Tag Archives: adventure motorcycling

Home. 11,156 Miles and 7 Weeks Later

Ugh.

Holy shit, it’s over.

For now.

That was a haul unlike any other I’ve attempted. Trying to find words to encapsulate a trip of such size is difficult, hell, trying to grasp all that was seen and done is a lost cause. Gotta love photos and blogging for keeping track of the memories and events. While an epic adventure, not the last big ride. Between the Desert SW this spring and this haul, I’ve only begun.

Blasting across Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho and finally half of Oregon in 5 days wasn’t fun, but at least my crotch is still numb from the ride. Goddamn thumpers.

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The requisite Kansas corn shot. Blasting through the Midwest exposed me to a ton of smaller to tiny little towns that, again despite common impressions, were lively, attractive and flourishing. Honestly, the grossest little shitholes didn’t arrive till Colorado. My route limited my exposure to the overall picture, but I think a good impression was gained and it differs greatly from what is considered common knowledge concerning the ‘flyover’ states.

There is little to report from the 5 day ride home from Detroit beyond shitty hotels, generally monotonous scenery with the occasional surprise, and ever increasing smoke levels the further west I rode. There was a short stint spent under the tongue of a horse trailer in Colorado to avoid a severe thunderstorm, but that was about it.

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The exhaust kind of fell apart in Kansas, leading to some ingenuity in keeping it at least partially functional. Even with earplugs in, Thumper is a noisy beast when uncorked.

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The one place in SE Idaho I wanted to camp had narrowly avoided being burned up not too far in the past. As I cruised through my old BLM District there were a surprising number of recent fire scars, must be a great season for OT.

Pulled in at the Crystal Crane Hot-springs near Burns, OR for the traditional post adventure camp and soak, managed to hang out for a few hours, then said “fuck it”, packed up and did the last 127 miles to home. After so long, 127 miles was a blip, a mere blink of time through well known terrain towards real food, a shower, MY bed. Easy peasy.

Then it was done. Parked the filthy bike in the garage, hit the shower and pigged out on I can’t remember then passed out. All done. Shaving never felt so good.

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The week since then has been a mixed bag. All the fucking godawful tourists sliming around for the eclipse had the town packed and my tolerance frayed. Having to deal with regular day to day stuff and figure how to fill a whole day is now just starting to happen. When 2 months straight is ride, sleep, repeat life is pretty fucking simple. Modern life can really complicate a good thing. Obviously, I didn’t feel like writing, and don’t now, but the 3 of you deserve a conclusion to this whole thing.

Got the bike all squared away, cleaned up, exhaust repaired, oil changed and tires topped off. Never know when you’ll need to get in some ride time for sanity sake.

The eclipse was neat, but so severely overblown by the #hypetards of modern social media it was silly. In the era where snow storms get named it shouldn’t surprise me, but I’m still fairly old school in that regard. Stores are now having big blow it out the door sales to try and recoup all the coin they spent on shit no one cared to buy.

Sweet.

The reason for the cutting short and big blast back shall be attended this coming Monday.  Shaved, got my hair did and have my fancy job getting clothes all ready to go. A finalizing interview, soon followed, hopefully, by a new gig. Requiring yet another relocation to a different state, but I like Washington and will be close enough to PDX for sales tax free shopping and the visiting of all my friends still able to manage there.

So, that’s pretty much that for this trip. Epic sights, wonderful friends and family, kind and friendly strangers, minimal mechanical issues, and a passion even further stoked to do it all over again. Soon. I’ll be hitting the upper Midwest for sure for more exploring and including eastern Canada and the eastern seaboard of the US for good measure. Not sure if Thumper will be my steed for the next big haul, but it will certainly be called upon for smaller trips.

Like the one I head out on this Thursday.

Time to Willy.

 

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Family Funtime

Rolling into Hartland, WI had me nervous initially, but very soon that all went away and a most excellent time was had. For a very long time family for me has consisted of my sister, bro-in-law and their kids. My folks bailed from Wisconsin to the west coast soon after getting married and didn’t keep too much contact with family. Well, my dad did, but his asshole wife cared little for his family and hated hers so extended relatives were not a part of my growing up. Other than visiting WI for the grandparents 50th anniversary as a 9 year old and my grand dad visiting for my sister’s HS graduation (subsequently getting meningitis and dying) it was us alone in the west.

