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Old 12-03-2012, 08:14 AM   #526
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:11 PM   #527
Feyala OP
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A Dog Covered in Bees (Oct 23rd)

The skies were overcast, but it did not seem too likely to rain, so we decided to go on a day trip to a nearby forest called the Nelder Grove to enjoy a nice walk. Feeling sorry for lonely Pepper, trapped outside and in the hallway the previous day, we decided to take him with us. He could probably use the exercise anyways.


It was paved most of the way there, but there were some gentle dirt roads near the end. Pepper was SO EXCITED to be out of the house! I didn't know an older border collie could pull that hard! We decided to just let him off the leash, and he busied himself with sniffing and urinating on all the forest had to offer. Luckily, he never strayed too far. At one point he dove right into an ice-cold creek for a drink.


The Grove had a lot of great trees, lots of sugar pine and huge sequoias. Ramsey works as a Yosemite park ranger, so he was able to tell us more about our surroundings than the interpretive signs. There was a lot of "what's this plant?"


My mother collects heart-shaped stuff, so I tried to get a photo of this vaguely heart-shaped stump, but it was pointed out to me that it kind of looks like a butt in this photo. Thanks for that.


Some of the trees were HUGE. If you've ever seen a sequoia in person, you know what I mean. These weren't even as big as they can get, I've seen some elsewhere that were large enough that you could drive a car through them. We had to take dorky pictures of ourselves in front of it, of course. I love Ramsey's ridiculous poses.




We enjoyed the peaceful environment, and I busied myself with photographing the different bark textures. I think that the visual depth provided by texture is one of the things missing from a lot of human-made environments, in nature almost nothing is flat and straight. There are little things to discover wherever you look.


I think this is a ponderosa pine?


Suddenly, the dog tore past us at full tilt, only to come to an abrupt stop, and began chewing on his hindquarters. Once we convinced him to hold still for us, we noticed a number of yellowjackets crawling around in his matted fur, on his rump and behind his ears. Ramsey is deathly allergic to bees, so our tactic for bee removal consisted of poking the dog with a stick until yellowjackets came out, and then running like mad. We did this a few more times until we found the creek again and coaxed/shoved the dog into the water, splashing and dousing him. More bees emerged and we ran for it.

Eventually, we got to the car and toweled the dog off, swatting at a few bees. We hoped that we had gotten them all out, but weren't particularly optimistic. Ramsey was driving, and I briefly considered the possibility of him going into anaphylactic shock behind the wheel as the dog hopped up on the towel-covered backseat beside me. I pointed his rump toward the open window and we were underway. Twice we had to stop due to bees crawling around in his fur. Thankfully, nobody was stung, and we arrived home safely. A final bee emerged as we left the car and repeatedly tried to sting the weatherstripping around the window before flying off.

We had decided that the best course of action was to give the dog a bath. His matted, greasy fur was the source of the problem and it seemed to have been a while since his last one. I opened the bathroom window to give any stray bees a target and we set to work, armed with thick rubber gloves and the least-toxic human shampoo we could find. During the bath, two more bees worked their way free and made for the window. I'd like to say that we retained our composure, but the response was mostly "AUGH! BEE!" and running for the door. We found three dead in the water, and I found another dead while brushing the dog's tail. Frustrated by the dog's poor grooming, I brushed him for an hour or so, working out all the mats that I could find, and cutting out a few around an open wound on his leg which had been there for some time. These were likely stopping it from forming a proper scab.

Pepper seemed happy that his adventure was over and looked like a much younger (and better-smelling) dog at the end of the day. We gave him lots of love. Aww.

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Old 12-05-2012, 10:57 AM   #528
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:18 PM   #529
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Yosemite! (Oct 24th)

Ramsey decided to give us a guided tour of his park. Awesome! We piled in the car, and after a brief side trip to some local thrift stores, we were underway. It was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the scenery as a passenger, free from the frustrations of the road, but I'll admit that a part of me missed it too. We pulled up to the gate, and it turns out that my annual pass is valid regardless of what vehicle I'm in, so we all got in for free! Score!

