It was the end of the summer of 2012 and I was randomly scanning the web for whatever random thing was on my mind when I happened across a blog entry where I read about a white bearded Australian who was driving a CT110 across a vast section of Australia.
Reading and looking at the pictures carried me to a Mad Max-esque state and I knew I had to get one of these vintage bikes (in USA we only have them through 1986) and ride some place far away. His detailed chronicling of his adventure was graphic and hilarious (well worth a read if you love Posties and epic adventures).
Problem with my daydreams is that they don’t often make it far past the daydream stage. To overcome this I sent a hopeful email to a couple of my adventure junkie brothers. Their responses were almost immediate and, to my happy surprise (because they both have little families and jobs that are demanding), they both said they were in!
When we made the decision, I believe it was July 2012, none of us had motorcycles. In fact I was the only one that even had a motorcycle endorsement on my license! We set a goal to purchase bikes and to try to get them road-worthy, legal and ready to do what we thought would be at least a thousand mile trip. At that point we didn’t even know where we would go.
As we were all busy working, taking care of families (between the three of us we have 10 children) we made some plans to meet up on Sundays at our parents home ,where we often gather after church for dinner and socializing. These initial meetings didn’t leave me too hopeful. However as time went by we started getting serious and we made some progress.
Juston was the first to buy, and with his purchase he sealed my fate. Since I had made all this noise about this trip I had to get serious and put my money where my mouth had been and find a bike, and I’ll never forget the day I did.
The bike was a beauty. 1980 Trail 110 low mileage and just really clean. I barely knew enough to know that 1980s didn’t have the coveted dual tranny (Juston’s was an ’80 also) but with time ticking I went for it and got it for a great deal.
To date it is the best looking bike we’ve purchased (not true anymore since Juston found his cherry 1984 with only 700+ miles). Because of the rush to get a bike I only took a short test drive and didn’t learn the awful news. The bike had a serious problem.
In the meantime my brothers, now including my bro-in-law, had all found bikes via our favorite local classifieds on KSL.com. Juston had picked up his ’80 for $500 or so dollars (the cheapest purchase price of all our bikes), but it was in rough shape, missing blinkers and pretty banged on.
He went right to work getting the bike cleaned up and ordering the parts he needed.
Dan found the lowest mile bike of any of us at the time (just under 1000), and I had the honor of driving with him north of SLC to check it out. The owner had the original license plate, tool kit and title! It was done, though there was no budging on the $1400 price.
Jared was the last one in when he showed up with his bike. It was a rough looking ’81 that Juston immediately nicknamed Rust Ring, an unfortunate but accurate nickname that would remain even after the bike was cleaned up.
At one point we lined all our bikes up for a picture and realized Rust Ring’s handle bars were seriously bent (like clubman bars on backwards). A little elbow grease and a piece of wood and we had them back close to original specs.
Now my problem was starting to weigh on me. For some reason when running at full speed for more than a couple minutes the bike, now named Lil Thump, would begin to stutter and almost stall out.
Carb install was a cinch (though I grossly overpaid for it, no seriously I paid $80 for it!), new fuel lines and filters didn’t fix my problem either. It was at this point that I felt the impending deadline crashing down on me. I decided to ask a pro. My longtime friend Dave at Scooter Lounge in Provo was my next call. He fit me in to his busy schedule so I could get the bike ready for a longer Proof Run we had been planning. Scooter Lounge tuned and experimented with it and we were hopeful that all might be well. So I slid the bike in my minivan and trucked on over to the starting location and got ready for a nice long ride day ride.
Bikes were looking good, drivers and bikes were now licensed and everyone was insured. We were excited to roll, but after about a few miles my bike was once again just one continuous hiccup.
I dejectedly turned around while Juston and Jared rolled on and out into the desert for an awesome and successful prep and proof run out into the Utah desert.
This left me with a bum bike and Dan not having proved his and our trek date coming fast in September.
We had been brainstorming on where we should go for sometime, but were limited because one of the brothers would not travel without his sidearm and that limited the states we could travel in (darn CA gun laws). So we decided to go south exploring national parks along the route and camping all the way to the Grand Canyon.
I listed my ’80 with a tear in my eye in our local classifieds and had it sold almost immediately.
With a sweaty wad of green in my fist, I started looking for another CT110 that would safely carry me the thousand miles we planned on doing. It got pretty stressful, and down to the wire but I found one out in Payson. It was a one owner and from the pics it looked pretty good.
The bike was rougher than I had hoped, but had just over 1000 miles, so after some negotiation it was mine.
Prep included oil change, new blinker light and cover, new shocks, remove passenger seat, new tires, crash guard and some tightening of this and that. Now I felt I had a runner, but we still hadn’t proved the two bikes (mine and Dan’s).
We organized another prep run and set a goal of 200 miles, just to see if the bikes could do it. Juston was out due to work/sleep obligations, but Jared signed on for another journey.
Nebo Loop Prep Ride ended up being a little over 200 miles and was a blast! Absolutely gorgeous.
It proved to us that the bikes were ready and that we could actually do the daily miles that would be required to complete the first Epic Trek.
The trek is chronicled in the blog (mostly in Sept and Oct 2012), but we couldn’t have done it the way we did without our support crew.
Mom was the best, she was ahead getting us campsites we would have missed and creating a great camp environment.