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Old 05-10-2014, 12:21 AM   #1
psmithrpm OP
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Ride Round America 2014



Hi folks,

This Wednesday (May 14, 2014) I'm taking a brand spanking new 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 Adventure on a 14,000 mile journey around North America.

The ride is being sponsored by Suzuki Motor of America, and the bike is one of the first on our shores "off the ship" from Japan. A big part of this ride is to help publicize our friend Ron Grace's charity, "Lost for a Reason" (www.LostforaReason.org). Ron set it up to directly benefit Navajo families who are in need. And since then it's been drawing a lot of support from the adventure riding community. More on this later.

I work for Adventure Motorcycle magazine, so this trip is all about meeting folks, finding stories and lots of photography. I'll be mostly camping and staying with friends along the way, so if you happen to see this Ride Report, are tracking the route, and would like to meet me, just let me know.

I'll be logging in daily (or almost daily) with updates and photos as well as reports on how the new V-Strom is performing. Likewise, if you have suggestions for places to see along the way, photo ops, interesting stories, etc., by all means pass them along.

Any and all input is appreciated.

Although the route technically starts from Suzuki HQ in Brea, California (today), we're officially launching it from Overland Expo (www.OverlandExpo.com) in Flagstaff, AZ this Thursday. "OX," as we call it, was started in 2009 by Roseann and Jonathan Hanson. It's a curious mix from the overlanding and adventure communities (perhaps that's "cultures") with about a 50/50 mix of motorcyclists and "other" vehicles, with a lot of serious gear mixed in. The expo features all kinds of training and seminars, and it's an absolute blast to attend. If you're the adventuring sort, OX is one heck of a gathering of kindred spirits. It never disappoints.

I'll be posting photos and other tidbits from there, as the solar-powered sat rig permits.



Jim "Capt'n" Kirkland hands over the keys outside of Suzuki's HQ in Brea, California.

psmithrpm screwed with this post 05-10-2014 at 04:50 PM
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Old 05-10-2014, 04:07 AM   #2
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Route!???

Good luck man.
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:07 AM   #3
Gentri in GA
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Looks like a blast and "sponsored"??? We don't even know how to comprehend that concept on this board! . Hopefully we'll cross paths. I'm heading back to the ATL from S Cal starting around the 20th!

Curious about your packing list and route around the States....

Ride Safe!
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Old 05-10-2014, 06:46 AM   #4
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Look forward to reading more, thanks for the plug about the "OX", will have to look into it
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:16 AM   #5
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Sounds like a good time on what should be a good bike.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #7
psmithrpm OP
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Route?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cajun636 View Post
Route!???

Good luck man.
Hey thanks! Even though we just a couple of days from departure, we're still pounding out the route. I'm planning on about 14,000 miles, that basically means all around the U.S., chunks of Canada and into Alaska. But the exact route remains a serendipitous affair. I'll post more on this later.

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Old 05-10-2014, 11:14 AM   #8
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Go east!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gentri in GA View Post
Looks like a blast and "sponsored"??? We don't even know how to comprehend that concept on this board! . Hopefully we'll cross paths. I'm heading back to the ATL from S Cal starting around the 20th!

Curious about your packing list and route around the States....

Ride Safe!
Hey Gentri, thanks for the post. Yep, this journey is being primarily sponsored by Suzuki. But their main interest is in seeing how the bike performs out there and getting it in front of folks to have a look. Because I'm a writer, I'll not only be doing this Ride Report, but magazine articles and several other social media contributions. A big part of this ride is to help publicize "Lost for a Reason," a charity an increasing number of adventure riders are getting behind. Look for me on your route, if we can swing it, let's grab a coffee!

Packing List: Coming soon to a RR near you! Packing tends to vary depending upon the mission. In this case, I have to cart an "office" around, along with camping gear (I HATE hotels!), and clothing for several climate changes. Today through Monday I'll be sorting things into piles and whittling it all down from there. Estimate about 60 lbs of gear by the time I lift off.

psmithrpm screwed with this post 05-10-2014 at 04:53 PM
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:49 AM   #9
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RR background

Hi folks,

I want to thank you for your feedback, or interest in this RR. I'm going to count on your feedback to help guide it, too. But first -- a flash from the past.

I've owned quite a few bikes over the years, and I've ridden in several countries around the world. The oldest going back to the early '70s in Northern India (there's a yarn worth telling one of these days!). Just before my involvement in Adventure Motorcycle magazine, I purchased an '08 V-Strom 650 Adventure and proceeded to modify the heck out of it for a proposed RTWer.



Here's the '08 650 in an earlier incarnation. I tried all kinds of combos before settling on which way to go (more on this later). The Givi hard cases in this photo were not long lived.



Twisted Throttle and Touratech were the main suppliers of worthy mods for my proposed trip. Here's an early shot of the bike just after several more upgrades. Note the absence of the Givi cases. These are early TRAX panniers (circa 2010) and although they were light, their latches were easily defeated. The guys at SW-Motech caught this flaw and made a design change just after my purchase.



