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Old 12-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #76
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Great report and pictures,thanks for taking me along...
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:09 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Giddy Up View Post
Here are some more photos from the day.

Trails were just slightly wet and really perfect for riding.



Long and straight. Gavin was flying down this road.



Cool photo of G. This is Nevada. It was small mountain range, then a deserted valley, then another mountain range.



The cattle are very coordinated in Nevada. :-)

Did you get any DNA? I don't know much, but I do know my S**t. I think those are stud piles left by competing Stallions for the mares affections. Kind of "this is what I think of you."
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:07 AM   #78
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Okay, as I have a chance, I'm going to try to get down some reviews and impressions of some of the gear and maybe just our general approach to packing. We were certainly aided by others doing the same in their reports, so I'll try to return the favor as best as I can.

I'll start with the obvious: the bike.

I'm torn on this one. On one hand, it chewed the scenery with reckless glee and was nearly trouble free (fork mishap aside). On the other hand, it's such an unruly beast that I had a hard time ever falling in love with it. I thought for sure I'd come back from the trip feeling sentimental and reticent to sell it. It's really not the case. It did it's job, now it's for sale. Anybody want a trip ready 640 Adv? Seriously, I'm amazed at what I could plow through on the bike, but I really couldn't ever get used to a thumper. I think a twin would have entirely changed my riding experience. I know it's for torque, but I'm still a bit confused over thumper engines in bigger bikes. Great bike, but not a long term love affair for this guy. I'll be forever amazed when I see a guy in khakis riding one of these around town. There are few bikes I can imagine wanting to commute on less than this one.

Just my impressions, not intended to start any flame wars. At the end of the day, I can't imagine doing the trip on another bike...unless they make a 640 twin someday...


Another obvious one is the cases. Mine was a Happy Trails setup that came on the bike. They did their job perfectly. They accepted a few go-downs without complaint, kept out water and dust, and kept all my stuff safe and sound. I sprayed bed liner throughout the inside, which is something I'd highly recommend to keep your gear from turning black. The only real mishap was when I almost lost one thanks to the hand-screws coming loose from vibration. If I did it again, I'd replace the hand screws with loc-tited bolts. Other than that, they were great. From a practicality standpoint, they were significantly more convenient than soft bags. Soft bags are way cheaper and get the job done too, but as John found out, they take a lot more fussing when it's time to pack up. I had a combination. My clothes were in a soft bag on top and that seemed to be perfectly convenient as long as the heavier stuff stayed in the boxes. Two big thumbs up from me. I'm really glad the bike came with these, otherwise I probably would have just gotten soft luggage...'cause I'm cheap.



Riding gear:

Jacket:
I used a Revit Air jacket. It's a ridiculously vented sport jacket with a close 'Euro' fit. I bought this with the trip in mind but mostly because I wanted a vented jacket for normal riding. I really didn't like the idea of the BMW snowsuits. I wanted something protective but light and vented. This fit the bill perfectly. The best part was that because it fit so close, I could just throw a windproof soft-shell right over the top when it got cold. When it was hot, it vented like I wasn't wearing anything. It's certainly not a touring jacket, but it was exactly what I wanted MY touring jacket to be. And now that the trip is over, it's my favorite jacket for summer riding.


Helmet:
We both had the AFX touring helmet. I think it's FX39? Fly Racing makes a version of the same helmet. It was great. Another choice made for money reasons, but a good choice. I looked at Shoei and Arai and liked both of their DS helmets, but they're expensive. The AFX was comfy, had great visibility, and breathed incredibly well. It's a bit loud, but it really never bothered me. For $100, this had the feel of a much more expensive helmet. After spending two weeks in it, there was nothing that would have justified the extra few hundred dollars for the other lids.


Boots:
Another one that we both decided on, again for price reasons. They were Fox Comp 5s, I believe. Again, I looked at Sidi and other more expensive boots but couldn't justify the cost for two weeks of wearing. These were cheap and crazy comfortable. No break in required. Also, it should be noted that these are the only piece of protective gear that really got a workout from me. I can think of twice that they saved me from real injury: once when I dumped and the bike landed peg-first full on my ankle and other when my foot hooked behind a rock at speed and twisted back under my hard case. Both times I got bruised up but felt like it would have been very serious if not for the boots. They may not last forever, but after two weeks of daily abuse, mine show no real signs of wear. Great boot.


Watch:
Totally useless review since it's not even riding gear, but since I love it I'm going to mention it (and I'm a watch geek). After some deciding, I wore my Vostok Anchar on the trip.


It's gigantic, so easy to read while riding. The chrono was useful occasionally, but best of all, it's tritium illuminated so I could read it whenever. This was actually pretty handy as we spent a surprising amount of time in the dark (literally and figuratively). I like this watch a lot and it handled 2000 miles of rough road without a scratch. Soviet ingenuity at it's best. I just saw an article about a guy that did Dakar with one of these. Vostok was one of his sponsors, but the guy wasn't a pro or team rider and finished the race solo. Made me realize that our little ride was probably a day in the park for it.

