ADV Pulse

NEWSLETTER
Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Newsletter

Get ADV Pulse delivered by email
Sign up for ADV Pulse Weekly

Connect With Us

Follow On Facebook:

ADV NewsRicky Carmichael’s Epic Adventure Out West On Triumph Tiger 1200s

Ricky Carmichael’s Epic Adventure Out West On Triumph Tiger 1200s

From Moab to the Grand Canyon, GOAT and friends explore the American Southwest.

Published on 09.15.2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

Ricky Carmichael might be the winningest motocross racer of all time, but he’s also no slouch when it comes to making the most of his retirement. After all, the guy is only 43 years old, and with more than 150 pro wins under his belt, including 10 AMA Motocross and 5 Supercross Championships, there’s nothing left to prove, but so much to enjoy.

That’s why each summer for the last four years Ricky has rounded up a gang of buddies and headed out to explore America’s backcountry on adventure bikes. The first year it was Tiger 900s and the last three years, the band of buddies were on the brand’s flagship 1200 Rally Pros. Ricky, a.k.a. The GOAT, is a brand ambassador for Triumph and also heavily involved in the development of its upcoming enduro line

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

The crew was made up of RC, Anthony Paggio, Ray Butts, Chad Warrix, JH Leale and Simon Cudby. When we left them on their 2022 Summer Adventure, they’d just survived a wild ordeal while on the way to a last night in Ouray, Colorado. After a morning trek over the 12,800-foot Engineer Pass trail, which Ricky said was one of the toughest rides he’d done on an adventure bike, they found the paved highway to Ouray had been closed by a massive landslide, so the crew had to go up over the mountain trails again, ending their four-day adventure, with a crossing of the very challenging 12,244-foot Corkscrew Pass.

Wanting to start the next journey where they’d left off, RC’s Summer Adventure 2023 kicked off back in this gorgeous area of Colorado, specifically in Grand Junction where Ricky and friends flew in from various corners of the U.S. to meet at All Terrain Moto and pick up their mounts, a mix of Tiger 1200 Rally Pros and 1200 Rally Explorers. The bikes had already been prepped with Dunlop TrailMax Mission tires, Mosko Moto tank and tail bags, Quad Lock phone mounts and Boxo USA Adventure Tool kits so the crew could spend as much time trail hunting as possible. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

ADVERTISEMENT

Sharing his road notes with ADV Pulse we hear Ricky really looks forward to these annual rides, saying “There’s something about being on the open road, especially on a bike. The freedom, the camaraderie with the crew and the new experiences that every turn offers – it’s truly something magical.” In order to easily confer about the magic happening enroute, the whole crew paired their Cardo Pack Talk Edge-equipped Arai XD-4 adventure helmets before lift off. They also carried Bivy Stick satellite devices that would prove handy in the mountainous backcountry.

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

Ricky says the first day was spent relearning the Tigers as his crew rode with some of the guys from the dealership, exploring some local off-road tracks before landing at the Twin Peaks Lodge in Ouray for an evening that included a hot springs soak and “epic meal” at the Outlaw Steakhouse on Main Street.  

The next morning the latte-fueled crew was on the bikes by 8:30 a.m. and headed toward Silverton on the famous Million Dollar Highway. This section of Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton is a top-shelf bucket list road ride with spine-tingling drop offs and scenery that rivals the Swiss Alps. After gathering a mess of gorgeous content, the crew then head west toward famous Moab, Utah, via Gateway and Castle Valley. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

In Moab the group wanted to explore Hurrah Pass, a dirt road that swerves around some of the region’s famous hoodoos. This is usually a pretty easy go for dirt bikes and 4x4s, but on this day Ricky says they encountered a “massive mud hole” where he admits he “tipped over” on the exit. And while it caused no damage to bike or body, seeing The GOAT be the only one to get muddy supplied some good laughs for his buddies. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

After a night in Moab, the guys tinkered a bit with some personal fit adjustments on the bikes before heading off to ride Moab’s famous Slickrock Trail. If you’ve tried it, you know it’s a singular experience. There’s a learning curve to it, and the guys felt it out on the big Tigers during some early light shooting with Ricky saying it was very cool to try something totally different with the bikes. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

Once they’d had enough of the rolling slick rock trails, the crew moved on toward Escalante, Utah, stopping in Green Valley for burgers at Ray’s Tavern. It’s these kinds of stops, where friends can just relax, laugh and swap stories, that can make a journey, something Ricky says he really wanted from this year’s ride. “This is something we made a point to do on this ride. I wanted to take more time to enjoy the moments and not rush.”

