Day 13 -Moab and a bad fuel pump

July 21 2017. We woke up early today to hit the road to Moab. No offense to Chris but waking up next to this everyday would really wear on me.

Chris waking up in Teepee

The road to Moab ran through the lasal mountains, challenging but fun.

Riding to Lasal

approaching moab

stubborn cow

This cow was stuck between us and a steep drop off. We tried to give him passage but he wasn’t having it.

chris and steve outside of moab

just outside of moab

rocks outside of moab

Moab trail

Moab trail 3

Moab trail 2

Exiting the Lasal range we started to see the rocks of Moab.

moab brewery

We arrived into the town of Moab around noon so we grabbed lunch at the best place in town.

Arches Nat parkArches nat park 5Arches nat park 4Arches nat park 3Arches Nat park 2balanced rockme and balanced rock

After lunch we decided to run up into the Arches National Park.
working on bikeworking on bike 2
pulling outthe plug

Right after departing the Arches National park the KTM began to sputter and stall. I initially chalked it up to the intense heat so we let it rest a bit. We still had about 50 miles to go in order to get into Green River UT for the night.

Then entire way to Green River the KTM throttle needed feathering to keep it running. Its top speed became 40 mph and it was apparent that something was really going wrong.

Upon arrival into the KOA campground in Green River we pulled the spark plug out and saw the issue.

We changed the plug and the same symptoms were there. Hard to start and hard to stay running.

The plug was running hot with very little fuel.
lean spark plug

….Well as soon as JB pulled the plug we inspected it close by taking a shot of it with an iphone then zooming in. Before taking that photo though I ran my finger over the electrode and found it to be super rough with baked on deposits. The bike was running lean as far as we could tell … and leanness is NOT good and could cause fatal problems …like burnt valves and a hole in the piston. One thing for sure, the KTM had a fuel issue and we needed to diagnose & solve it with no local help. The nearest mechanic shop for bikes was way too far to drive the bike to. We had to diagnose and fix this ourselves outside of KOA Kamping Kabin # 1 in Green River. Luckily This KOA like many is clean and friendly and we had plenty of space to work. It started to sprinkle so we put the naked bike up on the porch….No one bothered us.  The campground had really good WIFI which is unusual for any lodging place I have stayed.  We all started googling similar issues with this particular bike but didn’t find anything coherent that could help us narrow it down.

Then I remembered to try a FB group I belong to called Team Wanker … They are a group of offroad motorcycle enthusiasts over 700 strong spread out all over the USA but mostly in FL. Well I posted a pic of the plug and described the rough running symptoms and our fate as well. We could go no further on this journey unless this was fixed. Within minutes of the post I started getting responses …then more and more, and still more…. Within a couple hrs was 45 responses. We found out this particular 2016 EFI KTM 350xcfw has a FUEL PUMP issue. One after another the Wankers helped us nail it down. We were very very relieved to have all these gurus chime in and with great surety diagnose the issue: BAD FUEL PUMP.

Well it was Friday night and we were pretty relieved to find the issue but beat from the long hot day in 100+++ weather.  The heat had also caused my SIDI discovery boot to fall apart at the sole… and we are guessing the heat took out the pump as well. The intense heat made visiting ARCHES Nat’l park a brutal experience on a dirtbike wearing full gear.   The Wanker group kept chiming in all night and piled more and more help on us while we slept

Tomorrow we figure out how to replace the fuel pump. An unexpected and unplanned day for the TAT.

Day 14 -Sourcing a Fuel Pump

July 22 2017. This day began early with a 530 am shower to get the grime off from the day before and clear the mind to focus on solving a bad fuel pump for the KTM. Thanks to Team Wanker for really cementing the solution for us so we could focus on a single fix.

While sitting having a cup of coffee and burning up the computer this guy came lumbering through looking for food.



