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Old 06-23-2008, 01:55 PM   #16
Vicarious Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 2006
Location: THE SOUTH
Oddometer: 5,512

Great RR and pics.
I'll be back....
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:53 PM   #17
KLR Combat Touring
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Duncan, Ok
Oddometer: 739
Thanks for posting............
Team Pterodactyl
1000 Miles South of HQ
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:57 PM   #18
out rider
You Go First
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Joined: Jul 2006
Oddometer: 628
Great report.

A trip you will never forget. Here is to many more...
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:06 PM   #19
Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Dallas, TX
Oddometer: 4
clutch switch removal

Great pics, great report. Thanks for taking us along for the first half of the trip. :)

I've got a couple of KLR's myself, and they're fantastic bikes. Like anything with wheels and a motor, however, there's always room for improvement. Here's how to remove the safety switches for the pre-'08 KLR650 model:,1723.0

That includes the clutch switch, the kickstand switch, and also the starter circuit relay removal. Proceed at your own risk, but it's awesome to know that your bike will start even when your safety switches are wet. personally I remove them, along with all their associated hardware.

You might also be very interested in some decent raingear. I too found out the hard way that "waterproof" protective gear rarely is. You'll be much happier about fifty bucks lighter with a decent rainsuit. I personally prefer the Frog Toggs brand, but they're all very much the same. Look for one with a hood to keep the water from rolling down your neck. The real rainsuits go over your protective gear, and they're hot when you're not moving, but you stay dry. Look for a good rainsuit and you'll be a lot happier. :)
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:34 PM   #20
Old Fart At Play
Mad about thumpers
Joined: May 2008
Location: Murillo & Pass Lake, Ontario
Oddometer: 168
Great RR, Travis. It was a pleasure meeting and riding with you. We're looking forward to updates as your adventures continue. Glad you didn't have any scary animal encounters along the fog-shrouded North Shore. Sorry about fanning the flames of your WeeStrom lust.

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:04 PM   #21
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Well, as I had stated before, at this point I made it to Waterloo. It was time to deal with some bike stuff and visit the family.

In terms of bike stuff, there were a few things that needed to be done. First off, my chain had been stretching something fierce through my entire trip. By stretch, I mean a full notch on the adjustment scale each night. I was nearly out of room for adjustment by the time I got to my destination. This didn't feel very good. Well, actually, it felt good to make it.

I think the stretch had a lot to do with me putting on a 16T sprocket half-way through the chain's wear cycle. This changed the wear/geometry around and made it wear faster, I presume. Secondly, I was experimenting with several types of lube, and some were not working very well, especially in the wet conditions I had dealt with on the way.

So, dealerships were called and I finally found one that could do the work quickly, had the parts in stock, and was fairly close. This brought a sigh of relief, and I figured I'd get an oil change while it was in there too. I asked them for pricing on their oil change. They told me that labor was $35, then with materials, it would come to around $80.

Eighty dollars for an oil change?!

I had a filter with me, I bought a jug of Rotella at the local Canadian tire, and for $15 bucks, I did that stinkin' oil change in the driveway.

$80 for an oil change my arse..

So, the chain was done over a couple days at the dealership, while we enjoyed the festivities of my brother's graduation. At the end, when I picked the bike up, it cost all of $225 for parts and labor. I thought this was more than reasonable, and happily paid it. I mean, next time, I'll do it myself, but when you're a country away from home, you make some sacrifices.

Anyway, here are a couple pics from my times in Waterloo. Basically, I left the camera behind for most of my time in Waterloo, and I have very few records of the times with my family, but here's what I've got.

My brother graduated with a Bachelor's of Math in Computer Science, so he spent a lot of time coding and doing advanced nerd stuff in this cavernous fortress:

The math building at the University of Waterloo

My brother at his home for the school terms of the past 5 years.

My dad playing with trains in the dungeon. The building was everything a math building should be: lifeless, stark, and without character. Mmm... Cozy.

The trains thing was one of my brother's courses where they basically had to write a program to control several trains on a track at the same time. It was pretty cool to see what he could do.

And after the great times with the folks in Waterloo, it was time to bid farewell to the humid environment and get back on the road.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:05 PM   #22
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
I've decided to reset the counting system, so I'll be starting the trip back at day one.

