Beemer Beemer chicken deener!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Apr 16, 2018.

  1. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hee hee - yes, I imagined that was the case - certainly the unpaved section north of the bridge is as wide and level as a road-bed really, which is why I reassured the old couple in the car that they'd be fine taking that route south from Elk River...

    Perhaps one day it will finally be surfaced - in fact I remember writing in my diary at the time I wished it already was... bloody loose gravel!

    Jx
  2. Jeepster360

    Jeepster360 Been here awhile

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    I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought that gravel was really loose. That was my first ride with the new 804 front tire. I was , like, this tire sucks on gravel!! I have since found this 804 is a nice front tire both on and off road.

    Keep up the good work. Stay safe.

    John
  3. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    OK then... as I recall, the last time we spoke I was still in my tent somewhere near Castlegar BC - surrounded by smoke... cough.

    Day 6: Thursday 23rd August: CastleGar BC - Nakusp BC

    149kms (93 miles)

    A short day today - in fact as I recall, the first travel day under 100 miles (that is if you don't count just messing around on trails in Moab ;o), and I was up in good time to grab a shower before getting on the road to find some breakfast...

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    photo. Frog Peak Cafe on hwy 6 near Crescent Valley BC - go there!

    I was ready to roll out of camp in great time - before 8am (including my comprehensive ablutions and packing all my gear away), and was debating heading back into Castlegar to use the laundromat there, as I was now down to my last set of underwear, and had another three nights [at least] of camping ahead of me... particularly since a google search had been inconclusive whether there was a laundromat at Nakusp or not (all it came up with was a gas station?), so I factored it would be safest to get the washing done now, and suffer the indignity of a McDonalds breakfast next door... However, as I was just about to leave, the lady in the RV parked next to my pitch got chatting - turns out they live in Nakusp, and yes, the googled gas-station does indeed have a coin-op laundromat on the site - result!

    Then, just as I was about to remount, she said "Hang on" and scurried back with her business card saying if for any reason the laundromat wasn't working, to give her a call and I could use their washing machine once they'd got back home later that day!

    And that my friends, is why I LOVE Canadians so much!

    Now, back to breakfast:

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    photo. the cab of the VW bus out front is perfect for those 'social-media' moments with your friends...

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    photo. If you ever wondered what happened to the 80's band King - it would appear they went on tour in Canada and never came home...

    I was rolling up the highway (3 at this point) and saw a faded sign at the side of the road [that says 15 miles to the... loooove... shack!], advertising the Frog Peak Cafe - looked funky I thought, so kept an eye out for it, and sure enough, overlooking the river north of Crescent Valley on hwy 6 was this delightfully quirky joint - staying just this side of contrived perhaps, but fundamentally serving excellent food and coffee and smoothies and cakes and... well yes, I did over indulge I admit!

    Back on the road, it was less than an hour to Nakusp now - but the smoke was still thick in the air, and I was concerned that if it didn't clear, then it was likely to be chilly camping by the lake over the next few days... as it was, you could barely see the water's edge just a few hundred yards away all weekend - the sky simply merged with the water like it was shrouded in mist. Eerie!


    Day 7/8: Friday 24th and Saturday 25th August: Nakusp BC - Horizons Unlimited Can-West

    I'd arrived in plenty of time on Thursday to say my hellos, set up camp, and then rush around trying to sort the tech for the first of my series of presentations this weekend (come on HU... VGA is so last century - every projector uses HDMI these days you know!) - fortunately all my slideshows and AV presentations are in MP4 format, so can be played on any PC with a media player - so I was able to use their equipment instead.

    It was a fun weekend - I'd offered them a choice of three presentations, and they'd taken me at my word - scheduling a different one for each day, which meant I was pretty busy most of the time... however, I didn't mind, as I knew a lot of people would be interested in the G310GS I was riding - so that was a given; while I am especially proud of the 'Northern eXposure' video I put together from last-year's big trip which really highlights some of the best dual-sport and adventure riding in the US and Canada; and of course the 'Packing Light' show-and-tell is always popular at events like these...

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    photo. looning with my campsite buddies (photo by Eric - thank you!)

    I did manage to attend a couple of excellent and inspirational presentations too - including the event hosts Ekke and Audrey who have been all around the world in recent years: www.ekke-audrey.ca; and two presentations by the awesome photographer and travel V-logger Rosie Gabrielle - wonderful stuff!

    cont.
  4. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    cont.

    Day 9: Sunday 26th August: Nakusp BC to Omak WA

    218 miles

    By the time I'd messed around with silly photos (see above), said my goodbyes, had breakfast (at the third and arguably best of the cafe's I'd tried over the past three days) and fuelled up the bike, it was almost midday before I hit the road south for the border once more. I have to say, I do feel a bit of a fraud this year (compared to last summer) with regard to Canada - while it's true I'd milked the most out of Ontario a few weeks earlier (including a broken toe to show for it), I had only just dipped into British Columbia this time - and so far, only on paved roads - so was itching to get a few dirt-miles in before re-entering the USA for the final time this trip.

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    photo. the smoke was still terrible as I waited to board the Fauquier-Needles ferry across Upper Arrow Lake.

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    photo. fortunately there are three ferries that cross the Upper Arrow Lake at various points - otherwise it would be hundreds of kilometres to drive/ride around to cross from one side to the other.

    The reason I'd chosen to cross at this particular point (other than it was on the way south anyway, rather than simply retracing my steps via Castlegar) was that on the west side, there appeared to be a long dirt-road alongside Burrell Creek through the forest, that popped out close to my intended boarder crossing between Grand Forks BC and Danville WA.

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    photo. The BC Mafia would have to find another location...

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    photo. That's not moody mist, it's forest-fire smoke.

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    photo. plenty of trails to explore if you had the time. I didn't unfortunately.

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    photo. a hint of blue skies once I got closer to the Washington border.


    I have to say, the Danville border crossing was the most straightforward I've ever encountered - and in complete contrast to the last time I crossed back into the US from Canada (where, as you might recall, I was given a secondary inspection and the third degree by a bored border guard at 11pm at Port Huron MI) - there wasn't even a single vehicle ahead of me - just a cheery HSO who I momentary had to distract from his crossword (I say crossword, I mean the internet of course).

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    photo. It's good to be back... especially as it's not raining this time!

    I have to say, as I was chowing on a burger and shake at a roadside cafe 'Tugboats' in Curlew WA, I did feel like this was the last leg now - even though I was still the best part of 1000 miles from San Jose CA (and that was the most direct route), and still wanted to explore a little more rather than head straight home now.

    In that regard, while I had the BDR map for Washington state with me, I'd not got the regular Butler G1 map - although fortunately one of my camping buddies in Nakusp had, so I'd taken a few snaps with my phone to help me route plan on the fly...

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    photo. I love the Butler Maps - they are clear and concise, and always throw up a doozy when you follow their recommended roads (and trails).

    A glance at both versions showed a series of unpaved roads/trails that would cut diagonally from Curlew, via Republic (fuel) and Aeneas to Disautel on highway 155 - which in turn would lead to Omak, where I could pick up the official BDR route as I continued my way south and west. That would do for me. A few intermediate waypoints manually inputted on my GPS screen that coincided with the paper maps, and I was good to go - trusting the Garmin to navigate me through the myriad of alternative and side-trails, while I concentrated on the scenery.

