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KTM's, faceplants, suicidal saddlebags, and of course, Torrey Utah


skinny_tom (aka boney)

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Preface:

 

Since the ride to Mexico last spring, and the Oregon Backroads Discovery Trail last fall I have discovered that I am very interested in the "Adventure " aspect of motorcycling. Spring Torrey has been on the horizon since, well, last fall and I could think of no better place to which riding a dual-sport would be appropriate. Sure, there's lots of pavement there, but the unpaved stuff is far, far more abundant. Not to mention less frequented by the obviously larger number of tourists this year.

 

The basics for this trip:

A Benchmark Atlas for both Nevada and Utah.

A Garmin GPS. 276C loaded with Topo USA and City Navigator.

A KTM 640 Adventure. Serviced and ready to ride, if not a bit low on oil.

 

Lets get rolling shall we?

 

Day 1 is Sunday.

The original plan was to dual-sport it all the 800+ miles, but alas, there is no possible direct dirt route from the SF Bay Area to Torrey Utah. Too much private property, pavement, and snow. Yes, the Sierra's even in their "way below normal" state still have too much snow at the high altitudes. The Rangers hadn't even opened the gates to some of the lower elevation roads that were considered, so we blasted over 50 then down Monitor Pass onto Highway 395. I was a bit dissappionted that we were gonig to miss the Sierras, but they are in esscence our back yard, and it does leave us someplace to go this fall. deal.gif

 

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Monitor Pass looking East.

 

Having filled the tanks in Placerville, we went straight for the dirt when we arrived in the town of Topaz. Headed east for an unknown campsite that appears on the paper maps, we passed through some seriously burnt out hills that worried me, since the campsite was supposed to be close. I wondered if we'd be sleeping among the soot and burned out sticks that stood where trees once were.

 

The road dropped down along the edge of a hill, and looking back over my shoulder I could see a road and some clear spaces just down the little valley. We doubled back at the junction, and did a bit of searching to find a little oasis in the desert. Running water. Enough of it that the sound would block out any chance that we'd hear something go bump in the night.

 

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Only two stream crossings (and two dabs) to get there. To think that this wasn't even the "official" site that appears on the map. National Forests are great that way- lots of good camping wherever you decide to find it. We rounded off the day with some freeze-dried food- Pad Thai (thumbs down), and Pasta Primavera (only okay) chased with either Jameson or Crown Royal. Or maybe both. whistle.gif

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Day 2. Also known as "how I learned to operate my GPS"

 

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Ready to roll.

 

The route had come together over hours of playing with Mapsource, City Navigator, Topo USA and the Benchmark Altases. I had doublechecked most of my routes by looking at them in Google Earth to at least confirm there was some sort of scar on the planet where we planned to ride. Having been raised to look after the environment I am a bit torn over my latest choice in recration. While I enjoy the ability to openly ride in many places, I am opposed to "free riding" across untracked expanses in the name of fun. Mind you, I do believe we should have places set aside for "tearing it up," I just don't beleive in doing that everywhere. If you want to be a nut, go to Dumont or someplace like it. If you want some fantastic trails/roads, the Nevada desert is a fine place to go looking.

 

Wow. Allow me to step down from my Soapbox.

 

I should also mention that the 640 Adventure is not a light bike by dual-sport standards, and loading it with a bunch of camping gear doesn't make it handle the dirt any better. Semi-established roads were going to be important if we were to make the trek in any reasonable amount of time.

 

A cold morning brought us back out into the open desert where things warmed up nicely. Following Risue Road to the south-east, we crossed over to Nine Mile Raven, then up Lucky Bay road toward Hawthorne, where gas and lunch would be waiting.

 

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But first, a detour up the hill. It was treacherously steep and loose, with a nice long drop for poorly managed motorcycles. With each foot in altitude gained my jetted-for-sea-level bike was less likely to idle if I chopped the throttle when the going was rough. Many restarts and several close to tossing my bike over the edge calls later, we topped out at the top of a hill next to Corey Peak. The obvious communications hub of this corner of Nevada.

 

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So many roads, so little time.

 

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We did get a nice downhill though. Groomed well enough for the propane trucks to service the generators at the top of the hill.

