A few days with Don of All Moto Tire

Well, I’m back on the road after another wonderful summer in the PNW! Leaving the smoky skies of western Washington in Everett at the start of US 2, I headed east and didn’t outrun the smoke until an hour out of Spokane!😳🙄 First night was at a Harvest host family farm near Mt Spokane in Mede under clear skies!

I’m trying to stay on US 2 all the way to Duluth Minnesota before heading south on the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. But first I needed new tires on the T-700, that’s where my old tire guy from Graham Wa comes in. Don Daugherty has been putting Heidenau scouts on my Super Tenere since about 2013, but now he and his wife Debbie are retired from their day jobs, sold their house in Washington and moved to Kalispell Montana. He was kind enough to host me for a few days so we had some time to explore☺️ He asked if I had been to Glacier National Park and I hadn’t so he said that was a must do! Because it was mostly pavement, we kept the stock tires on for another couple hundred miles get the last of the life out of them.
I was blown away on how beautiful GNP is! Our ride started in the chilly morning up for a wild huckleberry bear claw at the Polebridge Mercantile.

After the delicious bear claw, we headed into the National Park where we were greeted with lots of traffic and a couple spots of construction up to Logan Pass. The views are beyond spectacular!

The east side of the park is closed just past Logan Pass because it drops into the Blackfeet reservation and they are trying to control the 😷 so it was an up and back the way we came. We tried to make a full loop but it wasn’t our day.

This was as close to a loop as we could get. I’ll take it! I’m
Once the riding was done, it was tire changing time. Don still has all his tools and machinery to get the job done quick.

I went with a different approach for my first tires after stock. The rear is a 140-80-18 Heidenau Scout Enduro tire ( without the center stripe) and the front is a 90-90-21 Mitas E-10 Dakar, both came from Revzilla and I hand carried them to Kalispell. The stock rear tire size is a 150-70-18 which is a bit more wide and not quite as tall so I also ordered a Kouba lowering link which drops the rear suspension 1/2” making up for the taller tire.

Don is a Heidenau dealer so he can get you what you need, just give him some notice for the freshest set.

While taking off the rear tire I got a refresher lesson on proper chain maintenance. Not having one since 2011, I was a bit rusty but luckily it wasn’t 😉

After the tires were on I made dinner with my instapot, Ethiopian chicken stew and red lintels. New flavors with spices shipped in from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. We split the leftovers as I packed up to get an early start the next morning.

Thank you Don and Debbie for hosting me these last few days. I’ll be coming back to ride more, you can count on that!
Here is the link to contact Don if you need tires for your next adventure, or you are in need of a new set while passing through Montana. http://www.allmototire.com

My own private Idaho?

I spent about a week or so recently in the very beautiful state of Idaho. Wanting to get a feel for a few of the different areas to potentially buy a 2-3 acre patch of land in the future(1-2 years) The plan is for a 700 ish square foot, south facing shed roof cabin that’s set in a hill.  Ideally not too far off the Idaho BDR that can be used as a travelers stopover and camp spot. What other way is there then on two wheels?

After the Dragons last dirty ride with Chris and the gang, I spent a couple days in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area which was a great warm up before crossing the Snake River into Idaho.  Fabulous riding on and off-road out there. It’s highly recommended.🙌

I went back to hang out with Rob Bayless from T700.net and his family in the Boise valley.  He was gracious enough to let me park the van at his place while I went exploring on the T-700. Thanks Rob! 085EF0EE-7E46-4354-BA85-63B48F7EEF75

Day 1 was a figure 8 loop through Horseshoe bend, Placerville,  Idaho city, Robbie Creek then back up through Idaho City, Lowman, Garden Valley, Horseshoe bend and back down into Boise valley.  The only property I saw worth anything was a 1,100 acre parcel in Placerville but at $5.8 million😳 it was a bit outside of my budget😔 darn!🙄

Day 2 was in the van out to Mountain Home then up to and around the  Anderson Ranch Reservoir for lunch in Pine. A completely different scenery and landscape from the previous days ride!

