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Thread: Gravel bad, Pavement Gooood ... Our Ride story

  1. #1
    Moderator/RiderCoach 10,000 Posts! Clair's Avatar
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    Gravel bad, Pavement Gooood ... Our Ride story

    Alternate Titles for this ride ...

    The Blast Furnace Tour
    The Rain and Cold Tour
    The "My #$%&@ Ass hurts Tour
    Name 3 idiots who decided to ride the desert in July?
    Name 3 idiots who decided to climb Independence pass in the rain?
    Jeff's Red Light Tour
    Clair's "Oops, missed the turnoff" tour
    Todd's "Gravel Bad, Pavement Good" tour
    The Masking Tape and Zip Tie tour
    Two Cruisers and a Sporty Tour
    Two Old Guys and a Kid Tour
    Three camelbacks, no camels Tour

    Friday, July 22 ... Clair and Todd Depart SLC

    Bike loaded up, T-Bags full of gear. I have no idea what to take. Supposed to be hot as hell, but we'll be going over mountain passes too. Hurricane Emily is supposed to give us rain ... probably over packed but what the heck, I'm not carrying the pack on my back. LOL I fuel up and head out to meet Todd down town. Excited, this is gonna be a fun ride. Worried too though, not sure how much rain we'll hit and my tires aren't the best. I will have to get them replaced next week. Not bald yet, but not much tread depth any more.

    I meet Todd at McD's and we grab a bite to eat. Then we're off. Both of us have our camelbacks with us. SUpposed to get near of over 100 today ... NOT gonna be fun. Todd has dubbed me the Silver Power Ranger as I have my new Olympia Airglide pants and my FG MeshTex 2 jacket on, both are silver. Riding in shorts is nice in the heat. LOL We head up I-80 flying nicely. Cool morning so far, maybe things will be okay? We then head on to Hwy 40 which begins the BORING part of our ride. HWY 40 is fairly straight and boring and we need to take it about 180 miles to Vernal. Oh well, we're riding, right? I have the lead since I have the shorter range on my tank.

    We feul up in Duchesne about two hours later. Butt hurts. I'm hating my Mustang seat. Todd and I yapp for a few minutes, just resting, excited about meeting Jeff. heat is starting to come into play now, so we're chugging water. When we reach Vernal it's damn hot so we stop for some Ice Cream and to try to find some shade. One minor oops here ... we left our helmets on the bikes during this stop ... they got all nice and toasty HOT. Nothing like having it be hot outside and then putting a hot helmet on. LOL

    Our next stop will be Rangely CO for gas. However, I miss the turnoff for Rangely and end up taking a different route down. Oops. It wasn't a bad ride though, fairly scenic road and very little traffic on it, but damn it was a blast furnace at times. Temps easily into the 90's now. Mesh and Airglide pants not withstanding, it was still friggin hot. Thank God for the camelback. In rangely we fuel up, suck down water, and take a break again. Have I mentioned I hate my Mustang seat?? Oh yeah, and Todd hates his stock seat. This is not a good sign for the next few days. LOL

    We then head south toward Grand Junction on CO 139. Very nice road, nice and curvy and pretty terrain. There's a mountain pass on it around 8,000-ish feet so for a while we were slowly going UP, which meant cooler. YAY. Todd and I were enjoying this part, working the turns. The posted speed limit signs were annoying though ... they'd slow you down to 25 mph for sections ... that Todd and I could have done at 50 easily. Not sure why they were posted that low. Then we began the climb up the pass. Very scenic and some good turns. I'm feeling it, lean, shift the weight, look through the turn, ah yes, this is riding ... and then there was the #@$&* in the camper. The guy could not do more than 15-20 miles and hour going up through the turns, and of course we had double yellow lines. No passing. Crap. I basically puttered behind him in 2nd gear till we crested the top. The annoying part was he had several pull outs he could have pulled into to let all the traffic by him, but he didn't. UGH.

