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July 7, 2010

Ride Report #4 – Upcoming Maintenance

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I’ve traveled 8,000 miles on my V-Strom so far passing through 7 states and two providences.  Or is it 7,500 miles and 800 kilometers now?  I could have made it to this year’s destination of San Diego departing from the same point and going via Miami, Portland Maine, and Seattle with 500 miles left over to put that in perspective.  Here’s the map of where I have gone instead and I’m not even halfway yet.

As far as the motorcycle goes there is still nothing major to report.  I replaced the turn signal that busted in Absaroka National Forest and am making do without the latch on one pannier.  I think a couple of spot welds would fix the latch if I run across the opportunity and a torch to straighten my highway pegs would be nice too.

The free ride is coming to an end soon though as I have a hefty list of scheduled maintenance items to take care of with new tires at the top of it.  Right now I’m going to try to make it to either Anchorage or Fairbanks to tackle it, whichever I go to first.  Other items to do are replacing the air filter (have to remove the fuel tank), checking the drive chain and sprockets, and I’d like to tighten the brakes some.  My service manual also says it’s time to replace the spark plugs as well.

All of these I’ve never messed with before so it’s either going to be a long couple of days learning for me or a potentially expensive trip to a shop.  All part of the ride and one of the big reasons I’m traveling the route I’m on now instead instead of heading south right away.

I was right about fuel costs going up as I went north.  They’re around $4/gallon so far in Canada.  My route isn’t meandering as much as it was in the us as I’m trying to spend multiple nights in one spot more often.  Still it’s going to be 2500+ miles through Canada on the northern leg.

I purchased a pair of waterproof gloves in Missoula.  It was overdue as my hands were hurting through some damp and cold passes earlier in the trip.  I still use my old gloves for sunny days as they stay much cooler.  Even without buying souveniors my load has grown along the way with the addition of the liners for my pants and jacket in Albequerque and hiking boots in Missoula.  Now that I’m using my panniers as bear boxes at night, it adds up to a lot of moving gear around in the morning.

I have a few self promotion plugs to add this time.  If you aren’t following me on Facebook or Twitter then you won’t know that I did a radio/podcast interview with a motorcycle travel show, SidestandUp, last week.  It’s Episode 128 on this page, the whole show is 2 hours long and I was on for the last 40 minutes of it.  They are interested in turning this into a once a month update segment and so am I!  I’ve really been enjoying their show since I discovered it a couple months ago so check it out if you are into motorcycles.

I’ve also had two other websites do interviews with me if you’re interested in more of the backstory of how my trip came to be and where I’ve been before.  Briefcase to Backpack is a site encouraging people to take career breaks and offers tips and inspiration from those that have done it before.  They were interested in my story of how one career break lead to another.

No Place To Be is an English couple getting ready for to do a round-the-world trip and talking to people who have done it before to figure out where to go and how to do it.  I was lucky enough to be one of the people they interviewed in their Meet A Random Traveler series.

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