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ThePirateRagnar's MotoVlog

The ``Dusty Plains``

  

Day 3 and I was really in the swing of things at this point. Up bright and early and feeling great, I had all the maintinence done and got underway shortly after sunrise. This is the first day of the trip that I will also avoid driving well into the night – a big deal for me! It of course also afforded me a few opportunities to learn and relearn a few ‘content capture’ strategies and was able to capture far, far more content for the 3rd day the either of the first two days. Even though it wasn’t jam packed full of all the spectacular scenary that one might imagine would pop up on the next day (Colorado, baby!) or what I went through in Arizona, it certainly wasn’t short of wonderful fiews and awe inspiring moments.

Inclement weather – looks it anyway

Early in the day, the sky shows hints of impending weather. It foreshadows but doesn’t damper the enjoyment of the ride all morning. And as anyone who has done a ride or two before can tell you – if you have a destination to get to, it’s useless to look up at the sky and plan anything. The weather is going to hit your or it’s not, and unless you’re willing to turn around and go back – you’re in for whatever she throws at you, so just enjoy what you can, while you can. Plus, why let concerns about the weather distract from what’s right in front of you? Nebraska is not just a prairie state, I learned that in earnest on the ride today. The land rolled with all sorts of different topography and broke up the seemingly monotonous fields of corn. And though the roads seem mostly flat and straight, there is just enough movement to keep my backside from complaining too loudly.

Throughout the first three days I had a few little issues related to wardrobe or seating that needed to be addressed pretty regularly. It’s not very clear in video, but my handlebar grips were slipping. For some reason, the grip glue that I used must not have set correctly (I’d put new grips on for the trip) and the issue didn’t appear on my test runs. In the end, the grips kept slipping. Slowly but surely, they would move a good inch before I noticed and knocked them back into place. Another issue was my riding pants. Naturally, they wanted to ride up, which let lots of wind in the bottom – and had I not resolved it, rain at the very least later on. A quick stop to fix the loops I affixed the year before and I was good to go again.

Regular fuel stops

A 10 litre fuel tank is a mixed blessing at best on trips like this. Too much larger of a tank and you would need to have the presence of mind and discipline to pull over regularly to stretch; if you don’t, you’d regret it by the end of day one, let alone by week two. However, with this take, trying to push past 150km before refilling is essentially asking for problems in the middle of nowhere, so I had loads of chances to stretch and move around while stopping for gas.

There are a few times throughout the trip that I noticed the odometer in time for Mauls to tick over a milestone. 89,000 km was one of them. In less than 4 months from this day’s ride, Mauls climbs well over 100,000km and her original engine was pulled for a full rebuild – but that’s a whole different series to come. Also back in 2018, the YouTube channel I have now didn’t exist – but I did have lots of friends, family and fellow motorcycle enthusiasts that really encouraged me to take the trip and about mid-day I stopped to send them all a message.

With miles of dirt ahead of me, I knew I was in for a nice, casual ride through the back country, and I loved every second of it. Mauls also handled it well, but shortly after hitting pavement again, I’d convinced myself otherwise. Thinking that I heard and felt some knocking, I pulled off to check.

Dirt Road Heaven

Everything seemed fine, so I cut the engine and collected my thoughts. When I went to start out again – she didn’t start. Not thinking clearly, my checklist included a few useless checks considering the symptoms. Let me explain: in this situation, I pressed the start button for the starter engine and nothing happened. The lights on my cluster were on but the starter didn’t attempt to start. It’s already clear this is an electric issue, yet one of my first actions is to check my petcock to ensure I’m not out of fuel. To be fair, it takes a second and it didn’t hurt, but it shows my mental state at the time. Just a little slow and probably dehydrated. Lucky enough for me, it was just forgetting to check if I was in neutral. Minutes later, I rolled into Colorado.

If reading isn’t your thing, be sure to check out Day 3 in video format right here!

With miles of dirt ahead of me, I knew I was in for a nice, casual ride through the back country, and I loved every second of it. Mauls also handled it well, but shortly after hitting pavement again, I’d convinced myself otherwise. Thinking that I heard and felt some knocking, I pulled off to check.

Dirt Road Heaven

Everything seemed fine, so I cut the engine and collected my thoughts. When I went to start out again – she didn’t start. Not thinking clearly, my checklist included a few useless checks considering the symptoms. Let me explain: in this situation, I pressed the start button for the starter engine and nothing happened. The lights on my cluster were on but the starter didn’t attempt to start. It’s already clear this is an electric issue, yet one of my first actions is to check my petcock to ensure I’m not out of fuel. To be fair, it takes a second and it didn’t hurt, but it shows my mental state at the time. Just a little slow and probably dehydrated. Lucky enough for me, it was just forgetting to check if I was in neutral. Minutes later, I rolled into Colorado.

If reading isn’t your thing, be sure to check out Day 3 in video format right here!

It’s really easy to think, in your head, that the lines on a map are significant in some way more tangible way… but if not for the sign, I likely wouldn’t have even noticed that I crossed a state line. From the East, Colorado slowly and steadily climbs into the Rockies, but it’s so gradual enough that it’s actually pretty hard to notice. I could feel it on the bike – she struggled just a bit more, with both the incline and the elevation. Yet knowing I was in Colorado was a relief, and I took a moment to call my Dad and have just a few minutes of human interaction.

The gradual incline slowly turned into proper inclines, with great curves in the roads… and darkening skies. It wasn’t late enough for it to mean anything but inclement weather. I’d lucked out plenty already, so knew I had something coming. You can plan and plan and plan, and you will still end up in the shittiest of weather at some point. You can really only hope that your luck keeps those events to a minimum, and nothing that would make continued progress dangerous in any way. Almost more miserable than riding through bad weather is being stuck stationary in it.

Each day of this ride I attempted to record some ‘on the road’ narration. The audio quality is questionable at times, but really glad I recorded what I did. Years later, it helps bring me back to that moment and what I was thinking and feeling. If you’re interested in checking some of those out, each day contains some and a separate series of “Road Ramblings” is available for your viewing pleasure.

Aaaaaand it was just about there that my luck began to turn for that day. The weather that I had been skirting was closing in. I vividly remember riding toward Fort Collins and just hoping that arch of clear weather ahead of me would stay just that – ahead of me – and that the weather closing in on both sides would hold off just a bit longer…. but what’s Murphy’s law but a full rundown of how a motorcycle trip should turn out?

Rain and hail make for a cold ride

Rain and wind are one thing. They aren’t comfortable. They aren’t optimal, but they are manageable, within reason. Hail, however, hurts. It hurts your hands, and your chest and your legs and that is with riding gear on. I had to pull over to put on some thicker gloves and an extra layer where I could to protect from rather large hail and then the chin camera died. And the rain at that point prevented me from charging on the fly, so my footage became rather boring but for the hail itself. I stopped a few times throughout the ordeal, any point where the hail and rain made it too dangerous to continue – but slowly and surely I made it out of the rain and into the still setting sun.

Another day done, another state under my belt and a warm shower ahead. I will see you all on the next day – “Colourful Colorado.”

Thanks so much for joining me on Day Three of this journey. A total of 15 riding days and some downtime in Arizona makes for quote the trip I’d love to take you all on.

A special thanks to all the cagers that played nicely, and to my Mom for really only freaking out a tiny bit when I let slip my ridiculous plans for solo trips… Like, Share and Subscribe and stay tuned for more videos.

And as always,

Ride SafeandRide Fun!