 

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We spoke with the Sheriff after arriving in Hawthorne and getting gas. He told us that the military chases people off the top of several mountains in the area, and we had chosen a good one to scout. I don't have any pictures, but Hawthorne appears to exist soley for the Army Depot nearby. The town even has an Ordinance Museum in which they seem to keep every model of rocket, bomb, missle, and bullet the military ever made. Banners line the street as the "Patriotic Center of the United States" or something like that. Nevertheless, they take their military seriously.

 

We also decided, that since breakfast and dinner were to be easy camping food, we'd sit down and eat a good lunch every day. Maggie's was pretty good. Lucky for us it wasn't too hot to sit out on the Patio.

 

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A small bit of highway riding brought us to Garfield Flats road, and alongside it a powerline road that dipped and dodged through the washes. At times it was steep and loose, and others a very pleasent "two-track" road which eventually put us right back on the road near the summit to continue down the the little town of Mina. The place has gas and that's about it. It is practically a ghost town alongside Highway 95.

 

Across the street and up Dump Road brings us to Bettie's Well.

 

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If Bettie was digging for dirt, she surely found it. Looking over the top I was not surprised to discover, after letting my eyes adjust to the "dark"... dirt. Surprise. The well is about 3 feet deeper than the surrounding earth, and if the locals have their way, will be filled with bottles and cans sometime soon.

 

The other surprise was that we encountered no dump on Dump Road. Funny how the names of places create expectations... Perhaps someone came out here to... well... nevermind.

 

After a while the open desert appeared. Until now we had been travelling along what appeared to be well groomed, heavily used, wide roads that looked to service the numerous local population. Even if we had only passed one car outside of the towns, I hadn't felt "alone."

 

With the crossing of a minor pass, we were out in it. Nothing around but mountains, valleys, and vegetation. No active signs of humans. And no paved roads for many miles to come.

 

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The further out we went, the smaller the roads became. We missed a turn, took a minute to confer with the gods of electronic maps, and decided we could overcome. Out into the desert we went again, on small two-track roads that looked as if they hadn't been travelled in years.

 

The GPS is a truely wonderous thing. Out here in the desert lay some abstract points I had never visited at which I was supposed to adjust my direction. We could ride right up on the waypoint and not see the road until we stopped and took a minute to look around. This is where I had discovered the excellent quality of the "stacking maps" (for lack of a better name) in my 276C. I had both City Navigator and Topo USA loaded onto the memory card. Since most of the route was actually shown in City Navigator, I could "turn on" that map, use the "autoroute" function to establish the turns, then "turn off" Navigator to look at the Topo maps. Because the route had been established in Navigator, it continued to show, overlayed onto the Topo maps without having to recalcualte to the "off road" setting- which is the only setting avaiable in the Topos. Thanks to JohnLt for showing me the trick to the maps thing. Making time on a trip like this is almost depended on a GPS, as the route decisions come often, and investing the time prior to leaving prevents having to break out the paper maps each and every time.

 

YouTube Video of wayfinding in the desert:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8cbLBQjw2k

 

A high speed, well groomed road brought us around the south end of a range where we split off to the north into a little canyon and the National Forest campsite called "Peevine Ranch." An established site with pit toilets and picnic tables but no running water. It is here that we met a nice couple from Missouri who were doing a bit of touring before they had to report to work as Geologists for one of the gold mines in the area. Nice people. The gal even went around a picked up all the trash in the site so they could take it out to a proper garbage can tomorrow. I sure hope their stint as geologists for a mining company doesn't sour them on their chosen field. They both seemed very environmentally concious, and we all know that the environment isn't the first item on the list at a mine.

 

Camp.

 

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skinny_tom (aka boney)
You guys must have BALLS the size of mustard Jars to do that route.

Great pictures and story.

I'm feelin it.

 

That's quite a complement coming from you. Sorry I didn't get a chance to introduce myself last weekend.

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Paul_Burkett

Tom, that was awsome, you must have had the best time traveling to Torry of any one. I still beleive that America is found on a back road in the middle of nowhere.

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Wow Tom, what a great ride. I am very gratified that we can still do such a thing in this country. After a great dirt and paved experience, how do you rate the KTM? Cheers,

 

johnlt

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Day 3. Faceplants, suicidal saddlebags, and evil Beef Stew.

