GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

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GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

This is my ride report for attending NAFO and YFO, and some places in between.

Note: This is cross posted so forgive me for specifying things that might be obvious depending on where you are reading this.

I also usually compose my ride reports and then post them all at once. This is a big one so I'll try posting in installments this time around.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

Prologue:
Famous last words: "I will NOT be working on the bike until the last minute this time!"

Earlier this year my wife approached me. We've had a rough year or so dealing with all the COVID related stuff along with my wife and son's medical issues this past year. She told me in no uncertain terms, that I've been busting my butt to take care of them and that I needed to take my motorcycle trip I've been planning for a few years. Bless her.

I planned on attending YFO, the Yosemite FJR Owners meet, in California two years ago. My boss would flip out if I took even a day more than a week at a time. This made it difficult to get to California, attend a meet, and return home. I had determined to use a holiday weekend to ride to Las Vegas and store my bike there, then fly home. Then fly back, grab the bike and hop up to YFO and take my time riding home. Shortly before the trip was to start, I changed jobs, thankfully so I didn't have that boss anymore, but changing jobs meant no vacation, so the trip was put on hold.

I had a few weeks to use this time around when my wife told me to go, and I noticed that the NAFO (North American FJR Owners) meet was in Colorado the previous weekend to YFO. If I play my cards right, I can do both, and have some fun seeing stuff in between.

It always seems that before a trip I'm doing work on the bike right up to trip departure. I decided that I will NOT be working on the bike until the last minute this time. I started two months in advance. My forks needed fluid change, they were leaking and the AK20 cartridges probably needed servicing. I pulled them off and shipped them off to Traxxion to get this done.

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That took a few weeks, but I got them back, even with new stickers!

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On reinstalling the forks, it turns out I had a too short bolt for my upper triple clamp and when I torqued it, the bolt stripped the threads out of the clamp.

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Quickest fix was to get a triple off ebay, which thankfully there were a few. The one I bought had the ignition bolts cut off. This meant I had to drill out the bolts on my busted triple, then drill the bolts out of the new one too. All went without too much drama though.

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I got that done, and put new tires on the bike along with adding a Fobo Bike 2 TPMS set to the wheels. With the wheels off I proactively replaced the front wheel bearings. I changed the pumpkin fluid as well knowing the oil was fresh in the bike. Only problem I ran into, when installing the front wheel back on the bike was that the front brakes were dragging really badly. Like, really bad, enough to explain my poor gas mileage on my Florida trip.

I had two pistons in the front left caliper sticking so I hopped on amazon and ordered a rebuild kit. It was now the Friday before the trip and I'm scheduled to leave the following Wednesday, and the kit will arrive on Monday. Sheesh, cutting it close.

On Monday morning I awoke to an email from Amazon informing me that there was a shipping delay on my kit and it'd arrive mid September. Not acceptable. I jumped onto All Balls Racing site and ordered a kit with overnight shipping praying I'd put the order in early enough that it'd ship today (Monday) for a Tuesday arrival so I can be out on Wednesday.

The kit arrived Tuesday afternoon so I pulled the caliper and split it and started the rebuild process. I found this metal flake from the machining process in the orifice between the two halves. So much for good QC there.

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The brakes primed and bled better than any in my past. I did several bleedings before going to bed, and would do a few more during my work breaks the following day.

I really wanted to spend my last evening at home with my family instead of in the garage, but it is what it is.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

Day 1
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Distance: 434.7 miles
Duration: 6 hours, 37 minutes, and 40 seconds
Average Speed: 65.6 mph
Minimum Elevation: 403 feet
Maximum Elevation: 3718 feet

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Not a lot to report this day. I got up early and worked through lunch so I could scoot out a little early. I try to start my trips in this way so I don't have to burn a vacation day doing the boring "Get out of Texas" part of the trip. Going west I usually try to make it to the Amarillo area.

I attended some meetings, did some work, got some brake bleeding done and last minute packing taken care of. The bike was already loaded and ready to go so when the time came I suited up, kissed the wife goodbye and hit the road.

The temps were up, and continued to rise as I rode west. I saw a high of 104F and was sucking down the water from my camelbak.

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I had a dinner destination of JT's Drive In, in Childress Texas.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/j-ts-drive-in-childress

I found this place on accident last year. The burger and fries were fantastic. Just the right char and flavor on the burger, and the seasoning on the fries was delicious. I had plugged it into my GPS as my dinner destination for this year. I was happy when I arrived because there was a table right under their wall unit air conditioner. I made my order and asked for a large ice water. The lady standing behind the order taker had been eyeballing me in my suit with my red face and sweat running off me, and as soon as I said "Ice water" she ran off to fetch that for me. I was especially thankful for that.

