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Old 07-16-2013, 10:00 PM   #1
vtwinwilly OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: North Texas
Oddometer: 32
Barely Alaska Ride 2013 - the KLRsys Shakedown Cruise


First and Foremost:
Before I start this tale I have to extend a very special “Thank You” to all the spouses that issued a kitchen pass to our merry foursome. It’s takes some special understanding and generosity to let the men go off and be boys. ... and there is so much more than that. It's not just saying OK, go have a nice time, They all jumped in and embraced the trip to help make it happen. In fact, without their support, running stuff down, sacrificing their time to help us, this trip would not be possible.

So, to the four wives, from the four husbands… we are eternally grateful!

A Little Background:
Many of you have been following the KLRsys build over on the “Some Assembly Required” forum. If not, you can get caught up on that one here:

Also, when we started planning this trip I was posting our rough plans in the “Trip Planning > Americas” forum. That thread tells you a little more about the intent of the trip. Here’s the link for your convenience:

… but if you’re not inclined to read through those threads here’s the Cliff Notes version. KLRsys has now built 3 KLR/Versys hrbrids. That’s a KLR with a Versys motor, transmission, electronics, and a few other goodies. Most recently he built one for me as a sort of a pre-production model. I call it “The Green Machine!” It is after all the best color! KLRsys had plans to ride his 09 version up to Vancouver, and I just sort of invited myself, then planted the seed to ride to Hyder, Alaska, which is barely in Alaska, thus was born the "Barely Alaska Ride".

So with that out of the way, let’s focus on the ride at hand....

As with any trip there are always hiccups. As we will be riding in Canada, we all need a passport if we want to return to the US. KLRsys ran into a problem. Government bureaucracies being what they are, 24 hours prior to departure KLRsys is still waiting on his passport. Fortunately, it showed up just in the nick of time. The day of departure.

With Passport in hand, the guys get the bikes loaded up for the trek to North Texas.

... and of course the 09 Model in the bed of the truck.

The guys get off around noon and start the journey to the launching point. My house in McKinney, TX.
So far, so good.

The next day is gonna be brutal.

vtwinwilly screwed with this post 07-16-2013 at 10:40 PM
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:16 PM   #2
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Day 1 - McKinney, TX to Tucumcari, NM

Day 1 – McKinney, TX to Tucumcari, NM

As the Ride Planning thread indicates, this is just a day of getting out of Texas. There isn’t a lot fun about it other than the excitement and buzz in the air surrounding the start of a new adventure.

The bikes queued up in my driveway, and dawn has broken. We are already behind, but we can make that up on the road. More throttle, more throttle…

In our group we have the 3 KLRsys bikes, and the lone V-Strom.

Again, there’s not alot exciting about this day. First, the bulk of the day was the trip between Dallas and Amarillo. I’ve done this stretch of US 287 on bike, car, and motorhome, and it must be the most boring stretch of road on the planet. What’s more, on this day… it was hot. Somewhere in the 106 degree range as we pass through Vernon, TX.

All the bikes did pretty well. Mine, “The Green Machine” did have an issue. It seems that the heat coming off the radiator will boil the fuel, and the bubbles get sucked into the fuel pump. When the fuel pump gets too much air, it quits pumping and the engine dies. This was easily fixed by releasing the air trapped in the pump reservoir, but it requires stopping for a minute or two to purge the trapped air. Once in cooler weather, the problem went away. It was really more of a nuisance than anything. More about that later.

Other than that, all three bike performed quite well. Even loaded down with all my gear, I was easily able to cruise at 75mph.

Yes I have a lot of gear, my wife says I pack like a girl. I say all that stuff just helps to keep me from falling off the bike!

vtwinwilly screwed with this post 07-16-2013 at 10:54 PM
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:19 AM   #3
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Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Gardnerville NV
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Sweet bring it!

Interested in the KLRsys shake down
My screen name is kind of long. I am the "ME" part, my name is Cory.

Jimmy Lewis quote: "Those KLRs are full of potential. Just takes a rider..."
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Old 07-18-2013, 10:56 AM   #4
One day at a time!
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: MN. (summers) AZ. (winters)
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Great country....

This I think will be an awesome RR and for sure some great country along the way. We have two kids that live in Anchorage and have been there going on 20 years so we get up that way from time to time. Never on a bike though....

Thanks and stay safe.....

Gary "Oldone"

Grampa’s Lake Superior Ride
Grampa’s National Monument Ride

Oldone screwed with this post 07-23-2013 at 01:29 PM
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:08 AM   #5
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Having just returned from a Wee Strom trip that included Anchorage, and having visited Hyder on a past 'Barely Alaska' ride of my own, I'll take Hyder over Anchorage. Did enjoy the Glen Highway though, ever more than the Denali.
"Guns are a lot like parachutes - if you need one and don't have one, you probably will never need one again." unknown

Colorado native, doin' time in Texas
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:34 PM   #6
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I can't wait to see some of the adventures these hybrids will conquer. I was fortunate enough to watch the master at work. These bikes are unbelievable!
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:32 PM   #7
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Safely in Missoula

Met up with the crew tonight in Missoula, MT to sample the local brew/pizza and talk bikes, adventure, and life. I have to admit I am pretty jealous of their trip and the bikes! Definitely sweet rides and some amazing engineering and craftsmanship there. Just gets the wheels turning of what crazy project I should start next.