    Anyway, down we go ... WEEEEE. Rounding the curves, 180's, the valley below us. Oh yeah, then there was that sign that said "open range" and around the next right hand turn we had ... COWS. Yep, about 10 of them on the road. That was fun. As we got lower and closer to Grand Junction it got hotter ... and hotter ... welcome to teh friggin blast furnace. It was 103 in Grand Junction. Jeez. We had about 20 miles on I-70 we had to go, and even at 80+ mph it was too friggin hot. UGH. Mesh and Air gear can only do so much for ya, you know?

    We find the Super-8 and check in. Todd has beaten us there by about half an hour. First thing Todd and I do is get down to Shorts and loose shirts. God it was hot. We all down ice cold water and stand by the AC. LOL Intro's are done and we're immediately yapping like we've known each other for years. That's the the really cool part of this ... you meet a fellow BB'er and it's like you've known them for years. We were immediately comfortable and talking. We opted to go get some food and headed down to the local Applebees for some grub. Basically anyplace with AC would have done. LOL

    From there we decided to go ride the Colorado National Monument ... at 5:00 PM, the hottest part of the day. It's 103 out, not a cloud in the sky. LOL yeah, we're smart. Anyway, Jeff has the lead and this is where we learned a trait of Jeff's ... he likes to find red lights ... every single damn one of them! LOL My god he has a talend for this. Anyway, up we go into the park. Very scenic. Road goes along the cliff ... so imagine a 1000 foot verticle drop off along the side of the road. The "guard rail" is a stone thing about maybe 1 foot high. Designed to help get you flipping and spinning as you go off, I'm sure. We talke some pics and enjoy the nice twisty road. Fun ride.

    Then, it happened ... our mantra for the rest of the ride came into fruition. Our new theme ... Gravel Bad, Pavement Gooooood. See, Todd went down ahead to take some pics of Jeff and I. He pulled over off the road but hit some gravel, deep stuff. Front tire slid out, bike went down on Todd!!! :-O Meanwhile, Jeff and I have no idea, we're further back up the road. When we get down to Todd, we notice he isn't taking pics, but rather is taking parts off his bike. In the end, he broke his left front turnsigne, scratched up his windshield, and broke his left side saddlebag support (though we wouldn't realize that till Sunday). Some masking tape and Zip ties and Todd's ready to roll.

    We had back to the hotel and crash. Thus endeth Day #1 ... The Blast Furnace day.
    Last edited by Clair; 07-25-2005 at 09:25 AM.
    Ride safe, ride smart, ride ATGATT because sweat dries faster than scars heal

    2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC
    2009 Kawasaki ER-6N

    * If you love your bike set it free. If it comes back to you, you've High Sided


  2. #2
    Moderator/RiderCoach 10,000 Posts! Clair's Avatar
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    Saturday, July 23, The Blast Furnace meets Emily

    Amazing how riding can help ya sleep. Todd and I put on about 370 miles or so on Friday, and with the heat we were drained. Good sleep that's for sure. Anyway, the three of us got up and walked down to Denny's for some food. We needed something in us and the Denny's was within walking distance. We load up the bikes, get on them ... OUCH ... and head off. Some clouds hanging around, but nothing nasty. Hopefully we'll have good weather all through this part of the ride. Already hot though ... that's not gonna be fun.

    We head down to Montrose from which we'll start to head East. Jeff in the lead, then me and then Todd. We get into town, and of course Jeff starts finding us all the Red lights to stop at. LOL Anyway, when we're supposed to turn left to stay on HWY 50 ... a cop waives us on straight. WTF? Okay now what? Not like there are any signs telling us where to go. So we go down a few streets and turn left, paralleling the road we want. I pull over and tell Jeff I want gas, even though we only have 60 miles on the tank or so. I only have a range of about 135 or so before reserve and I want to top off. So, I take the lead and we finally get around the reason why the road is closed ... some kind of town fair or something. Lovely. Anyway, I top off, but Jeff and Todd decide not too ... they have larger tanks. This will come into play a little later ... LOL

    We then take a side trip into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison national monument. Fun road leading into it ... except for the gravel in one turn. The park contains this very deep chasm that is very impressive.. You wouldn't expect to see it from the surrounding land. Just suddenly, there's this chasm that is over 1000 feet straight down. The road through the park was a blast, always twisty and curvy. This was a well worth it side trip, but I'm glad I fueled up as it added about 40-50 miels to the trip. Jeff would pay for that. LOL

