Summer 2017 Tour (feat. Blind_Io, Kiki and Der Stig)

Crazyjeeper

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Another summer, time for another bike trip. This year it was time for one side of my family to have it's reunion and we settled on all heading to see Grandma up in Williston, North Dakota. Since my job also requires me to travel there fairly regularly, I figured I'd kill 3 birds with one stone. I'd get to see my extended family, get some work done, and pile another bunch of miles onto the Super Tenere.

Day -1:
I usually try and bust out as many miles as possible on the first day, but the timing was such that instead I had to go watch some middle aged men from England play some music the night before leaving.



One of the bets shows I've ever seen. Only thing that would have made it better is if you could actually see the drummer.

Day 1: Dallas Texas to Hasting Nebraska
After Kansas tried to kill me last year I was hoping the weather would be a little better. Mercifully it was only hot, and not thunderstormy. I was taking a route I'd never taken before and happened across this little monument.





They had a little pavillion, chapel, bench, and a flag. Really it's all the stuff you need for the center of a country.





Shortly thereafter I entered Nebraska



600 miles down, 750 to go to Williston.

Day 2: Hastings Nebraska to Williston North Dakota

Nebraska is a much taller state than it looks. Seemed like it took me forever to get to this sign.



I had a quick lunch in the state capital of Pierre and then took some very back roads the rest of the way up to NoDak.



At this point the wind was really coming up out of the West and North, the two directions I was headed. I generally don't mind fighting the wind but when loaded down with bags it has a catastrophic effect on my fuel economy. Due to the scarcity of fuel stations in this part of the country I had to stop basically every 80 miles to make sure I didn't run dry. Very annoying but after about 12.5 hours and 750 miles I rolled into town.

Days 3-6

Did some work, hung out with people, went to this weird museum in Parshall North Dakota.



This farmer started picking rocks out of his field and polishing them into perfect spheres. He then built a museum and put them all on display. It's called the Paul Broste Rock Museum.

My Grandma's neighbor also came by and let me take his Harley around the block.



I have to say, I liked it a lot more than the Road King I rented 5 years ago. A counterbalanced engine makes such a huge difference.

Day 7: Williston North Dakota to Cody Wyoming

Some of you may recall I had a little difficulty with brown gravy on my last trip which caused me to cut off a bunch of miles. This year I avoid the ooze of intestinal death and decided to ride that route that I had to cut last time.

Entering Montana



Cool sculpture at a gas station in Glendive



End of the pavement on the Tongue River Road



Wide open spaces



Some birds and the Tongue River



40,000 miles!



Old and new irrigation systems



The road became this really loose scoria for the last 10 miles before pavement resumed. It was extremely squirrely.



And back into pavement after 70 miles or so.



Entering Wyoming



Climbing up the east side of the Bighorns



High alpine meadow



The wildflowers were in full bloom



It's over 9000!



Looking west into the Bighorn basin





My little point and shoot doesn't give this view justice





I had always heard that US 14-Alt across the Bighorns was spectacular and it did not disappoint at all.

Day 8: Cody Wyoming to Salt Lake City Utah

This morning started quite cold heading down the valley towards Yellowstone. I had bolted early so I could hopefully get through the park before the traffic started.





Relatively low pass for this part of the world



Yellowstone Lake



Grand Tetons in the distance



Some geologic stuff happening here



Really a stunning place. I've been to the park numerous times and it never gets old.



Entering Idaho



Then back into Wyoming



And finally into Utah



Even though I was doing some big miles I wanted to hit up a road I'd never done before in the Wasatch mountains.







It quickly got into the 90s as I decended into the Valley and I rolled into my friends place just in time for a beer infusion followed by dinner and a night in a proper non motel bed.

Day 9: Salt Lake City Utah to Grand Junction Colorado

After years of visting, I'd finally convinced Blind and Kiki to come with me on a leg of one of my trips. We decided to head for Grand Junction Colorado and meet up with Der Stig and then the four of us would all ride down to Pagosa Springs where we would go our seperate ways.

Hanging out at the gas station


They had never ridden in Colorado before...



