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

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

  1. Warin

    Warin Retired

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,410
    I made an error on my earlier post - the starter motor relay on the DR is under the right side cover. Sorry. (left for the KLR?)

    Filter skins - I've been told that swimming pool filters are cheaper and work too...

    Feyala when you went backwards down hill .. you only had the front brake to control the speed with, right? Trick - put the bike in gear, engine stopped and use the clutch leaver as a rear brake ... makes it much more controllable! Oh lean the bike against your hip rather than take the weight through your arms and down your back, your much stronger through the hip. As always - try it first, may not work for you.

    If the bike is unstable without luggage then don't bother with luggage weight shifting. Suggest you go back to my bit on pulling on the tyres to find play in a bearing somewherre -tyre off the ground when you do this. Get someone with strong hands to do this - but look at what they are doing so you know.

    ------------------
    The off topic heath care stuff .. to Jo Momma ... if I get sufficiently motivated I'll copy and past the relevant stuff there ... or someone else can do it? Post a link here for the rest of us.
  2. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    After a breakfast of granola bars and kettle chips, I set out to begin my day's journey. The scenery was fantastic, and it was nice to get a good look at it. I'd missed a lot, riding this way in the dark. Owens Valley is nestled in between two sets of mountains. I found it interesting that people seemed to be farming near the foot of this one. In the desert, it must be a unique challenge.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/mountainfarms.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/969__320x240_mountainfarms.jpg" /></a></center>
    This gigantic pipeline brings water to Los Angeles, 233 miles away. It had to have been at least seven or eight feet across. Back in the early 1900s, it began sucking the area dry, putting the local farmers out of business, so the pipeline is controversial, to say the least. The story is famously retold in the film Cadillac Desert, but I haven't yet had the time to watch it.

    "Los Angeles gets its water by reason of one of the costliest, crookedest, most unscrupulous deals ever perpetrated, plus one of the greatest pieces of engineering folly ever heard of. Owens Valley is there for anybody to see. The city of Los Angeles moved through this valley like a devastating plague. It was ruthless, stupid, cruel and crooked. It stole the waters of the Owens River. It drove the people of Owens Valley from their home, a home which they had built from the desert. For no sound reason, for no sane reason, it destroyed a helpless agricultural section and a dozen towns. It was an obscene enterprise from the beginning to end." - Morrow Mayo, <span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Story of Inyo</span>

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    I found my way to the 395 and headed north. It was a nice, clear day, and I couldn't help a small grin as I thought of the Oregon weather I had left behind. Along the way I saw this strange cloud. I've never seen one like it before, it almost seems whipped!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/weirdcloud.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/973__320x240_weirdcloud.jpg" /></a></center>
    Before I knew it, I was at Lee Vining. I topped off my tank, not knowing where gas would be in Yosemite or how much they would charge for it, and headed up highway 120 towards Tioga Pass.

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    The road slowly climbed up the canyon. Photos can never do the view justice, can never properly express the vastness of a given space. At just under 10,000 feet, this is the highest automobile pass in California. Nearing the top, the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. I crept along at a ridiculously slow pace, unwilling to risk losing control, pulling over for those in cars who were in a bigger hurry than I was.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/tiogamid.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/974__320x240_tiogamid.jpg" /></a>

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    I pulled up to the park gate and told the ranger that I had an annual pass, asking if she needed to see it. "Nah, I trust you, go ahead." I was glad to not have to dig through my pockets, and with that, I began my descent. I don't remember seeing Yosemite as an adult. Most years, I tend to avoid national parks due to the fees, but this annual pass has almost paid for itself already! The road snaked its way through the forest, downhill, uphill, downhill again, glinting like precious stones in the sunlight.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/sparkleroad.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/977__320x240_sparkleroad.jpg" /></a></center>
    I stopped by Tenaya Lake for a break and a snack.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/tenayalk.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/978__320x240_tenayalk.jpg" /></a></center>
    Across the highway, some people were hiking near this giant rock. Maybe to climb it? If you zoom in to full size, you can just barely see a little red dot, near the tree, under the center of the rock. That is a person. Scale makes all the difference...

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    I stopped again, to soak in the views. The smooth, cracked rock near the parking area bore the telltale grooves of a glacial heritage. The grooves also tell you which direction the glacier was moving.

