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Old 11-21-2010, 10:10 PM   #1
dirtmucker OP
Joined: May 2008
Oddometer: 53
MXoN Ride (Redux)

I screwed up and did not change the font color--first post. Sorry. Here it is again.

I apologize that this has taken a long time for me to post but if you are a motocross fan, you know the Motocross of Nations is held in a different country each September. This year, three riders each from 42 nations gathered in Lakewood, Colorado just outside of Denver in order to decide who the fastest riders in the world were on September 26, 2010. I also apologize for the clarity and size of the pictures. I will up the resolution on future posts.

Being a motocross fanatic, I decided that I wanted to see the race (this would be my third MXoN)) and that I would ride there on my DR6560. I have one friend who would be up for that kind of ride and that guy is Neil Hanson. Neil purchased a KTM 950 just a few weeks before the ride. We both worked feverishly to ready our bikes for the trip. The idea was to motorcycle camp as much as possible. Being new to camping from the back of a motorcycle, there was quite a bit of planning and research to do. Other prep on my bike included mounting a windshield, changing the front sprocket to a 16 tooth and changing out my Kenda K270’s for K571’s. We installed Rox risers, and Race Tech went through the suspension, complete with Gold Valves and Emulators. My biggest concern was my butt. Nearly 2,500 round trip miles from SoCal to Lakewood, CO. on a stock seat was not going to happen. Fortunately, we have a local firm in Lake Elsinore called XPC Seat Systems that reworked my seat just before the ride.

Neil and I met at Meadowbrook Market on Hwy 74 at 6:30 AM on the 20th. Being a camping novice, I must have done at least three repacks before I got the essentials on the DR. Neil had told me that he was a real minimalist in packing for trips. He had purchased a Wolfman dry bag set up for the trip. From the looks of his set up, he was far from a minimalist. He used everything he had packed at some point on the trip and even loaned me some cold weather gear that I ended up needing for the Colorado passes.

We headed up the I-215 to the I-10 East and caught the 177 at Desert Center and went north the 62 which took us east to the 95 and north to catch I-40 just outside of Needles. It was 107 degrees in Needles. It wasn’t long before the I-40 gained some altitude and lost the temperature. Just 469 miles from home, we reached Flagstaff, AZ to spend the night with Neil’s parents, Carl and Shirley.

Our bikes got to spend the first night on the road in the comfort of Carl and Shirley’s garage while we got to eat some of Shirley’s delicious home cooking and sleep in comfort. A pic of Carl, Shirley, and their bouncing baby boy, Neil and, of course, the DR and the 950:

My butt fell in love on September 20, 2010! I can’t say enough for the XPC. The 469 miles passed comfortably. Later in the trip, we did 570 miles in one day. Between the seat, the new suspension mods (worked on the road to make turning and braking stable and predictable) and the newly installed windshield, I was a happy camper, literally.

The next morning, we enjoyed one of Shirley’s most excellent breakfasts and then Neil worked on his bike for several hours. This guy is a hopeless farkler but does install some cool stuff. He defends his farkling by arguing that he actually rides his bikes after he gets done farkling. Some farklers never leave the garage. We rode up the 89 by the San Francisco Mountains and through the Painted Desert. The scenery was interesting but nothing compared to what was coming up.

We took the 160 toward Tuba City. Our original intent was to take the 163 through Monument Valley and then end up at Anath to take the 100 miles of dirt road along McElmo Creek to just outside of Cortez, CO. Our late start and the lack of camping on Indian nation land caused us to stay on the 160. This was our major chance to ride a stretch of dirt on our trip but we have to save it for another day. We did stop at Four Corners Monument where the borders of four states meet at a single point. Here is a picture of Neil at the magical spot. I was going to have my picture taken with my butt in four states at the same time but there were women and children present.

We rode on to Cortez and found a KOA campground. After finding a place to eat, we set up camp and got a good night’s sleep until rain on our tents woke us up around 5:30 AM. We stayed in our tents until around 8:00 when the rain stopped long enough to allow us to break camp.

