Just me and the DRZ, my first motorcycle tour

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Baise, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    The following report is of my solo trip I'd taken in the summer of 2010. This was a low budget trip so don't expect to see pics of hotels and restaurant meals. I had lost my job a while back so it was the perfect opportunity to take a trip like this since I would never be able to get the time off if I was working. I've had my DRZ for a while and only used it mostly for riding trails and dirt roads close to home in upstate NY and a few multi day trips down into PA. The thought of touring with it never crossed my mind until I seen the mobius trip ride report so I'll have to start by thanking them for the inspiration. I'm writing this report hoping it will inspire someone else to take their DRZ out for the long haul.
    #1
  2. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    I didn't start the trip solo. My two brothers and my father had planned to ride the TWVT so I decided that would be a great place to start. We started out the wimpy way by putting the bikes on trailers and taking them from Binghamton, NY down into Maryland to start the TWVT.

    Some pics from their ride report
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=596382

    Here is the starting cast
    My brother Dan

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    my brother Brian

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    My dad

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    and myself

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    #2
  3. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    The TWVT was a total blast and just seemed to keep getting better the further we traveled on it. Thanks to everyone who helped to map out the route. I didn't take many pictures on the TWVT I left that to everyone else but here are a few.

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    Camping the second night at Bertha camping area

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    Wagon wheel road area, would've taken more pics but my hands were covered in mud

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    In this last pic I got a little bit hasty. Not very smart considering how far I need to go on this bike. The rest of my party were following a line around the side of this mud pit but it looked they had to cross a tough log or root under the water so I decided I'd just go for it thru the middle of the hole. I got into the middle and it was only about axle deep with a nice solid bottom so I thought I was fine until I hit the exit ruts the quads make. Throughout this whole section we would have been screwed if these guys on quads were not there going through first and telling us the best lines.
    #3
  4. mtbiker

    mtbiker Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    96
    Location:
    Southern Ohio
    Good start, just keep it coming. I'm planning to do the TWVT this summer!
    #4
  5. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    After 3 days of riding the TWVT with all the alts we set up camp south of Man at Paradise Island Christian campground. The facilities were good and the owner was very nice. Free firewood and a river to swim in. This was our base to go ride the Rockhouse trail system for a couple of days and Buffalo Mtn for a day.

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    First thing when we get to the Rockhouse trail system my younger brothers lead us onto one of the "Black" trails. On a steep slimy downhill with many large rocks jutting out of it I went down really hard. Lost my right side mirror, broke a strap on my front fender bag, broke a visor screw on my helmet. I was pissed but it was my own fault for starting down the hill going too fast. After that we decided to stick to the green and blue trails since we were a long way from home with no trailer close by.

    Quick fixes in Man

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    My Dad on a gnarly single track in Buffalo Mtn.

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    #5
  6. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Time to split from my family. They were heading out to see the New River Gorge and get back to the trailer in Maryland. I had to go to Logan, WV to pick up my new tires from Keefer's. I ended up having to wait a while in town since the UPS man didn't come with my tires until after 3:00 p.m.

    All loaded and ready to go.

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    I only had to sit on that front tire for the rest of the day as I had arranged to stay at ADV inmate jerryc's house for the night in eastern KY. I changed my oil and front tire, set up my tent in the front yard and tried to ignore his barking dogs :lol3 and get some rest. Thanks a ton jerryc for all your help.
    #6
  7. 02Deuce

    02Deuce Where next?

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Alabama
    Except for the mud hole of course!:rofl
    And not to hijack your RR, but as I'm looking for a new (or used) dual sport, I was wondering if you could comment on your DR versus your brother's WR?
    #7
  8. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Before I started this trip I tried to make a route that I could ride as many dirt and back roads as where I could. Jerryc went over my route with me through his part of Kentucky and gave me some great suggestions.

    Good ol' Kentucky two track

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    Into the Daniel Boone National Forest, went through the Nada tunnel

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    Took a short hike out to the natural bridge

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    A lot of the backroads I had chosen on a map were not working out as they would run into gated private property so there was a lot of back tracking. Some would turn into 4-wheeler trails and some were just plain non-existant.

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    East of Mt. Vernon, KY I'm riding back roads trying to find a road called salt peter cave rd. when I see a man standing in his driveway so I pull in and ask him what he knows where it is. It is really hot and I'm getting kind of tired so I ask if he knows of any place to camp nearby. He takes me down the road a little ways and says I can stay here in this garage on his property.

