Wherever I May Roam - One Woman Livin' on a DR650

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Feyala, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    Move yer bum. Simply - if you want more steering then move forward. Bent knees is the key.

    Unstable - side to side?
    Get used to the bike moving around under you. Even if you were sitting down the bike would still move, and you'd be moving with it too - throwing yer head around... Much better standing up - the bike can move around but you don't so are in better shape to control and see.

    Unstable - forwards / backwards?
    Yes - going downhill move yer bum backwards on the bike. This will move yer weight further back than if you were sitting down. Reverse for going uphill.


    For sand, speed is your friend. You also need to stand up on sand - keep the front wheel light and yer bum back.

    For mud it is all on being smooth with everything! :deal

    Masterly? Not me, I just know what to do.. after I haven't done it. :lol3 Siting and thinking before you try something is good.

    Good luck with the recovery.
  2. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Trial and error! Haha! Fair enough... I will get this sorted out one way or another!

    Agreed. It was definitely a pendulum effect. Thanks for the explanation, it makes a lot of sense! I think if this happens again I'll be slowing down and trying to shift my weight forward, but hopefully it won't happen again!

    Interesting! I will keep my eye out when I am in auto parts and home improvement stores, maybe somebody has it stocked. It would definitely be good for "peace of mind", especially as I seem to be going over rougher terrain with more vibration as time goes on. My kickstand almost rattled free out in death valley!

    I tend to go with cheaper helmets (I think this one cost like $130?) so it's not like I'm replacing a $700 Shoei or something. I'll think about it and we'll see, but thank you for the advice...

    Unfortunately I think my head is on the small side. How would I tell? Go to a Cycle Gear and get measured I guess? Tape measure? Thanks for the offer in any case, I really appreciate it!

    Ahh, yeah, I know what you mean. I try to ride that way when I am standing, but it also limits the amount of speed that I can get up to, because if I go above 20-30, I will find myself coming up fast on a sharp corner and have to sit down and brake, which breaks up the 'flow'. I also have issues with downhill for this reason - it is only VERY recently that I have even begun to feel the slightest bit okay with engine braking in first, and I know that I am supposed to be standing going over the nasty terrain. But if it's steep, I don't feel safe, so I usually sit down, ride the brakes, and dab. Terrible, but practice practice practice... Fucking sand. The only time that I almost lost it on my saline valley adventure was when a big pit of sand in a sharp corner snuck up on me in the dark, and it was only my foot that saved me from dumping it.

    I'm glad I'm a motivating factor! It'd be fun to ride with you, I think! Once I'm able to "keep up", I'll probably stress less about my technique, but 10mph on sand is just atrocious for covering any sort of distance...

    Hey David, thanks for the comments! I'm glad you've enjoyed reading about my adventures. Stay tuned about Paypal, I should have that sorted in a few days.

    I mounted them pretty far aft on purpose, as I'd read a lot of stories where these types of panniers trapped and broke people's legs when they attempted to dab off road, due to their width. When I mocked up the design and test fit them centered on the rack, I found that I couldn't stretch my leg very far back and could definitely agree to the injury potential. As I am still a relative amateur when it comes to riding off road, I need to minimize the chance of injury as much as possible.

    Soft and smaller would definitely be ideal, but given that I need to be prepared for anything that is thrown my way, for an indefinite period of time, I need quite a bit of storage space. As I learn and grow at this lifestyle, I will no doubt condense and simplify. For now, I am going to build some tank panniers, and move the heaviest items (such as my tools) to the front, to hopefully minimize this issue in the future. When I first got the bike, I had it up to 110 indicated no problem, on knobbies and lower gearing, with only the bare necessities bungeed to the racks. I have no doubts that the extra weight and increased air resistance are affecting the handling, but there is only so much that I can do and still carry all the crap I need or "need".
  3. TO Scootz

    TO Scootz Adventurer

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    Fayela, you mention that your photo stitching program is on the blink. Do you have access to a regular computer. Considering your lifestyle, you might want to know about open source software. I'm currently running Ubuntu Linux on my desktop, and both it and DigiKam are free. Digikam has a very good and easy to use photo stitching module. BTW, if you were a canuck, all your medical expenses would be paid for by the state.
  4. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    This was definitely a contributing factor. Whenever I am going faster than my comfortable cruising speed, I tend to tense up a bit, simply because the bike feels less stable. Do bikes normally feel less stable at faster speeds, or is that a byproduct of the incorrect configuration? When I went 110 with less gear, I felt unstable, but that was also due to the wind produced at that speed...

    Interesting, so you think that the fact that it's easier to turn is due to the weight distribution and not the bearings being slightly loose? Is that correct?

    I am normally pretty careful. I've talked about passing semis at 80 and doing 110 on knobbies but I am generally the first person on the road to slow down in windy or wet conditions, and I am usually not the fastest person on the road by far. I am simply not often in that much of a hurry. Guess this is a reminder to slow down more...

    Hey, thanks Bob! This made me smile. I will definitely give it my best!

    Thanks for the tips, Ed! I can easily get the front wheel freely off the ground as you suggest. If given the choice between a torque wrench and using the "play" method you suggest, which should I prefer? I don't have a socket large enough for the steering nut (I use a custom tool Dave made for me when we did the bearings), but I am sure I could find one if need be.

