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September 12, 2016

Once I faced the fact that I was no longer able to continue on, things began to run together and thoughts of “what if” flooded my mind. There are SO many things I could have done differently that may have made a difference in whether or not I made it to Oregon. But the harsh reality was that the two things you CAN’T control, mother nature and mechanical failures, brought the end to the trip.

I thought the team we assembled was tight enough to make it through the unforeseen adversity that was sure to come with a trip like this. Unfortunately, things happen and our best made plans fell apart. Corey and his dad met up in Colorado like they’d planned and are currently in Idaho, headed for Oregon. They seem to be on course to complete the trip and congrats to them on doing it. Rod headed to Kanob UT to see a lifelong friend of his and then, flew back to Atlanta. Good, bad or indifferent. As they say, “It is what it is.”

As for me, I’m sitting here in Florida, sipping a cold beer with Roc...

September 12, 2016

I woke up in Elkhart KS for the second time in my life, this time with a purpose. I jumped up and opened the motel room door to see if the café was open this morning. YES!! The neon sign was lit up and cars were parked out front. I quickly got dressed and headed across the street, grabbed a table and waited anxiously to be waited on. Maria’s “daughter in law” came out of the kitchen and greeted me with a big smile and a hot cup of coffee. It soon became apparent that she was waiting the tables this morning and Maria was nowhere to be seen. I was a little sad momentarily, but soon realized It was for nothing and just sat and enjoyed my delicious breakfast. I wished the beautiful young lady a happy holiday and headed back to the motel to pack up and head east. 

To be honest with you, the next couple days are pretty much a blur and not very exciting. It took two days to push my way through Oklahoma and the absolutely brutal wind condition there. I got as far as a beautiful little camp grou...

September 5, 2016

I probably slept in longer than I should have but the comfy bed at The Lodge was too much to resist. I finally got loaded and headed down the road by 9:30, destination was Trinidad Colorado by noon. The ride was awesome as the sun was warm and the roads were curvy. Headed through La Veta Pass, around Trinchera Peak, through Monument Park and back over the Spanish Peaks before hitting Trinidad. Gassed up and grabbed a bite, I set the GPS for Dodge City Kansas and the local RV park.

Unfortunately, some weird hole in the atmosphere or interference in the time continuum through me directly into LAST WEEK!!! As soon as I left Trinidad, the land turned flat and wind started blowing from the southwest at 20, then 30 and by time I cross into Kansas, it’s blasting straight across the road at over 40 MPH!!! I have to crawl along to keep from crashing. I finally get to Springfield KS (the literal middle of nowhere) and fill up at the local truck stop. Still 2 more hours to Dodge City and it’s alre...

September 4, 2016

After the guys at Jorgensen’s KTM fixed up Katie, I wheeled back to the hotel to pack up and head east. I’m really torn about the events of the last few hours. I’m crushed mentally because I’m technically not finishing the TransAmerica Trail, but yet I feel like I’ve ridden in places, seen things, met people and had experiences that I will NEVER be able to replace. I’ve ridden to a level that I never thought I could when I left Tennessee. I’ve overcome things that most people could never imagine, both physically and mentally. Yet, I’m really sad for point my bike toward the east and start riding. I miss my daughter more than words can describe and phone calls just don’t cut it. I miss my companion Rocky. Yes, he’s just a dog but he’s been by my side day and night for 4 years. It’ll be good to be back with them again, but the return trip is long. Riding back is hard, because it never seems to go by as fast as the trip out.

As I start riding, I start feeling better immediately. The landsc...

September 4, 2016

When FedEx says “no later than 4:30, they mean no SOONER than 4:30. So the truck FINALLY rolls in and we have a brand spanking new kickstand safety switch bypass thingie. YYAAAAAAYYY!!! It plugs in to the existing wiring harness and in 5 minutes we’re ready to roll. One last wave to the people at Duke’s who have been AMAZING throughout our ordeal and we’re down the road. We literally get 15 miles west and I start hearing noises. I slow to let a truck in front of me turn off and hear this God awful sound coming from what appears to be the front drive sprocket area. I tell Rod on the com’s that I have a problem. I can hear his heavy sigh through the speaker. I pull over, kill the motor and roll silently to the shoulder. The sound is there, turning with the revolutions of the wheel. We check the chain because we’ve both been having issues with loose, then tight chains and sure enough, my chain is as tight as a guitar string! That’s crazy because ewe both just adjusted them at Hanksville a...

