all. I’m sure that this is something all of you already know and just didn’t want to tell me. Well played!

    Got on the road at 7 AM. Pulled off the road at 7:01 AM with a flat.

    [​IMG]I’d checked the pressure all day yesterday throughout the day and it was fine. But overnight it went flat. So I spent another two hours to change it out with a new tube and I have no idea what I’m doing wrong. It was torn again at the right of the valve and when I Felt all inside the tire and the rim there was just nothing. I ran a rag all the way around the rim and nothing. Looked at the valve hole, and nothing. So I have no idea what’s going on. But this was my last tube so I headed into Batesville Mississippi to a Honda place that someone had recommended on Facebook. They only had an 18 inch but I got it anyway and the plan was to do a bit of the TAT and then head off to Little Rock where Cycle Gear gear had a 17 inch.


    Here’s what you do if you want to be a hit at the campground. First, clang around with tire irons make sure to hit the brake disc a bunch of times which makes a glorious gong sound. That’ll get everybody’s attention as they hear the melodious music. After that, run a little electric air compressor that whines like 1 million mosquitos with megaphones and anyone who wasn’t paying attention before will be paying attention then. I was not appreciated. Hell - I wasn’t appreciating myself at that point.


    Finally got on the road and made it to the Honda dealer where I picked up the tube. I stopped at a auto parts store and got a patch kit and hit the road. Made it into Arkansas and hit some of the most brutal roads I’ve heard yet. Totally flat. Not technical really. But it was either gravel that was like riding on marbles or deep sand that was just hellish with Little Ugly Homefry’s narrow little tires. Stopped in at Kale & Kale and talked to Percy and Glenn for a bit. Super sweet guys and an iconic TAT stop.

    [​IMG]



    And this was the beginning of my Arkansas people interactions. After chatting with the Kale & Kale guys I got back on those nasty dirt roads. Actually after their place is when it got bad. Again - these are completely flat roads and are mostly straight. But getting over them took every ounce of focus not to go down. A few miles down the road some guys in a 4x4 flagged me down. I stopped and they handed me an ice cold water. Chatted with them for awhile and let one of the guys sons mess with the blinker and horn of the bike. As everyone, they thought I was crazy. They ran the farm that the route passed through and they told me some stories of guys ripping through there on big bikes and going down hard. “And then we saw you tottering along on that little thing…” Ha! Yes indeed! I must have averaged no more than 10 or max 15 mph on those roads. Totring is always better than being down in the dirt. Anyway - how nice, right? A few minutes later I missed a turn and an old lady pulled over and waved me down. She said, “You wanna go that way honey…” I ges they know the TAT pretty well around here. Again - so nice, right? Then I got stuck behind a garbage truck which caused an idea for a movie I’d call Back to the Putrid. There was this perfect mix of dust and garbage smell. It was just what I needed! Anyway - in the span of 30 minutes I’d talked to more folks than I had the whole trip.

    [​IMG]


    I made it through all that rough road and then got off the TAT to head towards Little Rock. Then I ran out of gas. Don’t ask me how. But I just wasn’t paying attention and I ran out. No big deal because I had my bladder so I filled up with what was in there which wasn’t much. 10 minutes later another flat (#2 of the day and #3 of the trip).

    [​IMG]This is on the road with field on either side and just brutal brutal sun beating down and the heat was out of control. I pushed it into a farm field where there was a little grove of trees to have some shade. Again went about taking off the tire and putting in the 18 inch tube. No one cared about my clanging around out there. I was in touch with Mission control of course and we had a great debate on what was going on because again, there was a tear right at the stem.

    [​IMG]So trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. John was looking into how exactly to screw in the valve because they come with two nuts so we thought one went on the inside of the rim and one one on the outside. But there’s also curved washers so we were thinking maybe that goes against the rim on the inside instead of the nut. John put the word out and he got conflicting reports from everyone on what you’re supposed to do. Then he found a drawing from Michelin that said you’re supposed to put the washers against the rim on the inside then the nut fill it out then loosen the nut a little bit and use the other note to lock that down. So that’s what I did. And let me tell you it is not easy to get your fingers in there without the washers coming off and falling into the tire. And not easy to get the valve stem through the hole. An hour and a half or so later the tire was back on the bike and at this point I had just enough time to get to cycle gear before they closed. So I sped off. Then I noticed that I was about to run out of gas again. I didn’t have much in the bladder I’d filled up from. I thought Google maps was taking me to the gas station I’d been headed for before the flat. But Google maps was being naughty and had removed that stop which was a little detour. I have no idea why gas stations were so scarce out there. But 10 minutes later before running out of fuel could happen I had another flat (#3 for the day).. Same tire. Now tubeless, hot as hell, and exhausted beyond belief I decided it was time to call a tow truck and throw in the towel for the day. Did I mention that it was hot? I pushed the bike down the road a bit and found a building with some essential shade.