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    photo. backwoods backyard - cute if somewhat precarious tree house!

    There would have been plenty of opportunities to camp along this route if I'd wished, but I'd been fortunate to pack all my gear away bone-dry for once, and not really wanted to embark on the BDR until the morning anyway now, elected to find an affordable motel in Omak... it was good to be back in the land of the sub-sixty-buck hotel - especially one that offered a hot breakfast, free wifi, in-room coffee, and even a laundry (although the dryer wasn't working - dammit!)

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    photo. You pick your own caption for this one, I'm saying nothing... ;o)

    Tomorrow we'd hit a good chunk of the BDR on a mission - aiming to circumnavigate any forest fires, and detour west to Seattle to overnight with some friends in the city. This week would be the last hurrah, and I was going to make the most of it!

    cont.
  5. FredRydr

    FredRydr Danger: Keep Back 300 Ft.

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    How do you pack a wet tent in your Coyote bag? In its own stuff sack or loose?
  6. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    When I saw the no dumping sign I thought of Woody, and Arlo, sometimes I don't want a pickle, other times I want Alice's Restaurant, massacre style...


    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
  7. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Fred' - yes it does have it's own stuff sack, but what I do if the fly is wet is bundle it up on the top of my Coyote, and hold it in place with the beaver-tail strap and let it dry in the wind for a bit - but that ultimately means opening the Coyote and repacking the stuff sack at some point. Plus it tends to look messy in photos ;o)

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    Jx
    skibum69 and Richarde1605 like this.
  8. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 10: Monday 27th August: Omak WA to Seattle WA

    285 miles

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    photo. I do wonder what the hell happened in here when you see a lock like this... I thought it best not to ask.

    For this final leg of the trip, I'd had the forethought to upload the official BDR routes into my GPS, so rolled out of town and heading for my rendezvous with the nearest little pink line (it was originally yellow as I recall, but I changed it to pink as that is easier to see at a glance on the Garmin screen I find), and picked up my first dirt of the day...

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    photo. Cooper Mountain peak with Lake Chelan in the distance.

    Although much of today would be following the official WABDR route, as with my cross-country route yesterday [and indeed all through this trip], I'd elected to deviate from the defined route from time to time - typically if what appeared to be a potentially more exciting/alternative trail in the GPS mapping seemed to follow in a similar direction, and equally to then make up time by 'streamlining' the more convoluted BDR trail sections, in an effort to keep on some sort of schedule.

    However, more often than not there is a reason the 'official' routes are the ones highlighted on the maps (and in the case of the TAT for example, those that Sam has reccied and can guarantee are open/through routes) - and more than once, I took a lesser-used side trial, only to find there was a reason it was less used - typically dead-ending in a heap of forestry cuttings or a locked gate - even if the GPS map showed a trail continuing... ah well.

    Once again I recalled the analogy I first made back in 2009 in Arkansas (on the Trans-America Trail), and repeated more recently during the Trans-Am 500 ride in 2015: that [when faced with a series of inviting side trails off the main route] it's like walking into a bar full of beautiful people, and forgetting about the honey on your arm! Certainly the main BDR route in the region offers plenty of stunning scenery (albeit not exactly overly challenging riding) - and I soon conceded that after all, everywhere is an adventure if you've never been there before... I was starting to get a bit bored of trees mind you!

    I rolled into civilisation (Chelan) round about lunchtime, and banked another 100 miles in my GPS tracklog - something I'd elected to do religiously, in an effort to create a definitive route between Canada and California over this coming week... forfeit a loop section of the BDR, and picked it up again south and west of Ardenvoir - close to where there had been a lot of forest fire activity recently.

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    photo. Leaving Chelan for the mountains again...

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    photo. tunnel on hwy Alt 97 (my short-cut route) just west of the Columbia River.

    Sure enough, as soon as I was back up in the hills you could start to smell the smoke in the air again, and before long, my proposed route (the BDR) was diverted around a still active burn area:

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    Once again, a quick tip-tap on the Garmin revealed a network of forest roads and trails in this area, and while the BDR continued unabated due south at this point, I really wanted to be heading west now, so picked my way down of the mountain on an excellent alternative route - that in places followed a series of narrow terraced trails between the trees, typically smooth and sandy, punctuated by the odd rougher patch.

    Popping out on minor highway 207 (between Chumstick and Plain) I considered this sector an excellent addition to what was fast becoming [if rather grandly titled] my definitive 'Trans-Washington-Trail' route. However, I soon realised I might have to reconsider the associated acronym: T-WA-T.

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    photo. The 59er Diner on hwy 2, near Coles Corner WA

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    photo. this sign was erected back in 2016, but fortunately they are now close to reopening the refurbished building later this summer.

    I have to admit that this trip particularly, I've found it almost impossible to pass by any establishment that offers hand-scooped ice cream, milkshakes and/or proper coffee - and when you find a place that offers all three, served in a single cup (I say cup, it was more like a bucket if I'm totally honest!), then all I can do is take five [bucks] and ten [minutes] to contemplate my day so far, and consider that which still remains...

    Ultimately I'd be back on the pavement now all the way west to Seattle (hwy 2 alongside the South Fork Skykomish River - wonderful!) - and although the GS had been sipping fuel at these trail-riding speeds (racking up another 80 miles since the lunchtime refuel), according to the range gauge there was now not quiet enough left to get me all the way to my destination this evening without a quick splash-and-dash at some point...

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    photo. crossing the bay from Bellevue to Seattle.

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    photo. my good friends Shannon (and Mike) from Seattle - who are recently home from a two-year trip all around the world on DR650s.


    More soon... there was some wine to be drunk and some catching up to do this evening ;o)

    Jenny x
  9. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 11: Tuesday 28th August: Seattle WA to Detroit OR

    349 miles

    A big day planned today - since I wanted to get as far into Oregon as I could by this evening, while picking off a few choice trails and tourist spots en route...

    I'm not a huge fan of cities to be honest, certainly not when travelling by bike anyway - so rather than hunt out Starbucks #1 just for the sake of saying so, I thought I'd make do with one of their countless subsidiaries on the outskirts for my morning caffeine imbibition!

    And it's a good job I did - I'd started to notice a burning smell as I was riding along (initially thinking it was a car I was following or something), and looking down behind the headlight it appeared something was actually glowing orange - it was certainly hot to the touch when I pulled off the connector:

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    photo. you can see where the plastic connector had melted before, together the plastic coating on the wiring...

    It seemed that despite my rudimentary fix back in Idaho, something was continuing to cause an arcing - possibly something as simple as a loose spade connector on the bulb terminal, exacerbated by vibration - from both the buzzing of the engine, and the large amount of off-pavement riding I'd been doing... at this juncture I decided it was probably best just to leave it disconnected (note. the side/parking lamp bulb is on a separate wire, so the headlight basically has a DLR [daylight running light] still, it's just not as bright as the low-beam would be of course), and have another coffee.

