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#1 FJRBandit

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:39 PM

Well, I guess it’s up to me to get this down on paper, errr, at least on the forum for posterity… Anyway, Mfletch and I had big plans this year to take our V-stroms to Alaska. You know what they say about the best laid plans… so instead of making it to Alaska this year we decided to set our sights on Ground Zero. Not the more recently infamous Ground Zero in downtown Manhattan, but the original Ground Zero made famous by a little bomb blast that resulted from the Manhattan Project.

Only twice a year does Big Brother allow us to visit this place in the Jornada del Muerto, translated from Spanish to English this means Journey of Death, or further described in Wikipedia as "route of the dead man". This was the name given by the Spanish conquistadors to the Jornada del Muerto Desert basin, and the particularly dry 100-mile stretch of a route through it on the trail that led northward from central Spanish colonial New Spain, present-day Mexico, to the farthest reaches of the viceroyalty in northern Nuevo México Province. The route later became El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro.

It is a rather appropriate name for the place where the World’s first atomic bomb was exploded in the remotest of the remote parts of central New Mexico. Come the first Saturday of April and the first Saturday of October, the White Sands Missile Range holds an Open House for those of us that want to travel to the place that was chosen primarily due to it’s vast remoteness. What else are you suppose to do with an FJR?

So, what initially started as a, pardon the pun, rocket ride to the New Mexican desert to see a stack of rocks in the middle of nowhere, became a full blown 4,000 mile journey over the course of seven days. Yes, the math does equate to near IBA numbers at an average of 570 miles per day.

It soon became a journey in which we experienced all four seasons with all of nature’s fury over the course of those seven short days. As you’ll see in the photos below, our travels would take us through eight states where we experienced everything from blasting heat to tornadoes to three feet of snow and then more heat and then more storms. To avoid further delay, let’s begin with our journey to the Jornada del Muerto.....

Starting out on Monday morning Mfletch and I had decided to meet in Greenville, MS. Here I am making the final preparations for take off.

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Just 8 miles east of Greenville, Mississippi in a little town called Leland, Mississippi deep in the Heart of the Mississippi Delta I made my first stop...

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Then it was time to climb back on the steel horse I ride and head on to meet Mfletch down the road in Greenville...

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As we crossed the Mighty Mississippi River (that's just back water in the background, the actual river is MUCH larger) Mfletch began to show off his photography skills...

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As we came into somewhere Arkansas we approached this...

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We had a nice dinner of soft tacos while we waited this one out then pressed on to Arkadelphia, AR for the night.

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The next day the real fun began and we soon found out we had to ....

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This was in Oklahoma only about 80 miles north of Dallas when the big storms were throwing tractor trailers around down there. Of course, we were oblivious to that information at the time as we were trying to dodge our own funnel clouds, as noted in the action self portrait below.

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Although we never found the pot of gold, we did ultimately find this place....

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Where we had this...

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and stayed right next door...

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The next day we were off to Taos, New Mexico and ultimately Durango Colorado for the night. I'll leave you with this for now....

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Edited by FJRBandit, 11 April 2012 - 02:50 PM.

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#2 Bugnatr

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:38 PM

Wow, this is such a good read. I saw the flying trailers on the news, holy cow that was something. Can't wait for more. Love the self pic with the funnel cloud in the background. Balls of steel, eh?

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#3 gixxerjasen

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:55 PM

I'm in!

You guys took the trip I wanted to take. I've been semi-planning out to go do this, got the FJR, and low and behold our biggest project of the year ended up the same week as when ground zero is open. I'm hoping maybe for the fall trip. Looks like you guys took an interesting route, looking forward to the rest of the story.

#4 dcarver

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:44 PM

Phooking approved!

Tell us who each of yah are in the pix?

This RR has potential, boys n' gurlz! :yahoo:
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#5 Bungie

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:16 PM

This is gonna be great, I followed them via MFletch's postings on Facebook.

It's crazy-assed Canadian approved, and to think, I got an invite for this one. I'll do cold, snow, rain, but twisters and heat are RIGHT OUT.

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#6 escapefjrtist

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

Waiting for the next installment...twisters -- no thanks! :blink:

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#7 SkooterG

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:09 PM

Most excellent! Good places.

I have been to the Big Texan many a time. Stayed there a couple times too. Most recently was about a year ago when I picked up my low mile 04 FJR from a small town northeast of Amarillo. Also stayed and ate there while returning from Oklahoma where I flew to pick up the R1200GS I bought.


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And I've been where you are going...........




