Sunday, August 22, 2010

4 States / 4 Fools - 8/13-21

New Mexico

A great time
was had
by all.

Fri- Aug 13th

Dallas, TX to Fritch, TX (395 Miles)

I left around noon for the hot ride (106 degrees) to the Lake Meridith area.

I pulled over on the side of the road about 120 miles from Fitch, TX to put a cover over my tank bag, it was beginning to rain.

I hear on the CB "hey, should we stop to help this guy?" just as I hit my blinker and I recognized the voice as being Rick (Trailace). LOL

He and Khris (Tankereng) were right behind me. When they passed, I pulled in behind and we had a good laugh. We did not plan on meeting up until the campground and with me not knowing my exact departure time it was dumb luck we all met along the way.

We made it to the Fritch Campground and setup then headed into town to find some food - subway was the meal of the evening. While there, we got a call from Steve (Buzz) saying he was just about 30 miles away.

It was hot so we filled our camelbaks using the water dispenser at subway - well, with my camelbak I kept hitting the soda buttons trying to get ice or just water and making more of a mess than anything else.... this wouldn't be the 1st time I did this... LOL

We got back to the campground and Steve showed up just a few minutes later. The gang was all there. The beer for the night - Land Shark.

Sat - Aug 14th

Fritch, TX to Blue Mesa Res (568 Miles)

When we woke up the next morning, I found out Lake Meridith has it's own Loc Ness Monster.

This is a recreational lake so there were people up and talking, laughing, driving, etc up to 2am... We got up and hit the road by 7AM, I'm somewhat embarrassed as I accidentally hit my horn while leaving. I need to work on my anger issues more.

Back to the ride - Rick and I already had CBs on our bikes but Rick had an old one and had been thinking about getting it replaced. Khris decided to get one and so Rick did too... that left Steve as the loner... so, he emailed us that he was having one put on at a dealer. Well, the other 3 of us installed ours ourselves... so, we had discussed playing a joke on Steve. Every now an thing we'd say how bad the road was and then we would pretend to ignore Steve so he would think there was a loose wire or his CB wasn't working...

Flashback: On the 1st big trip Steve, Rick and myself were on, Steve hooked up a handheld CB that worked a couple days and then was useless and he was just cussing at it the whole trip.

Coming out of the campground, Steve mentioned how great of a morning it was for riding. I said "hey Rick, is that you?" and he replied "No, I didn't say anything". A couple minutes later Rick would say how great of a morning it was and Steve would reply "I just said that!!!" and I'd say, "Is someone saying something? I hear the mic key up but no words", Steve would say "It's me, can anyone hear me?".... silence...

Well, that lasted just 20 miles or so to the 1st gas stop... I walked over to Steve and told him his CB was working fine and we were messing with him... he was just about ready to rip the thing off the bike.. LOL

We rode to Trinidad, CO and then the Highway of Legends (hwy 12) .

We visited the Bishop Castle along the way as well.

When we left, we went through La Veta, CO. I had told Rod (Old2Wheeler) we could have lunch if the timing was right but we stopped in Trinidad for breakfast/lunch... I was able to catch up with him in the middle of town long enough to say hi and shake his hand, nice guy and sorry we were in a rush to get to camp.

We made it to the Elk Creek campground near the Blue Mesa Reservoir which is about 15 miles from Gunnison, CO. We planned on staying here 4 nights so we didn't have to break down camp as much.

After the tents were setup, we headed into town for dinner and ended up at The Trough Restaurant - great food and an interesting menu.

Back to the campground, the beer for the night - Wooly Booger - picked out by the New Guy (Khris), great beer and a good selection.

Sun - Aug 15th

Loop 1 - Hwy 92/Hwy 133/Mt Evans/US 24 (558 Miles)

This was a pretty full day of riding. Hwy 92 is always a great ride along the Gunnison National Forest. It was a nice cool morning and Khris lead through this section up to around Hwy 133, another great road full of sweepers.

After this section we hit I-70 to head towards Mt Evans (Hightest Paved Road in the U.S.) only to run into construction for what seemed like 20 miles. The freeway was stop and go so we rode along the shoulder and I'm sure there are cagers that didn't appreciate it, we did ease some of the congestion by removing bikes from the equation.

We exited towards Mt Evans and it was close to 11AM so there was lots of cars/bikes going up and down the road. No big deal, you don't want to screw up on that road anyway, you'd just keep falling...

I could feel the altitude when we got to the top, slight shortness of breath but hey, it's 14,264 feet, what do you expect?

