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Discussion Starter #1
Went on my first long ride of the year and my first long ride on the Versys on Sunday, the End of Winter run, a run up the west side of Mt. St. Helens. It is organized by a local guy who publishes this ride in all the motorcycle groups from Seattle to Portland. He is one of those people who judge the success of a ride by the number of people who show up and he usually gets 100+ bikes there which is not bad considering it is a 2 hour slab ride from Seattle to the start point. I’ve been on it once before and didn’t enjoy it as there are too many people behaving like assholes for my liking. Sport bikes hitting triple digit speeds and cruisers travelling in large packs at 10 below the limit. Not too mention all the dicking around that goes on on the interstate before you even get there. So I had to have my arm twisted by my friends to go this time. But we made sure to leave 90 minutes after everyone else and made our way down there by ourselves, just the three of us.

Got to the meeting point 5 minutes before the cruisers pulled away (sport bikes had already gone) which was perfect timing. Got to say hello to a few friends then warm myself up with weak gas station coffee. Not sure what the temperature was but 2 hours at 70 mph and my hands were about to fall off. First run with my new handguards and they didn’t help much, if at all, at keeping me warm. We picked up a fourth body as another friend was disgusted with the antics he witnessed on the slab ride down and couldn’t wait to ditch his group. So once a suitable time had elapsed we set off. We took a little side road that was new to me and was pretty neat. It’s always a nice feeling to ride down a great road for the first time. Was only about 10 miles long though and then we were back on the main road up the mountain. It’s a pretty fast main highway so it’s not very technical but that is made up for by the great views. Before long we were up in the snow level so the speeds came down and staying safe became the main priority. Got to the end of the road and turned round and did it all in reverse, about 80 miles in total.

Back at the gas station we came up with a plan for getting home without hitting the interstate which involved me trying to remember roads I’ve been on maybe twice. Mostly managed it though and had a fantastic time. There are some great country roads to the west of I-5 in that area and I’ll probably head down that way again within the month to explore some more. Just too much fun to be had.

Major plus of the day for me was feeling I made a big step towards getting the hang of the Versys. I’ve been struggling with throttle control and cornering smoothly.y. I guess I had developed bad habits on the scooter with the very slack throttle and on the V I have been very jerky. Was pissing me off but I was glad to say there was none of that on Sunday. Twas a very nice feeling. I also quickly learned I needed to change my overtaking strategy which on the scooter was “roll on the throttle, wait, pull out”. On the Versys that translated into “roll on the throttle, oh s**t” :D

I suck at taking pictures so make videos instead.
 

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Great video. As a side note I just got heated gear (jacket liner and gloves) this year. It's fantastic at keeping you comfy in weather like you were riding in. Curious what kind of camera you used.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The camera is a Contour HD. I love it as it is simple to use and takes pretty good video. Will also be picking up a GoPro HD shortly so will be able to compare the two. I've owned a standard GoPro before and I know they are fiddly to use but the different shapes provide different mounting options.

It's only ever my hands that get cold and strangely they weren't cold up on the mountain, just on the interstate. I've got hippo hand type muffs I could put on but I'm resisting doing that. It's supposed to be spring now!
 

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Man that is a awesome vid and it looked like you and your buddies had a great time doing your own thing. :clap:
 

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very nice.:thumb::thumb:
 

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Very nice, and thanks for not setting the Vid to rap music.....that was perfect!

God I still love those old FJ's, sweet bike!

Did it get a little slippery there up top?
 

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That was a great video, and good on ya for doing the ride your own way, and safe.

Like me, I see from the grey sky and remaining snow that you have a unique idea of what constitutes the "End of Winter":thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the kind words guys.

Did it get a little slippery there up top?
Actually no, the roads were fine. Slowed down to 40'ish just to be safe but other than the occasional bit of slush on the bridges the roads were mostly dry.
 

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Great video. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Nice ride

I lived in the Buckley/Enumclaw area for 20 years, outside the main road to Mount Rainar National Park ( hwy 410) .
I really miss those large trees and mountain roads.
Nice video

Cb
 
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