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May 12, 2010


Ride Report #1


I’ve put 2,250 miles on the motorcycle traveling across Texas and New Mexico.  The direct distance from my starting point to Big Bend to Gallup, NM is 1,116 miles.  At that rate my 15,000 mile estimate for the trip may end up being more like 18,000.  I still think 15k may be close since there won’t be as many places to wander to up north.

Motorcycle At The Mine


Motorcycle At The Mine


I haven’t kept exact records, but the bike is getting 45-48 mpg and gas has averaged under $3.00/gallon.  Even with the additional mileage my cost estimate will be close since I used 40 mpg and $3.25/gallon.  The tank on the V-Strom is 5.2 gallons.  I look to fill up around 175 miles on a tank knowing that 225 is pushing it.

The bike’s done great so far over a wide variety of terrain and altitudes.  There haven’t been any scorching hot days or rain, but plenty of wind.  There have been a few hiccups with add-ons I’ve made.

  1. A compression latch broke on the right pannier from a fall in Big Bend.  I had a new one shipped to Albuquerque and it is back to new.  I’ll take the blame for this as the manufacturer recommends loosing the latch so the case can pop off if you’re riding in a rough area.  I forgot about that and will be doing this from now on.
  2. I found two bolts missing on a case support brace later in the week.  The bolts didn’t shear so they must have loosened and eventually shook out despite having blue locktite on them.  I was able to replaced them and will keep checking these on both sides as I go.
  3. The fall mentioned above also rebroke a repair made to my stebel horn.  When installing it I tightened a hose clamp too much which broke some plastic.  I superglued this piece back on (like last time) and it’s been fine since then.
  4. I noticed yesterday that my tooltube has cracked.  It’s on a modification I made from the design I found on the internet where I added a third connection bolt near the rear of the pipe.  The other connection points are two walls thick where this only goes through the main pipe.  I’m going to remove this bolt and get some pvc glue to seal up the hole and look at reducing the weight in it.  Hopefully this will solve the problem.
  5. I think the high level on my heated hand grip wasn’t working yesterday.  I didn’t test it for long as I didn’t want to burn a wire.  Will look at it more soon.

All those items are on areas I made changes, not the original bike.  I’ve only made one other change so maybe I’m getting the kinks worked out early.  While in Albuquerque I picked up an small tire inflator that fits perfectly below my seat.  Between that and tire plugs I can go out on the dirt roads with more confidence of not getting stranded.

The pannier cases have held up well to the falls despite my concerns with them.  It’s still early in the trip and there are many, many more miles to go.

No troubles at all with my riding gear.  I wear the pants (Olympia Airglide II) for most short tours and love ’em.  They haven’t been tested them in the rain yet and I am a bit concerned how they will do since they vent with just a breeze.  No changes planned for any of this gear for now.

One more lesson learned is to not get in a hurry when departing.  You may remember I left my backpack behind one hour into my trip.  Well after buying cereal and ice at a grocery store in Santa Fe I forgot to tie down a cooler.  Someone was waiting for my spot and I got in a hurry.  This time I didn’t realize it was missing till my arrival in Los Alamos.  I had no idea where it happened since it was partially tied down.

I’ve restocked on food and I’m am using a $0.99 reuseable grocery bag for my food storage.  Finally found a use for my bungee cargo net at least.  I can’t say something similar won’t happen again, but it’s getting less likely.  Losing the food was a much cheaper lesson to (re)learn than the backpack would have been.  Hope that you’re enjoying the ride!

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mama Setz
    May 12 2010

    Great riding along with you with the video. What a contrast between the blue, blue sky and the white sand.

    • May 13 2010

      Thanks Mom. I’m anxious to see how the video I took yesterday came out.

  2. May 13 2010

    Thats not bad at all, I’d expect a lot more maintenance on dirt. I took a ride the day before yesterday and had a spill in a water crossing. Had to ride about 80 miles without a clutch lever. I think I’ll carry a spare when I head for the bush again

    • May 13 2010

      I’ve thought about a spare clutch but haven’t done it yet. That would put a kink in the day’s ride.

  3. Zach
    May 13 2010

    Sounds like a blast! (Well, the video sounds like a V-strom… but the trip sounds like a load of fun.)


    • May 13 2010

      The Strom isn’t impressive sounding, but it’s been fun to ride!

  4. May 22 2010

    The scenery your riding through on your video is surreal, very cool! Amazing trip, I will enjoy following it! Hope you are getting the bike problems out of the way early.

    • May 25 2010

      Thanks Tom, everythings been pretty smooth the lately for me.


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