Monday, June 30, 2008

The bike - 2005 Suzuki DL650 "VStrom"

When I returned from my last trip I was Sans motorcycle for the first time in a year and I didn’t like it one bit. Even though it was WAY too early to think about riding there was just no way my obsessive-compulsive personality would allow me to take my time to find a replacement. Lucky for me though, we now have the internet.
Through the modern marvel of Ebay and Kijiji I was able to find the perfect (for me anyhow) motorcycle. In Vancouver I found a 2005 Suzuki DL650 “VStrom.” It’s an Adventure Sport-Touring bike and is the perfect combination of street-bike as well as having excellent dirt road capability. It’s only a 650 but it has plenty of power for two-up adventure touring but is still small and light enough for Mexican back roads and for exploring off of the beaten track. And better yet, it was in almost new condition. It only had 9,000 klm when I bought it and it has a veritable cornucopia of adventure add-on’s already installed: touring windshield, engine guards, skid-plate, hand guards, centre stand, ignition advancer, stainless-steel exhaust, a full set of Givi panniers, Progressive Springs in front and a heavy duty spring in the rear. Since buying the bike I’ve installed a 12 volt power outlet and I’m now just waiting for bar risers from the US. When they arrive I’ll have them professionally installed in the shop and I’ll install driving lights and a 16-tooth counter sprocket at the same time. I’ve also added soft bag-liners for the Givi’s and I’m just waiting for tank pannier’s from the US for added storage on long trips.

The Trip (s)

Our next trip is going to be a trial run for an even longer trip in two years. Our long-term goal is a three-month (or longer) trip from Columbia to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America and back up to Buenos Aires. This won't be until 2010/2011 at the earliest though. In the mean time we'll need to get at least one good month-long trip under our belts to iron out the bugs and make sure we're up to the challenge a long two-up journey.

When I got back from the last trip Rosi was VERY impressed with how well Sheri did two-up on the back of Steve's KLR and pleasantly surprised to hear how much Sheri enjoyed riding. With this in mind she was willing to give it her best try. This was very brave on her part and I was really appreciative that she'd at least give it a try, because prior to this her only experience on the back of a bike was as a teenager and the only memories she has are bad ones. Back then she took a very nasty spill and she still has the scars to remind her that it's a potentially dangerous sport.

This time around though, there's no way I will even consider riding without proper protective gear. My new motto is ATGATT - All The Gear All The Time. So...long story short, she gave it a try and it turns out she loves it! We started with a couple of short rides around town so we could both get used to two on a bike and since then we've done two long day-trips. The last was 7 hours/350 klm, which is a very good indicator that we'll be fine on a long trip.

So far Rosi has been borrowing my second set of gear but now that we know she likes it we'll be making a trip to Spokane to get her all of her own gear.

For now we'll keep doing day trips while we both gain experience but our goal is to ship the bike to Phoenix sometime this fall for a month-long trip in Mexico; either this winter or late spring, early next year. We'll either head back into the Copper Canyon or make our way down the Gulf Coast to Veracruz.

Here we go again!

Well, here we go again. We invite friends an family to follow along as we prepare for our next great adventure.

I completed my first "trip of a lifetime" in February and learned two important lessons: First, it wasn't the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it was an eye-opening experience that confirmed for me that there's a big beautiful world out there and the best way to explore it is from the seat of a motorcycle. Rather than a one time trip it's turned out to be the first of many more to come. The second lesson, and by far the most valuable, is that the ONLY way I'll truly appreciate the journey is if Rosi is along to share it with me.

So, with that in mind I'm once again using this blog to keep a running diary of where we are in the planning stages and as a venue to record my thoughts as we make progress with Dale & Rosi's Motorcycle Adventures, part deux.