NEBDR on a DRZ400 and KLR650

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by cassimonee, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    This is my first ride report and we had a wild 10 day trip on the NEBDR in October 2020 that I wanted to share with you all. Each day will be a new post so bear with me as I get them all uploaded.

    A bit of an introduction - Elliot currently lives in Germany and we were supposed to go to Iceland in September but the coronavirus thwarted those plans. We decided to do the NEBDR instead so I found a cheap KLR650 with amazing offroad credentials and bought it for him to ride, while I rode the DRZ400S he had left with me before going to Germany.

    Elliot has been riding for 5 years, most of those on the DRZ on trails in WV so he had some good off road experience. I had been riding for 3 years, one of those on the DRZ, and had completed all but one section of the MABDR which was the majority of my off road experience. However the DRZ is a pretty confidence inspiring bike, and I had taken on the expert sections of the MABDR with little issue, so I felt good about doing the NEBDR.

    Photo of Zed (the DRZ400S)
    DSC_7396 edit.jpg

    Photo of the KLR650 (I've dubbed it "Not Your Father's KLR")
    DSC_0468 edit.jpg
    #1
  2. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 1 - Thursday 10/8/20

    We had decided a couple weeks prior to run the NEBDR route North to South to hopefully catch the wave of fall colors and avoid the cooler weather in Maine. This meant we had a couple days of travel to get to the northern tip in Maine. Our first campground was in Promised Land State Park, east of Scranton PA. I left work around noon since this was a four hour ride ahead from our start in Alexandria VA . The days were getting shorter and I really didn’t want to ride after dark so this seemed to leave enough time for stops. I loaded up the DRZ and Elliot finished packing the KLR, and we were off by 1pm. Our first gas stop was just north of Harrisburg, PA. My speedo had been cutting in and out and I thought it was a loose wire, but as we pulled into the gas station Elliot asked me why my lights were so dim. I tried to restart the bike after filling with gas and nothing. Looked like I had a dead battery.


    I pushed the bike to the corner of the parking lot and called up Off Road Motorsports and Cycle, very conveniently only 3 miles down the road, and bought another battery. I’d been through this enough times to know it was the stator, battery, or regulator rectifier not a loose wire. If it was the battery, our problems were solved with my purchase of a new one. If it was the stator or regulator rectifier, our journey was over but a new battery would provide enough juice for us to get back to DC.

    Our parking lot work station:
    IMG_1074.JPG

    I started taking off the old battery to send with Elliot to the store so he could have them check if it was any good. However as I removed the wires, I noticed that the ring terminal for the regulator/rectifier had broken off the wire and it wasn’t even connected to the battery! That’s why the battery was dead - it wasn’t recharging. I removed the wire and sent it with Elliot as well so they could put a new ring terminal on the wire. I was so excited - the trip wasn’t over already!

    Accessing the battery with the fairings removed:
    IMG_1497.JPG

    Elliot came back after an hour with two fully charged batteries and the new wire, so I threw the bike back together and we were able to continue. Unfortunately it was almost 6pm and we had two hours of riding left, which meant most of it was spent in the dark. The temperature also dropped severely as we climbed into the Poconos and we saw at least 3 deer on the side of the road in the dark - very scary. The ambient temp was around 45, but in the dark and with a windchill we were freezing even after putting all our warm gear on. We got to the campsite without further issue, set up camp and went straight to sleep.
    #2
  3. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 2 - Friday 10/9/20

    We woke up early knowing we had a long day ahead to get to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The DRZ battery was still fully charged which was a relief, and meant we had solved the electrical issue. It was nice to have the spare battery around though if something else did happen. While cooking breakfast, I realized I had forgotten the pot grip so we added that as well as warmer socks for Elliot to the list of must-buys for the day. Thankfully there wasn’t a lot of interstate riding on the route I had planned for the day and we were both looking forward to traveling through some New England towns.

    We crossed the Hudson River via the Fort Clinton Bridge at route 202 which was stunning. I regretfully didn’t get any photos or video. We continued East via the roads selected by the GPS then took route 7 north to Pittsfield. After checking our progress, it was evident that we weren’t going to reach our original camping destination and needed to find somewhere closer and quickly so we returned to the interstate briefly.