Day one: Waterloo, ON, to Munising, MI

Odometer: 19400-20290: 890km (Note: when in MI, I took very few interstates. The map does not accurately reflect this, but let it be known that I stayed on secondaries for most of the time heading north.)

My original plan for heading back was to leave on Sunday afternoon, get to Sarnia, and camp the night. These plans were changed when the weather turned to garbage on Sunday, and instead I spent the night at my brother's place, my ears caressed by the gentle rumble of thunder in the distance.

Monday morning came around and it was time to head out.

Denver seeing me off

Hopeful young pup, looking forward to the possibility of good weather

I carried on over to Sarnia via the #7 Hwy, which was a wonderful secondary highway through the lush farm country of Southern Ontario.

I got to the border at around noon, after getting money changed over to US cash in Sarnia. I then hit the border, waited in traffic, and paid one of only two tolls I had to pay while in the States.

Getting there! Lousy traffic lineups. My bike was heating up to an uncomfortable level at this point. I believe my fan has hit the crapper. Something I'll need to look at one of these days.

The guy at the border asked me my destination/origin, and all that good stuff. When I told him how far I'd come in how long, he looked at me like I was crazy.. Strange.. I wanted to tell him that I was a little bit whacked out of my gourd, but I didn't know how a border official would take that. In any case, he looked at my bike, looked at me, deemed me harmless, and let me on my way.

I carried down secondary highways north towards the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The weather was great, the pace was comfortable, and my windshield made things super duper.

Then this happened.

As Adam Savage from Mythbusters would say, "Well there's your problem!"

I ended up breaking one of the aluminum windshield mounts somehow, and wind pressure kept it at a somewhat upright/crooked position. I thought this wasn't too bad, and then it started to pour down rain. I saw a body shop on the side of the road and figured they may be able to fix the mount. I turned around and headed over. They were standing just outside under an overhang when I showed up, and they quickly let me and my bike into their garage. That was really nice of them.


They had some epoxy with them that they thought would do the trick, so we hung out for about an hour, waiting for epoxy to cure, sniffing fumes, and talking bikes. It turns out the guy I dealt with used to ride, but quit when the Harley fanboy mentality got to be too much.

If you're ever passing by this body shop near Bay City, give them a toot. They're good people.

The weather was clearing, and it was time to be on my way.

I carried north and the epoxy seemed to be holding. I hopped on the interstate for a brief period to get me to the next secondary highway, brought it up to 80mph, and bam!

The epoxy didn't like that amount of pressure.


The windshield stayed on the back of my bike for the rest of the trip and I got the full effect of rain, road spray, and bug guts once again. On the plus side, if I needed to pass, I could once again tuck and get up to speed pretty quick without that sail up front.

I was behind schedule, so I made good time in the evening up to Munising on the Upper Peninsula. I had wanted to get to Marquette, but it was just a little too far. It was getting close to night time, the rain was coming in, and this was deer country. I figured I could make the time up the next day when I'm not worried about smoking Bambi.

I wimped out and stayed at a motel. My hands were freezing and it was getting cold outside. I think it got to the low 40s that evening/morning, which was cold enough, especially with the moisture, to warrant a stay in a motel.

This was my last stay in a motel, and I was just fine with that.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:06 PM   #23
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day two: Munising, MI, to Bagley, MN

Odometer: 20290-21070: 780km (This exact intersection is where I stayed)

The day started off to a full continental breakfast at the motel, which was quite dandy in my opinion. Waffles and everything! I felt like a king.

The weather made me feel a little less king-like. It was cold and damp. My fingers went numb quickly, as did my toes, and I learned how quickly you have to pee when you're riding in the cold. It just compresses your body.

I rode behind a police SUV for probably 40 miles, through construction. It was slightly miserable, but at least I got good fuel mileage out of the deal.

There's a snide comment somewhere in this picture. I don't quite know where it is, but I think it's between the camping gear and rearview mirror of the KLR in the foreground and the Harley filling up in the background.

Soon after, the weather cleared up, and I set out to get concrete directions for my one destination I had on this leg: Aerostich in Duluth, MN.

I got turned around a little bit looking for a library in Ironwood MI, but found my way to it, got directions, and back on the road I went!

Through Wisconsin, and onward! To Duluth!

