riding AZ, UT and (maybe...) CO w/ "jdrocks" - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-26-2014, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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riding AZ, UT and (maybe...) CO w/ "jdrocks"

I spent yesterday changing tires on BIG RED, from Metzler Tourances.



That's the 130/80 from the front (with 18,709 miles on it - 'bout HALF worn) on the left, and the rear 150/70 (with 4,191 miles - again - 'bout half worn).

I put a TKC80 120/70 on the front



and a Kenda Big Block 150/70 on the rear, as suggested by Dave, jdrocks.



He's arriving sometime today, so he can shower, put up his feet, and enjoy a cold beer (or two...), have a soft bed - then we leave in the AM for the AZ BDR (Arizona Backroads Discovery Route), then into UT and over to CO (weather permitting, as we'll be getting into VERY high country), so -

WISH us ..., and follow this thread, as well as Dave's ADV thread at http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1017698.

- -

Ed
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-26-2014, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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...and, OF COURSE, you can't ride the Versys off-road, so we'll stick to the super-slab...

...or not!


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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-26-2014, 06:34 PM
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Will be interested to follow along. I have plans for an long adventure ride next year. Hadn't thought about fitting more aggressive tires but now I'm thinking I just might.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 07:42 AM
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Looking forward to another in the series of Fast Eddie ride reports. Safe journey.

Just a "rambler in my Father's world."
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 08:59 AM
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Those Metz wore well, especially the front! The new set up looks very aggressive, I like 'em. Looking forward to your ride report and pics. Especially since I'm just a few days away from Winter storage.

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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 10:31 AM
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Just curious, is there anything that needs to be done to run the Versys at "higher" elevations. Like a fresh air filter, better gas, tire pressure, anything?
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Just curious, is there anything that needs to be done to run the Versys at "higher" elevations. Like a fresh air filter, better gas, tire pressure, anything?
Nope.

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he arrives

Dave rolled up about 1630 Sunday. A BIT dusty, tired (said he'd picked-up the "Rat" several times in the sand...), thirsty - asked for a "Texas beer" - LARGE glass, LOTS of ice-cubes, beer poured over.... Had a FEW of those!



Then Dave jumped into the shower to cut the trail-dust, then out to the patio to enjoy the steak my wife had cooked, along w/ asparagus and a salad - and MORE Texas beer.... (I had wine w/ Loretta.)

After an hour or so chatting, we all turned in, tho' Dave had to wash his shirt and shorts first.


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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Day 1 - 164 miles over 8 hrs, 45 mins

After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal w/ brown sugar and raisins, chased by coffee, we suited-up, checked our rides



then headed towards Florence for gas, and the Florence-Kelvin Hwy, mostly dirt, E to the Barkerville Rd, S on it to the Freeman Rd



where we turned E again thru a river crossing of the San Pedro River and Dudleyville, where we transitioned to 77 and N thru Winkelman to the Dripping Springs Rd.

Some Alberta buddies had been thru there on the GDR (Great Divide Ride), and we'd talked about the route from the Dripping Springs Rd, on about 15 miles of dirt thru 3 gates (had to open, then close them of course) to a 4th w/ a LARGE "NO TRESPASSING" sign. They'd told me that you turned right just before that sign, about 30 feet, then thru the gate there, and I assumed the AZ BDR went the same routing, altho' Dave was saying that we were no longer showing on those tracks on his GPS.

We went thru, closed the gate, had a lunch snack, then started up the trail, Dave leading. About a half mile in it became apparent that we were in a 'wash', coarse sandy, maybe 6" deep. We talked - I suggested it would only get worse, so we should do a "180" and get the hell out of there. I got turned OK, up on the 'pegs, and back to the gate where I saw a KTM 690 parked, the rider closing the gate.



I called to him to leave it, rode thru and parked, then walked back to chat. He was Ron, there from Ontario, planning pretty much the same day as us. After several minutes I realized that Dave still hadn't showed, so back to BIG RED, up on the 'pegs and back to where I'd left him, finding him in shirt-sleeves, obviously just done w/ getting the Rat 'back on its feet'. Ron rode up, said he would explore the route a bit, then come back to tell how it was. We rode back to the gate and waited.



Dave reiterated that his AZ BDR track was somewhere ahead of us, back down Dripping Springs Rd.



Ron reappeared, told us that the trail just got worse, so we re-traced our steps to about 1 mile from 77 where Dave's track showed going N from that position. We turned, heading N, the trail getting more and MORE rocky, more gnarly. At this point I was starting to think that the AZ BDR would NOT consist of dirt roads like I'd led us on from Florence, but something MUCH more technical.



In a few miles the trail turned towards the E, and started to climb, VERY rocky covered w/ loose pieces. As I turned up it, I saw Ron riding downhill on his Katoom, so I stopped, putting my right foot down... and down... then BIG RED went down hard and I rolled off to the right - I'd stopped over a hole, so no place to put my foot down to hold the bike up.

