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Old 09-27-2012, 03:24 PM   #301
Just passing thru
Joined: Jul 2005
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Oddometer: 4,330
I'm following along.

You should have given a holler when traveling to St Maries/CdA from Portland. I live a few miles south of St Maries. I make the run to Portland a lot and could have given you a few variations. I'll be headed that way next week and will not run any of the roads you just crossed, maybe a few miles or 12 thru Garfield County. I'll give a wave to the local fuzz. I noticed that you got tagged by a state cop. Usually the county sherrif is most active thru there.

Next time check routes thru Wahkiakus, Kahlotus, and Wallula. The consumate NW traveler must visit Hay WA.

Oh Yea, I am the old fat man at the porta potty conference, in Enterprise.

Keep riding.
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
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:07 PM   #302
Feyala OP
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Location: Wandering...
Oddometer: 358
The next few posts are going to be fairly scattered chronologically. The reason behind this is that I was busy doing other things in the between-times: Working on the mermite luggage, fixing up the bike, writing this ride report, hanging out with friends, etc. Rather than bore you with tales of helping my friend clean out his shop and move or selling my unnecessary possessions, I figure I'll just stick to the interesting bits. I will make posts detailing the trip preparation, as there was some interest.

I've figured out what needs to get written, there's about 7 posts left to go. If I really crack down I can get this done pretty quick. Which is good, because I just finished the luggage tonight, and I'm eager to skedaddle.

Go go gadget writeathon!
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Old 09-28-2012, 01:46 AM   #303
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Lost Lake (August 6th)

I had met Barb (BSkye) at one of the local ADV gatherings. She mentioned that she and a friend of hers were going to go up Lolo Pass and visit Lost Lake, and invited Oz and I along. Sounds like fun, swimming and grilling! That pass and I had a score to settle...

The morning of the adventure, we found out that neither her friend nor Oz felt like going. It would be just the two of us, which was great, because it led to a more relaxed pace. I took my time getting ready, grabbing a veggie burger and buns on my way out the door. I managed to find her place, and she gave me the tour. She packed a fish fillet and some ice for our food, and we scampered off to WinCo to buy an instant grill:

Eastward, ho! We begrudgingly dealt with traffic getting out of town, but once we were out, it was relatively smooth sailing. It was a nice clear day, a bit hot but not too terrible, and I was thrilled to be in the saddle. It was a good day to ride.

We had agreed to go slow so that I could take lots and lots of photos. I'd recently downloaded a few camera applications for my Droid, and spent the day playing with them.

The road grew narrow and crept up into the mountains. We broke through the trees, and recognition struck: I've been here before! This was how we'd gotten to Lolo pass the first time, in the rain!

Except that now, I could actually see what was in the valley, and it was beautiful. Here's Mount Hood:

There were two routes to get down the pass, and we took a different one this time. It was longer, but more laid-back and less steep.

We found pavement, but it was nice and twisty up to Lost Lake. When we got to the gate, it was half-price for motorcycles, yay! After fighting our way through the epic crowds in the parking lot, we parked and grilled ourselves some lunch. I'd never used one of these instant grill things, it was definitely useful. My veggie burger was delicious.

We changed into our swimsuits and wandered down to the lake, both of us carrying our gear. We found a site as secluded as we could manage - this place was PACKED - and waded out into the water. It was nice, cool but not too cold. We swam and floated out further into the lake, having some great conversations.

Back to shore, and we wanted to hike around the lake, but didn't want to leave our gear unattended. Barb suggested we ask the cashiers at the store if they'd mind us leaving our things there.

A creepy Sasquatch statue leered down at us as we climbed the steps to the store. What is that hand supposed to be doing?

Mission accomplished, we went for a hike. I recognized these orange berries as salmonberries. I'd never tried them before, but they were actually pretty good! A bit sour, but that was probably due to growing in the shade.

Barb pointed out a plant bearing blue berries and identified them as huckleberries! Awesome! I ate some of these too. I could easily have gathered a gallon bag of these things if I was more driven, the bushes were everywhere. I was content to simply graze, and we continued on.

We found a trail leading off to a small platform, and below the platform were hundreds of newts! I waded into the water and caught one to investigate it, they were not very fast. They would rest on the bottom of the lake, completely stationary, eventually coming up for air or slowly swimming along.

