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Old 11-07-2004, 03:20 PM   #1
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Five Days and 1550 Miles On A 750 Thumper

I have wanted a DR750 for a long time. About 15 years or so.

I crossed paths with a fella from Quebec via ebay and we made a deal on his '88 DR750S. He had the bike for five years, and had made a number of very well thought out modifications to the bike, but was ready to move on. I, on the other hand, am moving backwards. I have 'devolved' from a ZX12R, VMAX and the like to simpler rides - R100GS, a couple KTM's, a F650 Dakar, and now the DR-BIG. The simpler bikes suit the present mission much better.

I flew up to Montreal, and Stephan picked me up at the airport. We had dinner and talked bikes for hours, as it was cold and raining. In the morning, it was time to suit up and go. The sun was breaking through the clouds, but it was cold, damp and windy. A harbinger of things to come.

The whole trip ended up being 1552 miles, and took me five days to do. There were a few weather hazards and mechinical issued which needed to be dealt with along the way, and a few social stops too.

How to deal with the issues..........??


More to follow after I ride to the store and get some beer.
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Old 11-07-2004, 03:34 PM   #2
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Old 11-07-2004, 04:04 PM   #3
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:00 PM   #4
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Got meself a sixpack of Newcastles....

DAY ONE
:

Since it was about 33 degrees in Quebec this damp and raw morning, Stephan and I went to get some breakfast and chat more about the DR750 and stuff in general. It struck me that despite the French Canadians being quite culturally different than the average American, there are many common interests and values. Canada and the US are kin, whether we like it or not.

We checked the bike over one last time. After noting the peculiar model of tires, a Pirelli MT50 in front and a MT60 in the rear, it occured to me to keep an eye on them as they felt hard as hell, and were about 60% worn. We corrected the air in the tires to 29psi front and 36 psi rear, per the specs in the Suzuki shop manual. The motor had a fresh filter and Rotella. The air filter was a automotive style conical K&N - the airbox was modified to utilize it since DR750 filters must be somewhat rare in these parts.



The bike also had many custom and one off parts manufactured by Stephan or some of his buddies. He's an Industrial Designer by trade. LED lighting, custom aluminum triple clamps, Staintune muffler adapted from a VTR Honda were some of the cool parts. Perhaps the nicest, was the custom seat he made, which has an inletted area with a gel pad.

That aside, it was still about 35 degrees, with traces of sun poking out here and there. It was windy and raw. Not good biking weather. I layered up under the Kilimanjaro jacket. I had a pair of Joe Rocket Ballistic pants, Gaerne Balance boots (with thick wool socks thank God), an Arai RX7, and a pair of armoured snowboarding gloves.

The bike is a cantankerous SOB to start when it's cold. But it was in Stephan's garage overnight, so she fired right up.



I had two original plans:


  • 1. Ride west through Canada and cross into the US at Sault Sainte Marie and head over to see my Sister in Minneapolis.
  • 2. Go south to find warmth.
Since it was cold, and I saw a front heading east, with snow, I decided to head south into NY. I crossed at Lacolle/Rouses Point. Ordinarily, I would have though this to be a big deal being on a Canadian spec bike ridden by an American with three different US addresses. This was mechanical issue number one came up. The clutch began to drag, soon overheated, and became unuseable in line. Undaunted, I pushed the bike to the border, determined to get "in".

When I pushed the bike to the customs agent, he said, "Whaddaya doin', buddy?"
I replied, "I'm going home."
"Where ya headed?"
"Tennessee."
"Ya better hurry, it's gonna snow, dood!"
"Yer kiddin, right?"
"Nope."



And that was it. No license, no passport, no questions.

Back in the States, I decided I'd better make some time south on I87. Goddamn, it's cold. The temp never reached higher than 37 that day.

Down around Plattsburg, I stopped to see a little of the Big Apple.





It was too cold to dillydally or take many pics. In fact, those big snowboarding gloves pretty well preclude a feller from taking pics while he rides. I went through a few snow flurries in the northern part of NY.

The bike has a 29 liter set of fuel tanks, and gets about 50mpg on the road. I say 'set', because it actually has a left and right tank, and two gascaps - Jaguar-esque. The bike has one tooth larger countershaft sprocket and at 75mph, it turns 4500 rpm - right in the fat part of the torque curve. Seems like every rpm is right in the middle of the torque curve.

As the sun sets and darkness approaches, the temperature drops. I pulled off 87 and went down 9W to avoid the tolls south of Albany. Near Catskill, I found a lonely and seedy motel with ground floor rooms. I unbolted one of the hard bags, and clandestinely slipped the bike inside the room, much to the unknowing horror of the proprietor.

I needed to check out the clutch and a intermittent starter switch. First, I get a burger to help with the thinking process.



While dismantling the bike, I discovered the Bush won the election. After re-sequencing the clutch plates and re-sealing the side cover, I figure the clutch is a gonner, with several steel plates discolored a probably warped. I adjust the lever to get maximum disengagement travel, and I'll have to be careful to put the bike in neutral at every stop and release the clutch so it won't drag and continue it's meltdown.

I clean the starter switch contacts and realize that I need to source a new switch soonest.

The slight topes placed in front of us while traveling the road of life is what adds adventure to it.

I head over to the cantina to have a couple Rolling Rocks and relax a bit before sleep. The weatherman says I'm screwed tomorrow.
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Old 11-07-2004, 05:16 PM   #5
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At the end of day 1, I think about the fact that gas was C$0.88/liter in Canada. That's what, about $3.50/gallon? Taxes suck.