    From here we begin our eastward journey toward Gunnison CO. Nice road, fun curves and a kewl lake. But, like NO towns really, which means NO gas stations. Jeff is starting to panic here ... he needs some gas. We do pull into one gas station we see, which has a gravel parking lot of course, but they only had 85 octane gas, so we bagged them and went on. I'm watching Jeff ride, tucking more into his bike, drafting the truck in front of him. Good thing I topped off my tank, I'm thinking. LOL We eventually find a station that Jeff reaches on fumes. We all gas up and have some more ice cream. Damn it's hot. From there we make it to gunnison for Lunch. It's hot out.

    I can see clouds really building up over the mountains to our east. This heat is gonna do that. That is gonna make things interesting if we can't avoid it. As we leave Gunnison continueing east the clouds are darker and lightning is around. Oh lovely. However, so far we're able to avoid it all, just to the north and south of us. Hmm, maybe we'll be okay. We then ride up to Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet. LOTS of clouds now. LOL The bike does okay climbing the road, though I'm doing it in 3rd and 4th gear. Long, steep, curvey FUN road, but 3rd gear gave me the Oomph I needed to accelerate up, and 4th the cruise. Air is thinner up there, ya know? At the top we run into some other bikers and after Todd and I make a "pit stop" we chat with them for a bit and take our pics at the sign. You know, the "we were here" thing. LOL All us riders now put on at least our rain jackets as we're gonna get it on the way down. Crap. And we do hit rain on the way down, but not for very long or very heavy. My Wal-Mart rain jacket is working nicely.

    In the valley we pull over and shed the rain gear ... too hot. However, the sky is all clouds now so we know it's only a matter of time. The clouds are very dar, and menacing really, and lightning, oh the lightning ... Anyway, we head up towardf Bueno Vista on Hwy 24 where we fuel up and start to contemplate some alternatives. Take our original route where we KNOW we're gonna get wet, or try to avoid the pass and head up to I-70 and then back track torward Glenwood SPrings. We decide to go up to the turnoff and then decide. Ah, riders, always up for the challenge.

    At the turnoff for Independence pass ... man it's ugly. Dark Stormy ... but we WANT to take the pass, ya know? So, we say WTF, let's do it, and we put on our rain gear. Me, I'm going for the yellow banana Wal-Mart look ... should have known better since I had better gear with me, but I'll get to that. ANyway, it's raining on us now, a good steady rain. Lovely. have I mentioned I really have never ridden in the rain? only one time for about 10 minutes, that's it. That's my rain riding experience. Oh, and did I mention my tires are nearly bald, not much tread depth left?? Um, should I be doing this? It's a mountain pass at over 12,000 feet high ... Of course I should, dammit!

    We take off, Jeff, then me, then Todd. Jeff sets a perfect pace for me, slow and steady, letting me build my confidence on the road. I'm SO glad I have a look over windshield too as at least this way I can get the water off my shield. How you folks do it with look through's I don't know. Anyway, about half way up Jeff pulls over to let some traffic by us. The cagers can go faster then we are going to go, ya know? At this point Todd, who's busting a gut, tells me he's been seeing bits of yellow flying in the wind and on the road ... and it's my pants! They've disintegrated!!! LOL Okay, walmart top, okay, walmart pants suck. OOps, embarrassing moment there. So, I put on my real riding pants. My Olympia Airglide pants come with a waterproof insulated liner and quite honestly I should have put them on first. They go on easy and were nice and dry. Oh, at this stop Todd finds some sleet/hail on the ground ... lovely.

    We continue on, up, up, nice and slow. Some very tight 180's that we take in 1st doing maybe 10 mph. Man, oh man, don't think about slipping, just ride the turn, do the BRC head turn thing ... but ... WE MAD IT. We made it to the top ... and it's friggin COLD up there. Cold, Rainy, thunder, lightling. We do the quick photo op and head back down. Rain most of the way down, but we're all confident now and Jeff has a really good pace going down. So fun. So VERY glad we did it, rain and all. I have to admit it, riding in the rain was fun.

