2017 Western US tour - Page 3 - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #101 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 8:31 am Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by bmwcoolk1200 View Post
A great trip Matt. Thanks for taking us all along.
Now it is your turn!

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #102 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 8:34 am Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by guitarjim View Post
Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us. I really enjoyed reading the summaries and looking at the pictures. Maybe you should create a sign up list for people wanting to go to Alaska in 2019. Unless you just prefer to go by yourself. Have a good rest in your own bed with your own pillow for a change.
I am game for company especially on the haul road as the wife plans to sit that one out! Not sure how best to do a sign up list. Any ideas?

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #103 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 1:22 pm
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

The haul road to Deadhorse is on my bucket list and I was shooting for either 2019 or 2020, depending on when my knee replacement is.

Even though I have a SPOT, my wife does not want me to do that ride alone.

From northern California, the one way trip is ~3700 miles and I have it mapped at 10 days each way.

Coldfoot to Deadhorse is 246 miles according to google, with no fuel stations, so I was planning on carrying 1-2 gallons of aux fuel.

I switched from my 2001 LT to an FJR1300 this year because the LT was just getting too heavy for my knees. The FJR is 300 pounds lighter and has a lower center of gravity and was quite comfortable for my 2017 4000 mile trip.

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2016 Yamaha FJR1300A (Cobalt Blue)
1973 Honda CL350 (Red)

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2001 K1200LT Pacific Blue
and a long list...
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post #104 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 1:43 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Every ferry I've been on has had tie downs available, although they're usually big, bulky, dirty, and pretty beat up.

I do carry my own ratcheting tie downs (too many final drive failures over the years), which are secure and easy to use. They pack pretty small, and I keep then in my rear box where my half cover lives so they don't take any additional luggage space.

If I rode solo, I would have lots of room for tie downs. However, with two of us on the LT, space is at a premium when on a multi week trip.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #105 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 2:02 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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I spend a lot of time on the two lanes across the US "fly over" west. Gas stations get scarce. When planning a route, I check Garmin Basecamp, Google maps/earth, along with searched for fuel near xxxx. My Garmin has led me astray a number of times to closed fuel stations. I find google maps is more up to date and many times will have gas stations that are not in the Garmin.

As you have found, finding fuel off the interstate can be challenging. On US6 west from Ely, NV to Tonopah, NV there is 173 miles between gas stations (both Shell). Midway thru the trek, there is a sign that reads "Next Services 89 Miles", which shows someone has a sense of humor. The entire route also has no towns or rest areas, but plenty of open range and few vehicles.

On my recent trip, I once fueled after only 40 miles, because the next fuel was 161 miles away, and that was only a single station. The following station was 15 miles after that.

Glad you made it home safe.
Yes, should have checked Google or just got gas before heading down 97. I just did not expect Oregon to be like Alaska or Nevada where you expect 90+ miles between fuel.

The weird part is we passed through several towns larger than my home town (population 600) which had no fuel. Lawrenceville, PA has three gas stations and that is only because two have closed in the last year. One town on route 97 had a large high school with a football stadium and I was sure we would find fuel there, but no. I can't imagine living in a town on a heavily traveled highway and having to go 40+ miles to fill up.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #106 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 2:18 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by cbxchris View Post
Yeap, the ride reports were fantastic. Thanks again for taking the time to share.
So when do we get your ride tale?

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #107 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 2:29 pm
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Now it is your turn!
First I am going to attempt a SS1000 with zippy_gg and then I will plan a ride. It probably won't be as long or encompassing as yours but I do want to do one.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI – Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT – Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #108 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 2:51 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by rspyder View Post
The haul road to Deadhorse is on my bucket list and I was shooting for either 2019 or 2020, depending on when my knee replacement is.

Even though I have a SPOT, my wife does not want me to do that ride alone.

From northern California, the one way trip is ~3700 miles and I have it mapped at 10 days each way.

Coldfoot to Deadhorse is 246 miles according to google, with no fuel stations, so I was planning on carrying 1-2 gallons of aux fuel.