    [​IMG]There was a Honda dealer 45 minutes away. I set up a time with my roadside assistance and then checked Facebook and saw that a couple people had offered to help me. I responded that I thought I was good, but was so touched that folks had offered to help. Then my roadside assistance people called me and said they couldn’t find anyone to do the tow for me. What?! It was already set up! What do you mean?! (Good Sam’s if you’re wondering.)

    So I messaged Bret who was one of the guys who offered to help and he said no problem man I’ll come pick you up with my trailer. I’ve seen Bret’s post before on the CT125 Facebook page of is dog in a a carrier on the back. I’d find out there’s much more to the story later. Keep in mind this is an hour drive for this guy to come do this for me. I mean it is really hard to believe that someone could be so cool to spend their free time coming out to help a brother. It’s truly amazing. Truly. So I pushed the bike down the road just a little bit and found an abandoned building with some shade which is much needed and I’m drinking water and hanging out dictating this into my phone.

    Bret showed up about an hour later - and boy was I glad to see him. Loaded up the bike and off we went. Every mile that went by I was thinking, “why is this guy so cool?” I got some amazing stories on the drive.

    I’m really new to ADV Rider but Bret isn’t (dogjaw). I got all sorts of intel on different things to check out on this site. He’s got a lot going on. First of all he has riding stories or days. Good riding stories. Great riding stories. Then there’s Charlie Bravo his famous dog. Now I’d seen photos of Charlie riding on the CT125 - but had no idea how far this went. The CT125 is mostly Bret’s wife’s Jo Ann’s bike. Bret has 3 or 4 other bikes (a DR, a CB500, a Nighthawk…) and I think Charlie ride on all of them. All over the place. He’s the first dog to hit 100 mph on the Boneville Salt Flats with Bret at the controls. Charlie Bravo the dog has a couple of books out. Charlie’s origin story is great too. This guy Bret is not only a crazily nice human being - he’s got some shit going on too! Here’s some stuff to check out:


    Book: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27:Bret+Winingar&s=relevancerank&text=Bret+Winingar&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1

    Blog: https://thecharliebravostory.com/

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChJzgdeF5ywdTnyacJiPzuw


    See what I mean? Alot going on! We got to Bret’s place and I met Jo Ann who was so welcoming. I mean - I’m a dirty sweaty dirt bag stranger - and these folks are like, “Yeah - come on in!” I’m not exaggerating when I say it makes me tear up a little. She offered me some wipes to clean off my dusty glasses and I almost died right there with how considerate these folks were. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced the kindness of strangers before in any real way. I’m experiencing it right now.

    Bret showed me around his shop and I checked out his fleet of cool bikes. What a setup! Then we just shot the shit until the early hours, talking about bikes and music and places I might want to stop on the TAT. What had been a day that had beaten me up pretty good turned into what will surely be the most memorable days of my trip.

    Lights out. Hoping to get my issues straightened out tomorrow so I can head down that trail. Thankful and appreciative of these fine folks.
    #91
  12. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

    Joined:
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    Asheville, NC

    DAY 7 June 29, 2021
    FROM: Little Rock, AR to the TAT Shak
    MILES: 142
    HOURS: 5.5


    Got going around 9 AM after a late night. Bret in his infinite coolness said , “Your stock tires were never going to make it to Russelville,” and I think he was definitely right. He told me I was taking his Shinko 244s and that was that. Wait, you’re not gonna let me pay you for these tires? Nope. It’s what we do.


    Let this sink in. He had one tire in his shop. Then he removed a tire from his CT125 to put on mine. REMOVED IT FROM HIS OWN BIKE! That is some religious prophet level shit right there. This is beyond explanation. It’s beyond understanding. It’s generosity of the highest order. I hope I’ve properly established Bret’s god-like status. We went down to cycle gear to pick up the 17” tube they had. Bret spent pretty much his whole day helping me get sorted out. Then another guy, Mat J., who’d offered help on Facebook showed up with two extra tubes to give me. Wouldn’t hear of me paying for them. Not only that, he said his parents live on the route and gave me their info and said they’d be happy to have me stay there. I’ll be honest. I’ve been choking up a lot today. It takes a toll on your emotions to get this much support and outright coolness from complete strangers. The rider community is one I’m happy to be becoming a part of. I thought about these guys and Bret’s wife Jo Ann a lot today. And the dogs. And I’m just realizing - I don’t even have one photo of us. WTF!? Ugh. Here’s me and Mat.

