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Old 04-19-2014, 09:56 PM   #1
ceke OP
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Sandiegostan
Oddometer: 102
Cool2 Dad & Daughter, San Diego - AZBDR Ride

After reading a few AZBDR ride reports like ElleDubs, and drooling over dave6523’s Grand Canyon Backcountry Adventure Ride report photos I realized I’m not getting any younger and needed to get working on the many rides it will take to cover all the places I want to see on two wheels in AZ and UT. I had a week of leave left to burn so planned on an early May departure but my Daughter asked to ride along so I moved it up to her spring break hoping not to hit snow at the higher altitude destinations. Alexandra would ride her 09 KLX250S, I on my 96 DR350 (the achilles heel for this trip, or so I thought).

The Plan (as in best laid plans):
Slab it to Mammoth AZ where we would hop on the AZBDR and ride it until Marble Canyon where we would hop off and head to Gunsight Pt along the North East rim of the Grand Canyon. Then slab it home on the more scenic roads through Sedona, Prescott, staying off the interstates as much as possible. The 9 days would be tight, no room for deviations.

We left on April 12 and are home planning the return....

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Old 04-19-2014, 09:59 PM   #2
ceke OP
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Cry The Short Version

The plan was working great until the Mogollon Rim where Alexandras KLX started to lose power so we side tracked to Star Valley a few miles east of Payson to figure out if it needed rejetting for the higher altitude or something worse. It was dark when we checked into the Star Valley Motel, less than a block from Rim Country Powersports who did a compression check after rejetting failed to find the KLX was down to 30 psi, bad news. Good news was we decided to abort the ride in a perfect place vs getting stuck somewhere remote. I did have a tow strap but really didn’t want to use it. After debating all the possibilities we decided to call it a day. Another block away was a friendly UHaul vendor, we were loaded up and headed home in a couple hours. We just got done fixing the problem, left intake valve clearance was zero, brought it into spec and it runs better than when we bought it. But, something may have caused the valve to deteriorate so we will run the moto around the local trails for a while and check the compression and valve clearance regularly for any movement before the next big ride (finish the AZBDR + South section of the UTBDR!)

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Old 04-19-2014, 10:13 PM   #3
ceke OP
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Location: Sandiegostan
Oddometer: 102
Day 1, Saturday 4/12, 272 Miles

San Diego to Painted Rock (near Gila Bend)

We had the bikes ready to depart Friday night but I had unfinished work so we got a late start at noon Saturday. Riding out hwy 94 then the I-8 we made good time, not stopping until El Centro where we got a quick burger, gas, and decided to shoot for the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site west of Gila Bend to camp for the night.
The Adventure Gods were smiling upon us this day giving us a strong tail wind the entire day, minimal wind noise and 65+mpg. Also missing from I-8 was traffic, we only got passed by a few semi’s in the 170 miles between El Centro and Painted Rock. The temps were perfect, not too hot, not too cold.
Both bikes were fitted with SweetCheeks and they were performing as advertised. Our upper bodies were done well before our rears, these simple devices are amazing, and really work, thanks to Ray for going out of his way to get ours to us on short notice.




As usual we arrive at our first nights destination after dark, we seem to do this a lot. A bright full moon makes camp setup easy. We cooked some food and were visited by a very tame desert fox who walked right up to us, very cute little fellow.



The long day made for a good sleep. Only two other campers spread out in the large 60 campsite park made for a quiet night. The last time I saw a Saguaro cactus was when we car camped in the KOFA park years ago, it was nice to see so many again. Years of watching Wile e Coyote/Road Runner cartoons must have made a permanent mark on my brain.




Prior and up to this point my biggest worry is my DR350 and whether it will have any issues. It is after all nearly 20 years old. Prior to this ride I put about 4000 problem free miles on it, checked it in and out, bearings, valves etc. But I was still worried.

Sunrise





breakfast

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Old 04-19-2014, 10:20 PM   #4
ceke OP
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Day 2, 188 Miles

To Winkelman

We aim for Globe, maybe a little further north today. We take our time getting started, hit the road around 8 am. We have 100 miles of I-8, then 30 or so on I-10 where it is much busier than I-8 and once again we have a nice tail wind and easy temps. Before the I-10 got too scary we were off it and having DQ sundaes relieved the interstate riding was over for a few days at least. We make it to Mammoth and hop on the trail, we are moving slower now and make it just north of Winkelman where we find a nice campsite on the Gila River.



This campsite was marked on the Butler AZBDR map. There were a few camping areas along this section of the 77. It was early but we decided to call it a day anyway as the next campsite would have us finding it in the dark. We got a early sleep and planned on an early start the next day. There was no one but us camped in this section, some RV’s were in the section 1/2 miles south of us. We saw some inner tubers go by on the river. It is a nice shaded campsite with a fire ring and vault toilets a short walk away. Perfect. Except for the bear proof garbage cans, we’ve never camped near these before . Bears in the desert, seriously?