Lucky 7 screwed with this post 12-21-2012 at 09:52 AM
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Old 12-21-2012, 09:40 AM   #79
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In no particular order, here are a few more things that are worth mentioning, good or bad.

Tires: I used Pirelli MT21s. I never changed tires on the whole trip. They're worn almost to the casing, but still have a bit of knob and never chunked. I was amazed they lasted. Buzzy on road, but pretty awesome offroad. Thumbs up.


Vector Computer: Simply put, awful. Awful, awful, awful. I really wish the bike had it's stock computer. The Vector is difficult to read, overly complicated, and, best of all, would reset every time it got too hot. Daily mileage, time...all gone. It kept the odometer numbers, but everything else would zero. Thankfully John's trip odometer worked up until the last day, because mine would have left us in the dark. What a POS.


Riding partner: Honestly, I think this is an area that I underspent. Just kidding...Diamond, you know I love ya.


General gear: We're both occasional backpackers so we just used all our usual gear. It was nice in that we already knew how to travel light. We were fairly sparsely packed and I actually felt over prepared. I didn't wear all of my clothes and I didn't use all of the gear. I could have gone lighter, but we went light enough that it never really mattered. We both got a laugh when we ran into some 1200GS guys who were loaded down like mules. They were out for the weekend and couldn't believe that we were out for two weeks. They said that they had even left some stuff at camp. In general, we found that we really didn't need all that much. We tried to not over-think it. Backpacking essentials plus some tools. That's about it.


GPS: We both had units...i forget what models. Either way, they did the job. Importing the maps was time consuming, but really not too bad. We should have done it sooner, but you know how it goes. When the TAT got confusing, the GPS was pretty nice. To avoid always being a slave to THE LINE, we frequently broke away from the route and made our own way through the paper maps. An hour or two (or 8) off the line felt liberating, but it was always comforting to hook back up with it. Certainly useful, probably not necessary. Sam's maps are great in paper form if you want to simplify. I rarely even had my GPS turned on. By the time we were closing out Nevada, both of us had them turned off almost always. Mostly we switched to paper maps and started making up our own route. I think the mix of both was nice. We would have missed some of my favorite parts of the trip if we had stayed true to the GPS.


Extra gas: Jodie bought me a pannier mounted bottle holder for extra gas. I wasn't sure we'd need it, but it was a nice precaution. When John ran dry in the middle of Wyoming, it stopped being a precaution and became very practical. Glad to have had it. Thanks Jodie!


I think my big realization was that we really didn't need everything to be perfect. Cycles South changed my perspective a lot. John wore work boots and jeans on all of our test rides. At first I thought it was unwise, but it dawned on me pretty quickly that we could have done the whole trip that way and been fine. Of all the gear, riding boots and a helmet are the two I wouldn't sacrifice. The rest just helped me be more comfortable but wasn't at all essential. Strap your shit to your back and grab your work gloves. The biggest step for us was just getting out the door. The rest was just convenience.


Johnny, it's all yours for your thoughts. If anybody else has questions, specific or not, I'm happy to answer as best I can.
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Old 12-21-2012, 10:56 AM   #80
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Thanks from Holland

Great reading, thanks for taking the RR trouble!
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Old 12-21-2012, 12:42 PM   #81
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Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the cattle piles. To quote Jurassic Park, "That is, uh, onebigpileofshit."

These things were all over the place. Sometimes they'd be 4 feet in diameter and 12 inches deep! We could never figure out what was happening. Ten cows crapping in a circle? One cow that stood there all day crapping? Or my favorite idea: a wind vortex swept it up and left it there....crap devils?

If anybody is trained in the cow arts, chime in. I'm curious about the giant turd piles of Nevada.
Maybe someone already explained this later on the story. I don't know, I don't want to jump ahead yet, as I' enjoying it bit by bit.

Anyway, this is not cow stuff. This is horse shit. And it is stallion shit at that. That's how they mark their territory. What it means is that there are mustangs in the area.
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Old 12-21-2012, 01:03 PM   #82
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Cool, thanks! It sounds stupid, but we really were confused by those. Lots of conversations would come back to the giant shit piles. Neat to know we were in mustang country.
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Old 12-22-2012, 08:34 AM   #83
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There were a lot more deadwood piles here than we'd seen yet. I couldn't imagine the manpower that went into this. All of these carefully stacked piles went for miles. MILES.



I used to do that kind of work, it was mind numbing, but a good paycheck for a young guy with a family. Notice the plastic 2/3 up the stack of sticks, the reward of such horrible work was that we'd come back during the winter and burn all those piles, drip torch in one hand and a bucket of aluma-gel(napalm) in the other.


Nice report, started following when you started and lost track of it, glad I found it again.

