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Old 03-22-2011, 07:27 PM   #46
TK-LA OP
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Day 2.1 after a night of stress

Day 1 ended with a crap meal and a busted up tire. We had pulled into Motel 6, actually not that bad, and I noticed some gaps where there isn't supposed to be gaps.



Well, of course I was freaking out. This stupid bike has a unique tire size that no one carries. Ben tried to reassure me and we decided we'd call around the next morning and see if anyone could replace it quickly. But that didn't reassure me and I had a fitful night of waking and sleeping and finally downed two Nyquil capsules and got some sleep.

Morning dawned and I was amazed at how a little sleep made everything so much better. The horror of Beatty was now pretty funny and I had a positive outlook on the tire situation. If we couldn't find a replacement I was confident it would take me the rest of the weekend.

So after a crap cuppa coffee and a soggy Subway breakfast sandwich I called the only place that had a tire, Nevada Suzuki 127 miles south in Las Vegas...only they couldn't mount it for at least a week and a half. Oh well, off we set down rt 95 and Death Valley junction. (without telling the wives about the tire, of course. No need to them to worry unnecessarily.)

Wow, what a long straight road.



Straight, chilly and it was DAMN WINDY, too.


But it was the classic Western landscape


50 miles later we made it to Death Valley Junction and stopped for a moment at the Amargosa Opera House. Wow, what a desolate place, but kind of cool.



Showing the fatigue in my eyes


Back into the park we went...and WOW, the scenery was great. It kept changing so you never got bored. This particular scene just stopped us in our tracks.

Another angle


And then up the aptly named Dante's View Road...


To Dante's View where Ben and I had a camera shoot out...


But the view was stunning. Somewhere down there is the lowest point in the US.


On the way to Furnace Creek we had to get the obligatory shot of the "Park Off Pavement" sign...oh, and there was a "Sea Level" sign there too, which was pretty cool. From this point on we were heading down to...


Death Valley, zip code 92326, this point was 192 feet below Sea Level.


Before lunch, though, Ben struggled out of his suit
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:44 PM   #47
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Day 2.2, things are looking up.

Nothing makes you feel as re-energized as a satisfying meal.


With dessert, of course


And a bit of gas and a shot near the sign that is also obligatory.


And off into the desert. Say, this is kind of flat, eh?


Here, take my picture...


A monument...


And, apparently, and Evil Farmer's Market.


CRAP!!, Forgot to take a pic when it rolled over to 25,000


Ooh, pretty. Chocolate swirls?


Some say he never blinks, and that he roams around the woods at night foraging for wolves.

Some say that he's terrified of ducks, and that there's an airport in Russia named after him.

Some say his skin has the texture of a dolphin's, and that wherever you are in the world, if you tune your radio to 88.4, you can actually hear his thoughts.

The Stig?


...and we're out of the park on the way to Lone Pine


From our hotel in Lone Pine. The Best Western Frontier Motel. I highly recommend it. Nice location, nice staff and a cute town.


Supper time!
(ignore the grease. This pizza was fantastic!)


Hmm, dessert?


Oh, no, this is much better.
About this shot; I'm not saying where the minds of the designers were, but a six pack fits PERFECTLY in those saddlebags...I'm just saying.


Aaaaah, good to get those off.


Day 2 ended and it was brilliant. Nice ride, good food, good conversation over some almost local beers...
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.

TK-LA screwed with this post 03-22-2011 at 08:17 PM
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:16 PM   #48
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Day 3 or as it will from now on be referred to, Brrrrrrrr...aaaahhh...brrrr

Day 3 dawned chilly and drizzly. This is when we discovered the biggest downer of the Best Western, the free "breakfast".

The hot portion that was promised was some fresh out of the can western gravy schmutz and some biscuits. So we downed some cereal, coffee and some toast and packed up just as the rain really began...


...and headed down 395 facing a forecast of rain, possible sleet and "High Wind Warnings", one of my most feared weather events. On the very light GS500f the "f" stands for fairing and that fairing provides a darn good wind barrier. Picture yourself trying to hold a sheet of plywood against the wind and now go 70 mph and have the wind come from the side.

We got pretty lucky from Lone Pine through Lancaster. Yeah, there was rain and a bit of wind, and at 4,000 feet we heard the plink of sleet on our facemasks, but no massive gusts.

