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Old 05-18-2010, 02:47 PM   #1
chaos616 OP
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Blank

You probably clicked on this link out of curiosity, I know I would have. Who the hell names a ride report "Blank." I do I guess. I suppose it is fitting though, this report is not only a ride report, but somewhat of a life report.

I have graduated college. Alright, I already lied, I will graduate in July with a B.S. (we all know what that stands for) degree in Geological sciences. Seems as though I like rocks or something. I also like rock music and motorcycles. I am not jumping into graduate school right away, need a break...some thinking time.

What does graduation means anyway. I guess I loose my job at the Planetarium, I am now trainable (fooled them), and I must choose for myself the best path to pursue...ha. So how do I choose that path. Well, I decide to take 3 months and do whatever the hell I want as long as its not a job or school.

I have a geology field camp for 6 weeks in Utah. I am taking 2 weeks off to "get there," and 6 weeks afterward to drive around on my motorbike with my significant other, my less troublesome half. This is my report of what will happen in the next three months starting June 1. I may come back when I am done, I may not {que dramatic music and walking off in the sunset...or something}.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." quote - Robert Frost

I hope Mr. Frost was a smart guy, at least smarter than me.
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chaos616 screwed with this post 05-19-2010 at 08:09 AM
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:55 PM   #2
m98
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I used to live in Houston, Texas and a friend of mine there had a degree
similar to yours, and he told me you guys were fond of sniffing rocks!

We have lots of rocks where I live......

Enjoy your summer!

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Old 05-18-2010, 03:23 PM   #3
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Enjoyed your adventure rebuilding the KLR, looking forward to the ride report and pics. Good luck and have fun.
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Old 05-18-2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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Good luck m8. Like your style...
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmym1296
Enjoyed your adventure rebuilding the KLR, looking forward to the ride report and pics. Good luck and have fun.
+1
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:29 PM   #6
chaos616 OP
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Thanks for the comments, they are appreciated very much. I don't know about sniffing rocks, I lick them :).

The KLR is pretty much finished, I am scraping together some more parts wherever I can find them. When someone tells you not to corner too hard on new tires, take their advice. I didn't break my foot, but it hurt like hell but I should be running marathons by early next week.

Day: -13
It's late, I have too much shit to finish, my foot hurts (a definite 2 or 3). I haven't ridden in 5 days (my longest stretch for some time). I suck at updating daily and all I can do is wait...pack...plan...who needs plans. I don't know how much more I can take. My life is looming, yet I cannot quite reach it.

My summer will begin with only myself; no other half yet, mostly bumming around. If we step back to last fall my bike looked like this:
Photobucket


3 months later we feel as though we have lost something:
12/27/09


We are now past this point:
4/13/10


Pictures to be up soon of my packing planning progress...lack-there-of more like when my foot feels better.
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chaos616 screwed with this post 05-20-2010 at 08:19 AM
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:42 PM   #7
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Day 1: ~370 miles, 1 qt. of oil burned, and a really sore butt. Took some pictures, and bought a SD card reader, which does not read my card, fantastic. It got better when I arrived at a family friends house, they fed me, showed me around, and we had a jolly time talking until I was the walking sleep.

...My KLR is the bane of my existance, it does what I don't want it to do and doesn't do what I want it to do. I think it does it just to get back at me for...long story short, not leaving it alone.

Riding was good...nice scenery...ok it was flat, and flat is fantastic in its own way, but flat also induces wind, and wind is not fantastic in its own way, I can say that I rode sideways pretty much all day.

Stop 1: Small creek, dirt road, had some sudo lunch for myself and the bike.
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Stop...something. Flat...very flat.
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Friends house. Thank for letting me crash and eat your food, its well appreciated.
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Day 1, not terrible, had a nice night, could have had a better day mechanically.




Day 2: 420 miles, lots and lots of flatness, 3/4 qt. oil burned, etc... Nice weather, way way too windy, wind was from south instead of north like yesterday, so I got to at least work out the muscles on the other side of my head. That was nice.

Again, mechanically frustrated, but trying to get into the trip, I have found that it is slightly difficult to do at times, especially when traveling alone. Stayed at some more friends house for two nights!!! I did a little bike investigation and checked out the school of mines. Thank you guys for letting me stay, cheers!!!


