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Old 05-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #1
Artlocks OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Gettin old and having those now or never feelings

I didn’t find out about this adv riding thing until recently. I am 52 (body is feeling 72) with one foot in the grave and need hip replacement. I am really getting that now or never feeling.

I want to take an off road motorcycle camping trip on my DR650 in preparation for doing something more epic next year. I need experience and to test myself physically. At the moment I am a complete noob in every facet of the game (riding, wrenching, GPS, navigation). The plan is to ship the bike west in late August/early Sept. I am looking at 2 weeks off-road before slabbing it the rest off the way back to Raleigh NC.

Q1. I need a route. I would like to start from the west and meander towards home or do a loop. I was thinking about the TAT west to east. But it doesn't have to be the TAT. It only has to be mostly off road. Maybe I can link together excursions like the Burr trail and MOAB with other various routes suggested here. I am pretty wide open.

Anyone have any suggestions for west to east routes through these states: California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas? Are there any routes you have seen that were especially interesting?

Even though I am a noob, the route doesn’t have to be real easy. But not too difficult either since I will be solo. I would also be interested in doing a local ride with someone willing to ride with a slow old man.

Q2. Where do I ship the bike to? I am thinking a city easy to fly into like Reno or Sacramento. Do I need to ship it to a dealer?
Any recommendations for shipper and destination points?

I have a million questions but these are the most pressing. Once I get some suggestions I can select a starting point. Just looking for the best 2 weeks off-road I can get.
Thanks in advance
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:37 AM   #2
Old Geezer
Joined: Jun 2007
Location: No.VA
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Steve, I'm a bit older than you but get those same feelings, so two years ago I started working out. I go to an old geezer's gym class twice a week. I work with heavy weights twice more a week and blew out my right knee this winter. But I'm still working out. My goal is to lift my 1150 GS when it's loaded.

That DR sounds like a good idea. Other than a bum wrist, elbow and knee I have to bring up another old geezer problem. When was the last time you camped out? Sleeping on the ground is no longer as much fun as it was forty years ago. I've tried thermarest's, foam pads, down filled air mattress, Thermarest with extra pad and foam with air. I won't even mention pillows.
Next up will be that $200 super cot.

Since this is a training run why bother going out west? A short ride and you have the Smokey Mountains with good dirt roads to start on. Then head for WV and their trillon miles of dirt, including the Hatfield-McCoy trail.

Between NC,TN,WV and VA there are a lot of dirt roads to work out on to get in riding shape. Plus easy access to motels and home should the need occur. Until you have found just what gear you need now as opposed to then it's good to have an easy backup plan.

I once took off for a summer long surfing trip with a sweatshirt, 3 tees, 2 shorts, 1 sleeping bag and half a dozen bars of wax. Times change.
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:47 AM   #3
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Location: Huntsville, AL
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+1 on the Smokey mountains. Lots of great DS riding in the east and you save the trouble of shipping the bike and then wasting time on the slab to get home. This way you could do 2 one week rides. The first ride would be a good chance to try stuff out and then you could change what didn't work and try ther new stuff on the second trip. There is a lot of great riding out west but it might not be the best idea for a first trip.

BTW, I'm the same age and looking forward to having the TIME to do a real adventure ride. I wish knew about this stuff when I was younger and had more time. Better late than never. Whatever you decide, good luck on your trip. Here's a sample of DS riding in W-NC and E. TN:

Great riding but the closest I came to camping was staying in a motel without a breakfast bar
I ride, Therefore I Am.

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Old 05-26-2010, 03:15 PM   #4
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Here for now; but leaving soon
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Ok, here it is although it doesn't address anything specific to your post. Then again maybe someone else may see - there is no time but now to do it.

Here is the thumb nail:

1976: Bought the first bike - a R90S in Smoke. Wish I had keep it. Many, many miles. Here is a giggle: Lived in San Luis Obispo, CA - 210 miles from Beverly Hills - a few times a buddy and I, he was riding a BMW R75, got the idea what a great idea to blast to Beverly Hills and catch a movie. No big deal you say? Well true; but we did this after work, ohhhh around 5:30PM and had to make the return with the departure from BH around 10:30PM

Over the years have had many BMW's. Many unofficial IBA 1000 mile runs.
First IBA was when age 60. Now a few years later looking at the 50CC. Have read about a gent that has done IBA's in his 80's.

Bought my R1200GS in 2005. That year went to two of Jim Hydes Adventure Rides. If you get a chance, you really must do one! Great fun! Never became the "best off road" rider; think the bike has been down as much as up. Still great adventures.