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    photo. I also took this artsy photo while I was messing around in the Starbucks carpark ;o)

    Back on the road, my plan was to follow the 'Stevenson-Seattle' route on the BDR map - in reverse obviously - since I'd already ridden a good chunk of the southern end of the WABDR last year with some ADVrider inmates as part of my Northern eXposure trip.

    I picked my way south and east towards Enumclaw using minor roads - some particularly scenic and almost all were traffic free, before picking up highway 410 south through the Mt. Rainer National Park - some epic volcanic scenery there of course! Toward the summit, just before the switchbacks, a second road (hwy 123) peels of due south, and I continued down the far side towards Packwood, which is where the official BDR route intersects.

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    photo. time for more coffee and cake... plus another headlight bulb from the Autoparts store across the road.

    I don't like it when my bike isn't working properly - or to be more specific, when I don't know why it's not working properly... and although the replacement headlight bulb I'd bought back in Missoula (goodness, that was like a lifetime ago!) had a higher output high-beam (100/55w), it really ought not to be drawing any more current on the 55w low-beam circuit that a stock 60/55w bulb, but in an effort to eliminate (or should that be illuminate - aha ha) any possibility that previous bulb was duff, I bought a direct replacement just in case.

    As I mentioned above, rather than follow the BDR south from Packwood, I continued on the alternative suggested route closer to Mt St. Helens, and again utilising my GPS on the fly, found a nice dirt-road detour to cut the corner around Randle, which was a fun and little used trail by the look of it.

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    photo. Mt St. Helens - originally much taller, the volcano violently erupted in 1980 - chopping over 1300ft off the original height and creating huge devastation for miles around.

    NF-25 is a lovely paved minor road that runs south to the east of Mt St. Helens, and helps to get you deep into the back-country... since I intended to cross into Oregon using the bridge at Hood River, I picked my way east slightly using a series of well surfaced gravel forest roads (some of which are the official BDR in this area) which in turn offered a view of St. Helens sister (or should that be brother?) volcano - Mt. Adams:

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    photo. Mt Adams is significantly taller (at over 12,000ft still), but not as infamous as it's neighbouring hot headed sister.

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    photo. part of the Mt. Adams Wilderness has been given to the indigenous Indian community (the fact it was theirs to begin with not withstanding of course) who are allowed to forage and hunt exclusively on this side of the road.

    I also took this opportunity to visit an Ice Cave near to Trout Lake:

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    photo. I did eventually explore deeper into the cave, which actually runs for a few hundred feet in various directions underground - had I a more powerful torch, it would have been fun to try and crawl through to what appeared to be a second exit.

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    photo. Crossing the Columbia River towards Hood River OR - the deck of the road was corrugated metal mesh, which is quite unnerving on a bike I can tell you!

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    photo. The volcano Mt. Hood is the tallest point in Oregon (11,239ft) and a skiing mecca in Winter as you might imagine.

    It was a lovely time of the day to be riding such a scenic highway which climbed through the Cascades and skirted around the east side of Mt Hood - although it was getting surprisingly chilly in the shade - so much so that I really didn't fancy camping tonight, despite a number of [campsite] opportunities along my chosen route.

    Instead I continued deeper into the evening on my intended route - a wonderful single-lane paved road flanked by imposing trees, and which ultimately connects to another scenic highway (224) which runs alongside the Clackamas River through the heart of the Mount Hood National Forest. Ultimately I decided to bed down in a reasonably priced independent motel in Detroit OR (a lakeside community and general outdoor activity destination) - not least as I recalled there was a decent cafe [for breakfast] in the gas-station opposite, from when I'd passed though here the year before.

    cont.
  10. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 12: Wednesday 29th August: Detroit OR to a wild camp, somewhere near Peel OR

    263 miles.

    Investing in a motel had proved worth every penny so far - having slept right through until my alarm rang at 8.30am... albeit just like camping, I didn't actually roll out until an hour later - right across the road and into the cafe:

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    photo. The innocuous little gas station in Detroit actually has a cafe/deli counter inside and a cute deck out back...

    Unfortunately while the weather was far better this year than last, the breakfast didn't seem to be quite as good - a rather stale bagel if I'm honest, although their coffee was still good. Over breakfast I plotted today's 'cross country' route - again using a mix of a paper map and tapping corresponding waypoints onto the screen of my GPS - before topped off with barely a gallon and hitting the trail.

    Originally I'd planned to head pretty much due south through the heart of the Cascade Range here (staying somewhat west of Bend) - factoring that I've been through Oregon a number of times now, and it's always nice to pick a new/alternative route whenever I can... However, the google machine had revealed that there was a significant forest fire around the Cougar Reservoir (exactly the way I'd wanted to go), and that it had breached to both sides the highway - there was no point in even attempting to go that way now I factored.

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    photo. "Ah, you know what? - we'll just leave the old one there..." deep in the Oregon backwoods, north of Green Peter Reservoir.

    Instead I picked up a wonderful series of forest roads and trails diagonally west towards Sweet Home (Oregon, not Alabama you fools!), where I punctuated the proceedings with a wonderful 'ginger-bread and salted-caramel' milkshake - you could basically pick any and any combination of their flavoured syrups, so I did - before skirting around Springfield (again, Oregon not Illinois) to try and pick up a trail network again just south of
    Lowell and the Lookout Point reservoir...

    Patterson Mountain Rd started out with great promise - winding it's way steeply up into the mountains, right off the main highway north of Oakridge. Unfortunately, some ominous signs suggested the road was currently closed a few miles ahead, and sure enough - someone was digging a huge trench to bury a culvert pipe. Bugger.

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    I'd felt it was worth a look at least, since in such instances it's often possible to get a bike around such road-works - but here, with thick forest (covered in brush) and steep banks on either side, there was no obvious, and certainly no easy, way around... As I was about to remount, I heard a pick-up racing up the trail behind me - uh oh... But rather than a "WTF are you doing here, didn't you see the sign?", the driver jumped out and first apologised for not being able to catch me earlier, before proceeding to discuss how we might get my bike through the middle after all!

    Ultimately though, I felt his suggestions were rather too ambitious - not only was the trench far steeper on the far side (with an abrupt lip that would loop-out most bikes I imagined), but the soil in the middle was so soft I'd have buried the bike had I attempted to ride through the middle of this trench... of course he could always have fired up the damn digger and just knocked the edges off for me, but that might have been pushing my luck a little too far perhaps ;o)

    He did suggest there was an alternative route a few miles further south off the main road that mountain-bikers apparently used to access the trail network I was trying to reach, so thanking him for his time, I had no choice but to retreat and try to find an alternative... still, this is what proving new [through] routes is all about right?

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    photo. double bummer - this road was closed too.

    Thwarted once again, ultimately I had no choice but to continue further south - stopping in Oakridge after all for a coffee and bun, and consider my options for the rest of today.

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    Photo. A burger joint with a decent coffee-stand on the side too - result!

    My plan for this final leg home had always been to try and dovetail with the official TAT route that runs a short distance south of here - although again I was aware that a good portion of the Umpqua National Forest to the west of Diamond Lake was currently off-limits to traffic due to some pretty substantial forest fires.

