Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Somewhat back from a somewhat of an hiatus.

Living off the Grid can be challenging when it comes to working on one's vehicles.
Even with a 25kW Geni' and most of the necessary tools practically available, once again I must work in the elements. Winter has arrived.

Primary objective: Get Strawberri up and running just as a sound vehicle.

  1. Replace Fuel Pump Filter- Apparently from 1988-1990 the fuel pump can be accessed by removing the entire fuel tank, unlike previous and later years where it can be reached from inside the truck...snarf.
  2. Flush Coolant system and install new thermostat- The PO had the truck year round in the Nevada desert and took out the thermostat a year into owning it out of 1 1/2 yrs total. Got all the stuffs needed..nows all is left is the nerve.
  3. Install Heavy duty oil cooler- Actually I guess this can likely wait...yeah, it'll wait.
  4. Change oil and general tune up- Might have this done since I dont have a timing gun and all that.


Objective: Gear the moto for more of a road orientation

  1. Mount -80/20 tires...I've got my eyes on the Conti' TK70s or the Avon Distanzias
  2. Install 16t sprocket up front- Stock is 15t and I am currently rockin' a 14t
  3. Hard Cases from Happy-Trails. Very likely their 48l boxes. These will be the boxes that will eventually mount to the rack system for the rear bicycle carrier.

Just finished a fantastic coast road on Hwy 1 up by Fort Bragg to Mendocino a few days ago. Rode two-up with a friend over two days. Redwoods, breathtaking coastal cliff views, Bed and Breakfast with a fireplace and a whole lot of tree climbing!

I need a garage.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Official CrossOver: Enduro Adventures will now include Project Strawberri- A Growing Obsession with Creating a long term Overland Vehicle

A glorious day it is today.
For it stands out above the many that have come to pass.

From Hobo Camping

Today EnduroAdventures will integrate my ever developing obsession with creating an Overlanding Vehicle out of Strawberri, my '88 FJ62.

Rideglobally's Nullacruiser, IH8Mud.com Forums

Wikipedia defines Overlanding as,

"...the self-reliant overland travel to remote destinations where the journey is the principal goal. Typically, but not exclusively, accommodated by mechanized off-road capable transport (from bicycles to trucks) where the principal form of lodging is camping; often lasting for extended lengths of time (months to years) and spanning international boundaries."

According to this quite satisfying description, EnduroAdventures has always been about overlanding, but by moto. Today it shall include the Epic of transforming Strawberri into a capable all-terrain explorer and home for the next 4 years, until I leave for Eastern Siberia in 2013.

The Need:
Long term living out of a vehicle in the form of camping in national forests/wilderness areas and generally traveling from place to place, has its complications. In particular, Strawberri (FJ-62) must become a fully functional "home base." On top of this, I must be able to function as close to a normal citizen as can be, in the local town, ie integrating with the local villagers (just cuz I'm living out of the truck doesn't mean I'm homeless or on vacation...).
This has proven difficult in regards to efficiency as currently the majority of the equipment I am using (to date of this post) is improvised.

From Hobo Camping

What I am talking about is this:

From Hobo Camping
Basic Tarp for Canopy-
has to be tied and untied for set-up, rolled up appropriately to the roof rack with specific folding, and hast to be repaired frequently as it is torn often at the grommets.
-All very time consuming.

Ice Chest-
Needs ice every 3 days!
Water from melted ice contaminates food regularly and has to be drained daily.
Perishables such as milk, eggs and meats have shorter windows of use due to challenge of temperature control. All this equates to frequent trips into local towns and limited time frame in remote areas.

Cargo and Sleeping Area-
Boxes on top are great! Boxes inside are cool, too! But when sleeping inside is needed, each night all cargo inside must be rearranged to the front seats to make room for my bed roll.
A ground tent would be an option, however of all the shelters in my arsenal, none are for all-season comfortable living...they are either ultra, ultra light, or for sleeping on ledges on very high mountains.

From End of June_Friday CGDSR Course work

Kitchen and Food Prep-
Problematic. Sometimes after a long day, the amount of time to set-up the improvised "kitchen" is the last thing I want to do. Having all the necessary equipment in the cargo area in a ready-to-use arrangement, would be most idea.

Hygiene and Water Consumption-
Washing hands at camp, keeping the body clean (bathing) and "relieving the body's system."
Cold water for showers gets old on consistently cold mornings. There is a real need to remain clean to maintain a professional capacity. Water is central and for that matter needs to be managed with great diligence.
I currently have the capacity to carry 18 gallons of water on board. To make this last -in a non desert environment- requires effort. Water is used quickly for cooking, drinking (as an athlete, I consume a lot), washing dishes and basic hygiene.