Day 3 was a ride with an old Air Force coworker Brandon Whallon, it had been almost 30 years since we had seen each other but that didn’t matter much, it was great catching up! Turns out Brandon is a very accomplished desert motocross racer having run the Baja (Mexico)1000, Desert 100 in Odessa Wa.and a few podium finishes in the Starvation Ridge 24 hour relay. We set out for a 250+ mile day starting at the Boise city limits on the actual Oregon wagon trail then out to Prairie, Pine, lunch in Featherville, up and over a mountain to Atlanta and out along the North fork of the Boise River back into town.  Hitting the city limits 13 miles into my reserve was as close as I’d like to call it.  It was a great day with a few challenges riding off-road on the 700. A few of those spots we went through I’d have dropped the 1200 Super Tenere for sure, but the 700 stayed up and made it through.  Thanks Brandon, hope I didn’t slow you down too much from your normal pace of riding😏

Day 4 was a slow day as the heat kept Rob and I in the A/C most of the day only going out for an early evening ride at dusk on one of his favorite loops to Emmett, Horseshoe bend and back. We pulled in just after dark and was able to show him just how  powerful the cyclops lights really are. He really was impressed!

Day 5 was back in the van for what ended up a long 14 hour day on the road. I said good bye to my hosts the night before and got on the road before sunrise. Heading east on US 20 all the way to Idaho falls and being that close to Rigby, the home of Klim, I couldn’t be that close and not go shopping.😏
  After dropping off my suspenders for repair and ordering a new Carlsbad jacket, I was hanging out in the parking lot when a couple started inspecting the T-700 up close. They also noticed the “Ragin Cajuns” sticker on my back window and it turns out the wife played college volleyball in my hometown.. 😳

Come to also find out that Kelsey is the Senior designer of motorcycle gear for KLIM! 😳😳 Let’s just say we had a nice conversation about the consequences of using  mesh in The seat area for their jeans and Dakar pants. 😏 She was very receptive to my inputs! We traded Instagram #’s and I was back on the road heading up through Salmon to camp in the National Forest not far from the Montana side of Lolo Pass 

Day 6 had me heading down from Lolo pass on US 12 early in the morning. Just had to stop at the 99 miles of curves sign😏 I know it’s not as impressive with the bike on the #joehauler 🙄


Pulling into the campground in Worley just off Lake Couer D’Alene I was greeted by a bit cooler weather then down in the Boise area. Sun Meadow RV park served me as a jumping off point to explore for a few days.  It’s also a place you can really relax and get a great tan😏

Wow, day 7 already, I headed out for a loop on the west side of the lake and through St Maries.  I really like St Maries😍. It’s just the right size town and about an hour from the Spokane/Post Falls/ Coure D’Alene area.

Day 8 had me back out on the bike for another loop south of St Maries. I even found what started out as a great dirt road but as it climbed up and over the mountain, the rocky  climbs and then sandy switchbacks were challenging for me. The T-700 stayed up as I motored through the rough spots🙌 I’m learning to trust the bike more and with it weighing  100lbs less then the 1200 Super Tenere, it’s so much easier to handle in difficult terrain.🙌

On my way back to Washington, I saw a request from Kurt Forget of Blackdog Cycleworks looking for T-700 footpegs so he can design his own awesome footpegs. Since I was only about 75 miles away, it was a no brainer to let him use my factory pegs that I had already swapped out with a set from IMS. A quick trip up to Sandpoint to join him for breakfast and chat about his plans.Can’t wait to see what he comes up with!289D3402-D23D-4371-8CE7-FD6E61A2DE0B

Before I go, I need to give a big thank you to real estate agent Tracy Nelson of


She was (and will be)a big help when it comes time to get a piece of land. Thanks Tracy!

Tyson Blood of Fusion Graphix

It’s a small world in Olympia, having found a mechanic for my Subaru back in 2010 at Eddie’s Automotive. “Fast Eddie” Blood was the only person to work on my Subaru Forester for the 150k miles I owned it and building that sort of long term relationship he introduced me to his son Tyson that owns Fusion Graphix.

708B5BFE-56DD-4ADC-8A07-71603F66EB97Tyson started designing his own motocross graphics as a teen and his business grew from that experience . He now has a fully furnished shop that can wrap just about anything…. you name it , he’s done it! 

