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Old 06-29-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
Lycan1 OP
Grizzly herder
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Calgary
Oddometer: 1,050
12 days on the Orange Dragon

It’s been a long winter, both literally and figuratively. I am far more stressed out than I can remember being for some time. My normal enthusiasm for my job has been waning as of late and I needed a break. I need to get away from family, work, phones and schedules. I need to fall off the grid. Two weeks does not seem nearly enough, but it will have to do. This go round’ I am diving into my true passion, a recent revelation, Dual sport riding. Maybe it is the explorer in me, or the outdoorsman, but either way it is pure joy to combine those with motorcycles.
After testing the water with a relatively cheap entry level dual sport bike I came to the realization that pure road bikes, regardless of how good, just do not cut it anymore (for me). I have a fantastic road machine, and one that I thought that I would never consider parting with. I am also blessed with living a short ride from some of the best back roads in the country, most of which are not paved. After last season and the late start this year, I have come to realize that even as crude as the KLR 650 is by comparison to the Yamaha FZ 1, I prefer to take out the Kawasaki, if only so that I don’t have to turn around when the pavement stops. Having been bitten hard by the off road bug and quickly improving dirt skills, I decided to take the plunge (head on) and upgrade my equipment. The machine does not make the rider, but having a really good machine (for the job) doesn’t hurt either. I wanted the “best of both worlds”, the power and road ability of the FZ and the dirt ability of the KLR (at least). I think that I have found it in the KTM 990 Adventure. It is slightly heavier than the KLR, but has nearly 3 times the power and with much higher spec components. With that said, the KTM comes with some baggage; the complexity of electronics and fuel injection, and a simple job such as an oil change is a big job. On the road it gives up very little to a sport bike, even with knobbies, and in the dirt…wow! The KTM just makes riding fast on a deep marble-like gravel road sheer exhilaration. The great suspension gives you instant confidence, to the point of irresponsibility. Looks wise it is a love it or hate it bike and I am in the former camp. From the side it has beautiful lines that just scream thoroughbred, no surprise considering its lineage as a Dakar racer. Even the color does it for me, Hot Rod Orange, always my favorite color, and a huge departure from any vehicle that I have actually owned. It is still in the “honeymoon stage” admittedly, but I have done the first oil change, just yesterday and today I still want the bike, and can’t wait to get out on my trip. It is considered an “Adventure” bike and came with hard bags and a small tail rack. The bags are packed and waiting to hook up on Tuesday night. My tent and sleep gear are in a dry bag, ready to be tied onto that rack. Monday and Tuesday will feel interminably long, and Wednesday will be hard to really work. It has been a long time since I was this excited by a holiday.

The night before I left, my parts came in so I was able to get my High Fender installed and was happy with the results!

Posing with the Dragon in my best poser gear.

It will be familiar territory to some degree in my neighboring province to the west, and will have me doing some pavement here and there. The first weekend sees me and 120 or so of my closest dual-sporting friends participating in “The Big Trailie ride 6” through the Caribou and Chilcotin regions of British Columbia’s interior. After that I have uncharacteristically not planned other than a few places to see and a date on the Island (Vancouver Island, for a family wedding). It will be; just plan when I get up in the morning, what that day will bring. I have my camp gear and will not be too far removed from civilization, so I will just wing it. I, as usual, am packing my camera to document the trip, so stay tuned - pictures to follow.

The first night was spent camping just over the bridge at Revelstoke, Canada West campground and RV park. Not a bad little place that is being renovated this year to include more spots and fix up the shower room and pool.

Day two got me to Clinton BC and the start of the BCBTR6. I stayed at Clinton Pines Campground, on the east side of the highway just south of town. Great place with very nice people running it. Nice clean modern shower and washroom facilities and nice spots under big trees to camp. The place was full of other riders from the Rally and we had a great time drinking and BSing that night.

I took this shot of the 990 from just below my campspot, ain't she purdy (if a bit out of focus).

Sign up and ride prep in Clinton behind Caribou lodge.

The following Morning I was in need of hydration and food. The Caribou Lodge was open early for the Rally crowd thanks to our organiser's doing. The place was packed and the food was good. I met up with another rider, Paul from the ADSMC site that I met on the Cypress Hills ride earlier this year and we agreed to ride with his buddy Matt on his KLR in tow. We would spend a few hours throughout the day roadside, trying to figure out what was blowing the main fuse out of the Kawasaki. It's not an adventure unless there are challenges.

Just missed a picture of a Moose while I dug out the camera, I settled for this.

I was waiting for Paul and Matt when another rider stopped to ask if I was their buddy. He told me they could not restart the KLR, so I turned around and went to reder assistance. With a spare fuse from my bike he was back in motion. Later that day after he bought spares in Williams Lake I figured out what was doing it. One of the wires to the starter solinoid was very slightly loose. After I tightened that he was fine for the rest of the ride, (and much less stressed, alowing him to quickly get the hang of dual sport riding).

Paul and Matt roaring up Old Nicola Road.

Stopped to do a strip tease and shed some too warm gear.

The Rain held off on day 1 but I was offered a cot / floor space at the Ramada in 100 mile house and after a very long day that sounded great. Floor space it was as cots were in short supply, and it still beat a tent. Hopefully I didn't snore the other two out of the room. The German / Mexican restaurant next door was great if a bit Eclectic.

Bikes lined up beside the Restaurant beside the Ramada in 100 mile house.

Day two of the Rally started with Rain but that was short lived. Matt forgot his wallet and had to turn back 10 minutes out. Paul and I waited at the side of the road as the whole crew past on by (slowing down to make sure we were OK). Matt retrieved his wallet and we carried on to improving weather. The old road down into Little Fort was beautiful and I was having so much fun I didn't stop for a picture until we were through the best part.

Rest stop at the Thula Lake turn off, the car driver was having a WTF moment.

More to come......
I've learned so much from my mistakes. I'm thinking of making a few more.
09 KTM 990 Adv

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