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

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

  1. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Still in Phoenix. I'd love to be on the road soon but I still have to fix the rack and the box. The former should be dealt with via vice and/or hammer, I'm still looking for a cheap aluminum plate to fix the latter (Home Depot wants almost $40 for a thin sheet of aluminum, hell with that, I'm going to look at scrap yards!)

    After making my prototypes and thinking through the process, making tank bags was going to take more time than I want to spend on it, so I ordered a set of Tusk tank panniers, which seem to work fine. I'll need to attach some straps to keep them centered on the tank, but they don't hit my knees and they should fit the heaviest stuff (namely tools) just fine. I also plan on waterproofing both this and the other textile bag I have with a silicone sealant to make them more water resistant. Also: cupholder! Yay!

    Some recent tooth sensitivity has led to the discovery that my wisdom teeth are pretty fucked up, so I'm going to need to get that looked at. I'm planning on scheduling a consultation at a dental school-run facility (half price!) on Monday. They will likely need extraction, if the dental school won't do them at rates I feel are reasonable, I'll be looking at my options in Mexico. One of them appears to be growing forwards into my other teeth, and the other appears to be growing off kilter and full of cavities. Thankfully, they are not painful.

    I changed the rear tire with one of these and flipped the front tire around with no problems. I balanced them both, and the front was previously off, but only slightly, and still has plenty of tread. The new rear seems to have a decent amount of tread, and is a harder compound than the last one, so hopefully it will last a bit longer (also made it exciting to get the tire on the rim).

    My cush drive rubbers need to get replaced at some point, but for now I shimmed them with some pieces of inner tube rubber and the sprocket seems a lot less loose. Maybe this will help with some of the lashing I've been experiencing!

    I found a 32mm socket and tightened the steering stem nut, it was a bit loose, but I have not been on a test ride to see if it is tightened appropriately yet.

    I have gotten replacement motorcycle pants (BMG Pioneer), some nicer cool-weather gloves (BMG Thermosport), both used from inmates. I am skeptical how the Pioneer Pants will handle when the weather starts to warm, but I'll give them a good shot. They seem much more well made than the First Gear ones I had before, and the idea of being warm and dry in the rain is appealing enough to make me willing to gamble with sweating to death. I'll deal with problems as they arise.

    I got a battery terminal to SAE cable, so I'll be able to use my compressor at will now, instead of having to take off the seat or jumping it off the starter relay. This should make it easier to air up tires, leading to more willingness to air them down when the going gets tough. Hopefully this will help! Still working on a SAE to USB solution for charging, but should not be hard, soldering equipment is available here.

    The body damage to my bike has all been sanded as flat as I care to get it, and I'll be fixing the paint work once it stops raining. I'm not a vain person, but I've got the time, the stencil, and paint is cheap.

    Still not sure what my plans are when I leave here other than "Meet up with Esther at some point" and "maybe go to Mexico if I have money, once my replacement passport gets here, which will take some time." Mardi gras in NOLA? On the up side, friends who owe me money have started to pay me back, so by not moving around and spending I am actually making a bit of cash. So that's nice! Offsets all this crap I am buying...

    TL;DR: I'm not dead, just busy with mundane crap. I wish I were riding and doing things worth writing about. :cry But, better to take care of this shit now than go off half-cocked I guess!
  2. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    I should weigh my stuff at some point. I'm getting rid of some stuff I haven't been using, but gaining a netbook and some exercise bands. I might be way off with 100 lbs.