    Along Route 7, Catskill Mountains in the distance:
    IMG_1084.JPG

    I knew how popular the area would be so I was worried about my choice of campground along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It was a first come first serve area and we would be getting there around 6pm so I thought we might have a chance.

    On route to the campground, we passed one other campground but it was full and I was starting to really worry. We were both scouting for a stealth campsite as a backup because it was getting dark and we didn’t have time to try to find a developed campground elsewhere.

    When we arrived at Hancock Campground, sure enough it was completely full. It was split into two areas - drive in sites or walk in tent sites. We were sitting in the parking area for the tent sites discussing our options when a guy walked up and said that he and his friends were leaving their site. They didn’t want to camp that night and we could have their already paid for site. Lucky!! They had to take down their tents but after an hour it was all ours. My chain was a little loose so I adjusted that while waiting.

    Elliot set up the tent while I started cooking dinner. The site had a bear box which was great and there was leftover wood from the prior group. It had been a long riding day though so we went to bed soon after dinner.

    Our campsite:
    IMG_1087.JPG
    #3
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  4. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 3 - Saturday 10/10/20

    We were finally supposed to get to the NEBDR today and so I was pretty excited. We woke up to a very chilly morning but the sky was bright and only slightly overcast so we knew it would warm up quickly. There was a beautiful river right next to the campsite and I anticipated not having water available at our planned primitive campsite for the evening so I filtered some water while Elliot broke down camp.

    The river and water filtering equipment:
    IMG_1499.JPG

    We also expected a decent amount of traffic with it being great weather on a Saturday and tried to leave semi early around 8:30. We were passing by Mount Washington as we headed north so I checked the weather status but the wind was too strong and the auto road was closed to all vehicles. After leaving the White Mountains we continued North to the end of Section 8 of the NEBDR (our start).

    Selfie of us in the fall foliage along the Kancamagus Highway:
    GOPR4005 edit.jpg
    The closest we got to Mt Washington (visible in the distance):
    DSC_1114 edit.jpg

    As we were traveling along one of the backroads, I saw a couple cars stopped on both sides of the road. It was reminiscent of how tourists in the National Parks would pull off to the sides of the road anytime an animal (especially a bear) was visible. I looked around and sure enough there was a female moose in the adjacent cow pasture just standing there, unbothered by the lot of us staring at her. It was pretty cool to actually see a moose considering how many warning signs there are for moose in New England.

    We made a right hand turn onto East Inlet Road just a few miles from the border of Canada and it finally felt like the real trip had begun. We started ripping down the gravel to get to the true end of Section 8.. A few miles in, I looked back and didn’t see Elliot behind me after a slightly more difficult section. I turned around and went back to find him wrestling with the luggage. The KLR had vibrated away a couple screws holding the rear luggage rack down and it was flopping around hitting Elliot in the back while he was riding (especially on the bumps). We were able to adjust the Mosko Moto straps and tie down the rack to continue. As we were standing there fixing the bike a local hunter came by and warned us about some rough thunderstorms coming in soon. I checked the GPS and we only had 4 miles to go to the clearing at the northern tip so we decided to go for it.

    As we pulled into the clearing at the end of Section 8, the clouds were definitely looking darker and we were seeing some droplets spitting from the sky. I quickly took a couple photos and we hopped back on the bikes to retrace the roads we had come in on. After a few minutes it started to rain harder and it was obvious it was about to pour. We put on all our rain gear and made sure the bags were properly rainproofed, then took off again. Almost immediately it started pouring so hard that we could only see 30 feet in front of us, and lighting was cracking seemingly next to us. This area was all barren trees that had lost their leaves a couple weeks prior and it felt incredibly exposed.

    Photo in the clearing at the end of Section 8:
    GOPR4008 edit.jpg

    By the time we got to the end of the gravel road it was only drizzling but we knew there was no way we would make it to the goal campsite near Rangeley. The area of Maine we were in was pretty sparsely populated, but we headed back to Pittsburg to see if anyone had any motels or cabins available to avoid camping in the thunderstorms that were projected to continue through the night. We stopped at the first place we saw which was Partridge Cabins but they were totally full due to the holiday weekend. However the owner was incredibly kind and called a couple other people in the area but they were full as well.