We stayed at the top for just a bit and then started heading back as it was a long day. When we got back on the freeway a couple vipers with race numbers on the side passed up.... well, what would YOU do? Anyway, we made good time for a section.

We got back to the Gunnison area and stopped at Mario's Pizza for dinner, excellent food!!! Then, back to the campground.

Mon - Aug 16th
Loop 2 - Hwy 149/US 160/ US 550 (425 Miles)

Losts of rain this morning, but it made for some great views.

The rain was on and off and most of the day. On the way south we had a little glitch with the GPS route and I needed to do a u-turn in an RV Park driveway, there was a bit of gravel there. When I got back on the road I looked back to see a strange site - the new guy (Khris) had decided he'd had enough riding and just threw his bike down... didn't quite understand it, but he must have gotten over it as he picked it up faster than you can grab a camera and was back on it and on the road. Geesh, we wouldn't have taken any pictures... really... I think.. That's 1 of 4.

Later, Rick had to pee something bad. Couldn't wait the 15 miles down the mountain road as we just pulled up behind a slow 18-wheeler. So, he and Steve pulled off, Khris and I kept going. Well, apparently after Rick got off his bike and found 'a place to go' his bike decided to fall over, that's 2 of 4.

Once we got about 3/4 of the way through US 550 (The Million Dollar Highway) the rain subsided and we could have some fun on drier roads.

We pulled over at a gas station to take off our rain gear, but then it looked like it was going to open up again, a look at the radar confirmed it.. so, after taking off our rain gear - duh - we put it back on.. While we were parked there a guy came up and said he had a GS and there was a road - Owl Creek - that would be nice and not difficult. He even said the STs could make it. Ha, you'll never catch me with one of those comments.

So, Rick and Steve decided to try that road, Khris and I headed back to the campground. We should have been using oars to get back as it was a deluge.

When Rick and Steve came back, they had tales of deep hail and a dropped GS, that's 3 of 4. Sure glad I didn't take the bait on that road.

We ate at a Mexican food place tonight and the beer for the night - Stump Jumper, yuk! Steve said the IPA beer was supposed to be good for your bones but that's got to be only if you can keep it down.. I'm no beer conoseur that's for sure but this stuff tasted like 1 week old coffee with dirt.

Now, the pressure was on, 3 of the 4 bikes on the trip had tipped over. I had to somehow survive the remaining days without a drop, this wasn't easy as I had many slow speed close calls but always stayed upright. Whew!

Tue - Aug 17th
Loop 3 - US 550/US 160/Hwy 145/Hwy 62 (408 Miles)

Holy smokes!... the roads were very dry. Lots of stopping for construction but also lots of space between and not much traffic so it was a real blast.

We ate at Marios Pizza again tonight and headed back to the campground.

I went to McDonalds to try and get some wifi service and download something that would allow us to see the MP4 videos I was taking on the netbook w/XP. I never could figure out the right codecs to download so I just pulled down a free viewer that sorta worked. The netboook isn't the best for viewing videos and 1/2 speed was the best I could do for the video to flow smoothly. Would just have to wait 'til I got home to see what they look like at normal speed.... or maybe I didn't want to know.

Rick and Steve went to get firewood and beer - the flavor for the night was Out of Bounds which just about described our riding for the day. I dont have any pics for today as I was just trying to hang on LOL...

Wed - Aug 18th
Blue Mesa Res to Bryce Canyon NP (534 Miles)

On the way to Utah, we hit the Colorado Nat'l Monument before heading out of Colorado... Wow, what a very cool area to ride in. I never had the change to ride this section of CO and I'm glad I did now.

After that, we headed towards Moab, UT and had to do Hwy 128 and then the Lasal Mountain Loop. Lasal is not the best road surface but a very nice view of the surrounding area.

In Moab, we stopped for lunch at Wendy's and just in time, it was starting to rain and it was those big drops... once we were inside, the sky opened up.. we took our time eating and waited for the rain to slow.

Hwy 12 in Utah is just an amazing road... we just about decided to just do that road back and forth for the next few days. Some sections have a lot of cattle but the road itself is in great shape and must have been designed by a motorcyclist.

We were running a bit behind schedule so the sun was going down on the way into Bryce, made for a very cool looking sky.

