Thursday, April 24, 2014

Change in Plan

After some great advice from readers and a bit more research from the team, our trip is taking a turn, due to the snow pack in Colorado and the time of year we need to make this trip happen we are changing course! We will now plot our own course across California, Arizona, Utah, parts of Colorado and Nevada. Stringing together off road trails and roads in Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

With some great advice from the people at Butler Maps and others our Map Planner is busy at work creating our new rout, and with a working session last night the trip is proving to be more amazing than before, and it seems all those places we said wow I wish we could do that are now on the map plan… im truly very excited about the new plan taking shape and will post the new rout as soon as the rout is ready with all the GPS way-points in place!

We have a few details to work out to finalize the plan, Like can you really camp on the rim of the Grand Canyon? (Not the tourist area, but off the beaten path) and we are looking for gates on a few trails that are questionable. More to come soon……

Looks like a need to re-name our trip…?....

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Tires

After my trip to  Alaska ( and living with two sets of vastly different tires, I set out to find a superior set of tires that would meet my riding style and % of on Road and off road riding adventures, my research lead me to the  Michelin Anakee III (Dual/Enduro)

 I ran a set on the Suzuki V-Strom 650 for about 2K miles and another set on the BMW R1200GS for another 6,000 miles, and I am happy to report it as an amazing tire! Doing an amazing job on the street my tires are worn over the tread bar (to the side wall) on both front and rear, the transition from corner to corner is effortless and both bikes handling characteristics changed to what I call neutral (bike exhibits the same turn in/out at all lean angels) the feeling is that there is no end to how far you can lean the bike over. Many tires are shaped to fall to a point then toward the edge the tire tends to push the bike back toward center. Needless to say I absolutely love this tire!

With 6,000 miles on my last set of Anakee III’s and a 3,000 mile trip ahead I decided its time for a new set, before heading out. As a group a few member of the COBDR team decided we should try four different tires and give a review during the trip, sounds like fun, I’m in.
For my choice, I decided to go with the Continental Twinduro TKC80 TL ,tubules tire.

Note: we needed to set a standard for this trip all tubeless tires RE: fixing a flat is much easier on a tubeless tire, with a plug kit. Just plug it air up and be on your way. With a tube would more likely be in for a timely repair and a spar tube would need to be brought along.

My new set of tires was put on order Monday Afternoon and arrived Next Day with Free shipping (thank you Revzilla) wow they are great! Wednesday the new tires are on the bike, $40 both front and rear! Thank you MotoWRX Livermore. Super great guys at this shop!

Here is a listing of the tires we will put to the test:


Randy with the Heidenau K60’s

Roberto with the Metzeler Tourance

Pat with the Metzeler karoo 3


First impressions next:

I'm really looking forward to trying a new set of tires!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Shakedown Photos

More photos, from the shakedown ride:

The ducati just out of the creek, just needs to dry out a bit

Gaining access to the plugs

Supervision is critical to every job!

Setting up camp for the night

The road in to camp

My gear seems to start matching more and more as time passes 

Final check on the bike and all is well

Now for some shots from the road

Monday, April 14, 2014


The COBDR Shakedown run left  Livermore CA  headed through Napa Valley, Calistoga and West Lake County (Clear Lake) then off in to the hills (cow mountain area) over the hills and down in to Fouts Springs/ Stonyford area and we camped out in the Bear creek campground for the night as a mid-way point of a 400mile trip

The idea for this trip was to shake out any obvious problems with Gear or Bikes before taking on the over 3,000 mile trip next month, and it did just that!

This trip provided about 10% or 40miles of dirt within the 400mile trip and gave us a clear look at how our gear, packing and riding skills might hold up to the larger trip of  about 20% dirt or700 miles of dirt within a 3,000 mile trip.

So what did we discover?

 hear is the short list:
  1. One bike was missing its tool kit
  2. We need a tow strap
  3. We all need water poof phone case's
  4. We need Dry bags for everything (camera equipment was not in a dry bag)
  5. Communication systems are a bit limited to number of riders ( I will explain more latter)
  6. Everyone needs a check list for packing

On to the fun stuff:

First order of business was to meet up with my Brother in Livermore, Randy who did meet up with us first thing will be leaving later and meet up with us in camp.

