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Old 05-29-2014, 11:22 PM   #1
gearheadE30 OP
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Indiana
Oddometer: 677
Laugh Three Months Exploring the US on a 950

I think I've only actually written up one ride report here, but normally I don't feel that my trips really merit their own threads. This time, however, is different.

I just graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Purdue University, and somehow I managed to get close to 4 months off between graduation and actually starting work. Since I have no idea when I'll be able to do this again, it seemed like a pretty good opportunity to go for a ride! I've spent the better part of the last semester, in addition to school stuff, selling off a lot of the random crap I own and prepping the bike for the ride. As of a few hours ago, everything I own is locked away in a storage unit. All that's left to do is some last minute mapping and rearranging the gear.

The idea behind the trip is to take my 05.5 950 Adventure around the US, hitting as much dirt as possible. Most of the focus will be out west, as living in Indiana, I can do the midwest whenever I want. The initial trip goal was to make it to Alaska, and it still might happen, but I don't want to feel rushed. I'll basically keep riding until half the summer is burned up, and then turn around and start working my way back. It should be pretty laid back. And awesome. Very awesome.

I've done a bit of motorcycle camping in the past, but it's all been day, weekend, or week trips. Not really a whole lot of experience to build from, so I've been reading a lot of the other RRs posted here to try to figure out what I need and how to keep the weight down. It should be quite the experience, and you guys will get to see all of the hiccups and missteps along the way. I mean, that's what you're all *really* interested in, isn't it?

My trusty steed, with all 52k miles on her:



For the first two weeks, a friend from school is coming along on his 450 EXC. Because he's on a somewhat tight schedule, we're focusing more on what he wants to do for that bit. As such, we're going to make a pretty good run for it going up north through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana...lots of flat area, and a fair amount of pavement just so that we can make good time. The goal is to run the northern section of the CDR, hang around in Colorado for any remaining time, and then he will hit the highway to make it back to Indiana in time for work. This is really the only part of the trip that has a schedule, and that I have the ride mapped out in advance for. It's getting pretty late right now and there is a lot of prep work I still need to do, but I'll try to get on here in the next few days and get an idea of the route posted.

I do have a SPOT tracker on my bike, so you can see where I'm at here:

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...IEq5OIr5qeRdO5

Let me know if the link doesn't work and I'll try to sort it out.

There will be relatively fewer installments here for the next few weeks, but they'll pick up more after that when I have more time to sit around with WIFI and upload all the pics and video I know you FFs love. . I'll use this as something of a journal because there are some friends and family who will be watching this, so there will be a few more posts about prepping the bike, my gear, and that sort of thing as well. Until that happens, here is a pic of all my gear for the summer loaded on the bike. This is everything, with the exception of food, on a test run down to southern Indiana.




Well, back to packing up the bike. I'll be back, and I can't wait to get this thing going. We leave May 31st, bright and early.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:39 PM   #2
sodajones
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Boom.


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Old 05-30-2014, 05:34 AM   #3
opjocephus
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Central Indiana
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What a lovely way to spend the summer. BTFU and safe travels.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:42 PM   #4
gearheadE30 OP
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The best laid plans....

The night before the trip starts, and I've been unpacking and repacking things to try to lose some more weight. I've got plenty of space, but riding (and picking the bike up...) is a lot more fun when the bike is lighter. Managed to get rid of a few more pounds of stuff I won't need, and as I'm digging through one of the sacks, my hand gushes into something sticky. Turns out the nice little tube of JB Weld resin had exploded in the bag, coating everything with black goo. Wonderful. At least the hardener didn't leak out too. So all my spares and some of the tools are covered in JB weld. There's always something.

I don't know if I mentioned this, but I'm moving out of my apartment as I'm getting ready to leave, so all my stuff is now out, except what's coming on the trip, the chair I'm sleeping on tonight, and the tent that's set up in my old bedroom. I think the better plan would have been to pack all the motorcycle stuff, then move out, or vice versa. Doing both concurrently is a pain. Which reminds me, I need to figure out where I packed my other tire iron and the spare clutch slave O-rings...

After probably 2 months of prepping the bike, collecting GPS tracks around the US, reading ride reports, researching gear, and slogging through the last semester of school, this is what it all comes down to: me sitting in the living room surrounded by camping gear at one in the morning trying to figure out how to get this black goop off of all my stuff. Not quite what I was expecting.

In the corner of this pic you can see the chair that is calling me over...


Also, I've got a heck of a lot more respect for those of you who make GPS routes of everything before your trips. It takes a long time and is a real pain, and I'm only trying to get about 2 weeks of it hammered out at this point. Takes a lot longer than expected, especially when trying to figure out where to camp. That will get easier as we move west, but camping is pretty sparse in the midwest.

Not a whole lot else going on now, just wrapping up final preparations. I did, however, have a small spill the other day. Was riding around with the cases on to remind myself how wide the bike was with them. I saw a very promising looking mud puddle, so I went through around 10 mph, up the little berm behind it, got a tiny bit of air, and landed on gravel covered pavement. The front tire washed immediately and I tried to save it with the throttle, but ended up just looping the bike. It was a gentle fall, but it still resulted in a bent up latch on one of the cases. Oh well, I guess that's what straps are for.

