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Old 10-12-2013, 05:10 AM   #16
Orangecicle OP
On a "Quest"
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Oddometer: 3,119
September 8

September 8

I wake from a restless sleep, if you can call it that. Before first light, I grab some clothes and find my way to the street. The night before, I was so disgusted that when Kelly was putting a cable around the bike and asked if I wanted it around mine as well, I said, “No. Maybe somebody will steal it and solve my problem.” No such luck.

At least the sunrise was beautiful.

I turn on my phone to try and find whether or not there are any motorcycle shops in Silverton, Colorado. As it turns out, there is a Harley shop in Silverton -- a clothing store. It’s the “World’s Highest Harley Store” at more than 9,300 feet. Silverton is definitely up there in elevation. When it’s cloudy, you’re basically in the clouds.

So, no reputable motorcycle shops around, or even ones of disrepute for that matter. I searched for any automotive shops, and the only thing I could find is in Durango some miles down the road. There was a motorcycle/Jeep tour company that I passed the night before on the way to the hotel, so I walked past their shop -- not open until 8 a.m. I got a cup of coffee at a shop, which was terrible. It had an expresso machine in the front window that was covered in dust, and it was still covered in dust after I left -- window dressing to hide the instant Folger’s inside. Yuck.

Eventually, the Jeep tour company opened, and I spoke with the owner. They were going to be of no help at all other than maybe offering the slab out in front of their shop for the work. They did have a nice half track, though.

The best way I can describe Silverton is just “weird.” It has these old cars parked around like the half track as if they were some odd form of advertising, and the buildings look to be straight out of the 1900s -- last updated in about 1940.

Kodak still makes film? Who knew? Even if true, should that be a point of advertising in today’s world?

Anyway, the guys wake up, and I presented the bad news that there was no shop and no place to work on the bike. They said, “What do you mean? We’ll fix it right here on the street.” I’m sure I had that blank stare of disbelief as they expressed enthusiasm. Regardless, I unenthusiastically agreed to try as long as we made this a one-effort attempt, with the guys moving on as soon as we failed.

Well, there have been points at which I’ve been wrong in my life. This was one of them. I tear into the bike just after 8 a.m. We found that the new carb floats that I had put in just before this trip had moved, and one was very clearly not at 3mm anymore. That’s a problem. But, how in the world can we measure float height and get it right? Kelly comes up with a metric ruler from somewhere and fashions a cardboard measuring jig of 4mm. Sure enough, it works. Working as quickly as we can, we reset the floats, move the needles back to stock position, and put the bike back together. We’re done by 10 a.m.

Pictures from Brent and Kelly:

Along the way, both locals and tourists take a few minutes to ask us what we are doing. There’s the local off-duty police officer who drools over the KTMs. Others stop as well to ask what we are doing, where we are going, and to talk about the motorcycle trips they had been on. One fellow with a big safari hat spent time telling me all about his motorcycle adventures in Mexico. He had an accent that seemed familiar to me, so I asked where he was from. Turns out he was from my home town in Texas. Small world.

We put my airbox back together without the side doors to increase airflow to the carbs and then buttoned my bike back up. I tested the bike, and it seemed to be running great. As for myself, I’m tired. No sleep for a couple of nights is getting to me, and my legs have lactic acid buildup from my issues on Ophir and Corkscrew the day before. I’m not looking forward to another day of tackling mountain passes.

As soon as everyone is ready, we hit the trail. The plan is to go to Animas Forks to take pictures of abandoned mines that Kelly and Brent had passed the night before. The guys get out ahead of me on the trail, and when I eventually get to the sign pointing to Animas Forks to the left and Cinnamon Pass to the right, I have a brain fart and go to Cinnamon Pass. The track up to the Pass is doable, but it’s not what I would call easy. There is this one spot where a big double boulder in the middle of the road makes this stone woop. I bottom my forks on the rocks, but I make it through OK.

