Author 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US  (Read 6949 times)

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  • Offline Salish1000   us

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    Offline Salish1000

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    3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    on: July 10, 2023, 10:53:26 pm
    July 10, 2023, 10:53:26 pm
    I've been posting over on the XR forum on ADV but thought I would copy and paste here since it's a different crowd. I'm in Santa Fe, NM today, having arrived yesterday. I'm here for a few days and then head home to Puget Sound by a different route. Here are two short trip reports I did:

    What a day! Left Pendleton, Oregon and headed south on 395 through such gorgeous and familiar country. Blue Mountains, Battle Mountain, Steens ands Malheur. Grandiose Western spaces. Nevada then hits you with a sledgehammer of beauty and solitude, basin and range, sagebrush and ancient mountains. It was a rather biblical day in that all morning for many miles there were suicidal birds sunning on the highway and it's a miracle I didn't hit one of the thousands that darted away right as I approached at high speeds. Then, just south of Burns, Oregon, I rode into a thick swarm of Mormon crickets that assaulted me with high speed impacts on my feet, legs, hands, bike and head. My bike is covered in cricket guts except where I washed the windscreen and lights. The highways were literally paved with the guts of crickets for hundreds of miles in Oregon and Nevada.

    683 miles and about 13 hours of travel.

    Rinse and repeat tomorrow to Santa Fe.

    Without a doubt now, this XR is the finest cruising and travel bike I've ever had. Most comfortable and blissfully unconcerned with climbing mountains or passing semi trucks. Prrrrrr.

    And then this one:
    ell I made it! Safe and sound in Santa Fe after a truly ineffable 750 mile day. From Ely, Nevada to here you travel through a showcase of grandiose landscapes. You go right by Great Basin National Park in all it's majesty, before dropping down a classic canyon to Utah. Basin and range continues for a while but oddly, the basins stretch out and the ranges get smaller. Before you know it, you are seeing sandstone that tells you that Utah is at hand. So many small towns. Lonely roads. Quiet places.

    Easy to forget that I70 is itself a stunning ride. Speed limit is 80 and let's just say that the XR was at a speed that had about 7,000+ RPM in 6th...But you are constantly straining your neck to take in all the cliffs, pillars and canyons of sandstone. Did you know that the sandstone of Utah is eroded from an ancestral mountain range that pre-dates the current Colorado Rockies, when Utah was the edge of the ocean and quite shallow. All those red rocks are the eroded remains of a long gone mountain range. Take that in for a moment. How ironic that a prominent religion that some followers believe tells them the earth is 5,000 years old, is based in a state where the evidence of antiquity is literally all around you in plain sight!

    Dropping off 70 into Moab what a crime scene of decadent tourism it has become. I spent some time there in the early 90's and it was not quite so bad then. 101 degree there today. Buttoned up my Aerostitch and had my silk scarf around my neck I kept doused in cool water. Works a trick. But soon enough you leave syphilization (thank you Abbey) and climb to Monticello. Breathtaking country from there almost all the way to Santa Fe by way of Durango and Pagosa Springs. Santa Fe itself is in the most unremarkable location, pedestrian even, compared to all that is around it. And the ugly approach and environs of poverty and plastic prosperity are a black eye on what might have been a pleasant place 400 years ago. No reason to come here except my wife's conference.

    Heading back home to the PNW later this week, via a different route. About 30 hours of total travel time to get here. 6, 12 and 12. About 1900 miles. I'm saddle sore, and creaky, but bike calesthenics prevented more trouble. It's rather amazing how much you can move and articulate your body while hurtling down the road at high speeds on a motorcycle. I do a lot of standing, for instance.