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Old 04-19-2014, 10:37 PM   #5
ceke OP
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Cry Day 3, 158 Miles

Tonto NF, Pioneer Pass, Globe, the end of the line....

We get up before sunrise and get moving, on the road as the sun peeks over the hills. We head up the 77 and through Pioneer Pass to Globe, the ride is gorgeous, desert, mountains, pines. It starts to get colder and I worry if my mesh jacket and layers will be enough. Alexandra is warm. We are still wearing our summer gloves but are thinking we will need to switch to the warmer gloves but the temps come up as the day warms. We stop and eat at Jerry’s Restaurants in Globe, we both go for the biggest breakfast they have (all you can eat pancakes+3 eggs+5 bacon or sausage) as we are both starving. We hit the road recharged, heading north again.



I second guess the Cherry Creek turn off missing it by a few miles so we decide to stay on the 288 which turns to dirt/gravel and has some nice views of the Tonto National Forest. This is so much nicer than visiting Yosemite with it's crowds and traffic. Arizona is blessed with some of the most beautiful countryside.

my one artsy fartsy photo







We make it to Young in good time and food/gas are not needed so we keep going. The town appears to be asleep as we pass through, we pass one car and see no one else. Heading north again on dirt/gravel we are back in the forest, more beautiful scenery and I neglect to stop and get some photo's, I really need to get better at taking more pictures.


As soon as we hit pavement on the 260 heading towards the turnoff for the Mogollon Rim the KLX starts having real trouble. Symptoms suggest rejetting is in order so we head to the nearest town, Payson 30 or so miles away. We limp into Star Valley just east of Payson, the KLX can hold 55 but just barely, luckily the speed limit most of the way is 55. It is late when we check into the first Motel we see, not knowing it is just a block from Rim Country Powersports, again the Adventure Gods....
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Old 04-19-2014, 10:43 PM   #6
ceke OP
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Day 4 & 5

Day 4, 0 miles
The KLX will not start, it turns over but doesn't fire up so we check fuel lines, replace the spark plug and do everything we can do to diagnose or fix it before calling Rim Country Powersports who agree it likely needs rejetting and they can have it done by tomorrow noon so we walk it over and hope for the best.



Day 5, UHaul 480 miles
The nice folks at Rim call to give us the bad news in the morning, the KLX has only 30 psi of compression, re-jetting wasn't the issue. And all this time I've been worried about the DR. Oh well, it could have been a more interesting adventure had we kept going and got stranded somewhere more remote. We contemplate leaving the KLX for Rim to fix and store the DR and rent a car home to come back later but my work schedule would likely make the next chance months away so we decide to U Haul the bikes home. U Haul is just down the road, we are loaded and rolling in a couple of hours.

Riding these small bore bikes long distances is just as fun as I imagined it would be, and being cooped up in the U Haul for hours on the way back was awful, I don’t remember any of it. And driving the I-10 for hours with semi’s plain sucks, I will remember to avoid this stretch if I ever ride a big or small bike this way.

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Old 04-19-2014, 10:48 PM   #7
ceke OP
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Post Ride

We dug into the KLX the next day after getting home to find one intake valve with 0 clearance, and the other just out of spec, the exhaust valves were ok. It took .3mm of shim difference to get the 0 clearance valve into the middle of spec. Hopefully it was bad from the factory and something isn't causing the valve to deteriorate, we will put some miles on it and recheck it before doing another big ride. After the valve adjustments it started instantly, something it never did since we bought it. It used to take 2-3 seconds of turning over, then it would slowly spin up to ‘choked’ rpms speed. Now it starts cold and instantly goes to the higher choked rpm. Even if we’d figured this out I probably would have not continued the ride worried there was some underlying reason for the valve problem. We checked the compression before and after the adjustments and it went from 30 to 90 psi cold, so I’m fairly certain we nailed it. The KLX has only 5000 miles on it, not due for a valve check until 7500 miles. I will at least do a compression check prior to any long trips in the future.
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:18 PM   #8
TexaNate
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Seems like a great ride, bummer it got cut short by valve trouble on a bike with 5k miles on it. My dad and I frequently go dual-sporting on 250s, and I'm always worried something like that is gonna happen. Checking the compression before setting off on a big trip is probably a good habit to adopt.

It's not unusual even for reliable bikes to occasionally be sold with too-tight valve clearances. Had you checked them before? Do they get checked at the ~600mi factory service? (probably not) If you bought the bike used, is it possible the PO modded e.g. the intake cam and that caused the valve clearance to close rapidly? Have you checked the valves for mushrooming? With this sort of thing, you kind of hope the bike dies before expensive damage is done. .3mm is a huge adjustment to make...
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:02 PM   #9
Reidy008
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Nice

Good stuff here. Bummer about the bike but it's all about the adventure and sometimes the problems are the best parts. Now you get to come back.
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