New Forest run today - It was about some indicators.

Well it has to be said. The New Forrest is one of the most beautiful parts of the South of England.

Scored a set of AWESOME hand made bike indicators and some other kit, including throw over panniers for next years South Africa trip of UKGSER recently.

So popping down there on the bike in a little while. Well as soon as the morning rush has ground to a halt on the M25

Pics and ride report tonight.


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I installed my new GPS unit today. It was a lot easier than I imagined. It only took 10 sec. to install, I think it came out terrific. Hope to get out this afternoon and check out how it works.

pros:
low cost
low maintenence
low drain on system pwr.

cons:
does not compute milage
does not compute distance
does not compute anything

This would be the Maiden Voyage of my new (to me) DR650. The previous owner (an inmate on here) has correctly named it Lechon... it's spanish for pig so I'm told.

I picked it up on Saturday, and since I live in the San Bernardino Mountains in Southern California, The weather has been less than favorable (see picture bellow) for me to try this new "pig" out.

This used to be a walkway down by the lake..... now its apart of the lake!!!

Might be a little too late to get the kayak off the dock before it gets swept away....

The weather finally subsided after more than 20inches of rain in our area and the sun shined its beautiful face! TIME TO RIDE!!!

I started out with a ride to the Lake Arrowhead Village for some lunch at the restaurant that I bartend at. Good cheap food and GREAT place to hang out. 50% off for me makes for a cheap meal too! Food, beer, and good tip and Im out of there for less than $10.

Since we got so much rain I decided to stick to the local trails and see what kind of damage had been done..........

This bridge (locally named T6 crossing) usually has about 5-6 FEET of space beneath it. The water at its highest point was probably 3-4 feet ABOVE it!

Hmmmmmm I dont remember all that drift wood being here?!?! This is an indication of how high the water was. This is the starting side of the bridge. The far side of the wood is about 4 feet above the bridge surface.

Looking up creek. This section is usually about 5-10 feet wide. Today it was about 20. The debris field shows that at one point in the storm it was about 50+ feet wide!!!

It feels soooo good to get out and ride again!!! Its been a while!

A sink whole just before entering the bridge.

I have my boat stored at a friends property so I wanted to go check it out and make sure it didnt float away from all the rain.

Still there..... but some of the stuff on the property is not.....

This is what used to be where we would BBQ and party, but now its under water.

Perfect signage right about now!!!

The reason I ended up with this bike....... I had my own DR650, but it was stock, Who the hell wants a stock bike?

I began researching aftermarket parts to load it up with, only to find out it was going to cost me about $2,500 or more to upgrade everything that needed attention.

A friend of mine had a built DR650 and during a conversation about riding one day he mentioned he was thinking about selling it....

DIBS!!!!! I told him if he sold it, it was going to be to me. He then pondered the idea further and he gave in. 30 min's later my bike was on craigslist and I was trying to figure out how I would come up with the extra cash to subsidize the cost of the new one.

He was VERY patient in waiting till I sold mine to give him the money for his. Since the bike was with Nicomama getting fitted for a new rack, he didn't mind that it took me over a month to sell it. I got the cash, Nicomama finished her rack, he got the bike back, sold it to me, and we all had a Very Marry Xmas.... Well not YET, but we will!!!

Back to the ride.......

After checking on the boat I rode up the street and around the corner to hit the dirt roads....

The rain had done a great job of eroding the dirt roads and hillsides away.

At the top of the hill I had GREAT views....

Looking up towards Big Bear...

And out towards Hesparia...

What the....

Saw this in the distance. Not sure what it is, but its in the middle of Hesparia/Victorville.

Most of the roads either had rivers running down them, or at least remanence of rivers previously running down them in the past few days.

More washouts.

I was cruising at a good clip and came around a corner to see this......

What the....

Ummmm "excuse me sir.... do you need help? I think your LOST!!!"
There was nobody to be seen and it looks as if this thing had been there for a couple days.

Maybe they were planning on MAKING furniture when they got to their new house?

After checking out the moving van in the middle of nowhere I headed out. Only to travel a few corners down the road to see a Forest Service truck stuck off the side of the road. "So its YOU GUYS that are trailblazing, blaming it on us off roaders, then shutting down the trails because 'people are irresponsible?!'" I didn't really say that. But I was sure thinking it!!! His truck was pretty far off trail and there was a full size Blazer trying to pull him out. I asked if they needed help, but since the kid was paying attention to me and not to the Blazer that broke the tow strap and was now speeding backwards towards him almost killing him, I decided i wasn't going to do much with my motorcycle and decided to leave and let him NOT die.

Continuing on i hit more water crossings that are not usually found on these trails.

This one was interesting... (picture taken AFTER crossing it) It doesn't look like much, but the dirt going into it was REALLY soft and the water had eroded about 2 feet of dirt. Going up to it didn't seem that scetchy, but when I crossed it, it stopped my front wheel in its place and I almost found myself drinking from the creek when I didn't want to.

More eroded roads

This is usually dry in the summer time, and a trickle in the winter time... Not today!

This is the one I was looking forward to.... Or at least the one that was going to make the decision of me going home early or continuing on.

Again, Looks can be deceiving. There was about a 12-18" drop just to enter the crossing, then when in the water and committed, it was about 12-24" deep all the way across with hidden boulders all the way through.

I think I'll leave this one out for today. Fortunately this water crossing is right at the intersection of the road that goes strait to my house. So I decide to call it a ride and head back.

On the way back there is a place I like to go to that is just off the side of the road. Its a cool little look out and it just so happened to be when the sun was about to start setting.

All in all, a great day of riding. It wasn't a long ride but a lot of it was pretty technical due to the rains taking out a lot of the roads. It was the perfect start to a new relationship with a GREAT bike! And to think that all this riding starts only 1/4 mile from my house....

Looking forward to many LONG rides with this thing. It will suit me just fine!!!!

*In a few weeks I am going to test it out on a longer ride. My friends and I have a trip planned to ride to Vegas... All on dirt... Leaving from my house in Lake Arrowhead. I have done it before on my CRF450, but I have a new animal to take now! Its amazing being able to ride that far from my house without a single mile of pavement!

Phew, I am fried, I forgot my hat too, but there you are, see how I suffer to bring you all the latest shots... Well today it was the MTC motorcycle day at the Lamb in Theale, live rock bands all day, cool bikes, good food, and Beer.
So of course seeing as MTC are my local bike garage, and also my friends, I had to attend, and so I did.
So once again, here is a slideshow for you to enjoy...

http://kevindean.zenfolio.com/p851597616/slideshow

When I checked my oil level today it was about half-way between the two marks on the window. The bike was nice and warm and I had it standing-up straight when checking. I added oil and a little sea foam to bring it up to the top fill line and then had the gf drive behind me in her cage while I rolled through all the gears and throttle positions. She said that she saw no smoke at all during the ride.

I know that engines consume oil at varying degrees throughout their lifespan, should I just take this as normal consumption? Does anyone else have oil usage similar to what I am experiencing? This is the first bike I've had since riding dirtbikes as a kid (well, a younger kid) so I'm not sure what to expect for oil usage.

A little more info. The bike is stock except for debaffling the pipes. I don't really ride too hard. Every now and then I'll get on it, but only for short periods of time. I ride in weather ranging from 20-80F, and I almost always let the bike warm-up if it's under 40F. Most of my riding is to and from work, which is a 32mi trip. I'm right about 12K miles now, the oil was changed at 10K. It had a bel-ray sticker on it from the previous owner, so I'm assuming thats the fluids that were used, I used Shell Rotella T Synthetic and a K&N filter. There are no leaks that I could find, checked when the bike was cold, idling, directly after riding, and a short time after that. Please advise.

Today I couldn't take the "not riding in dirt" any more, so I hopped on the Beast and headed out. I live very close to the Capitol State Forest, so it seemed like a logical destination.

http://www.dnr.wa.gov/htdocs/lm/recr...est/index.html

On looking at my 10 year old map, I decided to enter at the Rock Candy entrance and ride to the ORV Park. I wanted to find out how much longer they'd be open this year while I was there. I thought very seriously before I left about taking an hour and swapping my Anakee's for my worn TKC's but decided not to. "The roads aren't that bad," I told myself. That turned out to be a miscalculation... but we're not to that part yet.

Off I rode!

I hit the entrance and rode around a bit. My tires were aired down to 25 like they are supposed to be. The first thing I did was run up a small single track section that I knew about. It's a riot to come down on a mountain bike due to how twisty it is. Going up it was fun the one time I did it on a dirt bike... The Beast tractored right up it without even breaking a sweat. The ground was wet, but the gravel kept the clay from being a problem. I was very impressed with how that big cow handles in the dirt. 1/2 mile or so after I started I popped out on the road again and headed towards the ORV park. It wsa typical Forest Servce stuff for a few miles. The roads were wide, gravel and dirt. They seem to be fairly well travelled, yet I didn't see anyone. Unfortunately, the weather was slowly getting worse. It had started with a haze in the air and a slight mist. Now it was more of a heavy and I had managed to ride into the clouds. =( Visibility bit.
I came to the first of the turns I needed to make and took it. The road started getting smaller right away. I figured I could just puch on through, so I did. In a couple miles the road popped out of the trees underneath some high tension lines. It was very nice to be out of the trees and in the light! The weather was still crappy, but light makes all things bearable. I putted along until I saw what seemed to be a "dried" mud puddle. It was about 3 feet long,a nd not very wide. It looked to be the PERFECT place to sling a little mud as I went through. However, as I entered my front end expressed it's love of the mud by doing it's best to dump me and the Beast into it. As I washed out I managed to get a foot down and "save" it. Phew! I pressed on a little farther.

One of the things about capitol State Forest is how well it's marked. Another of the things about CSF is how poorly it's marked. Odd that. Anyway, I ended up having to turn around, as the road didn't seem to be the road my map said I should be on. No worries, back I went. Once back on the main road I picked the speed back up, spending most of my time in 3rd and 4th. I only miscalculated one corner, sliding my rear around a bit before getting it under control. I hate off camber stuff! The road was 2-track stuff by now. The ground was completely soaked, but not yet muddy. Many stretches were infested with baby-head rocks, but the majority of them weren't loose. Again the Beast surprised me, as did the Anakee's. I took another wrong turn, but quickly recognized the area and turned around. All was still going so well.

Another of the things about CSF is the composition of the ground there. It's an incredible place to learn to ride mountain bikes or dirt bikes, as it's primarily clay and rocks. The traction is incredible when it's dry, but when it's wet you may as well be on a skating rink. Generally it's not a problem on the "road" sections, but I found the exception. The road I was riding had turned in to a double track, then got a bit rougher. The "baby-head" sections were happening fairly frequently now and ruts had started to appear. The ruts weren't that deep, so I wasn't worried at all. In the end that may have been my downfall. I came around a corner in 1st gear and went right through a rutted section. I don't recall if I picked a side or just plowed right through the center... but 1/2 way through I lost the bike. The crunching sound the bike makes when it hits the ground, contrary to what some experts might tell you, is not a pretty sound. =(

Once I had "achieved a high angle of lean and chose to get off the bike in the interests of safety" I shut the bike off and assessed the damage. (thanks for the quote, Gabrielle!) I was unhurt, the bike was short 2 turn signals. No other damage! All in all, not that bad a day. I picked the Beast back up and continued on. Another mile or so and I rejoined the A line. This wasn't where I was trying to be, but it was a good way out, so I took it and headed on home.

Now I am left to wonder, "Did RanJan and Amanda buy out all of South Sound's turn signals, or will they have some for me when I show up tomorrow?"

-Mike

Tuesday last week, I was shifting 40kg concrete sleepers and sand, shovels and mattocks etc. Got far more done than I anticipated, so I was happy with that.

Wednesday morning I picked up the 'phone to find Dobbo had sent me a message, "Going for a ride. Tumba, Batlow area. Interested?"
Hmm. Go for a ride on a beautiful sunny day. / Shift sand and concrete on a beautiful sunny day.

"Laura. I'm going for a ride".

Job's right, just gotta change the rear tyre. Dead D606 off. Alive MT21 on. And an sms to Dobbo to that effect. Can I get it done before he get's here? Probably not.

Into the shed. There is no warmth in the day, but the new tyre goes into the sun anyway.
Out comes the rear wheel and I get the rim stripped with out any drama. TyrePliers tyre levers actually work.
New tyre on. Tube in. I got to the last 1/4 of the outside bead when Dobbo turned up.
Picked up straight away that I was going to have trouble, corrected my errors (beads opposite DO go into the valley) and it goes on without much ado. Dobbo carries a small G clamp in his tool kit - good idea.
Give it some air and stand it for a few minutes whilst I get appropriately dressed.
Back to the shed and the tyre is still inflated.

I'm not on the shovel today!

Out of town a few minutes later onto our favourite route south - Livingstone Gully Rd, Pulletop Rd and back onto the bitumen at Clifton Rd. Heading south for Westby and the Hume Hwy south of Tarcutta (Little Billabong).

Dobbo pulls up for some reason, at the intersection of Thompsons Rd.

I'm taking the opportunity to review the Zumo. It tells me that Thompson Rd continues east, and there is an intersection with what I work out 'should be' the southern end of Cheviot Hills Rd. That leads through to the Hume, a few km north of Westby Rd. Dobbo reckons that sounds like a fair thing.

I attempted to follow this road through a few years ago. That ended up in me hitting a cow, a broken thrumb and 3 years before I got the cash out of the cockie (Dobbo's fault. He wasn't with me, to make sure I was okay). It was a good opportunity to have a gander. Check out if there is another route to the highway.

Within about 2km we ride past an unoccupied farm house, and then up to an occupied farm house. No one home. Shed is closed up. My suspicious mind suggest that maybe they are all murdered and hanging in the shed. But that would be somone else's problem, so I'm not fussed.

No padlock and the road runs on. More paddock. More gates.

We do the leap frog thing at the gates.

The road continues east, to a T intersection. This, my gps indicates, is Cheviot Hills Rd. Very slowly riding through a huge mob of sheep. Mustered, ready for shearing. Stupid animals. They can't work out if they go left or right, they wont get followed.

Umm. The road, which was a clearly formed twin track, in good nick, disappears beneath a very good season's fodder growth. It's easy to make out where the track is supposed to go plus, someone has driven a car or ute down along here within the past few hours (it's that tracker part of me ). So we keep going. The track on the ground is following the track on the screen.

For a while anyway.
We rode west for a bit, to see if we could get back on the blue line.
Then we rode east for a longer bit again, to see if we could get back on the blue line.
Neither worked.
So it was follow fence lines, looking for a gate.

I followed the fence line. Dobbo took a short cut.

And follow the fence line.
And follow.
And follow.
No gates to be found.
Ended up climbing a hill and running along the northern edge of a forest area, but on the wrong side of the fence.
It kept climbing until we could see into farm lands further south....
Except for the fence.

By this stage we're heading west.

Paddocks look good, eh?!

Dobbo found a gate. One that let us go further west.

Our new objective.

To get out of this bloody paddock!

Apparently, the fencer thought we'd gone far enough west, so the fence forced us north. Yep. I'm looking at us approaching the track that we'd left on the gps.

At least the question of whether we had another route south was solved.

Apart from my front exiting stage right on a large rock, and Dobbo seemingly ignoring the graded track across a gully for the more exciting route of the gully with vertical sides, we successfully returned, through all of the gates, back to Westby Rd.

Only other excitement had was when I hugged too tight to the inside of a down hill left. I don't know how the front didn't drop into the gutter! Shits were trumps!

A bit short of Coppabella Forest, on McGinnity's Gap Rd, we had an enforced stop for five. The cockie was happy that we didn't try and force our way through his sheep whilst he was trying to get them across the bridge. He was working, we were playing.

One more, for the sheep shaggers.

Over the hill and more bitumen has been laid leading to the forest. I followed Dobbo as he lead the way through a bit of this and that, heading towards Rosewood. Left and right, right and left. I think he was trying to get me lost.
Hey, Dobbo - we weren't looking for the Barry Way, mate!

He decided to attempt the most blackberry infested, rutted track he could find. And got stuck.
Don't ask me how he got the front wheel through! I thought riding around it was sensible. Calling out 'give me a hand. give me a hand'.

He'd forgotten that I had to get some evidence first.

By the time I got off the bike, he'd decided to throw rocks at me again and get it out himself.

Bit later, there was a decent hill. Now it occurs to me that foresters don't actually want tracks up the sides of hills. S'pose that was why this was only half decent. Bloody looked big from the top. I went first with instructions to record me. Not using zoom tended to make me this itty bitty spec somewhere on the screen. But it was fun. Maybe we should've done it again. It was well past 'fill my belly' so scratch that.

Nice view from the other side.

Lunch was at the 4 Bears cafe, Tumba-bloody-rumba. They used to be a local cafe for us. Quite good food. Few sports bikes heading for Phillip Island. Haven't been to the races in years. Don't know why, now that I'm not working. Anywho. Daylight's Burning, as they used to say in American westerns. Maybe next time, we'll just save 50km and stop at Rosewood shop.

Back into the forest, via Glenroy Lake Rd and McGinnity's Gap Rd. Bit of easy playing around this time,just following the roads through the forest.

We did get a bit lost and, for the second time that day, rode in a big circle back where we'd been. That's okay.

On the second lap, Dobbo snuck through a fence and headed off towards the west. Eventually, he found this open spot where we could see what was going on around us.

Whilst we were trying to find it, Dobbo's had more encounters with 'roos. He came around one left corner and found one big bugger dead ahead. From where I was it looked like he was trying to spoon it.
Without even one little pre-coital kiss

Not long later, around a right and he's got the buggers all around him - front, left, right and behind. Neat trick to ride along a road and find yourself in the middle of a passing posse.