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    Ravens hopped around and pecked at bits of trash scattered by tourists, looking for food. At one point, two of them had a spat over a gum wrapper. I spent way more time than I should have, following them around, watching their antics.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/ravens.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/980__320x240_ravens.jpg" /></a></center>
    The trouble with a place like Yosemite is there is pretty much nowhere that isn't picturesque. It was starting to get late, and the clouds kept multiplying. Near this tunnel, I met a group of climbers who were going to scale the cliff face next to the road. With all this beauty, why climb near a road? I guess it's a fast approach at least.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/tunnel.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/981__320x240_tunnel.jpg" /></a></center>
    As I hit Yosemite Valley, the sun was starting to set. I decided to get to Oakhurst and out of the woods as soon as possible. I did take a moment to appreciate "Tunnel View", recommended to me by Ramsey. Well worth the stop. As he put it, "Imagine what it would have been like to only see paintings of this place, back before there was photography. When this park was founded, they sent paintings back east to show people what it looked like. You wouldn't think it was real."

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/tunnelview.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/982__320x240_tunnelview.jpg" /></a></center>
    The 41 out of Yosemite was a great road! Nothing but twisties. The occasional slow-moving RV was mildly annoying, but the rest more than made up for it. The storm clouds crowded around the sunset and spurred me onward.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/sunset.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/983__320x240_sunset.jpg" /></a></center>
    Eventually I hit Oakhurst and holed up in a Starbucks to wait for my friends. I spent a few hours catching up on everything I'd missed online. They sent me a text with their address, and I found my way to their home. As it turns out, I'd just missed the snow - they'd been pelted by the white stuff going over Tioga a few hours after I did. Glad I left early!

    I met their roommate's overly-clingy animals, a vocal cat named Tigger and an older border collie named Pepper. After a nice hot shower, I settled into the couch and fell asleep.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/tigger.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/985__320x240_tigger.jpg" /></a></center>
    The next day it was rainy and grey. We ventured out for some grocery shopping, and spent the rest of the day watching "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia", weird internet videos, and basically just lazing around. It was good to have some down time.

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    Pepper developed biological weapons-grade bad gas so we kept him out of the room, and he was not happy about it. Both he and the cat had separation anxiety and were obnoxious all night, whining and meowing to be let in, respectively. I did not get much sleep.
  3. FoothillRyder

    FoothillRyder Tiger Cub

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    406
    Location:
    Biker Heaven
    Another nicely detailed and well documented (pics are fantastic!) ride, Fey. Thanks for posting the report!

    :1drink
  4. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    I like discussions and debates. However, I need to try to reign in the signal to noise ratio in this thread a little bit. It's obviously alienating some people who are just here for the report, and I don't like that. I make the story-posts orange to help them stand out, but with how slow I've been updating, sometimes it is a page or two between them, and that is probably annoying if you are subscribed to the thread.

    I am going to pause replies for a little bit, to avoid adding too much fuel to the fire. I'll get a few more entries underway and then reply here and there to kind of spread it out some. Once I get up to the current day I will be bringing up the health care business again anyways, because it's part of the story. So hang tight, I'll get back around to it. Please try to keep things a bit more focused in the mean time, I adore reading comments (even the ones I don't agree with!) so don't take this the wrong way, but it's not only my feelings that I need to consider.

    In other news, I spent yesterday giving my website a facelift. If you are looking for pure, 100% RR without the noise you will find it there, I've been crossposting from there since I started. Here is the address:

    http://www.feyala.net/

    I still have some stuff to fix up (like the photo galleries), but I like this layout a lot better than the previous one, which had a lot of colors and was visually noisy. If anybody has suggestions, I am all ears!

    I also added a donation button. I am not requesting donations, but if you want to contribute to the riding pants/gas/whatever fund (I know a bunch of you kept asking), it will make a difference and I will appreciate it. :clap Just... please try not to be upset if you do donate and I do or say things that you don't agree with.

    The reason why I have hesitated for so long to post my Paypal information is that I have seen other reports where people had given donations, and then later the author did something that folks didn't agree with, and they got angry. I don't like to make people mad, and I am nobody's role model. I drink. I swear. Sometimes I do stupid things. Sometimes shit happens. The funds collected will be earmarked for ride related expenses, but I just wanted to voice this, to try to head off any hurt feelings when somebody finds out they don't like my views or that I'm not the person they thought I was. If you think you might be upset later, please don't donate.

