Friday, February 19, 2016

Devil's Creek 2016

Devils Creek, Dixie Dual Sport's premier rally, is now just two weeks out!

Monday, February 15, 2016

SE Rides Winter Rally

We're just wrapping up the three-day SE Rides Winter Rally that was held in South Florida in the Okaloachoochee Slough State Forest and Dinner Island Ranch WMA. It was a terrific event. The Forest and WMA were large enough that they provided many great dual sport trails, thus minimizing pavement time. We had about all the conditions that you'd want to make for a great rally and, to top it off, the weather could not have been better...sunny and mid-70s all weekend!

Oh whoops, the Forest is spelled Okaloacoochee. Everything has a freakin' crazy name here in Florida.

The Rally was a no-fee event, sponsored by StarTron Fuel Treatments. As you'll see they provided all the grub and drink. Absolutely awesome. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Many of the riders camped in the Dinner Island Ranch WMA; however, it was just a little too early in the season for me to be pulling out the camping gear. Yes, mid-70s during the day; yes, mid-40s during the night. So I wimped out and stayed at the Budget Inn in Immokalee, the closest hotel at about 25 miles away.

So let's get rolling. As mentioned in my Rally Tools Post, I always carry one of my two Rotopax Cells. Not because I ever need it, but there's someone that does. Sure enough, on Saturday someone went dry. Glad to be of service!

The bikes were a decent mix of mostly "adventure" grade bikes and a few smaller dual sports. There was only one other KLR650, an older GEN1 that was ridden by the lead.

We had a couple GS1200 Adventures. One had a good set of block knobbies. This one had what appeared to be 80/20s and had a hard time making speed on the roads and trails.

A couple KTM Adventures. Crikey! These bikes have more gadgetry and electronics than air planes. Fast as hell...I think that they have electronics that keep them righted. I saw them pushing a couple gravel ladden corners well beyond my compy zone.

We had one Super Tenere in the group, which was the only bike that broke down. Something clipped the radiator. Bummer. I used to have one of these Super10s. I put 25,000 miles on it in about a year. Great, true-adventure bikes.

Another in the group was a Kawaski Versys 1000 LT ridden by my friend Ed (the Orange bike in the middle of the photo below). The Rally consisted of a dual sport ride and an adventureish route for more roadworthy bikes and riders that don't like riding through rivers and sandlots. Unfortunately, Ed missed that group so he joined us. He's like an expert mx'er so he made it look easy on the BigV.

Folks starting to gather for the riders meeting.

We had to pay the Iron Ranger $2 per bike to ride in the forest.

Yours truly kicking the KamoKLR into overdrive.

Wet and rough!

Many roads were impassable. Great roads, but we ended having to turn out and ride the same road out.

Here's a good shot of me making my Conti TCK80s work in the turns.

Lunch stop on Saturday was at a Mexican place in Immokalee. If you've ever been to Immokalee, you know that the population is about 99% Mexican, so when you go to a Mexican Restaurant's "real" Mexican food; not Tex-Mex crap! However, I would have liked a nap after lunch. :)

Speaking of Mexicans, I heard a funny joke. What do you call a Mexican with a rubber toe? Roberto. :)

Then back on the trails. Lots of sand, gravel and water, but the tracks were really fast. I saw 50 mph a lot on these forest roads and a couple 70s! Man, that's fun going that fast, cutting into the corners and rolling on the throttle on the way out.

Okay, so here I am on the other side of that flooded area taking photos of the bikes riding through. Troy is picking me up on his helmet cam.

...and here's Troy coming at me from the other direction.

And a few other bikes I captured on film, including the V1000.

StarTron put on an incredible feed bag on Friday and Saturday night. Main courses were huge steaks on Friday and barbecued chicken and ribs on Saturday.

Oh, what does a divorce in Alabama and a hurricane in Florida have in common? Some one's fixing to lose a trailer. :)

Did I mention that there were steaks on the menu?

And barbecued ribs and chicken?

Here's some video of the rides taken by one of the GS1200 Adventure riders from his helmet cam. I have the white jersey and yellow hi-viz visor helmet...and, of course, riding the 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 in digital camo:

Well, all I can say is that was an awesome time. The KLR really did brilliantly. Very glad I have those Conti-TCK80s! Also glad I didn't need to find out how my armor works, although I came close to tumbling on  one occasion.

