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After our loops in 2022 based in Ouray, we got to thinking about a more remote base with more dirt options. We are also thinking at this point, Fall of 2022 we want to avoid the sharp teeth of the heat in the Southwest. With that in mind, we’ve come up with the tentative base at 3 Step Hideaway in early June. That slipped to the last week of June, then slipped again to the last week of July.

This is a timeline or diary of what I did to prepare for this trip. There are some forward and back decisions. Whether I did enough or made a poor decision remains to be discovered once I set off for this ride. I’ll leave the house Sunday 23/07/2023, early in the morning to get to my first stop in Utah.

My initial route planning to 3 Step Hideaway is to use two days, with the first day being my long day of interstate to exit the interstate at St George, Utah and stop for the night at a campground called, The Riverside Ranch in Hatch Utah. Having two days to get to or from 3 Step Hideaway is my minimum. I will be riding with my Wolfman Rocky Mountain expedition bags because I want the option of riding some back of beyond gravel or graded dirt roads. I may extend my riding after 3 Step. Not sure which direction I’ll head. More than likely not south into Arizona since by August it will be seriously hot in the desert southwest.

At this early stage we might have five or six guys. This became three.


I found the tail bag I’d been using to be too small. It was a 20 liter Kreiga waterproof end roll bag. I figured I needed at least 30 liters, but maybe the 49 liter side roll Ortleib dry bag duffel would work.

One advantage/disadvantage with this is it offers a ridicules amount of expansion. Well beyond anything I would ever need. There is plenty of room to stow a mid-layer or even a heavier butter layer if I need. There is a lot of weight up high but then this is just for loop riding. In travel mode just the bulky light layer stuff would be in here.

This much space allows me to separate dirty clothes from clean for travel days.

I would carry extra water in here too, or a heavy water reservoir strapped across the outside. I’m not yet settled on this, but early stages.

I realized my Wolfman Rocky Mountain bags are 32L each so I decided to take a look at how that size fit on the bike.

This is the right size for the space, now I need to test pack the bag and see how much volume I really am using. I can make some measurements and get a better idea of my required volume.

I have also been looking at maps and beginning to figure out loops. Or sort of loops. One idea I have is to do a few overnight trips from 3 Step Hideaway. This would mean riding with gear and back. Maybe put together a couple of nights on the “road” so to speak and loop back to 3 Step?

I decided to switch to over the boot riding pants to relieve the knee pain I was experiencing after a couple of days with the knee guards on under my Adventure Spec Atacama pants. I bought a pair of Adventure spec Mongolia Pants that are essentially the same pant as the Atacama, but have CE padding at the hips and knees and are over the boot design. I may end up with going form the regular length, (32″ inseam) to a short which is 30″ inseam. I need to make some measurements and really try them suited up properly.

And seated,

From just looking at these images now, I think 30″ might be the way to go.

I made some measurements with my bikes sag and found I need to drop the fork springs rates. That will bring me back to OEM spring rate. I ordered the springs so next weekend I’ll get at changing those out and as long as I’m there freshen up the fork oil.

I made some measurements and decided to exchange the “regular” length for “Short”. Adventure Spec are really good about this, emailing a return label a day or so later. I used the original box and my wife walked the package up to the corner UPS store.

I received the shorter pants and they are good to go.

I’ll deal with a fork service next then get out for some testing.

I sorted my tools and spares today.

I moved all the spare tubes, repair tapes, seal saver, zip-ties and space blanket under the seat.

The tools, tire and tube repair supplies and tools as well as the pump and tire irons all packed into smaller packs.

Tools are still really heavy. I’ll drag the scale down and get some numbers at some point.

The plan is to have this heavy stuff stowed in the Wolfman Rocky Mountain Expedition bags, splitting the weight between the two sides and biasing the packing to the forward-bottom location.

Navigation will be using a combination of digital roadbook reader and an offline map and navigation app on a Samsung Tab A7-Lite in a Otterbox Defender case.

For offline maps I use Guru Maps Pro and for a roadbook reader I’ve settled on Piste, creating the digital roadbooks using the Rally Navigator app on my Mac.

I tested the digital roadbook using a gloved finger on the tablet to advance the scroll with good enough results. I’ll be giving a media controller a test. I’m not likely to spend $300 on a real rally switch set. I will need to purchase another lifetime subscription to Guru Maps Pro for the android device.


Finally, these will be Motoz Tractionator Adventure on the rear and a Motoz Tractionator Dual Venture on the front. I will also be converting the front rim to tubeless. And that will complete the tire preparations.

I test fit my Wolfman Rocky Mountain luggage and my dry bag duffel and realized the duffel is far too large at 49 liters.