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Ahhhh....... what a young lad I was back October of 2004! ;)


And hope you two got out to see the VLA:


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Can't wait to see more!

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#8 FarWestFastEddie

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:53 PM

Nice report, and I agree witn my fellow FJRers, more photos and story lines!
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#9 FJRBandit

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:00 PM

Thanks for the comments and compliments guys. DC - I'm the the one about to dive into the steak -- my bike is the 08AE with the blue bag and Mfletch is on the 06AE with the yellow bag.

I should explain a brief overview of our intended route. First day, mfletch leaves FL panhandle and I leave Birmingham. We intersect in Greenville, MS. Our plan is to run AR 8 from Hamburg, AR to Arkadelphia, AR. I stumbled upon AR 8 on my way back from SFO last year. I was fully expecting the trek through Southeastern Arkansas to be a boring ass ride through flat cotton fields. I found that to be the furthest from the truth. It turned out to be one of the best two or three hours I've ever spent on the FJR. The road surfaces were in good condition with a combination of nice twisty turns and long high speed sweepers just meandering through the backwoods and very with little traffic that Sunday afternoon just made for a great ride.

Well, I couldn't wait to get back and run it again. However, on this day we were confronted with the first of the many storms we would encounter over the next couple of days so it wasn't quite the ride I had experienced before. Kinda like my father has always said, that second piece of pie is never as good as the first. But we made the best of it and arrived safely in Arkadelphia just in time to watch the Kansas vs. Kentucky National Championship game. I can say that of my four times to ride in Arkansas at some point my boots have been filled with water. This time was no exception.

The next day we were out bright and early. Our destination was Amarillo, TX, primarily to enjoy a feast at The Big Texan, which you saw those pictures in the previous post. However, we almost didn't make it to Amarillo that day, no, not because of any trouble with the bikes or near collisions, but again, passing through Arkansas you just never know what to expect. Mfletch made a BOLD pass around a native Arkansasan who didn't take too kindly to the maneuver. He obviously wasn't enlightened on the sheer capabilities of the FJR and took great offense that Mfletch would put his own life in the danger that he perceived him to have done. Soon we were in the next town and our new Arkansas acquaintance decided to make his displeasure known as we obeyed the law and stopped at the town's stop sign. We both apologized and somehow avoided being hauled off into the woods only to have the sound of dueling banjos become the last sounds we experienced on earth.

Anyway, as you already know we did make it to Amarillo and enjoyed our steak feast. I have to say if you are ever anywhere near the panhandle of Texas this is a must see. It's a Route 66 classic and has all of the cheezyness you'd expect from a good tourist trap. But it's done Texas style and me like Texas! I would go out of my way to go back to Amarillo just to visit The Big Texan again!

From there on Day 3 we planned to pass through Taos and spend the night in Durango. Day 4 will take us through the heart of Colorado, up the Million Dollar Highway, east on US 50 and then back down into New Mexico for the night. Our plan was to motocamp, thus the bags we are carrying on the pillon seat.

On to New Mexico...

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When all of the sudden, this....

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turned into this....

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We were on US 64 before we reached Taos. For these two guys from the South, this was quite the unexpected pleasure, as you'll see in the pictures ahead...

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Eagle's Nest, New Mexico - elevation 8,238 ft

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I'm really not sure what up with these people, but apparently they feel like they found their own little slice of paradise. The hills were filled with these dwellings built into the ground.

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After the underground houses, we found ourselves back at serious elevation, this mountain pass was just over 10,000 feet.

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you can tell how much fun we were having, just look at the shit eating grin on Mfletch's face.

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It wasn't long before we were in...

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and finally, downtown Durango

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and our accommodations for the night

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tomorrow, we'll take a ride to the same place this guy's headed, we just won't be utilizing the same mode of travel...

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tomorrow brings the Million Dollar Highway, new friends in Montrose and a continental divide to conquer...
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#10 beemerdons

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:14 AM

Very Nice Ride Report, Thank You! By the way Taos is spelled Toas, you can double check that with HotRodZilla if you wish!

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#11 Bungie

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:56 AM

Very Nice Ride Report, Thank You! By the way Taos is spelled Toas, you can double check that with HotRodZilla if you wish!

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Funny, I'm wearing that Polo right now.

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#12 GeorgiaRoller

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:18 AM


After the underground houses, we found ourselves back at serious elevation, this mountain pass was just over 10,000 feet.

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Do you find the FJR riding any more sluggish at these elevations?

#13 HotRodZilla

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:56 AM

Do you find the FJR riding any more sluggish at these elevations?


