rtwPaul

Riding RTW and back…for as long as it takes - on as much dirt as possible!!!

32 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

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...

 

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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

 

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Edited by rtwPaul
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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 - 


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mine -

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time to hit the road again, Egle gets a ride to get her mojo back, albeit on 3 wheels

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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

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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.

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Day 2 and we hit the dirt almost straight away on the CDR (continental divide) and she off...

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Next, we find pavement is in Pie Town for food

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then back at it, nice simple graded stuff for as far as the eye can see

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then out of nowhere we find dried mud and have it for the rest of the day

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that's all for now, just getting back into it, and of course, lots more to come...

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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 :lol3 ) 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!!!

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Dusty is a fun guy and motivates all the students really well, always smiling and laughing but teaching fundamentals at the same time.

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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

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If Alpha Basecamp is not your thing, then this might be...and
waaayyyyyy cheaper

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The cool thing about the training location in Santa Fe, it was in an abandoned gold mine, an amazing location for sure

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see the riders over the far side?

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leaving the gold mine to find some sand to play in a few miles away Dusty showed the way on street tires

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...and someone liked riding sand and mastered it with ease

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and that kinda looks like this...

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other riders not so much...:fpalm

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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

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We covered a few sections of the NMBDR on graded roads and in the woods

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and the first few days out with the group were great with the highlight being a massive fire wild camping at around 6000'

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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!!!

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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

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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 &%$#@!!"

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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

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and how about this for a very rare (food) truck in these parts...anyone?

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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

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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 -

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She stood there amazed and when she did turn around proclaimed "this is where freedom lives"

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at the bottom of the canyon are some of the original dwellings

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Then onto Monument Valley

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and we finished the day in the Valley of the Gods after a short stop at Goosenecks as the sun was setting

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The next morning even thought we had a brief blue sky temps were around freezing, but a little dirt to play on

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fine snow was falling as we climbed Moki Dugway and there is a bike in that photo...

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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 the
day light we got to see where we picked

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The blue sky only lasted a short time then the temps dropped again and we had snow at 5000' as we left the switchbacks

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our first 4 days looked like this, we saw awesome scenery but we need to find more dirt!!!


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Will follow this topic. Good luck @rtwPaul. Hope Egle soon post some tracks on www.advtracks.eu

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Love the headlights on the DR's.  Do they work as good as they look?  

 

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38 minutes ago, Jason R said:

Love the headlights on the DR's.  Do they work as good as they look?  

 

great daytime visibility but night time about the same

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Posted (edited)

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

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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.

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The riding for the rest of the day was good and the impromptu passenger was enjoying the ride

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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

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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

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Coming out of Tucson and switching states and linking to the NMBDR the riding was great...

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right up to the point where it all went horribly wrong...

 

the day started out good, long stretches of graded dirt

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interspaced with a few sections of choice pavement

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then back to the graded and dirt stuff for the rest of the day, all looked good for a fun days high-speed ride

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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

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no choice but to bail and set up camp with soaking wet gear in amongst cow shit off the trail

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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

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We decided to wrap it up early and get a good spot to camp with a view

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and the view from the other side of the tent as the sun set

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The following days were good to us, great vistas, good tracks and even a little pavement thrown in

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and then the occasional thing happens to ruin your day

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but it doesn't matter how bad the day(s) have been it could be worse...a lot worse

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Edited by rtwPaul
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Love the pictures.  I have not been on the back side of Mt Lemmon in a long time.  I think it was 17 years ago, when I had my BMW F650 funduro.  

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2 minutes ago, Jason R said:

Love the pictures.  I have not been on the back side of Mt Lemmon in a long time.  I think it was 17 years ago, when I had my BMW F650 funduro.  

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

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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)

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Cuchara Pass is where we hit the dirt for the TAT and instantly it didn't look good

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Two miles from the top the snow was everywhere but not on the track

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One 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 Veta

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on 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 time

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but 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...

