Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trip is done

I am done and don't want to sit on a bike again for a long while. The 40mile freeway ride home from Park City was painful, but pushed me over the 1,200 mile mark. Time for a new back tire.

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

Fields of BLUE

The wildflowers on top of Skyline were simply beautiful. Need to bring Emily back to this.

Lockhart Campsite - total silence

Morning moonset.
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.

Day 5

Note the bikes in this picture.

Ugggh
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

Slim and Cody

So Slim was posing on a rock at the edge of Confluence for me when a gust of wind came along.....I knew he had about two rolls max before he went over the edge and that would be the end of him.....I mad dashed from 20' out as he was falling of his perch and made a first base slide, but I was moving quicker than anticipated and caught the boulder on my left with my left and Slim in my right...my toes hanging over the edge. Dang, that spooked me good. My knees were still shaking 20min later. From then on Slim got to ride up fron on the cockpit instead of bungied to the back.

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.

Needles

Here is a great picture on Needles in the background.

Canyonlands

The ride through was inspiring.

Elephant Hill

Bobby's Hole got me.....Elephant Hill got Josh. Actually this picture was after we got him back upright on two tires and feet. It was a little hairy. This is one section of many, and he went down hard out of my view. It took us a while to navigate this section and Josh got me all freaked out about riding up this thing.....stuff you just do without thinking about it too much.....but we both managed, not without effort
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.

Water Buffalo at Needles Outpost

You just can't survive without it.

Day 4

Just too much to even tell about. Here is a picture of Josh at the Confluence. At this point there is only one way out through Canyonlands. The drop in was incredible. By the time we made the Needles outpost, we had been through one of the hardest days of riding in my life..up to this point. My back tire finally settled in today and started acting like a real tire. That was nice.

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

Bad Dream

Woke up in a cold sweat...my buddy(another-not Josh) and I were flying up Comb wash when he went flying over a knoll and crashed. He was on his back with the bike on top of him....I arrived to help and pulled the bike off, his chest was crushed and he had and arrow in his heart. His suffering was severe and I had to break out the sat phone....I woke in the middle of conversation giving our GPS coordinates and telling how I needed and air evac now!
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 on the Posey Trail

Josh at the top of Posey....note to self: don't try this on a BMW GS Adventure unless you don't mind rolling down the side of a mountain with a 600lb bike chasing after you.

Pictograph

My favorite of the day.

Handprints

Slim Jim and some Anasazi hands.

Day 3

Today was one view after another. There just didn't seem to be any end to it. Nearly 6 hours on the bike and 5 more stopped, either looking or hiking. Quite a few stops at ruin sites and overhang ledges. The remoteness of this part of Utah would make a camel thirsting just thinking about it. Knowing that it used to be so inhabited by a indiginous group is overwhelming.
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.

Ruins

Just look at the size of this! Unbelievable really. After really just sitting and pondering the site it started to come alive for me. I could picture in my mind what they might be doing and it didn't take long to find the grinding stones, etched artwork faded on the walls, and corn husk lying around. Just remarkable.

Ruins

Majestic......one corner of a site.

Ruins

Huge and spectacular ruins.

Ruins and more ruins

All I could think of today was about not breaking down. We were so far out in no where ville that we'd might as well been on Mars. Everything was red, no trees or normal atmosphere and if we got stuck no one would find us for at least 25 years.

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...

Mascot

Well the day started alright. Cody Maverick got a friend, Slim Jim, to come along for the ride.,..and what day it turned into. Read on.

The Magic Bus

About 9,000' ft in the middle of no where.

Day 2

I was in search of a mascot today. Made a couple of stops here and there.... no luck. I'm sure I will find something. Cody Maverick has me all jealous. He is getting his picture taken everywhere.

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

Scenic

Today was just scenic. No other way to describe it. One valley after another. I can't even begin to imagine tyring to see what we saw today in a full size vehicle.

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.

The Lilttle Grand Canyon

Wow. I did not know this existed in Utah and am pretty sure most people do not as well. Very cool detour to get here....well worth the extra miles and it just pops out of no where.

Leaving town

The farewell party....I just wish they could all come with me.

Day 1

Made 380 miles today. Ouch. I don't need to do that again. A lot of scenic highway and tons of dirt road. We moto'd down past the Wedge and into the swell. Very beautiful country. There is no mistaking Temple Mountain. Muddy Creek wasn't too bad to cross and Factory Butte glistened in the sunset with a full moon to the south.

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.

Pictograph 1

I was only able to get this picture attached for now, but I will have a full set to post later. These particular ones were taller than me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Route Map

Here's a good view of the route - sitting about 1,200 miles right now.....

