Archive for the ‘Dirt biking’ Category

Playing in the Dirt

Monday, October 9th, 2017
motorcycle along Kebler Pass.

Get off the pavement and have fun!

I hadn’t done any dirt-biking when my friend John offered me an opportunity. You can think of him as the pusher. “Try this, you’ll really like it,” he seems to say. Then you’re hooked. To maintain your habit, you can kiss your bank balance good-bye.

I didn’t get hooked but I got the craving. My V-Strom is a result of this.

John had a couple dirt bikes he and his son, Johnathon, would take up to the Rampart Range, an area in the hills outside of Denver given over to motorized fun on trails through the forest. They invited me along one day.

They were meeting up with other members of their extended family and this was the first time I ever saw how dirt-biking is such a family affair. It wasn’t just their own family. The campground area was packed with families and dirt bikes of all sizes, from pappa’s big bike, to momma’s mid-size bike, right down to baby’s little two-wheeler carrying young’uns who must have only learned to walk last year. And every one of them in full riding gear. Who even knew they made helmets and jackets and boots that small, not to mention motorcycles?

I have to tell you, I really envied these kids. I would have given anything I had to have had parents who took me dirt-biking as a kid. Instead, I had parents who wouldn’t even let me buy a bike with my own money.

So we went riding, and what a blast that was! First of all, being out in the woods and going up and down hills on these narrow trails is a kick. You never get going all that fast, but speed isn’t the point. That said, a bit of speed is the point when you’re going up and there’s a hump in the trail. “Whoops” as they’re called. You come up on that whoop and gun it and you’ll catch some air and that, I’m here to tell you, is fun. Catch several whoops in a row and you’re having serious fun. Did I mention that this can be addicting?

One big difference between riding in the dirt and riding on the street is that on the dirt you’re pretty much guaranteed to dump the bike from time to time. On the street that’s one of the biggest things you seek to avoid ever doing, but on the dirt it’s just part of the game. You don’t usually get hurt and neither does the bike.

Of course I dumped it more than once but I was right back up and on it and off down the trail. Talking about it at the end of the day I felt I had earned my wings when Johnathon told his dad, “Ken did pretty good. He even caught some air a few times.”

Not long afterward John sold the bikes and his trailer so I’ve never been back to the Rampart Range, and that was my only time to ride with them. But I got in some more dirt riding here and there and finally about four years ago got the V-Strom, which I consider a dual-sport bike, though some folks do not. But it has the suspension and it has the tires.

That day in the Rampart Range whetted my appetite as I started realizing how many, many unpaved roads there are through the Colorado mountains that I’ve never been on. I did finally pick the lock on my checkbook.

Biker Quote for Today

You know you’re a biker if your wife has ever asked you to move the bike so she could see the TV better.

Riding In The Boonies

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
Motorcycle at Gates of Lodore

One of the Beemers.

Judy and I just got back from a 10-day road trip (nope, by car) and we spent a lot of time in the boonies. The car has the serious dirt to confirm it.

And you know what? A lot of these way-out-there spots we were in we saw people on motorcycles.

For instance, we were up at the Gates of Lodore, which is in Dinosaur National Monument, up at the far northeast corner of the monument almost to Wyoming. The road to get there is not paved.

That didn’t discourage four guys from Colorado Springs who came rolling into the campground our second day there.

Leading the way was a guy on a KLR 650. Judy made note as he went by that he must be really tall because his knees were sticking way out to the side. The other three were on various Beemers, one of them so loaded you might have thought the guy was going around the world. They were a couple adventure-type bikes and what I took to be a GS 850.

So of course I had to go over and talk with them.

Judy was right. The guy on the KLR must have been 6-foot-4 at least and sitting on the bike with his feet on the ground he looked like I would look sitting on a scooter.

He told me that in the beginning they all had KLRs but one by one the other guys went to Beemers. He stuck with the KLR because it was light and he had no problem going lots of places where the other guys didn’t want to go. So he’ll sometimes take off and meet up with them again later, much as I like to do when I ride with the OFMC on my V-Strom and they don’t want to take their Harleys (and Indian) off pavement.

These guys had left Colorado Springs two days before and had spent one night at one guy’s condo in Frisco. The second night two of them got a motel in Meeker while the other two camped at Maybell. I’m guessing the heavily loaded guy was one of the campers.

