Wow, what a week it has been. I have been on the bike 8 out of the last 9 days. We had the National Hare and Hound a week ago, then I was out the door first thing the next day for an entire day of photos and then it was time to pack and get on the road for the KTM Rally in Moab Utah.
The trip to Utah was fantastic. The fall colors were out everywhere and for the most part the weather was perfect. Along the way north I went through St George and Kanab. Then I continued north and east through Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks. There was so much to see that it was hard to make much progress throughout the day.
When I rolled into Moab things were well underway at the Rally. With around 150 participants, the atmosphere was busy, but not so much so that you felt lost in the crowd. I think everyone who attended felt that they really had a special experience. The area is such a mecca for riding that each participant probably only got to experience a small part of what the region has to offer.
Mark Hyde and the entire crew from KTM worked overtime to make sure that everyone got the full experience; from guided rides, to tech advice, to bike demos. There was plenty to keep everyone busy during the short spaces of free time. With racers Mike Lafferty, Russell Bobbitt and Paul Krause leading the rides, there was never any lack of skill and expertise on hand.
I spent my riding time following Russell around Slick Rock. This famous area is just on the outskirts of town and has a surprising variety of terrain to tackle. Now by “tackle”, I mean that just about everything felt like a challenge to me as I was riding the KTM 990R. I was a little hesitant about how much I would be able to do on the big bike, but as the day went along I got more and more comfy on it. Never the less, I was making a sincere attempt to treat the big bike with care. You can look for the full story on it to come over at MotorcycleUSA.com. Suffice it to say that both myself and the bike are now back home and no worse for the wear.
On Saturday evening there was a tire changing contest between Mike and Russell. I assumed both would be pretty fast with their ISDE experience. As it turns out the tire to be changed had an inner tube, not a mousse. In my opinion neither rider was particularly skilled at this and I think I could have performed the change faster than the pros did. But really the contest was more of an opportunity for each rider to heckle the other while he was performing his task. So we all had a good laugh watching them go at each other.
As the event came to an end I pointed the big KTM South and headed for home. I was able to do most of the return trip without hitting the freeway. Along the way I passed through Monument Valley, Flagstaff and Needles. Then continuing further south I passed along the bottom of the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea before turning west to Borrego Springs and back into San Diego. I had a little rain and stormy weather up around Flagstaff but other than that it was a perfect time to be out riding around the west.
For those of you who missed this years event, I suggest you make it a priority for next year. Everyone is welcome, regardless of the color of your bike.