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Old 08-12-2014, 06:32 PM   #1
One Fat Roach OP
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Joined: Mar 2013
Location: New Mexico
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Washington to New Mexico One Way with the Colorado BDR/KLR Rally 2014

Here's a little back story to my trip. Last June (2013) I bought my first real bike and started doing the ADV thing. slowly acquiring gear, tent, supplies to be self sufficient on some short trips. I ended up doing the WABDR and attending my first two ADV events in Sept and October. I knew I wanted to do a big trip next summer but I had no idea where I would go. The sickness was well planted inside me and I was brainstorming many ideas. And then I met a guy at Barnes and Noble on a Friday night.

He told me about a facebook group to join for KLR owners. He is also the owner and manufacturer for producing racks and hard boxes for KLRs and other bikes. I joined the group in November and later that month some guys started talking about doing a KLR Rally group ride the following July/August in Colorado for the BDR. The seed was planted.

Born and raised in Washington state and 27 years old I was ready for a change of scenery. I wanted to pick up and go travel and live somewhere new. preferably somewhere I could ride year round. A friend in Albuquerque offered a spare room he had for after my trip. I just needed to prepare the bike, save some money and plan.

Originally my route was to take me through Portland to see friends, possibly down the coast and then to inland northern California. See some Nat'l parks and monuments, cut across Highway 36 to Highway 101 and then zoom to Sacramento and meet a fellow rider from the KLR group. We would then boogie across Highway 50 through Nevada and Utah, Moab and ultimately end in Cortez, Colorado for the start of the Rally and BDR. Well, as you know, life has its own plan sometimes and things changed for me.



And so it begins:

After months of preparing the bike, upgrading suspension, getting an IMS 6.6 gallon tank, getting cold weather gear (I had all the rain gear I needed, I live in the PNW, c'mon now) and purchasing some awesome waterproof and very comfortable riding boots. I was planning to be on the road two to three weeks before arriving in Albuquerque.

I left Tri Cities Washington July 16 en route for Missoula Montana via Highway 12/ Lolo Pass where I would meet up with the organizer of this event. Ironically he had just sold his KLR two months prior and purchased a brand new 2014 KTM 690.




I crashed at his place and we left at 9am to get his KTM its first service and finally hit the road around 10:30 am.






We didn't have a set schedule other than making it down to New Mexico to meet some other riders and getting to Cortez before the Rally began.

The first day we made it to the Idaho/Wyoming border from Missoula. The scenery was quite amazing, and although I lived near the North Cascades and traveled them many times, these mountains were very, very different. I was in awe riding over a pass to cross into Wyoming, unfortunately I don't remember the name and I should.





We continued through Wyoming and the spectacular mountains before it got very flat. The roads earlier were very twisty, full of great landscapes and then it changed to flat straight roads for a short time. Before I knew it we came to a sign that said "Thanks for visiting Wyoming" or something similar and another sign "Welcome to Colorful Colorado."









We pushed towards Steamboat Springs to camp on day two. Found a great spot at Stagecoach State Park for $7






Some quick maintenance in the morning before departure




From Steamboat Springs we pushed south. Hoping to get into northern New Mexico and meet up with 5 to 6 other riders.



The further south we got into Colorado the more frustrated a began to get with the other rider. Having to stop every 80-90 miles for gas and putting on a jacket because of rain (which would last 5 minutes or less) several times. He pulled over just outside of Hooper Colorado to apply a layer and I just waved as I rode on. The pace was slower than I would have preferred and it didn't look like we would make it into New Mexico so I kept pushing.

Made it through Alamosa and as I was approaching the border to New Mexico it started to rain. BAD. I thought it would end shortly but it didn't. I pulled off the highway and got naked and put on my pant and jacket liners and fairly certain I gave two house a show. Not a pretty one to say the least. I make it another few miles and the rain just intensified. The drops felt like paintballs pegging me all over, I just lowered my upper body and lowered my speed a bit so it didn't hurt so much.

I outran the nasty cloud and stopped in the tiny town of Tres Piedras for a bite to eat. Green Chile burger and a soda. Checked my map and I was within about 2 hours of the destination of Dixon, New Mexico. As I was finishing up my meal a homeless man entered the café and asked for some water. I had passed him earlier on the side of the highway as the rain ended. He was pushing a bicycle that had a milk crate and a trailer attached with a LOT of gear. The waitress said she couldn't give him any water unless he paid for it. He had a 1 gallon jug and 3 other smaller containers of different sizes. I mentioned to her I would pay for his water if that was ok... she looked at me kind of aggravated and said "Ok". The man was very very dirty, hadn't showered in at least a week but I offered him some directions through the GPS on my phone but he didn't seem to know where he was heading. I didn't get his name but I wish I had.... Every few days I think about where he's at and if he's alright...




more later...
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:04 PM   #2
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As I leave Tres Piedras with a fully belly the storm cloud I passed caught back up to me. I hustled to get back on the road and hit the junction at South 285 to head East on 64 towards Taos. As soon as I made the turn and saw what was in front of me all thoughts had ceased and I just kept going. Lightening had begun to crackle in every direction around me. I was also heading into one of the darkest and ugliest black clouds I'd ever seen in my life and it was taking up about half of the entire sky above me. Mostly covering the entire direction I was heading. The lightening didn't let up at all, seeing the reflection in my mirror and in my peripherals every other minute. About 15 miles on to Highway 64 I about wet my jock strap when a lightening strike made contact with the ground a few hundred yards in front of me. I didn't stop for any photos here because it was pissing down rain and of the lightening but wish I would have.

