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Old 06-15-2013, 10:34 PM   #77
Near Normal
Joined: May 2013
Location: North Georgia
Oddometer: 140
Day Ten

Tumbleweeds and sand west of Liberal, KS

Day Ten
Liberal, KS to Trinidad, CO
It was going to be a long haul today, dipping back into Oklahoma, cutting through the northeastern corner of New Mexico, and finally into Colorado. The winds had died down, and the temperatures were forecast to be around 8 degrees cooler than the previous day. West of Liberal, I was back riding on “the grid” across the Oklahoma Panhandle. These were mostly through farm and ranch land, but there were the occasional desolate sand, brush and tumbleweed sections as well. I had to work the little Toad’s clutch hard through some of the deeper sand, and had to stop more than once to remove the tumbleweeds that stuck to the bike. Scattered along side of the trail were numerous large water pumping machines for the fields that were cultivated. I was shocked when I passed by the first one. They are so incredibly loud; I thought I was being buzzed by some sort of aircraft! They are powered by what looks like large V-8 engines with open header pipes. I guess there are few people out here to complain.
The TAT has an interesting little twist (literally) just outside of Elkhart, KS on this leg. In drier farming areas, crops are often watered by large overhead sprinklers that travel in a circular pattern from the center of the field. The TAT is routed around the perimeter of one of these types of fields. I would have thought I was lost, wandering aimlessly through the middle of alfalfa field if the GPS had not told me differently.
In Boise City, Oklahoma, it was time to re-jet the carburetor on the Toad. The elevation here was about 4,000 feet, so it was necessary to drop the main jet from a 160 to a 150 to get Mr. Toad running cleanly again.
West of Boise City, I finally passed into New Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail. I truly felt like I had made it to the western portion of the country as I gazed on the red sandstone mesas and passed through numerous horse and cattle ranches. The antelope crossing the road became more numerous, and I watched in amazement as they would fall to their knees and skid under the fences from a full gallop like a baseball player sliding into home plate.
People who live on isolated dirt roads and see little traffic have a tendency to park in the middle of the road at times. It can get exciting when Mr. Rancher, who is off doing a chore, parks his dually in the middle of a blind corner. This happened to me twice in this segment.
There are no gas stations in route between Boise City and Trinidad. This is over 160 miles. The Toad made do with an extra 2 gallon can bungeed to the rear rack.
Today the Toad traveled 301 miles, burned 6.2 gallons of gas, and 23 ounces of injector oil. The Rockies loom in the distance and we will see if the Toad is up to the task.

Ring around the circular field, near Elkhart, KS
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