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Old 07-17-2012, 08:20 AM   #1
Dachary OP
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Corporate Runaways: BOS -> CO - 2 dogs in a Ural

Cross-country and back on a 2012 Ural Patrol in the hottest part of the year with two dogs in 17 days? More than 5,000 miles and an international border crossing? Time constraints? Maintenance intervals? And side trips to visit family?

So begins our test trip driving our new Ural and an F650GS cross-country from Boston to Colorado, carrying our two dogs. If all goes well on this trip, planning for a RTW will kick into high gear!

How did we get here?

When our Americas trip was almost over, we were ready for a break from the road. Believe it or not, sleeping in a different place every day, riding 300+ miles everyday and seeing a host of extraordinary sights can actually wear on a body. We traveled 18,000 miles in 114 days, with only 18 rest days - and most of those were spent repairing motorcycles or recovering from being ill. So we were ready to head home at the end of our trip.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, as the case may be) we only needed a few weeks to recover at home before we began to miss the rhythm of being on the road. Wake up, ride through beautiful landscapes until you get tired, take a break, ride some more, check out whatever cool stuff catches your fancy, and then stop whenever you get tired of riding for the day - or when dark finds you, whichever comes first. It’s hard to adjust to a corporate job and life in a cubicle after 114 days of that kind of freedom.

So it wasn’t long before we were talking about being on the road again. Next time - the world! Something about Mongolia just caught and held our attention. And of course, there’s a whole world out there to explore - we’d enjoy getting to Mongolia however we routed our trip! Tentative planning for a RTW began, but there was one problem... what would we do with the dogs?

When we returned home from our Americas trip, we discovered that Kay’s dog was much changed. He was no longer the happy-go-lucky canine who ran up to greet everyone in the park. He was stiff and snappish with strangers, and a year of canine therapy has only partially rehabilitated him. After that experience in leaving our dogs with dog-sitters, I was unwilling to leave them behind again. They had to come with us.

We looked at various options. Tow trailers behind the F650s like some of the bicycle trailers for kids. Rig up some kind of sidecars for the F650s. For a brief period, we were enamored with the idea of taking Stella scooters with sidecars - they fit our criteria for a ridiculous vehicle and would have been a lot of fun, but Kay has major issues with the Stella’s shifter. Or... maybe we could buy a production sidecar motorcycle? Maybe a Ural?

We began casually shopping our local Ural dealer. And then we began more than casually considering the idea. The Ural requires FAR more frequent maintenance intervals than our F650s - like every 1,500 miles, which on our Americas trip was about every 5 days... and obviously that was a turn off. Who wants to stop and deal with changing fluids and doing other maintenance so often?

But we kept coming back to the Ural. The Ural sidecar seemed roomy enough to hold both dogs - if we went with a Stella and a sidecar hack, we’d need two of them to carry both dogs. And with two dogs, would we really be traveling at a particularly fast pace anyway? They’d need frequent rest stops, and we want to do our next RTW at our own pace, with no deadlines, so we could handle doing shorter mileage per day with more frequent rest days. The Ural began to seem like an option that might actually be compatible with our travel style.

I started lurking on Soviet Steeds, reading everything I could about the Ural’s “known issues,” maintenance requirements and how people generally feel about their beasties. Whatever their faults (of which there seem to be varying degrees, depending on who’s speaking, from the Russian metallurgy to the inability to travel at more than 65MPH) most Ural owners tend to speak very highly of their bikes. These bikes, more than many others I’ve read about, really seem to inspire a lot of love and affection. There was something alluring about the way people seemed to speak of their Urals. It drew me.

I looked into other sidecar options, including custom hacks for the F650 or other bikes... but the Ural was there with her siren call. The Ural didn’t require an endless and expensive series of tweaks to get the setup and handling just right. It was made to drive a sidecar. It had awesome features, like 2WD (which we think would be very handy in places like Mongolia, where only something like 4% of roads are paved) and a reverse gear. And if we bought a new one, we’d have the advantage of the Ural warranty - 2 years and unlimited miles. More and more attractive.

