Monday, October 7, 2013

Moab Done: I'm Home

2,279 miles later, I'm home safe and sound. Happy to be back, sad that it's over so soon. Can't wait to plan another adventure. I think it has the word Colorado in it... :)

Moab Diary Day Seven: Long Ride Home

This is the day of eating miles. It's 411 miles to Santa Cruz from our final campsite. A breakfast in Barstow. A quick goodbye and then full throttle home.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Moab Diary Day Six: The End

This is it... The end of an epic moto adventure. Me, on my BMW F650GS, and my brother John, on his Suzuki VStrom 650. We left this same campsite here in Afton Canyon just 6 days ago and travelled almost 2,000 miles around southern Utah. Tonight we are back here in Afton Canyon enjoying the cool, clear night. Tomorrow we ride home.

Hopefully you had a chance to follow along on this blog. I'll probably post a trip wrap up tomorrow night and recap a bunch of stuff. But this has been an unbelievable adventure. Not just seeing southern Utah, but doing it on our motos. Camping on old fire trails, up dirt roads to the top of mountains, and everything in between. The pictures can't even do it justice. Now to start planning the next adventure... Any ideas?

Moab Diary Day Six: Zion Outta My Mind

I have to say, Zion was absolutely unbelievable. I thought we had seen the most beautiful parts of Utah, and I still believe that's true, but Zion is breathtaking. And the best part? The road was made for a motorcycle. It's a winding road that just flows from top to bottom. And one more benefit thanks to the government... It's free today!! Drive through while the government is shut down. It's your national park... Enjoy it!!!

Moab Diary Day Six: Leaving Utah

Today is the last day in Utah. We will be riding through Zion Canyon and then on to Las Vegas and our final campground back in Afton Canyon. I'll post a wrap up tonight when we camp.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Moab Diary Day Five: Final Thoughts on Day Five

It's late on day five and I'm laying in a hotel bed reflecting on our ride. We covered a lot of miles today but the adventure in Valley of the Gods was so amazing that I just keep thinking about it. This whole trip has been amazing!

We ran into another moto adventure-head on the ride. Chris is from Colorado and he has been out riding Utah for a while. His KTM was sweet and very nicely setup. I could imagine spending weeks rolling around the US on that thing.

We will be making our final ride through Zion tomorrow morning before heading off to Afton Canyon. It's a little sad thinking that our trip will soon be over.

Moab Diary Day Five: Marathon Miles

We knew we had to cover some ground today since we were 1,000 miles away from home. But that didn't stop us from seeing some amazing sights and riding our motos through beautiful Utah.

Today we started out in freezing Monticello, headed down to the Valley of the Gods and up Moki Dugway. In my last posts I put some photos. But it was epic. The pictures don't even capture how amazing this ride was. Not only was it beautiful, the ride was on dirt and washout gravel which made it challenging as well. By the time we got to the top of Moki Dugway I had snapped off the rack that was holding my extra fuel. It was just hanging off the back of my bike. So I did a quick repair and attached it to the top of my bag so we could hit the road again.

We left that beautiful spot and jammed down to Mexican Hat where we grabbed Navajo lunch. Then it was full throttle for a couple hundred miles.

Overall, that part was pretty uneventful, except for the part where I lost my iPhone!!!

We pulled out of the gas station in Page, Arizona, getting ready to cross back into Utah over the Glen Canyon Dam when I felt the lightest, weird touch in my right leg. I knew immediately that my iPhone had fallen out of my tank bag. I just knew by the way it felt in my leg. Then it was instant terror!! Everything is on that phone. I was freaked.

I pulled off the side of the highway and backtracked but nothing. Then I got off my bike and walked it. And there I saw it. On the side of the road in the dirt. I just saw the back side. I thought it was a fragment of my nice new iPhone 5S... I raced over and picked it up. Not a scratch!!! The cover totally protected it.

So that's the story. Tomorrow we ride through Zion Canyon and then on to Las Vegas, maybe back to Afton Canyon where it all started.

