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Old 01-14-2013, 07:15 PM   #1
mwilliamshs OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
Dirt Noobs: Father&Son ride AR -> CO

Hi! Just putting thoughts on paper and I'll use this space to log my budget-minded trip planning. I'm 28 years old, going back to school to finish a BS in ME. 5'10", 200lbs, been on bikes since I was 15 (ok so it was a moped for a while). All my 2wheel time has been on pavement. But...
I started looking at replacing my Harley with a dual-sport for commuting to work and school and having fun on weekends camping and maybe GeoCaching. Had some experience with a buddy's KLR and thought I'd snag one for a grand and have fun going slowly.
While shopping for that I found out about Yamaha's WR250R. Fuel injection (no choking warmups while late for class!), 6 useful speeds, power to run 80+mph, fully-adjustable likey. Now I'm shopping for one of those. Gotta sell the Harley first. But...
Researching the WRR lead me to some RideReports of the TAT. Now I'm planning a 10day trip this summer from Little Rock, Arkansas to Trinidad, CO.
Talked the trip over with Pops and now I'm planning a father/son trip. Dad is a 54 year old engineer, 5'11" weighs 190ish and has been on 2 wheels since the 60s. Hondas, Kawi's, Harleys, etc. all on pavement. We're both in good shape physically ("I can plow a field all day long") and I have no doubts in our combined mechanical abilities and we enjoy camping so these country boys can survive. I plan on riding a WR250R and we're shopping for a deal on either a KLR, KLX, XT or DRZ for dad, 225s, 250s and 650s for this trip. Dad will most likely sell his bike shortly after returning from CO unless he falls in love with it and then it'll be a commute machine. We both work at hospitals and neither of us has a commute over about 15 minutes.

More to say but this is a good stopping point for today. Welcome any comments or suggestions. Thanks for sharing in my excitement over this trip.

mwilliamshs screwed with this post 08-07-2013 at 09:35 AM
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:16 PM   #2
mwilliamshs OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
GOT OUR BIKES! My WRR plans are currently on hold but...


Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 1:45 pm: picked up my truck from having its water pump, radiator, and fan clutch replaced. $550 parts&labor. :) I have no time to wrench on anything between work and school and my limited days off means this had to be done ASAP in order to get both bikes this weekend. All seems fine with the cooling system but the check engine light is on and the idle is very erratic. Shift to neutral when stopped or press the pedal ever so gently and it straightens right out. Vacuum leak is my guess but I've got no time to investigate.

Thursday, January 24 @ 11:48 pm: Leave Little Rock on I-30 West to Hot Springs, AR, about 70 miles from my driveway to my parents' house. Tried on my Alpinestar boots that arrived a week earlier but shipped to the wrong address. Very VERY pleased with my $123.50 purchase. Look like NEW! Very comfy. Dad is less pleased with his Fox boots I'd found on CL in...North Carolina I think. He normally wears 12's and these seem too tight to him. I try them on and decide I'll try stretching them out some and let him try again in a week or so. My 13's are perfectly snug (I don't like slop in my boots) but I do normally wear 14's in sneakers and such. My a-star's are pefectly snug without rubbing or pinching anything so I'm tickled. Spend the night, get in bed about 3 AM.