Needless to say, I'm subscribed! Looking forward to seeing Rex's GoPro video, but the crew will have to tell you the story behind that!

It was great meeting you all, safe travels and we look forward to seeing you the next time you pass through the area. Maybe plan on spending some time here and we'll show you some of the local riding!

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Old 07-19-2013, 10:05 PM   #8
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Those Versys-engined KLR sure sounded sweet going by
Totally badass. It was awesome to meet you guys and hear your stories from teh trip so far. Looking forward to more. Ride safe and enjoy your trip
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:09 AM   #9
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Thumb In for the ride...

Count me in. I want to see this.
Ride safe there men...
Anywhere is home
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Old 07-20-2013, 01:29 PM   #10
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great stuff. Interested in how the KLRsys bikes do as I have a KLR myself. Always thought Kawi should have done that engine swap. I was also recently in Hyder, make sure you check out Salmon Glacier. Photos in my RR if you are interested.

2013 ride report:
2012 KLR 650, 2015 FJ 09
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Old 07-20-2013, 08:28 PM   #11
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Day 2 – Tucumcari, NM to Durango, CO

OK, OK… I know I’m, several days behind, but the days slip away faster than I anticipate. The end of each day is met with fulfillment and exhaustion… and there always seems to be something that needs immediate attention before hitting the sack.

Today was this first day of what I would call fun riding. After the 106 degree torture exiting Texas, we're all ready to see higher altitudes and cooler temps. We head northwest out of Tucumcari on NM 104 headed to Las Vegas, NM for breakfast.

Sort of a guideline we’re trying to use on this trip (we avoid rules), is to get up and ride 100+ miles before stopping for breakfast. This usually gets everyone moving and focused on a common goal. Some of us don’t function well in the morning so we need a little extra motivation.

While traveling down 104 we stop at a roadside over look. There we meet Jill and her dog Purl.

Jill and Purl are in the process of riding a Vespa 250 from Maine to Washington State. They've been on the road since June 1st, and Jill tells me they’re about 4 days behind schedule. Jill says the Vespa only goes about 55mph and gets about 130 miles on a tank full. She has to select her routes and fuel stops carefully.

You can find out more about Jill and Purl's adventure at Http://VespaAndALaptop

Jill gets to looking at all the stuff loaded on our bikes a says “hey… you guys are worse than I am. You pack like girls!” Good! At least it’s not just me!

Ahhh!.. Look. KLRsys makes a new friend.

Later this same day I start to have more trouble with the Green Machine and heat. Toas, NM is like a slow moving parking lot. This combined with high temps causes more air to get sucked into the fuel pump… engine dies. We pull over, burp the fuel pump, drive about a mile.. it dies again. This time we decide to burp the fuel pump and open the gas tank which opens with loud swooshhhh! It is definitely under pressure. Something’s not venting right. When we look down in the tank, we can see the fuel is boiling! Solution: go to the first gas station and add cool fuel to the mix. This got us going again. We'll deal with the venting issue later.

Eventually we reach our destination of Durango, CO. Only the best accommodations for us. Actually this place wasn’t too bad (I’ve been in worse). It wasn’t rated very high, but what the hey, we don’t need much and it got the job done.

We retire early. Good thing too. We don’t know it yet, but tomorrow’s going to be a long day. A good ride gone bad!
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:52 AM   #12
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Awesome ride and bikes.

The KLRsys------the finest adventure bike ever made in the whole world !!!
I want one.

2008 Yamaha WR250R/2006 KTM 450EXC/2014 KTM690/2013 Husky 650 TR650
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:00 AM   #13
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I want to keep track of this. Thanks for sharing the details.
It takes less time to do things the hard way than to be too nervous to even start at all.

-Juanito on the Yahoo!
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:24 PM   #14
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Really looking forward to seeing how the bikes do. The build thread for the bikes is worth reading.
2000 KLR650

There's roads and there's roads and they call, can't you hear it? Roads of the earth and roads of the spirit. The best roads of all are the ones that aren't certain. One of those is where you'll find me till they drop the big curtain. Bruce Cockburn
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:06 AM   #15
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Thumb What a concept....

Man I like the idea of the KLR/Versys mix. I'm in the market for a KLR but really wish the other was available. I was watching the build on your other thread. I am truly impressed with what you have done and the way you documented it for the rest of us.
Thanks man...
I hope it's the best ride for you all.
Anywhere is home
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