Moab Diary Day Five: Moki Dugway

Sorry I don't have time to write, but here's some pics of what we've been up to today. I'll write a full recap tonight.

Moab Diary Day Five: Valley of the Gods

Quick update photo

Moab Diary Day Five: Heading for Moki Dugway

Staying in a hotel last night was a great idea. We cleaned up, ate some good food and had a solid night sleep. But most of all, we skipped out on freezing to death in the 28-degree weather.

This morning we leave Monticello and head down to ride Moki Dugway and the Valley of the Gods. Then off for a long ride through Arizona and back up toward Zion Canyon. We should be camping tonight just south is Zion.

Since it's so cold outside, we are riding a little more carefully and keeping south, closer to the desert and warmer air. This means we will be about a day off schedule. With more than 1,000 miles left to cover we want to make sure we keep the rubber side down.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Moab Diary Day Four: Hello Moab Goodbye

As soon as we saw the sign for Arches National Park, and the ranger sitting outside the chained gate, we knew Moab was over. We rode our motos through the crowded little town. We stopped to talk it through. After a minute we both looked at each other and knew... Goodbye Moab.

We split that over-crowded town and ripped out for a smaller spot where we could breathe again. The road leaving Moab was fast and cold. We got to a little town called Monticello, Utah just in time. It was freezing cold and the sun was setting. Decision time: camp or hotel.

We decided to stop at the first hotel which turned out to be an awesome idea. We got the last room! Plus, they had an indoor pool and jacuzzi. After cleaning up and taking a swim we ran across the street to grab dinner. On the road was a hint of what our night would have been like if we were camping... Snow!

Thank you Amex.

Moab Diary Day Four: Mid Day Update

We rode our motos 8 miles on dirt roads to get back to the highway... And it was so worth it!! On our way to Moab today.

Moab Diary Day Four: Sunshine on Mt Hillers

I woke up this morning and heard my brother John rustling around. He said he wanted to watch the sun come up. Last night was a combination of rain, hail and wind. I thought for sure this would be a soggy day.

I crawled out of my tent expecting it to be wet and cloudy. But it was already dry, desert dry. Still, the air was bone cold. I walked out past our tents and the trees just a few yards to see John and his JetBoil making coffee. We warmed our hands on our mugs as the sun came up. It lit up the entire state as far as we could see.

I'm in awe of the beauty of Utah. We accidentally found ourselves up here in the BLM, camping on Mt Hillers in a spot called Start Springs. Chance, fate, luck, opportunity, God, life... Call it what you will, I'm blown away by the wonder of it all.

Now for the day ahead. Our plan is to ride the rest of the way to Moab today. We will do the Arches if the government will let us in. Then we will do a few more trails around Moab. We will end our day with a long ride south to Moki Dougway. It's supposed to be a trail to the top of the world where we can camp on a Mesa overlooking the canyons.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Moab Diary Day Three: Through The Red Valley

After we packed up and hit the road we decided to moto all the way to Bryce Canyon and look for some breakfast along the way. That turned out to be a good idea since nothing was open until 10:00am anyways. We finally stopped in for breakfast at a little restaurant off the 12 somewhere between Bryce Canyon and Boulder Utah.

With a full stomach our plan was to take this little road called the Burr Trail out of Boulder and head down toward lake Powell. That was one of the best decisions we made.

The Burr trail takes you down winding roads, through deep red canyons and across open desert with rock walls towering overhead. I was in awe most of the ride. Then we took a dirt road the rest of the way to Bullfrog where we were going to camp.

Unfortunately the government had a different plan. Because of the funding fiasco going on in Washington right now, all federal parks are closed, including lake Powell and our camp site.

Instead we headed up into BLM land and found an even better campsite on top of a mountain. Sometimes life is like that... You don't get what you want only to find there was something better waiting for you to stop throwing a tantrum.

I have so many great photos of today's ride. It's not fair to just post one or two, but for now you'll have to settle for these.

Moab Diary Day Three: Waking Up Half Frozen

So I made a pretty big miscalculation while packing my gear. I assumed the weather would be misty scorching hot with some cool nights. I packed light. About 3:00 am last night I thought I was going die. It was so cold I couldn't feel my feet.