We fled the mosquito and biting fly invasion and kept moving. The hiking path was quite nice, very well-maintained. At least those entry fees are going to a good cause! At one point, the path was entirely made of planks, assumably to control erosion from foot traffic.

We finished our hike and returned to the bikes. By this point it was getting a bit late in the afternoon, so we decided to head out, as climbing the pass in the dark was unappealing.

As we neared the turn off for the pass, we took a break by this river. It was quite peaceful.

Lolo pass was impressive from below:

And of course, the obligatory glory shot.

I did pretty well! Wasn't able to stand up much, but I managed to maintain my speed.

Roads never look as gnarly in photos as they are in person.

Just kidding! It was actually pretty easy this time.

Our reward for getting back to the paved section was a gorgeous sunset!

Fun time was over, and we rode back to her place, tired but happy. I returned home and tried to make Oz jealous about the fact that he decided not to go. It was a good day.

Thanks, Barb!
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:09 AM   #304
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Originally Posted by Feyala View Post

Roads never look as gnarly in photos as they are in person.

Isn't that the truth!
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:13 PM   #305
nothing to see here
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To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:46 PM   #306
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Canyonville, Crater Lake, Bend (August 13-15)

My friend Dale (Coug) asked for my help straightening up his Silver Streak trailer so that he could sell it. This trailer has had an interesting life, and I was almost sad to see it go.

I lived with him back in 2004 when he got it in trade for doing a transmission swap on a guy's car. I helped to cover up the yellow stains on the interior walls with layer after layer of white paint. After he tore out the rotting wood and remodeled it to a point where it was in a livable condition, with bunk beds where the "living room" was previously, a working furnace, and a twin pair of computer areas on either side, I ended up living in it with him and his then-girlfriend for about half a year. I was living in the same house in Eugene for three years as he gradually reworked it further - the bunk beds became a single queen with cabinets and secret storage places, it got Corian counter-tops and a nice bamboo wood floor, a new fridge, stove, microwave, and a work bench with lots of drawers. The death trap closet shower became an awesome, deep tub with jets. In fact, I'd lived in this trailer for a few months last winter, before moving up to Portland at the start of this leg of my life. It had become quite homey. Coug's resourcefulness never ceases to amaze me. He managed to get nearly everything he put into the trailer for free or nearly so.

I headed down to Canyonville, Oregon, attempting to take smaller highways to avoid the interstate. This only lasted so long, and I hit Eugene a good 4 hours after I started, near dusk. Frustrated at my slow pace, I ended up hopping on the I-5 and enduring absolute boredom for another few hours before arriving in Canyonville. Coug's friend Allen, a kind-hearted but somewhat creepy individual, let me stay the night in his spare room. I could tell a number of amusing stories about past times that I've stayed in Canyonville with Coug, and with Allen in particular, in this condemned, water-damaged double wide, but I will refrain.

Allen stays in this giant truck when he goes dredging up at his mining claim. I believe he said it's some kind of Swiss military vehicle.

I spent the next couple of days helping Coug get his trailer in order. Out came all of his belongings, all the old food that had been left in the pantry and nibbled by mice, all the spare wood and building supplies. I filled several yard-sized hefty bags with trash while he fixed little odds and ends where the trailer was a bit rough around the edges. I scrubbed and mopped and painted, and the trailer looked pretty awesome by the time we were through. Dealing with Coug's mother Wanda was quite trying - she had the unpleasant habit of shrilly interrupting us every five minutes to ask us irrelevant questions, and her pack of nearly feral inbred Chihuahuas (she has over twenty of them) were a constant nuisance, barking and nipping at our heels.

Mission accomplished, I decided that I would rather make my way through the darkness than spend another night at Allen's. I parked the bike in his yard to say goodbye to Coug, and when I tried to wheel it around, I lost my footing in the grass and it all came crashing down in slow motion. Like a fool, I'd left my helmet on the right-hand mirror, and the spill caused the tab holding on one side of the visor to snap off. D'OH! We "fixed" it with some duct tape and Coug managed to straighten the bars out on the bike. The bike was a bit unstable as I slowly wobbled into the darkness, but I quickly learned how to keep it steady and safe.

I crept along and eventually found a campground, but they wanted fees. Hah, fat chance! I went down a nearby dirt road instead and pitched my tent in what was likely a truck turn around. Whatever works!