    I'm going to aim for at least one entry a day and get this thing current sooner rather than later, but I'll probably cut them into more bite-sized chunks, around 1k words, like that last one. I go in for another xray this Thursday, and that will tell me how things are progressing on that front. I will keep you posted! :D
  5. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,318
    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Hi Feyala!
    I have been following along for a bit and am loving your ride report. I was just reading your last edition and had an idea. What about starting a second thread for the discussion/debate/replies to keep the ride report thread cleaner? That could be an interesting thread on its own.:D
    Regards and keep it coming either way!....justjeff
  6. smash81

    smash81 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2007
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    493
    Location:
    Denver, CO
  7. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    The skies were overcast, but it did not seem too likely to rain, so we decided to go on a day trip to a nearby forest called the Nelder Grove to enjoy a nice walk. Feeling sorry for lonely Pepper, trapped outside and in the hallway the previous day, we decided to take him with us. He could probably use the exercise anyways.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/peppercar.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/970__320x240_peppercar.jpg" /></a></center>
    It was paved most of the way there, but there were some gentle dirt roads near the end. Pepper was SO EXCITED to be out of the house! I didn't know an older border collie could pull that hard! We decided to just let him off the leash, and he busied himself with sniffing and urinating on all the forest had to offer. Luckily, he never strayed too far. At one point he dove right into an ice-cold creek for a drink.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/peppercreek.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/986__320x240_peppercreek.jpg" /></a></center>
    The Grove had a lot of great trees, lots of sugar pine and huge sequoias. Ramsey works as a Yosemite park ranger, so he was able to tell us more about our surroundings than the interpretive signs. There was a lot of "what's this plant?"

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/groovetree.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/989__320x240_groovetree.jpg" /></a></center>
    My mother collects heart-shaped stuff, so I tried to get a photo of this vaguely heart-shaped stump, but it was pointed out to me that it kind of looks like a butt in this photo. Thanks for that.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/heartstump.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/990__320x240_heartstump.jpg" /></a></center>
    Some of the trees were HUGE. If you've ever seen a sequoia in person, you know what I mean. These weren't even as big as they can get, I've seen some elsewhere that were large enough that you could drive a car through them. We had to take dorky pictures of ourselves in front of it, of course. I love Ramsey's ridiculous poses.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/crsequoia.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/987__320x240_crsequoia.jpg" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/feysequoia.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/988__320x240_feysequoia.jpg" /></a></center>
    We enjoyed the peaceful environment, and I busied myself with photographing the different bark textures. I think that the visual depth provided by texture is one of the things missing from a lot of human-made environments, in nature almost nothing is flat and straight. There are little things to discover wherever you look.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/bishop2oakhurst/treemoss.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/992__320x240_treemoss.jpg" /></a></center>
    I think this is a ponderosa pine?

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    Suddenly, the dog tore past us at full tilt, only to come to an abrupt stop, and began chewing on his hindquarters. Once we convinced him to hold still for us, we noticed a number of yellowjackets crawling around in his matted fur, on his rump and behind his ears. Ramsey is deathly allergic to bees, so our tactic for bee removal consisted of poking the dog with a stick until yellowjackets came out, and then running like mad. We did this a few more times until we found the creek again and coaxed/shoved the dog into the water, splashing and dousing him. More bees emerged and we ran for it.

    Eventually, we got to the car and toweled the dog off, swatting at a few bees. We hoped that we had gotten them all out, but weren't particularly optimistic. Ramsey was driving, and I briefly considered the possibility of him going into anaphylactic shock behind the wheel as the dog hopped up on the towel-covered backseat beside me. I pointed his rump toward the open window and we were underway. Twice we had to stop due to bees crawling around in his fur. Thankfully, nobody was stung, and we arrived home safely. A final bee emerged as we left the car and repeatedly tried to sting the weatherstripping around the window before flying off.