Today, after a knee surgury not going real well I have thought the "dual sport" was behind me; but ohhhhh nooooo! Since it may be a bit precarious riding dirt with a bum knee I have now made the decision to add a sidecar
and keep on chewing up the dirt! Heck can't fall over

What's the point to the post - NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! Never Ever Accept your age

Now go ride - you ain't gettin' any younger!!!
IBA #27356
BMW Mileage Award 300,000 and adding to it
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:49 PM   #5
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Location: Burlington VT
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Hey Artlocks,

A couple thoughts here. Since I don't know your situation I'm certainly not preaching, merely throwing out some food for thought.

1) I'd do my training runs local and build up to it. As you get older your body doesn't recover as fast, why go all the way out West to find out you're shot after 3 days?

2) Slab sucks, period.

3) I agree w/ the comment about camping, did lots when I was younger but that was then. I don't even like cheap hotels anymore.

4) Lots to know or figure out, I'd do a little at a time rather than a crash course. I tried that approach w/ GPS and found out trying to learn it under pressure didn't work so good.

5) Finally, and this is my key point. When I got in my fifties I found my sense of age had more to do w/ lifestyle then calender. Yup, that means eating your veggies and hitting the gym. Just turning 61 and when I am on the program, I feel good, damn good. When I fall off the wagon sort of speak I feel 10 years older just like that. I now have a Dr. that slaps me around when I'm bad. There is a helluva lotta living to do, the effort is worth it.
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:18 PM   #6
Just passing thru
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Moscow, Idaho
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Don't go west of the Sierras or Cascades if you are tentative on the bike. Send your bike to Missoula. A smaller town and right in the middle of dualsport heaven. Or..Spokane or Boise.

Westfest is just south of Missoula in July

Idaho has 35000miles of forest and county gravel roads. The other states surrounding it are similar. I'm just partial to Idaho.

Lots of easy roads to spectacular vistas. If you haven't been in this area you probably have no idea of the volume of riding to be done. You could spend two weeks within a day of Missoula and have just touched it.

If you are unsure what to bring for gear, just bring a credit card. We have big outdoor stores in Missoula, Spokane, and Boise.

And 52 is not old. You've got 20 yrs of riding to do.

If you are cranky from sleeping on the ground, get a down filled air mattress like Big Agnes or Exped. Expensive but worth it.

It isn't hard, just take the first step. Ride one day at a time. Ride your own ride. I do about 300 mi a day usually, but on occasion I'll ride much less.

Good luck. See you on the road.
The gate guard glares at me. "It's after curfew." He looks me up and down, "What do you think you are, some kind of ****** tourist?" ..Phu Loi 1969
My Idaho =7893

thetourist screwed with this post 05-26-2010 at 06:26 PM
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Old 05-26-2010, 06:38 PM   #7
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HMMMMMM,, I am 73 and I feel 52????? You are going to have to come up with a better excuse than that...... Old at 52,,
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Old 05-26-2010, 07:10 PM   #8
baloneyskin daddy
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I would really try to find a partner or 2 especially for your 1st trip.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:45 PM   #9
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52 is past antique, and that's considered pretty old.
If you're fat and out of shape and admit it, you have a chance for a new and long life.
You know your poor physical condition is impairing your mental condition. It's all Domino's - plain and simple.

Do whatever you need to do to start dumping weight. Create a year plan, not a weekly or quick-month plan. You want it to hold longterm.

If you can do this - a year isn't that long - and you'll have a handle on it, and you'll feel great. A weak person can allow themself to become debitated for the rest of their life through laziness.

Change some things and create a new mission. I'm 55.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:06 PM   #10
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I'm at the 52 year of age ...and have the same or maybe never....body of an old man now due to car accident, herniated discs in my back and neck, one fused.
So...I'm going to do what I can now and not wish I should have could have while I to speak.
So..I'm off to the D2D and from there to Inuvik...the furthest point in Canada that one can ride to....if I am correct.
Just a few more weeks and my adventure will begin...excellent....can't wait!

I wish it was as easy as a mind set to make things right again..but pain can deter you from reaching the goal some times. One can only live on meds for so long.

I'm off and exploring while I can.........carrying a bucket of meds as I go...just in
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:58 PM   #11
Alcan Rider
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Reading posts from the OP onward, I get confused a little (my usual state, I should add). Artlocks, why are you set on "off road"? Do you really mean off roads, i.e. on trails through the woods, or do you mean riding on back roads, mostly gravel?

If it's the latter, as some others have mentioned, you could keep it closer to home and still get some great riding in while not pushing yourself to the point where something could really go wrong. You wouldn't need to go any further west than Kansas (it actually has some nice places to ride) or Nebraska, with Wyoming offering some of the best you'll find anywhere.

