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Old 09-03-2009, 06:22 PM   #121
Monty
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Great report.
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:37 PM   #122
Oldmanx
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I've been late to work 2 days this week myself, reading this wonderfull report. I'm going to be out of work by the end of 1st quarter next year. This RR has me seriously considering buying a distance capable bike and taking off on my own adventure.
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Old 09-03-2009, 06:41 PM   #123
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Do it! Thats what my dad did and is doing in his retirement, except in a car. Got rid of basically everything except for a few keepsakes that went into storage, sold the house, got in his car and drove off into the sunset. If it didn't fit in the car (350Z convertable), it didn't go. I actually need to go ship him his luggage as he's planning a trip to China in November (lucky bastard...) from his new home base on an island in Puget Sound (lucky bastard...).
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:09 PM   #124
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This geological formation looks anatomical.

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Old 09-03-2009, 07:39 PM   #125
skierd OP
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Day 16 - Pikes Peak to Golden to Limon, Co

Up late-ish, mainly because the purpose of the day before and today was to take it easy and rest up for the run east to home. But first lets get high:


My dad and I went here on a trip we took when I was about 10 years old. We didn't drive up then, instead took the cog railway. Now, 16 years later, we were back to have another go at the mountain and see what changed. I also really really wanted to ride the highway after watching some videos of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb this year.

Passing the resevior



On the way up, I mainly rode and tried to have a good time when I wasn't stuck behind one lumbering vehicle or another or a herd of Christian bikers on cruisers who didn't seem to have a terrible amount of dirt riding experience, so not many pics from the way up. Except this one... getting up there!




I ended up stopping to check on one of the bikers on the way down... they had a flat tire and managed to not fall off the mountain muscling a 800 pound bike to the small shoulder. Offered to help, but none of us could figure a way to get the bike up in the air on the slope. The caught a ride with another one of the group and got a truck up to get off the mountain.


The summit!



There was also a ADV-type bike rally there that day in addition to the Christian bikers, I think Rawhide Adventures? Lots of GS's, a few KLR's and even a DR650. I was the smallest bike up there, and given the nature of the tires and the sheer amount of cleanliness on all the bikes, I had to wonder what kind of adventure it was.

The more you know?


Oh beautiful...


The song's right...



Your's truly.


So how does the bike run up there? To be honest, not as good as it did several thousand feet lower. It was definitely down on power, even compared to what it had two days prior at ~12,000 feet. Thats not to say it was running poorly, it was just weak compared to normal which is understandable. Frankly, I'm definitely not concerned with its performance anywhere in any condition now.

Coming back down


Just a little further...


More traffic...




I liked the mandatory brake check at the ranger station where they were actually using an infrared thermometer and stopping people whose brakes were over a certain temperature. There were definitely people who needed to ease the hell up and let the car roll a little as the smell of fried brakes was foul in the air. Fortunately the ranger took one look at me, chuckled, and waved me through without looking at my brakes. I guess no one's concerned about a dirt bike.

At the gift shop at mile 8? my dad and I parted ways. He was headed west to Washington after a tour through their wine region and I was headed east for home to start classes. Wished me a safe trip, wished him the same, said our goodbyes and off we went. Hopefully one day we can actually do a whole trip together instead of just a few days...

Well, it wasn't quite time to head for home yet for me though... I had a friend from high school who moved up to Golden. So, lets go get a beer! On the road


Woo, made it!


Uh... problem. Gave her a call as I got into town. She neglected to tell me that she was going to Europe, and was in the airport about to board her flight as I got there. This was someone I thought was a pretty decent friend back in the day, so this stung pretty badly and I took it pretty personally. C'est la vie...

Fuck it, lets motor. Get me the hell out of Colorado. Of course, its rush hour, and the good citizens of Denver really just don't seem to have a goddamn clue on how to drive in traffic. Eventually broke free and headed east on US 40 East, about 1500 miles west of where I had picked it up on my last trip.


On the road...


Made it as far as Limon, Co before it started getting dark. Ate dinner, got gas, and started looking for a place to stay... I was tired of hotels. I was tired of campgrounds. I ended up pulling off 40 onto a side road and found my way onto a field that had a cluster of trees and stealth camped for the first time. First time I had a perfect pitch on the hammock too, which is good considering I was hoping to be partying with a "friend" about the time I was falling asleep in some farmers field. Ah well...

And then it struck me... I really need a drink. A strong drink. And there's only one place in America I could think of going to get it.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:50 AM   #126
foobert
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Argh! Cliff hanger

Great ride report. Can't wait to see what's next.

