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Old 10-31-2010, 10:00 PM   #1
Paco Lopez OP
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Blood, Sweat, and Tags

Prologue:
It all started with just one tag... No, rewind, it started with a dream, a dream of adventure...

I had been thinking about buying a BMW GS for a few years and all the wonderful adventures it would take me on. I lurked ADVRider for months, poring over information trying to figure out which bike I should get and what I should do to it. I finally signed up and started my own thread looking for advice. Finally, early in October, 2010 I got my G650GS.

I still lurked ADV looking to see what kind of useful info popped up, keeping an eye on my thread, and trying to figure out if "JESSEJAMES" really is the Jesse James from TV (I'm convinced he is). Then I stumbled across the Northwest CT tag-o-rama thread, got my first tag (which was a relatively straightforward affair considering I had no idea where it was) and started what I'm sure is going to be a long and horrible addiction.

These are the ongoing chronicles of my tag hunts.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:01 PM   #2
Paco Lopez OP
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Chapter 1: October 28, 2010

It was a Wednesday. I got a PM from V84x4 mentioning that he and GHOST RIDER ? were going for a bit of a ride the next day and asking if I would like to join them. After careful consideration I declined... but decided to go anyways at the last minute.

At the designated time and place (New Hartford, 12:30pm) V84x4 and GR? showed up with a Suzuki DR-Z and a Honda XR650, and I'm starting to feel like I just showed up at a frat party in a tux with the shiny new BMW (next time I'll bring my old XT250). We blast off behind V84x4 down some back roads and dirt roads. At some point we crossed into MA and passed near the location of the CT/VT 1/2MA Dirt TOR in Granville State Forest. GR? and I looped back to score the tag next to a stream.


Cue some more blasting down random back roads and dirt roads until we arrive next to a field.


V84x4 asks me something along the lines of "How do you feel about going down hills" and mentions something about a stream crossing. I figure "How bad can it be?" and we're off down what seemed to be a pleasant dirt road with some fall color into Blandford State Forest.


Which got progressively steeper and rockier until arriving at the aforementioned stream crossing (the first of what I hope to be many for my bike). Pics of V84x4 and GR? making the crossing, no pics of me as they were both graciously standing by to sacrifice their bodies to protect my bike in case I dumped it in the stream.


While conducting a pow-wow after our stream crossing we discovered that the heavy BMW was in violation of the stream crossing's posted weight limit (with GR? providing the obligatory ADV salute).


Just before reaching pavement again we discovered a graveyard, a perfect spot for a pre-halloween tag-drop.


After trying, failing, and then succeeding in finding fuel we found ourselves in Dalton, MA trying to decide what to do about food (as it was around 5pm at this point). Having lived in the area previously I suggested the Old Forge Restaurant in Lanesboro and rather than ride through downtown Pittsfield we played what I call the "GPS Direct" game.

"GPS Direct" is a little something I've been doing since I got my bike to put some miles on it. It involves setting the GPS to avoid all highways and calculate the route based on the absolute shortest distance rather than the shortest time, then pick a destination and follow the GPS. Optionally set the GPS to never make a U turn unless absolutely necessary and if you miss a turn just keep going and see where it routes you next. I found some gnarly dirt roads in my own town that I didn't know existed using this method and I found one on the way home today that I'm saving for a future tag. In this case the GPS took us over Gulf Road, a windy strip of dirt that cuts through a small pass in the mountains.

As we would pass close to Mt Washington, MA on the way home we considered snagging the Mass Tag but a quick phone check showed that it had already been snagged and we didn't want to intentionally bruce somebody who came all the way from Boston.

At some point prior to the day's ride GR?'s registration was lost and/or stolen. We decided it was prudent to go back to some previous tag spots to see if we could find it. Another round of GPS Direct took us down some more random dirt (Wallace Hall Road in Monterey, MA) where some night photography happened until a pack of wild coyotes appeared (or at least howled menacingly in the distance) and we departed.


After running up to a few previous tag spots (which was mostly uneventful except for the part where GR? viciously slaughtered a poor helpless bunny) we called it a night in Litchfield, CT and went our separate ways.

Tags got: 1
Brucings: 0
Distance: 270ish miles (my GPS wasn't recording the bit from New Hartford to the old tag).
Duration: 12 hours
Track: KMZ from the old CT,VT,1/2 MA tag to where we split up in Litchfield at the end of the night.