The next morning, I ventured forth, stopping along the way at a "natural bridge". I've probably been spoiled by the large, impressive natural bridges in the southwest, because this one was just water coursing briefly underground. It was a pleasant view, and good to stretch my legs. I walked around in the woods a bit.

I continued on to Crater Lake, where I had lunch at the restaurant there. Surprisingly, the food wasn't that much more expensive than most restaurants I've been to, and it was both vegetarian and tasty. Some kind of tower of random greens, bits of fried tofu, peppers, onions, and sunflower seeds, bathed in a teriyaki sauce, less than $10. Yum.

I got to cut past a long line of cars as a ranger saw my yearly pass! I briefly looked at the map and decided to just see where the road took me. The first stop was Vidae Falls, where I recognized the Swedish flag hanging off of the back of one of the cruisers, but didn't get much of an opportunity to talk to the guy about his US tour before he sped off to catch up with the rest of his group.

There was lots to see. I could have spent a bunch more time here. The roads were twisty and fairly well-kept, and I didn't get stuck behind any slow-moving RVs.

I really like how this one came out - the full-sized image is actually pretty crisp! (It makes a good desktop wallpaper too!) This was Phantom Ship:

And of course, Crater Lake itself:

There was still snow on a couple of high places!

I left the park, got gas, and aimed for some lakes I saw northward on the map.

A fire had destroyed much of the forest. A nearby sign informed me that over 21,000 acres were lost to the Davis Fire in 2003, and explained the cyclic role of fire in these types of forests.

Further down the road, massive chunks of lava rock littered the landscape, forming hills. I went to check it out.

The dirt road went down to a campground. The lava hill cascaded right into the lake which looked gorgeous in the afternoon sun. I almost lost it in the sand again when I tried to turn around. DAMN YOU, SAND!

Trying to find a way to explore the lava hills more, I took a random dirt road and met this terrible, powdered-sugar type dust. I barely managed to keep the bike upright, the tail end of the bike was all over the place. I found a small patch of solid ground to turn around on. Not sure how I would have turned the bike around on the soft stuff, especially in the deeper areas where my footing would have been suspect.

I continued along, looking for a free campsite. I took the dirt road around a couple of the lakes, but every single offshoot was marked "no trespassing", for a lumber sale. Lovely.

This view of Mt. Bachelor was nice though!

The road passed various terrain as it wandered towards Bend. This lake was gorgeous:

Nearby, even the soil and rocks had a colorful contrast:

After checking out a few other areas with no success, I headed into Bend, looking for wifi. There, this site came to the rescue once again, pointing me toward an OHV area east of town that seemed like a great spot.

I found the road to the OHV area as the sun was setting. I was extremely conscious of the fact that my exhaust didn't have a spark arrestor... bad news in this arid, flammable environment. Another thing I needed to fix.

I love riding in the desert at night! There's just something special about it. I went fairly slow to avoid hitting wildlife, but I had fun. Eventually I found the washboarded dirt road leading to the OHV area itself. To my surprise, the place was completely empty! Fuck yeah!

I unloaded the bike and set up my hammock for once. It was a clear night without much risk of rain, so I really enjoyed being able to look up at the millions of stars through the mosquito netting. As I lay there, gently swaying in the breeze, coyotes began to yap and howl from nearby. It was a magical experience and I was happy to be there.

Even though the days had been hot, I found myself shivering, and rolled out of bed to get more insulation - I added some layers, and used the air mattress to block the wind from stealing my warmth from below.

The next morning, I packed up my stuff and walked around a bit, noticing a sign that said "learner's loop".

"I'm a learner, they wouldn't do anything too mean to beginners, I should give this a go!"


Learner's loop was terrifying. Nothing but steep, hairpin turns. Even without my luggage this was not something for beginners, maybe on a small-displacement dirt bike. It was certainly... educational, but I was more grateful to get out of there without running into a tree than anything else. I need the basic course for the basic course I guess...

I gathered my stuff and set off across the desert.

The rest of my trip was fairly uneventful, as I was in a bit of a rush to get back - somebody had expressed interest in my Rebel and I was eager to get rid of it. I got a bit turned around in Bend and took the long way back to the highway.

Stopped and appreciated Sisters mountains:

I took the 22 which was quite pleasant, lots of twisties running through the forest. Once I hit Salem, I took the back route to Portland, thankfully bypassing the interstate.

