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Old 10-05-2010, 08:22 PM   #1
tx246 OP
Joined: Jan 2007
Oddometer: 90
An American Western Classic 2010 Edition



This all started a year ago. My buddy Noel (ImGoin) got a wild hair up his butt and built a bike, did a good portion of the CDT and then turned around and did the Western half of the TAT. He did this without my permission. I joke here as he is successful in his self employed endeavor. Read that as he can take off for important things … riding. I do have lots of vacation but getting big chunks at a time is just unheard of. I have been reading ride reports on here for a long time and the TAT has been but a dream for this 45 yr old until now. Early this year Noel asks me how much time CAN I get off? I tell him two weeks is pushing it. This is the foundation for the trip.


I have a new general manager at work who I hope I have made a good impression on as I know he has denied most vacations requested longer than a week. I plead my case and tell him what I am doing. I get 17 glorious days for Noel to work with.

Im sure Noel was pouring over maps for awhile cooking up the PLAN. In the end he settled on combining what he thought was the best portions of the TAT/CDT. Our handler, Priscilla (Noel’s wife) was going to drop us off at Denio Jct NV and we would ride the TAT east from there until we crossed the CDT in Salida Co. From there we would head south on the CDT deep into southern NM. Finally, we would hotfoot it over to Roswell NM where Priscilla would pick us up for a one day return to our North Texas digs. If we did it right, we would have 3k rolling under our tires on the bikes.

The PLAN was about to change. Change came in the form of a grand reunion with an old high school friend. I hadn’t seen him in 5 years and it was great to get reacquainted. He came by to show me his bitching new Challenger (with a supercharger). I showed him my bike collection. We wheeled a couple out for him to try. I got a message the next morning saying what a bad influence I am as he was signing papers on an XR. Truth be told, Im not popular with bunch of wifes and mothers of my friends.

Noel and I were to do a shakedown in AR in late August and we invited Rod (Big Rod1) and another high school buddy Chris. Trip went great and Rod was hooked.


Now that Rod was hooked, it wasn’t hard to talk him into going with us. That meant Rod was going to be a busy boy on the internet and giving his credit card a workout. I call him RockStar Rod because he offered to roll out the Bus. A very nice bus akin to RockStar usage. He wanted to haul us to NV and drop us off. The plan was for him to ride a day or two with us and then hit pavement to retrieve the bus and push ahead of us to do it again. He thought ten days would be plenty for him. And so it that’s how this deal got started.


OK. So this is us.

I am tx246 aka Gene in this story. I am 45 and have ridden offroad for a long time. Im not an expert but I think Im proficient. I also do street on a Vstrom. Im also the midget on this trip.

This is Noel and he has dirt in his DNA. This was passed on to his off spring who is a good enough rider to qualify midpack for the infamous Red Bull Last Man Standing event held in our backyard. Lets see if Noel has the link for AJs post.

This is Rod and his bike background ended in his 20s but has found out that he has wasted 20yrs by not riding.

Finally, there is Shadow Man who shows up here and there.


Now for the equipment we will be sitting on, standing, picking up or depending on to move us from one place to another.

This is my ride. Dusty is a 2000 DRZ 400s. Big tank. Big bars. Skidplate. Radiator Protectors. Case savers. Yosh exhaust.

This is Noels bike. I think it’s a 2005 KTM 525exc that has been punched out to a 540. Lots of internal and external mods. Ill let Noel tell you about them. This bike attracted more than its fair share of attention from spectators.

This is Rods bike and it’s a 2010 XR 650l. He has added big tank. Big Bars. Skidplate. Carb and FMF exhaust. Stickers are all aftermarket.

We all used Giant Loop bags. Noel used a Wolfman tank bag. Rod used a GL tank bag and I stored a lot of stuff in my PeakBagger Camelbak.

Navigation was courtesy of Garmin. I had a 76 and they used 60s.

Both Noel and Rod had SPOTs to keep their families happy. I used a cell phone every couple of days.

All bikes were wearing new Dunlop 606s.