A couple years ago cousin Mike and wife Sue got hold of us and said they wanted to come out and visit, catch up and see what was going on with us. It was a great visit and made me happy to have missed out on all the funky family shit that had been going on in WI we were lucky to avoid. However, we missed out on meeting their kids, we are the youngest of the family so everyone else is 15 to 17 years older, and grand kids and being a part of their lives.

All that was rectified with this visit. Met my 2nd and 3rd cousins, Aunt Pat who was married to the main family asshole back in the day, but is now more part of the family than him and his demon spawn, and Bubba, cousin Jill’s Jack Russell terrier.

Hanging out with cousin Mike was a hoot. Being a contractor in the area for 40ish years and very involved in the community he seemingly knows everyone and all that goes on in the area. Quite the man about town. Fun to hit the local breakfast hangout for all the old characters in town, chugging coffee and busting balls. Spent time at 2nd cousin Angie’s place in the burbs her husband Jim had turned into a AV/man cave paradise. The garage bar beats any I’ve seen. Their daughter is a serious ball of fun.

 

Her brother Chris and his wife Beth have 2 awesome kids and a sweet 100+ acre farm where they raise chickens, make maple syrup and raise bees on top of having regular gigs.

Spent time on the nearby lake cruising around on the pontoon boat one evening, and a jet ski another. Sea Doos kick ass. If you’ve never gone 70 MPH across water you really owe it to yourself to give it a go. Soooo goddamn fun!

Lake time with the fam

Pewaukee Lake pontooning

Hanging out listening to family history and adding in gaps from my side was a great time. It was universally agreed that the family assholes were not worth monkeying up the cool thing we had going. Supporting each other and sharing time with those we enjoy are values and ideals we could agree on.

Highlighting the visit was a day in Milwaukee checking out where they all grew up in the NW  part of the city, the wonderfully reinvigorated downtown and the topper:

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the Harley-Davidson Museum. Holy hell, what an amazing place. I’m not a huge Harley guy, but as a moto guy I was blown away by the quality and depth of the place. Should you find yourself anywhere near Milwaukee, you need to check it out if you have any interest at all in motorcycles.

Words don’t do it justice, so here’s a ton of photos

 

 

Spent the following day tracking down parts for Thumper, which cousin Mike generously picked up, and got them slapped on to keep the adventure rolling. Rear tire, oil, and battery needed to get updated if things were to continue. That evening was Jet ski and pizza night which is really hard to beat.

Needing to get the party back on the road we spent the morning BSing with Mike, Jill and aunt Pat and chugging coffee before I headed of to the high speed ferry across lake Michigan. No interest in driving through Chicago. Nope.

Met a number of other bikers on the ferry and was the only ADV rider. Mostly H-Ds, go figure. All heading back home from Sturgis. After putting WI in the rear mirror, it was a while until land came back into view. Them Great Lakes is big! Heading across the lake facilitated getting to visit a friend in Detroit for a bit without having to drive through 3 states and Chicago.

 

As is typical, I had an important phone call that was to occur at noon, precisely the time we were loading the ferry. Missed the call, but returned it ASAP and had an excellent conversation with a potential employer. Later in the day I received and email discussing on-boarding me with the company. I believe I have a GIS gig in Vancouver, WA with a good deal of potential for growth.

Got to friend Heather’s place in a suburb north of Detroit and had a nice 2 day hang. She was generous with her time and place despite being in the midst of a whirlwind of suck in her personal life. Didn’t temper her ability to give an excellent tour of Detroit and environs. Now, the current word on Detroit out west is that it’s still stuck in the early-mid 90’s shithole, murder capitol phase and beyond help. That could not be further from the truth. While not perfect, the city is vibrant and happening. As in Milwaukee, old buildings are getting remodeled, there is a great river walk and every block was packed with businesses and people out enjoying it. Took the People Mover to get a good overview of downtown, then hit Greektown and Steeltown before heading back to her place to check out a free concert in a park on St Claire Lake and meet some of her friends.

