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Thread: 15 States in 13 Days

  1. #1

    15 States in 13 Days

    The idea for this trip started when I was asked to come to L.A. to work for 2 days a few weeks back. Hmmm L.A. After looking at my schedule, and moving a few things around, I decided I was going to ride. I've been wanting to get out West on my bike all year for my insatiable need for nice twisty roads. I need an Adventure. The budget was going to be tight though....
    So I had 5 days to prepare. I had just serviced my bike, so I was go to go for the first 6000 miles or so. I estimated the rear tire would need to be replaced in California. Fine. Since I'd already racked up 15,000 miles this summer with plenty of camping I knew my camping gear and spares list was good to go. I did however pick up a (used, thanks David ) Ztechnik touring screen, and a Air Hawk butt pad. Both proved to be an excellent investment, and without the Air Hawk.....
    A quick trip to REI was all I needed to pick up some expendable's, CamelBak Elixer tablets, some freeze dried food, cliff bars, etc.
    The plan was to leave on Tuesday and be in L.A. on Sunday. 2 days there, then ride up the coast to Portland, then home. Sounds like a good plan..
    I decided I was going to get The Midwest over with and into the mountains in 1 day, slabbing it from Chicago to Denver. That would give me more time to wander my way down to So-Cal, and maybe do a little fishing on the way. This time I only brought a fly-rod with me... I'm not a good fly fisherman, but since I was going to be in Colorado.... well, when in Rome...
    Let it begin!

    If you don't like stories of high speed runs , dirty off road thrashing of a R1200R, scotch drinking, or pictures taken while riding one handed then this isn't for you...

    I ended up leaving Chicago around 10:30AM

    Mississippi River

    At least I could day dream about The Mountains

    The problem with going West across Iowa is knowing that you'll have to cross Nebraska when you're done here. At least it was a very nice day, around 85??F
    Once in Nebraska at least the speed limit is 75, so keeping with my no excessive speeding policy (for now) I settled in at a fast clip

    Looks like it could rain...

    Yep, it's gonna rain.

    Severe Thunderstorm Warning.

    This is what it was like close to the Colorado border for me, I can appreciate a good light show even though it's slightly scary. It rained hard for about 30 minutes, then tapered off to light rain for another hour or so. I was dry in my Frogg Toggs.

    I ended up in Loveland, CO the first night, just outside of the Rocky Mountain National Park, right where I wanted to be. I treated myself to a motel this night after such a day of riding. ( I had made a deal with myself to get one if I made it there in one day)

    The next day I was up early, unable to sleep in, excited for what was in front of me. So I hit the road around 7:30 riding on US34. I stopped in Estes Park to pick up a fishing license, and try and get some tips on fly fishing in the area.

    While in Estes Park I met a guy on a old BMW who told what fly shop to go to and some roads I should ride. He said to be sure and ride Old Fall River Road, if I don't mind gravel.

    It turned out to be excellent, just as he said.

    The first of many one lane road work area's I would pass. At least I was first in line, and got to chat with the lady here for the 25 minutes I had to wait.

    First night camp-spot, right next to a river in the SM NP.

  2. #2
    The temp was a nice 68??, low's forecasted to be in the upper 50's. Great.
    I break out the Johnny Walker black, get some ice out of my CamelBak, and settle in and relax.
    It did rain this night, around 1 AM for a few hours. Again, more lighting and thunder. I slept good with the sound of rain on the tent.

    First thing in the morning I fished the stream right next to me and caught this. Too bad it's all catch and release here in the Park....

    After packing up I headed back onto US34.

    After some time riding some beautiful twisty roads I was ready to explore some logging roads and get a little dirty.

    Look Ma, no road!

    yep, there was motorcycles listed on this approved means of travel sign.

    So after about 6 hours of riding on unpaved roads, I start to notice a sloppiness in my bike. I stop and see that my rear tire is going flat.

    * note to self, don't ride rough roads with sharp rocks when the tire is in it's later stage of life*

    So I'm thinking, fine, I finally get to try out this stop and go tire plugger thingy. ( one of 3 different kinds of plugging kits I have with me.)

    It was pretty easy to use, not taking too long to use. I felt good about it, getting out my mini air compressor. I plug it in to the bike accessory outlet and it goes for about 20 seconds then stops. It must have pulled too much under load and the CAN-BUS system must have shut it down. ****. OK, I'll just move it to the standard cigarette light outlet I have hardwired in my tank-box. It works. After a minute of two there was no inflation of the tire happening. ****. I removed the nozzle, and push my finger against it, and sure enough, it wasn't holding pressure. ****. So I go to plan B, getting out the Co2 cartridges from the Stop n Go , and BMW kit's. I had 7 of them. I put one in, then two, barely seeing the tire inflate. Seems like they waste a lot of air while changing cartridges... After 5 of them I was able to see progress.... wait, what's that noise? air leaking? What?
    BS. Well, I was looking for an Adventure right?
    damn stop and go..... wait it's not leaking from the plug.... there's another hole! ****. So I get put another plug in the 2nd hole, losing a good portion of the air of course. I then use the 2 other cartridges, bringing my tire up to a measly 24psi. ****. No cell service of course, up on a mountain at 9,600 feet, many miles from pavement... So I take the compressor apart, trying to figure out what's wrong. Turns out it was leaking where the gauge goes into the compressor. A little e-tape and a couple zip-ties later I try it out.
    Go, go, go, go , YES! it's holding and slowly building pressure.

  3. #3
    I fill it up and head out, making my way back to pavement. After about 20 minutes on the (paved) road I could feel my rear tire losing air again.
    So this is where I put in plug number 3. At least I was getting pretty proficient at it.

    Back on the road, rt 131

    I ended up replacing one of the plugs two more times, it just wouldn't hold for some reason.

