Monthly Archives: December 2014

Deep bike nerd babble. The contentious Kenda K270 tire.

Unless you are wayyyyy into moto tires, or just like how I rant about shit, this may not be interesting for you. I’ll leave that ball in your court.

So, when I got my KLR this past June the tires were used up and I did what all newbies do when confronted with such a dilemma, read forums and ask questions to find out what to get. Holy shit! Never could I have imagined the world of contention and confusion that the topic Dual Sport tires could present.

Wanting a good 50/50 that would be affordable I went with the Kenda K270, one of the tires most polarized in reviews. “Love it!”, “Those things are unsafe and a hazard at all times!”. Fuck. Whatever, they’re cheap.

Now that I have 5000 miles on the pair in a pretty solid 60/40 dirt-road balance I have come to a solid conclusion.

These things fucking blow harder than a pivot twink at a foam party at Silverado.

To be fair, the rear is actually pretty good off road. Good hook up, does mud and sandy stuff well, bla bla bla. The fun begins when you get a flat spot going in the tread and the funky side knobs become a steep angle pivot on paved surfaces. Makes it looser in the back than above mentioned twink while trying to hit the twisties. Goddamn horrifying.

The front does well on the paved, having a much more rounded profile than the rear, but is a worthless piece of wandering shit off road. At first I was willing to go with the wandering till it “broke in”. All these miles later it looks hardly worn, but despite varied air pressures (down to 16 psi) this fucker has tried to kill me in almost every surface type ridden. Most disconcerting was the recent experience of trucking down some nice hardpack dirt with a few wet spots in it and no matter the line taken around, through or far away from the wetness the goddamn thing wanted to go down.  Having Mt biked for over 20 years I know the front can wander a great deal and have learned how to go with the flow. This is different. This hunk of shit goes from solid to fucked instantly, no middle ground.

To tie this in with Commerce, I mean Christmas, day I’m happy to say I just ordered an IRC TR8 Battle Rally which looks like a sweet skin and will hopefully take some of the uncertainty out of the front end.

Well, there is that. Let me know if you have any experience with the K270 and what you think.

Rotella, mofos!

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Desert adventures, Aka Fuck X-Mas and all associated horseshit.

Being someone actively devoid of silly holiday traditions I chose the past few days to get the fuck out of Bend-Tourist Mecca and head into the desert. The plan was to get some ideas for trips based on the KLR and to see how the roads in the area matched the scant data available. Not well, I came to find. That will be a task with the bike after the winter. Ride the shit out of the desert with a GPS and load all that data into Open Street. Holy fuck, that was a hoot! A greater understanding of how that place was an inland sea some millennia ago instilled itself in my head after 2 days of desperate plowing down “roads” wondering which sludge hole was going to be the death of Mighty Whitey.P1010082

This was one of the small ones. One went for 500+ meters and damn near swallowed MW.

I shall pause the narrative at this point to publicly give a massive shout out to the engineer from Fuji Heavy Industries who, in the mid 70’s, came up with the concept that lead to the Subaru AWD wagon. This being my 4th Soob, I can attest to their  durability and insane dependability. I’ve hammered the complete shit out of all of mine and have never been left hanging. The fact that nothing broke this trip is stunning given the number of rocks hit, ditches jumped and super sludge ponds plowed through.

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Good on ya, Subaru!

 

 

 

 

Just being out in the middle of nowhere was worth it, however. Not being a fan of most people, the desert in winter is an excellent choice of places to be.

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Plenty good exploring got done and the camping was tops!

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First night…

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Annnnnnnd second.

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This was my favorite place the whole trip. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell ya, pardner! The name. Strictly the name.

Which is?!?!?

JEW VALLEY.

No shit, Jew Valley.

Not a Jew was sighted, which brought about some severe disappointment. Unless my sister is right and we’re Jews, then a Jew was sighted. In the mirror. Not what I was hoping for. I wanted to see some fucking hardscrabble Hasids in their dumb fucking wool jammies and curly locks working it. Building fence and whatnot. Nope, just a watering hole, sage and way too much slop disguised as roads. Fuck.

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There was a little sun, usually a few hours in the morning followed by overcast and rain, sleet, snow, hail and odd combos of all the above at times. Beautiful. I highly recommend no one ever try this sort of thing. Keeps the rabble out of my goddamn desert.

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Smooch!

Rotella.

Map Nerd Shit

Between morning cup of coffee 1 and 2 the little dinger on my phone went off letting me know of a new email. Fuck it, gonna get cuppajoe # 2 down before I read that.

Half way through #2 I decide to check it out and what do ya know, school got cancelled due to the .01 inch of ice. Woohoo, free day!

Got all the typical AM business out of the way then hit the computator to do some editing in Open Street Map. There, I tied it into the title. OSM, as us mappie types call it, is basically a spatial data version of Wikipedia. Anyone who opens an account can add, delete or edit the data in the map. The advantage of it over Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc. is that it isn’t up to the company to decide what gets edited/added. Have a favorite restaurant that isn’t on the map? Add it.  The map data is also shareware so it can be used by other developers without worry of copyright issues. Esri, the company that makes ArcMap, the primary GIS software platform, has it as a base map option, some phone apps, such as Maps.Me pro use it as their base map as well.