 

Headed out the next morning to begin the return home. Yes, the trip’s eastward progress is over. 7 weeks out has been a hoot, but the new gig necessitates getting my ass back west to get the next phase rolling. This post finds me in a hotel in St Joseph, MO after 2 days of hard pushing west. Hoping to get back in Bend by Tuesday to be in place before the eclipse madness kicks off. Then to Vancouver to discuss the position.

I’m both disappointed and  relieved to be heading back. Over 9000 miles ridden, so many adventures had and sights seen it blows my mind. Not the trip of a lifetime, but another in a list of adventures in life to be had.

Tomorrow, Colorado or Wyoming depending on route taken.

Dinosaurs, Oil, Rain and Flat. Lots of Flat.

So, after riding 275 miles through a driving rain storm in fucking August it was time to hunker in a cheap hotel in Eau Claire, WI. Yes, I’m in Wisconsin. Let me tell ya how I got here and what I seen. I seen some stuff, man. Lots of stuff.

In case you weren’t aware, the entire country east of the Rockies is experiencing a serious weather shit storm. The cold wet type, unlike the hot style Oregon is getting right now. I’d rather be hot than cold, but don’t really have a say in the matter.

Last I typed it was time to head out of Calgary and get the trip headed in an eastward direction. That happened. Since leaving Calgary the 27th, it’s been a smooth re-immersion into the flow of the trip until the rain part.

Went to Drumheller, AB to check out the Royal Tyrrell Museum, home of one of the best dinosaur fossil collections in the world.

Of all the dinos on display, this guy was the one I was most excited to see.

This was followed by a night at Red Rocks Coulee in SE Alberta, known for it’s stunning sunset/sunrise views. Which, of course, meant that it was well populated by amateur photogs with huge cameras. And me with a cell phone. Use what ya got, I guess. A overly familiar rabbit decided to hang out a bit till he freaked and bolted as rabbits do.

Blasted across the border in the early AM and had a good chat with some riders from Brooks, AB who were headed to an off-road rally then Sturgis for some pre bike week shenanigans. It was striking how quickly the landscape changed after hitting the border. Much more land use and farming. Got used to being very alone in a natural setting and it changed fast. Not for long, however as I took off down another gravel road to the Missouri river to camp signs of civilization dwindled. Yet another stunning location to camp right on the river along the Breaks. All I had hoped for and did my memories of images in National Geographic as a kid justice. Had a bit of rain in the morning which made it very challenging to get back up and out of the canyon. Just like the sign said. Fuck signs. Well, except this one

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Thankfully, I only dropped the bike once coming up. Had to constantly scrape the mud off the front tire as I rolled it downhill to a flat spot to give it another go as the shit was so sticky it would clog up under my fork brace and stop the wheel from rolling. You non-riders have no idea how much stupid fun you miss out on in a car.

Yes, this is going to be a photo heavy post. So much is seen each day it’s impossible to remember, much less describe, the bulk of it. That’s one of the biggest things with riding long days, it’s live stream of consciousness. A 12 hour day covering 300-500 miles gets your full attention. Daydreaming doesn’t happen much based on the need to be attentive to riding so it’s constant input. I’ll remember some cool thing from seemingly a few days ago and then remember it was that morning. The next post will be more descriptive of places and things, this one’ll be a travelogue.

 

Ripped across eastern Montana on secondary roads keeping traffic low and giving a good opportunity to look around at stuff. The old glaciers really did a job on the place back in the day. Hitting North Dakota started with Ft. Union Trading Post and ended 2 days later 50 feet under the ground in a nuke missile Launch Control Center I had to quickly run up out of as the elevator motor had a little electrical fire. The last one was pure luck, I saw reference to it on a free state map and as a child of the Cold War it was sweet to see some of the infrastructure that was a part of that horrifying period. Made this current “terrorist gonna blow up mah town” shit look absolutely fucking stupid.

Also stopped at the tallest structure in North America, a TV tower.

Minnesota started out like eastern ND, flat Ag land. Corn, wheat, repeat. Then it just changed into a really cool dense landscape very similar to northern Alberta. Lots of trees, bogs and open meadows with very few people. My kind of place.