    Slowing down and redistributing weight is the easiest (also cheapest) solution, so it's the one I'll be going with. Something like a Giant Loop would be nice, but ease of packing is definitely important to me, because I live on the bike. As it is, I have to dig through the boxes multiple times a day. The idea of doing that with everything bungeed on or another solution that doesn't allow ample room to dig through stuff makes me shudder.

    Hey Ben, it's great that you find my life inspiring!

    It's terrible to hear that you were injured badly. I hope that you've recovered fully since then? I have been keeping a pretty close eye on all of my injuries, and other than the broken wrist, things seem to be OK. I have been keeping the closest eye on my knee and shin, as the degree of pain when external pressure is applied is about a 9 out of 10, but regardless of how I move it, flex it, etc, I can't find any weak points that would suggest anything other than bruising trauma. A bone bruise compresses the honeycomb shape of the bone down flat, so it's nothing to laugh at, and they can take weeks to months to heal. At least it's easy to avoid kneeling!

    Ouch! Did you develop arthritis in that wrist? I have been very eager to get on the road, especially because it's such a small injury and I have a splint which keeps it straight, and I seem to be able to ride with it like this... but yeah. I definitely want to take it easy until it heals. If nothing else, the tire patching episode proved that I will be pretty much useless if I need to fix anything on the road!

    Thanks for the reading material. The radial side is the one that aches, when it does. Once the bone knits I will definitely need to keep an eye on the triangular fibrocartilage, as it describes issues I had been having. I can't really do any stress tests until the bone knits.

    I'm sorry! Haha. I feel like I am letting people down here when I don't post for a while. I realize it is free entertainment, and you get what you pay for, but I also feel like I have a responsibility to keep this thing going and up to date. I enjoy doing so, don't get me wrong, but when I am being a procrastinating slacker (like recently), I feel like I am not doing my "job". I realize that nobody is expecting this of me but me. We are always our harshest critics.

    Enjoy the snow!

    Yeah, the support on this thread has been amazing! I feel the love. It's great that so many not-so-strangers are coming together and trying to help me when I am down, definitely lifts my spirits up. :) I've learned a lot too!

    I could use more planning, but I am terrible at it. It seems like every time I try to plan something, I only get into the first step or two of the plan before having to abandon it completely due to something cool coming up or mitigating circumstances. Eventually I just kinda gave up, and instead of planning, now I just sort of brainstorm possible cool things to do and see. I get most of my advice on where to go from other likeminded travelers, and thus far I have never been disappointed by following their recommendations!

    I still have yet to figure out how to learn to scuba and hangglide on the cheap though.

    Where are you going on your adventure?

    Stay tuned...

    Ouch! Yeah, I feel like the bone bruises and wrist will be around for another couple weeks to a month at least :cry I hope I don't go nuts...

    Unstable side to side. I'll put it this way. On the road, if I wiggle my bum even an inch, the bike wobbles a lot. When I am off road I fear this same magnification of input, and I feel like I have less fine control over my motor skills while standing than if I am sitting down (better steering control when sitting, I feel). When I am going over large rocks and the front wheel is dancing around and I am trying really hard to relax and control it less, the last thing I need is to introduce some kind of weird wobble and send it too far off to one side.

    For something like dips in well-graded terrain, I have no problem standing up, and in fact prefer it. Sitting while going through dips feels very unstable and dangerous. I feel more stable at higher speeds (30mph) standing on washboarded terrain, less vibratey. I haven't gained that feeling of stability yet when going over large rocks or on steep inclines. Practice, practice, practice. I know to keep the knees bent and not lock them, locked knees is a great way to damage the knees if I biff it too.

    I regularly stop before I come across something I've never encountered before, or don't know what line to pick. Sometimes this bites me in the ass, like in that deep gravel... hahaha.

    Thanks for the advice! I do need to try to go faster in sand, but it's just so hard.. the sand seems to whip around my front tire sideways surprisingly quickly if I am not careful with it, and the only solution I've found thus far is to slow down. I need to try to stand up on it though, you're right. Maybe if the front tire had less weight it wouldn't whip around so much...
  5. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Currently I am staying with my parents, where I have stashed a desktop computer, so I'm set on the photo software front. I really would like to get a small laptop, as I've found it incredibly difficult to make posts of the quality I expect without the ability to have more than one application open at once. The droid is great for keeping regular notes day to day, and taking pictures, but combining all of these requires that I edit the photos, copy/paste, and other stuff that the droid can do, but much more slowly. Even something as simple as replying to more than one person at once takes a long time. It already takes me hours to do an update, I don't think I want to make that worse with inefficiency.

    I have a dell laptop, but it is HUGE. Far too big to bring with me. I am thinking of trying to pick up a cheap EEPC, netbook, toughbook, or something similar.

    On the nerd front, I am currently running XP on this desktop, but I spent most of my desktop-time in Portland running Mint (a flavor of Ubuntu). Oz uses Slackware, which drives me absolutely batty. I vastly prefer OSS to proprietary windows BS, but I can't be bothered to reconfigure this desktop when I am not going to be here for very long. I used to do server support at my last job, so I got passable at CLI.

    I know about and envy your health care system. I lived in Denmark for a year and it was incredibly relieving to have access to that kind of care. I plan on ranting about this subject when I get to the aftermath of the crash. Sadly, your country doesn't even like me to visit because I don't have steady employment. C'est la vie.
  6. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

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    I'd love to hear your thoughts on our broken health care system ... and your experiences. Kind of a pet peeve of mine as well. (I'm uninsured at the moment! :eek1)

    I haven't read your whole thread ... but picked up on your crash. So glad you survived and you'll get better! :clap I ride a DR650 too ... so I check in once in a while to see where you are. You rode right by my house, just north of San Francisco.

