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Old January 25th, 2013   #11
Iamike
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Steelbender was a pretty cool ride but one thing that I wanted to see the snow covered mountains that are in the background of so many pictures of the area. This was mid-April so snow in the mountains was no surprise. If you read my Go West Young Man RR we ran into quite a bit of snow mid-June.

It's fun to start out a ride where it is warm and dry and with just about 15 minutes of riding we are already hitting snow. I found the gravel road heading east that takes you over to Colorado and we gave it a shot. Drew on the XR was the only one with knobbies and as we climbed the road got greasier and softer from the melting snow. It was kind of fun to slide around but it was also getting cold. We stopped close to the top of the pass for some pictures and then turned around to get warmed back up in the valley.
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Old January 26th, 2013   #12
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Since we were just day-tripping on this ride I wasn't carrying much. I had a trunk bag with some food, tools, water etc. I also carried a day pack with first aid supplies and some survival gear. On the long day up to Islands in the Sky NP, I carried a gallon of gas.

As an Eagle Scout I used to do a lot of hiking in the mountains where I went woefully unprepared for emergencies (like getting lost). I now teach new leaders the importance of carrying more than you need for the immediate situation. I have ridden with several guys that don't even carry water with them when days are over 100degF. I keep asking what they would do if they broke down on these remote roads.

As I read the ADVRider RRs I see some people are loaded down like pack mules and others are quite minimalist for the situation. Since I used to do a lot of backpacking and bicycle camping I am past that minimalist thing. I like to carry the comforts with me without messing up the handling of the bike too much. I even sprung for a cot to sleep on before the last trip that made my nights much more enjoyable.
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Old January 26th, 2013   #13
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

On a trip to Idaho several years ago for a Tiger rally we ran into this guy in Glacier NP. He was from Germany and had shipped his bike to Brazil so that he and his wife could ride to Tiera del Fuego then up to Alaska then to New York and Florida before heading home. She went home after San Francisco and he was riding by himself. I couldn't see riding a 650 2-up for such a long trip. Maybe that's why she went home.
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Old January 26th, 2013   #14
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Camping while motorcycling makes the trip special. Sure you have to carry more gear, you've been out in the elements already. A soft bed may be nice and a lot of campgrounds don't have showers.

When we camped in Valley it was 108degF at night and I woke up the next morning soaked in sweat. I washed at the sink in the bathroom with hot water (that's all there was).

But sitting outside around the picnic table, maybe a fire burning. Most likely having a few beers with the sounds of the night. You and your riding mates talking about the day's ride and what tomorrow may bring.
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Old January 26th, 2013   #15
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Since we haven't (or at least I haven't) spent a lot of time preparing for the trip I thought that I'd just bore you with thoughts from my earlier trips.

Back to bike prep:
The stock tank on the DR gives me around 150-175mi. range. I have considered buying a large tank for it but I'm too cheap to pay $300+ for one, so I just carry a 1 gal. jug with me. I thought about riding my son's XR650 since it is set up for long distance riding but he is trying to sell it and it may not be around at the time of the trip.

I already put a luggage rack and side guards on it. I have Chase-Harper soft bags for most gear. I have considered picking up some tank saddlebags but may not need them. The advantage the front bags evens the weight out some.

The DR came with Trail Wing tires. They are like 80 or 90% street and don't work too well on wet dirt and gravel. I had a set of Dunlop D606's that worked great in the wet stuff but were awful noisy on pavement and didn't last 3,000mi. A lot of the ADV guys like the Continental TKC80's, that are 60/40 street/dirt. We'll see how they work out on a shake down ride we will be doing to Arkansas in May.

I also have a 14T front sprocket to use in place of the 15T stock. I use it for trail riding and the bike still will run 55-60 with ease. If I end up riding much highway I would rather use the larger sprocket to cut down on the buzzing. It is pretty easy to switch back & forth with the stock chain.

I have some extra time to waste right now since I ran up to Northern MN to check out the cabin.
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Old January 27th, 2013   #16
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Carrying water is just like carrying a jacket.
When they get thirsty, they ask for your water.
When they get cold, they ask for your jacket.
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Old January 27th, 2013   #17
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Looks like lots of fun and am thinking of adding a DR 650 or the Husky Terra to my fleet this year, have you done any suspension mods to the DR yet? I think the camping factor in the ADV biking is as much fun as on the ST....looking forward t oSpring
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Old January 28th, 2013   #18
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

Rod,
Not any suspension mods. Even though I have a tall inseam I liked the DR as an all-around bike for running errands and such. The XR is about 2" taller.

Around my area there isn't much for off-road riding but I get to go to Northern MN and ride in a 70,000 acre state park. I also get to go out West (just not often enough) to do some riding. I am looking forward to our trip to Arkansas this spring. Hopefully it won't be muddy though, I've seen too many pics of guys having to drag bikes out of the mud. Not fun in my mind.

My son wants to take the sport bikes out to ride the Dragon this April. If we come I'll let you know.
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Old January 28th, 2013   #19
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

I toured on my '97 DR650, before I bought my '04 ST1300.
I only have 12,000 miles on it and enjoy everything BUTT for the seat.

I don't have enough miles on my locally modified seat, to report, though.
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Old January 28th, 2013   #20
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Default Re: Go West Young Man (On a dirt bike this time)

My Airhawk will pay for itself.

Just like the Mississippi, ride planning starts out small.
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