Got to Bemidji and was surprised by what a cool town it is. Well worth checking out. Spent the night in an old school lakeside resort and loved it. Except for the continued lack of sleep. Ended up cutting my route the next day short because I was weaving around on the road barely awake. Wished I could have pushed further because the weather was decent and would have kept today’s miserable rain soaked shiver feast shorter. Folks along the way have been, for the most part, very friendly and nice. Wisconsin, not so much. Not everyone has been a dick, but it’s been noticeably less friendly and surly. Just sayin’. Got to Eau Claire, warmed up with a nice hot shower, laid out the gear for drying and got to typing this.

Off to Hartland, WI tomorrow to visit cousins and other relatives long ago put to pasture by my parents to hang out and connect. Really looking forward to it.

Nighty night.

A Short Breather

After 8 straight days of popping awake, grabbing a quick cup of coffee while packing, crawling into horrifically stinky riding gear and hammering down the road for 4-500 miles, it’s delightful to be sitting in a Starbucks in shorts sipping coffee and typing.

The northern detour part of the east/west trip was mind blowing and exhausting. Having done a lot of travel in remote areas of the US, I’d have to say the run up through BC to Yellowknife and back takes the cake for middle of fucking nowhere. Gloriously so. Through much of the interior western US you still get frequent signs of civilization: power lines, fences, a small homestead now and again. Once we got north of Ft Nelson it was easily 500 miles of nothing but a sketchy gravel road between tiny little settlements you hoped had gas. The north is so verdant and lush it was often difficult to see much beyond the tight edge of the “road”. Now and again a break would open up and treat me to views that blew my mind. Endless miles of stunted black spruce, lodgepole pine, mixed conifer forest and marshy lakes highlighted with an endless blue sky. Signs of past massive wildfires were everywhere, often miles of burned black spruce lined the road and ran back to the edge of the horizon.

Much of the haul is jumbled in my head as there was little time to chill and take it in. Brad had a limited window for the trip and covering 3500 miles (half gravel) in 8 days necessitated hard riding and very long days. I’m looking forward to easing back to the flow previously set in the beginning of the ride. So much to see that I don’t want to miss. Road trips as a kid were the classic look out the window while dad hauled ass to get wherever the hell it was that needed to be gotten to, destination travel. Being a journey type in my adulthood has paid off, allowing me to experience a great deal even on short trips.

Yellowknife was a great surprise as a few of the remote towns we had hit along the way were methy and a little gross. Well, mainly Prince George, BC. Total shithole. Ft Nelson was a delightful surprise much like YK. It’s a very culturally diverse, open minded, and rather sophisticated little city for being a long way from anywhere. Of course we couldn’t stop at hitting the city and took a day to run out the Ingraham Trail which goes 50 miles out into the boonies and stops at a lake. During the warmer months, anyway. In the winter it is one of the many Ice Roads utilized to reach very remote villages and settlements only accessible by plane otherwise. This particular spot was made famous by being the featured road in the first season of the “reality” show Ice Road Truckers.

Spent the rest of the day checking out the tourist sites, coffee shops and a spendy, but worth it, funky restaurant for crazy good fish and chips. Then a chill evening at camp followed by the long hard grind back to Calgary.

Signs and warnings about wildlife were abundant, actual wildlife, not so much. Saw a few deer, a black wolf, 3-4 black bears, a few dozen bison and a cute little red fox trotting down the side of the Ingraham Trail with a muskrat half it’s size in it’s mouth. Didn’t get photos of much of it as it was either seen on the side of the road while blasting by or, well, only dumbass retard tourists stop in the middle of the road to take photos of bears, bison and other things that can kill you. Besides, mental images and memories are better than photos. Wanna see a wood bison? Go to where they live. Vicarious experience is OK in little doses, but if that’s all you get a change in priorities is needed. That being said, a couple shots got taken:

Being poor white trash, I headed out initially accepting I couldn’t get the bike to 100% before the trip without spending too much cash, so some replacing would need to be done along the way. Get my money’s worth out of everything. Tires were done in Calgary and it became apparent halfway through the YK haul that the drive train would be next. Had a year and over 10k miles on it so no surprise, but still stressful to watch your rear sprocket degrade at an ever increasing pace knowing it was still a long way back. Thankfully, a little adjusting of the chain and begging the gods of moto travel for mercy paid off and I rolled in with little nubbies for sprocket teeth.

