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Hill Climb To A Desert Ridge


This was a winter ride up a rutted, frozen road. The GoPro lens bends the horizon and hides the steepness of the climb up this ridge.

Moto-Camping Stool Review

The Grand Trunk camping stool is small enough to pack on your bike and big enough for a seat when needed. The seat area is 12.6 inches by 10.6 inches and sits at a height of 14.5 inches.


When broken down, the stool's small size comes from removing the legs. But, don't worry about losing them, they are attached to the seat frame with shock cord, just like a tent. This also makes it fast and easy to set up.


When the legs are removed and stowed with the attached velcro strap, the chair goes into it's bag and you have a package that measures 15 inches by 7 inches, and is 2 inches thick.


When the legs are removed and stowed with the attached velcro strap, the chair goes into it's bag and you have a package that measures 15 inches by 7 inches, and is 2 inches thick.


The stool in its bag easily fits inside my Pelican 1450 case with some room to spare. It weighs in at just 22 ounces, much less carrying a full sized folding chair on your bike.


I've used this stool on a couple of trips and I like that it's small, lightweight, easy to set up and take down. Also, it's less expensive than similar chairs on the market. Most importantly, it keeps my butt out of the dirt and pine needles during my morning coffee and that makes for a good morning in the forest.



Wolfman Expedition Saddlebags

I like soft luggage on the KLR and this summer my trusty bike is sporting this Wolfman setup. These Wolfman Expedition saddlebags are great for carrying your adventure gear or whatever you haul on your bike.


The Expedition saddlebags have been around for a while and have a great reputation. They are waterproof, durable and come in yellow or black. I like the yellow for greater visibility on the road.



Wolfman devised the Universal Saddlebag Straps which allow you to mount these bags on many different types of racks. I use these Precision Motorcycle Racks and they work fine. Installing the bags is quick and easy.


The first step is to lay the bags across the bike. Then adjust these main straps to an even height on the left and right sides of the bike.


The bags attach to the side rack with the Universal Saddlebag Straps. Each bag uses four of these, two on the front and two on the rear. Above is the front side attaching point of the right side bag.


This picture shows the two rear straps for the right side bag. These small straps work great for keeping the bag secure on the rack. Put some gear inside the bags to provide some shape while you mount them. I have found this makes things easier.  


My rain gear is stuffed in the bottom of this bag, and there is room for a lot more. Each bag has a 19 liter capacity. If you have trouble with metric conversions like I do, just remember these bags hold a lot of gear when they are carefully packed.


With the bag packed, tighten the upper and lower horizontal straps across each bag. This pulls them tight against the racks where they will remain pretty secure.


To close the bag, roll the top tightly down and secured with the verticals strap on each side. Be sure to let the air out as you roll the top down.


Finally, this "V" strap threads from the back, through a front D ring and clips on the back side again. Pull this one tight to squash down the top of the bag and you are done. 


Before starting down the road I double check all straps and ensure everything is secure. At every stop, I give the straps a tug to ensure all is well. They are normally a bit loose the first stop, but after things settle down, the straps stay very secure. 

After your adventure ride, these bags are easy to remove and store, or just leave them on the bike. The bottom line here is, I like these saddlebags and recommend them to give your bike some extra hauling capacity.   

Coffee Fix When Moto-Camping in the Wild

I need my coffee in the morning and I want real coffee - not that freeze dried stuff. That is seldom possible when moto-camping, but these little VIA ready brew coffee packs from Starbucks are a good substitute. 


These single serving packets weigh nothing and take up no space in your luggage. But, on a chilly morning they will quickly and easily provide your morning coffee fix. Just heat up some water using a Jet-Boil or similar device and mix the coffee in your cup. The first time, I was a bit skeptical to say the least. I was expecting that freeze-dried taste, but after a sip I was a whole new man and happy that my camping coffee woes were no more.

Idaho Backcountry Discovery Route Revealed


The greatly anticipated 5th Backcountry Discovery Route was unveiled before a sold out auditorium in Boise last evening. The movie ran for about 90 minutes and was a big hit, based on the reaction of the 350 in attendance. People laughed in some places, cheered in others, and groaned when a couple of the riders went down. Along with DVDs of the new movie, the new Idaho BDR maps were for sale in the lobby. Those who waited to get them after the show were disappointed as both quickly sold out.


In a nutshell, the trail begins in Nevada just across the Idaho line and runs up through the Gem State before turning east into Montana on the Magruder corridor. The route then swings back into Idaho and north to finish at the Canadian border. The route runs over mountains, across rivers and through some of Idaho's most remote and beautiful back country. Anyone riding this route will not be disappointed by the scenery or the challenge of completing the ride.