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and a flat tire a piece and both times it shredded the inner tube!!!

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but we kept on rolling for a few days as the road got flatter and straighter

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in 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!"

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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 norm

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we 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 location

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after 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 course

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we're not the first here of course...

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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 time

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time to go with the flow and act like a total boss and hit every single thing they suggest you aim at

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gumbo was devoured too quick so no photos but how about a steak and a twice baked anyone???

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See you in Mississippi if you are headed west we'll be riding straight at you...

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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 come

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We stopped to pay out respects at the 9/11 memorial in NJ

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Even Adventure Minion looks happy about our direction and the very rare blue sky outside the city

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...and then down on Wall St.

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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 cabs

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A 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.

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A few miles after crossing the NH state line and 'oh snap'

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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 arrive


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Down 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

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My new Garmin arrived but can you imagine if you were navigating the world with the first 'GPS'?

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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...

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Excellent write up and photos.  I really enjoyed your posts!!!

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out of ‘Merica into Canoodia, the last stop before the border

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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.

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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

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and a bald eagle posing for us

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Egle got to taste a lobster roll for the first time

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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

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All I can say it was tough to leave when the view from his house is this…

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even woke up for sunrise to see what it’s like…and I am NOT a morning person

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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

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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

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After a late landing on ‘the rock,’ we found a campsite close by and decided to hit the dirt in the morning

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taking a few days to cross all the way to St. John’s with a split of dirt and pavement

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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.

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Now to begin the Trans Canadian Trail (TCAT)…where does it begin????

This looks like the obvious place!

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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!!!

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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

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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

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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.

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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 years

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Back 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.

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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...

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@VTbeemer gift was not coming true in eastern NL

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So what do you do, well Mike has a reasonable selection of beer, time to try a few while we wait...

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Now 2 days turns into 6 and we have time to check out the local area and the natural wonders to be found

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getting a little hot in the summertime here!!!

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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 amazing

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and camped all the way, morning duty before packing up

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and the next day on the beach

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heading up to Saint Barbe there are less and less people and the locals just do their thing surrounded by amazing scenery

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We hop on the ferry and get to the BIG LAND and go iceberg spotting

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After a horrendous night getting attacked by the black flies we hit the Trans Labrador Highway in the rain, the prophets charm has failed!

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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 Bay

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after 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 toll

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the pavement begins around 60km from HVGB

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before 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 there

In 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 out

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All 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

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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 time

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put 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.

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WE LOVE CANADA BUT OUR DR650’S DON’T, AND THEY LET US KNOW!

trees, dams, a cracked frame, a busted battery, two carbs that needed rebuilding, lots of welding, the biggest crane game in the world, loads and loads of beer, icebergs, black flies, amazing people and one complete dickhead on the ferry in Quebec is how I’ll remember Canada this time around, but I digress.

Running around Lab City with Darren and later getting to see his first ever motorcycle that he owned that he bought as a basket case in multiple boxes and built this killer Norton with right side shift left side brake

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We got a new battery for Egle’s bike and we were good to go after a few checks to confirm it was just a battery issue. Once you are about 50km from Lab City you are on your own, seriously on your own, a mix of pavement and dirt for the run down to Baie Comeau was a tree and lake lovers paradise

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paved or dirt – you get both

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Dams, yeah they’ve got those too

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are they big, yes they’re ‘dam’ big…see what I did there? :jack Can you spot Egle?

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the occasional bridge

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and some more trees…

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We stopped in Baie Comeau to meet a rider ‘John’ (not an inmate) who I’d spoken with on FB who was coming the opposite way on the TCAT/ TLH when he was t-boned by a car and rushed to emergency with his leg broken in 4 places…get well soon buddy if you see this.

When we came out @Doogle passed us at an intersection but didn’t see us so we carried on to Saguenay to meet @jackalsour, thx for your amazing hospitality btw.