    We had decided that the best course of action was to give the dog a bath. His matted, greasy fur was the source of the problem and it seemed to have been a while since his last one. I opened the bathroom window to give any stray bees a target and we set to work, armed with thick rubber gloves and the least-toxic human shampoo we could find. During the bath, two more bees worked their way free and made for the window. I'd like to say that we retained our composure, but the response was mostly "AUGH! BEE!" and running for the door. We found three dead in the water, and I found another dead while brushing the dog's tail. Frustrated by the dog's poor grooming, I brushed him for an hour or so, working out all the mats that I could find, and cutting out a few around an open wound on his leg which had been there for some time. These were likely stopping it from forming a proper scab.

    Pepper seemed happy that his adventure was over and looked like a much younger (and better-smelling) dog at the end of the day. We gave him lots of love. Aww.

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  8. Ed~

    Ed~ What, Me Worry?

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    332
    Location:
    Bisbee, AZ
  9. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Ramsey decided to give us a guided tour of his park. Awesome! We piled in the car, and after a brief side trip to some local thrift stores, we were underway. It was nice to be able to sit back and enjoy the scenery as a passenger, free from the frustrations of the road, but I'll admit that a part of me missed it too. We pulled up to the gate, and it turns out that my annual pass is valid regardless of what vehicle I'm in, so we all got in for free! Score!

    First up was another stop by Tunnel View. It was a bit overcast, but I feel that it adds to the scenery. There were far fewer tourists than usual, perhaps frightened off by the recent bad weather. A new dusting of snow covered the mountaintops.

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    We discovered that Bridalveil Fall was nothing more than a trickle, due to it being so late in the season.

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    Continuing our private tour, Ramsey took us to another spot that he felt was scenic. We agreed! This is El Capitan. With all of this surreal, majestic scenery in every direction, even a mediocre photo still comes out looking good.

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    This stream was very soothing, and we enjoyed the view for a few minutes. I found a duck, and followed it for a bit, but couldn't get the photo to come out.

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    I'd have to make do with some ravens instead! They were more patient with me.

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    We left the car for another vista, this time of Half Dome. People climb this, and in fact, climb most of the terrifying large mountains around here. Some things I will never understand.

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    We made our way to the Yosemite museum, grabbing overpriced hot coffee and cookies from one of the stores. So very many tchotchkes for sale. It struck me that with the crowds, the "lines" while hiking, flush toilets, the overpriced souvenirs, this was basically like Disneyland for nature lovers. Ramsey told us some pretty good stories about the idiocy of some of the visitors here, who get lulled into a false sense of security and don't use common sense. People dehydrated after multi-hour hikes because they didn't think they needed to bring water, people heading out on miles of difficult terrain an hour before dark or in a bad storm, that sort of thing.

    Inside the Indian Cultural Exhibit, there was an Indian! I'd never seen one before. I also liked the sign above it with the park tolls, back in the day.

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    After an awesome flute performance by one of the museum workers, displaying native american flute styles, we wandered out back to the "indian village", a collection of structures which would have been found at a traditional Paiute/Miwok village, before white settlers took over the area. I have an affinity for native cultures, but I hate seeming like a "cultural tourist", so I enjoy things like this which I can use to learn about their history and culture without feeling like my ignorance is offensive.

    The purpose of this one isn't immediately obvious, but nonetheless important: it's an acorn granary! I found this fascinating, because most of the time I associate granaries with agriculture. Given the critical nature of acorns as a staple part of their diet, it makes sense that they would find a way to preserve them. The inner cavity is lined with wormwood to deter pests.

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    Next up was a bark house. The informational sign mentioned that prior to the arrival of lumber operations, cedar bark was not used as commonly, as it was more difficult to obtain. Most of the structures were built out of brush instead.

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    The sign reads "This is the ceremonial roundhouse, or hangie, the center of village religious activity. Because this house is being used the old way, we ask that you stay behind the barrier and off the roof. Thank you." Behind the roundhouse was a sweathouse, traditionally heated by an oak-wood fire, and used primarily to help hunters mask their scent and for curative purposes. The sweathouse too, had a sign stating that it was still being used for traditional purposes. With so much incense cedar involved in their construction, I bet these buildings smell amazing when heated with a fire.

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    After getting our fill of culture, we went for a walk in the woods. There weren't many other people, so it was quite peaceful, listening to the birds in the trees and just soaking in the environment.