    Not wanting to keep riding, we called Mountain View Cabins and Campground and they had camping available, as well as hot showers and a laundry room. This seemed like our best option so we went there. The showers were wonderful and it was a nice campground. We were able to dry off our gear and hide at the bathhouse out of the rain while setting up camp between the intermittent showers.
    #4
  5. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
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    CurveAlice, Oregon
    Nice write up. Brave of you to start this in October! I just bought a DRZ, can't wait to do some camping with it. What wind screen do you have on yours? Are you happy with it?
    #5
  6. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 4 - Sunday 10/11/20

    When we woke up the rain showers had passed and a beautiful blue sky day was ahead of us. We had some ground to make up so we continued along section 8 towards Rangely, which was the start of section 7. The fall colors had long passed in the areas we rode through and there was a windchill of 28 degrees when we were in camp. If you’ve rode a motorcycle before, you know it only gets colder with the windchill from riding. We were stopping pretty often to warm hands off the exhausts.

    Barren trees of Section 8:
    DSC_1125 edit.jpg

    One of the roads along Section 8 has a large washout that appears out of nowhere. I rode around the corner, saw the huge hole and locked up the rear tire, skidding to a stop just a couple feet before the washout. That wouldn’t have been good to fall in. I backed up and followed Elliot into the ditch to the side that allowed us to pass. Shortly after that we arrived in Rangely and had finished Section 8!

    The washout:
    IMG_1127.JPG

    For scale:
    IMG_1128.JPG

    We grabbed a quick lunch then continued onto Section 7 of the NEBDR. The lakes of Maine were gorgeous and still hanging onto some of the fall colors. There was a huge ATV/snowmobile community throughout New England that we weren’t used to, and it was really cool to see everyone out on the ATVS and the little trail signs everywhere.

    One of the beautiful lakes we passed:
    DSC_1218 edit.jpg

    At Patch Mountain Road, I had the first off-road tip over of the trip. I got too high on the side of a rut and the rear wheel spun out with the bike going sideways. I was unharmed and essentially stepped off the bike. We got it righted and although the hill wasn’t super steep, I was having a heck of a time with the clutch. I eventually got it started and made it to the top of the hill, but it felt like I was moving really quick. Thinking I was in 2nd gear, I downshifted and still wasn’t feeling the expected engine compression. I downshifted two more times before I reached the limit. No wonder that hill climb was so hard - I had been in 4th gear!

    Nap time:
    IMG_1503.JPG

    At this point it was almost 4pm and there were too many miles left to complete all of Section 7 before dark. I had been wanting to camp at Crocker Pond Campground in the National Forest, so we split off Section 7 past Hutchinson Road and headed Northwest. There was a burn ban in effect except in campgrounds, which was a pretty good incentive to camp there. It was regularly getting cold at night and the campfire was worth paying for despite how many dispersed sites were readily available in the area.

    Our campsite:
    IMG_1137.JPG

    The campground was relatively empty which was surprising for a holiday weekend. We arrived before sunset and were able to see the gorgeous fall leaves reflected in the still pond - this was the first truly spectacular display of fall color we had experienced thus far. We set up camp and took some photos of the starts then retreated to the campfire to stay warm. Around 9PM a National Forest Ranger showed up to check that people had paid for the campsites. We had paid of course so we didn’t have an issue, but the person next to us hadn’t paid yet and got a warning. This campground was pretty far away in the middle of the forest, and this was the first time I had ever seen a ranger checking slips at a NF Campground. I always pay, but it was a reminder that you never know where they’ll show up!

    Milky Way over Crocker Pond:
    DSC_1245 edit.jpg
    #6
  7. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Yeah I'd say October was just skimming the edge of too late, but the beautiful fall colors made it worth it! You're gonna love the DRZ - I have the Bajaworx windscreen on mine. It makes a huge difference for those highway days
    #7
  8. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 5 - Monday 10/12/20

    We woke up the next morning to an incredible shallow fog blanketing the pond. Our neighbor had a paddle board and floated to the middle of the pond - I was ecstatic because I was able to grab a few awesome photos with an actual person for scale.

