Dedicated trip bikes: Fly-ride-store-repeat?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by DR. Rock, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    It's great to hear that others are doing something similar. The difference in what we're trying to pull off is that we will be keeping the bikes moving and each vacation leave them in a different location. These bikes will have NO home base. We'll have to plan a service day here and there probably at the beginning or end of each stage, since that's when we'll be near a larger city with storage and an airport. I can definitely see the appeal of a dealer/storage, and ZMW seems to be ideal as a home base for a bike, especially to ride into Mexico.

    Really, this was conceived as a way for us to do the TAT without having to ship bikes back and forth from the East coast, or take 6 weeks off straight... we'll be doing it in three 2-week segments (at least, depending on how many side trips we plan and how late the passes are snowed in). Then we just started thinking... lets keep the tour rolling, and now it's just out of hand. :D We've got about 20K of north american dual-sport miles planned over the next 4-5 years. :wink:

    PS: Hecktoglider, I really enjoyed your recent ride report... Northern Mexico is on our agenda!
    #21
  2. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    I've been spending any free time I've had the past week or so doing my version of "pre-running". :deal It goes something like this: Take all the maps and atlases I can get my hands on, plus google maps, plus google earth, and start plotting waypoints into our GPS's so that it will auto-route precisely where we want to go. Obviously there are some places on the TAT which aren't in the garmin database, but really, from TN to NM, it's only a bit where you're riding on the levee's that I had to store a waypoint as "switch to off-road" and "switch back to on-road". Also, one other place where the garmin maps don't connect two roads which on satellite imaging obviously connect, so it makes a big unnecesary loop around... this happened in Nova Scotia a bunch as well, so I know what to expect; the GPS gets a little jiggy until it realizes you're back on route.

    Having the TAT maps is like cheating... I can see that it represents hours and hours of work, especially given the fact that the route has been pre-run in meatspace, not like I do in front of a computer. I've gotten the TN-NM portion of the TAT broken down into 12 routes each with fewer than 50 waypoints each so that I can use auto-routing. Remember, I use Mac, so all this has been done on the unit itself. PIA, but on the upside, I'm pretty intimate with the route / terrain / etc now :brow. I've used Bobcat only to save the routes/waypoints from one unit and then send them to the other.

    I've secured May 1st & 2nd as vacation days, and will be departing NYC dark and early, to try to make it down to Roanoke as a first day. I'm going to blast out on interstate, then attempt Skyline Dr, then Blue Ridge parkway the whole rest of the way down. All this on a DRZ400... my ass hurts just thinking about it. If all goes well, I should arrive in TN friday night. LDF will fly into Knoxville Saturday, which we'll spend doing bike prep, and then Sunday May 4th, we start the TAT.

    Besides the two days' routes I've created to get down there from NYC, I've tried to piece together a route from where we jump off the TAT in northwest NM to Albuquerque. I've tried to stay true to the TAT ethos and kept off the larger paved roads, but I'm going to post the route over in the west forum and see what the locals can do to improve it.

    My bigest concern now is daily milage, and whether we'll be able to cover 2600 miles in 14 days of riding. I expect we'll have some bigger mile days across the plains, and I've seen ranges of 250-350 miles a day from other reports, but LDF doesn't haul ass, and we'll be on 400cc bikes. We'll be watching the TAT preparation and riding DVD this weekend, so that may give me a better idea of how much distance we'll be covering comfortably. In Nova Scotia it was 120-230 miles / day, except for the two 300+mile days of slab from NYC to the ferry in Portland, ME.

    New chains and sprockets have arrived. :thumb I have pretty much everything we need for the bikes except tires, and I'm trying to decide whether to start with spanking new fresh knobs, or to retread somewhere in OK.

    8 weeks to departure. Days are getting longer, but not yet warmer. :vardy
    #22
  3. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Keep the updates coming. This is interesting on many, many levels. Good luck with your planning.
    #23
  4. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Well, I haven't been updating, mostly because everything is pretty well in motion. Just waiting for the calendar to turn over. I've completed our routes, all loaded onto GPS's with back-ups on separate cards. The only things to report are the usual logistics of plane tickets and minor bike prep and such.

