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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Giant Ragweed Abatement Tour 2016(Tennessee to Utah) 09/15-?

G.R.A.T for short.......

Hello fellow allergy sufferers, the month of September here in East Tennessee is just downright brutal on me
So a few years ago I came to the conclusion that I just would not be here then, and get on the bike and ride....anywhere....anywhere where the Ragweed does not grow. 2014 it was a dozen states out as far as NV. Last year it was out to Seattle and the PCH, back through the Southwest where I got a taste of...UTAH!

I know, your looking at your calendar, thinking...uhmmmm?:eek:ut:...Sept is half over. You would be correct and I have the shot of steroids in the :asshole: to prove it. Life on the farm sometimes demands that some projects get done such as replacing several thousand feet of fence & stretching 12,000' of wire. On top of that I was still deep into a writhing farklefest on my new to be XT:


Back together and packing:


It just hit me yesterday, off road will require extra gear, so I stuffed my knee pads and pressure suit in the backpack, which will have to ride on top of all the other gear. I must resist the urge to fill all those pockets on the backpack with.....more...{stuff}


I rode the 2014 trip alone, had a buddy join me on the 20+ state trip last year & he was supposed to ride this trip to Moab with me. But, he can't make it so I am rolling out tomorrow. Here is my route out:


1,755 miles out staying off the interstate. Shooting for 5-600 miles a day give or take. Route and times are flexible & I will be camping almost exclusively in County, State & Fed parks/land. Bike will be loaded today and I'll spend an hour in the saddle making sure everything is adjusted and nothing falls off.

Oh, and the weather in Moab looks to be just perfect...low 80's to low 50's, almost zero rain for the next 10 days. Sept and Oct weather has been good to me on my trips West since my backpacking days of the 80's, so I feel fortunate that I get run out of my home state during this time.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
What's on the bike?

Rox 2" up and back
Rostra electronic cruise control(carpal tunnel savior)
lowered pegs/forward shifter
airflow windshield
homemade vortex generators
Terry Adcox seat(2 snaps and a swirl)
aux led lights
chepo Garmin Nuvi 1490(and another as back-up) for primary navigation
new Garmin 610 loaded with 24K topos
new Mitas E07 rear and MC 60 front
Nelson Rigg Survivor series saddle bags & roll top on rear of seat
 

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Good luck and have fun! It has been pouring rain here for the last several hours, but hopefully as the storm moves out it will miss Moab, or be gone by the time you get there. This weekend, 17, 18 I plan to be about 70 miles south of Moab at the Moki Dugway (unless the weather sucks), west of Bluff about 20 miles.
 

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Arrived on Sat. Just did Onion Creek to Thompson Canyon to Castleton Gateway road then out on Castle Valley Road ...fantastic ride. Next is Taylor Flay road to Dark Canyon to La Sal mtn road.
Full report later....
 

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I rolled out on Thursday 15 Sept right at dawn:



The ride went well and the back roads through southern Kentucky were nice. The border between Kentucky and Missouri at the Mississippi River seemed to be the roads that DOT forgot. Narrow 2 lane's that had what seemed like they had a dozen 90 degree turns for no reason at all. I crossed two antiquated bridges over the big river at Wickliff KY...again really narrow. Then the rain started in the afternoon on and off.

Found a campground on a lake(Pinewoods Lake campground), but this was a first....it has been abandoned by the state. Not just abandoned, but stripped. They even took out the bathrooms and other buildings, turned off the water to the only spigot in the whole place, no trash receptacles . It was free, full of nice plump mosquitoes, warm and 100% humidity. It had that damp earth smell and I was the only one there if you don't count all the teens over at the picnic/boat ramp area. Needless to say it was a schhhhweaty toss and turn night. The next morning something woke me up at 0430, ....car doors shutting somewhere in the fog. Yep, I was up in full alert, there were no lights, it was eerily still with only the dripping trees breaking the silence. That nice smell had been replaced with a sour homeless person funk. I felt like if I stayed any longer I would wake up covered in moss and vines, trapped for eternity. I packed up and got on the road fog and all and was glad to be out of that place. I don't usually get that kind of feeling when camping...it was really odd.
 

