7 Days, 1763 miles on a DR200 - OR and WA

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by donnh, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Yesterday my wife and I returned from an organized dualsport tour through the backcountry of Oregon called the Sasquatch 2010 Dualsport tour. I rode my DL650 V-Strom and my wife rode her 2000 DR200. We totaled 1763 miles over the course of 7 days. Day zero was pavement riding from Seattle WA to Hood River Oregon. The day started cold (50's) and damp which is usual around here. Heading east on I-90 the clouds cleared as we crossed Snoqualmie Pass around noon. At Cle Elum we left the interstate for good and rode some of our favorite roads east (highway 10) and south (Canyon Rd). We arrived around 6PM at the Timberline campground in Home Valley WA for registration and dinner. Here is where we met many of the approximately 70 riders making the trip. The majority of the bikes were in the 650cc range, quite a few V-Stroms and GS's as expected. Deby had the smallest at 200cc. After receiving our route instructions and GPS waypoints we headed for the Hood River Best Western where I learned that if you lock the forks on a V-Strom and move the key one click further the tail light will stay on all night long and the battery will be dead in the morning.

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    Bridge across the Columbia river between OR and WA. The metal grate did a great job of grabbing knobbies.
    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Looking forward to details of your trip :thumb

    :lurk
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  3. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Good thing I was eager to get an early start and found the dead battery first off. First problem of the trip but no worries the gas station next to the hotel had a portable jump device and the Strom fired right up. We loaded up and headed across the knobby grabbing bridge for the AM riders meeting. [​IMG]
    Day 1 Riders Meeting

    Everyone felt it was their duty to remind me I left my bike running.....
    The first stop was Panaorama Point Road for a group picture at Panaorama Point with Mount Hood in the background.

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    DR200 and V-Strom ready to ride!

    After 16 miles of roads we hit our first forest road NF-1711 for the back country route to Timberline Lodge. The morning ride ended being some of the most technical of the trip on a 4X4 road with big road base rock. The larger bikes were really struggling and we saw a few riders practicing their bike lifting techniques. Deby and the DR200 were happy as could be. She was passing the bigger bikes wondering what the problem was. Deby's early days (5 months ago) learning how to ride on rough NW single track was paying off. After about 30 miles of tough riding we hit the pavement and rode the twisties up to Timberline Lodge for lunch.

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    Some of the better tracks on day 1.

    The afternoon was a long one. 192 miles total to Sisters, OR and nearly all was loose gravel. We both honed our riding skills on the loose stuff and searched for the optimum riding speed for the bikes. Deby's MT21's held firm as did my TKC80's. Optimum speed? About 32mph for us. Evidently the optimum speed for the GS guys was about 60, wow. Dust was everywhere and hard to see at times. Deby was a trooper, she wanted to follow me to observe my riding technique (bad idea). The downside of following me is having to breath my dust all day.

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    We pulled into Sisters, OR about 8:00 PM. Probably the last riders in but still managed to catch some of them at the local brew pub. 224 total miles for day one. Average speed 31.9. Glad to stay at the Best Western where we collapsed. The instructions for Day two said 8AM rider meeting because the day would be a long one....
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  4. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    The morning started early as we loaded up on hotel coffee and free breakfast. We were to the riders meeting by 8:00 ready to ride. With a chill in the air we started out with full riding gear. The morning plan was to arrive at Crater Lake in time for lunch, about 159 miles according to the route. We headed south out of Sisters and left the pavement after about 16 miles. The first section was nice packed twisty dirt trails, nearly single track. I felt right at home navigating the trees and Deby and the DR kept up close. After about 30 miles we hit the Cascade Lakes Highway 46 which was mostly paved when the route took us on a detour past the Wikiup Reservoir. Somehow we missed a turn on this secton and added about 20 miles of loose gravel to our route. We ended up back on Highway 97 in LaPine where we rode south to Cresent and picked up our intended route. By this time the temp was getting towards the 90's and we were both down to mesh jackets. The sweat on Deby's face was collecting an alarming amount of my dust. We arrived at our "lunch" spot around 3:00 PM for pictures around Crater Lake.

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    Deby and Donn at Crater Lake.

    At somewhere around 6000 feet it's usually pretty cold at the observation point. This is the first time I've ever been there wearing a t-shirt.