Dinner didn't disappoint, still as good as last year. I'd definitely recommend swinging by if you are passing through.

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I'm definitely a planner. Some folks can just ride and stop wherever, but I stress out if there aren't reservations. Last thing I want to do is wander around from town to town after dark, sore and tired, looking for a place to stay. I went cheap and had put in reservations at the Super 8 in Dumas Texas. On arrival, I was really thankful I'd made reservations in advance, was lucky to be able to find a parking space next to my room.

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That concluded most of the "Get out of Texas" portion of my ride. I'm within an hour of the border and about 3 hours from being able to see the Rocky Mountains. I go to bed early so I can have a head start in the morning to get the fun started.
Last edited by gixxerjasen on Fri Sep 10, 2021 6:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by wheatonFJR »

This is gonna be a good one……
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by natehawk750 »

Thread Jack! I'm betting he never finishes this Ride Report!
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

natehawk750 wrote: Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:28 pm Thread Jack! I'm betting he never finishes this Ride Report!
I'm not Spawn.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

Day 2
Thursday, August 26, 2021
Distance: 506.2 miles
Duration: 9 hours, 27 minutes, and 18 seconds
Average Speed: 53.5 mph
Minimum Elevation: 3665 feet
Maximum Elevation: 11322 feet

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Today is get to NAFO day. It's in Glenwood Springs Colorado, and I'm starting off in Dumas Texas. I get up before the sun is up and hit the road. I tried to stop at McD's down the street for a quick breakfast, but the lobby is closed. This would be a theme throughout the trip, trying to find food I didn't have to eat in the parking lot.

It was a bit brisk at 62F with my Rev'it Tornado 3 mesh suit without my liners but I knew the sun would be up soon to warm me up.

It wasn't long before I was passing familiar landmarks like the Capulin Volcano.

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https://www.nps.gov/cavo/index.htm

Passing long trains. Not sure I'd ever seen one with engines in the middle. This was a long one with two engines at the front, four in the middle, and two at the back.

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Before you know it, you are getting close to Raton New Mexico and you come over a rise and get your first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. I'm not ever able to ride this stretch of the road without a huge smile on my face.

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Colorado 69 is one of my favorite roads. It's not the best road, but it has some nice sweepers along with amazing scenery as you travel up the valley toward US50. It's always a nice way to start a ride here, I call it the "Colorado appetizer."

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Riding on US50 usually means at least some of this.

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But getting stopped near the front of the group means you can usually dispatch that slower truck and trailer and have the road to yourself.

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As I progressed north through the state, weather started to become a bit of a concern.

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So, Julie (FJRFarrier on FJRiders) has long praised the Cuban Sandwiches at Buchi Cafe Cubano in Leadville Colorado as being particularly amazing. I, having grown up in Tampa Florida, know a thing or two about Cuban sandwiches. I know, that outside of Florida, most restaurants just use a regular Deli pork and call it a Cuban. There is so much wrong about that. Now, of course, I'm skeptical when Julie, from Ohio, says a restaurant in Colorado, has the best Cuban sandwiches. I put it in my GPS to check out.

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Ok, so Julie got lucky on her first Cuban sandwich because that was a proper Cuban and it was definitely good. Their Café con Leche was pretty good too. It definitely hit the spot and I enjoyed every bit of that lunch.

https://www.buchicafecubano.com/

While eating lunch I started contemplating the weather. I could go back a little bit and take Independence Pass through Aspen and into Glenwood Springs. However, looking that direction was low level clouds and a lot of rain. Looking at the weather radar confirmed that. I didn't really want to deal with that and I've been over Independence Pass before.

Looking at going north to Interstate 70 and across to Glenwood Springs also showed rain. In addition, there were recently mud slides in Glenwood Canyon on I-70 that had caused various road closures. It's currently back open but only one late each direction causing some traffic and potential closures during the rain like I was seeing on the radar. I decided to tempt fate and head north to I-70.

Before taking off though, I noticed a bicycle store a half block down from the Cuban restaurant. I'd discovered my aging camelbak bladder was leaking and kind of nasty. I popped down and picked up a new one, then put on my rain gear and headed north.