    I've been looking at the weather; it's been quite a wet winter, hasn't it... I imagine we may be thwarted at times by some high water and mud. I'm thinking more and more of skipping the first bit from Jelico, and just picking up the TAT west of Knoxville. It'll take a couple hundred miles off our total, give us a bit of breathing room so that we can get out to NM without feeling rushed the whole way, and even have time for a flat tire or two along the way.

    On the down-side, we'll lose bragging-rights to say we've done the whole TAT. Not a big deal for me, but LDF has started bar brawls over less. :D If we skip it on the DRZ's, we'll just have to ride the big bikes down from New York sometime and do the part we skipped, and the KY extension as well.

    I've made a couple of decisions regarding bike prep. I'm going to burn through whatever rubber is on my bike on pavement getting from NYC to TN, then mount new rear knobbies on both bikes, MT-21's, before we start, and then replace both fronts and rears before the next leg. I'll carry one sprocket set and chain on this portion, and if both bikes make it to NM on the sprockets and chains they have now, I'll bring a second set on the plane, and change them both out before taking on CO & UT next september.

    I bought two pairs of "sweet cheeks" seat cushion pads. I think I'll need them for the slab down at least, and then we'll see how the seats do that are on the bikes for the trail. If they really suck, I figure the sweet cheeks will get us through, and then before the next vacation, I'll look into Renazco's.

    The weather's still cold here in NYC, but we're getting LDF's F650 out of storage this week, and I have to touch base with BobbyC to swap the gas tank and get that bike from him.

    Once we get into April, I'll have to make the storage arrangments in Albuquerque. Other than that, everything's a "go"!
    #24
  5. Django Loco

    Django Loco Banned

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    Next time get Mexican insurance on line. (more competitive rates, more trustworthy and established companies with USA contacts)

    A friend fell off his Tri Tiger in Copper Canyon and got a $2,500 check a month later! What a surprise! :clap
    So yes, some do pay.

    And BTW, it is not required in Mexico even though it is on the books. You will never, ever be asked for proof of Mex. insurance. Almost NO Mexicans' have it.

    I think you made good choices on the DRZ's. I owned one for three years. (a 2001) NO problems. I now have a XR250R (no plate), a '07 Yam WR250 and a '06 Suzuki DR650 dual sport. Only the DR650 is capable of carrying a decent load. But for two weeks, staying in Motels,(which is a must to get the most out of your riding days) the DRZ should be OK if you pack carefully and use the right gear. Camping/cooking/clean up, unpack/pack/ all takes up a lot of time.
    Something you don't have. Ride Ride Ride.

    I think what might help you guys out and help you get the most out of your very short time riding each year, would be hiring a local guide/expert. You may find someone qualified here on ADV for cheap. Well worth the extra money vs. the time saved, experience improved. Get one for each region .... and get a pro.

    The TAT, from what I've read and seen of it (pics), I would give a pass. Much of it is long and boring. So many more places of more interest, beauty and more challenging too. Would be better suited for a short two week trip.

    You could easily spend two weeks riding Moab and Western Colorado.
    I've done 10 days there and we were only half done. But without a guide you probably won't find the very best routes. Maps really not gonna get it all. This is some of the most dramatic and beautiful country in the USA. As a native Californian, I do not use such high praise lightly.

    Same for Baja. Get a guide who won't get you killed and will tailor a ride to suit your skills. Baja is awesome ....if you know how. Most Americans who go ....do not know how and tend to learn the hard way.

    Next? How about Nevada? Then Montana and Idaho? If you have someone that knows these areas, I promise you, you will not be disappointed. AK you can do on your own.

    By this point you may be ready for S. America. or not. Most Americans end up hating the 3rd world after a few months. I spent
    8 years down there, dealing with complaining Americans some of the time. But try it out for a month or two once you're retired and see what gives.

