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but still a NooBie
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Day 1
Due to a prior commitment at church, I couldn’t leave town until 5:00 pm on Sunday, May 16th. I didn’t really want to go through Dallas on a motorcycle, but the weather north of I-20 looked bad, lightning, etc., so I went through Big D to I-35W in Ft. Worth. Stopped in Decatur, TX for the night.

Day 2
Ran into rain near Wichita Falls and put on the raingear and continued. Stopped for lunch in Santa Rosa, NM. What the hell? Hell? Hail! A hailstorm in New Mexico. Just west of town, the clouds blew in very quickly and marble-sized hail began falling. Everyone pulled off the road, but there were no overpasses in sight. I waited it out and left after 20 minutes. Went through Sante Fe and up into Chama for the night. Found a cheap-but-nice cabin alongside the river south of town, $50 including tax.

Day 3
Rode to Pagosa Springs, and it began sprinkling, misting rain, so the raingear went back on. I turned northeast to go up Wolf Creek Pass, and the temperature plummeted. Soon, I was in snow. Very deep alongside the road looking up or looking down, and also in the air. I have never ridden in snow before, but at least the roads were okay. There are two tunnels, and the second one had a sign flashing “One Lane Traffic” and a road worker controlled the flow. There was also a sign warning “Ice on road,” which is great for a motorcycle, but it wasn’t too bad. Went into South Fork, gassed up, and turned northwest up to Crede and Slumgullion Pass into Lake City (where Alferd Packer once had a nice meal). Made it to my destination around 3:00 pm.

Day 4 (of travel after five full days of visiting)
Monday, May 24th. Snow! Snow? Woke up, looked outside, and it was snowing. I had about decided to postpone the trip home when the sun broke through about 9:00 am. Still cold, though. I loaded up and left about 10:00, crossing the dam at Blue Mesa Lake. Still the prettiest highway of the trip – Highway 92 from the dam to Crawford, CO. Gunnison showed 42 degrees, with a 65 mph wind blowing as long as I was riding. :-D Went up Monarch Pass and the temperature dropped to 31 degrees. Still lots of snow, but the road was clear. Very cold. Drove the back roads to Westcliffe and down to Walsenburg. There, I hopped on I-25 south to Raton and over to Dumas, TX for the night. All night long I saw tornado warnings just north of me. Looking at the weather, my best bet seemed to be heading east and not south.

Day 5
Stopped in Amarillo, TX to change oil/filter on the bike. I knew where the H-D place was, so I stopped in there and they gave me directions to David Brown’s just south of I-40. I went in, told them I needed an oil change and they asked if I had an appointment. I laughed and told them that I was still 700 miles from home and I would be back on the road a.s.a.p., and Greg jumped on it immediately. He strapped the bike, jacked it up, and went to work. He took a flashlight and poked and prodded and exclaimed “This is a new bike!” (I found a NEW 2008 in the dealership and bought it three months ago.) We talked as he worked and I was back on the road in 45 minutes. Hats off to Greg and to David Brown’s. I ran into a group of guys from Georgia inside the showroom who were traveling to NM and would then return east. As it was misting rain off-and-on, I skipped my planned trip to Palo Duro and got back on 287 south. Greg even looked up the weather for me before I left. I turned out of Texas just south of Vernon and hit Oklahoma Hwy 70 east. I stayed on 70, going through agricultural communities galore and seeing some gorgeous farmland along the way. I turned south at Idabel and rode into Texarkana, TX for the night.

Day 6
Woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee, and made it home by 11:00 am, a mere 3.5 hour drive. Total, 2614 miles. Four nights in motels. 67.12 gallons of gas @ 38.9 mpg. There were more than a few hours of 70 mph, a few hours of 75 mph (not “as indicated,” but around 80-82 mph on speedo), and there were a few hours in Louisiana and Arkansas at 55 mph. I can tell you without checking, you get a whole lot better gas mileage @ 55-60 than at 70-75. A whole lot better.

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Note that the trunk is still "unpainted," and it will remain so until I decide on the front cowling.

All-in-all, a great trip. It certainly would have been better with a partner or another rider with me, but that's life - make what you want and don't whine about it. I still have trips planned to the east and still in deep Texas, Big Bend Country. But, I know the bike will make it. I had both bags full, the trunk had enough space to store my heavy leather jacket w/insert, and I carried a 14" gym bag with also gave me added back support. Lots of fun! Lots of fun ahead, too.

Mike
 

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Looks like you had a good time friend. And thats what its all about. A good friend of mine says "there are no luggage racks on a herse". My only question is why in the world are you changing oil at 2600 miles? Was that the initial oil change? And a Harley dealer to boot $$$
 

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but still a NooBie
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Discussion Starter #4
I bought it like the last week of Feb or first week of March??? Put 600 miles on it, changed the "break in" oil, and changed it again at 3500 (actually, 3648 miles). The H-D dealer is located along I-40, and they open at 8:30 am. They directed me to the Kawa dealer, some six miles away. Very friendly people - most people are when you need a little help.

I was impressed with the David Brown dealership. New, lots of bikes on display, and they took care of me very quickly. Again, thanks to Greg!

Later, I am thinking about Maggie Valley, maybe eastern Tennessee, maybe West Virginia. :cool:
 

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Strat Man ... ok, PRS too
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Nice. Love the snow pics. That is beautiful country to ride through!
 