I wanted some video of me, riding. So that's the bit you see of me practicing for the 14 day version of the Australian Safari. Despite the camera shake (Dobbo, watch the posture - wings IN), you can see both 'roos. The first one was further away than the second, but I'd washed off a bit of speed. You don't get any chance with those things. It's just down to luck.

Reckon'd it was about time to head home. After 4 and we had probably 90 or so kays, plus a bit of navigation to slow us down. We followed a couple of roads that looked like they were going in the right direction, consulted the RFS maps that Dobbo had and then changed our mind and went the other way.

Using the GPS this time to get us heading in the right direction to intersect with McGinnity's Gap Rd. I'm in front. Coming around this innocuous looking bend, recently sheeted with that white clay stuff, then eroded by later rain and deformed by logging trucks. Plus I'm expecting the intersection. It's been published on the screen in front of me. So I'm off the gas.

Didn't really pay attention, still looking for the intersection. I believe I dropped my eyes to the GPS, just a glance. Next thing I know the back is passing the front and then I'm heading for orbit...or not.

Landed on my head and right shoulder (not again!!!). Oh, doG! that hurt. Dobbo helps me up and then we pick the 690 up. Busted mirror mount and front mudguard, rotated the left barkbuster and, tweeked the triple clamp.

That'll learn me. Again.

Back on the bike. My back and shoulder aren't great, but it feels like muscle damage. Dr Dobbo (remember his last diagnosis when I broke my left collarbone ) reckoned that'd be it too. So we're off, irrespective. Yeah, no grating or bits poking out.

I stopped at Little Billabong, so we could both call home and tell them we were on our way. Nice light across the paddocks. Idyllic when it's a good year, but there's not been many of them recently, and this is only following fairly major floods.

Did you know that it's more comfortable riding, with a back injury, on graded roads than it is on bitumen? The pot holes are much the same, if more frequent at the present because of the recent flooding. The dips and lumps and bumps are however, more gradual on the dirt than on the black stuff. I know this, now, because every bump and dip and depression on the road ripped in. By the time we got home it was all I could do to straddle the bike. Dobbo lifted me off.
Thanks, bloke.

My missus was

A few hours later I was on a spinal board on my way to hospital, and Hospital Grade pain killers. Major production with the ambos and firies to get me out of my ensuite. I'm getting better. Dobbo visited, and even delivered a copy of AMCN.
Thanks, bloke.

No cake though.

I'm thinking that the 690 may have to make way for another classic bike. Keep 3 wheels for all road stuff, and just for touring. Maybe I'm woosing out, but I've got so many injuries now that any time I fall off may just be once too many.

The really pissy bit is that I'm actually starting to learn how to steer the thing using body weight, position, foot pressure and -almost - throttle. Still struggling with turning it sideways on corner entry.

I had a bloody ball. Awesome day on the bike.

So that was that.

I am new to adventure riding - at least adventure riding as we know it today. The last adventure riding I did was on a 1966 Triumph TR6R back in the mid and late 60's. Now I have a Tiger 800XC which I rode from Orlando, FL to Hayesville, NC to begin learning adventure riding.

I spent about 5 hours riding off road on forest roads and trails in the heart of the Natahala National Forest. The Nantahala National Forest lies in the mountain and valleys of southwestern North Carolina. It is the largest of North Carolina's four National Forests, the Nantahala encompasses 531,148 acres with elevations ranging from 5,800 feet at Lone Bald in Jackson County to 1,200 feet in Cherokee County along Hiawassee River.

I started out on the Tusquitee Road out of Hayesville. The Tusquitee Road is a nice, but narrow, two lane mountain road running through a valley. In itself this road is a good ride. I had ridden to end of the pavement before and the remaining road looks pretty challenging even on a map.

I decided that I would take the Tuni Gap road and go to Andrews, NC for a bite of lunch. I saw a couple of automobiles and three pickups coming off of this road and thought that this would be a good place to get the feel of the Tiger off road. After about 300 yards, the pavement ends and the road is fairly well maintained gravel. The Tiger handled the gravel very well. I was able to run 35 to 40 mph and the Tiger took the washboard sections well with no jarring to me.

Tuni Gap road winds up over a mountain range and drops back to the valley on the other side. I explored a couple of side forest roads - beautiful country.

Now it is time to head back. Someone at a gas station told me I should take the Tusquitee Road back. It loops back into the the Tuni Gap road and he told me how to find it. It is the longer way around. He told me that he had not been on it in a couple of years; but that my bike should be able to make. I should have picked up on the operative word "should". He did tell me it is a Jeep road part of the way.

Filled with confidence having ridden the Tuni Gap Road, I decided to try the Tusquitee Road - remember this is most definitely NOT the paved portion.The first half of this leg was great, a little steeper, more sheer drops, more challenging turns and some water crossing.

I took time to stop and take a photo of a wild flower. Mae Lyne Lyne loved wild flowers and I wanted to share this with her.

Tiger gets her feet wet.

The road after the next photo got bad. It was no longer gravel, but rocks - and some BIG rocks. This was the Jeep trail portion. I was in over my head and I had to cross two ridges in the rocks. I did not take any photos of that portion. It was about five miles of first gear up twisting and down twisting. I discovered that for this type of terrain, I needed knobbies. But I pressed on in first gear carefully picking my way through the rocks. I have to admit that a distinct lack of experience came into play, too.

At one point, near the top of the first ridge, I had to take a break and give my hands and arms a rest. I turned off the bike in gear and stood up. I slipped on the loose rocks and dropped the bike on its right side. No damage. I had not seen a human being in an hour and a half. No cell phone service and not a soul on earth knew where I was. I said a prayer asking God to help me get the bike up and get out of there safely. I put the kickstand down and used Skorts method to pick the bike up and set it on the kickstand. Ah, thank you Lord.

I put my gear back on and continued my adventure. I crossed the second ridge successfully and the road got better - still tight turns and winding. Finally, it became a fairly decent gravel road and I reached the pavement. I was sure glad to see that.

I rode back into Hayesville, downed a Dr Pepper and called Mae Lyne. I regaled her with my macho adventure in what turned out to be our last conversation. But I am surely thankful for that conversation.

I will return to that area and do more riding. But I will never again ride the Tusquitee Road alone. That is a lesson learned. I will also leave a map behind of my planned route if riding alone.

I love this Tiger!! And I love getting off the paved roads,

It was bitter cold out, (25 F) but I finally got my new-to-me '77 R100/7 running today and was itching to go for a boot! I've never ridden a bike like this and was very anxious whether I would like it or not. I got back into riding a couple of years ago--I raced motocross and had a few early sport bikes when I was younger, but I knew this bike would be very different.

I restored a '73 CB550, and I loved that bike, but I realized I dug long-ish back road touring so I wanted something bigger. Plus I wanted something that could make loads of torque at lower RPMS. For a short time, I had a F650GS twin, but I pined for another classic. Found this one in a barn locally. It had been well taken care of, and stored correctly. I did a few things: rebuilt the front brake, new pads, and speigler line. Changed trans, shaft, and final drive oil. Greased rear hub. New battery, petcocks, and I cleaned and set the carbs. It fired right up, idled great, but it did have the 'blubbers' accelerating past 50 mph for about 10 miles, then that went away and never came back.

So my first riding impressions: What a strange bizarre motorcycle. :) It runs great, but vibrates and undulates like a beast, until it hits about 55 mph, then it settles into beautiful harmony! (It was like a 'smooth' on-off switch at 53.85 mph. :)

It has a 32/10 final drive which I understand is rare on this bike? What really surprised me is just how fast the bike is. I can roll the throttle at 60mph and it launches forward like a bullet, and before I know it, I'm at 95. It really stunned me! It's almost disconcerting how quick it is, when compared to the strange feedback that a bike like this gives. Going 90 on this bike is a world of difference than going 90, say on my 650 Twin. Night & day! Way more butterflies in the chest--if that makes sense. And since I'm not used to a bike like this, I'm not yet confident that the entire thing won't just explode. Not that it feels like it, but my head keeps reminding me I'm going too fast on a very old motorcycle!

I wonder how I'll like the 32/10 on the big highways. I couldn't really tell today, 'cause it was so bloody cold, I couldn't really concentrate on the the big picture. I do love the sporty feel from 50 to 80 though. Way more fun than I thought it would be in that range. I thought I might want to go to a taller final drive, but I'll have to put on some miles to really see how it feels.

It likes to be shifted into 2nd gear early, and I quickly learned that adding a bit of pre-load on the shifter, just before shifting helps a great deal. I've still got to get better at downshifting. The front brake was really very decent, almost great--almost! I think it's as good as the single disc on my CB550. I was pretty diligent when I rebuilt and adjusted the pads, and I think I got them parallel to the disc. I worked the eccentric bolt back and forth to see it go in & out of parallel, and I think I got it as close as I can. Any hints to double check parallel, or is it just by eye? Also, will the pads grab just a wee bit better as they break in? If they worked ever-so-slightly better, I'd be completely fine with them.

The rear brakes feel very good, and they worked nicely when I dragged them in the tight corners a bit to shift weight...and especially in this weather when the the roads might not be perfectly dry and can get slippery.

I love the riding position, the bars and seat feel great. The left peg and shifter might feel a little cramped, and I wonder if the tab on the shifter sticks out far enough, maybe I'll get used to it. (it has the direct shifter and not the linkage style. I know someone who I think has most of the parts needed to change it to the linkage style....)

I have a million other questions as I continue to work at various service items, but I'll save those for other threads. (I'm pretty sure it desperately needs a fork rebuild and new springs)

Overall, it gave me a great big unconscious smile. Just amazing, and weird, and different. I'm so excited to get back out there, and get past the initial strangeness of it all, and then hammer at the back road miles!

G´day mates!

My name is Josef, some of you might now me already. I´m currently here in Austrialia touring on a bike and having a good time. Now i did a trip i want to tell you about, so here it is, my first ride report on advrider!

For those who only want to read the actual ride report, proceed to the point "and thats where the ride report really starts..."

So, where to start? Lets start in Austria. Yes, Austria, the country of Hitler, Mr Fritzl and Brüno. But i rather like to look at it as the country of Mozart, Schwarzenegger, Red Bull and, you guessed it, KTM. Austria is a nice country and i liked my work, was working all my life on my parents farm. But, why i´m now in Australia you ask? Well, live is not always easy, there are people dieing of cancer, killing themselves or try to. Not funny, and some day i decided that it was enough, went to vienna, bought a ticket to sydney and two days later i was here. Now, back home i have a Suzuki DR 800, riding a bike is a huge part of my live, and since i´m now in Australia, which offers all sorts of riding you can imagine, i decided to buy a bike and travel around.

I found a nice bike in the Austrialian flea market section by a hint from an inmate, a mint condition xr650, 04 model, fitted out perfect for offroading. Bashplate, handguards, crf forks and even a rock solid rack plus andy straps bags.
While i was staying in Sydney, another inmate offerd me a bed to stay, i gladly took the offer and stayed at matts place for a few days, while getting everything sorted out. And a week later i was on my way up north. Meet a few nice people on the way, like ColonialMick, another inmate, who showed me some nice roads through the woods around Wauchope.
Another week later i arrived in Hervey Bay. Funny story about Hervey Bay, on the plane i was sitting next to a woman with her 3 year old child, turned out she was austrian as well, heading back home to austriala cause she lived here now for 6 years and she´s running a hostel in Hervey Bay. She said if i come to Hervey Bay, i should come by to stay there. What i did. Best decision i made. I spend 2 weeks in the hostel, meeting some really nice people, going into the woods with the bike.

When i arrived here, i orderd a bigger fuel tank (australian made safari tank of course) and a new rear tyre.
As i said, i met some nice people here, first of all Astrid and Michael, 2 germans who have been in the hostel for weeks already. And i met Melanie, guess what, german as well, who was really nice but left after a week to cairns where she stayed another week. When the bike was ready, i really wanted to get on with my trip, altough it was sad to leave the new friends behind, but i had plans to come back here and i hoped, the would still be here.
Women, its all about them in a mans live, and i´m no exeption to this rule. I thought, if i started imideatly, i could meet again with Melanie in Cairns, spending some days with her before i get on going again to....well, whatever comes into my mind.

And thats where the ride report really starts...

I planned on goinig north from Hervey Bay on the Highways to Cairns. Instead of starting early morning i had to wait for the hostel owner to pay my bill. Finally, at about 11 i was on my way out of town, fuelling up for the first time the cassier at the fuel station looked at my bike and asked if all of the fuel was going into my bike? Cause it still looks like a dirt bike. Instead of going on the highway i took a dirt road through the woods to childers, but something was wrong. The bike was very unstable and i felt very unsecure on it. I stopped, looked at the bags cause i thought they weren´t properly fixed, but they where ok. A few k´s later i stopped again, something was wrong, but i couldn´t find anything. Suddenly it came into my head: The fuel tank. Never ridden the bike with the big tank filled to the top. Makes it awfully topheavy, very unstable. Anyway, i had to get used to it, so i opend the throttle and on and on i got it. It took my some time to get out of the forest again and into Childers, where i was about to meet inmate „OldOzy“, who offerd me a cup of coffee. We talked about biking, aboriginales and, since we both have a strong farming background, we talked alot about farming. Sometimes later i was back on track, cruising up the highway towards Cairns, rather boring.

Cairns is a nice town. And i don´t like towns at all. Got me a bed in one of this big Hostels, a 4share room for 25dollars. I tried to contact the german girl, Melanie on facebook but got no answer. She had my phone number, but didn´t call. No reason for me to stay in Cairns any longer. ADVJake, another inmate here and the guy i bought the bike from, told me i should visit cape york, so had a look at the maps and decided to go there. Next morning, i packed my bags and headed north.

Via Mossman, Daintree with the small ferry over the river and onto the nice track up to Cooktown. That was a really nice track, not very hard to drive, some nice watercrossings, steep uphills, but a lot of 4x4s.

Arriving in Cooktown i really had the feeling of being at the end of the road. Nice little town. Really.

I bought as much water as i could carry, a 5 litre jerry can and some food. 30l of sprit should take me to the musgrave roadhouse and on the next morning i was on my way.
A few k´s north of Cooktown i went left towards Lakefield National Park and after some more k´s a right turn to Starke. First ist was a big Dirtroad, easy. The road was getting smaller and smaller until it only was a track, but good to ride though. The track always changed from hard dirt to gravel, then sand and patches of really soft sand. Great to ride, also a lot of creek and river crossings, most of them dry.

After an hour on the track or so, the sand was getting more and more. First there were only small patches, maybe 10m long, but now, some streches were as long as 100m and more. And it was really soft sand. No problem, just open the throttle and power through it. So i went on, always looking for big washouts who became more and more frequent. I didn´t stop very often, a big mistake as i had to learn just after about 2 hours in the track.
Sand all over the track. You drive through a spot of soft sand, struggeling to keep the bike in direction, trying not to fall. Thats so fucking hard, i got really exhausted. Its been really soft sand, something i´m absolutley not used to. I couldn´t go on with just open the throttle and ride through it, i had to slow down, get my feet on the ground and drive slowly. But even that was very exhausting. And when you have passed one spot, you get around 2 corners and the next soft sand patch is in front of you. Fuck, i thought, i can´t go on... I started falling, no big deal, almost in a stillstand, but getting the bike back up and kicking it 10 times was even worsening my physical situation...i was tired, next fall, and so on. I felt like charly boorman and ewan mcgregor on their long way round, getting through this muddy places, where they have done not more then 30km on one day. I was drinkng water as much as i could, making breaks all the times, my gps told me a average speed of under 20km an hour. I felt really weak, disapointed about myself. But i kept on going, i wanted to reach wakooka outstation this day. At about 4 i met a couple in their landcruiser, camping at the side at the road. They invited me to stay with them for the night, we chatted a bit, but i decided to go on. And since that, the track became better, less sand, more hard surface, i was riding through very high grass, just guessing where the track was, and i made it just before dawn to the outstation. What a feeling of achievment...I walked around, looked at the car wrecks, the old rusty tractor, the abondend buildings and the messages other people have left there. I left a message there (Josef-30/06/09-austria) and started to put up my tent. As i was taking the tent of the bike i took a closer look at the bags and...fuck...the left bag had a huge hole on its back. All the water must have been to much for it. Anyway, had to fix it next day. After putting up the tent, making everything ready for the night i eat something and went to bed. Not really bed, sleeping bag on the hard surface. Even that caused me pain, the seat of the xr is really hard, my butt was hurting.

Nice warm weather was waking me up early the next day, i had some breakfast, walked around again before i started to take care of my bag. The only way i could fix it was to fill it up, take some ropes from the tent and tie it as good as i could to the rack. At 9 i was good to go and i really enjoyd the ride. Nice warm weather, beautiful landscape, nice tracks, why couldn´t it be like that all day long?