The group was headed to the Flaming Gorge and I had not realized there were roads going through on up to Dutch John. Sort of. The road out of Maybell, CO 318, is paved to the state line and then Browns Park Road is gravel. You have to follow that all the way up into Wyoming to WY 373 coming down from Rock Springs along the east side of Flaming Gorge. Then go south to Dutch John on what becomes U.S. 191 once it gets into Utah. Probably about 30 miles on gravel.

And then they’d head home after a couple days at the gorge. Life is good when you and your buddies have motorcycles.

Biker Quote for Today

Never let your free spirit get trapped in a cage.

Two Dirt Riding Skills I Got But Don’t Get

Thursday, September 1st, 2016
Dirt Bike On A Hill

A day out on the V-Strom with Ron Coleman.

It’s a simple truth that you can do things even if you don’t understand what it is you’re doing or why. At the end of my dirt-biking lesson there were two such things I was left wondering about. Not that Mike and Kathy didn’t do their best to explain them, the idea just continued to see at odds with my thinking.

One had to do with riding a bike across a slope, traversing. You’re going one continuous direction with the slope angling down from one side to the other. Mike showed me to shift your weight to the downhill side with the idea that that allows your tires to get a better grip on the slope.

Here’s what I don’t get. If you want your tires to have as much good contact with the ground as possible it seems as though you would want to lean the bike enough so that, if the slope were completely level, your bike would be perfectly upright. That would mean putting your weight on the uphill side and leaning the bike to the downhill side. On the other hand, it seems as though putting weight on the downhill side would lean the bike at a very sharp angle to the sloped surface, putting you on the sides of the tires. Almost like if you really leaned a long way and the slope was steep, you would just lay the bike down on the side of the hill.

But no, the idea is to put your weight on the downhill side. If anyone thinks they can clarify this for me please, be my guest.

The second thing that didn’t really click was lifting the front tire to get up onto the beams. Mike insisted that I didn’t need to yank upward on the bike, that a good blip of the throttle would be all that was needed to elevate it. He even showed me, and I practiced, throwing my weight forward to compress the suspension and then blip the throttle as it came up to get really good lift. And he did some wheelies and demonstrated it all to me and made it look simple.

I couldn’t do it. Bouncing the suspension before blipping the throttle, no matter how many times I tried it, I never once got the tire off the ground. I couldn’t wheelie to save my life. And when it came to going over the beams I did blip the throttle but I also pulled back on the bars. I had no trouble getting over or onto the beams, but it wasn’t happening the way Mike said it should. Now, I was in second when I was doing this, and maybe if I had been in first I would have gotten more torque and more lift, I don’t know. One way or another, I was able to do what needed to be done, i.e., I got over the beams. But once again, if anyone thinks they can explain to me what else was going on I would appreciate anything you have to offer.

Biker Quote for Today

The purpose of life is to enjoy every moment on a motorcycle.

The Test Of My Developing Dirt Bike Skills

Monday, August 29th, 2016
Dirt Bike On Beam

First one beam, then two, and then two separated by a few feet.

After we rode Mike’s maze up to the house I needed to catch my breath. It’s a lot of work whipping a motorcycle around in an extended series of tight, extreme turns. Mike was ready to keep going. “What do you want to do next?” he asked.

I was loath to call it a day. I don’t get this kind of opportunity often enough. But just to ride the trail back to the track and then ride it to the house again felt like not enough. But Mike had an idea. We took the trail back to the track, this time with me in the lead.

So once again, tight turns where you have to turn your head absolutely as far as it can go in order to see the exit of the turn. Multiple times where the only thing to do to keep from falling over was to goose the throttle. Getting to be fun.

And then back at the track Mike set up the beams I had ridden straight over before into a couple end-to-end balance beams. The idea was to get up on the first beam, ride the length of it, and continue on the second one. This looked interesting!

It also turned out not to be too hard. I had a lot of times to work at it, too. It didn’t take long before I had made my first run the length of both of them. Most of the time I went off before I got to the end but that was no big deal. It wasn’t as if going off meant falling over; the bike just kept going but now I was on the ground. And sometimes I was hardly aware when I went off.

But of course Mike wanted to challenge me. So he separated the two beams by about two or three feet. Now the idea was to ride the length of the first one, come off, and then get up on the second one. This was a lot harder. Although I took my shot at it quite a few times, there was only one time when I was able to get down off the first and then up on the second. The rest of the time I just couldn’t get off the first and redirect quickly enough to get up on the second. But it was fun trying.