The next day, I sold the Rebel, yay! I got far less than I wanted, but at least one more thing was out of the way!

Goodbye little bike! You served me well, hopefully your new owner will have lots of adventures on you too!
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Old 10-07-2012, 05:49 PM   #307
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One less thing you own! Feels good to lighten the load doesn't it?
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:13 PM   #308
Feyala OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Wandering...
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Originally Posted by Jettn Jim View Post
Bike looks SUWEEEEEET Feye!!!
Awsesome job fr sure....
Originally Posted by Ladybug0048 View Post
Love the paint job.

Originally Posted by Ed~ View Post
Yuriko was impressed by your painting abilities! I think your patterns and color choice makes the bike look almost alien-like, completely out of this world... not at all like Yuriko's little townie-DR.
Awesome, thank you! Yeah, I wanted something unique. I don't own much, so I'm starting to really get into personalizing the few things I do have so they reflect me better, if that makes sense.

Originally Posted by GypsyWriter View Post
Bike looks sweet Fey! Can't wait to hear about the continuation of your trip, and never be ashamed to beautify the pig! It's your bike, you can paint it hot pink if you want and nobody's opinion will matter.

On the subject of writing, I self-publish fiction and that has given me the chance to pay off my debt (student loan and otherwise) and allow me to live as I want. Just got myself a book deal from it too, need to finish the final edits there and as of next week I'm off on my own cross-country expedition!! So it's very possible to make a passive income from writing, not just through magazines; I get monthly paychecks from Amazon and Barnes and Noble's online publishing sites, all of which hopefully will continue to go toward travel. The link in my sig goes towards an Inmates thread about it, although because of these edits I'm WOEFULLY behind in replying there. PM me for details, can't wait to see the rest of your trip!!
Wow, congratulations! It's rare that I hear HAPPY stories from writers... Usually it's grouches trying to warn the youngsters to stay away if they can! Good luck on your cross-country expedition! I will check out that thread and PM you if I have questions. :)

Originally Posted by ThumperStorm View Post
That paint job suits you Feyla! I like it.
Originally Posted by Escaped View Post
Originally Posted by NomadGal View Post
Wow! Awesome Fey!!
I love it!!
Thanks guys!

Originally Posted by kabluie View Post
I've not done it with magazine editors, but I have done that with people in the engineering business. I've also talked with newspaper editors and have found that they are willing to talk to nearly anyone. As I've said before, the worse thing they can do to you is say "No." You should go for it. It really is a cheap education.

On another note, Your RR, with some editing, would make a good book by itself. Don't believe me? Get a couple of "I've been travelling," books from AeroStitch, or some of the other stores and read them. Their books, while interesting, are no better than your writing here on the ADV Rider Website. Anyway, that's just another idea.

I admit that I don't read many of those "I've been traveling" books - and I'll reply to your emails a bit later today. Do you have any particular suggestions?

Originally Posted by Nomomo View Post
Great story telling Fey. You got me hooked right at the start with your Grayhound Bus experience. If you do make it down to Mexico, you need to experience the buses down there. It's a whole other world, for the better. Not the chicken buses but the regular cross country buses. They are new, clean, have restrooms in them and movies for the riders, it's a good way to learn your Spanish. But the best part is the drivers are always fresh because there are two drivers per bus. While one is driving the other sleeps below in the baggage compartment. At each stop be it a bus station or a tienda for food they swap places and carry on down the highway. Couldn't believe until I saw it on several different trips.
Seriously?! That's awesome! And hilarious! Man, we've gotta be doing something wrong if Mexico has us beat...

Originally Posted by alcanrider View Post
I'm not for certain, but it seems while you were gone your boyfriend may have hired the same house keeper as me.
Oh dear...

Originally Posted by prsdrat View Post
Ride on. Rant on. If we don't like it, we don't have to come back.

Everything in moderation! I try to moderate the ranting more than the rest of it, but sometimes it leaks out.

Originally Posted by thetourist View Post
I'm following along.

You should have given a holler when traveling to St Maries/CdA from Portland. I live a few miles south of St Maries. I make the run to Portland a lot and could have given you a few variations. I'll be headed that way next week and will not run any of the roads you just crossed, maybe a few miles or 12 thru Garfield County. I'll give a wave to the local fuzz. I noticed that you got tagged by a state cop. Usually the county sherrif is most active thru there.