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Sorry for the delay, just got back from visiting family in Manitoba........

I packed up and got on the road fog and all. The rain had retreated during the night and the moon was out. But it turned into false hope as the rain gods had merely regrouped it's armies, flanked my route and began a effective harassment campaign. For the next few hours it was drizzle, stop, mist, stop, rain, stop, more drizzle...etc. As I rolled through Springfield the rain bum rushed me with a nice micro burst. The sky would tease me, lightening one minute, then darkening the next. Chilliwack was playing on my headset when I crossed into Kansas. The rain kinda let up, but as I rolled through a town I saw white mushrooms as big as cow patties growing on people's lawns. So I wisely deducted that it never stops raining here and the residents are forced to eat giant toadstools for sustenance.
After leaving toadstool city, the rain Generals assaulted me with a full out attack....rain drops as big as walnuts. Folks slowed down, hanging me up in traffic and the ensuing mist trail. It was either surrender(pull off) or counter attack(pass). For the next 4 hours I droned on passing many just so I could see where the hell I was going.

Somewhere in Kansas between showers:



My target for the day was John Martin
Reservoir park and after the rain let up around 5 I still had over 4 hours to go. I arrived at 930pm after slaying a zillion bugs after dark. 300 campsites, but was there 2 trees for me to hang my hammock? The answer was a big NO so I had to improvise:


I had inadvertently done over 800 miles today. Got a pic the next morning on the way out of the park:
 

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Next stop: Moab, 489 miles. So buzzed through a non descriptive town & right in the front yard of a non descriptive house was something I had never seen......a 4x4 hand painted plywood sign that read; "House NOT FOR SALE." Ohhhh, brain fodder for at least the next hour. Soooo, how many inquiries did I take for the owner to saw a sheet of plywood in half and open not one but two colors of paint? Was he a nut case and this was a preemptive strike? Or was there a steady stream of people banging on is door asking to buy the place? Is that the reason he has not cut the grass or weed whipped all summer....to make it less desirable? Or, did he just do it to screw with the motorist passing by and stand there in the "junk room" peeking through the blinds while laughing and giggling like a deranged lunatic?

OK, I admit, after 3 days in the saddle I might be getting a wee bit punch drunk. I finally jumped on my old friend Colorado hwy 160. Back in the
80s when working in Texas I used to backpack and snow ski in and around Durango so now I was on familiar ground. First order of business, stop for TexMex huervos rancheros and they did not disappoint!

Moab under a full sun.....how nice! I grabbed gas beer and a sammich, then headed up 128 along the Colorado River where there were about a dozen BLM campgrounds. Mummmummm, yeeaaah, arrival on Sat not too bright.....all FULL. I rode through several even though they had the full sign up but no dice. Finally 20 miles out of Moab I found a Harley rider that was willing to share his site that even had perfectly spaced hammock trees. Ron was a really nice guy that had been motor camping for 2 & a half months & so far 5000 miles on his Heritage Softail. He had some stories, so did I & we got along great:




Sunday was R&R day, went to town picked up a few things, had a crappy chicken
Caesar salad at he Moab brewery while listening to some new wave Motown Whitney Houston type soft rock tract that made me bug shit in 15 min. The dark beer was great, but it would never overcome that muzak, so I fled asap.

Monday I wanted to move my camp, since the river sites were a little crowded/ busy. I moved up to the Fisher Tower campground that has a whopping 5 sites. I had scouted the day before and determined that site numero uno was perfect for the roving hammocker. Low and behold on Monday morning it was vacant.




Next was back to Moab to pick up a 24k topo micro SD card of the SW which I had ordered off fleabay and sent to me at general delivery Moab. More beer and ice for my Polar Bear soft cooler. I also wanted to repay Ron for letting me crash his site for two nights and refusing to take any cash from me. I hit the grocery store and picked up 4 nice NY strips and some giant taters. I then toured Arches Natl park which was really interesting.




