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rtwPaul last won the day on July 27

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  1. before we jump ahead to 'that photo' there is stuff in between...lead the way out of St John's and in the general direction of he showed us a few areas that a lot of locals miss really knows Newfoundland like the back of his hand and is a definite asset to any rider who makes it all the way east, thanks again for your hospitality and I have been chatting for years but never met, so over a few beers we got to know each other face to face, Mike is a so the beer on offer was something special....and to put a face to the name...he's the one in sunglasses we planned on staying a couple of days and the only thing I really had to do was change rear tires on both bikes, the Kenda was done after 7000 miles but the Mitas looked like it had another 2-3000 left in it, but we'd been carrying the rears since Maine so I just did them both. So if you ever get to his place there's a 17 incher to get you home if you need it...you're welcome. As I'm doing the swap Mike hands me a sticker that and had left for me, an honorary invite to the very secret society that is "Team Canoodia" so now I wear the badge with pride thanks, guys and it was great meeting you after all these yearsBack on the floor to clean the wheels and I find a problem with my rear wheel, kinda normal for me to break spokes and this is the third bike in as many years I've done it too.I thought I had spares with me but I didn't, so a call to and he overnighted a few replacements to me from Utah!!! Warp9 amazing customer service, thanks again Kevin.So this is the scene...@VTbeemer gift was not coming true in eastern NLSo what do you do, well Mike has a reasonable selection of beer, time to try a few while we wait...Now 2 days turns into 6 and we have time to check out the local area and the natural wonders to be foundgetting a little hot in the summertime here!!!Eventually, we have to leave and we head west, we check out the trail but opt out of riding it for various reasons. If you don't know most of the TCAT on NL is the old railbed called the T-railway, sadly for us two wheel guys it has become a haven for ATV's, its a lot of deep ruts, river rock and closed areas to motorcycles which is no fun - we didn't want to duck walk our bikes across the island so we took the heavily traveled route which is still amazingand camped all the way, morning duty before packing upand the next day on the beachheading up to Saint Barbe there are less and less people and the locals just do their thing surrounded by amazing sceneryWe hop on the ferry and get to the BIG LAND and go iceberg spottingAfter a horrendous night getting attacked by the black flies we hit the Trans Labrador Highway in the rain, the prophets charm has failed!After Red Bay, there is one gas stop at Port Hope Simpson @ $1.43 a liter then it's a long trek to Happy Valley-Goose Bayafter the first 50km or so the surface is good and fast, really fast, we were averaging around 70mph for most of it...but as you know that will take it tollthe pavement begins around 60km from HVGBbefore the pavement Egles left rack had snapped, at the two top mounts, a crazy bunch of straps to hold it together and we rode on into town arriving still in daylight, we struggled to find a place to camp as we knew we had to be close by to find a welder in the morning. A local guy gave us a tip to an abandoned campsite by a lake that is only used one day a year, yesterday!!! if you are heading this way make a note of it as it's not easy to find - 53.417140, -60.403941, follow the road and you'll ride thru the campsite, we camped on the beach under the pavilion, a lot less black flies thereIn the morning a local told us to go to Chubbs Machine and Welding, the owner is great guy if you break something he'll help you outAll welded up we head out for Lab City just a quick 338 miles with a whole lot of nothing in between. Stopping for a break Egle goes to restart the bike and nothing, stone dead, I pull it apart find nothing but then we have power again from nowhere, hit the button and its dead again, rinse and repeat a few times and now we know were fuct!!!If it were anywhere else a tow, a battery and other parts swap would be the order of the day but we are in the middle of nowhere and without risking the running bike we decided to try and hitch a ride for her and her bike.I presumed it was the welding that had sent a strong current thru the bikes electrics and fried the lot, even though I had removed the negative battery lead...at this point, it was a guess.We flagged down about ten vehicles but none had phone service or could help, guys in work trucks told us they weren't allowed to pick up passengers for insurance reasons so we waited until a semi pulled over, one with a logging crane on it and this is how you end up looking like you are being attacked by a transformer or playing the worlds largest 25 cent crane game Egle got a ride to Churchill Falls which has basically nothing, it's a service town for the industry there for a few hundred people. Luckily we met the owner of the one hotel and he offered his truck and a driver the following day to get us to Lab City, thanks, Carvey we owe you big time so truck number two, a little smaller this timeput us in contact with another Cicerone, Darren, who just happens to run and is a biker, one of the few here. Again if you are heading this way make note of it. Decent price and great people. With good wifi, I researched a little and with the help of his extensive selection of tools we diagnosed the problem and a few emails back and forth with Jeff and big thanks for replying after hours - that it was just coincidence about the welding, the battery had busted internally from the Trans Lab the day before. A new battery was sourced and we are ready to again in the morning into Quebec.