 

What a wonderful morning. Again in an oasis in the desert, the hummingbirds are dogfighting. I enjoy lazily waking while the sun slowly rises. Only, the freeze dried beef stew wants out. Good thing we're near the outhouse.

 

A bit later we get up and make some coffee. Our neighbors have already left- probably well on their way to making use of the newly opened Tioga Pass. Me, I'm making round trips across the road, wondering if the trip just went down the toilet, so to speak. Everything I eat stays down, the coffee even lifts my spirits as it does every morning, it's just, well... you know. I wonder if Luke was worried about the rest of the trip as well. This is a crappy time to be getting sick. My mood was becoming brown. Two days of riding was amounting to squat. I'd been working on this route for 3 months, and it was just about to be wiped away. We must keep moving...

 

We pack the bikes and head for Round Mountain, or Carvers, or whatever the name of the town is. There's gas out there... I know it because I called ahead to ensure that the places that said they were there still had an open sign in the window. I had an address that didn't really look like a proper place for a gas station. Only getting there will reveal the truth.

 

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Early Morning in Peevine Valley

 

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15 minutes later we're in front of someone's house. The GPS and the address match the information of the "gas station." Luke mentions that he saw a General Store back around the corner somewhere, so we head over there. Yeah, there was a gas station and they had gas, but more importantly they had Immodium AD. The general store didn't open for another 20 minutes and I wasn't in a waiting mood. As it turns out, the flu had been running through town and the gas station lady decided to start carrying it because she was the first place open in the morning. It was my lucky day. I had never paid so much for so little medicine, and I didn't care. I took 3. Yes, 3. It worked well.

 

So over to the general store for water, dish soap (which we never used) and chapstick. While waiting in the parking lot I realize that this town, Carvers I think, exists soley as a support for the Round Mountain mine. It's of strip mine variety and appears to lay directly across our planned route. We'll figure this out later...

 

Gas. Check.

Immodium AD. Check.

Sundries. Check.

 

Let's ride!

 

Embarking on the longest stretch of the trip without gas, we have to cross over 200 miles of desert to reach the next gas station. There are a couple of "escapes" but they put us so far out of the way that it's better to just try to keep to the plan. Missed turns will have to be dealt with by hoping we have the gas to make it. The plan is to ride until a gas light comes on, put all the remaining gas in one bike, and ride out to get gas, then come back and share. Having petcocks all over the gas tank will make this chore an easy one. Let's just hope it's not hot when the time comes- or at least let's hope for shade.

 

Across the highway we go looking for the route. Inside of a pasture, we're blocked by an electric fence the mining company put up. We follow along the fence then back toward the highway where we find another gate. In the desert, the rule is "leave the gate the way you found it." They are of the barbed wire and stick species, which can be hard to see at speed, and even harder to open and close since they're stretched tight between two posts. Managing both, we head over to a pole-line road that parallels the highway.

 

The quality of the road is excellent. It hasn't seen traffic in a while but the washes are all smooth and clear. As Luke dissappears into the distance, always riding better and faster than me, I settle into a nice groove of about 40 MPH. Carefully, I slow whenever I can't see the bottom of the wash or when the trail becomes a bit rough.

 

Perhaps I wasn't looking ahead far enough. Maybe the wash was difficult to see. But I found myslef closeing rapidly on a dip that didn't look good. The road dropped smoothly and predictably down about 3 feet to the bottom, where a rut about one foot deep and one foot across laid. The other side rose gently back up to the same height at which I was now riding. I could swear that rut had square edges, and a squared off bottom and big white teeth, like that creature in the desert in one of the Star Wars films where the Empire disposes of infidels... But I can't be sure. What I do know is that I had just rolled up on a gaping crevice that was going to require a bit of skill to cross. I was hard on the brakes as soon as I noticed the obsticle, and as the front tire rolled down toward the rut, I let up on the brakes, shifted my weight back and pinned the gas.

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Firefight911

A crappy start but a great hook at the end!!!

 

 

TELL ME MORE!!!

 

lurker.giflurker.giflurker.giflurker.giflurker.giflurker.giflurker.gif

 

Damn commercials!!

