As a child and young adult, I occasionally rode my friends' mini bikes, dirt bikes, and my uncle's Triumph Bonneville once. In other words, not much riding experience at all. However, it was more than enough to provide that itch that needs to be scratched. I've always entertained the idea of eventually getting a license and my own motorcycle, but for various reasons I never really got around to it. There were many times in traffic when I would see a passing Ducati and my mind would, again, consider getting a motorcycle. Not enough money, not enough time, no where to keep it, leaving for the Army soon; the list goes on. As luck, or fate, would have it, I met a friend who introduced me to the idea of adventure riding via the "Long Way Round" documentary many years ago. To be honest, before seeing that film, I thought dual-sports and adventure touring bikes were dorky. And to be even more honest, I still think they are pretty damn dorky looking. I was always more attracted to those overpriced naked Italian bikes, and I still am. However, the idea of going on a motorcycle adventure was so damn romantic. And by romantic, I don't mean the adult definition of romantic, I mean the cowboy with two six shooters on his hips riding into the sunset on his horse romantic. So, here I am about to buy a dorky looking dual-sport motorcycle instead of some drop dead gorgeous naked bike. Fears of buyers remorse are hard to shake, but I know I'm making the right decision. The first time I'm riding along a paved rode and, with no hesitation, decide to see where that dirt path leads to; that's when I'll know for sure I made the right decision. For reasons that I will explain at a later date, the exact route will be kept a secret until after the ride is complete. I can say that it will be this weekend (27 Oct 18). I will be by myself. It will most likely be raining with wind gust up to 15mph, low 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the trip will be approximately 65 miles. Oh, and this will be immediately after buying the bike, as in this is the ride home. And I still only have my learners permit. Things I've heard from family, friends, and coworkers: 1. You're crazy. 2. You're gonna die. 3. You know it's gonna be cold, right? 4. Don't do it. 5. Wait for better weather. 6. Just tow it, man. Well, just like I don't drink to get sober, I'm not buying a dual-sport motorcycle to only ride it in nice weather. Also, I have the TAT to prepare for in July-August. Remember that friend I mentioned earlier? Yeah, we're doing the TAT. Finally, on a more serious note, when compared to the other difficult and dangerous things I've done in my life, this is pretty damn mild. No, I'm not bragging, it just is what it is. Things I've done to prepare: 1. Took stock of some old Army gear I still have that may be helpful for the trip. Those silk top and bottoms will provide a great first layer. The thermals will do nicely as a second. Picture below. 2. Ordered winter riding gloves, thick socks, lace protectors, thermal knee pads, and thermal balaclava. It will all be here by Thursday and Friday. 3. Made a tentative primary route. 4. Talked my girlfriend into driving me there. 5. Decided on an insurance provider. Things I need to do: 1. Buy a helmet and jacket. I will do the helmet and jacket on Friday (at a local store). I don't like buying things like these online. An exact fit is important to me. The Icon Airflite looks promising. 2. Finalize primary and secondary route. I plan to stay off the highway as much as possible. 3. Find an online owners manual for the bike so that I can familiarize myself with the controls. 4. Call the insurance company in order to figure out the administrative hoop jumping that I need to do to get the bike insured as soon as I purchase it. 5. Piece together a recovery kit. Before I forget, the bike is a Suzuki DR650s. I was originally dead set on getting the XR650L, but decided against it for a couple reasons. First, the ride height of the XR is just too much. I would need to lower it by at least two inches. Also, I would end up installing an oil cooler, but the Suzuki already has one. There's also the fact that I found a DR for $1000 less than the lowest priced XR I could find. As it stands now, I'm no where close to ready for this, but I know this is one of those things that will come together right before it kicks off. Here's a picture of what I have for the trip so far... It's just the first two layers and my boots (an old pair of Doc Martens). Still, that's like $100 dollars in thermals already taken care of. You can expect another post on Thursday and/or Friday before the trip. By then I should have just about everything clothing wise that I will need. I have a mountain of tools if anyone (especially DR650 riders) has any suggestions on what I should take for a recovery kit. Obvious things like a pocket knife and 100 mph tape can be omitted from suggestions. I'll try to post the actual trip on Saturday, but I may be busy riding. If so, I'll do it for sure by Sunday evening.