    I like the idea of soft luggage, but I don't have the money for a Giant Loop, and having an actual box is infinitely more convenient than having to dig through a bag to find the one thing I need on the side of the road. I had a set of soft saddlebags on my first bike (the 250 Rebel you can see on the first page of the RR), and it was nothing but trouble. I overpacked them (I guess?) but in any case they sagged and slid around due to only being attached via velcro, and melted a bit on my exhaust, before I glued on a large patch of leather to help a bit. No bueno. Giant Loop looks like a nice tight package but I question how easy it is to get to stuff. I just remember how much of my day was involved with doing and undoing tarp straps on the first leg of the trip (drybags count as soft luggage right?), and I will skip that again if possible. :lol3

    I got a bunch of pool filter socks that I will try as soon as my air filters are dry. I almost got run out on a rail as my parents apparently can't stand the smell of kerosene, lol. I am big on low maintenance, and decreasing the number of mystery specks I can't seem to get out of the filter is appealing. The filter after I got out of Death Valley was absolutely caked with dust, super gross. :puke1

    WD40 I have heard can have some negative effect on the o-rings, which is why I use kerosene when I can. I've used WD-40 a couple of times and it does seem to leave things a lot "drier". I've never thought about Diesel runoff, I wonder if somebody would become irate if I collected it in the US?

    :dunno It wasn't heavily loaded, wasn't terribly hot, but I wasn't around for the life of the tube, so I couldn't tell you. I'd just never seen a non-puncture tube failure before and it made me leery.

    Yeah, being a gringo in Mexico is like being a walking wallet, I get that. I also don't like to get drunk as much as lots of those folks on the beach, which should help. Even in the US, I am a bit leery about being invited back to somebody's house though, because I no longer have control of the situation once I'm in their space. I think that I have a pretty good quick-judge of character, but serial killers are also known to be pretty charming. Not sure if this is justified or paranoia, but it's why I prefer the woods to randomly knocking on farmhouse doors and asking if I can pitch a tent in the states. (Not saying I'd never do it, but I am pretty insanely cautious.) Maybe I should read more stories about Mexican good Samaritans to put my mind at ease...

    Yeah, I've seen pics from mexican carnicerias, lol. We even have some here in Phoenix, whole roasted pigs, headmeats, etc. Manteca isn't something I'm going to argue over with the locals, I'm one of the less picky vegetarians, especially in a foreign culture.

    Any particular bakery delights you'd suggest I try?
  3. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    This sounds like a lot of work. Some things (like clothing) I am switching to synthetics when I can (when I can find it in the thrift store), and many others I have an eye out for lighter versions if I can find them. I have so many egregious weight hog items that a scale isn't even necessary to find out where most of my problems are. I'd love to get a newer synthetic sleeping bag, for example, because they've made a lot of improvements in the 7-8 years I've had this one. I'd love to lighten up my tool kit. But having done backpacking before, there's a reason why I am on a motorcycle this time! :rofl

    Cost is honestly the biggest hurdle to upgrading my equipment. I am doing this trip on the shoestringiest of budgets, there is no nice 50k/yr job waiting for me at the end of the rainbow. It's the tradeoff I've chosen to make, but it does mean I need to be creative more often. I'm okay with that.

    You do have a good point though. I need to simplify. It's much easier if one is going out for a fixed time, easier to pack for the exact conditions. Maybe I should get better at mailing packages when the seasons turn, but then again, there have been times in the summer when those long johns came in handy...

    I need to learn how to improvise! :lol3
  4. 2000RSV

    2000RSV Go Fast, Go Long

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  5. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Hey, thanks for the kind comments, and I'm glad to have you along! :clap I definitely feel that the thoughts and feelings present in a situation make a journey more than just a series of events.

    I think if everybody bought less, the world would be a much better place! Good for you. Ninja 250 is a great bike, and doing your own work is very empowering on a root level. I bet you get killer gas mileage. I miss my 80mpg Rebel some days...

    The nice thing about expensive gear is that oftentimes it does not have the "planned obsolescence" that cheap gear does. It's actually cheaper, over time, to buy a slightly more expensive pair of shoes, than to spend the money on 5 or 6 "cheap" shoes over the same wear period. A lot of the good manufacturers will also handle defects and problems with less consumer cost than the alternatives. It's been counter-intuitive for me to spend more (especially with things like motorcycle gear), but aside from 80mph crashes, everything has held up pretty well so far.

    I agree. I definitely aim to "thrive" even if I don't have much money, rather than just scraping by. I also have access to a lot of resources that truly impoverished people don't have, which I try not to take for granted. I might be poor, but that isn't going to stop me! :D

    Hey, thanks, I'll check it out!