The pass headed into Grand Junction



This should be their christmas card



A wild Der Stig has appeared with his noise pump



Day 10: Grand Junction Colorado to Pagosa Springs Colorado

Our original plan had been to head down through Telluride on 141 and hit this big canyon south of Grand Junction on the way. Unfortunantly CODOT decided to chipseal that road so we had to reroute. Luckily it just so happened there was CO hwy 149 which I had been eyeing on the map for years but hadn't yet worked up an excuse to ride it. With our new route in my head we headed up the Grand Mesa.



A rare picture of me



Hanging out at yet another gas station



Black Canyon of the Gunnison river





CO-92. A truly spectacular road



Next we headed into Gunnison for lunch and then down 149 through Lake City



There wasn't a place to stop at the top of the 11,500ft pass so this will have to do



Into the valley headed towards South Fork



Other than a guy nearly backing over me in a Tahoe in the parking lot of the resturant, it was a great day.

Day 11: Pagosa Springs Colorado to Dallas Texas

Time to yet again break my personal record for longest road day, and this won't just be droning on the slab.

Sunrise



Into New Mexico



Lunch was truck stop Carl's Jr in Santa Rosa, NM. We just pounded the miles away and our last gas stop was in Bowie Texas, 100 miles from home.



Home!



Longest day ever in the bag



Total trip mileage



And on our 5 year anniversary, 42,000 on the Super Tenere.



Thanks for reading, it was great to be able to share part of this journey with some friends. Looking forward to the next one!
 
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Hok

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Really nice report. Thanks for all the pics.
 

Blind_Io

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Well, maybe I should chip in with the story after Kiki and I parted ways with Jeeper and DerStig in Pagosa Springs. This was the turn-around point for us, as we needed to be back in Salt Lake in two days for work (some of us don't have Jeeper's Titanium Ass). Many of these photos were posted to Instagram.

Prior to the trip I replaced the regulator rectifier on the VFR as a preventative measure. The morning Jeeper and DerStig headed out was glorious.



Then the VFR refused to start. It was acting like the battery was low, but the bike had started the fine the night before and had run flawlessly since the new part was installed. I naturally assumed the used regulator rectifier was a bad part and had not been charging the battery. I thought it might be a bad connection, but it was now the 4th of July and we were in a small Colorado town. We broke out the jumper pack I had purchased several months earlier (and had gotten a small amount of shit for spending $60 on it) and got the bike running. We headed out of Pagosa Springs and pointed the bikes west, against the incoming flow of traffic headed for the holiday festivities in town.

At the first fuel stop, we shut the bike off and hoped it would re-start. No dice, so the jump pack came out again and got the VFR purring. We headed to Durango, the first town of notable size on the return trip and I hoped to find an autoparts store where I might get the battery tested or at least something to aid the connections from the regulator to the battery in an attempt to get every last amp into it. Unfortunately, with the holiday everything was closed, so we continued on with the plan to not turn the VFR off unless we absolutely had to. The jumper pack could start a motorcycle a couple dozen times before needing a recharge, and we could always top it up overnight at the next hotel.

We started up the Million Dollar Highway and soon encountered the Durango-Silverton train headed up the canyon. I wish I could have gotten a photo of us riding next to that steam engine, but riding and trying to take selfies is rarely a good combination. Needless to say, it was an incredible sight to see the train running at speed through the valley as it started the climb to Silverton.

As we started to climb the road only got better and better, the corners were fantastic and the road surface was nearly perfect. The traffic was a little heavy at times, but some well timed throttle got us around. Colorado is very generous with their passing zones, allowing passes where Utah would have miles and miles of uninterrupted double-yellow.

It wasn't to last, however, soon we came into traffic waiting to pass a single-lane section of highway. Apparently one lane fell off the side of the mountain and all traffic had to wait for the signals to take their turn.



The orange construction sign in the above photo is still half a mile from the construction zone, and we had already moved forward several times.



The least happy with the situation was the VFR, followed closely by Kiki. The bike has side-mounted radiators and needs moving air to stay cool. Kiki watched as the temperature began to climb. The heat started to take it's toll on the ailing battery, here you can see the headlights are very dim despite the bike running. Eventually the bike shut down entirely and we pulled over to let it cool. We had to jump it again and after two more times repeating this process, we eventually made it to the front of the line, where the bike died just as the light turned green.

A very unhappy Blind_Io taking the VFR apart for the 6th time. Behind me you can see the rebar staged for the construction zone, we actually had stopped inside their cones to escape the traffic.