After lunch they headed for another “must see” destination they’d enjoyed on the 2019 trip: Swing Arm City, an OHV area near Caineville, Utah, that’s crowned by an otherworldly and massive, arcing butte. The surface here is bentonite, a kind of hero-dirt clay perfect for off-road antics. Ricky recommends everyone experience this “insane” location during their lifetime, comparing the surface to that of the moon. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

While there, Ricky says his pal Anthony, a former MX racer and factory mechanic, “decided to roost me moon dust” during a shoot (Anthony claims he was instead trying to get out of RC’s way) and the whole thing reportedly turned into a hilarious fiasco that would be joked about over the Cardos for the rest of the trip. After leaving Swing Arm City, the guys headed through Capitol Reef and Grand Staircase National Parks, before landing for the night at the Slot Canyon Inn B&B in Escalante. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

The Slot Canyon Inn sounds awesome, with an onsite restaurant and bar and a delicious homemade breakfast to send you on your way into the morning’s cool, clean mountain air. The guys spent the first hours shooting content that included some delicate on-trail u-turns on “pebble rock” that proved one of the harder challenges for riders and their big bikes. Otherwise, Ricky says the big Triumph’s “once again performed flawlessly” in all sorts of terrain, much of which The GOAT admits average riders would avoid. 

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

Bryce Canyon was the next stop, with the guys temporarily splitting up to see different sights, then using the Bivy Stick’s group tracking feature to reunite in the lonely landscape where cell service is scant. 

The final National Park on the checklist would be one of the most famous and epic destinations in America, the Grand Canyon, which surprisingly, the well-traveled MX legend had never seen. Those adventure bike riders who have been there know there’s nary a dirt road inside the park on that south rim that’s legal for motor vehicles, and even less opportunity to fly drones and stage photo shoots.

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

For this reason, instead of heading for the main gates, the guys rode toward the Kaibab Plateau within the Kaibab National Forest, taking Forest Road 611, which sidles up to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim without entering the park. The best viewing area in the National Forest is Marble Viewpoint, which Ricky says presents “such a spectacle words can’t describe it.” As for his take on the Grand Canyon: “A true wonder of the world. I’m glad I finally got to see it, and glad I checked it off my list.”

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

That night was spent at the remote Kaibab Lodge, where the group relaxed and re-shared high points from the previous days with the wistful undertone of knowing the next day would be their last on the bikes. Ricky says he’d never seen more stars than he did that night out on the Kaibab Plateau, “miles from any light pollution and in the middle of this huge prairie surrounded by a massive National Forest, I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome the sky was that night.”

Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023
Ricky Carmichael Summer Adventure 2023

The last day began at dawn, with a ride over the summit of Kaibab National Forest that was sprinkled with wildlife sightings. Temperatures in the 40s allowed the crew an opportunity to explore the warmth-keeping capabilities of their Fox Legion gear, which had already proven itself worthy in hot conditions. With all the vents closed they felt toasty enough and the Tigers’ heated seats and grips were also a big help fighting the chill. 

The destination was Vegas and planes that would depart in different directions. They rolled through Hurricane, Utah, and finally onto St. George, before mounting Interstate 15. The bikes were dropped at Las Vegas Triumph, which is an Eagle Rider rental operator. Then, to celebrate their 1183-mile, 4-state ride, steaks were eaten, smack was talked and RC’s Summer Adventure Ride crew called it a wrap. 