First up was another stop by Tunnel View. It was a bit overcast, but I feel that it adds to the scenery. There were far fewer tourists than usual, perhaps frightened off by the recent bad weather. A new dusting of snow covered the mountaintops.


We discovered that Bridalveil Fall was nothing more than a trickle, due to it being so late in the season.


Continuing our private tour, Ramsey took us to another spot that he felt was scenic. We agreed! This is El Capitan. With all of this surreal, majestic scenery in every direction, even a mediocre photo still comes out looking good.


This stream was very soothing, and we enjoyed the view for a few minutes. I found a duck, and followed it for a bit, but couldn't get the photo to come out.


I'd have to make do with some ravens instead! They were more patient with me.


We left the car for another vista, this time of Half Dome. People climb this, and in fact, climb most of the terrifying large mountains around here. Some things I will never understand.


We made our way to the Yosemite museum, grabbing overpriced hot coffee and cookies from one of the stores. So very many tchotchkes for sale. It struck me that with the crowds, the "lines" while hiking, flush toilets, the overpriced souvenirs, this was basically like Disneyland for nature lovers. Ramsey told us some pretty good stories about the idiocy of some of the visitors here, who get lulled into a false sense of security and don't use common sense. People dehydrated after multi-hour hikes because they didn't think they needed to bring water, people heading out on miles of difficult terrain an hour before dark or in a bad storm, that sort of thing.

Inside the Indian Cultural Exhibit, there was an Indian! I'd never seen one before. I also liked the sign above it with the park tolls, back in the day.




After an awesome flute performance by one of the museum workers, displaying native american flute styles, we wandered out back to the "indian village", a collection of structures which would have been found at a traditional Paiute/Miwok village, before white settlers took over the area. I have an affinity for native cultures, but I hate seeming like a "cultural tourist", so I enjoy things like this which I can use to learn about their history and culture without feeling like my ignorance is offensive.

The purpose of this one isn't immediately obvious, but nonetheless important: it's an acorn granary! I found this fascinating, because most of the time I associate granaries with agriculture. Given the critical nature of acorns as a staple part of their diet, it makes sense that they would find a way to preserve them. The inner cavity is lined with wormwood to deter pests.


Next up was a bark house. The informational sign mentioned that prior to the arrival of lumber operations, cedar bark was not used as commonly, as it was more difficult to obtain. Most of the structures were built out of brush instead.


The sign reads "This is the ceremonial roundhouse, or hangie, the center of village religious activity. Because this house is being used the old way, we ask that you stay behind the barrier and off the roof. Thank you." Behind the roundhouse was a sweathouse, traditionally heated by an oak-wood fire, and used primarily to help hunters mask their scent and for curative purposes. The sweathouse too, had a sign stating that it was still being used for traditional purposes. With so much incense cedar involved in their construction, I bet these buildings smell amazing when heated with a fire.


After getting our fill of culture, we went for a walk in the woods. There weren't many other people, so it was quite peaceful, listening to the birds in the trees and just soaking in the environment.




The path wound around large, moss-covered boulders strewn across the hillside. I thought they looked neat in the dappled light.


Eventually we found our way to Yosemite Falls, which is not nearly as impressive without most of its water.


I busied myself with trying to use an acorn top to make an annoyingly high-pitched whistle sound as we wandered along. Ramsey saw this large rock and decided to try to climb it.


As sunset approached, the deer came out to feed. They were fairly used to humans, but this fawn wasn't sure how to deal with it, running back and forth before finally joining its mother on the other side of the walkway. So cute.


