Big Fat TAT Sandwich on a BDR Roll a.k.a. 2021 U.S. Dirty Dirty Ride

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Ikeya-Seki, Oct 14, 2020.

  1. Xjhammer

    Xjhammer Adventurer Supporter

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    40
    I think that you an I are basically going to be doing the same route. Right around the same time. Give or take. See ya out there.
    #41
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  2. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    Sounds good.
    #42
  3. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    Friday, March 12
    T-116


    Warming Up


    The Bike: 790 is looking sharp. Took it for a couple of easy test rides recently. It’s still too early to attempt anything off road here owing mainly to snow cover. I’m not up for that kind of workout just yet.

    A few things that stood out right away after modifications:

    First, the Rottweiler Performance air box. I noticed an immediate difference in acceleration and responsiveness down low. I’ll know better once I’ve had a chance to play at slow speeds what if anything it’s done to improve useable trail torque. It also honks! When you get on it, it makes a nice growly honking sound. Should go well with the Wings exhaust that recently arrived.

    Second, the Camel One finger clutch works as advertised. I can see this simple mechanical improvement going a long way to reduce hand fatigue. Good for us who deal with some arthritis. Excellent mod.

    Third, the new bar end flip mirrors. It took a second to adjust to their position, but I am surprised how much I really like them. The optics are great, they’re steady, and easy to position. Most of all, they do reduce the air turbulence around my helmet. I still get direct airflow, but now it streams more predictably. I have the windscreen at the lowest setting and it works for me. Not a calm enough cockpit to light a joint like the GS, but I like it.

    Fourth, the Scotts steering dampener. Game changer. The high speed wobbles (above 85 mph) are gone. I don’t ride up there much on this bike, but it’s reassuring to know the bike will behave. The smoothness put a smile on my face. I can't wait to play in the sand.

    Finally, I took the bike in for the immobilizer/key failure issue and my warranty claim was approved, parts arrived in under a week, bike back to me one and a half days later. Pretty good. Only glitch was my quick shift had been disabled by the computer (DON’T GET ME STARTED) and I had to ride back to the dealer for them to hook it back up & enable. Took 15 mins. Changed my plans, but still a good ride.

    The only other minor gripe hardly worth mentioning, but I’m gonna - there was an ever-so-small chip on the metal tank ring in the 12 o’clock position. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it had the quick shifter been working from the get go….. Anyhow, I let it go almost as soon as I mentioned it to the shop. They said it had come out of the box that way and were willing to address it, but we also knew it would mean another complete lock set. I told them to forget it. Of course, I did ask them if I returned a part in this condition, would it be considered damaged? They touched it up nicely.

    The Route: I’ll follow up with more details and pics on the western half of the trip planning, but I think I got the best handle on dates I can get. Right now the section that gets my attention time wise is Idaho. As of today, the plan is to begin riding the IBDR south on September 16. I think this is doable, but pushing it. Snow, deadfalls & bears.

    The Rider: I’ve got work to do. I’ve been keeping busy, but my focus on fitness is sub par at best. I’m getting stronger & more flexible, but not losing weight. 116 days remaining should be plenty and with things warming up outside, I have time to mitigate the Covid Effect. I just don’t burn enough calories with out a proper physical outlet. I also eat whatever I want. Things are warming up; I’m on it.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #43
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  4. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    Location:
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    Wednesday, March 18
    T-110

    The Western Half

    IMG_4439-1.jpg


    Next week I’ll be making campground reservations for Oregon. This sets a clock. I don’t like clocks. I don’t like CAMPGROUND FULL signs even more. Well, to be fair I’m not normally bothered by that either - I’ve never slept no where, but Oregon is the end of the TAT and a great place to recuperate and perform some bike maintenance. It also has killer beaches with amazing campgrounds. The problem is every one seems to know it and walk-in space is almost non-existent, especially anytime after noon. Still, it sets a clock for the west.

    So where exactly does the west start? Is it the plains, the desert, the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers? Whereabouts does the Mid West end and the West begin? The foothills of the Rockies?

    I’m not sure exactly, but I’ve found there are somewhat distinct sense of space and proportion I experience as I ride west. The first click kinda happens for me after crossing the Ohio River. Yes, there are some shades of change from the straight up coastal world to the green world of the Appalachian Mountains, but it’s only after crossing the Ohio River where the constant tree cover begins to thin and houses and towns begin to spread out.

    As a rider - a backroad rider - this means one thing above all: fewer cars. And the trend continues the more west one rides. Trees and hills give way to endless expanse and as I cross the rest of the big rivers, the horizon begins to stretch out on all sides and making me feel a little smaller and more aware of my insignificance. Wind and dust and far away places are what I got. By now I’m singing to myself in my helmet and can see the Rockies emerging expectantly in the distance. People and cars are infrequent to scarce.

