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The year began with changing oil and filters again, adjusting the chain, then a coolant change in late January. I added the Midwest Mountain Engineering clutch lever the early part of February.

In March I changed sprockets and chains the chain being pretty worn.

A little bling for the bike with the orange rear sprocket.

I changed the cross-over tube connection/valves for Powercell 90° machined and anodized aluminum quick disconnects.

My White Arai XD had worn out the interior pads at the collar and I had no luck finding replacements locally or online. But, I happened on a closeout of KTM XD’s at a shop somebody posted on Advrider.com.

The old helmet was showing a lot of wear. The liner had rolled at one point and would sometimes bunch up just above my temple. I’d begin to feel a lot of pressure that quickly became a huge headache. It took me a couple of times of this happening to figure out it wasn’t the head cover I used, but the pad itself. I’d also gotten a Send 20S for Christmas so that would need moving from the old lid to the new.

I like the KTM colors on this helmet. With motorcycles we’re always in search of a better headlight. I tired a different H4 lamp.

This one being a 100/90W. But, only 4000K so a sort of dull yellow/brown light. I didn’t care for it.

I was racking up mileage commuting across town to the tune of about 80 miles per day. That meant another valve check at about 42,000 miles and no change in the gaps. All were still within spec.

Also in March I mounted a new Pirelli MT90/AT rear tire and while I had the rear wheel off I checked the disc for wear. The rear rotor was worn to below spec and was replaced with a Galfer wave rotor and pads. At 51,000 miles I put a new Pirelli MT 90A/T on the front and greased the wheel bearings. Another valve check, oil and filter change.

I changed the right hand switches to European switch set to be able to turn the headlight off.

Another change was to the connector to the starter relay. I changed this out for a waterproof connector set form Eastern Beaver. The OEM is on the top and the Eastern Beaver waterproof connector on the bottom.

I rebuilt the clutch master cylinder after noticing a small leak.

Late October I changed the tires for TKC80’s in preparation for the Advrider Pahrump Rally. I would be riding a few days on the way there. I would also be attending a Jimmy Lewis off-road riding school for one day. My first on this motorcycle.

For the rally, I spent my first night at Alabama Hills, west of Lone Pine, California.

The next day was some exploring through the valley while heading to Pahrump through Death Valley.

The weather was brisk, but clear with barely a breeze.

The Pahrump rally uses the city park ball field for camping there are showers and restrooms. Groceries are a short walk. There are several places to eat from short walks to short ride distances.

The Jimmy Lewis Off-road riding school starts off at his compound where we worked on balance skills. The first skill was balancing on a 2×4 the width of foot pegs. It was amazing how I could not do this until Jimmy came by and offered his forearm as handlebars. Suddenly my brain got it.

Each drill is a bit like that revelation as each drill introduces a skill that builds from the last. I had done a weekend school with Jimmy on my BMW 1150 GS Adventure a long time before and went through a similar process of frustration and insight. Stepping up onto a non-running motorcycle without using our hands was our last balance drill. I was not sure I could do it, but as we had progressed to that point through several drills, each introducing the skills we would need for this last, I gave it my best. A couple of false starts, then wow! I could stand on my pegs from one foot on the ground not using my hands. In about an hour I had gone from not being able to step onto either end of a board on the ground to stepping onto the pegs of my 990R, too tall suspension and all. And that right there is worth the price of the class. And that doesn’t even begin to finish the skill building and drills. We next headed to the dry lake for firm around dirt drills.

From the dry lake we headed to sand, where I was pretty much done. I was far too tired for that. All that overtime and work in a cube instead of riding a motorcycle on dirt left me in poor shape.

Jimmy used my bike to demonstrate that even the big 990 can be ridden with skill.

When we left that area for bigger hills to climb, I managed to snag myself on the nearest bush. I put a foot down and leaned the bike against me so I could barely move. Comical for sure. With some help I got righted and we headed off along sand washes similar to what we had ridden in on.

It was a good day, but I was glad when we finally pulled back into the compound to end the day. A hot shower back at the Rally grounds and some dinner.

The next day a few of us rode to China Ranch Date Farm by back routes some sand was ridden too. Then into town for a brewery tour and next we found some lunch.

In December I finally installed some Oxford heated grips. Warm hands are good.

The controller on the right side of the dash proved to be annoying. I had to set the cruise control then reach forward with my right hand. I didn’t like the awkwardness of the location.

I ended 2016 with more than 55,000 miles on the odometer. The photo is from October prior to the rally.

The last entry in my notes is from early December at 55,133 miles When I added new wave rotors to the front with free pads.

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