Ron put his bike on its stand, ran over and helped me get mine back up and on its stand. Once they were assured I was OK, Ron said that we had about another half mile up, then it leveled off on a dirt road, a downhill, then a sign saying "PRIVATE - NO ENTRY" to the left of the trail. We talked, deciding to continue, so I mounted-up, starting up (almost instantly back standing on the 'pegs), weaving thru the rocky "mine-field", soon onto the 'road', down the hill and stopped near the sign, where I awaited Dave and Ron. Ron showed up, shortly followed by Dave.



Again we discussed the sign, but as Dave's GPS showed the AZ BDR going on this trail, past the sign, (MY GPS was now showing that this was the route to Globe) we decided that the tracks would NOT be over places we were forbidden to ride, so we decided to press on. About another mile along and the trail "Y" d, the right leg of the Y ending at a LARGE steel-pipe gate holding ANOTHER "PRIVATE - NO ENTRY" sign, a BIG padlock, and NO way to ride around...!

We rode back up the 100 feet or so to the other leg of the Y, badly eroded, uphill and out of sight. Ron volunteered to ride up to check it out while Dave and I talked about options. Soon Ron reappeared



telling us that after about 1.5 ROUGH miles UP that slope we would be at the Forestry Road for Prospect Mountain, but that the traction was VG up it. I started, back on the 'pegs headed UP. He was right - traction was good, but there was NO WAY I was going to stop as long as I was still moving, and a few minutes later the sign for Prospect Mountain came into view, Ron along side, and I stopped, putting the bike on its stand W/ OUT falling over, THIS time! Ron commented that one of his friends had a Versys, and wasn't sure it would "go" off-road, asked if he could take 'our' pic? Of course I agreed. I was REALLY hoping Dave would ride up OK too (I did NOT relish going back down either riding OR walking - about 90F), soon hearing the Rat's exhaust note.



We all started off, following the roads to Globe where we pulled in to a station for gas at 1600. At THIS point we'd been 'rolling' for 7.5 hrs, covering 126 miles!!! I was beginning to have doubts about the whole AZ BDR, wondering if it shouldn't be re-named the AZ EMXBDR (Expert MX riders Back Road Discovery ride!).

As we talked about where we were going, Ron mentioned that his plan the NEXT day was to ride to Young along the AZ BDR route, which he's read on the 'net was the TOUGHEST part of the whole route, so I told Dave that I would NOT ride that, but instead would take him to Young via 27 miles of passable dirt, so we waved to Ron, thanked him, heading N.

Ed
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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camped at 164 miles, 8.75 hours for the day!

At Globe's N and W end, AZ 188 heads off to the N... and so did we, for about 17 miles to the turn right onto AZ 288, 45 miles to Young, the last 27 dirt. I'd told Dave that I had a good campsite in mind, off 288 and near a 'mini-Grand Canyon',



where we arrived around 1640, soon putting our tents up, because it gets DARK here at 1800...!



It was getting rather 'dusky' as I got the stove lit, my can of chili warming on it, Dave's supper waiting in line (but not for long - mine was quickly done). After dinner I showed off some of the highlights of the site, including the "Four Peaks" range W of us



along w/ Roosevelt Lake, and the "Rainbow Bridge" at the top of AZ 88 - the Apache Trail.



The spectacular sunset was followed by a sky filled w/ stars, the Milky Way clearly visible, along w/ the quarter moon. We chatted awhile, then into our tents and sleeping bags for the night, coyotes howling in the distance.

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Day 2 of the "ride" tomorrow....


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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 10-31-2014, 08:12 PM
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If you plan on getting within a couple hours of Denver, post up and I'll see if we can find a place to meet. Not sure I'm set up to ride along, but I could buy you guys a beverage

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-01-2014, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Jmason - MANY thanks, but I won't be getting into CO at all.

BTW - I meant to mention in the part where I talked about our camp, that I always put my disc lock on the front, then put my bike keys into the disc-lock-bag, and into my pocket, as the bag keeps them from 'sliding out' of my pocket. (You'll understand this "postscript" when I post up Day 3....)

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 12:57 AM
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Love the look of the bike with those tires on. I regret not changing my scorpions on my last trip. 3 falls with them. No traction at all when the surface wad a little damp. Going to stick MT60s on for next trip.
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Tuesday, 28th October...

Dave THINKS I was getting up, etc, at 0500, but, according to MY watch it was about 0545, starting to 'lighten-up', when I rolled out, starting the stove for coffee.... Quietly, I might add.... After all - we'd gone to bed by 1930, after chatting 'cause it's pretty dark soon after 1800.

As the water was heating I started rolling up the sleeping mat, stuffing my mummy-bag (GLAD I had it - chilly overnite - camp was at 4,600' ASL!), pulling other gear out to the bike as I got to watch the sunrise. Dave took hot water to make "cowboy coffee", as well as his oatmeal, while I sat back and enjoyed my coffee and breakfast. By 0800 we were pretty close to ready to ride N to Young.