All of his equipment is state of the art from robotic cutters to his new 4’x8’ printer.
His team was able to put the Yamaha “Speed Block” stripe on my van back in 2018, they did such a good job with the Yamahauler that it was an easy choice for them to do the T-700.

The biggest challenge Tyson faced was not having a template of the T-700 to work from so he had to build his own.  Several hours of work went into getting the body panels sized just right on the computer screen. Now that he has the template done,  he can print ready made kits to sell or you can bring him your ideas of how you’d like your bike to look and Tyson can go full custom. He actually used the stripe from my van to do the one on my bike. Very cool! And if I want to change anything, he’s just a call away to reprint. Nothing but the best in customer service, you just can’t beat that!

Once all the decals were printed and cut, it was a pretty simple application process but I left that part up to Tyson, the pro, thats been at it for almost 20 years now!

I wanted to make sure I added all the companies that make the aftermarket parts or “farkles” that I plan to use as part of the wrap, it looks so much nicer then just adding stickers IMO.  Cyclops Adventure Sports, Camel ADV, Giant Loop, Mosko Moto, Heidenau Tires, Laam Custom Seats , AltRider and Twisted Throttle all were kind enough to give me permission to use their logo as part of the wrap. A big thanks to all those companies!


I have to say it does match my van pretty good, don’t you think?😏


A huge thank you to Tyson and your crew for getting the custom wrap done for the van and now the bike!

Seth Laam Custom Seats


I’m currently in Redding Ca. getting the Tenere 700 seat rebuilt by one of the best guys on the west coast. Seth Laam has worked magic on my 1200 Super Tenere twice,   improving it after my ironbutt in 2013 and then again in 2016 before my 48 state/ 4 corners ride. Seth has been building seats for 21 years now, that’s a long time when you are still a couple years from being 40😏. He worked under Bill Mayer since a teenager before moving out on his own to make a name for himself.  His attention to detail and personal service is clearly evident when you talk with him. (Hint, give him a call!)

He is quite popular among several different brands of bikes, he’s seeing lots of can-am spiders at the moment. I know he’s done a ton of Super Teneres and he has said he’s done thousands of FJR’s. Seth is a 1 man show, from initial contact, interview, seat building and shipping department, it’s only him. Wait times can be a about a month (with shipping time included) if you are mailing in your seat pan BUT riding out to Redding will cut that time down to 2-4 hours. The riding around Redding is also very spectacular, on or off road. This is his first Tenere 700 seat but I’m sure it won’t be his last.😏 Call him to set up a ride in, you won’t be disappointed!

 Within a few hours he was done and I’m very impressed with the craftsmanship! His prices start about $400 depending on what want done, that’s a deal in my book!


Even the 8 month old shop puppy Apollo likes the T-700! 😁

Cyclops Aurora lights with the Camel ADV high fender

Darryl VanNieuwenhuise and his team from Cyclops Adventure Sports have been patiently waiting to get ahold of my bike for weeks now.  You see, they only had a little bit of time working on a T-700 with Cory Hanson from Camel ADV several months ago in the parking lot of a casino in Vegas.  Cory wanted a set of Aurora LED Auxiliary lights installed on his high fender kit  as he torture tested his T-700 in the desert Southwest but that wasn’t nearly enough time for Darryl. This is the result of being fabricated on the fly. Good job!


Darryl had my bike for a week and was able to come up with a prototype mount even before the Acerbis high fenders had arrived. Only a minor adjustment of 1/2 inch inward and upward of the final production bracket for Aurora lights moving them closer to the fender will be made. I think I’ll keep this original  bracket though.

The lights also look great with the stock low fender! E96D8BA2-F282-4EB9-861B-ED92C13B230F
And now, some information about the Aurora Auxiliary lights. They are a fully programmable, adjustable and switchable 4000 lumen LED Auxiliary light set  that only draw a low 19 watts. It’s a complete “plug and play” set up for the Tenere 700.  There are amber daytime running lights, a low beam white setting that is at 50% and high beam white that is at 100%. You’ll need to get with the team at Cyclops to program other settings if you want. 

C65172F2-B9F4-4AB2-9969-663BD9419F2DHere are some night time shots, the light the bike with the Auroras put out is extremely impressive!