To get off on a side tangent, Maps.ME is worth having. You can download maps with built in routing so you can use them for route finding without having any data connection. The great benefit of them using OSM is this: if there are specific things you want to have in maps, you can add it to OSM and be able to access it at any time. Whenever the app updates, all the edits that occurred since the last update are automatically added. How can this be cool?

I’m a moto dork as well, if you couldn’t tell by the title of the blog. I like to do long solo treks on old highways and dirt/forest/desert roads in the middle of nowhere and there are a few things I like to know the location of: gas, water and food. So I go through areas I plan to explore, find any sources of aforementioned stuff and if it’s there, but not yet added to OSM, I put it in and voila! No data needed personal updated maps for the shit I need to know about.

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Spent tonight with a Meetup group called Maptime which was an absolute hoot. Played with editing in OSM, looked at some Strava data as it can be streamlined and uploaded and basically babbled map nerd shit with some cool folks for a few hours.

It is rather rewarding to have thrown it all in to return to school to retrain for a new career field and see how huge it is, how fun it is and to see that I’m pretty damn good at it. It’s obvious my writing isn’t going to put food on the table so it’s good this is working out so far.

Rotella

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Let the Party Begin…

Ughfuck.

Trying to get a resume and cover letter built out of the mass of shit that is my govt application and slightly over the top employment history is less fun than one might imagine. Thankfully, a good friend/former tech recruiter has offered some guidance. I love her.

On the update side of life, friend David of the testicular cancer has been recovering and has a new blog post here. Some good honest stuff.

Thanks again to all here who kicked in a few ducats for him, tis very greatly appreciated.

I’m not yet up for this winter. Usually the coming of cold and snow is invigorating, but this year it’s a fucking bummer. Wanna run trails shirtless and get miles in on Thumper. And not have to try and avoid slipping and falling on my ass every time a foot hits the ground. Thankfully, there isn’t an option but to deal with it which makes it easier. Suck it up, buttercup.

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Kicking… And San Francisco is still a sweet visit

The past week containing Honky White Devil eatin’ day made it worthy of note. A pack of us, including a 4 month old, jammed into a mini-van and drove 11 hours to the city by the bay for gluttony fest and checking shit out.

The 4 month old:

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Yes, he’s cute as shit. And rather low on the noise factor.

Got to friend Jason’s sweet pad in the Sunset hood around 1AM and stayed up yammering till 3 on T-day. Got a bit of sleep the coffee and a stroll down to the beach in the sun sun sunny 60’s.

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Not what I had imagined of San Fran. The rest of the day was a disgusting food orgy on delightful foods and good conversation with friends not seen for some time.

We came in on the Bay bridge, newly rebuilt over the past few years. There is an amazing light show going on on the outside of the bridge not visible from the roadway, but very cool from Pier 2

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For some reason the crew decided that hitting insanely busy locations was the order of the visit leading to a claustrophobic visit to Muir Woods on Friday, followed by driving and strolling around Union Square Saturday. Friday was made good by hiking a little used 5 mile trail leading to Muir Beach and a wicked sunset.

Saturday night and Sunday SF got a rare treat: a heavy downpour of rain. Holy shit levels of rain. Just in time for the 11 hour drive home.

While gassing the famvan up in the standard I-5 mid valley roadside shit hole I noticed the car behind me had BC plates. Started a chat with the fellow and his bride and at some point it came out I was studying GIS and the gent asked if I was job hunting. Mentioned I would be in June and he gave me the name of a company and a name of a fellow to call. Seriously. Calling him tomorrow.

Good times.

The shittier the Wx, the better the adventure. That’s what I tell myself anyway…

 

 

Despite the severe wind warning NOAA was putting out, I felt it was the perfect day to head out into the desert for some solo riding. Winds on the way out were 40-50 and blew me into the oncoming lane a few times, but the lean traffic made it only scary, not deadly. I got onto the dirt before I had planned to get the fuck off the highway, didn’t need to paint the grill of a semi. Plenty dirt roads to get me where I wanted to go.

For a little background, I used to work for the US Forest Service in this area for around 10 years. 8 of those I lived in very remote Guard Stations, basically remote fire stations, not lookout towers. My love for, and sense of peace found, out in this part of the world is immeasurable. Every time I get out on the East Ft.Rock is a good time. Helps to know damn near every stick in the place.

The initial plan was to go camping out somewhere deeper in the desert, a place called the Lost Forest, basically a large stand of trees in the middle of the desert. Wx quickly changed that idea to a decent day trip.

Started  the sightseeing at a very large Pondo all alone in the desert.

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It’s 6.5′ DBH, the last of it’s size out here. No, I won’t give out it’s location. Too many redneck sisterfuckers get hard dicks ruining such things.

 

Things rapidly went to pot as I headed into the wooded areas and started encountering downed trees. The topper was when I stopped for a spell then tried to restart the bike and there was no power. As in none. Dead. On a OHV trail 35 miles from town. Shook and wiggled shit for 10 minutes and it finally came to life. Decided it was time to wrap it up and headed home.

Found all the wires to the battery negative loose so tightened it all up and it was good to go.

 

Super exciting I know, but I’ve been sitting on this for a couple months and just wanted to get it the fuck out there.

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New excitingly topical stuff to come!!