This is our ticket to Nevada………….or so we thought.

tx246 screwed with this post 10-05-2010 at 08:32 PM
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:24 PM   #2
tx246 OP
Joined: Jan 2007
Oddometer: 90
Well, I see I goofed the pics. Gotta go fix em.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:01 PM   #3
tx246 OP
Joined: Jan 2007
Oddometer: 90

Its Wed afternoon and I am ready to rock. We have a long drive and the rain has been pouring like we should be building a boat for two of everything. I head on over to Noels where we go over the LIST to make sure we havent forgotten anything. Rod soon arrives and we hook the bike trailer to the Bus. We make our way thru squalls on our westward bound route.

We are on the way.

Noel acting as copilot.

Still wet

Not raining but cloudy.

We soon settle in because its gonna take two days to get to NV. I try to sleep a bit in the back. I don’t have a bed in the back of my truck. We soon hit I40 and point the Bus to Albuquerque.

Noel diluting bug guts at a fuel stop.

I wake up noticing that we are proceeding at a slower pace. Making my way to the cockpit I find some looks of concern. Seems we have picked up a vibration. Anything over 50mph and it worsens. We are two hours out of Albuquerque and have little choice but to continue. Finally, the desert city shows up and we arrive at 4 am and pull into the local WalMart rest stop for some shut eye.

Its soon 7ish and we make our way out of the Bus to see if we can locate the problem. Noel is experienced with large vehicles but this thing is on another scale. It isn’t long before he notices this.

That cap isn’t right.

I check the ujoints and they look OK. Noel keeps looking and finds this.

That shouldn’t be rubbing.

What the hell is that? Noel points at what is ultimately the problem and what a scary problem it is.

Wow, the only thing holding up that side of the vehicle is the clamping force of the ubolts keeping the now two piece control arm in place. The Bus is done and getting her fixed is gonna be a chore.

Rod starts off by calling the folks at Good Sam and they get on it. We hook up Wifi and cruise the internet. Phone call after phone call results in nada. Nobody wants to touch it.

Lookin for something

I think this is good news.

I am going through the owners manual filebox and there is a brochure that has RockyMtn Coach (or something to that effect). They say sure bring it on over. This HAS to work. We find them and lo and behold there is motor coaches in the yard and on the lifts. Rod does business with the counter while Noel and I have been brainstorming for continued transport. We are dialing the Uhauls of the world and nobody wants to rent a truck. We cant even find a small mover. Noel locates a location that says they have a van and Rodney and Noel hop on the bikes and have a looksee.

They get there and while on the phone we are told it has a receiver hitch, in reality it does not. CRAP!

While they are chasing butterflies, Im considering the options. Oh yeah, somehow they got lost on the way back. It is proving to be an adventure. In my mind I tell myself that we are going to abandon THE PLAN and move to PLAN B.
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:34 AM   #4
Goat Trail Green
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Coppell Texas for now
Oddometer: 60
Subsrcibed mi amigo

Mike Green
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:56 AM   #5
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Denton, TX
Oddometer: 78
Write on!
05 525
07 250f
08 300x
11 990r
14 690r
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:29 AM   #6
ibGoinAJ's Avatar
Joined: May 2008
Location: North TX
Oddometer: 57
:D wow

Great RR Gene! I cant wait to read the rest, and Ive already heard the story from Noel!
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:29 PM   #7
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Joined: Jul 2010
Oddometer: 3
Rock On

Oh How I Love This Story........
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Old 10-06-2010, 02:37 PM   #8
just passin' through
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Joined: May 2005
Location: Tumalo, Oregon
Oddometer: 4,912
Yikes ! Maybe you guys took care of 'mechanicals' on the drive out?
What's next? More action!
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Old 10-06-2010, 04:39 PM   #9
tx246 OP
Joined: Jan 2007
Oddometer: 90

Screw it! Im ready to ride. As I downloaded the track on everybodys GPS, I noted that our route shows just 50 miles or so West of here. They are still trying to find their way back to the garage and I have already made my mind up to hit the road today. I start cleaning up the coach and drag all of my stuff out in the parking lot. Nobody was 100% ready to ride as we thought we were going to have two days dinking around in the Bus on our way to NV. Another consideration was boom just like that this ride went from being semi supported to no support. That means once we leave, we gotta have it with us. I had packed lighter stuff for the original NV starting point in the way of clothes and outerwear and planned to add the heavy stuff as we left Utah. Now I had to carry it all.

