Ok, so I don't have any pics of the preparations, I was too busy actually working on the prep to even think about taking pictures. I basically had two weeks to get the bike prepped for this trip. I'd known about the departure for a while, but in an effort to *finally* finish school I'd signed myself up for 16 credit hours fall semester. As a result, precisely zero work was done on the bike before the second week of December. Off the top of my head here is the work that needed to be done before leaving:
Service rear shock
service front forks
Carb tuning for low altitude
install Advtank aux fuel tank
install new crash bars
wheel bearings (front and rear)
disable Clutch switch cutoff
I also had to do my Christmas shopping, and oh yeah, HomerMom was in town for a week so that left me w. one week to do all of the work that wasn't done by professionals. And, oh yeah, it's December in Denver so the temperature in my garage after I finish my day job hovers down in the single digits. On plus side, I dropped 10 pounds during that week. If you want to burn a ton of calories while simultaneously losing your will to live I'd highly recommend it. I do my best work under pressure, really. Quit laughing.
Somehow, I managed to get all the work done just after Christmas without injuring myself too badly, or throwing any tools across the garage or into a snowbank. Life is easy street. I'm ready to go and have 3 days to spare.
Fast forward to the evening of 12/30. I go out to the garage to prep the bike for loading onto the truck in morning. I'd been charging the battery so I decide to start it up. For some reason the bike will not stay running. All I get is "sputter, sputter, braaaaapp, sputter, wheeze, cough, die". This is what I like to call a style cramper. I fart around with the bike a bit and realize that the fuel pump is not pumping when I turn the ignition on. Now, let me take a moment here to explain that while I love my 950, and will probably never sell it, it can be a real PITA to work on. Basically in order to do *anything* on this bike you must first remove one or both of the crash guards, say a novena, followed by the seat, your left shoe, one or both of the fuel tanks, pants, one or both of the upper fairings, sacrifice a chicken, and crawl around on the garage floor chanting "honka honka, I'm a Tonka. Meep, meep, I'm a Jeep." My neighbors think I'm weird.
Now, I should explain that I am a practitioner of the "magic smoke" theory of electrical work. As long as I can keep the magic smoke *inside* the electrical system, I'm good. Since I saw no magic smoke leaking out I knew I needed professional help. So I pondered and I pondered, who do I know that A) knows about electrical systems and B) will actually pick up if I call them? Coming up blank I had to improvise, adapt, and overcome. I called Ganshert from a payphone to keep Caller ID from tipping him off.
Ganshert: Hello, this is Ganshert
Homerj: Ganshert it's HomerJ
/click. hrmmm. I call again from my cell.
Ganshert: look dude, I don't know why you keep calling me. I've told you: You. Are. A. Tool. Leave me alone.
Homerj: Umm, I have a little problem.
Ganshert: I don't care.
Homerj: Ganshert, think of the children
Ganshert: You don't have any kids, moron
HomerJ: well...err...umm... will you help me anyways?
Ganshert is a sucker, er...standup guy, I knew by playing on his sympathies he'd fold and help me out. We trouble shoot the problem, but in the end it ends up fixing itself. Even a dummy like me knows that problems that fix themselves aren't really fixed. Someone who is, oh, I don't know... smart, would have continued looking for the cause. I'm not smart, I'm an Adventure Rider, lacking any better ideas I loaded the bike up and got ready to head down to Adv HQ in the Springs.