Paco Lopez screwed with this post 10-31-2010 at 10:06 PM
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:01 PM   #3
Paco Lopez OP
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Chapter 2: October 30-31, 2010

Since the previous tag run (documented above) I've had my eye on the Mass tag to see where it ended up and woke up Saturday morning seriously considering chasing it out to eastern MA to bring it back west while snagging the RI/Eastern CT tag on the way. Instead I started looking at other tag threads including the Catskills, Northern New England, and UpYoRama TORs and noticed that the NWCT TOR was dropped close to me. I had a new plan, an epic plan:

I would leave home and snag the NWCT tag, ride out to the Catskills to snag that tag, then pass through Florida, MA to snag the [URL="http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?p=14048978#post14048978"]Northern New England tag[URL] with the intent of bringing it to Mt Monadnock, NH. I realized that this might be just a bit too much for one day so I tossed my camping gear on the bike, "just in case".

After a slow start packing my gear, grabbing lunch, figuring out how to post tags from my phone, and waiting for my camera battery to charge I finally hit the road around 12:30pm on Saturday. Little did I know that the NWCT tag I was aiming for first had been snagged just as I was leaving; yes ladies and gents, this epic trip started out with a brucing. As I was leaving the site of said brucing another ADV rider showed up also with the intent of grabbing the tag. Double bruced.

I journeyed onwards, and decided that I would avoid the tolls on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge by taking the Bear Mountain bridge instead. This was a double stupid idea, first because the Bear Mountain bridge is a toll bridge as well and second because none of the Hudson bridges charge tolls going westbound. It cost me some time but I got some fun riding and pictures in.


I made it to the old tag near the site of Woodstock and had one of the inevitable "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles" conversations with a local (who was convinced that it cost $150,000 because it was a BMW). He was very concerned for my well-being after I had informed him that I was planning to camp out that night, apparently "there was frost on the ground last night" and despite my reassurances that I know what I'm doing he was adamant that camping when there's frost on the ground was a terrible idea.

The sun was going down so I made some tracks to the north. My original plan was to drop the tag at the bridge across the Ashokan Reservoir but the sun was dropping fast and I figured I should drop it while I could so I could head to North Adams, MA to spend the night. I took some pics at the Neversink Dam with the intent of dropping the tag there until I noticed it had already been tagged.


I made one more half-assed attempt at tagging the covered bridge into Neversink Park/Fairgrounds but it was too dark. After grabbing dinner in Phoenicia I resigned myself to a night in the woods near Kaaterskill Falls, my first overnight with the bike. I'm not sure if there was frost on the ground or not: I was bundled up comfortably in my sleeping bag, or more accurately hanging half out of my sleeping bag because it was too warm. I had plans to take sunrise pictures from the Escarpment in the morning but the gates in North-South Lake Campground were all shut for the season. I took some pictures at the lake instead, noticing the ominous clouds off to the northeast (that would come back to haunt me later).


Before heading out to get breakfast and drop the new tag I hiked in to the falls for some pictures.


I jetted over to North Adams on a mostly rainy ride (those ominous clouds from earlier), taking the scenic route over the top of Mt Greylock where it was lightly snowing instead of raining.


Over lunch in North Adams I figured out where the UpYoRama tag and considering the time (2pm) decided it would be more prudent to head south and snag this than try to head out to Mt Monadnock with the Northern New England tag. This was fortuitous as I would later come to realize that the Northern New England tag had already been moved but I just didn't notice it yet. I swung up to the top of Florida Mountain and took the tag shot at Central Shaft Road for posterity anyways, pretty much brucing myself.

I had intended to move the UpYoRama tag to the top of Mt Greylock but I think they may be shutting the road down tomorrow for the season so that wasn't such a good idea. Instead I dropped it somewhere else.


A not-so-quick blast back down to the CT/NY line and I picked up the UpYoRama tag.

I figured on the way home I would swing through Roxbury and redeem the first brucing of the trip by grabbing the new NWCT tag but my phone ran out of juice right after I took the UpYoRama picture so I had no way of knowing that I was about to bruce myself again. In any case I went GPS Direct and discovered some more interesting dirt that will make an appearance in a future tag.

Tags got: 2 (Catskills and UpYoRama)
Brucings: 3 (NWCT, Northern New England, and NWCT again)
Duration: 31 hours
Distance: 462 miles
Track: KMZ from my first NWCT brucing to the old UpYoRama tag.
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Old 10-31-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
V8
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Thanks for the Tag Adventure.
The pictures came out great.
The CT/MA ride was a lot of fun.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:27 AM   #5
GHOST RIDER ?
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VERY NICE
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:21 AM   #6
Oilhed
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Impressive that you rode so many miles AND had time to take so many great photos! Love the water and graveyard in the woods shots.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:55 AM   #7
pixelpacer
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Great RR Paco!

It was cool I got to meet you in Brookfield. I hope you get a lot more miles on that GS before the snow starts falling.
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Old 11-01-2010, 03:28 PM   #8
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Awesome fall colors and ride! thanks for posting
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:12 AM   #9
beltran
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Tons and tons of pics!! That's great

Love the night shot


Take care,
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:59 PM   #10
danny danko
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Those are all desktop background quality. Awesome shots.
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