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Immodium AD
Should be on every travelers #1 list, or is that #2 list? It totally saved my South America trip a few years ago, but 3 tablets, yikes - I took 2 and didn't "go" for 6 days!
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bakerzdosen

MORE!!!!

 

Are all ADV type threads like this? I know the story ended already, so where's the rest??? smile.gif

 

lurker.giflurker.giflurker.gif

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

I could tell it wasn't going to end gracefully. Late off the brakes, and late on the gas, I hit the rut between the remanants of tire tracks that crossed it and began my most recent environmental impact study. It was a faceplant in the truest of events. I really don't remember the crash much other than mashing my face into the chin bar of my helmet, the immediate gush of blood from my nose, and the thought that I'm glad I was wearing a full face helmet. The still running bike came to rest on my right leg, so I pulled it out right quick. Who knows what hot parts were where and I wasn't about to find out.

 

I made a very quick assessment of my condition. A sore nose and lip was all I could identify, so I got up and picked the bike up after shutting it off. With blood pouring all over everything, I managed to remove my gloves and helmet and begin to stem the flow, but not before I had dripped on just about everything at least once. I still had all my teeth, so I couldn't be that bad.

 

Hey look, the video camera still works. I'll shoot a little post face plant video. It doesn't reveal nearly anything I hoped it would, but check out the controls on the bike and the end of the vid. You can tell I'm shaken and stirred.

 

YouTube Video:

3.jpg

 

So I open up the bags, put some water on a rag and begin to clean up my face, my helmet, my jacket, the bike, etc. The bike fared pretty darn well. A few new scratches, a dent in one of the saddlebags and some misaligned controls. Nothing's broken, so I just twist the levers, mirrors, and switches back into place on the bars. The bleeding stopped, I cleaned up a bit, and put my helmet on to get going again and here comes Luke, backtracking to see whats going on. He stops and says "did you stop to pick up my bag?"

 

Huh? "I just faceplanted. I haven't seen your saddlebag." It turns out that one of his soft bags had broken loose and jumped ship. He didn't see it coming back, so he thought I had stopped to pick it up. If only.

 

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Reattaching the bag

 

We rode to the end of the road and found his saddlebag waiting patiently right where it had it's get of- about 30 feet from where Luke had turned around and come back. As Luke reattached the bag, I took further inventory; boots and gloves are fine. Jacket doesn't even look dirty. Tore a small seam in the pants and put some beauty marks in my helmet. The bike checked out again, but this time I pulled the dipstick and found the oil to be low. I wonder, was it low before the wipe out? With 200 miles to the next gas station we turn back down the highway, back to the gas station we just left a bit ago, and bought some oil. Then back up the highway and on our way to Manhattan.

 

So much for an early start to a long day...

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Dances_With_Wiener_Dogs
Day 3. Faceplants, suicidal saddlebags, and evil Beef Stew.

 

...Only, the freeze dried beef stew wants out. Good thing we're near the outhouse....Me, I'm making round trips across the road, wondering if the trip just went down the toilet, ...This is a crappy time to be getting sick. My mood was becoming brown. Two days of riding was amounting to squat. I'd been working on this route for 3 months, and it was just about to be wiped away. We must keep moving...

lmao.giflmao.gif Hyuk, hyuk. lmao.giflmao.gif

Hi there Tom...you're inspiring, you know that? Keep the story coming! lurker.gif

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

The unknowns on this long stretch were twofold. First we had a section that was labeled as "steep grades." Without knowing specifically what that meant we were left to guess as to the consumption of gas these steep grades would require. Also, the it Eagle Pass. Again the map has a label, this time it's "4WD." This poses an interesting question. Is it Rubicon Trail 4WD, high clearance, or "National Park 4WD" where you can drive a minivan?

 

We dispatched the steep grades without incindent and crossed over a little basin to Eagle Pass. Here we found a small sandy wash, up which the road criss-crossed when it wasn't directly in the wash itself. The road was steep, narrow and definately would have required a 4WD vehicle. Fortunately for us, we were also able to pull this one off with some effort.

 

YouTube Video:

2.jpg

 

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Luke cooling off at the top of the pass.