No, that would be to easy. After some time my nightmare came back. Again and again i had to go through deep sand. Wherever i could i got next to the track and rode through the bush, but often i had to go through the sand. The rivercrossings were dry, but often with huge washouts, and washouts also on the track, at places where you don´t expect them. Most of the time i was sitting on the seat, but my butt began to hurt again. I stood up in the pegs, but was getting exhausted again from it and from the sand, i had to sit down. At some point i couldn´t decide what was less painful, standing or sitting. It must have been about 11 when i came to a huge rivercrossing. It was more like a lake and i wasn´t shure if i can make it through. So i got of the bike, looked around and found a way to get around it. And there my real misery began. It started pretty easy, going about 5m in shallow water, over big stones onto the side, between some trees. As i was passing one tree, the rear wheel got stuck at a root, and the bike stalled. Kicked it, wanted to go on, but the wheel just turned und burried itself in the mud. Fucking hell i shouted im my helmet. Got of the bike, took all the gear of it, what was very tiring in the heat, got back to the bike. Started it, pushed as hard as i could and engaged the clutch...and the bike sank even deeper into the sand...engine off and first thing i did: i screamed FUCKING HELL!!!! Into the lonlyness. Thats great about being on your own in such a remote area. I sat down next to the bike because i was completly out of power. After 30mins i started to dig with some kind of wood i found nearby, tryed to lift the back wheel out of the ditch, but it wouldn´t even move a millimeter. Again i sat down. Come on, i thought, i´m a smart guy, i have to find a way to get it out....and lightning struck me. I took the tie down i used for strapping down the jerry can, dug out a root in front of the bike, hitched the tie down to the root and the front wheel and strapped it. Kicked the bike, got behind the bike, pushed as hard as i could, released the clutch and.....I WAS FREE!!!! FUCK YOU RIVERCROSSING!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN DEFEATED!!!! JOSEF 1 – RIVER 0

Full of pride i got back on the track. I was tired, but happy and not even the sand could hold me from going on. At least not for the next 10 minutes. Then i hit the next big river crossing. I got of the bike, tried to find a way around, but this time, i had to go through it. With a stick in my hand i walked along the little lake and measured the depth. It should be ok...but i wasn´t sure....anyway, i had to go...Slowly i entered the river, making good progress, it was about 50m long and after half way, i was shure i was going to make it. Being shure of something is no insurance, and about 15m away from the safe end of the river, i almost lost it. I got out of balance, had to get down with my left foot and the bike leaned over to the left side where the air filter is. The river was about 40cm deep, just under the air filter, so when the bike began to lean over, i hit the killswitch...standing in the middle of the river, i thought about the few things i know about corcodiles....they like slow flowing water, deep water....i had a look around....fuck....i took all the strengh i had left in my body and pushed the bike as hard as i could up the riverbank into safty, water was running into my boots i was wet all over, leaned the bike to the side, got out of the helmet, threw my backpack away and almost fell on the ground. As i said, i don´t know much about crocs, but at this moment, i was scared to death. Its amazing how you gain strengh in situations like this, cause after i took all the gear of the bike, i wasn´t able to push it to the plain area above the river. So i started to take out the air filter to dry it and kicked the hell out of the bike, with the decomp lever. Every 10 kicks i had to stop and rest for a few minutes to get some breath back. I was thinking about my options, what if the enginge was blown because i wasn´t quick enough with the kill switch? What if i can´t get it going again? There´s maybe one car per day passing by, at most, maybe no car in a few days. And even if a car comes by and the bike is nuts, what should i do with it? How can you get it out there? I thought i had to camp there for some time until someone comes by....
Just as i wanted to drain the carb, 2 cars pulled up at the other side of the river, making their way through it, stopping at my side to ask if i´m ok. Turned out he was a ranger with his family. He had 2 sons who where immideatly around my bike, asking if it is a 650, if that are the crf forks, the younger one, about 14 years old has a gasgas 200 himself. They helped me to get the bike onto the flat, we drained the carb and instead of kicking it, tryed push start it. After 10min and a few more kicks, the bike finally fired up. The younger son drove it back to the cars, looks like he had some fun on it, and he defenitly knew what he was doing. The ranger himself owns 2 moto guzzis, one 850 something, and a Le Mans II, a real classic bike. Very nice bloke, like most, if not all australians i met so far.

I was on my way again and from now on, it was like kindergarten. I didn´t care anymore about the deep soft sand, i just ploughed trough it with way more confidence then ever before. Its crazy how the thoughts in your head affect your drivng skills. From zero to hero in under one second. I felt great. And this river crossing was really the last thing that botherd me.

I now got closer to lakefield, one of the campgrounds around there and by getting closer, more and more cars appeared, the track was really easy now, no big obstacles anymore. I was getting faster and faster, enjoyed riding on the open tracks. Past the lakefield campground the track was really easy, a 2wd could go along. Only thing i didn´t like where the guys in their 4x4 racing along and leaving me in a thick dust cloud. But i didn´t care. Sometimes i hit a sand hole, just flying over it, the rear wheel felt like it was all over the place, from left to right, but i had confidence to get through it. Then i came to a big gravel road and i was riding almost flat out towards musgrave. But before getting there, i had to fill my 5 liter from the jerry can into the fuel tank, odo showed 385km. And at 5:30, a arrived. Still felt great, you know this feeling of having something great achieved? Like the king of the world.

It wasn´t dark, so i set of from Musgrave into the south, did 30k´s and stopped at a rest area and put up my tent there. There was already a group of 4 camping and they invited me over to have a cup of coffee. We talked a long time, it was a older couple with their son and his wife. The 72 old father told me that he got stuck in a river crossing today because he was in 2 wheel drive and later almost rolled the car in a bend when he came out to the shoulder. When he was younger he also was riding bikes, but now he feels to old for it.

Next morning i rode down the peninsular highway to cairns, where i arrived at about 3. That was one of my favourite parts of the journey, cause i had to walk into the city to get some cash. I parked the bike at the esplanade, got out of my boots and walked along the esplanade. My pants and my backpack where dusty and dirty and i looked like i didn´t belong there. But for me it felt like i was wearing a trophy, showing of to the world, to the people that never would be able to get to this places, to people who would have turned around at the first sign of problems. I was proud and i didn´t cared about what the other people might think. Loved it.
I headed back to the Highway, doing another 30k´s to a rest area where i took a little nap until a harley pulled up. The rider was a guy who looked like taken out of a biker gang, long white beard, leathers and stuff. We talked about bikes, his harley and the other he has at home, which he had for 30 years now. It has 2 new engines, 3 now front ends, but still runs great and has the same fuel effeciency as his new one. He invited me to stay at his home, but that was to far away into a wrong direction. I got back on the road again and after some time, i pulled into a motel, for a nice shower and a nice bed. Still 1300k´s to go to hervey bay.
Next day i started at about 9, cruising along the highway past townsville, did more then 750k´s this day till i got to a rest area filled with rv´s, campervans and cars. I looked around and found a nice spot to put up my tent. Just as i got the tent of the bike, i heard a bloke behind me asking „is this the big red pig?“. The guy loved the bike, we chatted about biking and it turned out he was on his way up to cairns with his xt660r to meet a friend and go to cape york for 2 weeks.

We talked a long time about life, from global warming to all the stupid people who never get out of the ordinary. Nice guy, good attitude. And, guess what, he lurkes around here to. But it was sleeping time and i got on with putting up my tent. Next morning i went over to his spot, he was already ready to go, we chatted with another guy who just came back from cape york with his ute and then i headed south for hervey bay, back home.

And here i am now. I got a nice welcome back, nice hugging by Astrid and a friendly welcome from the hostel owners. Its good to be back, i´m still tired and i have to fix the bags before i can go on. But i don´t mind staying here, its nice, compaerd to the hostel in cairns.

I hope you had a nice time reading and it wasn´t to long.

before i say goodbye, i wanna thank all the guys i met here from the forum, its a great community here!!

Now its really over

Good fight, good night,

josef

Not sure if this should go here, since it was more than a weekend. 5 days to be exact. 1100 miles, of which less than 300 was highway. But it was a comparatively short ride so here goes.

I'm a flikr user (shoot me) so I can't embed the photos. Here is a link to the slide show, which you can open in another window and follow along:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tiz_1/s...55568686/show/

I bought the wee-Strom new in 2005 and have never done a trip on it. I use it for day trips and commuting year-round in Milford, CT which is most of my adventure. I had planned this trip a few times but always ended up with a conflict. This opportunity came up and I finally took it.

The plan was originally to ride the Trans-Mass Trail and Puppy Dog Route, then visit a friend's cabin on Great Averill Lake in Northeast Kingdom of VT. Then head to the coast of Main at Yarmouth to another friend and then home. Then the Maine friend had to do a boat delivery and would not be around so I set about re-planning.

Another friend lives in Bridgton, near where my family vacationed for years on Kezar Lake in Lovell, Me. I could go there and see how the area had changed and get in a visit. Then it occured to me that if I added a day to the trip I could also visit Lakewood Camps on Lower Richardson Lake in the Rangely area of Maine. Turns out the timing was perfect - my parents had honeymooned there exactly 56 years ago to the day I was there. Last time I was there was 42 years ago just for a day. So the plan came together.

I was worried about following the gps routes for the TMT and PDR. I can't shut off auto-rerouting on the Garmin Oregon 400c. I received good help from the TMT thread folks and got a track for that from a guy there (thanks much Greg), which I followed with no problems. Greg also provided a southern-PDR track but the gps choked on that. So I followed the 2010 PDR short route that is posted in that thread. I'm not exactly sure I didn't follow a recalc'd route. But I used the waypoints and it was mainly dirt roads so I went along with it.

The only pucker moment was near Stowe. The gps was telling me to take a right on rt 100 and I wanted to cross "Emily's Bridge" and take Stowe Hollow rd. I somehow got routed down a ledge-and-deep-rut-filled cart path (not even wheel tracks showing). For about 4/10ths of a mile I wasn't sure how it would turn out but I got through ok and lived to tell.

The weather was cool and sometimes drizzley but it was nice in the woods. The low cloud cover put a big damper on the scenic outlooks except for Saturday coming fromAverill, VT to Andover, ME.

On Thursday 9/9 I started out from Milford, CT at 8am and took Rt 8 to Winstead. Then picked up the TMT in Colebrook, CT and followed that track to the end. By around 12:30pm I was in Greenfield at the McDonalds. After a quick lunch I headed for the PDR. My goal was to end up the day by 4 or 5 pm and find lodging not too far off the track.

I wound up getting dinner at the pub in the Three Stallion Inn in Randolph and then staying at the Brookfield B&B for the night. By the time I left the pub it was dark (~7:45) and raining. I was pretty scared of hitting a deer but got to the B&B just fine. I highly recommend this B&B. It was like $70 for the night with breakfast, the folks are really nice (Connie and George) and it's right on rt 65 around the corner from the floating bridge. I slept like a dead man.

Thursday I set out with clearing skys but it had rained hard the night before and I was leery of the slime/mud on the dirt roads. I bypassed a short section near brookfield by taking rt 89 from about exit 7 to exit 9. I also had already planned to do the shorter northern section since I'd have another 50 miles tacked on at the end to get to Averill.

I was pretty surprised at how I was feeling - not really sore at all, butt in good shape (thank you LD Comfort) and bike feeling comfortable and running well. It was a nice day of riding but much colder. I had the grips on low since the TMT but I added the heated vest in Brookfield, and pant liner further north and never took them off until back in CT. I got lunch at a great general store somewhere near Stowe. They had homemade Beef Stew which really hit the spot. Also enormous chocolate-chip cookies which I took as emergency provisions....

Toward the end of the PDR you ride up River Rd near Troy. It's a beautiful road and I wanted to stop to take pictures but I was feeling cramped for time. I still needed to finish the PDR route and get to Averill. I did stop for a shot of the Troy general store to mark the end of the route.

Aside from a few downed trees along the TMT/PDR I do think you could run the route (at least the one I took) in any sedan. The dirt roads are narrow and twisty at times but were in pretty good shape. I don't have mad dirt skilz but maintained 30-50 almost the whole time. Only a few sections were 10mph and only the one bad detour had me wiching for a helo to lift me out. I was probably quite luck that it had been so dry before my trip.

The rest of the route I did on paved roads, not specifically avoiding dirt but only using dirt if it shortened the route or led somewhere I specifically wanted to be. My friend's cabin on Great Averill Lake was my destination for day 2 (Friday 9/10). He warned me about moose but I never saw a single one the entire trip. Considering where I was I can't believe I didn't just miss them in the bushes. Probably waving at me for all I know.

Day three I set out to visit Lakewood Camps on Lower Richardson Lake. "Middle Dam" was a place my grandparents vacationed in the 40's and 50's when my mom was little. Also my folks honeymooned there in 1954 - starting on the same date I was there (9/12 - I was there 9/11-9/12). I felt pressed for time so I didn't stop for many pictures on the way over, but the ride down Canaan Hill Rd to Rt 102 and then 102 to Rt 26 was surreal. Gorgeous twisty pavement on 102 with the mist of the CT river drifting across in the early morning light - and no traffic at all.

That set up my cross to ME on 26 and through Dixville Notch. The day became brilliantly sunny and dry and I was pretty much flying along at 60-70 anywhere the speed wasn't 35 or below. Starting at 8:45 in VT I was trying the meet the boat to the Camps at 11:30am. Joyous riding for sure.

I wanted to go clockwise around the Rangely Lakes so I went up 16 and down 17, stopping near Height Of Land to get the required picture. Pressed for time, I had other goals so I didn't spend any time looking around. A short dirt section/shortcut took me from 17, past Ellis Pond to Rt 120 where I took a right onto South Arm Rd to meet the boat. The little community at Ellis Pond looked like a great place to hang out in summer time.

I met Whit Carter at the boat at just after 11:40 and got a ride to the Camps where I met his wife Maureen. They showed me to my cabin and gave me the schedule for the day - lunch next. The food there is wonderful and you'll never walk away hungry. Mostly folks go for the fly fishing on Rapid River but I was there to just see the place again, and walk down to Forest Lodge. I could tell right away that Whit and Maureen are excellent folks and I'm so glad they run the place.

As a kid, I read the Louise Dickenson Rich books about living in the Maine woods in the 30's and 40's - and I've always wanted to see where she and her family lived and experience the landscape. So I spent the afternoon walking the Carry Road to Forest Lodge and then going to see the lower dam site and Pond-In-The-River. When I returned, there were two guys in the cabin next door that had been whitewater kyakers. They were back to reminisce running Rapid River (Mike and Tony from Kittery and Kittery Pt). They kindly shared beer and stories and shared their dinner table with me. I met some other wonderful folks (Gail & Dick, Fran and Walt, nancy and ?-sorry) at cocktail hour, gathered in the main lodge before dinner. Afterward we had a hilarious game of hunting/fishing trivia (I do neither) until the lights went out at 9:30 (generator gets shut down for the night). The sky was clear and when the lights went out it was like looking into a bowl of stars. I've only seen that out of the ocean in a sailboat 400 miles from land.

A fire in the franklin stove warmed things up before bed. I was feeling happily connected to the place and my family. I drifted off to the glow and crackle of the fire and loons calling in the distance.

Next day dawned cloudy/drizzley again and I was headed to Bridgton by way of Kezar Lake. I had also hoped to go up the Mt Washington Auto Rd. Since the weather was bad and I had been there before I opted for the Jefferson Notch Rd around the west side and really enjoyed the road through (rt302) Crawford Notch - until it really started to pour rain on me.

By about the time I was half way down Hurricane Mtn Rd heading out of Conway the rain stopped but the sky was solidly cloudy. Still a great ride all the way, with the highlight being Hurrican Mtn Rd.

Agawam Kezar looked pretty much the same aside from a subdivision (1 house) which I knew about. For only 1.3 mil I could own the place, and probably would if I hit the lotto. It's good to see places retain their character for such a long time. I probably had not been there for 25 years.

After Kezar I headed down rt93 through Sweden and on to Bridgton. I met up with my friend there who has a 1970 Norton (it lives in the living room during the winter) and also nicely restored BSA 441, Montesa (390?) and a CZ (I think it was a CZ...). Watched the first part of Long Way Down and hit the sack. Very good day.

The ride home on day 5 (9/13) was from Bridgton via Conway and a stop at Whirehorse Press, then onto the Kancamangus Hwy, Sawyer Hwy, Rt 25a to Fairlee and 91 to home. It poured. All but about 30 min on the Kanc was rainy until I hit Rockingham VT on 91. I started at 8:30am and rode in my driveway at 4:30pm. Only a few pictures were worth taking since the visibility was so poor. But the riding was great - even the Sawyer Hwy in the rain was still fun.

No bike issues at all. I try to keep it in good shape and properly maintained. I was concerned about the tires (Conti Trail Attack) but they held up great on the gravel. Thank doG I replaced the rear shock with an Elka with remote preload and comp/rebound adjustments. Also had replaced the front springs some time ago with Sonics and recently went to 10wt oil (from 15). I used a bead seat cover on a stock dl1000 seat and with the footpeg lowering brackets (stromtrooper) my butt and legs were happy. LD Comfort shorts really helped on the butt also

Thanks all for reading!

--Kevin

With fall closing in fast here in Eastern Ontario, my wife and I have been eager to squeeze in a few more day trips when the weather cooperates. Luckily after a cold October, November has proven to be mostly dry and punctuated by warm sunny days between frosty mornings and damp chilly evenings. Not camping weather – but certainly worth getting on the road with the BV250 for some new roads for the day.

The Ride

(being so friggin cold, we never took the camera out unless we had stripped down in a cafe - therefore the video link below has the riding action)

We thoughtfully planned this trip so that every hour or so we could stop at a town large enough that it might have a cafe open on a fall Sunday. A wise choice.

