Back from Afghanistan, now what? Take 4 adventurers, 2 bikes, and 1 wife...

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Baggi'tard, May 5, 2013.

  1. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    After a year of deployment to Afghanistan, with no motorcycle riding, what's a guy to do other than round up some bikes, family and friends and go riding for a month or so before having to go back to work full time? Sounds like a plan. Actually, the real plan started with my buddy Richard telling me last fall "we are going to do the CO and UT TAT ride when you get home." No argument here. Unfortunately I had to tell my wife Laura. Her response was "so I have to f-in miss Utah again?" Uh...

    So the plan grew to both of us driving out to Colorado and taking two bikes, the Multistrada and my new as yet bought dirt bike. That plan was good with her, except I forgot to tell her about the dirt bike part. I really didn't want to ride my MZ Baghira, even though I have a dirt wheel set for it. The bodywork and seat are almost unobtainable, the tank only holds 3.3 gallons, and it weighs 80 lbs more than other options. And I love it too much to beat up on CO and UT back roads and trails for a few weeks. So luckily the internet works in Afghanistan, mostly, and I was able to shop for a suitable, mostly ready to go bike on ADV. So after I made a deal with a fellow inmate, I had the bike delivered to my wife's work and they stored it there for a couple months until I came home on leave. I ended up with a KTM 640 Enduro, that was already well farkled with many important bits. I still managed to work on it for weeks...

    So the plan is to drive to Trinidad CO, 10 days of riding with the wife (that was her limit) through CO, UT, AZ, NV, NM on the Multistrada, taking a few off days to do trains rides, hikes, etc. I'm dropping her off in Las Vegas then hauling ass back to Trinidad and meet up with the boys. Swap the Multistrada for the KTM and ride for a couple more weeks through CO and UT and back to Trinidad again.

    We have a few weeks before we leave (and an eastern European vacation to squeeze in too) so we'll introduce some of the inmates, bikes, preparations and such. Richard and I have a long history of moto vacations, but the other three guys are new to us as a troupe. Also, Laura and I haven't been on more than a day ride together since I think about 1983 (on a Yamaha XS750 with sweet-ass WindKutter fairing). So I'm sure there will be more than a few surprises along the way.

    Once we get rolling I plan on doing a "on the fly" report using my iPhone and Smugmug like I did a few years ago when the posse did a ride from TN/MS to CO/WY/UT/AZ/NM and back.

    Kyle
    #1
  2. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    US soldiers were not allowed to ride motorcycles on our FOB, so we had to be content with watching others ride and admire/laugh at the local machines. 125 and 150 singles pretty much exclusively. Some made in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, China, and even some Japanese Hondas floating around.

    was always a "little" worrisome having people ride by you, but bikes and trikes are fairly popular, so from a motorcyclist point of view, it was fun to see them. This guy was a guard, on his way to work at the district center on a very typical Pamir. check out the chain guard and extra passenger foot pegs.
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    actually tractors might have been more popular than motorcycles and trikes.
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    back to the motorcycles, all the trikes seemed to have email addresses on them.
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    I love the hole in the windshield to look through
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    Local workers bike parked at the FOB, and actual Honda.
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    somehow I don't think he has S&W .357, definitely not 911 tho.
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    This was my one of my favorite bikes on the FOB though, owned by Justin, Dept of State field officer. A Honda "chop." Guess what, typical Honda, started first kick, ran fine, all for $250.
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    The clutch and brake cables were completely out of adjustment as to basically not work. I did get to do a little motorcycle wrenching..
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    #2
  3. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    my KTM 640 enduro started out pretty well farkled with some great bits making it already travel ready. 640 Adventure 7 gallon tank and seat, Touratech racks and skid plate, Trailtech 8" race light, and Vector electronic instruments. Of course like most any bike, the previous owner had installed a few things I didn't want or wanted to replace with those bits I needed and preferred.

    It was delivered in this state. It also came with quite a few parts including the original enduro tank and seat.

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    It soon looked like this within the first day I got it home while on leave.
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    I replaced the handlebars and mounts, grips, and handguards with stuff I like. I removed the windshield (don't like em), four switches, power outlets, and GPS mount from the P.O. Cleaned up the wiring behind the headlight after removing all the extraneous wiring. I ended up buying the complete carb rebuild kit from KTMworld.com (those guys rock on the parts) because the carb was suffering badly from ethanol gas GUNK. It ran fine, but the float was leaking badly. The amount of greenish/whitish deposits and gunk in the carb was shocking as I know the PO had done some carb work before he last rode it to Baja. I learned how to change the oil and filters (five different screw/plug head style/sizes and two oil filters, four different types of copper crush washers). I changed the gearing to stock Adventure model 16/42. It was geared very low and I needed at least a little highway speed ability. I pre-installed a spare clutch cable. I changed the tires and installed Conti TKC 80s with the ultra heavy duty Bridgestone tubes. I did a lot more basic maintenance type stuff too. Only thing I think I have left is installing my new Renazco Racing seat when it gets here (hurry, hurry).

