sharing my dualsport long list plus tips

Discussion in 'Americas' started by red clay, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. red clay

    red clay Adventurer

    Oct 7, 2012
    For those of us in North America who love to ride dualsport motorcycles, we are fortunate to have access to large expanses of public land with dirt roads and trails that wind through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Only here can a person travel as far, as freely, and as safely across an entire continent.

    The purpose of this writing is to share some hard won knowledge about dualsport motorcycle adventure riding, accumulated during four solo rides. The first was in Alaska during August and September. The definition of BIG; mountains, mammals and mosquitoes. 100 + miles between gas stations and four wheeler trails into the wilderness for as far as you dare. The second ride began in San Francisco in November. South along the mountains to Death Valley and the Mojave followed by an early season snowy zigzag across the AZ. and N.M. desert. 35 days of mostly dirt. The motorcycle of choice for these first long rides was a dualsported Honda XR600R thumper. A go anywhere machine that is durable to the extreme.

    An XR650R came my way wearing a seven gallon tank, radiators and a great suspension. In mid July, the third ride started in the southern CO. rockies. For 64 days the Honda smoothed dirt roads and trails through CO. WY. MT. ID. WA. OR. and into northern CA. Nearly 8000 miles of dualsport adventure and fun. Ride number four began in early April out of central OR., a true desert tour across NV. UT. and N.M. Traveling on dirt daily through incredible scenery. How much water can you carry? 5200 very solo miles for 34 days.

    My style of riding includes: Stay on the dirt roads as much as possible. Explore as many side roads and trails as is reasonable. Remote and challenging terrain is the norm. Carry too much stuff. Pack five days worth of food. Keep two days worth in stock. Camp as far back in the woods or desert as possible. A poncho lean-to and a bivy sac. Up early and stop often. Turn around and ride that fun stretch of road again. Small pieces of large places strung together crossing the whole. Not for everyone but anyone can do it.
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    Whether you are off to do the Trans America Trail or the Find Your Own Trail, for two months or two days, the hope is that this information both inspires and enables.The accepted challenge is to travel with only what is packed onto a small motorcycle. The freedoms that traveling light allows and the landscape rolling by beneath your feet are the rewards. The following list of gear is long but fairly minimalist for solo travel, a balance between being prepared and being able to pack it all onto the bike. The amount of gear necessary for a months long trip is really about the same as is needed for a few nights excursion. Pack the bike and experiment on a local ride. Satisfy the want for adventure with the willingness to explore.

    America The Beautiful. Worth every ounce of effort.

    Assume small, lightweight and minimal on most items. Approximately 60 pounds of gear.

    Saddlebags(pair),Tank bags(pair),Tank(take with you everywhere:valuables)bag,Daypack backpack with waist belt and sternum strap

    Helmet,Motocross style riding boots,Knee/shin pads,Padded mesh riding jacket,Padded riding gloves,Balaclava hood,Chest warmer,Neck wrap,River sandles,Wide brim hat and baseball cap,1 pair long pants,1 pair shorts,3 pair socks and underwear,Capeline layer (thin) top and bottom,Polypropylene top midweight x 2,Polypropylene bibs midweight,Packable down coat,Warm hat,Polypropylene gloves

    Packable rain pants,Packable wind jacket,Goretex military raincoat,Goretex bibs (cabelo's guidewear),Rain mittens(aerostitch),Goretex socks (military surplus or sealskinz)

    Sleeping bag 20º down (The North Face Blue Kazoo),Sleeping pad and repair kit (Big Agnus),Goretex bivy sac (Outdoor Research Alpine Bivy),3 camo ponchos (military surplus),Two 60 ft lengths of dyneema string (Zingit),7 small aluminum tent pegs,Umbrella,Lightweight reflective orange safety vest,Maps, compass, GPS, cell phone,12 volt cell phone charger adapter,Binoculars and camera,Pocket knife,Handsaw folding (Corona),Trowel, plastic,LED headlamp and handheld bright LED light, using the same type of batteries,Extra tie down strap and buckle,(Alaska) bear spray

    Cookstove (MSR Whisperlite International),Cookstove fuel bottle 1 pint,Fire (lighters & waterproof matches),Quart pot with pan lid,Cup insulated with lid,Spoon,Can opener,Coffee filter stainless mesh (MSR),Silicone hot pad,Brass scrubby,Food in a 1 gallon container,4 two quart water bags,1 four quart water bag,Water purification filter (Katadyn Hiker),Trash compactor bags,Ziploc bag