The Route:
Home (near Napanee) to Tweed 58kms
Tweed to Bancroft 92kms
Bancroft to Haliburton 60kms
Haliburton to Algonquin Park 80kms
Through park to Whitney 70kms
Whitney to Madoc 140km
Madoc to Home 80kms
Total: 585kms

In total, Google Maps says it was going to be 585kms with 9 hours of riding. Considering that most roads were posted at 80 and expected road speeds are 100, I figured the trip would actually be around 6 hours riding. This was exciting as the longest single trip I had done so far was to Muskoka to visit my brother on a chilly autumn day last year, which totaled 5.5 hours. We were officially breaking some personal records. Cool.
The first stretch through our home turf of county road 41 through the village of Marlbank and Stoco into Tweed was ominously chilly. We had expected the sun to be warming out backs by the time we hit Tweed but despite the glare and the clear sky, we arrived in tweed numb and worried. Judy pulled off her helmet and looked like a piece of candy – pink and red and slick with dribbling snot. “I can’t feel my face.” She was not complaining just observing – I was proud.
We skipped across the road, leaving the scoot in the sun and into the By The Way cafe. Run by husband and wife team of Glenn and Lisa - recently transported from Toronto – we sat down to scalding organic hot chocolate and fresh scones slathered in butter. Good road food. Risking burning ourselves in exchange for some borrowed heat, we chugged done the chocolate and enjoyed the place’s ambiance – all creaking wood, wilting house plants and sedate jazz. Pulling plastic, Lisa grimaced, they only take cash. Found some antique money accumulated in our pockets and paid up.

Judy:
“Is it possible to get frost bite above zero?” That’s what I was asking myself. And we’d only been on the road ten minutes. It was supposed to be sunny and 10 degrees today. Perfect for a fall ride on the scooter. That’s what Tom said. Now, bombing down the highway at 100 km an hour, instead of enjoying the whiz of the fields and trees passing by like I normally do on the stretch of highway heading north out of town, I was seriously wondering whether my ears would freeze and fall off. Or my nose. With the wind chill, it felt like 20 below. Then I remembered I’d left the house with wet hair. The wind was whistling through it and I was seriously unsure how to manage the intense burning pain I felt above my neck for another 10 hours. We’d stop at the nice little café in Tweed a half hour away. I’d be fine till then.
A half hour later, the pain turned to numbness, which wasn’t so bad. I imagined us sitting in the café’s warmth, smiling at each other over steaming lattes. Then in my imagination, I tried to smile but my face was frozen and I drooled into my cup. Very attractive.

The café was lovelier than I imagined: diminutive tables with table lamps casting warm glows. Classy magazines that I didn’t have time to read but liked to know they were there in case the urge struck. Warm, homemade scones and hot mocha. And Tom to look at across from me. Nearly as good as a summer day trip. This is why I love going new places. We walked into the little hardware store next door and found a balaclava for me to wear under the helmet. That should do the trick. This was to be the longest ride I’d ever been on with Tom, but I was happy about it, even if it was in November. I love sitting on the bike, inside the scenery as opposed to just looking at it, with my thoughts to myself and the giant sky. To feel our motion so keenly, to know we’re going places. And to squeeze Tom whenever the mood strikes. We’d done plenty of day trips, but not ten hours worth, nor 600 kilometers.

Tom:
Stepping into Home Hardware next door Judy found a balaclava to survive the winter storm that was going on inside her helmet. Fired up the BV and turned it north. Time: 10:15.

The only major highway riding was number 7. Which, as a single lane major thoroughfare, can be a real drag to ride when busy, too many trucks and double yellow lines to safely pass and lots of cops watching when you do. But today it was an abandoned strip of tarmac – gray and frosted in the shadows, steaming in the sun. We turned north unto 62 and then the trip felt like it had properly begun. North of the town of Eldorado (“home of Canada’s oldest gas station” - it was closed) you are far enough from the big centers along the 401 highway that people up here are not commuters – they live and work here, and what a desolate place “here” is. The question Judy and I always ask is “what the heck do these people do?” The homemade billboards advertising Chad’s Chimney Care and Bill’s Bait Shop are peeling and do not instill much confidence in the robustness of the region’s economy – I would gamble many of the businesses advertised no long exist.
We are in the middle of Deer hunting season – so 4-wheelers out number cars on the roads and in front of the homes that flash by on the side of 62. Guys in Blaze Orange hang around idling pick-ups at forest access points, smoking and listening to their two-ways for news of moving deer.
By Bancroft the sun is up proper and stopping the bike on main street I can feel the warmth through the thighs of my Oscar pants. However it is getting close to noon and we have hardly begun to trip. Judy pulls off her helmet and announces that besides her head everything is cold. We walk aimlessly around town, stomping and moving fast to get the blood moving. We stop in at the army surplus store to buy some mitts for Judy but they don’t have any. Like soldiers never get cold hands. The weird guy behind the counter is surfing the net on a screen that we can’t see and tells us to try Stedman’s next door without looking up. I find that a little creepy.
We find ourselves in a bakery/cafe and get some tea and a cookie. The cafe is blisteringly hot and we sit and sweat in our thermal undies, riding clothes and wind breakers. Judy puts on some more layers.

Judy:
Our next stop was Bancroft, which is kind of pretty. It has a slight cottage country feel, with plenty of white haired people to signal it is nice enough to retire to, and cafes and gift shops, rather than pawn shops and strip joints. It has also got great rocks, particularly a stunning granite cliff just outside of town. I was frozen again, the only part of me warm being the part under the balaclava. So we stopped and walked around to send the blood back into my feet. And went into another little department store for liners to go inside my skidoo mitts, and another pair of socks. You know you’re in Canada when you can walk into a small town and find a pair of –30 below socks. And Tom had laughed at me this morning when I put on my down winter coat beneath the motorcycle jacket. Hah!
The café we found in Bancroft was very warm, the tea and homemade cookies delightful, and I had the pleasure of watching Tom discover that there are off-road car rallies less than 2 hours from his front door. The sparkle in his eye practically burst into flame when he found an ad for a car rally school within driving distance in New Hampshire. Guess I know what to get him for his birthday.

Tom:
It is after 12 when we get back on the road. The landscape breaks from scrubby flat rocky plains populated by struggling cedars and unemployed people to rolling hills of pink granite. The road cutting through towering hills and bridging frozen lakes. I stop to turn on the Hero cam attached to the front fairing. We are warm, there are few cars and I realize I have not seen another bike all day.
With the indicator telling me we are just under half a tank Judy shouts in my ear that we should stop for gas and not bypass Haliburton as planned. Compared to Bancroft which is a town that survives on its own, where people who live there are either rednecks and born there or hippies and came by an antiquated VW van, Haliburton is tainted by being that much closer to Toronto. It is cottage country – so while Bancroft has everything you need, Haliburton has everything you don’t need – stores that can supply you with your aromatherapy needs and a wide selection of throw pillows. In the winter it shuts down for the most part and become a depressing place to be like Coney Island in February.

Judy:
We stretched our legs at a Haliburton gas station, then realized we’d not actually covered all that much ground for the amount of time we’d been on the road. It was time to get serious; it was not getting any warmer. On the way to Dorset, the granite sparkled in the sunshine and the fox that crossed the road ahead of us paused and looked back at the odd trespasser in his little stretch of Earth. I was close enough to see his cheek whiskers puff up. Through rock offcuts with swirls of black and pink, azure lakes, and golden brown shrubs we headed to Algonquin Park. The landscape seemed to get darker and darker.

Tom:
I filled the BV’s tank, drained mine, and got the heck out of Dodge. The problem with rich people is they tend to buy stuff – like beautiful countryside. The land around Haliburton is some of the prettiest and rugged this side of the rockies yet much of it is behind decorative fences and blemished by massive holiday homes and tennis courts. Millions of years ago the Earth did some pretty extreme exercises in contortionism in the area that would become Muskoka and we drove for an hour and hardly ever saw a spot flat enough to park an 18-wheeler that had not been created by man. Now, Toronto money is sculpting the wilderness to allow for golf courses and lodges and more cottages.
We entered the park an hour later – passing signs announcing the lack of fuel and I regretted not filling up again as we pushed up the hills through Dorset. The BV gets 250kms to the tank with just me, traveling under 100km/h on flat roads. I could only assume that with Judy and the hills we would be lucky to make 170 kilometers before the reserve light winked on. And currently we were not far above half going into the park and anyone who knows these scooters knows that most of the gas is above the F line. We passed one station and Judy urged me just to keep going so I did. Then just before entering the park and old plastic gas sign was swinging from a rusty pole. The needle had been falling steadily and now well below half. I pulled in and saw that the pumps were the antiquated ones with those little plastic balls that whirl around to show you the gas is flowing. No pay at the pump here. Then I notice a “Beware of Dog” sign stapled to the cedar rail fence surrounding the office and felt that was an odd thing to see at a gas station. As Judy was swinging her leg over a very large and assertive looking Alsatian came bounding around the back of the building. Twisting the throttle and spewing some gravel we sped away hoping the pumps on the other side of the park were more promising than this one.

Judy:
The scooter only holds 10 L, so Tom stopped again for gas even though we had half a tank and I wondered why we weren’t pressing on. He obeyed me, then stopped at the next station five minutes on and cursed that it was closed. His cursing made me nervous so when we passed the sign that said NO GAS FOR 65 MILES, I started poking him till he pulled over. “Did you see that sign? Do we have enough?”
“Yes, I saw the sign. That is why I wanted to get gas the first time. It doesn’t hold very much,” he responded.
“Well why did you listen to me? How am I supposed to know?” How odd. Still, by my calculations we had enough to get the distance on the sign.
“As long as the station was open,” added Tom. He can be so reassuring. I gritted my teeth and tried to not watch the needle lean toward empty.

More to come.

Oark run. 06-06-09 I have 30 dollars, a full tank of gas, a half a pack of smokes, and some change.

To start, I went out riding around on Friday night, come to find out I stiffed our lawnmowers. You see we have a couple of Mexican guys that mow our lawn and our good friends who used to live down the street’s lawn. Well our good friends moved and for 3 weeks after they told the guys not to mow anymore they hadn’t mowed ours. So the wife and I figured they quit mowing ours as well as our friends since they moved. Anyhow, this is on Thursday I’m back tracking here, but my wife has a guy from work that is going to mow our lawn now, no big deal. I get home from work and the lawn is already mowed.

Now, at this point in time my wifes work guy was coming at 5:30 to mow our lawn, I was home at 5:20 and figured maybe he had already got it mowed. As I’m getting ready to go out our old lawn mowing guys who do not speak hardly any English show up. I wave them off and tell them sorry the lawn has already been mowed by my wifes friend. Thanks but we have a new guy. They are “That’s ok, that’s ok” and roll on. I head out to twin peaks bike night.

Twin peaks was nice. This was our waitress(took this picture from someone else).

Anyhow, Friday night comes around and heading out to our Friday kick the tires bike night, wife calls and advises me that her friend DID NOT MOW OUR LAWN. So, that means I brushed off and stiffed our Mexican lawnmowers. Oh maaaaaaaaan. Bad Karma, even if it was a misunderstanding. Luckily I have Juan. Juan is my Honda guy, I hang out with/buy from him a lot and he is bilingual. I have the guys # and call and talk to them a bit but the convo just isn’t getting through, so I hand off to Juan who translates. They understand and are coming by on Monday to grab their cash. I was definitely bummed that it happened, but glad it’s resolved now. Thanks Juan!

Anyhow, that had me all worried till I got a hold of them. Karma and all that, I don’t like stiffing people. Ah well all good now. On with the report, but before anyone gets all butthurt about why you weren’t invited it’s because…

1. I was going to go faster than you would have wanted to go.
2. I was going to go slower than you would have wanted to go.
3. I was planning on doing dirt for more than a few miles.
4. I was going to go A LOT faster than you would have wanted to go.
5. I was going to have to show my license to a police officer.

All of these things I knew as I geared up this morning. I knew of a ride taking the same route as mine and stopping in Oark for lunch. They were leaving at 8:00, I hung out a bit and had some coffee and left at 9:00. Some people don’t like riding alone, for me it can be very very zen like at times. Very nice not worrying if anyone is going to bitch if you stop, if anyone else is going to try to keep up, or try to go to fast and bin it, it’s just you and whatever YOU want to do. Basically I knew I was going to do a lot of stupid shit on this ride and there’s only a very very few select people I would take with me on a ride such as this that would be all ok with it. So I just left it at that and bailed.

I rode out 412 and took the turnpike as 412 scenic is meh and I wanted to get to highway 16 ASAP. No pictures of any of this as it was pretty uneventful. I rode the full tank to Elkins and got gas. This was a quick stop, gas/water/smoke and go. I was in a rush this AM, dunno why just was.

16 to 23, passed a few cars, no biggy. Got to 23 and HOT DAMN, kicked into high gear once I got to the nice and tight twisty bits, railing through those and come around a corner and… welp, full on 8 cop cars on the side of the road. Luckily I had turned it down and they were just there for some rock festival or something. I kept on going and turned it up again soon as I had passed them to 215.

215 is unholy smooth. It’s just awesome and my previous acts of hooliganism were shadowed by how I rode on 215. Seriously it was wow. A ton of "OH GOD" moments that turned into "THAT WAS THE BEST EVER" moments the whole road. It was one of those moments when you know you are pushing your limits but you push them a bit further. Can’t really explain it but 215 this AM was probably one of the more intense/fun/crazy rides I have done. It was pretty awesome all around. So yeah, WOW.

Once I got past all the really good twisty bits and was going slow I did have some white truck come halfway into my lane like he was trying to hit me or something. Maybe they were on a cell phone, all I know is that 50 yards away from me coming the other way they start coming into my lane(2 lane road) and by the time they are to me they are halfway in what was my lane. Definitely a WTF moment.

GRINDING DOWN!!!!

Oark Café in Oark, AR. Just absolutely awesome. I met up with Jack and Rick and two others who I can’t remember their names from Tulsa, they were the group leaving at 8:00. They were done eating and just hanging out so we talk a bit about all the cops we were seeing as they were everywhere and Jack asked if I was rolling out with them. “Oh, uh no I’m not, you’re not going to want to go where I’m going to go” to which Jack was “OK” and I told them my ride plans. We part ways as I still had my burger on order and they head out.

Again Oark Café is awesome. Talking with the owner and whatnot he loves the bikes crew that roll through as that is A LOT of their business. It’s really an awesome atmosphere and I would say that most of the NWA(North West Arkansas) riders have adopted it as their choice of lunch for most rides. It’s just that damn good. Unfortunately I have heard amazing things about their pies but… the burger and onion rings filled me way up and I couldn’t even think about getting some pie. Once again, if you’re in the area head to the Oark Café, really good food, really good people. Oh and as I was outside smoking after I got done eating the dog out front got the rest of the hamburger I hadn’t finished, hehe, I thought that was great.

Back down 215! 215 is so awesome. I was cruising along, full now so not as fast as I was coming in, and I come up on some Honda car going slooooooooooowwww. I get a short straight and pass on a double yellow, then rail the left hand corner and come up and rail the right hand corner after it and right after I come through it I chop the throttle due to 5 cop cars at an overlook and cops standing in the street. Shit. I pull up and they advise they are doing license checks and whatnot, so I take off my helmet and dig out my license, they are just looking for the M endorsement. He asks me “So, you were going pretty fast through that corner back there…” I reply “Uhhh, yeah I was…” “OK, well knock that off, we don’t want to work an accident scene today” I reply with “Yes sir” and show him my license. I head on out. Going slow.

A quick shot of a nice part of 215. Even in sunshine, you’re in the shade.

The Honda which I’m glad didn’t out me for passing them on a double yellow was in front of me again but this time I just hung and rolled slow. Came to the 215/23 turn on which has a stop sign and I didn’t put my foot down or come to a full stop and kept going but as I’m turning I notice a cop who WASN’T THERE 500 yards ago behind me. No incident, I even pulled off to the side of the road when I missed my TAT turn off and he didn’t nab me. Yay!

So this is the dirt part. There are a couple of rocks on the Arkansas portion of the Trans American Trail that show up in all the ride reports. My friend Gary said it was only a mile or so(more like 3) of dirt before you get to them and I should go get a picture on my CBR. So, today that was the quest. It was rough, it was nasty, I didn’t bottom out, but I rode a small portion of the AR TAT on my CBR and got the trophy pic!!!

More shots. Heh.

Looking forward.

Looking backward.

The Peach.

I met Krabill’s friend from the previous weekend.

Also on the way back down I loved these poles in the ground that were basically IF YOU’RE GOING TO FALL OFF, DON’T DO IT HERE!!!

That would hurt.

DS guys get the best scenery though.

Going back down. This is a lot steeper than it looks.

Finally got through all the gravel parts, my top speed was 22mph. Headed on down for a water at Turners Bend. Then headed back out 23 for more riding like a douchebag.

Honestly, I should have gotten at least 5 tickets today. It was weird, rode back up 23 and in the good twisty bits I went hammer down, but no cops, but at both ends of 23, were cops, even one or two I passed who I expected to come back and get me. Ah well. Moved on to 16 and through Fayetteville which was uneventful then back on to the good part of 16. Ahh nice, again let’s go faster. I end up getting stuck behind this train of a car, 2 ST1300’s loaded with bags, another car, a Harley, another car, and some small bike like a 250. Anyhow we get to a short straight and I brap up and pass the car, the 2nd st1300 guy isn’t doing anything so I pass him but the 1st st1300 guy is going to pass the car in front of him. Sweet! So I split the 1300’s and tuck behind the “I’m going to pass people” 1300 guy, he passes the car, looks a bit indecisive and then passes the harley, in which I follow. We’re coming up on a nice open left hander pretty wide open and this guy throws out a boat anchor, mid turn he’s braking through half the apex of the turn much to my dismay. We get through the turn and he’s sticking in his lane so I bust out and hammer down passing him, and the car in front of him, and then the 250 guy who must have been watching this in his mirror or something because he has the GO GO GO fist pumping in the air to which I dial it up a notch farther while I pass him. Good times!