On the way to Rapid City, getting flatter and flatter and...you get the picture.
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Stopped in Pierre, found a dam, took some pictures, moved on, this was the result.
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Next stop, some bad land, or is it Badlands, whatever, it was cool. Saw some goats, beefalo, tourists, good times.
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Heading out of Badlands and into Rapid City, 30 miles of dirt, almost fell 3..4..5..who's counting anyway, it was great, some awesome weather too. Hit some of the coolest road construction ever, some almost foot deep ruts, :)
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...so the story goes. Rested Day 3, drove around check out some stuff, ate sandwiches and pizza. Good times. Tomorrow, tomorrow is the day to find out whether or not my bike is going to be a PTA, or work alright. Hit some more flat, then some mountain, then some camping, it'll be good.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:57 AM   #8
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Cool pics of the Badlands. Something I really want to see. Glad to see you are on the road.
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Old 06-05-2010, 09:19 AM   #9
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Excellent report; thanks for sharing!

One question: Is the spare tire essential for survival on your trip, or serving another purpose? No criticism and certainly no offense intended; just curious.
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:55 AM   #10
chaos616 OP
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Jimmy, thanks, the badlands are pretty surreal looking. If you get a chance to get over there, it is worth that and the black hlls.

XDragRacer, The tire is because one, I am too cheap to get a tire on the way, and 2, because that is a Mitas E09 tire, the last one left that I found in North America, so not really an option to pick it up elsewhere.

Day 4: Nice weather, black hills riding good, bike...not so good. I made it from Rapid City to Glendo, then it all went to hell. My slightly stripped valve cover bolt completely stripped out, leaving me in the middle of a cow field with oil all over my engine and riding gear. I taped it up roughly and made it back to Glendo where a decision was made to make it back to Laramie and fix it in the morning.

I never made it to Laramie, in fact I ended up in the middle of nowhere again with oil all over. I did a re-tape job with electrical and duck tape which got me to Wheatland where I missed ACE hardware by all of 30 minutes, and they didn't open again until the next day at noon. Shit...I ended up staying at the Motel 6 for 60 bucks and it is almost noon now where I will be drilling and tapping out the hole and putting in a new bolt...hopefully. It will not be stock, but I am in the middle of Wyoming and don't really care too much.

If that does not work. I will be staying in Wheatland another night and renting a truck to bring the bike to Ceder City where I can store it. Then I fix it there or get another bike or end my trip all together, we will see. I am shooting for option 1.

Looking back, not the worst breakage on the road, but it really puts a damper on your day when you are booking it down some back roads and you look down to see the engine oil on the outside of the engine

Rest stop somewhere in Wyoming, the flatness freaks me out a bit.
6-5-10

6-5-10


All hell breaking loose.
6-5-10

6-5-10


My fix, which didn't last about 20 miles.
6-5-10


Sunset outside of the hotel, was really nice.
6-5-10

6-5-10

6-5-10

Well, I will update when I can next, but I need to go and hopefully fix my bike. Cheers and thanks to all who are watching this thread.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:37 PM   #11
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great pictures keep them coming
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:29 PM   #12
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Alright, so I have decided to redo my thread a bit to make it more flowing and continuous instead of choppy. I will write in the past tense due to the thread being a post trip thread from banff on and my edits.

My Sunday started slow due to me having to wait for the Ace to open at noon. Once it did open I was one of the first customers in the store. I walked in and asked if I could take over the store for a bit until I fixed my bike, they said sure, so the hunt was on for a fix. I and one of the Ace ladies spent some time looking at different bolt options. The problem was the next size larger bolts in both metric and standard was too big, and they didn't have any metric helicoils for the bolt that I had. We even considered using the wrong helicoil in the hopes that it would grab the bolt enough. However when looking over their taps, they didn't have any for helicoils...hmmm.

I made some calls to local shops who may be able to help me, one in particular was obviously closed, but the guy was willing to help me, he just happend to be gone for the weekend, very nice fella.

After about 2 hours we finally found a solution, not the best, but it would work. We took a compression rubber plug (it has a little screw deal that when you tighten down it compressed the rubber out to catch), and some RTV gasket maker that resists oil and plugged the hole where the bolt goes and sealed the gasket for the valve covers. The fix held for about 600 miles until I could really get it worked on in Ceder City.

Due to the rushed nature of this fix and an attempt to get out of Wyoming finally, I did not take any pictures, if you want an idea of what it was like break your bike in some odd way then go to your local hardware store and try to fix it...quite exciting I must say myself. The people at Wheatland Ace were extremely helpful, as much as they could help, so if you are passing through and need some help, stop in, you never know.

