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Old 06-07-2014, 12:41 AM   #1
Camel ADV OP
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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Roaming Camels, all 4 BDRs and TT Rally

The original plan was a ride to Alaska then changed to the Overland Expo in Flagstaff, then the RA BMW rally in Alabama then the 4 Back Country Discovery Routes and a finish at the Touratech Rally in Washington June 26-29. By the time the dust settled and work released it's grip on me, the Overland Expo and RA rally weren't possible. Matt and I finally left Calgary, Alberta on May 22 about noon.

I've known Matt for about a year. I posted on a local dual-sport Facebook page that I wanted to do a hard technical ride in McLean Creek, our local OHV riding area. The post basically said "Going for a hard ride in McLean Creek on Saturday. Novice or expert, everyone is welcome as long as you don't piss and moan when you drop your bike. Meet at the general store at 10am". Matt was the only one that showed up. Although new to off road riding Matt impressed me with his enthusiasm. I bet he dumped his bike 25 times that day and every time he picked it up with a smile on his face. At the next cross roads I'd ask if he wanted the easy fork or the hard one and in his english accent he'd say things like, "In for a penny, in for a pound mate!". At the time I had no idea what he was talking about. He picked up off road riding faster than anyone I've ever met and 4 months later his skills were good enough to compete and capture a spot on Canada's 3 man team for the BMW GS Trophy (joining Pat and me).

Matt managed to wrangle 8 weeks off work for our ride starting May 16th. I however was swamped with work and having a hard time getting caught up and setting things at Camel ADV up so my girlfriend Laura could run the show while I was away for 6 weeks. After a week of 18hr days and tons of help from Matt and Laura we were ready to head out 4 days behind our expected departure.

Due to weather and lack of time I hadn't ridden my bike at all since the Desert 100 race where I beat the hell out of it and didn't have a chance to go over it before we left...this would very much be a wing it trip for me and that would cause me grief as we got further into the trip.

A pretty uneventful first day, Calgary to Yahk, British Columbia. No cell service and no internet, it was good to disconnect for a bit.





We debated riding to Vancouver and then through Seattle but decided that since we'd be in that area for the Touratech Rally at the end of June, that we could shave some time and head through Sand Point, Idaho and Portland before hitting the Pacific Coast and down HWY 1 and 101. I called a friend in Portland to see if he was going to be home when we rolled through but he said he'd be in Goldendale, Washington with other friends for the Memorial Day long weekend. 2 friends from home were also going to be there. There is private off road park in Goldendale that is popular with 4x4 truck, jeep and rock buggy owners. The site is a regular spot for the W.E.Rock rock crawling series. Matt had never been offroading in a 4x4 so we decided to head down to meet the crew in Goldendale.

Lots of highly specialized rigs were there, 30 or so. Prior to adv riding, I spent several years competing in off road events and rock crawling. It was a bit of time warp for me. Matt had a blast.







My friend leant me his rock buggy so I could take Matt for a ride...it's been a long time, I almost missed it!


Matt jumped on the a trials bike for the first time. He's a natural.
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Old 06-07-2014, 03:40 PM   #2
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Great stuff Cory! Knew you were trippin so been looking out for this RR and more updates on your Trophy pursuit. Ready for a rank now, btw, I'll hit up your Vendor thread. Wride on !


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Old 06-09-2014, 09:36 PM   #3
Camel ADV OP
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This RR is slow to get rolling as we've had terrible internet almost everyday. After the 4x4 event in Goldendale, WA, Matt and I rode through Portland and out to HWY 101. Hit HWY 1 when we could, stopped at the Giant Redwoods and drove through the big trees, regular touristy stuff.








We stopped in Eureka, CA and grabbed a hotel. All seemed good in the day light but once the sun went down we were second guessing out choice of hotel. We wandered out to grab dinner and were treated to a homeless woman arguing with a stop sign, an intersection with hookers on 3 of the 4 corners, drug dealer on a BMX bike asking is we wanted smoke, sketchy scumbag hangout at the pay phone. Hmmm, this is problematic. We found a restaurant and while we ate with watched the show in the street.