    New bars, GPS mount, grips, etc..
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    yeah, this wiring is cleaned up from what it was. removed two sets of wiring running from switches on dash back (you can see the three holes) to running lights, tapped in by battery, removed one hidden "kill" switch under light, removed another switch that didn't seem to do anything, removed a power outlet for a GPS, and removed a blanked-off dead wire going nowhere. I installed wiring for my Zumo GPS, and kept the SAE power plug.
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    So now she basically looks like this..
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    My collection of black things..
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    test fitted my Wolfman luggage yesterday. The tank bag is 7 years old, washed it after a really dusty ride and it looks as good as the brand new stuff.
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    So with all the time in the garage, I hadn't had much chance to really ride it. So I headed out to Royal Blue WMA to ride some local gravel roads, WMA gravel "roads", and accidentally some ATV trails. OK, I've taken my 4WD ATV in this area quite a bit, but I'm not really a dirt bike rider, and certainly not a trail rider, so there were a few times I was thinking "oh F&^%", but the 640 is way more capable than I am and I finally relaxed a bit and rode it like a mountain bike.:clap Since it is turkey season, I also packed along a shotgun, "just in case."
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    And yeah, I made it through rocky stuff like this!! This bike made it easy. This bouldery trail was downhill, but I went up and down some rock ledge/step stuff like a breeze.
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    good times
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    #3
  4. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    OK, so nothing really to report for Multi prep. Had to put on a new mount for the Zumo and install some sparkly farkles. OK, so I did replace the timing belts and will put on a new rear Michelin Pilot Road 3 rear just before we leave. Had to put the bag mounts back on and will put the backrest back on.


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    #4
  5. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Meet Richard, he will be on his DRZ400S. He didn't have too much prep for his DRZ. Although it was also gunked up with the ethanol crud. He put on new tires, did regular maintenance and such.

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    We've done a LITTLE riding in the TN/NC/GA forest roads
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    Proof we will be riding our asses off, and that sometimes barely appropriate things happen on our trips..
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    #5
  6. ct-ktm

    ct-ktm Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,461
    Location:
    New England
    First of all, Thanks..!!.:devildog

    Pics of out west are always good,travel safe.
    #6
  7. jerdog53

    jerdog53 Crop Dusting Everywhere

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
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    6,700
    Location:
    80122
    Ok :lurk in!
    #7
  8. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,374
    Location:
    marietta, ga.
    Welcome back to the world! Enjoy your rides and I'm in for the reports!
    Amazing, two guys in a row with Gran Canyon's.
    #8
  9. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Sep 25, 2002
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    Location:
    Corral de Tierra CA, Ketchum ID
    Looks like fun!
    #9
  10. jerdog53

    jerdog53 Crop Dusting Everywhere

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    I noticed that to... :freaky
    #10
  11. aharbi

    aharbi V-Rider

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Welcome home soldier, thank you for your service. Great to see you riding again and enjoying it so. Nice pics, thanks for sharing them.
    #11
  12. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    So here's four maps that cover the 11-12 days of "planned" dirt bike tracks (at least MY plan anyway). Be interesting to see how well we can stick to them, or even care too. Richard wants to ride all they way to the NV border, but honestly much past Salida looks pretty friggin boring, and would be two days out and back; so I'm not much into it. I'm pretty open ended and don't have too much of a time-frame other than pushing it to 17 or 18 days would be about it.:rilla

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    #12
  13. Bronco638

    Bronco638 Nobody Home

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,334
    Location:
    Itasca, IL
    I rode a portion of the TAT a few years ago. I rode thru OK, NM and CO to Salida. From there, I headed north, on the CDT. to meet my Dad in Evergreen, CO (at my sister and brother-in-law's house). I cannot tell you how many inmates responded, in my ride report, with the following; "You were just getting to the GOOD stuff and you quit!?" I didn't actually 'quit', I was out of vacation time and had to head home (Chicago). I would love to eventually ride the portion from Salida to Denio Junction, NV. It shouldn't be "friggin' boring" at all, rather it should be pretty "friggin' awesome".

    Also, may I respectfully suggest that you remove the header wrap from the exhaust pipes. All that does is concentrate heat and possibly moisture in thin steel tubing which will cause the tubing to fail that much faster. If you really like those pipes, and want to protect them, I would suggest something like Jet Hot ceramic coating.
    #13
  14. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    So Richard and I have spent a STOOOPID amount of time ride planning. I think we actually started back in November. I spent many hours laying in bed in Ghazni planning routes using DeLorme Street Atlas, Garmin Base Camp, Trail Tech Ride Leader, Google maps, Google Earth, and forum posts with tracks and routes. Actually kind of a fun way to explore and pre-ride, but damn it can take a LONG time. My major take-away from the whole ordeal is what a F-in joke some Garmin GPS are and for sure their customer service, who really don't seem to have a clue about their own software and hardware. I'll explain.