    Sorry for the long post and opinions here, but you get what you pay for. If anyone has any questions on the route, just ask. I'm beat, and going to sleep!
    2016 XR with full Akra, 26,000 and counting.
    We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

  • Offline Salish1000   us

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    Offline Salish1000

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    Re: 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    Reply #1 on: July 15, 2023, 06:28:56 am
    July 15, 2023, 06:28:56 am
    Headed home now.
    Well today was 875 miles from Fort Collins, CO to Baker City, OR. All slab. About 13 hours travel time. I doubt I've ever traveled so far so fast on land before, since the speed limits were 70 or 80mph and I was doing 10+ over that at all times. Cruise control baby! No tickets yet on this trip, since I let others be the fly catchers. Yesterday was Santa Fe to Fort Collins up Hwy 285 in the heart of the Rockies. Just magnificent until you get past Leadville and hit I70 and Denver. You spend the whole day above 7,000 feet, cresting 11,300 feet twice. I was reminded of how beautiful Colorado is, yet for me, I'll take the Sierra Nevada or Canadian Rockies!

    The XR has been flawless. A spray of Honda Pro chain lube at the end of each day is the only maintenance I've done. The chain hasn't stretched or worn at all. The new Roadsmart 4 rear tire is showing some center flattening, but I've had countless max throttle accelerations on this trip at all speeds to pass people. That tire has been gripping the hell out of hot pavement. It should be a bit worn!
    2016 XR with full Akra, 26,000 and counting.
    We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

  • Offline Salish1000   us

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    Offline Salish1000

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    Re: 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    Reply #2 on: July 16, 2023, 02:10:20 am
    July 16, 2023, 02:10:20 am
    Ok, I'm home! Only 6 hours today from Baker City here to Olympia. A little synopsis of things I learned about the bike over 3,600 miles and 5 full days of riding.

    1. It's a freaking amazing, perfect, every second an amazing experience machine. Words fail to express my admiration for what it can do. I wish I could shake the hand of every engineer that gets that much smooth power out of such a small engine. Whether cruising at 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or let's say, faster, it's just as smooth as butter.
    2. For me she's all day, and I mean ALL DAY comfortable. My butt aches after a while but she is so easy to stand up on, and by moving my foot position on the pegs it changes the pressure on my buns. These two tricks are enough to see me through hours 11, 12 and 13 in the saddle. Stops ever two hours for fuel does the rest.
    3. I set my own service minder and didn't realize that it would go off on my trip and I would then lose all ability to see the engine temp. This must be a Gen 1 issue with our smaller screen. The service reminder takes the place of the engine temp, and darn it, my service reminder came on about halfway through the trip and I lost one of my favorite little entertainments. Coming home, I got stuck in one of the many Interstate construction projects that plague summer trips everywhere, and it was every bit of 90+ degrees where I was crawling along in first gear. I couldn't see the engine temp, but she never complained or leaked fluid or so much as burped.
    4. The ability to accelerate instantly makes an absolutely enormous difference in not only my travel time, but my happiness. When you travel highways of any sort, two lane or three, you are bound to be stuck behind grandma or a fearful cager. That the XR allows me to jump from 40 to lightspeed and then brake so quickly and effectively, means I can pass safely and leap frog the slow pokes. My lord, it must save me an hour or more over a full day ride.
    5. Fuel economy really varied based on speed and wind. I fought a strong headwind yesterday in Wyoming, and was doing 90+ and only got a bit more than 35mpg. Other days and times I got 45 or better. I am always pretty heavy on the throttle, so YMMV.

    I did ride with a few folks! Two guys stick out. There was a guy on a KTM 1290 I traveled with a good while in CO. One of the few bikes that can do what our XR's can do. We just flew like jet fighters but nothing stupid. His style was like mine, to enjoy the acceleration even more than the speed. So when passing, which is always, you rest a while doing triple digits, then slow down and stay in the slow lane as much as possible. We rode like brothers for more than an hour. When we got to a small town, he pulled up and we opened our helmets to say hello. We were all smiles. I asked him where he as going that day. His reply? Best ever: "I don't know!" he said, and turned off to get gas. What a wonderful thing. His license plate was "Wandrer" from Minnesota.