Feelng guilty spending these hours reading your most excellent report when I shold be finishing my own from a month ago...
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Old 09-04-2009, 02:23 AM   #127
Boxall
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Great Report!

A most excellent adventure!
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Old 09-04-2009, 03:06 AM   #128
toneout
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Very good RR. I have been following this daily and its funny to know that you are already home and back to school. Here we are waiting to know where you got that drink.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:42 AM   #129
achesley
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Great report and pictures. Love the WR250. I did my first bit of TAT back in '98 on a '97 DR350SE with full camping gear and solo also. My preferred method of travel , even today. What a load. I was all over the place in the mud of East Arkansas
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:29 PM   #130
Bbasso
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Kick ass ride!
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:01 PM   #131
rocks
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Great..

Great report. Looks like the bike coped very well.
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Old 09-05-2009, 05:46 PM   #132
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Great report! Keep it up.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:33 PM   #133
skierd OP
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Day 17 - Into Kansas

This may have been my favorite night out in the field in the hammock. The weather was cold, but crystal clear all night. I was well off the road, back in the middle of a small cluster of trees in the middle of a fallow field. The ever present ebb and flow of the prairie winds gently rocked me to sleep, spent the night swaying above the tall grass and with the two large trees that comprised the foundation of my home that evening, and woke as the colors around me change from the darkness of night into the delicate shades of early morning as the sun began to creep into the sky to start the day. Got dressed, deflated the camp pad, stuffed the sleeping bag into its stuff sack, packed the hammock into the snake skins, stuffed everything back on the bike into their respective homes, and was away within about 30 minutes of the sun breaking the horizon with no trace that I was ever there. Perfect.

Have I mentioned how much I love the great wide openness of the plains yet? No? Well I frickin' love it.

Back on the highway (still US 40):


The first couple towns seemed to basically be abandoned or not open yet, unfortunate as I was pretty hungry and looking forward to stopping someplace with coffee and hot food. First place I came across with such amenities was Kit Carson, CO. The trading post was all that was open, and the only place there seemed to be, so the choice was easy.


Great food, good coffee, and really nice people inside, stop by if you're there one day. By the way, did I mention it was cold out? I had my cold layers on underneath my rain gear trying to keep warm, but the previous nights gentle winds had found new strength with the new day. Oh well, nothing to do but keep the fingers wiggling and hope for someone to turn the heat on...




Stopped at a little roadside history slash rest area.


I always think its neat that these easy to drive and navigate highways, especially the major east-west US routes follow the original trails west first blazed thousands of years ago by migrating herds, followed by the Native Americans, and eventually the first white settlers. Still, its hard to ignore the starkness and vastness of this great American landscape.



The winds were simply terrible most of the morning, coming directly from the south or slightly to the south east nearly all day. Unfortunately as US 50 East was my intended way south as US40 ends up co-signing with I-70 for much of its length, that meant a nice 60 mile jaunt south directly into it. Not a ton of pics of that transit because of the wind, but I did get off the pavement for it and pack on to the gravel/sand county roads. Fortunately it did eventually warm up into a quite nice day and I was able to pack my cold layers just before noon.

Once on US 50 I started seeing signs for Garden City that make it seem like quite the destination and seeing signs advertising the Garden City zoo. Check the Garmin... hmm I'm making fantastic time... Screw it, I haven't been to a zoo in years, lets see what they got out here.



First nice surprise: It's FREE! Second nice surprise: not only are the grounds pleasant the facilities much appreciated, they also have a ton of cool stuff.




Third nice surprise: this is a serious zoo! The Rhino:


A great sign on the lion cage:


Fortunately he was sleeping on the other side. They had a damn decent collection of very rare animals, especially big cats. Unfortunately for the cats but fortunately for the visitors, they were in pretty small pens and therefore easy to see up close. Snow leopards, several jaguars and leopards, a Siberian Tiger, a couple lions, and more. They also had a breeding pair of giraffe's, some of the few remaining Pere Davids Deer, several camels and a bunch of other cool animals from all over the world. Definitely more of an old school "Go see the animals" type zoo, it was a nice place to wander around for about 2 hours.

On the way back to the bike, I saw this memorial bench...


Thanks Darlene, I hope to.

Another neat historical marker...


Yes, that said I was standing on the banks of the historical Arkansas River. The river was no where to be seen however, as centuries of agriculture and irrigation has catastrophically altered the aqua system of the region. There was actually a large exhibit on this at the zoo describing the massive environmental impact of the farms that surround the town have in very clear and refreshingly fair and realistic terms. Kinda scary when you think about how much food this region provides for the world...

