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Old 01-03-2010, 04:41 PM   #1
scarysharkface OP
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Big Bend Gets A New Village Idiot - Dec '09/Jan '10

This is going to take me a while to string together. I've got to sort through a brazillion photographs. I'm guessing I'll still be posting pics while the kids are painting Easter Eggs.

After spending the better part of Thanksgiving week in Big Bend with friends [ http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529268 ], I was able to get a pass to return five weeks later to do more exploring and spend more time looking through the camera and generally just staring off into the desert.

Did I mention that my lovely wife, PinkToad, is fantastic? She is.

My plan was to carry the DR350 down from Indiana on the back of the Jeep, inside of which I would sleep. I had my good Nat Geo map of the park, a GPS, fuel can, arctic sleeping bag, spare clothes, some Pop Tarts and about 10 gallons of water.

Yes, I tend to over-plan and over-pack.

Departure day was to be December 26th. I was ready.

Kissed Tracy goodbye and hollered into the kids' bedrooms that I was leaving and then slipped out into the wild, snow-covered world...

It seemed perfect to be leaving for the desert.



I suppose it was.

How many miles before this melts off? Probably be all gone in a couple of hours..







Apparently there had been some drama and excitement while I was asleep. And some swimming. Brrrrrr!





I would endeavor to not share this fate.

John
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
Klay
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:50 PM   #3
Thorne
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bring on the pictures...........
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:52 PM   #4
bobw
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:00 PM   #5
Pinktoad
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Did I mention that you owe me?
SO glad you are home!
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:03 PM   #6
GB
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Lucky "idiot" to have such a loving and supportive PinkToad

Bring on the fun..

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Old 01-03-2010, 05:20 PM   #7
TexasShadow
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Glad to see you made it home okay. And left that damned white crap in your neighborhood.

Remember that the position of Village Idiot rotates. I had it the day before we adopted you.
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:22 PM   #8
VO1MX
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Looking forward to this one as well John
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:24 PM   #9
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Inside of a couple hundred miles the roads are dry and I've nothing to worry about except the holes and two-inch cement ledges along I-70 heading into St. Louis.

Does it look better spelt-out? Saint Louis. Not sure which I like more. Maybe if it were Sainte Louise. Meh.



I like the hills west of SL (apparently I'm not too attached to spelling it out after all, or was I ever?) and can only imagine (at this point, at least) what the back roads must be like on a bike on a warm summer afternoon. Blasting through islands of warm and cool air as the canopy shelters and exposes...



Things could always be worse. Always. Things. Worse. Could. Be. I wonder if Missouri uses the same point system as Indiana?



Not really much excitement for me, other than the realization that a new steering damper doesn't fix the shimmy when I have weight hanging off the back end and hit the magic combination of big pothole/ledge while engaged in a left-turning sweeper at 65 miles per hour. So yeah, I guess there was quite a bit of excitement for several seconds while I figured that one out.

Have I mentioned how awesome my wife is? And how boring teh Innerstate is at 55?

Then Okahoma hits the fan.

I would swear to you that Oklahoma doesn't own a snow plow, but I would be dishonest. They have several, and deployed them to the ditches lining I-44. One must pay cash money to see them.

I keep it in 2-High and don't drive like every other person, which treats me well and keeps me, shall we say, "going" albeit at 25 miles per hour. The conversion factor is roughly 1 tow truck parked in the ditch for every 10 minutes barely traveled.

I feel like a complete Yankee stud at this point. Not a bad feeling at all, considering I must surely be one now.



Tulsa eventually greets me with a light show and un-plowed ice.



I return the favor by dropping $5 at a Starbucks, so that Seattle can buy a snow plow instead.

The single-lane construction around Lawton? Really, really bad. Deep rutted ice. Looked like they got a foot of snow, let one truck drive through it then let it ice-over. Nasty stuff.

I finally decide I've had a beautiful day behind the wheel, jamming to the mp3 player (it plumbs into the Jeep's stereo - no earbuds for me while driving) and generally just being my awesome self. The McDonalds parking lot in the services area just North of Wichita Falls is calling my name and I must obey.