Eventually we found our way to the car and ventured back to Oakhurst. Overall, even though Yosemite was very "touristy", I had a great time, and I'm glad I went. The views are second to none, and I can definitely see why Ramsey has chosen to work there the past few years. It's a few too many people for my tastes, though I suppose I shouldn't judge it based upon what was easy to access. There are some places where you can go backpacking for a week, and Ramsey didn't mention having any issues with finding solitude.

I had gotten an offer from an ADVRider named Pete, to join him and his buddy Nip in Lone Pine as they explored Death Valley. Unable to pass up this adventure, I decided to leave the next day for Fresno and head around Lake Isabella, not wanting to tempt fate by taking Tioga Pass again. Ramsey gave me a present - a nice compression sack for my clothes and sleeping bag, that he no longer needed, as well as a couple of small military bags to replace the easily-ripped plastic grocery ones I'd been using to keep my stuff organized. Thanks man!
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:28 PM   #530
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Great to see you out and about Feyala, I wish we had the wide and open spaces over here but this is a small and crowded island. Having said that there are still a few places you can get to by bike and enjoy the silence

cheers, Bob.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:14 PM   #531
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So! From an initial view of the X-ray on Thursday, it appears that the bone is healing! A line of bright white appears where there was a slight gap before. I go in for a viewing on a larger screen on Monday, just so we can look it over and make sure we didn't miss anything (also because I am sure he wants to get another visit out of me, but whatever).

For me, this is great news! I didn't think it would go otherwise, I tend to be pretty resilient, but you just never know. If after a month it had not been knitting together, I would have had to go see a Real Doctor for hardware installation and/or whatever else they wanted and that would have been $$$. As it is, I've gotten off relatively cheap so far.

I will do some replies today but I think I will avoid furthering the healthcare debate until I get to that point in the story. I need to get my butt in gear and do the death valley entries too.

Cheers!
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:20 PM   #532
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Originally Posted by TO Scootz View Post
Even a used toughbook is going to be pricey. I've carried my Acer netbook (dual boot, XP and Ubuntu 12.04) around a bit, but my Wee Strom is not a dirt bike, therefore the Acer gets a (sort of) easy ride.

Our country would be happy to have you visit, but with no job for you to go back to, they're afraid you might make the visit permanent.
My daughter's boyfriend is American, and they both get hard times at both sides of the border, because of their long stays, and for moving housekeeping gear across both borders.

Best of luck with the injuries, and I hope you heal well and quickly.
Thanks to Smash, I am set on the netbook front!

Yeah, I made the mistake of showing up with a dreadlocked (canadian) friend of mine and a few too many things in the backseat and got the third degree. Lots of two week visas. Someday when I have time and a bit more money I'll try it again, they seem to be fine if you have enough of a bankroll, and there's always the "visiting Alaska" excuse. The Sunshine Coast was worth the hassle though, I enjoyed Desolation Sound.

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Feyala,

May I suggest you invite other DR riders to meet up with you for a ride?

Trade bikes to see if their bikes feel the same, or different than yours, to you.
And, possibly more importantly, the other riders will be able to tell you if there is anything your bike needs.
New head bearings, wheel alignment, frame straightening, swing arm bearings, etc.

I have bought several bikes at insurance auctions that looked fine... if you don't line up the wheels vertically.
I mean that the stem head (where the forks attach to the frame) was just slightly twisted and you could see it if you sighted the wheels from straight in front or behind. The bike will ride fine with the wheels out of plane... until a slight oscillation begins at speed. At low speed it is not noticeable since it occurs slowly and you automatically correct without even knowing it. But as the speed goes up, watch out!

A series of fun s-curves in the road, a few bumps, or just about anything can start a weave that can quickly advance to a rider spitting high side tank slapper. A bent frame can kill you. Fortunately it can be fixed by a shop that specializes in frames.

Hopefully a bent frame is not the problem for you but by having other experienced riders, especially those with DR650 experience, will help you figure out what can and should be done to make your ride as safe as possible.

