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Old 05-15-2011, 06:40 PM   #1
dharmasister OP
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC
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DR650 immigrating to Canada!

As I return home from last year’s 3wk trip around the western US on my beloved 89 Honda Hawk GT, my thoughts were already on what the next great trip would be. Having grown up in the mountains of the BC interior, I was certain that said trip was going to involve a slightly different bike, with slightly different capabilities. Thus started the search for my first dual sport!

I joined AVDrider as a leaping off point. I researched DS bikes, enjoyed insightful, inspiring ride reports and benefited from the wisdom of helpful, like-minded inmates. I took the search to the pavement and test road BMW’s (F650GS, R1200GS… and a K1300R, just for kicks) and then my decided bike of choice a DR650. In the meantime I was scouring CL, the Flea Market, etc for the best deal Then I found her… a 2006 DR650, low miles, appropriately farkled, good price and not on the other side of the continent! I contacted the fellow inmate from Vancouver WA and with a little back and forth, by mid-week I’d decided this one had real potential.

Suffering from a serious case of ‘instant gratification’, I took Friday off work and I drove to Van WA to test ride the bike. Much to the seller’s dismay (he was suffering from ‘pre-seller’s remorse’) and despite it’s ‘too tall’ stock height, I liked the bike immediately. It had sufficient gusto for highway jaunts and light and nimble enough to not stop when the pavement does… I was hooked! After a little happy dance and hug (I do that when I’m excited) we finalized the deal. (thank goodness we’d already talked price as I’m pretty sure the ‘happy dance’ weakens a bargaining position!)

Because I wasn’t able to wrangle any of my friends for a 10 hour road trip on short notice, I was on my own. My plan was to get the bike to Seattle where I could leave it with friends while the immigration paperwork was being completed. So Friday evening, I drove back to Seattle and the following morning returned to Van WA via Amtrak to ride my new bike north.

My plan was a scenic, non-I-5 trip back to Seattle. I met the seller to find he had kindly lowered the stock suspension for me! (did I mention he also - with some arm twisting - include the RAM handlebar mount for my GPS? What a guy!!) We completed the ‘transaction’ and parted new friends (yes, more happy hugging) I tried my best to contain my excitement as he did appear on the verge of tears at one point.

By noon I was heading east on Highway 14 along the Columbia River. At Carson, I headed north through stunning , twisty Washington mountain roads. There was significant snow lingering at Old Man Pass, but the warm sunshine kept me from adding to the tshirt under my jacket. Beautiful ride, beautiful day until.. you know how ‘plans’ go… winter highway 25 that was to take me north on the east side of Mt St Helens was still closed!! I had confirmed the winter roads had opened, but clearly was misinformed. Drat! Now I was going to have to hoof it back to the I-5 to head north, adding another 100+ km on my 400+ km trip.

I was surprised how quickly I adjusted to the bike. The upright posture, streetish tires, ability to get one foot down, all made for fast friends, Bezzy and I. So on the dreaded freeway, a comfortable 65 mph (limited by the rider, not the bike), we headed north. I drafted a semi for the first while enjoying some respite from head winds. Then as I saw all the truck tire debris on the road side I thought twice about that wisdom.

All was good again until…. It started to rain. New bike + freeway, ok… + rain, no way! I head off at the next exit and consult the GPS for a new route. Rainrainrain… RainRainRainRain… RAINRAIN… you get the idea.

The next 230km and I’m embarrassed to say how many hours, I meandered northerly on more beautiful Washington back roads. At times mist spilling from the trees; rain rolling over the pavement. I felt like I’d been absorbed by the rainforest. I was the temperature of the rainforest. I was the humidity of the rainforest. Rolling through the curves, I’d become rainforest. This is why I ride. Despite the lousy weather and interrupted plans, there is a distinct freedom and integration with the journey that I love.

Back to ‘reality’, it was getting dark, I was entirely soaked, my GPS battery was getting low and I was heading into the dreaded ‘city’. I can deal ... I don my (dorky) hi-vis vest, change gloves, turn the GPS off for the long stretches and heck, I can’t actually get any wetter! I am very conscious of safety so stayed alert to fatigue and being too cold. I stopped to stretch, snack and drink (only water for now!) and just kept on going. Avoiding the interstate, I ended up jogging and switching through the inner guts of Tacoma and Seattle to get to my destination. My friend later told me those were dodgy neighborhoods she wouldn’t drive through during the day! I’m just grateful the GPS didn’t pack it in right then or I’da had a whole new trouble on my hands.

So there we are, a looong 9+ hrs after leaving Vancouver WA (I told you it was embarrassingly long), most of them in the pouring rain, I pull into my friends house safe and sound and stowed Bezzy in her temporary home.

It was a semi-epic introductory ride which definitely cemented my choice of bike and fuels my imagination for what ‘real’ adventures are to come!

