Thursday, July 27, 2017

TAT 2017 Post 19 07/27/17

Back on the TAT. We left Moab at 6:15 am heading for Castle Dale, UT. We knew we had around 218 miles to cover through the desert with very little information on what the road conditions would be or how fast of pace we would be able to achieve. We assumed the worse of 20 mph average based on riding over 2500 miles of the TAT so far. That would be a 10-hour day.

We were cutting a short section off the TAT because we had ridden it as part of the Moab Day-1 local ride; Gemini Bridges Road. That section is very interesting and several of the riders wanted to do it again but all agreed we needed to make time if it actually turned into a 10 hour day.

The actual riding conditions turned out to be much better than anticipated. We covered 210 miles in 7 hrs 57 min with an average moving speed of 30.2 mph. Temperatures got up to 101 max but it only got hot when we weren’t moving.

Route details. There is no shade in this part of the world. The TAT from Moab to Castle Rock has lots of variation; some good, some bad. It includes:
  • ·      Gravel roads - lots of these
  • ·      Sand – when you least expect it. Mostly in the lower sections where rain wash-outs has gone across the road. Even some sand dunes.
  • ·      Hard packed with embedded rocks
  • ·      Mud – It had rained hard the day before our departure so there were still occasional mud holes.
  • ·      Hardened truck tracks – from the rain the day before (These almost caused several downed bikes)
  • ·      Deep ditches a foot wide and a foot deep across the road – caused by rain erosion. If traveling at high speed, you don’t have time to slow down before you bottom out your suspension and possibly bend a rim or blow out a tire.
  • ·      Loose dirt 4” deep left by a road grader
  • ·      Beautiful scenery in some places and lots of flat nothing in most of the other areas

Because our support truck had to stay in Moab to pick up the overnight delivered push rod, our planned intercept as we crossed I-70 for fuel didn’t happen. The ride from Moab to Green River was 60 miles in cool temperatures. We fueled up and got a snack at a gas station and then headed for a 100-mile loop through the desert to return to I-70 northbound. We encountered most of the conditions listed above on the 100-mile loop but we still kept our speed average up around 30 mph. Temperatures were getting up to 100 by this time.

When we got back to I-70 we stopped under I-70 (only shade) to top off the fuel tanks with the RotoPax carried by most of the riders. We had 46 miles to go to get to Castle Dale so we had to determine if everyone had enough fuel to make it. The only fuel available was 27 miles away from what my GPS told me.

We got back on the trail and rode the last 46 miles through the most interesting potion of this section. The last 30 miles (north of I-70) was through twisting canyons with high rock formations on both sides.

We arrived at the only motel in Castle Dale, for which we had reservations, and found it closed. A sign on the door said there had been a local power outage and they would be back at 4 pm. The temperature was 101. Michael had picked up the push rod in Moab and his ETA at Castle Dale was around 2 hours after our arrival. We were all in our hot riding gear and boots. We couldn’t get into our motel rooms for several hours. Our clothes were in the support truck and wouldn’t arrive for an hour or more. Crap!

We rode our bikes to the Submarine shop to get into air conditioning and get a cold drink. After being there for a while we got a call from the motel saying they were sending someone to check us in ASAP. Within 30 minutes we have our rooms but are still wearing our riding clothes AND BOOTS. Michael arrived an hour or so later and we finally got to change into our civilian clothes and get cold beer out of the Yeti.

One comment about this route. If it’s dry then no a big issue, just hot and dusty. If it is wet then I would expect a lot of slow moving due to wash-outs and mud. We crossed numerous places where it was obvious they have flash flooding when they get heavy rain.

Now for the non-riding events. Several of the guys want to get home a day early. Our original plan was to ride to Delta, UT on the TAT tomorrow. We would all spend Friday night then leave the TAT early next morning to ride to the Salt Lack City airport. This would be on pavement (135 miles). We would spend Saturday night at SLC then 5 riders would fly home on Sunday; Michael and I would then head back to Arkansas in the truck with the bikes.

New plan: We will ride to Delta tomorrow but then load all the bikes onto the trailer tomorrow afternoon. I will then take leave the trailer and bikes with Michael and drive all five riders to SLC to catch a flight either later tomorrow night or Saturday. I will then drive back to Delta to spend the night and Michael and I will head home to AR early Saturday morning.

This plan is still in flux but for now we all get home at least one day early. Since the ride from Delta to SLC isn’t on the TAT, we don’t feel like we are missing anything.

KTM 690 – Jeff installed the new throw-out bearing push rod and now the ReKluse works. The issue with the original one is it isn’t hardened steel and the top had mushroomed out. This reduced the amount of movement of the ReKluse thus making it not disengage. If you have a KTM 690, this is something to check because it happens on non-ReKluse bikes also.

More tomorrow night.

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