Uncle and Nephew Ride the Cousins NMBDR Modified

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TexasStevo, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
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    San Marcos, Texas
    My nephew KTMCarhart and I are a couple weeks away from leaving for a modified New Mexico BDR on a 701 and a 690. Thought I would start the ride report and update as things progress. I always enjoy it when folks give the details surrounding the trips.


    The planning……We are trucking from Austin TX area to Albuquerque NM, then riding bikes out of town through Cibola NF eventually catching the Shadow of the Rockies into Capitan, then into Nogal Canyon north of Ruidoso to catch the BDR. This is skipping the first day of the normal BDR route as we have been there done that in Cloudcroft and did not want to endure the slab to Dell City. The other route modification is at the end after Antonito CO, routing back through the forest heading south eventually hitting 31 Mile Rd and Gillman tunnel trying to catch more dirt as we skirt back into east Albuquerque through the Sandia Wilderness Area/Cibola NF. If anybody knows some cool stuff in the area to route through, please let me know, I was just winging it based on a little bit of research. We wanted to capture the essence of the NMBDR but also try to minimize the slab riding at the beginning and end. We are camping all but one night, looking at 250 to 300 mile days, total is right at 1400 miles on the bikes for just that part. If all goes well, we might throw in some Enchanted Circle Dirt.

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    That part of the planning out of the way, we are deep into the prepping of the bikes and gear. Started off planning this for the small bikes, otherwise known as the only bikes we had--KTMCarhart’s XCF 450 known as the Hell Bitch and my XCW 500, I don’t name my rides. We are typically forced to be somewhat minimalist when these bikes transform from our trail rigs into little adv bikes. In the background I had been day dreaming about 990, 1090, AT, 790, baby tenere etc. and then my nephew stumbled into a good deal on a 690. I continued to plan the trip for the 500 and 690 but still kept up my circular research for a big bike unicorn that suited my needs. Yes my 500 can do it and has done it, but I really wanted a big bike dedicated to ADV and keep my 500 dedicated to the skinny trail bike…and quit changing my oil every 15 minutes. In between our mini-trips on the little bikes to good riding, Texas ADV riding involves a lot of pavement and miles to get to anything cool…bigger is better? Loosely was keeping my eye on the leftover 1090s that were popping up for a little over 10K as well as dreaming about one of the new small twins hitting the market. Then I stumbled onto a couple year old babied 701 on original tires, never offroad, racks, bags, fairing, extra tank….coming out at less than half price of a new twin built out, that did it—bought it—saved some money and a hundred pounds, or two. It has two spark plugs, getting closer? Also made the nephew happy, he wasn’t going to have to spend big bucks on a 1090 or something along those lines.


    So here we are, Uncle and Nephew Riding the Cousins, some might even say hot cousins. Years past I just wanted to ride the gnarly stuff and just could not understand the old gray hair guys riding KLRs. Now I have more gray than brown and realize my KLR happens to be a 701. It was our long term plan all along to have similar bikes for these types of trips to make spares and know-how easier along with riding styles the same. We will see how our little adv bike/big dirt bike setup works out long term. I still wonder about a twin…..but dismiss it when I hit the dirt. The racked out 701 loaded down already feels like a Goldwing compared to our roots. I think the twin is a future phase in my life. The Cousins—we have them built out pretty similar: both have pannier racks, Wolfman expedition bags, Wolfman tail bags, 1.5 aux gas tanks under the seat. The 690, also known as the Kraken, has a 1 gallon rotopax and I have two MSR bottles for the 701. So with the approximate 5 gallons in tanks and spare gas, our range is pretty good. I moved over Warp 9 big pegs and FaastWay Flex bars from my 500, I have really enjoyed those mods for adv stuff. Tires—I have played around with the 500 over the years trying to deviate from the tried and true MT21/606 setup to find the holy grail but normally come back to the realization it is hard to beat it for a DOT in all-around performance in multi terrain types in Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico etc. But….Tusk just came out with their own D Sport Adventure tires and they seem worth a try. So we’ll see how it goes, 690 has fresh MT21/606 and my 701 has the new Tusk tires, will be a good test on a BDR. Spares, we have the normal stuff, front/rear tubes, patches, air pump, tools, master link, fuel pump, fuel filters, air filters, jb weld, zip ties, wire, spark plugs, camping crap and an Adjust-a-Fork….thanks Joe Motocross. Clothes, I am going light and will do the bath tub stomp halfway on the trip, I think that is what Big Dog calls it! Pics of the Bikes as we prep them, 2010 690 getting some mods and maintenance, 2017 701 mostly maintenance and double checking.

