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I know what you’re thinking… No, I didn’t part with my 990R. This is a tale of helping a friend buying a used motorcycle remotely, then hatching a plan to ride with him as he gets it home. What’s a couple thousand miles between friend’s?

This all began one morning in April when I got a text from Paul pointing me to a bike for sale not that far from where I live. Well, fifty one miles to be exact, but closer to me than him by about a thousand miles. We spent most of the rest of that day researching and him texting the seller and finally deciding to buy. Now, the fun part began. I’d agreed to ride up and have a look and live listen. Paul had already gotten a video-chat walk around. It worked out the next day I had free, so I uncovered my bike that lives partially hidden by grandchild toys and laundry; moving the bike to the driveway to check the tire pressures and get my gear gathered up. THen early morning ride up the Southern California freeway system to see the 1090R. Nice. Very clean. Purrs smooth as butter. I talk briefly with Paul who is barely between video meetings, then ride home. On my way home, I contemplated how to fit another motorcycle in my tiny garage.

The gentleman selling the bike was picking up a new bike and would be out of state in a little more than a week. Working out how to do what, when took another day. This meant either Paul needed to fly out now, or somehow manage to get cash into the sellers hands and pick the bike up prior. Flying out now was not in the cards, so I picked up the bike after Paul and I worked out the banking issues. Pretty simple once we just went old school on it. My wife and I drove up to the sellers place, packed the car with all the extras coming along with the purchase, then I rode the bike to our house.

Once I was in the driveway, I really did have to figure out how to put a motorcycle a bit larger than the one already in the garage, in the garage.

This turned out as expected, along with the expected level of effort. Remove everything in the garage in front of where the bike is to sit, roll the bike back in to about the final resting place, lift it onto the center stand then scoot it to the side. Push everything back into the garage and stack the extra stuff around the bikes.

Then the new tires showed up.

These slide easily down between the shelving and the bike.

A few more details were sorted, the dual USB charging port had quit, but I had an older version as a spare. That could serve for Paul’s ride home.

We were planning how to get this all done, but the sticking point was all the extras stacked up in boxes; how to ship/transport those, and how much really needs to go?

While I was making dinner one evening and we were texting back and forth about details and do-dads, a plan emerged. Or hatched.

How about, if I ride along and we can split the load between two bikes? The reply was a quick, “Awesome!”. Then a question, “Route?”.

Well, routes depend on schedule and available time. More thinking. Oh, it was snowing at his house at that moment. Snow and motorcycles are not a great mix. Particularly not heavily loaded, large motorcycles. A day or two could be added and maybe push the date to the right a bit more. We have time, but since Paul is yet to retire, a holiday weekend could lend a helping hand in the form of some slack in the schedules of work and family. All that worked out. We shuffled routes while texting. Now we had an idea of dates and timing and routing.

Now, we had to figure out packing and gear.

For me packing and gear are pretty much always the same, but I have a new tent I’ve never used that is much, much smaller than the last.

My old Mountain Hardware Hammerhead 2, poles, stakes, rainfly, ground cloth and hammer

The new tent is a Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2 tent and weighs less than half the weight of the old tent and maybe 25% the volume. The old tent mostly filled one 38L Zega Pro pannier. This new tent takes up only about 20% of the volume of that 38L. Also since this trip is three days of riding I need fewer clothes and will skip the hiking boots. I’ll carry my usual kitchen stuff. I should have the entire top of the bike for a big dry bag full of new bike extras. We figured out a sort of route based on time and places to stop. Paul had the great idea of reserving a cabin at a KOA the first night and a Teepee at 3 Step Hideaway the second. This makes his gear stack smaller. I still need a tent for my return trip.

Now, I decided to swap the very worn TKC80’s I’d put on after converting the rear wheel to tubeless, to the Pirelli MT/AT’s I’d lightly used for the quick ride out to the KTM Rally and back in 2019. The Rabaconda made that an easier task.

I took my time in the shade.

Once that was done, I had to shuffle all the stuff out of the garage along with Paul’s bike so I could first get at the shelves where my gear is stored then push my bike back in first so Paul’s is up front ready for his tire changing upon his arrival. His bike is somewhat buried back there.

After a lunch break I got everything stacked out front, where I realized I stacked it around my bike to get his bike out, so I restocked again, then I was able to roll the 990R back into shop within a few inches of the bench.

Everything all rolled back into place and re-stacked. We can walk through the garage now andI found all my gear and stacked a good bit on my bike and stuffed into the Zega Pros.

Later that evening as we were texting back and forth and I was relating to my wife what the plan was, she remarked that going all that way to Colorado and not taking a few more days to visit friends and family in the area was silly. This is how a long weekend becomes an extended adventure.

Remember back when I thought I was traveling light and didn’t need real walking around clothes? Yeah, well that went out the window. And once you’ve dropped one wrench in the gears, why not kick the tool box in after? I mean, I’ve come this far, why not ride to Iowa and visit family? So, more planning. My quick, long weekend ride is now a few weeks. I checked my Service records and my oil change has a whopping 300 miles on it, so I’m good to go there. The Pirelli Scorpion tires I’d used in 2019 only have 3,000 miles on them, so should be plenty for this trip.

My 990R stacked with gear shoved in next to the shelves with old and new tires wedged behind along with more gear.

I’ve not really packed yet, because I’m still planning things, But, pulling gear off the shelf it needed stacked or packed, so got stowed somewhat into the bags.

There are things in there I don’t need. Those ROK Straps will hold the duffle bag filled with OEM parts for the 1090 to the top of my bike. I’ll wedge my hiking boots in somewhere too. I need to figure out how/where to carry my kitchen stuff. This will be two packing scenarios; first the trip to Paul’s with the 1090 extras, then the rest of the trip. Neither of those have been really figured out, but I have a couple of weeks to do that.

As it turns out I need my bike for some riding, errands and fiddling around. So, I move everything out of the shop again and restock again leaving my bike up front where I can unstack it and roll it outside much easier.

I rode with some old friends on Sunday in the wet, windy and cold. That decided I’d wear my usual travel gear in place of my old commuter set up.

Then a pair of new Wolfman Rocky Mountain bags came up for sale and I got them.

That bag has all my tent and sleeping pad and some other stuff. The other side will take my big sleeping bag, clothes, chair and hiking boots. My tripod fits the bottle holster easily. That can hang off the other bag. My top bag will hold my rain pants and spare gloves and layers and kitchen. The Rocky Mountain’s are not completely full by any stretch.

The next episode of this adventure, “Part II”, will begin when Paul gets here in four days.

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