    When I hit this part of the country I experience a rising sense that I’m somehow moving differently in time. Distances between places, sight lines, estimations and everyday heuristics shift or warp in some way. It’s not what I’m used to. A twenty minute drive back east becomes hours in the west. Plants and colors get weird and strange smells blow in an out of range. On top of this, the earth in the western half on the US feels very much like unsettled and unfinished business. Wind erosion, rifts, flash floods, volcanic rock fields and jutting structures punctuate the view. The landscape can go from flat to twisted in a glance. In the more remote and bare spots it feels as if dinosaurs might have been through maybe a week or two beforehand. I think of the rock shapes in Utah and the Martian colors of Nevada in particular.

    By now I know I’m in it. I’m no longer heading there, I am west. These feelings remain with me until about 50 or so miles from the coast. Then it’s just a ton of people and closing in again. It’s a little different: the west coast. The vibe is different and it’s technically full on West, but it doesn’t “feel” as west as the space between the mountains and the plains. That’s my take on it anyhow. I could go on.

    My major concerns for riding out west are sun exposure & extreme heat, forest fires, water availability & fuel range (not really). I also have respect for wildlife including poisonous insects & reptiles, and predators, mainly bears. I’m still undecided on whether or not to carry a sidearm. On the one hand I will only be INCONUS and unlikely to face much in the way of restrictions, on the other hand, I won’t have to mind it, and pepper spray works on a variety of mammals. - if properly used as directed.

    From a terrain standpoint, I expect the greatest challenges to be deep sand and slick mud. The sand is what it is and traversing it comes down to technique, set up, and endurance. Mud holes and wet sections are not so bad. It’s the rain soaked dust and saturated silt that can make a route impassible. If you’ve ridden in the red stuff or the caliche, you know what a fender ripping pain in the ass it can be. In these instances I do my best to pick the driest line through the spots and will wait out the worst in a downpour.

    So how do I plan for it?

    Fires: I use Forest Service websites, InciWeb and my nose to keep tabs on active fire status. I obey all re-routing and detour orders and just work around affected areas. I usually experience smoke interference well in advance of any exposure to flame. I’ve been down to 50-75 ft visibility in Alaska. It’s not something to take lightly.

    Extreme Heat: 1. Carry and DRINK lots of h2o and bring at least one filtration device. This year I am going to try a Grayl press system - the smaller version. 2. Keep skin covered & ventilated. I wear white or light colored long sleeve shirts, gloves, a neck tube, which I will periodically wet and a ventilated helmet - all to reduce sun exposure. I use sunblock on my expose face parts. 3. This year, I’ll be using a layering system which gets me down to a Forcefield mesh armored shirt and since I don’t typically ride behind anyone, I’ve swapped bulkier chest protection with my thinner Klim Badlands Pro stuff. It may seem counter productive to cover everything, but the constant sun is worse. 4. I will add electrolytes to my drinking water. 5. In the past, I have used a small fan and run it on my head at night. I may do this again. Generally I am more adaptable to heat than cold. My greatest challenge so far was battling a steady 35 mph blast of 115 degrees crosswind along the Salton Sea. I reckon it was just this side of a blast furnace.

    Terrain: Just tires, tire pressure, suspension set up, maintain air filter. I like a bit more momentum when things get technical and I seek clean lines. That's about all I can do.

    Wildlife: Take pictures! Seriously, I just mind my kit, recognize that everything in the desert wants to hurt you & be bear aware where needed. I’ve seen tons of bears in my travels and not one of them paid me any attention other than running away. Even so, I recognize the potential for an unexpected close encouter and I aim to have at least a quality can of pepper spray by the time I’m hitting the Idaho BDR in foraging season. Mosquitos & other flying biters are the most likely to be a nuisance in the east- but not so much if at all out west (north west excluded). In any case, I will have my natural stink, a wire of arm & leg hair to penetrate and if measures call, citronella, Ben's 100 and a hat & mesh get up. Smoke though alone can often do the trick.

    So if all goes well, I’m aiming to turn west in the third week of July and land in Port Orford on or about the 25th of August. From there I will head north 5 or so days later on the OBDR. I will take route 6 to either 4 or 5 and then make my way to Wallah Wallah, WA before zipping west to pick up the WABDR. I hope to be completing it and beginning the IDBDR on 16 September. I figure as long as freezing temps and precipitation don’t mix, I should make it to Nevada in 10 days or so. From there I could experience some snow in the highest elevations, but I also expect it to get continually warmer as I move south.