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    #1
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  2. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Marcos, Texas
    Technology. I hate dealing with cables, mounts, attachments, cameras, SD cards, batteries, GPS, cell phones…..feels counterintuitive to the freedom of riding. Well, introduce ADV riding a couple hundred miles a day for multiple days on land you have never seen before, helps to be tethered to the tech. Navigation for this trip is not too bad since we are following the BDR for 80% of the route. GPS files, I deleted all of the alternate easy routes, turned the routes into tracks, combined multiple sections, made my own tracks for the beginning/end. I pretty much won’t go anywhere without my Sena Comms on, listening to music or talking with KTMCarhart about the best line, it adds to the ride experience for sure. Luckily KTMCarhart is 10 plus years younger than me and gets into the gadgetry almost as much as the ride, some folks call him a big nerd but I don’t think that is very nice. Nerd Boy just procured a cheapy drone (Contixo F22) and is also the Go Pro mule (Hero 6 I think). He is taking a small laptop/external drive and will be downloading video every couple of days to free up SD cards while I tend to fires and other manly matters. He will hopefully post with small videos as we go along, with a post ride highlights reel after we get back home. Still shots, we are just using our Iphones, which aren’t too shabby these days. I want something better, but it would take away from bike hard parts…..next time. As the senior crash test dummy, KTMCarhart has a SPOT. We both have GPS mounts that charge while riding, 2 USBs for charging other stuff while riding and at night we will charge the Senas off an external battery. Last tech thought, we both will have the tracks loaded on Montana 610s, have them loaded on the laptop and a spare 610 loaded. We went on a trip several years ago when both of our 610s lost their marbles, we had to revert to looking for wagon tracks. Another trip KTMCarhart went down in a creek crossing followed up with another rider following too close that took out the 610 with a foot peg. The ADV experience is enhanced and maximized with all the technology from the gadgets and the space shuttle dirt bikes, as long as it all works. If it all fails, we have a paper map and we will hit CL in Albuquerque for a Lloyd & Harry special. Just go man!
    #2
  3. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
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    We are getting closer, there was a cousin reunion so the bikes could get final touches/checks and we compared our packing so we could possibly minimize duplicates. I expected the weight numbers to add up for a trip like this but was still surprised at the heft. Left/right bags are 19 lbs. each (tools, spares, water, gas bottles, food, chair, cot), tail bag happened to be 19 lbs. (tent, sleeping bag, bed mat), 8 lbs. for the tank bag with misc snacks, headlamp, tools etc. I also weighed by bike—fully loaded bags, fully gassed up in both tanks, both MSR bottles, water on board etc…..front tire on house scale 190, rear tire on house scale 260, total 450. Again more than I expected and I am sure that home method is not completely accurate. At any rate it is a baseline for me, helped me understand the balance of the bike and realize I will be quicker to remove luggage to attempt any super gnarl. The bright side, I would have done the same mods that add weight and packed similar on a bigger twin cylinder bike and you know how those numbers would fall….rather how ugly it would be to pick up comparatively. KTMCarhart’s bags were right at the same weights. Tire comparison, reminder MT21/606 on 690, Tusk DAdventures on 701. The lugs on the DAdv seemed longer, so I measured both tires. My brain immediately thought more rubber = lasts longer. Might just mean I shred bigger chunks and/or will be awful on pavement. Will give you rear stats only, center lugs were close to the same, brand new tires, 690 606 is 19/32, 701 DAdv is 20/32. Side lugs were a bigger difference—606 19/32, DAdv 23/32. Will measure again when we are done with BDR and they go back in the truck. And will provide a little feedback on how I think the Tusk tires performed, pavement, gravel and gnarl.

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    Camping Gear—nothing too fancy, I don’t do it enough to warrant big money. Clostnature Lightweight 2 person tent…this is a one person tent in reality with some room for your gear, homemade ground cloth/tarp, I also use it when we fix flats. Teton Sports Trailhead Ultralight sleeping bag. Whalek Self Inflating Mattress. I decided this wasn’t enough for my older bones for this long of a trip, recently added a Hitorhike Camping Cot, pretty compact. Pillow—I stuff clothes in my jacket. Marchway knock off chair, see if it survives. Adjust-a-Fork for cooking. I have some MacGyver stuff that KTMCarhart doesn’t, he in turn has some food prep stuff I don’t, falls into the nerd category—bunsen burners and stuff, mostly as a backup. Past that, it is jerky, GU and RX bars for me. I also have a collapsible soft ice chest for when we conveniently pass a convenient store with silver bullets and meat. We will stop at decent restaurants along the way when it makes sense, no matter the time of day. After this trip regarding the gear/equipment, we will say what worked well and what we could live without. KTMCarhart wanted to do the gear pic thing, I’m skipping the numbering and intricate details, PM me if you have something on your mind. We are not bringing the kitchen sink.