I used a couple of 20L dry bags to simulate 30 liters or so. It was a much better fit.

So, I’ll order a Kriega US-30.

I finished up the last issue with my digital navigation set up, the lifetime license for Guru Maps Pro was not linked to the app on the Android. I couldn’t figure this out so emailed support. They got back to me within a day and after I finally understood the process it works. It is very handy to have the tablet and phone for navigation. The tablet for on bike and the phone for walking around. Having both platforms synced up as far as maps, tracks and waypoints is a great feature. I am looking forward to this trip. Navigation won’t be a problem.

I’ve definitely settled on using the Kriega US-30 own the tail. I even found a small bungee net to replace my old net that is closing on 20 year old and very tired. That will sort the luggage issues. I’ve chosen a front tire, I’ll used the MotoZ Tractionator Dual Venture. That I can oder in a few months. I’m still mulling over the harndguards from Highway Dirt Bikes. I’ve decided to go with the HBD, which means the Kaoko throttle lock will have t o go. I decided to go with orange for the plastic bit color. And since I’m changing things I may go highzoot with the Rottweiler Quick flip mirrors, or just keep being annoyed by the every shifting Double take mirrors. The rubber ball ram mounts compress over time which loosens the clamp allowing the mirror to shift with the wind or bouncing. One last costly decision looms. I do like those quick flip mirrors after having tried them riding Paul’s 1090R.

My next bit of sorting will be an overnight out to the desert to primarily fiddle the suspension settings, but also to get my dirt legs back and do a bit of camping and riding of course. Also with an overnight I should have time to mess with some GoPro shooting.


Those HBD hand guards and maybe a mirror fix.

Nothing ever is easy.

Chop, chop.

The Kaoko throttle lock doesn’t fit with these guards so I ordered an Atlas.

Installed the Atlas Throttle Lock.

I ordered a Motoz Dualventure front tire to mate with the Motoz rear I got a while ago.

Nice big sturdy knobs should be up to the task.

Tires are mounted and ready to go.

The next thing to sort is the old quick disconnect fuel connectors. I’m switching to the Powercell Performance parts over the old Beemer Boneyard parts. Better fit. To prepare for that I needed to run some of the fuel out of the tanks so a test ride. The test ride resulted in not liking the fueling map, which was the OEM Akro map. I swapped to the Zuber 9A map. Another test ride to confirm this was better and it was better by a huge margin.

Now, I’m ready to deal with the QD.

Our schedule is beginning to firm up. Looking to mid to late June as the start date. Four or five days, then I’ll either ride into Colorado and look for camping and riding still attempting to ride that thin line between snow and heat domes.

Some quick calculations for us looks like about $500 per person for four nights. A bit less/more depending. I checked a tent site at the. KOA in Flagstaff for the 15th of June. They have only one site left at $60. Not real excited to spend $60 to plop my tent down.

Reservations have been made with 3 Step Hideaway and my stop in Hatch, Utah. It will be a long first day for me then a shorter day to 3 Step on Monday the 26th. We will be three in a teepee to the 30th then off on the next adventure.

One item I took care of the other day was to change the QD to the PowerCell Performance part.

Then I paired a bluetooth keyboard to the tablet to make writing on the road easier.

The next exercise will be a full pack up and load to check sag values and add preload to compensate. I’ll save that for a few weeks because I need to dig a couple of stumps out of the garden. If nothing else loading the bike up will give an opportunity for some glamour shots.

Test loading today went well.

The Wolfman Rocky Mountain bags with the tankbag are perfect. I’ve added a 30L tailbag replacing the 20L tailbag by. Kriega. 30L is perfect for my purposes.

The crossed small Rok straps will secure my floppy sun hat for off the bike wear.

The Zuber A map worked very well. My loading while in some respects was more representative than actual, worked fine. The sag was about right.

I did note my usual power wheelie move did not produce a wheelie. I was concerned a bit, but after paying closer attention away form prying eyes, (traffic) I found the rear Motoz knobby was not hooking up on the street as well as the well worn TKC80 was.

My test ride ran the tanks fifteen miles into the reserve light so mounting up the crashbars should be easier. That will be the next task in a couple of weeks when I get time to mess with the bike again.

Crashbars are mounted and we’re about ready to go. The bike is ready, I just need a few things. And get back to my core exercises and some cycling again.

I needed a pair of pants to wear when not on the motorcycle so I used my REI dividend and then some. Now, I’m working out and cycling and hoping to get a couple of days riding out in the desert and camping to work on suspension settings and just shaking down how the bike feels before the trip.

Clothing is sorted, now all that remains is my workout for balance and strength. Since we have now drifted to the last week of July, I have more time for that as well as contemplating the Rottweiler Performance mirror solution.

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