    The western half of the US gets a bit rugged, a bit dusted, a little desolate and completely amazing, kinda like the folks who inhabit it. Can hardly wait. Now if I can only figure out how to incorporate a snooze button into my reservation clock.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #44
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  5. Intimo

    Intimo Been here awhile Supporter

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    Sedona Arizona
    You can loose a pound a day -> https://potatohack.com/potato-diet-info/
    I have and it works - its all in the discipline. I boiled then blended the potatoes into a puree - Ate 5lbs of Potatoes a day! Never hungry, weight goes down as long as you just eat the potatoes plain!
    #45
  6. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    I'm glad to read that your potato diet works for you. I'm too much of a slave to flavor to stick to anything like that. I prefer to invest more on the calorie burning side of things than calorie intake, within reason.
    #46
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  7. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    May 30, 2017
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    New Hampshire
    Sunday, March 28
    T-100


    Feeling It
    IMG_4445.jpg

    The Bike: Pretty much there. Aside from a few RAM mounts, dropping down a tooth on the front sprocket, and an aft mounted USB, there is not too much of anything more to do before I set off. Maybe a sticker.

    Oh, I do have the Guglatech in-tank fuel filter to stitch in. A good thing too. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos where 790R owners have experienced a fuel tank vapor lock from superheated fuel. I have a couple tacts in mind to guard against it. One I will do for sure, one maybe. I’m hoping the Guglatech fuel filter will act as a kind of splash guard if I ever have to manually vent the tank with an open latch.

    The other thought I had was to wrap the legs of the fuel tank in white vinyl. I have a couple rolls laying around and I’m thinking about applying some. Not too sure about it, but I’m going to think on it.

    I’ll be loading up the bike as intended for travel and doing a few suspension checks. If I can get the preload and sag dialed in under load, I’m going to give it a go without a spring change. According to the owner's manual, the upper spring limit is a 207 lbs rider. With some effort, I’ll be well below that number come lift-off.

    The Rider: Physically, I’m doing reasonably well, or should I say seasonably well. I was a little horrified to step on the scale ten days or so and see 214.6 lbs flashing back at me, almost taunting me. To be honest, I was full of beer, baked potato and a fat NY strip, so it wasn't that surprising - just disappointing. Anyhow, now that things are warming up and I’m putting in greater effort (like rowing a 45 minute 10k), I saw 207 this morning - a step in the right direction. I will be 185 lbs when I roll. I like pressure & a challenge. On it.

    Mentally, I’m eager. To me, the anticipation of a big trip is like the pulling back of a slingshot. And with COVID, it’s been more stretched than ever. I think the tension is world wide at the moment. I'm excited, but I’m still budget crunching in my head, still packing and repacking in my head, still running over tricky sections in my head, and still just generally ride focused. I don’t have any hesitations or major concerns, but I have the buzz of logistical check lists and to-dos humming in my mind. Normal prep.

    The Route: I’ve been reviewing my GPX files from the 2017 TAT run to get a better fix on my previous time tables. For most of the trip, it looks like I rode from after 9:00 a.m. to anywhere from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m.. I’d like to choke up a bit on the time clock for this trip and that might begin with stopping earlier each day. Part of my problem is that I like to pack my gear away dry and that often takes time in the morning. Still, I think I can improve.

    I also noted that I rode for 25 days of east to west progress and spent 14 days of staying put or moving sideways. I have longer stops planned this time for Kentucky (side trip) and Colorado, but two nights max otherwise. Oh, and 5 nights in Oregon. I am going to try to stretch hotel stops to 10 day intervals, but I’m budgeted for more, so rain and trail surprises might put me under roof more frequently.

    Another potential “big” alteration of the ride is that I am leaving myself a west coast bail-out if needed. That is, I have an option to leave my bike in Coronado if it makes sense. Barring changes, I be out there swimming for a few months next winter and it would be nice to have a bike. Riding back to New Hampshire all depends on time and weather really. If there is enough time and warmth to ride home and still winterize my home, I’ll ride. If not, I will fly home and leave Katy M in Coronado for winter use. Can you say Baja anyone?

    That’s about it for today. One hundred days to go and I’m starting to feel the warmth.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.


    p.s. - I’m having some difficulty with my external mic from the GoPro 9 media mod. It’s a Edutige on a 6 inch 2 pole TRS 3mm cord. I just get a ton of static above 35 mph, even with a dead cat. What microphone to you use?
    #47
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  8. MoXoM

    MoXoM Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    this is all great stuff. I am close to you here in NH. I have fully experienced the tank boil over..
    starts with a whistling.. sounds like the fuel pump winding up..
    But louder. I have hacks, mods for this issue now..
    Hacked, Rebuilt my gas cap in colorado in the dark while at camp. Helped a lot ..
    I’m doing the heat shield install in the next few days..
    I highly recommend proper muscle car engine bay heat insulation as opposed to white vinyl.
    Fiberglass lined, waffled metallic reflective facing..
    Good for 800 degrees.
    Let me know if you want to swing by..