 

Down the back side the road became more narrow and off camber, eventually opening up into a small basin, then right back into the hills. This time we traversed through a wide valley that was very lush and green. We had come across a whole series of pastures tucked into this valley which had obviously become a mini-mecca for ranchers. Every half-mile or so there was another gate. There were at least 6 of them, but I didn't count.

 

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At the mouth of the valley was Hot Creek Ranch. The Ranch compound itself is right between two roads, both gated, the other of which we wanted to use. I'm not into trespassing, and this clearly looked as if we'd be stepping on some toes if we let ourselves in, so I rode back up the road a bit to confer with the gentleman building a fence. He gave us the go-ahead to let ourselves through, but the folks down at the house didn't seem to happy about us coming across the road, even though it appeared public.

 

A well kept road brought us to Highway 6, where we spent as little time as possible headed east. I mean it is pavement. Whew, back on dirt a few miles later at Crater of the Moon State Park.

 

The roads became smaller, and fainter as we kept our heading east.

 

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Over the shallow pass the terrain changed to rocky and rough, with some steep sections for good measure.

 

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Looking Back.

 

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Luke lifts the wheel for the camera.

 

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Down the road a bit further, we are reminded of the inhospitible nature of the desert.

 

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Out in Railroad Valley we found ourselves on a rapidly dissappearing road which thankfully dumped us right along the fenceline of someone's fields. I did feel like I was invading someone's space here, but there really was nowhere to go. We let ourselves out the gate, and waved to the lady when she came out on the porch of the house. Thankfully she wasn't carrying a shotgun.

 

Back in the National Forest we followed Ox Spring Wash to Cherry Creek Summit, down the back side and to our next oasis of a campsite at Cherry Creek proper. The terrain had changed again, as it seemed to do with each range we crossed, and the campsite was abuzz with critters. Luke is pretty sure he saw a Bobcat cross the trail in front of us while coming in, and there were bats, humming birds, and fish in the stream.

 

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I took some time to fully assess any damage that might have been done under the fairing on my bike. A couple of very slightly bent mounts and a broken rubber bolt thingy was it. We took off the roadbook holder and bent it back into shape and buttoned up the bike. All will be fine.

 

Another round of freeze dried food and some whiskey and we're off to bed.

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You guys are nucking futs. dopeslap.gif

You really did see America from a 19th century point of view with 21st century conveyance.

Looks like a great time was had.

You didn't happen to see The Major did you?

ward-bond-da1sm.jpg

So what happened next?

Wagons Ho!

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Kenny Haynes

Fantastic tale, nicely written Tom, thanks for taking the time to document it.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Thanks for all the kind words everyone, I'm getting warmed up for day 4.

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WOW.

 

You write a great ride tale, can't wait for day 4! Sounds like a crazy adventure.

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Day 4. You say it's ugly, and I'll rub it in your face...

 

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We had just finished up yet another amazing night in the desert. Constellations abound when the sun goes down, and between discussing our poor knowledge of them and picking out satellites as they pass over, I drifted off into a sleep I really needed. We had marvelled that we finally found a campsite in and east/west orientation rather than the typical late sun north/south. The days have been warm. However, the nights have been getting pretty darn close to freezing. Looking forward to some direct sun in the a.m. we discussed, inaccurately, where it would come over the ridge. Take another look at the above picture... There was only one tree, and we managed to put our bags right where there would be shade in the morning.

 

We dropped out of Cherry Creek, past a few more ranches, and into Garden Valley. This is the first time that the roads, GPS, and maps didn't agree. We followed one road straight out into the desert, to find the second gate locked. Turning back to the fork in the road we stopped again for consultation. The paper map didn't show one of the roads the GPS wanted to route us down, and the faster, less gas consuming alternative that we wanted to take seemed to be crisscrossed with gates, at least one of which was locked. We were worried about gas, and since getting far enough away from the gas station to not go back, we realized that our little run back for more oil the day before should have included a top up of the tank. We're now in a 40 mile deficit because of that little error.

 

Out on the original route, the roads the GPS wants to take us down become less road-like with each turn, and once more Garmin does not let us down. Every road was there, however small, and each one of them was passable.

 

Crossing the dry lake bed, we turned down Coyote Wash, up and over Simpson Spring Road and the signs of civilization begin to arise.