    Thanks! And yeah, probably. Furries are everywhere! :eek1
  6. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    China garden was a surprising, cool oasis in the desert. It had trees, reeds, and even goldfish!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/chinaoasis.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1078__320x240_chinaoasis.jpg" /></a></center>
    Nip decided to take a seat and share a snack with them. The fish seemed surprisingly well-fed for being in such an otherwise barren environment.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/nipfish.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1093__320x240_nipfish.jpg" /></a></center>
    Relieving myself of my jacket, I explored the nearby foundations, and tried to imagine what buildings used to be here.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/chinafoundation.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1075__320x240_chinafoundation.jpg" /></a></center>
    One of them bore the plaque, "In memory of Willy Saurer", but it seemed likely to have been placed there recently.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/willy.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1118__320x240_willy.jpg" /></a></center>
    I followed tiny mule hoofprints over a hill, where I discovered an old mining shack.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/chinamining.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1076__320x240_chinamining.jpg" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/chinamining2.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1077__320x240_chinamining2.jpg" /></a></center>
    When I returned to the oasis, Pete was thirsty, and wanted to try out his new water filtration straw. He looked a bit silly, but hey, whatever works! I won't be trading my water filter in any time soon.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/petestraw.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1103__320x240_petestraw.jpg" /></a></center>
    We wandered back to the bikes, and noticed that Nip had a flat tire. A challenge! We quickly set to work. I liked the adjustable side stand Pete had to help prop up the bike.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/bikesupport.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1071__320x240_bikesupport.jpg" /></a></center>
    Nip had never changed a tire before, so it was kinda fun to show him the ropes. I sat back and took pictures for the most part, because there's only so many hands you need to take off a tire.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/tirefix.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1110__320x240_tirefix.jpg" /></a></center>
    Next step was finding the leak, glad we had that pond to help us out! The spot to be patched looked as though it had been worn down, via friction or otherwise, it was not a nice clean puncture hole. Strange.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/tubeleak.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1112__320x240_tubeleak.jpg" /></a></center>
    Nip patched it up. I helped a bit with getting the tube back in and the tire back on the rim. Pete aired it up with his compressor, and we were good to go!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/tubepatch.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1113__320x240_tubepatch.jpg" /></a></center>
    To get to Panamint, we would have to go up a soft, deep gravel trail which we had seen earlier. I was not so sure about this part, as it seemed fairly difficult. Pete tried to reassure my concerns, saying that it would probably level out soon after.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/gravelhell.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1087__320x240_gravelhell.jpg" /></a></center>
    Yeah, about that...

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/gravelhell2.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1088__320x240_gravelhell2.jpg" /></a></center>
    Because I am a sissy and was too afraid to stand up and lean forward, my rear tire kept digging into the gravel and swam through it, instead of fishtailing along on top. At one point, the road got a bit steeper and this happened.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/gravelstuck.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1089__320x240_gravelstuck.jpg" /></a></center>
    I couldn't get the kickstand down, so I just left it, wedged there in the gravel, giving a desperate little laugh about the situation as I took photos. Pete and Nip came back to help me, and as I hopped on the bike, I forgot that the kickstand wasn't down and fell over. Awesome.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/feygravel.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1119__320x240_feygravel.jpg" /></a>
    (Thanks for the photo, Pete!)</center>
    So, now what? "Get on and gas it, we'll push you out of the hole!" Uhh. What. This was something I'd never had to deal with, and concerns flew through my mind. Would the bike roll backwards and hurt somebody? Would rocks come flying out? Would I careen forward madly and injure myself? I ignored them and tried to focus. Lean forward. Gas it.. stall. Restart, slowly let out the clutch... and I'm free! I fishtailed my way past where their bikes were parked and slowly puttered on.

    The road kept climbing higher and higher. The gravel got a bit less terrible. Maybe the hard part is over!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/roadisgone.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/851__320x240_roadisgone.jpg" /></a></center>
    God damnit.

