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Day 16 – Salida, CO to Chama, NM

When I first planned for this trip, I thought “Oh, I’ll just camp everywhere, all the time”. What a stupid thought. The regenerative qualities of a hotel room are amazing after a wet day in the dirt.

I took the early part of the morning to do a little service.  I replaced the air filter with a fresh one, and cleaned dirty ones with some gasoline from the jerry can.  Oil levels in the engine, transmission and final drive?  Check.

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Day 15 – Kremmling, CO to Salida, CO

Clear skies, brilliant sun, and a comfortable cool air.  Good morning Colorado, its nice to be here.

The unspoken camp-pack-up competition continues.  Despite Wayne & Zina coming the closest they ever have to beating me, I still enjoyed the last of my ritualistic coffee from the sidecar step while watching them pack up.  As always, Lola was ready to go as soon as her bedding was in the sidecar.

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Day 14 – Rawlins, WY to Kremmling, CO

Still programmed for sunrise, morning came early for me. Despite a soft bed with warm blankets, the urge to ride to new lands overwhelmed that of comfort and luxury. Not Lola though; She didn’t move from her spot on the bed until I started loading up the Ural.

I changed the final drive oil in the motel parking lot, capturing most of the dirty oil in a soda can. I wasn’t sure how much dust and dirt made its way in, and I didn’t want that dusty mess wearing the whirly-bits prematurely.

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Day 13 – Pinedale, WY to Rawlins, WY

Last night, we decided as a group that I would set off early while Wayne and Zina packed up and left an hour behind me.  The rationale being the speed difference between the motorcycles and the Ural; they would catch up to me in no time at all.

Lola and I were up before the sun was over the horizon, and packing up camp. I declined the ritualistic coffee exchange in the morning, choosing instead to get a cup in Boulder, some 10-15 miles south of Pinedale after topping off the tanks and spare gas cans for the beginning of the 220 mile stretch.

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Day 12 – Henry’s Fork, ID to Pinedale, WY

A sunny morning struggled to break through the cabin curtains. I got to work boiling some water right away in the ritualistic exchange of coffee.  That first aromatic sip in the morning is a pure golden Kodak moment.  Just think how many massive moments in civilization have all started with a cup of coffee.  Soldiers in deep jungles with rifles, scientists in labs, and scruffy, unshaven motorcyclists riding to Mexican glory.
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Day 11 – Clearwater Reservoir, MT to Henry’s Fork, ID

Eleven days on the road meant sleep was no longer a problem.  I had lost any anxiety about the Ural, Lola, or myself for the trip.  My thought process was very simple and uncluttered.  Unpack, eat, sleep, repack and ride.  See new things and meet new people.  Pretty small todo list for each day.

While not as ruthless as the previous evening, the formation dive-bombing insects were still out, in good numbers.  I had a theory that they were tracking their targets by height and body heat.  My white-man fire confirmed my theory when they all hung high and away over the flames.

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Day 10 – Moose Creek, MT to Clearlake Reservoir, MT

True to the warning label on last nights meal, I was up very early for an evacuation notice.  The sun was just peeking over the eastern hill as I ran/walked to the campground outhouse.

By the time I was done in the outhouse, the sun was painting a wall of light on the western hill that was steadily advancing on our campsite.  I decided to run through some maintenance checks on the Ural, in the cool morning air (once suggested as the best time, by Robert Pirsig).  The air filter was pretty dirty already, so I oiled a replacement and swapped it out.  The valves hadn’t moved at all, which I took as a good sign that the Windmill MK-III wasn’t letting any dust through.

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