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Old 06-23-2009, 08:53 PM   #1
Jedi5150 OP
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Cool2 Weekend ride to the Great Salt Lake

Well, I've got this week off work since we're going on a family vacation. But since we're not leaving until tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, I thought to myself, "why not ride out Saturday through Tuesday to visit my brother near Salt Lake City?" Besides, I had to deliver an upper receiver for an M4 carbine that I was selling him...it might have been cheaper to ship the parts, but not near as fun. I decided to become the modern day pony express.

I left home near Monterey, CA, at just a little after 0600 PST, to begin my 800 mile trip to my brother's house in the small town of Tooele, Utah, located about 20 miles west of Salt Lake City. Weather dot com told me to expect "isolated thunderstorms" as I traveled through Nevada, on I-80. I immagined that isolated thunderstorms meant that I would see them off on the distant horizon. After all, I would have to be pretty unlucky to be in the isolated spot at the precise time...right?

My route took me from the coast to Hwy 101, to 156 towards Hollister, then onto the 152 East to I-5 north, to Sacramento. From Sacramento I turned east on the I-80, which would take me through eastern California, all of Nevada, and through half of Utah. Riding I-80 from Auburn, through the Donner Pass and down into Reno is one of my all time favorite rides. I find that part of the Sierra Nevada range to be beautiful. I apologize for the absence of pictures during this leg of the trip. I'm having too much fun sightseeing to pull the camera out.

Once I passed Reno I headed out into the vast Northern Nevada desert that would be my home for the majority of the day:



I know many people find the I-80 between Reno and Salt Lake City to be ugly and boring. There are no twisties, very few trees, and lots of rock and sage brush. As for me, I think it is an awesome piece of pavement. I've never been one to shy away from a long ribbon of highway and the sheer vastness of it is beautiful. Mountain range after mountain range, and with only small pockets of civilization dotted throughout. It is one of the few places where you actually have to do math to figure out if your gas tank will make it to the next fill-up . And I love it for that.

The further east I got the darker the clouds became. I rode through a few light rain pockets intermingled with sunny spots. After riding through Winnemucca I began to see some "isolated thunderstorms" off in the distance. Then about 5 miles west of Battle Mountain all hell broke loose. The skies opened up and I rode into a torrential downpour and lightning storm. Not only was lightning flashing all around and water coming down so hard there was a 1/2 inch of standing water on the highway, but to make it more exciting this was all in the middle of a construction zone, where we were forced to travel on the shoulder of the highway. The crosswind was so strong my bike was listing about 20 degrees to starboard to maintain a steady coarse. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse the hail began. Huge chunks of hail coming down so hard I was confident I would have bruises covering my arms and legs. It was at this point that I came up to a gentleman on an R1150GSA that I'd been seeing every now and again ever since Sacramento. We both came to an overpass and took it so we could wait out the worst of the storm by hiding underneath the highway. It was unsafe to continue riding in that mess. We were sopping wet despite goretex riding gear. While waiting we made our introductions and I met Robert (I think...it was so windy and the hail was so hard we had to yell to be heard. I think that's what he said his name was ). I snapped a photo of him:



He saw my ADV stickers and told me his brother is an adventure rider forum member with a screenname starting with a "U". Rober told me he was recently transferred with work from Orlando to Salt Lake City. He was in the process of completing his first Saddlesore 1000. I told him I'd just done my first one a few weeks ago by riding to Crater Lake, OR and back. The hail finally let up and we rode on. I stopped for fuel in Battle Mountain and that was the last I saw of Robert. I hope he safely finished his SS1000.

So the adventure part of my ride began during the lightning and thunder. It is probably totally unrelated but this is when my dash computer started acting up. The "brake failure" light kept flashing on and off the odometer began adding miles REALLY fast. I counted 20 miles added in the distance of less than 1/2 of a real mile. By the time I pulled off in Elko, NV, my odometer had added about 50 phantom miles to my actual distance. And the engine died on the off-ramp. Luckily the rain had stopped. I tried and tried to restart the bike and it wasn't having it. It is a 2007 R1200GS that I've had since new, with 15k miles on it now and I'd never had any problems up until now. I disconnected the battery and reconnected it, thinking maybe the computer had to reset. Nothing worked. Two nice guys on Hondas rode up and tried to help me pushstart it, which didn't work. Thanks for trying Tim (and Tim's buddy who I regret I forgot the name of). Tim gave me his cell number and told me they were getting a hotel there in Elko for the night. He said after they'd checked in he would come back and help some more if I was still stuck. After they'd been gone a few minutes I kept playing with it some more and it miraculously fired up. I called Tim back and told him. He said he'd just asked the hotel manager to borrow jumper cables and they were about to head back to try to jump it when I called. I thanked him, he'd gone above and beyond, but now I was good to go.

I got back on the highway and rode some more. I made the mistake of pulling off the freeway near Moor, NV, to put on some warmer gear. I'm not sure what exactly "Moor" is. All I could see of it was a freeway offramp and sage brush. I kept the engine running in neutral for fear of it dying. It didn't help, when I put the bike in first gear and began to get back on the onramp it died. This time it took me about 10 minutes of playing with the master switch and starter to get it running.

I calculated the amount of gas vs distance I had left to reach Tooele. I knew I'd have to fuel up in Wendover (which is on the state line, half in Nevada, half in Utah). I ran the risk of not being able to start it but I had no choice but to fuel up. As I expected, it took another 10 minutes or so to get it started in Wendover. After Wendover I rode the last 109 miles in darkness to Tooele and pulled into my brother's driveway. I didn't know it at the time but my battery was completely dead. But at least I made it to my destination.

More in a second (and more pictures too ).