    I'll admit it, I panicked here. "What the fuck? THE ROAD IS MISSING! HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO THIS?!" They moved some rocks into the dip at the top of the crack and pointed to the right-hand side. They joked with me, but I wasn't in a very joking mood. This was serious! I could get injured! I could fall in that hole! The road was GONE!

    I gunned it and after a few halting blips of the throttle, managed to make it to safety. I was almost shaking with adrenaline, and had to stop and calm down before I could continue. At least the views were nice.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/panaview.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1117__320x240_panaview.jpg" /></a></center>
    We continued along, the gravel reappearing as the road began to slant downwards. It wasn't nearly as bad as the deep, soft stuff we'd encountered earlier.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/graveltrail.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1090__320x240_graveltrail.jpg" /></a></center>
    Just as I started to think it was safe, we encountered the Fucking Scary Hill. Even Nip took his time on this one, dabbing and riding the brakes as he tried to pick his way around the bigger rocks. This was the first time while riding, that my brakes have been unable to completely hold me. Even with the brakes on, I was slowly sliding due to the loose, sketchy terrain. The sheer drop off to the left didn't help things. It felt like the first time I was sitting at the top of a log ride, wide-eyed and nervous.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/scaryhill.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1107__320x240_scaryhill.jpg" /></a></center>
    I kept slipping, which threw me off balance and made me more afraid. In desperation, I tried the obvious advice everybody gives novice dirt riders and which none of them listen to: ease up on the brakes and let the engine slow you down. I didn't want to go that fast down this hill, so I still tapped on the brakes, but I stopped sliding, which made me feel more in control. Eventually I made it past the worst of this.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/panamintgravel.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1096__320x240_panamintgravel.jpg" /></a></center>
    Past that initial drop, the road was still gravelly, with rocks to avoid, but it was not nearly as steep or loose. Emboldened by my success, I began to brake less, and less, aiming it and hoping for the best. This was the first time I've ever felt more stable with less braking. The road curled around and around, winding its way to the bottom. At one point, I passed Nip, who was braking more than I was. I considered this a minor victory.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/twistydirt.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1114__320x240_twistydirt.jpg" /></a></center>
    We stopped briefly at the trailhead to Panamint Springs, but the sun was beginning to set, so we decided to give it a pass. The road from the trailhead to the highway was quite a bit nicer, and I stood up for most of it. At the end of the dirt was a large dip, which I managed with ease, and I'm sure I would have <em>almost</em> looked like I knew what I was doing if anybody had been bothering to watch.

    I was exhausted, but proud that we'd managed to conquer the road. Pete and I stopped for some pictures with the setting sun.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/petesunset.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1104__320x240_petesunset.jpg" /></a></center>
    Thumbs up for Death Valley!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/feysunset.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1085__320x240_feysunset.jpg" /></a></center>
    Further along, Nip flagged me down, and I awkwardly pulled off onto the soft shoulder. He pointed out a light-colored, squiggly trail in the distance. "See that? That's the road we were just on! I thought you might want to take a picture." Damn straight!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/panamintoverview.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1097__320x240_panamintoverview.jpg" /></a></center>
    I even took a panorama. I love how this place looks in the setting sunlight.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/panamintpanorama.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1098__320x240_panamintpanorama.jpg" /></a></center>
    Both Nip and Pete sped off, wanting to get back to Lone Pine before it got dark. I went a bit slower, enjoying the glorious twisties carving around the side of the canyon. In the last of the setting sunlight, the moon began to rise, and I couldn't help but take a picture of the twilight. It was long dark by the time I hit town.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/panbikesunset.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1099__320x240_panbikesunset.jpg" /></a></center>
    We had pizza in Lone Pine and discussed the day. Pete called it a "trial by fire". Absolutely. Even though we didn't go as far as we wanted, and I could have done better in thousands of ways, it was a good day. Every time I bite off more than I can chew, survive, and face down my fear, it is a success.

    Pete's account of this adventure can be found <a href="http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=19924047&amp;postcount=393">here</a>, with a lot more pictures!
  7. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the links! Yeah, I've definitely searched the second site when I have stupid questions (I have a lot of them). For some reason I never really joined up though. Seems like a smaller community I guess.