Now that I'm back on a dual sport, I'm looking to hook up with this group more regularly.

Next stop for the KamoKLR?

Dixie Dual Sport has their premier event, Devils Creek, on March 4-6, just a couple weeks out. That ride cost me $170, but if the weather holds, I'll be pitching the tent and saving a bunch.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dual Sport Rally Tool Kits

I find it interesting to hear what tools and replacement parts some folks carry on their dual sport or adventure motorcycles during rallies and other similar events. Out on the road, you can call the AMA Roadside Assistance to come bail you out (it's part of our membership). On some adventure rides and most rallies, we need to be prepared to do enough to at least get ourselves out of the woods and that brings up the tool kits and how we carry our tools and parts.

There's a very broad perspective on this topic. Some riders don't carry anything. Some riders prepare themselves for some unusual repairs. I once saw a rider talking about carrying spare valve shims to be prepared to adjust his valves. Yikes!

Where I am in the range of perspectives, I don't know. However, I just finished putting my rally kit together from my first Adventure Rally down in Immokalee, Florida (slightly north east of Naples) this weekend. Here are a couple photos of what I've pulled together and I'll go through a list:

Here's what all is there:
  • Front tube (MSR 90/90-21)
  • Rear tube (Factory 130/80-17)
  • Slime Power Sport Air Compressor (pre-installed fused lead on battery; extra fuse)
  • Tire iron
  • Tire Iron/27mm Wrench Combo (Rear Axle Nut; Motion Pro T6)
  • 19mm boxed end wrench (Front Axle Nut)
  • Valve stem tool
  • Slime mini air pressure gauge
  • Crescent wrench (6 inch)
  • Small vice grip
  • Needle nose
  • 1/4" Ratchet (6" and 3" extensions; 8mm-14mm long sockets; 2 flat bit drivers; 2 philips drivers; 5mm-6mm allens)
  • Chain kit (Chain oil; 2 x disposable rubber gloves; towel; stays at basecamp)
  • 6 x 11" Zip Ties
  • 1/2 Quart of oil (stays at basecamp)
  • Tow/Lift Rope (about 25')
  • Hand towel
  • 9/10 gallons of gas (on the rack)
I own two Rotopax cells and have a coupler to mount both, but only need one for most local and regional events. With a single Rotopax I can tackle about any event with two usable gallons in the tank and close to one on the rear. That both lowers weight and helps the weight distribution. The last time I carried two cells was on an Adventure up to Prudoe Bay Alaska back in 2012. Although the cells hold a gallon, I only put in 9/10 of a gallon because the gas expands. I've never had expanding gas burst the cell, but it will make it nearly impossible to spin off the mounting screw.

Missing Items:
  • Spark Plugs: I haven't carried a spare spark plug since I stopped buying 2-stroke motorcycles. Today's motorcycles run so lean that fouling them isn't a big risk and I've never had a bad plug on a contemporary 4-stroke motorcycle, trail riding or otherwise.
  • Master Link: I used to carry clip-type master links, but with the newer chains with rivet-type masters the weak link (no pun intended) is eliminated.
All of the hand tools go into a little tool bag and the small bits and ratchet go into a baggy so they're easily accessible. Note that I don't have any screw drivers. What I do is use the flat head and Philips driver bits in the ratchet extension. If I need more torque, I put the ratchet on it. I actually rolled some gorilla tape on the long extension to make like a handle out of it.

That and everything (except the air compressor and air gauge while actually on the rally) go into an old Bilt Tail Bag I have that is 12" x 9" x 7". The air compressor/gauge needs to be more accessible for frequent airing up/down of tires. For that I have a small tank bag.

How much does all that weigh (excluding fuel cell)? 12 pounds.

That get's netted and then bungeed onto the tail rack along with the Rotopax Cell. The double strapping doesn't add any weight and is a precaution against one or the other failing.

A couple items that aren't tools but just as important are:
  • Spare Ignition Key
  • SPOT and SatNav
  • Cell phone
  • Ben's 100% Deet Bug Repellent (Alaska Proven!)
  • Sun Screen and ChapStick
  • First aid: 6 x regular size bandaids, 4 x small butterflies
  • Fox Low-Pro 2 quart hydration backpack

That's it. Let's get this show on the road!