    Deodorant, toothbrush, paste, comb, soap,Toilet paper,Bug head net,Bandana,Dust mask,Sunglasses,Earplugs,Small notebook & pencil

    First aid kit:
    ACE bandage,Gauze pads,Gauze wrap,Tape,Large & medium band-aids,Steri-strips,Antibiotic ointment,Aspirin,Antihistamines(bee stings),Water purification tablets,Heat packs air activated,Small candle,Tweezers,Finger nail clippers

    Tool kit:
    6 in 1 screwdriver,flat x2,phillips x2,nut driver
    Small 4" screwdriver
    12mm & 10mm swivel head ratchet wrenches
    8 mm box wrench
    14mm/17mm open end wrench
    Allen wrench set 1.5/2/2.5/3/4/5/6 mm
    6'' channel lock pliers
    6'' bent tip needlenose pliers
    4" wire cutter
    Spark plug socket
    Folding T-handle socket driver 1/4" (Motionpro)
    Socket extension 4"
    Socket swivel adapter
    Sockets 4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12 mm
    4" file
    Circuit/light tester
    Short hacksaw blade
    Brass brush
    Valve adjustment feeler gauges
    Sharpy marker

    Repair kit:# means wired/zipped/taped to frame or pan
    #Brake and clutch hand levers,#Clutch cable,#Pull throttle cable,#Shift lever,#Extra radiator hoses,#Fuel/vent/drain line long enough for siphoning,Set of Gripstuds,Carb jet selection (main & idle),Spare carb gaskets(bowl & top),Select extra nuts & bolts,Spare screws for boot buckles,Aluminum weld putty,Duct tape 2 ft wrapped onto flashlight,Electrical tape wrapped onto tools,Zipties,Stainless tie wire,Locktite,Silicone sealant,Superglue 2 single use packets,Electrical connectors,Electrical wire,Fuses,Spare spark plug,Two spare air filters,Air filter oil spray,WD 40,Quart of oil,Paper funnels,Blue towels,Latex gloves,Spare ignition coil,Chain masterlink(s),Headlight bulb,Stove repair kit,Sewing kit,Eyeglass repair kit with magnifying glass for reading jet size

    Flat tire kit:
    Axle wrench 27mm/17mm
    Tire iron x 2
    Tube valve stem tool
    Alcohol prep swabs
    Glue (x 2 or 3) & plenty of patches
    Tire air pump
    Air pressure gauge
    Spare front (21") tube
    Extra valve core & cap.


    Here is a list of dualsport adventure ''tips, concepts, ideas, and solutions''

    Pre-trip planning...time spent fine tuning the machine and the gear is time well spent.

    Unhindered body movement becomes important when the road gets rough, from straddling the tank for steep uphills to sliding back in the seat to lighten the front tire. Load the bike accordingly with a not too big tank bag, and the pile of gear on the rear fender kept low to keep it from knocking you around.

    The loaded motorcycle should be able to withstand falling over without crushing the airbox, the radiator or the stove inside the saddlebags.

    Solo travel without a kickstarter? A question to ponder.

    For the front: Dual trail lights plus the headlight. CAN YOU SEE ME NOW!! A life saver during the day and great for riding at night. For the back: an orange safety vest laced onto the backpack.

    Develop a habit of motorcycle inspection and maintainence! Clean air...clean oil...enough chain tension & lube...clutch and throttle cable adjustments and lube...tire air pressure...valve adjustment...tight bolts.

    Bolts will rattle loose BUT be careful not to over tighten bolts that thread into aluminum or magnesium, both of which strip easily, and the over use of lock-tite can cause issues. Better is a very small amount of anti-seize which prevents corrosion and allows the now lubricated bolt to seat properly. Use a permanent marker to place a stripe across the bolt head and the bolted piece. This mark can be checked visually and loose bolts will be obvious. My experience is that some bolts will loosen during the first few days and after a snugging or two, they settle in and stay.

    Work at home with the tools planned for the trip including repairing a flat tire. This will ensure that the proper tools are along for the ride. Mark the tools with bright tape or paint (blue is best). This indicates which tools stay in the kit while at home and helps prevent loss while on the road.

