Eight months ago I broke my silence on the ADVRider Forums about my preparations for a trip. Below is a copy/paste of some of my posts starting 1-18-2008. Here is a link to the thread.
Moving Out and Onto the Road: From Boston to Everywhere
I have spent way too much time reading this site over the years and not enough time participating. Here is where it starts.
First a quick introduction. My name is Evan, I live just North or Boston, MA USA. I’m 25, I rent, and I work from home as a freelance web developer. Here’s a not-so-close-up photo.
I have been huge into bikes for many years. I rarely own a bike for more than a few months before I swap out to something new. The R60 above was an awesome bike, I had it listed on ADV for sale a little while back. I’m generally into vintage Japanese bikes, but the occasional beemer is fun too. I try to keep track of my bikes by posting photos of them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/evanfel…7600403662279/ and by posting blurbs about them here: http://cycles.evanfell.com
I have been planning a big adventure for quite a while but haven’t (until recently) decided how I was going to do it. The plan is to leave for a significant amount of time, 6 months or so to start, and live on the road. I want to start out just touring within the US, east to west, up through Canada and Alaska. While I’d like to leave North America, money is an issue. I will be working on the road, and in order to work on the road I need reliable internet service and a place to conduct business.
The solution I came up with is this.
I got a dilapidated old 1970 16′ camper! I will tow this camper around the country with my trusty Jeep, and will hang a motorcycle off the back. The camper will give me a home base where I can work on a computer comfortably to earn my living. It will also allow me a launching point for any type of motorcycle trip I please. I can dress the bike for short jaunts or long excursions. Flexibility is key.
I will be traveling with a camper but this will at heart be a motorcycle adventure for me. I love to ride and plan to ride everywhere!
So I am currently in the middle or renovating the trailer. I’ve gutted it and am ripping out the walls. I’ll be rebuilding everything inside with new so it is a nice comfortable living space where I can conduct business.
Once the camper is ready I will really be under the gun and excited to leave. I am not tied to a lease so am free to head out whenever things fall into place. I’m going to buy the Dom Wright’s Guide to Free Campgrounds and hopefully cut my total monthly expenditures so I can build some savings while on the road. Traveling is win win!
As for where I plan to go, I have a list. A long long list. I’m not sure the best way to post this, so I guess I’ll just paste it in. There may be a few oddball locations that didn’t get filtered out, but mostly this list has been made by reading the incredible journals of fellow ADVers. Every place is guaranteed to have amazing scenery and wonderful biking. I will be buying a dual-sport before I head out.
- Nipton, NV (old western town)
- Valley of the Fire State, NV
- Moab â€“ Slick Rock Trail
- Death Valley
- Braken Cave (bats)
- Salt Flats
- Snow Mt. Northern CA
- Dalton Highway, AK to Arctic Circle
- Laguna Diablo, AZ
- Delta, CO (cool desert riding) (also Timberline Trail)
- Lake McClellan riding area near Pampa, TX
- Dempster Highway, Northwest Territory, Canada
- Hyder, Alaska (salmon glacier)
- Rock Mills, Alabama (dead nothing)
- Lolo Pass, Idaho to Montana (77 miles of S)
- Mt. Patterson CA and NV (killer off road)
- Sierra Nevada Mts.
- Northern Cascades Highway
- Colorado River Canyon NE of Moab on 128
- Skull Valley Prescott, AZ (Iron Springs Rd.)
- Monument Valley, AZ
- Flagstaff, AZ
- Sedona, AZ
- Poison Spyder Trail near Moab
- Portugal Cove, Newfoundland
- St. Johns Harbor, Newfoundland
- Banff, Albert Canada (riding!)
- Grande Ronde River at WA/OR Border
- Deals Gap (Tail of the Dragon)
- Sorona Pass, CA (11,000 ft.)