Next time check routes thru Wahkiakus, Kahlotus, and Wallula. The consumate NW traveler must visit Hay WA.

Oh Yea, I am the old fat man at the porta potty conference, in Enterprise.

Keep riding.
That would have made the trip a LOT better. Live and learn! It was good to meet you at the rally. :) If I ever find myself heading through that stretch again I'll definitely hit you up.

Originally Posted by NomadGal View Post
Isn't that the truth!
That and the worst parts never get photographed because I'm too busy trying not to soil my pants at the time that stopping for a picture is the last thought in my head.

Originally Posted by KLickeR View Post

Originally Posted by NomadGal View Post
One less thing you own! Feels good to lighten the load doesn't it?
Always! As the song the RR title is based on goes, "The less I have, the more I gain..."
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:23 PM   #309
Feyala OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Wandering...
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Silver Falls (August 21st)

I went with some friends on a hiking trip to Silver Falls. I'd been wanting to go for quite some time - I've heard a lot of good things about it, but never seemed to have the right opportunity. We crammed into my roommate's car, which was fine for a day trip. It was nice to relax and not worry about motorcycle gear.

One of my friends brought her cute corgi, named Engel. He was an attention whore.

When we arrived, we met up with some other folks who also wanted to go hiking, I found them too gossipy and boisterous so I fell behind and walked alone quite a bit. I was there for the nature, not gossip.

The path started by climbing up along a ridge, uncomfortably close to the highway, but the forest was pleasant. Typical for a northwest forest, moss covered anything that would stand still.

It was a great day for a hike. The sun was shining, and it was warm but not too hot. We ended up at a visitor's center and refilled our water bottles, deciding to take the Trail of Ten Falls on the way back, even though there was technically no dogs allowed.

The path followed a river for a while, which was refreshing. The vegetation down here was lush with the moisture. My favorite part about northwest forests is the cacaphony of textures and shades of green - more shades of green than we have words to describe. Plants grow over plants grow over plants.

At one point, several of us crossed a river to get a better look at a small waterfall. Toe shoes came in useful once again!

Lest I be too terribly mature, I have to admit that I giggled at the rock shaped like a fuzzy butt.

The path ducked behind North Falls, cut into a cavern in the rock behind it, which was awesome.

I took advantage of one of the benches they'd thoughtfully placed behind the falls. I could have sat here for hours, listening to the white noise of the waterfall.

We climbed a bunch of steps and headed back to the car. I was happy that I was not one of the ones who were huffing and puffing! The stairs reminded me of something out of Indiana Jones for some reason, flanked on either side with ferns and vegetation.

I would have liked to stay longer and explore some of the other trails, there were many more waterfalls in this area to see, but everybody else was tired and wanted to call it a day, so we headed back to the car. I guess I have a reason to go back!

All in all, a fantastic day!
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:29 AM   #310
Feyala OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Wandering...
Oddometer: 358
Mermite Cans

Doing some research on hard luggage systems, it seemed like my choices were pretty limited. I could buy a professional set and be out several hundred dollars; get a knockoff of Pelican cases (Seahorses) which are still made of plastic and open like a briefcase; use ammo cans, which are heavy and steel; make my own from scratch; or repurpose Mermite cans, which are aluminum military food containers.

Following Hondo's excellent tutorial, after unsuccessfully calling every military surplus store in the greater Portland area, I found a guy on Craigslist who had a pair up for $40. Score! I took them down to Coug's shop in Salem.

For the record, these cans were a huge pain in the ass. If they ever get destroyed beyond repair, I'm probably going to end up with ammo cans or fabricate something myself.

The work to make these lumpy military castoffs into something worthwhile would take place a day here and a day there over the next several months. It was interesting to see the difference in construction between the two cans from year to year.

We removed the inner liners and the foam. On the older can from the 1940s this was very simple, we bent the aluminum inner liner in slightly and it slid right out. Once removed, the foam simply fell out in disgusting, lunchbox-scented clumps.

To remove the foam from the lid of the older can, there was simply a plate that needed to be removed, and the foam was brushed out.

This left us with a nice, clean, intact box.

However, on the one from the 60s, we ended up breaking the fiberglass insert in a couple places trying to get leverage to get the inner can out. Even after cutting holes and slices from the liner, it simply did not want to budge. It even took a bite out of Coug.