Back on the road, US 50 continues to follow the Sante Fe Trail that I had first joined south in Oklahoma and west in Colorado on the TAT.





Can you see the ruts? I sure as hell can't. Then again, I can barely imagine the courage of the folks who originally ran the trail in the 1800's.




Dodge City!


What a disappointment. They're trying a little too hard to squeeze the toursit stone there, very artificial. It was cool to see the original old building that made up the historical downtown, still there and still in use just as they were a century plus ago... filled with regular boring stores and restaurants. Not needing my nails done, a pawn shop, check casing, or chinese takeout, I kept moving.

I did eat at a cool little local bar called Kates, a little off the beaten path but great food for cheap. Beer specials were pretty good too.

Fort Dodge


More about the trail...


This wind... this devilish, demonic wind... as I came up on this...


WHY AREN'T THERE MORE OF THESE OUT HERE!?! This was the first and only wind farm I passed, but damn of the wind hadn't blown all damn day and night on the way across Oklahoma just over a week prior, and damned if they didn't blow the entire damn way from Colorado to the Mississippi. It was also sunny and beautiful the entire way (something I know isn't necessarily the the case out here always). Hell, we don't even need massive wind farms like this. Every farmer, every rancher, every homeowner out here, put up a wind generator and a few solar panels on the roof. Drastically reduce your power consumption from the grid, hell it'll probably run backwards most of the time since you'll feed in to the system. Give 'em a tax break or a rebate, I bet we'd see a massive reduction in our overseas oil consumption. Sorry to bring politics into this, but this doesn't seem like rocket science.

ANYWAYS, moving along. I'm making good time still, but with my long stop its getting dark. Only thing is... I'm not at all tired, again thanks to my stop. I hadn't ridden at night since I started this trip, with good reason. Deer, unknown potentially bad roads, etc... Now I'm on well traveled pavement, so lets motor.

Made it as far as South Hutchinson, KS, home of Morton Salt.


One of those little surprises. I knew salt was mined, just didn't know where. Now I do heh.

Ok, its late. Time to find a hotel. But not here, a little further down the road in Newton, KS. For those of you keeping score at home, I was just outside Limon, CO that morning, for a grand total of...


448.4 miles. Did I mention the bike's kinda comfortable, and is fine to ride on all day long at 60-70 mph?

Stayed at a nice Best Western, at least in terms of the rooms. The neighborhood was a bit sketchy, so I brought her inside.



Tomorrow, goodbye Kansas, hello MO!
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:37 PM   #134
gaff
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Have really enjoyed your ride report.More!!!!! More!!!!!
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Old 09-07-2009, 12:03 AM   #135
skierd OP
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Moar you say?

Day 18 - Newton, KS to Jefferson City, MO

Another long day across the plains, and unfortunately my last. Not a lot to say nor take pics of, just more of the same. Which was fine by me. :)

Some more history


Clements Stone Arch Bridge, built in 1886. Condemned and bypassed, but a beautiful structure.


Nearing the end of the plains...


Soon to be replaced with hills and the start of the Appalachians...


Another "The more you know" moment


Old US 50, the "modern" route is cosigned on the interstate a few miles north. I like the old route better


Another cool little abandoned structure by the road side.


I tried to stop in Kansas City to get some Oklahoma Joe's BBQ... but they were closed (Sunday). :( Boo hiss, its been on at least one "Places to eat before you die" list and I was really looking forward to it. Too bad, maybe next time.

Love the 8 ball water tower


A quick pit stop in Tipton



I found a campground outside of Jefferson City just about as it was getting dark. There was a sign saying it was full and reservations must be mailed in advance, and there was a sign saying fill out a slip and pick a campsite, then hand the envelope to the camp host. Hmm... lets do the latter.

Found a nice shady spot and setup. The best spot for my setup was next to a large RV, which was good because my neighbors turned out to be quite pleasant. A husband and wife team, they lived in their 5th wheel, they consulted with campgrounds and such across the country to help them run more efficiently among other things. It pains me that I didn't write down there names, but they were extremely generous in sharing some food (fresh baked beans and cornbread) with me that was simply delicious (especially added to my regular rice+fish poor boy meal) and invited me over to sit by their fire and chat after it got dark.

In the end, another decent day miles and road wise, about 350 miles. Tomorrow... time to get to that well earned drink.
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"We wish your trail a long one" - Darlene "Sid" Dowd ~ Never run out of traction, ideas, and real estate at the same time.
2008 Yamaha WR250X
Eastern TAT 8/2009 ~MD-Key West-Oklahoma 4/2011~Maryland to Alaska 3/2012
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