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chris 3 Jul 2010 22:06

Brighty in the USA
This will be my first attempt at a live ride report. Hope it turns out well. I arrive in Phx, AZ from England on 11th July and pick up my leased Suzuki DRZ400. I intend riding an anticlockwise loop of the Continental Divide, Lolo Motorway/Oregon Discovery Trail and western Trans Am Trail. Something like this:


Green: CDT
Purple: western TAT

Light blue: ODT

Yellow: Lolo

Dark Blue: Magruder

Planned Timings:
Sun 11th July: Arrive Phoenix, AZ from England and do final tweaks on bike

12 July: Head East and meet Continental Divide Trail at Pie Town, NM (I like the name)

13 July to 23 July: Ride north on the CDT, possibly with side trip on Maguder

Fri 23rd July: Park bike in Missoula, MT and fly to SFO, CA
Vacation with family in SoCal

Mon 9th August: Fly LAX back to Missoula, MT

9 Aug to 27 Aug: Head south west connecting Lolo Motorway with Oregon Discovery Trail to where it meets the TAT, west to the Pacific and double back and ride the TAT south east to CO

27 to 29 August: (Tentatively) Attend Horizonsunlimited Colorado meeting at Silverton, CO

29 Aug to 02 September: Start heading towards Phoenix, AZ

Fri September 03: depart Phoenix, AZ back to England

Here's a pic of the bike on the beach just north of Todo Santos, Baja California a little while ago:


Will write more when I arrive in the States.

Mickey D 4 Jul 2010 20:01

This is a great route! Going the whole way Solo?

Colorado should be epic. The passes around Silverton are world class. Utah too has great riding. I love the areas around Moab. You've got a lot of ground to cover on a DRZ. I hope your butt is in shape to make it!

If the heat is dogging you ... you could escape to the coast. It will be 30F degrees cooler. Probably foggy.

I just returned from a ride up to North California, Oregon, Idaho and down again into Nevada's Black Rock Desert. 3000 mile ride. Nevada is quite amazing. I've never followed those cross country trails (TAT et al). Sounds like a challenge! Love to read a RR with pics and details on how you found your way.

We just did Guzzi rally (mostly road ride) and a improvised Hot Springs tour. Mostly all camping. Hot Springs are a good way to bring you back to life after a long day in the saddle. There are thousands out there. Lots of Mossies in the lowlands. Fewer buggers up high.

Safe going!

JMo (& piglet) 4 Jul 2010 22:53

Hee hee - funny you mention Pie Town - I thought exactly the same thing! It's worth stopping here for a slice or two:


The riding from here due north to Durango is excellent too!

J x

STG06 5 Jul 2010 04:21


If you're on the Lolo Motorway south of Missoula and need an overnight, I'd recommend Lochsa Lodge. There's a Park campground and good food at the Lodge. You're also just a little way north of Lowell and the turnoff to Selway Falls. Near the end of the road to the falls, you can climb up and along FR 443 ending up at Elk City, which is near the western end of the Magruder Corridor .... you could then head east along the Magruder to Darby then loop back up toward to Lolo and use the Lolo Motorway from right near the Lodge heading back west toward Kamiah.

Just more options

Smokechaser 6 Jul 2010 12:33

It would be a shame to get this close to canyon lands and not ride through Zion and Bryce National Parks, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon (Do the north side and have it almost to yourself)

chris 6 Jul 2010 14:07


Originally Posted by Smokechaser (Post 295850)
It would be a shame to get this close to canyon lands and not ride through Zion and Bryce National Parks, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon (Do the north side and have it almost to yourself)

Hi Smokechaser
Thanks for your suggestion. This is meant to be an off-pavement trip and this way I'll get to see a lot of different facets of the USA and avoid most of the main tourist areas. FWIW, I've already visited all the sights you suggest in a previous trip.

chris 14 Jul 2010 05:31

12 and 13 July 2010
Monday 12 July 2010: sorted bike stuff. Bloody hot. Conveniently air con has been invented…

Bike in Mike’s kitchen being sorted

Tuesday 13th July: Rode Phoenix, AZ to Pie Town to Grant’s, NM: about 400 miles.