    Getting long here, part 2 in the next post.
    Ride safe, ride smart, ride ATGATT because sweat dries faster than scars heal

    2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC
    2009 Kawasaki ER-6N

    * If you love your bike set it free. If it comes back to you, you've High Sided


  3. #3
    Moderator/RiderCoach 10,000 Posts! Clair's Avatar
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    Saturday Continued

    So, we get down the mountain and I'm just Jazzed, damn that was fun. I want to go do it again someday when it's dry and we can enjoy the scenery and the road, ya know?

    As we near Aspen, the rain picks up again. We'd have a good steady rain for the next 60 miles. The lightning strikes were very impressive to see too. As we get into Aspen Jeff opts to just go right through ... we're running behind schedule and have a way to go, and night time riding in the rain is not what we want to do. In town I have Todd pass me, I want the Tail End Charlie slot. It's fun to watch other riders, ya know? I'm watching Todd and Jeff spash though the water on the road, small rooster tails flying up. It was never fun though when we'd com upon the stretches of water that were running on the road ... never know how deep those are. But we all did fine. My bike did wonderfully in the rain, never a slip or slide. One Tar Snake made me wiggle once, but other than that it was a good fun stable ride. I LOVE MY VN750.

    As we near Glenwood Springs, our destination for this night, it's getting darker and gloomier. At one point I notice Jeff do what looks to be a head duck or something. I start to wonder what that was for when I see Todd do something Similar. Just as I begin to wonder why I hit it ... a VERY NASTY cross wind from our right side, out of nowhere. WHAM it hit hard. That got the adreniline going, let me tell you. But we got to GS with no issues, other than the rain, and got checked in. Unpacking the bikes in the rain, that's fun. Jeff got us a kewl hotel that enabled all three of us to share a room. We grabbed dinner next door ... some place we could walk. Our butts hurt too much to ride, and with the rain we didn't want to do that. After dinner Todd and I did a beer run in the rain. The rest of the night was spent yapping, drinking, and at some point I fell asleep. LOL

    A great second day of rinding. Blast Furnace heat in the morning, cold rain in the afternoon / evening. over 10 hours of riding. Did I mention my butt hurt? Have I mentioned I'm hating my Mustang seat??
    Ride safe, ride smart, ride ATGATT because sweat dries faster than scars heal

    2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC
    2009 Kawasaki ER-6N

    * If you love your bike set it free. If it comes back to you, you've High Sided


  4. #4
    Moderator/RiderCoach 10,000 Posts! Clair's Avatar
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    Sunday, July 24, ... Time to go home

    Sadly, all good things must come to and end, and this day we must travel home. Todd and I back to SLC Utah, and Jeff to Longmont CO. It's kind of a downer, but also a good thing. We all wake up, kinda sorta, shower, and walk down to get something to eat. We recount the last two days events, how much fun we've had. We know our new mantra is "Gravel Bad, Pavement Good" and we want to make tee shirts for it. LOL It's a breakfast filled with biker talk. We make plans to let each other know when we get home too.

    Back at the hotel, it's no longer raining, though the bikes are wet. We pack our gear and start to load the bikes. Man, none of us want to get on the bikes. I mean, we all want to ride, but we know what's awaiting our butts. LOL We head to get some gas and say our final goodbyes. Sort of a sad moment really, but I'm ready to get home. I have a fiance I want to see. Hopefully, all of us can avoid the rain for this trip.

    Todd and I head west along I-70 for about 25 miles and then head north on HWY 13. Very nice road, not much traffic and there were some nice curves and ups/downs. Fun road and scenic. Just nice farm and ranch land. I was enjoying it. We were getting sprinkles every now and then, but nothing that warrented any rain gear. Then, we hit this road sign ... PAVEMENT ENDS AHEAD ... LOOSE GRAVEL NEXT 3 MILES. Ah crap !!!!

    And they weren't kidding either, NO pavement at all. Just dirt ... or compressed mud really. Lots of gravel too. You really had to stay in a tire lane otherwise you'd be down. We had been passed by two speedy Kawi Tourers before this point ... Todd and I doing aobut 70-75 mph, they were doing 85+ ... but on this stuff we quickly caught up to them. NOT a fun section for motorcycles I can tell you. In some ways, you had to ride the bike like you would a snowmobile ... just aim the bike ahead and let it move under you from side to side. We couldn't get through those three miles fast enough I can tell ya.