Just as we got back on the 160, the rain came back with a vengeance. It rained steadily to Durango. By the time we got there, I had experienced a “wardrobe malfunction”. My jacket had leaked at both elbows and one knee was wet. Neil had left one his zipper jackets open and floated his cell phone but he was otherwise dry. Our intention was to go up through Silverton and Ouray that day but two of the passes were over 10,000 feet with the possibility of snow. We “camped” at a motel in Durango to dry out. Here are our two bikes looking pretty forlorn in the motel parking lot.

The next morning, the weather was clear and chilly but our gear was dry; so we rode up 550 to Silverton. We rode along the San Juan National Forest and over Coal Bank Hill Pass (10,640 feet) and Molas Divide (10,910 feet) before we got to Silverton. A lot of the Aspen had turned and we were treated to some gorgeous sights.

We stopped in Silverton for breakfast and met a nice guy who was on a motorcycle trip from North Carolina, through the Southwest and finally to visit his daughter in Denver. The place where we ate was super interesting. It had apparently been a bar at one time. Note the iron bra. They built’em strong (women and bras) in the olden days!

We continued on over Red Mountain Pass (11,008 feet), through Ridgeway and Ouray and caught the 50 east at Montrose. It was a beautiful ride all the way to just outside of Salida where we hooked up with the 114 just outside of Salida and went north a short distance to catch the 24 to Leadville. This town’s elevation is at 10,200 feet. It is also the site of the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. My hat is off to anybody who can race mountain bikes at this altitude.

It would have been nice to stick around but Neil and I were on a mission to get to Lakewood by dark; so we cruised up 91 to catch I-70 toward Denver. We set up camp at Thunder Valley Raceway just as it was getting dark on Thursday evening.

The next morning, we went in to town to buy snacks and beer, wash clothes and then returned to the campground to relax and to watch the campground fill up. We had great neighbors at the campsite: Scott and Andy Marshall from Ohio and Erwin from Canada. It might appear that Erwin is holding a carton of something healthy but the carton is likely full of beer, from what we learned about Erwin.

The campground was pretty well filled up by Saturday morning and we watched the qualifier races in the afternoon.

Sunday was race day, and it could not have been better. Red Bull was the title sponsor and did not disappoint with color and cool sights. Even the Red Bull vehicles are ultra cool. Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard, and Andrew Short carried the day for the USA, even though we were not leading after the second race. Dungey and Shorty clobbered the field in the last moto and the U.S. had won yet another MXoN.

The next morning, we broke camp in preparation for slabbing across I-70 toward home. Neil is a business owner and was eager to get back.

There was not a lot of time for sightseeing along the way but we saw some beautiful scenery and managed to stop at Black Dragon Canyon for some pics. Utah rock formations are breath taking.

We made it to I-15 and down to Beaver, Utah on what was our 570 mile day (XPC Seat Concepts, thank you!). In the interest of saving time, we stayed at a motel and slogged through Nevada and back to Cali on Tuesday.

Lots of great sights and LOTS of places that we want to go back and explore in the future.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:01 PM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Philippines and Seattle
Oddometer: 2,511
Much better, thanks, but, this old fart read the black on gray one. I should have waited for the new and improved.

Looks like you had a good trip, once more proving that a DR 650 is a good all round motorcycle.

Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:15 AM   #3
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Looks like a great ride. I was out that way last summer but got lazy and did not make it to the 4 corners monument, I figured it wasn't really worth the ride from Durango.. Is it?
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Old 11-22-2010, 07:55 PM   #4
dirtmucker OP
Joined: May 2008
Oddometer: 53
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
Looks like a great ride. I was out that way last summer but got lazy and did not make it to the 4 corners monument, I figured it wasn't really worth the ride from Durango.. Is it?
We were going right by and it is only about a 1/4 mile off the road. I would not recommend making a special trip to the place.
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