On the Road Home



Sunday afternoon and the rally is basically over. The zoo of KTMs and muddy riders and vendors and flashy gear heads is disbanding. The wild adventure that started eight days ago, and began to feel Real just four days ago, now looks like a Casino parking lot… Wait… It is a casino parking lot! What happened and where have I been? It all feels a little like one of those disappointing dreams where you wake up just a little too early.

KTM did an outstanding job with this event. There was so much packed into the three days… Rides following around pro riders… Demo bikes to rip around on, suspension and tech seminars… Sorta like summer camp I’m almost excited to come back next year.

Monday was the start of the trip home. We rode to Missoula. I finally had a really good burger and awesome cup of coffee. On Tuesday the route took us over Lolo Pass into Idaho. We rode a ton of super fantastic twisty mountain roads. Lolo Pass itself was over 100 miles of twisty. I recorded a new max speed on the GPS, saw a couple of fires burning.. Smoke was in the air almost all day.

On Wednesday we rode dirt from Winnemucca to the Black Rock Desert and ran some circles making dust around the Burning Man security trucks. Not on purpose, really… Then more dirt, over to, and then through Moon Rocks OHV area. Then asphalt and concrete  roads into the Bay… And wow! traffic! What assholes we have here and what crap roads…

We are back now after three days, six states, 300 off-road miles and 1,500 miles of asphalt. (All on the trip home)

Total miles on the trip were 4,000 including 200 miles of fun riding in the Black Hills with the luggage removed from the bikes.

Check out how great the Shinko 805 held up.. We’re all super impressed with that. 300 miles of dirt and 1,500 on the street and it looks only about 25% worn!

Into Deadwood

Thursday was Day6, the final day of our ride out to Deadwood, and was mostly uneventful. We got a lot of sleep the night before, something like 7 hours.. And then took our time getting moving. Weather Underground was showing rain as very likely, to start late morning, and that didn’t get us moving any faster. Instead it seemed to just make is slower.

We got rolling at about 9:30 and immediately rode the wrong direction and on the wrong road. Our attempt at reconnecting with our route tracks took us into the middle of some sort of oil field lands and onto cow trails… Yeah..trails made by cows..not the kind of trails we like to ride on 500-lb motorcycles packed with another 75-lbs of gear. The detours/ further attempts at re-routing were unsuccessful and at about 10:30, with rain looming, we jumped on a highway to re-connect with the dirt roads farther North.

Rain started falling just as we got back to dirt. Not worried about our balding tires we were all pretty excited to ride in it. No Dust!

The roads were fast and loose like usual, which was a little extra fun because of the uncertainty related to wet/ mud traction. I think none of us had ridden our bikes in mud before. At about 30 miles into the dirt the route took us into a grassy/muddy road.. After some discussion about whether or not it was wise to ride out onto it we decided it was worth a try.. We made it all of about 8-ft before Peter’s bike was on the ground. The mud was super slick clay stuff. We were lucky that we weren’t out in it when the rain started otherwise we’d probably still be out there. It rained for the rest of the day and didn’t stop until Friday late afternoon. Picking up the 1190 in the mud was a bit of a challenge.

The rest of the ride into Deadwood was on a mix of 50/50 improved dirt/gravel road and Tarmac. I was the only guy wearing a dirt helmet with goggles and was pretty jealous of the two wearing true dualsport helmets. Apparently the 950 windshield buffets one’s face in just the right way to cause muddy bubbles to percolate up through the goggle’s foam. This makes it really difficult to see. I did my best to think of it as just another piece of Exciting.

Pulling into the lodge’s parking lot we were pretty much ready to be done. We were all cold, mostly soaked from the rain, and pretty tired from the stresses of riding. We found our 4th rider, Ron, poking around the parking lot checking out what the vendors were offering. Ron had taken an alternate route out here after suffering both physically and mechanically (bike) through Day 1. At the event he was totally energetic which was awesome.. Helped us get set up and registered.

Our tires are toast. We all rode on different tires and they all look the same now. They won’t make it through the weekend. New ones are in route to be delivered tomorrow. Thank you Rocky Mountain ATV!

The rally events start tomorrow, Friday. We’re at the Rally and will participate, but I’m having the feeling that our events ended Thursday..

Day Five – to The Other Side

Yesterday we heard the term “oh, on the other side..” About towns in Wyoming that we were planning to pass through. Today we rode to it.

it was a shorter day, in both mileage and duration, but to our bodies it felt much longer. 5 hours of sleep after days like these is not enough. Hoping for more tonight.

