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Old 02-15-2012, 07:20 AM   #1
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Part-time Saddle tramp

much of this will be copied from my blog, and posted on multiple forums, and the first few days are behind me, but I'm posting this from the road... here's a little about me...

I find at the ripe old age of 31, the thing I look forward to the most, the thing that motivates me day in and out, that gets me excited, like a christmas eve night kinda excited is road trips. *I don't know when this obsession with travel came about, maybe it's always been there. *I don't remember ever disliking travel, but I do remember when it wasn't a priority in my life like it is today. *These days I'll sacrifice nights out, eating out, to enjoy time on the road. *it's not that I've become reclusive, or that I'm trying to escape, no it's more about freedom. *Doing what I want, when I want, how I want. *As odd as this may sound, road trips are when I feel like an adult. *I'm able to choose when I sleep, when I eat, when I stop, when I push on. *I have come to realize that much of my daily life is controlled and I cater to someone else's opinion as to when I should sleep, eat, go, stay, say, think. *Now I know much of this is due to being in the Military, and I know I signed up for it. *I know that I could very easily get out and go about my life ideal, but see, I'm sacrificing even now for travel. *See my goal is in 10 or so years, I will retire from the military with full retirement and live off the pension, traveling the world. *To spend not days or even weeks on the road destine to come home and start work Monday morning, but to spend YEARS on the road. *I want to soak in the culture I'm traveling through, not just the touristy areas or "safe" spots. *I want to see the WORLD, in all it's terrifying glory.

This is what drew me to motorcycles. *See in a car, on a plane, a ship, train, or whatever you're isolated from the culture and environment you're traveling through. *On a bike, you are submersed for better or worse, in the world you're riding through. *If it's hot, you're hot, if it's cold, you're cold, if it stinks, you smell it. *While they may be considered inconveniences and undesirable features of being on a motorcycle, they are, required in my opinion to really say "you've been there". * I mean the point of these trips are for memories, so what's more memorable, looking back on driving through Colorado with the heater on full blast looking at snow? or Riding and picking icicles out of your eyebrows (ok so I have thick eyebrows).

I just want to see this world, from a point of view of MY choosing.

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Old 02-15-2012, 07:21 AM   #2
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So I've purchased my 2nd current motorcycle and 4th over all. *A 2001 BMW F650GS Dakar.

I have been enamored with this bike since I saw how many people have taken it around the world while watching Horizon Unlimited's Achievable Dream series. *I looked heavily at several other bikes, but I always was drawn back to the Dakar. *It came down to the KLR650 or the F650GS. *I'd almost given up on finding a Dakar version as they seemed to be held onto by their owners. *As luck would have it I was doing a bit of "post whoring" on RDS and noticed a fellow member post something about think'n of selling his. *It wasn't an outright offer to sell, so I waited. *When I didn't see anything in a week or so, I messaged him asking about it. *Tracy was a dream to work with! *I didn't have the full amount upfront but was willing to take payments until I paid it off in February 2012. *I planned it so that I could pick it up after my little sister's wedding in late Feb.

Fast forward to November, and I maneuvered some of my assets around to pay off debt, and decided I was going to pay Tracy in full. * Also made the decision to fly into New Mexico (where the bike was stored) *before the wedding, and ride North. *I did this for two reasons: 1st and for most, I needed to title the bike in Oregon and it'd be much easier to do in person rather than via mail. 2nd *I was in dire need for a long road trip. *I had an ischemic stroke in late Jan 2011 which meant I spent the majority of 2011 in rehab mode. *I rode some, but compared to the 23,000 miles I racked up in 10, *the 5,000 I managed in 09 was disappointing and not at all thirst quenching. *3rd and finally, it had been a goal of mine to ride down the Oregon coast. *The Oregon coast has always been one of my top 5 places in the world (that I've experienced first hand). *Something about it just really makes me feel HOME. *I've not been there in 10+ years and I miss it terribly.

So I paid Tracy off and started planning my trip. *After countless hrs of planning routes, looking for "POI's" or Points of Interest, checking past year's weather for the time of year, and plotting "Plan A, B, and C" routes into my GPS, *I was set in early January! *Then while reading a thread on ADVrider.com
about a rider just kinda going out and wandering the US, I felt a sudden panic that I was spoiling a great opportunity. *After all, I don't get many chances to take leave in chunks like this (30 days) and what's the point of assigning a strict schedule to something that's supposed to be rehabilitative? *Seems almost counter productive.

