The first time I laid eyes on a BMW R100GS in the late 80's, I wanted one. I thought it must be the perfect all-around bike that will go anywhere, but it wasn't at the very top of my motorcycle purchase priority list. When the R1100GS came out a several years later, I again thought I needed one, but other bikes kept it from being the one I purchased. Same thing happened with the 1150 and 1200s. Finally, last year when returning from my third, year long, deployment to the middle east (this time to Afghanistan), I found a few year old R1200GS at Engle Motors in Kansas City. The price was good and it had been fairly well farkled by the previous owner, but not ridden much. I pulled the trigger and finally received my long-sought-after adventure bike. My wife and I spent most of a week on the bike, visiting friends and taking the long scenic route home. I was surprised at the bike's highway manners, especially two-up. Shortly after getting home to mid Missouri, my dad and I took off on one of our epic rides. This time we were going to Las Vegas. Since neither of us are gamblers, we had no real reason for going there other than I wasn't aclimated to weather in the mid-west yet and I wanted to go someplace warm. There was also a bike-fest going on there during that time and we thought it sounded like fun. Our longest one day ride up until that point had been 750 miles when we rode from my house to Deal's Gap. We decided we would like to try to break our record and go for 1,000. That first night we slept in a KOA on the west side of New Mexico. That BMW is just fantastic. After goofing around in Vegas, we decided we would go see some of Utah and Nevada, since going there we burned through with minimal stops and sight-seeing. One place we wanted to visit took us down a long dirt road. It was curvy, hilly and barely more than a two-track. This is when my dad and I both really noticed how much better the adventure bike handled the dirt, even with Metzler Tourance tires than the 1400 Intruder he was riding. At one point we realized he had lost his sleeping bag, so he parked while I made a "spirited" run back to retrieve his lost item. That's when Dad decided he needed an adventure bike. We have been planning a trip to Alaska for several years now, but my deployments (3 in the last 6 years) have put a damper on the trip. We decided we were going to do it next year (2012). Dad spent some time looking at Wee-Stroms and even some older Honda Translaps and TDM 850s, but just didn't come up with anything that fit him well and he liked. Basically, he was uninspired. Having both been mechanics for several years, we discussed converting a bike into an adventure bike. There is a great post here about guys doing that very thing: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=330726 When looking through our colection of bikes, we tried to keep a few things in mind. The bike needed to have mid-controls, less than 1,000 cc, preferably a twin, something we could mount bags on, a 7/8" handlebar for easy swapping with a motocross bar, some kind of wind protection and the ability to mount knobbies. The bike we both stopped on was an old Suzuki VX800. We picked it up for next to nothing a few years ago. We never were really sure what we were going to do with it, but it was unusual and rare. We have both owned Suzuki Intruders and this is the same power-plant the company used in their cruisers. Once we started looking at it, it was obvious that this was going to be our adventure touring conversion.