TAT for two - two weeks on a F800GS and KLR 650

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by cathulu, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. cathulu

    cathulu Been here awhile

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    My first trip report, indeed my first real trip (rides down to Seattle don't count in my book) on a bike since the early 80s when I rode a RD400 from Vancouver, BC to Daytona Bike Week to meet a friend. Then Key West Florida and beyond. The beyond didn't happen, my friend didn't have the time to go further south to Central America... and I didn't have the money. Thank Daddy and Western Union that I even got back. Anyways I ended up holing a piston and losing the compression in my RD400. Sold it for $400 to a guy that wanted to use it on the track and took the bus home. My friend, well he lost his virginity! So we both lost something. :D

    But I digress...

    I have been riding for years off and on since I was 16, road raced motorcycles (RZ 350, Ducati 750SS) at Westwood, SIR and PIR and my last ride was a race about 15 years ago (OK, I got a scooter a couple of years ago, I am not counting that!). So my Ducati is still sitting in the garage, patiently awaiting me to brush the cobwebs off and let her run free. I feel the itch every once in the while to get her on the track and the red mist still calls, but not yet my precious... and maybe never. Sad.

    So I am getting older and perhaps I am in the over abused "mid-life crisis" point of my life but there is one undeniable fact. It is time... time to get back on the saddle and onto a new bike and do some riding. It has been too long.

    But as a roadie for life the thought of riding something different was appealing. After looking at a bunch of bikes I was compelled to get a BMW F800GS - there was just something about it that resonated with me. The fastest and most powerful production motorcycle in the world was tempting but that bonbon will have to wait.

    So last year I got the 2009 F800GS and started riding again. While on a dual sport newbie ride I bumped into an old friend that I hadn't seen in a long time riding a KLR 650. Funny that as he also raced motorcycles and that was how we first met. So it was appropriate that we met again on the motorcycle!

    We got to talking and riding and next thing you know we hatched the plan to ride the TAT from Colorado west to see how far we could get in two weeks.

    I am Chris and my friend is Vito. This is the story.

    We started in Vancouver on September 2, 2011 around noon. Stopped at Pacific Motorsports to get some extra Rok straps and away we go...

    [​IMG]

    Got as far as Pendleton, Oregon on our first day of riding. Vito was riding circles around me while driving down the highway, and I was thinking WTF? First he goes to pass me on the left, then he slows down and comes around my right side and slides behind me only to end up back at my left. I didn't know the circle trick to entertain ones self during long boring stretches on the highway. Maybe it is a Harley thing... Hmmm, I got a lot to relearn.

    Later on the highway we had lots of fun sitting in silly poses while riding our bikes. I liked the sleeping recliner look the best! Too bad that resides only in my memory and not in the camera. Here is a shot of me just riding along the first day. Looking at the photo, you will notice something that is important for the TAT yet is missing :lol3

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    On our first day we took two photos... I made a point of trying to take more... more later.
    #1
  2. PacificPT

    PacificPT Been here awhile

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    A good start, waiting to see more. Hope your ride goes well.
    #2
  3. dashmoto

    dashmoto Serial Tinkerer

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    Looking forward to reading the rest of the story.
    #3
  4. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    Most excellent! I too lived and road raced in the Pacific Northwest, in the late 1980's. I spend my life on road bikes, with an occasional dirt bike ride. A few years ago I took up Dual Sport riding, and love it.
    I look foward to more of your TAT report!
    Cheers!
    #4
  5. redog1

    redog1 KLR650-2009

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    I currently ride a KLR 650 (09) and have done the western states TAT (less than 2 weeks) on that bike but also have a strong desire for a F800GS. I'm curious to see how they compare.
    Ride on:clap
    #5
  6. cathulu

    cathulu Been here awhile

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    OK, so our first day we rode down I5 to Seattle, then I90 East to I84 and Pendleton Oregon. Stayed the night at the Best Western Plus.

    Day two continued our journey southwards along I84 to Spanish Fork, Utah - just south of Salt Lake City.