After a final trip shopping at our local Ural dealer, we decided to pull the trigger. (At this point, we had still never driven a sidecar rig, or a Ural - the dealer does offer test rides, but every time we were there that wasn’t an option due to various things.) We had no idea if we’d like a sidecar bike, or the Ural in particular, but we took a leap of faith and decided that THIS would be our beast for the RTW trip. We didn’t even know if the dogs would take to riding in a sidecar. This was to be an expensive gamble.

We placed our order in March for a 2012 Ural Patrol in Blue and White, and after completing a sidecar training course, we took delivery of our new rig at the beginning of May. After a few initial mechanical hurdles, our relationship with the Ural seems to have settled into a comfortable place. It’s a lot of fun to drive, but a lot more work than a two-wheeler. And happily, the dogs have really taken to riding in it! We’ve done many day trips and local rides, a few weekend camping trips... and now is our first big test trip with the dogs in the Ural. If this goes well, we’ll green-light the RTW - hopefully for next year!

We leave Boston on Thursday, July 19. We’re heading for Colorado, to Lake Granby, for a rally with our other motorcycle tribe - the F650 folks from the Chain Gang. We’re hoping to hit Colorado in a week of travel, bum around for a few days at the rally, and then head back across a different route that takes us into Canada and back home. We’ll be traveling through 17 or 18 states, depending on how we go, and the Canadian province of Ontario, in 17 days. And we’ll be doing it with two dogs on a barely-broken-in 2012 Ural Patrol (we’ve just hit 2,500km!) and my reliable F650GS, now with around 29,000 miles on the clock.

Sounds like a pretty awesome vacation to us. And maybe we’ll find some adventure along the way.


Nervously ready to board by CorporateRunaways, on Flickr


Doggle-Wearing Dogs by CorporateRunaways, on Flickr
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:49 AM   #2
klaviator
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This should be interesting.

I do have a question. Given that border crossings seem to often be a PITA, at least according to the ride reports I have read, including yours, what's it going to be like with dogs? I would think some countries may not even allow animals.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:55 AM   #3
lukeman
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Looking forward to this trip and hopefully the RTW. Don't see to many long rides with dogs, be curious to see how this all turns out.
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:16 AM   #4
Dachary OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klaviator View Post
I do have a question. Given that border crossings seem to often be a PITA, at least according to the ride reports I have read, including yours, what's it going to be like with dogs? I would think some countries may not even allow animals.
It will definitely impact our route for the RTW. Some places require pretty serious documentation, a quarantine period or you just can't get dogs in. We've done some preliminary research, but we didn't want to get too far ahead of ourselves - we'll do a full route mapping once we find out how the dogs do on this Colorado trip.

Canada, for example, only requires proof of current rabies vaccination. (And Ontario requires that your dog can't be a pit or pit mix.) Other places require a recent medical check from a veterinarian to certify that your dog is healthy, or even special documentation you have to get completed by government-org-certified veterinarians.

So yeah. I think it'll definitely add an element of complication to border crossings. But when we do the RTW, whether it be soon-ish with the dogs or later after the dogs are no longer with us, we plan to take our time and not have a schedule or a date when we need to get home. So if we're delayed at a border crossing, it really won't be a big deal. *shrug* It's all part of the adventure!
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Boston to Ushuaia on 2 BMW F650GSs - 2010-2011
BOS -> CO - 2 dogs in a Ural - 2012
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:48 AM   #5
hdawg
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love it!

I'm ready. let the trip began!!!!
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:52 AM   #6
jglow
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I will be watching this one!

Been looking for a rig to take our dog with us, and I too keep coming back to the Ural.

Can't wait to see how it works out for y'all!




Jordan
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Old 07-17-2012, 12:26 PM   #7
Dirtbauer
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Mid West

If you come through Indiana would like to meet up with you and get some pics.

Enjoyed your trip to SA.

