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Old 03-29-2013, 06:56 PM   #241
Nice_Rumble
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You do have a nice easy style of story telling that allows the reader to feel the emotion of the moment that makes the RR interesting. Great job there HWD! Keep on riding the "little bike that can", the WR250R. Never really had much interest in riding Baja for a lot of the reasons you encountered but you've shown me a different Baja through the lens of your camera and words. You and Bryn now have shared an adventure that can only bring you guys closer together and create lasting memories. Well done and look forward to your next RR.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:45 AM   #242
Butcho
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Awesome Report

Very Inspirational story. You are a talented writer, Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:03 AM   #243
dano619
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yahooooo

All caught up..........gotta tell you, great story telling-----feeling like I'm right there, gotta a little misty eyed at the end-----thanks again for takin us along-------loooooove baja!!
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:18 AM   #244
Mcgee
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Once again, thank you for the great ride!!! What a great experience with your son. Lots of memories for years to come.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:23 PM   #245
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Wow! I'm just floored by the kind words and responses of y'all. I really just set
out to write down this report because I wanted to remember as much of it as
I could. It's a way to preserve my weakening memory, so to have people
follow this and get something out of it is more than I expected. It seems to
have taken a life of its own...

dano619--dang, you felt that way too, huh? I was hoping it didn't show, too much.

Butcho, Nice_Rumble, Jimbones--thank you! I do enjoy writing, was hoping it
didn't get in the way of the pictures; this place is all about the photos after all.

sandsman--good luck with your trip, there's plenty of places to go and travel all while
staying on pavement. Someone on another thread said words to the effect that it's a
waste of time to stay on pavement in Baja since there's only one paved road...NOT TRUE

benwiggin2, jonuclear, warp9man, Mcgee--de nada, amigos! I'm really glad you enjoyed it.



Hope to run across you all one of these days...who knows.
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:03 PM   #246
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Some Post-trip Notes



Total miles: somewhere around 5000...

The stock odometer on my WRR is way optimistic--it says 5409 miles.

The gps tracks say 4876 miles.

I'm going to go with the gps tracks as closer to actual miles, although it's probably a few % low as it rounds off track
points when saved.



How did the bikes hold up?



The DR650 suffered a bit on this trip, although it got my son everywhere he wanted to go (mostly!). It's deceivingly easy to fit
luggage on this bike. We added a steel strap--you can see it in this photo--





to hold off the side panel from the exhaust but it still got too hot to safely carry a saddlebag without a rack system.
The stock grab bars worked well to support a dry bag over the fender--no luggage rack was even needed.


The clutch didn't hold up in the mud of Laguna Salada, but there's no way to know if this was a result of a weak clutch
design or abuse from previous owners...I'm going to bet on a little of both. The bike had less than 5000 miles on it when
we started out on this trip but who knows what the bike had gone through before us. The eBay parts, probably off a parted
out bike--basket, springs, plates, bushings--were in great condition and worked fine the rest of the trip. However, I think the
clutch on a YZ250 looks more robust than the DR...


The stock suspension was inadequate for the dirt stuff we rode--it often bottomed out despite having the preload near max.


The CV carb developed a stuck float about half-way through the trip, causing the carb to drain gas into the air box--kinda ridiculous
that the EPA/CARB regs. require that. Caused some hard starting issues until we realized what was going on--on startup after
the fuel valve had been left on the bike would be flooded since it was sucking gas straight from the air box. Once we got home
my son and I tore into the carburetor and never did find the culprit, but blew out the float valve seat, cleaned everything up
and put it back together--no leaks.


The horn stopped working about halfway through the trip. Tore it apart afterwards...couldn't find the issue. Find an aftermarket
horn on amazon that looked exactly like the OEM horn, beep-beep was restored.


Taillight bracket seems poorly designed--that I'll blame on Suzuki--and failed kinda spectacularly. Not good to see the lamp
housing flopping around by the wires as you're heading to Coco's corner. Replaced that with an OEM eBay part-out again.
Good stuff.


