Southwest Tour 2017
Utah Canyons and Rocky Mountains 
 This was a different tour for me.  Why?  I had a partner.  For the first time ever, I rode cross country with someone.  Most know I'm a committed solo rider, but this time was different- I was accompanied by my younger brother Gus, and his 2014 Kawasaki Concours.  This was a long time coming.

I promised him a few years ago I would take him on a long ride.  Like me, he's been riding since he was 12, and has always had a bike in his garage. Currently he owns 5.   For various reasons he has never been on a long ride, but no more, he is now a Long Rider.

I promised myself a few years ago, I would go back and concentrate on the beautiful places I've had the experience of over the years.  I want to visit them up close and personal.  In keeping that vow, I was in the South Dakota Badlands in 2014, last year I was in South Utah, this year I was in Moab.

The tour was configured on the notion if someone could only take ONE long ride in America, how and where does he go?  Given my task, I went to work.  Prep work started last winter, and carried into the spring. Gus had no equipment for long riding.  No camping gear, bags, etc.  I coached him up best I could.  Given my mission, I created the routes, and went back through my archvies to find the places I thought would be the best to visit.

The end result was this 4000 mile plus tour, covering the Heartland, the high praries of Wyoming, Colorado Rockies, and the Utah Canyons.  The tour in my eye, covers the most diverse landscapes of the USA.  Over the years I'd been through these areas, but not in the detail of this tour.

The bike for this tour was my 2005 BMW RT, that in the past few years, has felt neglected with the addition of the fancy and new 2014 FJR.  It was a wise choice.  Its ultra comfortable cockpit, nice seat, and touring extras, were well suited for this kind of ride.  The heated seat, grips and excellent wind protection came in handy on several cold mountain mornings.

Each bike did have a technical issue develop during the ride, but both had no problems bringing us home.  Details about that will be addressed in this trip report.

 The tour was 90% backroad riding.  Meaning we stayed on state highways most of the time, skipping the boring and monotonous interstates.  Blue Highways are the hallmark of my touring and riding.

Bad weather forced us to deviate our plans and shave one day off the tour.  We had to leave the mountains a day early to escape a winter storm moving south out of Canada.
​We met some great people in the Heartland as we rode West to Moab, Utah, where we spent 2 nights, and visited Arches National Park, and the less known but just as beautiful Dead Horse State Park.

On the way in we covered the North Colorado mountains, and for the trip back East we rode through the Central Rockies of the state.  Fall colors in the mountains were astounding, we timed the peak perfectly.

With Hurricane Nate coming into the South, and a winter storm approaching in the West, we rode what I called the "sweet spot" in between the two.  We had perfect weather for the 11 day ride, as evidenced in the pictures on this page.  Its was cool, and sunny 90% of the time.  We did have sprinkles in Wyoming and Nebraska, and on the last day 100 miles from home, but nothing serious.

The Kawsaki Concours and the BMW RT make strange bedfellows.  Both do the same thing, but in vastly different ways.  That became evident on Day 1, and had to be worked around the entire tour, how we did that will also be in this journal.

We camped and moteled on the ride.

The Sena Bluetooth coms were simply fantastic on this tour.  Because I never ride with anyone I never gave them a thought, but spent the money for this ride and found them downright essential.  The ability to speak to the rider on the bike next to you was one of the tours great traits.  My brother and I passed the empty miles across the Plains in some deep conversations, and light ones.  We told stories from our childhood, and spoke about our lifes in the present and the future.  Having another set of eyes watching your back was great.  We live but a few miles apart and speak almost everyday, but alone riding across the country you have time to really get into details.  Sometimes he would see something interesting I missed and point it out.  We called out potential hazards as needed, "hey there's a red truck up here, driver on the phone."

The Senas were clear, precise, and reliable.  It was like I was talking to Gus on the phone.

I captured many pictures, and the best of them will be included in the story that follows.  Also a few videos.

Hope you enjoy the ride.

October 11, 2017

Day 4- out of the midwest to Wyoming

Day 5- The Colorado Rockies and Utah Canyons

Day 7-  Central Colorado Rockies and on the way home

Day 8- Riding the Front Range and Kansas Plains