- Sugarloaf Mt. Fire Lookout, OR
- South of Paige, AZ
- Four Corners
- â€˜Devils Postpileâ€™ Mammoth Lakes, CA
- Bodie, CA (goldrush town)
- Brice (Bruce?) Canyon National Park, UT
- Ferry to Gaultois, Newfoundland
- Bella Coola, BC
- Klamath River, CA
- Silver Canyon, NV
- Laurel Lakes Trail
- Colombia River, WA
- Canyonlands National Park
- Grand Canyon
- Great Basin
- Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
- Bay of Fundy
- Alabama Hills
- El Mirage (salt flats)
- Fremont Peak, Mohave Desert, CA
- Guanella Pass, CO
- Owens Valley, CA
- Monument Valley, AZ
- Beartooth Pass
- Zion National park
- Central CA Wine Country
- Mt. Rainier National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Grand Staircase, VT
- Black Rock Desert, NV
- Aguasabon River Gorge near Terrace Bay, ON
- Ouimet Canyon 50 km E of Thunder Bay, ON
- Kitt Peak, AZ (observatories)
- Boulder Alley Trail, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA
- Destin, FL
- Mono Lake, CA
- Pacific Beach to Copalis Beach, WA
- Notch at La Plata Canyon, CO
- Pecos River
- Dinosaur National Monument
- Miami Creek Trails by Oakhurst CA, N of Fresno on 41
- Mojave Desert
- Randsbury, CA (moto town)
- Red Rock Canyon State Park, Socal
- Sumer Lake, OR
- North Cascade Highway (rt 20) WA
- Cascade Moutains in Washington
- Silver Dollar Saloon Red Mountain, CA
- Sequoia National Park
- Yellow Pine, ID
- 141, CO
- Tioga Pass
- Calse Powell
- Top of the World Highway, AK
- Mt. Shasta, Northern Cali
- Pan-Am Trail
- Oaxaca, Mexico
- Walker Valley, WA
- Olympic Peninsula
- Sandhills, NE (Brownlee rd)
- Denali Highway
- Mt. Lassen National Park
- San Felipe, Baja
- Black Bear Pass
- Imogene Pass above Telluvide, CO
- Goblin Valley
- Pecos, NM
- Jackson Hot Springs, MT
- Chiapas, Mexico
- Gold Mountain Trail, Big Bear, CA
- Grand Tetons
- Sawtooth Mountains Stanley, ID
- North of McCall, ID
- Jarbidge, NV (gold mining camp)
- Buels Gap, VT
- Adirondack Park
- Skyline Drive Canyon City
- Guanacoste, Costa Rica
- Suches, GA
- Pikes Peak CO
- Mt Washington Auto Road
- Kancamagus Highway
- Lunar Lake, NV
- Mt Cheaha Alabama
- White Sands, NM
- Study Butte, TX
- Bow Lake Alberta
- Athabaska Glacier Alberta
- Randsburg, CA
- Comet Ghost Town
- Gallatin National Forrest
I have the list, but I’ll more than likely just wing it and use it as a rough guideline.
I’ve been slowly selling off and giving away most of the large items I own so I don’t have to store them. The only things I have to find a spot for are my hydraulic motorcycle lift, and my custom built tire changing station, too bad they can’t come with me. I’m sure they’d come in handy.
I’m really feeling the itch now. I’m also feeling like the date of departure is coming up quickly. It’s going to be an enormous lifestyle change but one hell of a trip.
I plan to continue with updates here in this thread, as well as mirror much of the information on my existing blog at http://blog.evanfell.com.
Follow me on my journey. If you need any sort of web work I’m sure we could work out a trade for a few nights of parking in your field! I’ll see you on the road.
Gear up Rubber down.
On a whim last week I went out and bought a dirtbike to carry with me on the trip. I was originally thinking of a single dual sport, but what the hell, I’ll bring 2 bikes!!!! One hanging on the front of the jeep, one hanging on the back of the camper.
It’s a 1994 KTM 300exc that I got an amazing deal on (you wouldn’t believe it if I told you). Here is a picture of it from Saturday when I was going through it. It’s a complete bike and runs strong, but needs a couple regular items (wheel bearings, brake pads, sprockets, etc).
I used to have a 1999 KTM 300exc a few years ago. I was initially hesitant about making a ‘downgrade’ to the 94 model, but after comparing photos I don’t think I’ll be able to tell the difference. Other than inverted forks the 1994 is almost identical. Supposedly in 1998 they made the frame a bit slimmer and got rid of the rear shock linkage, but I doubt I’ll notice on the trail. Here is the 1999 in a similar state back in 2004.
So now I’ll keep my eyes open for a small street bike to bring with me. A CB350/XS400 would be perfect. I had a 1977 XS400 a few years ago too, it was the best year of the SOHC XS. Very light and nimble, and had a cafe type look stock.
The trip preparations continue. More to come . . . . .
After pulling back some of the walls on the camper I found a lot more water damage than I expected. Many of the boards were completely rotten and there was certainly more than a little mold.
So I put on my respirator.
.. . and I began doing some extreme demo.
I ripped out the front and back walls as well as the ceiling.
I’ve already started putting the ceiling back in with all new wood and paneling. It’s going to be brand spanking new!
Unfortunately it is going to be raining/snowing around here for the next week solid so I had to tarp everything over. I’ll have to wait it out – which is a shame because I was on such a roll. It took me 3 full days from dawn to dusk to rip everything out and start fresh.
I also ordered a brand new full exhaust for my KTM which should be here shortly. I’ll order up the wheel, steering and swingarm bearings this week and get the bike 100% while the weather is still bad.
Trip preparations continue. . . . .
The snow has made the last couple weeks difficult. The camper has suffered injuries.
