Joined: Sep 2007
Location: San Jose, Ca
3 Kaboom's, 3 Dudes, and a Chick ride Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Montana
A journey of 2750 miles (90% offroad) with three KTM990/950 Adventures (one two-up) over 13 days in the Wild West.
This journey is largely based on the ride DockingPilot wrote about called "Forever West".
We would like to thank DockingPilot for his GPS tracks and his invaluable
info that made this trip awesome
I should also mention that while DockingPilot created GPS tracks for the Forever West ride it was the vast knowledge and experience of Tony Heugel of Backcountry Byways that provided the route information. He has traveled a lot and knows these areas. So if you are planning a trip in the Wild West check him out at http://backcountry-byways.blogspot.com/
Thanks Tony for providing more insite into a historic area and all the cool places to visit.
This trip was sponsored by “I Love Drilling” of Vernal, Utah
You can see in the video as we make our way through town that the town straddles the Nevada Utah border.
There are salt chunk remnants of the Salt Flats that have come off vehicles as white rocks or powder all over town.
We enter Bonneville Salt Flat area and Silver Island Mountains backroads where we meet the first dirt roads.
I almost bite it as we enter the dirt road as I ride over a soft patch of dirt. Embarassing!
I have on my tankbag a list of mileage to fuel stops which is a great idea from DockingPilots pictures of his bike.
In general Paul/Jill would lead, then Jeremy, then me. The roads were very good so we could cruise at about 50-70 mph.
We would be about 1-5 minutes apart. It was pretty dusty so it was good to have separation so as not to choke on it and clog up filters, faceshields, and camera lenses.
The place is amazingly barren and hot!!
The Silver Island Mountains are to the North West of the Bonneville Salt Flats racetrack. We didn’t get to see the speedway but we were inspired by thoughts of it as we roared on our way.
You don’t actually want to drive out on to the flats as in lot of places there is a thin layer of salt covering a huge mud plain.
You’ll drive out there and get stuck immediately. We stuck to roads off to the sides which were in very good condition, and cruised along at a pretty good clip.
(actually just the stickers) http://www.ILoveDrilling.com
Let’s introduce the cast of characters:
Paul (JustPaul) aka “Flats” also known as “Firedancer”. A big dude at 6’5” and great rider who rode two up all the way with Jill.
He was the lead rider (since he was usually the quickest and the most experienced in dirt).
Destroyer of tires and knows how to start a fire real fast!! Paul was riding his 2007 990 Adventure with Superplushed suspension (to “S” spec).
Jill (JustJill?) aka “Photochic” or “Flowerchild” or “Smilie. Expert at taking pictures while riding with Paul on a bumpy motorcycle.
A real trooper who loves to get out and tough it in the woods with the boys.
Jeremy (Darkryder) aka “Crash” or ”IT_boy”
Crash was the second bike for a long time as his GPS routes were screwed up. He had no choice but stay in between flats and me to make sure he did not get off course.
He rode fast, had some dramatic crashes and spent much of his spare time fixing IT problems when he was within range of WiFi.
This was Crash’s first big adventure ride so it was a new experience for him but being an excellent rider with 24+ years of street riding under his belt, he took it in stride.
Jeremy was riding his new 2010 990 Adventure “R
Mike Z (Zeegman) aka “Gramps” or “Mudman”
Bringing up the rear since I am the oldest and usually slowest person to run sweep (and I had the satphone).
I had some issues dropping the bike 3 times in mud/water. I was riding my 2006 950 Adventure.
Paul and I had the ADVtank which added about 70 miles to our 140 mile stock range. But our longest distance without gas was about 230 miles.
The Adventure is a thirsty bike (35miles/gallon) so we all had to carry extra gas in the form of Justanks gas bladders (2 or 3 gallon) or MSR fuel bottles in Pauls case.
We did quite a bit of trip planning. After all this a trip of about 2700miles through 6 States (Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado) with about 90% dirt.
First we got the GPS routes from Dockingpilot, then studied them and then called DockingPilot who graciously answered all our questions (“Are we going to drive off cliffs?”,
”Will bugs eat us alive?”, “Will we get shot and left for dead if we camp on someones property”?).
We had to break the route up in 13 sections since it was one continuous route of about 65000 points – try loading that into the GPS.
We also traced the route on our Paper Benchmark Maps in case the GPS failed.
We also created a route street with daily stops and points of interest including famous landmarks, gas stops, campgrounds, hotels, bike dealers, casinos, banks, (hospitals?).
We planned for camping most of the time as we brought tents, sleeping bags, cook gear, some food and water.
We ended up camping a little over ½ the time. We had a satphone and never used it. Two of us also had the SPOT.
We started from San Jose, California and trailered the bikes to Wendover, Utah where we stashed the trucks and trailers at the local Kampgrounds Of America,
We started in Wendover which is where the famous Bonneville Salts are and the land speed records are recorded.
We got there one week after the speed races ended. This was the closet point on the route from San Jose.