We let it cool again and got through the construction and finally headed towards Silverton with no traffic ahead. The VFR's temperature began to drop in the cool mountain air and we started the climb out of Silverton towards the pass to Ouray.

About half a mile before the summit, I heard Kiki beeping the horn behind me; it was what I had been worried about all day. The fuel injection warning light had come on, probably due to the power issue. We pulled over and shut the bike down for the last time on this trip, it wasn't worth risking the computer or fuel injection system. We shifted everything not already off the VFR to the ST1300 and Kiki climbed on the back. I pointed the bike back down towards the closest town, Silverton, to try to find cell service. I had also seen a sign as we passed earlier for Silverton Harley Davidson, and hoped they might be open for events on the holiday.

We arrived in Silverton and miraculously found a parking spot right on main street. The ST looked pretty lonely by herself.



We set out to find the Harley shop but discovered that HD hadn't actually bothered to open a shop in Silverton, just a cheap tourist-trap full of Harley branded crap. I asked if they had a Harley Davidson branded multimeter, but no luck. At this point I gave up and called AAA, it was time for that membership to pay for itself.

After having my call forwarded from California to Colorado and explaining several times that I was A) not on the Interstate, B) not actually with the bike and C) yes, it is a bike and it must be on a flatbed or a trailer. I was finally able to get a truck dispatched from Grand Junction. It would be nearly five hours before the truck arrived, involving several calls with dispatch and automated updates from AAA. Since we needed to be with the bike for loading and Silverton was the only island of cell service, we decided to get some food and enjoy the small picturesque mountain town on the 4th of July.

If you ever are going to break down, I highly recommend Silverton, Colorado. You won't find a more pleasant and beautiful spot full of helpful and friendly people. Since we had lots of time to walk around town, I decided to try out my Instagram skills:











You can't get much more "America" than this:



New overland rig?



From Kiki's photos:







Lunch time. Leave it to us to break down outside a small mountain town and manage to find the one place in town that also has AMA racing playing on the television. You can see the ailing bike is starting to take it's toll on me already.



Some nice Land Cruisers around Silverton





Peaking through the window of the local bank.




Eventually we got the call that the tow truck was passing Ouray and we needed to roll out to go load the VFR.

This is Richard, more about him later. He was very kind and very professional, he treated the VFR with the upmost care and when I wanted to adjust the tie downs to take some pressure off the side stand, he accommodated me and was very understanding.


We got the VFR loaded and Kiki and I got on the ST and headed up the last half mile or so of the pass before starting the long crawl down, now with the full flow of holiday traffic leaving the cool mountain air. Kiki took the opportunity to shoot photos from the back of the ST1300.



Passing through Ouray, where we originally planned to spend the 4th of July. Maybe next time.



We had originally planned to stay in the mountains and take a twisty road most the way to Grand Junction, but with most the day gone and having to beat the tow truck back to town, we ended up slabbing it through a 101?F boring-as-shit oven. I was running the radar detector (because 'Murica) and realized that all the cops were doing traffic control in the towns for the holiday, none were out on the highway. I was very nice and kept the speed down when passing through town, but I was so sick of the road I just wanted to be back at the hotel under a cold shower before getting a beer. I could tell Kiki was fading fast, I got the helmet bump from the back as she tried to stay awake in the stinking hot stagant air pocket my body was making.

On a totally unrelated note that has noting at all to do with this story in any way, officer -- the ST1300 will do 120 mph and still pull hard with two people and full cases. Or so I'm told.

We pulled into the first place with fuel in Grand Junction, which happened to be a grocery store. Kiki, being the absolute legend that she is, went and got us some cold gatorade while I filled up the bike. I was so out of it that I nearly dropped the ST when I forgot to put the side stand down.

Slowly coming back to life:


After a rest, we headed deeper into Grand Junction and back to the hotel we stayed at two nights ago. Back in Silverton we were trying to find a place to store the VFR for a week until we could come back down and get it. Finally I called the desk at the hotel and explained the situation. They agreed to store the bike for us - under cover, within sight of the front desk, and with a security camera pointed at it. I just needed to get back there before the tow truck, which, by this point, was probably catching up.

I didn't even get a chance to unpack the bike before I got the call that the tow truck was pulling in.