    I made into Glenwood Springs, had some Sushi (good Sushi in the mountains? go figure.)
    While eating I located a BMW dealer in Grand Junction, yes we have the tire, yes, come in the morning and we can change it sometime in the day. Sometime? I just ignored that, happy to have found a tire.

    So I head down Rt. 133 looking for a camp spot.

    Avalanche campground was the destination, unfortunately it meant riding 12 miles of this to get too. I had put enough plugs in by now that i was confident I could get out if things got worse....

    It was worth the risk, great campground, and had it mostly to myself. I few miles of dirt sure does keep out the RV's. There was I nice river right next to me that I was able to take a (cold) bath in.

    Again, out came the Johnny, listening to some Cash enjoying the nearly full moon. As I went to bed I saw lighting coming my way.... It stormed again raining like hell for about an hour or two, and was about 55??F making for some good sleeping weather.

    Once again it was sunny in the morning, here's on my way out.

    So I made it to Grand Junction around 10:30AM, going to the Honda/BMW dealer. Key word Honda.
    I go in to the service desk and tell them I'm here to get my tire changed. The guy says, oh, we won't be able to get to you until monday, sorry. What? You told me yesterday you could I said. You should have been here earlier he said. I explained I was riding cross country, and had 3 plugs in my tire.... He didn't care, with his Honda hat on...... I'll leave out what was said next to keep this clean, but I ended up buying the tire and leaving.

    Worst Dealer Ever.

    So I ended up finding a trusty Harley dealer, going in and explaining my situation. The guy said, heck we're all ride'n on two wheels, so if you can take it off the bike, we'll change it for you and get you back on the road.

    Flame pinstripes in the ****ter even!

    I'm back on the road around noon, Utah here I come!

  4. #4
    nce into Utah, especially with fresh rubber I couldn't resist. This is a road, right?

    I met this guy from Wisconsin in Utah, he was doing the same ride but in reverse, going north then down the coast, a few days work in L.A. and was on his way home heading into Colorado. It was nice to share routes and such with a fellow motorcycle traveler.

    It was hot. around 95??F

  5. #5

    After going down 191 through Moab and Monticello I turned onto 95 towards Natural Bridges NP. Ending up on 275, I made it to the Park and was disappointed with the campground. No view, and the sites were real close to each other. So after riding so many miles of beautiful landscape with nobody around I decided I was going to find my own campsite.

    After coming up a road like this

    I turned onto a "road" like this

    For a view like this

    Then onto this

    Then over here

    To find this spot

    The site was awesome. It had obviously been quite some time since anyone had been anywhere near here. Very neat spot, it was amazing how quiet it was.

    So everything was perfect. 65??, clear, full moon, a cold beer I had stuffed in my clothes in Blanding, some red beans and rice, a nice fire, etc. I was feeling on top of the world, at least until the coyote's started howling. First one to my right, then one to the left, then a few more howling behind me. I was all cool and tough till then... lol I mean, I'll admit it, I'm a city boy from the Midwest and this was new to me... lol
    By this time I had finished the beer and moved on to the last of the scotch, so I'm sure that didn't help with my paranoia. So I moved my tent a little closer to the fire, made a bigger fire, and eventually yelled at them to shut up. They didn't, I laughed at myself and went to sleep.

    I woke up just fine, it was around 50??, packed up and hit the "road"

  6. #6

    An old Indian Grave

    I turned onto Rt 24 off of Rt 95

    then onto Rt 12

    A little more exploring

    Here's where I thought I could get around the locked gate, but ended up getting stuck and having to dig out some rocks, and remove my hard case to get through. I guess I could use a skid plate for the R.

  7. #7
    I was trying to cut through Capitol Reef NP on this trail, but after a few hours the road became too rough for me, and I turned around.

    It was around 100??, so when I came across this stream I had to cool off.

    A u-pick orchard in Fruita, Utah

  8. #8


    A little warm. I stayed hydrated and every hour or so would soak my shirt and helmet with water.

    I jumped onto I-5 on the other side of Hurricane, following these clowns at a high rate of speed for about 2 hours. Las Vegas here I come!

    Roughing it in Vegas

    Delicious dinner

    Dessert. I only donated $5 to the poker machine.

    The next morning I set out for Hermosa Beach California. I planned on jumping off the slab asap, going through the Mojave, and Joshua Tree.

    It was over 100??F

  9. #9

    Yeah! It might rain. Flash Flood Warnings all over the place. It was real hot so I looked forward to some relief.

    So after seeing all these trails through the desert, I figured I should just take a shortcut across the Mojave.

    The trail in the background is what I was on.

    This is a road right?

    Um, yeah...


    I had to ride along these for miles to find a place to get over them.

    Glorious rain! It felt so good. The only problem was the flooded roads to follow, good thing I made it back to pavement..

    Too bad the rain didn't last too long.

  10. #10

    I finally arrived to the coast in Hermosa Beach. I had friends here to stay with while I took care of business.

    This is the first half of the story, I need to let my eye's rest...

  11. #11
    Grammarian no, Rider yes ISAMEMON's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Kings Valley Oregon
    wow keep it coming
    this is great

  12. #12
    Outstanding report on a really great trip. I am heading for Utah next week and will be covering much of the territory that you traveled. Your report has got me really looking forward to the ride.

  13. #13
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Urbana, IL
    Wow. Great trip. Thanks for all the pictures.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  14. #14
    DUDE! you're the man...I don't think I'd do those roadds alone on my GS

    Great Job

  15. #15
    most excellent!

    put some tourances on that pic... lower your tire pressures and bring along a cyclepump. yer bound not to fall over then.

    thanks for taking us along.

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '07 Xchallenge || '13 CB500X || '14 Grom

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