Write2ride and 3Dchief coast to coast

Discussion in 'Americas' started by 3DChief, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    [​IMG]

    BACKGROUND

    After years of dreaming and 2 years of planning, our trip is getting close! :clap
    That is Write2ride on the left (Cheryl, my beautiful bride) and the incredibly handsome fellow on the right is me, 3Dchief (Tim). We have been married for 17 years and both have been riding motorcycles for a lot longer than that. We are both Coast Guard veterans and have spent the past 17 years moving around the country experiencing new places together, including 12 years in Alaska, VA, and CA. Cheryl is a writer and a paramedic. I am an instructor at the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Academy and a Gunner's Mate by trade. I am retiring May 4th after 21 years, so this trip is going to be a celebration of my retirement and the opportunity of a lifetime to get out and explore new places before we dive back into life's responsibilities. Our only child is a Chocolate Lab (Zoe), who gets to hang out with Grandma and Grandpa in Indiana while we are off on our adventure. We will try to maintain a running ride report with daily updates as our access to wifi allows.

    ROUTE

    We will be trailering the bikes from CA to IN to drop off the dog and trailer at my parents house. Starting the last week of May from Northern Indiana, we will ride the bikes through IN, OH, WV, and VA down to the Outer Banks to start the "official" coast to coast trip. We will ride across NC to the start of the TAT in Jellico, TN. We will ride the TAT all the way to OR, but probably at a much slower pace than most. From there, we will ride north to WA, then across ID to MT. We have 3 months from the time we start until we have to be in Missoula, MT at the end of August for 3Dchief to start college.

    BIKES

    Write2ride will be on her weapon of choice, a 2007 Yamaha XT225. She has gone through a progression of bikes to get to this one and it seems to be the perfect bike for her. She is only 5'3", so her options for dual sports are pretty limited without major modifications. She got it brand new and has done most of the work herself to get it ready for this trip. Some of the mods are a Clarke 4.1gal tank, Seat Concepts seat, custom tail rack, skid plate, Pro-taper bars, Cycra hand guards, and tool tubes. Here she is in Death Valley with her XT:
    [​IMG]

    3Dchief's bike of choice is a 1996 Suzuki DR650SE. Again, a long progression of bikes to figure out the perfect ride and I think I have finally found it. I picked up the bike about a year ago and tore it down to the frame with the intention of riding the TAT on it. Some mods are losing the "barbie bike" color scheme, airbox and jetting, IMS 4.9gal tank, skid plate, suspension, Pro-taper bars, Tusk hand guards, HID lighting, DR250 tail light and plate re-locator kit, custom passenger pegs, Seat Concepts seat, and engine armor for the engine covers. I'm probably on Pro Cycle's Christmas Card list with all the business I have given them! :lol3 DR650 in Death Valley:
    [​IMG]

    EQUIPMENT

    After tons of research, we ended up going with Giant Loop luggage for both bikes. Cheryl is using the Coyote bag and I am using the Great Basin bag. We both have GL Fandango tank bags. I will also have a dry bag with the tent and sleeping bag on my bike. Cheryl has a Seahorse case mounted on her bike to carry our laptop computers so we can do a running ride report as we go. We are both at about 50 lbs for luggage with everything packed up and ready to go.

    For navigation, we are using a DeLorme PN-60W GPS and TOPO 9 software. We will also have a SPOT II locator. I will run the GPS on my bike and Cheryl will have the roll charts and paper TAT charts on her bike.

    LOGISTICS

    We plan on camping as much as possible on this trip. Not only because we are cheap (I also have a KLR :deal), but we both prefer a tent to a hotel room. Campgrounds with showers and wifi will be nice, but stealth camping is part of the plan as well. We will also be cooking most of our own meals. Cheryl has some diet restrictions, so we are very limited in where and what she can eat because of food allergies.

    SMELLING THE ROSES

    We have researched this trip extensively and got a lot of input from fellow inmates on "must see" things along the way. Some of the highlights we have planned are a detour in Utah to see Valley of the Gods, spending a few days in Moab to ride the White Rim Trail and see some of the other local attractions, an extra day or two in Denio, NV to visit the hot springs and a B-24 crash site from WWII, and a detour to visit Crater Lake in OR. We also have a lot of way points marked from reading all the ride reports of stuff along the TAT like petroglyphs, arches, cemeteries, and other neat things to see.