From Hobo Camping

Hauling all the tools of the trade-
The Bicycles.
The Moto.
Climbing and Guiding Equipment.
Not too hard one would think. However, to haul the motorcycle through minor 4x4 terrain requires a special high clearance rig...which I do not have. This limits the range of options for exploration and camping. All of this equipment, as well as everything else listed above, equals into a whole lot of weight, and the FJ-62's rear suspension is very much maxed out.
Storage Space is a real factor here and the current digging around for stuff slows things down to a depressing level.

And so, I have decided to commit to developing a very capable Overland Vehicle out of Strawberri with an emphasis on living conditions. From here on out, this Journal will include that specific endeavor.

I suspect this will be a very, very fun and interesting journey.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

CGDSR & the Gamin Quest motorcycle GPS...loves to stop working when you need it the most

Course work was coming along as expected until my GPS -Garmin Quest- decided to quit on me at the beginning of Saturday's ride.

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

This would be the third warranty replacement.
This particular unit replaced one that could not pick up any satellites under any conditions and this particular unit now suffers the same fate.

The first one warrantied failed to power-up after 4 months of use.

I still rode the route by map and memory but little productivity was had as I very much needed the new tracks for route development.
We are two weeks out from the CGDSR RSVP deadline and I now have no GPS.

There is a plan "B" that would remove the navigation/ treasure hunt element out of it and transform the event into just a Dual Sport ride.

Ah well, here's a photo dump:

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

From CGDSR_June26-27 Cousrse work

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CGDSR Course Rerouting Coming Along

Rerouting is coming together better than expected.

The Game will consist of two courses, one per day. I don't have the mileage ironed out yet, but it's looking to be around 60-70 miles per day, which is a quite a bit shorter.

Saturday will end in a great moto enthusiast BBQ pot luck out in the Cinder Hills area!
Sunday will have some good chunky options and will end at a local pub.

Tomorrow holds some more exploring for potential reroutes and connectors.

In other news, I went to the MVD today to purchase a replacement license plate for the one that rattled off some days ago. To my relief it was only $5.00 and on the spot. I have some plans to make a camo ghillie suit for the KLR hiding in the woods when I'm away from camp. I have most of the materials already and have made them before. Very fun but very tedious. Pictures to come.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

CGDSR- Course Prep Report 1

Dave Z. and I rode about 90 miles of the first portion of the route today. We did not do it in its entirety nor did we take it on aggressively. Today's objective was to test out the flow of the course for evaluation.

...the day's conclusion is: it needs to be shortened.

The idea is to break up the ride into two 100mile (or so) days. It isn't only riding that has to be done here. The player will have to navigate with a mounted GPS, consult a map and GC book, and operate a roll chart holder. And then there is the whole business of the treasure hunting-the whole excuse to gallivant on our motos in the first place.

This is a GeoCache hunt after all.

All of this for anyone -experienced or not- adds up to a bit of time.
I'm fairly confident after our blast of a time today that we will put together a game that will work and will be oodles of fun!

From lic plate gone

Speaking of fun, Dave had some impressive hero naps (no camera!!) and I was fortunate enough to have bounced off of some very large boulders on one of the more techy climbs. Though I've busted my little tool tube fairing thing, it's kinda neat when these sort of things happen. It's like product testing. One day when I have the ability to do legit fabrication projects, I'll know what designs work and don't...and that's a beautiful thing.

From lic plate gone

At the end of the ride, once back to camp I immediately collapsed in a chair.
I was beat down!
I stayed well hydrated, maintained a reasonable flow of calories and the weather was breezy and cool! But still slumped into that cozy chair was I. My feet found their way up onto the rear bumper of the FJ62. Dave and I rode for 7 hours at a simulated average pace. 7 hours can be a long time on a bike after partying and drinking the entire night before with close (and crazy) friends. At least I was not hung over. Thank goodness not.

From lic plate gone

After a brief siesta, I gathered a few things, stuffed them in the tank panniers and bag, and leisurely headed into town to meet with my best mate. After picking up my laptop from the babysitters, I headed east for my intended rendezvous and somewhere along the way my license plate fell off!


Those are expensive. Dang. If I'm lucky, perhaps I'll find it tomorrow on the road or some good samaritan will turn it into the MVD.

From lic plate gone

This evening and the rest of this week is all about map production and the rerouting process. Dave and I get to scheme on Tuesday over some beer and Wednesday attend the Coconino Trail Riders meeting (personally, this will be my first one).