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    The path wound around large, moss-covered boulders strewn across the hillside. I thought they looked neat in the dappled light.

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    Eventually we found our way to Yosemite Falls, which is not nearly as impressive without most of its water.

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    I busied myself with trying to use an acorn top to make an annoyingly high-pitched whistle sound as we wandered along. Ramsey saw this large rock and decided to try to climb it.

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    As sunset approached, the deer came out to feed. They were fairly used to humans, but this fawn wasn't sure how to deal with it, running back and forth before finally joining its mother on the other side of the walkway. So cute.

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    Eventually we found our way to the car and ventured back to Oakhurst. Overall, even though Yosemite was very "touristy", I had a great time, and I'm glad I went. The views are second to none, and I can definitely see why Ramsey has chosen to work there the past few years. It's a few too many people for my tastes, though I suppose I shouldn't judge it based upon what was easy to access. There are some places where you can go backpacking for a week, and Ramsey didn't mention having any issues with finding solitude.

    I had gotten an offer from an ADVRider named Pete, to join him and his buddy Nip in Lone Pine as they explored Death Valley. Unable to pass up this adventure, I decided to leave the next day for Fresno and head around Lake Isabella, not wanting to tempt fate by taking Tioga Pass again. Ramsey gave me a present - a nice compression sack for my clothes and sleeping bag, that he no longer needed, as well as a couple of small military bags to replace the easily-ripped plastic grocery ones I'd been using to keep my stuff organized. Thanks man!
  10. boboneleg

    boboneleg we can rebuild him.

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    890
    Location:
    Bristol UK
    Great to see you out and about Feyala, I wish we had the wide and open spaces over here but this is a small and crowded island. Having said that there are still a few places you can get to by bike and enjoy the silence :D

    cheers, Bob.
  11. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    So! From an initial view of the X-ray on Thursday, it appears that the bone is healing! A line of bright white appears where there was a slight gap before. I go in for a viewing on a larger screen on Monday, just so we can look it over and make sure we didn't miss anything (also because I am sure he wants to get another visit out of me, but whatever).

    For me, this is great news! I didn't think it would go otherwise, I tend to be pretty resilient, but you just never know. If after a month it had not been knitting together, I would have had to go see a Real Doctor for hardware installation and/or whatever else they wanted and that would have been $$$. As it is, I've gotten off relatively cheap so far.

    I will do some replies today but I think I will avoid furthering the healthcare debate until I get to that point in the story. I need to get my butt in gear and do the death valley entries too.

    Cheers! :clap
  12. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Thanks to Smash, I am set on the netbook front! :clap

    Yeah, I made the mistake of showing up with a dreadlocked (canadian) friend of mine and a few too many things in the backseat and got the third degree. Lots of two week visas. Someday when I have time and a bit more money I'll try it again, they seem to be fine if you have enough of a bankroll, and there's always the "visiting Alaska" excuse. The Sunshine Coast was worth the hassle though, I enjoyed Desolation Sound.

    That's a great idea, and one that I'll pursue if the opportunity presents itself. I keep offering to let other people ride my bike, but so far very few have taken me up on it, haha! I do know that the bike has been down before (that's why the previous owner left me so much spare stuff), and doubt that it's a bent frame, but it would be good to have a frame of reference. I've literally only rode this bike and a honda rebel, so I have no idea what is "normal"...

    Thanks, I'll try!

    Sorry, but I just like the higher pressures better on pavement. I feel more confident in corners. I am still learning how to corner well, and lest anybody confuse me with some kind of knee-dragger, when I take a corner "quickly" I am doing maybe ten over the posted corner speed, I take 20mph corners at 25 if that. Unloaded at those pressures the tire does tend to follow grooves and cracks in the pavement a bit more than I like, but the low pressures just feel unsafe to me, I kept it under 60 when I was heading to a gas station for air after Saline Valley. I dunno. Maybe it's just the way I have the bike set up, or we have different riding styles. It may be psychological on my part, but psych is a big part of riding. Ideally I'd have a street tire and a dirt tire and swap between them, but that's not going to happen.

    I've had this set of tires on since Hells Canyon and the front is still going strong. I need to replace the rear (nearly bald now), but it's been thousands of miles, I figure it'd be due regardless of pressure. I am running this in front and this in the rear.