I hope this helps and that others in your area can set your mind at ease with your bike set-up.
And that you heal quickly to get back on your travels.
That's a great idea, and one that I'll pursue if the opportunity presents itself. I keep offering to let other people ride my bike, but so far very few have taken me up on it, haha! I do know that the bike has been down before (that's why the previous owner left me so much spare stuff), and doubt that it's a bent frame, but it would be good to have a frame of reference. I've literally only rode this bike and a honda rebel, so I have no idea what is "normal"...

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Awsome report Feyala! The pictures came through perfectly. Keep it coming!
Regards from The Frozen North .....just jeff
Thanks, I'll try!

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Suzuki recommend 22 front/25 rear for the DR650 on stock tires. What tires are you running?
If anything, knobby's should be a bit less than this. YES ... they will feel a bit squirrely on pavement ... but they'll ride safer, especially on wet roads. Movement on paved roads with knobby's is NORMAL. Running high PSI will wear them out quickly .. and put you on your ass ...again!

I went all through various tire pressures in my first year riding the DR. 30's is way high. Just wrong. With 50/50 tires like the stock trail wings and most street based dual sport tires (Anakee, Distanzia, Shinko 700 or 705) the Suzuki pressures work very well. Add a pound or three if loaded very heavy or two up.

Off road with knobbies (TKC front, D606 rear) I air down to about 16 psi front/ 18 psi rear. Higher in Baja. If you take it easy these pressures will work fine off road and you're really OK doing a few street miles with those pressures too. Unless your riding in 100F heat, going 100 mph for 200 miles, no worries at all with exploding tubes. Ain't gonna happen. I've ridden all day in 118F in Death Valley.

No need to stop and air up if only going 20 or 30 miles of pavement. More? then stop and air back up. Keep speeds under 60 mph and you're fine.

I doubt the low pressures caused your tank slapper ... but who knows? I doubt anything is wrong with your bike ... just needs proper setting up, maybe a few adjustments.

One more thought on the DR and tires. On worn tires the DR can handle very strangely. It will react badly to pavement seams, rain gruves. May feel unsteady in corners. This true with knobby tires as well. Perhaps this is all that is "wrong" with your bike?

Fit a nice NEW set of Shinko 705's ... and be happy. You just can't imagine the difference fresh rubber makes. Try the stock pressures or just a hair more. I love the Shinko's. Cheap and Good.
Sorry, but I just like the higher pressures better on pavement. I feel more confident in corners. I am still learning how to corner well, and lest anybody confuse me with some kind of knee-dragger, when I take a corner "quickly" I am doing maybe ten over the posted corner speed, I take 20mph corners at 25 if that. Unloaded at those pressures the tire does tend to follow grooves and cracks in the pavement a bit more than I like, but the low pressures just feel unsafe to me, I kept it under 60 when I was heading to a gas station for air after Saline Valley. I dunno. Maybe it's just the way I have the bike set up, or we have different riding styles. It may be psychological on my part, but psych is a big part of riding. Ideally I'd have a street tire and a dirt tire and swap between them, but that's not going to happen.

I've had this set of tires on since Hells Canyon and the front is still going strong. I need to replace the rear (nearly bald now), but it's been thousands of miles, I figure it'd be due regardless of pressure. I am running this in front and this in the rear.

I'm not worried about exploding tubes. I have a high concern about getting a flat from the tube getting wear, whether that's due to heat or friction or whatever else, I've seen it before and would prefer to avoid it. I realize that at anything over 20psi this is not likely to happen, but it's what's kept me from lowering it further to conquer sand. The ultimate solution is going to be making it easier to use my compressor so I won't even have to worry about it and be able to use the pressure the situation calls for, adjusting as necessary.

