Sunday, January 10, 2010

A new journey Begins

Hard to imagine it has been six months sense I returned from South Dakota. For personal reasons, the trip I took has etched it's emotional attachment deeper than I would have imagined. Not so much the travels, but the time spent at home with family and enjoying what time remained together.

And now I plan for a new journey...but it won't be as energetic as the previous trip. This will be a simple and local trip, but a fun adventure none the less. I tried to make it to Goblin Valley several times during the past three years, but never did make it; perhaps I will try again. Because I can travel on the highway system, it will be easier to make the destination a reality. I still plan on using the off-road trail system as well, but I am afraid that snow in the mountains may make it difficult during the month of May.

My last trip in late May and early June was challenging to say the least. Making my way through the mountains between the Piute Reservoir and Panguitch Utah I was treated to a early summer snow storm while high in the mountains. But those type trips are the ones most remembered.

Will keep updating as I move closer to May, and I anticipate this trip to take place sometime mid to late May.

But I might head west this time. Head out to see Topaz, UT, and then continue to go west into Nevada. I have a mapped trip heading that way as well. Will decide soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Eagle has Landed

Arrived at the point of debarkation at 4:15 pm today, which was the same place as the point of embarkation. The final trip was from Lander WY to Park City UT, was approximately 320 miles. I crossed the UT border by heading west, then traveled south, and then re-entering WY at Evanston. I stopped to see Lee, but really didn't get much chance to converse because he was busy with customers...but it was nice to talk with Rusty.

The final days travel was very pleasant while in WY, and the weather was exceptionally nice - very cool and not windy. I stopped to make a bike adjustment and a man approached me asking to take my picture...of course I obliged. There were many people that took interest in my travels, and I thank them for showing their curiosity.

As you can see from the picture, total miles traveled was 2,693.7, which was 6.3 miles short of the projected 2,700 miles. I could have rode to make it to 2,700, but thought that would have been a cheap way to finish the trip. Sorry for the lousy picture of the speed-o-meter, but it is sufficient.

I anticipated the final day of travel from the time I arrived in Lander WY - my final night on the road. When I arrived in Lander the weather was horrible, and it had raining from the time I departed Douglas WY. When I departed Douglas it was a whopping 48 degrees, and at times during my travel it sleeted. Being hit in the face with rain is bad, and being hit in face with sleet feel like bee stings. I purchased a full face helmet in Casper WY only because the one it took with me remains somewhere in SD. I thought I had it strapped down correctly, but lost it on my way to see Crazy Horse.

I also lost my log book used to keep track of all my stops / fuel / personal contacts / and ham radio contacts I made along the way. Fortunately I had back up copies of the ham radio contacts, and will be sending those who I made contact with a Discovering America QSO card. I would have lost my head had it not been permanently attached!

Would I do it again? It is difficult to be away from home for this long a time, but that is the price of adventure. There were days when I thought I must be nuts, and would much rather be home. But I had so many supporters from home, and those I met along the way, that I realized the trip was worth it. It was the support of everyone that made even the worst of days bearable, and give inspiration to move on.

Thanks to AYL for their coverage of my trip - what a superb presentation. And thanks to The Public Opinion (Watertown SD newspaper) for their story. And of course special thanks to my wife and family for being supportive in my adventure. And to all those who followed my travels, and made posts to the blog, thanks!

I must start preparation to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest ATV trip. It currently stands at 16,400 miles (give or take a few miles), and it will require a bit more planning - just kiddin'... or am I.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Help along the Way

I told Terry Hloucha, the owner of Action Motorsports Inc. in Gillette WY that I would give his place a plug. Action Motorsports set me up with a new belt, pulled both clutch assemblies, greased the bearings and got me back on road. His staff was very friendly and didn't give me a song and dance about being 10 days behind schedule. They realized my plight, and the urgency of need to get me back on the road. Kudos to such great people who put the customer first.

I need to tell you that I was thinking about trading in my ride for a Spyder, but common sense got the better of me. It sure would be a better ride home, but it would also have modified my trip enough that AYL might have had something to say. Besides, I figured it better to stay on track and finish with the same ride that I started out with.

Terry and Crew - Thanks!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Devil made me do It!

Today I hobbled from Belle Fourche SD to Gillette WY to have my ride repaired. I didn't mention that to change out the belt in the field required a bit a innovative mechanics, and as a result a piece of metal used as a bolt extension remained in the secondary clutch. The belt I had on board was a bit small (functional but small) which caused the belt to ride deeper between the plates on the secondary clutch. Sooooooo...$276 dollars later I had a new belt installed, and both primary and secondary clutch were dissassembled, greased, and re-installed. All systems are a go.