Then I get to the turn to go up Cinnamon Pass. It’s littered with sizable boulders that are surrounded by loose rock. I start running through the “what ifs” in my mind. What if the bike stalls? What if I can’t get over that first bit because my bike is so dang heavy? What if it gets worse after this? I make up my mind that this is not the day that I want to do Cinnamon Pass. I’ll be back, but not this day. I turn the bike around and head down the track back to Animas Forks.

I find Brent and Kelly, who had been looking for me. I tell Brent that I’ve decided to take the easy route over to Lake City. I can see that he’s disappointed. He gives me that, “We got this” look, but he agrees to go on up the Pass without me. I watch from a distance as Kelly and Brent make easy work on the boulder-laden entrance to Cinnamon Pass. I spend a few minutes talking to the local Sheriff, Officer Reyburn, at Animas Forks. He’s a great old fellow filled with stories. I tell him that I’m a little torn about not trying to make it up the Pass, but he says that I made the right choice. “You know,” he says, “there are no certificates of achievement for riding over that Pass. If you don’t feel like you’re up to it or your equipment isn’t up to it, the best thing in the world to do is just what you did. Save it for another time.” I felt better after talking to him.

So, this is the scene from Animas Forks where I parted company with Brent and Kelly for the day, with the promise to Brent that I would meet them in Lake City by nightfall.

Sheriff Reyburn gives me some suggestions of things to do right around where we are, and I decide to stay awhile and shoot some pictures of the area.

At one point I see that there are a couple of other bikers hanging around my bike, so I walk back up the hill to see. It turns out to be Wolfman and Questor. I tell them about wussing out on Cinnamon Pass, and we talk about Questor’s carbed SE running at that altitude. Eventually, I realize that it’s after noon, and I have a very long road ahead to get to Lake City. I head back down the canyon to get to Silverton and then up through Ouray and around to Lake City through the easy route.

Heading out of the Canyon, I had to stop and take a picture because it looks just so amazing, and I feel like a true motorcycle adventurer for a second.

And then some lady drives past in a Hyundai, and it totally bursts my bubble.

I hustle through Silverton and Ouray on the easy track, which eventually turns off onto gravel north of Ouray. Things are going well, and then it starts to rain. I should mention that I’m using my iPhone to navigate. My iPhone that is in a “formerly” waterproof case mounted to my bars. I say “formerly” because the case has been modified a lot, and it is no longer waterproof. Although I have the BDR map, I really need to follow the line on my GPS to keep on track. Well, the phone is getting wetter and wetter. I should also mention that my iPhone has been through the washer and dryer at home, so its reliability is a bit dubious to begin with. Eventually, I stop to see what I can do, and I decide to put a Ziplock bag over the phone, which makes it nearly unusable. But you can still work the touch screen of your iPhone with a Ziplock bag over it. This I now know. Every time I tried to flatten the Ziplock to see the screen and see if I was on track, I would set off some program function that would do something like turn on the compass.

The rain is so bad at points that water is covering the road. I’m so drenched that vision is a problem, and I really can’t tell if the water on the road is just ponding or whether it is actually flooded. I slowly work through the rain and get past it after about an hour. Once the weather cleared, the riding was fabulous, and the scenery on this part of the track was nothing shy of awesome.

For a flatlander like me, this is amazingly beautiful. I could just stand back and take in the view of places like this for hours, and I find myself stopping every few miles to do just that.

Then I realize that I’m starting to lose light in the day, and that’s not a good thing when you are in a mountainous region -- around things like deer -- and bears. Hmmm. I look at the GPS at the loop I’m on and realize I have to go WAY north before the track starts turning south back to Lake City. I start hustling. Late in the day, I can see clearly that it will be dark before I get to Lake City, so I skip the last part of the track and hit the blacktop to get to town before dark. I made it to Lake City just at dusk. Good thing -- I was starting to see deer on the highway, and deer were walking the streets in the town when I got there at 7:30 pm.

