I was motivated to get the heck out of Trinidad. I had oil to change and although clean, the place I was staying at was frankly creepy.
I packed quickly but ended up talking to a guy walking his dog for about 20 minutes. Actually, let me correct that statement. I was talked at by a guy walking is dog for about 20 minutes. He told me all about how I needed to look into this trail that stretched from maybe Oregon or California to somewhere out east and it actually came through Trinidad! Righto…
I said about six words: “That’s the route I’m taking actually.” Figuring it would prompt some questions about my experiences on it.
Nope, all he said was, “Oh, well good luck” and walked away.
I guess some people just like to talk.
I headed out to O’Reilly Auto Parts. I gathered a couple of quarts of Rotella T 15-40, an oil pan and funnel. I asked the girl at the counter if they did indeed take used oil and if it was cool if I changed my oil in the lot. She said yep, no problem.
I went out and did a surprisingly good job of not making a mess while changing the oil and filter. The oil was black; the bike had been working hard the last two weeks.
I’m not entirely sure what years, but I believe at least 2001 and 2002 DR650’s developed base gasket leaks between 15,000 – 20,000 miles. Suzuki seemed to fix the issue in 2003. Mine of course is a 2002 so there is a leak. There’s an oil level viewing window on the side of the case; it has full and low level markings on it. I’d been monitoring it because I knew the leak was there but it had been above the full line every time.
The bike takes 2,400cc of oil if the filter is changed. I’d bought two quarts (946cc) because I had a third in my pannier. I filled the bike up and then put the used oil in the empty containers. I only filled up one and about a half quarters. I’d lost roughly about liter of oil since I’d left Portland and was running a liter low. For how long had it run like this? Who can know. I looked at the oil level after adding the correct amount of oil and the entire viewing window was filled; no space above the full line. I wasn’t thrilled but the bike had survived and now I knew what the level should look like in the viewing window. I went back in and bought another quart for top offs; this was about to become a daily thing.
Just in case you’re passing through Trinidad, CO on that trail that may go from Oregon or California to somewhere out east and need an oil change; here’s the address of the O’Reilly’s: 2905 Toupal Dr, Trinidad, CO 81082
As of September 18th 2016 at 10:30 p.m. they currently have 4 oil pans with matching funnels from TAT riders; so maybe just ask if they have any loaners before you buy them yourself.
It was going to be a short ride for the day. I was heading to Boise City, Oklahoma and that was slated at 153 miles out of Colorado through the northeast corner of New Mexico and over to Boise City. Piece of cake.
The route was hot and as time when on the tracks became straighter and straighter. I dropped down into a basin on a pretty nasty track, ran around past a number of ranches then out onto a set of tarmac switchbacks that lead out of the basin. It wasn’t long after that the tracks became even straighter; which I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely sure was possible.
The dirt roads were cleverly named by the direction in which they ran. NS for North-South and EW for East-West; at least they were being creative when they named them. My lord if they weren’t dead straight though; they ran perfectly along the compass heading on my GPS.
The whole state’s dirt road system was laid out in a grid; so realistically the tracks could head up absolutely ANY road and it will be dirt and technically “qualify” as a off-road route. Which brings us to this mess:
The GPS track lead me down that road; yes the tracks through the mud are from me. I knew it was a bad idea when I turned into it. I sank right into the mud and it was deep too. It was the kind of mud that creates suction when you try and pull your boot out of it. I used every mud riding technic I had up my sleeve to get out of the pit. I ended up getting the bike pointed toward the field, managed to slug it up out of the mud and into the field. I hopped back on the road after the mud and the road disappeared and mud bogs filled with sitting water appeared in front of me for what appeared to be the remainder of the track.
I turned around and went back out the road I’d just turned off of. This road was used so little that they weren’t even bothering to cut the grass around the yield sign any longer. Apparently, this was an amusing road to send people down on their bikes.
I made up a route back to the trail and smashed my way through some very suicidal grasshoppers the entire rest of way into Boise City, OK. I grabbed a motel and a pizza.
Mileage: 165 when all was said and done.