    Here is the rub on saddlebags. Tough AND waterproof is rare and expensive. Go with tough and line them with trash compactor bags. These provide durable, cheap, replaceable waterproofing and extras pack easily. Backpacks for dogs make great saddlebags and tankbags.

    Bulky walking shoes require a lot of premium space. All terrain ''river'' sandals are a slightly smaller option.

    Dress with all that is essential for riding in freezing weather including raingear...then...remove clothing until down to the few pieces to wear when it is 90 + degrees...then...put it all on the bike (good luck!)

    Sometimes the big riding coat is simply too hot to wear and it is too bulky to pack onto the bike. Here is one solution. A padded mesh coat that can be worn all of the time. In cool weather wear a light windbreaker that fits under the mesh coat. In the cold and rain, wear a rain jacket that is large enough to fit over the mesh coat. The layering system. It works.

    Carry raingear in the backpack. The weight and bulk is always on the body and access is quick and easy. Also, the soft pack is added crash protection for the spine.

    Goretex socks because boots rarely stay waterproof.

    Rain mittens with a squeegy on the back of the thumb (aerostitch). Great idea.

    Heated handgrips are the best 40$ investment I ever spent on the motorcycle.

    Gloves with a loose fit are warmer than snug ones.

    Protect your hands with solid handgaurds and/or kevlar knuckled gloves and protect your face with mirrors that fold away.

    In the winter...Do Not Get Wet...Adding wet to cold, wind and exposure dramatically compounds the dangers of hypothermia. One can go from comfort to calamity in a surprisingly short time.

    Street legal seriously knobby tires...rather be stuck on the pavement with them than stuck in the mud without them.


    A set of Gripstuds or a handful of short sheet metal screws for when there is no other choice than to cross a mountain pass that is pavement covered with snow and ice.

    Buy thick expensive tire tubes. For lessons on how to repair flat tires, again and again, buy thin cheap tubes.

    Get an arm powered air pump. CO2 tire inflation cartridges are not appropriate for a long trip. They are single use, meaning you will have to carry several and the cartridges are difficult to find in stores.

    Yes...slime repairs flat tires...but one heck of a gooey mess, just mix in some sand for an abrasive, tube eating nightmare. Given the option it is best to stick with the glue and patch. An alcohol swab for patch prep is essential and be sure to carefully inspect the inside of the tire for sharp objects(plural).

    Beware: A pile of discarded roofing shingles equals roofing nails(plural) in tires.

    If it looks steep or deep, it probably is...Scout it...Thru water, use sticks to mark the route. Lighten the load by carrying gear bags across the river or up/down the hill while scouting.

    Knowing when to turn around keeps the bike from falling down...mostly.

    Deep sand is made easier by lowering the tire pressure but be careful of hitting rocks with the rims.

    Two opposing rimlocks per tire. Sounds excessive but the tire balance is worth the two minutes of aggravation and the tires will never spin on the rims at low tire pressures, even with a heavy load and hard downhill braking.

    Do not go down a hill that you can not go back up. In example: the rock ledge or log in the middle of a steep downhill slope OR a snow and ice slip and slide down the hill oh boy this just became a one way trip.

    Twist the idle speed screw down for a long steep rough downhill. Compression braking. Twist it up to help keep from stalling the bike on a long steep rough uphill.


    At camp...Go from bright road colors to a camouflage coat and cover the bike with a camo tarp (poncho). Blend into the landscape.

    Camping near the tops of mountains can result in waking to a misting rain and fog. Mosquitoes lurk in the lowlands. Mid elevation is just right.

    For the morning on the east side of the mountain.

    A poncho of high quality (military grade) has multiple uses. Great for weathering a sudden rain storm and as a warm up wind shelter. Useful as a lean-to, shade or ground tarp, rainwater collection and as a motorcycle cover. Also, have umbrella...will travel.

    Sleeping in a tent is appealing to most people. This is understandable but missing out on the big, western sky, star show is a mistake. If the weather is clear, sleep out in the open. The 2 a.m. open your eyes...WOW...moments are priceless.

    Trying to find a suitable camp after dark is rarely easy. Find camp and then backtrack to the mountaintop for a sunset and dinner.

    Showers are available at truck stops but who wants to leave their motorcycle unattended at a truck stop. Better choice is a private campground or a small town hotel or a swim in a river.

    Parked bikes can fall over from rain on soft soil or from wind. Think twice before sleeping under a 300 lb. motorcycle?