I had an interesting experience at Aerostich. It's not all sunshine and daffodils either. I talked with a lot of riders outside, which was really nice, but when I got inside to their showroom, I waited for over an hour until somebody found time to assist me. Now, I understand how busy a place like that can be, but if they're offering for a person to drop in and pick out stuff, their face-to-face customer service could use some improvement.

Maybe it was just 'cause I was a KLRista..

Anyway, I walked away with their Triple Digit rain covers and some rain pants as well. I had considered getting some Darien pants, but I think there's better suited gear out there than what I saw at Aerostich. Maybe the poor service had left a bad taste in my mouth..

Before I get flamed for these comments, let it be known that I think Aerostich stuff is very well-constructed, that their warranty and support seems quite reasonable, and that this was probably an anomaly. I found it necessary, however, to voice my honest opinion of my experiences there, and that's what you folks get.

Anyway, it was back on the road and through Minnesota. I had a few more hours of riding I wanted to get done, and I also wanted to camp. I accomplished both of those things, and ended up searching around for a nice free place to set up a tent.

Behold! Can I get an Amen?

Just off the side of highway 2, there was a Lutheran church in the midst of farmland. There was one house across the road, but other than that, the church was separated from about everything. It looked perfect. I made some supper of ramen, jerky, and peanuts, and set up my tent.

The whole atmosphere of the church with attached cemetery made me slightly apprehensive, just because I was so alone and solitary. These fears were relieved when across the road, the owners of the house returned from an evening cruise on their Kawi Vulcan. I went over and greeted them, and just checked in to make sure my staying at the church would be alright.

They assured me it would be fine, and even offered to open up the church so I could use the washroom. I declined on the offer, but thought it good of them to suggest such a thing.

With a nip of whiskey and a carefully plotted plan of what to do in case of zombies, I watched the sun go down and found rest behind the church.

Well now, this is kinda fun.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:07 PM   #24
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day three: Bagley, MN, to Fort Peck Lake, MT

Odometer: 21070-22020: 950km

Good morning.

I started with the sun again, as happened all the time when camping, and quickly got on my way. I had a ways to get on this day, and I wanted to make the most of it. My tent was soaked from dew that night, which made it a little more miserable to put away, but at least I was camping.

I ate in the ND part of Grand Forks, after a couple hours of riding, and kept on rolling. Between breakfast and lunch I took pictures as I rode.

Windmills were impressive to see, but they also meant wind, which wasn't always welcome.

So many rustic old buildings along the way. This is but one.

Hit the center of North America and kept this picture close at hand for if I ever got lost.

This was my impression of eastern North Dakota: small ponds, big sky, and prairie living. It was pretty nice, and I actually got to enjoy the long stretches of wide landscape. (Stockholm syndrome, probably)

I made it to Minot, ND, for lunch, and found a great 50's diner to rest up the ol' posterior and get some food in the belly.

The salad portion I got was huge, and the wrap was good.

You know it's going to be a good place if there's cow print anything anywhere.

Parting shot. As I was leaving, a trio of Harleys rode in. They were from Ontario, returning from BC. We had a good talk for a little while, and they may have even bolstered my faith in Harleymanity a wee bit.

I carried on through rolling hills,

Long roads

And the hope that the road would stay away from those damp looking clouds.

I passed between stormclouds and felt like a receiver running a seam that has just opened in front of him. The end zone? Montana.


Eastern Montana, at least along highway 2, has an oppressive feel. I just did not feel comfortable there. It seemed like there was so much decay of houses, vehicles, and random old iron. I got the feeling that these were hard times in such a place, and that desperation was slightly rampant.

This is me. Tired, worn out, but not yet comfortable with his surroundings enough to find a place to camp.

This gave me hope. Antique tractors that had been restored.

I got the idea to head off the beaten track and go to Fort Peck Lake, a reservoir created by the world's largest earth-filled dam. When I got there, I found a campsite for $5 that had free showers. I don't think a person can complain about that.

After setting up camp, I went for a little hooligan ride without the bags to check out the dam.

Loose gravel and hairpin turns. You'd better believe I was weighting the outside peg on those ones.

Another night in the books.