Our focus was singular-How to source a new KTM fuel pump into Green River UT in the shortest amount of time possible.

seareching for fuel pump

We started calling around to Moab shops to see if they had one but no one was willing to part with even a used one. This left the internet. Knowing that had a distribution center in Utah, we called them first. They had 18 new fuel pumps in stock and they were approximately 150 away from Green River.

Steve was gearing up to make the trek when the local maintenance man for the KOA, Charles, volunteered to make the run in his truck. He and his wife have been on the road for a year pulling their Airstream from campground to campground enjoying the camping life.

Charles and I are face-timing to verify he had the correct part in his hand.


Enough can’t be said about the kindness of others in America. We have met the most interesting folks along this journey and all are willing to help in time of need. I have to say I am new to KOA but in the future I will definitely take the time to stay in more places like this. The people are fantastic and really enjoy just sharing stories. Yes, life is much slower at places like this but it is a welcome change from everyday life.

With this new development it meant that we could go ahead and focus on conducting maintenance on the remaining bikes, get some laundry done and relatively relax until the new pump arrived.

Charles arrived around 3 pm with the new pump. We learned he is former diesel mechanic and he and his wife sold everything they owned and bought the Airstream. Here is Charles delivering the new pump.

new pump handoff

Now for the installation.
old fuel pump out

replacing pump2

tightening pump

replacing pump

Pumps in, now for the test…

this better work

Victory! the bike purrs again. We wanted to load the video showing the bike running but alas wordpress has issues with videos.

Tomorrow we are back on the TAT -headed to Ephriam UT.

Day 15 – Qucksand and Pictographs

July 23 2017. Today was a good day. All three bikes were running smooth. We departed Green River UT headed for Ephraim UT.

Our journey started in the heat of the desert.

rocks green river

more desert2

more deserts

We saw these rocks and wanted to take a pic. However, what looked like as dry lake bed turned out to be quicksand.



stuck in mud

chris mud

bike in mud2

We had to muscle Chris’ bike out. Note how the footsteps got deeper the more you moved to the middle of the lake bed.

chris stuck in mud1

chris stuck in mud2

chris stuck in mud7

mud on tire

This was real world quicksand that we just didn’t see coming.  Notice how it sticks to the rear tire. When walking out into the middle your footsteps would sink deeper and deeper and became really difficult to move. No telling how deep it really was and we had no desire to find out.

We continued for about 100 more miles and then came upon this view. Notice the white rock walls in the distance, we were headed towards those.


steve desert

nikes and long desert road

The white rocks turned out to be the Temple Mountain Wash pictograph area.


rocks and bikes

painted rock3

painted rock2

painted rocks2

We found it surprising that the pictographs were not protected except for a three rail fence which effectively keeps no one out. Luckily there is no real vandalism here. Albeit a very remote place it seems that this history should be protected a bit more.

Soon after the pictographs we were headed back up into the mountains. Over 10,000′ up. We went from the desert to above the snow line in the same day.


looming rain outside of Manti utah

going up mountain1

climbing mountain3

climbing mountain2


Steve’s boot sole separated so a roadside duct tape fix was in order.

steves boot

After clearing the mountains we descended into he town of Ephraim. However there were no open motels so we headed 7 miles South to the town of Manti and found a motel.

steve in manti motel

We were done for the day -230 miles total. Tomorrow we head to Tremonton UT.

Day 16 -Heat and Slab

July 24 2017. Today was a catch-up day due to the lost time fixing the fuel pump. We went from Manti Utah to Tremonton Utah. Today was 90% slab. Really hot, really boring. We traversed 230 miles through Salt Lake City and many small towns. Today is Utah’s Pioneer day (all week has been Pioneer Days) so many of the citizen’s are on vacation and stores are closed.

Steve had to do some emergency repairs on his left boot overnight.  Shoe goo to the rescue again.  The right boot was the first to go 2 days before.  It’s like the glue Sidi uses has a precise expiration date.   Steve also had this same thing happen to his Sidi crossfire SRS boots a couple years ago.  Steve is NOT happy with Sidi’s manufacturing techniques.   He has had these boots for 8 years so this will be the last ride for these Sidi discoveries.

steven boot

Steve took this shot of Utah Lake.