Thu - Aug 19th
Bryce Canyon NP to Zion NP/Grand Canyon NP/Moki Dugway/Mesa Verde NP (665 Miles)

This morning, we bypassed the Bryce scenic 17 mile ride (okay, I said we didn't have time)... LOL

The road work in Zion NP sux!... We paid $12 to ride through it and 95% of it was under construction, many long stops waiting for each section to open to traffic. It's a great area but you're concentrating so much on the road and not dropping your bike, you don't see it.

After Zion, we headed towards Monument Valley. We saw a sign that said the Grand Canyon was only 150 miles away. Someone said, "Never been to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon". Well, we aren't the smarted lot... so, we decided to take a detour from our original route and add the Grand Canyon. Remember me saying we didn't have time for the 17 mile scenic ride in Bryce? Well, that sort of bit me later... LOL

The Grand Canyon was very nice, great road leading up to it and not a lot of traffic. We ate lunch there and then back on the road.

We stopped at a gas station as it just started to rain... we weren't sure if we were putting on the rain gear, then the sky opened up again, with close by lightning strikes and it started to hail... LOL, guess we're putting the rain gear on ...

After the rain slowed to a mild downpour, we headed out. It rained for a while and we raced a storm front all the way to Utah. Steve, being from Oklahoma and all kept imagining circulation in the clouds, I kept trying to reassure him there was nothing to worry about, I was lying.

We raced the front and when we stopped for gas it just happened to be at a break in between two big systems and our ride to Monument Valley was sureal. We made it to the Moki Dugway and I wasn't too sure about riding it with all the rain that just passed through but Rick took a quick ride on it and said it was fine. He was right, not bad at all. Khris helped us find the location of Putt's memorial stash and we all signed it.

This was a loooong day, the little detour to the Grand Canyon really bit into our time schedule. We didn't get near the campground 'til 1am and then they must have opened up some extra roads since I was there as I took a wrong turn and we were going up another mountain somewhere... we turned around and found the right spot.

The beer for the night was Avalance, purchased at the last gas stop, Not bad.

We talked a bit as Steve was wired, I think he hit his 2nd wind along the way and was way too talkative.. LOL We all went to bed by 3am... yeow.

Fri - Aug 20th
Mesa Verde NP to White Rock, NM (513 Miles)

Up and at 'em at 6am. No rest for the weary.

We normally put in a min of 200 miles in the morning before stopping for food. We were approaching that when Khris mentioned over the CB that he was hungry... I asked him if he had a medical condition that necesitated stopping for food and he said no... So, I told him to shut up 'til we finished out a full tank - another 100 miles to go... He stopped at the next restaurant so I guess it was time to eat - geeesh, I think the New Guy doesn't have a sense of humor.

Here's a pic of Steve and his bike, while it still looked new...

The plan for the day was to zig zag through parts of sothern Colorado and Northern New Mexico ending up at Sipapu Ski Lodge where they have a really cool campground. However, Steve didn't feel like riding the additional 30 miles and camping another night so instead of just telling us that, he decided to make it happen by running his bike off the road. Normally, a GS going off road isn't a big deal but in this case there was a bit more involved.

There was a 15mph curve indicated by a sigh 'with a circle on it'... you don't see too many of those around... anyway, not sure what he thought a 'circle' meant.. maybe it meant twist the throttle, or 'ooooh'... or perhaps he fixated on it and was picturing a smiley face.

Anyway, his bag touched as he was making the turn and it unloaded his rear wheel and he low-sided. Rick was probably a couple seconds behind him and I was maybe 10 seconds behind Rick, Khris was at least 10 seconds behind me. Rick let us know via the CB that something happened which helped keep things from getting worse.

Steve was already up and walking around in the few seconds it took me to get there and park along the side of the road. He was holding his hand but it appears it was only a sprain. He had all his gear on and it was more proof that things could have been much worse without it.

The bike had a couple big dents in the tank and the saddle bags were bent pretty good but the bike seemed okay in spite of that. There was fluid dripping from the clutch res so we got that bolt tightened quickly. However, when it was started and you put it in gear with the clutch in, it would kick into gear immediately. We tried adding fluid from the rear brake res to the clutch but later found out that this year model has linked brakes... When did we find this out? Well, after Rick decided to ride Steve's bike down for him and Steve could take Rick's bike.