 

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The sign in the Background is for the Silver State Trail. Always keeping an eye out for the next adventure, I was interested in finding out about this possible gem as I had never heard of it. Later we were to find that it is a county established route that tours the backcountry. An effort to bring more travellers, the county is selling it's tourism by pimping it's "old west" lore. Pioche, were we finally made it to a gas station is fabled to have a whole cemetary full of dead folk before anyone in town actually died of natural causes.

 

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Yes, my gas tank is a big behemoth. Call it ugly. I dare you. Go ahead, it won't hurt my feelings. Did I mention that I still had 2 gallons to spare after riding 250 miles across the desert? The reserve light never even came on.

 

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Lunch at the Silver Cafe. There's even a nice little bench in front and Verizon cell service to check in with SWMBO.

 

More pavement headed east on 322. Thankfully that doesn't last long as we turn south-east on Hackett Road. Out here in the middle of nowhere Real Estate signs keep popping up in front of vast expanses of open range. I can't think of a more sure sign that we have, in fact, arrived in Utah.

 

The place is a navigational nightmare. Massive blocks of land are mapped out into tracts scattered across the valleys, and yet when you arrive, there is maybe one or two roads that go through. While planning the route, I was afraid that we'd be seeing a whole lot of civilization as soon as we entered Utah, but nay, it is only on paper (and apparrantly eBay.) Whatever you do, don't buy land in Modena or Beryl Utah, they only exist on paper.

 

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We rode the railroad frontage all the way to Lund. There's a house here. I wonder if the Lunds live in it. Turning right and pointing our fenders toward the south-east again we traverse more range land over to highway 130, cross it and follow Horse Hollow Rd and Gap Road further east through a little canyon littered with people stopped by the side of the road sitting in their cars. Perhaps we had stumbled on some local pastime. Everyone was just sitting there in their cars, chillin' with the windows down. It was a weird sight and brought thoughts of the late night Court TV crime documentaries that I catch every once in a while when I can't sleep. We kept moving right along- Nothing to see here, no sir-ee.

 

Suddenly there were massive boxes moving along the horizon at the base of the next range. They were all sorts of colors and said things like "England" and "Yellow" on them. I was taken aback for a milisecond until I realized that we were coming up on Interstate 15. Crossing over it, the road turned to pavement long enough for an overpass, then back to dirt and into the little town of Parangonah. Yes, an actual town and not just a bunch of lines drawn on a map somewhere.

 

Out past Red Creek Dam the road climbed up and over a ridge toward Panguitch. We had decided that we might treat ourselves to a Hotel after three nights of camping, if not for the shower then for the comfortable beds.

 

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But first, a minor saddlebag fix and an air pressure adjustment in Luke's front tire. He low sided in the snowy/muddy turns back a little bit and needed to straighten out a couple of things. No big deal, we carried on shortly.

 

To follow the planned route, it looked like we were going to head out on an ATV trail. "What the heck" we decided, we'd ridden trails like this before.

 

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Whoever rates the trails in Utah has never been to Cow Mountain, or Middle Creek for that matter. The trail was an "easy" if I've ever been on one.

 

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Some nice views along the way.

 

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And down the hill into Panguitch, where for $47 you can get a double room in a nice hotel, in the back with all the other motorcyclists where you can live it up and not disturb the rest of the guests. Our new Harley friends were nice guys, sharing their Hank Williams Jr. III that they had in their chrome iPod hardwired into their bikes. Good converstaion too. I'm not kidding.

 

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Down the road a bit further, we are reminded of the inhospitible nature of the desert.

 

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I hope these poor creatures did not succumb to the after-affects of the freeze dried beef! lmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

Day 5. The Rangers in Utah know what they're talking about.

 

We awake to the sound of straight Harley pipes. No surprise there. Packed and ready to go we ask the motel clerk where to get a bagel and coffee. She says "I wish it were that easy." A muffin? Anything? "Try a convenience store, that's your best bet."

 

We hit the grocery store and opt for a bannana nut muffin and a pint of chocolate milk. Hey, the breakfast of champions, right? Luke plays a little game with me. "Guess how many calories are in our breakfast today?"

 

I guessed 850. That was over 250 TOO LOW. Holy cow. I hope I'm not hungry again until forever.