I was very nervious about driving nearly 200 miles with the mechanical issues, but I really had no choice. I should be able to make it home without any issues. Prior to arriving in Douglas WY, I stopped at Devils Tower. It truly is a wounderful site, and I am happy that I took the time and detour to make the visit.

I am currently in Douglas WY for the night staying at a KOA. I like to reside where other people are, because it gives way to conversations. As usual, many people like to converse about my ATV, and today was no exception. Mark and Susan from Springfield MO were interested enough that they followed me into the Devils Tower parking lot to ask questions. A half hour later we went our seperate ways. They were very nice to talk with, and I told them I would give them a plug for the Cursin '66 Cycle shop in Springville.

Tomorrow I hope to get to Lander WY, or further if time permits. I am not to optamistic about the weather, as I have heard that there was a 60% chance for rain. In fact, the 60% chance for rain applies to this evening as well. Oh well, will just have to work through it and make the best of it.

Will keep you updated!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

St. Francis's Secret Spot

We all have weaknesses.

Breakdown, Shakedown, it's Busted!

Woke up at 05:30 this morning and decided to get crackin', pack up and hit the high road. The mosquitoes were out of this world but were no match for the bug spray I was using. But they still won the battle because of sheer numbers. I packed up as fast as possible trying to minimize their presence, but they were like an itch on the bottom of your have to remove the shoe to get to the itch!

Departed the camping area and headed into Pierre for fuel and a couple bottles of choice of drink. Came out of the store and was approached by a local Can-Am dealer who was mesmerized by my ride. He was taking pictures with cell phone, but asked if I would stop by his shop so he could take pictures with his digital camera. It was on the way, so I accommodated after breakfast.

Now the reason for Breakdown, Shakedown, it's Busted! I was 56 miles east of Sturgis and I suffered a serious problem with the machine...I blew a drive belt. I heard what sounded like an explosion and assumed it was a tire that blew. I didn't feel any swaying on the ATV, which was a blessing, so I thought it was a trailer tire. Pulled over and check all tires, and as you might imagine, none were blown. I then looked at the shroud that covers the clutch and saw that it had been damaged, which meant that the belt broke.

I had a spare belt, but didn't have a metric expander for the secondary clutch to remove the old belt that was jammed in the belt sprocket and allow me to install the new belt. Two and a half hours later with the help of locals, the new belt was installed, but with an added mechanical problem. Drove to Bel Fouche, which is about 20 miles from Spearfish, because I was told a Can-Am dealer resides in the area.

I must admit that I am staying in a hotel for the evening hoping to find resolution to my mechanical issue in the morning. If I can't do what I think is necessary to resolve the problem, I will continue my trek hoping for the best. As of this evening, I have traveled 1920 miles, and really want to make it back home under my own power.

Will keep you posted!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Heading Home

I packed my equipment last night in anticipation for an early morning departure, and I packed as slow as possible. I can't wait to get back to Utah to be with family and friends, but I will be leaving family and friends in SD as well. Time went by much to quickly, as it always does when visiting. I did not get to see everyone that were acquaintances during my younger years, but it was expected given the limited time of my visit. Perhaps next time I will have more time to rustle up the remainder.

We made our final comments, took a few photos, and then I departed at 07:30 and started my way west. I remember how long it took to get to Watertown, and my trip back home should be equally as long, but I hope not as hot as it was coming out during my WY travels. Here are a few pictures I took today as I made my way west.

It has always been reported that pheasants in SD were much larger than in the rest of the world, and this photo is confirmation. Not sure what the farm animal is, but you are welcome to make a guess.

The Roadside Chapel is actually on the SD map. If my memory is
correct, it is located just before you get to Henry SD on highway 212. I almost didn't stop to take the picture, but realized that I would regret not doing so, so I turned around and went back to take a picture.

I made my way west into Pierre, the capital of SD for the night. I located my tent approximately 200 meters from the west bank of the Missouri River. The camp ground is very large and has accommodations that include showers and electrical hookups. I was hoping for more neighbors to converse with, but the weekend is over and the homesteaders have moved to greener pastures.

Tomorrow I plan on leaving early in the morning to beat the heat of the day. I plan on making it to Devils Tower WY and anticipate the trip to take 6-7 hours to complete. I just hope the temperature remains low. Will keep you posted on my travels.