No rain, dry air, and cheap, safe, clean camping. Aaahhh.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:07 PM   #25
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day four: Fort Peck Lake, MT, to Sandpoint (area), ID

Odometer: 22020-23005: 985km



It's time to get rolling! Yeehaw! Let's get back into them there mountains. That was my plan for the day. I was just about sick of this prairie land, and my tires were yearning for wear on something other than the center of the tread. Mountains were still a ways away yet.

Getting closer!

This next picture will always remind me to get gas when there's a gas station around. I was passing through a town with heavy construction going on, and there was one station near the end that was partially accessible. I thought that there would be another one, so I just kept on trucking. Well, there wasn't, and I ended up taking a leak on the side of the road about 3 miles out of town before turning around and getting gas from that same place.

The mud is not from me being hardcore.. Just construction.. Although if you want to think of me as hardcore, delude yourselves away.

Parting glances at the prairies. They're like one of those overbearingly nice people you meet from time to time. They're good, but after a while, it's just too much.

Libby, MT. I found a great little restaurant with good homey meals, had a chicken salad sandwich, and headed westward once more.

Straining against the barbed wire limits of the flat.

Yeehaw! Glacier National Park! Corners! I'm back in what I know!

I found that as soon as I hit corners, I no longer looked at my odometer every 10 miles. I was focused on exploiting those twists in the pavement as much as I felt comfortable doing. The traffic was minimal, and when it was there, it was easily passed. I took me some corners. The picture taking came to nearly a dead stop because I was just being selfish.

This shot was taken with the bike running, me turned uncomfortably 180 degrees around, and done quickly so that the cages I had passed couldn't catch up and slow me down again.

No, Udaho. Jerk. Anyway, this marks Idaho, and the return to Pacific Standard Time.

I then found a campsite along a lake just east of Sandpoint. As I was registering, I was greeted by a nice man who was cooking supper. He asked me how far I'd made it today, I mentioned that I'd done about 600 miles, and he asked me if I'd like dinner. He was making 4 pork chops, and there was only one of him.

Well, I couldn't pass that up. He cooked up some big mushrooms and we had pork chops, mushrooms, potatoes, and peas. It was good, to say the least.

Meet Tom. Tom grew up in Texas, then Oregon. He then moved to Alaska to take up commercial fishing. He's fished on and off, and then moved into vehicle sales. He recently separated from his wife, and is drifting along now, hoping to find work in Montana. This guy has not had an easy life, but he has a good heart. The fact that after all this, he is still generous enough to share a meal with a fellow traveler speaks volumes about his character.

We sat around a fire and camped until the dark had consumed the campsite and the embers had turned dark and cold.

This is Hayley, Tom's dog. Tom's request when we parted ways was that I give Hayley a good writeup. Hayley is quite the little dog. She's affectionate and loyal. She has a great character, and is very loveable. I can see why Tom and Hayley get along. They're good together.

Goodnight, Tom and Hayley. I'll remember this night for quite some time.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:08 PM   #26
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day five: Sandpoint, ID, to Osoyoos, BC

Odometer: 23005-23400: 395km


I took my time this morning, checked my chain, lubed it, and got my stuff all sorted out. Stopped over at Tom's for coffee and conversation. He was heading over to Kalispell MT to see a friend who said he could get Tom a job. Best wishes, Tom.

Tom saw me off, and I took time to reflect not only on my dealings with him, but with all the amazing people I met on this trip.

It's said often, but it truly is the case:

You meet the nicest people on a motorcycle.

As I stopped for breakfast, this thing rolled in. I didn't get much of a chance to talk to the owner, but it was a woman riding it, and it was some machine.

Heading up a pass, and hitting a rest stop.

Top o' the pass. All downhill from here.

I took highway 20 through eastern Washington. This was one of the best decisions I made. If you're ever around, check this road out. It's lightly travelled, and it's made up of remarkable scenery and motorcycle-friendly roads. Thumbs up from this young rider.

When I hit Tonasket and a few minutes away from my stop for the night, I noticed a fully loaded KLR in a grocery store parking lot. I had time, so I decided to wait around for the rider to return.

Meet Mel. His place of residence is/was the UK. That's his citizenship, but he spends more time in North/South America than back home. He had just crossed the border from Canada, and was miffed that the customs official had only given him 3 months in the United States before he had to move on. He was hoping to get more time to travel and bum around the States before heading south into Mexico and South America for the winter. He's been doing this for a few years now, and always on a KLR.