After we ate, we walked over to the gas station to grab some road snacks for the next day. We asked the clerk just how bad the area was and he just laughed and said "They should bulldoze all the hotels on this side of town and I think I should be issued a .45 with my uniform". The then proceeded to tell us all about the drama that occurs during an average night shift. I've traveled enough to know people exaggerate when telling tales of safety and crime but when we walked out and saw the 6ft puddle of blood in the parking lot we figured there was some truth to the horror stories. Neither of us were feeling too comfortable about the bikes parked outside. What to do, what to do. We had each had a few drinks so packing up and riding to a better area of town wasn't a good idea, neither was leaving the bikes in the parking lot. Only one thing we could think of:



To be fair, 3 blocks beyond where we stopped everything seemed normal and safe, we just ended up on a shitty block.

We continued down the coast and hit the Mulholland Highway. Had a riot on The Snake. Although loaded GSs aren't the ideal bikes for canyon carving we still were smiling ear to ear. We had planned on stopping for a bite at the Rock Store but apparently it's not open during the day.



We had an uneventful drive through Malibu and into LA other than we the fact we timed it totally wrong and hit rush hour traffic.




I was glad we were able to lane split but it is definitely nerve racking doing while wearing panniers. Matt wasn't as comfortable doing it as I was and as a result we got split up on the I-10. Since we didn't have an actual destination in mind, other than east of LA, he ended up in Palm Springs and I in Indio.

My motel was next door to a gas station/travel center and this was screwed to the wall near the door, made me laugh.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Swaggart

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Old 06-09-2014, 10:18 PM   #4
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The following day Matt rode to Indio to meet me. We had been on the road for a little over a week and had our first disagreement of the trip. Matt has been using his BMW IV Navigator GPS and I was using my iPhone 5 in a SnowLizard case and Co-Pilot GPS offline app. In the past I've traveled with 2 others and we all had Zumo 550. All 3 of us using the cloned maps and all the same version of firmware. Even with the everything being the same, the GPSs picked different routes. As to be expected, Matt's GPS and my iPhone picked completely different routes. This ended up being a navigational nightmare as we each though the other was going completely the wrong direction. After a mildly heated discussion about what happened the evening before that caused us to get split up, we agreed that having one person navigate and the other follow was probably best.

Off to Arizona.


Matt has friends in Maricopa just south of Phoenix. We were invited to stay at their home for as long as we wanted. We needed to do some work on the bikes and round up some parts prior to the start of the Arizona BDR. Their house had a garage and a pool which was very welcome due to the 115F heat.

Being that we are from Western Canada, we get a late start to the riding season due to weather. I raced at the Desert 100 and beat the hell out of my bike and hadn't ridden it since, partly because of weather and partly due to lack of time. Between the race and this trip I literally swapped to road tires and strapped my soft bags on and we left. By the time we got to Phoenix my valve train sounded like a sewing machine despite being only 5,000km into a 20,000km valve lash service interval. Also, my drive chain required tightening 5 times since we left Calgary and I noticed rust coming out of it.
A valve set, chain and knobbies for me and a Rekluse adjust and knobbies for Matt.

It was Friday afternoon before we realized that we needed State Land Use permits if we were riding on on State Trust land. 2014 and there is no option to buy them online and print a receipt, you need to snail mail or visit in person, urgh. I guess we're staying in Phoenix until at least Monday. There is mention of the required permits on the Butler AZBDR map but as this trip is/was very much a wing-it-and-figure-it-out-on-the-way type affair, neither Matt or I noticed the comment.

I tore into my bike to measure the valve lash...not good, all 8 were out of spec loose, better than tight of course but they were well out of spec. In 80,000km the valves have been very stable only requiring a couple adjustments. I swapped shims where I could but still ended up needing 5 new shims.

I can't say enough positives things about the guys at Victory BMW. They had 4 out of 5 shims, called around to others shops until they found someone with the 5th. Called us a cab to take us to rental car lot too. They couldn't have been more helpful. Unfortunately they only had TKC 80 tires and Matt and I were looking for Dunlop 606s. We ended up at Moto Ghost (independent BMW mechanics). They had my last valve shim and ordered our D606s but they wouldn't arrive until Tuesday about 1pm. Hmmm, one more day in Phoenix bit we had a garage and a pool so it could be worse!