    PS: I’m stoked about your trip.. all the places I intend to go and do. I have to do it this yr as well.
    I may lick your brain.. lol..
    Cheers..
    #48
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  9. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
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    161
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Oregon beachside campsite is booked

    [​IMG]
    #49
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  10. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
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    161
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Monday, April 12
    T - 85

    Photo_6553643_DJI_43_pano_43030249_0_2021410155034_photo_pano.jpg

    Spring Shake 'n Bake


    Planning is ritual for me. I enjoy it. Visualizing the ride, making preparations and modifications to my equipment, scanning the maps: it all suits my way of thinking. During the run up to a big ride my mind is almost always tinkering, whirling around and coming back to some element of getting ready for the ride. I make tweaks and repairs in my side thoughts and in my sleep. I like to consider the many possibilities and cover my bases, but I don’t plan for every eventuality. With two wheels and cargo capacity in the liters, I just can’t. I know, I’ve tried.

    The funny thing is though (and I wonder if this happens to other riders) when the day finally arrives to leave, the very second when I actually throw a leg over the bike and wheels roll forward, I experience a peculiar phenomenon. All the order, all the structure and the precision of planning and organizing turns instantly fluid and everything is new.

    Planning is static. Riding is dynamic. Somewhere in the middle is a rhythm, a zone if you will. It’s not a bad place to be, but I'll write about that another time.

    Anyway…..

    I took a ride up north over the weekend mainly to get a leg over the bike, see how she goes and also to check out some of the gear changes I’ve made. A buddy of mine took his pick up and we met in Milan, New Hampshire along York Pond Road just inside the White Mountain National Forest.

    Luckily, temps were hovering around 70 with plenty of sun and the ride up was easy. We stopped across from the Mount Washington Auto Road for a leg stretch. Good thing as the free play on my clutch lever was slacking off. I made some quick adjustments then and there and later at the campsite, tightened the clamping bolt on the Camel One Finger Clutch, which did the trick. Every bolt counts.

    Another hiccup I discovered was that I could not configure my ABS or TC other than in Rally Mode. No other scenario allowed me to change settings. Until I know otherwise, I assume this was a result of my warranty work at the KTM dealer. Quick shift had been disabled and remedied, but I had not noticed the ABS/TC glitch. I’ll be following up with KTM this week on that.

    Otherwise, the bike performed well. I particularly like the CRG mirrors, the Scott’s steering dampener, and the Rottweiler intake / Wings exhaust combo. Quiet when I need it to be and honking when I want. Motoz Tractionators were steady and gave me no concern.

    The two things I wasn’t so keen on were the seat and the sweep of the handle bars. The seat tends to pitch me forward, rotating my hips a bit which I actively have to counter. I have an AirHawk seat cushion I will give a try, otherwise, I may need to make a change and fast as I've read Seat Concepts orders are 45 days out. The bars are better than okay, but not ideal. The height is good, but I like the sweep of the 500 EXC better. It's not enough to be bothered about now to make a change. A few thousand miles more and maybe I will think differently.

    As for gear, I had a mind to break in the Grayl water filter I’d picked up. I also wanted to fine tune my sleeping kit. We pulled some water out of the nearby river and gave it a press. For a mountain water source, there was a fair amount of turbidity - a light cedar colored tint. It took all of a few seconds for the Grayl to press the water clear. I was impressed. A keeper.

    For my sleeping kit, I’m trying to find the sweet spot between light and luxury. Okay so, I use a cot and an air mattress, so what? The cot is about 60 cm or 23.5 or inches wide. The air mattress is slightly wider, but cups in the cot negating the difference. The issue I’ve run into though is that the materials are so similar between air mattress, cot and sleeping bag that trying to keep them all together is like a wet tomato & lettuce sandwich. My solution is to put the air mattress in a sleeping bag liner. Problem solved. Slept like a baby on pot brownies.

    tempImageUQdCIN.png

    My buddy had brought a Coleman camp stove and all the handy things that you can bring with a pick up and so I really did not work out any of my cooking kit except for the Jetboil for coffee. I am glad I did because I found a crack in the plastic nut housing of the coffee press. Oh my problems never end. Okay, it’s a grotesquely first world problem, but the consequences could be serious. Morning focus is everything. Onto the mending list it goes.