Here's "Gertrude" on a 4,000 mile test run up the west coast. I was still conducting trials as to what gear to take on the RTW, and to also test the limits of what my Wee-Strom could handle. I never found it's limits, although I did manage to reduce the load by several pounds after this ride. This is also before I discovered Rok Straps, never to return to bungies again! More about the name "Gertrude" as the story unfolds.



Another shot of "Gertrude" on the west coast, eastern Oregon. -- during a second test run a few months later.



With my close friend (more like a brother), Erdem Yucel. We met at a Horizons Unlimited meet on the "Lost Coast" of California in 2010. Erdem had just returned from his RTWer on the V-Strom 1000 on the right. Here we are near the Soda Lake, California. I'd just had the front forks on my 650 (on the left) re-engineered by Lindemann Suspension, and the difference was ridiculous. We rode about 60 miles of dirt that day and it was like a completely different machine. An unbelievable difference in rider control and all that good stuff.

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Old 05-10-2014, 12:03 PM   #10
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More on an earlier Vee



Here's an article I wrote for Adventure Motorcycle magazine comparing my modified V-Strom 650 Adventure with the 2013 NEW Adventure.

If you'd like to read the full article check it out here.



In the meantime, check out this photo of "some" of my dash mods to that bike. Yeah, I know... no comments, please.



Okay, a bit about anthropomorphics, and the gender of motorcycles. Over my first three years of owning "Gertrude" she had a tendency to buck me. I had a few crashes and several broken bones as a result. Something was obviously "wrong," and one day it hit me like a lightening bolt -- it was pissed at me! That's right, I'd mistakenly given my Wee-Strom a woman's name when she was a he! Mystery solved.

After careful deliberation, and a bout of "channeling," the name "Felix" came to me in a "vision." So, "Felix" it was. And to commemorate the occasion, I found this sticker on eBay. Perhaps the weird part of this tale is that "he" never dumped me again. Now a wiser person might argue that this was the result of completely reworked suspension. But....

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Old 05-10-2014, 12:38 PM   #11
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Press Ride April 2014



My first glimpse of the new V-Strom 1000 Adventure was at AIM Expo last fall in Orlando, Florida. Although no one was permitted to ride the bike, it was unveiled there to the rousing support of us industry folk. BTW, that's a black bike, the colored lights give it a "Purple Rain" appearance.

The following are a few shots of a press ride (from April 2014). Nicole "Nicomama" Espinosa and I spent the day with Suzuki's notorious Jim "Capt'n" Kirkland, touring some of the gorgeous highways inland from the San Diego area. And oh yeah, the best apple pie this side of the Mississippi -- if you've never visited Julian, put it on your bucket list.

Here's a curious tale about the press bikes for those who are interested: After the machinery and assembly line are constructed to build a new machine, a test run is made. In this case, about 250 bikes are put together, and then sent out around the world for further tests and for the press to pre-review. And, because they're press bikes, you can bet that my brethren hadn't been easy on these beasts. These bikes are essentially the same as what'll be on the showroom floors, eventually, but there may be further tweaks. These bikes were setup for European emissions, petrol mixtures, etc., and I noticed some distinct differences after picking up the production version for this RR.

These bikes only "live" for a few months and then are gathered up and crushed(!!!) due to some bizarre legal consideration. It seems such a pity, because there certainly wasn't anything worthy of such summary death sentences. And as I write this, I believe they're already playing harps in motorcycle heaven.



The "Capt'n" and me outside of an apple pie shop in Julian. Nicole is taking the shot. Note the three red V-Strom 1000 ABS press bikes.



The lovely Nicole "Nicomama" Espinosa poses over a scenic valley just off Highway 78 in Southern California.



Dat's me, boz, somewhere up the trail. I'm kind of tall, but the press bikes didn't have the seat height options, yet. Still, it was comfortable and handled like a dream.

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Old 05-10-2014, 12:44 PM   #12
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Station break: "Lost for a Reason" swag



The latest swag for Ron Grace's "Lost for a Reason" charity. Ron seems to come up with something new every week, and has a lot of fun with it. If you'd like to contribute, please visit www.LostforaReason.org. Your purchases and contributions help worthy Navajo reservation families. Every dollar helps, and there's no financial nonsense involved -- it's all going straight to the families.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:41 PM   #13
perrogordo
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lostforareason

Define 100% of the PROFITS? after you take your vacation cost from the Donations???
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:59 PM   #14
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lostforareason

Define 100% of the PROFITS? after you take your vacation cost from the Donations???
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Old 05-10-2014, 03:15 PM   #15
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Define 100% of the PROFITS? after you take your vacation cost from the Donations???
Nope. That's 100%. For example, the charity doesn't fund this ride (or any other one). No administration, we're all volunteers, etc. Our livings are made elsewhere. Seriously, there's no nonsense. It's just a bunch of us are doing what we can to help.

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