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norcalwelder 08-27-2012 10:27 AM

Back to school or "ending the summer with a bang"
Well after buying my FZ6 in early May, I knew that I wanted to ride it back to school so I could have it there. So, with a the sudden realization that school was starting soon, I started closing up the old family ranch where I lived over the summer and started packing. Rather then taking the freeways and saving quite a bit of time, I decided I would take the scenic route from the CA/OR border to East Texas where I go to school. The night before I left I was terrified of the trip, breaking down, getting hurt or stranded, but either way I knew it would be an adventure. So, bright and early on Saturday the 18th I finished my coffee, snapped a picture and hit the road. I'm sure everybody on here knows that feeling when you first get on the road, a little apprehensive, very excited, sad to be leaving, happy to be going. I won't get too sentimental.

Leaving the house. Gonna miss it!

Gassing up next to Mt Shasta

Hwy 89 near Bartle CA. Looks like it just stopped raining.

Stopped for a sandwich next to Lassen National Park. Lots of smoke!

Short run from Reno to Fallon NV on I80. Made it to Nevada.

Left Fallon and headed out into the desert on RT 50, the loneliest road in America. That was the worse part of the trip because I knew I could fold my cards and head down to Las Vegas and take the freeways. This much empty road was pretty scary but I figured I would push through and be a man. Turned out to be a good choice. This is a marker for the Pony Express route that was pretty neat.

So much smoke I could only see a couple miles in places. It kept the temp down though.

Austin NV. Great to see civilization again!

Its official

Fun little twisties, great break from the boring desert.

Hot Spring time! 10 miles up a washboard gravel road. Seemed like time would slow down as I rode down this road and it just went on and on and on and on.....

The next morning, first campsite. Too much cloud layer to see any stars that night which was a bummer. The hot spring was great. I was sitting there the first evening and a bunch of cars showed up. All these dudes piled out and I'm like, whoa, whats up with this. They were all really nice, and then two pealed down to bathing suits and jumped in while the other guys start taking out film equipment. I go "Oh crap......a porn shoot is taking over my hot springs!" No women though. "ON CRAP!!!! GAY PORN SHOOT!!!". Turns out it was a discovery/national geographic film crew doing a TV show! Whew.....they were actually pretty cool dudes to hang out with and we ended up having fun little party out in the desert.

The hot spring! 20 miles East of Austin NV

Good way to start a day of riding off.

Back on the road getting close to Eureka NV. 20 miles of desert valley then climb over a mountain range. Repeat. Absolutely no bugs and the air was pretty cool so I left my visor up and enjoyed the 65 MPH breeze.

Made it! Time to clean the chain and fill the water bottles.

Great scenery heading out of town.

After getting soaked a couple times that afternoon, I made it to the Great Basin NP. Long lines of thunderstorms moving in from the East. I rode into a cloud burst and stopped to zip up my jacket vents. Got back on the road and 10 miles (long straight stretch across a valley) I realized I forgot my sunglasses. By this time I had made it through the cloud burst. I turned around after a few choice words and headed right back into the downpour. Found my shades and rode through the storm a 3rd time thoroughly disgusted with the "desert". Made it to the park in one piece though.

The road to the park goes up pretty high, so you can see an amazing view of the desert around the park 4000ft below.

Awesome twisty road heading up into the park. The road was a little damp from the storms, but I had fun trying to scrape my pegs. I'm sure the other cars on the road didn't appreciate that....

First time breaking 10000ft!

Came around the corner, and WHOA! What a view.... I wish I had some hiking stuff and could have spent a couple days hiking and camping out up here. The camp ground (straight ahead) was like a damp, dreamy Alpine enclave.

Word up yo.

About 15 miles down the road. Snake Creek. Lots of neat little free camping sites up there. I got soaked again and they were right next to a creek. I listened to the radio and heard flashflood warnings non stop for my area, so I figured I'd move on. Plus I was pretty restless.

Cross over into Utah and camped the second night near Milford. On the way I passed two people camped along the road. They were each pulling a cart! Insane... Saw some great stars and then got soaked that night and learned a great lesson about how I need to set my tarp up for it to actually work. Miserable night, but whatever. I dried off.

Went over to Beaver UT and found out the road I wanted to take had a detour. That's fine though, the locals said it was graded three days ago. Perfect. Well the first part was. The 14 mile stretch in the middle was horrible with mud, pot holes, and washboard. Stopped and let some air out of the tires and kept going after finding out that I was in the middle of the bad part. Some awesome USFS guys and gals hooked me up with a map and directions.

Absolutely beautiful up there!

Ahhh....smooth dirt!

Right above Junction UT. 10 more miles and then I'll pump my tires back up and find a hose to wash the mud off my headers.

Downhill on loose gravel.....good times.

After that I rode up through Utah to the Capital Reef NP which was amazing. The road was winding through all these desert canyons and stuff. Totally awesome. Kinda hot.

And then I came around the corner and there was the Colorado River! Swim time!! Kinda murky but I was hot and it looked like it wouldn't kill me.

Made it to Blanding UT by the end of the day. My favorite campsite because it was the only time I didn't get rained on. Slept out under the stars after heating up my can of chili and let me tell you, it was awesome.

More to come!

Mastros2 08-27-2012 05:55 PM

Awesome! :lurk

Mike_drz 08-27-2012 10:13 PM

keep life going :gerg :D

norcalwelder 08-28-2012 09:47 AM

Got the rest of my pictures uploaded!

I woke up on day 4 out in the desert near Blanding UT and let me tell you, sleeping under the stars and watching the sun come up was one of those feelings I'll try to remember for the rest of my life. Anyway, I packed up and headed on the county roads over towards Cortez CO. I love slowing it down and taking whatever rural roads I can find. With out a GPS it gets a little sketchy at times, but I still like it.

Got some maps in Cortez and got some Taco Bell. I took 141 North to Placerville.

Right after this (somewhere around Rico I think) I got a bee in my helmet which I'm sure was hilarious for the cars around me.


Got gas in Ouray and was tempted by the pools and such there, but I didn't really want to part with 12 bucks and deal with the hassle of lugging my junk around so I moved on.

Hwy 550

Made it through Durango then out 160 towards Pagosa Springs where I camped for the night.

The next morning I rode down to Los Alamos to a friend's house for a shower and a bed, dodging rain the whole way.

This is my last picture as I left New Mexico heading for Dallas. Texas doesn't really have a huge amount of things to take pictures of, and I was riding in a 20 MPH right headwind, so I just wanted to get it over with. After 8 days and 2400 miles, I showed up at school ready for another semester!

Stretchman 08-28-2012 10:06 AM

That's a cool read!
Thanks for the well written report, and the photos are great! Congrats on a great ride and good luck back at school dude.

DefyInertia 08-28-2012 06:34 PM

Pretty good way to start the school year. Glad you did it this way, right??? :clap

norcalwelder 08-31-2012 09:05 PM

Thanks for the kind words! Its amazing how good it feels to just wake up in the morning and start riding with no particular goals. This was a perfect way to remind myself that it doesn't matter where you are going, only how you choose to get there.

[QUOTE=DefyInertia;19468104 Glad you did it this way, right??? :clap[/QUOTE] You bet I am!

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