  2. out of ‘Merica into Canoodia, the last stop before the border We didn’t go too far from here, just over the bridge to Deer Island to meet @West Isles again 6 years after the first time I was here and spend a little time on the island and on the water with him and his brother and mom…good times. Even got a few unique views when we were out, photo below is not distorted but a thin layer of fog that appeared a few feet about the water line and was only about a foot thick and a bald eagle posing for us Egle got to taste a lobster roll for the first time in and out of all the little coves of the island where the lobster fishermen leave their boats waiting for the season to begin again All I can say it was tough to leave when the view from his house is this… even woke up for sunrise to see what it’s like…and I am NOT a morning person We were shown St. Croix Island, which may mean nothing to most people, but this is where the French first settled and interacted with the natives and based on this little island started the French involvement with Canada The plan from here was simple, take a leisurely ride north to Sydney and get on the ferry to NL, but the ferry had another idea, it was booked solid for about 10 days out except for two available spots in two days time so we had to high tail it up through NB and NS a perfectly timed invite from @DHC8tech halfway was great and we’d loved to have spent more time. We made the ferry in time…and started the crossing, we’re in there somewhere with all the cruisers/ road couches After a late landing on ‘the rock,’ we found a campsite close by and decided to hit the dirt in the morning taking a few days to cross all the way to St. John’s with a split of dirt and pavement 80km before our destination @damurph Egles bike kept stalling, we limped into his house and while she unpacked I tore her bike apart under the watchful gaze of @damurph, @C-Stain @fredgreen who just happened to be there as well…lots of laughs and BS but it wasn’t until the next day that we figured the problem with a little telephone help from @C-Stain home mechanic and a dried out Oring on the float that I swear blind I changed back in south carolina…maybe not, who knows!!! A quick ride around the St. John’s area and the obligatory photo at Cape Spear, the easternmost point of North America and we were ready to start looking west for the next month or more. Now to begin the Trans Canadian Trail (TCAT)…where does it begin???? This looks like the obvious place! Getting to the TCAT is a commitment in itself…the route we took was just over 11,000 miles to get to St John’s, Newfoundland to reach that Zero marker. The trail itself is no slouch, it a very rarely ridden adventure in its entirety due to the recommendation of riding east to west to get the good timing for the Rockies and most other provinces and hopefully perfect weather along the way. The Trail itself is about 10,000 miles which make the original TAT of 4800 miles seem…ahem, a little short in comparison…this really gives you an idea of how much bigger Canada REALLY is. The Trail was put together by a large group of riders mainly from ADVrider and spearheaded by our own @Deadly99 so this is more of a thank you to him and all the others involved for taking the amount of time you did and hopefully we manage it all and do you proud and the next island we cross is Vancouver Island… Updates might be few and far between for a while unless we get invites of tent space from inmates as there really is very little along the trail and connectivity is sparse, do a little research and you’ll see what I mean. A quick look at google maps shows the first possible hook up with an inmate @jackalsour is a mere 3300km away from where we are now and with only 4 decent sized towns along the way and a few smaller settlements…yikes!!!