    It's always great to get info from people that have been there, so thank you! Those costs are not bad at all.

    Kinda funny how the stories from people who have actually been there are almost always positive, and the stories from people who have never been there are always negative...

    Hmmm. Good advice with the flour. It wouldn't occur to me to just go up to a mechanic and ask, though. Is this actually successful? I feel kind of weird going up to places of business and asking for something that would inconvenience them (it's a trend, I don't like to feel like I'm a bother?).

    Yeah, it's much easier to spot places if I start before dark, but I get up late, so that's how it ends up happening. In Mexico I definitely need to get an earlier start to the day so that doesn't happen, a wide variety of bad stuff happens at night. I do have GPS in the form of my Droid and pre-downloading map files (not sure the best solution for this in Mexico), but I don't have a mount for it, so I have to stop and look. Better than nothing though!

    Hopefully my spanish is somewhat helpful there! :lol3 "Lo siento, solo queria un lugar para mi carpa..."

    Yum! :puke1

    But did you find that out from the daylight or the farmer? :D
  8. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Glad you're enjoying it, and thanks! Either I go out there or it doesn't happen, the adventure isn't going to come to me...

    Thanks again (again again?) for shepherding me along on those rides. I had a blast and definitely wouldn't have done them alone. As for new roads, soon, soon! After the next post is Saline Valley, which was fun. Hopefully I can keep the number of photos I post of sand to a minimum... :rofl

    Yeah, being able to do 85+ without issue at various times (Oklahoma to Phoenix for example, all day for 3 days) with lighter luggage lulled me into a false sense of security, and I'll admit that I seriously underestimated how much impact adding some weight to the rear would have.

    I am not a speed demon, and as I've said, for the most part I am doing at or slightly above (less than 10 over) the speed limit - 80 in this case was from trying to pass a slow (10 under) semi without being creamed by people oncoming several miles down the highway. I really don't like being in the oncoming lane, or having to keep looking to see if I've passed a vehicle yet, because looking away from where you're going in those situations is how you get clipped by somebody and die.

    It's definitely been a learning experience about the risks of such a maneuver, and something I will consider when I overtake vehicles in the future. From the advice of people here, I feel like I'm more likely to understand how to deal with it, if it does show up again, but I hope I never have to find out!

    Hey thanks, glad you're enjoying it! :clap Say hi for me!

    Absolutely! :beer But I don't see you on the "in" list? You should go if you can, it's a great gathering!

    You know how to do it now, and that's half the battle! If you're anything like me, next time you will forget what order the steps are in, and struggle slightly less, and the third time you will remember most of it and do okay. Like most things... practice! Though yes, I too am hoping you don't have random flat tires! :) Do you carry a patch kit?

    I was looking at getting one of these with an SAE plug but I think I can find something similar at an auto parts store for cheaper. Need to make sure it has a transformer to step it down from 12v obviously. We'll see! Glad you're enjoying it so far!

    And now I am up to date with replies! Yesss! :rayof:wings

    ... Now I just need to get up to date with the ride report... :whip
  9. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    as always, loving your ride report. Can you make your pictures larger?
  10. 2000RSV

    2000RSV Go Fast, Go Long

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    The pictures are a link. Click on them and they get bigger.
  11. 2000RSV

    2000RSV Go Fast, Go Long

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    That looks like a better solution. Good luck with it.
  12. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

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    Yep Fey, I do carry a patch kit for sure! Part of me is wondering about tubeless tires, those you just plug! Very tempting!!
  13. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

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    Would it be easier to see that they're links if the pictures had a border or something? :confused

    Tempting for sure, but then you're stuck always having to find tubeless tires, which is why I haven't gone that route. Plus the initial cost of conversion. I've only gotten one flat in two years of riding so far, and it was discovered in the garage. Hopefully that luck holds out!
  14. 8lives