Friday, January 25 @ 9 am: Leave my parents' house, trailer in tow, to stop by the credit union and get some cash and then hit the road by 10:30. I pick up my buddy Ethan, in Alexander, AR at about 11:45 am to give me some company on the trip. We fuel up in Conway, AR and go to the bank to cash the check the credit union gave me earlier in lieu of cash because they were low (at 9am on a Friday a credit union was low on $?!). Anyway, lost about 90 minutes in Conway and we're rolling again, west on I-40. Poured a bottle of SeaFoam in my tank at WalMart because my truck's been surging a little and the mechanic suspects sticky injectors and I don't argue because it does sit quite a bit between trips. I walk to work most days. My Scan-Gauge-2 is telling me my fuel mileage is WAY down (from 20 to 15) and I'm thinking it must be the Check Engine Light and those darn dirty injectors. Turn north on the Turnpike in Oklahoma and start handing over $1.50 every few miles thanks to my 3 axles. Toll roads SUCK. As we get into Tulsa and slow down in traffic the Scan-Gauge-2 shows my mpg back up to ~20. Hallelujah! Get to the big city of Perry around 7:30 pm and meet reddirtjoe. Great guy. Nickle tour of his bike collection (NICE), test ride of the DR350SEX and we strike a deal. Load her up, tie her down, and we're rolling again @ 9 pm. Enjoy a fancy dinner at Subway in Perry and head home through OKC to avoid the toll roads. MPG still down quite a bit and I feel real dumb for not realizing sooner that the aluminum bike trailer I'm towing has a real nice tall stone-shield on the front which is killing my mileage like towing a parachute. Ethan and I watch 'Bloodworth' and 'Best of the Best' movies on my phone on the drive home (VERY irresponsible driving I know) and I let him out at around 3 and I make it home and into bed at about 4:30 am. The bike is a good buy for the $ and just needs some maintenance but included plenty of spare parts and even some I'll put into use on the 250.

Saturday January 26 @ 7 AM: Head out for Jackson, MS. Alone this time and pretty tired from over 30 straight hours and sleeping less than 3 but ready to get down the highway. Interstates are out of the question for the first leg of this trip because there just ain't one close by. Two-lane blacktops suit me just fine but when you're on a narrow one in the middle of nowhere and an RV and a Semi get together in a head-on fashion it tends to shut things down and you're either turning around or...I always turn around. I back-track about 50 miles and get rolling in the right direction again but it's disrupted my schedule rather severely since I need to be in Jackson before 2 pm. Now I'm hustling as fast as I dare and watch the MPG's take a dive. I let eatalotofpeaches know about the delay and he comes through with some quick arrangements to get the bike moved across town from the shop that closes at 2 pm to his house so I can take a look at it. Sonic's Super-Sonic Breakfast Burrito suffices for breakfast and I turn North on 55. I get to eatalotofpeaches' place at 3 pm and we jump-start the bike with his Miata and I go for a ride. Also bump-started a dirt bike for the first time this day, on the second try no less. Eatalotofpeaches also shows me his DRZ and we talk bikes and life for a while before I repeat the 'load her up, strap her down, hit the road' routine. I'm gone by 4:30 pm. I'd made plans to meet up with an old friend who lives in Olive Branch, MS on the way home to grab a bite and catch-up but he's not feeling up to it so I cut west on HWY 16 and stop somewhere along the way to buy a phone charger to replace the one I shut in the truck door. The cable was clearly too long and I can't possibly be blamed for that, right? Right. While in Dollar General getting a charger, because WalMarts are kinda scarce on Hwy 16 in Middle-of-nowhere Mississippi, I grab a Monster energy drink and a pack of crackers to tide me over till lunch/dinner. I get into the zone apparently and end up making it home with 1 more fuel stop and nothing else to eat. How could I possibly not have been hungry? I dunno but whatever. Woke up starving today tho so I must be alive. The 250 starts and runs fine except for the dead battery (that was wired backwards) and the missing side covers just so happened to come with the 350 as spares so I'm satisfied.

The idea behind these two bikes is that they're so similar that spare parts should be fit either one with very few exceptions and axle wrenches and other specialty tools needn't be duplicated. If I perform maintenance or repair on one, I'll know how to do it on the other so that should make the trip itself and preparation for the trip that much easier. I'm very pleased with owning two ALMOST (need turn-signals, side covers, batteries, etc) street-legal bikes for less than $2,000. The fuel to get them both was over $300 but there are no free lunches. (unless you're on welfare...don't get me started).

mwilliamshs screwed with this post 07-18-2013 at 05:42 PM Reason: clarity
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:30 PM   #3
mwilliamshs OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
Luggage is $$$. Welding is $.