    Most singles can develop a weave at around 80 to 90 mph. At least all the ones I've owned have done. (XL's, XR's, KLR's, XT's, KTM's and more) But a full tank slapper is not usually the outcome. I've owned three DR650's ... my current '06 (now up to 50,000 miles). All my DR's would show a mild weave, none went into full tank slappers even over 100 mph. (tail wind, downhill! :D )

    Lots of input here about T-slappers. All good stuff, mostly. I do agree that "Death Gripping" the bars can make things worse. Relax your grip, let go your hands, steer with your knees and feet.

    Several of the things discussed can contribute to T-Slappers. (tires, tire pressures, bearings, suspension, over loaded, and on and on). Some even believe the high front fender causes it. I don't buy that.

    Don't go crazy on your bike changing a bunch of stuff. Most of these guys don't own a DR and never will. Ask the DR community before you make changes. Boatloads of combined knowledge and combined hundreds of thousands of miles specific to your bike. ... BTW .. how did you ever get a RED DR650? I've never seen a RED ONE!

    I was hoping you were headed down to Tierra del Fuego. With your newly acquired dirt skills ... my guess is you'd do good. :lol3 You had good teachers! Sand takes a while to learn, after a day's riding it ... it gets easier, believe it or not!

    Firmer suspension and knobbies seem to help in deep sand. Standing, for me, is a must. Most IMPORTANT is vision and where you look. If you look way out ahead .. you will do OK. Look at your front fender ... you're going down. :lol3

    Come over to the BIG DR650 thread in Thumpers if you have any DR related problems/questions. What's next on your trip? Mexico? Baja? :ear
  7. More_Miles

    More_Miles ├╝ber-n00b

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    Are you sure you aren't Canadian? (Says the Canadian.... :lol3)


    Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you. And love it.

    I don't have any riding or medical advice, others have chimed in here with more and better than I ever could. Okay, I lied, I will say this: Have that wrist and knee looked after. I realize it's probably not going to be cheap. Take it from someone who hasn't (quite) hit the big four-oh that it's going to be less expensive than waking up with joint pain every time the weather changes in 20 years!
  8. smash81

    smash81 Been here awhile

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    Denver, CO

    Pm sent.... :deal
  9. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    :eek1 Something is WRONG. The bike should not feel this way. Yes I have a DR, and a few others.. I work on all my own bikes.

    Does it do this with no luggage?

    Then I'd be checking tyre pressure - increase it. Knobby tyres could explain it though.

    If the tyres are ok then bearings - look for any 'play' - elevate one wheel at a time and grabbing the tyre see if you get any small moment before you get resistance by exerting small forces to the side. Do it on the bottom/top and front/back of the tyre. The different edges force different bearings, so you need to do more than one test on each tyre.

    Forks can also develop play - grab the bottom of the fork - tyre off the ground, and push it backwards and forwards. Any play means its needs fixing. This would also check the steering head bearings.

    If it only does it with luggage then you have
    weigh distribution - usually too much weight on the back.
    And/or
    aerodynamics. Ugly to find out what is causing this... unless you have a full sized wind tunnel :lol3 I'll leave that ...unless you find it is?

    Ever had the same wobble/movement at low speed? I hope not - if you do then ... something is really wrong! And it is not aerodynamics. And probably not weight.

    At reasonably low speed you are still steering with weight .. try it ... on a sealed (tar) surface- ride in a straight line standing up.. now put more weight on one foot than the other -- the bike will turn to one side .. not much but a little! More weight -- turns harder.


    One trick - for practice of balance - put your front wheel on top of the gutter, rear wheel in the gutter where the water would be. Ride like that - the rear wheel will try to climb the gutter and you'll have a hard time keeping the front on top of the gutter .. all balance. I'd only do this when you are prepard to fall off, and when the rear tyre is due for replacement. There is a yoga position - stand on one foot, sole of the other foot to the knee of the foot your standing on. now raise your hands... the higher your hands go the more difficult it gets. To start with have a wall in reaching distance of one hand and put that hand there. Yoga might be a good thing to do while your not traveling? Improves balance, and relaxation. And flexablity - for moving your bum around on the bike while standing.

    Practice without luggage - that makes it easier, both for the riding and picking up. :lol3

    Are you taking mph or kmh? Mph would be the upper limit of the DR. Not where I'd be cruisin.
    Kmh would be fine - not unstable .. well a little less that at say 80kmh (50mph) but not much.
    My brother says I speed up by 10 kmh on dirt compared to tar - I find on dirt that the slightly higher speed is more stable.


    Packing is an art form.
    I find I get better .. after say 2 months of travel on the bike I was really good. That was too long ago and I've lost some of it. Never mind it will come back on the next long long trip. Best packers I know of are http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/duval/ but it does not look like they have bothered to put that in print.

    For fun http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/travel-hints-and-tips/packing-before-travelling-35017

    Fixing stuff .. well learn to do your own servicing will help.

    Yet to do the scuba diving ... something like 1% of the population do it .. yet there is more sea than land.
    Try sailplanes (gliding) ... as well as hanggliding... see which one you like best?