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    This place had a couple bedrooms in the back I was offered but I politely declined and said I would set my tent up outside. :lol3

    It is now Friday July 2nd and they say there are having a big July 4th party on saturday the 3rd. So I decide to stick around for a day and rest don't want to get burned out already ya know.

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    It was a good ol' drunken time.

    Now it is July 4th and I'm up bright and early to head down towards Mammoth Cave. Surprisingly I'm not hungover at all. Must be all the fruit in the hooch. Mammoth cave was a total zoo so I guess I won't be doing the cave tour today. Maybe some other time. I settled for a tourist trap cave called Diamond Cave. It was pretty nice but probably not worth the money.

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    Today I learned not to expect to camp in any National Parks on the rest of my trip. Overpriced for a little tiny campsite cramped next to dozens of others and you even have to pay to take a shower so I continued down the road. While trying to help an old man whose car had broken down on the side of the road another young fellow came walking up to see what was going on. I asked him if he knew any place to camp around the area. He directed me out to this cool rock shelter.

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    I was grateful to have found such a cool spot but the amount of ticks in this field was ridiculous. I had never seen anything like it. Set up camp went a little ways back to town got some fried chicken and snacks and watched fireworks from other peoples parties.
    #8
  9. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    The WR is a lot more aggressive better if you plan on just trail riding.
    #9
  10. VetRider

    VetRider Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    16
    Location:
    Waxahachie
    Sweet! Looks like an adventure has started. :lurk
    #10
  11. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Sorry to be leaving Kentucky and West Virginia everyone there was so hospitable and friendly. Many people were inquisitive about the bike and my trip. A lot of people told me that was good idea carrying that extra rear tire on my bike. I thought that was funny.
    I made my way thru Amish country to the Cave-in-Rock ferry.

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    and into the Shawnee National Forest where I set up camp at the Garden of the Gods on the advice of a guy waiting for the ferry.

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    I think this was the only night of the trip I had a campfire. A nice fellow that rode his BMW GS up from Texas in only 2 days gave me the wood. There was a nice family camping across from me from Iowa that had been to nearly every national park in the country and were curious about my trip.

    There was some really nice riding and beautiful country in southern Illinois, I would've never guessed.

    But alas now it is time to cross the mighty Mississippi at Chester, IL.

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    #11
  12. Fireman1000

    Fireman1000 Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,391
    Location:
    Gray GA
    Very cool report. Makes my butt hurt though.
    #12
  13. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    I made it across the river and camped my first night in Missouri at Hawn State Park. Very nice facilities and reasonable prices.

    Behind my campsite

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    Now into the Mark Twain National Forest
    Two track!

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    So many fire roads and 4 wheeler trails around here was kind of hard to navigate but very fun. Wish I had more time to explore the areas around Pidgeon Roost Rd. Just looked like trails everywhere. Kinda wished I lived around there.

    On my route was a turn onto Cave Rd. Good thing this was in my route because it led me to Onondaga Cave State Park which I did not know about. It was the middle of the day and I felt like taking a break so I did the cave tour. It was the best cave of my trip and I would recommend it to anyone.

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    My cheap camera is not good at taking pictures in low light

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    Crossed the Missouri River in Hermann

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    I camped the night in Mark Twain State Park where it started to pour rain. This was the first rain of my solo trip so far and at least I didn't have to ride in it. I left my food bag under the front of the rainfly of my tent for some reason. I woke up in the night to the sound of plastic rustling around after a little while I realized what that sound was. A racoon ate all my tropical fruit mix and had started in on my raisins. For some reason he didn't touch the nice summer sausage I bought earlier in the day. To reward the little guy for his daring I dumped the rest of the box of raisins out behind my tent aways. Big mistake I had to listen to Racoons fighting over them the rest of the night. If you've never heard racoons fight they are loud and mean.

    Heading up towards Unionville, MO I start getting more adventure than I want.

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    I had never before seen mud like this being from the Northeast. I'm sure you midwesterners will get a good laugh out of this.

    After a while I had to keep stoping to clear the mud of the wheels, out of the sprockets as it was putting too much resistance on the machine.

    Is that stone I see ahead? Hallelujah

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    Made it!

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    Now this I like

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    Oh no not more of this

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    This road isn't going anywhere, better turn it around

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    After a couple of hours in 90+ degree heat I manage to get the bike back up the hill.