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    The afternoon took us West towards Grants Pass on Highway 62 a welcome relief of paved road. We took a welcome ice cream break along the way.

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    Then we stopped at the Rogue Gorge for some more touristy views of the Gorge

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    The upper part of the Rogue River Gorge.

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    A covered bridge near Wimer, OR.

    As you can see it was getting nearly dark in Wimer so we hit the tight paved twisties of the E Evans Creek road and Rogue River Highway into Grants Pass pretty hard. The road followed the river in the trees and was probably 20 degrees cooler. We rolled into Grants Pass and found the welcoming Best Western. Last riders in again I was sure. Too tired to find the group beer drinking meetup spot we had dinner at the Applebys across from the hotel, took advantage of the hotel's outdoor hot tub and called it a night.

    Total for the day: 318 miles.
    #4
  5. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    The day started with a 9:00 riders meeting in the hotel parking lot. Due to wild fires some of the route needed to be changed so people were lined up to get the updated route on their GPS's. I'll digress into my GPS tale of woe at this point. I have a Garmin GPS60csx which seemed to be a popular choice among the group. I had a problem that I loaded the topo maps and it overwrote the City Navigator maps (long story there). It still worked ok because all the roads and forest roads still showed up as did the waypoints for the route. The GPS wouldn't calculate the route so I had to navigate to each waypoint. This was generally working ok but required stopping a lot to review my directions. Well, somehow during the loading of the new waypoints my maps all get deleted from the device - ahhh. Now I had the waypoints but no roads to follow. I had an Oregon state map but the roads we were travelling were not to be found. The same thing happened to another rider so while we were both on the phone to Garmin tech support Deby went in search of an Oregon Atlas, which thankfully she found.

    Remember the story of the family that was stuck in the snow for days and the father died trying to find help? (Story here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16699185/ )that is the road we were travelling on! After hours trying to load a new map set with no success I went to the local Wal-Mart and bought a cheep Garmin $99 unit and rigged up the changer and mount and off we went. It was after noon when we left and the temp was well into the 90's. Destination over the mountains to Reedsport.

    No time for many pictures, we hauled a** over the tight twistie paved and gravel roads for 104 miles to our lunch stop in Powers OR. Deby and DR followed closely, her riding skills were improving as we leaned further and further into the paved turns. The gravel turns were starting to require some slides to keep our speed up. We took one stop here
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    The only car we saw all day drove by and someone yelled out "If your here your lost!" Really!

    We were HOT dusty, tired and hungry. It was getting towards dinner time when we stopped at the lunch spot. The diner was occupied with a handful of locals trying to escape the heat in the somewhat airconditioned diner. We wern't in a talkative mood but the locals wanted to know all about what we were doing. They were amazed someone would ride a 200cc motorcycle all that way.

    The next leg was 95 miles to Reedsport. The route took us on highway 42 from Myrtle Point to Coquille then to the famous highway 101. I swear by the time we got to Coquille the temperature dropped 30 degrees. When we reached highway 101 a bank sign said 57 degrees, burrrrr.

    I digress again... I've ridden the Oregon coast many times, always in July or August and it always FREEZING! Why would anyone do this??

    We pulled into Reedsport, late as usual but glad to find the Best Western looked like one of the better places in town. We saw quite a few of our fellow rider's bikes in the parking lot so we looked forward for some beer drinking and story telling. Tired, cold, dirty and generally crabby we go to check in. Ohhh, they don't have our reservation and the hotel is full! Ahhhh. Somehow our reservation was mixed up and we were booked at the Economy Inn down the street - not what we were in the mood for. I'll be nice here - I don't recommend the Reedsport Economy Inn. The only good thing about it was that only one light bulb worked (a dim CFL) so we couldn't really see how bad the room actually was. We checked in and rode to the meetup spot for the group for dinner. By this time the guys that looked down at Deby and her 200 were now admiring her for making it his far. Quite a number of the group had dropped out and others took easier paved routes. To the best of our ability we stuck to the perscribed route and made it every day. This respect was starting to make her pretty popular. A number of guys were even talking about getting the capable DR200 for their wives.