To get to him we missed a turn in the fog and ended up on a ferry which allowed us to meet the most obnoxious Quebecer ever, who worked on the ferry. We were crossing here

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as we docked, we go to ride off and as I’m almost off the ferry he puts his hand up, so I stop then the conversation starts

him – blah, blah, blah in French
me – !
him – do you understand me?
me – no!
him – you have to respect the line
him – you have to respect what I say
him – you have to respect me!
me – what line?
him – &%$#@! YOU
him – if you don’t like it leave my country
him – &%$#@! you, &%$#@! you &%$#@! you!!!
me – ok…
….twist of the throttle and I ran him out of the way and I might have said something on the way off the ferry

and Quebecers wonder why they get a bad name, just wish I had it on video, it’d go viral but he’d still keep his job and probably be a hero in Quebec

and back to the trees!

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All was good for a few days heading towards Toronto and then my bike was not starting, the starter had nothing, not even a click, a little roll backward and forwards initially got it to start then this changed to a full on bump start. We headed for @roadcapDen in Toronto and his well-tooled garage and we did a fix by taking the bike apart and doing a starter rebuild.

While putting the starter back in I notice the crack

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I check the other side and that has one too

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We left @roadcapDen place and headed up the road to meet some other friends @waterlilly and Les of No Agenda World Tour, and former owners of Dual Sport Plus in Stoney Creek, as luck would have it they were at a farm with a fully equipped workshop which I was given free run of and got to play with a MIG welder which I haven’t touched one in about 10-12 years so my bead was a way off but my strut cutting was more important to reinforce the frame to make it all good again and better after rewelding the frame

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and my embarrassingly bad welds, I’ve really lost my touch, welding is more practice than anything, TIG was always my thing, stack of dimes stuff

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So a very uneventful/ eventful ride across eastern Canada, these bikes need to leave the country, they really don’t like it here, to date in Canada, carb rebuilds x4, broken fuel filters, cracked luggage rack, broken spokes, busted battery, failed starter, failed GPS, failed GPS mount, cush drive rubber failures and cracked frame in two places…and fixing @waterlilly bike when she broke down in Toronto the other day riding with us.

 
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ROUTE 66, CHIPMUNKS, MOUNTAINS AND BULLDUST

After my super quick ‘fix” of the frame in the farmlands of Ontario we had decided to leave Canada, we knew that we had a choice, either ride across Canada and hit massive forest fires in B.C. and then a quick run down the coast to Mexico and onwards, or more of the US…we opted for the US

Canada is obviously very similar to the US in a lot of areas and ways, but as a long term overlander, it is expensive for equivalent things, food, gas and mainly camping. $40 in a lot of areas for a square of dirt to me seems outrageous.

So, we did the last tourist thing before leaving the country, Niagra Falls

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Always an amazing sight to see and way better from the Canadian side

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instead of the crossing close to the falls, Buffalo, we turned west and headed for Windsor/ Detroit, I had a little cash left so we emptied the tanks in Canada and refilled with what we had left before heading back to the US

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Now it seems as overlanders that this border would be a breeze, well Egle was very nervous and rightly so, Lithuania is a little-known country and crossing a border is the ‘SOLE DISCRETION’ of that border guard if you can or cannot come into a country. She has been told in the past her passport was a fake, Lithuania wasn’t a real country etc.

We pulled up to the gate together (a no – no) and immediately the officer says, “nice dreads” she replies “thanks” then he catches us off guard, “I used to have dreads, had to cut them off before I applied for this job!” We chatted for about 15 minutes, bikes, hair, countries…he actually closed his gate so he could talk to us longer, super nice guy with an apt name “Cooler”

We were in and relieved…well she was, mine was simple all I got was a “welcome home” she had to answer a few simple questions and a 90-day stamp was added to her passport

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Our goal was Snake River Spur Rd. this is where the COBDR begins (in WY)…so a quick ride across the country with a mix of dirt, slab, people, sights, corn fields, unique locations, good food and bad weather.