I track down Brent and Kelly, who had been in town since early afternoon. Brent has apparently been at Packer Saloon all afternoon and is on a first-name basis with the owner and all the wait staff by the time I get there.

We sit and trade stories of our respective days. Brent is drinking a margarita, so I order one. To me, it tastes like margarita mix with nothing else, so I order a rum and coke. That takes like . . . coke. Hmmmm. But the Reuben is great. Well, great for someone who has had nothing but snack bars all day long.

Time for bed. The guys had picked a cabin at a place called G&M Cabins. The cabin was an absolutely wonderful and quirky little hunting lodge. Really cool. I’m a little bummed at myself for not trying Cinnamon Pass, but man what a great day. For once, I can say that I went an entire day on this BDR without having to pick up my overweight bike. It's the first time and the last time that I'll be able to say that.
"I'd like to meet the joker who had the nerve to call this a road!" -- Walter Sigmann
"Gravity is a very fickle mistress." -- Unknown
"Throttle to the donkey!" -- Marc Coma

Orangecicle screwed with this post 10-16-2013 at 03:26 AM
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #17
Joined: Aug 2013
Location: Southwest Louisiana
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Great story and even better Picts, keep em comin please!
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Old 10-12-2013, 07:44 AM   #18
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Location: Jennings, Louisiana
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Great pictures and great story telling to go with them. Love that area of the country. Keep it coming.

A '00 KLR 650 40,000 miles, A '07 1250S 74,000 , A '03 5.3L Chevy Truck 78,000 + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
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Old 10-12-2013, 12:11 PM   #19
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Nice story and pics.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:00 PM   #20
Mr Head
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Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Orange County, CA
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This ride or pieces of it are in my plan for next year.

Great photos!
"You don't go to Mongolia for the food." - Sebastian & Kim
2010 KTM 990 Adventure R
My Life With The 990R
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:02 PM   #21
Marc LaDue
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Hancock Township, Plymouth County, Iowa
Oddometer: 164
Way to Go Orangecicle!

I too reached the edge of my comfort zone on Cinnamon back in 2011. My friend Ron (TooTall) from the Iowa Lakes and I were doing the mid-section of the TAT, and the switchbacks on Cinnamon's approach from Lake City just about did me in. It didn't help that I couldn't turn my bars all the way in either direction due to an aftermarket windshield that interfered with my bark-busters, nor did lugging my gear (tons of spares) in Gobi's or my tent along with the accompanying weight. The bike I had dreamed of for years (950 Adventure S) became my nightmare, and for the first time in my life I found myself not enjoying my chosen vice of motorcycling.
The following year we took our 650's, which is what we did this year but again. For some of those routes a 950 or better is just too much machine, unless your one of those fortunate few that can truly handle and ride them the way they are intended to be.
Anyway, just my two cents worth. I'm enjoying your thread; if your interested I'll send you a copy of '13 NUTS (Not Usually This Stupid) trip itinerary along with the "rest of the story". Perhaps you'll consider adding a 650 to your fleet and joining us in '14. We're mostly out of the Sioux City area, but always welcome newcomers from afar,

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Old 10-12-2013, 11:12 PM   #22
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: andamooka South Australia
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Great photos and an interesting tale. I'm still trying to work out if you enjoyed yourself or had a string of sleepless nights followed by days of hating your bike. Looking forward to the rest to find out the answers
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:49 AM   #23
Orangecicle OP
On a "Quest"
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Oddometer: 3,119
September 9

September 9

We wake in the morning from our nice slumber to find the lodge dang cold. I think it’s just poor insulation of the floors, which creak like the dickens when you walk on them. Apparently not. Kelly gives us a bit of a chastising because when we got in from Packers Saloon the night before, we apparently left the front door of the cabin open to the screened-in porch. Ooops.

We walk over to the Mocha Moose Coffee House for morning coffee, taking in the lovely Lake City scenery along the way.