He used to have a 2003 greenie, but has since switched over to this 2007 black one you see above. He had 90K miles on his '03 when he donated it to the Elden Carl cause. We talked for a good hour under the shade of a tree in the heat before we parted ways: him to start his exploration of the USA again, and me returning home.

I think we were jealous of each other. I was jealous of all he had done, and he was jealous of all I have yet to do.

Take care, Mel.

Then it was off to my stompin' grounds.

After finding a campsite in among the suburbanites, it was time to seek out my final meal on the road. This I'm turning into a personal tradition. Basically I pamper myself on the last meal, find some classy establishment, walk in caked in bugs with two weeks of growth on my face, and plop myself down for a gourmet meal.

That'll do. Bison steak, potatoes with blue cheese dressing, perfectly cooked asparagus, and a chocolate veal sauce.

I rather enjoyed it.

I then went up the Anarchist hillclimb just to the east of Osoyoos. This little bit of twisties ranks high on my list. Nice hairpins mean a person can get right leaned over. Just watch out for tar snakes.

And that was it. I spent the night talking with more British travelers, these ones in an RV, and took to bed like a fly to a turd.

My last night on the road. It's been a slice.
Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:09 PM   #27
Hamon OP
I just like riding
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: BC, Canada
Oddometer: 289
Day six: Osoyoos, BC, to Abbotsford, BC

Odometer: 23400-23770: 370km

And here I go! Away from all them campers, and back into population.

The road between Osoyoos and the Fraser Valley, highway 3, is a fantastic piece of road. I've said this before, but I'll say it again. I have such a blast on this stretch. I use a lot of fuel, and love every second of it. If you're around BC, take this piece of road. You'll understand.

The mountain I grew up underneath. Mt. Cheam. I'm home.

A stop at the parents' place for a quick clean.

International bugs. I bet when they hatched, they never knew they would make it this far from home.

My rear tire. It's got a bit more life on it, but I decided to not meet up with the ADV Big BC Trailie ride like I was hoping to do on Saturday in Princeton. Another time, maybe with a bigger trailie.

Home. Shackled back to the routine of work, an apartment, and non-adventure half of life that I got to kick for a while.

I guess now I'm supposed to say something meaningful that will wrap up this entire trip in a neat little package.

Rarely have I done what I was supposed to.

Two wheels and half a brain. <- BC to ON and back: KLR650 <- Inuvik 09: KLR650 and DRZ chronicle <- 3 months of moto fantasticity
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:00 PM   #28
Face drop
Joined: Feb 2006
Location: Cape Breton, NS
Oddometer: 756
Hey. Nice trip report. As someone who grew up in Southern Ontario who now lives in Abbotsford it's a familiar journey. I have down the trip on hwy 3 to Calgary twice on a bike (DL650 and ZX9R) and the rest in various cars. You had suprisingly sucky weather. Looked like a good trip.

I would reccomend a DL650 for a trip like that, more comfortable, faster, and better weather protection. However, there is a certain charm in using a simpler, more robust bike.

Looking at the pics of Kootenay pass I feel lucky to only have traversed it in clear weather (although once at 1:00 am, not recomended).

Looks like a good trip. Looking forward to trying something like that myself in the near future.

Too bad my bike is still back in Australia.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:50 PM   #29
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: Location Location
Oddometer: 1,920
I really enjoyed your style. Very impressive all around. Coincidence? I just read two great long KLR cross country RR's in a row. Nice.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:55 PM   #30
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Oddometer: 103

Hope you had a blast.....

You seem to strike me as someone like myself, only 20 yrs younger.

I am planning a trip for next year either to Inuvik YT, or maybe I will turn south out of Alaska and head to Duluth to see my bro and his family. I'm too dumb to know whats right, so I am finally going to see what my upgraded '02 DR650 can do. If I do go to Duluth, then I will cut across upper BC into the land of the lost, and when I return I will head down Hwy 2 thru Montana to Idaho and into Eastern Wash. to visit my Pa for a couple days. Then travel up through BC and back to Fairbanks....

Got to think on this one....

Thanks for the Pics....Pretty good photos... sorry to hear about the weather, but that comes with the territory.
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