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September 4, 2010

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17,000 Mile Ride Report

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It’s now been 17,000 miles and 4.5 months since I loaded up my V-Strom and headed out from Texas.  I have now covered all of the western states and three Canadian providences.  In fact I’ll be pulling into San Diego in just over two weeks for a temporary stop before riding again through October.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed in my two weeks back in the states is that my stops have been getting longer.  Part of this is I got spoiled in Alaska where you could ride well into the evening so now if I start early I think I have tons of time to get where I’m going.  The other is that as the list of places I’ve gone has grown on my panniers I get lots of questions from people about where I’ve been and what I’m doing.  I can nearly always tell when this is going to happen as I’ll see the stares as soon as I turn in to park.

Lonely Hills of Hells CanyonLonely Hills of Hells Canyon

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Lonely Hills of Hells Canyon

 

I’m still totally happy with my choice of motorcycle.  It’s gotten me where I’ve wanted to go everytime.  I met up with a KLR rider yesterday and we split a camp last night.  He said he tries not to go over 55 or the gas mileage drops way down.  On my sprint back to Lake Louise I was doing 75 most of the time and still barely dropped below 50mpg.

That sprint did do some damage to my chain.  The one time I’ve bought a proper chain lube from a bike shop and it wouldn’t last 200 miles compared to at least double that with cheap stuff.  I was able to self-diagnose that and confirm it at the HU Meeting.  Even though this is my first bike and I’m still learning lots of the parts are right there to look at and figure out.

I bought a new chain and sprockets in Boise and am carrying them on the bike now.  The chain is slightly loose and out of adjustment.  Still I’m going to try to get back to San Diego and do the work there figuring that is only about 1,500 more miles.  I’m strongly thinking about ordering a center stand to put on then as well to help with that and tire changes.

The HU meeting gave me lots of ideas about what I should be carrying on the

Hose Clamp Cruise Control

bike and how to do a few new jobs.  I’ve already added a couple of items since then such as spare valve stems, baling wire.  I’ll be giving some strong consideration to tire levers after this trip and adding to the tools I carry.

One of the best (and cheapest) ideas was using a hose clamp on the right hand grip for cruise control.  It’s a poor man’s throttle rest.  All it does is let your thumb rest against the nut when you’re at full speed, but that’s enough to let the other for fingers open up and give your wrist a break as well!

Once in San Diego I know I’ll be leaving more behind than adding to my load.  I’m looking forward to that primarily to give me some spare space to make packing easier.  It will be interesting to take a good look at everything and figure out what I haven’t used at all.

I’ve also started to see much more steady, and growing, traffic to the site.  I’m really happy about this as I’ve been working hard on it to provide interesting and useful posts.  Getting comments, tweets, and emails from new random people is exciting for me and lets me know I’m doing something right.  Thanks to all of you for coming by and helping to get the word out about my motorcycle travels.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. rvandersteen
    Sep 5 2010

    I love my Throttle Boss (http://amzn.to/92VJho). It’s very much like your hose clamp option, but goes on the outside if the grip. By far the best farkle that you can add to a bike (especially at $12!). I also have just added mirror extenders to my DL650. They completely reduce the wind buffetting that is common on the Wee. Also let you see the road behind you instead of your own shoulders.

    +1 on the centerstand option! I have a SW Motech, and I love it. It not cheap (~$150), but it so great for cleaning/lubing you chain. I’m surprised you don’t have one already!

    I really enjoy reading your blog updates. Sounds like an amazing trip thus far! A friend and I leave on Monday for SD/WY/MT for 8 days. Cannot wait….

    Safe travels,
    Rob

    Reply
    • Sep 8 2010

      Thanks for the suggestions. I knew my setup wasn’t perfect when I left so I’ve been finding out what to do on the road. For me that’s was better than trying to get every piece perfect and then setting off. Hope you have a great ride!

      Reply
  2. Sep 8 2010

    +1 on the Throttle Boss or Throttle Rocker. I even put one on both hand grips which encourages relaxing my grip.

    For chain lube on my BMW F650, I use plain old ATF (automatic transmission fluid). It’s HIGHLY rated on the http://www.f650.com site and I’ve been using it for 3 or 4 years now. It keeps the chain really clean.

    We just returned from a 5,200 mile trip to/from Denver which included passing through Gerlach before the Burning Man celebration occurred.

    Reply

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