You've Been Riding that Thing for How Long?

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Leaving Sandpoint

By Mark

Well, a month has gone by pretty quickly here in N. Idaho, and we've had a great time. For being unemployed and having "nothing to do", we sure stayed busy! We had a great garage sale, reclaimed the garage, did a few projects around the house, and spent a lot of time visiting and spending quality time with family.

In a kind of ridiculous move, I sold my bike and bought a new one for phase II of our trip (which may be changing anyway, stay tuned). Thought that the night before we depart again, (for BJ, Lacy, and friends in Bellingham), I'd post some before and after pics of my "new" Honda XR 650L. I'm fairly proud of having taken a simple, stock motorcycle, and transformed it into a long-legged touring machine (in about 6 days). Enjoy.

First, the happy owners of a new BMW 1200 GS:

Now, stock XR: (notice all the smog apparatus on the left side of the motor)

And now...

Those of you who are detail-oriented probably noticed some other changes-- a bigger gas tank, cases, windshield, handguards, etc. I completely removed the rear taillight assembly and streamlined it too, for the weight-conscious alpinist in me.

I hope cops approve of the license plate display...

Stock sump "guard":

This makes me feel a little better.

Somewhere in between the transformation, I had some electrical issues to clarify. I do hate to see a bike like this...

Once again, bone stock.

Gone through, cleaned up, sorted out, hardened, and put back together, pleases me.

As far as what we do next, well, we aren't really sure. The drug cartels in Mexico are doing a fair job of shooting each other, and if you've been watching the news, it looks grim. We have discussed shipping the bikes by boat in order to avoid Mexico, taking the Gulf coast route (entering near Brownsville, TX) to avoid central Mexico, and just ditching the idea of going on bikes altogether. This is obviously a difficult decision, and we're thankful to have so many family and friends concerned for our well-being. For now, we're not going to make any decisions, as we have a little time to decide. Our own research seems to be revealing a divide. Folks who have traveled lately and/or regularly in Mexico, still believe if a person were to choose their route carefully and travel with their wits about them, that they would enjoy and experience the warm, relaxed, and ancient Mexican culture that draws thousands of travelers every year. This includes Mike and Terry Church, who wrote a RV'ers guide to Mexico (who have personally emailed us), Helge Pederson, (who operates a company taking motorcyclists on guided trips throughout the world), and Roger Pattison, who has been going to Mexico on a motorcycle for the past 20 years. He now guides trips and plans to travel through some of the areas the U.S. State department says are the most dangerous. He offered us sound travelling advice and encouraged us to go and have a great time! All of the above folks were in Mexico this past winter--most as recently as January or February. As I stated before, the evening news stations generally seem to disagree with these reports. Our families are afraid for us because they love us. We want to respect their wishes, and there's no reason to create a dangerous situation for ourselves unneccesarily. Yet we are not sure that we're getting accurate information. The question of "what to do" has created great stress for Katie and I, as we know that this opportunity will not come again. We have yet to make up our minds. Stay tuned....

1 comment:

  1. Hi Guys. glad to see you finally came around and got a real bike. ha ha!! i like it. Just a few things for thought. GOTO Mexico. Dont listen to the scared people of this country. My bet is most of them that say don't go never make it out of their state, much less the country. Fox news is made to scare the country into staying home. Where you should spend all your money here. Its once in a life time. go go go.. media in this country is total BULLSHIT!!!!

    Anyway enough of that. Be careful with those 9 inch boxes you have. The sub frame on the xr is not all that strong. If you over load it there is a chance the frame can crack. Happy Trails talked me into the 7 inch ones. Also maybe think about getting highway pegs. for 50 bucks its well spent and mounts straight to the skid guard. Awesome on long hauls. love the blog.

    hereis one we have been working on peace out and keep the rubber side down. Paul and friends