3500 KLIX on a KLX

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by redpillar, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Can you remember the first time you released the clutch on a motorcycle? I can. I can still remember the smell of the 16 to 1 break in mix of Castrol oil emanating from my Hodaka Wombat, smoke thick in the air. I can still see the front wheel rolling through the small creek onto the trail that led to freedom. I can remember the feeling as my first bike carried me along with a big excited smile on my face.
    After that moment thirty five years ago, I always thought about how much fun it would be to go on a camping trip on a motorbike.

    35 years later.

    Day 1
    145 km

    I left Nanaimo on the ferry to the mainland with the idea of getting as far along the Sea to Sky Highway and past the Pemberton area as I could in an afternoon. There were plenty of bikes on the ferry, mostly big street bikes with the usual suspects, bikers on Harleys with beads in their beards and full sleeve tats. Yuppie bikers on Harleys that wished they could have beads in their beards and full sleeve tats and just regular folks on cruisers on their
    way to somewhere.

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    The ferry ride went fast enough and soon I was caught up in the rush of traffic roaring off the ferry, I jockyed for position into the correct lane that would take me where I wanted to go, and found myself riding along the sea to sky highway towards Whistler and Pemberton stopping only at Squamish to pick up some dehydrated food and some fruit.

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    I carried on through the heat of the afternoon riding past a beautiful lake and eventually came to a deserted campsite at Owl Creek.

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    After a swim in the river to cool off from the 34 degree heat I made a meal of Katmandu Curry. This is where I realized that I had left my spoon at home but quickly improvised an eating utensil from one of my tire irons.

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    After dinner I figured out my route for the next day and fell asleep on the picnic table with a bright starlit sky shining above.


    Day 2

    300.2 km

    Woke up early and noticed that my sleeping bag was damp from condensation but I wanted to get some Klix under my tires so I packed my gear into the Giant Loop bag, had a quick breakfast of oatmeal eaten with my tire iron, and got moving.
    I rode through Mount Currie and gassed up in Darcy, spoke with a a girl at the gas station about the fires in the area had a quick cup of coffee and headed for the start of the Highline Road that climbs up beside Anderson Lake and eventually passes through Seton Portage, and Shalath and then up over Mission Mountain Pass.

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    The ride was spectacular. Climbing to about 4200 ft and the views of the lake were amazing. Cruised along the gravel at about 50 to 70 klics except for the hairpins and some of the rough spots.

    I stopped at the summit and got my sleeping bag out and dried it in the sun and soon got on my way again.

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    I carried on up and over the Mission Mountain Pass pretty well grinning the whole way as my bike chugged its way up the grade. The views from the pass are very nice and as I climbed to an elevation of about 4200 ft I could see smoke in the distance from the wildfires around Clinton.

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    I eventually got down to Carpenter lake and roared along the wide flat gravel to the east end, and a Hydro damn.

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    I cruised through the tunnel and onward to Bridge River which is a First Nations Reserve. there is a narrow bridge over the river and as I crossed it I met a couple of ladies that were walking back from the native sockeye fishery, They invited me to come and have a look so I went and watched the process for a while and had a bite to eat with them and carried on my way to Lillooet.


    I carried on through the heat to Lillooet and stopped at a little german bakery that had wireless so that I could get my Spot transmitter working properly and have a cool drink. When I had finished the lady charged me $3.50 for less than half and hour on the internet so I didn't feel bad about lifting a fork from her to solve my dining problems.
    At this point I had planned on following some more off road sections to Cache Creek but the extreme heat and the fact that I was riding solo made me think slabbing it would not be too much of a sin. So I headed off in the direction of Cache Creek on tarmac.

    It was very hot and I took every opportunity to swim that came along. Marble Canyon was one spot that I would have liked to camp at but also wanted to drive on so I just stopped for a swim in the cool water.


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    I stopped at Hat Creek Ranch for a photo and carried on.


