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Old 07-05-2013, 09:42 PM   #136
mathewsturtevant OP
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more Oklahoma

Oklahoma was at first bucolic; gentle rolling hills occasionally spotted with a red barn here and there. The road itself was red dirt and sometimes covered with kudzu, but all quite beautiful. The openness was welcome after the sort of claustrophobic woods of the Ozarks. Even the dogs seemed friendlier; at one point a blue tick healer ran along road side with me in a very playful manner just happy to have the company I guess. We now had cows sharing the dirt roads. Ran over a small snake. Stayed in Pryor, cheap hotel, ate really bad mexican food. Feliz, our waitress, had raised herself after her parent's wild ways led her to being raised by another who tried to sell her into prostitution. She is going to school to study criminal justice while waiting tables. She thought a 6 dollar tip was a big deal. Made me grateful for my blessed upbringing.
It rained hard that night, for a long time. Just the week before was when the huge tornado killed 24 residents of Moore.
Next morning Adv riders John Martin? and a KIWI named Joe. John bought us breakfast and gave us the lay of the land. He said "Do Not get on trail west of Bartlesville, this rain will make the mud impassable.

We rode dirt to get to Bartlesville but is was quickly becoming a slip and slide and skies were getting more and more ominous.



When we finally made it into Bartlesville, the sky was getting really dark and kinda greenish.

Even thought we'd only ridden for a couple hours it was time to hunker down.

Yet another storm system which included more tornados. Meteorologist Mike Bettes was chasing the monster rain-wrapped tornado near El Reno, Okla. when he says the storm picked up the heavy chase SUV and threw it an estimated 200 yards.
We found out the following Monday that a Weather channel reporter/stormchaser guy died. This was serious stuff.Not a good place for three heavily laden bikes.
And the forecast was days and days of this in Tornado alley.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:03 PM   #137
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So...

With the same Tornado prone weather brewing up every afternoon, and having been warned of inevitable mud pit TAT roads.... we were left with watching bad T.v. in a $80 per day hotel or get outta dodge and uh dodge the storms.


Slabbing it isn't anybody's first choice but we had to choose safety and we needed to get quite a ways west to get out of tornado alley, So we headed to Liberal Kansas.

But first a quick stop in Ponca City for travis to get a tire. I should see if the Cycles East guys who rode the TAT backwards want to run the TAT on one of these:





In Forgan, Oklahoma this nice woman took a shine to us. A local teenager was in the convenience store and when he left he told her he loved her. I asked if he was her grandkid. she said "no, but I am close with all the kids here" Refreshing when most kids his age are trying to be gansta tough.


Liberal has limited charm:
For some rason there's this big Wizard of Oz thing there. It's weird.

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Old 07-05-2013, 10:11 PM   #138
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last bits of Oklahoma.

This state is long. The next morning we headed towards Boise city. Flat as a boring ass pancake, miserably cold, windiest riding by far. Just sucked. At one point I was thinking to myself "this is the single dumbest idea I have ever had..riding from coast to coast on little dirt bikes is retarded" I didn't see how we could possible make it across the whole continent. I felt like a kayaker trying to cross the Pacific; it's just too big. Then it got really bad...because of the smell. Huge cattle yards or pigs or something made it smell like my helmet had been dropped into a port-o-potty, but not just for a minute, it was like 20 minutes at a time, for miles and miles. Disgusting. At one point I was trying not to gag. And just when you'd think you were in the clear another yard would come up... The scenery was the worst, it was freezing and it really stank. my eyes longed for a tree, the slightest bit of topography, anything. nothing but blah.



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Old 07-05-2013, 10:36 PM   #139
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cont'd

In Boise city OK, we ate breakfast and watched a cute little parade celebrating the Spanish Trail or.. well I can't remember. But it was quaint. After leaving town and heading back out into the gravel grids in the last few miles of blah Oklahoma, I realized we were going to go over 140 miles till the next anything and I had very little water in my camel back. EEK! I told the guys to wait and turned around and went 5 miles back into town. The guys don't worry about much. I always do, and my first worry is running out of gas or water. So When I filled up my camel back, I also filled up my tank..agin just in case(turns out lots of folks run out near Trinidad, so I am glad I did). My next worry was the GPS. It was always turning off from vibration. Well, whie we we in Boise city, I rush to the library and downloaded the GPS track for New Mexico from Sam's TAT website. I never had done this before and wasn't sure how to do it, or how it would work. The previous states of Ok, Ark, MISS, TENN, GEORGIA, north and south Carolina, I had just been using maps and roll charts.
So, I'm worrying about this and that and then it occurs to me, the guys are just out on a road with zero landmarks and it's just one mile grids I wasn't really paying attention, if I miscount I am screwed, cell phones don't work and the roll charts are irrelevant because I backtracked, so now my odometer was off Every road looks exactly the same and they are all just a mile apart I had made a few turns, but which ones???? I could spend hours just finding the guys.....
but soon enough I see them up ahead and they're as calm as could be. I apologize about forgetting water and we move forward.