    What I was able to do was a little comparison between dried food companies. I like to carry two “emergency” meals onboard and one convenience meal. Otherwise, I eat fresh when I can. So, I brought up two packages of mushroom risotto; one from Happy Yak, out of Canada, and one from Good to Go, out of Maine. Both were close to one another in terms of price/gram, preparation time and general aim of the dish. For me, Good to Go out of Maine won hands down. It’s ingredients are simple and the same as what I might find in my own kitchen, it’s texture and flavor were very palatable and the portion filling without waste. Unlike many freeze dried foods, it was not a sodium bomb at all. The risotto from Happy Yak wasn’t terrible by any means, but it seemed too try-hard. It was replete with multisyllabic ingredients, over “cheesyness” and the dreaded salty salty. I’ll pass. I do, however, have a Pad Thai from both companies, so I'll be fair and give one more test.

    Since this was more of local camping trip more so than a ride, the Redverz Atacama Solo tent came with me. While, I cannot make it any lighter, with a compression sack I can make it smaller and it fit along with sleeping bags and ground sheets into the Backcountry 30 duffle. I also tried packing cubes for the first time in the 25L Kriega panniers and like how they worked out. The best feature being how things stay put. The Perun Moto side rails also proved to be an excellent compliment to the Rade Garage racks offering plenty of handy lash points for gear. I was able to tie-down a tent pole bag, cot, chair, fly rod and camp table in a snap. It’s an excellent set up and I am glad I included it.

    Being dry all weekend, there was no leak testing of any kind. I did, however, get the Mavic Mini2 up in the air. I’ve had a bunch of drones and for traveling on a motorcycle, this one is the best. Light, small, capable and relatively cheap. At 249 grams, it also does not have to be registered with the FAA. Nice, stealthy and under the radar. kinda like me.

    Okay, that’s all I can think of for today. I got a few tweaks to make, a brief visit to the dealer, a few repairs and some gear to clean and stow. Otherwise, everything is green and on track. Oh, and before I forget: not 35 feet from my tent there was a porcupine executed in the night by what we suspected was a large cat. One bite to the neck. Never heard a thing.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.

    tempImagePPlcak.png
    #50
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  11. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Quick note: Just took the Kreiga 25L bags off the 790 and put them on the scale to see if the estimated load was in balance. Exactly 17.4 lbs each fully loaded. Not bad. There's another nod to packing cubes.
    #51
  12. MoXoM

    MoXoM Been here awhile

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    Feb 6, 2020
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    Location:
    New Hampshire
    How much does the whole Kriega kit weigh..?
    Add the frame, hardware, outer bags, inners with all your gear.. in total..
    Are you under 50lbs..
    #52
  13. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    New Hampshire
    MoXoM,

    I have not weighed my entire travel kit. It varies quite a bit depending on where I am going, for how long, and to where. I switch between 3 different tents that weigh between 2 and 12 lbs, 4 different cook sets and a variety of camp furniture that ranges from 1 to 5 lbs to pick from. I've packed and traveled between 30 and 130lbs. Depends.

    I also switch between hard cases (only on the 1200 gsa), Mosko soft bags, Reckless systems and the Kriega 25L soft bags that I am experimenting now. Sometimes I'll only use a couple 4L & 2L bags and a duffle as I did on the NEBDR last fall. My kit was around 30lbs for that ride.

    As for the current pannier set up, I am not 100% sure how much the whole Kriega kit weighs, but the racks are around 5 lbs or so, maybe a bit more. The bags are very light. The lightest luggage I own in fact. The 35lbs I carried (including bags, hardware, outer bags, inners & gear) last week included most everything I would typically bring except for a tent and sleeping bag, which combined is as low as 3lbs. So, at or under 40 lbs is the best answer I can give you on this particular trip. Maybe a hair more since a buddy was meeting me up there and brought his pickup and I stashed my Gopro kit & drone in his truck. I also carried no water.

    Really, I was less impressed by total weight than a bit pleased to find I had somehow distributed the weight so closely simply by eye or by "feel." Some of that, I think, is down to the packing cubes I'm experimenting with, but also just a good sense of what kit I got and my ballpark guesses on weight. Often, I use my water storage as equalizing ballast. This time I was just winging it and it worked out. I did not ride any technically challenging terrain this past weekend - just graded gravel - but the luggage was unnoticeable. I should note that the packing cubes I picked up fit perfectly into the Reckless system I use as well, just fewer.

    Before I sent off for this summer's Dirty Dirty, I will add up all the extra bits and put a value on it. Starting at anything under 65 lbs will be a win for me. The load always lightens as I go, so I don't sweat it that much. I know at a minimum I will be 200+ lbs lighter in total than the '17 TAT and I expect a significant difference. Not to mention what the 790R itself offers off-road.

