I got my start riding bikes... Sold my 99 KTM Adventure last fall and it's been a year since I have been on a bike. Last weekend I flew down to New Mexico to pick up another KTM Adventure...Here the story I wrote about the trip. Not an ATV story, but still a good riding adventure.
It's home, Sunday night I arrived right at midnight completing the a 1,387 mile ride from New Mexico to Iowa on my new KTM 640 Adventure. Went through White Sands and Roswell... They had big bike rally going on in the area so rode with hundreds of bikes up through the canyon roads.
I took a red eye flight from Moline IL down to El Paso, TX where Mike picked me up. At the airport there is a early 60's International truck/suburban with the lettering War Wagon on it. This was a custom made rig for fellow Iowan John Wayne. He used it on his ranch in AZ and took it on safaris in Africa.
Made it to Mike's home around midnight and we talked for an hour sharing trail stories and pictures. I was hoping to be on the road heading back at 8 AM but that just wasn't going to happen. We got up, had breakfast, went for a quick check ride and loaded up gas for the trip...By the time we got the paperwork done, bike loaded and geared up it was 10AM...I was 2 hours behind. Keep this in mind, the 2 hour thing.
Day 1....Off I went up highway 70 through the mountains, which were beautiful. Started seeing more and more bikes on the road...hundreds and then thousands. There was a huge bike rally going on so that was fun to be a part of by accident. First stop was in Roswell were I found a DQ and took a nice break...I tried to stop every 100 miles to stretch the legs but more times then not would run 200 miles between stops. After fueling up I headed out on the open desert...also picked up a couple of bottles of water just in case. It was a used bike afterall and you never know...
Out of New Mexico and into Texas...stopped for my second fuel stop and added a layer of clothing. I promised my wife I wouldn't ride too late into the night and push it too hard. My goal was to make it to Oklahoma City for the first night but came up about 2 hours short...Hmmmm, that dang 2 hours extra I spent yapping... : At the end of the day I only ran 550 miles... To much talking, too much site seeing on backroads, too much talking with other riders on the road... :sh: But had a blast on the first day. :lalala:
Day 2... I actually get up and on the road at 8 as planned. Made it to Oklahoma City and fueled up. Repacked one of the extra layers I started out with that morning and jumped back on the bike. No more then 10 minutes per stop was my goal...( it still didn't work). I make it to the Oklahoma/Kansas border on I-35 when I had what has to be the funniest stop of the trip. There was this interesting old trike parked in the corner of this truck stop. The owner was this old looking coot so I pulled up next to him to look at the trike. This thing had a GM V-6 for a motor and air bag suspension...After I took my helmet off I could smell the MJ... This guy was smoking his joint, having a good old time... :rasta: If only he knew what I did for a living... : So after a quick look, we part are ways...thank God. But I give the old guy credit, he did have a unique looking trike.
Next stop is past Wichita Kansas, pull into a rest area with a McDonalds and fuel. Run into another National Guard soldier from MN. We both grab some lunch and yes that 10 minute stop just went out the window...again. He was going the other way heading to Texas for a school. We exchanged good lucks, e-mail addresses and off we went.
Kanasas City...This is where the trip got interesting, or better yet testing. For the life of me I have no clue why anyone would take 3 lanes of traffic and dump them into 1 lane. Some rocket scientist at the KC DOT had this wonderful idea of doing that. Obviously he has never traveled further then his desk. Traffic was backed up for miles at a move 10 feet, wait 5 minutes and then move 10 feet more. When I finally get into the construction zone, it's 2 lanes wide for the cars to pass through. WTF??? They slam you down to 1 lane to then let you pass through in a lane that was large enough for 2 1/2 lanes of traffic... Anwway the bike heated up a little, give a sputter and died for a minute. I pushed it off to the side, fired it back up and gave the throttle a good twist to clear the carbs. Back on the road with no problems...so I thought.
Keep in mind I'm still 2 hours behind and my plan to make that time up by keeping my breaks short wasn't working. I stop outside of KC for my 3rd load of fuel and gas is just pouring out one of my vent tubes. This isn't good...I play around with it for 10 minutes. Can't get it to stop unless I shut the main valve off so at that point I say screw it. The bike runs, just leaks a little gas. So I jump on and off down the road into the darkness I go...I do this all the way to Des Moines where I call home to say I'm 2 hours out...Remember that 2 hour thing again from the previous day. I would have been home at 10 PM with only a couple of hours of riding in the land of kamakazi deer who jump out of no where. If the deer didn't kill me, it would have certainly screwed up my ride. This guy comes out of the gas station and sees me fiddling with the carbs again. "Hey, can I give you a hand, I work on motors all day." Drained the carbs, tapped on the bowl and fired it back up...no more leak! :lalala: Problem solved it's haul beans time for the last 2 hour leg.
I jump on the road and keep in mind it's late, 10:30PM and prime time for deer to send themselves to the happy hunting grounds in the sky. I was taking it easy when all of a sudden this semi from hell comes out of nowhere and fast... Hot dang I got a deer hammer semi to clear the road for me. We made record time. During the day I had been running round 75 mph and comfortable. We were hauling down the road like our hair was on fire and our asses catchin. I make that last turn on to I-380 and lost my deer hammer. Next thing I know here comes another and boom I'm making tracks again... Thankfully no deer and what normally is a 2 hour trip was done in about a hour 30.
It was a good shake down ride for me. The bike is geared way too tall for dirt riding. It lugs in high gear doing 55 mph. Cruising was around 4,000 rpm at 75 mph. I already have some sprockets on the way to bring it back down to a more usable speed. The 12 V connector was nice. I had my GPS and phone plugged in. I might look at getting some grip heaters or a heated vest. I did get a little cold that last 30 miles. My biggest fear was the tires. They had about 1/4 life left on them and that front is now toast...not much left of that knobbie. The rear was a 606 and it held up pretty good. I would still feel comfortable taking that out on the trail.
Home safe... 1,387 miles and my beans feels every one of them right now. Can't wait to set up my next ride.
First mod after a new set of tires and sprockets is going to be to get some tuffy cases for the rack. My neighbor has a powder coat business so I'll let him clean up the racks so they look new.