I made it into Taos and the weather was mildy better. People walking around town in shorts and tshirts. You could tell it was Friday night with traffic being a pain. Eventually I made it through the slow snail pace of traffic and continued towards Dixon, my destination for the evening. The highway was awesome following the infamous Rio Grande and being in a canyon. The Rio Grande in this section was definitely a let down... "That's it??" being my main reaction.

I finally made it to the house where 3 other riders were waiting. One from Indiana and the other was an infamous Swede named Kami. The KLR group had donated and purchased him a plane ticket from Sweden to Texas. He borrowed a bike from a member in Texas and arrived about a week before I did on a pretty sweet KLR. First time meeting any of these guys and they were all awesome and mellow. 2 of us decided to go to a nearby gas station so the Swede could get some money from the ATM. and when I say nearby it was 15 miles away haha. When we got there, Dave (the rider I was riding with previously) was there fueling up with the intentions of riding into Sante Fe to get his KTM its second service. But with the arrival of us he decided to ride back via a dirt rode in the dark, which we were told by the local would be an easy road. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
With my shitty ass Baja design headlight I was stuck using the headlights of the rider in front of me and the KTM behind me. I had one very close call hitting some cross tracks I couldn't see, and barely holding on. We hit about 3 very large hills about 50 feet tall and fairly steep before 2 of the riders went down and couldn't make it any further. We turned around and got back on the highway, made it to the house and the KTM had its first battle scar. A very deep scratch along the left side of the frame We had dinner waiting for us, chatted for a bit, and passed out with the following day being a maintenance day and heading for the Jemez mountains in the early afternoon.


Changed both my tires with the help of the New Mexico sun. First time I've done both myself and it felt awesome. MT21 front and a D606 rear. Adjusted and lubed my chain and rearranged my gear for the bike and I was locked and loaded. I think we finally left around 2 or 3 pm, and by then another rider had showed up on his F800 GS. I was jealous by how little he had strapped to his bike.




I lost the 40L Wolfman duffel and arranged my bags a bit differently.







We camped out in the Jemez Mtns in northern New Mexico and in the morning were on the road at good time shooting to make it up near Farmington or the Four Corners. HA. The pace was slow with there being 6 riders now. No major mechanical issues but there was one wipeout by the guy leading the group but no injuries to him or the bike. The Jemez were beautiful going up and coming down the other side it changed fast. Rocky pit runs, sand in places and more dry than the previous side. Very technical riding going downhill for a few hours.

We hit Highway 550 and it was getting late, the local who was leading the group thought it would be ok to camp in Apache Territory. I wasn't feeling so comfortable but he kept assuring us it would be fine. Scary as shit trying to sleep that night.








We made it up to the Four Corners monument, went for a swim in a nearby "river" that was only a couple inches deep and I split from the group as they headed into Utah and I went for Cortez. I wanted a break from the group riding thing and some time to explore on my own. It was fun riding with others but it was starting to get to me with the slow pace and constant breaks. It had been 4 days or so without a shower so I headed to town with the plans to camp but randomly rode past the hotel I had a reservation at for the next day and luckily they had the same room available. I took it. Showered and met a few of the other 60 riders who planned to attend the KLR rally.

I woke up Tuesday, July 22nd with the intentions to do some solo exploring. I wanted to check out Mesa Verde Nat'l Park and Canyon of the Ancients. The solo thing didn't happen but I had a good time meeting new riders and checking out Mesa Verde. On the way up a few of the guys got impatient following traffic and passed some cars. I waited patiently for a solid view ahead and made my move, with the rider behind me following. About a half mile past one of the lodges I suddenly see red and blue lights in my mirror. I yield to the side of the road and a Park ranger is furiously pointing to the side of the road. He passes me and does the same to the other riders I was with. We all park in this pullout and the Ranger approaches us and says, "I saw two of you guys pass illegally a few miles back, which two of you was it?"
Some of the other guys got a bit mouthy and he asked for our IDs. I kept my mouth shut and just gave him my card but didn't admit to doing anything wrong and just waited for the outcome. We were waiting about 15mins before our IDs were returned to us and he said the same thing trying to get one of us to admit guilt.
"Ok guys, I know I saw two of you pass illegally over the double yellow back there, so who was it?"
All I could think to myself was, are you fucking joking me? We all have different colored bikes and helmets, and you claim to have seen two of us do something illegal. If you were good at you job you would have recorded some details in your head of yours about which two bikes you saw pass illegally. He gave us all a warning and we were on our way LOL









I had to convince some of the guys to head down the trail with me and one headed back to the hotel. I'd never seen anything like this in my life and I wanted to experience it all. I wanted to stay longer and check out the other sites but I was getting really hungry and we decided to go get lunch afterwards. Amazing, amazing place that Mesa Verde. The road on the way down was way more enjoyable with almost zero traffic ahead of us. We definitely watched our speed though, knowing that Ranger would be waiting for us somewhere on the way down. We didn't see him.



More later...
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This is an adventure, not a field trip!!
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Old 08-21-2014, 01:52 PM   #3
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It is good to see that you are out having an adventure. Enjoy!
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:03 PM   #4
Comrade Art
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Old 10-18-2014, 12:31 AM   #5
One Fat Roach OP
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I have more to share just haven't had computer access.

Lots of ups and downs. Many life lessons.

I'm in Albuquerque and working...

To be continued
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