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Old 11-04-2013, 08:01 AM   #61
CaseyB
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Originally Posted by Tragic Overlander View Post
We had arrived at camp around 4pm, and this early stop was a well earned break in our usually hectic pace.






Let me get this straight: you stopped for pictures (shocking) and more importantly, you stopped early and scored an absolutely gorgeous campsite?
{hand slaps forehead in disbelief that i missed this experience - smiley}


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By this point in the ride, Phil had become suicidal over his riding attire:

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Old 11-04-2013, 03:15 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by CaseyB View Post
Let me get this straight: you stopped for pictures (shocking) and more importantly, you stopped early and scored an absolutely gorgeous campsite?
{hand slaps forehead in disbelief that i missed this experience - smiley}



That would be correct
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Old 11-05-2013, 06:30 AM   #63
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DAY 10 - Battling the storm

Day 10: Big Sandy, WY to Rawlins, WY
230 MILES

We woke up and had a fairly leisurely start to the day. I was very relieved to find that it had not rained overnight, and I would not have been surprised if it had snowed. It seemed a shame to be leaving such a beautiful camp site – I could easily have stayed another day or two.



We packed up, made sure the camp site was clean, and headed off into the great wide yonder. This next stage was something that I had been looking forward to, as we would ride sections of the California – Mormon and Oregon Trails. The historical significance of this area has much appeal to me.

We traversed through some familiar territory as we were riding a couple of sections included on the CDR, but Byways route sent us on more remote two tracks for the majority of the section. Hundreds of antelope gracefully scrambled away from the rumble of 5 LC8’s, and the riding was again fast and fun.







Our route intersected with the great Oregon/California/Mormon Trail that dates back to the early 1800′s. We turned and followed this route marked with some cool old posts for about 30 miles on really fun “two track” dirt. We got to our second marker for the day, a place called “The Parting of the Ways”.





This was an historical spot where the wagon trains would choose to either head up and over the mountains, or take a faster, but more dangerous route through the desert. The Donner party was one of the famous groups that had to make a choice here, and unfortunately for them, they chose incorrectly. A few pictures and an acknowledgement to the pioneers in the great struggle they must have had just getting around back then. We really take it for granted!

A massive storm had been chasing us all morning.



We got back on the bikes and made for Farson. We continued along the old pioneer trail to Little Sandy Crossing - another significant POI due to the fact that it was a source of water for the wagon teams.







Reaching Farson, and it was here that Anthony departed and headed back to Aspen.



We gassed up, said our farewells, and headed back out to the route which was a fairly long slab section. By this time, a really strong wind had come up and was blowing 50mph gusts straight at us. Nothing to do but put our heads down and get on with it.

Eventually we got back onto some fun dirt roads leading us to Atlantic City and South Pass City.





Then Byways guided us out into a myriad of seemingly endless gas and oil exploration roads. Lots of loose gravel which was made harder by the relentless wind. After a couple of hours of steady as she goes, someone let off a firecracker under Andrew’s seat and he took off. Phil pinned his ears back and it was on. The speeds were in hindsight a bit irresponsible, but it certainly made for a lot more interesting riding. We all pulled up just before we got to the highway – big grins all around, but we were all tired. The riding conditions had been hard today – mostly because of the relentless wind. We had also been very lucky with the weather, as a huge black storm front had been chasing us all day, but so far we had stayed ahead of it.



We decided to head into Rawlins for gas and a very late lunch. Over lunch, we were discussing our options for camping when the rain front finally caught up with us – it absolutely pissed down. This made the decision easier, but we still reluctantly headed into town and booked into the Best Western. A nice hot shower, a few phone calls to loved ones, and then off to the bar for a few bevy’s. After a little while, who should walk into the bar? Casey B. It was good to catch up with him, and he had had just as tough a time in the wind as we had.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:09 AM   #64
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Do you take notes during the ride Dave?

I recognized everything you just wrote about, but I would be hard pressed to come up with some of the names of the towns and areas. Besides, parting of the ways. I loved everything about that section, even the dingo holes in the middle of the trail that tried to kill me by sucking my front tire into them.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:30 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by CaseyB View Post
Do you take notes during the ride Dave?

I recognized everything you just wrote about, but I would be hard pressed to come up with some of the names of the towns and areas. Besides, parting of the ways. I loved everything about that section, even the dingo holes in the middle of the trail that tried to kill me by sucking my front tire into them.
I know Anthony (or was it Tony) was uploading a blog most days, which he linked to FB. Fwiw, if you've got the route available, it's pretty easy to use something like Google maps to go back and fill in some of the blanks. I've gone back and retrospectively figured out lodge names, where I could barely remember the town name previously.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:13 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by CaseyB View Post
Do you take notes during the ride Dave?