Meanwhile I started this trip out with 30 dollars and some change. At this point, I can’t pay a toll so I take 412 scenic which is chock full of speed zones… BUT!!! It crosses the turn pike, so lol, I find the first exit that is only a 1.25 and hop on and continue going fast in a straight line.

But it has a good view.

After that, it was pretty uneventful. Getting close to Tulsa I see a Harley guy on the side of the road so I hang a U and then another U but by the time I get back to him to see if he needs help he’s got it going again. Well the thought that counts I guess. On the last bit of highway home I lined it out with some Jeep Cherokee or something that wanted to be as big a douchebag as I was being, so we rolled for a bit at higher than speed limits. As I was getting off I got the “That was cool” wave from him.

Honestly, I had a great great great time today. Was awesome. You wouldn’t have wanted to be there though.

Well....my bank balance was finally....in the words of AC/DC`s Brian Johnson... "Back In Black".
I`d been badly overdrawn for about ten months after the building of a new garage at home,laying a new driveway,laying a new patio,a new side path and a new front path.
I`d done every last hour of overtime that was available and offered since Christmas and finally come out on the good side...no overdraft and money in the bank.
Yay me!!

So....a sunny day.
A day off work.
And a new to me,(despite my sig line stable already being owned) recently bought Suzuki AN650 Burgman Executive sat in the new garage.

That`s that then.....a day out riding it`s going to be!!!
My new bikes are never truly mine until I`ve serviced them and until I`ve ridden my favourite roads on them....the Burgie didn`t need a service yet but my favourite roads beckoned.....so here we go.

The route is effectively the same as my Enfield 500 Ride Report from a year or so ago called 'Giving North Wales the Bullet' but I don`t think anyone who read that will mind revisiting the awesome Welsh scenery and some of you may not have seen it anyway.

Right then,time to kit up and get riding.
Here`s my new Burgie.

To get to Wales,the border of which is only about 20 minutes away,we`ve got to leave the Wirral Peninsula where I live ( a rectangular peninsula between Liverpool and Wales) and luckily there`s a fine selection of country lanes to choose from instead of dual carriageways or motorways.

Hmm....but shall we turn left or turn right......????

Left it was......and ten minutes later we`re whizzing along this lovely lane.
You can see it covered in ice and snow in some of my Ural Ride reports!

From here I rode to my oft visited Ponderosa brekky stop atop the Horseshoe Pass...again,featured in my Ural and quad Reports...but I forgot to take any photos today.
You`ll have to imagine how my bacon batch and mug of coffee looked like!
Anyway,we were headed to something very spectacular and a real favourite of mine.....the Pass of the Cross which is the highest road pass in Wales and thence over the moors to Llyn Efyrnwy (Lake Vyrnwy in English).

To get to this pass,you need to ride the single track lane around the South side of Lake Bala (in Welsh it`s Llyn Tegid !)...and today it was looking awesome with the still water and the reflections on it.

It looked so awesome that I kept stopping and gazing at it...I could feel all the weeks of extra hours overtime in my factory starting to lift off me and I could feel myself restoring from all the nice riding time that I`d put on hold temporarily.
The Burgman was riding great..really comfy and fun in the bends...and I was happy.
How could I not be happy with views like this ??
The railway visible is the tiny narrow gauge Bala Lake Light Railway.
Never ridden it...and must do one day soon!

Not sure who this weirdo is,mind......

Once you`ve just about reached the end of the South side of the lake,there`s a junction marked Machynlleth (dontcha love the Welsh language ? Sort of pronounced 'Mack Un Leth ' ) and when you take this the road narrows to exactly one Land Rover width with occasional grass down the middle...or loose gravel....and no runoff or verge,no safety barrier,and often no fence or posts at all!
Add to that free roaming sheep and lambs,and running water from the moors, and it makes for fun,fun fun...especially with hardly any passing places for oncoming vehicles.

Here`s the Burgie partway up...look at the height over the fields below.

Now you can really see just how high we were getting......look down!

I never,ever,tire of riding this route....I love it!

And what a fantastic day to enjoy such scenery....wow!

Once you`ve crested the Pass of the Cross there`s a massive 17% and increasing drop down a glacial valley officially known as Bwlch Y Groes but which I call the Cresta Run due to the effect of gravity accelerating you down it...beware there`s a 180 degree negative camber hairpin bend near the bottom!
And occasional free roaming sheep!!
It`s a gruelling and scary climb up,too.
My Enfield made lots of noise and battled its way up here,but the Burgie flew up like a magic carpet.

Here`s me on the Burgie at the top of the climb....photographed by a pedal cyclist who was doing the same route as me and who had cycled the Italian Alps which I thought I`d done well by riding a BMW R1100GS on a few years back!

From this point I took the rather technical,slightly taxing moorland single track over to Lake Vyrnwy....again only a single car width with blind crests, no verge,free roaming sheep,running water and loose gravel.
I love it but you can`t get complacent and have to concentrate fully....and I defy anyone to travel at over 40mph.
But why hurry anyway?
It`s beautiful....and an awesome riding experience.
Again...the Burgie coped just fine.
It did seem odd just sitting back,feet up and forward,and simply twisting the throttle,but it was so comfortable,so easy and so relaxed that I loved every moment of it.

Then we finally reach the lake...ride around either side...and arrive at the spectacular dam.

This dam was used in the original film of the Dambusters and even today you see and hear very low level jet fighters 'buzzing' the lake and the dam.
You can ride across the dam and do a complete loop of the lake.
Or in my case,cross the dam and turn left to the Artisan tea shop for a slice of apple and toffee cake with ice cream and a coffee!

Not before a very friendly Polish lady took a photo of me aboard the Burgie though.

Once across the dam I couldn`t resist taking a photo looking back to where I was in the previous picture....I took a self portrait here on my Enfield in the other report!

Apple and toffe cake with ice cream duly consumed....pleasantly washed down with a strong black coffee....and it was time to take a different but maybe even more thrilling route home.
This tree lined and very steep climbing section was fantastic....

It reminded me of my last European ride last May,through the Belgian Ardennes forest on my 750 Ural combo.

And then...the trees ended...the sun was dazzling...and we were in open moorland again.
All part of the Snowdionia National Park.

Simply wonderful...perfect weather...perfect roads..a great bike...hardly any traffic at all...and swooping bends with superb scenery.

It was like being on holiday...somewhere in the Alps.
But I was only about an hour from home!

Even the locals looked happy !

Yessir...not even "Wild Horses" could have stopped me going for a ride today!!!
Hope you enjoyed!

I spent most of yesterday riding through the Angelina National Forest in San Augustine County, Texas.

This area surrounds the Sam Rayburn Reservoir and the Attoyac River. I didn't get to see too much of the forest, but I explored every county road I felt comfortable with. The county roads are a real mix out there. Some are slightly paved, some are gravel, some are dirt, some are nothing but two track grass trails. My route map doesn't show every county road I went down, since I can't remember them all anyway. My bike isn't really equipped for some of these roads and it wasn't always an enjoyable experience. For you dual-sport guys, it could be quite fun.

I didn't get as many pictures as I wanted either, but I'll share what I took.

I left Nacogdoches around noon, heading east on Highway 21. Traffic was light and it isn't a long part of this ride. I turned south on FM226, which has some nice curves in it, and is pretty much deserted. However, past Woden the road has had recent construction. Much of the road is without a center stripe and has very slick new pavement. It wouldn't be so bad if the pavement was level but instead it is completely terrible. The surface is smooth, but not level, so you find your front end wobbling a bit.

Following FM226 you come into Etoile Texas and the junction with Highway 103. I took a left onto 103 East. This is a well maintained road with some light traffic, and it was real easy to just open up and tear down it. 103 follows the border of the national forest before you reach Highway 147. Taking a right onto 147 leads you into the heart of the forest.

I came out here with no real plan. I figured I'd just see the forest, explore some county roads and check out the reservoir. Parts of the forest are controlled by the Forest Service, with lots of private landowners throughout. (I think) Several of the county roads deadend into private property, and there are several private roads as well. I did my best to avoid entering anybody's property, and never set foot on a private road. A long haired hippie college kid like me doesn't feel too welcome around these parts.

After turning onto 147, I began pulling off on each county road that came up. These roads can be a lot of fun, with the appropriate tires. I did not have the appropriate tires. My R80 is merely a street bike, and I wasn't confident enough to attempt much speed on these gravel and dirt roads.

However, this was a nicer one, and one the first ones. Following it brought me into this lovely clearing with this old house. I don't know if it was private property or not, or if anyone was living there. I didn't go up to the house for fear of being on someone's land. There were no signs posted, so who knows. But, I felt the clearing and the house were quite a sight. I stopped at the edge of the road for a snack and a piss, and set off again.

The road I just came down:

The clearing with house:

I went back out to the main road and turned off on another county road. This one was a lot rougher. I came around a bend in the road and came face to face with a large hillbilly looking man sitting in a lawn chair. Beside him was a Confederate flag and a rifle. Behind him were private property signs. I wish I could have snapped a pic but I was too busy turning around and getting out of there before he reached for the rifle. Seems his Saturdays are spent at his property line waiting for potential trespassers.

After getting the hell out of there, I came to the campsites near the reservoir. Not too many campers out there. I spied 4 tents, belonging to 2 parties. Both sites were flying the confederate flag (noticing a trend out here?) However, the campsites are nice and covered, but I do not believe there are any facilities, at least at the campground I saw.

Here's a view of the campground:

And here's some of the reservoir.

After this, I just went down more county roads and down 147. On 147 is a town called Broaddus. Seems they have a dirt track there, but I went down this road and never saw anything.

Outside of Broaddus is the Jackson Hill Marina/Park. Boat launches and all that. They also had a little store and BBQ restaurant. I had brought my own food so I didn't order there, but it sure smelled good.

After this, I decided it was about time to head home. My back and butt were getting sore from all the bumpy county roads. However, I decided I wanted to check out this cemetery. And of course, the cemetery was practically at the very end of this road.

It's called the Macedonia Cemetery, sadly I didn't get a shot of the gate. From what I saw, its been in operation since the 1880s, and still has burials today. I've got a thing for old rural cemeteries, since I've worked in an archive, dealing with county funeral records.

There were a few graves without a traditional headstone. Instead they had a huge piece of petrified wood. Really cool.

Anyway, I went back home following the same route. Sorry this little report isn't more interesting or more photo heavy.

Long story short, if you've got some knobbies, go check out the forest and its county/forest service roads. Some of them had some great turns in them I wish I could have hit with more speed. The surrounding forest and reservoir is great, and its empty as all hell. I saw maybe 3 trucks while on the backroads.

I've had my 90 DR650 for almost 2 years, love the bike to death. We're looking to move from PA to NH, family is on vacation out of the country, so I decided to do a bit of "recon" and take a gander at the state. I've been to NH several times, but always on ski trips where we rode in early in the morning, and left at night, so I never got to see much.

I just got the bike back together after painting and redoing some stuff, did some test rides and it seemed to be using a good deal of oil. I planned on leaving on Thursday, on Tuesday I almost wussed on the trip. I sent my wife an email telling her that I didn't want to get stuck and need rescue if the bike puked. Several inmates offered camp space, was almost ready to start PM'ing people and cancelling. I took the bike on a hard local ride for 120 miles, and it didn't use any noticeable amount of oil. When I got home my wife called, she really encouraged me to go- "Yes, dear". So Wednesday I did some food/doodad shopping, made sure I had extra oil, and got ready to go. Was up until late Wed night packing/repacking to try to get what I really needed on the bike. I'm an experienced backpacker, so I can trim pretty heavily if needed. My bike has cheap ATV tank bags, a Rubbermaid Actionpacker, and I mounted an old gas mask bag on the cowl. Strapped my thermarest and tent on the seat in front of the box. I'll get to pics in a second...

Got up Thursday, went over my gear a couple more times (I tend to forget things), and make sure everything was secure on the bike. Did I mention that this is my first longer bike trip? Hit the road about 8 am. My main goal was to have an enjoyable, relaxed trip without having to rush or feel frustrated because I had somewhere to be. So no real schedule, other than where I wanted to stay each night, and I was flexible with that as well.

I had routes all planned out in the GPS, but I decided to let the "man in the box" decide and see if he'd throw me a bone. Started out on the route I thought I'd use, then the GPS tells me to turn north. Hmm, pull over and look at the map. Seemed like a decent route (better than I had planned), so I turned and followed Boxman's instructions. Only thing I could say is that if I was a local in each area I passed through, those were the roads I would've picked. Awesome paved back roads, zero traffic, 50-55 limits. Made great time through NY, couple quick rest stops and one fuel stop. Weather was perfect, high 70's/low 80's and a few puffy clouds.

Yes, I do have pictures, I just didn't take any of NY because I'm there all the time, and it looks like home, so nothing interested me enough to stop and take the camera out, I was enjoying the ride. Got to VT, crossed the state on Route 9, which would be a really cool ride if you were the only vehicle on it. At various times, I was behind a gas tanker, several tourists with Florida plates (HILLS! TURNS! We're gonna DIE!!), so I just tried to relax, be patient, and enjoy the ride. I'm also nearly convinced that the two ladies in the tan station wagon with VT plates were giving me a hard time, kept going crazy fast to pass me, then slowing way down until I could pass them again. Repeated this several times. They weren't smiling or waving, so maybe they took offense to my "military" looking bike. If so, good way to judge people solely on appearance! Anyway, hit Keene, NH at about 4 PM for my first stop, staying at Wheelock Park, in the city. Nice little campground in the back of the city park, very nice people running it. Ok, now pictures (sorry for you visual-stimulus people, if you're still reading).

Pulled in, still mostly loaded. Some of the pics are fuzzy, nothing I can do about that now.

Got camp set up, was meeting an inmate for wings and local brews at ~6. Caught a shower, put on my "good" clothes, and got camp unpacked and set. Decided to risk riding without my armor for the 3 blocks to where we were meeting.

Camp mostly set:

Not much to see, didn't pack much.

Met up, had some great beer and wings at Elm City Brewery in Keene, had a great talk with the inmate. (not mentioning names, I know some people enjoy their privacy. Everyone I met was friendly and did more to help me than I could have imagined. You know who you all are). Headed back to camp, pretty much hung out, fooled around with gear, and had a campfire. I had to repair my ATV tank bags, I had used hot-melt fabric glue to adjust the fit to my tank, guess all my junk was too heavy, because it gradually failed all the first day. I intended to stop at the fabric store and get an heavy needle and thread to sew it, but (surprise!) I forgot. Also found out that I only had 8 small cable ties. Hmm... little work with the awl on my Leatherman Micra (big plug for these), and made some "stitches" that held fine the rest of the trip. After some hard skunk-wrangling, and avoiding getting sprayed, I turned in and slept pretty well.

Friday AM- (my 39th birthday) My goal for today was to tour the Portsmouth area, and have lobsters for my b-day dinner. Drove just past Concord, where another inmate was going to let me camp. Met he and his wife for lunch, chatted more than I should have, and dropped my camp gear for the trip to Portsmouth.

Portsmouth is a tourist town, and I have no problem with that. I saw more or less what I expected downtown, lots of cool shops full of things I don't want and can't afford. Checked out the harbor, walked around a bit, but my boots ain't made for walkin', so I started scouting for lobstah. Once again, the boxman came through and gave me several choices, which I found ranged in price for a twin lobster dinner from over 65 dollars, to:

Ray's, in Rye, NH for $16.99!

Ray's has their own boats, so the lobster is as fresh as can be. Either Ray has a lot of daughters, or good taste in employees! Got to eat upstairs on the balcony with a view of the foggy ocean.

And dessert, of course- my birthday cake (chocolate lava, with a black coffee, mmm!)

Da beach- lots of fog/mist, but I was really there for the smell:

Rode back to my "camp", I stayed in an RV nicer than my house, with an awning to park my bike under. Shot the bull with the great guy who owned the RV until late (sorry, man), and turned in for a great rest.

Had a longer day of riding Sat, so I got up early and had to leave before my hosts got up. Didn't want to wake them, so I left a note and headed out. Kind of foggy still, but no real rain. Fueled up and headed north, through Laconia, to Franconia Notch.

Some clouds, but not too hot, and crazy good roads! Stopped when I felt like it, met some cool folks along the way. Not much for pics of myself (or just pics, for that matter), but here's one:

Some scenery:

Beautiful area, other than the bigger mountains up north, NH looks much like home with more pine trees and different rocks. I plan on returning with the family later this year for more directed exploration, will do more hiking then.

Headed back south to the Grafton area, where I was going to camp with some folks that I really wanted to meet. This was the one area where Boxman failed me (sort of), but I had been warned to disregard GPS in the Grafton area. Now I know why. I had a ~1 mile vertical dirt road that looked (to me) like the hero section of some enduros. Nothing to do but twist and hang on! I would have stopped and taken pictures, but I'd probably still be there picking up pieces of my bike if I stopped. I haven't ridden terrain like that since I was 17 and blasting around on my YZ.

Met some of the coolest people Saturday night, hung out and asked lots of questions. Made me very confident that a move to NH is right for my family, but it seems to have made a decision on where exactly that much harder. Everywhere was nice, people were great. Pretty much gonna boil down to economic/tax/local government issues for the final choice. Rained 1" Sat night, but everything stayed dry. Had a shorter ride on Sunday, so I hung around in the morning and talked some more. Some short sprinkles drove me to get finished packing up and on the bike, pretty well rode in the rain much of the way back to Keene. Bike quit once AFTER I was out of the active rainfall. This was an issue with the bike before, thought I had it sorted. 30 seconds of sitting and grumbling, bike started and ran fine. Made it into Keene about 5pm, met some folks for pizza and wings, and to talk some more. My host for the evening finished work, and met up with me there to ride out to his house. Stunningly beautiful home, and just super nice people. I pulled into his garage and noticed the bee package- yet another thing to talk about! Turns out that most of the people that I met share many more interests in common with me than motorcycles.