    My knees were acting up a bit on this leg of the journey. I am just under 6'-3" and the bike seat to peg relationship is not that roomy on the F800GS. I could have used some highway pegs like Vito installed on his bike. So instead I just slid back in the seat, stretched my legs frequently, and enjoyed the plush comfort of my Airhawk. I would not have made it without that. Another benefit was the Airhawk raised me up a half inch or so to reduce the knee bend slightly.

    I don't recall Vito having any major issues on the KLR but his seat looked pretty hard to me :D. Vito on the bike...

    [​IMG]

    Vito rebuilt his engine to 685cc last winter, so he was limiting his RPM to 5000 RPM or about 120 kph. That was good with me and we usually cruised between 70 to 75 mph on most of the highway sections.

    So we are cruising comfortably and I notice I am getting low on gas, and the next gas station on the GPS is something like 40 km away. My computer says I have about 15km to spare, so no worries. Vito is also running low and starts to slow down to conserve fuel and drops behind. Me I keep going and then damn my bike just runs out of gas. This is what my computer says as I sit by the roadside - 22 km to go:

    [​IMG]

    So lucky for me Vito still has some fuel in the tank and a gas station is not that far away. While I wait for Vito I take a self portrait... the weather was just lovely... Funny that during trip planning I was worrying about running out of gas on the trail only to have it happen on the highway. :lol3

    [​IMG]

    All was well as Vito returned with gas and we got back on the road with minimal delay. But I think this was a premonition of all the niggling delays that I would be responsible for later...

    Vito self portrait.

    [​IMG]

    Shortly thereafter (or was it before) we ran through a local speed trap in a canyon that I think is easy pickings for the police and lucky lucky for us we did not get nailed.

    So it ended-up a long day in the saddle - indeed that was the most miles we covered in one day the whole trip and I filled my gas tank four times. We got into Spanish Fork around 8:00PM and after a decent burrito at Cafe Rio it was off to find a hotel room and sleep.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53526545@N04/6513914995/" title="pendleton to spanish fork by cathulu1, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7145/6513914995_803b6f956f_b.jpg" width="911" height="811" alt="pendleton to spanish fork"></a>
    #6
  7. 2handedSpey

    2handedSpey bunned

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    Sweet. Great writing. Can't wait to see how the thumper does with the big bore kit:ear
    #7
  8. Reconstructed

    Reconstructed Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #8
  9. XDragRacer

    XDragRacer Long timer

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    Betraying my ignorance, do BMW's have any reserve fuel supply (as does your companion KLR650)?

    Couldn't borrow a little fuel from the KLR650's cavernous tank to get you to the service station?
    #9
  10. cathulu

    cathulu Been here awhile

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    No reserve on the F800GS and Vito was too low on fuel... Vito did have a plastic hose that came too good use later... But not because I was out of gas.

    Sent from my GT-I9100M using Tapatalk
    #10
  11. FilmSomething

    FilmSomething Too much rain

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    Looks like a good start!
    #11
  12. D-Stylz

    D-Stylz Been here awhile

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    Nice RR so far. Anticipating the next installment. :ricky

    Subscribed
    #12
  13. sorebutt

    sorebutt Long timer

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    IN. I was wondering if I could do it on my 800 GS. I guess you will find out for me.:clap
    #13
  14. cathulu

    cathulu Been here awhile

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    Putting this together is more work then I envisioned! So better get on it and get her done asap!

    Awoke on Sunday Day 3 for the ride from Spanish Fork to Trinidad. Going to Colorado! Crossing the Rockies! Going to Trinidad! After today it will be all on the dirt whoo hoo! But we got to get there first, and the getting held a bit of a disappointment for me, cause my bike just plain let me down.