    Middle of the night, unexpected, without warning, flatline desert wind, 50 miles per hour, plus gusts, --it happens, now you know, secure what you want to keep, day and night.

    In the Alaskan summer, a mosquito PROOF tent is HIGHLY recommended. A mosquito head net over a helmet looks funny but for the big grin on the inside. Also, there is little to no nightime so one flashlight is more than enough.

    Clip bags to the bike at night so a bear cannot easily grab one and run off with it. A gallon plastic jug for food storage and hanging all food items in a tree at night is wise. Other snitches include ringtail cats, rodents, raccoons, and in the daytime, the ravens.

    In big bear country, stop and eat the evening meal, clean everything well and then ride to camp. This is not a bad idea. Or, at the least, prepare and eat your food well away from where you plan to sleep.

    Moose appear benign but can be a very real hazard on and off the road. Allow them a wide berth and all of the respect that an animal that large and fast deserves. When feeling threatened, their method of defense is to stomp on you.

    It is not wise to camp on a well traveled wildlife trail. Especially in moose or caribou country.


    Adult antelope can run 55 miles per hour. Being capable of that much speed must be why they insist on slicing at an angle right in front of the bike, which, in their mind, keeps the menace behind them so that it can be outrun. The newborn antelopes slow the group down and the dodging gets scary.

    Restaurants prefer not to fill personal water containers, health department regulations. Town parks often have potable water. The gas stations large sink. Water hose behind grocery store. Water button on fountain soda machines. Use caution because not all tap water is potable. In some places potable water will cost money. When using a purification pump, be careful of the waters source quality. Is that an old uranium mine upstream?

    In the desert, water capacity is very important. Have several water bags and a purification pump. Imagine two water bag purses, for lack of a better description, worn under an oversized mesh coat, bandolero style, tucked behind the arms and sandwiching the backpack that has the one gallon drinking bladder in it. Strap the remaining water bags to the bike. Fill up every container every time...including yourself...Water is Life.

    After buying too much food at the grocery store, overstuff the bike and your pockets...then eat the rest of it.

    A cooking stove that burns gasoline...MSR Whisperlite International...using the smallest available fuel bottle. Fill it from the carb drain hose.

    Gas and food will cost more in rural areas. More convenient than going into the city and the locals are appreciative.

    A package can be mailed to any U.S. post office labeled ''general delivery: please hold for 'your name' '' with a return address that is the same as is on your drivers license. The package will be held for 30 days. Mail maps or spare parts ahead. With careful planning one could supply themselves with the bulk of the necessary food by mailing it.

    Washboarded roads...avoid vibration frustration by packing carefully. Spare foam air filters are prone to abrasion. Plastic oil containers are fragile. Spare bolts chew out of ziploc bags and will pulverize plastic containers. Ever seen crunchy peanut butter with ALL of the peanuts packed tight at the bottom of the jar? In the winter?

    Black seat. Looks cool. Bad idea. Too darn hot.

    Jump that bump and catch some air...only if you are packing an extra subframe. Drop and hide the saddlebags and tankbags, put the first aid kit in your pocket and go back for some air time.

    WD 40 is available most anywhere...keeps mud from sticking to the fenders and motor (mostly) and is a good lube for chains, cables, and the throttle tube. Avoid using graphite or s-moly based lubricants which leave black smudges and streaks on everything.

    It is a must to have a spare master link (or two or three) that FITS the chain...doublecheck that.

    Carburetor? Carry a selection of idle and main jets. Also, burning a lower than normal octane of gas can be a substitute for a smaller jet.

    Carry a quart of oil and aluminum weld putty for a broken or cracked engine case. The putty also works for radiator repair.

    Free paper funnels are available from gas stations...but...a flip top lid from a dishwashing soap container will thread onto a quart of oil. Easier than using funnels.

    Put a ground cloth or jacket under the bike when mechanicing. Digging in the dirt or grass to find that lost bolt or nut...carry a small super magnet. Very handy tool.

    New snow in the fall is easier to deal with than the early spring, leftover snow packs on the passes and on the shaded sides of the mountains.

    Keep wet boots and other gear from freezing at night by placing the gear in a trash compactor bag and inside the bivy sack or tent. Yes, sleep with it.