    Frankly, if you can afford it. most Americans are much happier in the EU. But as you point out, thanks to bUsH the dollar is dead so the EU is out of the question for many. (me included)

    You mentioned Copper Canyon. I've been four times . First time in the mid 70's, then again in 98, '04 and '06. It's OK but can't compare to our Grand Canyon. But the culture is interesting and may be a good warm up for Cent. Am and S. America. It has some nice dirt roads and some challenging routes too. I would only spend a day or two in CC then go south to Mexico's central highlands.
    (the Bajio) This is real Mexico, but not about riding so much, about Mexico. Just a suggestion.
    #25
  6. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Django Loco: thanks for your insights and advice, all well taken. You've picked up on how we're arranging this to sequentially escalate the difficulty level of our trip. Yes, South America is on the far horizon. Yes, there are portions of the TAT east which will be straight and boring. Yes, motelling every night maximizes time in the saddle, but... we like several aspects of camping... not every night, but every other or third night... 1. it gives us another option for shelter if no motel is available. 2. it forces us off the bikes instead of riding 12 hours / day 3. it's stuff we can do together, cooking, setting up camp, (remember we're a couple), instead of just riding which is mostly an individual thing even when you're riding with another person 4. it's fun in and of itself... we both live in a city, and work indoors, so sleeping in a motel vs. under the stars, especially if the weather is nice, is a no-brainer for us.

    That said, a big part of the first leg of this multi-headed beast of a trip is to get the bikes on the road and out west post-haste. We know that's where some great riding terrain is. Our progress on the TAT will slow down as we meander the rest of the way. (I'm contemplating our next leg ending in Las Vegas NV). I'll have to think about the guide idea. Interesting concept.

    Planning has been an interesting process. There's the long term: Alaska or Patagonia next? The intermediate: I have to call that storage facility in Albuquerque this week. And the microscopic: where did I put those extra oil plug crush washers, I hope I didn't mix them in with the random washers I'm packing?

    I've got the yellow DRZ that I'll be riding pretty well dialed in. Preload jacked up. GPS wired, etc. RoxFX bar risers are re-arriving this week (they sent the wrong ones). Those will go a long way to ergonomic comfort for me. The MT-21 rears have arrived to Motor1 (Rick's) in TN. :thumb

    I packed my bike up and rode the northern section of the Trans NJ Trail half day friday and all day saturday. Got into some technical off-road work. Pushed the suspension, rattled the DRZ's cage as hard as I was comfortable by myself in the woods. It did great. Camped in the rain. Packed up and was back on the road at 8am. 150 miles friday, and 200 saturday. The sweet cheeks totally rock. No monkey butt, and because the bars are currently too low and near me, I stood a lot less than I normally would. Andy Strapz and wolfman packs rock. The dirt bagz racks play nice with the pannierz, and I'm sure the dirt bagz pannierz we got for LDF will be great as well. I need to sew better webbing tie-downs for the duffle.

    The bikes are named: Honeybee and Blueberry. :dunno And the trip name final candidates have been identified.

    Honeybee soaking up her NYC roots:

    [​IMG]

    Taking a little rest:

    [​IMG]

    Gimme shelter:

    [​IMG]

    Head shot:

    [​IMG]

    Backside:

    [​IMG]
    #26
  7. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    We're packed! :D

    I guess it's about time to kill this thread in the trip planning forum, and start one in Ride Reports. Well, of course there's the small matter of actually doing the trip in the meantime. :deal

    Planning items to update: First, last saturday LDF and I rode out to Floyd Bennet Field (abandoned airstrip), she on her F650GS, and me on the DRZ. She had been having high anxiety about riding the DRZ because of its height. She felt that if she could get comfortable riding mine, then she would sleep better, and be able to hit the ground running once we started. I was skeptical. Honeybee is set up for me: 6'3", 192lb... ie: it's about as tall as it gets. On top of that, the luggage was off. Now, the one she'll be riding is Kouba link lowered, and we'll adjust the preload for her weight, and she'll have the weight of the gear, so I wasn't sure that it would be a fair test for her. I didn't want her have a bad experience with my bike set-up, and make her even more apprehensive.

    Anyway, I wish I had pictures. She could barely toe touch on one side. We started with her sitting on the bike, and me pushing it with the engine off to get up some speed, and then she would practice stopping, and catching the bike before it fell. Then the same thing with stopping during a turn. Then figuring out how she could get it off the kickstand by herself. Then reviewing where the controls are. Then she started it, and took off, and was riding all over the runway, stopping and starting, standing and sitting, slow and fast, for about a half hour. Came back with a big smile, and said, "this isn't that bad... Is this as tall as the Terra Mostro?..."
    Me: "No, this is taller."
    LDF: "Oh, then let's call Blaine... I want a Ducati too."
    Me: ":doh"

    Other notes: Packing has been a challange. There's one list for what to pack as checked luggage vs. carry on. Another for who's carrying what of our shared gear. Other lists for each of us what goes where on the bikes. Another for what we need to leave with the bikes in Albuquerque. Having the lists in spreadsheet format has really helped a lot.