As I was riding I came upon a huge thunderstorm, there was lightning touching ground every few seconds, so I stopped and considered how much my life was worth at this point. I decided to take a gamble and hope on a dirt road which would not only bypass the storm, but also cut some miles off. The dirt road was good at first. I made it about 40 or 50 miles down and encountered something that I have only ever seen a couple times...Muck, this stuff too. The road seemed fine on the surface, but right below was a thick clay layer which stuck to my tires. It was almost impossible to ride through and my rear tire got so clogged with mud it stopped moving. I had to dig the mud out with my hands and then power my way up a hill with my new mud brake applied just to get back the 100 feet I went into it. I talked to some locals and decided to turn around and head back the way I was going to come originally. When I returned to the interstate, I decided just to take that down through Laramie which I was going to skip at first.

I was hoping to make it to Colorado by that night, however due to the late start and the 4 hours to get my bike on the road, I made it to Laramie as the sun was setting. Stopped to take a few pictures just before the great sunset...nothing like riding across Wyoming at sunset, it was absolutely fantastic.

My one stop on my rushed trip to Laramie:





So I rode my horse into Laramie sun just below the horizon and the towns "night life" zipping about. Stopped at a a gas station for gas and called my girlfriend Brittany who was just about to go to bed in Duluth. I told her I had a long day and needed a campsite, so she...after much prodding...looked up the closest place and what do you know, your friendly KOA. Now I don't mind KOA's every once and a while, yeah, you pay more, but you get a shower and some laundry and what not. I arrived so late that the office wasn't open. This resulted in my paying 20 dollars in the morning to set my tent up on a grass plot. I didn't even use the bathrooms...bad deal. But it was a nice KOA so if you used the facilities it wouldn't be so bad.

In the morning I took this picture out my tent:


I got an earlyish start to the day and was excited, because I was finally going to get to Colarado...hopefully.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:21 PM   #13
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I got on the road at about XX:XX and the weather was decent, it was nice and sunny and not too warm yet. My KLR was still burning oil...so I was still stopping every 50 miles to check it. The ride from Laramie into Colorado was uneventful, not fantastic engine failure or worse, traffic incidents. The landscape from Laramie to Colorado was very flat at first, there was more of the same large grazing tracts of land and nothing much in between towns. Once Colorado came, the mountains began to appear and soon I was riding up those hills that say 10% grade...forever, which is a concept being from minnesota where our only 10% grades last about 100 feet.

I crossed the border rode to the first town, got some gas and celebrated my victory...silently and by myself, but it was good.


Finally, the Colorado border came, not soon enough, but the landscape changed only slightly at first, then rising into mountains.




Finally some real mountains were on the horizon. Now I love the mountains. I have mostly ever visited the Montana Rockies and have been through some in Idaho and even Wyoming. Usually visiting the mountains means ski trips or summer driving trips, but I have never been in the mountains, at least not mountains like these on a motorcycle. I was excited and my KLR depressed. the KLR burns oil at a specific rate on the flatlands...1/4 qt. evey 100 miles. When you throw the KLR in the mountains, it burns even more. So alas, it was 50 mile stops which usually ended in the KLR getting practically an oil change and some choice words used on my part. My plan was to jump on the bike ride the mountains, plains, and whatever else came my way until I decided to stop. One of my first stops was right after Breckenridge at the Continental divide...I stopped, took my picture, and talked to a guy on a blue Harley from Alaska and left after relieving my butt muscles a bit.

Ahh...the mountains, sweet mountains, I like when there are deer jumping in front of me and I cannot see the next corner, feels like home.


The KLR, Continental Divide, and one of my quarts of oil stashed on the back...ahh the life.




I and my KLR where on our way south encountering more mountains and very cold weather. One of the higher passes was Monarch pass, it was a great view and it was quite cold on top of the mountain, Both I and the KLR liked it.

My highest point was...well actually I cannot remember, but one of the high ones was Monarch Pass. Elevation 11,xxx feet...happy me, not so happy KLR.






As we headed out of the mountains going south and then west, we ran into some country I am not to familiar with...desert, or at least sub desert according to my Minnesota definition of desert. It was much hotter now, lots of sand everywhere, the vegetation was few and far between with only small shrubs, scrub oak and the random tree scattered about. It was different and it was to be my home for the next couple months. :O

I ended up deciding to camp near Gunnison in southern Colorado because that way I would have time to cook...eat my can of tuna and a bun...and get my camp ready as well as attempt to write a journal entry on the computer. The eating and tent setup was successful, the journal was well...a fail. Tomorrow would be my longest day on a motorbike to date, some would say thats nothing, others cringe at the thought, I was pretty excited about it. I was to head to Ceder City where I could do repairs and generally muck about for a couple days before class started, it was 600 miles through some of the hottest country I have ever ridden...
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:16 PM   #14
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Sounds like a great way to spend 3 months and a good report for me to follow. Good luck.
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Old 07-29-2010, 11:29 PM   #15
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After leaving Gunnison that morning I took the road west, filled up with gas before too soon and was again in the high plains desert. It was hot, and it was only getting to get hotter. As I was heading west I was about an hour out of Bedrock CO, and i came upon a valley which had obviously been carved out by water. It created a huge valley and the road rand directly up the side. There were few gaurdrails to keep people on the road and there was a big drop off to the right. As I ascended the slope I eventually reached the top where I popped out of the desert valley and into green medows with flowers and houses. It was two totally different environments in which you could literally stand between them, the oddest thing I have seen in some time.

