Those Guys With Street Tires, a WABDR Adventure - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Those Guys With Street Tires, a WABDR Adventure

Late on a Tuesday afternoon, I get home from work and throw all my gear on the back of my 2008 Versys. I’ve been up to my eyeballs planning this trip for the past week, and now it is time to step out the door. Exciting, and relieving. Our plan is to ride the entire WABDR. And do the first three segments of the WABDR in two days. Considering neither of us have any idea what to expect, we have no clue how realistic this would be. After that, we would take one day for the segment to get to Chelan, where we would meet our friends in some 4x4’s. The last two segments we would ride together over the weekend.

I started my bike, and noticed I had to hit the ignition a little longer than usual… strange. I think nothing of it, and ride over to meet my partner, Mikk, for the trip at his house. Ready to go, we take a picture and are on our way to Ainsworth State Park, Oregon. It is a cold, damp night, and for some reason my heated grips are not quite as warm as they usually are… That’s strange.



Ainsworth State Park is on the Columbia River Gorge, an incredible place to see if you haven’t been. Arriving after dark, we only spend enough time there to get a night of rest before hitting the trails in the morning. It’s a wet morning.



The first leg begins after crossing the Bridge of the Gods. Little did I know, the gods would not be smiling down on me that day…




The pavement ends, and the first leg of the WABDR gets underway. It didn’t take long before…



All I was left with was a sore rib and lightly sprained hand. Nothing that could keep me out of the ride! I did, however, break the windscreen off my bike. Oh, well… I went into this trip expecting to give the Versys a thrashing or two. A pair of riders caught up to me while I was unloading my bike to get it upright again. They stopped to help me out, didn’t chat much, and continued on. They were riding BIG F1200GS Adventure’s. I could tell they knew what they were doing with them, too. I also could tell that they knew that Mikk and I had no idea what we were doing… More on that later.

The two other riders move on ahead of us, and I pick up the pieces of my crash. But there’s a problem. My bike won’t start. I think back to when I’m leaving my garage at home, and the bike hesitates to start. I should have known. Now I’m getting starter relay flutter, the battery is dead. But I just replaced it a few months ago, and ride often! Nothing for it but bump start the bike, and continue on. We go for the next two or three hours, and arrive at the Guler Ice Caves. I read it was an impressive place to stop, but as someone who has spent a lot of time climbing in the mountains, I was very disappointed. There were a few interesting ice formations, but for the most part it was just a partially collapsed lava tube. I wanted to take pictures, but…

I realized I left my camera where I had crashed. It is expensive enough to make it worth the return. From the ice caves, we detour onto the pavement and head for the town of Trout Lake before heading south on 141 back to the Columbia River. Fun road, by the way!

Hours later, with my camera recovered, but not my ego, we take another pavement detour to try and make up for lost time and get back to Trout Lake. Above the gorge we are greeted with incredible views of Hood River, OR and Mt. Hood in the background.



It brings back memories of climbing Mt. Hood on my birthday two years earlier with Mikk and another climbing friend of ours. But we have to get moving! It is late in the afternoon, and we’re supposed to be finished with more than one segment of the WABDR by the end of the day. We already know this will not be likely.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Last edited by nprecup; 09-25-2013 at 07:57 PM.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 10:12 PM
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Im thinking, theres going to be a BIGFOOT sighting before this adventure ends

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-25-2013, 10:42 PM
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Age considers; youth ventures.

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 07:12 AM
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Looks like fun so far! I hope a bad stator wasn't involved.

Ride To Live, Live To Ride....no, really!
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 08:29 AM
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It's the journey that is the important thing to enjoy, not the destination.

Enjoy your youth before you get to that age where you double & triple check everything then talk yourself out of an adventure because the yard needs mowing!!!
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Britmick View Post
It's the journey that is the important thing to enjoy, not the destination.

Enjoy your youth before you get to that age where you double & triple check everything then talk yourself out of an adventure because the yard needs mowing!!!
+1

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 11:32 AM
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It's the journey that is the important thing to enjoy, not the destination.

Enjoy your youth before you get to that age where you double & triple check everything then talk yourself out of an adventure because the yard needs mowing!!!
Gawd ain't that the truth. I was thinking of canceling a trackday this weekend because of yardwork. I came to my senses. Trying to get some of the yardwork done during the week.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 04:20 PM
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Im thinking, theres going to be a BIGFOOT sighting before this adventure ends
...look down THERE ...
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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I'm certainly trying to enjoy myself and get out as much as possible, in as many ways as possible!
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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At this point, I stop taking pictures. We are in go mode. No stopping unless necessary. Mikk notices that my headlight is out. It starts to worry me. There must be something more wrong with my bike than just the battery. My stator should be keeping my battery voltage high enough to run all the equipment on my bike… In the middle of nowhere north of Mt. Adams, we have to get to Packwood before dark. We mobbed down the forest roads, desperate to get to our destination. We made it with only a few minutes of daylight left. Close call.