Monday, got up, had coffee, BS'ed for too long (why does that happen? ) and didn't get on the road until noon. Well, my whole purpose for this trip was to meet people and ask questions, and I got that in spades. Picked a different route back, just for a change of scenery. Uneventful ride across VT, nice day and great roads. Crossed back into the Peoples' Republic of New York and found out that Boxman had routed me into an area that I'd been to many times. No worries, never been there on the bike, so it was a pretty novel experience.

Just before I rolled into Johnstown, NY, I was on a 55mph road, wind was gusty and wicked. Kept hearing a funny noise, finally figured out that above 50 mph or so in 5th gear, if I applied throttle, my clutch was slipping. Flashback to the quart of oil that I bought at a gas station. I studied up a few weeks ago and learned how to read oil labels to tell if they were safe for the wet clutch. Was kicking myself and praying that I didn't (or hadn't already) ruin my clutch plates. First light in Johnstown, wheel into an Advance Auto. It was about 4:30, figured I probably didn't have a whole lot of time on a Monday night before things started closing. The guys at Advance were awesome, they had MC-specific oil, and gave me a bucket (KFC-type) to catch my old oil, and the store recycles used oil. Found a shady spot behind a building to do a quick change, thanked the guys again, and back on the road. Tried a few (uninformed) ideas I came up with to try to flush out the bad oil as much as I could. Down the road again, found out soon that the clutch was STILL slipping. Getting depressed, I pulled into a Stewart's in Palatine Bridge, NY. Filled the fuel, hit the head, and saw a couple older gents sitting outside on a picnic table. One had a nice HD, the other had a really cool hot rod. Asked them if they knew anything about wet clutches, they suggested letting the clutch as slack as possible and running it in neutral for a bit to get the plates apart enough to flush. Tried that, had a snack and an energy drink (I get even stupider and more wound when I'm hungry and tired, like everyone I suppose) and down the road once more. Got about a mile out of town, STILL SLIPPING! Called my best friend, left a voice mail for him to be on "strip alert" to get my trailer and come get me. Didn't want to get too far from a town, or the exit off the interstate where he could get me more easily, so I was running up and down a mile stretch trying to see if I could figure it out, or maybe just blow it up and not have to worry about fixing it anymore.

Pulled in to a parking lot, sitting and thinking, poking and twiddling (sometimes it works- poke and hope). Playing with the clutch lever, I noticed that it wasn't going all the way back out when I released it. HMMM- smoke and crackling noises coming from inside my helmet! Cable? Springs? Noooooo- seems when I hit 50 mph or so, the wind force would push my left handguard far enough and hard enough to slightly depress the clutch lever. Took my helmet off so I could give myself the full dope slap, since my mom wasn't there to do it for me.

So in all likelyhood, I was correct in my choice of oil, and hopefully I didn't shorten my clutch life too much. One cable tie to hold the handguard, and had no problems all the way home. Of course, it was now getting dark, and I was still a good 3-4 hours of riding away from home. Made good time on some good roads, 55mph limit, and when it got dark I put my jacket back on and stayed pretty warm, it got surprisingly cool. Puttered through maybe 1 hour of dark, but by that point I was back in familiar territory so I really only had critters to beware of. Clear skies and a nearly full moon made the trip pleasant. Finally rolled in about 10pm, unpacked some stuff, and hit the hay.

This was my first "big" trip, and now I'm hooked. Met some of the nicest people whose hospitality and kindness made this trip possible for me. Deepest thanks and much love to all the folks who are willing to welcome strangers into their homes and lives for the enjoyment of travel. I've spent most of my life helping others, and it always enriches the helper as much as the recipient.

NOTES/LESSONS/BRAIN DUMP:

I need a bit more space on the bike. Panniers/saddlebags would be more than enough. Probably gonna do ammo cans (fits the bike style), but I didn't have time to weld up frames, future project. The tank bags are nice, but I need to get my stuff off the back of the seat so I have enough knee room, and can change position more often.

I had enough of everything, tools, materials, food, etc. With a laundry stop, I could probably go much longer with what I had. I can resupply food at just about any grocery store.

Fuel was not a concern, I had tanks that I did 63mpg on, some that I did 51 on. Wind probably made the difference in mileage. 1,017 miles, gas cost me about 50 dollars.

My homemade "air ride" seat worked extremely well, I can change the pressure to "switch up" and make the seat softer or more firm. I used a thermarest seat cushion, which I cut into the foam, added some foam to the sides, and recovered. Need to work on my upholstery skills, but the seat is pretty much what I'm looking for.

Need good riding pants. Rode in jeans with lycra shorts/pants under, was comfortable but I hate cotton, especially when it gets (and stays) wet. No surprise, I just went with what I had.

I was glad that I kept my miles very low for each day, and was flexible in my route and plans. Took some roads on a whim that were all pleasant surprises.

All in all, this was a great trip, looking forward to the next already. Sorry for the long report, almost play by play. Thanks again to everyone who helped me, from the folks who gave me a place to stay to all the nice people that I just had a chat with at the gas stations. Everyone was very friendly, considering that I look like a hippy freak on an olive drab bike.

I cut my hair yesterday morning, it was a pain in the ass to deal with, and I'm not much on vanity anyway. Less is more.

My Acerbis Koerta is great! Stayed very cool if I needed, wore underarmor below and a long-sleeved t-shirt over, can throw on layers if it cools off. Kind of a pain to take it on and off, but I'll take the trade for protection and comfort over convenience and fashion. It's probably way overkill for 99% of my riding but that's just the way I am.

The GPS made the trip much, much easier and more fun. I have a Nuvi 1300 that we got using airline miles. Need a waterproof case and bike mount, but it proved its worth on many instances. I still carry paper maps, but I won't travel without Boxman again.

I am the king of cheap! Most of my bike mods come from Lowes/Walmart, etc. Everything worked, with the exception of my modification on the tank panniers. The rubbermaid box is great, although the paint doesn't seem to stick on it very well. Touchups are $4.44 a can at wallyworld, so no worries.

Next long trip I'm going to print up a few business cards on the computer with my name, email, etc. Nothing super personal, or my home address or anything, but just a way for cool folks I meet to stay in touch.

I would have never guessed, but I really love riding with my ipod. The ipod touch has all kinds of groovy stuff on it that makes it very useful. Takes up less room than a laptop, still has wifi, movies, ebooks, email, and skype. Tons of places to get free wifi access, didn't miss my laptop much at all. If I took a much longer trip, I would want a netbook to post photos and such from the road. Stayed in touch with family and friends just fine using my cell phone. We have skype set up to forward to the inlaws' number so I can call internationally from my cell, or I can call on skype with the ipod for free. I use a 10-dollar iphone mic from target, works great. If I don't have the ipod on, I ride with earplugs, allows me to hear much better.

Looking forward to the next trip!

Even though my birthday was close to 50 years ago.... I feel like a kid at Christmas right now. Thats right a new motorcycle.... Not sure what it is about a new motorcycle, but any time I get a new bike, there is a sense of excitement that is hard to hide. When i was a young man, I worked for a dealership. Every year I bought a new bike. My girlfriend knew that was part of my life, and she actually liked riding with me... So she became my wife. Over the years, kids started showing up in our household... They became expensive... and well, I wasn't buying new bikes every year anymore.

Kids are getting older now... College scholarships help pay for their room and board, under a roof that is not mine.... and with only the boy left at home, I have a bit more freedom with the cashola.... So.. I scratched an itch that has been bugging me since last week. I don't think it was poison ivy... but when my son and I were out riding with friends in Colorado I had the opportunity to ride a KTM690 Enduro R..... It felt a lot like my old 450EXC but when you pin the throttle all hell breaks loose. Drifting around corners on gravel roads, with the steering at full lock is childs play on this thing.. Wheelies... pick a gear, any gear... Well balanced chassis, and taught suspension make the 690 one of the best off road play bikes I have ever ridden.... So I sold my overweight, Dakar... which was a hard decision. I had spent a lot of time going through it, and making it into a great adventure bike. But it was just not going to ever be a woods bike.
5 minutes after I had the check in my hand, I made the call to the KTM dealer.. My insurance agent.. and my wife to inform her that our Friday date night had been changed... Instead of going to listen to the smooth jazz band.. We would be making a quick trip to Little Rock. She has a way of showing support for me and being excited about stuff... that I doubt interest her... She just loves me I guess.

I hooked my my GPS.. and stuffed my essentials in my Camelback... and told the son to be up by 9:00 Sat am because we were going riding!!!
After stuffing tire tools, air compressor, KTM tool bag... and the hydration pack.. there was no room for a camera. I don't have a tank bag yet that will fit the KTM.... So I will have to make do with the old Iphone camera for this trip. No bitching about the quality of the pics

Our first stop was up on Petit Jean.. Today's weather was unseasonably cool and the ride was quite pleasant.

We headed west and stopped for gas in Centerville. Continued on until I saw a little road I had never been on before... Started out paved, then became gravel and took us to Spring Lake.

Oh by the way.. until the child like excitement wears off.. be prepared to see the 690 in most all of my pictures... Wonder if I can get it into our next family portrait for the Christmas cards this year???

Spring lake...

We ended up on some roads I knew from years ago, we played a little bit on the ATV trail system...

and came out on Mt Magazine by Shirleys Outback. Great place to eat, if you are ever up that way... We were headed for Oark though, for grub today... It was now well past noon, so we took 309 north to Ozark... Got sprinkled on just a bit... Then the sun came out and the temps began to rise. Sat in road construction for 15 minutes, on hwy 23... then finally made it to Oark

for todays special around 2:00 pm.

By now it was getting pretty hot outside... and I knew I had a 5 hour job waiting for me when I got back home.. So we took the most direct route home. This turned out to be a decent ride, with nice scenery and cooler temps in the higher eleations. as I look at the scenery i was reminded how pretty Arkansas is.. and that trips to Colorado may be nice once in a while.. but I am not sure I will be going every year... I want to do more exploring at home, and up in the Mark Twain Nat. Forest in Missouri.

about a 300 mile day....

The KTM did everything I wanted.. and did it with pizazz... It will roost rocks as far back as I can see in the mirrors... Eats up rough trails, and will tour down the highway... Although I will be ordering a different seat. :) My son seemed to have a great time too... and spending time with him is worth far more than what I paid for the bike....

So we're sittin' around wondering just how we lost our summer, and where our indian summer went too, which all slipped out the back door on us while we choked on two months worth of forest fire smoke. But it's still decently warm for October, and Bob shoots me a text the other day.

"Stever, stop by the office if you have a minute."

Within hours a final long ride for the fall is planned. The road to Elk City was closed for fires, Logan closed with snow, Bear Tooth getting weather, so the logical direction was west over 12. We meet at Big Sky Lumber Sales World Headquarters at 11 AM on Friday.

Just up the road we stop in Lolo for fuel and meet Adam who came down from the Mission Valley.

We shoot up the hill a bit and stop for lunch, don't want to ride such a fine road on an empty stomach! My Philly cheesesteak sammich was good.

And a ways up the hill we stop for the obligatory picture at the famous sign---didn't turn out too bad for a "balance the camera on your seat and run back" self-timer picture.

Lolo pass is just always fun. The fall colors are in, with the Western Larch very bright now.

Stopping for a break farther down the other side, it is extremely smoky.

The smoke was choking us all the way along. We stop in Orofino for fuel and to whet the whistle. Way back in the early 1980's I was a traveling floor covering rep, and this was part of my territory. Called on all these little stores back then, many of which are gone now.

We make it on into Lewiston and check into the Clearwater Casino and Hotel. Heck it was a nice place, new rooms and we didn't have to go anywhere---food, beer, all life's essentials were there. Big Mart won about 80 bucks on some machine in no time. I think he bought a round for us with it.......

That night, for the first time in two months, it RAINED!!! Oh, were we happy to see that, the air has been smoke and dust and horrible since the first of August. The morning was clear and beautiful. Gonna be a good riding day!

Once we packed up, the first order of business was to ride the Spiral Highway. Now, this is a very famous stretch of road in the motorcycling community, but I'll elaborate a bit further here. The road was first opened in 1917, and at the time was considered a great feat of engineering. It was about the only way to get north out of the Snake river valley in Lewiston, and up into the Palouse and towards Spokane. The road gains 2,000 feet in elevation from Lewiston (elevation ~715 feet) to the top at (~2750 feet). This occurs over the span of about nine miles and 64 curves. This nine miles is all within your immediate view from the bottom--the road "spirals" around the ridges and up the huge hill up to the plateau above.

Back when I was a kid, nobody really called it the Spiral Highway, we just called it the Lewiston Grade. Everything that went in and out of Lewiston went up and down it. Us kids always were always mesmerized by the rumors and tales of carnage from the evil hill. First time I ever was on it, was with 2 other friends in the back of an old Ford pickup at about age 10. There used to be a few old rusty hulks of cars way down at the bottom of a couple of the steep ravines, places when cars unfortunately met their demise, were too laborsome to remove.

In the 70's they finished the new Lewiston Grade, and the Spiral has been a famous spot to tour and take in the view ever since. The old song "Hot Rod Lincoln" was actually written by a guy who raced on that hill ("I'm here to say, I'm the kid that was drivin' that Model A") named Charlie Ryan. He really did have a twelve cylinder Lincoln chassis, shortened with a Model A body on it. The song had many versions after his 1955 original, but owes its roots to the old Lewiston Grade.

From the top:

We started up the hill in clear air, then entered fog and clouds, and came out above them at the top. Made it feel like we really did some climbing! What a fabulous ride.

Top of the world!

House in the clouds was cool.

The fog and clouds burned off and moved out, and we rode it right back down in nice clear air. Man, that was fun.

So then we double back on 12 until we hit the St Maries cutoff on Highway 3. We go north, winding through beautiful thick forests and crystal rivers.

Stopped for a break, I think this was in Deary.

After lunch up in St Maries, we head up the beautiful St Joe river. One of the most scenic and curvy roads you'll ever see, and we're in the curvy road business this week.

We didn't get rained on, although the pavement was still wet. But it was good nonetheless. My Michelin Anakees held very well and I scarcely felt them ever slip.

After about 90 miles of flowing curves and hairpins, we do hit dirt on the Montana side, and it was slimy. Had to take it pretty easy on that, after all I'm on a V Strom and not my DR650 with knobbies!

Wasn't long before we dropped off the hill down into St Regis, for a short break and a beef stick. Adam headed up north to his home, and we hopped I-90 for the last 120 miles home.

So it was a great ride to close out our overnighters for the season. Yes, it was either smoky or wet, but hey, we had 600 miles of some of the greatest curvy, scenic roads you can find in the northwest. I'm ready to do the same route again with dry roads and good air--but then again, none of the 2 lane in these parts of Montana and Idaho disappoints. Just pick a squiggly line on the map and head for it, you can't go wrong.

A few months ago I mentioned to a co-worker, John, that I was planning to ride my V-Strom on my first Ironbutt ride and mentioned a possible route. He rides a Yamaha FJR1300 daily and said that he’d always wanted to do that, too, and asked if he could ride with me. I initially wanted to head north on the 15 freeway and do the turnaround at a gas station north of Beaver, UT. Watching the weather, though, the route left too great a chance for cold weather and snow, so I looked further south into Arizona. We decided to run a Southern route through Phoenix and Tucson and start heading back after hitting the mid-way point in Benson, AZ.

We both had some prep work to do on our bikes but by last Tuesday morning, both bikes were prepped and good to go.

We live in different cities but planned on meeting on the first stop for both of us -- near John’s house, but only thirty miles away from mine, and on the route. I left my house on time at 0400 and started the clock by getting cash from an ATM right around the corner. I zeroed out my odometers and GPS and activated my route and was rolling. I entered the 22 freeway at 0407 and was on schedule to meet John off the 91 freeway in Corona at 0430.

I exited the freeway on time. John was already fueled and ready to go. I put a splash of fuel in my bike to ensure I’d make it to our first stop in Blythe, CA on a single tank and to generate a receipt for my log.

Corona. 0430. Clock’s rolling:

We were heading east and making really good time. Traffic going to the West was beginning to get heavy despite it still being dark, and I was glad I was off work and on my way. We didn’t hit any traffic and maintained a steady high cruise through Riverside and Beaumont and it was still dark when we got to Banning. David Gilmour had been playing on my Ipod since we left Corona and his first album ended and “On An Island” just began when the sky first changed from black to violet.

Ahead, through the Banning Pass I could see the red marker lights from hundreds of wind generators twinkling in sequence. One would come on, then a split second later a hundred others would come on, followed almost immediately by a hundred more. Then, they’d all turn off in the same sequence -- one off, followed by groups of the rest until the horizon was dark and featureless. It was intoxicating to watch but as the sky continued to lighten, the effect was smaller and smaller. When we got closer and the sky had become dark blue, I could pick up the silhouette from the props spinning in the wind. They were being rotated by the wind and we were buffeted lightly by the same morning breeze.

The trip through the desert went very quickly. My low fuel light began blinking outside of Blythe, and I lost my last bar as we approached the city limits. The ramp I had planned to take was closed, so we continued on to the next one and rolled into the gas station with 217 miles completed. We had just started the ride but it was already 20% done.