    Paddle boarder on the pond:
    DSC_1308 edit.jpg

    We packed up and headed towards Gorham, NH to get started on Section 6. I checked the Mount Washington Auto Road status and it was closed to motorcycles due to wind so we weren’t able to reach the summit on this trip. Jefferson Notch road was really pretty, and then we continued south to Bear Notch Road. On XB411 we encountered a freshly fallen tree that we had to go through the ditch to get around. I was a bit confused as to why this road had an easier alternate route - it was well graded and certainly easier than some of the other sections we had passed through on Section 7 that didn’t have go-arounds.

    Downed tree:
    IMG_1169.JPG

    Amazing foliage on XB411:
    DSC_1360 edit.jpg

    We continued to follow Section 6 to Sandwich Notch Road which was super fun with all the drainage bumps - we tried to get air a couple times, and it was a really nice well-packed dirt road. As we were traveling along Sandwich Notch we realized we wouldn’t be able to finish the whole section (again). Cutting off parts of routes was becoming our theme. There was a campground just near the start of Section 5 I wanted to reach, so we programmed the GPS to take us there.

    Stop along Sandwich Notch:
    DSC_1409 edit.jpg

    We essentially took the GPS to the start of Section 5 then followed the route to the campsite which was just off Tucker Mountain Road. This ara was heavy with covered bridges, and we crossed two different bridges. Unfortunately for us, my GPS unit routed us on a “shortcut” between Bowen Road and Tucker Mountain Road called the Woodchuck Trail. I knew this campsite was supposed to be off a Class 4 road so when we started climbing an entirely mud hill I assumed it was part of the route. This then transitioned to an entirely leaf covered uneven hill where we couldn’t see anything below the leaves, so we just gunned it up the hill. It seemed like no one had traveled on this road for weeks. We started to head down hill and had a slope of baby head rocks ahead of us. We both made it down without any issues, but I was a bit worried for the rest of the route if it was all like that.

    Covered bridge:
    IMG_1505.JPG

    Baby head rock slope on the Woodchuck Trail:
    IMG_1192.JPG

    We made the left onto Tucker Mountain Road which was in significantly better condition than that trail we had just been on. There were a couple tough spots but it wasn’t too bad and my confidence was restored for the future NEBDR sections. We arrived at an info sign about preserving the land, which is where the coordinates for the camp site were marked. There was a little mud road that continued up behind the sign over a couple small hills that we followed until we arrived on top of a bald knob with amazing views in all directions. There was an enormous 20 foot diameter fire ring at the top and evidence that many people brought their ATVS and off road vehicles up this hill to tear around and party.

    Sunset on top of the hill:
    IMG_1194.JPG

    It was a Monday night and I bet Elliot a bottle of whiskey that no one would come up there on a weeknight. 30 minutes later I lost the bet as a couple local guys showed up on an ATV. We chatted with them a bit and they took a smoke around our fire. They told us there were a couple other motorcyclists camped up there on a Saturday a couple weeks prior. The poor motorcyclicsts were unaware of the locals’ enthusiasm for the site and set up camp just before a raging 80 person party rolled in. They reportedly hid in their tent pretending it wasn’t happening, probably trying to get some sleep. We thought that was hilarious - I would love to know who that was!

    We had a couple more visitors, one jeep and two ATVs - this seemed to also be a hookup spot. After the last ATV left I took some photos of our campfire with the Milky Way in the background. Unfortunately when I checked the weather it was showing rain starting in the middle of the night so we wouldn’t be able to see the stunning sunrise I was hoping for. We made sure everything was ready for rain overnight, staked down the additional guy lines on the tent, then went to bed.

    Milky Way over our fire:
    DSC_1484 edit.jpg
    #8
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  9. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 6 - Tuesday 10/13/20

    As expected, we woke up to cloudy skies and rain. We packed the bikes and bundled up with the expectation of being thoroughly drenched by the end of the day. Riding in torrential rain wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to encounter on our first day of taking on the infamous Vermont Class 4 roads along Section 5.

    All bundled up in rain gear:
    IMG_1506.JPG

    Since our campsite was right off Tucker Mountain Road, we started the day on Class 4 roads. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the road was mostly unaffected by the rain, and we had no trouble with this road and the following Class 4 roads as we continued West along Section 5. I think the area must have been dry and the water helped actually provide better traction by clumping the ground together rather than the loose dusty roads from before the rain.