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Camp food doesn’t have to be dehydrated….

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We didn’t and we did!

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Then in the distance a hill…about friggin time

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Then a bigger one

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Then the mountains…hello Wyoming

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I’d dropped @eakins a PM to let him know we were headed to Colorado and specifically the COBDR and if he was around we stop by and say high, he arranged a place to meet at @Timboat in Steamboat Springs, so we talked BDR’s and other routes, travel, bikes, getting lost, getting found, we mentioned we would do most of the COBDR but were doing a side trip to Moab to see another friend @mcmarcia for a little R&R for Egle to write a few articles and then we would rejoin it, we sat down and devised a great connector to Moab from Gypsum, CO

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Great to be back in the mountains, (free) wild camping, dirt roads cheap(er) gas

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Outside of Gypsum we figured we’d have an earlier day going down this unassuming track

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coming around a corner hard pack turn to sand, then bull dust, TEN MILES of it off and on, bone dry powder, not a great thing to ride in on an air cooled bike

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After this shot above Egle’s bike wouldn’t restart, it was way overheating from the slow going, gas was expanding and boiling and no shade in sight, what should have taken us 20-30 minutes took almost 2 hours

The following day we headed west and got high!

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@eakins talked about Lands End Rd. of all the thousands of miles i’d ridden in CO i had never heard anyone mention this dirt road, great to see new places, we got here at the end of the day, early moring would have been better for the best views.

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To get the best morning views we wild camped on the side of the road at about 8000′ and looked out as the sun set and smog from the fires in the north almost hid the lights of Grand Junction further west

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In the morning we got the great view from our new Big Agnes tent, the wind had blown all night and valley was somewhat clearer

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from here its a hop, skip and a jump to Moab for the rest of the week while she writes…

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AMAZING VIEWS AND LONG DROPS

what do you do in Moab?

  1. – go ride
  2. – get hot
  3. – drink a lot of water
  4. – take loads of photos

let’s have a look at #4, not much to say in this post, just fun to watch Egle’s reaction as we rode around the red rocks, down shafer, over muscleman, back thru potash and looking for climbers by the Colorado…

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pano…click it

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an uncropped pano to click made up of 31 shots

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Charley Boorman influenced her to do this…not me!

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They’re up there somewhere…

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MOUNTAINS, DIRT ROADS, SNOW…OH, AND A BEAR ATTACK!

Since the refusal from Guinness, our route has been a little random, to say the least. I’m trying to make the most of our time and show Egle some of the best parts of the country I can but also avoiding fires, rain and cold…the last one I failed on this week, you’ll see!

Before leaving Moab a ride thru Arches is a must, so…

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riding back thru the park we passed Graham Francis, we’d been talking via the internet for years since we both were riding an XT660Z, now we both have XT1200’s, he was in the US for a couple of months touring around, small world! He came over and stayed with us for the night

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We got an invite from @D-Train for Egle to do some training with W38M in their intermediate/ advanced off-road course and I offered my services to shoot the proceedings, so instead of ever westward we turned back east and headed for Ouray…via a little dirt of course

John Brown

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Lands End Road

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Grand Mesa area

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Our route took us over Hagerman Pass where the hydraulics had failed on this equipment right in a perfect spot!

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ATV’s and side by sides have really exposed the rocks a lot on this pass, the climb was interesting having to read the line way ahead so not to get caught out, but on the eastern side, it was a lot smoother…:lol3

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somewhere near Buena Vista we grabbed a camping spot a few miles from 1951

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Up we go again

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Afternoon storms are a big thing in the fall in Colorado

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That night we stayed in Lake City, the previous night a bear was wandering down the main street with two cubs, some genius in an RV from Texas who was cooking came out to take a photo but left their door open, where did the bear go…straight inside with the two cubs, the Texans had to change plans and eat out for the rest of their stay! I laughed at this but karma will kick in…

During the night there was torrential rain which made us wonder what was happening at the top of Engineer, you guessed it snow!