    --------------
    If you have the space one way of 'traveling' without traveling is to host other travelers as they come through? You'll get americans from this site .. but anything can come your way on the HU site .. join a community there and see? http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/
  10. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

    Joined:
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    that you were nursing your thumb on a video game controller and not laying in traction all this time.

    Allow me to start the Healthcare discussion for you...

    Alot of us activists were working on Single Payer Healthcare even before candidate Obama made promises for Single-Payer when running against Hillary. Obama-care kind of stole the wind from the public debate after that election but never delivering as much in return. That's not to bash the president... he is only one man reflecting the wishes of so many Americans who just want to enjoy the security of health insurance to get elected now battling a huge profit making healthcare industry who are after all the milk-cows of investment bankers.

    Improved Medicare for All is really the only way to economically cover everyone without costing us any more than we (as a country) currently spend on our broken "sick-care" market. We truly have no healthcare system for all the built in inefficiencies of a market system designed to siphon profits first and foremost while delivering some passable form of health services for those that can afford insurance while ignoring the rest. That some Americans cynically say Medicaid covers all those that can't afford health insurance only illustrates the overwhelming ignorance in this discussion.

    Ignorance is after all part of the design. Organizations exist to actively dilute public debate with misinformation and fund loud-mouth astro-turf organizations to stand in front of corporate controlled news cameras... all the while enjoying the fact that local governments hurting for funding in this economy first choose to ax money for public education. We all know it takes an intelligent and informed public to keep a democracy. That is what those who benefit from the broken status-quo are most afraid of a true functioning democracy to foil their profit-generating systems even as the world around them crumbles.

    My wife and I are activists on this front because both of us are naturalized Americans originally from countries that developed and currently enjoy a true healthcare system that covers everyone. We both still hold citizenship to those countries as our "medical escape hatch" since we both ride. We know from personal experience that True Universal Health Insurance is affordable, realistic, and ultimately civilized. From our perspective, those who are still confused about this issue are simply afraid, are having their fears manipulated, for they stand to lose the most by not coming together to solve this social challenge in our country... by improving and expanding Medicare for All Americans.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/VMqcLUqYqrs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  11. TO Scootz

    TO Scootz Adventurer

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    Even a used toughbook is going to be pricey. I've carried my Acer netbook (dual boot, XP and Ubuntu 12.04) around a bit, but my Wee Strom is not a dirt bike, therefore the Acer gets a (sort of) easy ride.

    Our country would be happy to have you visit, but with no job for you to go back to, they're afraid you might make the visit permanent.
    My daughter's boyfriend is American, and they both get hard times at both sides of the border, because of their long stays, and for moving housekeeping gear across both borders.

    Best of luck with the injuries, and I hope you heal well and quickly.
  12. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    That works if you can get out. :clap

    I know of two people who have flown, one with a broken jaw (hit at LA airport), the other a broken leg. Both lied to get on the plane. :1drinkFlying with any serious medical injury makes commercial flight a no go. Simply they don't want any problems. Any thing that could rupture at low pressure will get you off the plane. :deal

    Good luck educating the rest of the 'merican population. Or enough of it to make a difference.
  13. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Wandering...
    I packed up and left early. I had slept well. Perhaps a bit too warm, but better too warm than too cold. The nine miles of dirt were a great way to get started on the day. Between dodging a few trucks, I practiced standing until I reached pavement.

    I was surprisingly close to Lassen National Park! As I headed towards it, the morning air was cool, but the road was interesting and twisty. I spied a doe loitering on the side of the road, blending in quite well with the dappled shadows. Yikes! Slow down...

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/hwy2lassen.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/895__320x240_hwy2lassen.jpg" /></a></center>
    I passed the checkpoint, digging out my annual pass card, and consulted a map once inside. It's a shame I couldn't spend a bit more time, with names like Boiling Springs Lake, it seemed that there were a number of geothermal hotspots to explore here. My friends were expecting me north of Bishop though, so I pressed on.

    Some nice views of Mt. Lassen. Most of the trees were coniferous, but there were just enough leaves changing color to spice things up.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/lassenpeak.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/898__320x240_lassenpeak.jpg" /></a></center>
    The road didn't stop being fun and twisty once inside the park! The trees shrunk, and the views over the valley below were amazing.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/valleyview.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/900__320x240_valleyview.jpg" /></a>

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    Curves and switchbacks, the road continued to climb up into the mountains, eventually hitting over 8,000 feet. I had no problems with the bike due to altitude. I think it got up to 9k further on, but this is where I took the photo.

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    Around a few more bends, some of the trees gave way to pastel dirt and rocks.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/rdnearlassen.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/953__320x240_rdnearlassen.jpg" /></a></center>
    Helen Lake was beautiful. Clear, deep blue water. If it had been warmer, I'd be tempted to go for a swim, but I'm sure that the water is ice cold!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/lakehelen.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/896__320x240_lakehelen.jpg" /></a></center>
    Not far away, I stopped at the parking area for Bumpass Hell. I had read that this little three-mile round trip hike was quite worth it, as there was a popular geothermal area at the end. As I cable locked all of my riding gear to the bike, a couple piled out of their rented RV and we chatted a bit about the natural beauty of the place. The guy got a grin and indicated his wife, "We've got a passion for Lassen!" I managed to avoid a groan.

