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Old January 24th, 2013   #1
Iamike
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Default Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

I realize this isn't an ST topic but I probably won't be doing a big roadbike trip this year. I'm guessing a rugged ride might be of interest to you.

I have a riding buddy that is 72 and he can ride the wheels off of me. He used to race enduros and rides around 20,000mi./yr. He is big on the ADVRider group but hasn't really done much of that type of riding until recently.

A couple years ago he took a road bike trip to Mexico and invited me. Even though every RR I have read on Mexican riding, no one has ever had a problem, I didn't go. While down there he took a spill, broke his collar bone and needed a ride to the hospital. When they came back to collect his Buell, it was gone. The insurance agent said that would have been more surprised if it would have still been there.

Last summer Jack did the Ride The Divide route where you follow the Rockies Continental Divide from Banf, Canada to Mexico. I passed on that one too due to a big bicycle trip I did.

A couple of years ago we took the dirt bikes out to Moab, UT and rode all over that area. I had done pretty well not falling over until the fourth day. But I am getting ahead of myself. Day 1, we got there in the afternoon so we just set up camp at the KOA and then went into town for some chow. Being late March it cooled off pretty quick in the afternoon but we took a ride out into the mountains east of town.

The next day we rode up to Arches NP and did quite a bit of riding around there. On our way out to one of the remote arches my son took a spill on his XR650 and punched his shift lever into the case. It didn't leak too bad when upright but since we were quite aways from camp we decided to head back.

I was able to find an epoxy patch and got the hole filled for next day's ride to the slickrock. If you have never seen the slickrock area it is just amazing. It is basically one huge granite boulder that is at least 100 square miles. I soon found I wasn't real comfortable on some of the steep hills but the others fell and I didn't. My son again went down climbing a long steep climb. He was close to the top when the front end came up, he chopped the throttle, lost his balance, fell over and his bike slid a couple hundred feet back down the hill. His new XR is looking quite used now.

To start the next day I went shopping for new footpegs for him so we could head out to Island in the Sky NP. There is a tail leading up to it called the Shaffer Switchbacks that is quite impressive. The view from the plateau is pretty amazing. Both times that I have ridden in Utah I was in sensory overload due to the size of the rock formations. We made it through that day with no more incidents.

We started out on the 2nd to the last day having a big breakfast at Denny's. Our destination was a place called Chicken Corners. I have heard that it wasn't named that for the chickens we eat. It seems that the trail becomes a narrow road with a 1,000' drop off into the Colorado River. As we traversed down the wider part of the road we came into a rough section of gravel that had many water crossings. As I came up to a sharp corner with a 2-3" lip up to a flat surface. I stood up to bump over the lip and as soon as my rear tire crossed the lip it hit the loose sand on top and it slid out. since I was standing I wasn't able to lift my foot out of the way and my bike fell on my foot as it was sliding sideways. I remember telling myself "Darn, I just sprained my ankle". I jumped up to pick up the bike since gas was coming out the vent and my son ran up to help me. As we were lifting it I said "Crap!" and he asked "Crap what?" I told him that I felt the bone move in my ankle, end of that day's ride.

We sat there and talked about how we were going to get out of there. There wasn't room to bring the truck in and I didn't want to wait around to ferry us back into town so I told them I will just ride it back. I did pretty good for the first ten miles but I had a lot of trouble upshifting and for sure didn't want to have to put my foot down.

Anyway the doctor took a picture, said yep, it's broken. Time to head home.

Fast forward to this Fall and Jack (the 72 yr-old) wants to go out West again. His first iteration covered 7,200mi. all the way up into Idaho. After reading the RR's where he got his routes, we decide that some of the route is way above our heads. We will be loaded with camping gear and such and we really didn't want to have to push fully loaded bikes around the rough trails.

He went back and found a milder route going through Kansas to meet up with an enduro rally near Wichita. I still can only do 2 weeks so I will be trailering out to Colorado and meet up with them near the New Mexico border. Below is a map of his route and should be quite interesting being 90% non-pavement. I will follow with discussion on the bikes and prepping for the ride. Right now we are looking at a mid-June departure.
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Old January 24th, 2013   #2
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

You already know how much I love your RRs so I welcome this. Could you please give some info about what bike you are taking and how you have it set up?
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Old January 24th, 2013   #3
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Love love love Utah, I have gone to Utah on my bike every year since 2003, I will be there end of June, and Mexico , too, I was there last July and had a fantastic time.

Your proposed route will be a truly wonderful ride. Consider moving up into Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP as they are too awesome to miss. Unless there is something that you particularly want to see in Tucson and thereabouts, you might want to cut that loop out and stick with with the northern half of AZ the south will be so darn hot. Consider Springerville - Show Low - Payson - Camp Verde ....it is remote and beautiful and with a higher elevation not as blisteringly hot as AZ gets further south.

It will be a great trip, for sure!
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Old January 25th, 2013   #4
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

I will occaisionally add some pics and dialog as we prepare for the trip. Jack is in charge of the trip planning and I hate to try and change it too much. I have ridden Glacier and Yellowstone parks so those will have to wait for another day.

I have a DR650 that is my third dirt bike. The first was an XR250 that was fine for the trails around Iowa & Minnesota but after a dual-sport ride near Steamboat Springs, CO, I realized I wanted 'more power'. I picked up an XR400 that was just a joy to ride but it wasn't street legal. I sold it and bought the DR and just love it for general riding.

My son bought the XR650 for our Utah trip. He used to race motocross but hadn't ridden off-road for 10 years.
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Old January 25th, 2013   #5
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Darn graffiti artists!
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Old January 25th, 2013   #6
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

When we were out there the year before riding the street bikes I realized that there were many roads that we wanted to take but couldn't. We tried a couple but after getting stuck on a sand road in Monument Valley we realized it was kind of dangerous trying that with our pack mules at 104degF.
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Old January 25th, 2013   #7
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

I noticed that you are also going to miss Hwy 191 in AZ again.
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Old January 25th, 2013   #8
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

I realize that I will miss 191 AGAIN, but that road is much more suited to a sport bike and not one with knobbies.

I have my DR set up for off-road riding. The first thing is to put hand-guards on it. Not only do they keep your hands from getting clobbered by branches, trees, etc, if the bike falls you don't have broken levers. No fun riding with just a stub of a lever for a brake or clutch.

Next I put a skid plate on it to protect the case from rock dings but also the frame when I bottom out on rocks and roots. I also installed cables from the guard to the levers so brush doesn't get wedged between the lever and case.

I think I will lay it on its side to see if I need to worry about this:
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Old January 25th, 2013   #9
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Been there, seen that.

Pretty cool area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamike View Post
Darn graffiti artists!
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Old January 25th, 2013   #10
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

After I got the hole in the XR's case patched we decided to go out and check out the area before hitting the slickrock. We found a road called Steelbender and gave it a shot. It was a real nice ride wandering along a little creek that we had to cross several times. It followed a canyon and had some cattle pasture along part of it. There were also signs of weekend party activity too.

We followed the road (?) a ways back in until we got to a section that was a little tougher than we wanted to try. I figured why beat ourselves up much more this early in the trip. After we got home I looked it up on a 4-wheeling site and found the other end was a whole lot tougher than the one we came in on.
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