My bike torn down for valves and Matt's laid over for a clutch adjust:


Ola the guard dog:


We got through the weekend, picked up permits on Monday and tires Tuesday. We left Phoenix late but made it through Tuscon and into Benson for the night, about 40miles from the start of the AZBDR.

Next up: The start of the AZBDR.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooby View Post
Great stuff Cory! Knew you were trippin so been looking out for this RR and more updates on your Trophy pursuit. Ready for a rank now, btw, I'll hit up your Vendor thread. Wride on !


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I hope I can keep this RR more up to date, a week behind at the moment. I'll do a GS Trophy write up I'm sure but that will be after it's all over. Yes for Camel Tank stuff please PM me or hit the vendor thread
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=872418
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:52 PM   #6
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Lovin you report. Ride safe. Weather is spotty here, so have fun in the sun



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Old 06-10-2014, 07:24 PM   #7
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Lovin you report. Ride safe. Weather is spotty here, so have fun in the sun



Mike
Looks like it will be spotty here too. Rain in the desert...could be interesting!
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:31 PM   #8
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Azbdr

Matt and I packed up and got out of our hotel in Benson and drove the 40miles or so toward the Coronado National Memorial. It was a good ride but HOT, about 115F.

Section one winds through Coronado and runs along the US/Mexican border for bit. Matt and I found it a bit strange that there wasn't a single sign saying it was the border or do not cross, just a 5' fence made up of used train track rail material.




Lots of border patrol trucks and a helicopter buzzing around. Equipment and old tires that get dragged behind trucks to wipe the dirt roads clean so they can check for foot prints, some heavy equipment too.




Section 2 has a hard route and bypass. This will be a bit confusing, there are 6 sections on the map but 12 mini sections/mini maps on the BDR map. If I say section "X" I mean the subsection on the back of the map. We choose to run the hard bit through the deep sand and rock. It's a cool section and would have been a lot of fun if it were so f'n hot. 115, in full riding gear, chugging along in first gear in the deep sand was draining to say the least. Sections were rough enough that my F800gs's bobble head front brake res snapped off the mount (previous injury I'm sure).



Matt gets the first drop of the trip:



During the sand section, my bike starting running poorly and stalling. I managed to get out of the tough part and to the top on the ridge where the bypass rejoins the main trail. The bike died completely and wouldn't restart. I was annoyed but glad that it got me to the top of the ridge and didn't leave me stranded in the that sand wash in the blistering heat. I was able to coast down the long hill for about 2 miles and got back to the highway using the bypass route. By this time the bike restarted and ran, poorly, stalling every few minutes. It had all the symptoms of a failing fuel pump. Idled OK but as soon as you opened the throttle the bike would die. I'd never had any issues previous to this and figure the extreme heat had something to do with it too. The plan was to limp my bike to Benson, get a hotel there again, sort out parts and have Matt ride the 45miles to Tucson to get them.

Once we popped out on the I-10, we realized we were closer to Tucson than Benson so we rode to Tucson instead and grabbed hotel. BMW sells the pump only in a kit that has the control module, pump, level sending unit and filter. Other than the level sender, none of the parts are available separately. The assembly is $500-800 depending where you buy it. I got extended warranty when I bought the bike and even though it's an '09 and has 80,000km, I'm still covered for 2 more years. So do I take it to BMW Tucson and have them look at it for $120/hr (guessing) and if they don't find anything wrong with it I get a bill for diagnostic time and no parts. Since the bike ran great on the I-10 on the way in to Tucson I thought this was a very real possibility. The other issue was timing. We had burnt up a few extra days in Phoenix waiting for permits and tires, we didn't really have time to waste waiting for a service appointment and parts. I jumped online and tracked down a part number for a Hyundai pump that would work (thanks Reaver!). Matt and I walked to the local AutoZone and bought a pump ($67). Pump in hand we walked back to the hotel, grabbed a case of beer at the gas station next door and tore into my bike in the hotel parking lot at 11:30pm. 20mins later the new pump was in and we were done.

