Tuesday, June 29, 2010
This trip goes down in my personal history book as one of the finest I've ever had. Most of the places I will never be able to return to.
Why does it all have to end?
Coming back to normal life is stressfull in different ways, but also makes me realize how soft we have become as a society due to modern living. Something to ponder for a long time.
Monday, June 28, 2010
100+ miles and not a single person or thing. I could not sleep at first. It was only then that I realized total silence. I can't remember the last time there was no sound around me. No sound at all. Not even a breeze. I sat there listening to my stomache and that was it.
We only made 120 miles yesterday and rode all day nonstop.
Today we lost and found Cody Mav, thought my bike blew up, got a little lost, and donated a well eaten (by back tire) jacket to the desert. However, we found the Secret Spire. Very dangerous as you see in the picture the ledge.
230miles today...watched sun come up over Lockhart and drop on the way to Castledale. Punishing day, like yesterday. 25.5 avg speed today...and that was flat out 65+ on highway and dirt roads....8.5hrs moving time.
Broke 1,000 miles today.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Cody Mav went for ride himself today....but mostly in the dark of my tank pack. Josh had left him for dead in a trench that I happened to come up on...this was after a little frustration by Josh after seeing his jacket really become sleeveless after his rear wheel ate it good. Seems to have quite an appetite....got the license place too that is now in Josh's backpack...or what's left of it. The shredded jacket required a wheel off scenerio to free it, so in his frustration he lost his cool and forgot about anchoring poor Cody down.....so somewhere in the valley we were making new tracks and I just happened upon him and performed the rescue. That critter has some good luck.
Fortunately the breakaways on his radiator bolts gave way...so we were able to bolt them back on later. There's no rescue in this place.
Killer hot. Not a day for a lone hike, such as the 2 day hikers out of nowhere hiking to the Confluence. They were low on calories and she was 15months pregnant. We spared some bars for them and later left to hope they made it out okay.
We soon encountered Bobby's hole and down I went literally, busted my mirror and that was it thankgoodness. Things just got more interesting after that on Elephant Hill....see the Elephant Hill post. That one nearly killed us both working the bikes up.
We made it the Needles outpost....as desolate as it comes. We were out of water long before gas, so we had two options...find water press on and camp or no water and hop the freeway. Josh disappeared down the road aways and I found him behind a little shack with a hose from a water tank soaking down like a water buffalo...it was a water party. So we broke out the sat phone to let others know we were alive and wet and dropping to another unknown to camp. The going got rough..really rough and we found a small smooth spot in a canyon to setup and called it a day. Beef stew MRE never tasted so good and I got to play Anasazi on a rock while the moon rose over the valley below. I had been through nearly 160oz of liquid today.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Started cutting his clothes and helmet off.....
Dang indians shot my buddy right off his moto. Go figure.
Josh says I touched some haunted medicine man dirt that made me dream funny.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Josh is an expert field guide to naming all the ranges as we go. He is defintely a walking encyclopedia of this area, something I would say is pretty unique for a techno geek. All we can talk about is coming back to hike and explore further some other time. Seems we both share the love for some of this crazy heritage.
Murphy lives....my battery toasted on day 2 and so did Josh's later that day. Never a good thing for at least one of us not to have a battery to charge appliances etc., but we have no choice...so on we go. Kick-starting the beast is a real pain, but do-able.
The hotel in Blanding isn't much and the hot tub was cold...par for the course in this town.
Blister are popping everywhere in places I'd rather not have and my toes got skinned in my leather shoes from the hikes...I guess socks would've helped.
Subway never tasted so good....I love it when I get to eat onions on my sandwich...lot's of em.
This place is very deserted, but abundant with wildlife from the obvious tracks. At one point I thought someone had been ahead of us on horseback, until I saw the tracks darting in and out of the cedars so I stopped to investigate and was shocked at the sheer size of the print...elk maybe or a monster buck. Later a cougar track as big around as a 2 liter bottle.
We spent most the day hiking and just gawking at ruins. Words could not do it justice. Some of the most amazing things I've ever seen. All I can do is post pictures to follow. Hard to imagine a civilization so dense and vast to fill the cracks and crevases as living quarters. I could just picture the kids on some of the ledges learning what was safe and what was not, climbing all over. More to come...
The Henry's were awesome. Located the magic bus and emptied a full clip on it just to make sure the tires were flat and had enough cooling holes in the front grill. Best we can tell it's been there for a while.
The day was spent pretty much trailing Josh and watching his back tire eat his license plate. I learned that if I take a visual reference on his right blinker and view where it sets relative to his exhaust....I can tell when he starts sagging or losing his gear. Josh nearly turned his jacket into a vest as one of the sleeves went sailing.
The fold is pretty spectacular....100miles long with an amazing view through the valley.
We opted for the Bullfrog campground so we could get a shower, water, and a good place to eat. Slept like a rock on the rocks. The ferry awaits.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
The day carried us up over 10,000ft and then dropped us down into the fold. Strike Valley was a phenominal drive up.
Scorching heat all day..had to keep moving to stay cool.