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    It was getting late in the afternoon and I wanted to get close to the start of the Kettle Valley Railway as possible so I motored on through Cache Creek and on to Savona where I turned south towards Merrit on a super curving country road that passes through ranch land and lush farms. I thought to myself that this must be what entices street bikers to ride long distances.
    I stopped at Tumkwa Lake Park for the night. This is a huge grassland campground on a lake that is teeming with fish. As I lay on the picnic table listening to CBC radio on my mini radio I could hear Coyotes howling in the distance and the stars were once again bright in the sky.

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    #1
  2. Powershouse

    Powershouse Flower Sniffer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,325
    Location:
    Minn-knee-sooo-taaa
    What gorgeous country for a ride!

    I'm scanning the pictures carefully to see how you've packed everything on to your KLX. That loop bag seems to be handy.
    #2
  3. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Redpillar,
    tell us more about your KLX? Is it a 250, or 300?
    What aftermarket tank you'll bolted on there?

    Sure looks like some beautiful country. Keep the pics and words coming.
    #3
  4. WestOzKLX

    WestOzKLX Elsie with Allspeeds

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    872
    Location:
    Western Australia.
    :lurk :lurk
    Keep it comin'
    BTW how do you find the Giant Loop bag?
    #4
  5. sparrow

    sparrow Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,349
    Location:
    Mass
    it's an 09 250s with an acerbis tank
    #5
  6. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    I really like the bag. I can carry all my camping gear and a few days worth of food in it, I also strapped a waterproof pack on to the Giant Loop which carried more clothing than I needed. My laptop was in my backpack.
    You can ride your bike like a dirt bike with the Giant Loop bag.
    #6
  7. WestOzKLX

    WestOzKLX Elsie with Allspeeds

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    872
    Location:
    Western Australia.
    Can I ask where you purchased it? Was it an online shop?
    I'm pretty sure it's not available down here yet is why I ask.
    #7
  8. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    61,598
    Wow! you're really putting your KLX to great use! Thanks for the intro and pics :thumb

    :lurk
    #8
  9. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Day 3
    231 KM

    After a quick breakfast of instant porridge the day's riding started with a some really nice twisty turns from Tumkwa Park to Merrit. This took me down a fantastic country road with farms and lakes and no traffic. The air was cool and fresh and the only sign of life was the odd farm dog or cattle grazing.


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    I stopped in Merrit for a spark plug and coffee and caught up on some emails. I then headed for Coldwater road which runs parallel with the Coquihala Highway and basically drops you right off at the start of the Brookmere to Princeton portion of the Kettle Valley Railway. This is an old railway bed that has been turned into a trail that runs across B.C. It has an amazing history that is well documented in this book.

    http://www.whitecap.ca/books/mccullochs-wonder

    My ride down Coldwater road ended at a pass under the Coquihala Highway and continued on to the very small town of Brookmere. I followed a rough gravel road and quickly found myself on the railbed that I had read so much about. My trip was actually working out!!

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    I rode for a few minutes down a narrow path and after a short distance came to a washed out bridge. I doubled back and found a steep trail down the side of the embankment which took me across to the other side of the bridge and up another steep trail to regain the railbed. Being an old railway, the trail tends to be fairly level and straight with wide sweeping turns. It has a miriad of woop de doos and you generally ride standing up and letting the bike do its thing. My bike handles this sort of ride very nicely and I was cruising along at 60 to 70 kmh for a lot af the time.

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    The rail goes through ranch land which means gates, and lots of them, and in the heat I was getting fairly overheated and tired constantly getting off my bike unlocking a gate, opening it, pushing the bike through, closing and locking the gate and getting back on and riding off. I think the temperature was around 37 degrees or more.
    Eventually I noticed my bike was not handling well so at the next gate I checked and found my rear tire was flat. I also noticed I had the shits. What a fluke. What are the odds? At least I didn’t have to stop twice.
    It is amazing how your mind works when you have two emergencies at once. I vacillated between trying to prop up my bike and hunt for toilet paper. Nature finally won out.

    I looked for some shade to do the tire change and after stripping down to my bathing suit because of the heat, I propped up the bike under the only tree that was accessible, with an old railway tie and a few pieces of wood and went about popping off my rear tire.