I got a PM in the morning from Erling who happened to be in Tucson for work. He swung by the hotel before we left. It's always cool to meet people in person that you only previously knew online. We chatted for an hour or so, interesting guy.

Matt and I hit the road about 10:30am and headed back to the bypass on section 2 and jumped back on the to trail where we popped out the day before. We could have just rode to Benson and picked up the trail there but we wanted to finish section 2. The bike ran great and we finished the 20 remaining miles.






After a quick bite and fuel up in Benson we started section 3. Half of it was paved and the other half was high grade gravel, we were making good time until the bike died again. UGH! Found some shade and poked around a bit more. Fuel filter (not replaceable) or the fuel pump controller, sigh. After the bike cooled down, it started and ran great. We powered through to Mammoth, fueled up and hit section 4 which in my mind was one of the coolest of the AZBDR. The route starts right out of Mammoth and runs parallel to some train tracks and a river through the woods. The trail is fast and winding with lots of rollers and crosses several sand washes. Trees line the track on both sides. It was evening when we did it, the temp was much lower and refreshing. Being close to the river, lots of critters were out and about including a bunch of Javelinas.



Section 5, Winkleman to Young:

This section rolls through the Tonto National Forest. If there is one word that sums up these section it's rocks. Embedded rock, baby heads, fist sized, beach ball sized, shale, non-stop. There is an expert only section the trail, just before that, my bike started stalling again F%^K! We pulled the pump assembly out and I tried to blow through the filter, nope. Plugged almost completely, both directions. We back flushed it and OMG, the shit that came out was disturbing. I filled 2 one liter water bottles with fuel that looked like Guinness beer. It was so dark that it wasn't even transparent anymore. I got a video shot of it but not a pic. We got it to the point that you could blow through it but it was far from flowing well.

We decided to risk it and do the "expert only" rock trail anyway. The bike ran well through the section but died right after we hit the main road, at least it keeps dying at decent times.






Again we limped into the next town, this time it was Young. I stopped at the auto parts store and grabbed a couple universal inline filters, hose, clamps, injector clean, brake clean, a snorkel and a papaya. The way the factory filter mounts on the pump, it's tough to remove it and simply bypass it. I chose to leave it in place and just pound a tent peg through the middle of it bypassing the clogged filtering pleats and just flowing straight through. I fired the pump up with the hose off at the inline filter so I could flush all the crap out of the punctured factory filter, it took nearly a gallon until it ran clear.



With the the left side cover off the fuel line is exposed. I cut it and spliced the filter in.



Hopefully that's the end of the bike drama. We've lost 2 days so far because of this fueling issue.

It's late, I'm tired. I'm sure this is full of typos, auto mis-corrects and other things I need to fix but that will have to wait until I have more time. Big day tomorrow.
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Old 06-11-2014, 06:57 AM   #9
gofast1320
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fuel pump issues

Wow! McGyver on a GS. Amazing diagnostic work and repair on the fly. Is there a thread on the Hyundai pump substitution?
Great info.
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Old 06-11-2014, 07:16 AM   #10
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Impressive perseverance. Hats off to you crazy Canucks, your timing was in step with the arrival of the hottest temps so far this year. You fellas certainly must have suffered a bit in the riding gear. One wouldn't know it by the narrative though.

Well played.

How do you suppose your filter became so fouled ? That seems odd.

With the weather and terrain being so inhospitable around here, my riding buddies and I try to use the KTMs or Hondas for the more difficult remote desert rides. Can't beat the reliability of Big orange and Big red, at least so far. ;)

Pretty rare to see a big GS in some of the country you guys went through, at least it used to be,( before azbdr ) .