    ''It could be worse'' is a positive perspective. It is a pure joy to spend an hour unsticking an impossibly stuck motorcycle compared to the same situation with a millions strong horde of Alaskan mosquitoes trying to consume you, all the while watching for the bear that may hear the struggles and try to consume you.

    Maps by DeLorme or Benchmark for a cost of $20 per state. Look for the small parallel dashes crossing large spaces and connect the dashes with a minimal of solid lines. These maps also have latitude and longitude markings. The big picture cannot be seen on the small gps, tablet and phone screens. Use the electronics to record your tracks and to place your position on the paper map.

    Success is being off the map and lost with gas, food and water.

    As the MPs approach, because you unexpectedly wandered up to the INSIDE of a closed gate on a military installation, stay calm and smile. After a brief explanation, they will let you out before the commanding officer has a chance to notice.

    National Parks tend to be paved roads, RV camping, crowded and pricey...and a must see in most cases.

    A wildlife refuge is usually just that. Great place to visit but typically day use only and no camping.

    BLM, Bureau of Land Management, is the majority of public land...although access can be limited and confusing due to private land and interest...kindly insist on traveling through YOUR public land and Please Close The Gate Behind You.

    WMA, Wildlife Management Area, usually has plenty of access and camping.

    OHV, Off Highway Vehicle, areas vary in difficulty and regulations. Street legal motorcycles are often exempt from permit stickers.

    Some USFS lands allow and encourage ''no impact'' or ''dispersed'' camping which means being out of site from the road, no fire, and leave it looking like you were never there. Perfect for solo motorcycle camping.

    Roadside boards with posted maps of OHV and WMA areas are common. Acquire a copy by taking a digital picture.

    With daily map aware that an obvious obstacle such as a river crossing, mountain pass, or snow cover can make a planned thru trip into a dead end road. Below a half tank of fuel when turning around?...oops...This same scenario can happen with a fallen tree across the road. Reason enough to pack a sharp handsaw.

    Take out the guess work by marking the gallons on the fuel tank. On a dark plastic tank the marks can sometimes be seen from the inside. Look through the open cap while pressing a flashlight onto the mark on the outside.

    Google is not always correct about gas station locations. Call ahead if google provides a phone number. Even better is to ask local people about ''the next gas?''

    Be willing to accept a few risks with the gas supply. Chances are good that if you do run out of gas, it will be on a highway and near a gas station.

    Pay attention to the distant clouds. Angled rain is passing by. Upwind vertical rain equals collision course.

    In the desert? Cloudy? Looks like rain? In a wash or ravine? DON'T BE...On a clear day? Still don't lounge about in dry riverbeds.

    In certain colors of the desert, been riding those DEEP clay ruts?...then it rains...consider collecting the rain water from the tarp as this may be necessary to quench your thirst while waiting for progress to become possible. No fooling. We are talking about a landscape of impassable goo that can take days to dry. Do you carry extra food?

    Words of wisdom for keeping this show on the wheels: It is usually best to ride the rut that you are in.


    Riding at night? Put a flashlight in your pocket. This prevents having to grope through the bushes in the dark trying to find your motorcycle after a crash.

    Riding at night on roads that you do not know? May as well put the first aid kit in the other pocket.

    Tumbleweed can fill and hide a twenty foot deep road washout.

    Stay right around the curves and stay FAR right over the hills. ALWAYS.

    Be ready to stop!! Which is worse?? A washed out road...a moose with a calf...a tree across the road...a fully loaded log truck as wide as the road...two mules pulling a wagon...a parked jeep with both doors open and the stereo ready to stop! Practice.

    Slow way down or stop for horse riders even though they are on a public road without licenses, registrations, tags, titles, taxes, insurance and OHV stickers. The horses are not to blame.

    Solo travel requires extra gear, extra awareness and some self preservation for safety reasons, such as; do not readily tell strangers where you plan to ride or camp, spend as little time as possible at convenience/beer stores, if someone flags you down to a stop, leave the motor running, in gear and a finger on the clutch, park in the open where the bike can be seen from the store/restaurant window, do not park at the front door where everyone walks close to your aware, private, unobtrusive, and a little aloof.....99 percent of people are kind and trustworthy, the other 1 percent should not be given any unnecessary opportunities.

    When you notice the bag of meth on the ground at the dirt road intersection in the middle of absolutely nowhere is time to leave.

    Silence the motor and coast down the hill for miles. See more wildlife and save gas. Bump start the motor occasionally to lube the transmission.

