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Old 11-27-2011, 08:28 PM   #1
cathulu OP
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TAT for two - two weeks on a F800GS and KLR 650

My first trip report, indeed my first real trip (rides down to Seattle don't count in my book) on a bike since the early 80s when I rode a RD400 from Vancouver, BC to Daytona Bike Week to meet a friend. Then Key West Florida and beyond. The beyond didn't happen, my friend didn't have the time to go further south to Central America... and I didn't have the money. Thank Daddy and Western Union that I even got back. Anyways I ended up holing a piston and losing the compression in my RD400. Sold it for $400 to a guy that wanted to use it on the track and took the bus home. My friend, well he lost his virginity! So we both lost something.

But I digress...

I have been riding for years off and on since I was 16, road raced motorcycles (RZ 350, Ducati 750SS) at Westwood, SIR and PIR and my last ride was a race about 15 years ago (OK, I got a scooter a couple of years ago, I am not counting that!). So my Ducati is still sitting in the garage, patiently awaiting me to brush the cobwebs off and let her run free. I feel the itch every once in the while to get her on the track and the red mist still calls, but not yet my precious... and maybe never. Sad.

So I am getting older and perhaps I am in the over abused "mid-life crisis" point of my life but there is one undeniable fact. It is time... time to get back on the saddle and onto a new bike and do some riding. It has been too long.

But as a roadie for life the thought of riding something different was appealing. After looking at a bunch of bikes I was compelled to get a BMW F800GS - there was just something about it that resonated with me. The fastest and most powerful production motorcycle in the world was tempting but that bonbon will have to wait.

So last year I got the 2009 F800GS and started riding again. While on a dual sport newbie ride I bumped into an old friend that I hadn't seen in a long time riding a KLR 650. Funny that as he also raced motorcycles and that was how we first met. So it was appropriate that we met again on the motorcycle!

We got to talking and riding and next thing you know we hatched the plan to ride the TAT from Colorado west to see how far we could get in two weeks.

I am Chris and my friend is Vito. This is the story.

We started in Vancouver on September 2, 2011 around noon. Stopped at Pacific Motorsports to get some extra Rok straps and away we go...

Got as far as Pendleton, Oregon on our first day of riding. Vito was riding circles around me while driving down the highway, and I was thinking WTF? First he goes to pass me on the left, then he slows down and comes around my right side and slides behind me only to end up back at my left. I didn't know the circle trick to entertain ones self during long boring stretches on the highway. Maybe it is a Harley thing... Hmmm, I got a lot to relearn.

Later on the highway we had lots of fun sitting in silly poses while riding our bikes. I liked the sleeping recliner look the best! Too bad that resides only in my memory and not in the camera. Here is a shot of me just riding along the first day. Looking at the photo, you will notice something that is important for the TAT yet is missing

On our first day we took two photos... I made a point of trying to take more... more later.

cathulu screwed with this post 01-09-2012 at 08:47 AM
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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A good start, waiting to see more. Hope your ride goes well.
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 11-28-2011, 01:26 AM   #3
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Looking forward to reading the rest of the story.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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Most excellent! I too lived and road raced in the Pacific Northwest, in the late 1980's. I spend my life on road bikes, with an occasional dirt bike ride. A few years ago I took up Dual Sport riding, and love it.
I look foward to more of your TAT report!
"... I lock my rear up at least once every time I throw a leg over a bike."
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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This ought to be good...

I currently ride a KLR 650 (09) and have done the western states TAT (less than 2 weeks) on that bike but also have a strong desire for a F800GS. I'm curious to see how they compare.
Ride on
No, I don't know where that road goes, let's find out!
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:18 PM   #6
cathulu OP
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OK, so our first day we rode down I5 to Seattle, then I90 East to I84 and Pendleton Oregon. Stayed the night at the Best Western Plus.

Day two continued our journey southwards along I84 to Spanish Fork, Utah - just south of Salt Lake City.

My knees were acting up a bit on this leg of the journey. I am just under 6'-3" and the bike seat to peg relationship is not that roomy on the F800GS. I could have used some highway pegs like Vito installed on his bike. So instead I just slid back in the seat, stretched my legs frequently, and enjoyed the plush comfort of my Airhawk. I would not have made it without that. Another benefit was the Airhawk raised me up a half inch or so to reduce the knee bend slightly.

I don't recall Vito having any major issues on the KLR but his seat looked pretty hard to me . Vito on the bike...

Vito rebuilt his engine to 685cc last winter, so he was limiting his RPM to 5000 RPM or about 120 kph. That was good with me and we usually cruised between 70 to 75 mph on most of the highway sections.

So we are cruising comfortably and I notice I am getting low on gas, and the next gas station on the GPS is something like 40 km away. My computer says I have about 15km to spare, so no worries. Vito is also running low and starts to slow down to conserve fuel and drops behind. Me I keep going and then damn my bike just runs out of gas. This is what my computer says as I sit by the roadside - 22 km to go:

So lucky for me Vito still has some fuel in the tank and a gas station is not that far away. While I wait for Vito I take a self portrait... the weather was just lovely... Funny that during trip planning I was worrying about running out of gas on the trail only to have it happen on the highway.

All was well as Vito returned with gas and we got back on the road with minimal delay. But I think this was a premonition of all the niggling delays that I would be responsible for later...

Vito self portrait.

Shortly thereafter (or was it before) we ran through a local speed trap in a canyon that I think is easy pickings for the police and lucky lucky for us we did not get nailed.