Researching dual-sport luggage options made me realize that you can quickly double your investment in a bike if you put bags on it. Very surprised. It is just not this way in the Harley world. I've seen the moto-mule trailers and the Dual-Sport Trailer Assembly thread here and decided we'll be towing at least one single-wheel trailer on our trip. Might build two and sell one upon our return. Going shopping for parts donors next time I'm home. (4 days or so from now). Has anybody seen a clean way to mount gas cans cheaper than a Rotopax? I'm thinking 2 of the 1.5 gallon Blitz style cans would be about right. For this trip I could split them onto differing trailers but I'd like to have 2-3 gallons or so reserve capacity on the one I keep and I think it makes sense to use 2 small cans instead of a single larger can. Eggs all in one basket and weight-distribution being the main reasons I prefer it this way. Also, I could replace a fuel can with water and vice-versa more easily this way, especially useful when you have 2 trailers. Just as easy to carry 3 gals fuel and 3 gals water (as long as you keep your cans separate and labeled!) My main concern with a home-built trailer is the stiffness of the rear shock(s) due to a trailer probably being lighter than whatever donor you rob parts from. Just have to figure that out when I get there. I do think a tank bag will be useful to keep things closer at hand than the trailer would allow and also a safe spot to charge phones, radios, etc. Anybody have a favorite tank bag for the bikes I mentioned in my first post? (WRR, KLR, XT, DRZ etc)
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:16 PM   #4
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
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space and time

Got some parts together for a single-wheel trailer recently. A buddy of mine hunts coons and while out training a pup he stumbled across this \/ in the woods.

1970 Honda Z50A frame. pretty solid frame, no seat, no tank, no engine, no lights, tires are bad, rims are gone, good hubs, frame, handlebars, and triple trees though so I should be able to do the front of this \/ pretty easily, or sell off what I've got...we'll see.

stole the pic /\ from another inmate's build thread but don't remember who. Great inspiriation though!

mwilliamshs screwed with this post 07-18-2013 at 06:04 PM
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:51 PM   #5
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Elbert, CO
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Why Trinidad? I've stayed there a lot for work and it sucks.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:05 PM   #6
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
Trinidad because...

It's about as far as we have time to go before we have to turn around and come home. It has a decent motorcycle shop that's been mentioned in a few TAT Ride Reports and I'm sure by that time we'll need something, a tire, a tube, a new spare lever, etc. Plan is to camp 5 nights at state parks on the way to Trinidad, get a hotel there and spend a day doing laundry and catching up on bike maintenance, sportscenter, sleeping in a real bed, etc. Then spend about 3 days cruising home on backroads. 6 days home by dirt or 2 days by interstate, so I think 3 days by two-lane blacktops should be about right and that makes for a 9 day trip with 1 extra in case of emergency or delay plus 2 for prepping and packing and 2 for unpacking, washing bikes and clothes, which adds up to 14. 14 days on 2 wheels in 5 states over 2400 miles with my old man. I've done less with more.

Maybe you can recommend a clean, reasonably-priced hotel, maybe one with laundry or near a laundromat? Any must-sees or must-eats or must-avoid's in the area? Thanks!

mwilliamshs screwed with this post 01-21-2013 at 10:10 PM Reason: remembering
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:56 PM   #7
Blaise W
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You will be riding the easiest part of the TAT so no issues there. I always stay at a motel that is on the north end of town, but can't remember the name. I think it's a major chain. When you come into town from the TAT you will be on Goddard. Just go straight thru town and right before you hit I25 there will be a light. Coffee shop on the right across the street, and a restaurant on the left. Turn left up the hill, around the corner, and turn right into the parking lot. Reasonable rates, clean large rooms. It's close to every thing too. There is a good Chinese place in town, and some nice bar type food just down the street on Goddard.