    8lives Dharma Bum

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    Found your RR,really enjoying it,you just can't go wrong with a Dr650,I am currently testing a older KLR and so far so good,when the bike gives up the next experiment will be a DR.I used to live on a small sailboat and travel its amazing how closely related the concept of "go cheap so you can go"is connected between bikes and boats.Enjoy Mark
  15. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Sorry Girls! You still need tubes even in tubless tires if you are installing them on bikes which have spoked rims. The air will leak out all the spoke holes! Yes there are ways of converting spoked rims to tubless but it is somewhat complicated and a pain. Tubes are not that bad to patch.IMO
    Regards....just jeff
  16. Patrick46

    Patrick46 visionary

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,852
    Location:
    Oregon Coastline
    WOW....don't know how I've managed to miss this one for so long.....


    IN! :clap :lurk
  17. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Yeah, it was a tossup between the KLR and the DR for me, but the DR is a bit lighter and without watercooling, a bit simpler as well. I haven't regretted my purchase in the slightest. :)

    I haven't ever lived on a boat, but I did once live in a silver streak with 3 other people, and a lot of the "everything in its place" and "condense and simplify" style of packing and storage is quite similar. Glad to have you along! :wave

    Yeah Jeff, the conversion is what I was talking about, sending the wheels off to Woody's or installing a TUbliss system with rim locks or whatever the trend is these days. I don't get flats often enough for it to be worth the drawbacks.

    Glad to have you along Patrick! :clap Hope you enjoy!
  18. Feyala

    Feyala Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Oddometer:
    358
    Location:
    Wandering...
    Pete was busy packing when I got up this morning. Sadly, it was time for him to return to his normal life. On the up side, this was a good opportunity for me to get a closer look at how his gear is set up. The backpack panniers are a nice touch.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/petehonda.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1102__320x240_petehonda.jpg" /></a></center>
    Surprisingly, Pete uses a bike to tow his bike. I'd seen pictures of things like this before, but I'd never gotten an up close and personal look. Nip helped him load the dirt bike onto the trailer.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/loadbike.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1124__320x240_loadbike.jpg" /></a>

    <a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/biketowing.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1072__320x240_biketowing.jpg" /></a></center>
    Of course, I had the usual questions. How does it handle? What kind of gas mileage do you get towing that thing? What happens if you need to stop? He seemed pretty happy with his setup. It handles decently, though the gas mileage while towing left much to be desired. Braking was assisted with this:

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/trailerbrake.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1130__320x240_trailerbrake.jpg" /></a></center>
    He had some unique solutions to problems on the road. My favorite was probably his SAE-powered electric thermos.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/electricthermos.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1123__320x240_electricthermos.jpg" /></a></center>
    He had a number of switches to control power to his accessories, a bit clunky looking, but beats the hell out of an accidentally-dead battery!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/switches.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1129__320x240_switches.jpg" /></a></center>
    On the dirt bike, his navigation was old school, a scrolling paper roll with directions.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/directions.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1122__320x240_directions.jpg" /></a></center>
    With the last of Pete's stuff attached to his bikes, I gathered them both together for a picture. Thanks for a great time guys! I learned a <strong>LOT</strong>!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/petenip.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1128__320x240_petenip.jpg" /></a></center>
    Bye Pete! Ride safe!

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/byepete.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1121__320x240_byepete.jpg" /></a></center>
    With Pete gone, I had to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. I decided to catch up with the internet. My plans were in the air. I started thinking about Rob's recommendation that I visit Saline Valley if I ever got the chance, and did some research on the current road conditions. A friend of mine, who wanted to climb Mount Whitney with me, wouldn't be ready for another week, so I had time to kill. Could I do it?

    Well, why the hell not? It couldn't possibly be worse than the last few days...

    Hmm.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/lonepine.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1091__320x240_lonepine.jpg" /></a></center>
    I walked back to Nip's place, grabbed my dirty clothes, and visited a laundromat nearby. I did more research and downloaded maps. Nip visited for a bit and we talked about Saline Valley, and he agreed that it was a great place and was definitely worth visiting, although he seemed concerned about me doing it solo. He'd spent a winter there once, years ago.

