Trans-Lab: years of talking about it and we did it!

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by scareraven, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    IMG_8147.JPG IMG_8659.JPG IMG_8747.JPG IMG_8751.JPG IMG_8147.JPG IMG_8659.JPG IMG_8747.JPG IMG_8751.JPG Ok, so I had some people asking for a ride reports and I kept a small journal on the trip so I might as well use it. I will post up in sections and answer questions, I will also link some of the other guys as they are on ADV. Hope this doesn't suck. I will try to add pics after this is up.

    OK, so I go to Laconia most years with the same crew of good friends and rent a house. For a few years, Captain Mustache- the Yellow Iron- has been talking about it. After riding a sport bike for years, I had a mild interest in learning a wider range of skills. The discussion became more serious and a loose idea of how long it would take was formed.
    In the interim, I had to get a bike that was able to make the trip. Camping gear I had, but the proper bike gear plus the cost of a bike was very daunting indeed. I am a craigslist addict and my nightly plunge down the rabbit hole found a salvage bike in Pittsburg (about 5+ hours away) and it had not been fully inspected yet: buuuuuut, it was the bucketlist bike I never thought I would get. The 990 Adventure by KTM. I talked my wife into the idea, mostly she talked me into it since I would have bitched for years to come if I didn't get it! And soon after I found a ridiculous deal on a KTM supermoto. Another bike I always wanted. So in this conundrum, I sold my sportbikes for two bikes that could teach me a lot. I honestly hate not having a sport bike since that is where my brain goes when I want to go on a ride, and I ride a fair amount every year. But now I have little other choice then to jump through legal loop holes, get the ADV bike legal and learn to ride a bigun. The prep had begun. Problem was the long part of the trip would leave the KTM very short in fuel . Who makes an adventure bike two generations with 160mile tank range?!? As nice as safari tanks are, $1300 for them is ridiculous. Rotopax, as annoying as it is to refuel will have to do for much less money.



    Now that the trip was taking on some serious planning, the official head count would wax and wane. three of the original 7 or so who said they were in changed plans and rode Nova Scotia earlier in the year and met us in Laconia. That left 4 of us: Me, Captain Mustashe, Beardy Face and Meaty. One didn't even have a bike (Meaty). A few weeks prior he had bought a KLR on the sly and was modding it for the trip. Laconia was a blast as always- just not as quickly ridden for me, and dates were finalized. We were so excited we knew Saturday would be loo late, we planned to go to a campground in VT for Friday night so that we could get a jump on the adventure.

    Final prep is never as planned as I would like. As a night shift ICU RN I would obsessively make lists and possible purchase for the trip and add and delete them as I saw fit. A text thread of the four adventurers was established and additions and prep were shared with the enthusiasms of 5 year olds before Christmas. For my part, I was had good gear, but not great gear. A lot of Icon Raiden gear popped up on the Flea Market here and my wife talked me into that as well. Great! Now I have water proof gear and don't have to bring extra over layers!!!

    Aux lights fitted, camp food bought, final packing would be two days prior as I had off of work for a few days to try to sleep in a day schedule so I don't pass out in the saddle. Buuuuut, my per diem job called me and I can't pass up a chance for more Cashish, so I worked two nights prior, spent a day rushing to pack and on a few hours sleep hang out with my wife before I left, and then I was off!

    On a hastily packed bike that was way heavier than I have ever handled. I honestly could not go more than 10 miles before I had to pull over and repack some things to buy me some extra room. the need to put the weight down low pushed me forward and I realized a few pounds up would save me from fighting the bars the whole way. As I left North NJ and got on the NY thruway, helmet coms (a divine invention) allowed me to comfortably pick a meeting place with Beardy Face and then we were two.

    The ride was uneventful, but bouncing off the limiter with excitement. as night fell and we were still underway, I realized my aux lights from Baja Designs flicked out. Fuck. the other two found us just before we reached camp and the first night went well with easy camp ground camping and a shared whisky. I was able to open up the KTM and find a loose scotch lock wire tap and secure my lighting. That night I found out Captain Mustache snores- light and rhythmic, But Beardy Face choke snores until he ends up on his side and hurts his shoulder.
    Adventure!
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  2. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    Ok,so uploading pics is a little weird, I will add some more in subsequent posts IMG_8759.JPG Beardy Face's Tiger IMG_8764.JPG Molly Stark campground in VT. My wife asked me to bring her Toothl as figurine on the trip. I warned her that he could get lost, but she wanted him on the adventure.
    IMG_8773.JPG Meaty and his KLR
    IMG_8768.JPG Captain Mustache and his 1200 GS
    #2
  3. johnpitts01

    johnpitts01 Long timer

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    In and subscribed
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  4. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil. Supporter

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    Just did it end of July and beginning of August. Looking forward to reading this also.