    The storage space in Albuquerque is secured. Contract arrived today. That's about it. I leave next Wed. after work for 2+ days of twisties down to TN, LDF flies down friday. Saturday we prep her bike, and sunday May 4th, we start the TAT-east. 2300 miles later on the 18th of May we have a flight from Albuquerque to NYC, and the first leg of (drumroll) The Mobius Trip will be behind us. I'll update this thread with a link to that Ride Report when it's posted, but further trip planning for us will be less theoretical and more specific to our trip, so I'll continue over there.

    :beer
    #27
  8. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    Curious how this has been going?

    We just left our dedicated KLRs in Seattle!
    #28
  9. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Ummm...

    We've completed about 20,000 miles in 7 two-week legs. Next one is scheduled for sept.

    Pretty good, I'd say :D.
    #29
  10. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    Perfect! Thanks for the link! :D

    We just started to do the same thing with 2 Klr650. Having a second set of bikes at home to ride!
    #30
  11. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    It's turned out to be one of the best things we've done, ever. At this point, we've almost duplicated our entire riding and camping gear in both places. Let me know if you have any specific questions about how we roll. I'm actually surprised more people don't do this. Compared to a second home, or a ski condo or a beach cottage, or a boat, the carrying costs are peanuts. And you get a two-wheeled adventure to a new and exciting location whenever you want to take a vacation. Enjoy! :ricky:ricky

    Where will you be riding, unidirectional, or loops out of seattle?
    #31
  12. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    We will be doing the unidirectional type travel. Think we are in the same boat as you. The "commute" to get out of Colorado to a new place to ride was just too tedious and limiting to new discoveries.

    Here is the link to the recent trip report, will post a version of it here soon.

    http://klrworld.com/forums/index.php/topic,19558.0.html
    #32
  13. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    I did the same sort of thing with an old Yamaha bought at awap meet.

    I always wanted to see the PNW but , it's a good way off . So in '09 I happened to see my cousin who lives near Seattle and asked if she had room in the garage for a motorcycle. She did, so I rode out in late Oct. Then last year I went back and picked up the bike and rode to West Fest the back to her garage.
    This year I'll pick up the bike and head to canada first then east to N.Dakota and south to Mexico. I'll finish the trip by going up the Natchez Trace to Nashville then home.

    So the whole thing has worked out well for me. I've been able to explore way more than I would have had the time for on a round trip.
    #33
  14. caver

    caver Missouri The Cave State

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    Did you ever mention how you dealt with registration and plating? Or, does NY not require the dreaded inspection sticker like Missouri. That's the one snag I see about doing this in Missouri and leaving it out of state.
    #34
  15. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    My wife and I have a set of bikes that have been on the road for a few years now. We are from Colorado, so now motorcycle inspections. Just have to take the registration stickers out to the bikes when we go ride them.
    #35
  16. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    We keep the registration stickers on the plates current by paying NY renewal on line. They'll send the registration stickers for the plates in the mail without proof of inspection.

    The NY inspection sticker goes on the front fork. We haven't had the bikes inspected since 2008. The only place I can imagine we'd be in trouble for not having that sticker is if we rode the bikes back to NY, which isn't in the plans, and if we did, we'd just get them inspected once we crossed the state line as soon as we could.

    Other states could care less if we have our NY inspection current. I'm not even sure how they'd know the sticker on the fork was supposed to be there.
    #36
  17. caver

    caver Missouri The Cave State

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    Missouri requires the inspection paperwork before they will renew the sticker that goes on the plate. I think new vehicles are exempt the first five years and then it's every other year. They also require proof of paid personal property taxes.
    #37
  18. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    I'm sure you could talk a friendly inmate into letting you register them at their place:freaky

    Hell, technically my 2 travel bikes have been in California longer than many of the residents:lol3
    #38
  19. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Or just swing through Missouri once a year or so... at least it's centrally located. :1drink
    #39
  20. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    That sounds painful:lol3
    #40