    The informational signs around this area had a lot of really great quotes. I love reading about the history of places I visit. It gives them a bit more depth.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/kvbumpass.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/907__320x240_kvbumpass.jpg" /></a></center>
    "We took up the line of march with Mr. K. V. Bumpass as a guide, an old and experienced mountaineer, whose services we had secured to conduct us to these infernal regions. On turning the ridge, all the wonders of hell were suddenly before us."

    "Our guide [Mr. K. V. Bumpass], after cautioning us to be careful where we stepped, that the surface was treacherous, suddenly concluded with Virgil that the "descent to hell was easy" for stepping upon a slight inequality in the ground he broke through the crust and plunged his leg into the boiling mud beneath, which clinging to his limb burned him severely. If our guide had been a profane man I think he would have cursed a little; as it was, I think his silence was owing to his inability to do the subject justice..." - Editor, Red Bluff Independent, 1865

    Unfortunately, Mr. Bumpass lost his leg to that 240-degree mudpot. It shed some new light on all of the "Stay on the trail!" warnings. Apparently, some people fail to learn from the mistakes of others, and a handful of people are severely burned each year as a result.

    The hike was quite pleasant, it was good to stretch my legs and get out of my riding boots for a while. I was able to get a nice view of the lake and the road together. Sometimes it can be difficult to capture the essence of a place without a bird's eye view.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/lkhelenrd.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/899__320x240_lkhelenrd.jpg" /></a></center>
    The hiking trail was rocky, and my ankle was having some difficulty at certain angles, due to having twisted it a few days prior at the cave.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/bumpasstrail.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/903__320x240_bumpasstrail.jpg" /></a></center>
    I quickly learned how best to place my foot to avoid twisting it further, but the ache would be a constant companion for the rest of my hike. Undaunted, I pressed on, enjoying the crisp mountain air and the amazing vistas the high vantage point afforded me. I wish I were a better photographer, sadly I don't think I really do this area justice.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/trailview2.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/905__320x240_trailview2.jpg" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/trailview.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/904__320x240_trailview.jpg" /></a></center>
    Eventually the trail began descending. The rocky trail gave way to cracked dirt, and eventually I did see "all the wonders of hell" through a gap in the trees. Neat!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/bumpassoverview.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/906__320x240_bumpassoverview.jpg" /></a></center>
    It was another half a mile or so to get down into the volcanic area. Occasionally I'd get a whiff of the rotten egg stench of sulphur when the wind was right. I climbed a little hill and sat on a rock, taking a long drink of water and enjoying the bubbling, steaming activity around me. The panorama is worth a closer look.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/lassenpanorama.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/897__320x240_lassenpanorama.jpg" /></a></center>
    Volcanic areas always seem otherworldly to me. Crystal blue, bright yellow, you don't often see these shocking colors in a normal landscape. It would be interesting to go back in time, to a period where volcanic activity was more common...

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/orangehills.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/952__320x240_orangehills.jpg" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/bluepools.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/909__320x240_bluepools.jpg" /></a></center>
    (For scale, notice the boardwalk in that second pic. These pools were pretty big!)

    This is the "Big Boiler", and the sign informed me that it is the hottest fumarole within a non-active volcano in the world. It can get up to 322F! It's also getting larger over time, as the volcanic gasses eat away at the surrounding clay.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/bigboiler.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/908__320x240_bigboiler.jpg" /></a></center>
    Even knowing that most of these pools will kill you, I still had an urge to take a dip in some of them. This one didn't look <em>too</em> deadly...

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/prettyspring.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/911__320x240_prettyspring.jpg" /></a></center>
    I thought about the people who built the boardwalk, especially in the context of Bumpass' leg and the brittle ground. Must be a risky job! Maybe they had some special safety gear?

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/steambridge.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/912__320x240_steambridge.jpg" /></a></center>
    The hike back to the bike was, happily, mostly downhill. I enjoyed the way that the trees tenaciously clung to life on the side of the mountain.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/treecliff.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/913__320x240_treecliff.jpg" /></a></center>
    Some of them seemed to be held up by not much more than rocks!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/treerock.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/914__320x240_treerock.jpg" /></a></center>
    Eventually I neared the parking area. It was fun to play "spot the bike". I'd spent way longer than I intended to, exploring this area, but I'm glad that I took the time and didn't rush it. I would not have enjoyed myself nearly as much if I were in a hurry to see everything before it got dark on the previous day.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/parkingarea.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/910__320x240_parkingarea.jpg" /></a></center>
    I returned to the bike and geared up. I visited another nearby volcanic feature called the Sulfur Works, but even with the superior name, after Bumpass it failed to impress me. On the side of the highway there was a (relatively) small mudpot which engulfed me in a wet cloud of stinky steam. Glad I stopped to take a look, but the first one was much better!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/sulfur2.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/915__320x240_sulfur2.jpg"/></a>