Too bad you can't keep going. The good stuff starts in Trinidad! Up to then it's just a warm up. Regardless, you and your father should have a blast! The country coming into Trinidad is pretty.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:26 PM   #8
mwilliamshs OP
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Good news

Thanks for the info. I've gotten the impression we're doing the easier portion of the TAT from other Ride Reports and considering our limited (currently non-existent, but by then we'll have a couple months' worth) dirt experience, I'm glad. I hope to pick up one or both bikes this weekend. They're about 12 hours from each other and I'm approximately in the middle so it may not all get done on my 36 hours off but I'm gonna try. If all goes well on this trip I'll most likely try to return the following year and probably haul in further before starting the 2wheel trip to try and get further along the trail in roughly the same time span. I've spent the last several(!) hours pouring over parts manuals for the 2 bikes to determine what will and what won't fit both so I can do maintenance and also get spares as efficiently as possible. Each little step is rewarding to complete because it gets me closer to departure! Cheers
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:47 PM   #9
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Elbert, CO
Oddometer: 8
When I was working there, we stayed at the Trail-something motel. Traildust, Trailside, something like that. Not too bad, and definitely has character. Trinidad Brewing Company is a short walk across the main drag and down the hill, and their food and beer was pretty good. The only other really good eatery was Pike something, should be easy to look up. Excellent food and a solid beer selection. I was working in a small town west of Trinidad and it's been three years or more so things may have changed, but do a little searching on that and hopefully you can turn up more info.

Btw I'd avoid Tequila's, pretty average Mexican food. I've eaten at the one in Trinidad and the one in Glenwood Springs and was disappointed both times.
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #10
mwilliamshs OP
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Arkansas
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Trails End Motel?

That's the one I've found in other ride reports. Do they have laundry? Guess I should google a phone number for them and find out for myself.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:34 AM   #11
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
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plans change

My brother moved from 5 minutes away to 11 hours away and that meant my summer road tripping was done in a Uhaul not on a DR. Took a week off to move his stuff and then took another week off to drive up and move furniture, paint, etc. The remainder of my time off this year will be spent on holidays so my TAT ride will have to occur next year. In the mean time I've found a used Acerbis 4.25 tank so now both bikes have the same tank and needs for extra fuel range should be met. I've also never been entirely at ease with thoughts of having 2 electric-start only bikes on a TAT ride so I researched adding a kick-starter and have been trolling for used parts. My part farming has produced everything I need (save a seal and thrust washer) to add a kicker to one bike and about 1/3 of the parts to add a second. I'll be fine with just one kicker so unless parts fall from the free tree I'll just have a few spares. All for now. Ready to ride!
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:51 PM   #12
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
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Been shopping...

So for the DR250S I got from eatalotofpeaches I've been shopping...

ProTaper Pillow Grips $13 cyclegear
eBay seat cover $30 (ebay)
Raptor Petcock $20 (ebay)
Right side cover (complete with really nice condition correct 250 decal) $30
Acerbis 4.25 gal tank (ebay) $40!!! (no hardware but whatever it was CHEAP)
Acerbis locking cap $20 (advrider)
Kick starter parts $90 (ebay)
clear bottom tail light lens $12.50 (ebay) (bought 2, this is 1)
Footpegs $15 (ebay)
front brake line stays $15 (ebay)
Manracks rack $90 (advrider)
tail light $5 (advrider)
rear tube $20 (cyclegear)
stock handguards $20 (advrider)
wiring harness with positive battery cable and spare solenoid $31.90 (ebay)
fork boots Daystar Royal Blue 69 series $27.88 (ebay)
Banjo Bolt rear brake light switch $7.88 (ebay)
Gammatronix Tri-color LED battery monitor $17.32 (ebay)
Maier handguards with bolt-on plastic shields $33.00 (ebay)

that's over $500 worth of parts and I'm probably 80% done...where'd my cheap hobby bike go?

she still needs:

brake and clutch levers
clutch washers/spacer
clutch cover gasket
kicker thrust washer
kicker seal

front brake sealing washers
battery (probably)

hardware to mount acerbis tank
lots and lots and lots of time in the saddle

My plans are to do the clutch and kicker work at once, the fork boots and brake line stays and sealing washers at once, the grips and handguards at once, the battery and cable at once and then ride. then do the acerbis tank whenever i get around to it.

mwilliamshs screwed with this post 08-09-2013 at 09:59 PM
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:20 AM   #13
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
and for the DR350 from tulsa

The DR350 I picked up from RedDirtJoe is most definitely the back-burner bike but...