So I wiped out my Routes, but kept the POI's. *My plan now is to "find" my way from POI to POI. *the only deadlines are to be in Portland on the 24rd of Feb for my sister's wedding and be at work on the 14th of March. *I still will ride down the Oregon Coast, Still plan on seeing some of the same area's, but with out the pressure of doing X amount of miles, or being X location at X time. *It'll be my first ever venture over a day with this plan. *I'm beyond excited!
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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Day: T-7
Like a kid with Disneyland in his future, I started packing months ago. *From day 1 of entering into the agreement with Tracy to buy the Dakar, I started setting things I knew I'd take with me aside. *Over the last two weeks I've really turned serious about it. *Packing, unpacking sorting, re-packing, and repeating. *Every motorcycle travler knows you always take too much stuff. *Lots of stuff means lots of weight on the bike, adding to the rider fatigue when off-road. *A general rule "they" say lay out your planned gear and take 2/3rds of it and toss it... you don't need it. *So applying this "rule" I've packed and unpacked several times.

As with many trip reports I've seen I've snapped a photo of my gear. *This serves two purposes, 1 to show YOU what I'm bringing, and 2 to show ME just how much shit I have. *Packing things has a way of shrinking the shear amount of crap you bring IN YOUR MIND. *Setting it all out where you can see it, you'll realize just how much you have and elmiminate any excess.

as it turns out, I still eliminated a pair of pants, and 3 shirts I had over packed. *here's what I'm left with: Pardon the mess

Camping gear: will go ON the bike



(Top left to bottom right) gutted air compressor, SPOT2 with Cradle by Stovey, JetBoil Flash, Glow sticks for emergancies, Camping lights, Thermarest, Camping pillow (red), extra Waterproof roll bag (military issue green), Wolfman medium roll top waterproof duffle, Slumberjack 30* sleeping bag(silver), ASLO 20* sleeping bag (black), Military Poncho (camo), Cabela's XPG 3man Tent, Home made Wool bivy bag.

Riding Gear: will go ON ME



(Top left to bottom right) Schuberth C3 helmet with Sena communications headset, Cabela's Polartec top, Aerostich Roadcrafter 1 piece suit, Cabela's Balaclava, Cabela's Polartec bottom, Underarmor heat gear bottoms, Aerostitch Insulated Elkskin Gauntlet gloves, Widder high coller heated vest, Alpine Star Back protector, Aerostitch Combat Touring Lite boots.



Gear for the bike:



(Top left to bottom right) Hyper lights, Voltage Led, Hippo Hands (black under previous), Weider heated vest control, Garmin Zumo 660 lockable mount from Touratech and harness, spair parts bag, tool roll, accesory plug (above tool roll), Alaska Leather sheap skin seat pad, Rock straps, Wolfman Rainer tank bag

Clothes: what I'll wear off the bike



(Top left to bottom right) *3 pair wool socks for riding, 4 pair cotton for off bike, 1 pair dress for the wedding, Dress shoes for the wedding, 3 long sleve shirts, 5 pair underware, running shoes, 1 pair shorts, 4 t-shirts. * *This is in adition to the shirt, pants, socks, and underware I'll be wearing on the flight out. *I'll be wearing my riding boots on the flight.



Packed up:



Top bag has all my camping and riding gear, botton one has clothes, gear for the bike and is only awaiting the arival of my tripod and HID lights for the bike.



Not pictured are the Camera equipment (Nikon D300, 18-200mm Lens, 50mm lens, SB600 Flash, Remote shutter release, Manfroto Tripod,) 15" Macbook Pro, Lacy "rugged" 500gig external HDD, HID headlight kit, and LED fog lights. *Tripod, and lights are in the mail being shipped to me as I type.

I will not open the bags again until it's time to leave, save adding the lights and Tripod if they show up in time. *this will help me from forgetting anything.

1 week to go!
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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D-DAY... DAKAR DAY
0 hour... 0250. *My alarm goes off. *Of course I'd been rolling around all night sleepless with excitement.