    <a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/sulfurmudpot.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/916__320x240_sulfurmudpot.jpg" /></a></center>
    I enjoyed the highway coming out of the park and aimed myself toward Truckee. I didn't stop to take too many photos, because I needed to eat up the miles. I discovered that I'd gotten a bit of a sunburn at Lassen, apparently I forget how quickly I burn at altitude. Whoops!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/hwy89totruckee.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/917__320x240_hwy89totruckee.jpg" /></a></center>
    It was getting late, and I hit Truckee around dusk. I parked the bike and wandered around a bit.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/truckeedowntown.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/920__320x240_truckeedowntown.jpg" /></a></center>
    I grew up in Truckee - well, we moved there when I was 8 and left when I was 10, but many of my childhood memories were from this place. It was interesting to see how it had changed.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/truckeemural.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/921__320x240_truckeemural.jpg" /></a></center>
    It seemed like a lot of the knick knack shops I remembered from my youth had given way to trendy upscale restaurants and fancier, more expensive, kitchy shops. The town was trying to rebrand itself as a tourist destination for the middle and upper class, to shake off its small-town nature. I'm not sure how I felt about that.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/truckeeshops.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/922__320x240_truckeeshops.jpg" /></a></center>
    For example, there were a lot of people dressed in period clothing wandering around the town. I discovered that this was for an adults-only walking tour of "haunted Truckee" but I didn't really want to spend $30 for the experience, content to just observe from afar. I later asked my parents if there had ever been something like that when we had lived there, and they were as dumbfounded as I was. Times change, I guess, especially in this economy, and at $30 a ticket, 20 people a group and multiple groups, somebody was raking in the cash.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/lassen/cowboy.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/918__320x240_cowboy.jpg" /></a></center>
    I ate dinner in town, and found internet, where I discovered that there was a free campsite listed a few miles back the way I came. Score! I headed off into the night. Down a dirt road, I discovered that the ranger station was closed for the season, so they had closed the road, which led to the campsite too. I had to go the long way around to get to the free camping. Typical.

    I took a wrong turn and ended up going up a different dirt road, which was both steep and very rocky. More than once I saw a large obstacle and hit the throttle... knowing I would crash if I went too slow. It felt very crazy and out of control. I wanted to turn around but the road just kept going uphill, so I stopped in the road to consider my options.

    I tried to gas it, but the rear wheel just flung rocks around. Well, I guess that's the end of uphill then. I gingerly got off and s-l-o-w-l-y backed the bike downhill. It slid downhill at times, even with the front brake applied. There was a lot of cursing.

    Somehow I managed to get the bike turned around and pointed downhill without dropping it. I crept downhill slowly, and was grateful for the fact that it was easier to pick my line as I could see a bit further. I was a bit shaken but proud that it didn't end badly.

    I found the correct turn off. This road was tough in spots due to riding at night (why do I always end up doing this crap at night?!) and some rocks/potholes but I made it to the camp. I laughed at the "passenger vehicles not recommended" symbol on the brief little quarter-mile down to the campsites. No, really? What have I been riding on?

    I picked the first campsite I ran across, having had my fill of nighttime road battles.

    The night was cold. I was at over seven thousand feet in elevation, and Truckee had recently reported temperatures in the low 30s. The tarp kept slipping off, and I woke up frequently. I ended up adding another layer of socks and doubling up on jackets, managing to find unconsciousness at last.
  14. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    This is literally the third time I've edited that batch of photos. I think it is worth it though, they look phenomenal in comparison with the previous iteration I did in an older version of the software. I have some high hopes for the rest of the photos!

    If things look funky (too dark, too light, too contrasty) please tell me. I've done what I can to calibrate this LCD monitor, but so much of that is subjective.

    Replies forthcoming! :D
  15. JagLite

    JagLite Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,498
    Location:
    Anchorage Alaska
    Feyala,

    May I suggest you invite other DR riders to meet up with you for a ride? :clap

    Trade bikes to see if their bikes feel the same, or different than yours, to you.
    And, possibly more importantly, the other riders will be able to tell you if there is anything your bike needs.
    New head bearings, wheel alignment, frame straightening, swing arm bearings, etc.

    I have bought several bikes at insurance auctions that looked fine... if you don't line up the wheels vertically.
    I mean that the stem head (where the forks attach to the frame) was just slightly twisted and you could see it if you sighted the wheels from straight in front or behind. The bike will ride fine with the wheels out of plane... until a slight oscillation begins at speed. At low speed it is not noticeable since it occurs slowly and you automatically correct without even knowing it. But as the speed goes up, watch out!

    A series of fun s-curves in the road, a few bumps, or just about anything can start a weave that can quickly advance to a rider spitting high side tank slapper. A bent frame can kill you. Fortunately it can be fixed by a shop that specializes in frames.

    Hopefully a bent frame is not the problem for you but by having other experienced riders, especially those with DR650 experience, will help you figure out what can and should be done to make your ride as safe as possible.

    I hope this helps and that others in your area can set your mind at ease with your bike set-up.
    And that you heal quickly to get back on your travels. :D
  16. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Uninsured people club! Yay!

    Thanks for the well-wishes. :) Maybe I'll see you around sometime!

    After the Hells Canyon gathering and talking with Jim and Alex, I started keeping my tires at a higher pressure, 30s instead of 20s, and it feels a bit less squirrely on the pavement with the knobbies as a result. I air it down to 20s for off road riding. This is high, I know, but I like to be able to make it to a gas station to air up once I hit pavement again, without being utterly terrified of heat-induced tube failure. I do have a compressor, but I have to take my seat off to get at the battery terminals, so it's very inconvenient. I've thought about putting in some kind of extension that I can access, but that project's been on a backburner.

    I plan on doing the easy fixes first (weight distribution, handlebar and wheel alignments, wheel truing and balance) and if I still have problems, I'll be sulking back to the DR650 thread for advice. I have posted there a couple of times, and people usually come up with some pretty good ideas for things to check, but the average technical ability there is a bit higher than mine, lol!