However, about 50 miles outside of Lone Pine Ben reported a bit of moistness forming and he was freezing. Off the highway we went at Coso, California when we spotted a "Convenience" store. Great, they have hoodies!

"How much are these, sir?"

"$60"

"Uh, ok, buh bye"

But the stop was enough to re energize us a bit and to get us back on the road and we pushed on the next 70 miles to Mojave. Along the way Ben kept me up to date on just how much water was flowing into his "rain" suit. And, as you boys know, when you're on a bike the cold rain goes straight to our most sensitive spot.

In Mojave we stopped for a break at McDonald's, which was pretty much populated by a slew of other two wheeled travelers. We stripped down and got a large hot coffee and a very satisfying Sausage McMuffin.



I think we might have stayed there for over an hour and a half. Ben was freezing and wet and I had no problem staying until he stopped shivering. My new First Gear Kathmandu jacket and rain pants were holding up pretty good, but the boots did collect a bit of rain and my "waterproof" gloves failed miserably, but still kept me relatively warm.

We finally decided it was time to brave the final leg and pushed on.

Unbelievably, we had no real wind to deal with until, literally, at the "Welcome to Palmdale" sign. BAM! I got slammed from the front left with a wall of wind that was blowing the rain sideways AND UP!!!

"Ben, I gotta get off this freeway. Next exit, please!"

We got off the exit and felt our way south on the surface streets. We found Sierra Highway, which kind of went in the right direction. Around Acton, CA we thought we came to a point where we needed to try the Freeway again. MASSIVE rain and wind, five cars with flat tires, rocks strewn across the highway and a flipped over car later I begged to try the surface streets again.
--> From McDonald's on poor Ben kept me updated on the water level in his boots.
"My feet are pretty wet"
"My feet are pretty much covered"
"I think the water is at my ankles"
"Yep, it's over my ankles."

We found Sierra Hwy again and made our way to where it met San Fernando Road, just where the 5 and the 14 meet. THANK GOD! We're getting close. I was still 23 miles from home, but I knew how to make it there without using the highway.

As we headed down San Fernando I was still buffeted by the wind and rain, but at this slower pace it was more manageable.

Ben took off towards home when we saw Van Nuys Blvd and I had to ford a flash flood that went half-way up my tires, but we made it home, safe and sound. As I rode up the drive way I saw my wife, who had been following me using me.com, waiting for me to help carry stuff into the house. I hopped into a very hot shower and emerged to have a hot meal waiting and all my gear laid out to dry.

Very good weekend, despite, or perhaps because of, an arduous ride home.
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.

TK-LA screwed with this post 03-22-2011 at 08:23 PM
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:54 PM   #49
JeffS77
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TK good on you brotha..ride what ya got

Dorzok nice link..i have ridden with downset before and actually owned his old NX650 for awhile...hard to tell in the video but a good way to walk them big bikes down stuff like that is to kill the ignition put the sucker in 2nd or so gear and use the clutch to walk it down slowly and not have to much if any front brake.



i like this thread.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:17 AM   #50
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A few more Death Valley pix from Ben's camera

His Bumble BMW



Me checking out nature up close...(my inner Hippie)


ADV Salute outside of Trona.


Heading down a random dirt road on my "adventure" bike


Yay, I didn't fall!


The road ahead:


Heading up towards the Charcoal Kilns. Steep road, but when you're on it there's a weird optical illusion thing where it looks completely flat, until you stop and roll back. You can see the valley floor behind me.


Dismounting at the Kilns. That's snow back there. It was about 45 degrees or so here and within 40 miles we were in Stovepipe wells and it was close to 90. Facinating.


Inside the Charcoal Kiln. They used the timber in the area to manufacture charcoal here for use in the smelting plants on the Valley floor. Smokey. They should convert them to a motel. They're bigger than my first apartment in Boston.


Ben was trying to get all "artistical" with the lighting.


Ben, in the kiln


The kids, waiting outside.


First time taking this bike across State Lines. And as if foreshadowing the redneck feel of Beatty ahead, the sign was peppered with bullet holes.


Heading back down into the Valley on Saturday morning.


Getting a shot of the 500 on Dante's View.


The Bumble-BMW 340 feet below sea level.