Prior to the snow a couple weeks ago I had put the first layer of plywood on the ceiling of the camper, but did not have time to put any of the support studs over top (campers are built from the inside out). We got 8 inches of snow the following day and the plywood simply couldn’t hold the weight. It caved in. Oh well. I’m only out $40 or so.
However, in the meantime I’ve been working on the KTM 300exc. It needed a few parts; a kickstarter shaft, the rear wheel had a flat spot, most of the bearings were worn, the levers were bent, and a couple other odds and ends. And in my traditional fashion, instead of just buying a couple parts, I bought another complete bike! I bought a 1994 250sx from the local dealership through eBay. It was in much better condition than my 300exc and almost every part can swap over.
This weekend I completely tore both bikes down to the frame.
I swapped over almost everything from the 250sx. The 1993 and 1994 300excs had inverted WP forks from the factory which were reasonable but are known for having front wheel deflection issues. So I swapped the entire 250 front end over which uses a conventional style Marzocchi fork and was a very popular front end for many years.
Anyway, I spent two full days tearing through the bikes. I even dug into the motors to swap kickstart shafts and clutch baskets and hubs.
I ended up with the completed 300.
The 300exc is now completely ready to rock. It is in excellent mechanical condition all around and is ready for my many off-road adventures!!! I plan on tearing it down again next week to thoroughly clean every part as well as replace a few rubber bushings, but as of right now I am VERY happy with what I have accomplished. It took me nearly 30 hours or so.
I’ve decided I am going to build a garage door into the rear of the camper so that I can store the bike inside it. This will prevent me from hanging weight too far back and it will also be safe from the elements and theft.
Trip preperations continue. . . .. .
I have an obsession with old beat up motorcycles that I just can’t shake. Snow keeps falling so I can’t work on the camper easily. The KTM is ready to go and doesn’t need anything. So what can I work on?
The answer: This 1986 Yamaha TT350.
This bike would make an awesome dual sport platform, it already has a headlight and dual filament brake light. I am not sure if it is worth the effort of carrying both the KTM and this bike with me, but I’ll make that decision a little closer to departure time.
This bike sat outside unused for at least 10 years I am guessing. Everything is full of squirrel nuts! Nothing new though, I’ve revived bikes in far worse condition.
Last night around 2:30am you could find me outside in the freezing cold boiling the carburetors to loosen up the slides. Boiling is an awesome trick that not many people put into practice. The slides were the most frozen carb parts I have ever seen, I couldn’t budge them at all using extreme force. After floating in a pot of boiling water for a couple minutes the slides drifted loose on their own. For cleaning the carbs I occassionally boil them in lemon juice – absolutely nothing works better.
I need to order a kickstart shaft and some new manifold boots before this old girl will run again, but it’ll go. I just have to decide if it’s worth keeping. Hmmm.
Trip preparations continue . . . . .
I am dead serious about Tierra del Fuego. My tennative schedule for right now is to head out at the end of April. Get out to the San Juan Mountains and Moab by the end of May to do some extreme off road riding. Then head up to Oregon to check out the Valleys. I want to ride up to Alaska in July. Then make my way down towards Baja as the temperature changes. . . . . Central America and possibly beyond through the Winter perhaps.
It’s all speculative at this point, but I’m excited for lift off.
The snow has been brutal this winter, I haven’t been able to find three good days back to back to rebuild the roof of the camper. But tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, so I am prepared! Earlier today I pulled off all the tarps to inspect the damage. Ripped out the fridge and furnace, and started removing the newish ceiling that has been damaged and warped due to snow.
I spent the night in the barn cutting up all the new supplies until 12:30am. All the new ceiling paneling, plywood, studs and insulation are ready to go. As soon as light sneaks up over the hills tomorrow morning I’m getting to it. I want a roof on this thing by sundown!
Late nights, power tools, grease and grim. . . . . I love it.
Hey guys, it’s been a couple weeks so you are no doubt curious what I’ve been up to. Well, I’ve been working hard on both trip preparations and trip funding. I’m pleased with my progress and would like to be on the road at the end of April.
Ok. I got a new ceiling onto the camper and got the top roof layer on. It isn’t sealed down yet, but damn close. The front and back walls will be easy.
The quarter inch plywood I was using for the interior ceiling all collapsed under the weight of the snow. I ended up replacing it with some nice birch (style) paneling. It looks awesome!
New paneling, new studs, new insulation, new wiring. All the original studs were 1″x1.5″ and were only stapled together!!! Now I’ve got 2″x3″ studs throughout attached with long deckscrews. This rig is 5 times as strong and sturdy as it was when I bought it
And the roof is back on! I left out the A/C unit and the skylight because they were both junky and I didn’t want to do the extra work.
I’ve also been working on the TT350 which will be my dual sport bike on the trip. I waited 3 weeks for the new kickshaft and intake boots to come. They finally arrived and I got them installed!