    I'm not worried about exploding tubes. I have a high concern about getting a flat from the tube getting wear, whether that's due to heat or friction or whatever else, I've seen it before and would prefer to avoid it. I realize that at anything over 20psi this is not likely to happen, but it's what's kept me from lowering it further to conquer sand. The ultimate solution is going to be making it easier to use my compressor so I won't even have to worry about it and be able to use the pressure the situation calls for, adjusting as necessary.

    I prefer "not much tourism", to be honest with you. I don't really go to foreign countries to hang out with americans (although it happens sometimes and it's good to share a meal with a friendly face). I go there to see new things, meet new people, and experience different cultures, languages, and ways of viewing the world. I'm really interested to find out how mexicans view the US, how they view the drug war, hopes and dreams, different perceptions of things. I need to brush up on my spanish.

    The only concern I have with this plan is finances, I can camp for free in the US, but I'm still a bit iffy about camping solo in Mexico, especially as a lady (not that I'd be cavalier if I were a dude, but. Yeah.) I need to find people that actually have camped in mexico (either baja or mainland) and whether they had/heard of others having problems, would recommend it and such. If I do need to stay in hostels, I need to figure out realistically what this venture would cost before I set out. If it's outside my budget I'll probably troll around the southwest for the winter, or maybe try to make some money so I can afford it, I don't know. My plans are pretty fluid..
  13. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Yeah, I really need to start looking for campsites BEFORE it gets dark. Every day, I say that I'm going to, and every day, I am wrong...

    I would say give or take around $500, but I'd have to dig down and do monthly averages to get a solid number. My main expenses are food and gas, (insurance is paid out through next June), and I occasionally spend money on tracfone minutes, fast food, bike parts, equipment, etc. Those occasional purchases are what make it hard for me to nail down a real number, as shit happens and I find myself with unexpected expenses quite frequently. I am sorry I don't have a more concrete answer, but the truth is I don't really know how long my money is going to last in any absolute fashion.

    My budgeting is a bit unconventional. My simple rule of thumb is "try to spend as little money as you can get away with". Sometimes I'll do my finances at the end of the month and see that I've spent more than I'd like on luxuries, and I keep that in mind the next time I want something special. This isn't to say that I never indulge, but I try to keep it to a minimum, that way if I find the perfect gift for a loved one, or need to spend money on an entry fee into something really cool, I don't feel too bad about it, and I don't miss out because it's not "in the budget". The biggest questions are "Is this necessary? Can I get by without this?" and "How sad will I be if I don't buy/do this? Will I regret it later?" It isn't doing something luxurious once that's going to kill your budget, it's doing luxurious things frequently, or having a high base cost of living.

    Here are my tips for reducing the overall cost of the trip, not counting those luxury moments.

    1) I don't factor in gasoline. It's going to cost what it costs, and there's nothing you can do about it other than not ride (and what's the fun in that?). My bike gets over 50 mpg, sometimes as much as 60, so even though it is the largest expense in a given day, it is still fairly minimal. In a 300 mile day, I'm spending ~$20 on gas. Obviously if I were doing this every day, it would add up fast, but that brings me to...

    2) Stop and explore. When you're done with your trip, which do you remember more? The dozens of hours you spent on the freeway, trying not to be bored to tears, or that cool roadside attraction you stopped at, the people you met, the scenery you admired? Unless the road is REALLY fun, most of our memories come from the places we stop at. Even the boring parts of the country have neat things hidden off the beaten path, find them! I find that stopping to take pictures for the ride report leads me to stop at some places I otherwise might not have, and that's a good thing! Slow down. It's easy for me to say this because I don't have any deadlines, but even if you do, consider that a week spent exploring a small area, if it's a good one, will be more memorable and less stressful than a week spent barreling along just to say you've done x number of states. It's cheaper too.