I recognized everything you just wrote about, but I would be hard pressed to come up with some of the names of the towns and areas. Besides, parting of the ways. I loved everything about that section, even the dingo holes in the middle of the trail that tried to kill me by sucking my front tire into them.
Hey Casey,

I must admit that my note taking is somewhat lax on these rides. I usually start off well for the first day or so, then I just get into the ride and focus on staying alive This RR was helped greatly by Anthony's notes, but I did spend quite a bit of time chasing the route on Google Maps (as Lucky Phil mentioned above). Honestly though, as I started getting all the pictures sorted out, the memories started flowing..... Once I had a rough idea of where we went, I then had to make up as many stories / lies as I could Luckily for us, we had Phil with us.....so some of the stories were a bit more believable!
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:14 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Tragic Overlander View Post
Day 10: Big Sandy, WY to Rawlins, WY
230 MILES someone let off a firecracker under Andrew’s seat and he took off. Phil pinned his ears back and it was on. The speeds were in hindsight a bit irresponsible, but it certainly made for a lot more interesting riding. We all pulled up just before we got to the highway – big grins all around, but we were all tired.
No firecrackers, just that grinding wind was making me crazy- figured it was either Drive the wind, or get driven by it… irresponsible you say? Naaahh- just good clean fun, all with in the limits of rider & equipment………

Keep the good stuff coming Dave- you're doing a great job.
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:22 AM   #68
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Day 11 - final day

Day 11. Rawlins, WY to Steamboat Springs, CO.
240 MILES

After a good night’s sleep, we got packed up and headed to the restaurant for a quick breakfast. It was pretty cold, and I think we all turned on our heated grips. A brief run down I-80 before we turned south heading for CO. At first I thought we would stay on the fast dirt road that the CDR follows, but true to form, Byways turned us off the road onto a series of more remote tracks into a wildlife refuge (I think it was called Green Ridge?). We were riding fast and it was still quite cold. After an hour or so, we stopped to warm up a little.



Our group was in really good spirits. The tracks were great fun, the weather had cleared up, and as had been a recurring theme for this whole ride, the scenery was amazing. We climbed up over some remote sage brush infested trails over Green Ridge – at one point the track was a little hard to follow, but we were having fun. Eventually we popped out into the Medicine Bow National Forest, and we stopped to check out some really nice camp sights – I made a mental note to explore this area further.



We continued on in this beautiful area only to be stopped by a road closed sign. We decided to check it out and soon came face to face with a large excavator installing a drain pipe in a 10ft ditch across the road. After a quick recce to find a way around, we watched in awe as the equipment operator filled in a section of the road, cleared off a pile of downed tree’s and then compacted a trail for us. We waived in huge thanks and gingerly rode through the makeshift road.



We soon arrived at the overlook from Battle Mountain where we took a few pics and read the historical signs.








Not long after this we pulled into Encampment, gassed up and went down to the pub for lunch. This place didn’t look too inviting, but the lunch was great, and we talked for a long while about the trip. None of us really wanted the ride to end, but we were now only about 90 miles from our end point – Steam Boat Springs.

We set of up into some gorgeous alpine scenery of the Medicine Bow National Forest , and were on high alert for logging trucks – one of which came by at high speed, but we saw it and gave it plenty of room. Another storm was looming again, but so far we had managed to avoid any real rain, although it was blowing hard. We continued South and came to a really cool bush camp just off the road and Stan let us know he was having an issue with his clutch. I was keeping myself busy pretending to make Phil a camp chair (as he had gone the whole trip without one)



and Phil was very…grateful.



We all actually considered camping here for the night, after all, we were well ahead of our schedule. But bike issues and a looming storm forced us to push on to Steamboat.



We cruised into Steamboat and went straight to the campground where Andrew had left his truck and trailer – the three GA boys had stayed here for the KTM Rally, just before we started this ride, and it therefore marked the end of our adventure. Stan went in and organized a cabin for us. Andrew proceeded to load the bikes with Phil, Stan went into town to get some beer, and I had a long hot shower. We sat out on the deck, and really relaxed for the first time in a while. Sipping on a few brewskies, we recounted some of the many funny events of the trip.



That night we celebrated the end of such an epic ride by going to a very nice Italian restaurant on Main St. Our very knowledgeably waitress was from Wales, so she and Phil spent the evening exchanging snide remarks in a language that the rest of us could not understand. We had a great night and it would be sad to be leaving these guys in the morning.

THE END (Summary to follow)
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Old 11-06-2013, 10:30 AM   #69
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Day 11. Rawlins, WY to Steamboat Springs, CO.
240 MILES

THE END (Summary to follow)
Great report on what looks to be an incredible route. Definitely considering doing this next year with some friends! Would late June would be an okay time to do it?
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:09 PM   #70
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Great report on what looks to be an incredible route. Definitely considering doing this next year with some friends! Would late June would be an okay time to do it?
Thanks InTheMuck. Obviously the weather is the deciding factor. I would think that late June would be good - it might not be too hot out in the desert, and hopefully all the high passes would be clear of snow. I was going to ride it this last July, but it was 118 degree's in Nevada - too bloody hot for this fat bastard.