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Parts were ordered from the road and should show up today or tomorrow so I can get Thumper fixed up and head out on the next phase of the haul.

Weather tended to be pretty good with occasional rain for the run up, then got very mixed and funky on the way back down. Got drenched and hammered with hail by this asshole storm cell:

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Then as we finally rolled into Edmonton the clouds looked ominous, but I figured we could swing by and be OK, but that soon proved in error and we dove under an overpass within seconds of a rain/hail/wind squall slammed into the area causing traffic to go bonkers:

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The image doesn’t do it justice. Cars just stopped in the middle of the freeway and semis dodged them with an artful skill. Amazing that no one got hit. Ended up grabbing a hotel as we had ridden 600 miles already, Calgary was 3 hours away and we were soaked and exhausted. Good call.

Lack of sleep was a constant thing as we were rather north and it never got dark. This is 2330 about 800 miles south of our furthest north location

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6-7 hours a night with regular little wake-ups kept the brain foggy, but wasn’t too hard on the mood. Mosquitoes were a concern going in and while dense everywhere, they weren’t very aggressive. Got plenty bites, but the bug shirt and hat were unnecessary. A good spritz of bug dope kept them at bay and allowed for plenty outdoor time. Only once camp in BC was bad so we hunkered in the tents after dinner and stared at phones and read.

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Time to get my butt in gear, looks like my parts will be in today. I’ll be trying to do more frequent, shorter posts to get the stuff out of my head in a more coherent manner. Honestly, this is done for me. I’m glad the few people who read this seem to enjoy it, but it is done mainly for sanity maintenance.

Hope y’all are getting the most out of your summer.

A Good Start

Why, howdy!

After the initial first day clusterfuck start typical of such an undertaking, things have rolled along smoothly. Not that day 1 was terrible, just a too long day ending at a poor camping spot due to the damn sun going down. Actually saw some sweet country and got to ride some sketch Forest Service roads to get the whole thing kicked off.

The rest of week one saw me roll through some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen. NE Oregon and eastern Washington are places that have passed me by as destinations to explore up to this point. So glad I chose to run through the area on this trip, it did not disappoint. From the Painted Hills, Ponderosa stands in huge meadows to dense mixed conifer west-side style forest, it was all there. Plus plenty standard desert. Well, except in WA. They seem to have whacked most of the native sage steppe and replaced it with a metric shitton of dry-land wheat. As in as far as the eye can see Kansas cornfield style.

I knew there was some, but not that much. Didn’t take away from the reason I went that way in the first place: Palouse Falls and Dry Falls. Remnants of the Missoula Floods, or if you are into emerging hypotheses, an astroidal impact on the North American and European ice sheets which may have kicked off the Younger Dryas ice age, these features are massive and impressive. Trying to imagine kilometer high walls of water full of huge boulders stripped from the very bedrock and washing over the terrain leaving behind such features as an after effect is truly mind blowing.

Much of the first week was on dirt and gravel USFS and county roads with a few stretches of pavement on little remote ‘highways’ and 25 miles on I-84 to connect it all up. Rolled through a postage stamp sized community called Troy on the OR/WA border deep in the Grande Ronde river canyon then lots of twisty dirt to a sweet camp spot ruined by a good ol’ boy hauling water in a semi all night long in the sticks running his Jake brake. Fucker.

Hit Winthrop, WA where I worked my first season back in fire in 2011 after my massage business collapse with the economy and finding decent work hard to come by. Crowded as hell, but still beautiful and found an old camping site with a creek and good hike far from the masses.

On to Republic WA to spend a day with friends from the USFS in Bend and got in another sweet day swimming to help keep the oppressive heat and road stench from getting bad. So far on this trek I’ve gone swimming more times than in the previous 2 years and it’s all been a hoot. Good to see dear old friends and their kids, share some stories and just hang out.