Blythe. 0730. The Corner Store:

We filled the bikes and calculated fuel mileage. I had earned just over 40 miles per gallon. It was about what I expected, but was still a little disappointed. I had programmed the stock fuel injection map into the bike and had hoped for a little more, but in hindsight, I’m a big man, I had panniers on both sides, I have a large shield on the bike and I was loaded really heavy with food, water and ice, tools, a fuel cell and other extras. It was almost the highest I’d get the entire trip.

David Gilmour was giving way to his mates in Pink Floyd and I would go through “Dark Side,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Animals” on the next leg.

We ate a few bites of food, took some Advil, hydrated, and got back on Interstate 10 and almost immediately entered Arizona. I had planned on riding hard during the first half of the trip so we could take it easy in the afternoon and I led a fast pace between Blythe and our next stop south of Phoenix. Three hours and 180 miles later my fuel light warned me I was getting low again, and I knew we wouldn’t make it to Eloy, our next planned stop, so I exited the 10 freeway in Bapchule, AZ.

Bapchule. 1029. Shell Gas Station:

We stopped at the pumps and compared fuel mileage again. 34.65 mpg. My fast pace hurt our mileage and explained why we didn’t make it to Eloy. John had lost several miles per gallon as well and I told him I’d try a slower pace during the next leg and see how we’d do. John had better mileage and range than me, but I was carrying an extra gallon and a half of fuel in case I ran out between stops.

Pink Floyd was done for the day and I switched to a mix of 120 Steely Dan tunes.

A few more bites of food, 16 ounces of water, down to thin gloves and a solo t-shirt under my jacket and we were on the 10 again. It was only 130 miles to our turnaround point and we were still ahead of schedule. The trip through Tucson was easy. I had slowed down some and only lost a single bar on my fuel gauge when Benson, AZ was in sight. I exited and we stopped for our first long break of the day. Our total mileage was showing 527 miles and we were still ahead of schedule.

Benson. 1311. Wendy’s:

The weather was in the 90s but we both agreed that we’d rather deal with warm weather than cold and stripped off some of our riding gear to cool off while we had lunch. I got a lemonade that was ¾ sugar from Wendy’s to get a receipt and we both took care of some bookkeeping inside in the air conditioning. I notified my family of our progress via Facebook.

John mentioned the seat on his FJR. I couldn’t believe he’d ridden this far on his stock seat. I’ve ridden his bike and it’s an awesome machine. Tons of power, smooth, refined, effortless cruising, but I’d last maybe an hour on that seat. He was starting to hurt, but was determined to keep moving. After 40 minutes or so, we geared up and started the trip home.

Neither of us needed gas but we knew we couldn’t make it to Gila Bend, so we agreed to go as far as we could before stopping again. We made it as far as North Tucson before I pulled us off the freeway. We missed a signal light at the bottom of the ramp and waited for the light to change. And waited. And waited. My temp gauge started to climb and my cooling fan came on for the first time in months. I looked over at John. He gave me a confused look. Neither of us could believe how long it took. After what seemed like ten minutes, the light changed and a growing line of waiting traffic started to move.

The gas station was busy but we still found pumps near each other. We’d gone 585 miles.

Tucson. 1440. Circle K:

On the last leg the wind had picked up to a level that was noticeable but not uncomfortable. It did move us around a little, though. I managed to get 40.65 miles per gallon on the last leg. Speeds below 80 had really helped. My mileage wasn’t being helped by my gearing choice. I have run 17/45 sprockets for some time and love the responsiveness and driveability. At 80, though, my rpms were up around 5000 rpms and while the engine seemed to be running great, there was a price to pay in extra fuel.

We ate a little more, hydrated, and got back on the road. The run to Gila Bend wouldn’t be long, only about 113 miles, but we couldn’t make it to Yuma, so we had scheduled another stop. The short leg with no concerns for fuel mileage had me picking up the pace again. We went 80 to 85 mph the entire time and were passed by a number of cars and the occasional truck. We did fight an ever-increasing wind, however. Gusts came from the south and on our nose, pushing us across the lane at times. John backed off a little and we both just rode it out.

Gila Bend. 1646. Love’s Travel Stop:

Gila Bend came quickly. At the stop I figured out fuel mileage -- a disappointing 35.65. John had suffered, too, but was still several miles per gallon higher than me. John’s seat pain had increased and was joined by throttle hand fatigue. We were beginning to tire, but motivated to push on. We’d gone 698 miles.

I went into the station to see if they had any fruit and was greeted with green bananas and mushy apples. That wasn’t happening. I bought a granola bar, downed another 16 ounces of water and took some more Advil.

While I was in line, I noticed a young mother in front of me. She had 6 or 7 kids with her -- I couldn’t get a good count. They kept bouncing around all over the place. She was at the counter paying for two full grocery bags full of junk food. She had chips, she had soda, she had Hostess cakes, she had candy bars. She even had a Fun Dip. There’s no way I’d spend the next three hours with her and the hyperactive brood she’d dragged along. They were piling into a minivan as I walked out. The kids misbehaved. The mom yelled. An older teenage daughter was smoking a cigarette outside the minivan arguing with a boyfriend. “Well,” she told him. “You didn’t have f--- her, too, you dick!”

She looked about thirteen.

The next leg would be long. The wind continued to pick up, and the sky west of us was brown with blowing dirt and sand. F-something-or-others were in sequence doing touch-and-gos at the strip across Interstate 8.

The wind didn’t let up. We got pushed around quite a bit during the next leg. John kept his distance and we willed ourselves straight for the next two hours and forty-five minutes. It was uncomfortable but not bad enough to have to stop and wait it out. We both just got used to using up more lane than usual.

At the Love’s Travel Stop I took my first ever Five Hour Energy drink (dose?). With only a few hundred miles to go, I didn’t want to get so fatigued that I couldn’t come back from it, so I tried one. Holy smokes! That stuff works. About 30 minutes into this leg it just hit me. “I’m not tired,” I thought. “I feel alert. I feel good. I don’t feel hyper. I feel in control. This stuff’s okay.” It wasn’t the Monster or Red Bull buzz that makes you feel like Beavis with his shirt pulled over his head. This was good. Other than a little neck pain from supporting the helmet for over twelve hours and fighting the wind, I was feeling great. No fatigue, no real pain, and no doubt that we could make it.

Yuma came and went and we saw the signs for shifting sands across the freeway as we approached Glamis. Small waves of fine, powdery sand moved sideways across the freeway as the sun set. By the time we pulled into El Centro, it was dark. We had 129 miles to go to reach 1000, just under 200 miles from home.

El Centro. 1936. Carl’s Jr.:

Your author, feeling good. Ready to ride:

We fueled up. Both of us were really low. Still under 40 at 38.6 miles per gallon, but respectable under the circumstances.

We went inside Carl’s to grab a burger and we were stared at by two old men and an older woman in a booth. They all looked us over pretty good. We were used to getting stared at by now. John’s 6’7” and I’m 6’3”. All geared up in riding attire and hi-viz, we really stand out. After ordering our food, the trio got up to leave as I was filling my drink cup with more lemonade -- this time light, no sugar. One of the older men walked up to me and said, “Who are you guys, a couple ‘a football players?”

“No sir,” I said. “We’re motorcycle riders.”

“Well, you’re sure a couple of big fellas.”

“Yes, sir. We’re just out for a ride.”

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“Well, we’re trying to ride 1000 miles in 24 hours. We left LA at about four this morning. We’re on our way home.”

“1000 miles you say?”

“Yes sir.”

“In a day?”

“Yes sir.”

“On motorcycles?”

“Yes sir.”

“You guys are nuts. Ya hear that Clarence, these guys are riding a thousand miles today. How far ya gone so far?”

“871 miles, sir.”

“871 miles. My gosh! You guys be safe now. Ride safe.”

He and his friends continued talking about us as they left the restaurant. We ate our burgers quickly and looked forward to getting back on the bikes. The wind had died down and I hoped it would stay that way.

Steely Dan was done. 140 80s songs in the shuffle would finish our trip.

One of my friends posted on Facebook that it was supposed to rain shortly in Oceanside, right on our route. It hadn’t started yet, but was supposed to any time.

“Great,” I thought. “Heat, wind and now rain.”

We pushed on.

Five miles out of El Centro the wind was back. It was harder this time and the gusts were much, much stronger. I could see the mountains looming in front of us. They were framed in the sky by thousands of stars. We were being pushed around a lot when we approached and passed a sign that read something like “Extremely High Winds Likely Next 63 Miles.”

Oh boy.

As Interstate 8 climbed out of the Imperial Valley the winds in the area just blew up. I slowed my pace down considerably and was laying against the tank trying to make my size as small as possible. One minute I’d be hanging off the side of the bike, leaning into the wind at a 30 degree angle and then a gust would push me the other way. I’d muscle the bike back straight using my arms, my legs, my abdomen just in time to have to make another adjustment. It was terrifying. I kept dropping the speed down just to try to remain in control. Several cars passed us. John said he’d use me as a reference to the wind’s velocity and direction. He’d see me get blown across the lane and a few seconds later he was doing the same thing.

I considered stopping for a while, but there was no safe place to stop. We were still doing great on time, so we didn’t feel a need to push on to make it. This went on for forty-five minutes or so.

As we approached the summit I noticed some stringy clouds clinging to lighted antenna towers above us. I knew that those types of clouds couldn’t be hanging there in fifty mile per hour winds and hoped that meant that the winds were slowing down.

They did. As we crested the summit on the coastal side we ran into the fog. It was patchy. Thick at times, other times thin, the fog kept our speed down, but it was so much better than the gusts we had been in ten minutes before. With the fog brought cold weather. The temperature dropped about thirty degrees. I was so unnerved by the wind that when my hands started to get numb from the cold, I forgot I had grip heaters.

Eventually we rode out of the fog and into urban San Diego County. We made it to the 5 freeway and headed north. I missed the first turn off on the 5 and had to go further up the road to get gas for the last time. As we approached Del Mar, the GPS went from 999 miles to 1000. The gas station was less than a mile away and it was still displayed as I stopped for fuel.

We made 1000 miles, but still had to make it home:

Del Mar. 2229. Chevron Gas Station:

The last leg netted less than 36 miles per gallon. I prepped the bike for rain by putting away all electronics except for the GPS. I put on my last layer under my jacket and my warmest gloves. I covered my seat and hoped we didn’t run into too much rain.

We didn’t for a while. Once into Orange County we ran through a few light showers but didn’t get soaked. It wasn’t until after we’d split up at the 5/405 intersection that I got any steady rain. I exited the freeway at Beach Boulevard in a steady downpour but only had a few miles to home. I needed to stop and get one last receipt to officially end my ride and I’d planned on using the same bank ATM as I had almost twenty hours earlier. Wells Fargo had other plans.

Because of the odd spending pattern they saw across Arizona and the Imperial Valley, Wells Fargo fraud detection caught up with me. After several attempts at accessing my accounts were unsuccessful, I figured out what happened and went across the street to a drug store and bought some mints with cash. My GPS read 1078 miles. I’d been gone about 19 hours, 45 minutes, an hour more than I’d planned.

It was a great ride. My bike got worked and never complained. All my gear worked as I’d hoped. Two things I’ll take with me. One, Five Hour Energy works. Two, a Russell seat would be a bargain at twice the price. My Strom has gone through several seats including the stock 1000, a gel, and a Sargent. All of them were good for about 90 minutes. The Russell seat is incredible, absolutely incredible. My butt never hurt during the entire ride -- not once, not even a little.

The day after I got out of bed and wasn’t sore and wasn’t tired. I was ready to go another 1000. John and I just have to get him a seat and pick a new destination. We’re ready for another.

I had HIGH hopes for today (Saturday, 5/12). Earlier in the week, the forecast for today was supposed to be partly cloudy and the high temps in the low 70's. Further, my new WR250R was supposed to be ready by Wednesday.

Excellent!

Sounding like Honey Buns and me could go for our first DS ride with us both aboard our new bikes amid some great weather.

Life is good.

Then the forecast started degrading as the week passed. Then I had delays and drama taking delivery of my new WR250R. Then my night shift job started bogging down. (Got home at 6:10 AM one morning.) A long shift means not much day left once you grab a few hours of sleep. To cap it all off, Friday's forecast for Saturday was calling for an 80% chance of rain and thunderstorms with heavy local rains possible. Crapola.

Life is bad.

However, there WAS a bright spot among all the proverbial and forecasted dark clouds: Finally took delivery of my new bike on Thursday. But the depressing rain forecast continued, with slowy increasing odds by the day.

Honey Buns indicated that if it was raining, she wasn't going. Understood completely. However, a new bike in the garage... high temp forecast to be 69 degrees. Rain? So what... I'm going if at all possible. No dust to deal with!

Went to work on Friday evening hoping for a decent quit time so I could be up and at'em and off to the woods pronto. Instead, I got home and in the sack after 4 AM.

Sleep.

Arose about 9-ish. What's that? No rain? Staggered down the hall rubbing my eyes and scratching my butt... looked out the window... the blacktop was dry? Hey... there's hope!

"Mornin' Honey Buns... What's the forecast now?"

Point, click: "20% chance of showers... high low 70's." says she.

Eureka! It's a go! Soon enough, we were suited up, gear loaded into our fanny packs, the bikes retrieved from the garage and... press the magic buttons (I LOVE this electric start thing!)... and it was off to fuel up before we headed out.

Our plans were:

Do backroads from Poteau to Monroe. Then hit some dirt roads over to Poteau Mtn' Road. Cross over Poteau Mtn Ridge and drop down and ride forest roads on the south side through the pine forests. Come out over near Hon, AR, blacktop to Waldron for lunch n' fuel... then black top to the east end of Poteau Mtn Road and ride the ridge to the cutoff and drop back down to Monroe, then back to Poteau.

Let's get going!

Oh... first up was fuel the mosickles at Poteau. Pic below proved we did that!

Heading for Monroe, I couldn't help but notice that the few patches of distant blue behind the holes in the clouds were being hidden again: The clouds were getting thicker.

Wow... it has been A WHILE since I've ridden this route. Remember me mentioning dirt roads from Monroe to Poteau Mtn Road? Well... those are now blacktop. OLD blacktop. Hard to reconcile the mental images in my memory files with what I was seeing and riding over. It that Rabbit Kill Curve ahead? (Ran over one very unlucky cottentail there as I was slinging gravel aboard a brand new 1980 Yamaha IT 425 way back in... well... 1980! Think about that next time you want a rabbit's foot for good luck.) When WAS the last time I rode this route??? Time flies, they say. What's this? Rain drops???

Sure 'nuf... a light rain starts. The sky is completely overcast. The nearby mountains have disappeared behind a cloak of misty fog. Uh-oh.

Somewhere along the way we cross over into Arkansas. It continues to drizel on us as we turn south on Poteau Mtn Road and begin the ascent to the ridge. The pavement is now behind us, and will be for the next 20 or more miles. The clouds hang low and we ride through patchy light fog as up we climb.

If we doubted we were in Arkansas, coming up behind the vehicle ahead would remove all doubt. There on the chopped down mini-pickup's flatbed was a pen full of coondogs baying at us. The feller stops for us to pass... right in the middle of the road. We both take the right... and sure'nuf, it was Redneck City in the cab of that mini-truck! They waved, we returned the wave with a "Thank You" wave thrown in for good measure, and continue to climb.

The valley floor is about 500' in elevation. We would top out at over 2000' crossing over the ridge. Soon enough, we were on top and riding the ridge for a couple of miles. It was time for a break and an attitude check. I knew just the
spot.

For decades, I have this favorite place right before you start to descend the south slope. It was here an old favorite trail from the west ended. It was called "High Top Trail" on account of it taking you over High Top mountain (in OK) and running the ridge to connect with the crossover road we were now on (which is in Arkansas). It's a great ride. No, a FANTASTIC ride. Was, that is. It's no longer open. Plus, the gas well boom eradicated at least 30% of the trail on the west end. Sad, sad.

However, many good memories have been charted out there on High Top Trail and the vista once you hit the crossover road was always great... when the leafs are gone, that is. (Gotta' remember almost ALL of my dirt riding is during the colder seasons from sometime in Autumn until sometime in the Spring. I haven't enjoyed dirt riding in the heat for a long time.) Today, the leafs are on BIGTIME. Plus, the misty fog prevented much in the way of vista. Oh well, it's still great to be out in "my" mountains again!

Here's a few pics of where High Top Trail joins the crossover road...

Time for that attitude check...

"Okay... decision time. I can reverse our route and we can head for the house or..."

"You mean QUIT?" asks Honey Buns.

"Well... it's raining... and you..."

"This isn't anything," says she, "let's do it!"

"Okie doakie!" I reply in shock.

Fortunately, the light rain begins to let up as we work our way down and around the switchbacks heading to the valley below.

Once off the mountain, we were again at about 500' elevation. Next would be many miles of meandering through the big pine forests and enjoying the sights and smells of the big trees... what's this???

Oh great. A CLEAR CUT. The loggers are here, in a big way. Don't you just love the way the USFS puts the clamps on the way we (dirt riders) can enjoy OUR forests, all in the guise of preventing us from "marring the environment"... and this same USFS then lets logging take place that completely removes beautiful forest stands of trees, never to be seen again in our lifetimes? Talk about hypocricy. Argh. I need to get off this subject.

I think part of the reason I enjoy riding the Ozarks more than riding this region is because in the Ozarks, we're discovering NEW areas to ride and many, many things are fresh and never seen before. In my region, I've ridden it all, and everytime I ride out here again I can't help but think of the things LOST and GONE, instead of fully appreciating what is still left.