    Our goal is to take our time and see as much as we can on this trip. After 21 years of being told where to live, when to move, and missing a ton of life events, we are just planning to enjoy the freedom of no schedule and no rules!
    #1
  2. macadamia

    macadamia XK Red 27 Technique

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    Wow, epic journey dude! Good luck with all of the pre-ride stuff and keep the ride reports current. I'm planning to ride to Illinois and back in late June. Maybe we'll see each other on the road or the trail...

    Tell your lovely Cheryl hello for me... :wings
    #2
  3. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    Definitely keep in touch, we are going to take a short break when we get to OK and head back to IN for a wedding on June 30th. Then right back to OK to get back on the trail. If it is around that time frame, maybe we can figure out how to meet up! :beer
    #3
  4. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    This is gunna be a good follow....:lurk

    Best of luck to both of you.

    Thanks the two of you for serving, and congratulations on the retirement.

    ...and college in Missoula, very nice move right there.
    #4
  5. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    I promise I won't hog the thread either! Write2ride promises me that she will posting right along with me so everyone can get both perspectives. I think she will provide a perspective to the trip that we don't normally see, not too many women share this hobby and it will be good to see the other side! She is quite an accomplished rider and we are looking forward to the adventure and challenge of a trip of this magnitude.
    #5
  6. write2ride

    write2ride Adventurer

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    Traveling the US with 3dchief.
    Here I am posting, just like a promised.:D

    I think it's funny that Tim listed my Pro taper handle bars in the list with all the other modifications. Looking back, he might have been thinking about getting them a lot longer than I was. I didn't think about it until I bent the old ones. It's hard to tell what he wants to buying. He looks at everything in the motorcycles stores, and I don't know if he wants it for his bike or for mine. :queenie

    It's kind of fitting that he is using the pictures from the Death Valley trip, since that is where I bent the handle bars. I put the bike down in Titus Canyon. I was my first crash in 19 years, but I still can't help but wonder how many other new parts my bike will have before this ride is over. :ricky

    For right now, I'm just tired of waiting. We have all the gear, can't we leave already?:becca
    #6
  7. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    I have been riding around the past few days with all my luggage for the trip installed, fine tuning the packing and making sure everything works together. I think I made a wise choice with the Giant Loop luggage and for the most part can't even tell it is on there. Here is what it looks like packed and ready for the TAT:


    [​IMG]


    The only thing missing is a 2 gal gas can once we get out west. I want a little buffer on fuel for my bike. Cheryl's bike should get over 300 miles per tank, but I am struggling to get 200 right now. Hoping to get those numbers up a little. I changed back to a 15 tooth sprocket for the eastern part and will put the 14 tooth sprocket back on when I get to CO. I haven't put enough miles on it yet to know if the 15 tooth sprocket will help the range or not.
    #7
  8. K. L. Rocket

    K. L. Rocket Big bouncy make big happy

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    #8
  9. dualsportrider2

    dualsportrider2 Adventurer

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    Cool trip. I will be following. I hope to do a ride like this in about 11 years when I retire. :clap
    #9
  10. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens

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    Tim,

    You going to have your bikes at the Mendo Rally in a couple of weeks? Riding or trucking in? I'll be a bit behind you on the Western TAT as I'm looking at a mid August start.

    Curious as to why you would mess with the air box and jetting before doing the TAT. I thought the consensus was that stock arrangement was best for mileage and varying altitudes; two key considerations for the TAT.
    .
    #10
  11. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    Joe,

    I won't be at the rally unfortunately, I retire the day the rally starts and have family and friends coming into town from all over the US. Plus Saturday we will be hitting the road for MT to drop off the travel trailer and do some house hunting and college orientation stuff before we start our trip.

    The reason I have been messing with jetting is because the PO had already cut the airbox and messed with the jetting. I have gotten it much better than it was. I tore the carb apart and cleaned it thoroughly, replaced all the jets, o-rings, and gaskets. Put on the PC remote choke kit. I have taped off part of the top of the airbox and I'm pretty close on the jetting now. I may just end up going with the TM40 carb instead. I think the 14 tooth sprocket and knobby tires have as much to do with the mileage as anything.