Not really. The elevation in my driveway is just over 5,000 ft. Sandia Crest is 11k, and Hopewell pass, where I think that above pic was taken is 10k. Maybe it's because I'm used to it, but the FJR doesn't feel sluggish. However, I will say that during trips east where the elevation is much lower, I can tell the bike feels stronger. I couldn't figure out why so many guys were talking about their FJRs doing wheelies, while I really have to work to get my front wheel off the ground. If you ever run into Twisty, ask him about the look on my face when I pinned the throttle getting onto a 4 lane road and the front of my bike came up huge...Had never happened to me before. I realized that in the lower elevations, this bike will loft the front all day. Not so much here.

However, even with the thinner air, it moves really fast, and I've never had any sluggish issues. Maybe I'm just accustomed to it. Patch had the same experience on his GS-A when we went to TN last year. He thought it was better gas until I reminded him we were around 500 feet high instead of the 9,000 where he lives.


So far this is a cool ride report. I've been to the blast sight twice. It's cool, but all of White Sands is cool too. As is the VLA (Very Large Array) that Skooter posted up.
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#14 beemerdons

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:24 AM


Do you find the FJR riding any more sluggish at these elevations?

Not really. The elevation in my driveway is just over 5,000 ft. Sandia Crest is 11k, and Hopewell pass, where I think that above pic was taken is 10k. Maybe it's because I'm used to it, but the FJR doesn't feel sluggish. However, I will say that during trips east where the elevation is much lower, I can tell the bike feels stronger. I couldn't figure out why so many guys were talking about their FJRs doing wheelies, while I really have to work to get my front wheel off the ground. If you ever run into Twisty, ask him about the look on my face when I pinned the throttle getting onto a 4 lane road and the front of my bike came up huge...Had never happened to me before. I realized that in the lower elevations, this bike will loft the front all day. Not so much here.

However, even with the thinner air, it moves really fast, and I've never had any sluggish issues. Maybe I'm just accustomed to it. Patch had the same experience on his GS-A when we went to TN last year. He thought it was better gas until I reminded him we were around 500 feet high instead of the 9,000 where he lives.


My Fellow FJR Forum Generation One Brethren: Please kindly refrain from explaining the GEN1 superiority over the pathetic GEN2's and their woeful inadequacies until Dog Pile Friday tomorrow.

Then go ahead and kick HotRodZilla in the nut sacks as hard as you possibly can! jes' sayin' and nuff' said!

#15 Bugnatr

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:38 AM


Do you find the FJR riding any more sluggish at these elevations?


When in Colorado and riding above 8,000 for most of the day my mpg goes from low 40's to above 50 mpg. :yahoo: With fuel injection the bike runs fine.

Nice to see the Toas area with snow.

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#16 SkooterG

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:40 AM

I couldn't figure out why so many guys were talking about their FJRs doing wheelies, while I really have to work to get my front wheel off the ground.


It's called being a Phat Phuck! And owning a POS Gen II.......

:jester:

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#17 beemerdons

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:44 AM


I couldn't figure out why so many guys were talking about their FJRs doing wheelies, while I really have to work to get my front wheel off the ground.


It's called being a Phat Phuck! And owning a POS Gen II.......

:jester:


Well since SkooterG went ahead and broke the ice on our pond: +1, Gunny; no kidding Lard Ass, what in the Hell did you expect!!!

#18 old Pilot

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:47 AM

Nice ride report, Turk.
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#19 Bungie

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:54 AM

Kay, you brought back some memories when I left Toas up through Eagles Nest and Cimarron. It really freaked me out. One minute your riding along in the mountains and you hit Cimarron and the town sign says "Gateway to the Plains" and you think wtf?

Then you turn a corner and you HOLY CRAPARONI! Flatter than Saskatchewan. No kidding, way WAY off in the distance I could see something white. Well I rode for about 45 minutes and the entire time I'm scratching my head trying to figure out what I was looking at. I thought it was a silo or something. Turns out out it was Amarillo.

What is really unbelievable it seemed to get even flatter east of Amarillo.

BTW, next time your in Cimarron, check out the old hotel. That place has some big-time history!

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#20 BigPaz

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:54 AM

I'm really not sure what up with these people, but apparently they feel like they found their own little slice of paradise. The hills were filled with these dwellings built into the ground.

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they build them that way for energy effeciency. the run off natural gas heat, so blocking the north side of the house keeps it from getting cold.

After the underground houses, we found ourselves back at serious elevation, this mountain pass was just over 10,000 feet.

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HRZ is correct. that's Hopewell pass on 64. really pretty place to ride...

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