    KR
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  5. fyrfytr

    fyrfytr B.U.F.F.

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    I thought I saw a klr with ammoe cans down the street from me.
    I like your new ride too. Good luck with it.

    Good start so far, keep it coming.:clap
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  6. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

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    [​IMG] So my story starts off a little different. It was 1995 I was in the process of building the side car at Chuck's shop (performance motoworks) heugnaot NY. He was a MZ dealer and I walked in to pickup parts and up on the lift was a MZ Saxton most of the parts were pulled off and he was mounting crash bars welded wire screen in them and big kc hilighters this was my first look at a big mile adventure Bike. Unfortunately chuck crashed racing at Loudon and he never did the trip and his shop closed a few years later
    From then I had the bug to go and over the years the road to happy valley goose Bay was being built and getting better
    Last year I went to Daytona solo and did 1200 miles in 24 hours with some time to spare. Redpower said if I did that I could do goose Bay in a long weekend. So it was on. Right up to when I read haymaker crashed and burned on the trans targia lucky he was ok . So I had second thoughts about doing it solo. I started pumping my friends up and the bearded one was in . Good done deal
    Meaty was talking about it all winter and we were looking at bikes at Hermie's he was bitten also but had to land a machine. Bam scareraven sends a picture of the ktm in the truck and he is in.
    So pretty much we were set

    Daytona 2016 I knew trans lab hiway was next

    [​IMG]
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  7. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    ‍♂️In !


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  8. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

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    Ok got a new photo source . Here are the pictures from Dayton when I was thinking about doing the trans lab next IMG_20160310_160204793.jpg IMG_20160309_164101765_HDR.jpg
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  9. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    Sorry for the delay. Felt like shit for a few days. Will post up next installment tomorrow
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  10. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

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    So in the months and days leading up to the trip my garage was a flurry of activity vision x lights for the GSA
    IMG_20170415_150203038.jpg
    IMG_20170703_163646630.jpg
    Major work on the KLR aux fuel tank and it picked up some problems we worked through now meaty is schooled on the klr carb and dohicky replacement
    IMG_20170702_132748971.jpg
    Did some lights and wiring ok the ktm I'm a little disappointed in how the light set did on the ktm more on that later.
    And I think that's my 3 photo limit
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  11. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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    [​IMG]


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  12. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

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    Yes the guys there stuck it on the service truck to cover up who I was working for. Pretty funny
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  13. DockingPilot

    DockingPilot Hooked Up and Hard Over

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  14. fyrfytr

    fyrfytr B.U.F.F.

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    Epic fail: klr with no milk crate.










    :hide
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  15. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    OK, so I was reminded of one thing. When we pulled into our campsite at Molly Stark, I figured I would back my bike in so I can leave easier in the morning. By the time I got off it, I had missed the event. Meaty missed his kickstand and the KLR went over. No damage, and it was righted before I even noticed. Casualty 1 heh.
    Bear with me, I am going to try to put up the pics from my phone and then edit the text in to make it easier to read.
    #15
  16. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    Day 2 on the road: Felt good to just pack up and ride!
    We did pretty damn well dodging rain storms and arrived at the Canadian border in good weather, having only dealing with road spray for the morning. The border guards were fantastic, and crossing was done quickly.
    Bike number tow hit the deck when Captain 'Stache picked his helmet off the mirror when we were getting ready to leave a gas station and that was all she wrote. The GS went hard to starboard, but the home made racks did their job. Self made racks with ammo cans as luggage bent and took the shock, no other damage. As we left that gas station, Meaty was behind me and I asked if he was ready to go in my coms, "Hang on, I have to kick my bike over first"
    Holy shit, I know that it is out of context and not as funny later on, but the two of us laughed so hard my gut hurt, the fact that as we were getting out of town and at the stops the other two could not understand why the two of us were nearly in vapor lock was hilarious, we devised a plan where I would get off the KTM and then tell Beardy Face, "Its only fair!" and kick him and his bike over. The long road and meandering thoughts were starting to coalesce and become our own running joke. The trip had begun to be real and I was loving to camaraderie of having nothing to do but get up and ride with a couple of mates everyday, all day.
    Then rain of the great white north welcomed us with open arms. It was easy travel, followed by shit travel. We basically put a leash on the rain cloud that would follow us more obediently than any of my dogs for three days. After a fair amount of highway slog, we turned off on to some side roads. I thought that our terrible sojourn would end soon. The rest of the day was spent thinking "Fuck Hope!" Turns out that our comms were only allowing us to talk in pairs. The two with GPS were talking and decided to get off the highway for a while.
    I found out the first of my follies: my waterproof shit is not water proof. The jacket actually held its own, but the pants were pretty fuct. Since they were too large and my mother in law hemmed them up; sitting on a bike, they sit juuuuust at the top of my boots, and the crotch stayed dry for almost 2 hours. In the shit weather of backroads we found a goofy road side stand that was the only thing that appeared open, and the smell was soooo goood.

