Day: 1 & 2

Date: July 26, 2013

Start Location: Fulton, NY

End Location: Davenport, IA

Miles Travelled: 836

High Temperature: 80

This being our first entry, let me say that we can only update the journal when we have wifi access. The first night we stopped just before Erie, PA, but did not have wifi access, besides we were pretty exhausted by the time we pulled in at about 10PM. We got a late start on our first day due to having to pick up Keith's bike in Troy, NY at the BMW dealership. Keith's bike was being repaired from his recent accident. The dealer had to replace a wheel when we got there. Ultimately, we left Fulton at about 5PM. Weather was perfect for riding with nothing out of the ordinary.

With rain in the forecast, we planned on wearing our rain suits, but discovered that Ed had forgotten his. So our first stop was Walmart for rain gear. The second day was a total turn-around weather wise. We got on the road about 8AM and soon encountered the rain. The rain lasted several hours and temperatures dropped several degrees (high in the low 70's). Along the way we encountered several "electronic" issues with our equipment which just added to the miserable day. Otherwise nothing special took place and not much in scenery, so no pictures or videos yet. We got to Davenport about 9PM and totally exhausted. We plan on fixing our electronic issues in the morning.

Day: 3

Date: July 28, 2013

Start Location: Davenport, IA

End Location: Ft. Collins, CO

Miles Travelled: 815

High Temperature: 80

We got up around 6:30AM, showered and ate some breakfast. We then worked on some of our electronic issues. Last night we had gone to Walmart to get a new iPhone cable which will resolve the charging issue we had. Gotta have music. Still have one GoPro camera to fix. We quickly packed our bikes and left Davenport at about 8AM. The day was cool and sunny. Ran into a few sprinkles, but nothing major. Nothing really to see along the way…flat land and corn for miles and miles. Did see some immense wind turbines. We pulled into Steve and Jenn's house at about 9PM. It was a long ride. Anyone that has travelled on a motorcycle any distance will know how tough it is riding a bike that long. Our hemorrhoids will never be the same!! We had some dinner with the Cooks and went to bed at about 10PM…a long day. Sweet Jesus!!

Day: 4

Date: July 29, 2013

Start Location: Ft. Collins, CO

End Location: Ft. Collins, CO

Miles Travelled: 0

High Temperature: 73

After breakfast with Steve and Jenn, we started the task of replacing all the tires on our bikes in favor of off road knobbies. We had these tires shipped directly to Steve's so we wouldn't have to carry them with us. Changing the tires took much longer than we had anticipated, so we decided to stay another night a Steve's and start early tomorrow to travel to the trail head. The trail head is about four hours from here and the first campsite is a ways in. This delay will also give us more time to work on our electronic issues. Keith also installed a pre filter on his intake. We were able to get the Chatterbox communications working and we are currently testing Ed's GoPro camera. We need to run it several hours to be sure its OK. If the camera works, then we will have fixed all of the electronic problems. We also took the time to wash clothes. In any case, we were both still pretty tired from the previous grueling days. A little extra rest will be good.

Day: 5

Date: July 30, 2013

Start Location: Ft. Collins, CO

End Location: Routt National Forest, CO

Miles Travelled: 348

High Temperature: 80

This morning we loaded the bikes and had breakfast at a local diner, after which we headed north into Wyoming to catch the Colorado Backcountry Discovery Route COBDR. We started looking for food before we entered the trail head and soon discovered that food was scarce, which surprised both of us We were able to buy a couple small frozen steaks wrapped in bacon and a can of beans. Not what we were hoping, but it is what it is. We entered the COBDR and traveled it for a few more hours until we found a campsite in the National Forest. Along the way we had seen mountain goats, elk, deer and numerous free range cows. The cows were somewhat of a nuisance on the trails, one quick move and a 1000 lb cow could be running you over. Also stopped to talk to eight Canadian bikers that were traveling south to north on the trail (we were traveling north to south). One had a new Tiger 800XC just like Ed's, but did not have too much positive to say about it. Sounded like he had several mechanical problems. They warned us of a water crossing a few miles south that was a real challenge. A little cit chat and they were on their way. Back on the trail for while and Ed gets a little too close to the trail edge and loses his bike in the soft shoulder. Down he goes ripping off his tank bag and left blinker. A little duct tape and everything is good to go. Oh yea, Ed was not even scratched. We soon found a camping ground in the Routt National Forest, quickly setup camp in the dwindling daylight and started a campfire. We ended up sharing the campsite with an elderly couple that was riding a 1992 BMW with over 130K miles. We had a great discussion with them and showed them some of the videos, including Ed's minor crash. The new tent we got is nice. Its large but sets up very easily and it holds all of our gear, as well as being tall enough to stand up in. It's the one luxury that was definitely worth it. We ate our steak and beans and went to bed around 11pm.