Quote:
You have the right idea: Down Baja, Ferry to Mainland. You're Spanish will come back. Baja is very quiet these days. The media has fomented tons of fear. I was there last month, and a year ago this month as well. Not much tourism but no "violencia" once you are away from the border area. Tijuana is probably the safest border area in ALL OF MEXICO. Once you are in Ensenada (less than an hours ride) you are safe. The rest you know: Day Time riding only. Leave early, finish early. Many Narco's are Meth heads and come out at night like Vampires. (true)

Baja is not that cheap ... but still cheaper than USA. However, Mainland Mexico is cheaper for Motels, food et al. Gas is The Same Price throughout Mexico ... about $3 USD a gallon. (CHEAP!)

The Mex. Govt. have made some headway against the Narco gangs. And generally speaking Tourists are strictly off limits and not targeted at all.

Good luck!
I prefer "not much tourism", to be honest with you. I don't really go to foreign countries to hang out with americans (although it happens sometimes and it's good to share a meal with a friendly face). I go there to see new things, meet new people, and experience different cultures, languages, and ways of viewing the world. I'm really interested to find out how mexicans view the US, how they view the drug war, hopes and dreams, different perceptions of things. I need to brush up on my spanish.

The only concern I have with this plan is finances, I can camp for free in the US, but I'm still a bit iffy about camping solo in Mexico, especially as a lady (not that I'd be cavalier if I were a dude, but. Yeah.) I need to find people that actually have camped in mexico (either baja or mainland) and whether they had/heard of others having problems, would recommend it and such. If I do need to stay in hostels, I need to figure out realistically what this venture would cost before I set out. If it's outside my budget I'll probably troll around the southwest for the winter, or maybe try to make some money so I can afford it, I don't know. My plans are pretty fluid..
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:38 PM   #533
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GREAT PICTURES! And way to go getting to your campsite, I can't imagine doing that sort of thing at night with nothing but that DR headlight.

Enjoying reading the discussions here, although I don't think I'll dive in.

Quick question, sort of more back on topic: what do you find you're spending on average per month? Any tips welcome in the budgeting department. Looking forward to your pics of what you're carrying with you.

Glad to hear you're healing up! A package is heading your way tomorrow.
Yeah, I really need to start looking for campsites BEFORE it gets dark. Every day, I say that I'm going to, and every day, I am wrong...

I would say give or take around $500, but I'd have to dig down and do monthly averages to get a solid number. My main expenses are food and gas, (insurance is paid out through next June), and I occasionally spend money on tracfone minutes, fast food, bike parts, equipment, etc. Those occasional purchases are what make it hard for me to nail down a real number, as shit happens and I find myself with unexpected expenses quite frequently. I am sorry I don't have a more concrete answer, but the truth is I don't really know how long my money is going to last in any absolute fashion.

My budgeting is a bit unconventional. My simple rule of thumb is "try to spend as little money as you can get away with". Sometimes I'll do my finances at the end of the month and see that I've spent more than I'd like on luxuries, and I keep that in mind the next time I want something special. This isn't to say that I never indulge, but I try to keep it to a minimum, that way if I find the perfect gift for a loved one, or need to spend money on an entry fee into something really cool, I don't feel too bad about it, and I don't miss out because it's not "in the budget". The biggest questions are "Is this necessary? Can I get by without this?" and "How sad will I be if I don't buy/do this? Will I regret it later?" It isn't doing something luxurious once that's going to kill your budget, it's doing luxurious things frequently, or having a high base cost of living.

Here are my tips for reducing the overall cost of the trip, not counting those luxury moments.

1) I don't factor in gasoline. It's going to cost what it costs, and there's nothing you can do about it other than not ride (and what's the fun in that?). My bike gets over 50 mpg, sometimes as much as 60, so even though it is the largest expense in a given day, it is still fairly minimal. In a 300 mile day, I'm spending ~$20 on gas. Obviously if I were doing this every day, it would add up fast, but that brings me to...