Let me know if I can help in any way.

Dave
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Old 11-06-2013, 01:47 PM   #71
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Hey Guys.

Sorry I'm so late to the party.
Looks like you all had a great ride.
It was great meeting you all.

Q~
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:05 PM   #72
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Hey Guys.

Sorry I'm so late to the party.
Looks like you all had a great ride.
It was great meeting you all.

Q~
Thanks for all your help Q It was great meeting you too. Let me know if you need any riding partners on one of your next big adventures. Perhaps we can repay your hospitality if you are ever in the mountains.

Dave
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:36 PM   #73
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Nice job on the RR Dave, I really enjoyed it.

Took you a week or so to complete. I started mine in September and still haven't wrapped it up
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:51 PM   #74
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Summary

The Route:

The Heart of the West Adventure Route is an absolute must for those looking for a new and really interesting adventure in the west. IMHO, this route goes down as one of the great adventure rides in North America. The scenery and landscape changes all the time as the route goes from alpine to desert to forest environments many times. There is a seemingly endless array of sights and vistas that are worth stopping to see. The historical significance of the route (one of Byways main goals in creating the route) is incredibly attractive to me, and I am already planning to do the route again – but with a bit more time to stop and explore.

I wouldn’t say that the riding is particularly hard, and there are no really technical sections that would scare most riders – but as we found out, heavy rain can really mess with the track conditions and create some challenges. This is where Byways adds his real value. I also was really impressed by the feeling of remoteness in many of the areas we passed through. I know that we were never that far away from civilization, but it really felt like we were. I would estimate that around 80% of the whole route was on dirt, and the other 20% was slab.

The Creator:

Not only did Tony Huegal create a truly awesome route, but his attention to detail and follow up service is really unique. Right from my initial conversations with him, his advice and experience was very generously relayed to me and everyone else in the group. His information package that was emailed to me when I purchased the route was very informative and addressed quite a lot of questions that anyone could have. The actual GPS tracks that he supplies are incredibly detailed – full of markings for potential hazards, fuel locations, accommodations, camp sights and a whole heap more. Before we departed, he kept us informed of track closures and changes almost daily as a result of wild fires and heavy rains.

Lastly, Tony really gets customer service. He always answered the phone to answer questions or just see how we were progressing, and he even came out to ride with us when we got near his home town of Idaho Falls. I can’t thank Byways enough for providing us with a first rate experience.

The Bikes:

I was very happy with my 990 on this trip. It is well set up, and I never wanted for something smaller / lighter on any of the terrain we rode. That being said, I think that many of the basic rules for Adventure riding apply on this ride. All bikes need to be well maintained. Packing should be as light as possible, but carrying camping gear and enough tools and parts to be self sufficient if need be. ATGATT. All our bikes required some form of auxiliary fuel storage.

This was a 2900 mile ride, and we didn’t really experience any mechanical issues that we couldn’t fix on the side of the road. 3 rear flats. A couple of simple electrical issues. Between our group, we were carrying enough spare parts to repair just about anything, and addressing some of the known failure points for these bikes: fuel pumps, water pumps, slave cylinders, fork seals, bolts, lubricants, chain repairs…..

The Group:

What a great bunch of guys. As I mentioned previously, our group was made up of relative strangers, and we all hit it off from Day 1. Everyone had a great attitude and were positive the whole ride. Even when things inevitably got a little tense, it was always handled in a relaxed and respectful manner. We laughed a lot (mostly at Phil’s riding suit and boots), and every now and then we even attempted deep / philosophical / intellectual conversation – these were very rare and usually didn’t last too long. Everyone was pretty relaxed – which really helped with our group dynamic.

As with all good adventure rides, we met some great characters along the way. There is something about going to remote locations on a motorcycle that attracts many of the best human qualities. People throughout this ride showed a lot of interest in our adventure, our bikes, and our laughter. A special thanks goes out to Questor for showing us great hospitality and friendship.

In my experience at least, it is really unusual to meet up with a group of strangers that had a very similar riding ability and experience, all on the same bikes, and all with a positive attitude. I felt really lucky to be riding with this group, and would do so again any time, and anywhere. Hopefully this ride has created a whole lot of lasting new friendships. For me, it certainly created a lot of great memories. Thanks guys for a great time!

Thank you all for reading.

Dave
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Old 11-06-2013, 02:54 PM   #75
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Nice job on the RR Dave, I really enjoyed it.

Took you a week or so to complete. I started mine in September and still haven't wrapped it up
Thanks Mate. Your pics are amazing - as I have said before, you have some talent with a camera! Next time we ride together, you take the pics, and I'll put all the lies into a story
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