Immediately we find a room to stay in and call it a day. We grab some pizza down the street, and I come back to take a look at the bike. The only thing I can think of to try in the short term is to remove my heated grips from the system. It does nothing. We decide to wait until morning, then get to the nearest Kawasaki dealership as soon as possible, which is in Yakima on the other side of the mountains.

We get there at about 10 a.m., and after talking to one of the service techs for a few minutes, he immediately diagnoses the problem as being a burnt stator. We look at the voltage output from the stator wiring, and he shows me that it is too low. The dealership is Premier Powersports in Yakima, and these guys are awesome. They lend me some tools, an oil pan, and anything I need to pull off the generator cover and check my stator.



After pulling it out, I show it to one of the techs. “Yep, that’s burned.” There is black sludge on two of the stator windings. I pay for a new stator, and overnight shipping. The guys in the service department let me charge my battery. Since the battery lasted me the past few days, I think I should have enough juice to get out of the city for the night! Mikk and I decide to camp on the BDR route just outside Yakima. The roads out here are fun. Lots of big rocks to throw your bike around. I have to say, the Versys handles it extremely well!



But as I coast to a stop near the top of a hill, my bike sputters and dies. My display isn’t even lit up. Confused, I turn the bike off and back on. Nothing. There is nothing left in the battery.

There is nowhere flat to camp, and we need to turn back. It's mostly downhill back to the highway, but there are still a few uphill sections. I hope it can make it... I turn around, and rolling downhill it takes a few attempts at bump starting before the bike hesitantly comes to life. The bike sputters and dies just as it successfully crests each of the small uphill sections. Finally, it dies for the last time a hundred yards from the highway. We'll camp here.



We pulled out my battery and hopped on Mikk's bike to go find a charger. The first place we see turns out to be this little general store in an RV park. The owner is just closing up, and we catch him leaving the store...



Our luck holds out. He lets us borrow his battery charger. Mikk puts a little air in his tires. We spent a few hours chatting with some of the residents in the trailer park, and had a good time. One of them told us about growing up with his dad, driving all over the US with him, and the music his dad played. Another brought out his dogs. Beautiful animals; half siberian husky, half wolf.



Battery charged, we head back to my bike to set up camp. Just then a few motorcycles pull up. Two guys, father and son, on the BDR with their KLRs. We have a good time talking about all sorts of things. They also happened across the guys on the big BMW's. "The BMW riders had seen 'some guys on street tires'... was that you two?". Yep, that's us. Those guys on street tires. We now have a reputation!

The next day, my battery lasts me to the dealer, and $450 later, I have a new stator and my bike is back on the road! We have to take the highway up to Chelan to meet up with some 4x4 friends we were going to spend the weekend with. Of course, we have enough time for a short detour and some fun...



We take the old blewett pass highway. A road sent from heaven. 13 miles of roads, every hundred feet a curve to die for...



To say nothing of the views…

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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 07:50 PM
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Great adventure and photos, I hope one day to do that area also.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 08:13 PM
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Great Adventure...

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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-26-2013, 10:35 PM
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Fun, good times. So far you're making good decisions. Keep it up!

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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 09:09 AM
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$450 for a stator!!!!...I didn't pay that for my 1st car!!! (Austin Mini Van)

What a great attitude you have to all your little hickups along the way guys, they would deter some people from carrying on, but your eternal optimism is more than refreshing!!!

When you finally splash out & buy dirt tyres, will you be going up Mt Everest??
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 09:14 AM
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I'm thinking this detour may just have saved your bike as you bypassed Umtamun Ridge (better known as Babyhead Hill)









Not my pictures, I've yet to do the WABDR, but when I do it will be on my KLX and not the KLE!
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 09:39 AM
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Congrats on a great adventure!

And a great attitude!





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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! There's more coming, I just like to spread it out a little bit... keep people on the edge of their seat!

Maybe this will motivate some people to do the BDR! It was AWESOME! And aside from the unknown umptanum ridge (babyhead hill), the Versys is great for it! There are definitely some modifications I'd like to do, but with Motech crash bars, metal handguards, and some SOLID sidecases (if any), it should make it through without serious harm. I used Happy Trails cases. It took me a month to get them shipped to me (I'm not sure I'll ever order from them again), but DANG those things are BUILT. And functional.

I can't wait to go back and finish what I missed! I'll be getting some new wheels and knobby tires for the return. I found that the Avon Distanzias I was running were fantastic on the rocks, good enough on gravel, and terrible in sand and mud. I guess that's to be expected. Like I said, this was the first real off-pavement trip I've been on!

My favorite parts actually were the big rocky sections. I was really surprised how well the versys handled big, loose rocks. We'll see if that's still my favorite after I go back again...
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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 12:54 PM
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Looks like fun! No adventure is complete without some problems along the way. It does worry me about the stator though. Despite the reliability of these bikes touted by most members, this issue seems to strike without much notice and could be a pain if no dealer is nearby.

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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 04:24 PM
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Great story so far, just one question what is WABDR?
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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-27-2013, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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