September 1, 2016

So after what was possibly one of our most challenging days, 100 miles the wrong way, running low on water in the desert, mechanical failures, ferry crossings closed, we ended up in the small “town” of Hanksville UT. So we get up and start working on the bikes, I needed to make a serious repair to the navigation tower which broker again in the desert, tighten the chain (again) and Rod needed to adjust his chain and add some fuel cleaner to hopefully fix his backfiring issues. With everything fixed, we geared up and fired up the bikes. Rod started to ride away when I yelled “I’ve got an issue!”. My bike kept dying every time I put it in gear. Unfortunately, these bikes (most all motorcycles) have safety that switches on the kickstand kill the motor it senses the kickstand is still down when you engage the transmission. If the sensor goes out, it thinks the kickstand is ALWAYS down and the bike cannot operate. SOOOOO, here we are in Hanksville UT, broken down with no way to “hot wire” or...

August 31, 2016

This morning was C-O-L-D!!!! Neither of us slept at all and that pretty much set the stage for the event that would follow today. After a quick cup of coffee, packing up and firing up the bikes, Rod asked if we should head into town for gas and breakfast. I said “it’s up to you” as I yawned. He fired his bike and said we should just get on the trail, Moab wasn’t that far and we’d just fueled up 37 miles ago. So we headed out of camp and picked up the trail a few miles west. We would realize later, this was a BIG mistake.

The ride was beautiful winding up the steep mountain we had just camped on, through the tree line and over. The view changed pretty quick as we got deeper into Utah. More red rock mesas and canyons we were now weaving around above on the rim line. I noticed on the gps we kept going south. I said to Rod several times it seemed odd that we’d go so far south yet Moab was definitely north of Monticello. As we got deeper into the remote area, Rod started getting dehydrated a...

August 31, 2016

The morning was clear and cold as we crawled out of our tents in Ouray Colorado. A quick walk to the café brought hot coffee and some tasty pancakes. Warmed up and full, we cleared camp and headed for Utah. We had discussed the night before our route and came to the decision not to travel over Imogene Pass. It’s even higher and steeper than Engineer Pass and is rated a 5. Rod’s 950 just isn’t running well up above 11,000 ft and we didn’t think it was worth risking injury or worse if something happened as we made the climb. So we headed for Telluride and then on through Lizard Head Pass and the Uncompahgre National forest for our final destination of Dove Creek. The ride was beautiful and pretty calm. Passed through the little town of Ridgway where they filmed the original True Grit with John Wayne. The old buildings from the movie are still in use today. The final passes and seeing the Rockies in our rear view mirrors made me wish we could spend more time here exploring. I’ll definitel...

August 29, 2016

Woke up in Lake City in our little cabin, refreshed and ready to go. Rod actually slept in, so that was a plus. A little coffee, geared up and hit the trail a block from our cabin. Pretty tame ride up the point where Engineer Pass begins. Beautiful scenery in the canyons. Old mining spots, most falling down and covered partially with rock slides over years. Deep cut canyons with quite creeks running through them. The aspens and pines. Pretty incredible. Then it hits you right smack in the face as you make a steep right hand switchback up the hill. The incline is pretty breath taking and I found myself saying “there’s no way we’re getting up that”. The footing wasn’t bad and we made the first few climbs pretty easy.

As we were climbing I looked down and noticed my navigation tower that holds on my fairing, gps and all my electronics was bouncing wildly. A quick stop and look confirmed my fears. The U bolt clamp hold the entire thing to the bike had snapped from the severe shaking. We too...

August 28, 2016

We got to sleep in a little this morning because our service appointments weren’t until 9am and it was across the street. The guys at Sunsports Powersports (www.sunsportsunlimited.com) were awesome. They got our bikes right in and did a killer job getting everything squared away and good to go. While we were waiting we had a chance to do laundry and chill for the morning. We walked down the street to the local Husqvarna dealership, Gunnison Motorsports and discovered it was owned by former Pro racer Fritz Kadlec. This guy is a living legend in the Pro Enduro world. His resume on their website (www.gunnisonmotorsports.com) is like 3 paragraphs long, highlighted by 8 Time ISDE participant winning 6 GOLD Medals 2 SILVER Medals. We talked to him for a while and had a great conversation.

The bikes were done at noon and we geared up and hit the trail. Beautiful sunny ride 20 miles down a curvy 2 lane to the trail. Once on the trail we ran into our old nemesis, RAIN!! It lasted about 10-15 mil...

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