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Old 04-13-2014, 02:31 PM   #1
MightyBoosh OP
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Joined: Jan 2014
Location: Rocky Mountain High
Oddometer: 7
Tiger 800XC Ride Report: Hayman Burn Area

So I became the proud father of a beautiful 2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC a few months ago and I have been itching to get in a long ride or any ride for that matter. Work and weather have conspired to keep me off the bike but with the wife in Austin, one fair weather day before another snow storm, and the late breaking arrival of my pannier system I was ready for my first overlander!

Hayman Lollipop

After spending a fair amount of time and money prepping this beast for off-road adventure I was finally outfitted with:

  • Denali auxiliary lights(really nice and cheap to me)

  • SW-Motech crash protection(mandatory and expensive)

  • Barkbuster hand guards(not sure I'm bad-ass enough to need these)

  • Triumph heated grips(expensive and didn't work)

  • Triumph tank bag(perfect and "free") 

  • Wolfman pannier system (almost perfect and cheap for me!)

Ready for Adventure!

Fortunately I all ready owned some great 4-season riding gear I purchased last April to take me from St. Louis to Denver after impulsively buying the BMW R75/5 while on a miserable job in Missouri. The Macna riding suit is a little bulky but that's all right for Spring riding when you never know when and if you are going to need some more layers underneath.

The riding gear:

  • Macna Oasis Riding Jacket and Alpine Pants

  • Alpinestar Thunder Summer Gloves (should have brought the winter ones)

  • Cheapo Tourmaster Boots (poor fitting but waterproof)

  • My older Arai Profile helmet with new interior padding

  • wool base layers and socks

  • motorcycle skivees

I was pretty pleased to get all of my stuff into the panniers and tank bag as I think it is a bit cumbersome to have a tail bag hanging out as a sail back there. The crossover capabilities of my hiking/biking/motorcycling gear is real nice. Light and small is the ticket. The Camelback was sort of a last minute decision but I was glad to have it. I didn't sip much when riding but when stopped it was right there for refreshment.

The camping gear:

  • Black Diamond Lighthouse Tent + ground pad

  • Go-Lite Adventure 20 3-Season Sleeping Bag

  • Big Agnes Q-Core SL

  • little pillow

  • GSI pinnacle soloist cook set

  • MSR Microrocket Stove + fuel

  • Camelback Backpack/Bladder

  • Nalgene

  • Katadyn Vario Water Filter (borrowed from Sam, THANKS!)

The only really obvious lack here is a decent tool kit, but more on that later.

Anxious for the journey I was up and on the road before 7 AM. Denver is usually pretty quiet on Saturday mornings anyway and I was in no rush so I stopped in Pablo's to show Steve my outfitted machine and bask in the praise of another hooked on the ADV syrup.

My route was pretty loose but I basically aimed for the Rampart Range area with the hopes of finding some dirt and a primitive campsite. Wandering down through Sedalia and onto Highway 67 I began to see the gaggle of weekend warriors converging on this awesome land of valleys and peaks that is know for some amazing twisties. After my first taste of dirt a few weeks ago I was a little more prepared for the first short section at the Pinecreek Road shortcut. The 15% grade had made me nervous last time but I was really impressed with how well this bike maintains traction with the Scout tires.

Back on 67 I took a break to check the bags and the other add-ons and found that all was good. Thanks Blue Loctite!

Nothing fell off yet.

I stopped at Deckers to plan my next move as I wanted to get off the pavement and away from the sport bikes and HDs. Met a nice man who admired the Tigger and was lusting after an Explorer. I personally think the 800 is plenty of bike for 1-up loaded riding and will take me places I wouldn't dare on that 1200 beast. Perhaps if Ewan can lug that 1200GS across the world maybe this dude can too.

Having no other plan then to keep riding off pavement I chose Forest Road 211 which makes tracks through the post-apocalyptic Hayman Burn Area. The Hayman Fire burned 138,114 acres back in '02 and is the largest Colorado wildfire in recorded history. You can see the big treeless spot on the map above. Cormac McCarthy might have found some inspiration here. A bit desolate but a sure fire away to get away from other people. Nyuck nyuck...

The first few miles of road had been recently covered in massive amounts of fresh gravel. That being my first experience with gravel it was a little unnerving. I imagine its akin to deep sand. I managed to keep it upright with some aggressive throttling which did the trick and made for some exciting cornering!. The air downed Scouts may not be pure knobbies but they sure do have some grip. Most of the road was just good fast packed dirt that was plenty fun at 40 mph.

The Fujifilm X20 sneaks in a selfie

Got to love those Heidenau K60's

Crispy - but a new forest is emerging

Nearing the end of 211, I was hoping for a primitive camp spot but every time I turned off onto a side road I found people there, some of them shooting various weapons, fortunately at targets and cans and not at me! Apparently it is turkey season and the hunt is on and others are just out there to discharge some fire arms into the woods. Once the trees began to thicken the soothing sound of shotgun booms began. Alas turkey hunting is a mostly a waiting game so the booms were at least infrequent.