Highlights of today’s route include some private land that we were lucky enough to gain access to with help from the land owner (The section we crossed led us to a great woodsy/rocky trail that hadn’t seen a traveler in a long time), Crazy Woman Canyon, and other-worldly natural gas producing lands.




Day Four, Alpine, WY to Thermopolos, WY

I can’t imagine a better ride. Today was completely bonkers.

We rode from Alipne, WY to Thermopopolis. The route took us across 4 separate mountain passes. I can’t name them at the moment.. I’ll come back later and edit this…Our max elevation showed to be 9,120 ft but we spent a whole lot of the day at altitudes where it was difficult to breathe. The morning was cold. Peter’s 1190 has a “freeze warning” dashboard light that kept blinking.. It was a big change from the past three days.

Pictures here show the terrain. What they can’t really show is how untouched the areas feel and how exposed that made us feel. This trip really felt like a bigger deal today.



Day Three I think…


At dinner tonight in Alpine, WY we all laughed at the pictures we took this morning. There’s nothing amusing in the pictures, rather it was the absurdity of how far we rode and how long ago the morning felt. It felt like we rode for a week today…was about 400mi  started in Jackpot, NV, ended in Alpine WY. Trails and dirt roads today were the best yet.

We got an early start..it was still dark out as we hit the dirt. The scene was a bit surreal with sunrise burning what looked like clouds on fire. The sky held clouds for most of the day and I wish I’d felt more confident in our ability to make the day’s planned mileage, I’d have stopped and taken more pictures. Our aggressive schedule worked against our trip’s documentation.


Backing up to yesterday… Day 2, we started in Battle Mtn, NV, way late… Two of the four in our group were still trying to get their GPS tracks to work on their devices. We burned a bunch of time and got started riding over an hour late.. Riding was fairly easy except for a few miles of talc beds which, again, took their toll. We rode to Jackpot, on the border with Idaho and ate more than we should have at Cactus Pete’s casino. The route passed through a tiny town of Tuscarora, a cool little artist community/town of 12 people, and through Jarbidge, which had more people but felt very back-woodsy..there was gasoline in Jarbidge, not so much in Tuscorora. The gas pump there had seen better days.



Day 1 summary

imageWe finished day number one. Everyone is safe and sound. Just gonna start with that.

The total miles for the day were 490 which were comprised of about 180 mi from Oakland to the top to Monitor Pass at which time we began our dirt riding on Leviathan Mine road. Leviathan pretty much sucked as a ride. It is so dry out there it felt like downhilling on marbles.

The earlier post shows a few pics from the 1st half of the day. Ron’s header into the talc continued to plague him. His jacket and pants’ zippers don’t work well. At lunch he took a few minutes to continue the cleaning. Looks like it will take a real whole hearted effort later to get the dust out.

The second half of today – from Fallon to Battle Mtn was 35 miles of street and about 150 miles of dirt. We rode a lot of high speed desert floor type of stuff. (I swear I rode a straight line without touching my bars for at least 10 miles) But we also rode a couple of very nice mountain passes, through some very pretty areas with cool, higher elevation air and even some moisture in the ground.

My bike continued to exhibit (I didn’t write about it earlier) its impressive “death wobbles” at speeds over 70mph, but only sometimes.. I really should have balanced the giant Mitas rear tire. I’ve been adjusting suspension clickers but not finding any real improvements. For now, and maybe until I wear out this tire and replace it, I’ll be in a heightened state of awareness as higher speeds..

The afternoon of riding was fairly easy but things got a bit sticky as the sun set and the terrain treated us more opportunities to practice our deep-silt-rut riding. We rode well past sunset through some tricky terrain. We need a plan for the rest of the ride. Too much screwing around today. 16+ hours. More later 🙂


Here we go!

The morning started off with a street ride to Stockton for coffee where I got started right and dropped my bike on the ground. I should have taken a picture. Cool coffee house called Empresso. Built in an old movie theater. Corey’s bike was outfitted with a nice piece…a globe on which he marked our planned route. I’m glad we also have GPSs.

I wasn’t the only one to drop their bike so far today. Peter’s went down during a 180 in the dirt and Ron found the ground twice… The second time was spectacular, I imagine. Noone got a good look as there was too much dust to see much of anything. The silt where he went down was so deep his crash was like an afternoon swim.

The riding today so far has been a mix of asphalt and dirt. The dirt has been mostly dusty desert road stuff. Some pretty high speeds (as fast as your rear tire traction will take you). The Talc we found slowed us down a bit. I hoping we start climbing to higher elevations sooner than later. It would be nice to see something green…