    I'll do a full gear write up of exactly what I am fixin' to bring on the DirtyDirty before I shove off and include it here. I'll be wrapping up this thread and firing up a RR a day or two before I depart. Nearing the final stretch.

    Does that help?

    p.s. - still plenty of riding time before July if you or any of the VT/NH central riders are interested in meeting up for a spin. You can take a first hand look at the Kriega set up & I'm still interested in the heat shielding you've done on your 790R, if you got it going. Cheers, Ikeya-Seki.
    #53
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  14. MoXoM

    MoXoM Been here awhile

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    New Hampshire
    Well done sir..
    I was only curious the total weight with the Kriega set with gear because I was comparing lightweight
    systems with someone ..
    Some look light, but are actually heavy.. others the opposite.
    #54
  15. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thursday, April 22
    T - 75


    Hammer Time

    It’s hammer time. It’s time to put the hammer down and go full throttle. The bike is nearly “there.” I got a good handle on the travel itinerary. I’ve met a medium level of success with fitness preparation and with just about 75 days to go, it’s time to go all in.

    The Bike: I’ve decided to swap out the drive train with a more off-road favorable ratio. 14/46 with a 120 chain. This should improve trail speed and going up two links on the chain should give me a little bit more mud clearance between the shock guard and tire. There is still plenty of life on the current drive train so I will pack that up and send it to SoCal to install for the return ride.

    The Guglatech tank filter still needs to be stitched in. A couple Ram mounts will go on - one at least in the Perun tail rack. I’ll also wire an extra SAE connector off the rear for a GoPro or other charging.

    I might put a few more patches of 3M film here and there on the plastics to reduce scuffing. I also have some 3M black reflective material I’m thinking of using in places. It's black, but turns white/silver when lit up. Fork sleeves might go on and possibly a Puig air foil or something - more so for rain than for wind.

    The oil filler cap needs to be modified or replaced because it sucks. I also need to make a longer run with the AirHawk seat cushion and see if it will do or if I should try another seat. Seat Concepts is talking 60 days before shipping. The PowerParts rally seat looks like an option for me as well. Something.

    I’ll perform a less-than-necessary oil change before I go and pack a set of brake pads changing on the trail. The wheels are tubeless and I’ll be prepared for plugs & inflation as well as a spare 21” heavy duty tube - just in case. I've only ever had one flat while riding, but that's gonna change.

    I will most likely leave the brake fluid alone. It’s fine. Engine coolant might be changed. Anyone use TwinAir Ice Flow?

    My tool kit is nearly complete. I just added a EuroStar Trail Stand and I need to pick something up to deal with breaking the chain. I leaning toward picking up a shop sized kit as well as something for trail use. I’ll send the larger kit to San Diego along with the chain & sprockets I take off before departing. There, I will swap back to a road ratio before returning to New Hampshire.

    There are certainly to be a few tweaks and tunes before now and then, but things are coming together like a bit torrent.

    The Route: I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the schedule so I can easily make my Oregon reservations. Mainly, I am leaving one day earlier, tightening up the slack a bit on the NE & MA BRRs. I’d originally allocated 10 days for each, but having just completed the NE in September and most of the MA on other trips, I may coast through steadily with only a couple stops to fish. This also gives me an option for an extra night at the Iron Horse in North Carolina, which me like.

    Rain, extreme heat, and forest fires remain my chief concerns, but the more I think on it, the more I wonder about just how much COVID will impact the ride?

    Specifically, accommodations. If what I am seeing on social media is a true indicator of what to expect, there may well be a significant increase in trail traffic. Along 15k of riding, I don’t see it as an issue at all except for when it comes to lodging and camping. If “social distancing” is still impacting the number of available campsites or rooms, it may be more of a challenge to find space. As I almost always arrive late to where I am staying, it could be a nuisance. Then again, I’ve never slept no where.

    Any thoughts on how COVID might affect the 2021 riding season?

    IMG_4425.PNG


    The Rider: For as long as I can remember my kids have always gifted me some kind of back pain device for Christmas. While I love them for thinking of me, it always made me a little sad that they view me in this way. I get it. So I’ve made a personal pact to never wince or whinge in front of them, or anyone. I’ve done well. I’d be lying though if I were to say I am not at least somewhat concerned. I’ve been in a bit of a state lately and I have to wonder if I am deluding myself, at least a little. I made one dumb move a couple weeks ago and it cost me several days of productivity. It is what it is. I’m often caught in the dilemma between safe surrender and YOLO. I press on.

    Bones and nerves not withstanding, my cardio and strength are okay. As things warm up outside and the days begin to stretch out, my body tends to be happier and more mobile. I take advantage of that, but pace myself as well.