Who ate all the pies?

Fixing water pump seal in motel bathroom.

Tomorrow, north towards to Colorado. Hopefully with much more dirt than today.


chris 16 Jul 2010 06:58

14 and 15 July 2010, Grants, NM to El Rito, NM to Salida, CO
14 and 15 July 2010
Grants, NM to El Rito, NM to Salida, CO, about 400 miles. El Rito to Salida on pavement because my front tyre is sh!te. Tomorrow in Breckenridge, CO I hope to get something decent on the front…

Big skies, near Grants, NM

The first 100 miles of dirt today start here

GB biker

The only human I saw in 100 miles. And friendly at that!!

About the only things in common with my bike are 2 wheels and an engine…

Le Rito, NM

Great food

After a night camping in the forest

They don’t make em like they used to

On the Cosmic Highway, south of Salida, CO. Note the stars and stripes shorts. That’s how you can tell UFOs:helpsmilie:

Hang loose

DavePortugal 16 Jul 2010 11:01

Nice one Chris, wish I was doing that.....:(

Mickey D 17 Jul 2010 00:07

Hey, those old Caddies with the Big Fins are worth a real fortune. Good investment if cheap enough. Nice pics!

Looks like you've got a 50/50 front tire on there? (GP-1 or something?)
Not great in sand for loose stuff.

Maybe you can snag a decent knobby tire? TKC's are expensive but last. T-66 probably not common. MT-21 pretty commonly available. But wait ...

I got an idea: A very common yet VERY GOOD tire for both dirt and street is the Dunlop K739. Came stock on my old XR250. Great on pavement and dirt! (not a DOT tire)

The 739 came stock on several XR Hondas some years ago. I found out (by accident) the front K739 works damn good on pavement. Several friends now run them on their bigger dual sport bikes. (KTM, Honda XR650R, DRZ) It's a knobby tire but somehow works well on pavement too. Not sure how it will last. It is fairly common tire at any dealer that carries tires. Might just be sitting there. Most pure dirt only knobbies are crap on the street, not so the K739 Dunlop.

Good luck, safe riding.

T.REX63 17 Jul 2010 00:44


Originally Posted by chris (Post 296928)
Fixing water pump seal in motel bathroom.

I have to give it to you, it would be tough getting a GS into any hotel bathroom :w00t: ...:thumbup: . But, you wouldn't have to worry about a water pump either :whistling:.

Cool report, keep it coming :thumbup1:

chris 19 Jul 2010 04:27

Jackson, Wy.
Made it to Jackson, Wy. Staying with old friends. Just spent last few hours dismantling whole right side of bike to fix BIG water pump leak. Now everything is bolted back together. Will add rad fluid again tomorrow/Monday morning. Wish me luck that it stops p!ssing out everywhere. Pictures to come...

Also, now got a Dunlop D606 on the front (matching the back) and things feel much less scarey.

Off for more beers, so no time to upload pictures at the moment...


chris 20 Jul 2010 02:36

16 to 18 July: Salida CO to near Clark CO to Atlantic CIty WY to Jackson WY
Rode long and hard. New front tyre in Breckenridge, CO. Man, the bike feels much better.
The bike handles so much better in the dirt.

Water pump leak got worse and worse. Attempted repair job not successful.
Bike been at repair shop all day. Luckily they had parts. Hopefully finished
Tuesday morning. It would be nice to ride this dirt bike on the dirt rather than
taking the highway everywhere because if I break down, I'm close to someone
who can help me.

The USA is big. This might seem obvious to most Americans, but coming from
Europe you can forget. Big land, big skies, big scenery, pretty scenery.
Superb... (except the bit between Rawlings, WY and Atlantic City WY)

Who said the Yanks can't make good beer!
Tyre change

No comment

You need to know Cockney rhyming slang (and have purile sense of humour) to find this funny
Tree lined alley

What views...