    Certainly I've been fortunate to have ridden through this area a good number of times in recent years, so my primary reason for heading to this particular section was to not only map some alternative interconnecting trails, but fundamentally to have another go at the one particularly tricky part of the TAT (the infamous climb on NF32 between Tiller and Azalea) that had been the subject of a discussion recently online - and which I recalled from 2015 when I first rode it on the CB500X, that it was arguably the toughest part of the TAT with regard to commitment and the potential for dropping your bike in a bloody difficult spot on the edge of a mountain!

    I'd been reading some horror stories, so not only did I want to see if this sector had deteriorated significantly since I was last year, but factored that whatever happened, it would be an excellent test of the 310GS's ability to 'keep on chugging' when the going got tough - a grand finale if you like, and confirmation of it's all-round ability as a more trail-orientated 'adventure' machine.

    Actually, if I'm honest - all I really wanted to know is whether my Trans-Am 500 sticker was still there on the rock at the top ;o)

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    photo. I put this sticker on a rock at the summit of this particularly gnarly climb after I'd clawed my way to the top onboard the CB500X in 2015, and suggested if you ever got your loaded 1200GS up there, I'd send you a T-shirt myself!

    So in an effort to avoid the burn area, I'd sketched out an alternative route using the detailed maps in my GPS, which would keep me further west of the TAT for the time being... my only concern was if the 'roads' on the GPS map would correlate with what was actually on the ground, especially as this was prime logging country.

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    photo. beautiful lakeside ride along Hills Creek Reservoir - although the water level was really low - I wonder if it had been used to try and quash all the fires over the summer?

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    photo. Not a good sign, but I was here for an adventure, right?

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    photo. fortunately this landslide had only narrowed the road enough to make it sketchy for full-sized four-wheelers... bikes were fine ;o)

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    photo. Promising!

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    photo. Uh oh...

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    photo. Bollocks. Denied!

    The problem with navigating on the fly though this region is that a lot of the forestry service roads are either still active (so often closed/locked to non forestry traffic), or have simply been abandoned over the years... or indeed are now on private land. This is compounded by the fact that the few official through-routes that are available can also be closed due to damage and/or fire activity, leaving no option but to embark on a significant detour - often way out of the way - just to get back to where you wanted to be.

    I freely admit I started cursing both the logging industry and Oregon in general (I was getting tired), and eventually had no choice but to rejoin the highway and head west, and try to find somewhere to sleep tonight. As the sun set, I considered a smart looking albeit completely deserted independent motel in Glide - but when I rang the number to ask about a room, immediately baulked at the $100 price tag for what now would have been less than 12 hours accommodation. My frustration was compounded by the fact that earlier in the day, once again I'd had to disconnect my headlight bulb since it had been glowing red hot again (adding to my frustration that it wasn't just a dodgy bulb after all then), and I rode on into the night, squinting through my now bug-splattered visor, desperately trying to spot a suitable place to set up camp, when all along the road were bloody private properties... typical!

    Ultimately I had no choice but to reconnect the headlight wiring - fumbling around in the dark, while continually cursing how the day had ended up "a frikkin' disaster" etc etc. - and finally picked the first side-road that wasn't posted private property... wound uphill a couple of miles, until it dead-ended in a clearing. This would have to bloody do. Grrrrrr.

    cont.
  11. FredRydr

    FredRydr Danger: Keep Back 300 Ft.

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    See: https://advrider.com/f/threads/bmw-g310gs-thread.1140150/page-248#post-35990710
  12. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    907
    Location:
    Idaho
    After living several years in the PNW I had many opportunities to ride these bridges and sometimes when they were wet in a cross wind.... after a while you get used to it and the riding technique is like sand: The bike will come back and the key is to stay loose, let the bike wander a little and don't overcorrect.

    At last, you finally got some riding in with clear skies!
    JMo (& piglet) likes this.
  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,284
    Location:
    California
    Yes, it does feel like you've got two flat tyres!

    Jx
    Wind_Rider and skibum69 like this.
  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,284
    Location:
    California
    Day 13: Thursday 30th August: Peel (wild-camp) OR to a campground somewhere along the Klamath River (hwy 96) CA

    282 miles.

    I don't mind impromptu camping - not when it's warm anyway - but I am wary of setting up after nightfall, as like Forest Gump, you really don't know what you're going to get... I was confident the clearing I'd found (or rather been forced to adopt - the trail dead-ended right here) was away from any property, and indeed far enough away from the road that I'd not be disturbed by humans at least - but was conscious this was bear country and didn't much fancy any kind of overnight visitors to be honest!

    Still, I set up just my bug-hut, hung what was left of my depleted Clif-bar stash and wash-bag in a tree as far away as I could be bothered, and got my head down - consoling myself that at least I was still on my intended route, and by camping here, now, I could be up and away at first light, and with any luck be able to make the Morning Star Coffee House (my favourite cafe in the whole wide world) in Glendale at some point tomorrow during opening hours.

    As it was, it wasn't until 8am that I was finally packed and ready to leave - coffee and crunch bars and a bit more map-work/GPS programming to be undertaken in daylight, before hitting the road. It was actually a pretty nice wild-camp location - certainly worth waypointing the turn in the GPS for any future time I might caught short with little funds for a hotel... and if I'd been a little earlier in the season, then the surrounding bushes would have been full of blackberries too!

    I took a punt on a series of trails and forestry roads that I hoped would be both more direct, and also more entertaining, than simply staying on the main road south from Peel, and I have to say, that gamble paid-off! Cavitt Creek (NF50) Deadman Creek (BLM 32) and Dompier Creek roads were all a lot of fun to ride - very reminiscent of the TAT route a little further west of here, and fundamentally a through-route to where I wanted to go...

    I did take a 'short-cut' at one point that ended up on private property, and on my retreat, spotted a baby bear alongside the trail:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    photo. caught on helmet-cam as I rode past - I wasn't going to wait and see if his mum was around!

    Dropping out of the forest just east of Tiller on the highway alongside the South Umpqua River (close to where the TAT joins), I thought I might head into 'town' to see if there was any sort of breakfast available... nope.

    [​IMG]
    photo. good job I didn't need gas - the whole town on Tiller is apparently up for sale.

    Once again I trusted my instincts to help prove an alternative to the official TAT route here, and despite a 'Road closed 3 miles ahead' sign, I followed Callahan Creek [Rd] to cut the corner towards Cow Creek, where I would then pick up the official trail again just before the gnarly section up BLM 32-2-32 otherwise known as 'Cedar Spring Mountain Rd', which climbs up a steep ridge-line, offering fantastic views to the south - if you can take your eyes off the trail itself for a moment that is ;o)

    [​IMG]
    photo. this [paved] part of Callahan Creek road was indeed seriously washed out at this point, but vehicles had subsequently dropped into the gully to get around...

    [​IMG]
    photo. I followed suit.


    The Tiller Killer!

    Sure enough, it wasn't long until I missed the turn into the bushes that marks the start of Cedar Mountain Rd on a sharp right-hander - just, as I recall, I did back in 2015 - although this time I realised my mistake as it happened, and spun around and back on track...