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    I AM actually wearing my bathing suit in this pic so don't get any ideas. It was so hot out and I had already drank down two liters of water and I was starting to feel pretty messed up.

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    This was a brand new tire and heavy duty tube, but it looked as if I picked up a nail. After about 1.5 hours I was on my way. I pushed my bike through the gate and locked it behind me and as I turned to get back on my bike I spotted a brown colored bear about 50 feet away walking on the trail towards me. He had obviously come down out of the woods and had not noticed me yet. So here I was with a bike that was not running, I had just locked myself on the same side of the fence as a bear. What would the dog whisperer do? I started to wonder where the hell I had packed my bear spray, especially because I thought he was a Grizzly. I very slowly walked to my bike which was even closer to the bear. I started my bike and he looked up sniffing. I revved the engine a bit and he turned around and very casually sauntered down the trail. When he got a reasonable distance away I took out my camera and took a photo of him. I waited a while and he walked down the path, I followed him, idling my bike. He stopped a couple of times to turn around an look at me and then he headed up into the bush and I passed him.

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    I stopped many times to cool off in the river and finally got to coalmont and stopped for a beer and the hotel.

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    I knocked back a cold brew and chatted with the barmaid for a half hour and hit the road.
    It wasn’t till I almost reached Princeton that I noticed my glasses were gone. I turned around and high tailed it back to the hotel in record time. I new the hotel closed at six and I had twenty minutes to get there, so I cranked it. I somehow channeled my old motocross skills and made it to the hotel with minutes to spare, only to find out I hadn’t left them there after all, so they must be on the trail somewhere. I also saw another black bear and the biggest deer I have ever seen. I ended up in Princeton at 7 pm and grabbed a campsite just out of town.

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    #9
  10. d_day_6

    d_day_6 ADVrider poseur

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    147
    Location:
    Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
    Redpillar......ride safe bro..love the pics and ride info...
    #10
  11. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    It is an 09 250s. I installed an Acerbis tank that fits the 07/08 models and messed around with a few things to make it work for the 09. It did its job well.
    It does bolt on but you have to make a few changes so that you can get hold of the choke. I also installed a vacuum fuel pump to draw the fuel from the wings of the tank. Well worth the effort.
    #11
  12. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès The Kanto Pain

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    772
    Location:
    Château d'If
    Damn! A flat tire, Katmandu Curry catching up on you, bears, barmaids!:lol3
    Wild stuff.

    Just took my KDX250 out for a spin. First time I have ridden it for a while.
    I had forgotten how much fun these light 1/4 litre bikes are.

    Happy Trails Amigo
    #12
  13. Niznack

    Niznack Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    158
    Location:
    Hawaii
    I hope you got an aftermarket seat too! I rode my 07 KLX aboout 700 miles in 3 days and thought my ass was going to be permanetly numb!! Great fun those KLX's. Love the photos, great story, keep goin'!
    #13
  14. deej

    deej Deej (Deric)

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    519
    Location:
    Washington State
    Hey Red, I am adding this to the official ride report over on www.kawasakiforums.com What a great report, and I'm sure you have more to add. Thanks. Oh and you and I share a great common bond. I too had the Hodaka back in the day...it was my first bike, and I often think about that bike when I'm out riding on the KLX. :clap
    #14
  15. deej

    deej Deej (Deric)

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    519
    Location:
    Washington State
    Oh and next time you go out in the Great Wide Open, take along one of these. :D

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    #15
  16. Jimmy the Heater

    Jimmy the Heater Dirt Farmer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,771
    Location:
    Eastern Washington State

    +1
    #16
  17. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island

    I have the stock seat but used a blue foam pad and a sheep skin and it helped a bit. I did a couple of 500 km days and it was doable but not great.
    #17
  18. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    A few km down the trail from the bear encounter, I came upon a rancher who was doing a bit of fencing. I mentioned the bear and he told me that although there were grizzlies around, they were usually higher up in the hills, and that he had seen a cinnamon bear around for the last few days. They are a black bear but with a reddish brown pigmentation, like the spirit bears we have on the coast here, which are white. They are fairly rare to see, so I feel lucky to have had the experience.

