Thursday saw me retracing my route to Ouray. This time the morning was quite a bit cooler to downright cold for this old beach guy. No worries, by the time I refused in Cortez the weather was growing warmer.
The section of loose gravel I rode where the highway was being reconstructed was now freshly watered, so mud replaced the gravel and dust with some slipping and sliding here and there to keep me on my toes. Once I was through that short section the heat was on. I made one more stop for fuel then ran into Flagstaff to the KOA. I got there in time for the the afternoon heat. No rain in the forecast. I set up my camp quickly then got dinner at the camp store.
My site had electricity and good WiFi.
After I ate some and drank my beers and drank even more water, I headed to the showers for a long cool shower. That felt great. Spent some time talking with neighbors then turned in early, but ended up waking after only a few minutes and reading on my phone since I’d forgotten a book. While doing that I drank enough more water so I needed a few extra trips to the restroom in the night. The weather never really cooled off and the nearby highway 89 was loud with people with loud cars, trucks and motorcycles out to impress one another. I gave up around 4:45 in the morning. I got up and broke camp. Much easier in the dry. Once the pre-sawn hit I could see well enough to pack up easily.
Got on the road about ten minutes later than I expected, but made it to Needles before the predicted 116°F high for the day and one through Barstow while it was only 103°F there. The inland empire hit me with 108°F though.
Pulling into the driveway it was just under 95°F in the sun.
The one remaining original turn signal gave in on the dirt and gravel washboard to Miramonte. I have a spare. The stalks fatigue with vibration and break. I’ve replaced all but this one.
A good ride that I have no idea of my total mileage or expenses. The bike performed fine, though it was reluctant to start in the cool to cold early mornings in Ouray and that first damp morning in Flagstaff on the way to Colorado. Riding through a heat dome is no more fun in 2022 than it was in 2021. Thankfully this one I only had a day and a few days of the big heat going and coming. I’m going to try and not do that again.
A few final thoughts from this ride regarding communication devices, luggage and heat.
First I dislike being really hot for days on end. This trip at least I didn’t have that much of it, but the heat was very much potentially dangerous. I stopped a little more often than I needed to for fuel just to not be on the bike, find some shade and drink more water. Definitely made it so I was in a good deal better shape when I got home hydration wise. I will avoid riding in this level of heat in the future. It is nearly debilitating and this time I only did it because of scheduling of rest of my life.
Luggage: I used my Touratech Zega Pro 38L bags for this trip because we were going to do loops. They work well, but the slightly smaller Wolfman Rocky Mountain bags are expandable to larger capacity. I think. At least that is what I remember from the 2021 trip. I think the next trip will be with the soft bags. I also decided the tail pack, being only 20L is too small for travel like this for me and barely the right size for daily loop rides. So, I’m searching for what will be perfect. My 49L dry bag is too big, but I can mash it to make it work. I will more than likely make do with it since I have it and I’ve only found hundred dollar or more solutions.
Next, will be pants. I like the Atacama pants, but they are non-CE so for protection I wear knee and shin guards. These are hot clamped to me all day long in the big heat. I hope when Adventure Spec have the Mongolia over the boot CE pants in stock in my size I can get a pair here in the US before my next trip. Both pants are basically the same construction, just the Mongolia are over the boot and have CE padding at the knees and hips.
Communication units and tech. The new stuff is better. We struggled last summer and again this year to link our two different systems. We never have figured out the order or which buttons to push or hold for how long to get a reliable link between the Sena 20S and the Cardo Packtalk Edge. Paul sent me a link to a deal on a Packtalk Edge and I jumped on it. I’ve put my old Sena up for sale.
A word about the Adventure Spec gear I wore, the Atacama pants I’ve talked a bit ab out above, but the real star is the Mongolia jacket. It was perfect. It is amazing how well that piece of equipment flows air. I used my cycling rain jacket from Pearl Izumi which is a stretch Gortex jacket in size medium over the Mongolia as either a wind break or rain protection. I stayed warm and dry. My riding out to Flagstaff then on to Ouray the next day I wore a pair of long underwear between my legs and guards and the pants. This was very good until I got to Ouray and the heat. I was very sweaty after setting up camp dressed like that, but cooled off easily enough. I skipped this on the way back from Flagstaff along with the knee and shin guards. It was simply too hot. The mid layer jacket I got from Mountain Hardware is not warm even in mildly cold conditions we saw in Ouray. I’ll replace it with the Adventure Spec Hybrid jacket like the one I wore out from Lyndon Poskitt Racing.