Originally Posted by Beatlunch
Well-spoken, with excellent documentation Pangia - thanks for the report! This is pure inspiration to me. No matter how many times a road or trail is traveled, there is something new to see and experience if you take the time to look. That is some beautiful country. How about a top 5 list of things you learned from the journey? Always looking for advice…
Again, thank you
I am glad you enjoyed the "ride" and thank you for your kind words. I like the idea of listing 5 things I learned, so I will give it a go....
1. I over prepared. I caught the "be ready for anything" bug and over-thought and over-prepared for the trip. As a former back country multi day camper, I forgot that I'd be stopping for gas every 200 miles and could get almost anything I need when I stop. I brought too much food and ate out more than I expected. Guess I read too many Kazakhstan reports and forgot that I was still in the USA.
2. Must haves for me: #1 Klim Badlands Pro jacket and pants. It performed exceptionally well in temperature ranges from below 30 °F to the low 70's °F. Since that trip, I have even been in heavy rains for hours at highway speeds and stayed dry. #2 Butler CBCDR map and free waypoints. The waypoints allowed me to make good progress without spending a lot of time at junctions trying to figure which way to go. #3 Delorme InReach tracking device. Never had to use it, but my wife and friends liked knowing I was ok and I liked knowing I could get help if I really needed it.
3. The F800GS: I have had a WR450 and an XR650R, both plated for the street. They are great bikes, but I really like the combination of the F800GS and soft bags by Kriega. The weight / maneuverability / comfort combination worked well for me on this trip. The terrain I am able to negotiate is well within my personal range of fun and challenging but not Erzberg crazy. On the slab, the F800GS is beautiful (although I prefer dirt). The kriega bags have held up well on my offs and carry enough gear for me for 5+ days.
4. I truly appreciate the ADV Rider community. Seeing and reading of others journeys and asking more experienced riders questions and getting tips made a big difference for me. Without ADV Rider, I probably would not have had the balls to do the ride solo, nor had any idea about where to go and the fun ways to get there. Utilize the community here, there are some outstanding riders willing to share.
5. Ride as much as you can. There is national forest 15 minutes from my home and I have a 15-60 mile loop option I like to ride. Even though I know it well, the conditions change with rain, snow, temperature. This area "provides" a baseline for me and I get to know my bike and gear in different temps, tire pressures, weather conditions, clothing combo's, pre-load adjustments, etc....it is my testing ground and I learn a lot. It all translates to experience.
Not to take anything away from my experience, I will admit that since I completed this trip, I have read several reports on ADV Rider where the riders did not have the latest greatest gear or bike and they were not 100% prepared - they just went for it. There is a freedom in that which I like. I think it took all I did just to feel safe to do it and now that I have, I am moving towards more simplicity and an increased willingness to go with the flow of the adventure.
Thanks for asking and PM me if you are thinking of heading this way.
Cheers - Pangia