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In this episode our heroes will swap tires and figure out how to pack a lot of stuff. Then even do some riding. While I wait on Paul to fly in, I mess with the Wolfman Rocky Mountain Expedition bags, mounting and packing.

First the mounting. The lower front “G-hook” has to thread through a slot in the Touratech rack from the back. There isn’t a lot of room for the hook to pass as this was not something the design anticipated. I can manage this, but this detail does take away some of the easy on/off of the bags. But, I doubt I’ll be doing a lot of removing them. Time will tell on this trip.

After consulting with Wolfman, where he told me I could simple route the strap, under the gusset/loop interface.

Headslap!

The perfect solution staring right at me and I missed it completely. The more I mess with these bags and packing, the more I like them. I am surprised at how easily these bags swallow all my gear with room to spare. Compared the the 38L Zega Pro hard bags these really work much better. Getting into them quickly is not as simple as the single latch on the hard bags, but they can be packed with more in a what feels like less volume because the bags more easily conform to odd shaped items, like hiking boots or nearly round compression sacks. The seat straps end up with the forward strap on the seat the rear strap across the rack. I don’t see this as a problem, just the result to the racks being positioned so far to the rear.

The front straps lies across the saddle, while the rear strap is across the rack. If I were to modify the racks, I would move them forward. But, once all is tightened up this is not really an issue. The bags are centered on the racks and the rear seat strap runs easily across the rear rack.

On my 2018 trip, I started carrying my spare tubes and tire/tube repair tools in the bottom of either bag. That keeps the heaviest items I carry low on the bike. I’ve packed and re-packed a few times and will likely do a couple of more rounds to get the packing down to a routine and stuff where I want it. I placed the tripod in the left side bottle holster and wet cooker fuel in the right. The 20L Kriega dry bag, tail bag holds my clothes, layers, rain gear and GoPro stuff. The Tankbag holds electronics connectors, cleaners, sunscreen, glasses and camera.

I picked up Paul from John Wayne in the evening and the next day after walking to the pier for breakfast over the water we got to work. It was a day of fiddling and tire changes.

A day of figuring out loading for the spares.

And a couple of errands. Of course we had to stop for coffee.

We packed up after dinner and were ready to take off the next morning. Well, almost. At the last minute I changed my mind on what I’d wear for moto gear. This would be a mistake I would regret the rest of the time on the road.

Ready to go in the not really that early morning.

Our route was to be boring interstate the first day from the coast to a KOA cabin in Flagstaff, Arizona. When we pulled into Needles the temperature showed 100°F. It was hot even in the shade. We took a short break inside the sandwich shop for cooling drinks and upon exiting found Paul’s multi-computer bike didn’t like the heat either and protested the conditions by not starting. He was finally able to convince the bike that continued protest would only prolong the agony. The bike gave in and started. We were off and riding up I-40. As we gained altitude the searing temperatures dropped. 85° felt like a chill wind.

Another fuel stop before Flagstaff and we were at the campground.

We unloaded into the cabin, changed to walking around clothes and found a half mile walk to the local mall would find a food court and pizza.

A longer walk back to work off the pizza slices then relaxing with cold beer.

We woke not that early and had breakfast burritos from the camp cafe and much needed coffee. A quick stop for fuel and we were off to 3 Step Hideaway. This day would be all smaller roads ending in a mile of dirt.

North of Monument Valley.

The weather is hot, but not searing hot. We are comfortable while riding, but hot when we stop, so we ride.

We arrive before dinner time, unpack into our teepee for the night.

Dinner and a walk around the property then early to bed.

The next day we were up sort of early. We packed up and cleaned up. Had a great breakfast. Scott and Julie are great hosts and have a wonderful facility here off the grid and off the beaten path. It is worth the short detour away from the usual tourist byways for a visit. Whether on four wheels or two Scott can point you to some amazing tracks. After breakfast we headed north and west to catch the highway into Moab, then on to I-70 and east to Denver.

We stopped in Frisco for coffee, but the coffee shop was closed for the day. We found some cool drinks and made due.

From Frisco, we donned more layers as the temperatures were dropping with the darkening skies. We were in a race with the rain. We got the the exit to Evergreen just in time to stop and me to pull on my rain pants as we began getting spattered with rain drops. It never got heavy until we were safely parked in Paul’s garage. Then the skies opened up. It would rain heavy to light on and off until the next evening when I would hurriedly take my leave and head further to a cousins house for the reminder of my time in the area. Oh, and more too much food, talk with old friends and family.

Paul and I continue to plan the next ride or rides. Right now the grand plan is pretty grand, and will remain a secret until we set off in a couple of years.

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