This is Richard. Richard is an absolute legend of a man. The one-way tow turned out to be about 120 miles. That means Richard drove 240 miles round trip to pluck the VFR off a mountain pass during a holiday -- and he told me he stopped to change someone's tire on the way back.



The VFR tucked away for a few days. Parked just out of frame was a Harley of some sort, I was pleased that although my old Honda wasn't running, it also wasn't leaking oil - unlike the Harley, which had emphatically marked it's territory.


The hotel was within walking distance of a brewery. After getting a nice cool shower and stretching out on the bed for a while, we enjoyed 22 ounces of high-point happiness.



Stick a fork in me.



We took the ST1300 all the way back to Salt Lake and returned the next weekend with the Xterra and the trailer to recover the VFR. Since I wasn't sure what the problem was, I decided it was safer to just get the bike home where I could take it apart and find out what was really going on. Kiki took some more photos from the back, but we took the same route as we did on the way down, so it is nothing you guys haven't seen before. There were some more long, hot, and boring sections. Riding two-up for that long takes a lot of energy and the gear doesn't breathe the way it does when you are alone. Kiki wasn't getting as much fresh air coming in her gear vents, and I was steaming in my own sweat because my jacket wouldn't exhaust properly.

A very tired Kiki trying to cool off at the top of Wolf Creek Pass in Utah. I think she actually fell asleep like this for a bit.



The following weekend:

The Trailer Ride of Shame.


Once I got the bike home, I was able to test the regulator recrifier and it tested as good. I even put some dialectric grease on the contacts and got no change, so that wasn't it. The battery showed good voltage on the multimeter, but I suspected it was still the problem. I took it in to the shop and they confirmed that it showed good voltage, but as soon as it was put under load it dropped to about zero.

I purchased a new battery and the VFR has been running strong ever since. Somewhere on the second day one of the cells in the battery must have gone bad and I used the last of the battery's power to start the bike and move it around the parking lot that night.

Kiki has uploaded over 130 photos, which I need to go through to add to the trip down, but it is late and I'm going to bed. I will get to it when I can. Jeeper has already posted that part of the trip.
 
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lip

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Sucks to have a flailing vehicle on a road trip, but hey, at least that gives a good story aftwerwards. ;)

Great detailed report. Like it.
 

MXM

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Breaking down is always a good excuse to look around a place, which you normally wouldn't visit ;)
 

Blind_Io

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We had planned to visit Silverton, but hadn't planned to stay for so long. We initially skipped it and headed up the pass because the VFR needed to move to cool down and hopefully get some charge back in the battery with higher RPMs. We plan to go back next year in the Xterra to do some off roading, there are some amazing old mining roads that cross over the mountains in that area.
 

CraigB

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You guys are killing me with these motorcycle adventures! :thumbsup:
 

Kiki

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I.will.never.ride.cupcake.again.

The only upside is that I got a chance to take cool pics of Blind and the scenery... when I wasn't falling asleep.

Here's the road into Ouray:



Blind in the Colorado countryside:

 

MWF

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What he said. I am insanely jealous and wish I could take part in something like that one day although bikes scare me witless.
 

Kiki

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Because I'm procrastinating at work, here are some quick gifs...

Holiday Traffic on the Million Dollar Highway





Richard [SUP]the Awesome [/SUP] and Blind loading up the VFR

 

Der Stig

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This was a great trip, much better than my trip to CO last year. The weather was much more cooperative and it was great to meet up and ride with Blind and Kiki :D

My trip started off nice and wet early in the morning. Yay.


In New Mexico, the weather held up, despite appearances. Here on NM 518.


A guy on a new Indian Scout and I took turns taking each other's pictures in NM.


View from the patio at the Guadalajara Grill in Taos, NM


Now in Colorado, off the 550 somewhere


Ahh construction. Down to one lane on 550...


20 minutes later...


Time for photos




Finally in Silverton, CO


Met up with everyone in Grand Junction and then we went off in search of twisties. 92 was the highlight for me.






Found some nice vistas :)






Definitely got altitude retarded at about 11,000 feet when I screwed up a few corners on 149 and decided to not try to keep up with everyone else. But damn if the roads weren't great and the scenery beautiful.



Crazy Jeeper and I had a nice long slog back to Dallas from Pagosa Springs, but it was a gorgeous morning when we left.

And home.
 
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Kiki

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So many good roads! Also, the Multi sounds awesome! :D
 
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