At the coffee shop we run into another group of riders who are on the BDR. They are on 690s. I’m a bit jealous thinking about the fun a lighter bike would be on this trip. The key lesson I learned about traveling the Colorado BDR is this -- PACK LIGHT!!!

The coffee house is a bit kooky.

We pack up and hit the road. My legs are still a bit sore from events two days before, but I know that will improve today. There’s discussion of seeing how much ground can be covered in the day. Gypsum is mentioned. I know I’m just going to be following, so I don’t think about what kind of mileage that is. I’m glad I didn’t look. To get from Lake City to Gypsum, that would be two sections of the BDR track and 280 miles off road.

There is beautiful winding blacktop leaving Lake City, and even Brent and Kelly have to stop to take in the view for a second.

This was followed by fabulous dirt roads that shadowed a stream through a national forest for a long time. It’s the kind of road that would be wicked fun if you knew the road. As it was, each blind turn just left me wondering how tight the turn was, and I did not want to find myself overcooking corners on a dirt road that I didn’t know miles from civilization. Discretion. Valor. I went with discretion. Even though I’m pushing to keep up with Kelly and Brent, I’m not successing. They are both just too good, and I fall behind. No pictures of this section because there was no time to stop, other than one of Brent navigating:

Most of the day this is the view that I get of the guys. I struggle to keep up, which just doesn’t happened. By the time I reach them, they’ve had a chance to navigate, get a drink, chat for a while, nap, etc. I pull up, they give me the “thumbs up” inquisition. I give the thumbs up back letting them know that I’m good, and they leave. It’s the old story of the tortoise and the hare.

What followed was a lot of long straight runs on country roads. As is typical, Brent disappears over the horizon pretty quickly in that kind of environment. Later that day, Brent tells us that he found some long, flat gravel roads to try and set a new “personal best” on dirt.

Dat boy got some serious dain bramage.

We travel quickly through little hamlets like Pitkin. I keep wishing that we had a second to stop in a local store and meet the people, but there is no time. The hills outside of Pitkin are somewhat rocky, but they are all pretty nice and fast. We pass by scenes that beg to be photographed, but I press on to keep up. We pass through Tin Cup, which I’d seen pictures of before. I really want to stop, but that’s not built into the schedule of the day.

Right after Tin Cup the GPS instructs us to turn right off of the road onto . . . not a road. It’s a dirt and rock two-track/single-track run with woops. It doesn’t look too bad, but I’m looking at a perfectly good road ahead, and I can see on my GPS that that road turns into the other road that we connect to on the other side of this area. This BDR throws challenges at you. You get just about every riding surface available. And, you get the mental challenge of walking away from a perfectly good road to go down some crap track. I mentally curse Butler Maps and follow Brent and Kelly into the dirt.

This is not an environment for mistakes. I make one quickly. The guys are kicking up dirt, so I reach up to flip down my visor right as I catch a rock with the front. This is enough to pitch me right off the track and leaves me dodging big rocks trying to get back on the track. I’m immediately a bit unnerved and whisper a few expletives to myself for screwing up.

The track continues and slowly starts to climb just a bit. As it does, a wash starts to develop in the middle of track, and the two-track becomes two single tracks separated by a rocky wash. Riding in the wash doesn’t look at all appealing to me, and I have about a second to pick left or right. I pick left. The wash grows deeper and is now really rocky, and as the track climbs, it slowly starts to bend to the left past some trees. Right at about this point, the track I’m on really starts to slant in towards the wash to make just a big V.

I recall the discussion I had early on with Brent about my misgivings of being off road on the big KTM, and my big concern was not knowing when the front was going to let go. Well, today, I found out.

As I round the bend in the track and look at the about 45 degree slope I’m on, I’m nervous, so I sit down rather than stand up. Brent has blasted ahead, and I can see no signs of where he went, so I’m left to my own to figure out the best line. I see that there is a flat grass bit just inches higher, and I know I’ll be OK if I can just get there. Right then, the front lets go.