Don't know if you've looked over any of the photos in the Ride Reports thread entitled "Show us your pictures on the 'Great Plains'", here: Great Plains Lots of back roads, gravel roads, with plenty that look like camping is readily available.

Work up to this a little more gradually, rather than risk finding it discouraging by biting off too big a bite at first. You want to come back home wanting to do it again; not wondering why you ever thought you wanted to. That's more likely to keep you enthused about the epic journey to come.

BTW: I'm 71 and getting ready to make another run up to Prudhoe Bay this weekend. Don't let a number determine your attitude toward riding.
"I am in the prime of senility." Ben Franklin
I'm so old I remember when the gallons rose faster than the dollars on gas pumps.
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Old 05-28-2010, 09:36 PM   #12
Artlocks OP
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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Thanks everyone for the encouraging replies and advice. It is good to see some of you are still doing this in spite of age and medical issues. I also see from a lot of the replies that it is not clear where I am coming from.

First, about my physical condition. I am and have always been extremely active. I carry no extra weight. I go to the gym, mountain bike, swim and play tennis. My problems or potential problems are all genetic. I have had 3 knee operations and one will need replacing in the next 3-5 years. My hip needs replacing now. Both parents died of cancer in their mid-fifties, my sister who is 53 recently had a heart attack. Maybe I am little paranoid but there is a lot of evidence backing up that paranoia.

This will not be my first ride. I did a 10 day ride in the Philippines last December. Maybe it was all hotels and a small bike (XR200), but I still managed to do long days on the bike. A lot of it was off road too.

There are several reasons I want to go out west. I love the west and I have a window of opportunity to do this before I am on the operating table again. I have taken many car trips west. Also I think the heat and desert and off-road will help me prepare for next years "dream" ride.

I won't go out west "cold". I have nearly 3 months to prepare and have already done a lot with the bike. I will do weekend camping trips and off road rides before I go. I will practice with my GPS (Garmin 60CSx).
I think I will be able handle camping. If not, the solution is simple. I will probably get that $200 cot too.

I have only been off-road twice. I wasn't very good but I liked it. However there isn't any near Raleigh . I think I will be ok when I put on some knobbies.

I always had to have an adventure to look forward to. If it is too comfortable, or safe or close to home then I won't get that WTF am I doing feeling that I need.

It probably is a good idea to have a partner for this, but I am not sure I will get that same sense of freedom if I have to compromise. I would like to meet riders along the way and ride some of their local trails with them. I also noticed that when I have traveled overseas the sense of adventure was much more when I was alone.

Anyway you all can wake up now , that's where I am coming from.

Still need some advice on a good starting point and routes. Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2010, 05:08 PM   #13
Lone Rider
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Location: out and about
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Originally Posted by Alcan Rider
...BTW: I'm 71 and getting ready to make another run up to Prudhoe Bay this weekend. Don't let a number determine your attitude toward riding.
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Old 05-29-2010, 07:38 PM   #14
Ungeneer to broked stuff.
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Damascus, MD
Oddometer: 2,860
There are all sorts of levels of dual sports. My serious off road & motocross days are long behind me, largely because it's just not where my wants are anymore. I'm a coupla years older than you & a trail through the woods to see a sunset sounds SO much better now.

You're in an area others travel TO to ride. Here's a thread that's only 667 pages long that's mostly dual-sporters in your area. I'd highly recommend putting a post there that you're 50-ish & looking to pick up experience. This is the season and you ought to get a bunch of offers.
Note also the DixieDualSports group has a big membership in your area. There's also a real active photo tag group.

Definitely start camping in your backyard and on weekends, even if the campground is only an hour or two away. Camping is mostly just a matter of habits which come through evolution and just doing it. The thing is to find what level you want. I enjoy it but only if there's a purpose, nothing else I feel like I'm putting off, and no f'ing backpack. If you try to throw yourself into a tent and sleeping bag and wonder where to put your boots or towel, or about wildlife.... well, that's a clue.

As for all the health angst, in 3 years I'll be the age my Grandfather died, and a couple of years later I'll be the age my Dad died at. As I get closer it is definitely on my mind regularly. But I know that my doctor watches me with much better tools, and I don't have the drinking/smoking/weight burdens that they overloaded themselves with. I'm doing what I can and beyond that, just living like I think I should and how I think they would've wanted me to, because the mortality rate is 100% around here.

In the meantime, balance in all things and just grow into it.
Super Tenere & WR250R, AMA, IBA
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:35 PM   #15
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At 50 I took up riding again, and for the last ten years have at least 15K a year. I'll be 60 in July and can't see giving it up anytime soon. Of course, I've also let trail, mud and dirt riding go to the more able, but I ride, and when I gotta go, take me out with my throttle down. No lime jello in the nursing home for me. Saludos
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