But, we did find an amazing spot to camp up at the summit off the 14 just outside Cedar City Utah. See my previous post for details.

Today we are heading out through Bryce Canyon and deeper into the Utah wilderness. There are three great rides between here and Moab and we are going to hit them all. Our plan is to end up in the Glen Canyon National Recreation area. We think we can camp tonight down by a little town called bullfrog. Unless we get ambitious and head all the way to Moab.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moab Diary Day Two: Afton Canyon to Cedar Mtn Utah

We had an epic ride today. Lots of 85mph hwy 15, but once we crossed into Arizona and eventually into Utah it was beautiful. We cut off 15 at Cedar City and we are now in 14 up at Cedar mountain. The government shutdown and closed all the campgrounds so we found this sweet little spot up in the mountains. So stoked we have all our gear and moto we go. So much more to report but this is all I can muster before the sun goes down. Oh, it's also super cold up here!! Yesterday we slept in the mojave desert. Tonight it's chilly Utah mountain air.

Moab Diary Day Two: Waking Up In Afton Canyon

After 7 hours of riding my brother John and I met up in Afton Canyon for our first night camping. I arrived around 3:30 and ran into some fellow moto campers. Patrick and his two brothers were unloading their dirt bikes and packing them up for an adventure into the BLM.

Since we were staying just one night and they were worried about their car being left alone, I graciously volunteered to camp in their spot. Saved $6... And if you know me, you know how happy I am about that.

Waking up with the sun was even better. Looking forward to a fun ride today. We are aiming for southern Utah.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Moab Day One: Afton Canyon Campground

I made it to my first campground, 411 miles away. I left Santa Cruz around 8:30 and just pulled into the campground at 3:45. Took my time and ate a sandwich in Tehachepi but mostly enjoyed the speed of the Tarmac. When I dropped into Mojave I started to feel the temperature climb fast. It was 62 when I left Santa Cruz and it's 92 as I sit here waiting for the sun to go down. John should be pulling in anytime now and we will start the official trail planning.

Moab Diary Day One: Leaving Santa Cruz

Well the day is finally here and I'm heading out. The weather is beautiful here in Santa Cruz. I'm excited to get on my F650GS and moto away. First stop Paso Robles, then over to Mojave. I'll gas up in Barstow and try to be in Afton Canyon by 3:00.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Moab Prep: All Dressed Up And Ready To Go

OK, if you take a good look you'll see some of the cool little additions I've made to my bike. Starting at the front I added the tool tube just under the crash bars. It's a 3-inch PVC tube with screw caps on the end and it holds all my tools.

Also attached to the crash bar on the left side is my sons GoPro camera. It's a cool angle and I can grab some photos and video without looking like a kook with a GoPro on my helmet.

Up on top I picked up a Nelson Rigg tank bag. It's nice and small and fits all my stuff perfectly. It's a suction cup attachment and I added a little bungee cord in front just in case. It also allows me to plug in my iPhone charger.

Moving back behind the seat I've attached my Wolfman dry bag. I can fit all my clothes, tent, pad and sleeping bag inside. And it straps down easily. Since everything fits inside I don't have to bring my side panniers. This cuts 25 lbs of extra weight and I feel skinny. Stoked.

Behind my bag you'll see my Pelican top case. I bought a motorcycle luggage net which hooks on top and holds my mandolin perfectly. All my camping gear, stove, propane, food and water fit inside my top case.

And I bolted a fuel canister to the back which I can easily remove, fill up with some gas and take along when we head out into the desert. It's not a lot of fuel, but it will get me an extra 15 miles in case I run out of gas.

And that's it!! All my gear, light and tight. Can't wait to hit the road.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Moab Motorcycle Trip: Gearing Up

In the final week before our trip I've been working on the details. That means little things like hand grips, tool storage, water storage, etc.

I took a trip to Home Depot and made a tool tube from PVC pipe. Then I strapped it across my crash bars. It fits perfect and holds all my tools plus a rag and my CO2 cartridge tire inflation kit.