    Class 4 Road sign:
    IMG_1208.JPG

    We came upon the Brookefield floating bridge just before lunch and I was disappointed we didn’t have a larger group with us to make the bridge bounce around while crossing. Elliot was kind enough to stop on the bridge and let me take his photo in the middle of the pouring rain. Just past the bridge we headed to The Common Cafe in Northfield for some food and to warm up a bit out of the rain. The food was delicious and we ended up cutting off a bit of the route between Northfield Rd and Warren Mtn Road to make our lunch stop.

    Floating Bridge:
    DSC_1507 edit.jpg

    Northfield Common Cafe:
    IMG_1207.JPG

    As we turned onto Lincoln Gap Rd, we immediately saw a sign saying the road was closed ahead. We kept going a little ways and pulled over on a side road trying to figure out whether to reroute or keep going. Almost immediately a guy pulled up in his van and asked if we were okay, said he was a fellow rider that lived on the road. We asked him if the road was actually closed and he told us that they had just put the signs up the day prior and hadn’t closed anything yet. He said we should go for it, but to just watch for the leaves.

    Since he was a local, we of course took his advice and he was definitely right about the leaves - the entire road was covered and in the rain it looked like it would be extra slick. The grade going through the gap was one of the steepest I had been on in recent memory and I was upset about the rainstorm because it was obvious the view would have been incredible when cresting the hill had it been a clear day.

    When we reached the bottom of the hill, Elliot started flashing his lights at me to stop. We pulled over in a parking lot and he said that he had heard a loud pop and suddenly couldn’t use his rear brake. The rear brake area was smoking and when we took a closer look, one of the pads was completely missing! The rotor was also shot from the other pad wearing against it. Since it was just the rear brake and we were soaked, we decided this could be a problem for the next day to solve.

    I had booked a motel earlier in the day in the little ski town of Killington, VT. After Liberty Hill Road we cut off the remainder of Section 5 and headed south on route 100. When we arrived at the motel, we were very pleasantly surprised to find a hot tub at the hotel in addition to the warm showers and comfy not-a-camp-pad bed. I called a motorcycle dealer only 20 minutes away in Rutland and they had a set of brake pads in stock for the KLR (super lucky) so I told them we would be by the next day.

    Liberty Hill Rd:
    IMG_1214.JPG

    The entrance to the hot tub - EXPERTS ONLY :lol3:lol3:lol3
    IMG_1215.JPG
    #9
  10. Pavement Optional

    Pavement Optional Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2019
    Oddometer:
    71
    Location:
    CurveAlice, Oregon
    Thanks. I have the stock screen from my Vstrom kicking around, thinking about trying to mount that on the Z. Hey, it's paid for....

    Great shot of the Milky Way over the lake BTW.
    #10
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  11. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 7 - Wednesday 10/14/20

    Without the need to pack up camp, we were able to leave the hotel pretty early to head to Rutland to Central Vermont Motorcycles. We bought the pads and changed them out in the parking lot, in the process discovering that the piston itself had been pressing against the rotor which was the cause of the smoke the previous day. Whoops. The piston definitely needed replacing, but the pads could be used with it as it was to provide a better margin of safety than before. While at the shop, we asked them if they could adjust the chain for us as well since I embarrassingly forgot to check the axle nut size for the KLR and didn’t have the correct tools to do the adjustment on the road. Another whoops.

    Before/After brake pads:
    IMG_1509.JPG

    By 10am we were all put back together and ready to get back on the road. Not wanting to miss out on the remainder of the Class 4 roads in Vermont, we headed to Bridgewater and jumped onto Mt Moses Road as our start to Section 4. It seemed like this would be another day of not finishing the entire section so we prioritized the Class 4 “fun” roads as we called them. I also still owed Elliot a whiskey, so we stopped at a liquor store along the way. We ended up buying a Maple Cream liquor instead of whiskey though. When in Vermont, you have to have the maple.

    Mt Moses Rd was definitely the longest Class 4 road we were on (around 6-7 miles) and ⅓ of the way through the route we came upon a hill climb with a pretty badly washed out center. I picked a bad line and ended up against the hill on one side of the road. Starting again was going to be pretty difficult and there was only one good line to the top of the hill. I was determined to do it myself so I brushed off Elliot’s offers to ride the DRZ to the top.

