V-Strom upgrades

The weather has been very pleasant the last couple of weeks leading to today, part of the Memorial Day weekend.  Intermixing motorcycle upgrades and rides to catch some wind in the face, it actually has been somewhat enjoyable working on the V-Strom.  Just about all the major work has been completed and I do believe it is ready for its initial adventure trip.

The Suzuki came very lightly farkled (accessorized) which allowed me to put things on it to best suit my own needs and tastes.  Spending at least an hour each day after work and toiling most of the weekends working on the motorcycle has changed its overall appearance and will allow for a improved initial adventure experience.

The latest add-on include:
  • Enduro Guardian skid plate
  • Enduro Guardian highway pegs
  • Givi PLR532 Monokey quick detachable racks
  • Givi Trekker 33L side cases
  • Givi TN532 engine guard
  • MADDD radiator guard
  • MADDD oil cooler guard
  • AdventureTech fork brace
  • AdventureTech auxiliary shelf
  • AdventureTech GPS mount
  • MRA Vario windshield
  • Madstad adjustable windshield brace
  • Givi XS 308 Tanklock tank bag
  • Givi Tanklock mounting flange
  • Garmin Zumo 660 hard wire motorcycle mount kit
  • Blue Sea Systems 12 volt dash socket
  • Blue Sea Systems dual USB charger socket
  • Speeco Agri-Tube tool storage canister
  • and half dozen more things

I have also been riding the bike to work as much as I can and for running errands from the house.  I am really liking the ‘Strom.  The Mistress has been sitting in the garage for the past several weeks minus a few short-legged rides to keep the dust blown off of it.  Riding the Harley just isn’t as fun as the Strom though, and I’m giving serious consideration to possibly selling it off.  Which sucks after all the time and expense upgrading the suspension and replacing worn out parts this past winter…but it is what it is.

One thing left to do to prepare for the upcoming trip out west:  replace the tires.  Problem is that most bike repair shops are scheduling for weeks out, and will be too late to get the work done before I leave on a five thousand mile odyssey.  Will just have to keep calling shops and hoping that I can squeeze in some place.

Nineteen days left before leaving.  I am so ready for some rest and relaxation!


25,000 visitors and a map out west

Just got notification that the 25,000th person has visited my blog.  Hard to believe that anybody would have interest in following the ramblings of a middle-aged motorcycling fool such as myself, but I am humbled.  What started out as a personal travel journal a few years ago continues to grow and provide me with incentive to continue my writing.  To all visitors, I say thank you for accompanying me on these journeys, and hopefully there are many more to come.

Work continues on the V-Strom, the new adventure bike that will head out west with me.  It looks quite a bit different than the day I brought it home.  New side cases, skid plate, engine crash guards, and a half dozen other things have been installed.  No photo to post yet, but I will get one up before I leave in June.

I have also found that the prior owner had attempted to do quite a bit of modifications to it, and in the process, created a mess.  The electrical system had a auxiliary fuse panel that was incorrectly installed, the inner cowling holding the windshield was in pieces and all the attachment zirks that the bolts go into were stripped and held together with an assortment of improper screws, and some other aftermarket add-ons were never properly installed.  All of these have been fixed…but Bob, the previous owner I purchased this from, sold me what was nearly a lemon and has required some major work and purchases having to be made to correct all the hidden problems that I was not told about at the time of sale.  Live and let learn…the “great deal” he led me on to having made wasn’t so great once things had to be properly fixed.  Still, I like the bike, and it is quickly becoming the staple of transportation that it was initially designed to be.

My regular job has entered into a phase of mega hours, and weekend work; just as it does every year at this time.  Factor in trying to plan this motorcycle trip, doing the work on the V-Strom, trying to spend time with family and friends, having two young dogs that require a few hours of rough-housing every evening, and just trying to live life is very tiring.  Looking forward to June 14th, where I shall mount my new steed and ride off westward bound.

After talking to quite a few people online on a number of motorcycle forums, I’ve created the basic route that I should be able to accomplish in the sixteen days available to me.  Weather, breakdowns, need for a day off the bike, or whatever reasons may occur may cause the route plan to change often, but for now, this is what it looks like:

Click to blow up the route picture
Most of the red dots on the map are simple route markers so I force the map to follow my desired path.  Some of the “highlights” of the route include visits to:
  • Mount Evans, Colorado to ride the highest paved road in North America at 14,240 feet…where the bike, and myself, will be gasping for air
  • A ride on the Moki Dugway in Utah, a dirt road on steep cliffs with no guardrails and where certain death awaits for any riding mistakes (look it up, it’s an amazing section of three miles)
  • A visit to the Grand Canyon North Rim
  • Visits to national parks and monuments that blow away the beauty of the Grand Canyon, including Canyonlands, Grand Staircase, and Bryce Canyon
  • Riding what is rated as six of the ten most beautiful roads in America in one trip

Like many of my trips, I’ll hightail out to Fort Collins, Colorado knocking out interstate miles as fast as I can so that I may slow down when in Colorado to start taking in the scenery and relaxation.  The plan is to camp as much as possible, preferable in very remote locations.  I want to pull out the Helinox chair, and sit in solitude under the sky full of stars on a clear night and just take a nice quiet look at the universe out there.

It’s not the Alaska trip I was hoping to do this year (which I now hope to do next year), but it is still a bucket list item of mine to experience and I am looking forward to the trip.

Current countdown clock: