Epic Trip 2017

T minus 3 weeks from departure and one of those weeks we are both out of town on work, so really we have 2 weeks to get everything sorted. Odd how it seems like it will never get here and then it’s HOLY SHIT we need to hurry up! The bikes are sorted, we think. They’re Vstroms so we are confident in their reliability (knock on wood). New tires are here for both and we will mount them with about a week to go and scrub them in before we load up the bikes.

I have to still mount another cigarette plug, Voltmeter and USB charger into holes I will drill on the fairing trip up near the dash. We need to actually get everything loaded and ride around for a day to see if we’ve got too much shit, although we’ve really been trying to get rid of stuff and keep only what is needed. Trying to plan for the weather is the hardest part though. Because we will be covering so much altitude we need to be ready for all four seasons in a day. I’m trying to decide if I want to take my Olympia AST or Transition jacket. The AST will be much more waterproof but the Transition I think moves more air through it.

We’ve got comms worked out with our trusty Sena SMH-10 units, and both of us will have good GPS units. My buddy just got a Garmin 390LM off eBay which looks hardly used. However we didn’t research if people had issues with the unit ahead of time, and apparently Garmin screwed up the whole carrier charging setup on these units. A total PITA actually. The damn thing will work fine when he uses the USB charger which is next to the mount charging points, but the mount charger simply will not charge the unit. And going online there are lots of people bitching about it. Garmin will let you mail it back to them and pay a flat $110 to fix the unit, but considering the sheer number of people bitching about this and the fact this unit never even sat in the mount until a week ago, Garmin should do the right thing. So we will have to figure out a plan B for him.

As for the trip itself, we’ve both decided on a few big items. First, we don’t want to try to cover too much ground and turn the trip in to a job. We want to limit riding to ~6 hrs a day at a decent pace, which will be dictated by road conditions. If that means 150 miles a day or 600 miles a day, the geography will dictate pace. As we’ve both wanted to do something like this for a VERY long time, we intend on savoring the experience. Second, we don’t want to be tied to a certain track. So we’ve picked locations we like to aim for as a target to the days ride. Those targets may change as we change our minds on the roads to take. My buddy ordered the Butler maps Rocky Mountain package. These maps, are quite simply, the shit. They are extremely rich in detail and are very obviously created by people who understand riders. We will utilize these as our primary source of navigation, hopefully picking the best roads along the way.

The basic outline of the trip is as follows;
Day 1) Leave Charlotte NC area on or about July 8th. Both bikes will be on a trailer at this point. Drive 13+ hours to first stop at my Arkansas property. Much beer will be drank and cigars be smoked this night. Leave the following morning as early as feasible.
Day 2) Arrive at friends house in Boulder CO. I still have to figure out where he actually is in Boulder, but he’s there and has invited us to stay the night. More beer drank, more cigars killed.
Day 3) Mount up and head out through the CO Rockies. Stopping somewhere north to camp
Day 4) Head out from northern CO with Lander WY as our destination for the night.
Day 5-7) Spend some time in Yellowstone. A place I’ve wanted to visit since I was little listening to my Great-Great Grandmothers stories of when she was younger and went on a trip out to Yellowstone. Or as she called it Jellystone. I remember a story she would tell of when there was an earthquake and she watched the whole side of a mountain fold over, killing lots of people. I think this is what she witnessed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1959_Hebgen_Lake_earthquake
Day 8-9) Head south to Grand Teton Natl park and stay there for a day or two, camping all the time
Day 10) Head south from the Jackson WY area to the Baggs WY area (or into Northern CO).
Day 11) Continue south passing through Aspen, Breckenridge finding a place to camp somewhere in the mountains
Day 12) Head back to Boulder to stay the night with my buddy
Day 13-14) Head back to Charlotte NC and real life (bummer) and wife (Yay!)

So that’s, loosely, our trip. We want to plan enough to ensure it’s fun but not too much that it feels rigid and like a task. Finding enough space to take with is necessary will be a challenge. For example, should I actually take my DSLR or not? These are my problems…stay tuned.

Author: Navin

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