Here is Steve actually taking that picture.  iPhone 6S / Pano

steve lake utah

We passed by the Diesel Bros Shop so Chris wanted a photo of their creations.
diesel bros

diesel bros

dielsel bros3

dielsel bros2

We had lunch at the Sizzler in Ogden Utah.  Steve’s salad… Photographed way better than it tasted he said.

lunch at sizzler2

lunch at sizzler

Random town.   Steve walked up to this auto store to pick up some spare oil this morning but it was closed up tight for the State celebration of its independence / July

Told ya. Pretty boring day. Tomorrow we are headed into Idaho.

Day 17 -Volcanic Rock and F-15’s

July 25 2017. Today was an early rise day to get back on the trail by 7am. We were faced with cloudy skies and the threat of heavy rain. We departed the Marble Inn in Tremonton UT headed towards Arco ID.


There wasn’t much to see in Northern Utah, lots of wheat fields and this old windmill.

steve windmill

We quickly arrived at the ID border



Here is Chris peeing on the Idaho side of the border.

chris pee

Chris noticed his front tire needed some air- This is an ongoing thing for his front tire (low pressure side, Tubliss system). We have been using the Tusk CO2 canisters and Chris blew one up in his face (no injury) but scared the crap out of him.


The light rain and the dust combined to create challenging conditions for video and sight in general


We were making great time because the trails were not soaked. When the trails in Idaho become wet they become impassible. We saw many deep ruts from previous wet periods


stev e



we arrived at American Falls UT and decided to stop for fuel. We always ask the locals for a restaurant recommendation. Today was a local Mexican joint aptly named Tres Hermanos.


The fajitas were amazing

We geared up after lunch and went directly into the Crater of the Moon National park. We traversed 70 miles on great trail. One of the best of the entire trip. The Crater of the Moon National Park is actually volcanic rock from a million+ years ago? The trail riding was fast and fantastic.

We came across these stacked rocks. It seems that the rocks are lava type? the surrounding area was littered with these “lava” type rocks.

moon cratwer

steve rock

steve pick

Due to the rough trail one of Steve’s welded saddle bag brackets snapped. We did some field expedient repairs to get to the next town.

steve desert mainy

de3sert mainyenance

While running across the trail four F-15’s screamed low across the valley. Chris captured this shot.

f15 flyover

After 230 miles we rolled in the town of Arco UT in search of a motel. We had to find out why the mountain side had numbers crudely painted on the rocks. Turns out that every graduating high school class from Arco UT has painted their graduating year on the rocks since 1920.

num ber mountain

We found a great little place called the DK Inn. Notice the WiFi is in quotes.


We started with bike maintenance.


safety wire

safety wire2

Then we chilled out for a bit meeting the neighbors. Jesse aka “boatboy” is riding his Harley from MA to CA and back.



We had a few well deserved beers before walking over to the Pickle for dinner.



The food was perfect for the day.


Tomorrow we set out for 250 miles of Idaho mountains.

Day 18 -World of Mud

July 26 2017. Today was a beautiful morning. We were up early and ready to hit the trail. It had rained a bit the night before so we were thinking the dust would be suppressed a little. The clouds weren’t to dark so we really thought nothing of it.
menacing skies

What we should of done was actually heed the advice of the designer of the TAT: “Some roads are dirt based and may become impassable”

But we’re smart guys, good riders, so whats a little mud?

raod after the night of rain

raod after rain

These cows were actually warning us by not moving out of the way.

warning us

We rounded a corner and began a small climb. That’s when things got dicey quick.



mud front tire

mud around sprocket

steve nud

steve mud 2

After three hours of digging mud and rocks out of our brakes, chains, tires and sprockets we turned back to where we had come. On the way out of the foothills we ran into three Irish bros on the TAT. We pulled over and warned them of the hazards.