Safe Travels
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:00 PM   #8
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One more thing to take into account while traveling with pets is that a lot (most) hotels/motels outside US/Canada/Europe simply do not allow pets... This is one of the things that frustrated me a lot when my dog was still alive, as every time we planned an overland-family-vacation, we had to make a LOT of compromises regarding route and places to stay due to this reason... Lot's of time we simply ended up sneaking the dog (a Golden Retriever) into the room, but something tells me that two dogs on an Ural side-car will not manage to get unnoticed ...

Have a great trip!
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:47 PM   #9
Dachary OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtbauer View Post
If you come through Indiana would like to meet up with you and get some pics.

Enjoyed your trip to SA.

Safe Travels
We'll be traveling through Central Indiana on the way out. I've got family in Anderson, IN that I intend to visit with on Saturday afternoon/evening. Supposedly some family from Florida will be coming up so we can all get together while I'm passing through, but that was supposed to happen last year, too, and never quite materialized, so… *shrug*

If yer anywhere near there, drop us a PM and we'll see if we can meet up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS in Vzla. View Post
One more thing to take into account while traveling with pets is that a lot (most) hotels/motels outside US/Canada/Europe simply do not allow pets...
New Tent: Camping with Dogs



We'll be curious to see how it holds up over the long term, but we've got it covered for now!

Our current route across the US and Canada has us camping every night except one. Although given how hot it's supposed to be, I wouldn't be surprised if we give up and look for dog-friendly lodging with AC one or more days. We'll have to play it by ear!
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:08 PM   #10
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In!

Followed you on your way down South. Then saw your initial woes on SS, gotta sit back and watch this.
One of the best writers on this site, that'd be you, Dachary.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:10 PM   #11
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look forward to following your trip

Hello you two. Good to see you aregoing again and I am very impressed with the Ural. I wish you all luck an happiness and look forward to following your trip. best Wishes. Rod
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Old 07-17-2012, 05:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dachary View Post
I've got family in Anderson, IN............
Hi Dachary. I am on the near West side of Anderson. If'n you need anything, give me a PM.

Joe
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #13
TaZ9
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Being dog loving adventurers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dachary View Post
it will definitely impact our route for the rtw. Some places require pretty serious documentation, a quarantine period or you just can't get dogs in. We've done some preliminary research, but we didn't want to get too far ahead of ourselves - we'll do a full route mapping once we find out how the dogs do on this colorado trip.

Canada, for example, only requires proof of current rabies vaccination. (and ontario requires that your dog can't be a pit or pit mix.) other places require a recent medical check from a veterinarian to certify that your dog is healthy, or even special documentation you have to get completed by government-org-certified veterinarians.

So yeah. I think it'll definitely add an element of complication to border crossings. But when we do the rtw, whether it be soon-ish with the dogs or later after the dogs are no longer with us, we plan to take our time and not have a schedule or a date when we need to get home. So if we're delayed at a border crossing, it really won't be a big deal. *shrug* it's all part of the adventure!
Why would you even consider spending your time and money in a backward thinking place like Ontario. As I'm sure you know, pits and pit mixed dogs are some of the most loyal and loving animals on this planet. For anyone to believe otherwise shows a true lack of education and first hand experience with this amazing breed.

Other than that, I look forward to following your ride report. I know you and the pups will have a great adventure together.

Ride safe!

Taz9

TaZ9 screwed with this post 07-17-2012 at 06:37 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:17 PM   #14
Joe D
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I'm in iowa

Hi kids
I am in iowa until sept. Let me know if you are coming close to ft dodge
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:22 PM   #15
masukomi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaZ9 View Post
Why would you even consider spending your time and money in a backward thinking place like Ontario. As I'm sure you know, pits and pit mixed dogs are some of the most loyal and loving animals on this planet. For anyone to believe otherwise shows a true lack of education and first hand experience with this amazing breed.
We agree that it's pretty insane to have a place that can confiscate and euthanize a someone's pet simply because of the breed. However, Ontario is what we have to go through if we're going to do any of Canada on the trip, and we want to because most of the U.S. is *freaking HOT* right now (please let Canada be cooler), and we'd really rather not come back the same route we go out.

Honestly, doing *any* of Canada is probably pushing it on this trips' constricted timeframe but...
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