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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my wife and I headed to Colorado on Friday. We didn't get out the door until 2:00, because it was an interesting morning filled with various chores, expected and unexpected.

But we hit the road, me on Hedy and my wife following with all our dogs in the pickup. Beautiful weather. I had my hydration backpack, and a cooling towel. I wore my mesh jacket. The traffic was a bit heavy, but it's Labor Day weekend. Got out of town and the scenery opened up on this route we've driven many times. Very rural roads, so even in broad daylight I was watching for wildlife. Didn't see any, thankfully. Except a few roadkilled skunks. Whew, that'll clear your sinuses. I wear earplugs, but maybe nose plugs might not be a bad idea too.

We rode up through the San Luis valley in Colorado. This is not a great motorcycle road. Not at all. The words "laser straight" come to mind. I did some weaving in my lane just so I wouldn't forget how to turn the bike. It's about 100 miles of this. The only respite comes from the views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east, and the San Juan mountains to the west. Well, normally - after we passed the town of Alamosa, the halfway point of the run up the valley, I noticed that the San Juans weren't really visible, what with a very large storm cell over the peaks.

And that storm cell extended right over the pass that would take us further north into the Colorado Rockies. So I pulled over and for the first time this trip, rejoiced in the glory that is a chase vehicle. I took off the mesh jacket, and donned my solid textile jacket. I'd brought my liner, and thought about taking it off, but I had felt the temperatures dropping before we pulled over, and I figured let's err on the side of warmth. I didn't bother with rain pants though.

The rain started as we climbed toward Poncha Pass. It wasn't really hard rain; the spray kicked up by oncoming trucks threw as much water at me as the sky did. Even that tapered off as we reached the peak of the pass, so I had a mostly clear ride down the far side. The curves on that side are better than the climb from the San Luis valley. I was darned glad I'd switched to the heavier jacket; I'd have frozen in the mesh.

The fuel light had come on as I climbed toward the peak of the pass. The odometer read 170 miles. I knew the towns and gas stations ahead, and chose a lone gas station or the thriving metropolis of Johnson Village as my refueling options.

North of the pass, the roads are better. You're also close to the mountains. The collegiate peaks are just west of the road, and they are very scenic. The lone gas station came quickly, so I pressed on to Johnson Village, certain I had enough gas. The odometer was just over 200 miles when I pulled into the gas station in the village. I'd made sure my wife saw my blinker, then focused on the traffic around the busy gas station. I lost sight of her, and after a dash to the restroom I filled up the bike. 54 mpg; not bad. It's great being able to go over 200 miles. I shot a text to my wife saying I'd stopped for gas, so she wouldn't worry.

After I filled up, I spotted the truck; she'd stopped with me after all. And it gets better. She was in a liquor store buying beer, and told me a pizza would be ready in just a couple of minutes. How awesome is that? We each had a couple of slices before we got back on the road.

The road is nicely curved as it climbs east from Johnson Village. The sun was starting to go down by now, so I was keeping an even sharper eye out for deer. We'd seen them on this road before, but not on this trip. I kept watching the clouds, but we were shooting a gap between darker clouds to the north and south of our route.

But then came the last leg of the 300 miles. It was definitely late twilight by then, and the last 25 miles were on dirt.

Correction. Mud.

It was misting a bit, and the road wasn't too rough in terms of bumps and ruts, but holy heck was it slippery. It felt like 25 miles of llama snot. This is a good dirt road. 60 mph is normally no problem. In that mud, on two wheels, I was taking it at 25-35 mph. A few times I felt both wheels sliding around like they were independently simultaneously fishtailing. It was very unsettling, and I really felt like there was a good chance I'd go down. I concentrated on staying very smooth, letting the bike do what it needed to do, but trying to encourage it to not slam me into the mud. It was slippery as heck, but I suffered no delusions about it being soft. And even if I did mange to spill without breaking me or the bike, getting it upright again in that slime would not be easy. So I was darned glad to reach our destination with the (very muddy) rubber side down.