My knees are achy and I can feel my pelvis injury...I think I'll stay off the bike tomorrow, you know, take a break.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back in Flagstaff AZ and Ready to Ride! ALSO: First update on Suspension Upgrade

I From Hobo Camping

I am officially back in Flagstaff AZ and done with major bouncing around and traveling for a few months. Time to get caught up with Blogging and get a DS Rally put together!

Dave Z. and I rode the second section of the course this past weekend. We only hit a few of the caches as the main objective was to evaluate that section of the course. The Cinder Pit pictured here is classic of northern AZ terrain. It rides like deep sand but thrashes tires like sharp rock!

From Hobo Camping

We will ride the first section of the course this weekend. If Dave cannot ride on Saturday, I may be volunteering at the AZ State Championship mountain bike race happening on Mt Elden, one of our local mountains, as a mobile course marshal/WFR since I gotz the moto.

Either way, I have some great riding ahead of me in the next few days.

From Arrival_Suspension

And now a quick shot to the very recent past...

I received the Cogent Dynamics Moab shock and fully rebuilt front forks. Rick at MotoCD.com was absolutely fantastic and a treat to deal with. The suspension is more than noticeably different! I actually got to test it out on a long ride into the mountains of San Jacinto in Southern California. The new suspension -along with the knee braces I wore for the first time- saved me from what should have been a low side on a slow speed turn when my front tire flatted! More on that exciting story on a soon to come post...it deserves its own!

The craftsmanship is simply impeccable, it is very light weight in hand even without comparing it to stock, and is pretty freakin' sexy (if you're a bike-sexual).

Their prices are among the top best currently available.

From Arrival_Suspension

I asked Rick at Cogent Dynamics to tune the suspension for hard off road riding ranging from fast loose fire-roads to slow technical rock gardens. Also ordered two coils. One is set for my 135lb body weight plus 35lbs of cargo gear and the second for riding with 200lbs of cargo gear -for upcoming moto adventures of course.

From Arrival_Suspension

When the units arrived via FedEx I inspected the boxes immediately. Much to my alarm I discovered the stock presta valves of one of the fork legs had punched through what I presume to be the bottom end as it stacked in the truck. The valve was damaged and a fairly small amount of oil soak could be seen. It seemed to me the box containing my fork legs had been placed vertical, upside-down.

I called Rick and described the scenario. Ultimately we decided that the "damaged" fork leg may not have been compromised judging by the small amount of oil soak I described. The only way to know for certain if too much oil had leaked out was to literally open it up or by riding the bike and experiencing any negative perceived performance. I opted for choice number two and did not notice anything obscene. Actually, I only noticed impressive suspension oscillation on road and off.

What a relief.

The damaged presta valve is not a concern since they do not have an imperative function anymore with the new internals (other than holding oil in). The rebuild included progressively wound springs, RaceTech cartridge emulators, new seals, bushings and oil.

The cartridge emulators control the low and high speed damping oscillation of the front suspension. My only reference to any of this comes from my long time quest to use mountain bike suspension during my pursuit of racing. Grant it, bicycle suspension internals are different from that of motos, but they do get much of their technology from the motorcycle industry and suspension dynamics is still suspension dynamics no matter what machine it is used on.

Here is a great link describing the differences between emulators and other kinds of motorcycle front suspension : FJ Mod site -Yamaha YZFJ1200, a reproduced explanation of Suspension by Jeff Hoffman

The installation of the forks and fork brace as well as the Cogent Dynamic Moab Shock was very simple on the KLR and should be no problem for the home mechanic with the right tools in hand. Originally I had intended on doing an How-to installation post but realized it has already been done very well elsewhere and was way too straight forward anyway.

Take this link [Cogent Dynamics Moab Shock and Spring Review]to a very well done and thorough product and performance review of the Cogent Dynamics Moab Shock and fork springs, on KLRWorld.com . The author, Hondo, did the fork spring installation himself and without the RaceTech cartridge emulators, whereas my forks were sent to Cogent Dynamics for a full rebuild and upgrade.

Now back in Flagstaff, I am able to put them on a full test run to develop an opinion on their intended performance prowess through a wide array of terrain. Today and the rest of the weekend I will do a full run of the CGDSR course and will report back with my thoughts.


Contact Information for
Cogent Dynamics, Inc

Rick Tannenbaum
33 Meadow Brook
DriveFletcher, NC, USA
Phone: 828-628-9025

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Suspension Install_Prep Work

From Suspension_Prep

Today is the day the rebuilt forks and Moab Shock arrive from Cogent Dynamics via FedEX.
I took apart the entire swing arm assemble for its very first maintenance (awwww) since I am tearing into that section of the bike anyway. I anticipated heavy rust and corrosion on the various moving parts but was pleasantly surprised to find none. After push the bushings out I also pleasantly discovered they were still sealed and covered with greased.

