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October 1, 2017

Day 3: I made it home :)

Starting Odometer: 51,931
Ending Odometer: 52,419
Miles driven today: 488 miles
Miles driven this trip: 1,364 miles

So, I wake up this morning in Green River, Utah. I'm messaging some with Steve. He's talking about the weather, actually saying it's improving. But this makes me remember to check the weather. The art of a successful motorcycle ride is being methodical about the details.

So, every morning, I plan my fuel stops. I'm pretty good about this. But I should also be checking the forecast along the route. And I don't even have a good app for this. But everything I check shows that I-70 is going to be a nightmare. 39F and raining. That would suck in a big way.

So, instead, I plan a southerly route that google maps actually suggests. It shows me breaking off of I-70 at Grand Junction, heading down to Montrose, then east to Salida, over Monarch Pass. Then, I try to route through Jefferson and Fairplay, but it's cold and rainy there also. So, I change the route to go through Woodland Park, then up through Deckers, and home on Foxton Road.

The only thing I don't check is the current local temperature. So, that would have been crucial. I get on the bike and start riding at 9:30 a.m. (KTM time - however, the KTM is set on Pacific Daylight time, and we're now in Mountain Daylight Time, apparently. So, I crossed a time zone somewhere, and missed that as well.

So, I'm on I-80 heading east, freezing cold. Not freezing cold, but pretty cold. I stop to check the local temperature. 52F in Green River, Utah. Great.

I have some extra shirts, but I don't bother to put them on because I'm not bright enough, apparently. I keep riding east, hoping it will warm up. I exit off of I-70 at Grand Junction, and now I'm rolling south on US Highway 50, down through Olathe to Montrose.

At Montrose, I turn east and stop for gas. I gas up the bike, and get some lunch at a taco place. I've gone 161 miles so far today. In the restaurant, I put on every shirt that I have (4). I'm tired of being cold.

Now, I head east out of Montrose on US Highway 50. The road follows a lake/body of water for some distance. I'm reasonably sure that I've never been on the road before (east of Montrose). But now that I see it on a map, I'm pretty sure that this is the route I used to take to get to Ouray, Colorado.

I summit Monarch Pass. I stop and get some shots. The scenery is just breathtaking. The border sign said "Colorful Colorado" when we came into Colorado, and I was somewhat dubious at the time. But now that I see all of these Aspens in peak foliage, it really is a beautiful place.

I'm wondering why I don't get down here more. Like, flying back and forth every week really does sort of rub your nose in how beautiful the country is. It makes you see things from a different perspective. And, when we're not working, we really don't have any good excuses for not going and seeing these places, it seems.

Now, down the hill and I gas up just before Salida. Now we turn north on Highway 285. When I get to the exit for Hartsel/Woodland park, I decide to push my luck and just try to make it home on US Highway 285. I go about 10 miles, and it's white-out conditions. You can't even see the mountains. I turn around and head south to the exit for Hartsel/Woodland Park and take it.

Now, I'm rolling east across the mountains. Up and over Wilkerson Pass. I used to explore all of this territory when I worked down in Colorado Springs.

Then down to Woodland Park, now for some reason, it's warmed up. I turn north following Colorado State Highway 67. I see a couple of kids on dirt bikes, and stop to ask them if they're OK. They say they're good, and they take off ahead of me. But instead of riding together, they take off and leave me. The petulance of youth.

The road turns to dirt, but the weather is really nice. For the first time, I feel like I might make it home without getting wet.

Eventually, I make it up to US Highway 285. I'm tired. Sore. Ache all over. It's hard to imagine that any sane person would want to do this for a month or two at a time. It's starting to seem like a very bad idea.

I roll up to my house, and go inside to find all 3 cats at home asleep. But, it's not like they were waiting for me. They all get up and leave as soon as I get home. PJ comes in later with a dead mouse.

Things that I did well on the trip:
1) I did some maintenance. I added oil at one point. I added air to my tires at one point. I lubed my chain at one point. But all of this needs to be much more thoroughly pursued. I need to be checking my tire pressure every time I get gas. I need to be oiling the chain every morning. And checking my oil every morning.
2) I did a decent job with the cameras, but I need to be carrying extra lens caps and eyepiece cups, and eyepiece cup extenders. I lost one eyepiece cup and one lens cap on this trip. They're not expensive, but it sucks not to have them.
3) I need to go through the givi case and sort my tools out. They're all just tossed in there willy nilly, so that it's hard to find anything you need.
4) I did a good job of carrying food and drink with me. This is very important in case you break down. Also, it's never a bad idea to carry food in case you get hungry at night in the hotel.
5) I planned my route every day pretty well. You need to know how far the bike will go on a full tank. My bike is hitting reserve at about 170 miles, although this varies based on how fast you're going, how strong the winds are, etc.
6) I carried an extra 2 gallons of gas. That's pretty important, IMHO. I saw some guy on a BMW, and he was bragging about how he has an 8 gallon tank, which means he can go 400 miles. Well, I've got a 5 gallon tank, plus 2.2 gallons extra, so that gets me pretty close to his fuel capacity, and anyone that says they're getting 50 to the gallon is lying anyway.
7) I have to do a better job with my daily tasks at night and in the morning. This morning, I left the room with a camera with a dead battery. Not good execution.
8) I did a great job of checking out of the hotels. Very important not to leave anything behind, so this means a thorough search of the empty hotel room before you drive away. Nothing left behind on this trip.
9) I need to do a better job of tracking my expenses. Right now, I'm just shoving receipts in my pocket, which is pretty shoddy. I need to find an app for my phone which I can use to track expenses.
10) The Garmin Montana GPS is nearly useless. I can't see the scale on the display, and it doesn't tell me the distance to the next exit/turn. So, this is maddening. Also, it keeps shutting on and off for reasons that are not clear to me.
11) The Honda AT doesn't even have a cigarette lighter. Have to get one installed ASAP.
12) Have to get a Givi case for the AT, or else move this one over from the KTM.
13) I just realized that I have a car at the airport. That's the 2nd time this year that I've done that: Fly out of town, ride home on a motorcycle, leave a vehicle at the airport. Doh!

Posted by Rob Kiser on October 1, 2017 at 7:41 PM


“And, when we're not working, we really don't have any good excuses for not going and seeing these places, it seems.”

- Rob Kiser (2017)

“When you’re not working, you start to realize how money is like really important, and stuff.”

- Odd Todd (2002)

Posted by: anonymous on October 2, 2017 at 1:33 AM

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