  3. Where I would love to regale you with tales of amazing offroad adventures, river crossings, defeated mud and sand I can't...if you've even looked at a weather channel in the last few weeks you've seen we are in the wrong side of the country at the wrong time for off-road adventure to do at the level we wanted. In two works 'IT SUCKS'nothing else for it but to race from place to place, avoid rain clouds that cover whole states and dump for days on end. In turn, it has been the case to wait on a new GPS as the rain destroyed my ever faithful Garmin Montana after over 200,000 miles of riding and now I fear my new DSLR may be going the same way.Before we even rode mile one we had an agreement that if it was a Sunday we would ride into Manhatten as Egle has never been, it's all too familiar to me as I used to work out of Hells Kitchen for a while in the mid 90's...so Gotham on the horizon, here we comeWe stopped to pay out respects at the 9/11 memorial in NJEven Adventure Minion looks happy about our direction and the very rare blue sky outside the city...and then down on Wall St.It was a quick ride thru the big apple just as an experience and boy did we get some stares riding in full MX gear among a sea of yellow cabsA check of the weather leaving NY stopped our plans of heading to Long Island to see friends and hours of riding in the rain so we diverted to VT instead to see other friends for a day which turned into 5 (thx @VTbeemer and Julie) you guys were amazing in more ways than we can ever thank you for and that stop may well keep this RTW on the road for a very, very long time as talk turned from bikes to investments and fingers crossed a very good one was made.In between working deals, tires were changed and the amazing Metzeler mc360 mid-hard bought for JUST riding dirt managed 5200 miles with only 1000 miles of dirt, you honestly might want to consider it, we'll be running them again for the TCAT and hopefully all dirt, we can't wait to see the result.A few miles after crossing the NH state line and 'oh snap'This cut short our clear day and dirt options thru New England on a Saturday afternoon with every bike shop in the area closed until Tuesday. With a mishmash of chain parts from my tool kit and an ATV mechanic we found in his garage we pieced it together but with confidence waning we decided the better part of valor was pavement just incase the fix unfixed itself!We had an invite from @Peculierboy in Bar Harbor but he was heading out of town, we met in the middle of Maine and he told us he left the door open for us and to let ourselves in. This ADV community is amazing and so are you, Steve and Jane.so a little chill out on the island to sit and wait for new chain and sprockets to arriveDown time and brass era cars at the Seal Cove Auto Museum were a good option to see some amazing vehicles from the past and learn a few things, and opinions My new Garmin arrived but can you imagine if you were navigating the world with the first 'GPS'?Stopping one afternoon an old man approached us asked us where we are headed - we told him "RTW but firstly Newfoundland then across Canada on dirt roads to the west coast and hopefully, the weather will improve".Like a messiah he looked up at the sky and said, "for you and only you I predict fair skies and following winds, your riding will be great from here on out!" and walked away before we could respond.We'll see I thought...so it's goodbye 'Merica for a while and hello Canada tomorrow...
  4. yes the rattler was having a worse day than me, we continued up thru NM on the BDR and then cut off in the north due to more snow, so we headed to a buddies place in the mountains of CO who told us he expects very little summer this year and had got his last snowfall just a few days before we arrived and he is at 8700'.after some R&R we rode directly to the TAT and joined it heading eastbound, passing a Yak along the way and Egle was amazed to see one but all I could think about was Ron White.(some of you might get the joke)Cuchara Pass is where we hit the dirt for the TAT and instantly it didn't look goodTwo miles from the top the snow was everywhere but not on the trackOne mile from the summit and I had a go at riding further but a solid sheet of ice under the snow made me turn around after just 50 yards because of zero traction and we ended up doing a 75 detour to get to La Vetaon the east side of the Rockies, you get to see the land flatten out and know it's going to be your companion for quite a long timebut get out of snow and you know there is going to be something else waiting for you down that dirt road, in a 3 hours stretch we had mud...and a flat tire a piece and both times it shredded the inner tube!!!but we kept on rolling for a few days as the road got flatter and straighterin Kansas I reminded Egle that last year as we were riding around Europe and I kept saying why we were taking photos of everything but these sights and buildings to her weren't anything special - "well there might be a guy in Kansas who has never gone anywhere and never even seen a hill never mind a building over 100 years old". On this road, she turned to me and said: "OK, now I get it!"The TAT just touches KS for a very short time then heads into Oklahoma where straight roads, cows, wild horses, escaping inmates and weird guys who jump out of bushes are the normwe spent the evening in Tulsa at the weekly ADV gathering with @Throttlemeister @SmilinJoe @tomski74 and a lot more inmates and then got to stay in this famous locationafter a few days in OK, it's nice easy riding thru Arkansas, a little water along the way and a burger and some pie of coursewe're not the first here of course...now where most of you would continue along the trail and we would have too but, as we never heard a thing from Guinness who knows if this record attempt is even a thing we decided to detour to see some friends in Louisiana and we'll rejoin the TAT in Mississippi in a few days but first we need some southern hospitality, some good Cajun cooking, and a little gun play, and maybe a beer or three...yep that's how we roll - a different kind of R&R this timetime to go with the flow and act like a total boss and hit every single thing they suggest you aim atgumbo was devoured too quick so no photos but how about a steak and a twice baked anyone???See you in Mississippi if you are headed west we'll be riding straight at you...