    IMG_8775.JPG
    We were now in a land that was mostly French. We don't speak French. But 'Bathroom' and 'Pizza' are pretty universal. I believe that when I got out here is when I realized that my Wolfman tank bag was not waterproof either. To be fair it never claimed it was, and since I knew this, I stashed a handful of ziplocks in the bag. From this point on I had handfuls of stuff in 6 or so baggies in there, interesting stops from then on.
    Beardy Face decides that an early lunch is needed before we all just want to quit for the day. This is the only point where we had a reservation and a destination that HAD to be reached. He orders a pizza for us. 'Pizza?' 'Oui! Pizza!'
    So this is Canadian pizza: Dough, a layer of salami (?), cheese, and they roll the crust up so it is a mini stromboli. Hot and soooooo damn tasty.
    Wait, is that? Butter?
    Yup, they dropped off a fair sized side cup of butter with the pizza. I dipped the crust for a taste, but my arteries began to scream. Up for anything Captain Mustache went for it though, seemed to enjoy it. And as good as that slice of pizza was, I honestly only needed one of the heavy bastards. The second was forced on us as we would not waste Beardy's generosity. Heavy bellies made happy bellies in the next few hours of rain.
    IMG_8778.JPG

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    I do have to say that the Canadians are crazy nice people! We almost never had a dickhead driver incident, and throughout the wet day we always had a driver next to us holding up excited thumbs up's. From kids waving to octogenarians smiling and thumbing up our crazy ride. There is a lot of propping up we got from that in the few redlights we found. By this point my taint was beginning to tell me I was stupid for not splashing on an aftermarket seat and the lack of waterproof gear made it feel like chewed bubble gum.
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  17. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    Salvation. Captain Stache reserved this for us when we had planned on making it here from home in one day. Would have been a long hard day considering it was essentially half of what we were planning on and it kicked our ass.
    IMG_8791.JPG
    The stand alone 'chalet' was basically a single wide perched on a cliff and I bee damned if I never felt so happy to see a bed. As we began to slowly unwrap our gear while the locals watched us amused Beadry says 'Fuck it, I will be back' and rides off. We get in and the first open room is soon covered in water as well as a thick layer of discarded gear. Wet layers are flung around, everyone quickly picking a corner. Our electronics get plugged in and Beardy shows back up. He GPS'd a store for beer and brought a few prizes back. Fucking Angel!

    IMG_8784.JPG
    Drying our gear we started to rotate the shower. Meaty had done kitchens and baths for a few years. When he did not like how much water was collecting in the shower, he did a free drain job to clear it up! That is when we realized that the rain had begun to taper off. The sight was worth it. Having a beer in the brief respite outside and seeing some sort of natural gas burn off at a plant on the ridge made us all feel like we could just get a job and settle in here. With the energy level of fungus we barely finished the beer before sleep starts to kick in. My biggest fear is that my nightshift sleeping pattern I will sleep to early and be screwed for the next day. I start to write out my journal and inadvertently claim the bottom bunk in a small closet of a room. Beardy crashes above me. It is hot in that room, but since the place is a long hallway, a wind tunnel is created with two windows, perfect. I futz on the wifi until I pass out and am able to get real sleep.
    I still can't really believe I am on this trip and just try to remember to stay in the moment and not just whiz through it. My last thought was if I was going to have to put on wet shit gear in the morning.....