Next we meet up with Jeff and Joanna for coffee and a quick (20min) communications sync session.

We lost connectivity as soon as we left the parking lot, so hear we are again on the side of the freeway working on the process again, this time we downloaded the manual and spent 30min getting it right….

Lunch in Calistoga and I think we have the communications down, (turn off all other electronics or disable their blue tooth capability and don’t pass someone using Bluetooth!?!!

Calistoga is an interesting place, most people seem to be there for wedding and or bridal showers , we met a few in quite a rush to get food and rush of to a wedding, others getting the first food down after a long day bridal shower/wine tasting event. 

We ran in to one gentleman in Calistoga  who after seeing our bikes told us of his lifelong dream to set out on a motorcycle and ride through the mountains of Colorado. “hay that’s just what we are doing next month” you could see the aww in his eyes… it would have been great to talk to this guy longer and see if we could talk him in to chasing his dream. His reason for defeat of his dream, was also many peoples dream in itself,  a large family spanning over two decades of age differences in children, I think he is leading a productive/reproductive life for Sure, and you got to respect that!!!

We are on are way after a great lunch and find are way over cobb mountain and on to the west side of Clear lake it’s a gorgeous ride, I have yet to down load the video of the ride, I’m hoping I have some good footage of this road.

Our next stop was an unexpected creek crossing, after about 14 miles of dirt road we expected to be at camp but after 12 miles we found this creek crossing!
The 2013 GS went first (to set up the camera) next was the Duck, they swim right?
Not this one:

After that the BMW F650 was across without a hitch, and the 05 R1200 GS after that, digging some holes on the opposite bank, yea that’s me digging a bit, a bit more momentum would have been worked in my favor!

We spent the next hour drying out the Ducati draining water from the cylinders did the trick and she spat out the remaining water to breath fire once again!!!

I'm looking a little to Happy to watch water escape from the removed spark plug hole!

working to get the remaining water out of the Duck

Much later Randy came through the same crossing after dark, stalled in far end, restarted and was on his way, what a trooper!
Camp was set up, that night stories told and some mental list made for the upcoming weeks of preparation before the big trip.

The next morning we take the group shot (missing three from the group on this ride)

With about 25 to 30 miles of dirt road out to the other side of the mountains we get a few photos and much more off road experience for those that have not ridden off road before, everyone is doing great and absolutely loving it!

Next up:
Communication systems:
New Tires:
Final preparations:

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Date is Coming up Quick

The COBDR Adventure is coming up quick, preparations have taken a back seat to many of life’s other distractions, with that said, it’s time to get  ready, we have planed  a pre-ride/trip this weekend.

Much like the Alaska Adventure of last year a pre-ride will work out many of the preparation details; If we forget anything on this trip it will have little impact on a fun ride and a one night stay. Any Short falls of the trip can be quickly overcome by the next few weeks of final preparation.

The Pre run: about 5 hours ride, with about 45 min of dirt/gravel roads, this will give the group some exposure to the types of roads we will see on the big trip, and let us all try out any new gear camping, I am quite interested to try out communications between the larger group for the first time.

GPS: Oh yes I’m am catching hell for this, my normal cavalier attitude and no GPS and just go with a basic outline of a rout, has now given way to a detailed GPS course with so many way points I had to upgrade my GPS unit!.... my reasoning for the detailed rout is that, 1) we have a larger group and it would be good to all be headed the same direction! and 2) to follow the COBDR rout you need a great amount of information to follow the rout and not miss out on some great dirt roads! We will have a test run of the GPS rout planning on this pre run as well! I’m interested to see how it all comes together.

The actual COBDR trip I will have the live feed and I plan to post the GPS rout on this site as the trip gets closer, so you can load it to your own GPS if you’re interested in taking the trip for yourself.

up next look for photos from this weekend and any lessons learned. we are sure to run in to some interesting new things. 
(home made skid plates!, Sport Tires on gravel Roads!)