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 06-23-2009 at 09:40 PM
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Day 2 (Sunday):
After playing around with the bike and havnig no luck starting it in the morning I decided to try jump starting it with cables. Nothing. My brother has a new Kawasaki Versys, and one of the things we planned on doing was going for rides around northern Utah. I decided to try the Versys' battery in my bike. To my surprise it fired right up. The majority of the morning I spent calling around trying to find a motorcycle parts store open on Father's Day in Utah...riiiiiiiiiiiight. No luck. Finally I got the idea to try a Napa Auto Parts store. I found one in West Valley that was not only open, but happened to have one 14-BS battery. I rode the Versys from Tooele over to West Valley and bought it. I got back and after putting in the new battery my GS was good as new! My brother and I spent the rest of the evening riding around Tooele and the surrounding areas. Mainly trying out eachother's bikes. I'm in love with my GS but the Versys was fun. It's peppy, flickable and with the taller Givi screen he put on it, pretty good on the highway too. I didn't care for the stock seat (hated it to put it mildly), but in fairness, the stock GS seat is aweful too (I have a Corbin).

Day 3 (Monday):

We decided to ride up to Antelope Island, on the Great Salt Lake. After leaving Tooele we rode east on I-80 into Salt Lake City, then north on the I-15 just a little way until we were near Hill Air Force Base. Then we headed west and came to a causeway that would lead us to Antelope Island. My original plan was to take pictures of the island from the causeway but every time we pulled over we found ourselves in swarms of bugs that seemed to love the brackish water on either side of us. So I had to get the pictures while riding (thanks again to the throttle lock). Here is Antelope Island, seen from the causeway:



My brother on his Kawi Versys:




Antelope Island is quite large:



And home to some free roaming bison:



We stopped off at the interpretive center on the island and I learned some fascinating things about the Great Salt Lake. For instance the salinity near the north end of the lake is 25% and yet at the south-eastern end it is only 5%. It is an exceptionally shallow lake and during years of rain it's size can double because of the shallowness.

At the interpretive center I saw some bison that needed to follow me home (one for each of my two daughters):



We then ate lunch at a cafe on the island that sells buffalo burgers:



I didn't risk eating the buffalo burger but instead opted for the time-tested cow (gratuitous food shot):



ON the way back to Tooele my brother tested his off-hand-while-riding camera skills. Jedi5150 just outside Tooele on SR 36:



And another shot of me hamming it up in front of the camera (It doesn't look like it but we were doing about 45 MPH while this was taken):



I started my ride home that same afternoon. One more section coming...

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 06-23-2009 at 09:43 PM
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:32 PM   #3
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After saying goodbye to my brother and his family I started back west on I-80. I absolutely love riding past the salt flats. As I said before, I don't mind a long straight road. This picture is a 10 mile long straightaway. It's hard to make out in the picture but Reno is 400-something miles and Wendover (the state line) is 54 miles:



At the end of that roughly 10 mile stretch the highway turns gently right and you begin the 45 mile straightaway across the salt flats. I don't care who you are...45 miles is a long straightaway. Much of the flats were under an inch of water because of the rains the past few days. It made it look like a lake...kind of a neat effect:



My final picture of the trip (before my camera batteries died...it was not a good trip for me and batteries of any kind ) was the gas station at Wells, NV:



I rode into Donner Pass at about 10 PM and stayed in the Holliday Inn at Donner. The trip home this morning was pleasant weather (sunny and varying from 43 degrees in Donner Pass to 93 degrees near Santa Nella) and the return ride was uneventfull. All in all it made for a fun and interesting weekend. Nothing super exciting, but it sure beat a weekend of computer games and movie rentals.

Jedi

Jedi5150 screwed with this post 06-23-2009 at 09:48 PM
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:48 PM   #4
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The only cycle shop open on sunday is Cycle Gear in Draper. Haha I saw you guys on Sunday. I can't remember were but I remember the Bikes. I was a blue 06 SV100s wearing Black and white full gear with a matte white scorpion helmet.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scythe08
The only cycle shop open on sunday is Cycle Gear in Draper. Haha I saw you guys on Sunday. I can't remember were but I remember the Bikes. I was a blue 06 SV100s wearing Black and white full gear with a matte white scorpion helmet.
So now you tell me! Where were you with that info on Sunday?

That's too funny. I remember seeing someone in full leathers that color. It's a small world.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jedi5150
All in all it made for a fun and interesting weekend. Nothing super exciting, but it sure beat a weekend of computer games and movie rentals.

Jedi
Amen.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:50 AM   #7
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Fun Ride....



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Old 06-24-2009, 06:04 AM   #8
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oh dood!! all that anticipation to see you on the Salt Lake and then poof!

You owe us one
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy
oh dood!! all that anticipation to see you on the Salt Lake and then poof!

You owe us one
But then I'd have to do lots of cleaning so the salt didn't corrode the bike.
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Old 06-26-2009, 06:17 AM   #10
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I'm Robert's infamous brother in law. He told me tall tales about hail and wind and inclement weather. i guess I have to believe him now...

He arrived safely later that night and has a full appreciation of why they call it a SaddleSore 1000.
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:08 PM   #11
Jedi5150 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nabucco
I'm Robert's infamous brother in law. He told me tall tales about hail and wind and inclement weather. i guess I have to believe him now...

He arrived safely later that night and has a full appreciation of why they call it a SaddleSore 1000.
Haha, nice to meet you! Yes, it was all true. And if Robert told you that it was far worse than I described, believe him, not me.

PS- Tell him congrats on accomplishing his SS1000!
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:41 PM   #12
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Will do!!! Great trip report BTW
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:03 PM   #13
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Where is the picture of the Upper mated with it's new lower emptying some Brass?

Show us the metal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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