And one last shot as we head towards Lone Pine
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:04 PM   #51
pyrate
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I noticed you are swapping out face shields. Any recommendations for carrying the other one and not getting it broken/scratched etc? I've never had any success in doing that.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:40 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pyrate View Post
I noticed you are swapping out face shields. Any recommendations for carrying the other one and not getting it broken/scratched etc? I've never had any success in doing that.
I keep it in the bag it came in and the extra shield fits perfect in my tank bag, forming the upper edge so basically it takes up no room. As most tank bags and face shields are pretty standard, this should work for you too.

My helmet doesn't play well with sunglasses, the arms don't fit in, so I need a tinted shield on sunny days, and I even put a darker strip of visor film on the upper edge so on really glaring days I can just tip my head forward for extra protection.
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:47 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-LA View Post
I keep it in the bag it came in and the extra shield fits perfect in my tank bag, forming the upper edge so basically it takes up no room. As most tank bags and face shields are pretty standard, this should work for you too.

My helmet doesn't play well with sunglasses, the arms don't fit in, so I need a tinted shield on sunny days, and I even put a darker strip of visor film on the upper edge so on really glaring days I can just tip my head forward for extra protection.
Thanks. My sunglasses fit but are polarized so distort when the shield is closed. I usually ride w/ it partially open so I have some clear vision. I know some say to get non-polarized sunglasses but I get migraines easily and the polarized glasses make a huge difference. But the distortion is a challenge. I will see if my current shield will fit in my tank bag or not. Thanks for the info.
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:01 PM   #54
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Neato!

Fantastic country. Excellent RR!
Thanks for views and smiles.
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Old 03-29-2011, 12:34 AM   #55
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Tired?

How'd your cracked tire fair by the end of the trip? I'm surprised you don't get a set of Mefo tires for your bike since you like to get a little "adventurous" on it. If it walks like an adventure bike, and if it's rocks like an adventure bike... then it's an adventure bike... so might as well run adventure tires... right?

JMIHO
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:17 AM   #56
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Thanks for sharing your rides.
I find my Bandit quite a bit better in gravel and other loose surfaces than my DL 1000 was. As good as my old R1150GS which was not quite as good as my R11GS.
But, none of them match my KLR650
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:27 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertSurfer View Post
How'd your cracked tire fair by the end of the trip? I'm surprised you don't get a set of Mefo tires for your bike since you like to get a little "adventurous" on it. If it walks like an adventure bike, and if it's rocks like an adventure bike... then it's an adventure bike... so might as well run adventure tires... right?

JMIHO
The damn tire made it the 400+ more miles we traveled that weekend. But I didn't hit some of the trails I wanted to hit as I was being a bit cautious, for obvious reasons. Titus Canyon and Racetrack Playa had to be skipped.

I ended up getting Dunlop GT501G tires as there are VERY few tires available in the size I need, otherwise you'd see something more agressive on there. But these new ones definitely have a slightly more agressive tread. Fingers crossed.
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:30 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by achesley View Post
Thanks for sharing your rides.
I find my Bandit quite a bit better in gravel and other loose surfaces than my DL 1000 was. As good as my old R1150GS which was not quite as good as my R11GS.
But, none of them match my KLR650
The KRL is pretty cool and certainly under consideration for my next bike, but I have an affinity for Suzuki, so I am looking at the DR650E.
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Big Trip to Washington, Vancouver Island and British Columbia
So Cal Day Trips
2012 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom
2007 Suzuki GS500f - Don't underestimate (and don't take it in loose rocks!)
2004 Suzuki LS650 "Savage" - Either stolen or ran away from home.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:20 AM   #59
DesertSurfer
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Just convert your bike...

I've been following some interesting threads on this site where guys have converted their street oriented bikes to adventure bikes. Some are more complicated then others but... if you like your engine, that's the main thing. You can add shocks, swap out plastic, reposition your pipe and add a skid guard. If your bike is a twin cyl. you'll be ahead of the curve for future adventure bikes. Having a smaller, lighter twin is where the market's going. If that's what you have, you already have a jump on things. Maybe you could put a different wheel set that would allow you better tire options too. I bet a Dr 350 or Dr400 front fork set would adapt easily on your bike. Worth considering.

Just my 2 bits worth.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:30 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TK-LA View Post
The KRL is pretty cool and certainly under consideration for my next bike, but I have an affinity for Suzuki, so I am looking at the DR650E.
here's a pic of my bro's DR all loaded.

pretty capable little muel but you won't like it on the open road so much.
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