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Old 10-04-2013, 12:21 AM   #16
Vksf OP
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Hey thanks so much guys! It was an awesome trip. I wish we could have found the time to write it up as we were riding but I'm glad we are finally able to get it up now.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:37 PM   #17
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With heavy hearts we pulled out of Rawlins, Wyoming pointing south towards Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We were leaving Gary behind to face two days of hard riding back to Santa Cruz to try to make it to work on time. I had never been so glad to be unemployed. The riding in Wyoming had been my favorite thus far. I briefly considered hanging behind to post up in a small town and give Wyoming a bit more time.

Maybe it was time to trade in the DR for one of these.

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Or maybe I could better explore the high elevation deserts in this.

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As tempting as it all sounded, Colorado beckoned as did our approaching intersection with the Trans-America Trail which would see us turn west and begin the push for home.

We had been hitting occasional rain and bad weather throughout the final stretch of Wyoming, and as we crossed into Colorado the skies began to darken and we made ready to encounter the flooding and thunderstorms that had been predicted on the local news.

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Here is Rob getting ready. Being from New York, he's the go to guy when it comes to keeping it fashionable.

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As we continued south out of Steamboat Springs I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me as sparks seemed to leap from the back of Michael's rear tire.

It wasn't long before he pulled over to the side of the road in front of me.

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It was the first flat tire of the trip, and the first roadside tube change for any of us. In the hot sun with the tire warmed up it all went easy. We removed an enormous nail from the rear tire and were on the move again within 30 minutes.

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So far we had been lucky. Despite the dark clouds the rain had failed to materialize. As we pulled into a small town, parked up and began walking over to a Mexican Restaurant the skies finally opened up. The rain pounded down, and waterfalls began flowing through the ceiling of the restaurant as their outside umbrellas threatened to blow away. Dry and warm we happily sipped on margaritas, and the sun was already shining by the time we paid our bill and walked back to the bikes.

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The sunshine didn't last long unfortunately, and we found ourselves riding into a storm that would follow us all the way to Moab. With flashes of lightening all around us and the sounds of thunder we attempted to push through to good weather. I took solace in the telephone poles that skirted the road, but we soon found ourselves riding hard through empty fields, following a track on the GPS that seemed determined to wind us deeper and deeper into the storm.

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We eventually managed to emerge from the immediate lightening and rain, breathing sighs of relief as we wiped the water from our goggles and took in the beautiful Colorado scenery through the clearing skies.

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We carried on south...

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Old 10-07-2013, 10:00 PM   #18
RACINGTHESUN
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Good job guys

Living near Boulder, we got 18 inches of rain that week. Luckily I live on a hill, but many others not so fortunate.

Thanks for doing the RR
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Old 10-08-2013, 04:13 PM   #19
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Counting down the final miles of the CDR on our way to the TAT we had a few last water obstacles to contend with, made all the deeper by the recent rain.

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I went a little deep on one of them pulling water into my airbox and stalling the bike.

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Here we are at the intersection of the CDR and TAT.

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It felt great to finally be riding the TAT. It was really a desire to ride the western portion of the Trans-America trail that had served as the original impetus for the trip. Riding through aspen forests we were excited by the prospect of finally climbing over the rocky mountains and getting a chance to see the high mountain passes of Colorado that we had all heard so much about.

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Climbing a fun rocky trail we rode upwards towards Marshall pass. So far the bikes had been handling the elevation without too many issues so long as we kept our air filters clean. Mike's chain on the other hand was not doing well. He had lost the majority of his chain guide, and the chain seemed to be stretching - getting looser on a daily basis. Now tightened as much as possible, he was having problems keeping it on the sprockets as we bounced along over the rocky terrain. Our tires were also all severely worn, and we were anxious for Moab where we had parts and tires waiting for us.

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We rode late to find a suitable spot to sleep that would put us within spitting distance of the passes that would see us across the Rockies.

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Setting out the next morning we rode hard for Cinnamon Pass winding in and out of a long line of jeeps and quads as we steadily gained elevation. This was undoubtedly the best day of riding so far, with fun trails, epic vistas and mind blowing scenery.

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Old 10-11-2013, 12:39 PM   #20
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Cinnamon Pass was the first of many. We still had California Pass, Hurricane Pass, and Ophir Pass to look forward to.

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Does it get better than this?

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Climbing to the top of one of the passes. I think this may have been California ?

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We finally made our way to the top of Ophir Pass. The coolest of them all in my opinion. We almost lost Rob to the small town of Ophir - a place he wanted to move to immediately.

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The road coming down off Ophir Pass was spectacular. You can see a FJ climbing the narrow road in the opposite direction.

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Old 10-12-2013, 05:01 PM   #21
rpet
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so good
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:39 PM   #22
fanatic291
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Keep the pictures coming. What an adventure.
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:26 PM   #23
Vksf OP
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As we dropped out of our last high mountain pass, we took a break to eat lunch super excited by the days riding. Although we had been looking forward to hitting the passes, they exceeded our wildest expectations, and though still a bit dark and overcast, we had pulled through them with relatively good weather and the bikes running smoothly despite the high elevation.

Pushing on from the sparse and beautiful passes we found ourselves climbing through lush, rocky, forest roads. Still wet from the recent rainfall, we plowed through mud and pooled water having fun.