The skid plate and IMS 5 gal tank a previous owner had installed were invaluable and held up great. Would not go to Baja
without either of these. The nice thing is that the fuel line is readily accessible, and I used the DR650 Supertanker to fill
my WRR's tank up a couple of times. The WRR's fuel line is------buried-----wouldn't work for refueling like this at all.


Last of all, the ergonomics of the stock DR just didn't work well for my son. He's just at 6 feet tall, and has a rock-climber's
wingspan. The seat to peg to handlebar dimensions didn't work for him, especially when standing.


And, the DR is just plain heavy.


If he was to keep this bike he'd have had to at the least make some major purchases in suspension upgrades and handlebar/risers
so when we got home the decision was not hard to make: sell the DR.


We went over the bike very carefully, cleaned it thoroughly, changed the oil & filter, lubed and adjusted the chain, replaced the
broken bits, and it sold on craigslist in 4 days. Went to a good home, and we were both sad to see the DR leave the driveway. It
had been a solid and sturdy companion for 6 weeks, and it will be missed.


Bryn is talking about something orange now...


The WR250R was a good choice for me. Kept humming along the whole trip, ran on the low octane Pemex without a problem,
was fun to ride the whole trip. With the exception of the 3.7 gallon Safari tank, an added luggage rack & skid plate and a larger
rear sprocket the bike is stock. No air box mods, no tuner, no loud exhaust.


It just works.


The only issue I had with the bike was caused by my own sloppy maintenance. The chain on these bikes runs close to the lower
front edge of the swingarm than many dualsports and if the chain tension gets out of spec by too much will start grinding on the
swingarm in heavy loads. I knew that, no big deal.


But, after 4 weeks of almost daily checks I got------lazy------and stopped checking. Sure enough, somewhere during the 5th week
the combination of mileage and the corrosion and grit from the salt mud of Laguna Salada took their toll. The chain and sprockets
wore enough that I got some new speed grooves in my swingarm.





I noticed it the day before we left Surf Camp on the way north. The chain was very loose plus had some tight and kinked links






and had completely eaten through the plastic swingarm protector, finally taking some aluminum along the way. Not good.


I tightened the chain, lubed it like mad, and crossed my fingers we'd be able to make it home. This was one of the reasons
we decided not to go by Mike's Sky Rancho on the way home.


We rode another 500 miles with no swingarm guard, and as near as I can tell there wasn't much if any more damage done to
the swingarm. I kept the chain tension exactly in spec and tried to lessen any impacts as much as possible. The chain was badly
worn and kinked though, and the closest place to get a new chain and a guard was in El Cajon. We'd already decided to stop our
ride in Carlsbad, only another 30 miles up the coast so I opted to just keep going. Imperial Valley Cycle Center was very cool--I
called them about the guard, they didn't have one in stock but were able to identify the closest dealer that did have one. Didn't
even know that was possible...


Turns out any dealer that uses the Lightspeed parts system can easily identify where the closest available part is. Good to know.


When I got home and pulled everything apart it was much worse than I thought. The guard was worn through of course.





The sprockets--both front and rear--were toast.








And, worst of all, somewhere along the way I'd lost the masterlink clip.








I run an o-ring chain with a press-on masterlink, so thankfully the link stayed together without the clip--you have to press the link
in place with a plate system, it's pretty tight--but still, it was very sobering to see the clip just....gone. No idea when it happened, but
I'm guessing the link came off in the mud of Laguna Salada, barely a week into our trip. Gulp.

Thank you, lady luck.


I've never seen a set of sprockets and chain wear that quickly. That mud is just plain nasty. Full of salt and other bad stuff. You can see
what it did to my spokes.

Front spokes, still relatively shiny, they'd escaped the worst of the mud bath.




The rear spokes had been submerged pretty well.




That salt mud just eats up metal.


We both ran MT21 fronts, D606 rears. No problems with either. Lots of people hate the MT21's--not me, but I am continuing to experiment with
other choices. Mine lasted about 6000 miles. Hard to argue with that. I really like the D606--it gives me a nice controlled ability to slide the rear
in dirt and sticks to the pavement well. Before that I'd been using an MT43 trials type tire--no complaints with it, but it doesn't really like to slide
in the dirt.




Would I do anything differently?



Well, not much, really.

Stay out of lake bed mud.