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Running I-70 is about as close as you can get to driving in a Nascar road course race. For the most part, the speed limit isn't even considered a suggestion, and the fast moving traffic is pretty insane. I had a car following along behind me at one point and I was approaching a steep downhill section of I70 and moved left to pass a semi truck. Right as I came alongside his trailer wheels there was a slow moving car ahead in the right lane. The semi truck jerked left to pass the slow moving truck not leaving me in a good situation. I was braking hard downhill on soaking wet pavement headed for a narrow shoulder next to a guardrail. That car following me was about to get an up close front row view of a motorcyclist getting squished. Thankfully the truck saw me at the last second, hit the brakes and moved back into his lane. I zipped by and thanked my lucky stars.

The cleanup crew around the mudslide area has been working hard, and I zipped right through without any traffic or issues. There was one section where you could see that the left lane sure did get torn up from the slide though, and will require some work to get that all fixed.

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Shortly afterwards I was exiting into Glenwood Springs and headed for the Caravan Inn where NAFO was being held. I arrived and was promptly greeted by some folks I've talked to forever online but was never able to put a face with the name until this day. Good times were had, lies were told, and general BSing took place in that parking lot.

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Dinner was next door at the 19th street diner one block over from the hotel.

http://19thstreetdiner.com/

This was one of the few meals I didn't take a picture of, but it was good and the service was fantastic. My son loves to see what I eat on my trips so if I have the photos. I'll post them.
Last edited by gixxerjasen on Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by wheatonFJR »

It was nice finally meeting the guy who singlehandedly fought off women left and right at NAFO.
Last edited by wheatonFJR on Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by NTXFJR »

I might have to try your Start Spot, Start Track trick!
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

wheatonFJR wrote: Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:15 pm It was nice finally meeting the guy famous for spectacularly effing up his forks. He’s better looking and mannered than I thought he would be.
I thought you promised not to mention that anymore. ;)
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by wheatonFJR »

I fixed my post.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

wheatonFJR wrote: Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:43 pm I fixed my post.
I quoted it, now it's permanent. Besides, I was just joking. :lol:
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by LKLD »

So, what happened on Day 2, hmmm?

I’m looking forward to the rest of the RR. The photos, while riding, have spot on focusing, well done Jasen. 👍👍
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

LKLD wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:58 am So, what happened on Day 2, hmmm?

I’m looking forward to the rest of the RR. The photos, while riding, have spot on focusing, well done Jasen. 👍👍
Oops, fixed. Nice catch. Can't take much credit for the focusing, those are just screen grabs from my gopro.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

Day 3
Friday, August 27, 2021
Distance: 429.1 miles
Duration: 10 hours, 5 minutes, and 23 seconds
Average Speed: 42.5 mph
Minimum Elevation: 4538 feet
Maximum Elevation: 10840 feet

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It's Friday and I have had a plan for my riding today for a while. Each time I've come to Colorado I've wanted to ride CO-141, but for many reasons, I've always had to scratch it off the itinerary. This time I made it the mission instead of an add on. Today I'm finally going to ride it.

I'm up and preparing to go fairly early. A few others beat me out onto the road this morning but most are still sleeping away while their rides wait patiently to be taken out to hit the roads.

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Heading out of Glenwood Springs, the sun is hitting the surrounding mountains just right. They really light up under that early morning sun hitting at such a low angle.

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As you approach Grand Junction, I-70 gets fun and scenic with the curves, canyons and the dam.

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I stopped for gas in Grand Junction to top off, remove some layers and get ready to head up 141. The terrain changes so much along this road, it starts off with these light colored small canyon areas.

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Then it moves into thesee open farming fields with cliffs in the background.

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While taking that photo, another FJR rider came past me. A little down the way he was stopped and I passed him. We did this back and forth for a while and eventually I stopped where he was stopped and we chatted a bit. Eventually we'd ride together for a little while and would catch up with each other back at the hotel.

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Look at that amazing pavement!

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Eventually the canyon walls start to rise around you and the rocks take on a distinct reddish color.

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Then you climb up a bit out of the canyon and have some dangerous dropoffs to navigate with the river far below you, but still with cliffs towering above you.

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Lots of folks rode right past the following viewpoint. To be fair, you can't see much from up on the road to know what you are missing.

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Getting that photo, of the full horseshoe, is not for those scared of heights. There's a lot in the way unless you walk all the way up to this edge.

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Looking down, you can see the toe of my boot as to how close I was willing to get to the edge. Also, note that motorcycle boots are NOT ideal rock scrambling boots.

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I'd like to take a moment and comment on the pavement for much of this road. Maybe it's good that I didn't ride it before because, as you might have noticed from the previous photos, a lot of this road is freshly paved. It's so smooth and beautiful, what a joy to ride on.

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Here I've caught up to the other FJR rider, I think he said his name is Dan. I am terrible with names and had to learn so many on this trip, I hope I got it right.