    Day 3 ended on a pretty good note. 194 total miles. Back at the hotel I did my nightly routine of reviewing the route for the next day, highlighting the maps and noting miles between check points. The single light bulb did not make this very easy but I managed (seriously this is true). The riders book said day 4 riders meeting 8:00 AM, hmmm another long day? - it was past 11 as I gave up on the PM route and crashed.
    #5
  6. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    We made the 8:00 AM riders meeting with time to spare. I couldn't bring myself to use the shower at the Economy Inn - Deby did but almost set off the fire alarm by failing to notice the sign "open the shower window to avoid setting off fire alarm". The Economy Inn breakfast consisted of a toaster and Pop Tarts - really! I'm not making this up. We got out as fast as we could to the meeting spot in the parking lot of the Best Western. Hey - we all look the same, dirty, scuzzy, un-shaven dual sport riders. Deby and I went into the Best Western and had a great free breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, coffee and muffins. I figured the least they could do for mixing up our reservations (not really sure it was their fault). Feeling much better we made it to the riders meeting with time to spare.

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    Reedsport Best Western - Getting ready for the riders meeting

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    Somebody who I won't name needed to do a little mirror repair.

    We were informed at the riders meeting that this would be the longest day of the trip, hmmm. It was cool and damp but not raining. We left Reedsport north on 101 for only 5 miles before we left for the back roads, road 49, Fiddle Creek, NF 4830. The roads were a fantastic mix of twisty gravel with sudden suprises of perfect narrow (one car wide) blacktop for miles. I was sure the gravel sections were to keep the sport bikes out of some of the best asphalt riding around.

    I was so impressed with the road I took a picture of a typical section:
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    Deby and I came around one corner and I saw an old water tower in the woods so I stopped to take a picture:
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    Next thing we knew Steve came flying up the road on his KTM. When he saw us he stopped for a break.
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    One by one more riders came by and decided this was a nice break spot:
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    And some more ---
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    How did we get ahead of all these people? We hung out for a pretty long time and chatted, shared some snacks and generally had a great time. One of the best stops on the trip.

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    The route took us back to 101 in Florence where we rode North to forest road 58 and back into the Coastal Range for more fun. 126 miles after we left Reedsport we stopped in Waldport along 101 again for lunch. This time we were keeping up with the group so we ate with fellow riders. Go figure, the ride is almost over and we're keeping up with the big boys. Deby and the DR200 are now part of the gang. Her mirrors and her pride intact. One of the riders is a BMW rep (imagine that) and is conversing with Deby about the virtues of a GS vs the lowly DR200. Danger....

    The afternoon was 146 miles of some of the best twisty paved and gravel roads yet. I've ridden the dragon at Deals Gap, this route was the Dragon times 100 - I swear. Turn after turn after turn. We rode 284 miles and must have done 1000 tight turns. Deby is now an expert on twistie turns and I must say I'm a lot better. We both got into that zone where everything comes together, set your speed, pick your line, throttle on just in time to flip into the other direction to do it again.

    Sometime in the afternoon we took a well deserved break at an espresso stand along the tracks.
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    The day had warmed up, the riding was the best yet, we were in a fine mood, recaffinated and ready to ride. We pulled into Tillamook and found the Best Western that this time had our reservation. The hotel was a ways out of town and we were too tired (in a good way) to join the group so we ordered a pizza to the room and called it a night.

    Day 4: 284 miles...
    #6
  7. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    The organized ride officially ends today. Technically it's a half day ride with instructions to meet at noon at the Astoria Column for a group photo. The rider meeting is scheduled for 8:00 to give us all enough time to make the photo shoot. We don't make it.

    Some more great riding, we head North on 101 out of Tillamook for only 8 miles before leaving the tourists and RVs of the Pacific Coast Highway behind. More great back country roads either paved or nicely packed gravel.

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    Typical road. (Actually NF 17 on the GPS which was in the Day 4 ride)

    We cut north and then East on highway 26 where the road is closed due to bridge repair. Darn - the detour is about 20 miles of back country gravel roads! Oh yea! We are ready. The locals and tourists must know about the closure since we didn't see any cars at all on the detour. The route is not marked at all and there were dual sport riders going every direction in a total maze of roads. It was actually quite funny. Deby and I made a wrong turn and ended up on an active logging road where I took a few great pictures.

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    Not the route but fun. I'm glad it was dry that would be some slick clay.