Only mishap today was losing my phone off my pack and spending 15min looking for it up and down the road. I had given up and stopped to think about it, when I saw it sitting on a rock off the side of the road.....it was still ticking, obviously. It must have bounced 50yards; I was flying when I felt something hit my leg.
Josh burned a hole through this right pannier and heated up his fuel bottle a bit, but not bad enough to ignite the bomb....thankgoodness. Todays gas mileage was much higher than previous testing....about 60mpg.
Mmm. Burger and fries at Stans in Hanksville.
Here is pic of Josh at The Wedge.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thanks Mike for letting me borrow the keys!
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
- air filter cleaned
- air box cleaned
- fuel line filter installed in airbox
- oil levels re-checked
- brake fluid levels
- hydrolic clutch fluid
- radiator fluid
- lubed the chain
- swapped tires - installed the new Pirelli's
- dust sleeves on front forks
- bearing check - front/rear
- spoke check - front/rear
All that remains..... a Hobbs Meter install and maybe a new silencer if I can bring myself to spend the dough. Hope to do a mileage check this weekend on the new tires to be sure of mileage calculations for range.
Next Up: Gear for the Ride
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
My latest adventure bike is a 2007 KTM 525 EXC. Josh rides the 450 EXC. It's nice to have such similar bikes on the trail and the knowledge of two riders with experience on such similar machines. When crisis occurs it's comforting to have the buddy plan in place. Stock from factory the 525 is a very capable machine at 90+ mph in that tall 6th gear. A little tweaks here and there and it's a well over 100mph that will eat your lunch if not careful. I've spent the last two years dialing it in 1 tooth at a time and I think I got it right with a 15/48 sprocket combination....nicely cruising at 65mph and passing at 70-80mph if need be and not much more. This really lets the bike come alive on the low end and pull hard through the lower gears. 2nd-3rd wheelies are nicely done up and down the road if you dare. I couldn't be more happier with the bike for desert adventuring. I added the 3.2 IMS tank and another 1.1 on the left rear side for a total of 4.3 gal, each with their own petcock valve. This provides a safe 150-mile range.
Last Saturday was spent combing the bike over and cleaning it up good. After some serious thought I decided to bust it down and do a valve adjustment. Needless to say after 2 hour of having my kids and wife tug on the wheel for me and swapping me places 20 different times, I can now adjust the valves on the trail 'by feel.' Not an easy task by any means and requires a certain amount of 'know how' of 4-strokes, cam lobes and TDC, but it is very do-able, just not without a little trial and error. It was a good thing I did as I wasn't getting full power to the bike on the intake side with one of the valves that was not completely openning. The evening was spent mopping up the garage gas spill from the tank overflow line that dropped down when I wasn't looking. Didn't realize I was getting so high on fumes, but surely was until I figured out what was going on.
So this year brings a few bike changes:
- A new set of Pirelli Xtra's
- Hardwired jumper cable (both bikes) with an adapter cable to be used between them in the event of an emergency.
- Fuel filter for the rear side tank to keep the debris out.
- 1-tooth larger rear sprocket to slow it down a tad bit more and add back a few of those previous foot-lbs of torque on the low end.
- and hopefully some Xtra fuel bottles mounted on the bike.
Each year I plan a moto ride with my long time buddy Josh Watkins (since the wife says that going it alone is too dangerous). Three is a crowd so Josh and I ride it together. We have ridden everthing with wheels now for a long time and know the likes and dislikes of each other pretty good....a real nice to have when your holed up in a small town of no-where or stuck on trail trying to figure out how to get under or over a fallen tree the size of a Volkswagon bus. So this year begins with us laying our southern Utah GPS tracks over burgers and fries again at 5 Guys Bugers N Fries for another 1,000 mile ride........plus or minus a few hundred. -:)
The butterflies always start to settle in for me at least a couple of months before launch and I start to get jittery with excitement. It's always a highlight to disappear into the desert where buzzards lie in wait and then to emerge victorious on the other side. There just isn't enough time in the day or time spent in planning that will eliminate the jitters for these kind of rides. They just pose a real threat to existence if you don't give them the proper care, but in the end the payoff is a memory of excitement and a world explored.
This year’s adventure begins June 23rd and takes the approximate route:
Salt Lake City -> Park City -> Duschesne -> Casteldale -> San Rafael Swell -> Hanksville -> over the Henries -> Notam Road/Burr Trail -> Halls Crossing Ferry -> Bluff/Blanding -> Abajo Mtns -> Needles & Canyonlands Natl Parks -> Lockhart Basin -> Moab -> Gemini Bridges -> Green River -> Castledale -> Skyline Trail -> Tucker -> Strawberry Resevoir -> Park City -> Salt Lake City
I'll get a GPS picture of the route posted soon. ...maybe. Some of this stuff gets personal you know. :)
Josh will be live tracking with his Iphone app and I'll be popping posts and pics on Blogspot/Twitter/Facebook via the phone. I'll be live tracking also with Google Latitude.
More to follow on the live GPS link. Traveling 65mph @ 10,000 feet is pretty cool.
Google docs works great for sharing the list of items each need to bring. It's nice to avoid duplication as much as possible to eliminate weight in tools and supplies.