    Interestingly, DeLorme Street Atlas really has more roads than Garmin Topo 24K SW US, Topo US 2008, and City Navigator 2013. Figure that one out. Honestly, I was able to easily route stuff in my DeLorme software that any of those other three, prolly put together. And it's super easy to add routable roads to DeLorme. DeLorme sucks in all types of files super easy, so it was cool to find tracks on forums and websites and check them out, and also double check that that squiggly line on the DeLorme database was actually ridable.

    So, I have been using a GPSMap60CSX for quite a few years. Mostly I use it as a scrolling map, for hunting, ATV riding, motorcycling, hiking. Works great. Haven't tried uploaded tracks to it before, just never really wanted to. Guess what, doesn't really do that. You can suck a limited number of tracks into it, but honestly why can't it just read ANY number of tracks or other gpx files you stick on a SD card? F-in stupid that is. So then I got the latest and greatest MOTORCYCLE specific GPS, the Zumo 350. Motherf$%^, really? I don't need a motorcycle GPS that tells me what damn interstate lane to stay in. As motorcyclists, don't we need a detailed base map and the ability to read tracks and routes from all the great sources out there? The 350 can't do any of that. You can't read ANY tracks, can't save tracks, even though it will read a friggin 16GB SD card. You can upload ROUTES to it, but only if it has less than 29 waypoints. WTF Garmin really? It will read a HUGE data card, but can't read a text file more than a couple of kilobytes? Things don't route nearly as simple on City Navigator or the Topo map databases as they do on DeLorme, always takes extra finagling. If the Garmin would just accept the .gpx track files it would be SO simple.

    Guess what, the 16GB card is MORE than double the size needed to upload both the TOPO SW and TOPO US data I have, but Base Camp is completely stupid and makes TOPO SW into two map .img files, and TOPO US into five .img files. And the 350 will only display four of these files in the menu list. Figure that one out. Worst part is, the Garmin customer service has had NO answers as to why Base Camp makes multiple files and why the Zumo only shows four of these files (plus City Navigator).

    I took about 2 minutes to save all the tracks I made in DeLorme onto my iPhone, which then using the Motion-X GPS app will read any size file I've saved to the phone. What is Garmin thinking? $89 software, and a $3 app have more functionality and ease of use than their $700 GPS and $100+ data packages and "free" software.

    OK rant off! LOL. I kind of wanted to have some fun ideas of where to go and where we might be able to go, but didn't realize how much of a pain in the ass it would turn out to put those ideas into electrons.
    #14
  15. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    Hey, thanks for the reminder!!! That wrap came on the bike and honestly I was thinking same thing. After I changed the oil and dripped a couple mL on that wrap it smoked for a long time. I've never put that stuff on any of my bikes, never knew why I would, and had figured on taking it off since it will only make it harder to remove dirt and mud and whatever.
    #15
  16. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    Hoover,Al
    Definitely, from Salida to Telluride is not to be missed.That's the best scenery you'll see.Even from Green River up into the Fishlake forest is spectacular with the colors of the rock and sand. My avatar is from Cathedral Valley west of Goblin Valley. I'm looking forward to your report. And welcome back home.
    #16
  17. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    It's not often you see a KTM with a "Destination Motorsports" license plate frame. I'm from Crossville and spent so much frickin' time at the Oak Ridge Rifle Range I practically glow at night.

    Thanks for serving.
    #17
  18. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    I think y'all maybe missed the "direction." I was talking about skipping the couple of hundred miles from Salida to Nevada border going west. We will be coming from Trinidad CO, going west, then back to Trinidad again. I won't be missing anything from Salida to Telluride, and am planning something around 6 days of riding to/from that area of western CO and eastern UT. And thanks for the welcome, good to be back. :D
    #18
  19. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard Assventure rider

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    945
    Location:
    Farmhouse Inn, Tellico Plains, TN
    took Bronco's advice and removed the heat wrap. Good thing, revealed more than a couple issues.
    1) pipes pretty rusty, need some TLC.
    2) springs missing at header/cylinder attachment
    3) spring hooks missing and about to go missing on the pipes
    4) broken mounting tab for radiator/tank mount.

    Notice the missing spring hook and notice the other two starting to pull away off pipe (poorly welded or it's not welding).
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    had to move radiators/tank mount out of way to get final clearance to remove pipes. found this broken tab.
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    So I managed to get everything off and took my bike and pipes over to Barillaro Speed Emporium in Knoxville. The guys welded up my tab on the spot, and are going to fix my pipes so that I can pick them up tomorrow morning before I head off to Europe for vacation. Shout out to some seriously cool guys.
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    They build hot rod cars and bikes. They had a collection of "rat" bikes out front that had been used in a challenge called 555, $500, older than 1795, smaller than 500cc. They were all CB350 Hondas. last years challenge was to build a hard tail and ride it from Knoxville TN to Portland Maine. Some urban/chopper magazine was doing a story.

    Here's some pics.
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    this one I thought was actually pretty cool. Frame made of slabs of sheet aluminum.
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    #19
  20. kingrj

    kingrj Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2005
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    Hattiesburg, Mississippi
    One month from today!!!! :clap

    kingrj
    #20