Archive for June, 2009

The End

June 26, 2009

… for now. Considering I am still unable to put any weight on the front of my right foot, my trip has ended. I need to keep my foot clean and dry. Sticking it in a stinky boot and riding dirt roads all day is not going to do that. Sitting around a motel in Moab isn’t helping either. My foot just needs some time.

I’ve completed about 1950 miles of the trail. There is approximately 1700 miles I did not complete in Utah, Nevada and Oregon. I’d like to come back and complete them some time. They should take about 10 days.

My bro was nice enough to steal my truck from Urbana and drive out to Moab. We are on our way back to Illinois. Thanks for following my adventure. I’ll keep everybody updated on my foot and future plans of returning to complete the TAT.

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Das boot

June 24, 2009

I think it was the foot peg.

Day 11

June 23, 2009

The day started out pretty well. I rode out of Monticello and into Manti La Sal National Park. The roads and trails were almost as good as Colorado. After going over geyser pass at about 10300 ft I rode towards Moab, UT. I was about 5 miles outside of Moab in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. I decided to turn off the road and try out one of the trails. The sand was pretty deep on the trail and the rocks to climb were pretty steep. Things were going very well until I came to one hill. It was probably the steepest hill I had come across. I tried to climb it but was not using enough clutch. The bike died when I was about 90% up it. I started to slide back down the hill. When my rear tire hit the bottom the bike fell over on the right side. It hit the hard rock trapping my right foot under it. My foot hurt and I was having trouble lifting the bike off it. Once I finally got the bike off of my foot I stood up and it hurt to put weight on my right foot. I picked the bike up and proceeded to drop it on the left side. After picking it up I knew I had to get to town. I was about a mile from the road on the trail. There were still some steep hills to climb and lots of deep sand. It was hard to ride out of there without using my right foot for balance or rear breaks. I dropped the bike into a sand berm once because I did not want to put my foot down. It was only a 5 mile ride to the hospital where I got my foot looked at.

Three hours and three xrays later the doc said there is a slight fracture in my middle toe and the rest of my foot was scrapped up. Whatever punctured my boot scrapped the bottom of my foot just behind all my toes. There was a small laceration in between my last two toes that required 3 stitches. I went to the drug store and got some supplies and pain meds, then found a motel. I’m going to rest in Moab for two nights and see how my foot is doing before I decide where to go from here.

Day 10

June 23, 2009

I woke up around 7 am this morning. I was a little slow to pack up because it was 40 degrees. I stopped and got some breakfast at the Tic Toc Diner in Lake City. I was on the trail by 9. I started by going over Cinnamon Pass, 12640 ft. All of the passed I went over today were plowed during the summer. After Cinnamon Pass I checked out the ghost town of Animas Forks. It’s an old mining town that was deserted in the 1920s. I then went over California Pass, 12930 ft. I rode up to the sign which was at 12957 ft, then hiked to the summit which was probably over 13000 ft. The view from the top was amazing. All I could see in any direction were mountains. After descending a few hundred feet, there was a truck that looked like it rolled down from the pass. The truck was a twisted mess of metal. The roof was sitting on the seat. The sides of the bed were folded over and completely flattened out. It looks like it had been stripped for parts. The valve cover, dash and other parts were gone.

I then went over Hurricane Pass, 12407 ft. The road from Hurricane to Corkscrew Pass had snow banks 12 feet tall on both sides. Apparently they have some really tall plows in Colorado. The road down off of Corkscrew Pass was very steep. My arms were starting to get tired from supporting my weight on the handle bars. The road was interesting in that it had some very large berms in it. They were basically five foot tall berms to drain water from the road. Further down the road there were some nice water crossings. The stream that was running next to the road was running through the road a couple times.

The next road I was on was a paved road. 10 miles of twisty asphalt. Then I made a turn onto a gravel road heading to Ophir, CO. That is a strange little town in the mountains. It’s basically a town full of suburban families.

The next interesting part of my ride today was the national forest routes in the San Juan Narional Forest. I tried to take some video of these routes. The video on my camera looks good. I think I was going too fast for the video on my phone to look good. Duct taping my camera to the beak of my hemlet worked pretty well. 🙂 I’ll have to do that more. It’s unfortunate that I did not remember to take any video sooner in my trip.

It was sad when I road out of the mountains. Colorado is an awesome state with some beautiful roads and scenery. I’m in Monticello, UT for the night.

Day 9 pics

June 22, 2009

Day 8 pics

June 22, 2009

Day 9

June 22, 2009

Today’s ride was awesome. It started out winding through a valley in between two huge mountains then slowly climbed up the one mountain. I turned off that road and started climbing even higher. Above 10000 feet the road was getting worse and worse, for cars. By 11000 feet it was getting quite narly. There were patches of snow on the side of the road. I climbed a little higher and the snow was in the road. By 11782 feet it the road was completely covered in snow. Hancock pass was impassible. I turned around and within a mintute I ran into three bikes and an atv. The atv could not pass one of the snow patches in the road. They were ready to turn around. We went down the mountain together. Some other atvs at the bottom told me that Hancock pass is about 12100 feet. I was so close.