    A lot of people wonder how I can tolerate being on a motorcycle. Everyone is different, but for me riding a motorcycle is possibly the most agreeable mode of transport for someone with a problem back. I have 5 points of contact with my vehicle - hand, feet & ass - not to mention legs as needed. I can brace myself for terrain changes. I can and do stand frequently (which you cannot do in a car) and I can twist and unload my spine on the fly. I tend to sit “at the table” rather than reclined or slumped and can manage my posture with more control. I'm a happy rider. Where a car ride or a long plane ride can start to tighten the knots, the dynamic nature of motorcycle riding helps keep things copasetic. Enough on this subject. We ride on.

    Okay, that’s about all I got for today. Time to lower the hammer. I'll add a bit about camping, cooking and manageing a budget as I draw closer to T-0.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #55
  16. MoXoM

    MoXoM Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Looks great..
    Id remove the possum scraper shock mud flap.. i did..makes a lot more clearance.
    Lengthening the wheel base woth chain lonks affects handling.. small note
    Have you seen my video piece on the modified oil filler cap.
    I have some info on under seat wiring options..
    Cheers..
    #56
  17. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to check out your video tutorial(s). Spring has finally arrived in New Hampshire. Some field testing is in order. Changing the gear ratio might be my next move. Ride on.
    #57
  18. MoXoM

    MoXoM Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Oddometer:
    276
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Copy.. thank you..
    If you are doing steep ascents or technical slow work i highly recommend
    a 14t up front. Completely changed my ability to control the 0-5 mph window.
    #58
  19. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Saturday, May 1
    T-65 days

    Lodging

    Camping: How do I camp? Pretty much like everyone else I suppose. Where and when I decide to camp is largely dependent on present location, weather, and my state of mind. Normally, I start thinking about camping solutions around lunchtime. Whether at the booth in a diner or along the trail, as I grab a bite to eat I usually take stock of where I am and often use Google Earth to search for campsites and campgrounds.

    I’ve learned enough in my travels to use satellite imagery to scope out potential campgrounds for the amount of tree cover, morning sun opportunities, rivers & ponds, the RV/tent ratio as well as the general lay of the land. I’ve made the mistake of plunking down tent stakes only to realize in the early a.m. hours that I’m 25 yards from a freight train. So, I give things a good look and if I find one I’m interested in, I call ahead and see if I can count on some space. If it’s good to go, I will send the coordinate to my GPS and it’s just cruising time after that. If it’s not looking good, I’ll call one or two more before switching tactics.

    An hour or two later I’ll most likely take another look online during a trail stop and call if something pops up. If it’s still not looking good and it’s not raining cats & dogs, I’ll go on with one of two approaches. First, I will expect that something will just present itself - an unexpected campsite, a decent trailside clearing, - hard to say really.

    upload_2021-5-1_8-2-29.jpeg
    Stealth camping.

    The second way I go is to find a local pub or VFW or something that is as far from a chain restaurant that I can find. I love the atmosphere of a local eatery and have found it can be one of the best sources of info for a motorcycle traveler. Many times in the process of collecting intel, someone will offer a backyard, a bunk, a spare room or suggest a locally known camp spot. I’ve had some great luck with this approach and have made a few new friends too. One night in Alabama, the folks at the bar picked up my beer & burger tab and I spent the night on stage out back. Another time I wound up on a boat ride & bbq at the Pickwick Dam.

    As a cot sleeper, I have simply stopped at a rest area and set up for the night, sleeping right on top of a picnic table. Hammock sleepers see trees, I see picnic tables.

    Hotel & motel stops are usually made in nasty weather, total exhaustion or injury. I’ve had pretty good luck finding a discount or an upgrade with many places. I’d say 10-15% on the average. I have mixed feelings about roof stops of this nature. First the cost is one of the few travels expenses I have control over. I’m almost always convinced if I held out a little longer, the perfect free camping would emerge, so I often feel a sense of defeat or surrender when I book a room. Yes, hot showers & a comfy bed are decadent treat, but the fact is I almost always check in way late and check out way early, missing many of the perks and value of a roof stay. No paid roof stop goes by, however, without a resupply of soaps & shampoos as well as whatever is handy from the galley. Once, at the Oil Riggers Hotel in Prudhoe Bay, meals were included and I left with a full brown paper shopping bag of food to go, which fed me for the next three days.

    B3430C86-0402-4B47-9C73-EB1AAD600FA4.jpeg
    Backstage at Dann's Place. Digs for the night.