    Stuck against the hill:
    IMG_1222.JPG

    Elliot in the middle of the washout - Who needs lines when you have long legs?
    IMG_1224.JPG

    I started off well and it seemed like I had it, but the rear tire hit a large exposed piece of bed rock and slid sideways, making a 180 degree turn back downhill. I wasn’t properly covering the clutch and whiskey throttled into another opposite 180 degree turn into the bushes on the side of the hill. I was totally unscathed, again simply stepping off the bike. There was a large “S” mark on the hill showing my path of travel.

    The S mark, faintly visible:
    IMG_1227.JPG
    The bike was too far onto the side slope of the road for either of us to drag it out so Elliot got on Zed and I pushed on the rear rack to slowly climb out of the bushes. Elliot’s longer legs were key to our success and after a few minutes the DRZ was back up on the road, chilling with the KLR.

    View from the bushes:
    IMG_1229.JPG

    Due to previous experiences with get-offs, I knew I needed to sit and calm down before we continued riding to get my head back in the right space. If I tried to get back on the bike too soon it wouldn’t go well - we still had 5 miles of Class 4 road ahead of us and I needed to be entirely focused on riding without the excess adrenaline in my system. We sat around for a while snacking and the weather was gorgeous, so we weren’t too upset to be sitting in the sun instead of riding.

    After around 45 minutes the adrenaline had worn off and I was ready to continue so we hopped back on the bikes. At the first downhill I noticed my front brake was feeling weird. It felt like there was no pressure and then suddenly it would grab after a couple pumps of the brake lever. I was worried something had been bent in the crash or air had got into the line so I checked the lever and looked for any leaking fluid but didn’t see anything. The bike was still rideable, I just had to make sure to pump the lever a couple times before braking. Elliot rode it and couldn’t figure it out either, so we kept moving along.

    Beautiful views on one of the roads:
    DSC_1530 edit.jpg

    We were both pretty hungry so after finishing Mt Moses Rd we took the Colby Pond Trail Bypass to hit Ludlow. We had delicious Mexican food at a place called Tacos Tacos, and after riding on pavement it finally dawned on me as to what had happened to the bike - the front rotor was bent. The front brake had still been handling fine though (with the proper amount of lever pumps first) so we continued on Section 4 and hit Icebed Road. As we were doing the downhill on loose rock, I realized that the front brake was getting worse. I pretty much rode the whole Class 4 without a front brake because the pads were being pushed out too far and too quickly.

    Relief from finishing Mt Moses Rd in one piece:
    IMG_1511.JPG

    Lunch stop:
    IMG_1233.JPG

    We set an ultimatum that either I fixed the rotor or we would need to end the trip. I didn’t have service to call Central Vermont Motorcycles but Rutland was only 30 minutes away so we took Route 7 north to the store. Unfortunately they didn’t have any rotors in stock which meant no new rotor and they told me they couldn’t bend a rotor back. I did some google searching and found a youtube video showing how to use an adjustable wrench to straighten a rotor so I made a pact with Elliot that if I couldn’t bend back the rotor at our campsite that evening that would be it for the trip.

    We took route 7 back south and followed the section 4 tracks through Mt Tabor onto Forest Service Road 10. There were dispersed campsites along the road and we found a nice one at the top of the mountain. I set to work fixing the rotor and in less than 5 minutes I had bent it back to near perfect shape. All that worry over such an easy fix - but at least the trip wasn’t over!

    Straight edge against rotor - it was around 1/4" bent:
    IMG_1241.JPG

    I started making food and noticed movement around the site. Watching closer, it was a little field mice darting around trying to steal our food! I watched the little guy climb onto the DRZ and start rooting around up towards the seat and airbox which was no good. I tried to scare him off by starting the engine and revving the throttle but he kept darting in and out of the site throughout the evening. We made sure to hang a good bear bag to keep him out.

    We cracked open the Maple liquor from earlier and I started heating up water to mix hot chocolate and the liquor. It was delicious and we finished the whole bottle sitting around the fire. It was a good way to end the day, especially after our earlier distress when we had thought it might be our last day on the road.