Returned to my favourite (see what I did there?) country on the planet to visit friends Mike and Dale (and bonus friend Katie who was also visiting) in Revelstoke, one of the most beautiful spots for a town you can imagine. Showed up a day earlier than planned to be able to hit up Skydive Salmon Arm to celebrate the 150th Canada Day by hucking out of a Cessna 182 at 10k feet with buddy Rob strapped to my back. Skydiving is one of those “gonna do” things I’ve always imagined I’d get to. The time came and it was all I could hope for. Going to have to go a few more times to see if it’ll be the next activity to pursue since ice climbing isn’t really a thing in Oregon.

Mike has been at it for a while so he was jumping for fun, the girls had each done a tandem so opted for the First Jump course which has you control your own chute and land yourself. Wanting to do it, but get in freefall, the tandem seemed a good starting place and was soooooo worth it. Canada Day was the best day I’ve had in a long time combining the jump, good food, swimming, a sweet small town fireworks display, and awesome friends to do it all with.

 

Finished up my time in Revie playing cribbage, spending a day on the Columbia swimming and kicking it, watching Letterkenny (a Canadian show that is one of the funniest things you’ll ever see) and generally enjoying time spent in the company of friends. You may notice a theme with my visits. After a year and a half in Silicon Valley practically friendless, it was time to be among my people and I’m getting my money’s worth on this trek.

 

Currently I’m in Calgary tapping this out at friends B-Rad and Beckie’s place. Oh, and Neve, Jane and Emma the Wonder Schnauzer.  The run over Roger’s Pass was stunning, but hard to pay attention to as the road was packed with less than skilled drivers. Parks Canada made all federal parks free for the 150th celebration this year so the woods are packed with tourons. Did get to see a smoking semi trailer full of meat that had caught fire and some other nifty stuff, however.

 

This trip has been a blast and is as I had hoped, plenty new beautiful sights seen and time with well loved friends. Kicking it here to visit folks and get in some local playing before heading out to Yellowknife, NWT the 16th. Plan to post again before, then after, that run. Then east……….

For The Moto Nerds

So, the KLR has taken everything I’ve thrown at it without complaint. Well, excepting running really low on gas yesterday and clogging up my fuel intake. Acted like it was out of gas with a 3/4 tank after filling up so I fussed with the switch and got it to take fuel down the reserve tube, but I’ll have to pull the thing and clean it tomorrow. That was the only hitch, nothing mechanical, just thumping along.

The Giant Loop Great Basin Saddlebag has been good for the most part, but is a little awkward for such a trek. Not a bad item, just difficult to access some of my kit the way it needs to be packed. It’s a small complaint for a great piece of gear as I’ve got my system down well enough. The Fandango Pro Tank Bag is awesome, plenty room and not in the way. The down bag, sleeping pad and other goodies I’m testing out for Next Adventure are doing well and a full review of much of my gear will be forthcoming. Figure it’ll help new folks make better gear choices if they can see how they work in real world moto conditions.

My Kenda 761 tires have been doing well considering they are mostly for road and I’ve beaten the shit out of them off road over the last few months. Nearly dead, there was a small leak in the rear I pump up each day for pavement, was fine for dirt. New tires were ordered ahead of time and sent to B-Rad’s so this weekend I’ll be slinging a new set of Shinko 700s on and doing the oil. Used them before and like ’em, we’ll see how they do on the forestry trunk roads heading north. Should be fine.

So far, mine is the only Gen 1 KLR I’ve seen traveling, plenty around for local use. A few Gen 2, plenty BMWs/Tigers/V-Stroms and a smattering of Africa Twins and KTMs. HDs, lots of HDs, holy Christ.

Feel free to ask questions about route, gear, conditions. If I’m going to be in your neck of the woods and you wanna grab a cup of joe and bullshit, I’m game as well. It’s all about the folks you meet on a trek like this.

Willy Nelson

As Bruce Buffer would say, “IT’S TIME!!!!!!!!!”

After a couple months of contemplation and a few weeks of actual planning and prep the big North American moto haul shall be underway in a couple hours. Crap is packed, loose routes and sights to see roughly laid out, and maintenance on Thumper is done.