    3) Camping. I've never tried this in the northeast, but you pretty much can't throw a rock in the western half of the country without finding Forest Service or BLM land, both of which allow distributed camping for free for the most part. National parks don't allow this, but I'm sure you could probably get away with it if you were the least bit stealthy. My technique, when I can't find something at freecampsites.net or any of the other free camping sites out there, is to get to national forest land, take the first dirt road off of that, and then a dirt offshoot from there. Works almost every time, as long as there isn't private property interspersed in with the forest. In small towns, ask the locals where a good spot to camp for free is, in gas stations particularly. I've asked forest service and fire service people that I happened to find. Just say that you're on a tight budget and would really prefer not to spend money just to sleep. There's also the Tent Space Map, which is incredibly useful, but I don't like to be a mooch, so I just camp for the most part. I really can't emphasize this one enough, if I had to pay to sleep, at $50 a night, I probably wouldn't be able to travel like this. A month would be over $1500.

    4) Eating out will make your money fly out of your wallet so fast that you'll get whiplash watching it go. The "dollar menu" might seem like a good deal, but it adds up quickly, especially as fast food doesn't contain many nutrients and does not satisfy for long. I usually avoid restaurants unless it's a special occasion, I'm very wet/tired/cold, or REALLY good food. Sometimes I am guilty of getting snacks from gas stations, but this too is a practice I try to limit. Learn to cook on the road, and buy ingredients at a grocery store. If you can't make it yourself, canned soups are a good choice, relatively inexpensive (less than $3). Troll the grocery store's day-old bread rack for goodies. If you're going through a decently-sized town, look for discount food stores (Grocery Outlet), places like Winco with a bulk foods section are great (especially for trail mix or grains), farmer's markets (decently priced produce), or ethnic markets (asian/hispanic stores have some good deals). Aim for fruit and veg, hard goods, pastas, beans, sauce mixes in bulk, oats for oatmeal or barley for your soup. I avoid boxed meals, they tend to be more expensive than buying the ingredients and making it myself, and tend to include a lot of preservatives and other crap I don't want or need in my diet. This is a good tip for not being on the road too, I might add, if you eat fast food once a day, you're throwing something like $50 a week in the trash. I spend less than $10 a day on food. It's usually dried fruits/nuts for breakfast, and pasta/soup for dinner. Foods like hummus will keep for a surprisingly long time outside of refrigeration. Cooking this way can take more time, but you'll be eating healthier than if you ate prepared meals the entire trip too.

    5) I have a tracfone because $14 for the phone and $20-30 every 3 months for minutes is far cheaper for me than a phone plan. My droid is not connected to the network, because I don't want recurring bills for data coverage. I find free wifi instead. Places that have free wifi include almost any hotel/motel, all mcdonalds, all starbucks (and most coffee shops in general), some subways, many public libraries, barnes and noble, and some downtown "shopping areas". If I am in a commercial business I try to purchase something small and cheap (like a coffee), because I feel I need to give back if I am going to use up their space for hours, but I have been told by employees that they don't care if I sit there with a glass of water and don't buy a thing.

    6) Thrift stores are great for clothing. Bonus: I don't have to break in new clothes! I tend to use clothing until it falls to shreds so this is not much of an issue.

    7) I really recommend the all parks pass if you have the slightest interest in nature/the outdoors and are planning on being on the road for a while. I've seen so many great things that I would have missed due to not wanting to pay the $20 entry fee.

    8) If you can find them, pawn shops and hispanic/flea markets are a great place for cheap tools. I've bought a replacement socket for less than a dollar at one of those markets before. Used ratchet still works the same...

    9) Craigslist can net you some decent used camping gear. Sometimes you can barter or talk people down, if that's your style. I have no complaints about that tent yet!

    Overall, I use a lot of the same strategies when I am stationary, so many of these things are second nature to me. Depending on if your trip is more of a "vacation" or a "lifestyle", you'll need to adjust things on the frugal meter accordingly. I would probably spend less time cooking or worrying about finding a place to camp if I had a fat bankroll and a steady job to return to, but it would be a far different experience.

    Thanks yet again for the netbook! I spent today partitioning and formatting it for a dual boot (XP/Bodhi linux). It works a treat so far! :D It'll make getting this RR up and running on the road a breeze, I think. :clap
  14. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,480
    Location:
    Jennings, Louisiana
    I am so enjoying your report, pictures and everything. Being a solo traveler for many years now, I have only one bit of advice for you . ENJOY. Do it your way. I quit camping at 62 due to a bad hip. Now, cheap moteling it with food and gas is running me right at 110 bucks a day on the average.
    Keep it coming lady, lovin it.
  15. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    103,236
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest

    Oh, but it's so enjoyable to have travelers stay over with us...it's not mooching, and I wish more people would take advantage of the tent space list.

