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Old 09-26-2013, 03:30 AM   #1
Ontario GS OP
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3 Canucks take on the Heart of the West

3 Canadians - a BMW 650, KTM 690 & KLR 685 - 27 days - 11,635 kilometres or 6,982 miles round trip



A 6 State GPS Track, 2,800 miles through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah & Nevada


We were exposed to the Parting of the Ways, the California, Oregon & Mormon Trails, Dinosaur National Monument, the Lincoln Highway, Pony Express Trail, Bonneville Salt Flats, Transcontinental Railway bed and the USA National Historic Site - Golden Spike





Andy, Warren and myself (John) enjoy the same interest in adventure travel.


In January of the this year I posted on Adventure Rider looking for anyone who had interest in a western USA dual-sport adventure trip. I organized a meet & greet to throw some ideas around and to gauge interest. 10 - 12 people attended with 3 people expressing serious interest besides me. A second meeting was arranged where Warren, Andy and myself discussed riding ability, vacation style, potential timelines and availability. We left the meeting all seriously interested in doing the Heart of the West Adventure Route and I made contact the next day with Tony Huegel of Backcountry Byways http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=845500 who owns the GPS track and administers the route.

Emails bounced back & forth from the 3 of us as the plan started to take hold, Tony was helpful with timing and planning suggestions, a 3rd meeting took place, tentative dates were set and the route was purchased. I made contact with a fellow Adventure Rider in Montana who arranged a contact for us to purchase knobbie tires for the bikes and agreed to store them until our arrival. State Benchmark Map books were ordered and I plotted the tracks on various paper maps as a backup.

Warren had a prior engagement in Alaska which, he departed in mid July while Andy & I left August 18th for an easy ride out to Montana with plans to meet Warren around the 25th. Street tires would then be changed out for knobbies, oil & air filters changed along with some sprocket changes. Craig & Lori our gracious Adventure Rider contacts hosted us upon arrival and offered their shop to complete the maintenance tasks. We truly couldn't of asked for better hosts.

Our adventure was about to begin.
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Ontario GS screwed with this post 09-27-2013 at 03:30 AM
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:33 AM   #2
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The Trip West

The KTM had left me high & dry in Upper Michigan last year but, with a new fuel pump I had renewed confidence.



On the morning of the 18th I departed out of Peterborough with plans to meet Andy in Parry Sound at 10:00 am



We drove to Brimley Michigan just west of the Sault the first day and setup camp ($17.)



We were up early but, the dew was heavy so, we poked around the campground while the tents dried out.



While in Upper Michigan, it just isn't right not to stop at the Yooper Tourist Trap for a gander.





The second night we landed in Bruce's Crossings a mere 250 miles further west, Municipal Campground $14. including hot showers!

....to be continued.
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Husqvarna TE250 (The Gator) -- 10 KTM 690 Enduro

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Old 09-26-2013, 03:36 AM   #3
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Heart of the West formerly Forever West

I would be remiss in not recognizing fellow Adventure Rider, DockingPilot of New Jersey who completed this ride in 2010 and filed an awesome ride report which inspired me to pursue this track. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=647968
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:02 AM   #4
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Hey I'm in. A buddy and myself rode parts of it in 2011 and parts of it last Fall. I have Tony's tracks too. We have yet to do Dinosaur to Salt Lake because I had a fuel pump problem that delayed us too much to get it all in.

Looking forward to your take on this route. Am interested how it went in Nevada at the end of the PE trail. We struggled with washouts in a few spots and a shortage of gas. But we made it on fumes.

-P
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Old 09-26-2013, 04:50 AM   #5
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:34 AM   #6
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A truly inspiring ride. I look forward to reading more of your travels.

RR
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Old 09-26-2013, 07:03 PM   #7
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Old 09-26-2013, 09:25 PM   #8
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:21 AM   #9
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Old 09-27-2013, 07:25 PM   #10
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Nice start.
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Old 09-28-2013, 02:57 AM   #11
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3 Canucks take on the Heart of the West

August 20th was a lazy day, heading west taking us into Minnesota on highway # 2 to just south of Grand Rapids. Initially I had followed a waypointed campground southwest of Grand Rapids on what appears to be a lake. 10 -15 kilometres off the main highway we find ourselves on a cottage road and the campground long gone! Low on gas and backtracking to Grand Rapids, we headed to the Pokegama Recreation Area which we initially decided against because it was beside the main highway with train tracks along the side. We register asking if trains regularly go by and were told they seldom do.



The day had been sunny & hot, we had purchased icy cold rehydration fluid and raced over to our site, ripped off the riding gear, pulled out the camp chairs and don't even get sat down and this rolls by:



This was the headwaters of the Mississippi River




Met this traveling couple heading to Bend, Oregon on the 21st, the trailer was a Moto Mule which he estimated he was carrying about 200 pounds of payload. I mentioned that the front tire air pressure appeared low and he advised that new tires were installed earlier that day and that the dealer had put 28 pounds pressure in the front & rear. He thought the front end was not tracking well and had planned to let a little air pressure out, while Andy & I wondered whether it was even touching the ground with all their load!




We kept an eye out looking for our fellow travelers along the way the rest of the afternoon but, never saw them again!
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:02 AM   #12
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3 Canucks take on the Heart of the West

We continued our lazy pace west as the temperature hovered in the high 80's low 90's. We tried to get on the road early so we could get off and into a campsite by mid afternoon. From Grand Rapids we drove 237 miles to Fargo, N.D., to a municipal recreation park within the city, a time to resupply, do laundry and of course rehydrate once again.

I should mention at this point that my bike had the shortest fuel range of the 3 so, after every fill-up I would calculate the mileage per tank and was averaging around 61 miles per US gallon (10% smaller than our imperial gallon). The bike has a 3 US gallon (twelve litres) fuel tank and a couple of the tracks on the Heart of the West were in excess of 200 miles without gas available. Tony Huegel suggested a minimum range of 235 miles so, needless to say I spent most of my time thinking on solutions of how and where I was going to carry the extra fuel.

On the 22nd we drove from Fargo, N.D. to Dickinson, N.D. on the interstate highway 94, about 295 miles, another hot and punishing day in the saddle. On the 23rd we drove to Billings, Mt where we stayed in the KOA campground. Interestingly after setting up and settling in, I realized I had stayed here in 2006 on my return from Alaska after going over the Bear Tooth Pass.


Check out the tarped porch attached to the bike for when it rains, this idea was brought to the ride by Andy who has used it on previous rides. It only rained for about 60 seconds, long enough to get the tarp set up but, a least we got a picture of this great idea!





Some of the roads on the plains are pretty straight.


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Old 09-30-2013, 04:37 AM   #13
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Great start John, looking forward to the rest.
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Old 09-30-2013, 04:49 AM   #14
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Would be very interested in yer experiences vis a vis any state parks you might be staying at along the way regarding facilities like showers, firewood, fees all that sort of stuff. Also, can you comment on the health insurance angle?
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by OgTheBlessed View Post


Would be very interested in yer experiences vis a vis any state parks you might be staying at along the way regarding facilities like showers, firewood, fees all that sort of stuff. Also, can you comment on the health insurance angle?
The first night in Michigan we stopped at a State Park and the price was just under $30. but, then they advised you had to also purchase some other park pass. We hit the starters and turned around! When we stayed in a formal campground, it tended to be Municipal or KOA parks. I don't think we had a campfire in a campground, just in the outback. Showers were all good and some had a laundry room.

GOOD Health Insurance is important, as you will no doubt read later on!
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