Once we hit a hardball road we headed back to our motel to get a hose to clean as much of the sticky mud out. We made it about five miles and JB’s rear brakes locked up and the right front fork seal was leaking.

fork seal

We made it back to the motel, cleaned the bikes grabbed a bite to eat at the Pickle (from the night before).  The weather forecast was foreboding and we could see it off in the distance. We decided that the best course of action was to take a direct hardball route to Idaho City Idaho. This meant 200 miles of slab. But the mud and the weather made this decision easy for us.

Not two miles out of the town JB’s brakes locked again. We removed the brake pads to clean out the dried sticky mud.

roadside brake repair

Once repaired we had no issues and ran 216 miles of hardball road to get to Idaho City. Idaho city is a town of 400 people and we arrived at 9pm. Everything was closing and initially there were no rooms available. We Stopped in at Trudy’s roadside restaurant. We got really lucky and they answered the door even though they were closed. They offered us a small cabin and we could settle up in the morning.

Day 19 – Wheels Come Off

July 27 2017. After getting lucky the night before with the cabin we were feeling good. We were up early and looking over the bikes.

Trudys idaho city]

Steve went to work fixing a bad battery pack that powered his GPS. Luckily he had brought a spare.
bad batt

batt replacement

We were feeling so good that we decided to eat breakfast at Trudy’s. The BEST corned beef hash we’d ever had.

trudys bfast

Trudy was making the rounds between customers and sat with us and told tales for a while.


We hit the road around 10 am and the weather was perfect. About 20 miles outside of Idaho city JB sprung an oil leak and a fork seal leak. The oil was coming out of the clutch slave cylinder and spraying on the rear tire. This being a direct result of the mud and rocks form the day prior. Luckily Chris spotted it a quick stop and Steve had oil with him.

oil leak2

oil leak

seal leak

That took about 30 minutes and we were back on the trail.

We crossed into Oregon! we were finally making some good time.


The weather turned hot and the trails were dusty. But we were flying. Then at the top of a hill about a half mile outside of Huntington Or, Steve’s bike shut down. He coasted down the hill while using his GPS to find a gas station. Amazingly he made it to the only gas station in town.

This is where things got interesting. His bike had lost compression. wouldn’t start no matter how much he kicked it over.

gasd station fix

We were stuck but something great happened. The town rallied around us. Huntington has just over 400 residents. People were calling each other looking for guys with tools and knowledge.

One guy, Mike, actually had small cabins right around the corner that we would be able to stay. We moved the bikes over to the cabins and into the shade. More and more calls were made and more and more people showed up.


Several “experts” chimed in on the issues with the bike.

The consensus was the valves needed a looking at. So we began to tear down the motor. Mike brought his tools over and we went to work.

pulling the head

part table


steves biuke2
dirty valves

We still weren’t sure what exactly the issue was a local named Kevin offered to take the head back to his home workshop. The whole town was behind us and the hospitality especially from Mike and Kevin was absolutely amazing!

Back at kevin’s place he welded a nut on top of the head were we sheared a bolt off so we could remove it.


We poured some fuel onto the closed valves to see if they leaked. And they did. badly. Therefore we had to clean them. Kevin pulled the valves out and lapped them.

leak test

Everything we could do was done except for putting everything back together. That would have to take place tomorrow and it was now after midnight. We have more pictures and will load them later.

Day 20 – Back on the trail

July 29 2017. Steve’s bike was still in pieces. We started back on it at 630 am. We had a goal -if we couldn’t get it running by noon, then Chris and JB would continue on and come back for Steve’s bike with the uhaul in a couple of days.

The rebuild went smooth. It took us about five hours of methodically putting all of the bolts back in. We were researching the internet, messaging with the Wankers and making calls back to mechanics in Florida.

The three Irish bros that we had met two days earlier and warned them about the mud came through town and we shared our story. They heeded our warnings about the mud but ran into closed roads and had to divert to different roads. They were now in front of us. Their goal was to get to Oregon and Uhaul back exactly the same as ours.