2) Stop and explore. When you're done with your trip, which do you remember more? The dozens of hours you spent on the freeway, trying not to be bored to tears, or that cool roadside attraction you stopped at, the people you met, the scenery you admired? Unless the road is REALLY fun, most of our memories come from the places we stop at. Even the boring parts of the country have neat things hidden off the beaten path, find them! I find that stopping to take pictures for the ride report leads me to stop at some places I otherwise might not have, and that's a good thing! Slow down. It's easy for me to say this because I don't have any deadlines, but even if you do, consider that a week spent exploring a small area, if it's a good one, will be more memorable and less stressful than a week spent barreling along just to say you've done x number of states. It's cheaper too.

3) Camping. I've never tried this in the northeast, but you pretty much can't throw a rock in the western half of the country without finding Forest Service or BLM land, both of which allow distributed camping for free for the most part. National parks don't allow this, but I'm sure you could probably get away with it if you were the least bit stealthy. My technique, when I can't find something at freecampsites.net or any of the other free camping sites out there, is to get to national forest land, take the first dirt road off of that, and then a dirt offshoot from there. Works almost every time, as long as there isn't private property interspersed in with the forest. In small towns, ask the locals where a good spot to camp for free is, in gas stations particularly. I've asked forest service and fire service people that I happened to find. Just say that you're on a tight budget and would really prefer not to spend money just to sleep. There's also the Tent Space Map, which is incredibly useful, but I don't like to be a mooch, so I just camp for the most part. I really can't emphasize this one enough, if I had to pay to sleep, at $50 a night, I probably wouldn't be able to travel like this. A month would be over $1500.

4) Eating out will make your money fly out of your wallet so fast that you'll get whiplash watching it go. The "dollar menu" might seem like a good deal, but it adds up quickly, especially as fast food doesn't contain many nutrients and does not satisfy for long. I usually avoid restaurants unless it's a special occasion, I'm very wet/tired/cold, or REALLY good food. Sometimes I am guilty of getting snacks from gas stations, but this too is a practice I try to limit. Learn to cook on the road, and buy ingredients at a grocery store. If you can't make it yourself, canned soups are a good choice, relatively inexpensive (less than $3). Troll the grocery store's day-old bread rack for goodies. If you're going through a decently-sized town, look for discount food stores (Grocery Outlet), places like Winco with a bulk foods section are great (especially for trail mix or grains), farmer's markets (decently priced produce), or ethnic markets (asian/hispanic stores have some good deals). Aim for fruit and veg, hard goods, pastas, beans, sauce mixes in bulk, oats for oatmeal or barley for your soup. I avoid boxed meals, they tend to be more expensive than buying the ingredients and making it myself, and tend to include a lot of preservatives and other crap I don't want or need in my diet. This is a good tip for not being on the road too, I might add, if you eat fast food once a day, you're throwing something like $50 a week in the trash. I spend less than $10 a day on food. It's usually dried fruits/nuts for breakfast, and pasta/soup for dinner. Foods like hummus will keep for a surprisingly long time outside of refrigeration. Cooking this way can take more time, but you'll be eating healthier than if you ate prepared meals the entire trip too.

5) I have a tracfone because $14 for the phone and $20-30 every 3 months for minutes is far cheaper for me than a phone plan. My droid is not connected to the network, because I don't want recurring bills for data coverage. I find free wifi instead. Places that have free wifi include almost any hotel/motel, all mcdonalds, all starbucks (and most coffee shops in general), some subways, many public libraries, barnes and noble, and some downtown "shopping areas". If I am in a commercial business I try to purchase something small and cheap (like a coffee), because I feel I need to give back if I am going to use up their space for hours, but I have been told by employees that they don't care if I sit there with a glass of water and don't buy a thing.

6) Thrift stores are great for clothing. Bonus: I don't have to break in new clothes! I tend to use clothing until it falls to shreds so this is not much of an issue.

7) I really recommend the all parks pass if you have the slightest interest in nature/the outdoors and are planning on being on the road for a while. I've seen so many great things that I would have missed due to not wanting to pay the $20 entry fee.