Maybe bring a smartphone, so I wouldn't have to rely on WoodsChick to bail me out.

Don't get complacent with maintenance, and I'm going to carry a spare swingarm guard on any long trips now.

Other than that, it was just about the perfect trip for us.




The trip of a lifetime....for now!




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Old 03-30-2013, 01:30 PM   #247
slackmeyer
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Great ride report! I loved this one, I don't make it through many ride reports, but you two had a really great attitude about the trip and the reporting of. Relaxed and open to what life brings you, and appreciative of your surroundings.

Oh, and I do love my KTM 640 enduro as an traveling bike. . . . not saying it's super low maintenance though.
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:21 PM   #248
oldxr
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Thanks for the good RR-I have my xr650r prepped for baja right now and should be leaving soon.Suggestion for sprockets & chain.Try dirttricks sprockets with a good RK or DID chain.Lube with triflon or 3m dry film lube.The xrr shreads parts-I have about 5k road+dirt and parts still look new.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:42 AM   #249
HardWorkingDog OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackmeyer View Post
...I don't make it through many ride reports,...
That's quite a compliment! Thanks Zach.


We were thinking more like the 500 EXC
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:50 AM   #250
HardWorkingDog OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldxr View Post
...Suggestion for sprockets & chain...
Thanks for the suggestion.

Triflow: check
Top of the line DID o-ring chain: check

Didn't make a bit of difference with the Laguna Salada salt mud. If you'd only seen how tight the mud
was packed in around the countersprocket and chain guide--it probably forced out all the o-ring grease
and replaced it with clay.

When I laid out the old chain it had "stretched" a good 5/8" over the new one for the same 114 links
(not stretch, but worn rollers and bushings of course).


Good luck on your upcoming trip!
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Next Trip: the Nevada-Utah-Arizona 3 step (hoping, DingWeed)...


"it's a dog's life.............and I love it"
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:14 AM   #251
HardWorkingDog OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardWorkingDog View Post
...We continued on down the west side and into the outskirts of San Jose when
the first problem cropped up. I had prepared the first 12 days of our trip as gps routes using Base Camp,
and then transferred them to my 60CSx... Not recommended, as I discovered when we were
navigating through the city streets. Apparently the handheld gps will re-route according to its own whims
when you import a route from BaseCamp. I haven't figured out exactly what's going on, but all I know is
that instead of directing us south towards Clear Creek it was determined to lead us back....HOME!??? Grrr.

ahhh, nothing quite like quoting your own post...




One more post-report comment, I think I know what went wrong with my well-planned routes.


In the last year we'd bought a newer car gps--a Nuvi something or other--and in the process I'd installed the
latest and greatest 2013 version of City Navigator........and used that version to create the routes in Base Camp.

Unfortunately, the 60CSx i use on the bike has--the 2010 version. I'm pretty sure when I dropped the routes based
on CN 2013 into the 60CSx it got cornfuzzled--doesn't know the 2013 data--and tried to start over from the beginning.

Or something like that, anyway, I suspect if I rebuilt the routes using CN 2010 I'm guessing they would have worked...



Or not.


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Next Trip: the Nevada-Utah-Arizona 3 step (hoping, DingWeed)...


"it's a dog's life.............and I love it"

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Old 04-01-2013, 05:40 PM   #252
DaFoole
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Loved the RR!!!

Thanks for taking us along!!!
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:54 PM   #253
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HWD,
Try a 14 tooth countershaft sprocket ....the 13 is good for tight woods riding....the 14 won't allow the chain to chew the swingarm and plastic guard nearly as quickly....and go more teeth in rear sprocket ( I use 52 in woods and 48 for Baja)....I like Ironman rear sprockets.

And I try to avoid beach riding although it is fun....the salt eats the bike up....

Thanks for the RR.....
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:57 PM   #254
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You're welcome! and thanks for following this saga...



It's not about the sprockets.
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HardWorkingDog screwed with this post 04-02-2013 at 08:03 PM Reason: we watched Lance "It's Not About the Bike" Armstrong's confession in the El Cortez
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:01 PM   #255
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Awesome Adventure & ride report... Thanks for take'n us along.
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