The Big Dog motorcycle ride Colorado
by cRAsH
August 23, 2001

49er rally ride It started at the 49er Rally: Jean Luc decided we needed to do the Big Dog ride just to continue our Quixotic quest of proving the oilhead was a formidible if not all that practical off-road bike.

I agreed...but...what was I thinking?

Well, at that point I had the Pyg, and the prospect of bashing it some more was no biggie (as some of you know) but, since it was an invitation-only, pre-paid, no-refund affair, this would have to require some commitment.

Yikes.

I don't do that so good.

I rarely pre-register for any event, because my plans change too much and to try to plan too far ahead for me is typically an excercise in futility. I've learned not to fight it, and those who know me well put up with it. This was different. In order to go to this thing, and not embarass ourselves or wreck our bikes, we needed to actually plan. We needed knobbies for sure. JL took the reigns on that, making calls and arranging for the tires as well as lining up the hotel room for the first night. Once I wrecked the Pyg, crashed 1150GSthe Dawg was looking like a no-go. I didn't relish the thought of taking a brand-spanking- new 1150 to the BD, it seemed so... foolish. But, we had committed to this thing, and after all - I had the Pyg for spare parts.

I got my new bike, Juan Motime, and began to think it might be possible. I had to hustle to get the bike ready, but if we could swallow the thought of trailering out to Colorado, I *might* just have enough time to pull it off.

In rapid succession I:

  • got the 600 mile service done ( A HUGE thanks to Jeremy and Brian of BMWSCRUZ who stayed late one night to do my service.)
  • found/installed another 3.0 final drive to replace the one damaged in the wreck
  • swapped wheels and got Metzler Karoo II installed on the rear
  • installed shocks, handguards, and cRAsH bars
  • swapped tank and valve covers from the Pyg
  • removed turn signals and mirrors
  • beefed up the valve cover protectors
Mike Petonic (Hoppy) from the GS list turned me on to a buddy, Brian Coggins, who loaned us his little trailer so we were ready to go.

With the Frankenbike in the back, and the trailer hooked up, I headed to Ess Eff to pick up JL and head east. We bombed out 80 to 70 to Glenwood Springs in just over 20 hours - swapping driving duties as needed. As we arrived, the first of several PITA obstacles presented itself. Although the start point was Glenwood Springs, the finishing 2 days would be 130 miles away in Fairplay. WTF? There was a trailer going to Fairplay to haul stuff, but what about the truck and trailer? We were too tired to continue on to Fairplay, unload the bikes and gear and ride back to Glenwood Springs. After much consternation and cussing about the stupidity of it all, we decided to leave the truck on a sidestreet in GS, and deal with coming back on Sunday. Luckily, Bob Cunningham had his truck in Fairplay already, and offered to carry our stuff back to the truck on Sunday. Cool. Nice guy. The tension in the parking lot was palpable. Guys were doing their last minute preps. , and there was a lot of bike gawking going on. The 2 oilheads with full knobbies and stripped down to the skivvies were getting a lot of notice. Yeah, we came to play. Hard.

Met some nice fellas who gave us a mini rundown of the Big Dog. It went like this:
"It's always this dis-organized."
"It gets worse every year."
"We come back for the people."

Now, I had been dealing with that dreaded feeling that perhaps this event was over-hyped, and that there was a bunch of effort and money expended on our part that may have been for naught. None of this info helped me feel any better - but dammit, we were there. We WOULD have fun, no matter what.

Still unsure what we had gotten ourselves into, we crashed hard with dreams of impossible passes and burned out clutches.

Friday, 8:30 AM.

Riders meeting. This is where we find out what the deal is. After introductions all around, Greg launched into his speech. My stomach sank when he uttered these words: "Because there was so much bitching about last years maps, this year there are no maps." "There will be 3 groups - the hard core group, the oilheads, and the rest." "Each group has a leader, who will guide the group for the day." So, we had no idea where the "route" was going, and after discussing the options decided at the last minute to head out with the hard-core group. The rest of the groups seemed to be way too easy for us, and we wanted to see what the best of the best would do. The instructions were pretty clear - we were to show up ready to ride, full of gas. So, the first place the group heads to is a gas station. Someone forgot to fill up. Then, we promptly got lost, and waited while the leader asked a local where the road was. Great. The leader gets lost before we even get a mile down the road. About 15 bikes, only 2 oilheads. Yeah, good numbers.

To the ride

To Adventure Rider