To be continued
My actual route less a few side roads. 2,101 total miles.
I’m sitting at a red light this morning waiting for my turn to move up to the next light and then the one after that. In typical NW Oregon fashion it is raining and my wipers are just smearing water back and forth. I wish I had ridden today. I remember being right in the middle of 3 hours worth of snow and rain yesterday. My hands were cold and wet. Despite all my layers water had found a way to run right down my spine. I’m exhausted but I have 90 more miles before I can call it a day. A guy is jumping out of his RV parked along the road. He gives me the wave and a thumbs up. He has been where I’m at. He isn’t just a rider but an adventurer. I guess I am too now. Very much a rookie but I took the first step.
I thought this would be the end but that just doesn’t feel right to say it. The whole point of this trip was to get from A to B. Anything in the middle was a bonus. Not only was this my first ride with Kermit but my first ride more than an hour away from home. I’ve ridden dirt all over the place and dual sport all the time in the hills behind my house but never venture far. That is definitely going to change now. This is a perfect weekend get away bike. I could see a week long trip but anything more than that would be pushing it for me.
So did I learn anything?
Street tires don’t like snow or gravel. I’m definitely a better rider now but there were multiple situations where things could have gotten ugly.
Stop often and get off the bike. Even though I did a lot of miles I was rarely on the bike for more than an hour at a time. Between gas, food, pictures I was able to gets tons of rest and never really felt worn out on the bike.
Some planning would have helped but you don’t need to have a timeline or even a goal in mind to have a good time. Most of my vacations have been well scripted but this showed me that they don’t need to be.
Slow down. I loved riding in the mornings. Afternoons were fun but I could do without them. My next trip with be riding from daylight until lunch and then exploring wherever I end up at for the rest of the day.
We live in a beautiful country with mostly friendly people. I was amazed how many times asking for directions or advice turned into a 20 minute conversation.
No matter how a restaurant fits “home-style” into their name it won’t compare to home.
TAKE MORE PICTURES!!! I really need to find a better way to get pictures. I could have shot many more pictures but my combination of gloves/camera/riding skills didn’t allow me to take pictures without pulling over. The positive side of this is that I have a few places that I will be going back to just to spend time with the camera.
I used to think naming a bike was strange. I planned on removing “Kermit” as soon as I got home. I get it now. Kermit stays.
Camp or hotel? Still up in the air on this one. I have all the gear but not sure I have the storage on the bike to really camp. A weekend trip will answer this one.
When I had the first thought of riding this bike home instead of shipping it I figured I would spend roughly the same amount of money. That was important since it was part of figuring out how much the bike was worth. I know I spent more on gas than expected but less on food. Hotels were pretty much spot on so I’m probably about where I wanted to be. In the end though I don’t really care. I couldn’t put a price on the last four days. It was worth it.
So what about the bike?
I really couldn’t be happier with it. I have had two DRZs and a KLR. Still have a DRZ-SM that will now go to full dirt dual sport duty. The Versys will never be a great off road machine but I think it would be hard to beat for ripping up the back roads and some logging road riding.
I was nervous about buying something half a country away. I have bought bikes from further away but never ridden them home. A lot could go wrong over 2k and I know I was lucky that this was mostly uneventful. An oil change and throw on some more aggressive tires and I’m ready to go again.
The windscreen and the foot pegs don’t work for me. I’ll probably buy a bigger screen and build some pegs next weekend. I don’t understand the need for rubber on a foot peg. Give me steel with teeth to dig my boots into.
I read a bunch of complaints about the seat. I mostly ride a KTM race bike so the Versys seat was like a couch. No worries at all. I’m not sure I would want to do 500 miles without a break but a couple hours at a time was easy.
Gas mileage was lower than I expected but with the wind, weight, and speeds I was going it was ok. I remember one stop I had 180 miles and it took less than four gallons. Most stops were in the high 30’s though. I normally stopped around 150 miles but mainly due to not knowing where the bottom of the tank was. I think I read that a warning flashes when you have a gallon left. I never got to that warning.
Anyway, I know this wasn’t very exciting for most of you that have been there and done that but it was fun for a first trip. I appreciate all the advice along the way. Now it’s time to start thinking about which direction to head next. Maybe something a little closer to home this time. Canada and Mexico are both technically closer.