    And boy what a track it was - I'd named a waypoint here "This is why we built it" back in 2015, as it was exactly the kind of trail that John and I had designed the CB500X kit for - where you didn't quite know what might be around the corner, but you'd give it a go anyway...

    Almost immediately the narrow trail started to climb steeply, drop in and out of some loose and washed out sections under a canopy of trees, before emerging onto a level saddle, approximately half the way to the summit. This was really your last chance to take a breather, turn around, or even set-up camp perhaps if it was particularly late in the day - not least as the view to the south and west is stunning...

    [​IMG]
    photo. It never looks bad from a GoPro, but trust me, this climb is steep and loose and relentless...

    Should you chose to continue upwards, this is where things start to get tricky... Were it not bad enough trying to maintain momentum and traction on this section, just ahead is a sharp right hand corner that then climbs directly up the fall-line - requiring utter commitment if you are to avoid a stall or fall, and the almost inevitable slide backwards down the hill - to a 90° corner with a steep drop off into the bushes and beyond, should you not be able to successfully reverse back around the corner. The trail at this point is barely wide enough to turn a bike around on too!

    [​IMG]
    photo. made it... but where is my rock?

    A concerted effort saw me to the top without any drama, albeit through gritted teeth and a "don't you f***ing dare stall out on me" muttered under muted breath. Yep, the little bastard had made it up without a problem - and if I'm honest, riding this sector a second time [ie. knowing what to expect] meant it didn't cause me quite as much concern, and certainly the trail itself did not appear to be in any worse condition than it was in 2015. I would say however, that for anyone on a bigger bike, or with much more luggage than I was carrying, you need utter commitment to make it up without things potentially going extremely pear-shaped. It's not a trail to attempt at the end of a long day when you're tired, for sure.

    I took a well-earned five minutes here, and hunted around for my rock... sure enough, it was still there (with the sticker intact), just had fallen over in the grass at the side of the trail. It was reinstated in it's rightful position of course... if only as a warning to fear my pioneering* Honda 500 - grrrrrrr!

    [​IMG]
    photo. the trail looks so innocent here... but if you reach this point, you've earned your rest!

    *I say pioneering, because as far as I am aware, this sector was not part of the Trans-America Trail until the 2015 route revisions, of which I was the first member of the pubic to ride, early that summer on the Rally-Raid CB500X.



    Rather than continue on the official TAT to Azala - no bad thing of course - I elected to break from the Trail once again, in an effort to streamline my route to Glendale, where I was certain I'd inevitably ingest another 'Krakatoa' (this is a five-shot espresso - seriously!) and consider the morning a job well done.

    Again, the myriad of trails in the area afforded an alternative, which ultimately I felt was even more rewarding that the original TAT route - Kings Mountain Rd continues due west (when the TAT turns north and follows Burma and Starveout Road back towards Cow Creek), again following a lovely ridge-line trail - nothing too gnarly, just wonderful scenery and a good firm trail surface.

    [​IMG]
    photo. shrine on King Mountain Rd, close to the summit.

    [​IMG]
    photo. someone thwarted an alien invasion by the look of it...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Restorative victuals in Glendale, at my favourite quirky cafe...

    It was only a short hop up I5 (the first time I'd been on an interstate in weeks!) to the Glendale turn-off - a backwoods (I said woods, not wards) logging town that on the surface at least, would appear to be struggling to survive (even the gas station in the centre of town that I filled up at in 2015 was now gone), but is still populated by some cheery if slightly odd inhabitants... I love it.

    [​IMG]
    photo. You are!

    The girl behind the counter remembered me from last summer, so we passed the time of day while she mixed me an epic smoothie and assembled the mighty 'Krakatoa' - only this time, much to my dismay, the five glorious shots came in a 24oz cup complete with frothy milk, caramel syrup and whipped cream - what the hell ?! - the ONE place I thought I could rely on to get my coffee order bang-on, and they couldn't have got it more wrong if they tried... I despise milky coffee!

    Of course being British I didn't dare complain - not least after the amount of work she'd apparently put into assembling this monster creation. And I have to admit, similar to the Pumpkin Spiced Latte you get in Starbucks at this time of year, it actually tasted pretty good... like a warm milkshake really!

    Having essentially completed my mission for the day - by that I mean the previous trail, not the coffee of course - my plan now was to head south and see how far I could get into California before the sun went down. Rather than hop back on I5, there appeared to be a reasonably direct dirt-road route to the west of town (a sign said 'no through road' - they lied) that eventually looped back to the Wolf Creek junction from the other side. That'll do now Pig, time to crack on.

    Both highway 199 (heading south west to Crescent City CA) and even I5 (south east to Yreka CA) are wonderfully scenic ways to leave Grants Pass and ultimately Oregon behind, but I'd elected to take a dirt-road route straight down the middle - heading due south past Applegate Lake and then up and over the Siskiyou Mountains, to connect with scenic highway 96 near Happy Camp in northern California.

    [​IMG]
    photo. this remote forestry road would actually be navigable by regular car, but it was still a wonderful backwoods way to cross the OR/CA state line.

    Again, my plan was nothing more solid than to continue riding until almost dark, and then find somewhere to camp - and highway 96 that clings perilously in places to the cliffs high above the Klamath River, is another of those awesome Gold (and Red) roads on the Butler map that simply needs to be enjoyed at your own pace.

    That pace was pretty sprightly in places I must admit ;o)

    More soon...

    Jenny x
  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,284
    Location:
    California
    Day 14: Friday 31st August: Weitchpec (or thereabouts) - San Jose CA

    383.5 miles

    "It's the last day of summer Piglet, shall we go home now?"

    I'd found an official campground just off the highway - nice and secluded, although you could still hear the traffic going by... especially any trucks. There were only a couple of other pitches occupied, and other than a cursory wave on my way in, everyone kept themselves to themselves and it was a peaceful evening. There were a lot of 'beware of bears' signs around the site though, so I took the precaution of putting anything remotely fragrant in a bag inside a rather cute brick and cast-iron stove that each pitch included. Try getting in there, bear!

    The following morning I brewed up a coffee, and sat down with my map/GPS to plot the final day's route. It was perfectly feasible to reach San Jose by this evening (around 400 miles away) if I wanted, and I did want to be honest - not that I hadn't been enjoying these past few days - it had been a great mix of some familiar routes through favourite regions, punctuated by exploring a lot of alternative/new-to-me trails which is always fun... but I really felt I hadn't stopped all summer - what with either being on the road or on a plane, I don't think there had been a single day where I hadn't moved some considerable distance by one means or another, and pretty much slept in a different place each night too. It was time to go home now.

    I rolled out of camp around 8.30am, and back onto another fabulous portion of hwy 96 (between Weitchpec and Hoopa) - an epically twisty narrow highway high above the Trinity River canyon - what a wonderful way to wake yourself up!

    Passing though Hoopa itself, it looked like some kind of military encampment - dozens of tents and vehicles, helicopters, trucks lined up along the road - this was the main fire-base for the nearby forest fires that had been raging for weeks, and which I was informed later had only just been finally contained.