Anyway, we pass through the logging areas and finally get to enjoy some big pines. (Better enjoy them while we can... they'll be logged soon enough.) Ah well... today is a day to enjoy riding and not carping about things I can't change. Let the ride continue!!

Eventually we exit the forest roads and ride a few miles of backroad blacktop into the edge of Waldron, Arkansas. Destination: An old burger haunt that I knew had some GREAT burgers. Pulling in... I start to dismount.

"I thought you wanted burgers? Now you're in the mood for Chinese?" came the puzzled question from Honey Buns.

"Say what???"

Sure 'nuf. Somewhere in the years I haven't been here, the burger shack is gone, being replaced by a Chinese restaraunt. Hey... I like Chinese okay... but not today. We fire up and head back for the Char-Broiled Grill. THAT place is still there.

Good choice. I had a great Philly Steak n' Cheese and Honey Buns had a great BLT on buttered/toasted marble rye bread. To add to it, we had some excellent onion rings to go with it.

Noticably absent at this point in this long-winded novelette is the defacto-standard "Food Picture". When I suggested such a pic... Honey Buns looked at me with a "you've got to be kidding" look. I explained that, no, the adv.com guys really dig food and they even have food porn pic fests... even dedicated threads about food!

"Ride To Eat. Eat To Ride" is their motto, I said, some even having side covers on their motors engraved with same, as well as tattoos stating such. They're a hardcore eating group, to be sure.

She just sat there and stared... slowly shaking her head in disbelief.

Anyhoo... chow time over. It was fuel time AND... check my MPG. Wanted to see how the ol' WR was going to do on MPG. It held .791 gallons. Doing the ciphers... turns out the MPG came in at 69.53 MPG! Not bad! Even with the tiny tank, we will be good for over 100 miles of riding before we need to start thinking about fuel. (May consider a larger tank someday... but would rather not.)

Darn! Just about forgot a pic of the Char-Broiled Grill!

From Waldron it was north on 71 Hwy to Poteau Mtn Road. Turning west, it would now be about 25 miles of mountains n' dirt. During the course of those upcoming miles, we would top out at elevations over 2300'.

The vistas wouldn't be constant, again owing to the foliage, but still it was a fun ride. We did stop to smell the coffee (pines) a couple times. First up was some type of historical marker I hadn't noticed before. Turns out it is a memorial for a Forest Ranger that I can't remember the name of. Oh well... it's a nice memorial. Shame I can't remember his name.

A pic of the Forgotten Forest Ranger Memorial:

I fired up Scrapper and waited for Honey Buns to get her little Honda purring. No go. Puzzled, I dismounted to go have a look-see as she tried again to fire it up. It wouldn't turn over.

"Is it in neutral?" I ask?

She makes sure it's it neutral... it wasn't.

Press the Magic Button again and "putt putt putt"... Lil' Red snaps to life.

Seems the US is heavy into making our bikes as "safe" as possible now.

From The Forgotten Forest Ranger Memorial it was miles and miles of rising and falling road as it followed the topography of the ridge. There are some spectacular vistas on this road during the winter time. At some places, you can look south and see the ridges of four and five distinct Ouachita Mountain Ranges... the furthest being 50 or more miles away.

Just a pic along the way...

Eventually we stopped at another location that holds a bunch of good riding memories. It is where 10 Mile Trail rejoined the road we were riding. Remember me telling you about High Top Trai? Well... once you hit the eastern end of High Top Trail, if you drop south and know where to enter the woods, you pick up 10 Mile Trail. It's super neat trail that runs on the side of the Poteau Mountain Range to come out where we're standing in the pic. (Look over at the left edge of the pic.)

Below is a better pic of the trail. What this pic DOESN'T convey is the drop you're looking at. It's going down in significant fashion.

No way in China does Honey Bun need to ride 10 Mile. Last time I rode it, it was a pretty serious trail in places. That's been years ago. Trails NEVER get smoother. Nope, she needs to stay off 10 Mile.

From there we get ready to saddle up and get ready to head for Monroe again. Sitting on my idling bike, I couldn't resist:

"Don't forget to have it in neutral!" I said with sarcasm.

She nods.

"Oh, and also, don't put it in gear with the kickstand down, or it will die!"

"I know" she responds.

"Oh? How do you know that?" I ask (knowing the answer). She looks at me with a "that's real funny you smart arse" look on her face.

"You know what? They're trying to make these bikes Idiot Proof... or have you already discovered that by personal experience?" I smirked... sarcasm definitely in evidence.

No verbal response... just one of those "you're so full of it" looks.

Confident in my cleverness, I tap my bike into gear... "sput".

Graveyard dead. I look down... the kickstand is down.

Not saying a word I quietly kick it up, fire up and head off.

By the time we arrived at Monroe, we were due a fountain drink and a short break.

Good ol' P.J's...

Sitting and looking at the bikes, I decided to snap a pic. Hmmm... notice something on the horizon?

It was here I offered Honey Buns an option:

Head for the house, OR, ride a loop of some significantly rougher (than we had been riding) old logging/access roads on the Oklahoma end of the Poteau Range.

"Let's do the loop!" she said.

Off we went. We entered at Round Mtn Road. Soon, we were making our way up a washed out and rocky road. Watching in the mirrors, Honey Buns was motoring right up. We negotiated several ups and downs, crossed some rock strewn brooks, and stopped to take us a break.

"This is great!!" she said.

I'm still amazed at how putting her on a decent bike has really snapped things around in regards to Honey Buns riding and level of enjoyment. WHERE were these good bikes back when we really needed 'em????

Here's a couple pics of our first stop. Time to lose a layer and pack it in the fanny pack...

Remember that pic up above concerning noticing something on the horizon? Look again. Note the sharp shadows indicating SUNNY? Note the distant horizon? Kind'a dark and forboding, isn't it? Well... that dark and forboding was moving in and moving in a hurry.

I stopped again... this time to batten down the hatches and waterproof the electronics and essentials. (Camera, cell phone, my wallet.) Gadgets and wallet safely in sealed plastic bags... it was off to the races and try to get home before what appeared to be some SERIOUS rains begin to hit.

I told Honey Buns it was going to be close IF we beat it. I also told her the backroads were
over... it was home on the hiway as far as practical.

I snapped our last pic before weatherizing and off we went...

Sure 'nuf, soon after we came out onto blacktop, the showers begin.

We were in 65 MPH territory when it begin to rain in earnest. We weren't wearing bandanas... so it was cup our left hand just below our gogles to fend off the stinging rain drops. Not soon enough, we exited and hit the Poteau streets to head for the house.

Fortunately, it turned out to look worse than it was, and we weren't soaked to the core.

We were home safe and sound and suprisingly dry!

In all, it was a great day to be out riding and it was indeed another ADVENTURE. Total miles for the day was 139.

The WR is working out great and Honey Buns enjoyed the rougher loop more than anything else we rode that day.

Ain't it grand being a dual sport rider????

See 'ya!

Vinduroman

So I have done about 1700 miles in commuting in the last 6 days. It has been fun, but rough… The stock wind shield has been killing me… I have an airhawk for the seat... It has been pretty good, however, my lower back was killing me after a long days ride, especially after several long days… So I started experimenting with some new riding positions.

The first thing I tried was putting my feet on the passenger pegs… Wow what a deference.. Really nice, except it kinda crowds the boys a bit, but if I position the airhawk correctly, it can add some padding.

That has really helped with the lower back.

I also like to stand up while riding on the highway sometimes, however, the wind really pushes on me and I feel like im hanging on for dear life from the bars.

Solution… Passenger pegs again!! I tried standing up on the rear pegs and it is just enough forward lean to compensate for the wind pressure at highway speeds..

And third, today I was taking some back roads how from NE Montana, and was having the same wind issue on the gravel… Blasting me in the chest at 60 mph, so I tried both feet on back pegs… way to sketch, then I tried my right foot on the back, and left on the front for shifting, and that worked really well, except my right leg got really tired.

Anybody have any other crazy positions they have tried and would like to share??

Ryan

went for a run today Feb 20th it was 4c out or about 40f showing off my new ADV decals. diverdown

Took my Husky for a little ride on one of my usual loops. New River to Table Mesa Rd. on to FR 41 then to FR 24 back to Cave Creek. This route was much easier on the Husky compared to my Honda 250 L

The scenery along Table Mesa Rd

The rough part lies ahead

More scenery

Many miles to go

This old wreck has been here for years. I want to use this picture for a photo tag

Old foundation to a small ranch house. This used to have 4 walls and a roof about 8 years ago

Old water trough from the ranch. Might leak a little now.

Finally found some shade. It was about 95 degrees today

Table Mesa Rd. turns into FR 41

Lots of road behind me

Little side trip up to the radar tower

Almost a mile high here. It was noticeably cooler up there.

Talked to the Forest Service Biologist. He is on the lookout for fires.

Nice views from up there.

Horseshoe lake in the distance

here is the radar tower from FR 24 heading back to Cave Creek

Back in Cave Creek for a burger and fries at Big Earls.
total loop was about 78 Miles. had a great time and I am really liking the Husky.

For the first time in a really long time, I had a day to myself to do whatever I wanted, no chores, honey-do's, no grant shifts or meetings, just me-time. A few months back a acquired a gently used, well cared for 1985 Nighthawk S from an inmate in MO. At 27 years, old, the bike had a bit over 17,000 miles on it and looked the part. Since bringing it home and getting to know her a bit better, I hadn't really spent a good day of riding her yet. Sure, there were some little jaunts here and there, but no real day-rides.

The week before, I had an afternoon off after a meeting with the local DA was cancelled and I spent a few hours putzing around out East on some highways I had never seen. This only served to whet my appetite for a longer look and the desire to bring more camera than just my cell phone. I pretty much only took one picture during that first ride, a bridge over the South Canadian River near Calvin, OK.

This time I started out in Wayne, OK at the little cafe, formerly Sonny's and Circle C. I don't recall the current name, but it is located at the intersection of US-77 and SH-59.

And no, the heat didn't fry my brain, even though it says "Old Glory Cafe" on the side of the building, this is not the current name.

A few feet from the cafe parking lot, I located this historical marker.

Well, it is supposed to be a picture of a marker for the California Trail, but apparently it didn't upload to my PB account. You'll have to take my word for it right now. The photo will be added soon.

After leaving Wayne, OK I rode up to Purcell, the source of my User Name. In the middle of town on Main Street is the "loose caboose" at the foot of the former Hotel Love.

Just down the block from the caboose and the former hotel lies one of the few passenger rail stops in Oklahoma. Amtrack's Heartland Flyer runs from OKC to Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, Ardmore? and ends its day route in Dallas. There's not much to see at the little depot building at the bottom of the hill, so I rode on through Lexington, OK. East of Lex is the Army Reserve Airfield and their whirlybird on a stick.

Still I rode on. It wasn't officially getting hot yet, maybe the low 90's at roughly 11 AM. I continued East on SH-39 through Asher (cough**speedtrap**cough) and along to Konawa.

I stopped here long enough to get a good pull off the water bottle I had with me in the tailbag. It was starting to warm up quickly now. SH-39 heads South out of town before turning East again and the road starts to wind just a little bit. In a State where most roads are N/S or E/W, winding is welcome to the motorcycle rider. Flat, straight roads are the vanilla, the unimaginative tan, the unseasoned ground beef of riding, and sadly, it seems I am somewhat surrounded by them. Thus, I take rides like this.

From Konawa, I continued along to Saskawa, at some point trading SH-39 for SH-56 at the junction of US-377. The last ride brought me to SH-56 and its curves. Though only lasting for a few miles, the two lane road twists and winds a bit, and it feels good to lean the Nighthawk around the corners. Outside Saskawa, I locate another historical marker.

I continue on again into town to the old Town Hall. I tried to find an indication of when this structure had been erected, but there was no cornerstone visible. Clearly, the building had seen better days. Now it looks more like something from the "Life After People" series.

Leaving Saskawa behind, SH-56 winds a bit more before curving back and heading North into Wewoka. My goal was the Talimena Drive from Eastern Oklahoma into Mena, Arkansas, so rather than heading into Wewoka proper, I went East again on US-270 past Holdenville to US-75 where I turned South again.

I was just starting to reach the rolling hills of Eastern Oklahoma.

Up ahead lay the US-75/SH-1 interchange at Calvin, Ok and the bridge I had phtographed with my cell phone at the Canadian River.

Looking West from the new and improved US-75 highway bridge to an old steel arch bridge across the Canadian. (above)

And (below) the twin steel arch bridges, circa 1919, that lay East of US-75. The bridge in the foreground is the same one pictured at the start of this day trip.

By this time it was really hot, 105 degrees and 50-60% humidity. I was still ambitious, but I was started to notice just how hot it was getting. At SH-1, I went East in to McAlester. Wouldn't you know it, here I am riding solo, the women folk are back at home and I run in to some hot ass.

Poor, hairy bastards!

And for all of you who think any of the above is attractive, we have a special place for you...

That's the Big House, the Oklahoma State Prison @ McAlester. I was a bit leary of taking pictures of the prison, being maximum security and housing all of Oklahoma's Death Row inmates. This is as close as I wanted to get.

I thought I had taken a nice picture at the entrance to town, but apparently the heat had really started to get to me by this point, because there is no picture anywhere like I thought I had taken.

The ride to Arkansas would have to wait for another day. I was fading fast. The inside of my helmet was soaked, which is fine by me, but I was also covered in a crust of dried sweat. I finished off my water and got some more after filling the bike in McAlester and getting a bite to eat at the Tastee Freeze. There was a part of me that wanted to explore around town or even push on further, but self-preservation overrode the need to explore and I whimped out. Time to start heading back. I got on Highway 1 and backtracked to Calvin.

When I stopped here in Calvin for another good drink of water and this picture, I was approached by the local preacher who invited me to a Thursday night dinner at the church. At the time it was about 2:30 in the afternoon and his dinner wouldn't start until 4:30 or so. I told him I'd have to take him up on the offer another day. If all went well, I'd be close to home by the time things got started. We talked for a while and he told me about the time the crash bars on his V-65 Magna got hooked by a pickup truck bumper and he was dragged. That was the end of his riding career. Nice chap, but time to ride again.

I really enjoy rides like this, no real agenda, just ride, photograph, ride some more. I spotted this along SH-1 near SH-48 outside Allen, OK.

It wouldn't be Oklahoma without something like this, or a tornado.

Even further West on SH-1 I spot another historical marker.

Finally, clouds were starting to form. No rain, but a little relief from the heat. On to Happyland, OK.

Getting closer to home now. Ada is just around the bend, then SH-19 to Pauls Valley and US-77 back home.

Oooh look, a cloud.

Another "Life After People" structure along SH-19 between Stratford and Pauls Valley. As I recall, this was a one-room school house/church back in its day. The markings are long since gone.

Well, at least it's not flat...

At the Amtrack Depot in Pauls Valley, they have a retired steam locomotive from the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad. This engine appears to be beyond resurrection, as the boiler has heavy corrosion. Still, it makes for a nice display. I forgot to get the engine number, but as I recall, it is 1951 for the history buffs.

The Army Reserve has this little display just a few blocks from the steam locomotive. This was my last shot of the day. Thank goodness for the clouds. The temp outside reached 108 before the clouds came in. From here, I hauled butt home, crusted in dried sweat, and pretty well spent. six hours on the road and 250ish miles was enough for today. Next time, Talimena Drive.

-Joe

(Copied from Ride Reports - Johnâ„¢)

Sometimes the most mundane day can lead to great adventures. A common errand run can be a trip into places you have never seen, yet you have been there many times. Today, it was my duty to deliver some things to the Rally Registration Chair, Polly. Wasn't a lot of stuff, Wasn't too far, so I figured I'd slow down a bit and make a little chore into something more, well, adventurous!

Beautiful day out - I think I'll hop on the R 0050 GS Adventure and see where the ride takes me.

Wow! This is gonna be some big-time fun! Let's go slay some dragons! First, I gotta make it to the end of the road...

Staying off the major highways (always a good idea when you can't get over 40 mph) you see things the average tourist doesn't. And ain't that what "Adventure" means? This is the underside of the Natches Trace Parkway...

Of course, no-one says you can't get just a little wild when you are out smelling the roses. That speedo says 38 mph, baby!

Sometimes the scenery is bland, sometimes it is thrilling, and sometimes it is just plain ugly. But then, others may find beauty where I see utility. Hope my balls don't shrivel up from the ELF exposure...

Some places are too damn scary to go slow through. This is where a tornado went through two years ago. Before that, you couldnt see past the trees, even in winter. Now there are no trees...

Now I'm somewhere I shouldn't ought to be. Let's find a side road quick!

Ahhhhh! That's better!

I feel right at home.

Cruising right along. Some curvies, some straight stretches, and a couple of good square corners. Those are fun on my Adventure. Here comes one now!

Whoa! Stop! Somebody dropped their balls! Sometimes it pays to go slow and look around (or down).

Well, lets just take our little trophy with us!

Wheeeeeeeee!

And here we are! Polly is waiting with a smile (and probably some cookies!).

I pass by some places so often, but never see what is there. At half my normal speed I see things I don't have time for otherwise. This bridge foundation dates from who-knows-when, is right by the road, but not in a place I normally look. This is cool!

This sign is at the end of one of my favorite little roads. Seems I'm not the only one fond of it. The Hysterical Society likes it too...

Now comes the time for the one part I know I ain't gonna like. The hill back home. The GSA drops down to about 15mph for most of this hill. Maybe I'll help a bit with some legwork. Nah.

Well, almost home. Head in, unpack, and see my wife. It's been so long!
Happy New Year All!


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