Burrows & Horses

Took the Ducati up to Utah Horse and Burrow Preserve today. Just sounds weird since Ducati's prefer asphalt, but it was a great 20min lunch break and some serious stretches of good ol' fashioned speed. Should've snapped a picture....wasn't thinking. Didn't see any burrows.

Thanks Mike for letting me borrow the keys!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fuel & Valve Test




Took her out for a spin and gauged the fuel consumption - new tires and sprockets have me a little worried.....sure enough only 43.8 mpg - that puts me with a range of only 188 miles with the 3.2-IMS and 1.1-Baja Designs rear tank. Another .8 gal with the fuel bottles gets me another 35 miles for a total range of 223 miles. Better plan on 175 miles max to be safe.



With a previous 15/45 combo and running Sahara 3's I was north of 52 mpg. Not this time.


Valve adjustment seemed to hold. Bike felt a bit stronger on the low end.


So here's the finished product. Very stable and solid. The door threshold strip was cut to length with a 90 degree bend (ribs out) to slide in under the rubber wrap and the drink holder. After seeing it go together the drink holder may only be cosmetic, although it does serve a nice purpose to insulate the bottle from the mount to avoid metal-on-metal vibration. The mount also runs the length of the bottle inside the rubber wrapped forks and then hose clamped down. I feel very confident this configuration will work, but if it does not, I definetely have a much better (similar) plan...one that I might just resort to the next go around if these give me any problems.

A couple of things to note: the clamp screws need to be away from the bottle so they don't vibrate against each other. They also need to be out of the way of the plastic fork cover so when under compression the bike can compress. Get the correct angle on the backside of the fork and you should be good to go.
Another day in the office.




Fuel Bottle Mounts


I've been thinking about this one for a very long time....how do I mount round external fuel bottles to the bike so I can carry a bit extra fuel? Where should I mount them? Is it even possible? I know for sure that I don't want them on my back if possible. The bottles are Primus 1.5L aluminum (3 1/2" x 12"). After months of thought on this, I determined the best possible location would be up on the front forks as high as possible, to avoid as much movement and vibration as possible. It then began to be a matter of how do I mate a tapered 2 1/2" fork tube to a 3 1/2" bottle? and not scratch my bike all up at the same time.

A trip to Autozone and the local hardware store and I had what I needed for about $30 - Floor mats to cut up and wrap, 4 hose claps, an aluminum door thresshold plate, a 3 1/2" drink holder, and some bungies.

See the picture above:

Planning Cont'd

Okay, today I picked up a small assortment of spare M6 metric bolts, torqued all fork bolts, and lock-tighted the seat down. While in the hardware store I notice an hour meter for small engines for $15 so I took it back with me and slapped it on...worked great and saved me $40. It mounted up nicely in the airbox. As I was sitting back admiring my handywork and new tires it dawned on me that I had not yet checked my fork bolts at all. It was inspiration as they were not near what they should be and could've resulted in disaster.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Break from it All

Planning these events can really consume you and I have tendencies to tune things out about 4 weeks in advance....so last night when I got home and saw what a day the wife had managing the world of 5 kids it was time to take a break...so I loaded her up for the Thursday night date and headed out for sushi up at Tona's after a tip from a friend. Mmm Mmm. Nothing like a good night on the town with my hot wife of 19 years, Tona sushi, and a molten lava cake from Corbins. We all have our vices and she's mine.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Planning Cont'd


Well three more hours in the garage last night. It was a nice evening, raining slightly all night and cool. The kids just hung out with dad and we all talked for a while. Emily even came out and sat in chair to talk. I just love it when she does that. I pulled out my checklist and went to work.

Checklist Completed


  • 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
Since I had all the tools out I rolled the Montesa over and popped out the wheel bearings on it and installed a new set. The brake rotor side bearing was shot. Good thing I got that thing replaced or I'd be hiking out of Slickrock in Moab the next go around. Thanks to Stan at Northern Utah Trials for sending me a pair over.

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

New Tires

I always get special help while working in the garage.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Link to Josh's Blog

Check out Josh's account at http://pcmotoboy.blogspot.com/

Planning Cont'd


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.

2010 Epic Moto - Introduction

I received so many questions around my last Epic Moto that I thought I would at least take the time to blog out a few of the highlights of the upcoming adventure. For those of you who know me, I love adventure of all types. My real job consists of taking care of my patient, beautiful wife and 5 children....but as long as it has wings, wheels, or electronics it doesn't take too much to get me excited. I'm not really a fan of video games, social networking (facebook, etc.), or computers, but see them as a toys for small boys. There is a cool factor that each of these comes with that keeps me interested at times and this blog is one of those....where I can document a real adventure as opposed to falsely playing one with a remote console. My coolest gadget of late has been the Garmin 405 GPS watch. Now there's some innovative technology.

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.