Nice photos and write up.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:10 PM   #11
Camel ADV OP
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Originally Posted by gofast1320 View Post
Wow! McGyver on a GS. Amazing diagnostic work and repair on the fly. Is there a thread on the Hyundai pump substitution?
Great info.
Some chatter here, http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=983673 If you follow the links in the links you'll get whole picture. Still having issues when it gets hot and we're moving slow. A trip to BMW dealer in Salt Lake City is looking more and more likely by the day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pfdskipper View Post
Impressive perseverance. Hats off to you crazy Canucks, your timing was in step with the arrival of the hottest temps so far this year. You fellas certainly must have suffered a bit in the riding gear. One wouldn't know it by the narrative though.

Well played.

How do you suppose your filter became so fouled ? That seems odd.

With the weather and terrain being so inhospitable around here, my riding buddies and I try to use the KTMs or Hondas for the more difficult remote desert rides. Can't beat the reliability of Big orange and Big red, at least so far. ;)

Pretty rare to see a big GS in some of the country you guys went through, at least it used to be,( before azbdr ) .

Nice photos and write up.
Yeah it was f'n hot! We bought BMW "Cool Down" vests. Seemed gimmicky but they actually work well. It's a vest you soak in water then wear. They claim 10-12C reduction in temp. Matt and I both bought one and we're thrilled with their performance. 115F, riding on the road at 50mph and had hard nipples

We were also filling our hydration packs to the top with ice then topping up with water. That worked really well too.


As far as the crap in the fuel filter, all I can think of is that it came from the silt beds at the Desert 100 race. The Canadian bikes don't have a charcoal canister so the fuel tank vents to atmosphere with no filter of any kind. The hose hangs under the bike just in front of the swing arm. It would have been sucking silt all weekend in Odessa. My air filter was appalling so it makes sense the fuel filter would get it too if sucking the same dusty air.

My GS has been a very reliable bike so far. It's got 80,000km of hard riding, it's been around the world, been raced, drown in mud holes, dropped, crashed and smashed. At this point it owes me nothing
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:34 PM   #12
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If you're riding the AZBDR and end up in Young and need a hotel, check out the "Dead Broke Inn" or "Valley View Cabins". There's a third option that I won't name or comment on other than to say I wouldn't stay there again.


The girls at "Antlers" pub took good care of us even though we walked in as they were closing up for the night. A good time was had. Matt and I both woke up a bit foggy. Two thumbs up for that place



At this point the sections and routes are getting a bit blurry so it'll be more pics than anything.







There is some road work going on. The details, gps coordinates and work around info is posted on the BDR website. They are replacing a culvert, they have a large trench dug but were able to make our way through the work area by staying to the far right.



The riding on the AZBDR varies a lot from start to finish. From sand and desert to plains to mountains to the Grand Canyon. Lots of variety.


SunSet Crater in the background.











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Old 06-12-2014, 10:42 PM   #13
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I've seen lots of Grand Canyon pics and it's impressive but until I stood there looking out from Grand View lookout point I really had no idea how incredible it really is. It's simply awe inspiring. To say these pics don't do it justice is a gross understatement.







After the Grand Canyon we headed to Cameron to get our Navajo Nation permits. The sign in the window said it was open 9-5 but it was 4:30 and it was locked up. Hmmm, this is a hassle.

We read the section 6 summary on the AZBDR map and it sounded like high grade gravel, scenic but not technical. Since we are trying to string together BDRs we were going to have to do a several hour back track to get lined up for the Utah route. Feeling the time crunch due to the 3 extra days spent in Phoenix and the 2 days we wasted messing with my fueling issues we decided to skip the last leg of the AZBDR. It wasn't ideal but waiting until morning to get permits and back tracking to hit the UTBDR wasn't ideal either.

Up next the UTBDR
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:24 PM   #14
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Is the utbdr report going to happen in this same thread?
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:00 PM   #15
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Is the utbdr report going to happen in this same thread?
Yeah, I'll be doing the UTBDR here. My external hard drive with all the pics and video from AZ and UT started clicking and whirring and appears to have lost most of the data The RR is stalled until I can get internet good enough to download some recovery software to see what can be salvaged.

We finished the UTBDR yesterday, it was a riot! Lockhart Basin was the high list of the trip so far. I'll post up what I can when I can.

I got this up on YouTube before the HD failed so it's all I have to share at the moment

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