^^ Notice the license plate!!!
I have battled with this bike for the last 48 hours and I think I finally got all the major gremlins worked out. I had some bad wire connections causing irratic spark, and some carburetor issues causing fuel starvation, but they are all resolved now. The bike still needs a valve adjustment and synch but that’ll come soon. For now I am very happy.
Here’s a vid of my first ride on it!
RATS! I’ll fiddle with the video embedding later. Here’s a direct link for now.
(I just bought a digital camera that takes video!)
Trip preparations continue . . . .
We’re getting close now!!!
I don’t have any new photos of the camper, but it’s almost all sealed up. I should be able to build everything inside that I need pretty quickly.
The TT350 wasn’t providing me a whole lot of confidence, and I happened upon a 1983 XL600R and jumped on it. It needs work (go figure) but I already did most of it. The motor in it was junk, but it came with a spare XR600R motor that is solid.
I swapped the motors, put in it fresh fluids, gave it a good once over, and it’s ready to ride. I’ve actually been riding it all week!!! WOW, what a hoot! I love this bike. I’ve put about 100 street miles on it and a dozen hours of really nasty off-road riding. I’ve been posting over the in the “Reviving my XL600. . . . ” thread in the Thumpers forum about it.
It cleans up well too!
I didn’t bring my camera on any of the off-road adventures for fear of breaking or drowning it. I’ve already dumped/crashed/smashed this bike about 10 times and had water up over the seat in some bad crossings. Surprisingly I haven’t water-logged it yet.
I’m very happy with this XR and it’s going to be a much better bike overall than the TT350.
Trip preparations continue . … .. it won’t be long until I shove off . . .
This trip is still a 100% definite go. I wanted to be out two weeks ago but moving my life and business into a camper has been a bit more time consuming than planed. Believe me, everything I do all day every day is working towards the departure date.
Yes, the rumors WB-PDX has been spreading are true. I trashed that pile of garbage camper I had and got one that is a million times nicer. I was fighting the old camper night and day and it was sucking up a lot of my time and money. Even after putting all that effort into it, it still needed quite a bit. Tires, wiring, plumbing, etc. So I upgraded to a dual axle camper that needed practically nothing!
Here is a photo of my cozy new living quarters!
The only siginificant obstacle for departure as of now is doing the upgrades to my Jeep so it can tow the camper reliably. The transmission cooler, oil cooler, upgraded leaf springs, and brake controller are all scheduled for purchase on Tuesday when I receive a paycheck.
I AM BURNING TO GO!!!! I am filled with so much excitement I can barely contain myself. This trip is only days away. Last year it was a year away, over the winter it was 5 months away, this spring it was “just another month” away. . . . ..well now, it’s only days away!!!!!!
I have sold or tossed everything I don’t need except for a few items. My TV, stereo, furniture, spare computers, unneeded tools, unneeded clothing, sports equipment, dishes and appliances, etc. It’s all gone. The simplicity of life on the road is equally as appealing to me as the places I’ll go.
I’ve also been spending time shaking down the bikes and getting them prepared.
I have a silly notion in my head that I want to run the qualifiers for the Last Man Standing race in 2009. As such, I plan on spending a LOT of time in the saddle of my KTM 300 over the next year attacking the most gnarly terrian in existence.
If ever there was a bike up for the task of taking me through the LMS qualifiers it’s a KTM 300. Psyched!
The XL600 is doing well too.
I buggered it up a bit in a few hard crashes. Ripped the kickstart mount out of the frame, bent the rear of the frame and snapped the welds on a cross member.
Also snapped the luggage rack and thrashed the rear fender.
The luggage rack was falling off the back end, so while driving with one hand hand on the bars and one hand on the rack behind me I cruised over to a local machine shop that TIG’ed it back together for me.
And as for this . . . . .
|Facts about Evan:
– Every woman wants him. (Every woman I know that has met him is in love with him.)
– Every man wants to be him.
– He buyssells bikes at an average rate of 1 every 2 weeks, year round.
– My girlfriend loves to tell people “My boyfriend has a boyfriend, his name is Evan, they met on Craigslist.”
– He doesn’t ever seem to sleep.
I can’t say what’s true and what isn’t. But WB-PDX and I will be riding to Deadhorse Alaska from Portland on our XR’s at the end of June. So that is my timeline. I NEED to be in OR in 4 weeks.
First stop on the trip is Majestic Trails in northern PA. It’s a private ATV park that I used to spend time at. According to their website they have lots of new trails and I can’t wait to check them out.
Second stop on the trip is Porland to meet WB-PDX and head north to AK.
Third stop on the trip is MOAB!!!! I can’t get to the Five Miles of Hell trail fast enough!
It’s going to be a wild ride!