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Old 10-10-2010, 08:00 AM   #1
hayduke.klr07 OP
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Location: Black Hills, West Dakota
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Tour de Wyoming IV

Eight days and 1400 miles of backcountry touring in Wyoming. Eightyfive percent of the time in the dirt or gravel. Big Fun.

Four good friends, Shep, Gus, Daryl, and myself, have been waiting for Tour de Wyoming IV since last year’s (you guessed it) Tour de Wyoming III. The only thing that could make it better would be a fifth friend! His name? Swing Boss.

The Saturday morning start seemed a little cool and damp in Rapid City. But since we are “adventure riders,” it didn’t make a difference. As we climbed into the Black Hills, to meet up with the rest of the group in Custer, I began to wonder if it did make a difference.

We rolled through Hill City, the bank thermometer pointed out that it was 35 degrees. That would explain why it felt to so damn cold besides being wet. We made it to Custer and said, “Boys, it is cold and wet out there.” We knew that the farther west we went the warmer and drier it would become. A few cups of coffee and a top off to the tanks and we were off, looking for “adventure.” We made it a solid 40 miles to Newcastle. As I pull off my helmet, I said, “Boys, it is still cold and wet out there.” Being ‘master of the obvious’ is one better traits.

We make it to Wright, Wyoming and guess what, still cold, not quite as wet. Twenty miles farther west and it was like someone flipped a switch! Sunshine.

We ride asphalt all the way to Kaycee, fuel up, and head for the Mayoworth Road. This will be the first gravel (RGH, ranch gravel hell) and soon to be dirt of the trip.

We climb into the southern Big Horns via a whole bunch of switch backs to the Slip Road. Twisty windy dirt roads across the Horns!

We decide the Otter Creek Vee Road seems to be a good choice for dropping out of the mountains. We pass big herds of sheep and realize that the herds are being brought together to pull them out of the mountains for the season. We drop down the Otter Creek road and hit asphalt. Now we are at a cross roads. Swing Boss, who doesn't experience warm temperatures much reveled in the warm temps.

Our plan was to overnight somewhere near Thermopolis, still a whole lot of RGH away. Crossing the Horns had taken longer (it always does) than anticipated and Ten Sleep was a mere 20 miles to the north. Gus and I had overnighted there last year during TDW III and knew there was a great campground walking distance to beer and dinner. Sounded like a great plan. We wanted the itinerary to be loose so there it was. We spent the night in the “bunkhouse” and planned out our next day since our planned route had gone out the window.

hayduke.klr07 screwed with this post 10-13-2010 at 08:52 PM
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Old 10-10-2010, 08:10 AM   #2
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Sounds like fun!!
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:40 AM   #3
hayduke.klr07 OP
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Day Two

We leave TenSleep via the Old Tensleep Hiway heading west towards Worland.

The plan is to head west on the Cottonwood Creek road to Blondy Pass via the Owl Creek road. The map showed plenty of switchbacks on a 4wheel drive road. Looked good. RGH led us to our first good stop for the day, Legend Rocks Petroglyph site. The gate was closed so parked and walked a needed ˝ mile to get there. Not a big area but the glyphs were pretty good. A bit of vandalism over the years but cool carvings.

We move on looking forward to Blondy Pass. We finally figured out which road was the Owl Creek we passed a sign saying “Wind River Indian Reservation. No Tresspassing without permit.” After some debate on how to proceed, we head east. The Wind River Reservation is pretty big and the only way around it is back to Thermopolis via asphalt (which we were trying to avoid). Our next goal was Dubois, this threw a pretty decent detour into our ride. We wish we had realized prior to the ride that all a person needs is a fishing license ($30/day) to gain legal access to the reservation. The thirty bucks seems steep but as most reservations in the west income opportunities are pretty limited. Next time we head out that way the plan is to buy the permit and ride the whole day instead of just passing though. There is a lot of potential for some pretty big loops.

The upshot of this detour and saving some ride time (though more mileage), it allowed us to take in the mineral hotsprings in Thermop! I would have called them warm springs on this day but it still felt pretty good.

I’ll tell you the KLR is the motorcycle for what we are doing but I am not a fan of it on the open road.

Although we were on the asphalt there were some great views, the light was really nice.