Friday night a good buddy and planned future RTW trip partner Fred was in town and we went to dinner. *We shot the shit until about 2030(830pm), and I did the last little bit of organizing and crashed out. * I woke on the first note of reveille, yes that's my alarm. *Anyone who's ever been through basic should know why... nothing will get you going in from a dead sleep like reveille. * I got up and gave my apartment one last go over, un plugged my electronics (so they don't drive up my electric bill while I'm gone). *Took out my trash and stood waiting at the curb for my ride, a full 30 min early LOL. *We arrived in New Orleans at 0620 for my 0830 flight. *I checked in my bags, one at 47lbs and the other at 67... shit $120 for an extra bag and an over weight one... oh but wait... flash my ID and one look at my gorgeous mug and I'm told I can have 3 bags up to 70lbs for free... could have been the Active Duty status thing, but I think it was my stellar smile
1030 local time I land in Denver... and this is what greets me


Yeah, 10 degrees. *Ugh... who thought riding north in February was a good idea... all of a sudden I started thinking about heated underware to go under my heated vest! * I still held hope that west of the rockies the weather was warmer. * I was only supposed to be in Denver for 1hr... my flight to Farmington NM scheduled to depart at 1130hrs. This would put me in at 1256hrs acording to United, but due to a faulty master warning light, I departed at 1200hrs and arrived at 1330hrs.
My sardine tin

The flight through the rockies had some cool sights (the odd color is from the tint of the window... I tried correcting it as much as I could)



The co-pilot's mother was sitting right in front of me, in the first row. *So he left the door open to the cockpit and actually talked to her via headsets the whole flight.


As we got nearer to our destination the snow dissapeared and the terrain looke more like this


And that's when flying got interesting... this little plane moved 10' in all directions I swear... *didn't do well for my motion sickness, but it started on the decent so only had to make it to the ground... err I mean LAND on the ground. LOL
Welcome to Farmington Airport. *Easy to get lost


One last look at my Sardine tin


Finally on the ground, still sweating from my motion sickness, Chester, Tracy's brother in law, met me in the bagage claim area/waiting area. *Terrebly nice guy, all smiles and handshakes. *Right away the baggage claim shutters opened and every passanger's bag came out... well -2. *MY two. *DAMN, well getting upset won't solve anything, so I walked to the front and talked to the agent. *Looks as though another flight from Denver was due to leave at 1330. *He took my info and made some calls. *Chester took me into Farmington to get my hotel and feed me. *He gave me a tour of Farmington, which didn't take long, and we talked about shooting rifles and dirtbike riding, two seperate conversations lol.
Around 1430 we returned to the airport just in time to see the flight land. *the luggage cart gets pulled around the side and he struggles with getting the first bag off... MINE! *WHOOO HOOO... such a relief. *I'd already decided I wasn't gonna work on the bike today, I was exhausted, still feeling a little sick, and just wanted sleep. *Having my bags though made everything ok, knowing that it seemed it always took forever for anyone to get their bags when they were lost, from my friends and families experiences. *I found out they delayed the flight 30 mins just so that my bags would make it on, even though it wasn't even their(Great Lakes Airline) fault (United miss routed the bags apparently) *Chester took me back to the hotel to drop the bags off (got let in by room service... damn card not working), I pulled out my riding gear and set off for his place. *I felt like I was 4 years old again in the parking lot of Chucky Cheese's, it was everything I could do to wait until he stopped the truck before jumping out and going to my new bike.
There she sat on her center stand, primed and ready to go. *Plugged in and still charging the battery. *Chester loaned me some tools to allow me to remove Tracy's tank bag and mount the straps for the Wolfman Ranier bag. *I got it all done in about 5 min and threw on my suit, waived goodbye to Chester and his grandson and headed back to the hotel. *Now, I ment to find a good view and take some pictures, but I found it impossible to get off the bike save stopping for fuel. *Instead I rode around for a bit, then decided I'd better turn in for the night though my tiredness had vanished. *10 trips up and down the stairs later (damn room key's not working) they realized they had my room blocked and fixed the issue.
Now... it's off to bed. *Exhaustion has found me once again. *Night Ya'll.

Thanks again Tracy, you are the man!
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:24 AM   #5
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Day 1, supposed to be day 0, as I was going to just work on the bike after the delay caused by my bags being missplaced.

I went to bed knowing that I could sleep in and it wouldn't make much of a difference, as all I was going to do was wrench on the bike.* Got up at 0650, no idea why but I woke up before my 0700 alarm and just couldn't fall back asleep, so after about an hr of tossing and turning, I reluctantly got up.

I decided I was going to load up the bike with everything so that I could see how the bike handled and how I wanted to organize it.* I had some time to kill as I didn't want to show up at Chester's too early.



As you can see it had started to flurry a little bit, so I figured I'd go out and find some nice area's for pictures. LOL



Turns out by the time I got on the road, the roads of down town Farmington were white.* I pulled over and took these just outside Farmington.