8) If you can find them, pawn shops and hispanic/flea markets are a great place for cheap tools. I've bought a replacement socket for less than a dollar at one of those markets before. Used ratchet still works the same...

9) Craigslist can net you some decent used camping gear. Sometimes you can barter or talk people down, if that's your style. I have no complaints about that tent yet!

Overall, I use a lot of the same strategies when I am stationary, so many of these things are second nature to me. Depending on if your trip is more of a "vacation" or a "lifestyle", you'll need to adjust things on the frugal meter accordingly. I would probably spend less time cooking or worrying about finding a place to camp if I had a fat bankroll and a steady job to return to, but it would be a far different experience.

Thanks yet again for the netbook! I spent today partitioning and formatting it for a dual boot (XP/Bodhi linux). It works a treat so far! It'll make getting this RR up and running on the road a breeze, I think.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #534
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I am so enjoying your report, pictures and everything. Being a solo traveler for many years now, I have only one bit of advice for you . ENJOY. Do it your way. I quit camping at 62 due to a bad hip. Now, cheap moteling it with food and gas is running me right at 110 bucks a day on the average.
Keep it coming lady, lovin it.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:37 PM   #535
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
There's also the Tent Space Map, which is incredibly useful, but I don't like to be a mooch, so I just camp for the most part.

Oh, but it's so enjoyable to have travelers stay over with us...it's not mooching, and I wish more people would take advantage of the tent space list.

Following your interesting travels. (I wish your pictures were bigger)
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:49 PM   #536
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(I wish your pictures were bigger)

Clicky clicky works too.






Hiya, Fey!!!
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:01 PM   #537
Klay
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Clicky clicky works too.
I didn't know that. Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:16 PM   #538
Adv Grifter
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
Unloaded at those pressures the tire does tend to follow grooves and cracks in the pavement a bit more than I like, but the low pressures just feel unsafe to me,
I have a feeling your 244's are worn out. I know the 244, bought a set a couple years ago. Not great once worn, very affected by road texture. Once worn badly? Check in on the BIG DR650 thread in Thumpers. Ask about tire pressures. Lots of good opinions and lots of experience.

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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
I've had this set of tires on since Hells Canyon and the front is still going strong. I need to replace the rear (nearly bald now), but it's been thousands of miles, I figure it'd be due regardless of pressure. I am running this in front and this in the rear.
Nearly bald is not good! ... And how many miles on the front? Many fronts "Look" fine, but in fact are badly cupped. Cupped front tire handles poorly. 244's are inexpensive but not the best tire for the DR650, IMHO. I've run 12 or 14 sets of tires on my 50K mile DR at this point.

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I'm not worried about exploding tubes. I have a high concern about getting a flat from the tube getting wear, whether that's due to heat or friction or whatever else, I've seen it before and would prefer to avoid it.
Tubes don't really wear much. Especially at the pace you're riding. But if your tubes are very old (like over 2 years) I would change them out for new. Buy good tubes if you can. Worth it. (Michelin, Metzeler, Bridgestone, Dunlop)

Sand riding is very tough no matter what pressure. But low pressure is better than high. Sounds to me like you did VERY GOOD off road.

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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post
I prefer "not much tourism", to be honest with you. I don't really go to foreign countries to hang out with americans (although it happens sometimes and it's good to share a meal with a friendly face). I go there to see new things, meet new people, and experience different cultures, languages, and ways of viewing the world. I'm really interested to find out how mexicans view the US, how they view the drug war, hopes and dreams, different perceptions of things. I need to brush up on my spanish.
ALL GOOD! To get into politics and Narco trafficante discussions you'll need a bit more than "buenos dias" and "Hola Paco, que tal" ... but if you get further South, do take a class. Well worth it IMO. Always best to dive and and TRY to communicate.