    [​IMG]

    And a terrible still of the Cycle Prophet from my GoPro

    [​IMG]


    Took about 1.5 or 2 hours to get back in the TAT in Damascus. I’d fallen out of love with Little Ugly Homefry yesterday but we were starting to warm up to each other again. At first the tires were freaking me out. Totally different feel. Different sounds. Just weird. Then their awesomeness started to sink in. “Hey, I’m on one of those marble roads again but I don’t feel like I’m going over at any second so much.” The more I ride and got used to them the more I understood that I was an idiot to start out with the stick tires. Game changer. And through who’s immaculate goodness? Bret.

    [​IMG]


    Nice roads and started getting a bit of elevation right away. Great mix of some mild tulsi style country mixed with forest roads. I got to the TAT Shack around 7.

    [​IMG][​IMG]I’d thought it was a place to set up a tent. But it’s an entire little house. With AC. With a bathroom and shower. With - BEER! I was filling out the guest book writing something like “whoever is responsible for this is a bad ass.” And then Pete, the guy responsible for this, pulled up and yelled, “You didn’t drink all my beer did you?!” Luckily I hadn’t. Had a nice chat and got a bit of the backstory. He said they’d been renting it out but the renters were just a pain. So he decided to turn it into the TAT Shak.

    [​IMG]
    He, like everyone else said, “Oklahoma is getting rain now and has been for a couple of days. Stay out of the mud. Don’t do it.” I’m planning on taking that advice. What a nice guy. I’m convinced that there’s something in the water in Arkansas that needs to be added to the water everywhere.

    Psyched for a good nights sleep and an early start. Hope to get back into the routine tomorrow. Think I’ll try to get to a motel in Alva for a rest before tackling OK. That would mean tomorrow is Warloop.

    I thought all day about the good people I've met along the way and teared up more than once.
    #92
  13. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2020
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    104
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    Asheville, NC

    DAY 8 June 30, 2021
    FROM: TAT Shak to Devil’s Den/Ozarks
    MILES: 156
    HOURS: 9


    Got up after a KICK ASS sleep at the TAT Shak. Was so happy to have met Pete, the man behind it. Had a fantastic cup of coffee on the porch and checked the bike over. My side rack is a shambles. I did my best to secure it. It’s going to fall off if I’m not careful.

    Great riding today - but to be honest - I’m not sure I remember much of it. I stoped at the General Store in Oark. What a cool place. Again with the super nice people. I ordered a veggie wrap to stay within my daughter's strict vegan guidelines. He said they were out of tortillas but he could make me an omelette. If you could have seen his sweet face when he said it you’d understand. I could not deny this guy the obvious pleasure he was going to have putting an order in for an omelette. An omelette made with eggs. And cheese. Forgive me Malena (daughter) for I have sinned. I had to! It was good the way all sin is good. I savored every god damned bite. I thought I was probably opening pandoras box, and that after I had that first taste of animal protein that I’d turn into a vampire and run out the door to find a cow whose face I could eat. But honestly - it didn’t happen. I ate an omelette. Big freaking deal. I’ll be a vegan again in a minute. You feel me!?

    [​IMG]

    I saw a guy riding the TAT on a bicycle at the cafe. What?

    The Ozarks are breathtaking and the riding was great. 85% forest roads. Great views. And it was cooler in the elevation. Fantastic. I left the cafe and made an immediate wrong turn that I kept taking for like 20 miles. Good Lord. Here’s the thing about Gaia. It uses this orange color for some main roads. And when Sam’s route happens to be the same color - well… people who get confused easily get confused. That’s me I’m talking about. Wasted a bunch of time. I miss at least 42.7% of all turns. Awhile later I passed that biker and he was like "why am I in front of you?" "I'm on a CT125. Your bike is faster than mine. Enjoy your ride!"

    [​IMG]


    Warloop Road had been looming all day. And then there it was. I’d had no rain for the entire trip so far. But it looked like all of that was going to change. Some thunder. The clouds. I figured this was going to be my penance from the weather gods. All those clear skies were going to be paid for with a downpour right when I was on Warloop Rd. I accepted this. Fair is fair. It sprinkled - but never poured. Arkansas with the coolness again! I went extremely slow down this road. Tried to bend the brake lever a few times. Made it down in one piece. The whole time I was thinking, “They got a bike with a SIDECAR down this mother?!?

    Checked in with Johnny Pow at Mission control where he gave me some intel on Devil’s Den campground. We also talked about our plan to meet. I’ve always been dubious about that working. But it’s getting closer and closer to working. Fingers crossed. It’ll be good to see that bastard.

    I somehow missed the gas stop in Alva. I missed Alva altogether. I must have had one long bink through there. Not sure what happened. But - by the time I got to the campground - I was in a bit of a pickle fuel wise. I had an MSR bottle with fuel in it that Bret had given me (thank you Bret!) But to be safe - I was going to have to drive 15 miles (an eternity on the CT125) in the wrong direction to get to a gas station. After I checked in - these two Park Rangers came up to ask about the CT125. That thing is the best conversation starter. I can’t say it’s a chick magnet - but it’s a “dude of a certain age” magnet for sure. I mentioned my has problem and they said that if I dropped something in the collection bucket inside that they’d hooked me up. I dropped something in the collection bucket! They took me to the secret Park Ranger fuel stash and hooked a brother up. Again - the water in Arkansas.