I arrived at Chester's around 0900, and proceded to take the fairings off and get things set to install the new lights.* Now when I first ordered the lights I figured they were about 1.5" tall by maybe 3-4" wide... nope... 3" tall by 6" wide* and HEAVY.* The current bracket, while sturdy enough to hold them, wasn't wide enough to allow clearance.* So, they were scrapped, I'll try again in Portland to maybe fab up a new bracket or just say F it and put them on my truck.* Next was hardwiring my GPS.* this went on with no issue, other than me dropping screws like crazy.* This was the first time my left hand really caused me issues with it's lack of dexarity,* casuatly report, 1 bolt, 1 phillips bit.* Dunno where they dropped to, but they went unretreaved.* While I had the plastics off I attacked the issue with the heated grips, found they didn't work on my ride home last night.* I checked both the fuse and the wiring to the switch with no luck.* I stopped there as I didn't want to gut it to find the fault.* I will in Portland though, my hands FROZE today, more on this later though.* While I did that, Chester attacked the right fog light.* For some reason it only worked intermitantly.* It didn't work when I picked up the bike, but came on when I filled up.* Didn't work no matter what he did, but just as I left it came on (went back out after lunch and hasn't come back on since)* At this time I started to think, maybe I should just get on the road as the weather was cleaing up and the forcast for tomorrow was more snow.* So I opted to button everything back up and hit the road.

First, I had to return to the Hotel, check out, and after some deliberation, ship some of my clothes and extra crap to Portland.* I could have put it on the bike, but it'd have been just more useless weight (didn't need any of it till Portland)* Chester was nice enough to offer to ship it out Monday morning for me, so I ended up leaving him about half of one of my green "A" bags of crap to ship.* Mostly just clothes, but the fog lights and a few other odds and ends.

Before I get on the street, I needed food.* I couldn't NOT have Mexican in New Mexico, so off to Si Senor.* Man, 1200 on a Sunday and there was a 15 min wait... MUST be good.* The food didn't dissapoint, though spicier than I'm used to.* We ate and then parted ways.* I shook Chester's hand and thanked him several times for the hospitality and assistance.* I hope to connect with him again, in my experience, people of his quality of character are too few and far beween.



So off I head.* West to Shiprock, then North.* I wished I'd had a chance to snap a picture of Shiprock, but couldn't find a good place to pull off with a decent view.* It rose out of the flat landscape like I'd invisioned Mordor did in Middle Earth... yeah I pulled a geek reference, but I'm on a motorcycle, and odds are, you're not... so deal with it.* The weather was mostly just small flurries, but cold.* The Pinlock anti-fog insert in my helmet didn't work as advertised.* It kept certain area's from fogging up, but that was usually in front of one eye.* I had to stop about 4 times through out the day to take the helmet off and wipe down the inside of the visor to de-fog it so I could carry on.* Usually this worked for about 20-30 min depending on the weather.

Oddly enough the weather cleared up at the borders.





Everywhere else though it was pretty steady snow.* Though it didn't stick most area's it was enough to make riding interesting.




About 40 miles outside Moab a funny thing happened, I came over a hill and "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cocrane came on and the weather cleared up, warmed up and looked AWESOME.*






I drove by a sign saying 4 overlook points were down is road to the right... but the weather didn't look promising.* Oh well, this is an Adventure... right?










About this point I had to turn back.* The weather was getting worse and worse, and I had no idea how much longer it was going to last, and I was running out of daylight (lights on the Dakar aren't the greatest, Highbeam doesn't work at all I've found)


All Iced up.


Yes my top vent is solid ice

I ended up back on the main road for 35 or so miles headed into Moab.* The snow was so bad we were doing 30 in a 65.* I was getting some crazy looks riding by some of the cars and trucks (passed on the uphill sections, as they really caused visibility to drop with the drafts they kicked up)* Didn't bother try'n to get pictures as the sun had already set and it was dark out.

Think'n I'm gonna pass on the White Rim Trail, unfortunatly with the amount of Rain/Snow they've gotten here, the road will be too slick for this heavy beast(and my lack of riding skills)

Till tomorrow!
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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Day 2

Weather was AWESOME. Not much progress towards Portland was made today. I slept in and took my time. I spend 5hrs in Arches National Park alone... so Pics it is.



Filling up in Moab






Entry to Arches

















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Old 02-15-2012, 07:26 AM   #7
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:26 AM   #8
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Then it was off to Dead Horse Point, you can really see the weather coming in. I was getting flurries on the first few shots, then it stopped. (at my elevation)




















And the flurries started up again... so off I went

After that I set my sights on Provo. The weather was going to shit so I twisted my right wrist and pressed on as long as I dared. But with the vanishing light and the increasing snow flurries, and the fact that I still had Soldiers Summet to go through, I stopped for the night here in Price UT.



