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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ginger Beard, Oct 7, 2019.
And thank you for sticking around to read it all!!
Livin' large on a small bike; way to go! Thanks for letting us tag along.
Thank you for reading along and posting. Glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you @Ginger Beard
I enjoyed this thread a lot.
Thanks Dave. I really enjoyed that.
Thank you Jon, I appreciate it!
Thanks Dave that's great to read!
I'm going to do a final thoughts post about the route, my gear and lessons learned throughout my trip.
Thanks for posting, I looked every day for it. There is not much reporting for the area you rode.
I sure enjoy reading your ride/life reports. Really enjoy your interactions with people and your writings to share it with us!! Glad you got to get away for a little, but always nice to pull in the driveway at home!! Look forward to the next adventure!!
I've noticed a distinct lack in east coast ride reports, especially the south east. Glad to see others interested in what this part of the USA has to offer which is to say, quite a lot!! Thank you for following my thread!
Dano, always great to have you aboard. I know that my style isn't everyone's cup o' tea so I'm always stoked when I familiar names show up in my threads. My next big RR may just be about UT, NM, CO and ID.
So I wanted to do a bit of a recap on this trip and I want to start off by saying that I had a really great time. Meeting friends along the way and getting to spend quality time with them was as fun as it was rejuvenating to the soul and a highlight of the trip for me. I've typically done these rides completely alone but over the past couple of years I have broken out of that mold and begun to enjoy the comradery of riding with buddies.
I wanted to touch upon a few things that were either a learning experience for me or were reinforced by the circumstances encountered along the way.
One thing that I learned from this ride is that I'm far more likely to step out of my comfort zone when I have another rider with me, more so when that rider is on equal or better footing in terms of skill. Having such riding companions on certain parts of this journey really opened up some amazing riding opportunities that I would have otherwise avoided for safety reasons. That isn't to say that I don't often push the safety envelope but I'm hesitant to do so when I'm in unfamiliar terrain, especially when that terrain is gnarly unidirectional single track. Big thanks to @rev.co for forcing me to step up my game!
Something that I've touched on in other ride reports and was solidified by this adventure is that I'm no longer of the age where I care about "proving something" to anyone but myself. What I mean is that my days of suffering when I have other options are pretty much over. My days of camping when I know that it's going to be miserable are behind me. I've done it. I know I CAN do it. I don't want to and I'd rather just have a good time and be happy. Is that the penultimate ADV badass mindset? Probably not but the reality is that I'm just an average guy doing the same things available to any other Joe that owns a motorcycle and I'm just fine knowing that. Maybe with a corporate sponsor or if I were trying to generate money through a YouTube following then I would be more inclined to carry on my youthful brutalization of self for my audience but as it stands, I pay for this stuff out of pocket. I'm going to do what brings me joy.
Routes; That's a big one for me. When I was younger , other than one group trip that went on, I never rode other people's canned routes. It just didn't appeal to me. I much preferred to sit around a campfire each night with a trucker's atlas and a highlighter and plan my next day as it came. When I got a GPS, I realized that I could do this on the fly and get myself lost with far more confidence. I also started making my own routes to follow which has brought me a ton of joy, both in mapping the route and then riding it. This trip was a nice amalgam of following a canned route, following my own pre-made route and finally, winging it when I got tired of knowing where I was going. The SEAT route has gained a lot of blacktop over the years, especially in north GA. I'd say it's about 50/50 and if you're a competent sand/gravel rider and don't overpack then it's completely doable on a big bike. The SM500 and more specifically the "PLUS" sections; It's tough even on smaller bikes. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near that route on a bike heavier than the 690. The SM500 is mostly dirt and I'd say it's a must ride for any east coasters looking for a fun 3-5 day getaway. I think that this trip has shown me the perfect recipe for making the most of my rides and will be my modus operandi for routing on future adventures.