    Further on ahead we turned west on HWY 64 toward Rangely. We still got some sprinkles but again, nothing bad. Another fun road really, nice and curvy and the scenery was nice. The posted speed limit was 65 but it was hard to stay at 70 ... I kept creeping up to 75. LOL. To this point, the ride had been good, cool with cloud cover. But once in Rangely the sun was out and the temps up. So, off came the jacket liner and long sleeve shirt. Oh, and we needed a butt break. At ever stop, almost in unison, Todd and I would scream out our new mantra "F**K My Ass HURTS" !!! LOL

    Sadly, the fun part of the ride ended in Rangely. From this part on we'd be on HWY 40 heading west and this road is damn boring. Boring, boring, boring. We grabbed something to eat in Vernal and then took off. Did I mention the road was boring and Todd and I were hot and tired? Well ... going through Roosevelt I kinda zoned out ... and missed the turn that kept you on HWY 40. Todd, knowing I've lost it, eventually gets me to notice him behind me and he informs me I've blundered. So, Todd takes the lead and gets us back on the right road. Gawd we were bored.

    In Duchesne we fuel up, give our butts a break, yell out our new Mantra and suck down some water. We contemplate rain gear ... it's dark ahead, but decide to not do it, and a good thing too. No rain but more heat is what we found. Anyway what I haven't menioned is that July 24 is a fricken holiday here in Utah. "Pioneer Day" ... it's a Mormon Holiday and basically THE holiday of the year. Nothing is bigger. Not July 4, not Christmas, nothing. So we start to pick up traffic and people doing really stupid things. I'll let Todd fill in more of this, but let's say at one point Todd gave the official Salute to one car as we passed it. LOL

    The bad thing about heading home is you can never get there fast enough. "God, we're only in Duchesne" ... "God, we're only in Heber" ... "God, we're only in Park City" ... Everything just drags. You just want to get home. And, with our butts just screaming ... have I mentioned I hate my new Mustang seat??? ... this just made it a longer journey. But, we did get home, Todd splitting off to go into town, me heading further south to my home. I got home before the rain, yeah.

    So, for me, the tally is:

    1,063 miles for the trip according to the GPS
    1,096 miles according to the bike odometer
    19 hours 55 minutes actual moving time
    24 hours plus of riding trip time
    Max speed according to the GPS: 82.7 mph
    50 mpg average for the trip, 56.2 mpg high point, 46.1 mpg low point

    All in all a great trip, filled with everything. Heat, rain, cold. Fun roads, boring roads. Good scenery. It was great to meet Jeff and to ride with him. This trip was well worth it and I look foward to another one soon ... when my butt has recovered. For now, I rest my butt and order new tires for the bike.
    Ride safe, ride smart, ride ATGATT because sweat dries faster than scars heal

    2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC
    2009 Kawasaki ER-6N

    * If you love your bike set it free. If it comes back to you, you've High Sided


  5. #5
    Awesome write up Clair. Dang sorry I missed it though kinda glad I stayed home since I had a couple of technical difficulties with my Vulcan this weekend. Sad to hear about your Mustang seat since I've been looking at that for a replacement for the stock seat (which I only get about 80 miles on before my butt starts hurting).

    Bummer about Todd's bike too. Gravel SUCKS.

    Will definitely be there for the next one when it happens......

    Ant
    "Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you."
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    Former Rides - 1995 Kawasaki VN750, 02 BMW F650GS (*sigh*), 93 Suzuki Katana 1100

  6. #6
    Flirting With The Redline Regnaston's Avatar
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    Great write ups.

    Sucks for Todd on that first day though
    I am an enigma wrapped in a conundrum

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  7. #7
    BBO Communications Liaison 5000 Posts! RockyMtnRoadRash's Avatar
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    I hate Gravel.

    I also hate stupid cagers.