Since the main route was snowed in, I had to take a lower pass that was 50 miles away. Old Monarch pass was only 11315 feet above sea level. This pass also marked the continental divide. I attempted to backtrack on the route to Tomochi pass but after riding some narrow hilly rocky roads towards it, the road was closed. There was a gate across the road and a bunch of signs saying it was private property. I wonder if the route over Tomichi pass is ever open. Even though I climbed two mountains and had to turn around each time it was still worth the time. The roads were a lot of fun.

Continuing on the route I came to a sign that said “Historic Stage Coach Route.” It explained that motor vehicles were only permitted on trails labeled with an arrow. The sign next to the gate said private property next .2 miles, please close gate. Everything said it was okay to ride, so I opened the gate, pulled through and closed the gate behind me. I rode through about 5 more gates like this before finally coming back out onto the road. I did not realize until I just looked at the map that this was part of the trail.

The day ended with coming down into Lake City, CO, where I am camping for another night. I think i’m at about 8650 feet. Hopefully it isn’t too cold.

Day 8

June 20, 2009

It was a rainy day. I probably for rained on about 40% of the day. Most of the rain was pretty light. It was just annoying. At least I stayed dry in my rain gear.

To start the day I rode to the dealer to get my new tires. I had them mounted and was on the trail by 10:30. The first 75 miles of roads were a nice soup of sand and mud. A couple of the roads had a sprinkling of gravel in them which gave me a little bit more traction. It was challenging looking through my wet goggles and trying to pick the best line through the rutted up mud.

I stopped for gas and tried to figure out what the scrapping noise I heard was. I cleaned as much of the mud out from around the chain and sprockets as possible. It’s a good thing I took the front sprocket cover off because the nut was starting to get loose again. I put a lot of red loctite on it and cranked it down. Hopefully it will hold this time. I found that scrapping noise was due to the chain being tight in some spots and loose in others. This allowed the chain to eventually wear through the plastic guard on top on the swing arm. So the chain is hitting the swing arm in one small spot. Not a big deal, just a bit noisy.

The Rockies are gorgeous, even in the rain. Most on my riding today has been up and down and around mountains. I’ve mostly been between 7 and 10 thousand feet. At one of the places I pulled over to take some pictures, I hung out for maybe 20 minutes. The sun had just come out so it was nice to get off the bike and just take it all in.

I met one advrider in Cotopaxi, and two more thirty miles down the road. It’s as if they are everywhere. I’m camping in Salida, CO.

Day 7

June 20, 2009

The day started out quite well. I was able to sleep in till about 9. As I was packing up my stuff the dealer called me to say he had recieved my sprocket. I went to pick it up and installed it by 10:30. I was on the road by 10:45. I was getting pretty sick of Oklahoma. The roads were pretty straight and boring. The most interesting thing was the sand. Many of the roads had sand blowing across them. This left some drifts on the roads. I only had trouble with the sand once. There was a deep rut in the sand from a previous motorcycle that had trouble there. I did not crash but did get a little sideways and stopped with my front tire off the road.

Upon entering New Mexico things got instantly better. The sand was gone and the view was beautiful. The roads were running through cattle ranches on rolling hills. The hills turned into mesas that the roads were winding up and down. The first one I hit was a paved set of switchbacks I had to wind down. Then after riding through a valley for a while I came to an intersection I have seen pictures of. On the street sign somebody added another sign that said “bike route.” Apparently many riders miss the turn. That road was a rocky set of switchbacks that climbed up the hill. It was probably the best road of the day. Once on top the roads were rolling through cattle pastures and into Colorado.

The entire time I was riding through Colorado the Rockies were getting bigger and bigger. I tried to take a lot of pictures and I hope they turn out. Most were taken at speed. About one mile from my destination, Trinidad, CO, my back end started to wiggle around a bit. I was thinking it may have been cause by the axle coming loose considering I removed the wheel earlier today to change the sprocket. I pulled over and hopped off the bike. I immediatly saw the flat tire. WTF? I felt and looked at the tire for the offending object. I found what I thought was a staple. Upon removing it I realized it was barb from a barbed wire fence.why was there a barb in the road? Since I was less than a mile from a motel for the night I rode with the flat to the motel. I had planned on getting new tires in Trinidad. Now I need new tires and a new tube, or a patched tube. I could patch the tube myself but that reeks of effort considing I’m getting some service tomorrow.

I was really hoping my luck had changed. I guess all I can do is hope that it does change.

Day 6

June 18, 2009

My sprocket order was too late in the day yesterday. I cannot get it until tomorrow. I’m on vacation so I am relaxing. All I need is a beach to lay on and a cold beer to drink. Unfortunately I’m in western Oklahoma, so all they have is beer.

Woodward has a huge three screen movie theatre that shows a matinee on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The two shows that were playing were up and the hangover. Considering it was 2 pm and there would probably be a lot of children at the showing of up, I watched the hangover. I know I enjoyed the movie. I’m not sure if the two other people at the theatre enjoyed it.

After the movie I went to the laundromat and washed all my dirty cloths. Exciting day!