 

Now we've been travelling toward Boudler Mountain for days, and for most of the last one, we've been able to see high up onto the hill. Nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, have we been able to see snow. Last week, when I called ahead on the conditions, the Ranger in Loa told me that there were big drifts up by Round Lake that were impassable. In Califonia, when a Ranger says "impassable," it means that you can't get your rental Grand Am through. Knowing the difference between "impassable" and impassable we continued on with the original plan 'b.' (there were two plan b's).

 

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40 miles up the hill we come across a small snow bank. It's a foot deep and where Luke strayed from the road it was deep enough to stop his bike with less aggressive tires. I plowed through at full throttle, paddling massive amounts of snow into a roost behind me with the Michelen Desert knobby. We got Luke's bike through and contiued forward.

 

The clouds were drawing in upon us, just like the weatherman on the television said. Pretty soon there was thunder off in the distance and just as we hit the muddy section of road little snowballs started falling from the sky. I'm hesitant to call it hail, and it wasn't raining. These balls of ice were about .5 to 1 cm in diameter and soft, so that when they hit they broke up.

 

Right on cue, we rounded a corner and were stopped in our tracks by a 6 foot wall of snow. We scouted around it, where some ATVs had gone, but it looked like we'd be trying to cross this kind of stuff all day if we continued. If we're lucky Luke took some pics. I didn't and now I regret it.

 

Obviously the rangers in the Dixie National Forest know the real meaning of impassable and not the California version. Turned back, we looked for other options as we were sent back down the hill with our tails between our legs, and found nada. An interesting point of mention though is that we did find a trail that looked passable my motorcycle. Maybe. It appeared in the GPS as a dotted line, many of which we had ridden in the desert. This time though, it really meant "foot trail." Perhaps we had stumbled upon the Dixie National forest meaning of GPS features as well.

 

The other plan 'b' traversed on some dotted lines too. We agreed that getting turned back again, many miles into the forest, would not be a good thing for our fragile egos, so we went with plan 'a,' the road from Antimony.

 

Bob tells me that last year a GS was turned back on the road from Antimony. After riding the steep and loose sections the only reason I could think that they turned back was if they were running street tires. Later Bob tosses out the fact that they were two-up. Well, duh! I wouldn't ride that road two up on anything! But, Jonathan Malt-hop would have no troubles on his GS. After Cathedral Valley, he's ready!

 

We crossed the high plains of Boulder Mountain, reminding me of "High Plains Drifter" and spaghetti westerns, and down toward highway 24 between Bicknell and Torrey. The end was in sight.

 

YouTube Video of high plains riding:

2.jpg

 

Down the hill and over to the first place anyone should stop when they get to Torrey. Brinks Burgers. Then over to Bob's place where everyone was aparently out having a good time.

 

Don't worry, we found the wine stash and helped ourselves to the front porch.

 

Torrey081.jpg

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Un-frigging-believable adventure story, Tom. You really do have cojones. No way I could do what you guys did on the way to Torrey. Bravo!

 

K^2

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That is epic adventure! Nicely done too.

 

Did you guys come through Hanksville, UT on Sunday AM? I saw a black RT and I think a silver dirt

bike pull into the gas station.

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FlyingFinn
Day 5.

 

Luke plays a little game with me. "Guess how many calories are in our breakfast today?"

 

I guessed 850. That was over 250 TOO LOW. Holy cow. I hope I'm not hungry again until forever.

 

Ahem, are you the same guy I saw at Brink's Burger on Friday ordering a "Double Cheese" and deep fried onion rings?

 

--

Mikko

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skinny_tom (aka boney)
Ahem, are you the same guy I saw at Brink's Burger on Friday ordering a "Double Cheese" and deep fried onion rings?

 

--

Mikko

 

Yep. But you'll notice that I didn't get a milkshake. wink.gif

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skinny_tom (aka boney)
Wow Tom, what a great ride. I am very gratified that we can still do such a thing in this country.

 

Me too. In some aspects, there's an adventure waiting out the back door. With the abundance of National Forest land and BLM land in the west, we're lucky that we can roll out and find something so remote.