    I stopped for fuel at Willow Creek - I mention it particularly because I remembered the name from way back in 2007 on my XR650R, and sure enough as I rolled through town - the 'Bigfoot Motel' immediately brought back memories of when you could regularly get a room for less than forty bucks, and sure enough - a few doors down there was the 'Espresso and More' cafe, which as I recall had provided me with a more than reasonable breakfast during that trip too - result!

    [​IMG]
    photo. Coffee shops I have known and loved: #471 - Espresso and More, Willow Creek CA

    So I had my [double] espresso and more, and then more espresso and more cake too - well, this would be my last breakfast on the road for a while now, and I'm a sucker for a pastry 'of a morning' anyway... ;o)

    I wasn't planning on riding trails simply for the sake of it today - as primarily I wanted to make good progress south; but at the same time I would certainly utilise any unpaved roads if they offered the most direct route and help to avoid any major highways for as long as possible - there would be the inevitable multi-lane shlep at some point once I got closer to the Bay Area after all...

    For me, this is the joy in travelling around the US on a bike like this: something that works equally well regardless of the surface under your tyres - opening up any number of [route] options once the map is unfolded... and today would be all about sticking to whatever was showing on my Butler map for Northern California - plenty of gold [minor] paved roads interconnected with some unpaved trails - that essentially followed the backbone of the coastal ranges though the middle of the Shasta National Forest.

    [​IMG]
    photo. backroads and byways... Underwood Mountain Rd and Corral Bottom Rd are 'gold' single lane paved roads that cut through the mountains south of Willow Creek. You need to be careful in places mind you, even on an ADV bike!

    [​IMG]
    photo. much of the route here was at high elevation, offering great views both east and west. This is looking back inland [east], to where the huge Carr Fire had been burning west of Redding CA.

    After an entertaining climb up a well-graded dirt road (Pelletreau Ridge Rd) through a huge burn area, I joined another Butler 'gold' road (Titlow Hill Rd that turns into Berry Summit Rd, north of Mad River) which once again afforded wonderful views to the west:

    [​IMG]

    I have to admit that while I consider myself pretty good with maps in general, I often get my contour lines the wrong way around - and certainly I expected to be descending into a valley at this point, not climbing up to another ridge - although the clue really was in the name of course - Berry Summit Rd- duh! (note. looking at the map again while I'm writing this, it's pretty obvious that this particular road would have been on a ridge, as I'd just crossed a major river which is always in a valley in such mountainous terrain of course).

    [​IMG]
    photo. Heading down towards Mad River - wonderfully remote minor roads in this region.

    So before we leave these mountains behind, a couple more road names for you if you've been nerdily following my route on a series of maps or google etc. and plan to explore this area yourself - Van Durzen Rd (south of Mad River) is another epic paved road - very reminiscent of the Tail of the Dragon for example - heading south towards Zenia (a tiny hamlet with no sign of life here at all, so I resorted to my last Clif-bar for lunch), followed by another epically twisty single lane section - which in places was fast resorting to nature - before picking up my final unpaved sector south of Harris along Bell Springs Rd - another backbone ridge road (complete with snow poles in places!) as I got ever closer to the coast, and the inevitable final leg down highway 101.

    [​IMG]
    photo. crossing the north bay on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge - that's San Fransisco in the fug in the distance.

    [​IMG]
    photo. Home at last - adding one more to the collection...


    [​IMG]
    photo. I'd say that has been a pretty comprehensive test of this bike...

    cont.
  16. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,284
    Location:
    California
    cont.

    So I suppose you're expecting some sort of summary now?

    Well, ok then - let's crunch some numbers first:

    Miles

    First up, I've now ridden the best part of 17,500 miles on this bike - over what was only 64 actual riding days - so that is an average of over 270 miles per day, and pretty much day-in and day-out.

    There were of course some days that were significantly longer than that - a couple of 650 mile days back to back, followed by a trip maximum of 750 miles in a single day. There were also plenty of occasions where I would be riding in the high 300s or even 400+ miles each day - particularly while crossing through the mid-west earlier in the summer.


    Wear and tear

    Even when I'd been ragging this bike on the highway for hours on end - other than an increase in fuel consumption at higher speeds (70+mph), it never seemed to complain at all. Nothing mechanical broke, nor seems to have worn prematurely either. It's solid (well, at least my example seems to be).

    In fact the only 'failure' has been the headlight bulb connector wiring - possibly due to vibration, causing the earth terminal to come loose and arc, melting the plastic connector plug. Even then, I have been able to crimp the spade connector tight[er] again, and continue - although it still seems to be an issue the dealer will need to sort out under warranty.

    The only other 'wear' issue has been the cush-drive rubbers. I've had three sets now, and they have all worn what I consider to be prematurely - they were very loose at around 5000 miles (the first change, in Las Vegas), complete shot again by 12,000 miles, although I persevered until I got a new rear tyre fitted in Idaho (14,000 miles) - by which time the sprocket carrier bearing also showed signs of side-to-side play. The final set have not lasted more than a week (1,500 miles) before significant play was showing again - they are rubbish.

    It doesn't seem to have used any oil so far, nor boiled any coolant away... and I would say you seem to get slightly better mpg using higher octane (or non ethanol) fuel - although equally keeping the speed down below 60mph sees your fuel range increase significantly - I've been regularly seeing a potential range of over 200 miles from the tank when I've filled it up recently, although I always end up filling up somewhere between about 150-175 miles typically.


    Servicing

    I've changed the oil and filter four times so far - the first (600 mile service) in Virginia; and again at 4,500 miles once I got to California; then again at the MOA rally in Des Moines (10,500 miles), and finally in Idaho (14,000 miles) as a precaution - since there would be little opportunity to do it again before I'd been up to Canada and back to California.

    I checked/cleaned the air filter at 4,500 miles, and replaced it at 10,500 in Des Moines.

    I had the valves checked/serviced at 14,000 miles in Idaho.

    I've been through two front and thee rear tyres so far - all Continental TKC80s. note. Initially I fitted a 110/80x19 front and 150/70x19 rear, but changed to the more narrow 140/80x17 rear in Moab, and a 100/90x19 front in Des Moines, plus a replacement 140/80x17 rear again in Idaho.

    I also fitted a fresh set of rear brake pads (I like to trail-brake into corners, particularly off-road) in Idaho.

    In Moab, I changed the OEM 40T rear sprocket for a 43T version, complete with new X-ring chain. Then in Idaho I refitted the OEM rear sprocket and a 15T front instead (shortening that existing x-ring chain to suit). The current chain and sprocket set-up continues to wear well with little need for adjustment.


    Moneywise

    Initially the basic bike cost me $6,250 (ex. tax and registration - as I bought it in Virginia, but would register & pay the sales tax back in California, which cost another $700 or thereabouts) including the custom colour-matching paintwork on the fairing and seat panels, and swapping the rear rack for the R model grab-handles and tail-trim from a bike they had in the showroom.