    Maple Liquor Hot Chocolate:
    IMG_1243.JPG
    #11
  12. ejm4

    ejm4 Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2018
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    710
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    Capital of Pa
    At first I didn’t pay any attention to your handle. When I saw the photo of your bike, I went back to your handle and was like... I follow her on Insta!
    #12
  13. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
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    Alexandria, VA
    Thanks for following along! The DRZ is pretty recognizable, I'd wager there isn't another one like it haha
    #13
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  14. GravelRider

    GravelRider AKA max384 Supporter

    Joined:
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    6,900
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    North by South
    Great ride report! Looking forward to reading the rest of the story. I was planning on riding the NEBDR this year, but Covid messed up those plans. Next year I'll need to decide between the Trans Labrador or the NEBDR, as I doubt my wife will let me do both.
    #14
    disco fred likes this.
  15. Long Trail

    Long Trail ADV Ready

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    200
    Location:
    Stuckin, VT
    Glad to see our class 4 roads added to your adventure. Mt. Moses is a really fun one due a lot to its length but there are several more around this little area of the state. I was just at that intersection of Liberty Hill and Forsha roads a couple days back (I live near Rutland so I spend a lot of time on these trails). CVM is the only motorcycle dealer right around this area anymore, glad they could help you out with the brake pads.

    Enjoying the read, especially with the pics of places I recognize. It’s pretty cool the BDR team put together a route that is within a short distance to my home. I’ve met a few people traveling it over the summer while out riding.
    #15
    Amphib likes this.
  16. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Thanks! I really enjoyed the NEBDR, but I would say I had two dream trips align for this one. I had wanted to go to New England in peak fall season for years and getting to do so on an awesome backcountry route sealed the deal for me
    #16
    GravelRider likes this.
  17. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Mt Moses was certainly fun - there was a nice mix of two track in with the hill climbs. I'm a wee bit jealous that you live so close to all those awesome roads, and all the ski areas in the winter. We were pretty lucky with CVM for sure!

    I bet you'll see even more people on the route once COVID passes. The BDR team put together a fantastic route :)
    #17
    Long Trail likes this.
  18. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 8 - Thursday 10/15/20

    It was a chilly but clear morning and we packed up slowly. As we descended back down the mountain the temperature increased by 10 degrees - I hadn’t realized our elevation had changed so drastically. We didn’t have time to continue on Section 4 so we headed straight to the start of Section 3 in Readsboro to catch the last Vermont Class 4 road.

    View from one of the overlooks on Mt Tabor Rd:
    DSC_1552 edit.jpg

    West Hill Dr was more of a rock scramble than I typically like, but it was still fun. Afterwards we got to weave back and forth under a powerline rightaway - I think we crossed under at least 4 times. As we followed the route towards Savoy and Mt Greylock, we accidentally missed the turn for Adams Rd and Bannis Rd which meant no more Class 4 roads ahead. We stopped in Cheshire, MA to get our bearings and chatted with a local ADV rider who lived in the town about the NEBDR and other great off roading opportunities nearby. After talking, we grabbed a quick lunch then headed off to the Mt Greylock loop.

    West Hill Dr:
    IMG_1264.JPG

    One of the powerline rightaways:
    DSC_1563 edit.jpg

    There was no one on the gravel road but there were a decent number of people at the summit and along the paved road. We walked around a bit at the summit but it was already mid afternoon and we were pretty tired. Rather than continue on Section 3, we decided to head to a campsite near Sections 1 and 2 where we could leave our site for the two following nights and use it as a basecamp to hit both Sections 1 and 2.

    Overlook on the way to the summit:
    IMG_1279.JPG

    We followed the GPS towards the Catskills and crossed the Rip Van Winkle Bridge during sunset. It was a stunning bridge with amazing views all around. We followed part of Section 2 towards Kaaterskill Falls and took 214 south to Phoenicia, NY to the free Allaben Campground. The fall colors through the Catskills seemed to be a peak and were gorgeous as we wove through the mountains. Unfortunately the next day was projected to rain which meant it would be difficult to see anything. We were extra happy that we wouldn’t need to tear down camp in the rain in the morning or set up in the rain in the evening.
    #18
  19. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 9 - Friday 10/16/20

    We woke up and packed what we needed for the day on the bikes. I was excited because we would have unloaded bikes to deal with on the offroad sections. Fate wasn’t with us though because while we were warming up the bikes, the KLR headlamp suddenly died. The other lights and blinkers worked fine, but the speedo and headlight weren’t working. I was pretty familiar with the wiring on the bike after fixing some of the issues from the previous owner, so I knew both light and speedo were on the same circuit and the fuse must have blown.