    I found a private campsite in Princeton on the river. I should have listened to my Spydie senses when I checked in. The lady in the office was pissed as a newt, but I was tired and just wanted a place to crash.
    It was one of those campsites where it is mostly full of motorhomes where everybody just pulls in and you never even see them. They just stay inside and do whatever, probably watch TV.

    My site was between two street lights so I didn't need a headlamp to get my sleeping gear together. I climbed into my sleeping bag and promptly noticed that there was a distinct smell of dog shit in the air, and I could also hear a loud droning sound which turned out to be a dry land sort and sawmill right across the river......

    Day 4
    277 KM

    The next morning, at 4:30 I woke from a terrible sleep feeling as if I had just put in a night shift at the mill. I got my stuff together and got the hell out of dodge. I checked my gear for dog shit but to my relief there was no trace so it must have just been close.

    This is the mill where I put in a full night shift.

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    I cruised around for a while when dawn appeared and looked for the telltale signs of a good breakfast restaurant, cars parked outside in a town that hasn't woken up yet.
    Eggs and bacon later I was back on my bike and looking for the start of the Princeton to Summerland section of the trail.

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    I found the start and resumed a quick pace through very nice ranch land. The trail climbed steadily up into the hills and away from civilization. It was starting to get warmer so I stopped for a drink. I could see the old rail line curving up and switch backing through the fields and thought that it must have been very cool when the train actually chugged it's way through this area, many years ago.

    The trail continued to climb and I passed through a few cool tunnels.


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    I finally came to Osprey Lake and a few really nice views.


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    I also came upon this guy doing pushups.


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    He was sure that I couldn't see him, I sat there and watched him for a good five minutes.

    I carried on through more open range and finally came to the end of the trail in Summerland, which is a town on the shores of Okanagan Lake. This is an area rich in orchards and wineries.

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    It was brainswelling hot now and I was ready for a break. I was interested in one thing.

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    Swimming and more swimming. I laid in the lake for half an hour and eventually got out and soaked my shirt ate an orange and got ready to head out.
    I tried to find the start of the trail which would take me to Midway but I could not so I made the evil decision to slab it for a while and try to pick up the trail down the road.
    My intentions were to try to stay off road as much as I could and I was not too happy about hitting the highway. I was not to sure how the bike would be with the added load of my gear on a major highway, especially in the extreme heat.
    My soaked shirt was dry in fifteen minutes as I burned along the hardtop. I was very happy with the performance of the bike as I was easily able to
    keep up with traffic on the long uphill grades.
    I came to a place called Rock Creek and stopped at a coffee shop with Wifi and was really pleasantly surprised to find that the coffee was top notch and the owners were really interesting to chat with. I sat in the shade and checked emails and planned out tracks for my GPS and I ended up spending a good hour and a half talking bean roasting with the owners and charging up my laptop.
    This is a great spot to take a break.


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    I was not having any luck with the trail so I decided to slab it as far as I could that night and connect back up around Grand Forks in the morning. It was not long before I was roasting again and I was happy to stop for the night at Boundry Creek Campsite.
    I pulled into a site and immediately went and laid in the river. I had a bath with actual soap, then had a good meal of potato chips and melted chocolate and apples.

    I decided to sleep on the picnic table that night and fell asleep with the sky clear as a bell and the stars as bright as can be. At two in the morning I was
    jolted awake by one big raindrop right in the middle of my forehead. I looked at the sky, the stars had been replaced by a dark cloud bank and lightning strikes in the distance!
    I jumped up, and climbed off the table and in the darkness, in a half stupor, managed to throw up my hammock tarp and in a few minutes I was fast asleep again.
    As it turned out, the storm did not materialize and I woke up to a nice dry day.


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    Here is a link to more info on the KVR.


    http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/explore/ok/trails/kettle.htm
    #18
  19. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    Day 5.