Then it was time to ride the maze/trail back up to the house to drop the bike I was using at the garage. Once again, riding the tight twists and turns, standing as much as I could, sitting as much as I needed to. And I was getting better and better. Which set me up for the real test. My own bike, my 650cc V-Strom, was down at the track. Kathy drove me back down to it and Mike came on his bike. I had two choices: just ride straight back to the house or take my V-Strom on Mike’s trail. We’re talking here a much heavier and less agile bike than these little dirt bikes I’d been on all day.

No one who knows me will be surprised I chose to take the trail. I mean, the whole point of getting some dirt bike training is so I will be more comfortable and more skilled at riding the V-Strom off pavement.

I was really glad Mike had suggested earlier that I put the bike in one gear and leave it there, avoiding having to even think about the clutch or shifting gears. You can do that on these bikes that rev really low. So off I went, whipping my bike hard around these turns that had seemed tight on a much smaller bike. And doing it. Wahoo! And then there were the times when it became suddenly very evident that this was not a dirt bike, and–most importantly–didn’t have dirt bike tires on it. My V-Strom has tires that are a compromise between full dirt and full street. They lean more heavily toward dirt but they’re not all-out dirt tires.

I counted three times in that run where that rear tire just came totally loose and started spinning out. In each case I dabbed, putting my foot down to keep the lean angle from going too far, and at the same time I goosed the throttle to make it stand up more. Was I thinking this all through in my head? Of course not, it was all just instinct coupled with experience. At times I ran way wide of the trail but no big deal, just head back to it as quickly as possible.

And then we were back at the house. Mike, ever the serious instructor, took another 10 minutes to discuss dirt riding etiquette with me and then I was headed home. And you know, their gravel road was just as simple and non-challenging as it could possibly be. That’s my objective right there.

Biker Quote for Today

A bike makes you a motorcyclist. Attitude makes you a biker.

Dirt Bike Skills Lesson Continues

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Bike Ran Off The Road

This rider was having a little too much fun and missed a turn in the road.

Next up after the break was something I had done before, except this was on steroids. In the Beginning Rider Course one of the things they work on with you is riding over obstacles in the road. The generic obstacle generally used is a 2×4.

Let’s face it, in real life, all you really have to do to go over a 2×4 is to go over it. It will be a bump but not much more. In this case, Mike substituted a 6×6 landscaping timber. Now we’re talking an actual obstacle. This is the kind of thing–size-wise–you could actually run into on a trail.

The key here is to shift your weight back on the seat and goose the throttle just before you get to it so as to drop the rear end of the bike down and bring the front up, and in the process unweight the front tire so it goes easily up and over. Then you need to instantly back off the throttle and slide forward on the seat. The first time I tried it I dumped the bike and went sprawling. No damage done to me or the bike. Get back on and try again. Mike said the problem was my timing; I hit the throttle too soon and had already lost my front-end loft before I just plowed head-on into the beam.

Next time–and really, every other time–I did better. That was my only dump for the day. Some times were smoother than others, and in more than a couple instances I got smacked soundly on the butt as the rear end went over the beam, jacking up in the air in the process. So it was cool–I had never gone over anything that large before. Good to have some practice.

And that was another thing. I was in a class of one student. That meant I could keep doing things over and over again until I felt like I had them down. It doesn’t work that way when there are a bunch of other students all wanting their crack at it.

So then we headed for the hills. Small hills. The deal was just to ride up the slope and arc around and come back down. The idea here was to get your weight forward on the uphill, swing your weight to the outside of the turn while turning, and then move your weight rearward while coming down the hill. This was not at all hard to do, it’s just a matter of learning that this is what you need to do in this situation.

After that we traversed the slope. That is, we went up on the slope and then rode across the side of the hill with the slope going up on one side and down on the other. And then down the slope. Then back the other direction. The one additional element was to put your weight on the downhill side of the bike, which was to give the tires as good a purchase on the surface as possible. I’ll have more to say about that in a later post. At my request, we did it a couple times and discussed exactly what was going on and why. Doing it was easy; once again it was a matter of learning that this is what you need to do.

And next we did some trail riding. Mike and Kathy have 35 acres, with the house up by the road and all the rest of the property down the hill to the rear. The training track is down where things level off again and the whole area between the track and the house is tall grass. Mike has mowed an extremely twisty trail all through this area with more than a few really tight turns. It’s good because there are no rocks, no holes, no logs, and so if you can’t quite make a turn you just run wide and it doesn’t matter in the least. But of course you want to stay on the path and make the turns. This is what you’ve been training for all day.