  5. all good fun riding there is only one section that was a little tough where the rain had exposed a lot of large rocks, El picked the wrong line and had an off bending a shifter
  6. after the 3 days of snow on the way from the UT/ AZ border back to Phoenix we sat and waited for the summer to arrive and not just there, watching the weather closely it appeared in a few days it would be here, every place that we planned to be near in the next week or so had an increase of around 10-20 degrees - time to ride, again. Egle had been identified when we were at OX, a lot. So while I was doing a last few little details with the bikes she was doing the final work on her new disguise so none of you will be able to spot her in a crowd Southbound from the eastern side of PHX we rejoined the AZBDR and a mix of other tracks I had, our destination was @MaddBaggins in the outskirts of Tucson. We hit the dirt in Superior and before we knew it we were running on a track parallel to the AZBDR, oh well still good, seeing what you'd expect in this part of the world. The riding for the rest of the day was good and the impromptu passenger was enjoying the ride all was good in the dirt until about 7 miles from Tucson and a steep climb on the Old Mt. Lemmon Rd Egle had an off in the rocks severely bending a shifter eventually finding somewhere on the bike after removing the shifter to gain leverage to bend it back into shape we reached the pavement and get to see Tucson in the distance. If you haven't ridden in this area this is a must ride paved road to the summit Coming out of Tucson and switching states and linking to the NMBDR the riding was great... right up to the point where it all went horribly wrong... the day started out good, long stretches of graded dirt interspaced with a few sections of choice pavement then back to the graded and dirt stuff for the rest of the day, all looked good for a fun days high-speed ride then the rain started, we tried to outrun it but the track got worse and worse, the photo doesn't do the brown river flowing down the track justice, traction was virtually zero, the direction was mainly uphill which didn't help matters and it kept getting worse, both bikes snaking all over the place at a pace of around 3-5 miles an hour was all we could manage as the tires got more and more filled with sticky NM mud/ clay mix no choice but to bail and set up camp with soaking wet gear in amongst cow shit off the trail so at 2 pm, we were in the tent making food listening to the torrential downpour, checking the GPS to try and find a way out of this slop...the GPS showed no other roads, but it did tell me that it was 25 miles backward or 23 miles forward. At this point, I pulled out the Bulter map for NMBDR, thx @eakins. Determined exactly where we were and the little addition to the map "TRACK MAYBE IMPASSIBLE WHEN WET!!!" All I could think is - YEP!!! The following morning a section of blue sky appeared with the menacing black sky following and we packed and rode out and kept the blue sky above us. An hour later sticky mud was a memory and we were back to easy riding with well-drained roads We decided to wrap it up early and get a good spot to camp with a view and the view from the other side of the tent as the sun set The following days were good to us, great vistas, good tracks and even a little pavement thrown in and then the occasional thing happens to ruin your day but it doesn't matter how bad the day(s) have been it could be worse...a lot worse
  7. great daytime visibility but night time about the same
  8. We arrived in Santa Fe after a little CDR action to meet @D-Train (Dusty) he and his partner Paul (not me, but what a great name ) started a new training and touring company called West38moto. We had arranged for El to do a little training and me to take some photos and then join them on a short tour from SF to OX. If you do any training you know the first thing they always want you to do is to be able to pick up your bike, a DR is too easy, what you really need to pick up is a fully loaded GSA!!! Dusty is a fun guy and motivates all the students really well, always smiling and laughing but teaching fundamentals at the same time. I won't go into detail about what the training entails, you can contact them to find out, just need to say a good coach to student ratio and at the end, some riders who struggled at every challenge became very accomplished