With the appropriate blood sacrifice taken care of, you'd think that things would go easier, but no. After much swearing and struggling, eventually we got the damn thing out, along with the foam.

That left the lid.

Coug used tin snips to cut a hole in it to remove some of the foam.

Eventually: great success!

We removed all of the hardware - hinges, latches and handles from the "bad" can. The older can was fairly pristine, with no corrosion, but the newer one had a number of holes where the steel plates that had been riveted in had an electrolytic reaction with the aluminum. Bad news.

I sanded the SHIT out of that box, until there were no traces of rust or corrosion.

Bondo to the rescue!

I'd used Bondo before, but only once or twice, so Coug, having years of experience, took the lead. We added reinforcing plates where the new handles would go, and a plate where it would attach to the bike to add rigidity. We put a metal plate under the edge of the fiberglass lip where it had been damaged by overenthusiastic prying and affixed it with Bondo. The lip is now as strong, or stronger than it was originally. I would return to Salem several times to repair the corrosion and fill holes, sand the bondo flat, repair, sand, repair, sand. It never seemed to end.

Eventually Coug moved up to Portland before we could finish the project, and had no shop there. I moved the boxes back to our garage, and bought a drill. I had been hoping to do the work at his shop to avoid having to buy tools, but c'est la vie.

Originally the plan was going to be to build a rack, but that did not work out, and I was not going to struggle with making one with hand tools. Instead, I got one from DirtRacks (the cheapest I could find) and test fit it on the bike. Seemed pretty sturdy! Also came with mounting brackets, score!

Everything was test fit repeatedly. With a tip from the many mermite threads, I decided to mount them hasps-inward to give me a nice "tray" when rifling through the contents of the boxes. I mounted them as far back as I reasonably could, because there were complaints that the boxes had nearly trapped people's legs while dabbing off road. Not an experience I wanted to have.

Yes, those boxes are literally being held on by tarp straps and duct tape, why do you ask?

I traced the brackets, triple checked everything, and drilled lots of holes for the new hardware - locking hasps, hinges, new handles, luggage tie-downs, and of course the brackets and knobs to attach the boxes to the rack. At one point I spent over $40 just on bolts, washers and nuts. I ended up having to buy a bit for the drill that would handle steel - the old hardware was never removed from the "good box", and those rivets were tough. Oz helped with that part.

I had to build a bondo "bridge" on one of the lids, as years of abuse had caved in the edge of the lid where the lock attached, leaving the screw threads exposed. I bondoed plates into the "good box" where the handles would attach, and added a backing plate like the other box. At one point, I realized I would never be able to get a nut on the end of some of the bolts on the "bad" box, as they fell under the raised lip of the plate (originally some kind of tray we got at a scrapyard and cut in half), so I had the fun experience of using tin snips in a small, awkward environment, inside the can, to cut the lip off. At least it was aluminum.

I filed and sanded every sharp piece of metal I could find. All the plate edges, the edges of the "bad" lid where Coug had snipped a hole in the metal, etc. The last thing I want is to cut my hand open when I'm blindly rummaging around in the box in the middle of the night.

I removed everything but the brackets and sanded the outside of the boxes, likely getting some lead-based snot in the process. I was going to truckbed liner the insides, but several people complained that they couldn't see their stuff very easily, so I decided to leave it unfinished inside. Also, I will freely admit that I was getting tired of this project by this point.

The outside of the boxes got several coats of hammered grey. I'm not sure if I applied it correctly, but the hammered effect was not very even. Oh well, it'll all eventually get covered with stickers anyways, and they look fine at a distance.

I reattached the hardware and put the boxes on the bike, only to realize that one of the latches wouldn't clear the exhaust. I grudgingly removed it, and, having no vice or other real tools other than the drill and the one steel bit, proceeded to spend the next hour drilling a series of small holes halfway across the latch and eventually managing to snap it in half. Then I spent another hour filing down the jagged steel edge until it resembled something less eager to rip my hand open.

I wrapped electrical tape around the luggage tiedown loops to reduce the noise they'd make by rattling. I would have preferred to tool-dip, but didn't want to sink any more money into this project.

After a generous application of loctite to any and all bolts not secured with nylock nuts, the project was finally complete! My first thoughts are: wow, these things are cavernous! I can see what Alex meant when he said it would be too easy to overfill them with crap. I'll definitely have to keep a sharp eye out on myself in that regard...