I'd show you impressive pictures of a rather muddy Scrambler, but apparently my phone company decided my phone needed an Android update, and now I can't get my pictures off of my phone. :mad: :mad: :mad: I'm well and truly aggravated about that. Just picture a Scrambler with a good spray of mud all over it. I've since worked quite a bit to clean it off.

So I'm going to end with a question; can anyone suggest some good reading material about how to ride a motorcycle in mud and dirt? I'd like to do some studying.

Oh, and having a chase vehicle with your wife in it is awesome. Almost as awesome as having her on the pillion pad.
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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18,127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
2014 EFI. Heidenau K76 tires.
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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18,127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I found some reading material for people like me who have a lot of paved experience, but are pretty new to dirt.

From Motorcyclist magazine: Dirt-Riding Tips for Street Motorcyclists

This article is useful for the last bit of advice, and one very substantive reader comment: Riding Motorcycles on Gravel: Find the Real Road Less Traveled.
Here's the reader comment: Just like a dirtbike-"when in doubt...throttle out" this works although it is counter-intuitive. When we begin to wash out the front tire we tend to want to brake (either front or rear or both). This biases weight towards the front and washes you out quicker (front tire goes sideways). When you grab a fistful of throttle is lightens the front and launches you through whatever was making you slide. When you have some grip in the front you can slow down again. Ride soft-handed too, the bike and you weigh a bit and you will not effectively muscle it. All you will do is induce a slide. I have a super tenere (biggest enduro imaginable) and it does wonderfully when ridden well. My friend's BMW 1150 GS falls down a lot as he is a bit too timid and stiff offroad.Go slow, get loose and don't be afraid to throttle out of trouble. Thank you Mooze, whoever you are.

And here's one that's focused on big adventure bikes: Adventure Motorcycle Riding Techniques | 10 Big-Bike ADV Tips
 

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2016 Diablo Red Thruxton 1200 R
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That was a Scrambler adventure ride for u, I bet u sleep good after that days ride…FTG
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Finally cracked the phone code. :rolleyes: Here's what Hedy looked like after the mud wrestling:

Tire Vehicle Automotive lighting Wheel Automotive tire


Automotive tail & brake light Automotive lighting Automotive tire Hood Vehicle
 

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HiDesert, I envy your riding area.
An old dirt bike rider hack I heard about years ago was to spray some cooking oil on your engine prior to riding in the dirt and when finished the dirt would just rinse off.
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting oldgoldie, I did some generous WD-40 spraying (engine cases, forks, pretty much anything metal except the disk brakes) as part of the cleanup.

If that story made you envious, read further at your own risk. Today I went out for a while to practice my dirt riding skills and enjoy the motorcycle and the landscape. This is in some of the high country in Colorado. You'll see the treeline in several photos. Yep, good times.

Tire Wheel Plant Sky Plant community


Sky Tire Plant Vehicle Plant community


Sky Wheel Tire Vehicle Motorcycle


Sky Ecoregion Natural landscape Mountain Grass


Wheel Tire Sky Vehicle Automotive tire
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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18,127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You know you're enjoying a motorcycle when it has you jumping at the chance to run errands. "What, you want some handmade skin cream from the nearby town? Sure! Be back in three hours!" 😁

Tire Wheel Sky Plant Vehicle


Tire Wheel Sky Land vehicle Plant


If you listen closely, you can hear the antelope saying "wow, nice bike!"

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Yes, I've bought a bottle or two of their rye whiskey. It's good.

Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Land vehicle Car


This road turned out to be a total dead end. Had to backtrack. Still fun.

Cloud Sky Tire Land vehicle Wheel
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Super nice adventure Pics! I am jealous! After many years of owning show performance bikes My dream bike I always wanted is one i can thrash! I just want to put air, oil, gas and spray it off every 6 months and just ride the chit out of it all day long to the fullest, no detailing required…lol…FTG
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well we're home. Yesterday we got a later start than intended. As we're making our way to pavement, it started to rain. Sprinkle, then consistent drops, and while I was confident in my ability to get down the road, I really didn't want to do the rest of the 333 miles with a mud-caked bike. Prayers answered, and it cleared up before it even started to affect traction.