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Finally out of the canyon, you head into the beautiful area around Telluride.

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At this point I'm starting to get really hungry. I'm headed into Ridgway and start scrolling through restaurants on my GPS. I'm really wanting some pizza, and suddenly I see it, laugh and know exactly where I'm headed. My boss from my previous job was named Panny. When traveling through Ridgway with the family a few years ago we noticed "Panny's Pizza" and had a good laugh about him owning a pizza restaurant in Colorado (not really).

https://www.yelp.com/biz/pannys-place-ridgway

Today, I'm free of working for Panny, but I'm stopping to have some of "His" pizza.

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I ordered up a personal meat pizza, it was good and I ate every bit of it.

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After that it's a boring slog up to Montrose and dealing with the traffic in that town. While stopped and filling up with gas, a guy comes over to me and points at my bike saying "Gen 2 right?" He's a former FJR rider, used to be on the forums way back and even organized some rides apparently. We had a good chat for a bit before he went his way and I went mine.

I'd read that the ride over Grand Mesa was supposed to be really nice so, I chose that of the three alternate routes I had to get back to Glenwood Springs. I do love running up 133, but I've done that and am trying to see new things on this trip.

Montrose to Delta is a hot slog of a ride. Then you turn and go through Orchard City and Cedaredge and it's all pretty boring, flat, straight with a little bit of traffic. I'm pretty disappointed in this ride so far and thinking I should have hit the black canyon or something else.

Just a few miles north of Cederedge all of that changes when the road shoots up into the sky. In just a bit you are on top of the Mesa with a view that stretches out before you.

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On top of the mesa was this beautiful lake. I had to get a photo of this and hopped off the bike and walked about 10 feet to get a better view. Just getting to this point I was out of breath. Cedaredge is at 6,230' elevation but up here you've climbed up to 11,332'. I watched folks boating around in the lake and thought how much fun it'd be to bring my son and our canoe up to this lake. Then I realized that at this elevation we wouldn't be able to paddle and would have to just float around until someone local could rescue us. :D

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Coming around the other side of the mesa you get similar views looking out toward I-70. Down below me in this photo is a road that made me wish I had an ADV bike or had brought my land cruiser with me.

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After that you drop off the mesa almost as quickly as you go up it. Then approaching I-70 you hit some of the most fun curvy roads in the area. Then it's a ride back down I-70 to Glenwood Springs.

A group of us walked over to the Mexican restaurant there on the same property as the Inn and enjoyed a fantastic dinner. I thought the prices were a little high, but the food was excellent and so flavorful.

https://www.fridasglenwood.com/

Looking back at the menu, I believe this is their Chile Verde Plate. (Tender chicken or pork in a special Mexican green sauce. Served with rice, beans, and choice of tortillas.)

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After that it was back to the parking lot to tell more tall tales of the day's adventures before heading off to bed.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by wheatonFJR »

Excellent write up.

I’m gonna wager that the FJR rider named Dan was dcumpian from Virginia. I just introduced myself to him in the parking lot Thursday night, although we have been at meets out east.

I’m also gonna wager on a long shot that the former FJR rider you met in Montrose was a character named pinhead who used to be on the forums. Back in 2008 at the first NAFO a group of us met him in Gunnison. At the time he worked in Crested Butte. I believe later, he helped Beemerdons organize the first SW-FOG or two. That’s just my guess, though I think it’s a good one from your description.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by gixxerjasen »

wheatonFJR wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:25 pm I’m also gonna wager on a long shot that the former FJR rider you met in Montrose was a character named pinhead who used to be on the forums. Back in 2008 at the first NAFO a group of us met him in Gunnison. At the time he worked in Crested Butte. I believe later, he helped Beemerdons organize the first SW-FOG or two. That’s just my guess, though I think it’s a good one from your description.
You wouldn't happen to remember his real (non-forum) name would you? Looks like Dave something.
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by Hppants »

Enjoying this ride report immensely.

I can already see several calendar worthy entries.
"I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living. Or get busy dying."
- Andy Dufresne, Shawshank Redemption

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Cav47
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Re: GixxerJasen goes to California, and other places...

Post by Cav47 »

gixxerjasen wrote: Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:38 pm
natehawk750 wrote: Fri Sep 10, 2021 4:28 pm Thread Jack! I'm betting he never finishes this Ride Report!
I'm not Spawn.
Did she even start the report? Can finish what you didn’t start!
BkerChuck loved this
I often have found myself when I was not looking, nor did that discovery take place where I thought it would!

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