“Let’s think about using motors on our next trip.” A few months after that statement we were on KLRs, cruising around Cape Breton Island on the Cabot Trail. Some Backstory The summer of 2017, our eldest and I rode mountain bikes from Point State Park in Pittsburgh, PA (USA) to Washington, D.C., riding 336 miles, using the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O towpath bike trails (probably explains why I find the stock KLR seat perfectly comfortable). As we were planning a trip for 2018, Dan said, “Let’s think about using motors on our next trip.” Dan knew that I longed for an excuse to own a motorcycle again but struggled with finding a way to justify the purchase. Before long we started down the road of comparing notes on what bikes to purchase, what gear we would need, and where we would go. We settled on “the pig,” “the tractor,” the venerable (and cheap) KLR 650. Dan had owned a Gen 1, as a college student. I had always seen them as inexpensive do-everything motorcycles. Perfect bikes for rural western Pennsylvania’s mix of dirt and no-stripe black-top roads. My last motorcycle was a 1986 GSXR 1100 (new… yes, over 32 years ago). I had ridden the GSXR across Canada on Hwy 1, then down the Pacific Coast highway to Monterey, CA in the summer of 1989. So I was already an experienced Adventure Rider/long distance tourer (I mean, it has an “R” in the name, right?). I was tasked with finding bikes and planning the trip, as Dan’s job had him on the go. Oh, I also had to take and pass my motorcycle permit test and inform Dan’s mother, my darling bride, a redhead, that there were motorcycles to buy and ride for this year’s trip. No pressure. Leveraging my prodigious inter-web searching prowess, I found a blue (the fastest color) 2008 with Tusk panniers and racks, Tusk foot pegs, Tusk crash bars, the Eagle Mike subframe and through-bolt upgrade, tall KLR windscreen, $0.22 carb needle mod, Two Brothers’ exhaust, OEM Dunlops, KLR lower dash with aux power plugs and RAM mount on Craig’s List for me at $2,800.00 (US) with just under 11,000 miles on her. Inmate @bohica53 sold us his 2013 (green) with SW Motech crash bars, Tusk panniers and racks, subframe bolt upgrades, Oxford heated grips, Seat Concepts seat, Kenda Big Blocks, LED driving lights, KLR lower dash and Ram mount, for $3,500.00 (US) with around 3000 miles on her for Dan (found it on Fbook Marketplace for those of you interested in shopping for or selling your bikes). I’d like to take a moment and thank Inmate @bohica53. During the conversation about the bike he was intrigued by our intentions. He looked at me and said, “Do you have a helmet?” Well, long pause, I had the barely DOT approved helmet from another son’s foray with a CBR 600. Before you knew it, bohica53 runs me down to his house. He bursts through the door and says, “Honey, I’m giving away a motorcycle helmet!” To which his wife says, “Give him two!” lol I not only walked out of there with a motorcycle helmet, but a motorcycle jacket, a KLR, and a new friend! BTW, I did pass my permit test and obviously survived telling my wife what we were up to! Before this goes too far, let me help you decide if you want to continue reading: Pineapple does NOT belong on pizza (but feel free to put it on a round, thin, flat bread covered with pizza sauce and cheese, just don’t call it “pizza”). Oil? Yes. Tires or Tyres? Yes. Opinions on which are best? No. Just make sure your bike has them (and in the case of my 2008 KLR, add 1 L of oil every 500 mi/800km. Yes the 685 upgrade is on the list). The best motorcycle is the one you own and ride (unless it’s winter, you can’t ride, cabin fever has set in, you are maintaining your sanity by watching endless hours of YouTube videos, and you’re drooling over the new [insert name of bike here]) There’s always one more upgrade, farkle, necessary-gotta-have item to buy for your bike. In 1968, we learned the metric system. I’m still waiting for the USA to convert. The 24 hour clock is the only one that makes sense. WWII fighters are the sexiest airplanes ever flown… But, as a ground pounder, the A-10 Warthog will also have my heart. Scotch should taste of peat and peat smoke and take you back to times when you were with friends around a campfire. Corn, corn syrup and rice (yes, rice. I’m talking to you, the “Dilly dilly” crowd) are cheap ways to add fermentable sugars to malt beverages, but do not belong in beer. Still interested? Then read on! Trip Planning is next!