Because I’m sitting, I go right down with the bike. I also didn’t have my arms up in an “attack” position like I should have, so my left arm is trapped at my side. I land on my arm, which is driven into my ribs. As my helmet hits the dirt, all I can hear is cracking from my neck to my tailbone. As motion stops and pain sets in, I try to access whether or not I’m OK, and I really just don’t know.

Kelly was behind me at this point of the track, and I look back to see him stop his bike in the wash, followed by this conversation:

Kelly: “Dude, are you OK?”

Me: “Um . . . maybe . . . .”

Kelly: “Maybe? OK . . . wait there while I get my camera.” Ya gotta love Kelly’s sense of humor, and struggling to dislodge myself from my bike and get my helmet off, I have to smile at his dry wit.

Kelly’s picture:

I remember getting my helmet off, follow by Brent showing back up to fully document the scene, instructing me to not hide behind the mirror as this was going on Adventure Rider:

Look at that slope I was on. Can you believe I was trying to ride that??? Discretion. Valor. I went with valor. Discretion would have been the smarter call there.

I slowly get to my feet, and Kelly asks if I’m OK. I again confirm that I just don’t know. Kelly says, “Well, you can breathe, you can laugh, and you aren’t coughing up blood. You’re not hurt.”

I like Kelly, but we have an issue that I can only refer to as definitional in nature. Recently, Kelly suggested that I put in 45 idle jets in my bike, noting that if it didn’t work I could go back to the smaller 42s because changing idle jets in the 950 is “easy.” Obviously, Kelly and I have a different definition of “easy,” because changing jets in the 950 has never been “easy” in my mind.

Likewise, defining “hurt” to be limited to coughing up blood and not being able to breathe . . . . Yep, we have a definitional problem. I’m pretty much thinking at this point that I’m hurt.

But, I know that I have to soldier on. There isn’t much of an option at this point, and I’m not going to give in to the BDR. Also, who I’m with on this trip comes to mind. I’ve learned a lot about Brent through our travels and evenings at bars. He walks with a limp because about four months before the trip he had a crash -- a crash he describes now as just about identical to the one I just endured -- that shattered his lower right leg. A foot plus of titanium rods hold that leg together now. Just two weeks before we left on this trip, he fractured his left wrist while working, so he took handlebars to his orthopedist and told the guy to mold the cast to the bars because he was leaving in a couple of weeks. Brent also carries a small bag with him that he keeps cool with gel packs. It holds the medicine that he injects every night to knock down his immune system in an effort to hold his MS at bay.

Riding with someone with that kind of mental toughness and will to live life to the fullest has an impact on everyone. So, in retrospect, Kelly was right. I wasn’t hurt.

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I can tell that the guys are watching over me. For once, there is usually someone behind me on the track. I appreciate it, but it makes me want to ride faster to stay out of their way. There were some more mountain roads and passes, most of them pretty smooth and easy:

In the OHV park north of Buena Vista, Brent again tells me that momentum is our friend, and I really need to pick up speed. I do all I can, but my bike has stock gearing, and getting out of first and into the revs in second means I’m riding crazy fast for me. So, I stay in first and really wind the bike out through this section. We catch up to Kelly, who notes that my bike is puking gas. I pull to the side, and Brent suggests I open a gas tank to see if it is pressurized. I do that, and the tank spews gas all over me and the bike. Yep. Pressurized. That has never happened to me on my bike before, but now I know that I need to do a little flapendectomy when I get home.

There was a soft dirt road section. I remember concentrating on riding so much that I forgot to look at the GPS. By the time I look down, I’m way off track and on the wrong road. That track eventually went through a really challenging wooded section filled with rocks, holes, tree roots, etc. Really challenging. I later comment to Brent that I did NOT like that section, and Brent said it was “fun.” Definitional problems again.

