You've Been Riding that Thing for How Long?

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A tribute to the GS (my bike)

by Mark

This post is for the motorcyclists.

A few weeks ago, Katie and I had a great time visiting her aunt Kathy in Kalispell, Montana. We spent a few days enjoying the cool weather on Kathy's back deck, her extraordinarily playful cat Barney (or Barnacle, as we like to call him), and playing the role of gardener. In fact, Kathy started calling me Ramon... or maybe it was Carlos...

In the evenings, I picked up a book of Kathy's about the construction of Glacier National Park's famous Going to the Sun road. If you haven't seen it, it's worth the trip. As far as roads go, this one was basically hand-built by Russian stonemasons and other brave folk who dangled from ropes (crazy!) to survey, blast, and carve the cliffs and steep hillsides. Over the better part of a decade, they created a path into the mountains that blended into the hillsides, so to not disturb the view of folks from Lake MacDonald below. I was intrigued, so I got up at 5:30am.

By a little after 6, I was inside the park boundary, and the sun turned everything orange. There was no one on the road, so I doubled the speed limit and stopped only to take photos. Which I probably didn't do as often as I should have. The riding was sooo fun!

So you may be wondering why this post is entitled as a "tribute." I'll tell you. After 4 years of maintenance, preparation, and learning about how it works, I sold it. Yep. In the middle of a big trip, I sold my bike and I'm starting over. Crazy, eh? I agree. I guess I've come full circle-- my first bike was a 650cc BMW, and I thought I needed something bigger. I'm back to the 650, but this time it's a Honda. I'll have pictures soon of the Honda XR 650L. Street legal, but only 340 pounds of machine, and a lot more dirt-oriented. (See earlier post about mining roads in Colorado). Currently Katie and I are still in Sandpoint, Idaho, and I'll spend the last week or so (sadly) in the garage outfitting this bike for the rest of the trip. My last bike required 3 years to prepare for a big trip. The "new" bike will get 9 days (if it's lucky)!

The upshot is that I'll be riding a MUCH cheaper machine into Central America, which will help us give off a little less of the "rich American" look.
The hope is to turn this machine into an adventure-ready warrior, in nine days or less. (Katie wrote this sentence).

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