    Large picture here - look at Deby go!
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    After this picture (the last I took) we tried to follow a road the GPS said connected to highway 26 but didn't. We had a lot of hill climbing practice on some of those roads. We finally found our way out but were now pretty far behind the group. North on 103 to 201 and then onto a road called Northrup Creek Road that we faithfully followed looking for the next turn, something called Mainline Road. After pretty many miles the road ended and the GPS and maps had nothing to say about Mainline Road. By now it was 11:00 and the noon meeting in Astoria was looking doubtful. With nothing else to do we backtracked for the first time in the whole trip and rode the Nehalem Highway 202 all the way back to Astoria. More a** hauling on the very twisty state highway. I was making a mental note to self to 1) return someday to find the actual route and 2) ride route 202 again, nice road. We pulled into Astoria about 1:00 and missed the photo but met the group in the parking lot for the lunch celebration at the Cannery Cafe. We overwhelmed the place with dirty, stinky, unshaven dual sport bikers and Deby. We had a fun lunch with our new found friends and swapped stories. Everybody was pretty lost in the detour as it turned out so that made us feel better. If I would have had a GPS that gave me turn by turn directions I would have found Mainline road but it was listed as just "road" on the GPS. During lunch the BMW guy gave Deby his card (severe danger ahead).

    We made it out to the parking lot for more good byes and story telling and slowly went our seperate ways.

    By now it was about 3:00 PM on Friday afternoon and Deby and I pointed north back to Preston (near Seattle). The trick would be to get home without riding the interstate. We crossed the 4.1 mile long Astoria Bridge North into Washington with a stiff cross wind. [​IMG]
    Not my picture but you get the idea.

    The crosswind was challenging but no match for Deby and the mighty DR200. We rode North in high wind conditions along 101 (why do motorcycle riders seek this route?). We were looking for the back twisty gravel forest roads to cut off onto but the few we found were gated off. It seems Washington is not as accommodating of dual sport riders.

    The wind died down, or at leas turned into a tail wind as we turned East on highway 6 to Chehalis where we crossed I-5 and stayed at the Holiday Inn.

    Day 5 total Miles: 256
    #7
  8. ian408

    ian408 Oh? Administrator

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    Great sounding tour!
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  9. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Ahhhh, no 8:00 riders meeting. We slept in, took long showers, hung out at the breakfast bar drinking coffee and planned our route for the day. I've never tried to take back roads home from Chehalis before. On the interstate it's about a 2 hour drive but the mighty DR200 wasn't up to the 70MPH stuff. We headed East towards Mt Ranier on the smallest map lines we could find but decided to take the shorter less senic route around the West side of the mountain through Morton, Elbe and Buckley before lunch in Enumclaw at a favorite spot of ours along Highway 401. From there it was some of our favorite and familiar local back roads through Cumberland to Hobart, Issaquah and home. We've done these roads many time but Deby was always a passenger. This time here newfound skills had her following in perfect formation directly in my rearview mirror, no corner too difficult for her on these tame county roads.

    We made it home about 4:00 - 193 miles for the day and 1763 for the whole trip.

    Even I can't believe someone would ride a DR200 1763 miles over 7 days on mostly forest roads. Wow. She earned my respect and I suspect the respect of many of the riders on the trip.

    What's next???? Is there a GS in her future??? Stay tuned.....

    Here is a link to the whole photo album. We were too busy riding to take an excessive number of pictures but you get the idea: http://donnh.smugmug.com/Motorcycle/Sasquatch2010/13538897_rrMPj#986871092_JMwWH

    Here's to some of the riders we met, we didn't get to exchange many e-mails or phone number but I hope we meet again - Rich and Rich, Steve, Brent from CA - Suspension guy from Idaho (yikes forgot your name sorry). The two GS crazy rider racing brothers (way to go! You inspired Deby to learn to slide around corners in gravel), Tom and Connie, the other girl on the Yamaha 250, Eric and Heally from BMW - wow these guys know how ride. To all the v-Strom brethren you made us look good (except for the broken mirror on one and broken headlight on the other). Hey - if you read this post some pictures.