The pavement was about a half mile from camp, Dave leading, as we climbed to about 6,000' ASL and the start of the dirt road to Young. I'd hoped to show the fire tower at McFadden Mountain, but, unfortunately it was gated closed, a NO ENTRY sign on the gate. The ride to Young is mostly thru forest, but then it opens up to Pleasant Valley, and Young, almost like a scene from the movie - "How Green Was My Valley"



We stopped at the grocery store for some provisions, and had nice chats w/ the lady running it, and two others,





and I filled up my water-bladder. Soon we 'wended' our way N onto 512 after filling up at the local gas station. That dirt road, rough but reasonable, took us to AZ 260 which we crossed, then onto the "Mogollon Rim Road" and W, climbing above AZ 260, GREAT vistas to the S and SW, including smoke from a 'controlled burn'.









Soon the AZ BDR took us N, and the road, not great before, became rougher, w/ wash-out created washboard, lots of potholes, (some containing water) which was concerning to me as there are warnings on the AZ BDR route-map in the area between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon saying that two places are "IMPASSABLE WHEN WET" - and that says 'mud-holes' to me, which I told Dave I would NOT enter under any circumstance!

Every now and then, as I rode from sunlight into shade, my front wheel would WHACK!!! as I hit a square-edged pothole. Dave's Rat, w/ its DRZ400 forks, probably rode thru w/out any drama, as I could see Dave seated a lot of the time that I was standing on my 'pegs.... I will admit that more-and-more the thought about "bailing-out" was going thru my mind... I was not enjoying the 'trails', or the gnarly nature of so much of it. I guess I had expected the BDR to be composed of dirt-roads like I've ridden so often here in AZ and UT, and I've often said that at MY age I was past riding anything a pick-up couldn't travel on.







When I put our tracks onto these last two maps, I did the best I could remember of which road/ trail/ 'dotted-line' we had used, and you can see that the 'dotted-line' took us to our campsite along Long Lake, the trail having recently been muddy, rocks sticking up here-and-there. As Dave had been surprised at how suddenly it gets dark here the night before, I had mentioned that we should camp by 1600 at the latest, and when he saw the lake, at 1500 hrs, he said "Let's camp here" which seemed a pretty good idea.



We could see there were cattle along the north side of the lake. I decided to go down and wash-up a bit after our tents were up, discovering the shore-line pretty much a 'bog' of cattle foot-prints and cow-sh*t, the water having a 'blue' algae along the shore, but I managed to wash at LEAST the outer layer of dirt off, then returned to chat, sitting on large rocks that surrounded the site. As usual I put my disc-lock ON, put the keys into its sack, and put them away.

Probably around 1700 we fired up the stove, warmed up my 'usual' tin of chili then heated water for Dave's 'ramen noodle' supper....





Pretty soon we were hearing elk bugling, a great wild-sound to finish off the day, as the sun went down and the stars came out, and it became time to 'turn-in'....

Ed
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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BTW - Day 2 consisted of 125 miles, and took a total of 6.5 hours....


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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 09:55 PM
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Love the photos and looks to have been a great ride! How does your Versys fair against the other bikes with the tires you have?
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 11-03-2014, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Love the photos and looks to have been a great ride! How does your Versys fair against the other bikes with the tires you have?
The "Rat" had the same tires, just on DIFFERENT ends (my TKC on front, Dave's TKC on rear) and different sizes (mine are 17s, Dave has a 19" front, not sure of the rear size). Tires were just FINE. Suspension...? Perhaps a different opinion....

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Day 3, part one... LAST on the AZ BDR, for me, anyway...!

I woke up several times overnight for a pee, each time trying to get my mummy bag closed up more - it was BLOODY cold - and I had put long-johns on when I went to bed last night, along w/ a tee shirt and heavy sox!

Later I checked my altitude on the GPS - 6,700'ASL. No wonder it was cold - that's 5,500' higher than my home in Florence, and it just keeps getting higher the further N you go!



We were both up before sunrise, checking the FROST on both tents, both bikes, stove going, water boiling for brekkie and coffee, warm clothes on. The sun was up, temp increasing, when we were finished our food, so we got busy 'breaking camp'.



My tent was down first, so I commenced getting the bike ready and packed - first job getting the disc lock off, and keys into the ignition.



Checked my pocket - NO disc-lock bag w/ keys in it...! Oh, sh*t! Not in the USUAL pocket, so I checked all the rest of them.... Not there, either... or in my Kilimanjaro jacket pockets. I unrolled the tent, sleeping mat and mummy bag, just in case - no luck! By this time Dave was giving suggestions, (including asking IF I carry spares, which I SORTA do - at least an ignition key.... "NO spare for the disc lock?" he asked, incredulously!!!) so I retraced my route to the lake where I'd washed-up the night before, looking in each cow footprint in the mud. NUTHIN'!

Returned to the rocks where we'd sat to enjoy supper, looked all over - still nuthin'.... Even though I KNEW the keys weren't in my saddle-bags, I started w/ the right one, removing everything from both compartments, then replacing it. Moved over to the left bag, one BIG compartment, one medium, one small (where, incidentally, I store the disc lock and a helmet-lock...). Not in the big or medium compartments, so, I opened the last.

What the HELL!!! There's the disc-lock bag w/ keys inside it!



Seems that when I'd put the lock on, I'd just put the keys into the bag and back into the saddle-bag instead of into my pocket.

Ed
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Last edited by fasteddiecopeman; 10-29-2015 at 02:51 PM.
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