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in some places 12-18″ deep

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A little lower down at the start of Mineral, no snow but wet, and if you’ve gone up or down that section you know the amount of steps and sheer drops, it’s a hard slog so add mud and the concentration level is very high

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The next morning we meet up with W38M where they were teaching guys to make big GS’s handle like dirt bikes…kind of

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After a day or power slides, loose shale training, drifting etc the following day it was a chance to go into the real world and see if they were listening and had found new skills?

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We arrived at the meetup point a little late because we had a BEAR attack Egle’s bike trying to get half a cucumber we’d forgotten in the bottom of the Mosko’s, all our other food was secure hundreds of yards away but just that ‘one’ thing. Black Bears are predominantly vegetarians if you didn’t know

The bear came into the camp caught a scent and pushed Egle’s bike over from the right down on the kickstand side and then stood on the bike and was attempting to tear into the luggage.

Now, this where you have to use your imagination – It’s around midnight/ 1 am, for the last few hours the guys who’d put his tent ‘near’ us was sawing logs (snoring very loudly for non-Americans) we both couldn’t sleep so we put in earplugs. We DID NOT hear the bike fall over, we DID NOT hear the bear trying to tear into the luggage.

‘The snoring man’ HE DID, the bike landed about 5 feet from his tent, he stuck his head out to see what was going on, couldn’t see a thing (it’s dark remember) grabs a flash light shines it in the direction of the noise – and a bears face is FIVE FEET away!!!

The way he described the experience is this – “when I shone the light it went right in the bear’s eyes, we stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity, the black bear I guess about 5 feet long about 300-400lbs, was standing on the bike and trying to rip the luggage apart with its teeth and claws. I froze, then shouted out a bears trying to eat that Mosko, and then it just casualy walked away. I’m from the east coast i have never seen a bear in real life, never thought i’d see one this close….&%$#@! this place i’m moving to a log cabin or a hotel room for the rest of my time in Colorado!”

I posted this on FB but not in this detail and there were the obvious stupid comments (its FB) but one guy said he had his hard aluminum panniers ripped open by a bear! You know you see other companies show their bags being thrown out of a truck window and the like, or down some stairs…Well Pete @Sideoff don’t bother with ANY of that we have put Mosko to the ultimate test in the wild and Mosko Moto passed with flying colors…we ate the cucumber for lunch :lol3

The damage, outer bag is done but inner shows teeth and claw marks but no real penetration

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We left town and climbed Corkscrew from the Ouray side then Hurricane and California, if you’ve ridden those from that direction you know what these guys on these big GS’s were feeling like when they reached the top, a few dropped and dented bikes, bruised egos and serious forearm pump but they all made it…one guy had been riding 4 weeks, total, EVER!

He’s in the middle with a huge smile on his face, well done Chris

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what goes up must come down…

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After all, that climbing life was getting easy until Dusty took the guys on a very unassuming trail, here 37.912305, -107.696426 that has a climb of maybe 20 feet but steep and in the rain, it took its toll and Mosko bags were getting tested to their limits (again) @Sideoff

For those of you who may be wondering, as there seemed a little concern for her where we would be riding Egle completed the course in its entirety and was one of the only riders not to drop their bike in training or in the real world, she can ride, she can really ride…so if you are a guy who uses the phrase “ride like a girl”, in this case, it means you are one hell of a rider….Dusty, agreed?

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For us, project completed, photos taken, interviews done we headed back to Moab to resume our journey down my favorite ‘view’ Ophir

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Simply amazing photography.  And very impressed with the terrain you're choosing.  Most never ride beyond Starbucks.

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I agree with Eric....you were definitely beyond Starbucks!!!!!!

 

Your photography is absolutely stunning (best words I could come up with) as well as your simple story telling.  The old truck with the Airstream was very cool as well.

 

I can't say thank you enough for all of that!!!!! :ride:

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