After the movie, BDR riders Paul Guilliem from Touratech and Justin Bradshaw from Butler maps were on hand for a Q&A session. Someone asked why the Idaho route is repeatedly mentioned as the "least technical" of all the BDRs. Paul Guilliem explained the less technical aspect will allow more riders to participate in the BDR experience. I asked what suspension or other modifications were done to the bikes. The short answer was "none" these were stock BWMs and KTMs on the route. Honestly, I had not expected that answer since the bikes were fully loaded with panniers and soft luggage on some rough and rocky roads.


The final event for the evening was a drawing for a bunch of cool door prizes. As the table full of t-shirts, caps, and other freebies dwindled, I was stunned to hear my number called. I was stunned because I have never, ever, won a drawing of any sort. That changed tonight and I brought home an autographed copy of Into the Horizon by Lance Gines, who was on hand to present the book. Cool. Looks like I will be doing a book review sometime soon.


The IDBDR movie exceeded all of my expectations for the BDR series by once again showing great off road riding on a fantastic route. This BDR also highlights some Idaho history as well as many of the people and places worth visiting along the way. While no KLRs made the trip, our bike can handle the mountains, gravel switchbacks, and other challenges as well as the bigger, heavier, adventure bikes that appear in the movie.

Rider Saved By ATGATT

Nobody gets on their bike thinking, "Today I am going to have an accident, I better wear my gear." Because accidents are never expected, many riders use All The Gear All The Time (ATGATT) as a personal rule for safe riding. You only ride when wearing a full set of safety gear. 

My friend Vic is an experienced rider on the street, trail, and track. He is also an ATGATT rider who high-sided on the pavement and walked away with minor injuries thanks to his safety gear. Here is his story...

"I just had a mini high side and tested out my spanking new jacket at about 35 mph or so.  Around Las Colinas City Hall, there is a area right around a curve where the inside lane has sunk down about 6 inches from the lane running beside it.  I did not notice this as I was changing from the inside to the outside lane.  I guess my tires hit the edge perfectly wrong with both tires and the bike suddenly pitched me over the bars sliding on my face and right side. One second I was riding along, the next second I was crashing into the pavement."



He compared this accident to hitting a curb sideways. As the bike fell away to the left, he flew over the handlebars and landed on his right thigh, then right elbow, and right front of his Shoei RF-1100 helmet. 


"My face slide jacked up my visor a bit but my helmet will be OK except for some minor scratching.  Right arm of the new jacket is chewed up a bit but not all the way through. Not a scratch on my legs thanks to Bull-It  jeans. My chest area is as if nothing happened thanks my Forcefield Body Armor." 

"If I was not wearing my gear, it could have been so much worse; cracked ribs, shoulder, smashed up face/jaw. Road rash on legs, shoulder, thigh, face, and arms would have been a reality."

This is a great testimony to the effectiveness of wearing quality gear. It will save you a lot of pain and injury when the unexpected happens to you! The detailed damage to his gear  included:

- Triumph branded jacket: (heavy leather with armored elbows and shoulders) scuffed, but no tears or asphalt burn through. 

- Gerbings T5 heated gloves: scuffing and tears on right hand fingers; repairable.

- Alpinestars MX5 boots: a few scrapes on the upper sliders, but otherwise fine.

- Bull-It Jeans: tear through of the jean material, but the Covec did not allow the asphalt to get to his legs. 



As for personal injuries:

"A 1/2 dollar sized asphalt burn on my right elbow area. quarter sized bruise on my right thumb and swelling of my right thigh. Some minor bumps and bruises. All should be fine."  

"I am in decent shape these days so I was able to easily get up, right the bike, and get back to work."

His trusty KLR returned him to work, but it also had some injuries.

"The KLR suffered some twisted forks (can fix, I think) and road rash on the ice-cream scoop protectors. Gotta love the old girl, she really came through like a champ. My S3 or Ninja would have been coming home on a truck."

It's easy to see that without his gear, Vic would have been a bloody mess laying along the road, while the bike was still good enough to ride. Only by wearing ATGATT, was he able to get up again with relatively minor injuries and ride away from this accident. That is something to remember the next time you get on your bike.

Vic contributed his story and I wrote this post, hoping to spare other riders from injury or death because they do not see the importance of All The Gear All The Time. If one rider changes their mind and wears their gear after reading this, then our job here is done.

Thanks Vic and ride safe!