in unique off-road situations If Alpha Basecamp is not your thing, then this might be...andwaaayyyyyy cheaper The cool thing about the training location in Santa Fe, it was in an abandoned gold mine, an amazing location for sure see the riders over the far side? leaving the gold mine to find some sand to play in a few miles away Dusty showed the way on street tires ...and someone liked riding sand and mastered it with ease and that kinda looks like this... other riders not so much... training done, we headed out, destination OX, there were just a few of us going. I have a certain dislike of riding in groups, my last two group rides include a leg busted into about 50 pieces and a kidnapping, so needless to say I kept my distance and just shot photos of the group We covered a few sections of the NMBDR on graded roads and in the woods and the first few days out with the group were great with the highlight being a massive fire wild camping at around 6000' from the fire the night before I find a bizarre photo on my new camera that I guess it decided to take itself when inadvertently I'd turned it on, set it on timed release, hit the shutter and moved it all at the same time...I have a learning curve with this new Pentax bear with me!!! but I guess we were getting transported to more fun riding, around the fire over a little too much alcohol we came up with a slogan for W38M (that probably won't be used) - We'll come up with shit...and it'll be awesome!!! The next morning was a slow start, not surprisingly. Up and walking around it appeared we were at an impromptu Mosko Moto convention, between us we had almost every piece of luggage they make the next few days we a mix of dirt and pavement and a ride around the Mogollon Rim where one of the NY'rs with us had very little travel experience in true NY style described the view as - "a total eye &%$#@!!" We arrived at OX and the motorcycle section was totally detached from the rest of the event and at times it appeared like a ghost town, but at the end of the weekend I was talking to one of the organizers and she said they have plans to integrate the bikes with everyone else which is a good thing as a separate unit I doubt many vendors would return. For me, it was a few shots in strong HDR to keep my interest peaked, of some of the vendors to let you know how it looks and how about this for a very rare (food) truck in these parts...anyone? For us, OX was a chance to meet up with friends and talk about rides to come which I'll cover in the next post as it's the real reason we actually came, for us, it's a starting point of sorts that I'll detail.... for us Overland Expo is a start point, a few weeks back I changed the title to add ..."on as much dirt as possible". The reason for this is - back in December 2016 we applied to create a new Guinness World Record As Dusty had changed the name of his company and was in the process of starting a new company we decided to use OX as our new start point, I have messaged Guinness more than a few times to let them know what we are doing but they are the least responsive corporation out there. They claim that they will respond in 12 weeks or less, well its now been 161 days or 23 weeks and absolutely zero communication from them from multiple emails from me. ...but regardless we continue... So why do this? Well over time I have had more than a few requests for a photography book, I thought why not put a few things together. A good North American loop of dirt tracks in the US and Canada that most anyone could access from approximately 500 miles from their front door. Full GPX tracks of the route, a book and maybe a Kickstarter to help the project. I have spent over two years collecting tracks and trying to make them join up into a fun ride. But I am getting way ahead of myself here, in reality, it's just a ride to go and find dirt, cool views and take some photos and maybe meet a few inmates along the way, I am just putting this here as additional documented proof to Guinness about my communication attempts, and their lack of response. The last thing I would like to happen is to have to use the same line Austin Vince did at the end of Mondo Enduro!!! The first 5 days of the ride almost singlehandedly looked like the complete opposite of what we had planned and detailed to do above. We left OX to head to 4 corners area to start hitting dirt but instead, we hit high winds, snow, blizzards