Cloud Sky Asphalt Natural landscape Road surface

Note; apparently my phone's camera isn't stabilized well enough to "fix" parallel twin vibration. That's why in many of these photos not everything is in focus.

We stopped at the nearest hamlet for gas. As we got ready to leave, it started to rain again so I swapped the mesh jacket for my solid textile jacket. The rain didn't last that long this time either.

The road south is route 9. It's a pretty darned good road. Sweepers, some almost tightish curves, good fun with the elevation changes; a darned good road. Light traffic too.

Cloud Sky Plant Infrastructure Road surface


Before long it's almost entirely downhill. I think the high point of this stretch is about 8400 feet. It drops about 2000 feet over the course of the stretch we traveled.

Getting onto route 50, we headed west. This quickly takes us to the Arkansas River, which the road parallels for about the next 60 miles.

Cloud Sky Plant Mountain Road surface


This is not a road less traveled by. You see 18 wheelers, you see plenty of RVs, but it's a good enough road that you also see a lot of motorcycle-riding brethren.

Cloud Sky Mountain Plant Road surface


We went through some light rain. The benefit of riding in seriously challenging conditions like mud (check) snow (check) and the yogurt fields of the Ugandan seacoast is that a little rain is really nothing. Keep it in mind as you manage your grip, but that's easy.

Cloud Mountain Sky Plant Infrastructure


There are some great rock formations along this road.

Cloud Sky Plant Mountain Infrastructure
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There are all sorts of rock types along this road. Geologists must vacation here. Of course, that's true of a ton of roads in the glorious southwest.

Cloud Plant Sky Mountain Ecoregion


Cloud Sky Mountain Plant Infrastructure


The road opens us as you get close to Salida. That gives you a view of the mountains again.

Cloud Sky Ecoregion Plant Road surface



Once we were past Salida, we joined back up with the route we'd taken on the way up. Which means Poncha Pass! Fun! This picture doesn't do it justice, but it does more justice than mere words.

Cloud Sky Plant Infrastructure Road surface


There are great views and a few nice sweepers once you get south of the top of the pass.

Cloud Sky Plant Ecoregion Motor vehicle


Unfortunately, the key word in the preceding sentence is "few." Then you get this.

Cloud Sky Plant Road surface Asphalt


A lot of it. About an hour and a half of it. At least we took a break in the middle for gas (56.7 mpg) and food (Arbys).
 

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2004 Daytona 955i, 2018 Indian Roadmaster, 2014 Triumph Scrambler, 1980 CB650C in resto
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Even before you reach Alamosa, you can see San Antonio mountain. I've also always kind of wondered if you can see the curvature of the earth, the San Luis valley is so flat, but I'm more certain about the mountain. It's just to the left of the road, behind the vanishing phone poles.

Cloud Sky Road surface Plant Asphalt


Pass the last weed shop (ugh), and you make the final run to the state line and then past San Antonio mountain.

Cloud Sky Ecoregion Plant Road surface


As you can see, there are a fair number of miles where the Tire Preservation Weave (TM) is both good for preventing flat spots, and keeping you entertained. Past the mountains, the trees get thicker and the large quadruped encounter frequency increases. The sun was getting low, too, so I was keeping a really sharp eye out. There's a grand sweeping curve to the left (west) and then some more descending commences. This is also a point where you can see Pedernal, which is exciting to Georgia O'Keefe fans, but to a lot of people it's just a very flat topped mountain on the horizon of this photo.

Cloud Sky Atmosphere Plant Ecoregion


At the bottom of this hill, the civilization starts to recommence. It's pretty much homes and farms from there on home. One can still have fun though.

Plant Ecoregion Body of water Sunlight Wood


Okay, full disclosure time. I don't really ride a Triumph. I ride a Hpmuirt.

Cloud Helmet Sky Sports equipment Sports gear


Twilight was getting deeper as we got to the driveway. 330 miles, about six or seven hours. Good times, even on a naked bike!

Sky Cloud Automotive lighting Road surface Natural landscape


A dirty naked bike, which I've started to clean. Won't finish that today, but I've gotten a good start. This was a good trip. Have I mentioned that having a chase vehicle is great?
 
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