Day: 6

Date: July 31, 2013

Start Location: Routt National Forest, CO

End Location: 39.99869,-106.540617 (Primitive Campsite)

Miles Travelled: 110

High Temperature: 80

As soon a we got up we started water boiling and breaking down camp. Oatmeal with cranberries for breakfast. We decided to stop at Strawberry Hot Springs for a relaxing soak in natural hot water. We spent a while there but had to get back on the trail to make some miles. We soon came across the water crossing that we were warned about. We approached this obstacle with caution. We actually walked it down to determine the best path to take. We agreed to the approach and Ed went first. Almost immediately the underwater terrain pulls him into the deeper holes, but remembering the Canadians advice, Ed kept on the throttle and successfully made it across (barely), drenched from the waist down. Then Keith went. He too got immediately pulled into a deep hole where the bike stalled. Barely 10 feet into the water crossing, we pushed the BMW the rest of the way across the creek. Surprise, surprise, the bike would not start. Got out the tools, removed the spark plugs and intake filter box. While doing so a guy from South Carolina stopped. Phillip was riding a Honda and was on his way to the Oregon coast. He scoped out the water crossing and decided to try and break the beaver dam in an attempt to lower the water level. Not sure that worked too good. Phillip gave us some absorbing towels to clean out Keith's intake. Keith had read online an article about draining the water from the engine i.e. removing the spark plugs, bumping the rear wheel and turning over the engine to blow out the water. We did all this and then let the bike dry out for an hour or so. In the meantime, Phillip made his crossing successfully. Another two guys from Arizona stopped. We gave them a heads up about where to cross. First guy makes it all the way across but the second one stalled about three quarters across. We helped push him the rest of the way and after tinkering around for a few minutes, his bike started up and away they went. So back to Keith's bike. We put the plugs back in and it started right up, so we put the rest of the bike back together, loaded up the gear and headed back down the trail. Steep inclines, narrow, rocky trails and free range cows made the next few miles interesting. The scenery was amazing. But then Keith began getting a low oil pressure warning light. A quick check of the oil level window told us that water had gotten into the oil (oil was milky in color). We really hated to but we decided to have Keith set up camp on top of the mountain and Ed would travel ahead to get four quarts of oil, food and drinks. Depending on what resources were available ahead, this could be 15 to 40 miles one way. Ed really needed to get there and back before nightfall. You DO NOT want to be traveling these trails in the dark. Stopping to change the oil was the smart thing to do. We could not survive a blown engine. Ed got to RIO ???? just after 5PM. RIO ???? is a small outpost on the Colorado River where they do some whitewater rafting. Store is closed of course, but after a quick sob story, the owner opened his doors. Ed picked up the oil and grabbed the only food they had…can of chile and a can of soup. Also picked up some water, soda and beer. A generous tip and Ed was off heading back north up the mountain. Keith had the camp all set up by the time Ed got back. Keith immediately changed his oil while it was still daylight while Ed started a campfire and heated the cans of food. Yum, yum. We downloaded the GoPro videos using Ed's bike, starting the bike periodically to make sure the battery was not drained. Went to bed at around 11pm.

Day: 7

Date: August 1, 2013

Start Location: 39.99869,-106.540617 (Primitive Campsite)