    Scenery blinders...nothing but road...too much speed...slow it down...look around.


    A small compass on the dash helps with the constant work of orienteering and navigation.

    Learn how to use a mirror to ''flash'' an emergency distress signal. Hold fingers like a peace sign with the target (airplane, auto, etc) in the ''V''. ''Flash'' across fingers in sets of three.

    A pair of 10x binoculars...a priceless addition to an already fully loaded motorcycle. Great for viewing wildlife, roads across the distance, or to see if that small desert town has a gas station.

    Apologies offered before my two cents worth: Open exhausts to gain a few horsepower is not a good trade. Is it faster? or just more loud? The people who live, work and play near where you ride do not want to hear your loud ass muffler from miles away. This noise causes public perception issues about motorcycles and leads to road and trail closures. Low sound equals ground. Leave the ego at home and run quiet exhausts for everyones benefit. Please.

    If you have a serious aversion to cow shit...don't ride a dualsport motorcycle in the west.

    In campsites beware of strings and ropes strung between trees. Cut these down please.

    Barbed wire and electric fence wire...beware!...LOOK enough miles and you will witness the random single strand stretched across the trail instead of a gate!...or the open gate with wire fence across the opening!...mark these by tying something to the wire. Go through gate openings with caution...every single time.

    Only ride where it is legal.

    Ride powerlines?...rarely.

    Tresspass on purpose...emergency only.

    Thousands of curves that you have never seen...don't let even one...end you.

    Too much gas, food and water? Perfect!

    Accept the bitter along with the sweet.

    Cheers to the kindness of strangers.


    Comments? Questions? Additions?

    YYZ Rush, Dracula, Ladybug and 29 others like this.
  2. misterk

    misterk Been here awhile Supporter

    May 30, 2008
    DFW Texas
    excellent list, thanks!
  3. tellicotom

    tellicotom Been here awhile

    Jan 24, 2008
    East TN Mountains
    Awesome! Thank you for taking the time to write this up.
  4. Guillaume M

    Guillaume M Adventurer

    Apr 10, 2011
    Montreal, Canada
    That is an excellent list.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this and share the fruit of your experience with all.
  5. Roktman

    Roktman Been here awhile

    Jul 11, 2014
    Escondido, calif
    Excellent,Nice Job , always good to get someone's take on lists, thanks
  6. Hilly87

    Hilly87 Adventurer

    Nov 6, 2017
    North Yorkshire
    Hey @red clay;

    This is perfect, been a great read.

    I am looking at orientating my packing around your list. I would like to get packed and ready now for a years trip across Canada even if I don't take the bike I have here in the UK. I want some riding experience weighted up.

    So my question.... What sized saddle/tank bags did you get all your kit in?
  7. WileyRTW

    WileyRTW Wiley

    Jun 17, 2009
    San Diego, Ca
    Nice, but you are missing 1 key item: Map of Mexico
    pceire32 and Hilly87 like this.
  8. red clay

    red clay Adventurer

    Oct 7, 2012
    Sounds like the start of an epic adventure. I'm all ears to such talk. My method of securing my ''kit'' involves backpacking gear and a do-it-yourself attitude. The tank bags are side pockets from a backpack, a ''fanny'' pack (easily detached, go with me everywhere, holds the valuables) and a set of extra large dog backpacks as saddlebags. Add a heavy duty, or in my case a maxed out medium duty, sewing machine, straps and buckles, then get creative. Over many miles of experimenting I've added pockets for shoes, stuffed with gear, under the saddle(dog)bags, straps with buckles to take the load off of the zippers, aluminum tabs bolted to the bike to secure the bags to, and a lower than usual rear rack that straddles the fender instead of perching on top of it.

    It's not easy to load all you (might) need onto a motorcycle. I spent weeks, before each long ride, shuffling through a pile of gear overtaking my workbench. Have you made that pile of gear yet? It's a real eye opener. I treat the ride like an expedition in the hopes of having a vacation. Time well spent.

    Dalton road AK. Not enough gear, especially gas!
    above the circle resize.jpg

    Finally! All I need.

