This started off as three, maybe four guys riding the IDBDR, Idaho Back Roads Discovery Route, morphed into three guys riding loops from a VRBO in Ouray to just two of us camped at the Ouray Colorado KOA and riding loops.
How did we get to here? Well, it all began as musings about the BDR route by a couple of us back in the winter. You know, when we all think we’ll have more time to do stuff come summer. Yeah, that lasted until summer and the time to ride to and from Idaho from around the country added to the time required to pull off riding and enjoying the BDR sights with no rest days, slowly dawned on our little band. A week begins to look more like three. I’d originally been planning for a little more than a month on the road. Eventually Paul and I are settled into Ouray loops form the campground, skipping the camp kitchen to save space and skip the bear bait that all that food, in even the semi-wild has become.
My preparation has shifted from looking up lodging for a BDR point to point to just getting the bike ready. I only had a couple of gear questions to solve. First was a replacement mid-layer jacket for my poor worn-out old Adventure Spec Hybrid jacket from Lyndon Poskitt Racing. It served me well, but nothing wears forever. I replaced it with a closeout Mountain Hardware mid layer jacket. Cheaper, lighter and not as insulated, so time will tell if it works for me.
I needed one more piece of gear, a pack hat. My old, nearly twenty years or more old hat has shrunk and no longer fits. I had a gift card I could use so off to Patagonia to order a new hat. The new hat will show up in a few weeks I’m told.
The preparations for the 990R were/are confined to a few mechanical replacement bits and bobs and a more final repair of the ignition wiring and connector. I swapped to marine grade wire with waterproof connections. I also swapped out the OEM airbox base for new thanks to several of the fastener holes being stripped after the 2018 rebuild by a shop. I used TuneECU to zero the throttle cables, something that finally got the bike running very smooth. I had ordered a new custom saddle from Renazco Racing last fall, but had to let my place in line slip into this year. The seat is perfect and I should have replaced the OEM the day I brought the bike home. I bought a new fuel pump and filter service kit as well. I figure the 85.000+ miles on the original pump is maybe pushing the lifetime of that thing. I do change filters annually so, maybe that helps?
The last few mechanical items to address on the bike are changing the engine oil and filters and replacing the coolant. Both items I’ve secured parts and fluids for and am just awaiting the time to address it.
There was a time, when I didn’t have choices and went with what I had. Now, I’ve choices so the decision rears its head for attention. I’ve been thinking the hard bags and 20L tail pack, but have recently been second guessing myself to use the soft bags. I like them in that they are 100% waterproof, Wolfman Rocky Mountain Expedition bags, total capacity of 64 liters.
I finished my bike prep with fresh engine oil and filter and fresh coolant. I’ll mess with luggage and packing next.
Today I made a short test ride to be certain all was working. It is. Then the task was to mess with packing and luggage selection.
I went with the hard bags because they are easier to get on and off the bike and easier to get into and out of at travel stops. Since we’ll be riding loops, I’ll stow them in my tent while we loop ride and just use the tank and tail bags. All my camping gear fits into one of the Touratech Zega Pro bags, total capacity of 76 liters. This leaves the other side for all my clothes and riding gear layers as well as toiletries and electronics I won’t necessarily be using while riding. The Wolfman tank bag will handle my eye glasses and sunglasses case, cameras and riding electronics cords. Sunscreen, tissues and small stuff, hearing aids and batteries. The usual tiny bits and bobs. The tail pack holds tube repair, pump, spare tubes, rain gear and my camp cup.
And packed into the bag,
All that camp gear includes: tent, footprint, rainfly, poles, stakes, hammer, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, pillow, bag liner, camp chair and a shopping bag.
I’ve one last task to complete; to check the cooling system for a bubble, by elevating the front wheel. I’ll deal with that next.
Today I burped the cooling system.
That essentially completes the planning and prep. I’ll need to pack of course and find a few bits I’ve mislaid, but basically ready to ride. I’ll update my off-line maps, the Sena firmware is updated as of a few days ago, but I’ll be sure to check it again a day before I leave.
Eleven days out right now. I’m going to replace the tail bag to hold my sandals and riding layers and rain gear. Maybe a few other bits as they fit. For travel I prefer the heavy tire repair kit in the bottom of the saddle bags, toward the front.
I won’t be writing live this trip. I may post a few photos on Instagram. The plan is to take notes by hand each day then do a multi-part write-up once I get back from traveling.
A comparison of packing, mostly for my own curiosity. The Wolfman Rocky Mountain Expedition bag holds a bit less than the 38L Touratech Zega Pro and certainly looks quite a bit smaller. This does not hold the sleeping bag and that is the difference between these two setups for volume. I have also packed the Wolfman with each piece oriented vertically. I’m going to try this same strategy with the Zega Pro next just to see how easy or hard it is. The sleeping bag compression ball dictates a more horizontal pack, but I’m going to play a bit with it and see what I can come up with.
So, everything outside my rain gear and cup fit in this one 38L Zega Pro bag, leaving the other bag for tire repair tubes and clothes. I’ll carry rain gear and layers in the tail bag. I’m going to re-pack using both Wolfman Rocky Mountain bags to see how my clothes and everything fit. I’ll do the same with the Zega Pro bags.
Finally, ready to go. I filled the fuel tanks, made some suspension adjustments, rearranged the tail bag mounting and balanced the throttle bodies. The bike is fully packed save toiletries kit. Electronics are charged and packed. At least the pieces I don’t use dat to day. My watch and phone cords stow in the toiletries kit along with a dual wall plug charge point. Solar charger panels are already packed.
That Kreiga 20L tail bag is a top strap bag so needs to be filled and solid to strap firmly as the straps are not elastic like Rok Straps. An annoying feature of these designs, but I’m not going to spend more money on a base mount bag like the Touratech.
I’m still repacking and second guessing myself. Mostly because I have the time. The tail bag is stuffed pretty full of sleeping pad, rain gear, camp chair, solar panels and notebook. I will likely re-do that and look at the side cases as well. I put the sleeping bag compression ball into the right side bag with my sandals and clothes. That leaves a volume at the top for my riding food. I figure two PB&J sandwiches for the first day and a Clif bar for breakfast the second day. That so I can get an early start before the camp cafe’ is open.
Because the weather is into the seasonal monsoon, which means afternoon showers, I want to make camp early and be ready to hide in the tent before it hits. Right now those showers are predicted for both Flagstaff and Ouray.