 

After a great dirt and paved experience, how do you rate the KTM? Cheers,

 

I really liked the 650GS. Unfortunately the suspension was lacking for where I kept finding myself, and it was a $3000 upgrade (same price for Dakar stuff as Touratech WP add on unless I wanted to go shopping for used stuff- which is a whole new can of worms). Trading it in for a used 640 Adventure cost 1/3 that and the 640 comes stock with WP suspenders. The 640 is really a dirt bike with a big tank and some other stuff tacked on. The steering is twitchy, the 1/4 turn throttle seems more like an on/off switch sometimes, and it's tuned for delivery of power right off of idle (the 650GS needed to be revved to about 3500 before the power came on.) While it requires more maintinence, it's easier to do. The peak power is about the same, it just comes on sooner so it feels stronger. There is more off road ridability in this feature since I can let it go all the way down to idle then rev it back up without doing a lot of clutch work. By doing this and riding in the next taller gear, I can take some of the choppiness out of my throttle control. (I bought the bike after it had been piped and jetted. I don't know if this is true in stock form.)

 

It fills a nice little niche. It is at the same time a big powerful bike capable of carrying a few pounds of gear, while not sacraficing the off road characteristics of a dirt bike. It's relatively light and flickable, so much so that I fitted a steering damper to be able to adjust that. In it's mostly stock form it's ready to everything I can ask of it, and in some cases it's more forgiving of my inexperience and lack of skill.

 

It's durable. Had I taken the same faceplant on a 650GS, I'm not so sure I would have gotten away so inexpensively or with so little damage.

 

On the pavement, not so much... It's bit buzzy (they say it lessens as the engine breaks in- I've just rolled past 8k on this one). It's not terribly fast, and it's not terribly comfortable. After two 400+ mile days coming home from Torrey, I was glad to get off. (I can ride it in dirt or mixed surfaces all day though- so it's obviously not built for the highway.) I rode the 650GS across the county on pavement and could have gone for more.

 

Similar bikes the 650GS and the 640Adventure. They're just on different sides of the line.

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John_Hendriksen

Tom and Luke,

 

Nice meeting you guys at Brinks. I was amazed then when you told what you'd just done and even more amazed after reading your tale of adventure.

 

Bravo!

 

John

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BeniciaRT_GT

Tom,

 

WOW!!!

 

Not just a great story, but an awesome tale. Well written and great pictures. The poopy talk had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe for a while!!!

 

I may just have to get you a set of my balls for you to show off, as yours are much larger than even mine!!!

 

Now let's go for a ride on the street so I can feel worthy of being in your presence again...At least I can keep you in sight on the road!!!

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

At least I can keep you in sight on the road!!!

 

You've never gone that slow before... what makes you think I can keep it in your mirrors?

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Here's that snow bank I made reference to:

 

155795299-L.jpg

 

Heck, with you guys around to help me pick up my bike, I'd try to ride that snowbank.

 

I'd be stoopid, but I'd try. dopeslap.gif

 

You guys could have a laugh watching, sorta like in the the mud last weekend.

lurker.gif

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roadscholar

Tom, This is just an exellent ride tale. At Killer's, when you said you'd ridden most of the way there on dirt trails I was impressed, but didn't realize the gravity of the adventure until reading the story. You and Luke pulled off what many of us only think or dream about, congratulations.

 

The only downside for me is, this tale has rendered both my avatar and screen name to be an absurd joke. grin.gif

I may need to come up with something a little less optimistic. grin.gif

 

Really though, this was a pioneering effort. That may have been one of the last places in this country where you could do that. Thanks for sharing it.

 

Enjoyed talking to both of you as you were heading home.

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Tom - Great ride report and obviously a great adventure ride. Well done (the ride and the report)

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Will Tom,

you've sealed your fate blush.gif

 

I'm going to have to add your name to my "Ignore this user" list.

 

A new toy is not in the budget just yet & I don't enjoy being teased tongue.gif

 

Seriously your trips & stories keep getting bigger & better so just ignore me & I'll do the same to you grin.gif

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Here's that snow bank I made reference to:

......

 

- reckon with enough run-up you would have made it over <g> ?

 

- great tale < those guys over at ADVrider got nothing on this one .......

 

- ebill

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I'm just getting around to this, and racing before it rolls off.

 

Incredible! eek.gifthumbsup.gif Very well done, Tom. Both the adventure and the story. clap.gifclap.gif

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