I've dropped dough:

Clear-bottom tail light (ebay)
Used but good condition seat cover and foam (hoping better than mine)
Kicker parts (all but the seal, guide and stop)
gammatronix tri-color LED battery monitor
banjo bolt rear brake switch

She needs:

Clutch replaced (came with new EBC)
Chain and sprockets replaced (came with new)
Valves adjusted (hope that rids her of the clatter)
Timing chain, guides, and tensioner (if ^ doesn't work)
Gauges replaced (came with good used)
Rear turn signals
Rear brake line stay
Hand guards
Left side cover (stole one for the 250 and the spare is a dirt version)
Clutch washers/spacer/clearance work
License plate bracket (due to fenderectomy)
LOTS of seat time

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Old 08-03-2013, 12:32 AM   #14
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
Part-time job/full-time discount

picked up a few hours a week at our local cycle gear starting this week so I'll be swipin' that discount card HARD.

Also picked up a set of used Maier handguards on the big E. Include the bolt on plastic shields but are not the ATV version so if they're too narrow they'll be in the fleamarket soon. I'm sure they'll be fine and they were cheaper than just the plastics new so I'm not complainin'.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:20 PM   #15
mwilliamshs OP
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Location: Arkansas
Oddometer: 243
gosh this was a long time coming

Made a few purchases today and SEVERAL in recent weeks preparing for my first dual-sport camping trip, ever. Not gonna get the bike 100% finished before this trip due to time constraints, just legal and rideable.

I'll be doing some reviews of this stuff but as usual, I'm mostly compiling thoughts here for my benefit.

For this upcoming trip, starting from the front, I still need:

to re-install front wheel with fresh kenda k761 rubber, lite-loc, UHD tube
Brake sealing washers, for when I R&R brake line to install new brake line stays
to flush and bleed brakes while I'm doing that^
to remount fender I've removed to clean up, etc
to re-install headlight shroud I've removed to clean up, etc
to install new grips, needs em bad
to install grip heaters; I'll have the grips off anyway and who likes cold hands?
to install new levers, pivot bolts, etc
to install hand-guards
to install mirrors
to install RAM mounts for GPS, SPOT, etc
to install ACERBIS tank, petcocks, T-mod the carb...
to double-check footpeg install, did I bend the cotter keys?
to install seat
to install battery lead, battery...
bolts for side covers
to install side covers
to inspect front sprocket/chain/rear sprocket
rear brake sealing washers for install of banjo bolt brake light switch
to install banjo bolt brake light switch in rear master cylinder
rear fender grommets
to install rear fender
to install rear rack
to install rear turn signals
to install brake light housing
to install brake light lens (clear bottom)
to mount license plate
to re-install rear wheel with fresh kenda K761 rubber, lite-locs, UHD tube

Long-term she still needs from me:

to install front fender aluminum brace
to install front fork boots
to install LED lights in gauges/indicators/batter monitor
LED lights^
to install no-load relay for turn signals and diode for dash indicator
Relay and Diode
to install rear LED flush-mount turn signals
rear LED turn signals
kickstarter installed
kicker seal, clutch cover gasket,
shift-drum bolt R&R'd and locktite'd
clutch R&R'd with new washers and spacer and clearance machined off basket
washers, spacer^

For camping this trip I still need:

to order ANOTHER new sleeping bag. hate ebay sometimes.
to test-pack everything
to get boots out of storage
to get backpack out of storage
possibly get saddle bags out of storage
if saddle bags get drug out, bend up some conduit to keep them off muffler

more to come i'm sure
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