    Eventually I wandered back to Nip's, put my clothes away, and found him railing away at his drums in time to the radio. We chatted for a bit. "Have you ever sat at a drum kit?" "No, not really..." "I only ask because nobody ever let me sit at one and it took me buying one for myself to find out I liked it." I sat down, and he gave me the basics. "Hit the big drum with your foot, then hit one of the smaller drums with your hand. It's simple. Foot, hand, foot, hand. The basic rhythm was indeed easy, but when I tried to bring my other hand into it, the foot would falter. It felt like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. Takes practice, I guess. Nip got on another set of drums (bongos?) and played along. We had fun.

    Pete had mentioned that if I got the opportunity, I should ask Nip to see his portfolio, as he was once a professional animator. I worked up the courage to ask, and he laid it out on a table for me. I'll admit surprise at what I saw.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/batman.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1120__320x240_batman.jpg" /></a></center>
    He had a long and interesting career in animation, working on many of the shows that I had watched growing up.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/niptinytoons.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1127__320x240_niptinytoons.jpg" /></a></center>
    It was a bit surreal. His resumé was impressive, he'd worked on everything from She-Ra to Scooby-Doo. His personal art was fantastic as well, but I feel that it might be an invasion of privacy to post it publically.

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/niprodeo.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1126__320x240_niprodeo.jpg" /></a></center>
    I made my way back to the garage and asked him about his art. "I was another person then." His brows furrowed and he seemed a bit sad. He described how he used to want to make a difference with cartoons, but eventually was disillusioned by the industry. We spoke about love lost, greed in the business, politics and government. I found this in his portfolio too:

    <center><a href="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/deathvalley/niparticle.jpg"><img src="http://www.feyala.net/wp-content/gallery/cache/1125__320x240_niparticle.jpg" /></a></center>
    He seemed to be happy with the new life he'd built after he abandoned animation. He owns his house, has few bills, and lives in peace in a beautiful, small town. It seems such a shame that people can be chewed up and spat out by something they enjoy. "If you do go to Saline Valley, I did the art on the bathroom walls. You know, if you're interested." We bid each other goodnight.

    I fell asleep with plans to head to Saline Valley the next day.
  19. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Mexico is highly recommended for dental work. Even the border towns are good ... but do research, ask around to find the best Docs. I'm not a fan of Dental Schools ... I've used them in the past.

    They now even do Implants in Mexico. I had some filings and a crown done for about 1/4 the US cost. Wisdom teeth require a real oral surgeon. They knock you out. Only way to go, IMHO. Ask around for advice. Some Wisdom's come out easy ... some can be very difficult and turn into a disaster if a student is trying to do it.

    The top nut will not affect head bearing tension ... but if the big but is loose you may feel movement under braking as the whole steering stem can "wiggle" a bit.
    Head bearings are under the big top nut and under the top triple clamp.
    Best let an expert finely adjust them. :thumb Probably are fine ... might need a bit of grease.
  20. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    I'm not a Giant Loop fan. Suited more for dirt bikes who go out for a few days. And digging into them? Really hard to find what you need.

    The DR is plenty capable of carrying regular saddlebags. If properly mounted ... they work great for me and never move. Dry bags are great too. Packing and organizing how things go in the bike is an Art I'm still learning. I like these bags for Long Range Travel on the DR. A bit small ... and I've now upgraded. Good bags have compartments for helping organize and ease access.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    I now have these same Nelson-Rigg panniers ... (this is not my bike). These are big enough for everything. Or you could go smaller like the above tourmaster bags shown on my bike. The Nelson-Rigg I found here in Flea Market for $100 ... near new.
    Choices Choices! :D
    Odorless Kero is the way ... BTW, I've used WD40 on chains for over 20 years ... I get 25,000 miles on my DR chain. (DID VM-2) WD does not harm O rings. Myth.

    No reason to be overly paranoid in Mexico ... just sensible. When the Mama- cita invites you home ... you are safe. :D

    Just start trying stuff. Trata uno, hay muchos ... me gusta Orejas.