End Location: Vail, CO

Miles Travelled: 104

High Temperature: 73

We woke up at about 7:30am to an absolutely gorgeous morning. Coffee and oatmeal again for breakfast. Tore down camp, loaded the bikes and off we go, until Ed's bike stalls and wouldn't restart. Guess we drained the battery a bit too much. But lesson learned from last years trip, always carry a jumper. The jumper made short work of the issue and off we go again. We travelled miles and miles of rough trails, up and down mountains. The elevation changes made it difficult to get the clothes right. You're hot at lower elevations and cold at high elevations. The views and scenery were absolutely amazing. All was going well, until Ed gets caught in a trail rut that threw is bike into a tight spin. The bike landed on top of Ed's left ankle. The bike was unscathed, but Ed's ankle do fair as well. We decided that we would continue traveling south to Gypsum, CO, have some lunch and assess the situation. We thought that the ankle injury was just a sprain that would be fine after a little rest, even for a day or two. After a short rest we got back on the bikes and headed toward Gypsum. Ed could only shift using his heel. The ankle seemed very frail and was extremely painful. We got to a Mexican restaurant, had lunch and decided that it was time to go to urgent care to see what the injury really was. Ed needed assistance walking back to the bikes. Fortunetly, the Gypsum Urgent Care Facility was just a few miles down the road. After a few quick X-rays, Dr. Kamper gave us the bad news. Ankle broken in three places that would require surgery. Installation of a plate and screws was also required. Doc says that Ed will not be riding a bike anywhere for some time. He had already forwarded the X-rays to the Steadman Clinic in Vail, CO who were on board to do the surgery the following day. Based on the Doc and subsequent discussions, Vail has some of the best orthopedic surgeons in the nation. So, we needed to get a rental car and a hotel. One of the nurses gave Keith a ride to the Eagle County Airport to get a rental car. In the meantime, they placed a temporary cast on Ed's leg and prescribed pain killers. Keith picked up Ed at the Urgent Care and headed to the Holiday Inn in Vail, CO. We left the bikes at Urgent Care. Ed contacted the Steadman clinic to confirm an 8:30am checkin with Dr. Singleton. We had some dinner at Atwater Restaurant. Expensive but not commensurately good. We soon found out that everything in Vail is expensive. Early bedtime after dinner. Ed was in excruciating pain all night. Not fun. Jokes over!!

Day: 8

Date: August 2, 2013

Start Location: Vail, CO

End Location: Vail, CO

Miles Travelled: 0

High Temperature: 75

We get to the hospital just after 8am and met with Dr. Singleton. He went through the process and what to expect. Basically, do nothing for the first two weeks and no golf for five months. Suck, suck and more sucks. They told Ed they would highly recommend a nerve block that would make the surgery painless. Well, after prepaying the bill and getting prepped, Ed was on the operating table. An hour or two later (and an additional few ounces of steel plate and a dozen screws), Ed was awake in absolutely no pain. Ed spent the night in the hospital.

Day: 9

Date: August 3, 2013

Start Location: Vail, CO

End Location: Vail, CO

Miles Travelled: 0

High Temperature: 80

When Keith came by the next morning to pick Ed up, still no pain. This is a piece of cake, so Ed thought. Awhile later, back in the hotel, the nerve block wears off and BAM, pain beyond belief. After more drugs, watching Tiger Woods kick ass, we went to the restaurant at the hotel for dinner. Not bad. We talked about our options to get us and the bikes back to NY. We soon figured out that staying and seeing sights was impossible based on Ed's limited mobility.

Ship bikes, fly home

Ship bikes, rent car and drive home

Rent 14' U-haul, load bikes, drive home

Rent truck, rent trailer, drive home

Rent truck, buy trailer, drive home

Keith requested a quote on a motorcycle shipping site.

Day: 10

Date: August 4, 2013

Start Location: Vail, CO

End Location: Vail, CO

Miles Travelled: 0

High Temperature: 73

No hurry to get up today. Ate breakfast at the hotel and sat around popping pills until Ed's 1:30pm physical therapy session. The therapist showed Ed how and when to change the bandages. What to do and not to do. Really nothing in the line of physical therapy. Back to the hotel and more discussion of the options for getting us back to NY. Couldn't really do much until Monday when businesses opened up.

Day: 11

Date: August 5, 2013

Start Location: Vail, CO

End Location: Ft. Collins,CO

Miles Travelled: 361

High Temperature: 85

Not wanting to discuss all the iterations, frustrations and reasons why, we decided with renting a large SUV, buying a trailer and driving back to NY. Even this proved not be an easy task. First, rental agencies don't allow towing with their vehicles, so you can't ask if the have a tow hitch. Second, many rental companies don't rent one way. Thirdly, Home Depot and Lowes do not sell trailers in CO, so trailers are almost impossible to find at a reasonable cost. We had to drive to Aspen, CO to find a Suburban with a hitch (we were lucky it had a hitch) and to Glenwood Springs to get a trailer. Then off to Gypsum Urgent Care to get the bikes. When we got there, the entire Urgent Care staff came out to give Keith a hand loading the bikes (Ed was useless, of course). They brought out a wheelchair for Ed while the bikes were being loaded. Very nice people at Urgent Care to say the least. They wished us a safe return. A few more iterations and frustrations, but by 10pm we finally made it to Steve and Jenn's house to spend the night.

Day: 12, 13 & 14

Date: August 6, 2013

Start Location: Ft. Collins, CO

End Location: Home, NY

Miles Travelled: 1687

High Temperature: 88

We spent the next three days driving back to NY. Trip over, what a drag, life sucks. There will certainly be some important lessons learned from this trip.