    IMG_8787.JPG
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  18. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

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    Ok it's catch up time for me
    Day one
    Meaty and I worked late and the plan was to Meet scareraven and beardo at Molly Stark in Vermont. Those guys had a 2 hour head start and I wanted to keep meaty and the klr off the super slab . We were getting used to using the comms when I got an incoming call from scareraven they were at a gas station 20 miles a head of us we just rolled past max BMW into ny state. It was on meaty and I wicked up the pace to meet these guys.
    A few miles outside Bennington I see big motorcycle headlights coming at me. Sure enough it was beadboy and scareraven. They were unsure if they passed it So we all rolled into Molly Stark together like rock stars . We knew the campground and grabbed a site .
    I wasn't even off the bike and I heard meaty on the comm I looked over and all I saw was KLR wheels up in the air. We picked him up and laughed. That's when the sassy red head park ranger shut the rock concert down so we all set up and turned in IMG_20170805_053941135.jpg IMG_20170805_054214998.jpg IMG_20170805_054256079.jpg
    #18
  19. Yellow Iron

    Yellow Iron Long timer

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    Molly Stark to Levi's
    Nothing to exciting the GS tipped off it's sidestand when I turned my back (bad gs)
    The guys scooped it up before anyone even thought about getting a picture. Thanks guys. The ride to the border and in to Canada was nice calm and relaxed
    Then came the rain.
    Navigation by the seat of my pants I wanted to cut off the highway so I went on 116(I think) then the bearded one said to stop under an overpass only problem was we were in farm country.
    That's when we found Canadian pizza with a tub of butter .
    Then we just tucked under the paint and pounded it out to Levi's.
    IMG_20170805_134948119.jpg IMG_20170805_162057282_HDR.jpg IMG_20170805_160633111.jpg


    teaser for what is up coming Ill let scareraven post the next day before I comment
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  20. scareraven

    scareraven Ninja Freak Supporter

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    IMG_8792.JPG
    Well, making sure that all of your gear is in the proper drying place, BEFORE, you start drinking would be a good idea. Not that 2 beers lay me low, but when you fought cold rain all day, I passed out from exhaustion. My boots were dryish, but I had forgotten to dry out my gloves. I put them in front of a fan to do the best I could before I left. Several things were immediately apparent: We were leaving in the rain again and no amount of bitching would change it, and the cute dragon figurine my wife asked me to bring with me and photograph through my trip was fucking gone. I will have to make my peace with both. To solve the latter I found a replacement on amazon and ordered it to be home about the time I get there, explanations will come later. A cold patch of 'not rain' allowed us to get off the bikes for a quick bite to eat at the first of many Tim Horton's: a Canadian Dunkin Doughnuts if clean stores and damn decent food were a priority. And their coffee was way better than an addict like myself could hope for.

    IMG_8793.JPG

    Tim's Bits is not a joke about someone's nads, but really good doughnut 'holes': Meaty approves. Having better wifi here than at the 'chalet' we took advantage and called/checked in with significant others and updated a few facebook pages. We were able to remount with ease and an excitement that far outweighed our dismal weather outlook. That lasted less than an hour. Still inland, the sights appeared to be a lot like rural NJ: farms, lots of impressive wood piles, and more farms. The rain found us like a good dog and kept us company. Cruising down by the river (not sure what one) the limited sight distance allowed us just enough to keep our soggy spirits afloat. Granite that ran straight down into the water, and dirty run off waterfalls that were big enough that two of us almost crashed trying to get a better look. Crossing a bridge we began to climb through a series of mountains. Every up would bring us closer to the cloud that was pissing on us and colder and the valleys were grey corridors to the next up section. One mountain put us very squarely IN the cloud. I could not read warning signs on the side of the road and hoped cars coming at us could stay on their side of the road as I would get no warning. After an impossibly chilly, long time we began to descend. I lost sight of the brake light I was following and rolled off to almost 20 mph and scootched towards the shoulder for lack of being able to see jack off nothing. Then was like the videos of planes coming out of a cloud cover for a landing.

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    I snapped off a picture of the first dry road we had found a praised the height of that last mountain as big enough to allow us to get the cold drizzle the slip. After the morning we had, this was the sunniest thing I had ever seen. After descending and rounding a few bends we saw actual sunlight screaming through the drab silver clouds. Valley after valley brought us serious smiles and triumphant whoops as we switched out some soggy gear from some stashed 'warmer' weather gear just to feel our hands again. It was the first time in 2 days I turned off the grip heaters. Hands down the best farkle added. The awesome lights found a jump in a relay and decided to just stay on. Even if the bike was off. Fucking expensive lights to be shitted out by crap connections. But I guess inline fuses are good for something. Fuse pulled and we will fight this battle again.

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    Getting all the way down to the water line let us take a fiver to breathe it all in, when it did not include gas fumes from the pumps. We spent some time trying to see whales and seals in the water and decided to roll on before we just passed out again.
    #20