First things first, and that was for Chris my son to take the motorcycle safety course; that was last year some time. After that we began the bike search. For me reliability, ABS, and heated grips were my criteria. For him it was a Ducati or nothing.
We found a 2007 f 650GS in Oregon a few hundred miles south of us. (dad 1 kid 0, that will likely change greatly in the future). Looks good, low miles, throw in the Caribou bags and some good BMW riding gear that just happened to fit and we had a deal. We both drove down to pick it up in the Forerunner, and I was going to drive it home. Yes he now had his MC endorsement, but after the class it was really no more than saying yes, he can ride a 250 cc bike in a parking lot around some cones. So, we would leave the interstate for another day for him.
Not to say he did not jump on it when ever he could!
Amazing ride for a single. I was expecting tons-o-buzz. No such. Not enough power at the low end to get him into too much trouble, but lots on the Freeway, and cruising at 70+ MPH is no problem while giving me 65 miles per gallon.
The Adventure was pretty much taken care of regarding protection to make sure we would get home even with a bad get off. But the 650 needed some love. Engine and body guard, oil cooler protection, headlight protection, brake stop, flex shifter, a touring windshield, etc etc. Some PIAA lights, autocom and kenwood for bike to bike and xm (+1 on the communication +0 on xm in AK).
We put on as many miles as we could to get him ready. A little sketchy for me to watch him I must say. But on the other hand seeing him in the mirrors is awesome! As neither of us had bike camped for this long of a period, we needed a couple shakedown trips to iron things out. The first was to the dry side of the state to the Grand Coulee dam area. Mostly highway riding.
We found a few things that we would need that would seem obvious to most, but hey, we are simple folks. Hatchet, jacket to hang by the fire at night that was different than riding gear, non riding gloves and a hat. Typically, for my trips I ride as long as possible, stop as short as possible and then repeat as often as necessary. This trip would involve more hang time, and more multiple day stops, and I had to think a bit differently.
After a few hundred miles, it became clear, from the mouths of babes, that BMW seats SUCK! We took care of that with a seat from Rich's custom seats just outside seattle. My experience is that with these seats EVERYTHING else will hurt long before I even think of my butt.
The second shakedown was to the wet part of the state in the Olympic Rainforest. Here we were reminded how easy it is for things to get we wet if one does not pay attention, and how it will NEVER EVER dry again. Note, to self, we need to be waterproof from head to toe, OFF the bikes. Some off pave riding this time as we try to hone all of his skills. He is very good, either talented or naive.
We bump into some very good lessons that will serve us well. He washes the front end out once and his bike takes the first dirt nap. In the Olympics we uncover absolutely great beauty
and we get a taste for the blood sucking bugs that we expect to find (hey we are testing everything
We are also testing out a couple of packing methods as well. I am always amazed at how much gear it takes to commit to camping. Doing this trip via hotel would mean nothing more than side bags for both of us. Not so with a tent, water proof camp gear to wear, shoes for climbing around...hell food for a week takes up a crap load of room ( I was not going to shop every two days).
Nothing left now but to wrap up the small things on the list, spare keys, tubes, brake pads etc and somehow get all this crap on the bike in a way that we could repeat in the field. He will be a senior in HS next year. We will be leaving the day after school gets out. Funny I haven't waited for school to get out for a long long time.