Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle Chapter 2, Part 7

Out of Colorado and on to Laguna Seca!

Tiff and I met at the track, where she races her Ninja 250 with more enjoyment and positivity than anyone else on the grid. When Tiffani got word that she’d be getting laid off from her job in Los Angeles, she didn’t fret. In typical ultra-optimistic Tiff style, she saw it as an opportunity to hit the road on her newly acquired Yamaha FZ-07. What follows are Tiffani’s reports from the road, originally posted for her friends on Facebook but shared here with her permission for all to enjoy. — Ari Henning

Tiffani camping in Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado
Don’t let my smile fool you- I’m definitely being eaten alive by mosquitos in this picture.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

Finally out of Colorado! Not that I didn't love Colorado , but there was so much to do that it was pretty tough to leave, and dammit, I need to keep moving! That said, after getting a new chain put on the FZ-07 by Apex Motorsports in Colorado Springs, we made our way west along I-70, passing through Loveland pass, which still had some light speckling of snow, even in July. While I prefer to avoid interstates, sometimes they're necessary to get the job done, and the 70 is actually a pretty scenic road.

We made our way to Dinosaur, CO where some locals at a pub told us about a campground in Dinosaur National Monument called Echo Park, where the Yampa and Green river met, which required about 12 miles of dirt road. I was getting a little more comfortable with the dirt, and they all seemed confident that we would be fine getting down there. I'm glad other people have confidence in my abilities more than I do sometimes. The road was long and still a little damp from recent rain, and the winding downhill left me pretty intimidated. There was at least one moment where I had to stop and just take a deep breath and collect myself to keep going. I'm really, really glad I have backup now, especially when we hit the third stream crossing. In my brilliance I determined that I should just gas it to get through, resulting in a pretty nice highside as my rear kicked around in the slimy mud. Apparently you're supposed take those slow and easy. Amateur hour over here.

FZ-07 in Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado
Best part of travelling with someone else, is I get to see some amazing things that I would never have the confidence to safely do alone. For such an unknown and sparsely populated park, Dinosaur was amazing.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

My crash protection all worked surprisingly well. Where I’ve even had bikes with frame sliders leave me with broken unrideable levers, scratches, broken signals, and punched in fairings just from a drop at standstill, my high-sided FZ with hard bags, some crash bars, axle sliders, and some handguards, high-sided with nothing but some light scuffing to the crash bars themselves. It’s like the FZ refuses to leave me stranded no matter how much I screw up. Haha! My Dainese gear also held up brilliantly, leaving me unhurt. Although there’s a small hole in the knee of my pants now, and despite the rain we hit later, they still seem to be pretty waterproof. Could be worse! After Hollywood helped me back up, we made it the last 500 feet to the campground (so close, yet so far), and set up among way too many mosquitos. Good thing it was gorgeous down there because the bugs were brutal, and my bug repellent was not doing much of anything.

After leaving Dinosaur, we headed down toward a road called 9 Mile in Utah, a dirt road supposedly heavy with petroglyphs (which we didn't really see much of) then stopped in a small town. Utah's alcohol laws made for disappointing watering holes, and as we stopped for food, attempting to order a beer was met with the response that they couldn’t serve alcohol. Apparently this was because the staff was too young, as most of the town was married and having kids by 19, so they didn’t have many people available for serving. Small towns still manage to hit me with culture shock sometimes.

Tiffani FZ-07 maintenance
Maintenance day! It’s not always easy to do oil changes and such on the road.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

We camped out at Joe's Valley Lake, taking refuge under a picnic area awning from a sudden burst of rain, then the next day, we moved on to Nevada. Great Basin wasn't in the original plan, but the park was right off the road, so we decided to make a quick detour. As I was parking my bike at one of the trailheads, an older man came up to me and immediately recognized the FZ from having read the Girl Meets World articles on Motorcyclist. He had been wanting a twin and was really intrigued by my project. It feels super weird to run into someone who not only recognizes me but is excited to meet me. Who knew I had fans, haha!

Tiffani and fan in Great Basin
Ran into a fan and long time Motorcyclist reader up in Great Basin! First time I've ever been recognized outside the racetrack.Photo by Tiffani Burkett

After a long chat, we got back on the road. The road from Ely to Tonopah was 167 miles with no services. This was a stretch for the FZ's fuel range with the bike fully loaded, but I have 2 liters of auxiliary fuel, so I figured we’d be fine. I switched my dash over to the real time mpg calculator so I could try to stay in an optimal gear and rpm range, and rode at a conservative 75 for most the way. As we were riding along, the clouds made it clear we were about to have a bad time. Apparently Nevada was getting hit with a lot of monsoons as of late, and my luck never fails to end up right in the middle of these things. There was no shelter of any kind out there, so we powered through the downpour and arrived in Tonopah cold and wet. I felt bad for Hollywood who was wearing full leathers rather than ADV gear, as the rain was intense enough to heavily pool on even a flat road. We hoteled it that night at a little casino, but took enough money and free drinks from them to make up for the cost. Ha!

For the last day on the road toward the coast, we powered through the remaining miles, taking Highway 108 to avoid the traffic in Yosemite. Sonora pass was a breathtaking ride through the mountains, and even Hollywood, who spent so much of his life in Colorado, was impressed with the California scenery. We stopped at a gas station where another biker who had been all over the country told us a back route to get into Santa Cruz to avoid the city traffic, which ran through almost hypnotizing fields of golden grass. After a few days with some friends in Santa Cruz, we got into Monterey just in time for the MotoAmerica and WSBK Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Now it’s time to see what corner working is really like! So excited!

Tiffani and fellow Laguna Seca corner worker
Made it to Laguna Seca, camping in the USARM Corner Worker parking lot! Let the games begin.Photo by Tiffani Burkett