    Both my V-Strom and Deby's DR200 came through without falling over (almost but I caught it when the kickstand sunk in the sand), breaking down (except for my dead battery), or having any other mechanical problem. The DR was a trooper, the trials tire grabbed anything and still looks like new. My Continental TKC80's seem about half worn down but did a great job off road. The day after I got home I ordered a new GPS and download the right maps for the GPS60 which will end up on Deby's bike for backup.

    We have a meeting next week at the BMW dealer (where's that deal Eric?). Next ride??? A couple of buddies are planning an offroad weekend near Winthrop week after next. Deby is already packing.

    Here is the ADVrider Sasquatch ride thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=579337

    I hope you enjoyed this ride report.

    Donn and Deby
    #9
  10. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    well many congrats my friend,you two are so cool and your wife even tougher ! 200 cc back by 100000 cc of heart

    Damasoi
    #10
  11. Advdave

    Advdave jubilado

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    thanks for posting the report. sorry we didn't get a chance to meet and talk. Didn't seem to have a lot of social time between riding and camping!
    #11
  12. GlobeTrotter

    GlobeTrotter Been here awhile

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    Excellent ride report Donn, thanks for taking the time to document what I felt was one of the best organized rides I've ever been involved in. So many great dirt roads and the pavement sections were simply amazing! Debbie is a freaking Rock Star for riding the DR200 1,763 miles, that is awesome! We (the two GS Brothers) had similar GPS nav. issues with no turn by turn directions but navigating from waypoint to waypoint got us through. More way points next year would certainly help the guys with the ChartPlotters (if your listening Tom ;). So many great people on this ride and was great getting to meet many of them :freaky
    #12
  13. Nut Clutch

    Nut Clutch was Steve Lavigne

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    Good job Donn and Debby. It was great meeting you folks. Debby, I can't imagine riding that 200 1800 miles.

    Thanks for taking the picture of me. Sorry I didn't think to take a picture of the two of you together with your bikes.

    Luckily we were both able to get past the GPS map snafu.

    Leaving Astoria, I was planning on camping in the forest on the peninsula, but I actually ended up taking a 7:55 pm ferry from Bremerton to Seattle and then home on Friday night.
    #13
  14. Dr. Dirt

    Dr. Dirt Toomanytoys

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    Great summary of the trip and tribulations! Thanks for the effort. By the way the ride back to Seattle from Astoria was pretty much stop and go on I-5 so Debby would have been ahead of the pack. Also, I think that a lot of the surface of that stretch pretty much counts as "unimproved road".

    Re: that nice stop by the water tower....... you guys did look relaxed!
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    #14
  15. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

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    Great story!
    #15
  16. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    Wahhhooooo Deby ! ! ! :clap And Wahhhhoooooo Donn for writing up such a terrific ride report. :clap


    Being the happy owner/rider of a DR200 and doing some stupid long mile days & trips on it I know exactly what Deby experienced on that ride. It's amazing what those bikes will do and how much fun a person can have on them.

    I suspect there are a lot more rides coming up for the two of you as I just spotted in another thread that Deby is now the proud owner of a new BMW. Good choice on bikes. :thumb

    Looking forward to reading more ride reports from the two of you. :ricky
    #16
  17. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Just navigated over here after seeing one of your posts in the XCountry thread. Great report! I bought the Sasquatch CD from Tom and have hopes of doing that route this summer (just me and a buddy) and this is the best write-up yet. Makes it sound like we should plan on 10 days, not 5, and enjoy the scenery a little more.
    #17
  18. donnh

    donnh Been here awhile

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    Hi - funny you mention the 10 day ride. That is exactly what I thought would be a fun ride. Even picking some sections for day rides would be fun. I recommend using the GPS files with the book and a map as backup. I followed the route using the book but the directions were a little challenging. Are you considering the Sasquatch ride this year? Donn
    #18
  19. shortfoot

    shortfoot Adventurer

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    Way to go Don / Deby great report.I loved to pics. it looked like a blast. Good job on the 200 Deby. Talk about a trip close to home with plenty of miles.:clap:freaky
    #19
  20. Clrblu22

    Clrblu22 Flyn' Floatn' Ridn'

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    Wow - I know this is an older RR, but I hadn't read it yet. Great job on the reporting Donn and I was thoroughly impressed with Deby's ride. Now I need to convince my wife that her Honda 230L is up to the same task.
    #20