Pointing the direction she came from and taking a quick little nap:


Well, that's all the excitement for now. Hopefully the next post will actually be on the road!!

EDIT: sorry for the super massive ridiculous pics. Gotta find a way to resize those before posting. I'll host the rest of them on Photobucket or something and they should be fine.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 05-31-2014, 06:30 AM   #5
avocadofarmer
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Oh brother...I'm jealous!

If you want a place to throw your tent down in So Cal, hit me up. Could ride for a day too.
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:00 PM   #6
Honkey Cat
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i'll be following along.
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Old 05-31-2014, 07:55 PM   #7
gearheadE30 OP
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well, we made it through day 1. As with all great trips, we got off to a late start, and didn't hit the road until mid afternoon by the time we got going. Really no mishaps to speak of at this point, aside from sticky forks on the 450. I still can't quite figure out how to get the 950 to turn well on loose gravel, but that's probably partially due to worn tires and it being really heavy with all the gear on it. I'm quite sure I overpacked, but oh well, what are you gonna do. Might send some stuff home later if it gets to be too much.

currently camping in a field just over the border of Illinois, since that was all that was really at hand. I have some pics, but I'm on a phone now and really dont have a way of posting them yet... Not sure how I'm gonna do that. Any recommendations?
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 05-31-2014, 08:07 PM   #8
Wyocrawler
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Location: Zanesville ohio
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subscribed!
for pics off the phone try the Tapatalk app. Works for me and i can barely use a computer.
Good luck have fun and keep the updates coming.
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Old 06-01-2014, 12:57 PM   #9
gearheadE30 OP
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Well, I just downloaded the app, so we'll see how that works. Currently waiting out a storm in Dwight, il. George doesn't ha e rain gear yet, but the real issue is we're right where all the light ing is hitting. Covered about 150 miles so far, and made our first food stop. Its amazing how talkative people are when you're all loaded up, haha.



I'll try to figure out the pics in a bit, as we're going to get going and try to get out of this cell while it isn't raining.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 06-01-2014, 02:26 PM   #10
gearheadE30 OP
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Avocadofarmer, thanks for the invite! I'll be heading through there, so I'll definitely let you know. My family actually lives in Simi valley.

We're learning a lit about the bikes as we go. The 450 doesn't have quite the range we thought, getting about 46 mpg. 125 miles or so to deserve. The 950, on the other hand, is doing better than expected. The last tank was 43 mpg!



Sent from my RM-820_nam_att_100 using Tapatalk
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:28 AM   #11
gearheadE30 OP
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Well, we had our first mechanical failure - the shift lever fell off the 450 right as we pulled into galena, il. And I have never seen so many gnats in my life. Miserable. Dont camp here when its hot and wet, heh.



I tried posting pics. Says the file is too big, so still working on that.
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 06-02-2014, 09:41 PM   #12
gearheadE30 OP
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Day three in the books. Two flat tires are really the only other thing to report. Shortly before leaving, George had put a new set of tkc80s on the 450, but in the rush to get it together and in doing in late at night, he forgot to put the rim strip in. Fortunately there really isn't any weight on the front end and he rode it out. Got it all apart and put a new tube in, and I pinched it on the way in...first time I've ever done that. Thankfully I also had a patch kit, so we patched the tire and away we went. Just up the road, though, the tire went flat again. Thinking that we had blown the patch when we seated the bead or something, we pulled it all apart. No leak. Turns out the valve stem was leaking. We fixed that, and then the one way valve in the tire pump stopped working. I guess its a good thing we're both engineers, because we were able to fix it and get moving again.



On the spot you can see that we did quite a bit of highway. George really wants to get out to the continental divide and Colorado in general, so we're really pushing for that for the short time he can be out with me. After that, I promise there will be more pics and posts, haha. This will hopefully be the only part of the trip that involves highway for me.



We did do a bit of gravel today, which was good. My rear tire (mefo) is getting pretty worn, which makes sliding fun, but I'll probably need a new one somewhere in south Dakota or Montana. Any recommendations on shops?
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:54 AM   #13
2strokeClay
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Location: Nashville, Indiana
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not sure if you came up with a solution for pictures. I like www.imgur.com . The mobile app seems to work well on my slow phone. it took over a minute to open this post in chrome, but not very long to upload a photo. http://imgur.com/ltTASLr
I couldn't remember the syntax for embedding, but you get the idea.

Happy trails, keep the rubber side down.
-Clay

Edit: the app has one tap copy for embedded link syntax (our whatever it is called)
Edit2: turns out that picture from my phone is like 3000 pixles wide, so I removed the embedded one.
Edit3: just noticed that there is a 225 photo limit to the free imgur account. not sure what happens to the older photos, but supposedly they don't get deleted, just become not visible.

2strokeClay screwed with this post 06-03-2014 at 06:41 AM
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:36 AM   #14
dwj - Donnie
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I'm in! I am on the road as well!
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:33 PM   #15
gearheadE30 OP
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Did this pic work for you guys? In the garage, shortly before leaving and getting the 450 packed up.

Sent from my RM-820_nam_att_100 using Tapatalk
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1986 Yamaha XT350
2005.5 KTM 950 Adventure
1991 BMW 318is turbo track car
1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Wagon sleeper tow car
3 Months Exploring the US on a 950
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