    Zipper saver
    Zipper stress relief.jpg

    Shoe pockets and rear rack

    Best of luck to you and your plans. Thanks for the incentive. I should post more pics. Glad to share.
    Red Clay
  9. DSchmidt7of7

    DSchmidt7of7 Been here awhile

    Nov 6, 2014
    SoCal - OC and San Berdo Mtns
    This list is as good as any I've seen. No doubt there's probably a good story behind every tip.
  10. red clay

    red clay Adventurer

    Oct 7, 2012
    Compliment accepted! ... Thanks D ... The hope is to inspire. Those of us who enjoy a good adventure should share what we've learned and encourage others to fear not and ''throw themselves out there''!


    Some thoughts on stories...

    It's fun to think back on times that I have:

    Endured ... riding amongst the peaceful willows and tundra, suddenly being narrowly missed by a very large bull moose crashing across the trail just feet away, then riding amongst the peaceful willows and tundra with the adrenaline pulsing.
    Enjoyed ... sitting on a motorcycle on the wide open tundra awe struck by a hundred mile long view of the Alaska Range.

    Endured ... taking cover in the ditch beside the haul road in Alaska as the megatruck comes down the hill they call ''the beaver slide'' at an insane speed and slinging big rocks. Not his fault, a man doing his job. Another good reason for dualsporting it: Safer in the ditch? Not a problem.
    Enjoyed ... being north of the arctic circle in a landscape bare of trees. The earth in the nude. Mind boggling scenery with the shadows of the low angled northern sun ... like standing in a pastel painting.
    Endured ... heavy overnight rain and stuck in a land of impassable goo. Not enough food and walking two miles through a maze of cacti for water. At sunset of third day, the clouds rolled in threatening more rain and the decision was made to get out of the valley in what became a night time mud fest from hell, albeit successful, barely.
    Enjoyed ... quietly coasting around the corner and being witness to a pair of young mountain lions sitting on a bridge.
    Endured ... finding camp and backtracking to the mountaintop for dinner and a sunset. A most usual setting followed by unknowingly missing the camp on the return ride, onto unknown territory at night without a clue; crashed, tumbled, sat up to dark, quiet, and groping in the bushes trying to find my motorcycle ... for way too long. Lesson learned: put a flashlight in the pocket when night riding.
    Enjoyed ... spending all morning riding one of the roughest trails ever, then having to turn around and spend all afternoon riding one of the roughest trails ever to camp in the same place again. This has happened more than once, with no regrets.
    Endured ... FOG!
    Enjoyed ... being on the edge of town washing some of the mud off by standing in the rain.
    Endured ... being stuck in the snow and falling over into a three foot deep snow filled ditch with the motorcycle on top of me.
    Enjoyed ... watching herds of horses in their natural environment of wide open grassland.
    Endured ... walking up, with gear, and back down a mile long snow and mud covered hill moving rocks strategically and stomping routes through the snow, followed by a hang on and ride like hell up and out of the valley.
    Enjoyed ... free maps from any government employee that I can convince to give me one
    Endured ... wearing all of my clothes, in a 20 degree sleeping bag and a bivy sack, and still freezing because dummy (me) camped at 10,000 feet in early April. Nice view but not worth it.
    Enjoyed ... watching peoples reactions after they realize I was wearing only a poncho at the laundromat.
    Endured ... having a black bear step onto the camo lean-to while I was sitting under it.
    Enjoyed ... (in retrospect) scaring a bear as much as it scared me. The fear was mutual.
    Endured ... getting to the top of the snow and ice covered mountain pass and feeling triumphant ... until I looked down the other side.
    Enjoyed ... basking in the warm and dry desert while surrounded by snow covered mountains.
    Endured ... a dozen attempts needed to get back up the hill that I should NOT have gone down.
    Enjoyed ... celebrating after getting all the way through what became a one way route because of an ice covered hill that I was NOT going to go back up.
    Endured ... the man saying that the trail was ridable and went all the way through to the next county. The woman sitting beside him silently shook her head no. I should have listened to her.
    Enjoyed ... a wonderful day of riding where the old man pointed and said ''No, I wouldn't go that way, too rough.''
    Endured ... struggling to get out of the deep muddy rut as the loaded horse trailer pushes the truck down the hill towards me. Like trying to get off the tracks with a train coming. He was very apologetic as thousands of pounds slid by.
    Enjoyed ... watching two hundred plus pounds of mountain lion leaping across the road. A whole new perspective and appreciation for the LION of the mountains.
    Endured ... making the mistake of not donning the rain gear, riding through the bigger than it seemed rainstorm, got very wet, with the temperature dropping 20 degrees on the other side of the storm and windy, resulting in huddling behind the bike and dealing with it ... stupid.
    Enjoyed ... the fairly common but no less impressive event of a bird flying alongside the motorcycle.
    Endured ... waking in the dark of night to a loud snorting just inches away from my head.
    Enjoyed ... scaring a horse as much as it scared me.
    Endured ... 7, yes 7, flat tires in as many weeks
    Enjoyed ... when he came back with not only the tire tube patches but also an electric air pump, a tire changing rack, cold beer and a very entertaining cohort. Thanks man
    Endured ... almost getting killed by someone driving and cell phoning.
    Enjoyed ... weaving through miles of a dead stop traffic jam, onto the grass and around the fender bender that caused the mayhem, breaking out and leaving them all behind and on their cell phones.
    Endured ... watching the last western mountain disappear from the rear view mirror with all of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia between me and home ... Twice.
    Enjoyed ... pulling into a town park in California seeking water when the vest clad harley rider, laid back like a piece of old leather across a pile of chrome, stared over his razor sunglasses and brown bagged can of beer. He watched me, the padded dirtball astride a soiled pile of baggage on knobby tires, circle the park then waved me over, informing me where the water was. When I returned he was standing behind my bike grinning at the S.C. plate. Two hours later, we were still telling stories and laughing like old friends. Cheers to you big dog!