This is my first official RR and it’s not exactly short so you are aptly rewarded for reading to the end with some pics....

http://gallery.me.com/spiritofone#100117
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Jen's fav toys - 2006 DR650 - 1989 Honda Hawk GT
DR650 immigrating to Canada!
Dirt Virgin to aspiring Adventure Goddess

It’s not an adventure until someone says ‘WTF are we doing here??'
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:57 PM   #2
cakmakli
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Congratulations on your new bike. Sounds like you broke it right.
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Old 05-16-2011, 11:35 AM   #3
dharmasister OP
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Originally Posted by cakmakli View Post
Congratulations on your new bike. Sounds like you broke it right.
thanks! i'm excited to get her home and start exploring!
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Jen's fav toys - 2006 DR650 - 1989 Honda Hawk GT
DR650 immigrating to Canada!
Dirt Virgin to aspiring Adventure Goddess

It’s not an adventure until someone says ‘WTF are we doing here??'
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Old 05-16-2011, 12:21 PM   #4
rob1313
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Woohoo, great find. I know you'll have a lot of fun on the back roads down there. I do think we need more pictures of the bikes new owner though....
Congratulations. You'll do well.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
Cowgirl
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Very nice!!
So now you HAVE to come on the BCBTR!
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
Tellydoug
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I love your mini ride report! Now you have the perfect bike to ride to ADVILF!
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:03 PM   #7
MrFurious
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Great RR and congrat's on the new bike. Hopefully I'll have a similar report to post up before to long, just haven't found the right fly-n-ride candidate yet. (apparently no one wants to sell their slightly used 2010 Concours C14 )
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Old 05-16-2011, 02:21 PM   #8
Husky Varmit
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AWRIGHT!!!!

How hard was it to abandon your new 'baby' in a foreign country?

Hurry up and get it over to BC. We need LOTS of reports of sneaking around the back roads around Vancouver (and other places).
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:13 PM   #9
dharmasister OP
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thanks for all the great comments! I'm glad you enjoyed the RR and pics.. and yes there are more of the rider... somewhere....

Rob, you just need to come down to BCBTR and check us west coasters out in person!

Speaking of, BCBTR, Cowgirl... great suggestion! I'm definitely considering it with the new bike. I appear to be 'search impared' tho and can't find the thread with the info on this year's ride....

Doug, I seriously considered ADVILF, but it is just to far for a 2 week window... maybe if I quit my job....

HV, I was more than happy to get step off for the final time on Saturday night but it was really hard to leave her in Seattle! I am hot on the trail of the import documents and hope to have her home next week.


I am feeling a little guilty tho... I'll prob transfer the insurance from my first love, the Hawk..... good thing bikes aren't like men they don't mind how many other ones you ride
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Jen's fav toys - 2006 DR650 - 1989 Honda Hawk GT
DR650 immigrating to Canada!
Dirt Virgin to aspiring Adventure Goddess

It’s not an adventure until someone says ‘WTF are we doing here??'
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
dharmasister OP
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oh, never mind... i found it!!

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showt...ighlight=BCBTR
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Jen's fav toys - 2006 DR650 - 1989 Honda Hawk GT
DR650 immigrating to Canada!
Dirt Virgin to aspiring Adventure Goddess

It’s not an adventure until someone says ‘WTF are we doing here??'
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Old 05-17-2011, 10:39 AM   #11
Adv Grifter
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Welcome To The DR tribe!

I hope you'll hang 'round the DR650 thread a bit .... we really need more female perspective there.

What are the dynamics of importing a US based bike to Canada?
Expensive? Difficult?

Enjoy the new bike. The DR is a sleeper bike: Far more capable than it appears on the surface. Your bike looks well set up. Have fun!
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Old 11-16-2011, 10:57 AM   #12
Mollygrubber
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Hey Jen!

My wife and I took the Roadcraft course with you a couple of years ago, nice to see you're still at it! She's looking for a DS bike at the moment, hard to find something that will fit her but we'll get it sorted out. DR650 is a bit big for her! See you on the road someday...

Peter
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:41 PM   #13
skysailor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mollygrubber View Post
Hey Jen!

My wife and I took the Roadcraft course with you a couple of years ago, nice to see you're still at it! She's looking for a DS bike at the moment, hard to find something that will fit her but we'll get it sorted out. DR650 is a bit big for her! See you on the road someday...

Peter
DR200 or Super Sherpa are worth a look.
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:45 PM   #14
skysailor
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Enjoy the bike , Jen.
Brought a DR650 up from WI three weeks ago. An '02. Found it to be VERY easy to bring into Canada! Customs folks were great on both sides. Like you, my other bike is a road only unit. A 650 Bandit. I find the DR to be, well, more "me". Winter here now, but really looking forward to spring.
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