    OK, so leave Spanish Fork, Utah. Head south east along Highway 6 / 191, on to I 70 heading East man... through Green River, pass the turn-off for Arches National Park - gotta keep going, too sanitized over there - we got bigger fish to fry, Colorado border comes up too fast even though I was prepared for a pick. Onward can't stop, drive through Fruita, Grand Junction, on Highway 50 now, Montrose, Blue Mesa Reservoir (just awesome, beautiful water, NICE roads, lots of sport bikes ripping it up, we had some fun there!), past the windsurfer on the formula gear powered-up (I wanted to join him for a quick session - what a combo that would have been), Gunnison, starting to climb the mountains, Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet (big whoop, didn't bother to stop :huh), Salida not salida, turn south at Cotopaxi, down Highway 69 in the valley through the gap in the mountains as the day's light started to fade (what a lovely road but a little out of shape, nice for the dual sports), Westcliffe, Gardner, on to I 25 (John F Kennedy Memorial Highway) and finally later in the evening Trinidad.

    The day was hot in the lower elevations in the early afternoon, that is what I remembered. Hot like an idle summer day where you wilt away wearing flip flops and shorts. Hot and my bike didn't like it. I would be rolling along and then I would slow down for one of the small towns, and dang the engine would just die. Happened at 35mph. Happened coming to a stop. Happened rolling away from a stop. Happened! Must of happened at least 20 times. Roll to a stop, wait 20 seconds, fire it back up and away I go again. After a gas stop, lunch and a cool down, the ol girl was behaving better. But still stalled a couple of times while crossing Monarch Pass - there it happened on the descent at the top where I rolled off the throttle, and I would just pull in the clutch and then let her bump start. It was cooler on the East side of the mountains, and as the day wore on the F800GS was back to normal. But she let me down and took away my confidence in her.

    Vito, well his bike just ticked away and nary a grunt or sound from her. I was impressed by normal. Kind of sad really. Not only that, but no oil burned off yet! The old KLR was tight, but then Vito is a machinist and a damn fine one at that, so he made sure the 685cc kit was in real good.

    Well we missed a fine meal in Trinidad cause we got in too late on Sunday. Tried to get into Rino's Italian Restaurant around 9:00PM but despite the waiters trying, the kitchen was closed. Looked real nice in there. Try to find a decent meal late on Sunday almost anywhere and you are hooped. So we booked it to the Sonic Drive-in for a burger... food was pretty blah, lets face it, it was really blah... I think McDonalds is better with healthier food options. Is that damned by faint praise? But our choice was limited at that hour.

    Before retiring we had a good laugh with the gals at the Tire Shop liquor store. Then we got to talking about how Trinidad seemed to be down in the dumps, how a lot of shops had closed down and were vacant, seemingly for years. Extract the resource and when the resource dries-up the town slowly dies - over decades if not a hundred years in some places. The malais of a lot of small towns we passed on the trip. Lots of them were half dead or trying, folks trying to get out when they could. Trinidad's resource was coal. Hope the gals are still thriving and business is good. When there ain't much it seems that you can always get by with a liquor store or bar! Hell I have noticed in the States that the smallest of hamlets with nary a hundred inhabitants will always have a bar, usually a couple at that. One of the necessities of life... :D

    So we got some beer and wine and settled in for the evening at the Best Western and some TV.

    Somewhere between Gunnison and Salida, that is me just ahead with the blue bag. Someone was ripping up the side of the mountain something fierce.
    [​IMG]


    Along Highway 69, getting close to Trinidad, we can start to taste it... shadows getting longer, racing to get there before daylight is gone.

    [​IMG]

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53526545@N04/6513924881/" title="spanish fork to trinidad by cathulu1, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7033/6513924881_e91d17d2fe_b.jpg" width="818" height="618" alt="spanish fork to trinidad"></a>
    #14
  15. woods wizard

    woods wizard Been here awhile

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    Welcome to No.Va...expect delays
    Maybe you better clarify what Vito was doing w the rubber hose, wouldnt want people to get the wrong idea about you BMW riders. :lol3. Just kidding.............good report.
    #15
  16. PARIAH

    PARIAH Been here awhile

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    Looking forward to what remains.
    #16
  17. cathulu

    cathulu Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the interest so far! Funny stuff re the tube...