The steaks were perfect cooked over an open fire after marinating in beer and Monterrey steak spice for several hours. Meanwhile my thoughts were on the trails I would ride tomorrow.
 

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Tue, finally I was on Onion Creek blasting through the 27 Creek crossings headed for Thompson Canyon/Polar Mesa. The views were spectacular, the trail not bad at all. When I dropped down into Thompson is where I found my rough and steep but the XT handled it with no problems. About 3/4 of the way through Thompson at a photo break I noticed my right water bottle and holder was gone,, "hmmm. Better check the rest of the bike...."..." oh no, my Spot tracker is also Mia....dammit". Turn around? Nahhhhh forge ahead and worry about it later. On to the Castleton Gateway road which led to Castle Valley road and back to camp. Here are some pics.






Just past the gate entering Thompson Canyon:


and closer to Castle road:
 

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The next day I did Geyser Pass off the LaSal road. Geyser was where the stock suspension on the DL showed it's inadequacy.....it was like a random washboard for a couple of hours. So I had to go slow or lose my fillings. A front was moving in, so lots of mist and fog. I made it through, then swung around and came up the east side of LaSal Which was a smooth fun ride . This maintained dirt\gravel road ends at a couple mile Jeep trail which connects back to the LaSal pass road on the west side.

6 or 7 Jeeps had just exited from that trail so I stopped to get the scoop. They said it could be done on a bike but there would be ledges and bowling ball sized rocks. I pressed on, made it a couple hundred yards then found myself sliding around on wet packed dirt that was quickly turning to greasy slick mud. I was not able to put the front tire where I wanted it since the rear was fishtailing all over the place. I stopped at a steep decent, saw that there would be no way to check any downhill speed, so I decided that this trail would not get done today. I looped around and ended up back in Moab on 191.



 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thur I did the Dolores River overlook trail. The road had some washboard, but like the others in the area, 30 + mph seemed to smooth them out. The scenery was really impressive. For the second time in two days I had to turn around. The trail turned rocky 90% a couple of miles from the river overlook. A series of rock shelves 25' tall stopped me cold. It could have been done with help, but alone and 20 miles in would not be prudent.




I stopped here to check out the trail ahead:


But around the corner was this:


After turning around, the front coming my way was from the south and it gained momentum. Just as my tires hit the pavement the rain started. The ride back to camp was pretty cool as I watched the front slam in with gusty winds.

Back at camp, I doubled my rain fly:


The night was interesting with 30-40 mph wind with lightening on top, but I stayed dry and snug.
 

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The next day, my buddy in Phoenix texted that he was headed my way on Saturday. Since there was no place to hang a second second hammock at the Fisher Tower campsite, a scout was in order. I checked out all the river campsites on the 25 mile ride to Moab....all FULL. Me and the dirty laundry went on into Moab where I had breakfast and did some trinket shopping while the laundry was tumbling. Next, I headed North towards Arches, then back South along the river West of Moab. There I found a decent campsite right on the Colorado at Gold Bar Campground.

Back up to Fisher for the night, then back down to the Gold Bar in the AM:


Not a bad view from my new diggs:
 

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Sat I headed over to Kane Creek road which pops out almost downtown Moab. It loops back South along the Colorado's east side and turns to gravel, then rock which leads to Hurrah Pass:




Wiley Coyote anyone?


It's a really nice ride with a little bit of technical thrown in to keep you on your toes.
 

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"Outstanding".......wish I weren't so tentative to explore roads like that. What an adventure you had, must say I am quite jealous.
 

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B, up until the last day, none of these trails posed any extraordinary skill-sets. Oh, but the last day........................:bom_lipsrsealed2:
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
My buddy and his '05 Dl650 arrived at 0900 Sunday. We headed out to familiar ground and did Kane/Hurrah Pass, then Onion Creek/Thompson Canyon. The second time doing these trails let me relax a bit and enjoy more of the sights:


This is on the right as you come up out of Thompson Canyon....




Each trail too about 4 hrs so we got in some decent seat time. Grabbed steaks/taters and cooked them over the open fire, and washed them down with some local brew....life is good!
 
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