Packing food and essentials

I am just about done when they finally pull up. I pull Noel aside and ask him what he thinks about PLAN B. He replies that he had the same thoughts on the way back from the Uhaul. It was almost 3PM already and he thought it would be best to start in the AM. I showed him that it was only an hour ride to Grant where we could pick up the trail. The idea of riding got the best of him and we sold Rod PLAN B with little effort. The main thing was to get the Bus assessed by a mechanic and get confirmation that they could get it done. Rod went back inside and came out with the service advisor. The problems were pointed out and he said it was a straight forward repair if he had the part. Calls were made and the part would soon be on its way. GREAT NEWS!!!! Let the thrash begin. Gear started flying out of the bus immediately.

Load em up.

Rod is digging it.

Im ready

Noel getting strapped up.

Rod getting geared to go.

Its 4:30 and we are tired of Albuquerque. Time to move on. We are already on the west side of town and I40 is but an entrance ramp away. D/S bikes are great until you are on 4lane. We ran 60mph, but most of the traffic was like the ideal day with the average in the upper 70s and low 80’s. We plodded along into a headwind and my bike was not jetted for this elevation. I had leaned it out for 7000ft or better and we were well below that. As a result, I didn’t want to push it. As yall know Route 66 intermingles with I40 and we kept seeing pieces of it right there beside 40 but there always seemed to be a fence in the way. After 20 miles or so I see a road on the GPS that parallels the highway for awhile. I decide to take it and take a break from the hectic traffic. There is the exit and lo and behold there is a sign stating Rt66.


Getting off the highway is a relief. We make the turn on a decidedly unimproved road that is in plain site of the highway and make our way west. It isn’t long before I see a set of red/blue lights on a SUV on the highway side of the fence. Uh Oh. There is a guy jumping the fence and making a beeline for the road we are on. CRAP!! I pull up and meet Officer Lopez who isn’t very happy with our dirtbikes. The conversation went like this.

Do you know where you are?
No sir. I thought I was on RT66 like the sign indicated on the last exit.
You are trespassing! Where are you from?
Texas sir.
You are on Laguna Reservation. Do you know you are trespassing?
No sir but obviously Im not where Im supposed to be.
Where are you going?
Grants sir.
You are on the Laguna Reservation.
Sorry sir.
(Rod and Noel have made Uturns and headed from where we came)
Why are you on this road?
I thought it was Rt66.
Its not! You are trespassing!
Yes sir.
Where are you from?
Texas sir and trying to get to Grants on what I thought was Rt66.
Ok. Rt 66 is on the other side of the highway.

The conversation got much better and he gave me directions to our intended route. He went from yelling to Have a Nice Day in 2min.

Soon we found our little slice of Rt66 and Noel got some shots.

We dump back on I40 and continue with the slab.

We reach Grant in the early evening and follow Noel up Zuni Canyon Rd. It is a beautiful road and we wind our way back away from civilization. Soon we bail off the road into a secluded hollow to unload the bikes. Im noticing the fresh cutting and tree trimmings to go along with the shorter than normal grass. On cue, a big brindle Rot/Boxer mix comes out of nowhere barking its head off. It is obviously someones dog and lives close by. Im thinking another potential trespassing incident as the dog leaves. We unload and tents are pitched. Next objective is to find some fuel to make one of these.

We open our stashes and snack our way through the evening. We are all beat and are soon parallel to the ground.


As the sun comes up, so does Noel. Write that down as fact. Everybody is soon up and moving around to keep the morning chill at a minimum. We quickly break camp as this is the first real travel day of the trip.

Tearing down the lodge.

Rod and his brush around the tent. Supposed to be an early bear detection feature.

Noel is just about done.

Rod is yelling something about I know it will go in this bag.

Look who shows up not barking.

She is telling me that the day is going to be good.

Noel has us backtracking down the road to see something that shows up in Google Earth.

This is the road we are on.

And this is what he wanted us to see.

Note the sign above my head.

Rod and I breaking the law.

The lava flows were cool but our stomachs were demanding breakfast. So we hopped on the bikes and flew back up Zuni towards Grants. It looked like this.

Standing still.

At speed.

Go Go Pro!

Noel led us to this little joint.

Awesome burrito.