With just another mile or so of National Forest I stumbled, literally dumping the bike in some soft sand, on an abandoned spur. The road was pretty damn rocky but the Triumph charged right on up only tipping over once when I stopped to plan a line and lost my footing. Good rule: don't ever stop mid charge!

I did that

and that

and this

and made it here!

I managed to find a nice campsite with only a minimum of exhausted shells,broken clays, and abandoned beer cans and set up a nice little camp.

Dinner with a new cook set featuring the cutest little MSR

Kitchen, bedroom, garage

The bags match my lighthouse tent, no?

Sorely missing from my gear is a decent tool kit. I brought a pump to air the tires up after the dirt but my little Topeak Mini Morph takes about a decade and 2,000,000 calories to pump that fatty rear up from 20 to 40 psi! Not to mention I have no spoons or spare tubes anyway so I would have been SOL if I had a flat. My mtn bike multi tool has some basic odds and ends that fit the Triumph but hopefully the Motion Pro set I have on order will fit the bill.

I made camp at 2 PM so I had some time to kill. I knew my heated grips were not working so I took a look and sure enough the fuse was blown. I had a spare but of course I blew that one too. Obviously I need a few hours and a multi-meter. I was stoked on the Triumph set as there was a built in spot in the wiring harness to ease installation, but I might just rewire it through my PDM-60, as it makes troubleshooting a breeze.

Other campsite activities:

Lots of reading in the tent

Hiking up some big rocks to look at other big rocks (Pikes Peak back there somewhere)

Sitting on top of big rocks

Rocking the latest in fashion

Nursing my busted feet (the cause deserves another post on another forum)

Filtering cow shit out of creek water. Thanks Sam!

Going to bed at 8 PM because it is getting dark and very windy.

Around 2 AM I was aroused by some rustling and opening up the tent I was greeted by a still world blanketed in moonlight. Try as I might I could not get the X20 to take a decent shot. Probably needed a tripod or at least a more rested mind to find the right combination of settings. I ended up with a blur, maybe an arty blur, but a blur none the less.

The rustling continued but every time I opened the tent there was nothing there. Every time I laid down again I could here some little bastard messing with the bags on my bike. Despite making lots of noise and shining the light around, it would be back at it within 5 minutes.

Having dealt with many an aggressive raccoon at various campsites I knew I was not going to get rid of it. My chances of going back to sleep were nill while worrying that my new bags would be torn open. I admitted defeat and prepared to leave. This was not the worse thing as I knew we had some big weather coming through and it would be good to get ahead of it.

Having basically the same set up as my bicycle touring days it takes me about 10 minutes to break everything down and load the panniers. I was back down the rocky trail and on the road before 3 AM. The first 30 miles were fast and fun if a little cold. My heated grips would have been real handy. Stopped at a Loaf & Jug to warm my extremities and have a coffee in Woodland Park. When I got back outside it had started to rain and I knew I was going to suffer.

By Deckers it was getting colder and I was having trouble keeping my face shield clear so I pulled over to stick my hands in my pants and snap some early morning love shots.

You should have seen this lot on Saturday!

On a nicer day I would be heading that way.

Cold Ninja!

Heading over the little pass back to Sedalia the rain started to freeze and I was basically torn between shitty vision with face shield down and covered with ice or shitty vision with no face shield and getting pelted in the eyes with 40 MPH ice. I did manage to find a vent combination to stop the fogging but it pulled so much rain/ice/snow into the helmet it wasn't much better. I welcome any tips.

By Sedalia I was quite weary and needed another break so I stopped at Comadres, which is a great little Mexican joint, and had a coffee and warmed my hands and drained my helmet.

It doesn't look that bad but yes that is freezing rain out there.

The ride back into Denver was short but pretty miserable. My vision was shit, the snow was really coming down and the streets were turning to slush with swirling pools of mag-chloride that made my heart sink as I rode my new bike through those giant puddles of paint remover.

Slow and steady I finally made it to the warehouse and put my Tiger to rest.

Despite some weather and a pesky critter I had great ride. I'm really pleased with how well this machine handles both on and off road. It will take longer trips than this to really sort it all out, but overall it was really comfortable. My only real complaints: the pegs are a little small for standing and little tall for sitting, the bars could be a bit higher, and the the heated grips are busted, although I installed them so its probably my fault.

I can't wait for this wet spring to end and for the snow to melt off the passes. Then with a week off I'll be ready for the COBDR!

Anybody want to join?

MightyBoosh screwed with this post 04-14-2014 at 09:05 AM
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Old 04-13-2014, 04:03 PM   #2
Prime Mover
Anything Can Happen
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Joined: Nov 2011
Location: NorEast Ohio
Oddometer: 893
Great all-around bike.... looks like you had a good time. Thanks for sharing.
"Better to live alone in the desert than with a nagging wife" - Proverbs 21:19
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