Also, I notice the Pirellis have worn horribly in a very wierd way. I begin to suspect they won't make the 1,200+ miles left to go. So, I rearrange my trip to go into Pennsylvania, since no matter which way I go, there's an inch of rain and sub 40 degree temps waiting for me.

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Old 11-07-2004, 06:08 PM   #6
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DAY 2:

After weaseling the bike back outside when no one was looking, I bolt the hard bag back on and pack up the bike. After about two liters of coffee to help heat me up, I take off down route 9 to Kingston, and jump on 209 south. I didn't see Mike Tyson in Catskill, BTW. Everyone and his brother had OCC shirts and regalia for sale. Then I crossed into Orange County.

I'm trying to make the whole trip on two lane back roads, at least as much as possible. I stopped for fuel in Port Jervis.





The rain began right after, real hard, too. When I reached Milford, PA, I stayed on 209 through the Delaware Water Gap Nat'l Recreation Area. There was a bad wreck on 209 at Hamilton, so I went south to Bath and headed back west towards Jim Thorpe. The rain was coming down in buckets, so no pics of this part. Despite the rain, the roads were fantastic. A wierd vibration started, and when I pulled over to investigate, the rear tire carcass was beginning to come apart, and the tread was wearing badly.

I decided to go see an old friend in Port Clinton - Hermy Baver. And see about a tire. At Pottsville, I headed south on Route 61 to Port Clinton. It's been about 10 years since I've been there.

When I pulled up, it was raining, windy, cold - and there wasn't a soul in the parking lot, but the lights were on.



I went on in, and Herm (the father) was off on something, but Herm Jr was there. The place was completely different inside. The last time I was here, this showroom was full of old Morinis and Morini parts.



After chatting a bit, a set of Tourances were picked for the big Suzook. Hermy also has a motel next store - the Union House, so I got a room for the night. The weather is calling for clearing overnight, but with 50mph winds for the next day.



Stuff hidden in the basement:

Boxercup!

A nice old 3 1/2:

The skeleton of an old roadracer:

When was the last time you saw an SRX250 - with less than 400 miles on it?


After hanging around and watching Havoc DVD's at the shop (the P-D sand jump wrecks are awesome), I went on over to the Union house for food, drink and sleep.

The bar was cool, and I was the only one there.



Barry cooked me the works - hot sausage soup, crabcakes, and weiner schnizel. Awesome.

I was the only one in the house that night - the Union house was originally built in 1845, and refurbed in 1988.

Mmmm, beer:



I anxiously awaited ghosts.



But what appeared was this:



While I was mapping out a course for tomorrow, I had to dry all my crap while the storm raged outside. The draft Yuengling was fabulous.



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Old 11-07-2004, 06:12 PM   #7
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Gotta go get a beer, I'm loosing strength.

Back in a bit for Day 3.
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Old 11-07-2004, 08:15 PM   #8
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About the DR750S --->

This thing is huge. Physically, it feels about the size of a KTM950, but with much less power, and lousy brakes. And a small charging capacity. And an 80's-esque suspension.

It has a boatload of torque, gets good gas mileage, has an enormous range and is comfy.

Electric clothes, grips and all that snazzy stuff is NFW when you only have ~190 watts to give at 5k, unless you don't need lights.

So this trip was spartan. Clothes=warm, not electrical resistance. That's OK, because that stuff wasn't around in the day anyway. Not that it wouldn't have been welcome.

The front brake has gotten really bad over the last five hundred miles. In fact, it sucks. The rear sprocket carrier bearing is going south, and the cush drive elastomers are dead. A few more things to handle when I get back to the Garage Majal.
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Old 11-07-2004, 08:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspipe
I have wanted a DR750 for a long time. About 15 years or so....

How to deal with the issues..........??


More to follow after I ride to the store and get some beer.
hey! I stayed in that room once.
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Old 11-07-2004, 08:32 PM   #10
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Old 11-07-2004, 08:37 PM   #11
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Old 11-07-2004, 08:38 PM   #12
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DAY 3:



Today is a short day. I'm going to visit some family in Burkittsville, MD. The Blair Witch place.

I head down the road to 3C's for breakfast. Awesome food if you're ever in the area on RT 61.



I have never seen a garage built around a tree before.



Fresh rubber for the other thousand miles. I finish up at Hermy's and load up the bike.



Back on the road.



The wind is horrible, gusting to 50MPH. Sucks on a tall bike like the DR.

I head south on 61 through Hamburg and Reading, then southwest through York and to Gettysburg. I cut across 15 and head into the hills on Catoctin Hollow Road to avoid the traffic of Frederick, and also that damned wind.

Solitude.





The road turns to dirt for a while. What a relief. Haven't seen another vehicle for miles now.

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Old 11-07-2004, 08:55 PM   #13
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The sun is setting as I reach Burkittsville. The backroads are worth the few extra miles, perfectly maintaned, smooth and full of smooth curves.




The lighting is surreal, and the digital camera can only hope to catch some of the color.



Maybe there IS a Blair Witch?



I hook up with my wife's family, and as it turns out, the Burkittsville Ruritan just butchered 34 hogs the day before, and I got there just in time for fried fresh pork tenderloin for dinner. It was fabulous.

While sipping a Heiney, I watch the last of the sun fade away over a freshly baled field of hey.



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Old 11-07-2004, 09:01 PM   #14
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Cool bike gassy.

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Old 11-07-2004, 09:19 PM   #15
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Gaspipe - That's a great looking moto you picked up. I gotta admit, I have not seen a Suzuki like that before. Nice - P
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