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The only concern I have with this plan is finances, I can camp for free in the US, but I'm still a bit iffy about camping solo in Mexico, especially as a lady (not that I'd be cavalier if I were a dude, but. Yeah.) I need to find people that actually have camped in mexico (either baja or mainland) and whether they had/heard of others having problems, would recommend it and such. If I do need to stay in hostels, I need to figure out realistically what this venture would cost before I set out. If it's outside my budget I'll probably troll around the southwest for the winter, or maybe try to make some money so I can afford it, I don't know. My plans are pretty fluid..
Can't recommend solo camping in Mexico unless in an organized camp ground or on private property. Bad stuff does happen. It's rare, but there it is.

I've been going to Mexico since age 14. Dozens of trips: buses, trains, motorcycle and VW Van. Rarely camp but you CAN do it safely if you pick your spots ahead. Random "wild camping" solo could pose risks in certain situations.

I spent 7 years living, working and traveling all through Latin America.
Did two years in the Antarctic, based out of Argentina. (USARP). Lived in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina.

Baja is not cheap (as mentioned earlier) and it's full of Gringos. But its still a magic place like no other. Mainland Mex is another world; Fewer Gringos, less English, about 1/2 the price for motels. Gas is about $3.20 a gallon nationwide. Moving costs money. To save money, once you find a "garden of Eden" type place, rent something, hang for a while. Your expenses will fall to almost nothing. Great place to Winter ... I've done it.

All the best getting healed and getting your DR back on the road.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:23 PM   #539
efredette
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On early starts...

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The day was a bit chilly and overcast at first. I took the time to heat up a can of soup for breakfast, and was joined by a new friend:


I packed up and headed out around noonish. Someday I will get better at early starts! I made my way back along Jerry Flats, which was a bit busier this time of day. I saw a couple of deer, which inspired me to take my time and pay more attention, which I didn't mind at all, there were some gorgeous views that I wasn't able to admire as well the previous evening.

I've never been much of an early riser. On a long trip I left my motel in Nevada around 10am. While riding I noticed lots of red smears on the road. Later that day I stopped for gas and happened across some riders I had met a few days earlier. They told me a couple riders had gone down around 7:30am due to bugs that covered the blacktop. Plows were called out to clear the bugs off the road. I was glad I had not had an early start that day... So now I think it is okay when I take my time in the morning. I'm really enjoying your RR...camping alone...I have not done that yet...you are courageous.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:23 PM   #540
beemer67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feyala View Post

The only concern I have with this plan is finances, I can camp for free in the US, but I'm still a bit iffy about camping solo in Mexico, especially as a lady (not that I'd be cavalier if I were a dude, but. Yeah.) I need to find people that actually have camped in mexico (either baja or mainland) and whether they had/heard of others having problems, would recommend it and such. If I do need to stay in hostels, I need to figure out realistically what this venture would cost before I set out. If it's outside my budget I'll probably troll around the southwest for the winter, or maybe try to make some money so I can afford it, I don't know. My plans are pretty fluid..
I have been riding to the Copper Canyon area of Mexico (mainly) each October for the last 10 years. Most of the time I rough camp. After reading your RR (and enjoying it) I feel that you understand how to camp safely. That is, get off the road and find somewhere where others aren't. I generally feel safer camping in Mexico than I do in the U.S. and I rough camp there as well. There are private campgrounds around but they aren't common. Campground in Creel for instance is 100 pesos a night (US$8.00 at the moment) Hotels seem to run 200 pesos and up ($16.00) The per person cost in hotels always works out more than if there are two of you. The Mexican people have always been super helpful and friendly to me. I try to stay away from the border areas, but even there everyone I have dealt with have been friendly.

And occasionally when I haven't been able to find a track off the road I have been on, I have stopped at a small farm holding and just asked if I could camp off to one side of their property. Never been refused.

Bottom line for 'rough' camping, if no one knows you are there, you can't have a problem.
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