    We took off the seat and replaced the fuse and the light worked again, so we started the bikes thinking the problem was resolved. Not even a minute later the fuse blew again so there must be a ground somewhere. It was raining and we didn’t want to ride far with no lights on the bike, so we resolved to go to Kaaterskill Falls and hike around rather than ride Section 2 of the NEBDR.

    Bikes in the rain at the start of the day:
    IMG_1304.JPG

    This ended up being the better decision for us because we were both pretty tired from riding the bikes so much each day. The fall colors were incredible and we hiked to the base of Kaaterskill Falls for the full experience. We continued along the trail to a couple overlooks but soon turned around due to the increasing rain. We stopped at a diner on the way back to camp then loaded up the KLR with bundles of wood to start a fire since everything was wet in the surrounding woods.

    Top of Kaaterskill Falls:
    DSC_1602 edit.jpg

    Lower Falls:
    DSC_1629 edit.jpg



    With a large roaring fire, a six pack, and an electrical gremlin in the KLR, we made the decision to head home to DC the next morning. We were both pretty tired and it would be nice to get home a day early and just rest on Sunday before I had to return to work Monday.

    Loading the KLR with wood:
    IMG_1305.JPG

    Attached Files:

    #19
  20. cassimonee

    cassimonee Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2017
    Oddometer:
    46
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Day 10 - Saturday 10/17/20

    We took the interstates back to DC in the interest of time to prevent being caught on the road after dark (which wasn’t an option with the KLR’s broken headlight). As is tradition, we stopped at a Waffle House on our last day to finish out the trip.

    Obligatory Waffle House photo:
    IMG_1310.JPG

    Afterthoughts (and Bonus Pics)

    I was sad we didn’t see the entire NEBDR (I’d say we ran about 50% of it) but the parts we rode were fantastic. If I did it again, I would recommend going the last week of September/first week of October to really get the best fall colors and weather. It was incredibly cold for the majority of our trip and going a little earlier may have helped that. The roads were in good condition and nothing had been closed, but it was on the way. I saw reports in Maine that 4 days after we passed through they received 6 inches of snow, so mid October really was on the cusp of too late. The only section we completed entirely was Section 8 and I think planning one section a day was too aggressive for us. We like to take things slow and eat a sit down lunch, plus camp setup and tear down takes time. We were also battling increasingly shorter daylight hours during the trip.

    I don’t have a ton of off road experience, but I’ve done almost all of the MABDR and I didn’t think the NEBDR was terribly difficult on the DRZ. Elliot felt the same on the KLR. I can see how the route would be more difficult though for the bigger bikes out there, and how the seasons could drastically affect the difficulty of some of the roads we were on.

    This was certainly an adventure between the weather and mechanical issues. Despite not completing the full NEBDR, both Elliot and I had an amazing journey through New England and we felt we had a good range of experiences in the time we were traveling. Neither of us had ever spent so much time in New England and we were awed by the beauty. This was another excellent route assembled by the BDR crew, and we really appreciate the work that went into creating the route.

    I’d also like to say that the Butler Map was incredibly helpful for us, especially when we had to plan days that cut off portions of the route. Being able to quickly look at the map and say “yay dirt!” or “ew pavement” was invaluable to choosing the best riding experience in the limited time we had.

    Covered bridge in NH:
    IMG_1112.JPG

    Bike tip over at the Kancamagus Highway:
    IMG_1151.JPG

    Rainy Gravel road through the farmland of Section 5:
    IMG_1204.JPG

    White Mountain NF Sign:
    DSC_1396 edit.jpg

    Pull off along Kancamagus Hwy:
    DSC_1449 edit.jpg

    Bridge on Mt Moses Rd of Section 4:
    DSC_1522 edit.jpg
    #20