(Next post should have a GPS point file containing forty thousand (or so) primitive, public, and private campsites along the route) This is the first ride report I've written, and probably the last. Intro: I rode the NEBDR route from Hancock to Canada alone, June 7th – 14th not including about 800 miles total riding to and from the ends. I wouldn’t sweat doing it alone, just make good, conservative decisions and limit your risk. So Scenery: Getting it out of the way: Mt Greylock was more interesting than Mt Washington. I said it. Mt. Washington was the surface of the moon but with more Harley-Davidsons. Mt Greylock was peaceful, had things living on it, was free, and mercifully lacked Harley-Davidsons. Just stand next to a Harley with music blaring and shout to yourself in a Long Island accent “It’s OK to have a beer once in a while!” while slamming said beer and you’ve visited the parking lot of Mt Washington. Mt Washington redeemed itself however in its entertainment value. Watching Harley riders ply the treacherous waters of the Mt Washington stone parking lot could, and did, provide hours of entertainment. I observed three approaches to this hard-enduro course: 1. Walking the bike with both feet dabbing; 2. Riding the bike with both feet sticking straight forward (advanced riders only); and 3. Walking alongside the bike, under power, until the safe harbor of pavement was attained. The latter two I dubbed “The Trimaran” and “The Walk of Shame”. There's a lone KLR in there somewhere Vermont and New Hampshire are very different. I wasn’t expecting that. People in Vermont are worryingly, even suspiciously, happy to see you. It’s almost like they may be on something, but if so I wholeheartedly support it. I love Vermont. People in New Hampshire… I’ll leave that there since I may go back some day. Vermont was all large and inviting green mountains and picturesque farms. New Hampshire was rugged. If I were elected President, my first act would be to 1. Immediately ban the manufacture and sale of blue tarps, and 2. Rename the state of New Hampshire to Rugged New Jersey. Southern Vermont Crawford Notch State Park, NH Towns and Stuff: I counted 19 Dollar Generals within site of the route and I probably missed some. By BDR’s official total of 1,300 miles, that’s a Dollar General every 68.4 miles. Don’t overpack. No less than three hundred people asked me if I’ve ever seen “The Long Way Around”. I have not. I’m sure it’s good. I’m also sure doing it yourself is ever more good. Obi-wan Kenobi did not invent motorcycle travel. You mean I rode for days to get from Hancock to... Hancock? Riding, Routing: I saw precious few bikes on route; a half-dozen in central Vermont in towns, and one v-strom in NH I think, barreling down the middle of the road making no effort to yield ground. Forgiven. Yall are either doing the route on your couch or hiding from me, the latter of which I understand. Get out there and do it. Tucker Mnt There were a few deer, maybe three-to-four hundred, who joined me on the route. Either due to the more-or-less nonstop off-pitch singing in my helmet or less encroachment further north, they seemed to tire of my company through Sections 4-8. Deer need more natural predators on the east coast. There are an enormous amount of “Road Closed”, “Road Closed to Thru Traffic” signs on the route; ignore this unpermitted and illegal signage. Just kidding. But it’s very hard to tell which “Road Closed” signs are legit or the result of locals trying to limit traffic. The “Road Closed” signs themselves varied in level of officiality from ‘bought on amazon’ to ‘finger painted by an inebriated child’. In most cases there was no discernible reason why the road would be closed. This became a cry-wolf scenario since the route would basically be unrideable in NY and MA due to “closures”, most of which were, as mentioned, less than official looking. I just went slow through these areas. In one case the Road Closed sign was legit due to work on the dirt road. As soon as I saw dudes at work in heavy equipment, I gassed it, using their machines as a ramp to sail over their heads and out of reach. No, I pulled clear off the road, shut down, and waited 20 minutes for them to do their thing. I chatted with one of the workers and he said that he wasn’t planning to let me through, but appreciated me staying clear and being patient, so let me pass. Be respectful. Everybody’s human, at least for now. I accidently rode this cable-cut for longer than I care to admit before realizing I was off the route. It was the best part. Dirt roads outside of National Forests are populated; anytime I saw mailboxes I took it down a gear, and I don’t mean to accelerate / wheelie. I also saw about a dozen “Motorcycles Slow Down” many more generic “Slow Down like your kids live here” signs on dirt roads. I questioned whether these applied to me at all, but eventually took them as a personal request to not be jerk. This was out of character. I did not ride the VT class 4 routes or the “hard” sections north of MA/VT border. I have no regrets. But you should do it. Why not ride the hard sections? My three primary goals for this trip were 1. Don’t get hurt; 2. Don’t get hurt; and 3. Don’t break the bike, all of which would potentially end