mathewsturtevant screwed with this post 07-06-2013 at 04:36 PM
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:46 PM   #140
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new Mexico is cool

As we near the border I see two things that make me very happy: One, just to the south there is a slight bump, maybe a volcanic tuft jutting up far away. And two, on my GPS is a red line telling me where to go!!!!!!!! The little arrow on the track just shows you where the actual TAT is!! Why in the hell did I wait till New Mexico to try this? This would have saved so much time navigating before. Constantly doubting every turn hoping the roll chart will match up with reality. Then to the north, more topography and shit, there's even curvy roads again and trees!! I was so happy within 3 miles of crossing that state line It is remarkable what just a few miles and a change of scenery can do for my psyche. Also, there were animals every where all of the sudden; Gophers, Coytotes, Antelope, deer, rabbits. We went from Mars back to earth where things can live.


up the switchbacks:

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Old 07-06-2013, 06:33 AM   #141
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critters.

Surprising thing about TAT critter wise; saw tons of snakes in Arkansas, tons of turtles in Oklahoma(all tallish land turtles heading north), cows of course, 3 coyotes, 1 bear cub, only a couple deer??? and the most numerous critter by far was Pronghorn antelope. They are funny because they won't jump a fence, so they just run along with you. they are the second fastest land animal after the Cheetah. They cook along at about 55mph when they want to. I thought they were only in prairies but we saw them from oklahoma to Oregon even in the forests. Very surprising.
Here's some snakes:

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Old 07-06-2013, 01:00 PM   #142
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subscribed..
three buddies and I also just finished riding a bunch of the CO/UT TAT (added a lot of other awesome stuff!) in mid June (see my ride report). We must have about run into each other at points. We hardly saw anybody else out riding, except of course the odd highway stretch here and there.
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Old 07-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #143
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New Mexico cont'd

This little corner of New Mexico was really something. In Texas if we had country that looked like this it would be a national park or a resort or something. But in NM, it's just another one of many similar to it. Mountains, canyons, a little stream. I really was digging it. When we reached the switchbacks near Colorado border which was the most dramatic section, my Go Pro camera batteries died of course. I have 3 batteries total but they seem to last about 8 minutes apiece. Stupid. So I just have a few stills and some video I'll post later.

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Old 07-06-2013, 09:40 PM   #144
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enjoying the report. Too bad i missed you guys in Ponca city.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:36 AM   #145
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I'm late but I'm in. Great report.
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:43 AM   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathewsturtevant View Post
When we reached the switchbacks near Colorado border which was the most dramatic section, my Go Pro camera batteries died of course. I have 3 batteries total but they seem to last about 8 minutes apiece. Stupid. So I just have a few stills and some video I'll post later.
LOL, so I also have three batteries for my GoPro, and ran into the "oops out of battery", and of course it was dead or you'd forget to turn it on during the most crazy stuff, like Cottonwood Pass, or Devil's Canyon. Sometimes the camera wouldn't record either, I think all the shaking would dislodge the chip just enough. When I was in Afghanistan, another person I went on missions with had a Hero 3 version and the battery life was outstanding compared to my Hero HD. She got an hour and a half or more of battery life.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:45 AM   #147
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go pro batteries

I have the Go pro 3 and it seems to depend on quality settings as far as battery life. Weird and not logical, but travis had one too and how lasted for a really long time. Same camera, same batteries but different settings.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:59 AM   #148
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I was with Hero 3 and every day was only problems!!!! After purchasing Drift HD Ghost no more problems!!! 3-4 hours battery life. Tagging option is the best for adventure riding. No more Hero for me!!!
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Old 07-07-2013, 07:47 PM   #149
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Colorado

Coming up was also our first town in 120 miles or so. We stopped in Branson to get our bearings, fuel up, pee. The basics. But there was no gas station, and no people. Anywhere. Weird. A swing set blowing in the wind, no children. Nobody anywhere. Richard needed to pee and since nobody was around and there certainly were no other options so he considered peeing right there on main street in from of the post office. We re- inflated my tires so I'd get better mileage to Trinidad. Again, I'd been going to reserve @160 miles and we still had a ways to go.... We later read that lots of folks end up on vapors here.
Pulling into Trinidad got gas, figured out where the actual town itself was.
We planned on staying just one night, but my ATM card had been swallowed by the machine and I couldn't get it till Monday morning.. DOH!!' However it was a good thing we stalled in Trinidad. Travis checked his oil which there didn't appear to be any. I checked mine, same thing EEEK. MY BIKE NEVER USES MUCH OIL. I guess all those 70 miles an hour running from tornados on Oklahoma highways burned through it. We probably wouldn't have checked had we not had the time.
We found a hotel the we rather liked with 3 beds. It was called Trail's End motel. It was reminiscent of a cabin.. I think. We had dinner at a pretty good pizza place:








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Old 07-08-2013, 01:05 PM   #150
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Now you are getting to the good part. Ride on!
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