I also dug up my comfort grips and slid them on. Feels nice and squishy now. This should help with the long distance riding.

Finally, I went to REI and picked up a fuel bottle and a water bottle. Plus, they had some cool bottle holders that I'm going to bolt onto my panniers.

I put everything in place for a dry fit just to see how it would look. I might put the bottles in a different spot. But it's looking pretty good. I can't wait to hit the road next week and put it all to the test!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Motorcycle Camping Checklist for Moab Trip

Well, it's coming down to the final week of planning and prep. Next week we are heading off on our Moab motorcycle adventure.

On thing I really love when planning a trip is to use a list. I make lists for everything and it helps me stay focused. Lists also prevent me from forgetting important little things in my rush to get out of town.

I found this great Motorcycle Camping list generator at that works great. I created a custom list and printed it out. Check it out if you're planning a moto camping trip:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Moab Camping Gear

My brother and I keep texting back and forth whenever new gear shows up. It's pretty cool to see it all come together. I have to admit, I'm falling behind. He picked up his tent, sleeping pad and chair at REI and strapped it all in for a dry fit. Looks pretty slick with that Giant Loop bag and top case. Seems to fit just right on his Vstrom.

OK, I better get moving this week and get my gear together. I still need to pick up my tent and stove. Plus I'm going to grab some canned good and some dried foods for dinners.

On another note, I've been fine-tuning my f650gs and getting it dialed in for the trip. I'm pretty happy with the way it's riding now that I have the CalSci windshield and the Saddleman seat. I tightened up the rear shock adjustment for a heavier load and dialed back the dampening screw a half turn for better rebound. It's feeling nice and tight.

Just a couple more weeks and we will be heading out to Moab.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Moab Planning: How To Pack A Mandolin

Well, my new mandolin case arrived and it's awesome. I fixed up some tie-downs on my Pelican and used some surfboard deck grip for traction. It fits perfectly and I can still open my pelican top box. Mission accomplished. Now I can bring along my mandolin without affecting anything else I pack. Sweet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Moab On My Mind

It's fun ramping up for a trip. You spend time thinking about all the little details. How you'll pack. Where everything will fit and how it will tie down.

I've been thinking about how I can bring my mandolin. I like to have an instrument wherever I go. It just helps me chill out and relax at the end of the day. I usually play guitar but that's just too big for my bike. The mandolin on the other hand is pretty small. I have an old bluegrass mandolin and they make a tight little case that's just about the same shape. So in my idea is to strap it to the top of my pelican top case. And since there are not tie down anchors on the pelican I had to get creative.

After spending way too much time online looking at images of tie down anchors, I jumped on my bike and headed over to Orchard Supply Hardware. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for but I did find something better—stainless steel strap loops.

A couple screws later and my top case tie down system was in place. They claim it will hold 100lbs in place, which should be plenty for my little bluegrass mandolin.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moab Diary: Giant Loop Bag

I'm going on this Moab trip with my brother John. Our last trip was a weekend in the mountains around the central coast and it was a blast. But we stayed in a hotel and ate in restaurants.

This Moab trip is all about camping... Closer to free the better. So we are gearing up for nights in the BLM (bureau of land management) and cooking our meals. This means more gear for our bikes!! Yipeeeee.

Here's a look at Johns bike after his most recent purchase, a Giant Loop bag for all his stuff. I guess these things are bomb-proof. They fit everything and loop right over the seat. Waterproof, tight and easy to fit on and off, that's what you need where we are going.

I have to admit, I'm a little jealous looking at this setup. It looks light and fast and rugged... Can't wait to hit the road in a few weeks!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bike Maintenance Weekend

This weekend has been all about bike cleanup and maintenance. I got all the dirt bikes out and fire them up. My son Ethan and his buddy came out and motored the little Kawasaki 110's around the yard. I picked up my BMW from Bens in Watsonville, too.