and torrential rain instead, Days that we expected to have highs in the 80's and 90's were in the 40's and 50's with nightly lows all below freezing. A stop in a BLM office in Utah and a long talk with a ranger told me that virtually all the areas we had planned to go were either snowing, snow drifts in place, flash floods or mud and washouts. Where we planned to be riding 90%+ of dirt we only made 11.2% or 79.8 miles of 708 miles covered...damn!!! But when life gives you lemons...this has to be one of the most scenic areas of the country so it was great to show Egle some amazing sights via pavement. Canyon de Chelly - She stood there amazed and when she did turn around proclaimed "this is where freedom lives" at the bottom of the canyon are some of the original dwellings Then onto Monument Valley and we finished the day in the Valley of the Gods after a short stop at Goosenecks as the sun was setting The next morning even thought we had a brief blue sky temps were around freezing, but a little dirt to play on fine snow was falling as we climbed Moki Dugway and there is a bike in that photo... From the top of the Moki Dugway, we headed to Halls Crossing to take the ferry to Bullfrog to ride the Burr Trail (a little dirt) the elevation was lower so the snow turned to torrential rain and the captain of the ferry was debating about cancelling the ferry due to the severe condition, luckily for us he didn't. We ended up after drying off in a gas station for 3 hours then finding a place to wild camp on the Burr Trail in the saturated sticky red mud, the following morning in theday light we got to see where we picked The blue sky only lasted a short time then the temps dropped again and we had snow at 5000' as we left the switchbacks our first 4 days looked like this, we saw awesome scenery but we need to find more dirt!!!
  9. time to hit the road again, Egle gets a ride to get her mojo back, albeit on 3 wheels we pack up and in the luggage is a selection of maps some of the areas we'll hit, not necessarily the whole route but we'll be around almost all of these and not included the AZBDR Heading out of PHX towards Santa Fe so she can get used to the Dr we just take on pavement for the first day and still see a few good areas along the way. Day 2 and we hit the dirt almost straight away on the CDR (continental divide) and she off... Next, we find pavement is in Pie Town for food then back at it, nice simple graded stuff for as far as the eye can see then out of nowhere we find dried mud and have it for the rest of the day that's all for now, just getting back into it, and of course, lots more to come...
  10. for those of you that haven't been following the build thread the bikes are done, I'm heading to get @EvergreenE as she's arrived from Lithuania and the ride continues on Tuesday, time to get them dirty... hers - mine -
  11. Since 2011 I have kept track of my travels even though I've been riding long distances since the early 90's and riding since the early 70's...GPS only really became a thing for me in 2011 before that it was always paper maps. Now I get to see where I've been and from'11 it looks like this... late last year we were riding in Europe, my GF is the Editor and owner of www.womenadvriders.com we decided to come back to the US and switch from riding 2 up to riding two DR650's. The RTW for us is an ongoing thing but for the remainder of the year our plan is dirt...and looks like this and this will be the ongoing story of this ride and all those lines add up to around 25,000 miles of dirt tracks
  12. Thanks won't be in your area until the end of the ride coming down the PCQ and skipping across to Vegas or Phoenix, I'll let you know closer tot the time
  13. I'm setting up two DR's on one I have Promotobillet ADV pegs and on the other Warp9
  14. Good to be here Eric, hadn't seen the site until this morning, saw you on IG and then followed the link to the forum, once we leave again in a few weeks I'll cross post on here to show some of our riding from now onwards
  15. I've been on the road off and on since 2011 so basically just carrying on, right now just doing a bike swap. For the rest of the year, we are planning around 25,000 miles of dirt in the US and Canada, something along the lines of this AZBDR, NMBDR, TAT east Bound, TCAT, WABDR, CDR, TAT westbound, ORBDR and PCQ...once that's done head to South America for the forth time