This whole thing started like so many other hair brain ideas, around a campfire. It was early November, 2012. My buddy Anthony and I had been riding dirt bikes hard all day, and were camped on a bluff at Westwater, UT. The conversation eventually turned to our next big adventure on the “big bikes” – we both ride KTM 990R’s
. After numerous suggestions, I mentioned that I had read a really cool ride report from Docking Pilot about a new route called the Heart of the West created by Tony Huegel aka byways. The route was made up of fairly easy but remote tracks in a loop through CO, UT, NV, ID, MT and WY.
Docking pilot was obviously very impressed with the route and wrote an incredibly detailed and inspiring write up. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=647968
We both agreed that this was something we should look into.
As the winter rolled through, I re-built my 990 after a high speed incident with a now deceased deer.
I then started to research more about the Heart of the West route and contacted Byways with a brief PM
. I had met Tony in 2009 in Dinosaur CO on the side of the road. I was on my way up to Canada to begin a North – South CDR ride on my old 990 Adventure, and he was on his way south to meet up with some buddies to ride the TAT on his KLR650. He pulled over and we had a brief chat. He emailed me back quickly and he remembered our meeting. He answered all my questions and sent very detailed information about the route
. I was in, and was going to happily purchase the route from him. I wasn’t quite sure when I was going to be able to do it, but I would do it sometime this year.
After a few smaller rides in the Spring, I got busy with work for Summer
. I was hoping to ride the Heart of the West in July, but after talking with Byways, we decided that the incredibly hot temperatures we were having alone were enough to dissuade me from riding – especially as I would probably be going solo because Anthony could not get any time off work.
A few days later, Byways contacted me and said that he had been contacted by a guy called Stan who was also considering doing this ride with a buddy, and they were going to start after the KTM Rally in September. That could work. While I am generally reluctant to embark on a 3000 mile off road trip with complete strangers, I received Stan’s contact info from Byways. After a long phone call with Stan, he mentioned that he was doing a 2 week ride around CO and would be coming to Aspen for a day, so we set up a quick lunch date.
Anthony, Stan and I met in late August and immediately hit it off. We exchanged lots of war stories, and it seemed that we all had similar riding experience and skill levels. More importantly, we would all be riding the same bikes - which should help out with equipment, parts etc. It was decided that we should set a firm date and get this thing rolling. Byways has obviously put a great deal of time and effort into this route, as his notes were very detailed complete with good – great campsites, scenic loops and historical points of interest.
While I am certainly not talented enough or thorough enough to compete with Docking Pilots awesome report
, this is my attempt to cover my experience on what is sure to become one of the “big” adventure routes in North America – the Heart of the West. Hopefully my travel partners will be able to chime in with their insight.