Tomorrow I'll be applying silicone along all seams, including around each of the nuts. Hopefully this will help keep them waterproof. I'm not quite happy with how the bolts stick out inside the box, I have to be a bit careful with how I pack them, but overall, for starting with a beat-up, corroded mess, I'm happy with how they turned out!
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:58 PM   #311
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Perrysville, OH
Oddometer: 40
The box's look great! We use to have one of those that we used as a cooler. Who would have ever thought they would make such awesome panniers.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:41 PM   #312
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: San Jose, CA, USA
Oddometer: 307
It took me a while to get to this point in the story. Very well done. I like the new side boxes. I will be following along as you post me.
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:28 AM   #313
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Nashville, Tenn
Oddometer: 717
I'm enjoying your thread-
just a quick tip - Im pretty sure the unpainted aluminum inside your new panniers will leave marks on whatever goes inside - might want to bag up anything you want to keep pretty.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:53 AM   #314
Feyala OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Wandering...
Oddometer: 358
Bike Painting

I had gotten tired of the red, scratched-up paint job. It was a bit of an eyesore, even if people were still complimenting me on the color. I removed all the fairings and cleaned them well with warm soapy water.

Over the course of a couple days I removed almost all of the old red paint, using a scotchbrite pad and 400 grit sandpaper. The stuff that wasn't completely removed was scuffed a LOT - I didn't want to risk doing all this work only to have the paint bubble up later. For a short while the DR was white, and although it looked fairly slick that way, this was not the way to go for stealth camping.

For the color, I decided to go with a dark green. I picked up several cans of Valspar plastic paint and went to town. The first can was a different color green than the cap. WTF? I guess somebody must have switched the caps...

Following internet advice, I sprayed the insides first to prevent drips on visible areas, then the outsides, letting the paint dry between coats, sometimes up to an hour. Lots of light coats. This took a long time, but I wanted it to be even.

Eventually the green was good to go, but I wanted to personalize it. I had originally wanted to make my own stencils out of Photoshop brushes, but at this point in the game I didn't feel up to that level of effort. After checking several craft stores, I eventually found the perfect stencil! I got some black "outdoor" craft paint to apply it with.

At first, I tried simply rolling the stencil, but there was a significant amount of seepage under the edges, which I didn't like at all. I ended up tracing over the pattern in pencil, lightly scoring the green paint, and then painting everything by hand. This took a while, but the results were nice and crisp rather than homemade and tacky.

I had a general idea of the theme I wanted to go with, vine-like spirals escaping from under the seat, but not a specific plan. I simply put the stencil over the top and picked what looked the best, overlapping the stencil over itself to give a larger and more complicated design. I mirrored the pattern as closely as I could on the other half of the bike. Even though it is highly likely I am the only one who will notice this small detail, I'm a big fan of bilateral symmetry, and I feel that it helps make the job look more professional.

After finishing one panel in black, I wasn't very happy with how the black was fading in to the green. It was nice that it was all dark - the idea here was certainly not to make things bright and loud, but I still wanted it to be obvious from a distance what the designs were, with a bit more visual punch. I got some dark silver paint and outlined them with my smallest brush. That did the trick! It looked very classy.

After stenciling and painting and outlining all of the pieces over the course of a few days (and doing it all again for a second coat), I was done. I sprayed the pieces with a flat sealant, which really did the trick to bring it all together visually, eliminating the shine from the green plastic paint. I also hoped that this clear coat would help to protect the paint from wear and bugs, especially the "craft" paints, which were not designed for this purpose. Only time will tell how well it holds up!

Design-wise, the part I am happiest with is the headlight cover. A friend of a friend was visiting and suggested that I take the stencil and mirror it side for side, and the resulting image looks vaguely like a stylized butterfly. I like the symbolism of butterflies, renewal and rebirth, transformation, so it makes me happy to look at it, even more so due to the fact that this was completely unintentional. I also am quite happy with the spirals in general. Spirals are a design which simply resonates with me, and I feel like this bike "fits" me more now. It's really mine.

Technically speaking, the part that was my best work is probably the spirals on the rear fender. The symmetry on those was absolutely perfect, and they just flow in a very nice way. It's a shame you mostly don't see them with all of my luggage on the bike!
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:02 AM   #315
Feyala OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Wandering...
Oddometer: 358
Wrenching (Part 1)

Sorry for the length of this, but here's all the stuff I've fixed in the past couple months!