    It came red originally because the previous owner used a red plastic paint on it. The factory color was, I believe, white. At least, that's the color it was after I scraped all the paint off!

    TDF is an expensive proposition, not the least of which is crossing the Darien Gap, and all the import/export/insurance/grift fees. A bit outside my budget, sadly. Not sure where I am going next, I am strongly considering Baja with a possible ferry to mainland Mexico. I speak spanish (badly, it's been a few years, but I used to know a LOT). I've been to Nogales but never Actual Mexico, and am not really put off by the Stories of Terror regularly broadcast on the news, when so many of our fellow travelers have a wonderful time there. (I am aware of the risks and also how to avoid them - don't ride at night, don't stop in the first 300 miles near the border, etc). Also it's cheap. I flock to cheap like a crow after shiny things.

    Speaking of the media, I'd like to take this opportunity to share one of my favorite comedians. Sorry for the derail, but every time Mexico comes up (and the inevitable naysayer brigade), I think of this.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/9Oww4Ap3YZA?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>

    It's funny that you mention the vision thing. I feel that this is true with a lot of off road riding. I've gotten a lot better with rocks since I've (mostly) stopped worrying about individual stones and have focused more on avoiding the really big, nasty things, and setting myself up for a good line around them. I'm still far from "good" at riding off road, I am mostly just "less terrible", but I get less terrible every time I go out, so at least I am heading in the right direction!

    I dunno, I don't think I like hockey or bad coffee enough to be Canadian... *ducks*!

    My parents don't have to take me in, but they do, and I'm grateful for it. We have our little clashes from time to time, but if kids enjoyed living with their parents, they'd never move out!

    I think I am mostly fine. We'll see. If the bone isn't knitting I'll go get that looked at, even though it doesn't seem to be affecting my range of motion at all. It's a minor fracture... well. I'll post xrays when I get to that point. They gave them to me on a CD even!

    :clap:clap:clap I know I said you are awesome before but YOU ARE AWESOME!
  17. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,507
    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Awsome report Feyala! The pictures came through perfectly. Keep it coming!
    Regards from The Frozen North :eek1.....just jeff
  18. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Yeah, it does it with no luggage. I figured it was just being responsive. How much effort should I have to put into it weight-shifting wise to induce a wobble or steering change? The amount of effort currently is on the realm of, for example, shaking your head vehemently. I'll be checking the play and adjusting the steering stem nut accordingly, it's possible (likely?) that it is too loose.

    I have steered with weight before, this is usually how I ride on easy dirt roads, where I am actually comfortable standing up. I don't have the balls yet to steer hard with it which is why I have to sit down for anything more than a gentle curve. I am not sure if I have had that much movement at low speeds, I mostly notice it because I am fucking around while bored on an empty highway and weaving slowly to the music. Something as simple as a side to side head bob gets the bike wobbling, but it doesn't feel... unstable like it did when I crashed, or when it happens unloaded in corners? The wobble stops when I stop moving. Sorry, it's hard to describe properly. Thinking through it, it would make sense that in those circumstances the front is underloaded, which would make the wobble worse.

    That sounds utterly terrifying. I literally can't imagine a way to do that which doesn't involve landing on my face. I will trust you when you say it is possible, I've seen trials videos after all, but... maybe when I have more skills? Right now I am just happy when the bike doesn't fall over.

    Yoga on the other hand, I have been meaning to get into that before I lose what flexibility I have. It's a bit hard because I am not in one place long enough to really get into classes, but I can probably make do with youtube videos and pirated ebooks...

    Yeah, I don't think I would have been able to chase Nip and Pete too well if I had all my luggage weighing me down, but sometimes I don't have a choice...

    110 mph indicated. I felt like I could go a little bit faster, but the knobbies + wind from going that fast made me reluctant to try for faster as it felt unstable. I only did it once, to see how fast I could get up to, on a straight flat stretch of nevada desert. I've never owned a vehicle that could top 100 before. I don't normally cruise at 85 or whatever I crashed at either, haha! I stick around 65-75. It's interesting that you find a higher speed more stable on dirt... I guess that makes sense, you can kind of "skip over" some of the potholes and rocks, but to me it feels crazy and out of control even going 30mph if it's remotely rough. I've heard of guys going 60mph+ on sand but I figured they were either hopped up on testosterone or very skilled. Or both.

    I am pretty good at the "making fluffy things compact" part of packing, but I am still working on the "only taking what you need" part. Well, you'll see in the next entry, I photographed everything. FOR SCIENCE!

    I do service my own, but with a broken wrist, I couldn't even get the lug nut off the rear axle without a cheater bar. :cry It took me over 3 hours to fix that flat, I can usually do it in half an hour... I feel like a weakling. It's frustrating. But it's why I'm not leaving yet, even though I really want to. If shit hits the fan and the bike falls over or I have another flat or... anything really, I am physically incapable until it heals.

    Sadly I do not have my own space, or I would be hosting ADVers and Couchsurfers and all sorts of interesting folk. Maybe someday! I've thought about joining HU but as it seems to be more for the international crowd, I didn't think we'd have much to offer each other yet. I still want to go back to Europe someday, but it's much harder to camp there for free, so I'd need a hefty bankroll.