I think he thought I had sugar

The storm passed me by, Atlantic City YW

Chain lubing at sunrise

The sign says it

X ing x4

More X ing
There's a story to do with this moose (metal). In winter 1995 I sneaked up
on it to get a close up picture. My friends were in hysterics. It took me 5
minutes to realise it wasn't real!

DRZ crank case cover

cheers Chris

chris 23 Jul 2010 19:00

19 to 22 July 2010 Jackson WY to Missoula MT
On Mon 19th the bike spent the day at Bob’s Quads in Jackson WY. If you’re stuck with a busted bike close to Yellowstone, you could do a lot worse than ask Bob for help. Real good and competent. Water pump is now sorted, hopefully for the remainder of this trip. My friends Rob and Molly were great hosts. Super big thanks.

The last time I was in Jackson WY visiting Rob was in the summer of 2000 and my then bike broke down too! See Chapter 12 The Big Trip This time I turn up and the current bike is struggling… Both people who fixed the respective bikes were called Bob. Also my tyre problems, mentioned previously involved the brand Golden Boy, Made In China POS, see Chapter 6 The Big Trip Too many parallels.

The trip past Yellowstone and through Idaho and into Montana was fun. Here are some pictures:

Nice furniture at the antique shop where Rob works

Yet again outside the GAY Million Dollar Cowboy Bar: 334_Sorry_I_only_have_10p

Teton Mountains

Straight on on Idaho Track 001

Disused railway bridge on Track 001

Great paddling and fishing country

You ugly too…

Waiting for the storm to pass from west to east., near Bannack State Park, Montana

Time for a bath

Light weight axe. Overweight is under prepared as Chris and Dave of Adventure-spec: off-road motorbike gear, UK, road touring, rally, rallye, RTW, Stan Watt, GiT, Guard it Technology say…

Just after sunset, Bannack, MT

Lots of these en route

Harley Bingo Wings, Missoula Montana

I’ll be out of touch now for 2 weeks while vacationing in southern California with my wife and son. I’m sure you don’t want pictures of Disney World and other random theme parks… Back in the road around 9th August, heading south west along the Lolo Motorway and the Oregon Discovery Trail and back to CO on the TAT.


chris 15 Aug 2010 01:52

Lolo Motorway and Oregon Discovery Trail 10th to 13th Aug 2010
Lolo Motorway and Oregon Discovery Trail 10th to 13th Aug 2010

Right, I'm back. Bet you missed my missives, or not...

Had a great time in California doing the family thing. So to start us off, here's a little quiz. Kind of audience participation thing.

Which of these Californians floats your boat the most:

A. Hollywood girls

B. Venice Beach Girl

C. Disneyland "girl"

D. Disneyland Boy: bet he looks good in chaps on a Honda C90 (If you like that sort of thing...)

Or maybe he could ride this: Ideal for a round the world trip?

So, who's your favourite?

Anyway, I forgot, this is a biking ride report. Sorry. :(

A vast selection of beers in Missoula MT. I left 18 hours late because of a big rain storm and the beers drunk with Lance and Lisa. Lance was a great host who super helpful looking after my bike while I was in CA. Thanks mate!

Lance in deep contemplation at Garaj Mahal, Missoula

It was cold, but not too damp on the Lolo Motorway in Idaho

In transit to Walla Walla for the start of the ODT: This pic looks familiar
328_Little_and_large_Idaho from my Round the World trip 10 years ago...

The rain eventually came

After the rain comes the sun

Not much happens in Ukiah OR, a bit different from the 6 lane parking lot that is I-5 through LA

Saw nobody for 3 hours


A 100 foot ford to cross at 7pm in the evening. After my experiences with the Corwen Carwash in north Wales a year or 2 ago, I walked the bike across. There was nobody within 30 miles who would help pick up my bike out the river if I dropped it

Planning the next day's journey

Wilderness II

The nice lady in the fire lookout tower who told me all about what's needed to track fires. I told her about riding Enfields
in Ladakh, northern India
OK, that's it for a day or 2. Off for more riding

One last thing: I saw this shop window at Disneyland, so I've changed my name:

Sincerely Randy

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