Off we went. Once again, making all these curves often required really, really turning your head way around to see into the turn. It was good that Mike had pointed out to me along the way that I would do best if I would put the bike in one gear and leave it there, rather than trying to work the clutch. Dirt bikes can rev very low without stalling so you just work the throttle. That gives your mind more bandwidth to process all the other things you’re trying to do at the same time.

Covering probably 15 times the distance it would have been in a straight line, we worked our way up to the house and if my recollection is correct, I made it all the way staying on the trail, no matter how tight the turns. And I was totally out of breath. Riding a dirt bike can be hard work!

OK, said Mike, what do you want to do next?

Biker Quote for Today

You know you’re becoming addicted to riding when you have rubbed your wife’s steering wheel raw trying to figure out why you can’t roll the throttle wide open.

Improving My Dirt-Riding Skills

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

I had been telling Kathy and Mike for years–literally–that I wanted to take their dirt-bike riding class and the time was finally right. I had the time, I had the money, and last week’s forecast called for a high on Sunday of 72. This is August and I didn’t want to roast out in the sun. I checked with Kathy and they had space available so I signed up. (Of course, come Sunday, the forecast was for a high of 86 that day. You take what you get.)

Ken On Dirt Bike

 A posed shot of me. No, I wasn't riding without gloves, this is just a posed shot.

A couple days later Kathy called me to say two students had canceled and the only other one was a 10-year-old girl who had never ridden a motorcycle. Did I want to do my class with her or would I prefer to come in the afternoon and have a class all to myself? I opted for the latter.

These guys live way out north of Strasburg so it’s a good ways out, and the final five miles or so are on gravel roads. Obviously I was going to be going on my V-Strom. But I wasn’t going to ride my V-Strom in the class; too many parts to break if the bike goes down. I would use one of their bikes.

I was a little antsy on the gravel, which of course is exactly why I was taking the course, so I can get more confident on that kind of stuff. I’ve been on some pretty rough roads but I don’t do it enough to really let it become a natural part of me. I’ll jump ahead right here and tell you that when I left, that gravel road was about as big a non-issue as it could possibly be. It’s all a matter of experience and familiarity.

The first thing we did was to work on riding while standing on the pegs and turning the bike by shifting your weight. I’m well accustomed to standing on the pegs but trying to steer just by shifting my weight is another matter. There were cones in a straight line and the idea was to slalom through them without using the handlebars. Let’s just say it would take a lot more practice for me to do this well, but I did manage to do kind of OK. Kind of. No half-day class is going to make you an expert; presumably you are introduced to some techniques that, if you practice, you will eventually get good at.

Next the idea was to ride from cone to cone while standing, up-shifting and then down-shifting, from the standing position. This entails slipping your foot forward to the shift lever and back away each time. And braking with the other foot as you come to a near stop at each cone, also shifting your foot forward and then back on the peg. The idea here is that you ride with your feet back far enough so that you don’t inadvertently shift or brake when you don’t want to. All that moving around of feet while trying to ride a motorcycle standing up does not come naturally. Again, I’d say I did kind of OK. More practice needed.

And then it was time to do some more slalom, only this time with the cones spread wide from side to side. On one side of the track they were widely spaced down the track; on the other they were tight, so that you almost had to make 180-degree turns to go back to the other side to the next cone. The idea here–besides shifting your body weight in a big way–is that you absolutely have to turn your head way around to look into the turn. I understand this. I learned long ago that the farther ahead you look in a turn the more smoothly you can take that turn. But this was a matter of turning far further than you ever would on the street.

So I did OK on the widely spaced cones. I totally failed to do so on the tightly spaced ones. I was grateful that Kathy confided to me that while Mike is good at doing those tight ones, she has never been able to do them herself. And Mike was very forthright that he had every intention of challenging me, throwing things my way that were not going to be easy. If they’re easy, how much are you really learning?

At that point it was time for a break. There was no shade (attempts they have made to create shade all just get blown away by the prairie winds) but at least sit and rest and consume copious amounts of fluids. And you bet my thighs were already burning from all the standing while riding. I was ready for a break.

Biker Quote for Today

Yes, I do have a retirement plan. I plan on riding.