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Riding fast, it felt great to let the bikes skitter over the rocks, and get loose through the mud. Eventually they started getting a bit too loose and my bike disappeared from under me sending me flying.

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Bruised but not broken, I picked up the bike and we ventured on. The mud got thicker and thicker and we slowed almost to a standstill as it became impossible to get traction. It felt like riding on ice. Mud caked our already worn tires and was impossible to knock off. None of us had ever encountered such sticky thick mud, and it became the most frustrating slow riding ever as we crept forward.

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And then it started raining ....

The roads turned to rivers, the mud continued and our bikes went down with increasing frequency. Not that fun.

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After what seemed like a very long time we descended out of the forest hitting a gravel road. Although we had intended to push on farther and camp, I was spent, bruised and my bike was not happy. Mike was still having problems with his chain, my bike was having electrical issues, and we were all freezing cold and tired. We charged into town and happily checked into the first motel we encountered.

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The next morning saw us feeling much better. We spent a few hours giving the bikes some love and then jumped back onto the TAT.

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One of the things I most enjoy about riding is watching the landscapes slowly change mile by mile. Crossing from Colorado into Utah certainly didn't disappoint.


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Riding hard, we were anxious to get to Moab. Our bikes needed tires and a few parts that were waiting for us. We also planned to take a few days to enjoy the national parks and surrounding riding.

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We knew we were getting close when we started hitting the very characteristic beautiful Utah landscapes.

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Finally pulling into Moab, we gassed up, gorged ourselves on good Mexican food, replenished alcohol stores and then went to find a nice, beautiful, isolated place to camp above town.
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Old 10-19-2013, 04:06 AM   #24
RedDogAlberta
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Outstanding! More please.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:25 PM   #25
Vksf OP
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Our phones all vibrated simultaneously as emergency alerts warning of flash flooding in the area were sent out repeatedly.

Sitting at the top of a large rock high above the desert floor, pretty far from sober, we quietly took in the impressive lightening storm that was raining down on the desert immediately surrounding us. Although the wind was building, and dark menacing clouds were beginning to blow in on top of us, so far we seemed to be in one of the only patches of decent weather.

As the first raindrops finally began to fall on us, we decided we better make a hasty retreat back to the camp. Our tents were only half set up, and Rob scrambled to put a fly on his tent while Mike hunkered down in a shallow cave afraid to try to set up his ultra-lite tent for fear that it would blow away.

An hour later I lay in my tent as a river flowed under it threatening to wash it away. Mike's sleeping pad danced around in the air 60 or 70 feet over our heads after being ripped out of his hands by the wind, while Mike himself stood in the middle of the torrent afraid to take shelter in the shallow cave for fear of lightening. Rob sat with his tent balled up under his arms uselessly - after running to rescue it before it washed away. Our bikes had hastily been moved to higher ground, for fear that they would sail away down the rapids that had formed on the road they were parked on.

All in all it was a long, wet, exciting night that ended with Mike making a run for it into town to check into a motel, and Rob and I wet and tired walking through the wreckage trying to reclaim lost items.

After reconvening in the morning and drying out our stuff, we hastily rode into town to check into a motel, and drop our motorcycles off at the shop for a tire change.
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Old 10-20-2013, 03:27 PM   #26
WYO George
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Great RR, can't wait for the next installment!
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:20 PM   #27
Vksf OP
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With fresh tires we set out to see what Moab had to offer.

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It was already a bit late in the day, so we decided we'd take a spin around Arches.

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As darkness set in, the most amazing lightening storm I have ever seen could be seen on the horizon. This was as close as I got to capturing it before my camera ran out of batteries.

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We headed back into town planning to check out the Canyonlands the following day via the amazing 150 mile long White Rim Trail.

We checked back into our motel next to these fellow adventurers.

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We woke up uncharacteristically early to sample the continental breakfast hoping to start the trail before the worst of the heat set in.

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The ride into Canyonlands was pretty unreal.

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Finally on the White Rim Trail proper we enjoyed a day of fun and varied riding encountering everything from mud, to slick rock, to loose sand.

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Did I mention that we encountered a few canyons along the way.

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All in all it was an amazing day of riding. We saw two trucks the entire day, and had the park to ourselves. As much as we loved Moab and would have loved to check out more of the trails, our schedule was getting tight. Rob had to make it home in time for a flight back to New York, and we were anxious to get moving again on the TAT.
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Old 10-21-2013, 11:15 AM   #28
garnaro
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holy crap. I cannot believe I missed this half of the trip. anybody wanna do it again?
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:28 PM   #29
Vksf OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garnaro View Post
holy crap. I cannot believe I missed this half of the trip. anybody wanna do it again?
You definitely missed a few of the highlights! We'll have to repeat it when you get back from Africa.
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:57 PM   #30
rpet
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There is no "do it again."

We are always doing it.







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'76 Xl250 '04 XR250R '09 DR650 '10 TR450
Ride The West - OBDR, CDR & western TAT - July 2013
Instagram with plenty of bike pics.
Read my homie's underway Africa trip RR - Round Africa with a Surboard
WTB: Clarke tank for DR650 for cheap - any color but blue.
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