    486 KM mostly slab.

    I got an early start with porridge and tea packed my gear and following the directions that the Park Ranger had given me the night before soon found the turn off that led to the trail. The air was cool this morning I cruised along for a good half hour letting the bike do it's thing on the whoops as my joints warmed up and fell into place. It felt great to be riding along far from home on my own and my mind wandered back to when I was a kid on my Wombat and how free I felt on that thing.
    The trail from Boundary Creek onward goes through some Pine forests and at first and then it crosses some serious ranch land which means lots of gates.


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    I rode through some nice countryside but the constant stopping for gates became a nuisance and I was making no time. I did run into on ranch lady who let me know I was on private property and I think I saw her locking the gate as I left. I am a little confused over the usage of the trans Canada trail, but that’s another story.


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    The trail crosses the highway a few times and finally at the umpteenth gate I caught my leg on my rear rack and dumped my bike over. After struggling to get my leg free it took all I had to lift the bike back onto its wheels. I continued on through more gates and in the end, at the next highway crossing, I decided to slab it for a while.
    It wasn't so bad riding the pavement, the tires hooked up well and the road wasn't busy yet so I let myself blitz along hanging corners and listening to music through my ear buds. The Muzzy exhaust is a bit much for long rides when you are turning 6500 rpm for hours on end but it is a necessary evil on a KLX 250.
    Hours later, still on the slab, the sun was shining and it was blistering hot, as I cruised at my 75 to 95kmh, I was wondering to myself if the Bill Blue 351 kit would get me another 20 kmh top end. The bike was very stable at those speeds and cornered beautifully.

    I did not take many pictures of my slab ride because it seems that I get going too fast to visually take in the scenery. I can feel it but I think I am too distracted by the traffic and noise to really take it in.

    Anyhow, after what seems like a lifetime I ended up in Fernie B.C. late in the evening. I was beat and the big campground was full so I ended up in a hotel. I grabbed a shower and a meal in a pub which turned out to be the worst dinner of the trip so far. I wandered around the town for a while and made plans to get an oil change in the morning and went to bed.


    Day 6

    I woke at about 5 pm as the room was hot and the traffic noise was droning in through the open window. I packed my gear and after breakfast I headed out to the bike shop to have a service done and then hit the road. I had looked for off road alternatives on my laptop the night before and found a few but decided to ride the road now and do the offroad on the way back through. I have a friend in Pincher Creek so I figured I would get there and visit, then head into Waterton National Park and that would be the turnaround point for my trip.
    I rode on, passing through one town after the other and eventually crossed the border into Alberta. I stopped at a cool campsite on the border and took a few shots. Then carried on to Pincher Creek.


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    The ride to Pincher Creek was all slab but I passed some cool little towns and coffee shops on the way.

    I also passed lots of these.

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    There were hundreds of wind generators along the ridge lines.

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    I stopped to visit my friend and visited for a while, with the idea of camping at Waterton Park, but was invited to come back that evening, for dinner and to stay over. So I slabbed it to Waterton and spent a great day there. It is basically the same as Jasper but without the commercial aspect. It is a first class mountain park. Unfortunately, as I had forgotten my passport I was unable to ride the Up to the Sun Road which apparently is a must do, especially on a motorcycle. It climbs up and over a the mountains into Montana.

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    I went up to Redrock canyon which is a really great bike road, which leads to campsite and lots of scenery.
    I spent some time taking photos and getting all artsy.



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    and watched a few black bears feeding in the hills.

    I decided to head back to Pincher Creek and on the way out I saw a bear which was feeding on the side of the road.

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    I also stopped for a few more bike pictures.


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    You can't have too many bike pictures.

    I headed back to my friend's place and got there just as they were getting ready for a feast. I spent the evening checking out the new litter of German Shorthair puppies, and after going over my bike, I hit the sack and got mentally ready for the slab ride back to B.C.

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    #19
  20. redpillar

    redpillar Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    901
    Location:
    Vancouver Island

    Yes, I had a few Hodakas, I loved those things and wish I had hung on to at least one of them. Did you live in Forks when you had yours?
    #20