We make it to Dubois and our cabin at the Crooked Creek.
We walk in to check in only to be greeted by a bunch of drunk “American warrior archery” guys. We look like we are from the future in our riding gear and these folks are wearing camo, camo, and more camo. Some of it still had the tags hanging off of it. It was pretty funny. We shower up and go back to the lodge for some chow. Really good food and plenty of it, enough for breakfast in the morning. Nothing better than a cold burger and coffee for breakfast.
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:25 AM   #4
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Daryl or Swing Boss needs to post up a photo of riding the giant Jackalope.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:49 AM   #5
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Day Three

Union Pass here we come. Today’s goal is Lander via the pass. The route essentially circles the Wind River Range. We were told that Lander to Lander would be a big day, we figured by cutting out the 80+ miles of asphalt at the beginning of the day would help. This just allowed us to get off the major route and ride smaller loops on smaller roads and still make it a big day. This was a great plan for the most part.

It was a chilly start from the Crooked Creek but the sky was blue and we knew that there was some great country to look forward to. We ride major Forest Service roads to gain the pass.

If a person were just to the ride the loop you would be on major gravel roads passing two tracks wondering “where does that go?” Our plan was to take some of those tracks that kept us in the same general direction but would put us in the dirt and add mileage. Good call.

We didn’t see any bears but we did see tracks running down the middle of the trail. We probably passed deer, moose, elk, bear, zebra….I didn’t see any of the above. I was riding and having a blast just focusing on the riding. The trails we were on had recently had been used as logging roads and were in kind of rough shape. There were some areas of deep ruts, albeit dry, but deep.

The aspens were pretty much in full color. We couldn’t have planned the weather and color better. The days were warm and clear, the colors and views were spectacular.

We finally exit the dirt and hit gravel. Shep and myself were ahead of the rest of the group, we pull off the road and helmets to grab a snack and wait. We wait and wait. We knew that they couldn’t have missed a turn, there weren’t any. Someone could have had a mechanical or piled it up? We thought about heading back up the hill but the three of them are mechanically savy. Twenty minutes in we were starting to get worried but we heard the thump coming down the hill. “Ah, there they are.” The three pull up, dismount and one started to hobble around a fair bit. From the story, we learned that Gus had a pretty decent get off in the ruts. Our entire group had picked up the pace a bit through this last section. Here is the quote…”I came into the ruts a bit too hot, I guess I had a little too much Ricky Bobby in me.” Gus’ bike was still rideable, some broken plastic, turn signal, bent handlebars. The bike came out of it better than Gus did. You could tell he was in some decent pain, primarily his right knee. Gus is a tough old bird, the only thing he could do in mount up and ride to Pinedale. Fortunately, it was easy riding. We get to Pinedale, find some good eats and rest up a bit. Gus’ knee, by now had swollen up to the size of a small melon. Not good.

We still had a fair bit of riding to get to Lander, like about 150 miles of dirt. We stop with some frequency for that leg to get a stretch. The stops get more and more frequent. This really isn’t looking good. We are riding the Lander cutoff south of the Winds. Absolutely beautiful.

It was hard to take it in worrying about Gus and his melon. I’m betting Gus was more worried. After miles and miles of really great super speedway county road we hit the asphalt south of South Pass.

More stretching of the knee. It is getting really stiff by now. Gus, the tough old bird, is being a trooper. You could tell he was hurtin. We make it 40 miles south of Lander, pull off for a stretch. Gus pulls up the pant leg and the four us collectively say, “Dude, that looks bad. You are done riding for the day.” I ride down the road farther to get cell coverage and call for a medical and motorcycle evac from our good buddy Scott who lives in Lander. An hour later Gus and his moto are loaded up and heading for the ER in Lander. I’m just sorry I missed getting to help take off his boots and pants and getting him dressed in some street clothes. OK, maybe that worked out pretty well for me.

We all make it to Lander and go straight to the ER. There was nothing we could do for him at this point. We did the only thing we could do, have delicious pizza with some of the friends we had come to see. The short of it? Nothing broken, just a really bad bruise and fluid buildup behind the kneecap. Yea, just the size of a small cantaloupe.

hayduke.klr07 screwed with this post 10-12-2010 at 07:27 PM
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:10 PM   #6
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Day Five

Day four was to be rest day in Lander working on bikes and visiting friends and it was save for Gus looking at a jacked up knee. The only real option for him at this point was to think kindly of the Lander Bar as the rest of us planned out the route for the rest of the trip.