the trip, or drastically change it and my means of getting home. Subsequent goals were 1. Make good decisions; 2. Have fun. If I want to push a fully loaded KLR to the max I’ll do it on single track near home. That way my wife only has to drive 20 minutes to haul a folded up KLR out of the woods, and 15 minutes to visit me in the hospital. I’ll get my jollies pounding dirtbikes into the ground elsewhere. Rangeley Lake, Maine I did do the hard sections in S2 (NY) and S3 (MA). They were challenging, but didn’t go on for very long and I never felt like I would drop the bike. But it sounded and felt like the KLR could not endure that abuse indefinitely however, and I knew I had to ride that horse home. Make good decisions. But like I said, you should do it anyway. Living With It: I was eventually lubricating the chain three times a day. Bring chain lube. Either due to age, dust, or something else, the chain on the KLR made an unceasing racket all day. It also picked up an additional 3/4in of slack on the trip. As simple as adjusting the chain is, I decided not to risk touching tools to the bike and incurring any ‘whoops’ penalties and just delt with the slack and the weird throttle response. I wore the same pants for ten days straight. Once I got home I washed them thoroughly, then threw them out. The only, and I mean the only way I found to dry gear without the benefit of heavy machinery is: 1. Wear it on your body; 2. Get to a campsite early, setup and hang everything out to dry in the afternoon before sunset; 3. Strap it to the pelican case on back of the bike and flip it over every few hours. This is the way. Your body and the bike is a bio-machinery metabolism/gasoline powered drier. Heat from your body plus wind from the bike dries clothes, but you have to wear them wet. As for drying a tent, please don’t wear it: instead I would get to a campsite or clearing during the day, setup the tent as usual without staking it, then lift it into a tree off the ground with a rope and carabiner. The airflow, sun, and being off the ground dried it out within two hours, and apparently provided a lot of other people with entertainment as they asked themselves “WTF is wrong with that guy?”. I explained it was a hammock. Nothing dries overnight or in the morning. At the end of the day all riding gear went into a waterproof rolltop bag since condensation collects on everything overnight, making it even more wet. I rode the route alone; I got the impression on the route I was completely alone for miles and miles. Like, in a small boat in the middle of the Pacific alone, especially in areas of NH and Maine. So much so I started calling the KLR the USS Hickory. I saw few if any vehicle tracks for long stretches. I heard no signs of human activity for hours of roadside breaks. I think much of that feeling was projection though; I bet these areas are more trafficked than it seems. I even bet that if you got hurt someone would find you in a week or two. If I were to do it over again: I’d run it North to South. I live a half-day ride from Hancock NY; I feel like I would have stopped and smelled the roses a little more in Maine, NH, and Vermont early on (the furthest reaches from home and the hardest areas to visit again) before get-home-itis struck. That said, Hancock NY isn’t much of a “goal” destination. I don’t mean to offend Hancockians, but a little clearing in the woods in New Hampshire was a more exciting destination. Probably the most low-key end to a 1,300+ mile endeavor, but it was great 68lbs of gear on the KLR, including bags, mounts, pelican case and such, felt like I was dragging a body through the woods. That said, I think I’m at the point of diminishing returns on the cost vs weight curve. I’d have to spend on the order of $50/lb or more to cut more weight while sacrificing durability, and I’m not into doing that. But you should do it. The trip instantly became much more enjoyable when I took the clock off the handlebars. No more synthetic t-shirts. I hate them; they stink after 1 day of use and feel terrible to wear. I brought three, washed one every day to dry on the pelican case/drying rack the following day, and quit doing that after three days. I bought cheap cotton shirts in Vermont knowing I couldn’t rely on them for warmth when wet and drying them would take a long time on the drying rack. No regrets. I do not own a single piece of waterproof anything. Freshly waxed/sno-sealed boots? Sodden on day two. Rain pants and jacket? Wind protection only. Bright-blue rubber lobster-claw gloves I pull over my riding gloves? Inexplicably permeable. I will need to fix all of this rain-proofiness in the future. Tourmaster, Frogg Toggs, Drytex, everything “waterproof” has failed me so far, even when brand new, with the exception of the Nelson Rigg panniers and WalMart rolltop bags. I’d go the backpacker route and just use non-waterproof gear that dries fast, it would be cheaper after all, except than when backpacking you’re generating a lot of heat to stay warm but while on the bike I get cold fast at any speed, even in mild temperatures. I’m not sure how to fix that. If you have questions, fire away. I’m always glad to help, but purposefully left out details on the route because you should just go do it.