Colorado BDR Ridden And Written In Motorcycle Explorer Magazine

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

I had never heard of Motorcycle Explorer magazine until Alan forwarded me a link. Apparently they’ve been putting this out for awhile; this is issue 11. And this May 2016 issue features a story about a ride a couple folks did of the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route.

So I was just looking through the magazine (it’s online only, and free as far as I can tell–I didn’t have to pay of join or anything to see it) and here was this feature article. Heck, I thought it was just a cool mag; I didn’t know it had local content. And it’s a 23-page piece with a lot of gorgeous pictures.

But here’s the kicker. On about the 22nd page there is a video. As they say on the page, “You don’t get this in a print mag ;)” And it’s a five-minute video they pair of riders put together from presumably GoPro footage they shot on the ride. Talk about getting a feel for the ride and almost being there!

So I really do recommend you go to the magazine and read it and look at the pictures but I’m going to cheat a little and give you the video right here. It’s on YouTube, after all.

Now, here’s another interesting thing. I went to this magazine on the web and got to this month’s issue. I wanted to get to a home page where I could see other issues. What I came upon was a web publishing platform that people can use to publish their online magazines. It allows you to peruse apparently every magazine published on their platform. There are categories and one category is motorcycles.

And boy oh boy, are there a lot of motorcycle magazines out there online! I see things like Louisiana Biker, On The Pegs, Ministry of Superbike, Trials & Enduro News, and a whole lot more, including a bunch of local Thunder Roads pubs. Very cool.

OK, I just did some more poking around and yes, Motorcycle Explorer is free and you can even subscribe. That’s probably true of the others as well. It’s gotten a lot harder making money with a magazine these days but once you put it together it’s sure a lot easier to get it out there to an audience of the whole world. Happy reading.

Biker Quote for Today

The road less traveled is a road worth riding.

Idaho BDR Keeps Going and Going

Monday, March 21st, 2016

You’re going to have to be a serious, serious off-road, adventure bike type of rider if you intend to do the Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route, as laid out on the Butler Maps map of that name. Not because it is so tough, but because it goes a long, long way. Not just from the bottom of Idaho to the top, but also because it takes a side-trip into Montana. I assume that is because that allows you to see some great parts of the state but also because there may not be any roads straight through–unless you want to do 50 miles of pavement. That would kind of defeat the whole BDR concept.

cover of Idaho BDR map

The Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route map from Butler.

The route starts at Jarbridge, Nevada, and heads north through dry desert prairie, which Idaho has a lot of in the south. Once you get past I-84 you get to the mountains and that’s where the fun begins. Plan on just running north through the hills for, oh, 700 miles. Now, how can that be? What I see tells me Idaho is only 479 miles from north to south. I’m thinking that’s the difference between going in a straight line and following the contours of the land. A lot of traversing up and down will do that for you.

When you reach the Clearwater River, a little outside of Grangeville, the route turns east and runs through the area of the Frank Church Wilderness. That’s about another 100 miles. Then you’re into Montana and have a lot of highway to get north to Lolo. There’s more pavement here than there would have been staying in Idaho so I’m guessing the route was determined based on not wanting to miss some great country. You came to ride, didn’t you?

From Lolo you go up over Lolo Pass on the pavement but on the other side you leave the highway and get back into the dirt. And a lot more mountains until you get to Pierce, where the road turns north again. And then it’s hills and more hills until you finally get near Canada, where the dirt options are limited. And if you do the entire thing, Butler says you’ll be covering a total of 1,253 miles. I said you had to be serious to do this whole thing.

It’s not all riding in the mountains, though. The map points out a lot interesting places to go and sites to visit along the way. There are hot springs, viewpoints, historical sites, waterfalls, and more.

Let’s face it: there probably aren’t many people who are going to do this whole ride end to end. So pick a section and do that. I’ve been up in that country and I can tell you, I’d be glad to take a couple weeks just enjoying the riding. And the sitting. And the camping. Idaho is an incredible place. If you haven’t been there you’re missing something. Go find out what.

Biker Quote for Today

Life without pleasurable pursuits is hardly worth living, and while the best things may be free, some pretty excellent ones cost money and have wheels. — Paul D’Orleans

A Weighty Motorcycle Topic

Monday, December 28th, 2015
Dirt Bike Training

Balance and shifting of weight are important at slow speeds.

I’ve had my V-Strom for a couple years now and while I’ve been off the pavement a number of times with it I really want to do so a lot more. Now, in previous years I have gone on some good rides in the dirt with Ron Coleman but we didn’t get out this year.