That track ended onto a gravel road, but the track had serious woops leading to the road. I’m riding very carefully because this track through the woods was tough, and I’m really feeling the ribs. My entire left rib cage feels like crap from the sternum all the way around to my back. So, I’m being very careful when all of the sudden I hit a rock that I never saw. The wheels lurch to the right and the bike rockets to the left. It’s right in the middle of a woop, and I miraculously save it. Brent congratulates me on a great save back at the road and is surprised that I knew to hit the throttle when that happened. Well, I didn’t. I had a throttle rocker on my throttle and just happened to have hit it at an opportune time. Karma cut me some slack for once.

The last pass on the day was rocky and miserable for me. I slow to basically a crawl to get through, and I ride one-handed because it feels so much better to wrest the left arm. After a time of riding rocks, I eventually get to the point that I oddly don’t care about picking a smooth line. Weird, I know, but true. The track eventually turns into blacktop. It’s storming ahead, and I stop just to take in the incredible view.

It is all I can do to just get on and off the bike. I should not be riding.

We are just south of Leadville, the last town on the track before Gypsum. When I catch up to the guys, they appear to have had a good, long rest. They make some comments about moving on up the last portion of the track to Gypsum. I’m hoping they’re kidding, but just to make sure my wishes are known, I look at them both with the best wide-eyed look of disbelief that I can muster through a full-face helmet and say as convincingly as I can, “NO.” I see smiles returned. We find a cheap motel in Leadville for the night -- the Silver King Inn & Suites. It’s a bit sketchy, so I carry my bags up the stairs for the night. My left torso is cramping along the way, and I feel like crap.

The hotel is across the street from a Pizza Hut, so we walk over for dinner. That evening while attempting to be served, waiting on the staff to put things like, oh, lettuce on the salad bar, and otherwise trying to do our best to be patient patrons, I took the opportunity to complete a mental scientific study. Through an extensive research effort spanning at least two hours, I’ve confirmed to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty that the quality of service received at a pizza establishment in Leadville, Colorado is in exact inverse proportion to the average {mean} size of the wait staff’s moose knuckles. Just sayin’. If you are tired and hungry and in Leadville, consider yourself forewarned.

That night, the storms pass through Leadville without incident, but as we sit . . . waiting . . . at the Pizza Hut in Leadville, I notice mostly blue sky punctuated by this one massive storm cloud mushrooming up high in the atmosphere to the east. I mention that there’s no way that that thing isn’t causing problems for someone. Sure enough, my wife texts me the next morning to note that parts of Golden received “feet” of hail. My truck is parked in Golden. A potential problem for another day.

That night, Kelly demands that I take one of the two beds. After all that the guys have done for me, I try to suggest otherwise. OK, not really. I verbalize some weak objection to the idea, but Kelly has other ideas. He pulls out this stack of aluminum poles from one of his soft cases and quickly assembles something that looks like a three-dimensional scientific display of DNA that turns into a cot. Once it’s all together, it looks more comfortable than the bed. As time for sleep approaches, I notice that Brent has duct tape out and is working on his cast. Now that’s picture worthy.

I go to sleep, entirely unsure of tomorrow.
"I'd like to meet the joker who had the nerve to call this a road!" -- Walter Sigmann
"Gravity is a very fickle mistress." -- Unknown
"Throttle to the donkey!" -- Marc Coma

Orangecicle screwed with this post 10-13-2013 at 05:50 PM
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:27 PM   #24
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Joined: Oct 2011
Location: andamooka South Australia
Oddometer: 282
Ooohh broken ribs added to the mix. The plot thickens. Looking forward to the next installment.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:52 AM   #25
Orangecicle OP
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Oddometer: 3,119
September 10

September 10

Sleep was painful last night. There was just no relief from my back and ribs.

In the morning, I had to let the guys know that I just couldn’t do Hagerman Pass with them. There was no question about it. Brent gave me that, “We got this,” look when I told him at breakfast, but I knew that I didn’t have this. My left side is cramping randomly. I think the guys understood after I tried to do a few basic things and simply couldn’t.