“Each and every year I always wonder if the ride will be better than previous years,” Ricky wrote in his road notes. “After this year’s ride, I learned that each year will have its own great adventure. There will always be epic views and places to see” but the most important thing “is the stories and times spent with marvelous friends.”

Final Trip Stats

  • 1,183 miles, 28 hr 56 min
  • 4 States: Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada
  • National Parks: Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase, Bryce, Grand Canyon
  • National Forests: Grand Mesa, San Juan, Dixie, Kaibab

Gear List

  • Bikes: Tiger 1200 Rally Pro and Rally Explorers
  • Gear: Fox Legion Defend and Recon Gore-Tex
  • Helmet Comms: Cardo Pack Talk Edge
  • Satellite Comms: Bivy Stick
  • Phone Mounts: Quad Lock Handlebar Mount Pro with vibration dampener and wireless charger
  • Tool Kit: Boxo USA Adventure Tool kit
  • Emergency logistics: Global Rescue
  • Helmets: Arai XD-4 Adventure Helmet
  • Tank Bags and Tail bags: Mosko Moto
  • Visor Anti-Fog: Klotz Anti-fog K-Klear Gel
  • Additional: Oakley Motorsports

Photos by Simon Cudby

Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
ADVERTISEMENT

Related Stories

Related Stories

Notify me of new posts via email

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dave Vitagliano
Dave Vitagliano
September 19, 2023 7:31 pm

Wow, killer article of an amazing adventure. The photography was also incredible. I really appreciate travel stories like these. Keep them coming.

Kai
Kai
September 23, 2023 11:15 pm

Brand ambassador.
I call that missleading marketing. For any of us average motorcycle riders a moster like the Tiger 1200 is just too much of everything in that terrain. It gives a good story and great pictures, if a motocross pro rides it, but it doesn’t change the fact that for most of us mortals a much lighter bike would be the better and cheaper choice. But somehow the manufacturers need to make us believe we can go anywhere on those 25.000!/25.000$ bikes to make money. Most of us can’t me included, sadly.

Alex Bub
Alex Bub
October 27, 2023 6:42 pm
Reply to  Kai

I agree. At 74 years old and a former AMA pro MX rider and AMA Super bike racer I can still hold my own but the big bikes are a bit much. This past year I became an MSF Adventure Bike coach and took my training on an H-D Pan America. I did great but like all big ADV bikes a real handful in the tough stuff. How about someone making a light weight 500 twin ADV Bike (Are you listening, KTM??). A single does not make a great ADV bike. The market needs a 500 twin.

David
David
November 11, 2023 5:51 am
Reply to  Alex Bub

Well said. I’ve been an off road/MX racer for over 50 years. Went from 1290 to 890 and also own a 500. Most of these bikes are made for dirt roads. They are a handful on real trails.

jeffrey sweetbaum
jeffrey sweetbaum
January 1, 2024 11:00 am
Reply to  Kai

Even if you could manage, it would be half as fun and twice as stressful.

August Williams
August Williams
November 15, 2023 6:52 am

I think you guys should come up here to fort Mohave Arizona and do the Mojave road 400 mi round trip almost all dirt roads from fort Mohave to Yuma and back I’d like to ride with you guys I ain’t riding a big goat like you are but still riding a goat

Richard
Richard
December 15, 2023 4:02 pm

There’s plenty of places to die around

Richard
Richard
December 15, 2023 4:04 pm

Escalante Utah if you’re not careful!

Ranger
Ranger
January 23, 2024 2:42 pm

I’m curious what Ricky did to overcome his short inseam to ride this bike as shown here. He’s the GOAT but as I recall, was a short fellow… 5’4 or so.

ADVERTISEMENT

Watch: 2024 Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro Tested

For 2024, Triumph's dirt-focused Tiger 900 — the Rally Pro — has received...

My First Time Riding Enduro, How Hard Could It Be?

Nestled between the Sierra Nevada and Inyo Mountains of California lies a l...

DoubleTake’s Popular Off-Road Mirrors Get Major Upgrade For 2024

Life always looks clearer in the rear view, that is, until you’re looking int...