We took two days of highway slabbing to get there after we left after work on August 18 although it could be done in one day.
The drive from San Jose to Wendover is kinda boring so for fun people do weird things to pass the time like try to catch gumdrops In their mouth or try to find fun signs.
We finally get there and it is hot (looking South)
so we parked our trucks and offloaded bikes at the hotel and walked over to the air conditioned casino for a huge buffet dinner.
It’s was the last supper before the big dirty ride. We slept well (after a bit of gambling – we lost some - not much).
The trip almost didn’t happen since Paul loaded his riding gear into his truck the day before heading out.
In the night someone broke the window on his truck and took all his gear.
So that day he scrambled like crazy driving all over the place with the help of friend Ian (Ian408) to pick up new gear (not easy for a guy who is 6’5“and big feet).
Paul also had to get the window quickly fixed on the truck. Somehow that all got done and he and Jill were able to happily leave San Jose, Ca that evening.
Paul was so excited about the trip and to have all his new gear he actually went to bed in them the first night in Wendover.
Next day we got up and packed up our shiny clean bikes with the fresh tires, oil, coolant, brakes, clean air filters and clean undies.
We had breakfast and suited up and fueled up
Day 1 Aug 21
The first day was going to be a long one at 230 miles but I am glad it happened at the beginning.
It would take in Bonneville Salt Flats, Silver Island Mountains, Great Salt Lake, Continental Railroad track and Museum, and finally reach our destination in Brigham, Utah.
It starts where we end and it ends where we start in Wendover since it is a circle route.
This is a view looking at the Salt Flats South of Wendover. Wendover is up on an outcrop of rocks that sticks above the Salt Flats.
Most of the Flats are, well, very flat. I think I read some where that it is so flat you can actually detect the curve of the earth.
Here is a video of us making our way through the Salt Flats area.
The Salt Flats stretched as far as the eye can see. The sky had some pretty amazing cloud formations as the landscape drifted by. We saw almost nobody out here – very desolate.
We headed around the mountains and rode North up towards the Lucin cutoff and the Transcontinental Railroad grade. This is a very historic place allowing expansion to the West.
The original railroad grade remains and is a trail that one can ride on since the railroad tracks and ties were removed or rotted away.
There are dozens and dozens of railroad trestles that span the route and kept the railroad tracks above the flood plains.
They are all too fragile to ride on now, so they are all blocked off so you need to detour them all.
This really slowed us down and made it seem even slower in the oppressive mid-day heat.
We followed the trail as it wound past now non-existent towns like Terrace – now just a cemetery.
We imagined what it must have been like for the poor buggers that worked so hard and died to build this railroad in this barren, bad water furnace.
Finally we had to take a break as we needed to hydrate and eat a few munchies (energy bars) and Jeremy had to fill his tanks from his gas bladders.
Paul was doing his best mexican hat impression
We saw a wild hare seeking refuge from the heat under an old railroad trestle – can you spot him?
After fueling up our bikes and bodies we headed out for the Golden Spike National monument and museum.
The Golden Spike monument was erected marking the site where Eastern and Western lines of the railroad met on May10, 1869.
The Central Pacific Railroad line was started in 1863 from Sacramento heading East through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Great Basin.
At the same time the Union Pacific line was built from Omaha in the East to reach this spot known as Promitory Summit, Utah.
The last spike was made of gold and was driven by Leland Stanford (Stanford University) connecting the US via rail.
Two steam engines were parked face to face for the final ceremony and are immaculately restored and are in working condition at the Golden Spike Museum.
The Central Pacific (“Jupiter” #60) came from the West and the Union Pacific #119 came from the East.
We finally made it to this park sign (with some much needed shade – no trees out there) showing a map of the Transcontinental Railroad track trail we just rode 90 miles on.
The sign said “Old Railroad spikes can sometimes surface and cause flat tires” – now they tell us.
Eventually the dirt turned to pavement as this video of the approach to the monument and museum shows
The parks staff and volunteers did an amazing job to preserve and maintain the site and historical machines.
They even put a show on for us giving a live demo of the #119 Union Pacific engine.
We then stepped into the air conditioned museum and had a good look at a replica of the original Golden Spike (original is at Stanford University).
Key people’s names are even engraved into the side of the spike – a work of art!
After we cooled off in the museum it was time to hit the road and drive the short distance to Brigham city for our first night.
The machine rumbled the ground as it lumbered down the rails past us.
The engineer tooted the whistle. I caught some video of it here:
It was hot out and there was no shade anywhere so we decided to motel it.
Brigham city is a very picturesque town with old brick and stone civic halls and large tall church steeples.
We had a quick shower and went out for a meal (made the mistake of trying to order a beer) and then crashed for the night.
We made good time that day, getting to Brigham city at about 5PM.
There were no incidents or mechanical issues and everybody was feeling great and eagerly looking forward to what the next day would bring.
zeegman screwed with this post 02-17-2012 at 11:45 PM
Reason: Needed to add props to Tony Heugel