My speedometer stopped working on the last trip to Idaho. After checking to make sure that it wasn't the cable or the display which was broken, I found a replacement drive unit from an ADVRider for cheap. The old one had shards of the nylon worm gear floating around and was fairly low on grease. I managed to get the front of the bike off the ground by myself(!) and on to the simple stand, once the wheel was off, it was simple to replace the drive. Now I can tell if I'm speeding again!

While I had the wheel off, I checked the bearings, which felt a little notchy. I made a note to replace them soon.

I pulled the carburetor from the bike and disassembled it as much as I was able to. I couldn't get into the main body of the carb, as I didn't have the right safety torx socket, but I removed and cleaned anything that was not nailed down, including the choke knob (which somebody said looked off).

One of the needles had some filth on it, so I cleaned it off.

I considered trying to adjust the float height, but I didn't think I had the right tools - if I don't shut the petcock off when I turn off the bike, it leaks gas out of the overflow tube. Annoying, but not critical.

When reinstalling the carb, I noticed that there was a little "tab" on the carb boot that wasn't allowing it to seal quite flush. After actually Reading The Instructions on how to install the TM-40, it appears that they recommend you remove this tab. Whoops. I cut it off and it seemed to fit a bit better.

Somebody suggested I check the linkages and the swingarm bearings, as these are notoriously low on grease from the factory. I removed the airbox and cleaned it, the "puke tube" was clogged with some kind of oily mud. Removed the rear tire and shock. These were easy.

After much cursing, I managed to remove the swingarm and linkages, except for the final dogbones which attach to the swingarm, those were stuck tight. These were all completely overtorqued. The bike looked sad with half its parts missing.

Once I got the bolts free, cleaning the bearings themselves was easy business. Most of the bearings were caged, and I used a shop towel to remove the old grease. One set of bearings wasn't caged:

I pulled the needles out with a pick and put them in a cup, then cleaned the hell out of everything.

I repacked everything with lots of new, waterproof grease. None of these bearings felt worn, so that's a plus at least. After it was all back together and torqued to spec, the rear of the bike actually compressed with minimal effort, smooth as butter, where before it was difficult even when I put some weight behind it. I had thought it was just the stiffness of the springs!

I took the opportunity while the swingarm was out to soak the chain in kerosene and give it a good scrubbing with a vegetable brush. I also replaced the rear brakes, which were down to nubs. The front brakes didn't look bad enough to need replacing immediately, so I've got a set to carry for later.

I replaced the upper chain roller, which was fairly worn, with one that has actual bearings in it.

The old chain guide was nothing but a shard of plastic when I got the bike:

So I installed a new metal one!

More than once, I've encountered situations where my lack of spark arrestor was concerning. I also wasn't a fan of the volume of the aftermarket exhaust - I primarily want to putt around in the woods and be stealthy, not accidentally burn the forest down and be heard from miles away. I decided to switch out the Scorpion exhaust with a stock muffler. I found one for $20, practically new! Score!

I had gotten a replacement crush gasket, and I'm glad I did, that thing was toast.

I added liquid gasket to ensure a tight fit and put it all back together. I also replaced one of the muffler bolts, which was ridiculously rusty.

Much better! The bike runs a lot quieter and backfires less.

I added an inline fuel filter. Unfortunately, I should have gotten the straight version instead of the 90 degree, but oh well. Eventually I would like to get some nicer fuel line, I am concerned about this stuff kinking, but I used what I had available.

Attempting to figure out the rain hiccup, I removed and inspected the spark plugs. They seemed to be fine. I checked out the spark plug wires for signs of cracking and cleaned inside the spark plug boot, but didn't see anything that would obviously cause a problem. Lots of blow-by around the top of the engine though. I suspect I will need to replace some gaskets eventually.

A while ago, my bash plate was making a great deal of noise. When I inspected it, I found that it had snapped off the attachment tabs in 4 places. Yikes! I removed it, but didn't know anybody locally with a TIG welder. Oz was working at a steel factory, so he cut and bent me up a plate out of their scrap bin on his break. I think he did a pretty good job! He also made attachment tabs for it, but we lacked access to a welder.

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