I switched from my 2001 LT to an FJR1300 this year because the LT was just getting too heavy for my knees. The FJR is 300 pounds lighter and has a lower center of gravity and was quite comfortable for my 2017 4000 mile trip.
I would like to ride Alaska next year, but my sister and brother-in-law want to tour Ireland and I don't think my retirement budget can support two trips in one year. And Ireland will be fun.

It is nearly 4,600 miles to Deadhorse from my home. I would not tackle the haul road on my LT. Street tires, 850 lbs, and lots of plastic to get pelted by gravel simply makes it impractical.

I was leaning towards getting a GS1200 when the wife said she didn't want to ride to Deadhorse. However, when she said she would like to ride to Alaska, just not the haul road (we did that on a Princess bus several years ago so she knows what it is like), we have settled on riding to either Anchorage or Fairbanks together and she will enjoy a few days there while I make the trek to Deadhorse.

From what I have researched thus far, I think the LT is fine to get to Anchorage or Fairbanks. I am now leaning towards renting a bike from Motoquest for the 2-4 day ride to Deadhorse and back, which dictates Anchorage rather than Fairbanks. I have read about folks doing it in one day each way, but I think it more enjoyable to use two days and overnight in Coldfoot or Wiseman.

Lots yet to plan and decide, but that is my rough plan. Ride the LT two-up to Anchorage, leave wife there, take four days on rental GS for the Deadhorse ride, then return to PA.

I test rode an FJR a few years ago when they added cruise control. I really liked it, but it clearly is not suited to riding long distance with my wife. In our 30s, might have worked, but not in our late 50s. I would love having a reliable bike again though! Just not sure what to replace the LT with. Yamaha missed the boat with their new Venture just as Kawasaki did a few years ago with the Vulcan Voyager. Suzuki is out of play as is Harley. I am holding out hope for the new Wing, but if it goes automatic then that is out for me.

I probably will try an RT, even though I dislike the vibration. Although, I have heard that the new wet head is much smoother than the oil head I last test rode. The 1600 is just too expensive a bike when it needs at least another grand of spending to get it even close to the LT in passenger comfort. I'd rather invest the $1,000 in the much less expensive RT.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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Last edited by Voyager; Oct 1st, 2017 at 2:56 pm.
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post #109 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 5:14 pm
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

The RT, Triumph Trophy and FJR were all on my short list after a year of looking and riding demos. I add my own GPS (Garmin Zumo) and CB (JMCB2003) for communication and found the RT was not as easy to modify. The RT has a lot of after market options, more than the FJR and Trophy, but there is a better Yamaha dealer network for parts. I do 100% of the work on my rides these day as I found the dealers just mess up service.

Still, I would have preferred a 1000cc FJR with better mileage and lighter weight. The 1300 has immense power. As my brother noted, " you pass a car and pull back into your lane and look down to see triple digits... then brake"

As far as I can tell, all sorts of bikes, including LTs, have done the haul road. My original thought was to ride a Kawasaki KLR 650 (super easy to work on), but getting my leg over the seat was tough for my age 65+ body even though I am 6'1".

Current
2016 Yamaha FJR1300A (Cobalt Blue)
1973 Honda CL350 (Red)

Previous
2001 K1200LT Pacific Blue
and a long list...
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post #110 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 6:54 pm
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
So when do we get your ride tale?
Be a while yet. Wife still in medical school....mid life crisis career change. Actually the change has already happened. Just getting her Masters finished.

I am retired....married a young chick. So I am ready just waiting on her.

40 years in engineering with the phone company nearly drove me insane.....so I retired a few years early.
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post #111 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 8:39 pm Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

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Originally Posted by rspyder View Post
The RT, Triumph Trophy and FJR were all on my short list after a year of looking and riding demos. I add my own GPS (Garmin Zumo) and CB (JMCB2003) for communication and found the RT was not as easy to modify. The RT has a lot of after market options, more than the FJR and Trophy, but there is a better Yamaha dealer network for parts. I do 100% of the work on my rides these day as I found the dealers just mess up service.

