rtwPaul

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

10 posts in this topic

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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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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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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