Great Valley:


Thats a big drop right over there:



Soon I was coming up on the town of Bedrock CO. While nearing town, I passed a man on an older motorcycle standing by the side of the road. I slowed to see if he needed help, but he just waved, so I continued on. A bit later the same man passed my on his motorcycle heading the same way. When I finally reached Bedrock, I saw the motorcycle in the Post office parking lot and stopped to investigate. It turned out that the man was from Australia, flew to America to buy the bike he was riding now online in Ohio and ride to the west coast where he would either sell the bike or ship the bike home to Australia. The bike in itself was unique, it was an older moto guzzi which he said worked well. He had stopped at the Post Office to send a letter home from Bedrock. It was nice chatting with him and I headed on my way. He followed my all the way to the CO, UT border until he passed me and I never saw him again.

Bedrock Post office and moto guzzi:


View from the parking lot:



After I reached highway 191 in Utah, I had two choices, go north to Moab or South into the desert. North entailed about 150 miles of interstate to finally reach Ceder City and a repetition of roads when I would leave for Park City. So I went south into some of the driest and most picturesque country our nation has. It was fiarly flat with large knobs of sandstone and clay layers shooting out of the ground, the classic southwest style. I finally reached a road that cut across to Hanksville and wasn't so sure about it at first. The road was tar, but low maintanance, and apparently not many people traveled on it, I saw very few people all day. It was beautiful though very hot.

Oil check:


Amazing scenery, much different from Minnesota wouldn't ya say..a?:





I rode until I reached Glen National Rec. Area which consisted of a huge river and further downstream a resevoir. I kept riding until I was in the real desert, with no life, no trees, harly a bush in sight. I saw about 3 people on the road and it was scortching hot. My bike was running at about 190 degrees and the temperature had to be over 100. The black aerostich suit was quite the oven at this point as I was sweating profusely. At every stop there was a store, I would buy a huge cold powerade for some energy and thirst quenching. My wrists were sunburnt and my neck was really red. It was one of the most amazing roads I have traveled, and although slightly unconfortable climate wise, it was fantastic.

Obligatory no-one-else-on-the-road picture:


Self portrait:



After a stop in Hanksville for some powerade and sunscreen it was southwest towards Bryce Canyon where I would ride by now and visit later. The scenery was a bit more green due to there being more trees than before and the temperature almost seemed to cool down, especially as I climbed.

One of the "parks" on the way with awesome rock formations:


Moving shot of these formations:




It was busy so most of these were taken on the go:







Finally it was on to Ceder Breaks national forest near Ceder City and then on to Ceder City where I had food and a bed waiting for the next 5 nights. Ceder Breaks was the area name it it was basically a mountain that had much cooler temperatures of about 60 or 70 degrees, many many trees and even some snow.

Gaining elevation and cooler temperatures:


Very interesting place to find in the middle of the desert:


And of course there was some snow:


I spent 5 days in Ceder City where my aunt and uncle both live. My aunt works for the forest service and bought me a national park pass (which came in very useful many times) for my Birthday and my uncle is director of the Utah Shakespear festival. I stayed at my aunts house, when 4x4ing in my uncle's jeep, hung around with the theatre crew, saw some petroglyphs and generally had a good time before class was to begin. I did some hiking while there as well. I hiked Byrce Canyon along with Zion and Kolob National Park and drove around and checked out the area. It was a good beginning to the trip so far and this was just the tip of the iceberg.

In ceder city...messed around a bit with my uncles jeep.


Even found some snow:



I visited Zion National Park and Kolob Park:























Climbing Angles Landing in Zion:




Here is the view from Angles Landing down, the whit thing is a bus with a tag bus on the back:





And a bit more of Ceder City:


The five days was really good, but the 13 was approaching fast and school was about to begin. I had to make my way from Ceder City up to Park City where I would be living for 6 weeks. It was to be an interesting 6 weeks with many trials and tribulations as well as lots of good times and fun to be had.
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