    Another guy today was on my old bike, the Concours 14. We were in the Columbia Gorge. We did the same thing, cruising as fast as any of the cagers and then passing anyone in the way. Slow lane when not passing. It is a beautiful thing when two motorcycles ride together like this. Besides the brotherhood, the machines are like harmonious creatures. Swerving together, moving together, it's like ballet.

    I've washed most of the gazillion bugs of the bike, and it took a lot of water, soap and muscle. I've changed the oil, and was delighted to find the Motul 7100 after 5,000 miles was not even fully dark, and there were absolutely no metal bits of any sort in the oil. That engine is broken in and just operates like a dream. I'll remember this trip fondly for the rest of my life. I've done many outdoor adventurous things, but have never ridden a bike quite this far and fast.

    Adventure before Dementia!!!
    2016 XR with full Akra, 26,000 and counting.
    We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

  • Offline af1-windy   gb

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    Offline af1-windy

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    Re: 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    Reply #3 on: July 17, 2023, 08:52:22 am
    July 17, 2023, 08:52:22 am
    Seems like an awesome trip and you obviously enjoyed the whole experience..

    Doesn't sound like you had much time for taking photos but if you did I'd like to see a few.. just to make me even more green with envy than I already am..  :137: :008:

    Not sure about those double figure hours in the saddle though..  :027:  :005:

    Once did a 14 hour and 40 minute day, it was tough and not something I would want to do again.  :087:

    Gotta agree with your thoughts on the XR, cracking bike..  :020:
    "When I’m riding my motorcycle, I’m glad to be alive. When I stop riding my motorcycle, I’m glad to be alive" Neil Peart.

  • Offline Salish1000   us

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    Offline Salish1000

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    Re: 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    Reply #4 on: July 24, 2023, 01:49:12 am
    July 24, 2023, 01:49:12 am
    Cracking bike indeed AF1!

    Just today: Let's say I was riding on a closed track, and it's rare someone comes along who likes to move along quickly as I do. I was blown away by the fact that I was doing 115mph and when I accelerated, it took off like I was doing 55. That damn bike has more pull and desire to haul ass at 115mph than any bike I've had. I looked back down a moment later and was at 130. I had long since caught and passed the poor soul who thought they were quick. I began to get the taste of what Cuban Rider does all the time. I then proceeded to play a cat and mouse where they would full throttle take off, and I would let them go, and then without much effort catch them lickety spit and smile. Dude was on a K1600 too. No doubt that bike is plenty capable, but the spin up speed of the XR took it every time. I knew the bike could pin your ears back in lower gears in double digit territory, but to be in 6th gear and already flying, and to have it take off with such force and ferocity to where it was my fear that let off, not the bike, that was incredible.

    What...a...bike :020:
    2016 XR with full Akra, 26,000 and counting.
    We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.

  • Offline barry.moore   us

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    Offline barry.moore

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    Re: 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    Reply #5 on: September 27, 2023, 04:51:20 pm
    September 27, 2023, 04:51:20 pm
    Hey thanks for posting this. I saw it a while back just now getting to responding. I also have a 2016 - my first BMW i bought it a year or so ago with 3,500 miles on it. I live in Glendale, AZ and look forward to taking some rides like you described. Work is very chaotic right now so vacations are limited, but there will be a day ....


  • Offline Salish1000   us

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    Offline Salish1000

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    Re: 3,600 mile loop through the great Western US
    Reply #6 on: September 28, 2023, 12:12:32 am
    September 28, 2023, 12:12:32 am
    *Originally Posted by barry.moore [+]
    Hey thanks for posting this. I saw it a while back just now getting to responding. I also have a 2016 - my first BMW i bought it a year or so ago with 3,500 miles on it. I live in Glendale, AZ and look forward to taking some rides like you described. Work is very chaotic right now so vacations are limited, but there will be a day ....

    Glad you like it! Good luck on getting the time to do the trips you want. Having a job sucks!
    2016 XR with full Akra, 26,000 and counting.
    We sit together, the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.