Packing. This was a big one for me on this trip. Rich and I talked about the most difficult sections of this route quite a bit before I left and it was these sections that he and I packed for. What does that mean exactly? Well the main subject was that of weight. He and I have been slowly reducing and re-configuring what we bring with us in order to minimize the impact that it has on the riding experience when in really tough terrain while still providing enough comfort that wet days, cold days and camping can still be done in relative comfort. I'm down to just under 30 lbs in pack weight above what I carry for all rides (tools, 1 tube, water, etc) and though that seems light weight, it still has a negative impact on how the bike handles in the really sketchy trails. I think that I can reduce the weight some and I'm already finding alternate positions for mounting items in areas that will balance the bike a bit better, letting it feel more natural and unencumbered by the added weight. I will say this, 30 pounds is about the max added weight you'd want to bring when riding many of the trails that we rode in NC, TN and northern GA.
That brings me to gear. I'll just throw this out there, I am not wealthy. I can't afford ultra high end gear AND still afford to do the trips that I purchased the gear for. This eliminates certain lightweight options like Exped, Nemo , Mosko Moto , etc which is a bit of a bummer because each of those brands are worth the money spent. They're great quality and do exactly what they are advertised to do but they aren't in my budget so I have to find other options. What that means to someone like me is that I have had to make a lot of my own gear. I made my racks, my skid plate, my GPS mount and all of my own luggage and I've done so not as a compromise but as a quality alternative to buying from the aftermarket. It's lead me to creating some things that work extremely well for my needs and specific uses and is leading me down the path of having my own small batch dual sport luggage brand. I've also learned how to shop for inexpensive alternatives to things that I can't make like tents and sleeping pads. My tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag are all great quality , light weight and the total cost is under $250.00. This setup lets me camp in all the conditions that I'd be willing to deal with while camping, including freezing temps (a lesson learned the hard way). Not bad for the money.
Lastly is time. "How do you find the time?" is a pretty common question and the reality is that finding time seems to never happen. Time isn't volunteered to us in today's world and the time that we do have given to us is seldom spent seeking joy save for brief moments. I decided years ago , after selling my end of a business that I had dedicated 70-90 hours of every week for 5 years to, that my time was never going to be earned back with a fat paycheck and 6 digit bank account. I decided that love and joy were going to be my wealth and I gave up a lucrative career for having time. In essence I made that time happen. I made sure that I would have the time to do what I wanted when I wanted to do it, come hell or high water, and it has been worth every single hardship. No one could ever convince me to trade any of that time for something as petty as money. Make that time, make memories, make joy. It's all we get to keep from this life.
Thank you again for all that have followed this RR and keep the rubber side down ...Or don't. This life is your ride and your journey so do it in a way that makes you happy!
Well said!! ^^^ "Life is short, make it sweet!!"
Just finished up reading here and Damn you did a great job getting us there. I am stuck on a boat here in the Gulf and your ride made it a bit easier out here. I would be more than willing to break the seal on a bottle if we ever meet.
Man I'm glad you enjoyed it. You be safe out there on that boat and just think about going for a ride when you get back. I look forward to that drink !
Great read and photos! Glad I got caught up too!
Much appreciated man! Still need to get together for a ride!
Well GB your summary is much like what I would have written about myself. There be many parallels there. You and I share similar views on many subjects. Although god damn sand is not one of those views. Enjoyed riding along with you. In November my wife and will start what we hope will be many winters in Baja. She much loves there beaches and ocean roars. I love exploring Baja s mountains and deserts on my perfectly set up WR250R. O if you ever come up to my NE corner do let me know. Got a wee toy wagon you could use as base of operations for a few days of exploring my island. Also best times to be here are during first 2 weeks June and September 10-20. PETEPILOT. Have been all 48 and all 10 provinces. Did you figure out my handle?
Truck driver I would say.
Yes I was. Because I was willing to bend some rules and not get caught I retired at 50. Then moved into a part time convenient thing that is stress free. So for the past 13 years I’ve been able to do a bit of riding like you did in this RR. And yes is it not true that when on our wanderings , especially when riding solo one bumps into some rather interesting people. Take Care Merlin