Day Five

We leave Lander by heading out through Sinks Canyon where the Popo Agie (pronounced: poe poe zhuh) River sinks and rises down canyon. We take the Loop Road and after about 30 miles we pop out on the highway where Gus had his evac two days prior. We are heading out in the Great Divide Basin.

The Continental Divide splits in southern Wyoming creating one big ass basin. We are heading towards the Oregon Buttes a landmark on the Oregon Trail.

One of the cool things about this area is there are multiple trails that wind through this country. A few of the trails are marked with 4x4 posts or concrete markers showing the way across this desert. It’s pretty cool to ride up on one of these markers to see that you are on the Pony Express or Oregon Trail.

(this is a photo from Tour III)

We pass the buttes now in route to the Killpecker Sand Dunes, largest active sand dunes in America, second largest in the world. I personally am afraid to take my big fat fully loaded KLR into that sand. Shep and Daryl “rode” the dunes by chugging through about 100 yards of it. That’s more than I can say.

We had been chasing the clouds all day and get sprinkled on a bit here and there nothing major. This is fortunate because I am pretty sure we would NOT want to be on these roads in a full on rain. Not afraid of getting wet but I am afraid of mud. Especially deep slippery types of mud. We get lucky! For a awhile.

We continue heading south for Rock Springs and all points south. We pull into town to a light rain. Our plan is to head south out of town and head east through pretty much the middle of nowhere. More “roads” than a person could hope for. It was damp but not bad. Then it started to rain and it started to get slick. We’ll pull off and camp at the first good spot. Problem was there were no good spots. The grass was sparse and the mud was a sticky mess of bentonite or Natrona or some shit. Nasty. We press on in the light rain. We fortunately gain a bit of elevation and another geologic layer putting us into some sand and Pinyon Juniper. It looked like heaven. We take the first trail off to the right spot. We are not the only people who didn’t want to camp down in that mess. We found a great spot, the rain let up and life was good. We ended up getting about 4 hours of rain which concerned us for tomorrow but that was tomorrow. For now we are good.

We found the fire ring in place. On the top of the hill there was another campsite that was completely trashed (jackasses) but swingboss found himself a seat to get himself a little tipsy in.

If you are in the market for a solo tent I can fully endorse the Sierra Designs Zolo1.

Tomorrow all points east. Well at least Battle Mountain, Bridger Peak, and Saratoga.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:20 PM   #7
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Great ride report, thanks for sharing
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:28 PM   #8
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You guys ever up by Cody give me a shout. Got a few guys with KiLr's up here that would love to ride!!!!
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:58 PM   #9
hayduke.klr07 OP
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will keep it mind. talking about a northern route next year. Tour V will be coming!
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:34 PM   #10
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Wonderfull photos. I really hope to make it back out there with time to really just explore the state someday. Safe travels
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Old 10-13-2010, 03:52 AM   #11
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Great ride! Thanks for the report and pics!!
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:34 AM   #12
Iron Tiger
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All Right..
Thanx For Sharing Your RR..
Pray, Work & Ride...
Our Journey Must Go On...
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:37 AM   #13
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Nice ride

Very nice ride. If you're ever in the Casper area, give me a call.
"Having an adventure shows that someone is incompetent, that something has gone wrong. An adventure is interesting enough in retrospect, especially to the person who didn't have it; at the time it happens it usually constitutes an exceedingly disagreeable experience."

"Life is a limited time offer... Live deliberately. Ride often."

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Old 10-13-2010, 04:59 PM   #14
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Notice the pile of wood in the campfire photo. Swing Boss, and I were left out in the rain to finish the beer while Chris and Daryl holed up in there tents. At one point we had the brilliant idea that if we got the fire burning hot enough the rain would evaporate before it reached us. Good work on the report Hayduke.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:25 PM   #15
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Thumb Making me homesick...

Man, I love the smell of sagebrush in the autumn rain! I grew up in Worland, but only discovered motorbike travel in Africa... you guys probably rode right past my dad's Angus pairs when you dropped in on the Otter Vee. I'm eager to do a tour of home after seeing these WYO ride reports. Keep them coming!

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