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    After our packing review, we then discussed everything at length over cold ones and fired up the pit to burn some meat. This is my wife’s favorite part, where I seem to pointlessly stare at my rig, moving to different angles every time I get a fresh cold one. As my wife’s head rotates, I try to explain that this part of the evening helps me think things through, scenarios, am I prepared, what am I forgetting as I look over the bike. The lights are on but nobody is home. That’s what she said. Reminds me, hope my headlight connections are solid after I hid a spare tube in the fairing/tower. Time to move.

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    The Thinker thinks we are ready, we leave next week!!

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  5. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

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    San Marcos, Texas
    The Final Countdown Folks. Tomorrow early AM departure. Go west young man…….on a 690 and take the old dude on the KLR with you. We will be on mountain time soon my little pretties.

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    #5
  6. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Touchdown, Albuquerque…..and the balloon festival. As a result, we paid about 1 million dollars for a tent spot at a local campground. We knew this coming into the trip, our dates revolved around work. But it was only $5 per day to leave my truck here and I liked the location and security. Luckily high winds created some cancellations, we were able to upgrade to a tiny cabin for 1.5 mil extra. 25mph winds and 30F tonight, cabin looked good. I’m a little tired from the drive but still anxious to hit the trail. Told myself all day that the adventure started when we left the driveway this morning. Still not convinced, but the silver bullets and the landscape are bringing me around.

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    #6
  7. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Marcos, Texas
    Day 1

    And so it begins. Pretty good day. Early in my planning I was expecting this to be somewhat of a necessary day vs. a great riding day. These Texas boys were a little cold, it was 28 this morning. The pavement was nice as far as pavement goes, some decent twisties.

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    We were hacking it out of town and then had issues 30 miles out the gate, lost a chain. Had a spare master link but it wasn’t right for that chain. Worked well enough to get us 40 miles to a shop back into town, lost several hours. New chain and more master links purchased.

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    After that, got back on track. We deviated from the BDR Dell City express route at Claunch and got in some forest, went up to a lookout and passed through Redcloud Campground area. This was really nice dirt riding through the pines.
    After that we picked up the Shadow of the Rockies route east of Corona. Somewhere in here my brain definitely transitioned from necessary to adventure. Epic wide open rolling prairie land with the mountain backdrop. We made some good time through here, 70 and 80 country.

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    KTMCarhart can seriously out ride me, if there are no hill climbs, sand, mud, river crossings, ditches and/or until he crashes. So I am the pace car generally, and the medic. What do you call the guy that pulls thorns out of another grown man’s butt? Just curious but either way as it turns out, I am not that guy. KTMCarhart has thorns in him from a cactus dance he did three years ago in Big Bend. He doesn’t go for the little jumping cactus to tango with like you or I might. He is patient and waits for the larger Saguaro looking ones, I think they call his name like the girls down by the river on Oh Brother Where Art Thou. For fun on subsequent rides when we take breaks on the side of the trail, he still digs out thorns and lets everyone know he got one, some type of sadomasochism lottery for him. I digress, point being these bikes like to boogie and eat the desert up, we have to make sure we don’t get swallowed. Also had to install an ABS dongle on my bike, I don’t like brakes that think they are smarter than me, had to put a stop to that.

    The highlight today so far has to be Capitan Pass area. Rugged mountains and rough semi technical riding. Went from fighting the cold to sweating quickly. Neat to know that this pass is where a bear cub was rescued in 1950 and became the USFS mascot, Hotfoot Teddy. They later named him Smokey Bear. He lived out his life for 26 years in a zoo in DC (is that redundant) and I thought it was cool they brought his remains back to Capitan. These “tweener” bikes are doing good, transitioning from 70 to rocky technical.

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    We are eating in the town of Capitan at Reene’s that is functional. We will stop at an icehouse as we leave town, 72 ounces heavier, that will be intentional. Hoping we get camp setup in Nogal Canyon, in the dark for sure, sun just went down. 291 miles so far. Will give you more updates a couple hundred miles down the road. Go To Sleep Little Babies.
    #7
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  8. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    N! :beer
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  9. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
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    Location:
    San Marcos, Texas
    Day 2

    Hey there my riding friends. I am running a day behind on the ride report, sorry about that but actual riding takes priority. This will take a couple uploads. First pics below are from Lincoln NF/Nogal Peak area and our campsite night before last. We did 309 miles the first day and didn’t get to camp till 8pm. Made camp, had a fire and some beverages, stayed up a little late star gazing. All was well, till sleep time. About froze in the tents. Frost was heavy. Had to be in the 20s, it was a long night.