Surely I'm finished with snow- and ice-covered roads. Tomorrow will be a fantastically easy day.

Quick shot of the Garmin for posterity..



Ah... The sleeping bag does feel good, and the eyes do welcome the closure of this fine day on the road...

John
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:50 PM   #10
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Hi,
Always a bit intrigued by those racks. Guess that's a KLR you have on it so the whole thing must weigh in excess of 420lbs and the leverage effect must be substantial. Even more so if you go over a big hole in the road.
Are you bolting back to the chassis or attaching to a towball frame.
Since towball loads cannot exceed 100kg on lots of vehicles I cant understand how you can put even more weight further out.
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:53 PM   #11
Questor
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Hey Mr. Scary.

Love the pictures so far...

I can't wait to see Big Bend. I missed it last Sept.

Show us the 'love'.

Subscribed....


Q~
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:13 PM   #12
achesley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werewasi
Hi,
Always a bit intrigued by those racks. Guess that's a KLR you have on it so the whole thing must weigh in excess of 420lbs and the leverage effect must be substantial. Even more so if you go over a big hole in the road.
Are you bolting back to the chassis or attaching to a towball frame.
Since towball loads cannot exceed 100kg on lots of vehicles I cant understand how you can put even more weight further out.

He had a DR350 on the rack so probably about 50 or so pounds lighter than a KLR650. My '00 KLR650 weight was 400 pounds full of gas. I would run the tank pretty well down there before loading it on my Mototote which it and the 2" receiver were 500 pounds rated. This put the bike about 18" behind the bumper. Biggest problem was the head lights being way high. Next was the vague feeling on the front with the added weight back there , even though I had air shocks on the rear to raise the bummer back to unloaded height. But, I got used to it. This was on an '03 Standard Cab / 8 ft bed Chevy with an inline camper shell on it. The DR650 I had for a while was much easier to load and didn't pull the back so much. Think it was about 30 pounds light than the KLR.
I wonder what he had to back up the rear suspension my own self.
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:15 PM   #13
scarysharkface OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by werewasi
Hi,
Always a bit intrigued by those racks. Guess that's a KLR you have on it so the whole thing must weigh in excess of 420lbs and the leverage effect must be substantial. Even more so if you go over a big hole in the road.
Are you bolting back to the chassis or attaching to a towball frame.
Since towball loads cannot exceed 100kg on lots of vehicles I cant understand how you can put even more weight further out.
It's the el-cheapo brand from Harbor Freight. It works well enough, although I found that strapping each end of it to the spare tire keeps the bike from wiggling. Rack is rated for 400 pounds and the literature shows a KLR on it.

The factory receiver hitch on the Jeep is rated for 500 pounds tongue weight.

Bike is a 260-ish pound DR350.

As will no doubt be revealed later in the report (so don't read this), the shimmy is the result of many things, not the least of which likely is the light front end (with the bike on the back) and aftermarket heavier springs with a 2-1/2 inch lift. The Jeep behaves identically with a Kendon trailer attached, but is spiffy-stable with people and nothing on the hitch. An additional factor is the opposite-sides-for-front-and-rear trackbar configuration which causes the vehicle to rotate counter-clockwise as the springs are compressed. Thus nailing an obstacle at-speed with a slightly loosey-goosey load on the rear exacerbates the tendency to rotate. A heavier front bumper (I've got a winch to mount on one) and grill guard, plus upgrading the shocks and steering damper should address the issue for all conditions. As they say, all it takes is money! It will be a long-term project.

I appreciate your input on this, as it's a known problem that's somewhat unique to solid axle Jeeps. It's commonly referred to as the Death Wobble, and the '79 CJ I drove in high school had it under certain loaded conditions as well...

John
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:21 PM   #14
scarysharkface OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasShadow
Glad to see you made it home okay. And left that damned white crap in your neighborhood.

Remember that the position of Village Idiot rotates. I had it the day before we adopted you.
I left around 5 am. The propane heaters and electric blankets were the last straw.

John
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Old 01-03-2010, 06:22 PM   #15
achesley
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I've about decided that if I get another bike to carry on my rack, I'll go with air bags on the rear springs. They carry better loads than air shocks.
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