    [​IMG]


    Got camp setup and there was a coke machine calling out to me. An icy cold drink. Oh yes. It said “sold out”. This was the most crushing defeat of the day. Not bad as far as crushing defeats go. Spent the next hour creating an intricate macrame of paracord and zip ties to try to secure my side rack. That shit is falling apart man. Bolts rattled out along the way. It’s a mess. But I learned this one knot before I left - I can’t remember what it’s called - but it’s what you use to get a tarp connected to a tree where you tie the knot and you can tighten it and it will grip and then you can tie it off. It worked like a charm. And looks quite fetching too if i do say so.

    The evil “shake to death” phenomenon happened to my phone. So photos are a bit of a pain to come by.

    That’s it. Gonna eat some slop, get some sleep, and get up and ride.
    #93
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  14. anelog272

    anelog272 Some Guy Rides

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    Really?! We sure might take u up on that!
    #94
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  15. Dakar Dan

    Dakar Dan Long timer

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    Great going! All those mishaps just add to the adventure, man. You’ll look back from the comfort of your own armchair later on an laugh at ‘em.

    Tyre changing is no piece of piss. Smaller wheels & tyres don’t make it any easier either, you’ve just got less room to work with. My take on those valve nuts is that one nut goes inside the rim to hold the washers on, the other outside. It looks like your tyre may have deflated & then rotated slightly on the rim, ripping the valve out, although that normally doesn’t happen slowly as you’ve described. You’ve got the Rolls Royce of tyre levers there. One advantage of much smaller-tipped levers though is that they can let you “float” the valve stem into position at the rim hole as a pair. If you’ve got time, seek out Neduro’s Tire Changing thread elsewhere on ADVRider for sage advice from a true guru.
    #95
  16. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    10,985
    Location:
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    Hmm... usually don't see that kind of valve stem tearing in the front tire on a small bike.
    Valve stem tearing like that is from applying too much torque to the rim, overcoming the tire friction to the rim, and moving the tire and tube... which tears it. Unless you've got some big front wheel brakes you are applying !

    You can leave the outside valve stem nut a bit loose, don't tighten it. Screw it up against the valve stem cap.
    If the tire starts to move on the rim, the valve stem cocks to one side after a bit... you can spot it before it tears out.

    What air pressure are you running in your tires ???

    Guess you could install a rim lock.
    Locks the tire to the rim and prevents it from rotation and tearing the tube at the valve stem.
    Need to drill another hole in the rim though. Usually 180 degrees from the valve stem.


    [​IMG]
    #96
  17. Yinzer Moto

    Yinzer Moto Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    47,297
    Location:
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    I am fairly certain the valve tearing is a chicken/egg scenario. A small puncture could allow the tire to loose air and get low. Then when nearly flat, the valve stem gets torn. As suggested above, a rim lock could help prevent that. It also makes tire changes more difficult.

    Make sure to never tighten the nut up against the rim, only do that to get a pump on the valve. Then back the nut off once it is inflated. Sometimes the hole through the rim is a little too tight, if it is and you get the opportunity, enlarge it by a MM or so. So the valve can twist when the tube pulls on it.

    A small bottle of dawn dish soap can be useful for stubborn tires. A little drizzle of soap and splash of water will make it much easier. Then you can use the soap to wash your hands when done.

    Proper valve nut, backed up against the cap.


    D96DCABA-D8E3-4788-A16B-96632B6341B3.jpeg
    #97
  18. Madscientist

    Madscientist Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Oddometer:
    295
    Location:
    Oxford, MS
    The last 3 updates have been awesome; made me LOL a few times. Kudos to Brett and the Arkansas folks for helping you keep moving on. You are rockin’ the TAT!
    #98
  19. SRTie4k

    SRTie4k Northeast Explorer

    Joined:
    May 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    3,700
    Location:
    Dublin NH
    I.e. sausage magnet. As a cis hetero male and father, even I can admit to myself that my motorcycle - pretty much any motorcycle, really - will only ever attract dudes. And I'm cool with that (and so is my wife).

    Thank you for the phenomenal thread! Your YouTube videos are quite entertaining as well, I'm hoping you are filming your whole trip with the GoPro. I'm hoping I get to watch it in a few weeks after reading.
    #99
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  20. rcrfc

    rcrfc Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2019
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    Iowa
    Should get a valve stem puller tool. I wont change another tire without one, at least willingly.
    IMG_1468.png
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