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    Sorry, WiFi isn’t exactly smoking out here, could probably hammer and chisel it faster. Had to move down the road to find better. Back to the report. Next morning we dropped down from the mountains and were quickly out of the pines. Got gas in Carrizozo and did some nut bolt tightening. Then we chevy chased it at the Valley of Fires Park, a “young” 5000 year old lava flow 45 miles long, back to the ride and into some desolate ranch land.

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    Pretty good day, classic wide open lonely desert stuff as we went west. Pic above has an antelope that just crossed my path. As we headed south we skirted the White Sands Missile Range, had lunch. This area is very Big Bendish. Our lunch spot below.

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    Don’t know why everybody likes that atom bomb so much, it’s just an old crapper tank people. Both our GPS were useless again that day, like others have said about the missile range area. Wasn’t a big deal to pick our way through. They started working again in TC. The first day of riding we weren’t so lucky, both were useless much of the day. But we are both pretty good at picking our way with a regular map.

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    Eventually made it by Elephant Butte Reservoir. Special shout out to KTMCarhart’s wife, we thought of her as we looked at the Butte, she absolutely loves this dam area, and elephants.
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    After that we hit Truth or Consequences. According to the map we only went 4 inches, felt more like 4.5. We hit wally world to grab some steaks/potatoes/cold ones for our camp later. We were tired but pushed to Cholride Canyon and setup camp right in the canyon. Lesson for me so far, don’t second guess the BDR folks so much. My thoughts of pushing harder and accomplishing more was starting to turn this into an iron man marathon. If you want to do 300-400 mile days doing dirt like this, not realistic if you are setting up camps and cooking your own food. Couple pics of Chloride Canyon below.

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  10. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

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    San Marcos, Texas
    Will update more later. We are eating a real meal right now in Reserve, great day so far, more to come. They’re not gonna catch us, we are on a mission from God.

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    #10
  11. TexasStevo

    TexasStevo Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Day 3

    So to catch up, we did 243 miles yesterday. We made camp a little early, learning you have to call audibles on these trips. The long day before and sleepless night zapped us. The semi-desert terrain we found ourselves in now was great for our fire wood and temps were so much better than the night before in the pines, and 24 hours helped settle down that cool front. Had some relaxing time to set up camp in the day light and enjoy things, after all we are on vacation right? Cooked Tbones and Potatoes on the Adjust-a-fork I picked up from Joe Motocross, sweet compact tool. It was a good night, camp food was spot on and cold beer in the middle of nowhere was priceless. Seriously, Sandra Bullock could have pulled up and wanted one, would have been a big nope. Regretfully.


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    We both got some much needed sleep. Started the day getting the rest of the way out of Chloride Canyon, the water crossings were all dry, sort of a bummer. First several pics are from that ride this morning as we left camp. The rock formations were dominating and cool. Doing the best i can with the posting and pics, technology not cooperating.


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    Took a little break by some kind of mining equipment. We were hungry, didn’t make breakfast. Thought we would just zip into Reserve. Turns out, this terrain took a lot longer to traverse than the desert stuff we had hero’d through the day before. More learning. Also hit the hard section like a boss, till we had a rear flat, lost some time but we got it, not easy on these overloaded dirt bikes with no center stand.


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    Then we hit some really sweet pavement, not normally words that come out of my mouth. But it had been some particularly rocky stuff in the dirt, my hands needed a break. Pavement into Reserve was nice.


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    Got to Reserve early afternoon. KLR 701 was on the primary tank and went 170 miles, 690 was on the Rade tank at that point. We are pretty consistently 10mpg off from each other and the 701 primary tank holds a little more at 3.4 I think. KTMCarhart can make up for it if we get in a pinch with his rotopax. 701 is getting a consistent 55mpg, 690 getting 45mpg, same gearing. I think it is my Opti Spark, just saying. We ate at Eli’s diner, we were starving, they treated us well. Got gas down the street, got silver bullets across the street at a bar. Now we are 10 miles or so down the road at Hidden Springs Inn, last time we saw a shower was Friday morning. This place is clean and has a diner next door. Again, I thought the BDR guys called this day kind of wrong, nope, ending our third day this is just what we needed. Did some maintenance on the bikes. We both have rade tanks that forced open air filters. I bought some cheapy filter skins, that worked out great, trail leader was pretty clean, camera camel was dirtier.

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    But, they protected well, once skin was removed from my bike it was still super clean, new skin and all was well. Happy with this.


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    Oiled the chains, checked tire pressures and topped off oil. These bikes tend to burn a little, and we definitely aren’t afraid to tear across the desert hauling the mail. Quarter of a quart each. Our souls are whole again. Ready for some more tomorrow. Thank you sir, may I have another.


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    #11
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