    I won't belabor the "beware of gravel" point, but suffice it to say that heavy bikes with big fatty tires handle like rowboats in the gravel. My Volusia and Gravel don't mix. I'm going to go by Honda/Suzuki after work and see what a stock replacement turn signal costs. I have a sneaky suspicion it'll be quite a bit. If it is, screw it. The stocker signals interfere with the lowers anyway, and there's ample aftermarket signals to be had.

    I love touring, I've decided. I need a seat+highway bars, but that's easy enough to do. Touring is awesome. Exploring out of the way roads like independence pass is one of the most fun things I can think of to do. I had a moment of clarity as we were coming down the twisty road in the rain towards Aspen. I was loving it. I was damp, cold, and enjoying every moment of it.

    Roads near home are ok. Roads far from home you've never explored before are incredible. I loved it all, except for the boring painful parts. New seat, Highway bars, and I'll be set. The paved world will be my playground.

    On Cagers: I hate em.

    First, we pass Strawberry reservoir and are stuck in predictable camper hell. Dear People: A 1/4 ton pickup truck is NOT a towing vehicle. Please stop pretending it is. Just because it can move your camper on flat roads does not make it suitable to take your camper into the mountains. Shockingly, people are being pretty considerate, the ski boat pulls off to let everybody by, and the camper graciously pulls into the right lane on the hill. Zoom! We go by, and as we crest the hill we.. SUV!

    This stupid Pacifica SUV-Crap-Wagon fails to see the yellow jacket and high beam, and pulls out in front of us, then decides there's no reason to accelerate to road speed. I end up braking hard, with Clair right next to me doing the same. 75 to 30 in seconds. Once I'm assured I'm down to the cage's speed I'm so mad I can't even get a finger up, and I just wave the fist of fury at my new pal the cager. Further down the hill I get a chance to pass and give them the one-finger salute on the way by. Feeling much better, I open her up a little and cruise. We're coming down towards Heber, which means only an hour until I get home and I can... HAY WAGONS!

    Slow down again to 35 mph. I don't hate the haywagon guys or anything, since they were doing the best they could on a steep grade and a road with no shoulder. It was at that moment that I realized somebody, somewhere was having a good laugh at me. We passed the wagons eventually. After that things were pretty much the norm. We hit Park City and my commute-robot took over driving, giving me access to psychic powers of cager prediction. Up the hill, all the little Civics and Escorts clog up the fast lanes, desperatly trying to flog their engines over 70. Then you top the hill, blast out ahead of the trucks, and get the heck out of the fast lane. All the econo-boxes now blow by at 85-90, until the curves where they slow down to 65 and bunch up like idiots.

    The last bit of fun came at a stoplight near my house. A little civic with two high school kids in it did the rev and inch at the stoplight. I didn't think much of it. Let them think they're tough. The light turns and the civic, inexpertly piloted, lurchs off the line and pauses while the driver shifts. I was fine, but then BOTH of the little buggers look back at me with big grins on their faces.

    Fuck it. Little shits. Lemme introduce you to my friend low-end torque. Open throttle SHIFT Open throttle SHIFT open throtlle SHIFT and I'm at 40 mph, the speed limit, with civic's screaming engine two blocks behind in my rearview. The Volusia's not much for top speed, but she'll dust a civic off the line without breaking a sweat.
    -RMRR
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  8. #8
    Contributor We've stopped counting... MsPotatoPotatoHead's Avatar
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    I just want to know how Clair so cleverly managed to mess up your pretty new bike without even being near it? He's more devious than I thought!

  9. #9
    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Paduan's Avatar
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    3 miles of gravel/dirt?

    The Dalton Highway, which runs north of Fairbanks is 400 miles of gravel/dirt/rocks.

    You probably wouldn't like that....
    The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time congress meets.


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  10. #10
    Moderator/RiderCoach 10,000 Posts! Clair's Avatar
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    Nah, you can have it.

    And yeah, I wasn't anywhere near Todd's bike when he dinged it. Can't blame this on me.
    Ride safe, ride smart, ride ATGATT because sweat dries faster than scars heal

    2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC
    2009 Kawasaki ER-6N

    * If you love your bike set it free. If it comes back to you, you've High Sided


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