Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Fort Fraser BC
A BC Buell goes South
When I was 7, my Dad brought home a mini bike. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.
At 10, my buddy and I were going to buy bikes when we grew up and Ride across Canada.
When I was 20, I was going to do Canada and the States on my xs850.
I was 25 when I was going to ride my Panhead to Mexico.
At 28, I was getting organised to ship my FLH to Australia.
At 35 I was looking into buying a BMW in South Africa and riding the west coast of Africa.
Something always came up, Money, family, work, responsibilities, and none of these dreams were realised.
At 38 I met my understanding yet somewhat frustrated wife.
4 years ago my youngest daughter achieved adulthood, I had money in the bank, things were looking good.
Just over 2 years ago we adopted a wonderful 5 year old girl. One of the best things we ever did, but things weren’t looking good for travel.
While discussing (whining) this with my wife, she said “ Why not just do it, you have been talking about it since I met you. Let’s make it happen.” I told her that if she insisted, I would go.
After quite a bit of talk about logistics, how to pay for it, where I would go,what it would mean for our family, we decided that we would do this. I would try to take a leave from work, or quit. She would move to her home town to be closer to her family. We were looking at 6 months originally, but then decided that “Up To” a year would be better.
When I approached my boss with The Plan and a request for a leave of up to a year, he was quite excited for me, as he had travelled quite a bit when he was younger. He took my request to upper management, but they were not willing to give a leave, as they would have to hire someone to replace me. No problem I told him. You can expect my resignation in the fall. He told me he would be sorry to see me go, and to re-apply when I was done, and that he thought motorcycle travel was a great idea. (I had actually gone with him the previous year to pick out his first bike, a Versys)
My wife and I set the date for Oct 15th . Not once in all my previous dreaming had I actually set a date!
In the following months, I spent a lot of time here on ADVRider and on the HUBB, reading Road Reports , regional forums etc, planning what I wanted to see and where I wanted to go. After quite a while of drawing up routes and looking on Google maps and making plans, I stopped and asked myself “Is this how I want to do this trip?” Most of my life up to this point revolved around schedules and planning ( In fact, that’s a large part of my job)
So I decided that I would have no itinerary. That I would just point my front tire South, and when the time was right I would turn around and point the front tire North. No destination. No schedule. Just kind of see what develops.
I had a lot of fun deciding on which bike I was going to ride. At the time, the stable contained a KLR, a Harley Road Glide, a Harley Chopper, a Ducati ST2 and a Honda dirt bike.
I love my KLR, and IMO is probably the best back road/logging road bike out there. Lots of people take them on this exact same trip, But I have ridden mine on highway a fair bit and am less that impressed with it as a highway bike. Did I mention though that I love my KLR, and have said many times that if was ever told I could have only one bike it would probably be a KLR. But mine is pretty tired…. and uncomfortable on the highway……
My Road Glide is a great bike, and I have read Road Reports of guys riding them through South America, but it cost me quite a bit of money, and I would hate to have to abandon it somewhere…… and it might be a bit of a bitch if I have to load it into a canoe somewhere along the line.
My Harley chopper…… Love it. Evolution engine, 4 speed out of a shovelhead, open belt primary, very low. Not exactly what most people think of as an adventure bike…… but there is a guy, right here on ADV Rider, who has ridden them right around the world……. But, I have had it a long time and, again, I would hate to have to abandon it somewhere along the line.
The ST2. Great bike. Love it. Do I want to do a desmo valve adjustment or belt replacement in the middle of nowhere….. probably not.
So I decided to buy a bike for the trip. Did I want to buy a 70’s UJM for the trip. Cheap, dependable, not bad to work on. Maybe a modern Triumph scrambler. Maybe a 70s triumph or Norton ( I had those as a kid) I used to ride my old Superglide all over the gravel roads back in the day. I didn’t really have the money for a newer BMW GS….. maybe if I got a loan and paid for it when I got back…….
I have always liked sportsters, and had always wanted to build a dual sport sportster. In fact I even bought an old iron head sporty about 12 years ago with the plan to build one. ( got broke and sold it before I even started building it) So after many hours of searching craigslist for the right bike( If any of my bosses are reading, I didn’t do this at work, really I didn’t), I decided I would buy a few year old 883 and build it into an adventure bike ( this was before I found out how many people where doing that this year). Last winter, I found a likely looking bike online at a local Harley shop, went in to look at it, and the salesman (a guy I have known for years) told me that it was sold, and why did I want a sportster, anyhow? I told him my plan, and he said “ Do you want a Buell Ulysses?” It was cheaper than the sportster and I didn’t have to do as many mods to make it what I wanted, so I said “Sure”
Last year I was experiencing some medical problems, so I went to see the doctor. There were a few issues that they had to try and work out. By September I had seen specialist after specialist, and the problem had progressed enough that I had to take medical leave from work. Throughout the fall, they had found what they believed to be the problem and had started treatment. I had planned on leaving to head South on Oct 15th, and that date had come and gone and they were still monitoring my treatment. Up until last week, I was unsure as to when, or if, I would be able to leave on this trip I had put so much into. I went to the doctor last Thursday, without a lot of hope of leaving anytime soon, and she told me that I was responding well to treatment, to take my meds with me, and since I had a reasonable safety plan in place, to have a great trip. I just kind of stared at her, stood up, shook her hand, hugged her, and bolted from her office before she could change her mind. I went to the insurance office, bought travel insurance, went to work and quit, and headed home to finish packing the bike ( the bike had been mostly packed, just in case, for a while.)
It is now winter where I live in central BC, and I wasn’t about to ride on icy roads and snow, so I loaded the bike in the truck and headed for Vancouver, where I will begin my trip tomorrow.
BC Brian screwed with this post 12-08-2011 at 08:46 AM