Still, I would have preferred a 1000cc FJR with better mileage and lighter weight. The 1300 has immense power. As my brother noted, " you pass a car and pull back into your lane and look down to see triple digits... then brake"

As far as I can tell, all sorts of bikes, including LTs, have done the haul road. My original thought was to ride a Kawasaki KLR 650 (super easy to work on), but getting my leg over the seat was tough for my age 65+ body even though I am 6'1".
You looked at the same set of bikes as me. I ruled out the Trophy because the dealer nearest me would not allow a test ride. And the Triumph dealer network sucks as bad as BMW's and the issues I read about from current Trophy owners gave me LT deja vu. I ruled out th FJR due to lack of passenger accommodations, much the same reason I have ruled out the GTL. I am not sure the RT is much better than the GTL, but I believe it has better wind protection. Although, I need to ride the new GTL with the mods that supposedly help the weather protection. And since both need seat and windshield modifications, I'd rather start with the less expensive bike. And the RT is much easier to maintain lacking idiotic features like hidden drain plugs inside the crankcase.

No alternative matches the LT, but I think a modified RT comes closest, hopefully with less maintenance, fewer breakdowns and less expense and wrench time.

Yes, any bike can do the haul road in good weather, but it gets very greasy in the rain. A heavy bike with street tires would be dangerous on the Dalton. And who wants trucks throwing stones at your expensive fairings?

I test rode a KLR650 earlier this year and it would be a great haul road mount, but riding it from PA to Anchorage would not be fun! A GS1200 would work with a new seat and better passenger backrest, but really isn't ideal for most of my riding, so the rental option looks most attractive to me. I can rent a lightweight bike suitable for solo riding on a rough road and have my LT for the majority of my riding.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #112 of 114 Old Oct 1st, 2017, 10:09 pm
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

I was lucky as my BMW dealer is also the Triumph dealer, so test rides are possible.

The FJR does not have much for passengers, but my wife is not the motorcycle type, so my back seat always has a rear seat bag when touring.
The LT has a wonderful rear seat and I added armrests and replaced the pegs with floorboards, so long ago I used to take my youngest son to school. He was the only student regularly arriving and departing on a motorcycle.
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and a long list...
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post #113 of 114 Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 1:11 am
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

Yes... thank you kindly for sharing!
I have traveled cross-country (46 continental states) though not in a long while due to work and family obligations.
I enjoyed vicariously following along!
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post #114 of 114 Old Oct 2nd, 2017, 7:31 am Thread Starter
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Re: 2017 Western US tour

I should have included this in my summary post, but I forgot and now the post is no longer editable. Those who followed my clutch repair saga know that I ended up with a severe clutch chatter if the clutch was engaged at low rpm (idle up to 2,000 or so). I could not be certain as to cause, but my leading theory was misaligned machining on one or both rotating surfaces by Southland Clutch in San Diego causing there to be a non-uniform gap or pinch point as the two surfaces rotated relative to each other. Combined with a thick point on the clutch disc, as virtually all discs have, this caused the pressure plate to grab and release the disc once per revolution as the clutch was initially engaged caused the disc and transmission to chatter with the rotational play or backlash.

My hope was that by launching at 2,000+ RPM, I could wear the high spot off the disc and possibly the metal surfaces eventually allowing uniform engagement of the clutch. I can't be sure, but this seems to have happened to a significant degree during my tour. I almost didn't notice as it was so gradual, but a few days ago I realized I wasn't feeling the pulses during clutch engagement at 2,000 RPM any more. Initially, even though the high RPM kept the clutch disc against one side of the backlash so it didn't release and chatter, I could still feel the uneven "pulses" as the disc was alternately pinched and released a little during initial engagement. It felt almost exactly like "warped" disc brakes.

So, I decided to try a few idle RPM engagements to see what would happen. Idle made the worst chatter by far initially. I am able to get smooth engagement at least 90% of the time. It still chatters a little occasionally, but much less severely than at first. My theory is that there is some dependence on the relative orientation of the parts at first engagement that occasionally causes enough "grab and release" to get a slight chatter. This is after nearly 12,000 miles since the clutch repair. If wear really is the cure, then I would guess that another 4,000 miles may cure it completely.

My only paranoid concern, given my history with this LT, is that another solution to the chatter would be oil on the clutch from another leak. No slipping thus far so I really hope it is wear induced uniformity and not friction reducing oil that is reducing the chatter. Time will tell.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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