    RIDE ON!

  11. DSchmidt7of7

    DSchmidt7of7 Been here awhile

    Nov 6, 2014
    SoCal - OC and San Berdo Mtns
    RC. Thanks for taking the time to tell the "rest of the story". I got a kick out of "enjoyed" vs "endured" and think you have really caputured the essence of adventure. I laughed at some of your trials and tribulations and the many challenges and hardships (some self-inflicted) that you must have endured. Most impressive is the fact that all of them - the good and the bad - are remembered in a positive light.

    Cheers to you too...
  12. djroszina

    djroszina Long timer Supporter

    Jan 30, 2006
    Ah mud, while I made it to Tuk last the back of a police truck, and having to leave the bike abandoned 10 miles back on the side of the road...While some including myself categorize it as a failure, it will only forever be that if I don’t attempt and succeed in my 2nd attempt scheduled for 2020...then it will go down as a delayed accomplishment. 5570C151-89E0-40B5-A1F9-B76CA04A0FA7.jpeg EA45EFD8-91B3-43B0-9905-370F178BB94C.jpeg
    'Bob' and Tewster2 like this.


    Nov 1, 2008
    GFY, Montana
    Red Clay I have to thank you for the considerable thought, and awesome thread & post you have made here. This is among the most concise and practical packing lists. Clearly you have done some great real adventure riding, and I personally benefit from things like this a lot. Subscribed!
  14. Goatshedboy

    Goatshedboy n00b

    Apr 12, 2019
    I’m from the uk and planning my first trip across the states. Yours is the best advice I have seen so far in my research. Not just informative but well written and entertaining. Well done and thank you.
  15. MotorcycleWriter

    MotorcycleWriter Vis ad locum

    Dec 1, 2012
    $$$ Valley, Utah
    Thanks. Entertaining and inspiring.

    Your advice, while not minimalist, certainly has a theme of practicality throughout. Wondering about your thoughts on fuel injected bikes? I can fix a carb with a rock and a piece of string but EFI runs SO much better. And most modern bikes with great suspension and transmissions purpose-built for dual sport riding are EFI. There are definitely risks relying on a machine, but one can mitigate those risks by taking the right machine.
  16. red clay

    red clay Adventurer

    Oct 7, 2012
    MotorcycleWriter, EFI sounds like a great option to the ol' carb running like $#!@ when you need it most, at the top of the mountain!
    Changing jets gets old no matter how good you get at doing it. One could travel with extra EFI parts, although an expensive proposition. The one item that I was always glad to have was the kickstarter, peace of mind while way out there and solo. Most or all EFI motorcycles have a battery for the fuel pump and electric start. Am I right? Something to consider. You are so right, it comes down to having the right machine that you know, trust and can fix.

    Here's my new scheme. Zeromotorcycles FX! Quiet, cool (not hot), no clutch or shifter, will NOT stall, NO maintainence and FUN to ride!. I'm enjoying riding local until the batteries store enough miles for another long ride or three.

    Ride On , red clay