    Monday Day 4 Sept 5

    Day started great, beautiful weather and going to get hot in Trinindad. Itching to finally get on the dirt. Go to fill up our bikes and Vito looks down at mine. Looks at me, asks me where is my skid plate? I look down and up perplexed. I search my brain and realize I never put it back on after I gave the bike a last minute oil change. Next time, checklist!

    Damn, what to do. I can't go on the dirt without my skid plate. I already got some rock dings on my exhaust pipe when I had on the stock guard, I need my Moto Overland skid plate!

    I think Vito is disappointed we can't hit the trails right away but he hides it well.

    Well they say necessity is the mother of invention, and we decide to make a skid plate out of whatever we can find around us. Now we got a plan, we are not just standing around with our hands in our pockets, so at least for me that dispells the disappointment of not getting on the road right away. Hardware store, not sure where that is, but there is a Safeway nearby... and they sell baking pans. So baking pans it is!

    I go into Safeway and find a suitable pan. We dig through are gear, grab the safety wire and zap straps, and cobble something together.

    Vito working on the baking pan skid plate
    [​IMG]

    I am installing it
    [​IMG]

    Vito's idea of a joke! :huh At least one part on my bike is now made in China with some American assembly by Canadian workers. Internationalism at its best!
    [​IMG]

    The finished product, after a few miles prior to removal in Moab... worked good. But after this point a decent skid plate was necessary. I thank my wife for finding the Moto Overland skid plate and my son for finding the hardware... I hid the hardware in a box when I was doing the oil change, naughty me. They sent the skid plate to Moab and I would install it later. $200 bucks air freight. I got a lot of money in my skid plate :D
    [​IMG]


    Having got that behind us, time to get on the trails... we get started late around noon or so. The dirt was well graded gravel roads. Not much traffic, can't remember seeing any cars or trucks really, although a honda civic would have no problem with what we were on.

    So a few shots from the gravel.

    Abandoned homestead
    [​IMG]

    On the road, typical surface
    [​IMG]

    Even more abandoned!
    [​IMG]

    Nice view
    [​IMG]

    Another shot of the view[​IMG]

    With daylight fast disappearing, we abandon any plan to reach Salida, gas up at Westcliffe and look for a campsite. The locals recommend the Alavarado camp ground, and it takes a bit of finding but we get there. Suprisingly this camp is at an altitude of 9000 feet. Supposedly some locally (in)famous guy made camp nearby in the 1880s or so, on the run or going somewhere, maybe military civil war stuff. Can't remember and nothing turned-up on the Internet.

    The campsite was largely empty, and the camp host was really friendly. An old retired guy comes to visit us as we set-up and looks like he's going to stay awhile, jawing away, but eventually leaves and we get back to camp setup. Then the RV nearby fires up their generator. We consider leaving to find a quieter site, but instead I brave the NRA stickers on the RV door and ask the guy how long he is going to run the generator for. Turns out he is a nice guy and the generator was off before it became a real concern.

    A good night sleep, our first night camping. Our campsite in the morning...

    [​IMG]

    This is the very very approximate route. You are better off buying the maps, not worth trying to figure out what we did. You will spend hours and it won't help. There are mistakes LOL...

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/53526545@N04/6514033935/" title="trinidad to westcliffe by cathulu1, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7170/6514033935_20dfdafde4_b.jpg" width="696" height="609" alt="trinidad to westcliffe"></a>

    #17
  18. cathulu

    cathulu Been here awhile

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    Videos from Day 5, somewhere between Trinidad and Westcliffe

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/P435Gv69Obs" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>

    Here's another video, Vito is somewhere way ahead of me... Trinidad to Westcliffe

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mF_fI2jD--0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>
    #18
  19. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Are you cooking dessert on the new skidplate.:lol3
    Looks like a great adventure!
    #19
  20. terpaksangaskus

    terpaksangaskus Lonerider

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    WE WANT MORE ! :clap WE WANT MORE ! :clap WE WANT MORE ! :clap

    hhe, keep moving bro.. good RR :thumb
    #20