Current set up is on the left, the old is right. Ditching the cargo boxes that almost destroyed my leg in a crash near the Salton Sea has saved a ton of weight and the current set up better distributes the load for off pavement riding. The packing is a little trickier and won’t be sorted till after a few days on the road, but the reduction in weight and increase in maneuverability are worth it.

This first week will see me heading up through eastern Oregon and Washington to land in Revelstoke BC in time for Canada Day, July 1. It all gets a little fuzzy from there. Next week it’ll be more clear.

Not much more to add. I’ll try and post here weekly and on Instagram as often as possible (@kpicard44). Feel free to shout out if I’m in your area and you want to grab a cup of coffee or just shoot the shit.

I hope to see many of you out there on the road adventuring and exploring on your own.

Smooches!

Getting it All Sorted Out

Yep, wasn’t fucking around about a big summer ride.

Launch date is June 23/4 with a tentative return date of 24/5 August for a memorial on the Oregon coast. 2 solid months on the road with the mighty KLR from Bend to East back to Bend via Canada. Possible longer depending on variables.

Being a West-side lifer, I consider anything east of the Rockies as ‘back east’. This perturbs the fine folk of the Mid West, but they call it flyover country for a reason. I’m hoping to see some sweet sights and meet folks that can alter that view. This will be a new terrain heavy trip and the potential for finding cool new sights/places is one of the prime motivators for the trip. Spent a lot of my younger years covering similar ground.

Today’s fun involved cleaning, reassembling and installing the carb back into Thumper. Got it out, disassembled and soaking in Pine Sol yesterday and can now add total carb tear-down and rebuild to the skills list. The best part being the bike running much better after the install and no extra parts. Never want extra parts.

This is going to be a little scattered, by the way. If you hadn’t noticed.

One of the main benefits of riding a bike around is the people you get to meet. Spent an hour and a half total in 3 separate conversations started solely because of the bike. If you’re in Bend, or plan to visit, hit up a new and cool little coffee stand behind The Gear Peddler  at 2nd and Greenwood. The owner saw the bike and we ended up chatting for an hour, he’s a damn nice guy, uses coffee from Strictly Organic, a local roaster owned by friends of mine and is just getting going so sling the guy some cash for sweet assed coffee.

Another gent who had just picked up a 2001 KLR was at Giant Loop checking out luggage options when I rolled by and had plenty questions about how to get the most out of the beast.

Preparations for the trip go well: got the carb and front brake caliper rebuilt, new coolant, tightened up all the loose shit, new plug, rejiggered the tool kit so it doesn’t weigh so much, got the luggage all figured and a loose itinerary set. Looks like I picked the perfect time to visit friends in Revelstoke as we’ll be going skydiving July 1, Canada Day. Basically 4th of July for Canada. Never done it, have always wanted to and the scenery is going to be the shit.

Goddamn, this is going to be so much fun. The common refrain I hear upon telling folks my plans is “Wish I could take a bunch of time off to do something like that, BUT………”. Fuck but in the butt. You are worm food in the end, figure a way to get the fuck out of Dodge and fulfill some of those, “Gee, wouldn’t it be cool to………..” things. Security is nice and all, but it demands a lot in exchange. A piece of your soul for starters. Some give off and attitude of serving a higher purpose due to having kids and such to sacrifice such adventures for. Your kid will get more out of seeing you provide for them and incorporate following your desires over whining about having to give it all up to be a “responsible” parent.

It’s been a struggle of sorts since leaving wildland fire after so long to find something to fill the role held for so long by that occupation. The friends made and challenges faced are hard to find in this Nerfed world, but the moto world is a decent substitute. Cool eclectic folks, fear of dying, exploring little tread lands – all similar. Not having to shit in Porta Potties all summer is a bonus, too.

Well, time to wrap this scattershot blob of words up. Going to see Tool in Boise this Sunday which is gonna fucking rock, then 3 days to finalize trip efforts.

Please feel free to shout out if you wanna meet up while I’m on the road or even ride along while on your own adventure for a bit. I’ll be out there for at least 2 months so plenty time to sip coffee and BS.

See ya.