The sequence of pictures is: bike lights low beam only, Auroras and bike lights on low beam, Auroras and bike lights on high beam at 3 different distances lighting up 30+ ft tall cypress trees

These lights are mainly for off-road use in the woods, I’ll only use the amber daytime running lights the majority of the time. It’s nice to know I have the capability to throw A LOT  of light in case I need it.

Another set of goodies that Darryl and his team installed is a set of Multi function turn signals.   These act as white daytime marker lights then strobe in amber and move in the direction of the turn when the turn signal is activated. The rear brake lights get a boost also from them  when those are activated in red. I really like the hazard lights that now come standard on the T-700, it’s great peace of mind to have that function. Check out this cool video on how they work!


  There is also a tail tidy still on back order from England through my buddy Erik at Twisted Throttle . Once in, it will clean up the atrocious rear stock fender area and make things look a lot more “tidy”.

The bike will go back to Darryl when it comes in for its install and a check up of the entire system.

I’ve been working with the team at Cyclops for about 6 years now since they had first moved out of their home garage and into a real shop.
Here is a blog I did back in 2014 on the LED conversion kit for the Super Tenere Review of the H-7 LED replacement bulbs


They have put lights on a good number of the Super Teneres in the PNW and I’m very happy now that there will be an plug and play option for the Tenere 700. These things will sell like hot cakes! You also can’t beat the very high level of customer service from an experienced rider in the moto industry! Give Darryl or his lovely wife Sandra a call!


It’s FINALLY here!

8DDC018B-EBC2-43C9-A176-BC5B3EE8CAE7It’s finally here! Ever since this spy photo leaked back in 2016, I knew it was my next bike. BB10D418-A3C0-4A6E-AAD6-70065332D576ADV Pulse article from 2016

Just a mere 4 years later a Yamaha Tenere 700 shows up with my name on the box😏

Without Jeff and his assistant Cassie, at Sportland Yamaha in Cle Elum Wa.  I wouldn’t have a bike, I owe them pretty much everything! A bit of back story on how they were able to secure my bike…

On May 18th Corporate Yamaha decided to change the procedure on how the initial pre-orders would be released. The first few hundred bikes were to go the consumers that could log onto the public website and request a bike at 1200 noon Eastern time Friday May 22nd.  Jeff and Cassie showed up to work more than an hour early (9:00 am pacific is 12:00 eastern) with their typing fingers ready.  The consumer( me) had to go onto a website and request a bike then a reservation number was generated and emailed back to the consumer.


That number was then relayed back to Jeff and Cassie where they logged onto an internal Yamaha website to place an order using the code I  gave them. Sound confused? Yes,we all were! In a matter of 30 minuets  both the public and internal websites had crashed but Jeff and Cassie had secured 7 bikes by then 🙌 AWESOME JOB! Within 3 hours, all pre ordered bikes were spoken for. They went that fast!

Fast forward to the first week of June when I get a text from Jeff with pictures.  😁

This Tenere 700 is the bike I’ve wanted since before the 1200 Super Tenere came along, it would have been my choice after realizing the Kawasaki KLR (even with the 685 big bore kit) I had didn’t have enough power (only about 35-38 horsepower).  This Tenere 700 has about 65 to 74 horsepower depending on how it’s tuned by Nels of 2 Wheeled Dyno works. Read all about the amazing little motor here The CP2 engine   A considerable difference indeed for two bikes with essentially the same weight.

As I pulled into Sportland Yamaha to pick up my bike, the radio was playing this…..
😁 TENERE TAQQIM TOSSAM couldn’t ask for anything better!

Jeff’s  crew were busy putting my bike together from the crate and with aftermarket parts from Cory of Camel ADV products Rerouting the brake lines for the high front fender took a bit longer then planned but it all came together eventually.
Once the bike was ready and the check was written, his crew gave me a rundown on how it went together and I was off on a quick 25 mile ride around the area.