    Tim
    #11
  12. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    One question I don't have an answer for on this trip is weather. Not worried about rain or normal thunderstorms, but we were driving across Kansas the day the tornado hit Joplin last year and basically drove through that storm all the way across the US. What plan does everyone have for severe weather along the TAT?

    I grew up in Indiana and am familiar with tornadoes, but what do you do with no basement to shelter in? Write2ride has never been through one or seen one, so needless to say, she is a little bit nervous about them.

    Tim
    #12
  13. macadamia

    macadamia XK Red 27 Technique

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    They always told us back in Illinois to get out of our car and lay down in a ditch. I fortunately never had to do it, so I'm not sure if it would work or not. I would recommend investing in a weather radio or a Zumo 665 gps and get the xm radio subscription with nav-weather and nav-traffic. I have this and it is great. It shows radar maps and weather alerts right to the gps receiver. It is a bit spendy in the beginning but well worth it. It also has bluetooth so I can sync my iPhone and the xm radio to my helmet communication setup (scala rider G4 built into the neck roll of my Schuberth C3 helmet).
    #13
  14. 3DChief

    3DChief "Moto therapist"

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    The next step is done. The movers came and took away all our stuff except for our bikes and what we have packed in the travel trailer. We will be in the travel trailer for the next 3 weeks until we take off for IN to drop off the dog and start the journey. 9 days until I retire, down into the single digits now!:clap:clap
    #14
  15. GlennR

    GlennR Playin' in the Fire

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    I'm excited for you and a bit jealous too. I'll be following this thread. Glad to see you are starting in the NC outer banks, instead of middle TN. :thumb

    Looking forward to seeing how the XT225 and DR650 do for the trip. I think you picked perfect bikes.
    #15
  16. froggy68

    froggy68 Adventurer

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    Bookmarking this ride. Glad to see another Coastie on this site. Spent 4 years on Kodiak Island and other great Coast Guard Units. Not to give up my age but the Navy was pulling out of Kodiak and the Coast Guard was moving in as I left my last tour in Kodiak. Retired 1981 CPO/Yeoman. I might add that I truely enjoyed all of my CG service.

    I think it is great that you and your wife are taking this motorcycle trip. It will be one that will give you both lasting memories.. I am heading for New Mexico in Mid August for my own ride through NW New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. I also have acquired a Zook 650se for my journey and intend to camp and cook my way through those States,

    May you have following winds and calm seas on your journey. Congratulations on you retirement, believe me, you will enjoy it.

    Tom
    Semper Paratus
    #16
  17. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    This looks great! Subscribed.

    Just to inquire, what does a gunner's mate do in civilian life?
    My uncle was an artillery sergeant, and found they wouldn't let him keep in practice once he retired. . .

    All kidding aside, thanks for both your service and enjoy your trip.
    #17
  18. Cromoth

    Cromoth Inspection due 5_31

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    Looking forward to reading & wishing you a great trip!

    FWIW, I've packed a tall stack in back (Coyote, Dry bag, Rotopax) & discovered a new way to get on the bike:
    1) Kickstand down, bars turned left, from the right side grab the grips & squeeze the front brake to lock front
    2) right foot on footpeg, lock rear brake
    3) stand up & forward getting your center of weight over the front of the engine
    4) swing left leg over gear then onto ground:clap

    The other way was kind of a right leg throw thru the seat from the kickstand side; not as good for me since a miss could cut the seat cover with the boot edge...I've had misses.:eek1

    Hope you'll include what gear works well in your posts & not.:deal

    Did you consider a trailer for the DR https://picasaweb.google.com/chriss...authkey=Gv1sRgCJ7V7djMloH-wQE&feat=directlink ?:ear
    #18
  19. write2ride

    write2ride Adventurer

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    We already had a our first run to Cycle Gear for last minute items. Took out my helmet for my first ride after the movers, and there was only one glove inside. I did find a pair in my tank bag, but I had set three pair aside for the trip. I thought they were in my gear bags, but they were not. Fortunately, I found a comfortable pair that were half off. :lol3
    #19
  20. Canuman

    Canuman Crusty & Unobliging

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    Which half? Right or left? :rofl
    #20