As I’m sitting on the bed, Kelly says something along the lines of, “So, if we leave you here, you’re not gonna do something stupid like die in here are ya? Because this room is on my credit card, and I don’t want to pay for any stupid CSI investigation or anything like that. I hear those investigations are expensive. And do you know how hard it is to get blood out of stuff like carpet???” Ya gotta love Kelly’s humor.

In the end, the guys understand, but I promise Brent that I will met up with them at Gypsum. It’s a really nice ride in the morning on the roads over to Gypsum. There are low lying clouds draped over the mountainous landscape, and it’s just a beautiful scene.

As I blast down the freeway to get to Gypsum, I see kids peering out of the rear windows of an SUV at the odd sight of a filthy looking guy on an overloaded orange motorcycle. I make it over to Gypsum and ran across a familiar face . . . Bob! As you might recall, Bob was the other rider in the group who headed out early from Cortez. He had been enjoying his own adventure solo, and we would get his Spot locations each night letting us know where he was and that he was OK. We knew he was just up ahead of us all the time, but it was good to see him again. We chatted for a second, and he headed out on the last leg of the run to get to Steamboat.

Brent and Kelly eventually show up and had lunch. As they are eating, Brent mentions to me that there is a sense of accomplishment in finishing a trip with everyone who started the trip, that getting everyone to the end was a source of pride, and he wanted me on the last 120 miles if I could do it. But, the final call was up to me. I get the, “We got this,” look. Damn it. I tell him that I would try, and he smiles.

We hit the dirt north of Gypsum, which is reported to be “impassable when wet.” It rained the night before, so none of us really have any idea of what we are in for. It sure feels like the guys are holding back on the speed for me, and there is always someone behind me again. We skip the beaver dam water crossing. Brent and Kelly says this is to save time, but I’m guessing they are doing it to keep me safe.

Later, there are gravel roads through gorgeous deep red mountains spotted with beautiful green pines. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen and completely unexpected. The scenery is absolutely amazing.

For once, the roads are so nice that I start pressing the speed. I can ride gravel, and the roads are nice and flat with most corners giving you clear site lines, and I look down to see that I’m topping 75 mph in some places. I don’t want to get on and off my bike because of the ribs, so I don’t try to stop to photograph this place. I need to go back.

About the only time that I stop is when we reach an intersection and need to check our bearings. I’ve been holding it for what seems like forever, so I relieve myself as casually as possible behind Kelly’s bike. Kelly is quick to question my parental lineage, asserting that there must be some form of dromedary in there somewhere because I apparently have the bladder of a camel that is being used to piss on his rear tire. I beg him to stop making me laugh because it hurts too much. Kelly then gives me instruction, as he did throughout this trip, this time on how to properly relieve oneself in the country.

Later, the trails got a little more challenging, but it didn’t look like anything I couldn’t handle. With guidance from Kelly on how to handle difficult terrain, I’m actually thinking that I’m doing OK -- finally riding a little looser on the bike. Then it got just a little muddy. I tense up on the bike because I just don’t want to crash. As we enter this one area that is just ever so slightly muddy, I slow to a crawl and creep forward. Somehow, the bike slips just a bit, and I go to sit down to catch it. Just then, I accidentally hit the throttle rocker, and the bike lurched to life full throttle. It spins and heads to the right in the direction of some bushes on the side of the track. All I could do was hold on and aim for the softest object, which was a big bush.

Kelly was there right away.

Brent returned in a minute or two to help.

Brent: “Has this scene been properly documented?”

Kelly: “Yep, I got pictures.”

Brent: “OK, that’s what I wanted to know. Let’s see if we can get it out.”

Rain in closing in all around us, and Brent mentions that it might be best to leave me for the next group that comes through. I’m hoping that he’s kidding, but I’m not sure. I think I’ve worn out my welcome with Brent and Kelly. We remove the cases from the bike and get it back on the track. As I’m putting the cases back on, Kelly throws a muddy object into the case. "Here’s your throttle rocker," he says with a bit of a scowl. Lesson learned; throttle rockers have no place on an off road bike.