    The Rally-Raid and other upgraded parts and accessories I fitted were as follows:

    • RR LEVEL 1 rear shock with remote preload adjuster

    • RR LEVEL 1 fork kit

    • RR Tubed spoked wheel kit (black rims)

    • RR engine guard (pre-production, but basically the same as the one you can buy now)

    • RR/Scorpion exhaust system (the non-cat version, ahem California)

    • R&G tail-tidy

    • R&G side-stand shoe

    • R&G radiator guard

    • RR Fat-bar risers

    • Renthal RC High bend bars

    • Double Take ADV mirrors (pair)

    • Barkbuster Storm hand-guards

    I've just totted that lot up [based on the current exchange rate] and it is pretty substantial: $3,550 USD if you're buying everything at once... although if you're taking about just the RR spoked wheels and LEVEL 1 suspension kit (and you choose your own/alternative accessories or use stuff you already have), that package is going to be a far more palatable $1,876 - or $2,100 if you want the hydraulic remote preload adjuster like I fitted.

    What else you decide is actually important is up to you of course. I would say the engine guard is essential if you're going to take this bike seriously off-road, and you always need to budget for a set of tyres when building up a bike beyond factory spec. - but otherwise, the brands and specification of those additional parts is really down to you...

    Me, I wanted something that looked bad-ass - hence the added expense of the tail-tidy and the Scorpion exhaust; and ergonomically, I knew I'd be riding a lot of miles day-in and day-out, so the RR bar-risers and Renthal fat-bars were a significant upgrade over stock, and similarly I already use Bark-Busters and Double-Take mirrors on my other bikes - so indulged in those high-end/higher priced components as I feel they are worth spending the money on - particularly if you're in the habit of throwing your bike on the ground a lot ;o)

    So there you go - all told, it was the best part of $10,000... so was it money well spent?

    I think so. As I've punctuated this report from time to time - the basic bike (well, what I'd left of it) impressed me. For a small capacity single cylinder engine it feels smooth and refined - and overall the bike feels more like a low-powered 'adventure' bike [that just happens to have a single rather than multi-cylinder engine] - than a traditional dual-sport, and certainly the little GS is quite capable of eating up long distances far more comfortably than a traditional small capacity trail-bike would. There are a few shortcomings to the overall design (which I'll list below in my 'long-term likes and dislikes'), but on the whole, the packaging is pretty much perfect for the solo rider travelling with minimalist luggage - which is pretty much exactly what attracted me to it in the first place of course.

    However, while I'm sure the stock bike is more than adequate for a large number of owners for the odd foray off paved highways, personally speaking - for the kind of riding I like to do, and have hopefully illustrated over this summer - I would not want to ride/own this bike without the Rally-Raid suspension fitted, and ideally the spoked wheels too.

    Certainly a regular 'criticism' of the stock bike [in the press] is that it's not sure what it wants to be... it's not light and small enough to be a 'proper' trail bike, but it's not meaty or powerful enough to be a genuine 'adventure' bike (although I would respectfully disagree with that assumption, other than if you want to cruise endless highways at high speed, and carry a passenger and/or a lot of luggage perhaps).

    Basically, it's fair to say the bike is effectively a compromise between the two [existing categories] - but I'd suggest that is not necessarily a bad thing - after all, 'adventure' bikes by their very nature need a degree of compromise on either side if they are going to be capable both on and off-road.

    What I feel adding the Rally-Raid parts does, is actually give this bike focus. Once you've upgraded the suspension to something that can actually handle more aggressive off-road riding, then it starts to make a lot more sense. It effectively becomes a lighter-weight 'adventure' bike with an off-road bias - something that, should you wish, can be ridden much harder and faster off-road than anything bigger and heavier might allow you to do comfortably, or not without a lot more input and corresponding fatigue at least.

    Sure my example still only has 7" of travel overall (for those unfamiliar, the LEVEL 1 suspension kit retains the original travel and ride/seat height), but it is very good quality and well-damped suspension, which makes the most of the travel available. I'd go as far as to suggest you'd have to be really clumsy to bottom out this bike with any regularity - and if you're really riding hard enough for it to start doing so, then as the saying goes: "check yourself before you wreck yourself!" - this is designed to be an all-terrain adventure machine, not an out-and-out enduro weapon after all!

    So leaving any performance comparison with a competition enduro bike aside, what I've found is that when riding pretty much as hard as is prudent - particularly solo and with luggage, this bike can rip pretty hard if you want it to - especially if you're prepared to rev it into the top half of the rpm range and throw the bike around a bit more - it rewards you with plenty of feedback and [once I'd got it dialled in] plenty of grip and predictable handling - from both the front and rear end...

    Now of course it's not going to [ultimately] keep up with the EXC and CRF 450s of this world - but if you're simply out play-riding with your buddies, you ought not be all that far behind, unless they are on an absolute mission to lose you... ;o)

    But again, we are still talking about a hybrid bike here - something that you can rag around on at the weekend with your dual-sport friends, but fundamentally, something you can then hop on and ride half-way (or even the whole way ;o) across the country to explore some new riding territory - and that is where this bike offers more than a typical small-capacity traillie, never mind a dedicated street-legal enduro.

    Yes, as I built it, it costs significantly more than a 250cc class dual-sport - indeed getting close to the price of a dedicated competition enduro - but I'd suggest neither of those are able to offer the same sort of versatility as this particular GS is...? At the end of the day, I think it's just great to have another choice in the mix - and that being able to choose a solid platform as the basis for a personal 'adventure' build with the help of the aftermarket is really what our hobby has always been about?

    cont.
  17. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,284
    Location:
    California
    cont.

    But that is enough pontificating for now... here is my summary of the good and bad points, updated from my initial appraisal once I reached California the first time, way back in May.


    Things I liked, and still like (and don't like, or have even grown to hate!)

    1. Generally speaking, all you need to strip the bike [bodywork] down is a 5mm allen key, which is great. However, the design of the bodywork [the way it all interlocks with a bazzilion screws) is tedious. It ought to be much easier to get to the air-filter (if only to check it) on a bike designed to be used in the dirt - and similarly, it would be nice to have had easier access to 12v auxiliary power tails, without having to remove the whole front end just to get behind the headlight mask. As I mentioned previously, I also take issue with BMW using spring clip style riv-nuts on plastic tabs, rather than proper welded captive nuts on the frame itself.


    2. Despite smacking the crap out of it in Moab, Colorado and during a good number of other occasions throughout the summer, it would appear that my side stand is particularly resilient to damage. Yes the design itself is poor, hanging down the way it does directly under the left-hand foot-peg, and well below the otherwise high and smooth engine guard - but I've been able to lift the bike using just the side-stand and a prop on the far side - and even strike a silly pose standing on the seat (see Horizons Unlimited in Nakusp recently ;o) That said, the stand leg itself has started to wobble a bit on it's mount now (although the mounting plate itself seems fine), so I wonder whether BMW will consider it a potential failure point, or just fair wear and tear now. I'll let you know after it's been in for the headlight wiring and yet another set of cush-rubbers under warranty...

    [​IMG]
    photo. Side-stand has had a hammering, but seems to have stood up well after all. note. I removed the cut-out switch as a precaution, once I got back to CA initially.