What we did do, though, was spend a little time in a nearby empty lot working on slow speed maneuvers. Ron has a lot more off-road experience than me and he figured he’d help me with my skills.

It turned out, however, that I actually am more advanced than he expected. He wanted to teach me about trail-braking and he started off by demonstrating. Now you try it, he said. So I did, going in tight circles and figure 8s and while I wasn’t as good as he was he immediately saw that I was no novice.

So, not to make assumptions, but you do know what trail-braking is, don’t you? If not you really ought to learn. It’s just a matter of revving the engine while pressing lightly on the rear brake as you make slow-speed maneuvers. Revving the engine bumps up the gyroscope effect of the engine, creating stability, while using the brake keeps you going slow. Done right you can move at walking pace and just walk around in circles or–more usefully–make a U-turn in a tight area.

But Ron was making his turns tighter than I was and that’s where he was able to teach me something. It was counter-balancing. Making those tight turns he didn’t just rev and trail-brake, he leaned way off the seat to the side away from the turn. The more you can lean the bike the tighter you can turn, but you don’t want to lean the bike so far it falls down. If you lean way off in the other direction your center of gravity remains stable and you don’t go down.

I’m accustomed to leaning in the turns at speed, but this is different. When racers go around curves you’ve seen them leaning way off into the curve, scraping knees and elbows. Same principle in the opposite direction. At speed like that the idea is to shift your weight off so the bike can stay more upright and not low-side on you. At walking speed you lean the bike, not your body, into the curve and shift your body the other direction to counter the weight of the bike.

So I tried it and sure enough, I could make those turns even tighter. I wasn’t really good at it and was a bit unsure, so I definitely need to practice. And I will. And I’ll become a better rider. Thanks Ron.

Biker Quote for Today

Straights are for fast bikes, turns are for fast riders.

Utah BDR A To-Die-For Ride

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

I’ve said more than once that in my opinion Utah is the most beautiful state in the US. You can see a lot of it from the pavement but imagine what more you could see if you got off the pavement!

Utah Backcountry Discovery Route

Part of the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route.

That’s where the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR) comes in. The folks at Butler Maps, along with the folks at Touratech and others, have been doing a series of these exercises, charting–and then riding to make sure it works–routes across entire states mostly off the pavement. For Utah that route runs north-south but with all the twists and turns to conform with topography it must be double the miles vs. as the crow flies.

At the south end the route starts where US 163 comes into the state a little southwest of Mexican Hat. A bit north of Mexican Hat the route leaves the highway, heading up along something called Valley of the Gods Road. Now, that sounds promising.

The next prominent area I see on the map is a stretch through the Manti-La Sals. These are a cluster of mountains that I’ve looked at and admired for years. But I’ve never gotten into them. All the paved roads go around them.

This would be a good time to mention that this map more than others has warnings that you will want to pay attention to. In more than one place it says “Roads may be impassable when wet.” Boy, is that an understatement. I remember talking to Bill Eakins when they were developing this route and he told me of going out on a sidetrip at one point and getting caught in rain. While only a few miles from camp, it took hours to get back due to the mud that just cakes the tires.

We had a similar experience with cars quite a few years ago. We were headed to the north end of Canyonlands and drove all night to get there, reaching the road to Island in the Sky just before dawn. We drove in over from ground but as the sun came up it started to thaw. The mud got worse and worse till we finally decided we had better turn around. But by then, everything we had already been through had gotten much, much worse. We got out and pushed three cars for miles, taking most of the day, getting ourselves and the cars caked in red mud. Jerry told us years later that every time he washed that car for as long as he owned it there would always be red dirt on the driveway afterward.

The other warnings are where orange highlighted routes branch off from the normal yellow. These are marked, “Alternate Route, Experts Only.” Yeah, we’re separating the men from the boys here.

Further north, in the area west of Duchesne, the route runs up through the Wasatch Range, an area I’m familiar with. But you can bet you’ll be seeing parts of those mountains you’ll never see from the road. And they’re pretty beautiful from the road.

At the north end, the route comes out at Bear Lake, at Garden City. When you get here, even if you aren’t following the Utah BDR, you’ve got to stop and have a raspberry milkshake. It’s the specialty of the town. Good way to cap off your ride.

Biker Quote for Today

On a bike, no one ever asks, “Are we there yet?”