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Old 01-01-2013, 12:28 PM   #84
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We thought burning them was the only logical thing, but couldn't really wrap our heads around the effort put into all of it. Thanks for the explanation, interesting that you worked on those crews. Those sort of jobs always make great stories for the grand kids. :-)
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:46 AM   #85
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Really enjoyed this TR
So how long before you start planning the next off road trip?
You rode west / north what about east / south?
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:29 AM   #86
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Hard to say. Nothing immediate in the works, certainly. The extended time away from family would probably keep either of us from doing something this long again, but you never know. For the time being, we're both selling the bikes and moving on to other things. I don't see myself being a weekend offroader, so the KTM would just go unused in the garage. Once it's cleared out, I'm going to pick up a 72-74' Guzzi Eldo and strip it to the nuts and rebuild it. Sort of a life list thing for me...

Motorcycles are in my blood, though, so I make no promises about staying away from adventures. My brother and I have talked about riding the AlCan up to Prudhoe Bay. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I'll be in the garage knee deep in guzzi parts and blaring Louis Prima.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:49 AM   #87
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Lucky 7 and giddyup...I really enjoyed reading through your Ride Report. It's a time consuming procedure but well appreciated by us ADVriders! Thanks again.
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:58 PM   #88
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Gear n' stuff 1 of 2

Bike: (I am not looking to start the next great debate on dual sport bikes or KLR's. Here's my 2 cents worth)
The good ol’ KLR 650. This bike will survive the apocalypse along with the cockroaches. This bike was perfect for the trip. For two reasons:
  • Reliable: I believe I was the third owner. I commuted on it for most of the spring and summer, took it down to Rampart, up Rollins Pass, and the trails behind Central City. I was never afraid that it was going to break down. More importantly, I dropped it several times (one hard when I thought I broke my ribs, the x-ray said differently) while learning to ride off road and I only broke the mirrors. Additionally, I only need a small tool set to fix pretty much anything outside of a major mechanical. I know enough about bikes to be dangerous and the simplicity of the mechanics was right up my alley. During the trip, the pieces that broke were minor and did not hinder my ability to continue.
  • Not good at anyone thing, but great for a dual sport trip: Even though I commuted on it, it was not comfortable. When going through technical off road sections, I wished I was on a 400 or 250. That being said, it was perfect for this trip.
Luggage: I initially had one large dry bag. This quickly proved to be a poor choice as I would end up digging for my items. In Moab, I purchased two dry bags (Sealline Moab series) that together equaled the size of the large one. I enjoyed this set up as I could separate out items I needed during the day and items at camp. Outside of Gavin waiting for me every morning and feeling like I was holding things up, I would use the dry bags again. They double nicely as back rests and seats while around camp. Additionally, I now have three nice dry bags for other excursions into the woods (camping, fishing, etc). They are lighter than hard cases. http://cascadedesigns.com/sealline/d...ry-bag/product


Tarp: Kelty’s Noah 12. This was handy the few times we had weather and when it dropped below freezing. We both preferred to camp with just our sleeping bags outside. The tarp helped to reduce the dew/frost on our bags in the morning as it ended up on the tarp. It was perfect for when it was raining. It would cover both bikes and we would have room to cook underneath it. This tarp is a pain to set up in the slightest breeze. I imagine that this is the same with any tarp not a fault of Kelty’s. We only pulled it out when the weather was looking like rain, so it seemed that we were always cursing at the tarp while setting it up.
http://www.kelty.com/p-518-noahs-tarp.aspx


Stove: An MSR. Don’t know what year as I have had it a while as my backpacking stove. Great stove and fuel is readily available at Walmart and camping stores. We carried two fuel canisters and only needed one. We boiled water every night and morning. This appears to be the new model of my stove: http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves...pro-ii/product


GPS: Garmin Map 62. Great unit. I was cheap and did not buy the version with a memory card slot. I should have purchased the next level up. I didn’t need more memory for the trip, however I am using it for other activities and it seems that I will always want more space. We used Garmin's Basecamp to input our routes. A huge thanks to the ADV community for help with the GPS and way pointing.

http://sites.garmin.com/gpsmap62/info/



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Old 01-02-2013, 03:00 PM   #89
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Talking Gear n' stuff 2 of 2

Helmet: These helmets are loud. However, a decent set of foam ear buds eliminates the noise. I have a pair of Shure ear buds with foam inserts. Real nice. They don’t make my model anymore, however I bet they are just as good or better: http://www.shure.com/americas/produc...s/se-earphones

Riding Partner: Smells like a fresh diaper and rotten milk and was really really slow. . .

Tires: Michelin T63's: AWESOME. I easily put 4,000 or more miles on these tires, then sold the bike. I wanted a tire that would grip in the dirt and get me around town. They are more dirt friendly than street. However, I would rather have my tires grip while handling a nasty technical section, than cruising around town. I don't really carve the canyons, nor would I buy the KLR to be a canyon carver. http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com...Rear-Tire.aspx


Ouray grips: I mountain bike with these. I love these grips. Do yourself a favor and buy some: http://www.ourygrips.com/mountain-grips/
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:01 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by ADVCoot View Post
Lucky 7 and giddyup...I really enjoyed reading through your Ride Report. It's a time consuming procedure but well appreciated by us ADVriders! Thanks again.
Glad you enjoyed the ride report!
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