    3. The fuel economy is good. Originally I was going by what the dash/range read-out was saying - and dismayed that I was getting as low as 40mpg in some circumstances. Now it may just be that I'm riding a little slower - both due to lowering the gearing, plus taking more backroads and unpaved routes during the second part of my trip - but the mpg seems to have improved as the miles have piled on. I regularly see a potential range of 200 miles or more when I fill up - although I still tend to fill up between 150-175 miles (as soon as possible after the light comes on), when I get around 2.5 US gallons in the tank - so that's typically anywhere between 60-70mpg US, on TKC80s, with around 30lbs of luggage onboard.


    4. The headlight low beam I thought was very good - and it turns out (after a couple of suggestions on this thread) that the High-beam is much better once the headlight is adjusted down slightly. Overall I'd say it's perfectly adequate for the kind of riding/speeds this bike was designed to do - and appreciably better than my Honda CB500X headlight is as stock. However, the headlight bouncing is still irritating (although not particularly to oncoming traffic it would seem), and may well have influenced the faulty bulb connector/melt-down.

    [​IMG]


    5. I do like the comprehensive dash display - even though the screen layout is a little fussy, and indeed it felt odd riding my CB500X recently without a gear indicator, which I now take for granted... Turns out the single button [to both step through displays and program] is fine in practice. The only thing I've found is it's hard to see the green turn-signal warning light in daylight - well, that is my excuse for often leaving my indicator on anyway ;o)


    6. Access to the battery and fuses is straightforward, and under-seat storage is small, but useful. The side cheek panels under the edge of the seat are great for stowing extra tools and spares in, but they do look a bit tatty now my Coyote has rubbed them for so many thousands of miles. Some call it patina of course.

    [​IMG]


    7. As I've mentioned previously, there are some nice 'off-road' details, such as the frame protectors for your boots, the fact the low front fender comes off quickly with the minimum of tools if required (while the brake hose and ABS sensor wire remain in place), and similarly the chain-guard and shock protector and other matt plastics all seem to be well thought out.

    [​IMG]
    photo. this was odd though - at some point it appears the heel guard loop for the left hand passenger peg snapped off somewhere?!


    8. The stock footpegs. They are still not great, but I've got used to them - particularly once I got some new boots with much more rigid soles. They would still be much better if they were both wider and longer though.


    9. I've bent (and bent back) the rear brake pedal so many times now, that actually the tip is pretty much where I'd want it to be:

    [​IMG]

    However, as with the side-stand, it still hangs way too low and reduces the otherwise excellent ground-clearance (around 10") under the RR engine guard. As with the gear shifter, being made of mild steel has proved beneficial, in that I've been able to bend them straight again using a tyre-iron at the side of the trail. Worth noting is that the potentially vulnerable 'feather' brake light switch seems to be much more resilient than John imagined - although I've not been riding in really filthy muddy conditions like you often get in the UK of course.


    10. Rally-Raid engine guard. What can I say, it's proved it's worth time and again this trip - with only the odd scar. I honestly don't think you need any other protection on this bike, other than some decent [aluminium backbone style] hand-guards.

    [​IMG]


    11. Tank covers/side panels. As with the skinny foot-pegs, I've kind of got used to them now... and I don't tend to ride standing up all that often (in trail/travel mode) anyway. I would still prefer the plastic panels to be either more narrow between the knees, or at least have the space filled with an actual fuel tank. Where are you Safari or IMS?


    12. The seat (OEM standard hight on my bike). I've found it comfortable enough [often for many hundreds of miles at a time], but increasingly I am aware of the step in it, and how you are essentially held in one position. If you have the inseam for it, I would certainly suggest you consider a taller or re-shaped seat foam for improved all-day comfort.


    So there you have it... a quick wash, and I feel it's stood up to an intense summer of all-terrain adventure riding pretty well don't you think?

    [​IMG]
    photo. One careful lady owner etc. - never raced or rallied... yet ;o)

    Do feel free to ask any specific questions I may have missed, or elaborate on any element above...

    Toot toot for now!

    Jenny x
  18. FredRydr

    FredRydr Danger: Keep Back 300 Ft.

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,839
    Location:
    Carlisle Pennsylvania USA
    Are you pleased with the change, or would you opt for different sizes with the next tire purchase?
  19. Jeepster360

    Jeepster360 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    261
    Location:
    Idaho
    Wow Jenny,

    You have been a traveling "fool" for lack of a better term. I can't imagine averaging over 250 miles days for, basicly, the whole summer. RESULT!!

    I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR THIS GREAT ADVENTURE YOU HAVE TAKEN US ON THROUGH THIS RIDE REPORT. I have never followed something like this before or owned something that has been so thoroughly tested as the G310GS. Thank you. I have enjoyed every detail and picture that is in this thread. I only have 1700 miles on my 310. Only 16000 left to go before I clutch up ;) I better get riding!

    John
    squadraquota and JMo (& piglet) like this.
  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,284
    Location:
    California
    Hi Fred' - yes, I'd say my current tyres are the perfect size for the 310GS, although be aware that the front 100/90x19" TKC80 is a tube-type [only] and not tubeless carcass, so you'd have to run a tube - not a problem with my version of the spoked wheels of course.

    Essentially they are both 10mm (just under half an inch) narrower than the OEM sizes - so there should be no reason you couldn't also put the 140/80x17 rear on the stock cast wheel to if you wished - it would just sit a little more square in the same was as the 100/90x19 does on the front rim.

    for info. the Rally Raid wheels have a 2.5x19" front (same dimensions as OEM) but a slightly narrower 3.5" width rim compared to the 4.0x17" OEM rear wheel. This means that both the 140 or 150 width tyres fit comfortably on their spoked rear wheel, and at a push you could probably even go for a 130 width too on the 3.5" rim if you really wanted - although tyre carcasses do vary between brands of course.

    I've found that running the narrower TKC80 tyres (at standard pressures), together with dropping the fork legs through the triple clamps so only a couple of mm of gold is now showing is the best set-up with regard to predicable handling and grip [off-road] with the LEVEL 1 suspension kit.

    Indeed, you may recall that initially I found the front end [with the 110/80x19" size front tyre fitted and 10mm of fork showing] would wash-out from time to time on the leafy gravel trails in Virginia, and I could never truly trust it... relaxing the head angle by dropping the fork legs through the triple so they are almost flush helped a lot, and coupled with the narrower tyres, it really feels 'dialed-in' now.

    [​IMG]
    photo. note also the 10mm spacers/packers under the Rally-Raid billet Fat-bar risers, which position the Bark-Busters exactly in the cut-out of the OEM windshield (see here for more info.)

    Also note that for me personally: with a 120 spring rate on the rear, I wound-off around three full turns of preload [5mm] on the shock ring, so that the hydraulic adjuster was more in the middle of it's range (ie. I initially wound the 5mm back on using the adjuster so the preload was the same) - that way I could back it off and have a softer rear end of better traction off-road (especially when unladen), or wind it on a similar amount for when pressing on with luggage, to help stop it bottoming out over rougher terrain.

    Hope that helps anyone else setting up their LEVEL 1 (or even stock) bikes...

    Jenny x
    skibum69 likes this.