Note us inside waiting for our food. Noel is coming out of a very interesting door combo that leads to the dumping ground. Very good breakfast but we are burning daylight and make for the hills north of Grants. Rumor has it there is some elevation ahead.

tx246 screwed with this post 10-06-2010 at 06:13 PM
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:07 PM   #10
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Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Denton, TX
Oddometer: 78

Normally, I never trespass more than 1/2 mile, depending on who is waiting or chasing.
05 525
07 250f
08 300x
11 990r
14 690r
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:57 PM   #11
tx246 OP
Joined: Jan 2007
Oddometer: 90

Pic of AB (Awesome Burrito)

Before we hit dirt, gotta fuel up.

The 10 megaton warhead was not going to stop us. Nice try.

We entered the NF and started climbing. The weather was perfect and there was just a bit of breeze but 3 bikes kick up dust and we needed to stop and take care of Rods air filter. In our rush to get off the bus, we failed to install a filter skin. This item is a must. Every 3 days you get a brand new air filter with a quick yank.

Noel leading us uphill.

Getting that air filter taken care of while I wander around and take some pictures.

Don’t know why, but thought it was interesting.

Could see something out there but the view was obscured.

Rod checked out the inside of the facility and made a comment about how tough the door was as only two rounds had penetrated.

Noel led us up to “The Fly” on this road.

Rod doing the Fly thing.

I follow and it isn’t long before we are all at the top. Of course if it a high enough mountain, there will always be equipment and in this case there was plenty. The road up was fun. On the pegs and on the gas. Rod and Noel talked to some from the Hunting clan. They had made it up on their ATVs. They dressed the part but I thought they had on way too many clothes. You decide.

Well, what did you decide?

Rod at the top of The Fly.

A look back at the road.

This is for you with wide screens.

This is for regular.

Pretty nice view eh. I wanna be a Texas/Canadian

View off the backside

Small version.

If you look carefully in the flats and see that cone coming out of the ground, we will be there in a bit.

On the way down, I had to shoot some trees. Aspens are always good to shoot. Don’t know what they taste like but still good to shoot.

It wasn’t long before the Pines went away and the temps got hotter. The terrain changed back to its good old high desert self.

Here comes Rod. Look a no hander.
After letting Rod through, he pulls up and his bike needs an adjustment.

I pulled up to a gate and a bunch of horses took off from the water trough. Only when they were this far away did I realize…………..


They are in the center of the pic making a dust cloud.

Remember that Cone I was talking about on top of the Fly? Here it is.

We were entering gates regularly now. The road was a D/S delight. Rough, rutted and sandy in places. There was evidence of rain though.

DRZ trucking along.

Action shot of Noel. Here he comes

And there he goes on the Dakar looking KTM

Almost gone.

I turn it up in this valley as it feels like trail. Im whooping it up and railing but a close call where a wash out sucked a hole from the middle of the road almost got me. That would of sucked. I check myself as I keep reminding myself that I am a long way from home and have a long way to go. We get out of the valley and climb on a little mesa. Noel pulls off the road and I mean off the road.

Noels bike doesn’t want to play with us anymore. Turns out we have a mechanical. Kickstand has kicked the ground for the last time. From now on the KTM will be leaning on things.

We soon make it to Cuba where we find this to eat.

KTM doing guard duty.

Man, we just came out of the desert and were looking to get indoors to cool off. But not at this store. It was cooler outside so we sat on the ground and leaned up on a big cottonwood to eat Jarod sandwiches. They got snacks and I went to the liquor store before leaving town. Noel led us back into the NF and boy there were a bunch of good looking sites to camp but Noel ran into Rainbow crazies in this area last year so he wanted to push on. It was a great evening ride. The road was twisty and we were back in the green.

To avoid crazies, we off roaded down a cow trail ¼ mile and hid back up in a meadow. Camp was set quickly and we let the day soak in around the campfire.

Another kickass day.

We did have a mechanical that night. Rods Tristool blew out on him but it was put back together with good ole zipties. Fire wound down and we burrowed in our down sleeping bags as it is cold at 9000ft.

More in a bit.

tx246 screwed with this post 01-13-2011 at 07:07 PM
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:16 PM   #12
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Eek lose weight or else

Gene did not mention that the chair had a weight limit. 200lbs, me 250lbs oh well.
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Old 10-07-2010, 10:57 PM   #13
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:37 PM   #14
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Way to keep the trip alive!
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:21 AM   #15
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Looks like a good time
ADV decals, patches & flag? Here
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