Getting Ready For Death Valley

My Trip to Death Valley is just a couple of weeks away! I did not need to get anything, but that did not stop me from using the trip as an excuse to make a few upgrades to my riding gear. I’ll start with the one I thought was the most essential.

MSR fuel bottles

The 695 with new engine maping is much less fuel efficent than the lean running 620 was. I went from 49+ mpg to 44 mpg which shaves 15-20 miles from my range. It may not sound like much, but going from light on at 150 miles to 120-130 miles is significant reduction in range especially when going to places a little off the beaten track.

Enter my 2 MSR fuel bottles, at nearly a liter each (30 floz) they get me another half gallon of gas and essentially the range I lost back. To be used in emergency only, but will be nice to have as a security blanket. If I had a more adventure ready motorcycle and hard cases I would have probably done something more like these, but since I don’t, I won’t.

It might not look like 22 miles... but that's what it is.

It might not look like 22 miles… but that’s what it is.

Kreiga R25 Backpack

I love my R20, but as I talked about a few weeks ago it’s bigger brother is a better bag. Primarily because it’s adjustments aren’t in straps that easily come loose while riding. Every motorcyclist whose ridden with a bag knows how annoying it is to have a strap slapping against you in the wind.

I wonder how much more pie this one will hold?

I wonder how much more pie this one will hold?

Heavy Duty Phone Charging Cord

Phone Charger New

Last time I did some touring I got a SAE to USB adaptor so I could charge my phone while I ride. It was amazing and one of the best modifications I’ve done to my bike. However the wind takes a toll on the phone charging cord and I had one die after 3 days of use on the bike. Hopefully this one will last longer, I’ll report on it when I get back.

I’m definitely looking forward to getting away and into the desert for a few days, I just hope the weather works out for us. We need rain here, but it would be sad to have the trip canceled because of rain.

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Motorcycle Overload?

Sometimes I wonder, if it is possible to have too much of motorcycles in your life…

I ride them as well as reading and writing about them nearly every single day. Some days it’s hard to do the writing bit and occasionally the riding bit is not as comfortable as I would like, and I’m not always in the mood to read about them, however I would be surprised to find out that there was a day in the last eight plus years that I did not do one of those things.

What is it about them that causes some of us to go completely off the reservation and obsess about them completely. The only thing I spend more time thinking about is my wife (and she’s not convinced of that).

It feels like I’ve written endlessly trying to capture this addictive part of motorcycling. Early last year I wrote about why I ride, and just a few weeks ago I wrote about motorcycling as meditation. There is just so much to riding a motorcycle that appeals.

Lately though there is one thing that sums it up for me.  Riding a motorcycle is an adventure. Riding is about making every day have some adventure to it. Every time you get on a motorcycle you are taking yourself into potentially dangerous situations. Doing this is a risk, even if it’s not as big as many like to think, but definitely more so than sitting in a car wasting away. Motorcycling give you the sense of feeling alive, even just riding down to the store, or out for for coffee.

My commute has become an exercise of survival, no longer just a tedious trip from point A to B, it’s a intense experience. It’s something that you have to prepare for, I wear protective gear for it.

Nothing boring involves wearing a helmet.

So maybe I like riding a lot and it consumes me, but hell I have to go to work everyday… It might as well be something I look forward to doing.

Keep Out indeed... this way lies madness.

Keep Out indeed… this way lies madness.

 

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My 2015 Motorcycling Bucket List

I’ve been working on a Bucket list for motorcycling, it’s still in process… I’m having some issues with trying to decide on how comprehensive to make it. So instead I decided I would just list out what I want to do this year with motorcycles. Not really  “bucket” list per se, more like a wishful to do list. It’s not much really and I’m reasonably hopefully they will be all accomplished by December.

I need to get this guy out and on the roads with me!

I need to get this guy out and on the roads with me!

1. Go to Death Valley, with no actual deaths.
2. Find a Garage Home for my motorcycles
3. Go Motorcycle Camping more than once this year
4. Do everything I can to get my brother safely riding a motorcycle.

They are not listed in any sort of priority, just as I thought of them.

What are you all trying to get done on Motorcycles this year?

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Working on the Details: Planning the Trip (Again)

I shared a few weeks ago about my concerns about my up coming trip to Death Valley. I mean it’s called Death Valley, that alone is reason for concern! Seriously though, I think part of my reluctance about the trip is the fact that since I’m using the same plan I’m worried it will result in the same outcome.

Which is of course crazy, since last time nothing went to plan.

Despite of, or perhaps because of this worry, the need to tinker is great. A lot has changed in the past couple of years and my thoughts of what makes a good motorcycle adventure have changed. (Here is the original Planned Route as of two years ago.)

I’m debating adding camping to the trip. I had a great time moto-camping last year and would love to do it again. However I’m not sure it’s really worth the effort since it is a lot of gear to carry on the bikes and it’s unlikely we’ll camp for more than one night. On the pro side of the camping idea is that it will allow us to most likely stay in Death Valley instead of having to stay outside of the park. This will save us some travel time and wasted miles, perhaps allowing us to see more in the Valley.

In addition to the Camping I’m also looking at this road. That some website listed as one of the best roads in California. Since we’ll be in the area I think we might have to give it a try.

The other thing I’m looking into is a way to carry some extra fuel on the bike, the 695 with it’s new mapping is a bit thirstier than it was with the 620 engine. My range is about 20 miles less than it was, which may not sound like much, but it’s about a 15% reduction in range. So I’m looking into a way to carry another half gallon of gas, just in case…

All Packed up and ready to go.

All Packed up and ready to go.

 

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The Real Reason I Started Riding Motorcycles

When I tell people why I started riding motorcycles I  normally start with my wife. She is definitely the one who got the ball rolling by expressing interest in 2005 when my close friend in San Diego started riding.

Sometimes I also mention my Dad, he rode motorcycles a lot until I was four years old or so, I have memories of him riding, but mostly I just remember wanting to play on his old Honda CB 350 as it slowly deteriorated in the back yard for a couple of years before he finally sold it after my brother was born.

It’s all lies though, this is the real reason I started riding motorcycles.

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It’s because Robotech was my favorite TV show growing up. Specifically the Third Generation with the Motorcycle Mecha.  Most of them are online here as the original Japanimation: https://www.youtube.com/user/KikoSoseikiMOSPEADA

I still love this show, and when I was in grade school I used to ride my bicycle home as fast as possible so I wouldn’t miss an episode. The entire ride home I would spend imagining that I was riding a cyclone. Sure it’s all a bit cheesy in hindsight, but I’m still absolutely sure this is what was rattling around the back of my mind when my wife decided that she wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle.

Sadly my FrankenMonster doesn’t turn into a robotic suit that I can crush bad guys with (people who cut me off), but I love it all the same.

 

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My Valentine! I’ve found true love in the FrankenMonster

I decided after getting flack ever year for not doing anything for Valentines Day I wouldn’t mess it up this year.

I got her something special.

I got her something special.

She had something for me too.

She had something for me too.

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Worst Thing About Riding to Work: It’s hard to stop when you get there…

I just wanted to keep going.

The weather has been really too good for February. It was in the mid 70’s on the ride home today, and not even that chilly in the early morning, perfect riding weather basically, and I did not want to stop. I just wanted to head toward the hills and see where the day took me.

She doesn't want to be here, she wants to be in the hills.

Poor Sad FrankenMonster, she doesn’t want to be here, she wants to be in the hills.

Instead I was a responsible person and parked the bike and went to work.

Blerg. It needs to rain so I feel better about going to work!

 

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