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Insect Impact Analyst
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Wow, that sounds like a fun ride. Hopefully I will be getting down to see part of your ride. My girlfriend grew up in Pagosa Springs and has family there and in South Fork, and I am planning on riding into Arizona and then up that way this summer or fall.
 

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I miss you, Deron
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Wow, that's quite a trip! Those mountain passes can be cold and nasty even in the middle of summer. You have to always be prepared for anything. We drove over Wolfcreek Pass during the middle of a snowstorm once in the summer. It was crazy.
 

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Thanks OL Dog. I was wondering. I did simular oil changes on my 900 Classic. I let the dealer do the 600 intial, then about 3000 or so I changed over to Mobil1 V-Twin Syn.
You managed to hit just about all the seasons in 1 trip. Only one you missed I think was Fall. Tornadoes in spring, snow in winter, hoter than Africa in summer. You know they make all this heated gear for bikes, why dont one of these smart guys figure out how to make acool suit you can plug in? lol And I dont mean a bag of ice down the pants or your shirt.
 

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but still a NooBie
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Discussion Starter #9
Stickboy, there is a Western Elk Loop that I would highly recommend, on two wheels or on four. Simply breath-taking.

Start anywhere, but from Gunnison (Hwy 50) head north to Crested Butte, cross Kebler Pass (rock-type roads...not gravel like we normally think), turn left into Paonia (old, hippie community), Hotchkiss, Crawford, and south on Hwy 92 past the lake (state park) and past the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Go see it. Unreal. Continue to cross the dam at Hwy 50, turn left back to Gunnison or turn right to see the south rim of the Black Canyon and a road that goes to the very bottom (16% grade). The south rim is more "modern" with tables, restrooms, etc., and the way to get to the bottom, but the same entrance fee is good for both sides for several days. The scenery from the dam to Crawford is the best I have seen in Colorado. Ordinary road that no one knows about. Best kept secret.

Leave early and you can do this in one day, but plan to stop several times to take photos. Joe Cocker's old "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" restaurant has been reopened as the "Black Canyon" restaurant. Great food, good prices, great hand-dipped ice cream, too.

I stopped for lunch at Lake City a few times over the years. Poker Alice has the best pizza in the known world. Period. The Packer Saloon/Cannibal Grill also has very good food. Lake City is along the way from Pagosa to Gunnison.
 

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Last summer the wife and I stayed in Maggie Valley. We stayed at a nice little campground on a creek. I think it was called Waters Edge. They have RV sites, several little like effecency motel rooms and also some travel trailers perminatly set up they rent out as like cabins. We really enjoyed it. We had a trailer on the creek and it had anice awnig so you could sit inthe evening and relax with a cold drink. We meet a couple of fellows that came over from the Charlotte area just for the weekend and sat around the fire and chatted. The folks that own the place a super nice. (828) 926-1801
35 Scott Cir
Maggie Valley, NC
 

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MaNaMaNa DoDoDoDoDo
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Very cool. Looks like it was a great and interesting ride. Would have liked more pics.
 

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Insect Impact Analyst
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Stickboy, there is a Western Elk Loop that I would highly recommend, on two wheels or on four. Simply breath-taking.

Start anywhere, but from Gunnison (Hwy 50) head north to Crested Butte, cross Kebler Pass (rock-type roads...not gravel like we normally think), turn left into Paonia (old, hippie community), Hotchkiss, Crawford, and south on Hwy 92 past the lake (state park) and past the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Go see it. Unreal. Continue to cross the dam at Hwy 50, turn left back to Gunnison or turn right to see the south rim of the Black Canyon and a road that goes to the very bottom (16% grade). The south rim is more "modern" with tables, restrooms, etc., and the way to get to the bottom, but the same entrance fee is good for both sides for several days. The scenery from the dam to Crawford is the best I have seen in Colorado. Ordinary road that no one knows about. Best kept secret.

Leave early and you can do this in one day, but plan to stop several times to take photos. Joe Cocker's old "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" restaurant has been reopened as the "Black Canyon" restaurant. Great food, good prices, great hand-dipped ice cream, too.

I stopped for lunch at Lake City a few times over the years. Poker Alice has the best pizza in the known world. Period. The Packer Saloon/Cannibal Grill also has very good food. Lake City is along the way from Pagosa to Gunnison.
Thank you for the suggestion! I will see if I can work it into the trip. Not sure yet when I will be going as part of it would include the Grand Canyon area, and I kinda wanna avoid too much heat, but I might just suck it up, take lots of water and go anyways.
 

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but still a NooBie
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Discussion Starter #13
Canyon in New Mexico.
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Part of same canyon.
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A couple of Colorado waterfalls. Lots of snow melting.
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Steep grade. Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
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From the bottom of Black Canyon...over a mile deep in some spots.
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My favorite sign on the trip. 9% grade is rare. Most mountain passes are 6%-8% grade. This wasn't one of those. :)
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VN 900 Classtom
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Nice pictures and nice ride you have there. Colorado is a very beautiful state, last year I was sent up there for six weeks and I had a great time. I wish I was on my motorcycle but had no choice but to ride those little compact rentals.
 

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Alf not Elf
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Very nice pics thanks for sharing.....
 

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Nice pics. Certianly different than what I use to get to look at in Oklahoma. I was in the Southwest.
 
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