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    I ended up burning out my clutch on the way back trying to get a main road. My engine heat light came on and I discovered I had no oil in the motor so I started walking. After a couple miles a farmer seen me when he was on his way to go fishing so he took me back to his house where had some motor oil then gave me a ride back to my bike on his 4-wheeler. I limped the bike back to his house where he let me set up camp to stay the night.

    Deer that he had rescued and was bottle feeding. You should've seen it wag its tail just like a dog when he came out with that bottle.


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    Camp view, man I'm beat

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    #13
  14. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    I got up in the morning and tried riding the bike but didn't get far before I realized the clutch was in too bad of shape. Luckily where I stopped was close to where a guy ran a towing service. I was able to catch a good break on price since he agreed he would put it on a trailer and tow it with his pick up truck. He took me to C & C Custom Cycle up in Chariton IA. This is a Suzuki and Harley Davidson dealer and they are top notch. I thought I would be stuck a day or more but they got me in and out right away for a very price. I highly recommend C & C Custom Cycle. I got back on the road about midday and headed towards Winterset, IA on a random mixture of paved and gravel roads. This last episode had me scared of the mud. I had ordered some parts I needed ahead of time at Country Cycles in Winterset.

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    These guys were super friendly and knowledgeable. They thought the trip I was on was cool so they gave me a free T-shirt and I said I'd give them a plug on my report.

    I had planned on camping at Lewis and Clark State Park but they were all filled up so the day wasn't over yet. I decided to push on all the way to Sioux City where I would meet inmate Marc LaDue and his wonderful wife and mother. I didn't think I would make it that far that day so I have to thank him for taking me in on such short notice.
    #14
  15. PK

    PK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    521
    Location:
    Mpls
    Nice trip so far!
    #15
  16. otoko

    otoko Tustom User Citle

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    NoVA
    Sweet report. Waiting for the rest.
    #16
  17. Baise

    Baise Isn't scared

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    48
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    I decided that I would ride along the northern border of Nebraska leaving Sioux City as I had heard that was scenic country. Frankly I thought it was kind of boring but upon crossing the border into South Dakota the land really seemed to open up and was much better. I had never been out west before so these large spaces were all new to me. After pounding out so many miles on the rear knobby I had on since before I even started the West Virginia trip I could see it was time for a change.

    I found a gas station with a little bit of shade and free air. Man it is hot out.

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    After making it out past White River, SD I decided to call it a day and pulled off the road out into this hay field to set up camp.

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    This turned out to be my favorite camp of the entire trip. I was out of sight of the road behind that rise.

    Watched a bitching lighting storm come in from miles away. Tried to get a shot of the lightning but that is tough.

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    Getting near the Badlands

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    Another beautiful day to be riding I'm getting too lucky with this weather.

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    Made it to the National Park

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    The first Bison I'd ever seen

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    As I was dinking around with the GPS and putting the camera away it ended up crossing the road right in front of me. This one buffalo was nothing compared to what I would see later in the day. As I headed towards the black hills and into Custer State Park some really heavy rain had set in. Going through the park the bison were just everywhere, all over the road. I was weaving through them only 4-5 feet away. I wish I had pictures but I didn't want to take my camera out because it was raining so hard.

    I set up camp in the park and as soon as I did the weather cleared so I figured it would be a good time to ride the loop I wanted to do through the Black Hills. Very cool riding with all the hairpins and tunnels.

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    But not long after I set out the heavy rain came right back

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    Tried finishing my route as fast as I could but I was out in the rain well over an hour. Almost hit a cow on one of the forest roads the visibility was so bad.

    I went to bed early and then woke up around 5 a.m. to beautiful clear skies and the needles highway all to myself.

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    Later in the day I would go on to do tours of Wind Cave and Jewel Cave. Not near as impressive as Onondaga Cave in Missouri.
    #17
    timk519 likes this.
  18. ddavidv

    ddavidv The reason we can't have nice things

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
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    5,850
    Location:
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    I'll tag along on this one. Looks promising. :evil
    #18
  19. aDave

    aDave Lovin' Life!

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    218
    Location:
    the Ozark suburbs
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    Is the dog dead? Freaky! :lol3 :lol3:eek1

    Nice write up...please continue!

    Dave
    #19
  20. Dadster

    Dadster I'd rather be ridin

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    211
    Location:
    Southernish , IN
    I just recently got my first dual sport and joined ADVr. Your trip has me ready. Looked like a blast. Thanks for taking us along with you.:D
    #20