    Family / Friends: With less frequency I will rendezvous with family, old friends and fellow enthusiasts for a night or two. I love catching up with folks and sharing a quick glimpse of what we're all up to. It's a time for lots of pics, a few hugs and some good eats - always worth the effort. Still, while I do enjoy these meetings, they often wind up altering the rhythm of the ride and can mess with timing some. It's part of the fabric of the ride. I’m also keen to recognize I often arrive pretty road rank and aim keep my visits as short and sweet as possible. It’s nice to stop for a night and not have to fully set up camp. Totally worth it.

    Who knows? The last form of lodging is the unexpected invite. Sometimes this comes out of my evening recon stops at the local pub, sometimes from online followers, and sometimes just by chance. I recall one time in Washington state when I was having a bit of a language barrier with a shop owner about local campgrounds and the person behind me in line wound up offering me a place to pitch my tent. I did. So, you just never know where you might end up, but chances are you will never sleep nowhere. In the photo below you can see the deck views from this hilltop paradise. I met these guys along the trail and they broght me in.

    upload_2021-5-1_8-5-12.jpeg
    Some trail friends in NY invited me to join them for beers & steaks on a 400 acre estate.

    upload_2021-5-1_8-24-9.jpeg
    Guest space offered to me by folks I met along the ride.

    Park Passes: My veteran status allows access to a number of discounted park passes as well as some discounted and no charge fishing opportunities, two things that suite my needs & interests. I have identified about 15 states along the route where camping and or fishing will be low or no cost. I anticipate the average camping expense to be less than10$/night, maybe better. On a trip of this magnitude, the savings can reach well in to the hundreds. I’ll take it.

    Tents: I have a few to choose from, but my Redverze Solo is my favorite. Yes, it is heavy at 12 lbs, yes it packs big ( although - I can compress mine to about a basketball ), but as a place to be, it’s superior to the Big Agnes Copper Spur I'll be taking. The Redverze has an ample solo sleeping vestibule with double lined doors - it’s warmer than the Copper Spur. It opens up for good breezes and is big enough to move about inside. But what I like best about it is the utility of the “garage.” I rarely put my bike in there. Instead, I can stow all my off-bike gear, set up a chair & table, cook, change standing up, read, write and generally hang out. So for privacy & space, it’s hard to beat. Then again it is 12 lbs and I won’t be taking it on this ride. The Copper Spur is 2 lbs and adequate as a place to sleep. I see myself using an overhead tarp in as needed. I’m not a fan of crawling into a hobbit tent and less for changing clothes in one. I’ll make do.

    IMG_3438.jpg
    Redverze Solo set up

    Reservatons: Don't much like reservations as they establish a time and place where I'm expected to be. I can have some difficulty meeting those expectations so I tend to operate ad hoc. Now, to use my least favorite phrase on the planet: HAVING SAID THAT, there are exceptions. Some places/activities necessitate a reservation. For instance, it was 100% necessary to pre-book passage tickets on the ferry to Tortugas National Park. It's necessary to book the van excursion to the Arctic Ocean 24 hrs minimum in adance and it's nearly impossible to snag a premium camp spot along the Oregon coast with out reservation. So I give in from time to time. I am also begging to suspect that the combination of COVID reduced availability and an increase in domestic outdoor travel, space may be limited. I may find myself booking a day a head in some places, but I don't know. I'll have to wait and see. 65 days and counting.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #59
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  20. Ikeya-Seki

    Ikeya-Seki Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    May 30, 2017
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Monday, May 17
    T-50

    Pulling Back the Slingshot

    IMG_4712.PNG

    As launch day draws nearer and with the help of stretching daylight, time now seems to pass at a rate of about 3 to 1. And for some reason, I kinda thrive off that natural expansion & compression. A final salvo or two of parts and bits orders. Check lists shrinking and growing. Inspections and tweaks more dialed. Budgets. Spare thoughts thinning as ride thoughts thicken. I like it.

    At the same time my attention is magnetized to the Dirty Dirty, a hundred million little t’s and i’s need crossing and dotting that have little to do with me, my bike, or the route. From last ditch appointments, summer arrangements, home maintenance, red tape requirements, spring planting, clean ups, and every other thing that pops up, I am playing check list whack-a-mole from dawn to dusk. I'm so relieved spring has come to New Hampshire. It sets the mind.

    From here on out, my posts will be limited. I’ll include a post on final gear check and load out, last minute route changes if any, and any pertinent bike or rider updates. I’ll post a T - 25 check-in, and most likely again just before launch with departing thoughts, especially as it concerns my plans to cast Bill’s ashes in some of this country's most special places. From there, I'll slingshot over to a regular Ride Report.

    Thanks for reading. I'd be interested any thoughts about what I might be missing, thoughts on the US opening up from COVID, the upcoming fire season or anything else.

    Ikeya-Seki, out.
    #60
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