I picked up a large 3/8 Breaker Bar from Autozone for the dirty leverage work to be done -It did the job rather nicely. After some sleep I will clean the swing arm and wipe down the bike in general. Should be fun...

We also have a set of Perrilli MT-21 tyres to install. The rubber currently mounted are a Dunlop D606 on the front and a Perrilla MT-21 on the rear. I like the Brazilian tyre a lot so decided to go for both. I'll post here on how the combo does.

New DS Helmet on the Block...The AFX FZ-37

Saw this on Motorcycle-Superstore.com.

From Enduro Adventures

DOT and ECE approved.

It has 9 vent holes, supposedly optically corrected -though one customer feedback mentioned distortion on the lower section of the visor- comes in white, silver and flat black, and weighs somewhere in at 3.64 lbs. $118 USD...

I said, "woah" as well.

WebBikeworld.com has an informative review on this affordable newcomer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Protection_Neck Roll and Knee Braces

From evs neck brace

After a few high speed crashes on the dirt I decided to invest in a few more pieces protective equipment. This is the EVS RC-3 Neck Roll. In the event of a crash involving a head deflection, it will hopefully help distribute energy into my body armor and overall upper body ...sparing my neck in the process.

There are quite a few debates on the topic of Neck Rolls vs. Neck Braces. The general consensus is that a Neck Brace -such as a Leatt or EVO- will protect a crashing rider from both hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck more effectively than even the most advanced donut. I went with the EVS neck roll because of cost and convenience of wear...

Which would you buy?


Roll vs Brace- Thumper Talk

Leatt Brace...yes or no?- Thumper Talk

EVS RC EVO Neck Brace- Vital MX Forums

Leatt ADVenture Brace- BTO Sports

Lisboa Portugal_ Motorbikes

From Lisboa_Motorbikes

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Paris France -Motorbikes

From Temp

In Europe there are all sorts of makes and models I have not seen or heard of prior to my visit.

So many motorbikes, most being very large scooters.

I noticed there were many 2 stroke bikes scooting about the metropolis. It surprised me to hear that they were not very loud. Folks out here ride on the sidewalk to find a spot to park their two wheeled ctitter...actually more like a pole to park next to-for locking the wheel.
I also noticed the cars all yield to the motorbikes, though I have been told that it is suicide to ride here in the City of Love--Iz Romantic, no?

Music: Coyotes by Jason Mraz, We Sing We Dance

This backpacking trip through Europe has been eye opening to say the least. I will return to the U.S. on April 7th. Shortly after arriving back in the states- actually that same week- I head by motorbike into the California Mojave for 3 days of dancing in the desert with close friends for Good Fryday.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

2009 Mods Arrive...Two Brothers Exhaust

First Shipment of (3)three:

  • Russel stainless steel brakeline, front and rear
  • Spair brake and clucth levers
  • Two Brothers Racing M7 Exhaust
  • CNC'd fork brace by....???

From 2009 Spring Mods

From 2009 Spring Mods

From 2009 Spring Mods

From 2009 Spring Mods

Studebaker?? I thought they sold Eagle Mike's fork brace...

All of these parts came from TPI Motorcycle Parts. Definitely an A+ vendor...however, they, like several other companies, have become distributors of Studebaker Products. Studebaker is known for their Asian copies of various original designs which are sometimes near identical replicas. TPI was one of the few vendors where one could purchase an Eagle Manufacturing fork brace, which I have been particularly interested in for a long time. It was finally put on order to compliment my soon to arrive upgraded forks from Cogent Dynamics, I was very surprised and disappointed to see that they were the Studebaker knock-offs, when they arrived.

I am torn.

I had assumed they sold genuine Eagle-Mike equipment and it was my own lack of attention to detail that has lead me to this place of dissatisfaction. TPI doesn't offer a refund and they really shouldn't have to since they made no indication which product they sell. But I still want the real-deal.

...I'll call them on Monday and verify if the brace will accommodate a Perilli MT21 front tire. If it does then I'll stick with it...if they do not, I may resort to begging.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2008 Aprilla Dakar Bike

This modified beast was set to race in the canceled 2008 Dakar Ralley.

Video Dump_Dakar and HolyCaveMan

Some oldies but some of my Favorites for sure.

..I have yet to see the full length documentary film Long Way Down.

Keep exploring and never stop the adventure!