    Thanks for all the well thought-out comments! :clap
  19. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Suzuki recommend 22 front/25 rear for the DR650 on stock tires. What tires are you running?
    If anything, knobby's should be a bit less than this. YES ... they will feel a bit squirrely on pavement ... but they'll ride safer, especially on wet roads. Movement on paved roads with knobby's is NORMAL. Running high PSI will wear them out quickly .. and put you on your ass ...again! :eek1

    I went all through various tire pressures in my first year riding the DR. 30's is way high. Just wrong. With 50/50 tires like the stock trail wings and most street based dual sport tires (Anakee, Distanzia, Shinko 700 or 705) the Suzuki pressures work very well. Add a pound or three if loaded very heavy or two up.

    Off road with knobbies (TKC front, D606 rear) I air down to about 16 psi front/ 18 psi rear. Higher in Baja. If you take it easy these pressures will work fine off road and you're really OK doing a few street miles with those pressures too. Unless your riding in 100F heat, going 100 mph for 200 miles, no worries at all with exploding tubes. Ain't gonna happen. I've ridden all day in 118F in Death Valley.

    No need to stop and air up if only going 20 or 30 miles of pavement. More? then stop and air back up. Keep speeds under 60 mph and you're fine.

    I doubt the low pressures caused your tank slapper ... but who knows? I doubt anything is wrong with your bike ... just needs proper setting up, maybe a few adjustments.


    Sounds good. The DR thread is quite good, lots of helpful folks who will go out of their way to figure things out ... if they have enough info about your bike and symptoms.


    You have the right idea: Down Baja, Ferry to Mainland. You're Spanish will come back. :clap Baja is very quiet these days. The media has fomented tons of fear. I was there last month, and a year ago this month as well. Not much tourism but no "violencia" once you are away from the border area. Tijuana is probably the safest border area in ALL OF MEXICO. Once you are in Ensenada (less than an hours ride) you are safe. The rest you know: Day Time riding only. Leave early, finish early. Many Narco's are Meth heads and come out at night like Vampires. (true)

    Baja is not that cheap ... but still cheaper than USA. However, Mainland Mexico is cheaper for Motels, food et al. Gas is The Same Price throughout Mexico ... about $3 USD a gallon. (CHEAP!)

    The Mex. Govt. have made some headway against the Narco gangs. And generally speaking Tourists are strictly off limits and not targeted at all.

    One more thought on the DR and tires. On worn tires the DR can handle very strangely. It will react badly to pavement seams, rain gruves. May feel unsteady in corners. This true with knobby tires as well. Perhaps this is all that is "wrong" with your bike?

    Fit a nice NEW set of Shinko 705's ... and be happy. You just can't imagine the difference fresh rubber makes. Try the stock pressures or just a hair more. I love the Shinko's. Cheap and Good.

    Good luck!
  20. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Ohhh man. Thanks for the comments.

    I agree completely. Why am I not surprised you'd have opinions along the same vein? :lol3 It's great that you guys are active in trying to get people to wake the hell up on this important subject.

    I was out protesting against the Stupak amendment in SF when all that was going on.

    It confounds me that people see access to healthcare as a luxury item instead of a necessity. Nobody chooses to get sick. It's not a moral failing if you get diabetes or break a bone, that you should be "punished for". Shit happens. Even from a pragmatic societal viewpoint, there is absolutely no gain to be had as a society for letting people bankrupt themselves to pay for cancer treatments, or to go on disability for things that might have already been cured if they'd been caught with a checkup or preventative care. The fact that as one of the richest nations in the world, we'll still let people die in the streets from treatable and preventable illnesses is a tragedy of the highest order. We are the only first world nation to feel this way about health care. Medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy cases.

    Even those with insurance are not free from the tentacles of this psychotic greed-driven system, as the profit motive maintains that companies will always act in the best interest of their shareholders. If you are an insurance company, your best interest is not paying out for claims, and so legions of people are employed with the sole job to deny medical claims, deny coverage, and up until recently, refuse to accept "risky" patients, to the point where anybody with a long-term illness (cancer, lupus, whatever) found themselves blackballed, unable to find insurance at any price, because the insurance companies wouldn't be making a profit.

    Speaking of profits, insurance companies are making a bundle. The rule in capitalism is that any corporation which doesn't grow, dies. The only way to continue to keep making profits, more and more each year, is to either find new customers, increase the cost of whatever you sell, or reduce your own expenses. This works well when we are talking about electronics or shoes or whatever luxury goods people buy, but when it comes to something that everybody needs and that most people who can afford it already have, where are you going to get your new customers? The solution has been to raise prices. The thing that always confused me in the Obamacare debates was that we've now basically enshrined the insurance companies as a necessary part of the financial ecosystem, but what do they actually provide that single payer doesn't? The "free market" people have said that competition will drive down costs, but it hasn't so far. And anyways, some things you don't really want to get at a bargain. Would you go for a $1 medical exam? The idea that money needs to be a part of medical decisions seems a bit backwards. Shouldn't the focus be on what will help you get better?

    To elaborate on medicaid: most state-run medicaid programs that I've encountered have an "enrollment freeze" on anyone who isn't a pregnant mother, family, already disabled etc. Single and healthy? Sucks to be you. I'll elaborate more on my personal experiences when I get to that part of the story.

    I recommend everybody watch Sicko. It's over the top in some places, and I'm not a big Michael Moore fan, but it was pretty eye-opening to see how everybody else lives.

    It doesn't have to be this way.