Tomorrow I'm setting my sights on Bonniville.

If you want to see any full resolutions of any of my shots... go here and click on the little O at the top for Original
http://www.ebbs15.com/Motorcycles/Ro...bbMXW&lb=1&s=A
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:28 AM   #9
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I got up and walked out and saw this



this could be interesting... my stupid ass loaded up the bike before backing it out of the spot... took about 5 min just to back up to the clear portion behind it LOL.

Anyways... on the road, and up to Sodier's Summet. *





It was DAMN COLD. *The heated Vest was worth twice it's money through there. *Hands froze but not much could be done about that. The pass was actually short lived... only about 40 miles worth of COLD weather... then it was only... cold. LOL *I passed through Provo and Salt Lake City. *Then headed west to Bonniville Salt Flats.







Thought I'd try catch'n a few of me riding... this is where the pavement ends... about 5" of water for the first 10' then only 2-3"







Then it was on to Wendover to wash all the salt off (not sure which one shows the salt better... but there was a shit ton... as it took several attemps to get those above photos)



No clean photos... as the day was growing long and the weather was rolling in. *So cross the border I went...



And a dash to Elko where I'm stay'n for the night. *Tomorrow it's off to Idaho, and Oregon. *Possibly to Portland... but it's gonna be a long day if so.

Finally figured out my spot tracking...
http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...dvbr7DP6k298lR
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:29 AM   #10
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That brings me current. the rest will be posted from the road.

here's my spotwalla page
http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?...c4f3bc1d4e64a2
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:00 AM   #11
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Thumb Thanks..

Great pictures and great read.. Keep posting your ADVenture..
Ride Safe,
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:58 AM   #12
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Cool shots! Looks like youre having a blast.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:19 AM   #13
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I'm in....
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:06 PM   #14
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Today was a tough day, hardest I've ever had on a motorcycle.* I knew it wasn't going to be easy when I looked outside. (first pic I got was once I loaded the bike)





I was smart enough this time to position my bike so that leaving was easier... however I still had to navigate up this little incline to get to the exit, and a nice long down hill on to the street (no pic)



I snapped this photo with my cell to show ya what the street were like in Elko that morning... think'n they'd be clear once I got onto the highway....









I was wrong..* but this is the summit... 25miles down the road... should get better... right?











Wrong again.... this is 45 miles later









in the end it took me 5hrs to go the 85miles from Elko to Owyahee.* I was EXHAUSTED.* The shear concentration it took to ride on that for that long was crippling.* The wind wouldn't allow me to ride under 20mph or it'd tip me over(almost lost it every time I stopped) but over 20 It'd push me sideways... and on ice that means you SLIDE.* like no shit SLIDE across the road.* It was everything I could do to keep from going off the road in the wide open area's where the wind was able to really wick it up.* I had to stop 3 times to thaw my fingers... (unziped my side zips on the Roadcrafter and sat on them for 5 mins LOL) and my toes were killing me.

I did have one surreal moment.* going through the canyon just before Mountain City, the road was clear (thank god) and I was doing as fast as I daired... when a Bald Eagle sored up to my left.* It shadowed me off to my left for 5 or 6 corners.* Every time I looked up, it would look down at me.* At that moment I honestly forgot all about the cold and the trip, the exhaustion and the ice.* All I could think of was how amazingly poetic this moement was, and at the same time I was heartbroken that I had no way of capturing the moment.

As quickly as he appeared, he left.* Welcoming back the cold, exhaustion, and ice.* I reached Owyahee at 1300, and stayed there for an hr.* I bought some of the toe warmer packets to thaw my toes... they're supposedly able to reach 100*F... but with a pair under my toes and a pair on top... I was just barely comfortable.... maybe next time I'll sandwich them between pairs of socks... (hope there is no next time though)



Crossed the border just outside the shop



From there on the roads were mostly clear.* only a shady spot here and there... but the WIND kicked up something fierce.* even so... the lack of Ice made this portion enjoyable and really had me smiling in my helmet all day





I twisted my wrist and hauled ass to Boise, where I took a good long break and decided that Ontario OR is where I'd stay the night.*



I had to cross the bridge then cut behind the guard rail for this photo... so worth it...



HOME!!!



Tomorrow... PORTLAND!
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:39 PM   #15
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Trip looks cold as shit! Nice choice with the dakar.
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