I bought a KLR, my first "adventure bike," over this winter and spent the spring prepping it for the Trans Am Trail. When I left on the ride in mid-June the way I felt about this bike was best characterized as cautiously skeptical - kind of like when you took that girl you just met to Cozumel for a week - it could be great, OK, or horrible but regardless it had an expiration date when it would be over. I felt that way about taking my KLR on the TAT. I never really warmed up to it because I felt it doesn't do anything well: it's heavy and low on power for an off-road bike, the brakes suck and the wind protection was designed by an idiot for street riding, and it needed a lot of attention to make it ready to go the distance on the TAT. I kind of half expected to ride it across the TAT and then take the tags off it and leave the key in it in the airport parking lot in Oregon when I flew home. Now having ridden it 3,600 miles from Annapolis MD to Moab I feel differently. This is going to sound like a Sheila talking but I can actually say exactly when it was when I felt like I was in a committed relationship with my KLR and it was when I had 2,000 miles of named storm soggy TAT behind me and it got me and my pile of luggage up to the top of Cinnamon Pass going up from the east (Lake City side) and down into Silverton. After days of trail, mountain passes, highway and twisty road I now know what the KLR does extremely well. It hauls me and my load anywhere I want to take it across just about anything I could possibly want to ride it over. It'll do hours at a stretch at 75 - 80 mph with a -1 tooth countershaft sprocket on it and knobby tires and then climb like a mountain goat over basketball sized rocks and slick mountain snowmelt at 12,000' on stock jetting. It'll cover a quarter mile of water up over the wheels and commute around town like a scooter. It's the most versatile, simple, unexciting swiss army knife of a bike you could ever want and the exciting part is how reliably and cheaply it'll fill your memories with phenomenal experiences if you take the road less traveled on it. And thus begins the solo first leg of my journey out of Annapolis to hook onto the TAT tracks in Northern Virginia. I had spent the entire winter prepping the bike and had taken a trial run in May out into the George Washington NF sorting everything out and the day had finally come to launch out of my garage to meet up with 3 other riding buds from Atlanta in Murphy NC. My friends sometimes call me "The Rainman." We take a trip every year and every time they ride with me it rains - and not just a little bit. Right on schedule as I have the bike loaded and ready to depart, this is what visited me: (click on the image for video) On the Sunday evening that I left, it rained on me like that from home all the way to Strasburg where I was spending my first night of the journey. My plan was to get the DC traffic behind me and hook on to the TAT in NoVA first thing Monday morning.