They suggest I jump off of the trail on Hwy. 134 to get to Steamboat. I hit the blacktop and pick up speed to try and avoid the rains. First, though, I have to avoid cows, which seem very content in this area to just hang out on the road . . . and poop there, too. I’ve crashed enough, and I don’t want to ever have to admit that I crashed due to a cow patty. I can see the headline now: “Crap Kills Motorcyclist.” So I dodge carefully and slow to a crawl around the cows. Soon enough, the rains close in, and downpours. There’s no place to stop, so I just motor on. As I approach Steamboat, I notice that it’s still raining, but I don’t have to wipe away water from my visor anymore. I open up my visor to find that the rain has turned to tiny hail. Yeah. So, I ease on the rest of the way and arrive at Steamboat Springs late in the day.

When I get to the campground, Brent, Kelly and Bob are already there. Their route was much more direct than the roads I was on, which took me way out of the way.

There is one last leg of the BDR from Steamboat to the Wyoming border, but my goal was to get to Steamboat Springs for the KTM Rally. I decided not do the last leg of the BDR and save that for another day. It’s raining very hard most days, which ultimately resulted in the flooding in Estes Park and Boulder that made national news. It was an easy decision to not try the last bit.

The remainder of my trip that I could report on here is really the KTM Rally and getting home. Those are entirely different stories to tell.

So, it’s time to wrap up this report. The story is done. I’ll come back to it to answer questions people have had along the way and to give my final thoughts on the trip.

In sum, I went into this trip to create some new memories, and man did I ever. I wanted adventure, and I absolutely found it. I think my Septembers will never be the same from this point forward, as I’ll always be looking back at the memories of this trip, and pulling out maps to find the next squiggly lines to explore for the rest of my Septembers to come.
"I'd like to meet the joker who had the nerve to call this a road!" -- Walter Sigmann
"Gravity is a very fickle mistress." -- Unknown
"Throttle to the donkey!" -- Marc Coma

Orangecicle screwed with this post 10-14-2013 at 07:48 PM
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #26
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Joined: Jun 2013
Location: SENC
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Now this... is a proper adventure! Breakdowns (man and machine), weather and terrain challenges, and (my favorite) the incredible sense of accomplishment squashed by a passing Hyundai! Classic. Great write up and fantastic pics. As a flatlander with aspirations to tackle the COBDR solo on a S10, methinks I will hire Kelly and Brent to spot me.

Now, about Bob... his story probably goes like this, "Went for a ride thru Colorado this week. Eh."
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:34 AM   #27
THe REAL poser
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: Green Township N.J.
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Great ride report Thanks for sharing.
Out on the road somewhere
2013 Vstrom 650
If loud pipes save lives, just imagine what learning to ride that thing could do.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:39 AM   #28
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Hesperus, CO
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Those cramp busters are bad ju-ju like you found out. OK for street but not for dirt. Took mine off early on when I figured that shit out. Great read by the way and I hope you are healing up.
All things being equal... fat people use more soap
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #29
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Location: "Where the Donner Party Dined"
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Great RR Brent. I was there and I still laughed my ass off reading it.
So...... where do you want to go for our next trip?

And for the record, Bob's trip was not entirely without incident....

The dialogue went something like this:

"Hey Bob, are you ok?"
"Yeah,but my foot is stuck."
"Okay, stay right there while I get my camera"
"We'll burn that bridge when we get to it"

Deadhorse- 2002, 2012
ALCAN 5000- 2004
COBDR- 2014

FlyingPenguin screwed with this post 10-14-2013 at 07:02 PM
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:49 PM   #30
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Location: Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
Oddometer: 2,671
Orangecicle, your a lucky guy to hook up with those guys.
Its nice to push the envelope sometimes and having that support group around must have made you feel better. Some of that stuff will be easier next time.

What happened to the truck and trailer?
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