EDIT- I've decided that instead of posting a new thread every trip, I'll just change the title to this one and keep a running tab of my fumblings about the state of Arizona. Enjoy and check back now and again to see what I'm up to. So... I've been a member of the site for a long time. But not a member of the "club" until recently. Bear with me through this first part because the pictures from the epic ride report will follow the back story to how I ended up on the ride... I've always been a dirt bike guy, I had a plated XR650R but sold it around 5 years ago. I had plated it just to connect some good trails and ride some forest roads where you needed to be legal. I had taken a few rides from home but I nearly got taken out by a Crown Victoria a few blocks from home so that soured me a little, plus I had done a few rides with some slab and droning out mile after mile on pavement was about as exciting as clipping your toe nails. The last year or so I just haven't had the same level of desire to race, even ride. Just the same old hand full of places we ride, same old trails... Then about 6 weeks ago one of my racing buddies calls and says he's thinking of buying a new Africa Twin and heard from another buddy I used to do some Dual Sporting and wanted to know if I knew any good routes or places to go. We talked for about an hour and it sparked a wild fire that would spread fast and furious. I started thinking back to a bunch of really cool rides I had done on my old XR, thinking of rides I had wanted to do but never did. Then I started planning new rides, but I didn't have a plated bike. I have a KTM 530 that I've been meaning to make legal but I've just never got around to it. Mark called me a week or so later to tell me he pulled the trigger and he was picking up his Africa that Friday and I should plate up my 530. My rusty wheels in my head are turning. 3 or 4 years ago my good friend Austin had bought a Triumph 1200 something or another and was trying to convince me that there was something to this adventure bike thing... I wasn't on board, that thing was like the size of a bus. How the hell are you supposed to ride single track on that? CASE CLOSED. He sold his Triumph last year, never did much with it. My rusty wheels were gaining momentum. I was eyeballing that dusty 530 in the garage half heartedly thinking about dual sporting it. Then I took a drive over to the Honda dealer. Sat on that damn Africa Twin. Sexy lookin' bike. They had a red, white and blue one with the gold wheels, kinda reminds me of an old Honda Works motocross bike from the 80's. I was warming up to those big goofy looking adventure bikes. Then I took a ride to the Euro bike dealer... the BMW's were pretty cool lookin' too. The rusty wheels were spinning. I called Mark and told him the idea of an adventure bike was kinda growing on me. He laughed and said he was going to call Austin and give him hell for selling the Triumph. I started poking around here and there looking at adventure bike stuff. Reading ride reports, looking at bikes. Then I saw a youtube video of some dude racing The Desert 100 on an Africa Twin and he had done it on a BMW F800GS in another video. MIND OFFICIALLY BLOWN! Next thing I knew I was counting my nickles and dimes in my piggy bank. I knew I couldn't just run out and buy a brand new Africa or F800 and farkle the snot out of it. BUT I WANTED ONE! A few days later I'm obsessing, thinking of maybe robbing a bank, selling a kidney. Whatever I need to do. I need one of these things. Then it happened... I found a White 2013 F800GS on Craigslist that would fit in my "not a brand new" bike budget. It was pretty farkled out with the stuff I'd want, looked good in the pictures and it only had 3100 miles. Then I saw an ad for a Blue 2014 at a local dealer for about the same money with 3400 miles but a few less farkles. I hooked up with the seller of the '13 and was planning on taking a look after work that evening. Then my phone rings... It's my my buddy Austin. He's busting my chops about looking at adventure bikes after he sold his Triumph when nobody wanted to go play adventure rider... I told him I was going to look at a BMW that night. He expressed a half assed interest. I looked at the '13. It was nice... really nice and even though I wasn't sure how to make it fit in my garage with the other 3 bikes I have, I felt like it belonged there so I told the guy I'd have to buy it. With a wink, a nod and a handshake we had a deal. I would get my finances in order and pick up the bike in the next day or 2. The following day I snuck over to the credit union on my lunch to get a cashier's check, called the seller and we were a go for me to pick up my bike after work. Then my phone rings. It's Austin asking about those BMW's I was looking at. I told him about the '14 for sale at the dealer by his house. He was off of work that day, said he might go take a look at it. He called me few more times asking about options and stuff. I was counting the minutes waiting for the dreadfully slow clock to release me from the confines of work... I had a new bike to get. Finally.... I run to the parking lot, jump in my truck like a 6 year old on an Easter egg hunt. I'm on my way to get my bike and Austin calls me. He's working on a deal for the '14. I meet with my seller, get the title work all squared away and go back to his house to pick up my bike. I leave my truck there to pick up later and ride my new bike home. I'm pumped!!! I get home and I have a text message from Austin with a picture of his rear view mirror. There's a blue BMW in the back of his truck. The next morning, we met for a shakedown ride. 3 dirt bike guys on adventure bikes. All of us with temporary paper license plates did a 100 mile loop ride. We had a great time and learned pretty quick that it was a lot different than a dirt bike but we were all pretty surprised how capable these big girls can be.