We were only about 10 miles from Los Alamos, NM so we'd head there and maybe get some Dot4 fluid and add to the system so off we went. Rick motioned for me to come up beside him and he said 'this has linked brakes, we just took out brake fluid and I don't have brakes'... LOL Probably a bigger issue on a car. There was no traffic and Rick stayed in lower gears to control his speed. I sped up and at the same time was looking for auto places in Los Alamos to get fluid. I found an Autozone but also, there was some checkpoint ahead so I sped up and stopped to tell them what was going on, they just motioned us by. Further on into town there was a red light I got to first hoping it would change in time... I was there forever and could see the bike lights coming up behind me.. .finally, it turned green. There was another light coming up and it just turned red so I signaled over to the right where there was a yeild sign and we took that - the assumption being we could just take some more road to get back to where we needed to be. Well, that turn took us around a canyon and no easy way to get back to Los Alamos. I found a gas station another 5 miles ahead and that's were we stopped. They only had Dot3. At this point Steve said "there's a hotel, let's get the bike there and I'll figure things out from there". This was probably 7pm-ish. Little did we know that Los Alamos shuts down around 7PM... on a Friday night.

We searched all of Los Alamos and pretty much everything was closed except for a few gas stations and a grocery store - all only had dot3 - so we found a walmart in elscalante that had it. Rick and I headed over there and back and then flushed the clutch pretty good as it would stay engaged for a few seconds before clicking into gear... so, it was a 'little' rideable. Oh, and it was now 3am.. LOL

A pretty long day...but, all ended well.

Sat - Aug 21st
White Rock, NM to Dallas, TX (660 Miles)

Up and at 'em at 5:30... LOL Who really needs sleep...

We checked on Steve and he was doing okay so we started heading home. Rick 1st then Khris and I left together.

Everyone made it home safe and sound. In spite of the issues, it was still a great trip and planning will start on the next outing of 'The Fools' shortly...

I put a new Bridgestone 020 rear tire on my bike before I left for this trip and when I got home all the wear bars were showing at around 5,000 miles... I feel a bit guilty about that, but I think I'll get over it... he he he...

Also, there was a bit of talk about beer in this report.. please note we only ever got 1 6-pack at a time for the night and never rode after drinking. We did have beer during a couple dinners but only because we knew we'd be there at minimum a couple hours.

Here are the rest of my Pics.
Here are Rick's Pics.
Here are Steve's Pics.
Here are Khris' Pics.

Video Clips:


Saturday, July 10, 2010

NatSTOC IV - July 8-10

Spearfish, South Dakota

City Campground

Gotta love the
South Dakota

This was the 2nd consecutive NatSTOC in Spearfish and it was even better than the last event.

We were even lucky enough to have the mayor, Jerry Krambeck, make dinner for us.

Tue - Jul 6th
Khris aka Tankereng met me at my home for the trip north. I had my UniGo trailer hooked up and we took off. After about an hour of the trailer wobbling and fishtailing I decided to head back home and leave it. We were meeting Darin in Kansas so I told Khris to keep heading north while I went home and unloaded then repacked.

I was about 2 hrs behind him when I finally got back on the road.

Lot's of waves of heavy rain going through Oklahoma but once we were in Kansas it was calm.

Darin was having some GPS issues and left a message at the gas stop we were meeting at that he would just meet us the following morning. Khris and I made it to Wilson State Park in Kansas just after dark.

Wed - Jul 7th
Khris and I got up, packed and went to a nearby gas station to meet up with Darin.

From there, it was around 660 miles to Spearfish, SD.

We made it to the Spearfish City Campground later that afternoon. But, not before a few miles of detour on a dirt road and the road that has to be the pothole capital of the world.

Thu - Jul 8th
Five of us went for a little ride today. We headed towards Custer State Park and had to hit some dirt roads during the trek.

Can't go to Custer State Park without running into Buffalo.

Some more riding then back to the campground for some socializing.

Fri - Jul 9th
Today I would just hang out at the campground and greet whomever I could find that were showing up.

This is turning out to be a very popular event.

We had a ton of gieaways for this event so may people walked away with some nice prizes.

Later that evening the Mayor of Spearfish, Jerry Krambeck, had setup and pork dinner for us. We also had two more Kermit Chairs to give away for those at dinner.

After dinner, more socializing.

Nighty night... You can always tell when a sport touring group is in the area, more reflective stuff all over the place than you can count.

Sat - Jul 10th
Khris and I started heading back to Texas after some goodbyes to the remaining group. I think we put over 800 miles in before making it to the Great Salt Plains State Park in Oklahoma.

Sun - Jul 11th
Today was an easy 330 miles home (for me). Khris and I stopped for breakfast before splitting off just north of DFW so I could head home and Khris to San Antonio.

Here are the rest of the Pics.