So it ended-up a long day in the saddle - indeed that was the most miles we covered in one day the whole trip and I filled my gas tank four times. We got into Spanish Fork around 8:00PM and after a decent burrito at Cafe Rio it was off to find a hotel room and sleep.

pendleton to spanish fork

cathulu screwed with this post 12-14-2011 at 07:23 PM
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Old 11-29-2011, 11:35 PM   #7
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Sweet. Great writing. Can't wait to see how the thumper does with the big bore kit
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Old 11-30-2011, 08:07 AM   #8
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Sounds good. I'm in.

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Old 11-30-2011, 01:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by cathulu View Post
Me I keep going and then damn my bike just runs out of gas.
Betraying my ignorance, do BMW's have any reserve fuel supply (as does your companion KLR650)?

Couldn't borrow a little fuel from the KLR650's cavernous tank to get you to the service station?
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:39 PM   #10
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No reserve on the F800GS and Vito was too low on fuel... Vito did have a plastic hose that came too good use later... But not because I was out of gas.

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Old 11-30-2011, 05:44 PM   #11
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I'm In

Looks like a good start!
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:32 PM   #12
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Oh, I like ThAT!

Nice RR so far. Anticipating the next installment.

'08 KLR 650

"Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle." - Anonymous
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:42 PM   #13
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IN. I was wondering if I could do it on my 800 GS. I guess you will find out for me.
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:20 PM   #14
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Putting this together is more work then I envisioned! So better get on it and get her done asap!

Awoke on Sunday Day 3 for the ride from Spanish Fork to Trinidad. Going to Colorado! Crossing the Rockies! Going to Trinidad! After today it will be all on the dirt whoo hoo! But we got to get there first, and the getting held a bit of a disappointment for me, cause my bike just plain let me down.

OK, so leave Spanish Fork, Utah. Head south east along Highway 6 / 191, on to I 70 heading East man... through Green River, pass the turn-off for Arches National Park - gotta keep going, too sanitized over there - we got bigger fish to fry, Colorado border comes up too fast even though I was prepared for a pick. Onward can't stop, drive through Fruita, Grand Junction, on Highway 50 now, Montrose, Blue Mesa Reservoir (just awesome, beautiful water, NICE roads, lots of sport bikes ripping it up, we had some fun there!), past the windsurfer on the formula gear powered-up (I wanted to join him for a quick session - what a combo that would have been), Gunnison, starting to climb the mountains, Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet (big whoop, didn't bother to stop ), Salida not salida, turn south at Cotopaxi, down Highway 69 in the valley through the gap in the mountains as the day's light started to fade (what a lovely road but a little out of shape, nice for the dual sports), Westcliffe, Gardner, on to I 25 (John F Kennedy Memorial Highway) and finally later in the evening Trinidad.

The day was hot in the lower elevations in the early afternoon, that is what I remembered. Hot like an idle summer day where you wilt away wearing flip flops and shorts. Hot and my bike didn't like it. I would be rolling along and then I would slow down for one of the small towns, and dang the engine would just die. Happened at 35mph. Happened coming to a stop. Happened rolling away from a stop. Happened! Must of happened at least 20 times. Roll to a stop, wait 20 seconds, fire it back up and away I go again. After a gas stop, lunch and a cool down, the ol girl was behaving better. But still stalled a couple of times while crossing Monarch Pass - there it happened on the descent at the top where I rolled off the throttle, and I would just pull in the clutch and then let her bump start. It was cooler on the East side of the mountains, and as the day wore on the F800GS was back to normal. But she let me down and took away my confidence in her.

Vito, well his bike just ticked away and nary a grunt or sound from her. I was impressed by normal. Kind of sad really. Not only that, but no oil burned off yet! The old KLR was tight, but then Vito is a machinist and a damn fine one at that, so he made sure the 685cc kit was in real good.

Well we missed a fine meal in Trinidad cause we got in too late on Sunday. Tried to get into Rino's Italian Restaurant around 9:00PM but despite the waiters trying, the kitchen was closed. Looked real nice in there. Try to find a decent meal late on Sunday almost anywhere and you are hooped. So we booked it to the Sonic Drive-in for a burger... food was pretty blah, lets face it, it was really blah... I think McDonalds is better with healthier food options. Is that damned by faint praise? But our choice was limited at that hour.

Before retiring we had a good laugh with the gals at the Tire Shop liquor store. Then we got to talking about how Trinidad seemed to be down in the dumps, how a lot of shops had closed down and were vacant, seemingly for years. Extract the resource and when the resource dries-up the town slowly dies - over decades if not a hundred years in some places. The malais of a lot of small towns we passed on the trip. Lots of them were half dead or trying, folks trying to get out when they could. Trinidad's resource was coal. Hope the gals are still thriving and business is good. When there ain't much it seems that you can always get by with a liquor store or bar! Hell I have noticed in the States that the smallest of hamlets with nary a hundred inhabitants will always have a bar, usually a couple at that. One of the necessities of life...

So we got some beer and wine and settled in for the evening at the Best Western and some TV.

Somewhere between Gunnison and Salida, that is me just ahead with the blue bag. Someone was ripping up the side of the mountain something fierce.

Along Highway 69, getting close to Trinidad, we can start to taste it... shadows getting longer, racing to get there before daylight is gone.

spanish fork to trinidad

cathulu screwed with this post 12-14-2011 at 07:24 PM
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Old 12-10-2011, 05:05 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by cathulu View Post
No reserve on the F800GS and Vito was too low on fuel... Vito did have a plastic hose that came too good use later... But not because I was out of gas.

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Maybe you better clarify what Vito was doing w the rubber hose, wouldnt want people to get the wrong idea about you BMW riders. . Just kidding.............good report.
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