My initial response is it’s an AWESOME bike! I’ll do my best to keep the RPM’s down for the first few hundred miles 😏  It’s about the same weight as that KLR but sooo much more smooth power. It will need a better seat which will be from Seth at Laam seats in Redding Ca in a couple weeks. The handlebars will also need to be adjusted a bit too, I hope there is room in the brake lines for adjustable links. These are basic ergonomic things to fit the bike to me, every rider should make these changes. All in all, it’s a really great bike with the power to weight and will be much better to travel with in or on my van. Allowing me to get deeper into the woods to find those scenic vistas. D3463B16-FB4E-442E-B671-425FF51863E9


Veterans across the USA


The last few months have been interesting to say the least! Because of the global pandemic, my adventures  have been curtailed quite a bit with 3 different rallies being canceled 😔

Let’s start back at Mardi Gras and my departure from Louisiana.  I left moms for Huntsville Alabama, parked the van and hopped on an airplane for Delaware to help an old friend from the Air Force drive a Uhaul back to Alabama. Deanna needed some help and I had the time before the March Moto Madness Rally. It was great helping her get moved. I then went back to Amanda’s(who  I stayed with last fall) in North Carolina to hang out for bit. Hadn’t planned to stay as long as I did but because of the virus lock downs nationwide, that was the safest spot since the MMM Rally ended up being canceled.
I really enjoyed my time with Amanda and her growing flock of chicks😉. Helping her around the house, mowing the yard with her kids, cooking and doing chores made me sort of miss the home life of my past when my girls were younger. Her mom Dawn, an Army Veteran was there most days homeschooling the girls while working remotely. I even showed off my (lack of) handyman skills to build a chicken coop for her “meat birds” she is raising to feed her family.  It wasn’t the most square or plumb structure but it’s sturdy!  I know that I will always have a soft place to land when on the east coast. She, and that fact means a lot to me!


  After 2 months at Amanda’s, the country started to slowly re-open and it was time to make my way west for the PNW.  I reached out to several military veterans from my past and the motorcycle community to plot my way across the USA.  Social media is the way we stay in touch throughout the year and being able to visit is a huge bonus.
First stop was Richard Glockner in Illinois, we had been stationed together in Korea 23 ago. So cool to catch up! Thanks for the prime rib dinner!

Second stop was western Missouri and my old buddy Craig Langley that I was stationed with in Arkansas 30 years ago.  He retired from Whiteman AFB, the home of the B-2 Stealth bomber. He was kind enough to give me a tour of the installation  and tell me a bunch about it’s history as a ballistic missile base during the Cold War. thanks Craig and Stacey for letting me stay.


Third stop was just north of Oklahoma City to see Angela Rella and her daughter Kayla. We hadn’t seen each other since Tech school 30 years ago other than a passing in a hallway once while on TDY.

From OKC, I went up to the Colorado Springs/Denver area  for a week to slow my pace a bit after only doing 1 night stops. Not far from the USAF Academy lives retired MSgt Lee Becker and his wife Bex, they are both very well known in the BMW GS Giant community. Not long after I pulled up to their house, a “rock star” of the GS community pulled up. It was Bettina Nedel from the 2018 US woman’s team of the GS Trophy competition in Mongolia. From there I went hang out with Pete and Kat, Pete is a PNW Tenere member and former Army Medic. We did a nice day loop along the Platt River, then past old mines above Idaho Springs. Then I spent a few days with Tirza Deflinger an Army vet. We did a few more loops with Pete West also an Army Vet and some of their friends out to Estes Park and back. I even met up with a future Tenere 700 owner and ex Air Force Loadmaster Jack Lowery. Colorado is so beautiful! I always look forward to riding there and hanging out with the friends I’ve made.


Leaving Colorado gets harder and harder every year, but I needed to head northwest. I had such a beautiful drive from outside Denver to Salt Lake City to see Rob and Cheryl Oman who I had known from my Air Force days in Washington.


Only 1 night in SLC with the Oman’s then onto Boise to meet with Rob Bayless, the owner of several Yamaha web forums and army vet, to include Tenere700.net


Rob and Tammy hosted me for a couple days, I had hoped to ride the bike around their part of Idaho but bad weather set in for my entire time there.

So from North Carolina to Idaho, that was 7 Air Force, 5 Army veterans that I either met up with for rides or hosted me. The Veteran community is awesome that way! It doesn’t matter how long you can go without seeing one another, it’s like we are never apart. I’m honored to have served with so many great people over the years!