While we were still working on the bike, Mike went into town (about 30 miles away) to pick up some oil for our bikes. We had just finished the reassembly when he returned. Oil in, it was time to kick it over. It fired right up! Steve commented that it sounded better than ever.

finisehd product

We had to get moving so we packed everything up, thanked everyone profusely and took off into the afternoon heat of Southern Oregon. Our goal was to reach the town of John Day about 150 miles away.

We came across this old bus in the middle of nowhere.

bus by lake

We transitioned from a desert landscape to tall pine forests within about 50 miles. The riding was smooth and there were no people (campers) in sight.

southern or forests

Bouncing around the forest trails Steve broke another bracket. We stopped for another safety wire fix. This time he added an old nail to reinforce the fix.


The trail through the mountains was beautiful and we arrived in John Day around 8pm. The parking lot of the motel was full of Harley’s headed for Sturgis. The guys were sitting outside their rooms having a few beers. We were certainly a different sight for the Harley riders as we came in all dusty on little dirt bikes.

Day 21 – Good day

July 30 2017. Finally a relatively maintenance free day. We departed around 9 am from John Day and headed towards LaPine Oregon, 265 miles.  The trails were wide and clear. So clear, we were asking ourselves -where is everyone? Where were the campers, hikers, and general outdoor folk?


steves bkike


We blasted through the first 100 miles practically not seeing a soul in the hills and then we approached the town of Prineville. They had a river and now we saw the campers and fishermen.



Croked river OR


crooked river campground

Chris caught another fork seal leak along the way.

fork seal

About 45 south of Prineville we entered an area designated for OHV so we were racing through trails and some single track. Steve’s tire is showing some wear but should make it for the next two days.


Not much of an update as I think we were really interested to get to the destination. We have had so many issues with the bikes in the last couple of days that we are becoming cautious of stopping.

Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Day 22 -Another Challenge to Overcome

July 31 2017. Today started with a fever to get done. We were only 300ish miles from the finish. Yes it wasn’t a race but after 21 days on the trail the end was welcomed. The trails led us through some great forests and high altitudes.

distant mountsain

Many of the areas we went through had burned previously but the forest was recovering nicely.






Our destination for the day was Wolf Creek Oregon. We were several miles out and we faced a extremely challenging, steep, single track rock climb. All the bikes performed well as we powered straight up the mountain.

As we descended JB noticed a loud squeak coming from the rear of his bike. He thought he might just have a small rock stuck in the brake rotor or something. He had Chris take quick look as we were riding and didn’t notice anything.

It wasn’t until we had traveled another 15 miles and pulled into Wolf Creek when the realization of what the squeak was hit us.

missing axle


Yes that is a missing axle block and nut. It must have vibrated off during the rock climb. The scary part was that just prior to arriving in Wolf Creek we had a 8 mile stretch of interstate at 65 miles per hour.

The lesson here is if you hear something different on your bike. Stop and check it out thoroughly.

Now that we were in Wolf Creek we were to bed down. The historic Inn was literally across the street from our fuel stop.

wolf creek inn

We still had a couple of hours of daylight left so we did some field expedient maintenance and contemplated several fixes for the axle nut.


Jb felt defeated. So close and couldn’t think his way out of this one.


Steve and Chris still had energy and brain power. Both motivated JB to press on. Several scenarios of how to fix it were flowing. We first started to ask around with the locals.

Unlike Steve’s issue in Huntington Oregon where we received tremendous support form the locals, Wolf Creek was a different story. Apparently the town had fallen victim to meth. On the ride in through the mountains we noticed several places hidden in the woods that were obviously meth factories. At the fuel stop and general store the meth heads were hanging out in front. From the hotel we literally watched drug deals go down. Shirtless homeless men with no teeth wandering around make everyone nervous, especially tourists.

Note to Wolf Creek Leadership: Get your shit together. A place with such natural beauty should not be overshadowed by the scourge of drugs. Fix it.

Tomorrow we solve the axle issue and finish the TAT.