    Following your interesting travels. (I wish your pictures were bigger)
  16. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,341
    Location:
    On a set of 50,000 mile tires.

    Clicky clicky works too.


    [​IMG]



    Hiya, Fey!!! :wave
  17. Klay

    Klay dreaming adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    103,236
    Location:
    right here on my thermarest
    I didn't know that. Thanks!
  18. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    I have a feeling your 244's are worn out. I know the 244, bought a set a couple years ago. Not great once worn, very affected by road texture. Once worn badly? :eek1 Check in on the BIG DR650 thread in Thumpers. Ask about tire pressures. Lots of good opinions and lots of experience.

    Nearly bald is not good! :D ... And how many miles on the front? Many fronts "Look" fine, but in fact are badly cupped. Cupped front tire handles poorly. 244's are inexpensive but not the best tire for the DR650, IMHO. I've run 12 or 14 sets of tires on my 50K mile DR at this point.

    Tubes don't really wear much. Especially at the pace you're riding. But if your tubes are very old (like over 2 years) I would change them out for new. Buy good tubes if you can. Worth it. (Michelin, Metzeler, Bridgestone, Dunlop)

    Sand riding is very tough no matter what pressure. But low pressure is better than high. Sounds to me like you did VERY GOOD off road.

    ALL GOOD! To get into politics and Narco trafficante discussions you'll need a bit more than "buenos dias" and "Hola Paco, que tal" :lol3 ... but if you get further South, do take a class. Well worth it IMO. Always best to dive and and TRY to communicate.

    Can't recommend solo camping in Mexico unless in an organized camp ground or on private property. Bad stuff does happen. It's rare, but there it is.

    I've been going to Mexico since age 14. Dozens of trips: buses, trains, motorcycle and VW Van. Rarely camp but you CAN do it safely if you pick your spots ahead. Random "wild camping" solo could pose risks in certain situations.

    I spent 7 years living, working and traveling all through Latin America.
    Did two years in the Antarctic, based out of Argentina. (USARP). Lived in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina.

    Baja is not cheap (as mentioned earlier) and it's full of Gringos. But its still a magic place like no other. Mainland Mex is another world; Fewer Gringos, less English, about 1/2 the price for motels. Gas is about $3.20 a gallon nationwide. Moving costs money. To save money, once you find a "garden of Eden" type place, rent something, hang for a while. Your expenses will fall to almost nothing. Great place to Winter ... I've done it.

    All the best getting healed and getting your DR back on the road. :devildog
  19. COtter

    COtter Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    61
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I've never been much of an early riser. On a long trip I left my motel in Nevada around 10am. While riding I noticed lots of red smears on the road. Later that day I stopped for gas and happened across some riders I had met a few days earlier. They told me a couple riders had gone down around 7:30am due to bugs that covered the blacktop. Plows were called out to clear the bugs off the road. I was glad I had not had an early start that day... So now I think it is okay when I take my time in the morning. I'm really enjoying your RR...camping alone...I have not done that yet...you are courageous.
  20. beemer67

    beemer67 Really Old airhead

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    219
    Location:
    Fish Limb, B.C. Canada
    I have been riding to the Copper Canyon area of Mexico (mainly) each October for the last 10 years. Most of the time I rough camp. After reading your RR (and enjoying it) I feel that you understand how to camp safely. That is, get off the road and find somewhere where others aren't. I generally feel safer camping in Mexico than I do in the U.S. and I rough camp there as well. There are private campgrounds around but they aren't common. Campground in Creel for instance is 100 pesos a night (US$8.00 at the moment) Hotels seem to run 200 pesos and up ($16.00) The per person cost in hotels always works out more than if there are two of you. The Mexican people have always been super helpful and friendly to me. I try to stay away from the border areas, but even there everyone I have dealt with have been friendly.

    And occasionally when I haven't been able to find a track off the road I have been on, I have stopped at a small farm holding and just asked if I could camp off to one side of their property. Never been refused.

    Bottom line for 'rough' camping, if no one knows you are there, you can't have a problem.