My wife, Kimber, and I took a little cruise up Old San Jose road to the little store at the top of the mountain where we had a great lunch. I'm trying to figure out the little details that make riding more fun and less butt-breaking. My observation so far is that the little F650GS is a great bike for one person and short 2-up rides, but if you want to make the wife happy you might be better off with a larger comfy cruiser... I guess that means I'll be adding another bike to my collection next summer ;)

And then I pulled the KTM out of the garage and dropped in a new battery. A few months ago I left the lights on and killed the battery. After that it would never hold a charge. So I snapped some photos with my iPhone and headed out to We All Ride. I take a lot of pictures with my iPhone and it really helps me when I'm looking for parts.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lunch at the Alpine Inn

I met up with a family friend and we took a winding route up past Palo Alto to the famous Alpine Inn. Great burgers and good chatter about moto tours. Thanks Bob!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Moab Trip Planning Update

So we are now officially one month away from the Moab trip and its coming together nicely. We have set the dates for October 1-6. We are meeting day one just outside of Vegas at Logondale Trails OHV.

In prep for the trip I took my bike to Bens Motorcycle Works in Watsonville. He is the best BMW mechanic around here. Great guy, too. But I can't wait to get it back and start riding again. It's been tough sitting in a car in traffic.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Moab Diary: Day Zero.4.1

So I couldn't help myself. I got the new windshield mounted, and I mounted the rack and the new Pelican box. I love it.

So far everything went pretty smoothly. The CalSci windshield seems to perform well with little to no buffer. I need to take it up to some high speeds and see, but so far everything seems right. Now I'm off for a little moto through the mountains... You know, just to test my new equipment :)

Moab Diary: Day Zero.4

Delivery number 2 and 3 showed up today: my new CalSci wind shield and my rear cargo rack. I'll unpack the rack and get it on the bike in the next couple days. I got the CalSci wind shield on pretty quick... In the parking lot of my po box actually!! But I'll tighten everything up and give it a proper test and review. You can see it still has the plastic wrap on it to keep the bugs off while testing. Nice touch.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Moab Diary: Day Zero.3

Last month I was browsing around Cycle Gear in Gilroy and they had this UClear Bluetooth headset in sale. I've wanted to pick up a communicator but I've always been put off by the crazy prices. This UClear was on sale and overall I'm very happy with it. It connected easily to my iPhone and I slipped the speakers into my helmet speaker pockets. It's plenty loud without earplugs and its just loud enough to hear with my plugs in. I like that I can put on my MLB app and listen to the Giants while I'm riding home from work. I haven't had a chance to actually use it as a communicator yet since I don't have any friends with a UClear, but I plan on getting another one for my wife. She just got her Arai helmet and I'll fix that up with one this weekend and take her for a long ride.

Here's what it looks like on my helmet:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Moab Diary: Day Zero.2

I just got my first piece of Moab-related equipment. I've always wanted a Pelican case for my F650GS but I already have the side panniers and couldn't justify another box... But now I have a reason!! So I ordered the Pelican 1550 box through Amazon and it arrived today. I have a rack on order also, and I'll bolt it all up this weekend.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Moab Diary: Day Zero.1

I can't seem to stop thinking about this Moab trip... it has me in its grip.

I've been thinking a lot about the route and the amount of time we have planned to make it happen. Unfortunately, we only have a week. That wouldn't be bad, except half that time will be spent getting there and back. So I'm considering all the adventure in between. I don't want to race there, take a few pictures and race back. That's not what I love about these adventures...

The other thing that has me occupied is this blog... I think it would be nice to take my time and actually do some writing and video as this trip unfolds. Writing is a lot like riding... I enjoy the space between the words, the time when I get to ponder.

So, I hope you enjoy this blog. Feel free to comment and get in touch. I'll do my best to stay connected.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Moab Video Diary Day Zero

I'm going to try to keep a video diary for the Moab trip. Hers my first entry, day zero.

Moab Trip Planning

It's late August, 2013, and I just got a txt from my brother John. He has a few days off at the beginning of October and we are thinking about a moto trip out to Moab, Utah. I did a quick google maps route and this looks exciting! I'll post more as the trip starts to come together, but here's a snapshot of the possible routes.