Making lemonade from this summer’s lemons 🥴

Sorry it’s been a bit since my last post, lots of stuff to catch up on…. 

My last post was in November of last year after getting to moms in South Louisiana for the holidays. The property in Arkansas got started with the driveway and pad cleared but the winter rains (and some snow) moved in holding up the progress until this coming week! (1st week of August)

My daughter and her husband flew in for Mardi Gras, a first for Logan and about 17 or 18 years for Madison. And yes, crawfish was on the menu!

In March I met up with DJ and his wife Sandy in central Tennessee for an ADV meetup/ camp out with the “Let’s Take a Ride” group. It was a fun weekend of camping and riding the backroads of that part of Tennessee. They are an excellent gang with a lot of time put in to designing the routes. DJ and I are planning to hit their fall meet up in October.

After that great weekend, I got back out to Arkansas to camp and work on the property while getting in as much riding as possible.  It was great meeting up with new buddies Armondo (JoJo) Brad, David, Ken, Michael and Tom for a few “ride to eat” days. Thanks for making me feel so welcomed! Exploring with a few native Arkansans sure is fun! JoJo even let me keep the T-7 and a few power tools in his garage for the summer. 🙏🙏🙌

As it was starting to warm up, I was getting ready to head back up to the PNW is when the “fun” really began. Elsa had flown into Dallas and was going to ride with me back up to Washington in a quicker then normal 5-7 days on the road. We didn’t even make it out of Arkansas. 🤨 On the way up to the property driving in from Dallas, a 16 year old in grandma’s sedan played kamikaze into the front passenger wheel. No injuries to all involved but the Yamahauler faired much better then his Toyota, that’s for sure. Thats what $11,000+ of damage looks like. 🙄😡

My “Arkansas network “ really stepped in to help us out. Sandra came up the next day to get us to my aunt and uncle, Kris and Jon’s spare car they keep at a local airport and use of their Air B&B the MarFly Cabin on the very scenic White River.  Old boss Dave and his wife Lori offered space in the garage for the gear that got pulled out of the van while its in the shop plus a spare room (and pool!) for a few days while we got the insurance work set up and planned to get Elsa back to work up in Washington.  We are both VERY GRATEFUL for the friends and family that helped smooth out that tumultuous time. 🙌🙏

Insurance got us back to Washington so Elsa could get to work and I could take care of some dental work (1 root canal and 2 crowns 🥴) medical appointments and even jury duty! 🙄   See, these lemons are adding up…

It was good to be back on my Super Tenere after Kyle had taken such great care of it all winter. Thanks for the coffee! 😉 Then……. At the 92,500 mile mark, “something” happened in the transmission that would require an entire deconstruction of the motor and gearbox .  That, not being in my budget, I’ve decided to sell it to a mechanic as a project bike for a fair price. I did request that if he ever gets rid of it, I’ll likely buy it back if given the opportunity. The 2012 Super Tenere has been an amazing bike that built and shaped who I am . 😔MORE LEMONS! 

Soooo Now, this week (or next) the van should be done at Cowboy Collision in Heber Springs and Patrick should be done on the dozer spreading more than a dozen  dump truck loads of gravel on my driveway and pad. With it being 90f – 100f across most of Arkansas until September, I’ve decided to hold off my return for after the Labor Day weekend.  What is helping occupy my time while waiting is I do have access to Elsas cabin on a private campground in the foothills of the Cascades with a 7-acre spring fed lake.  It gets up to about 75f on only the hottest days for first few inches, then much colder the deeper you go.  Hiking trails and a waterfall are also on the property. So if y’all need me, I’ll be sipping lemonade here on the dock for the rest of the summer. 😉

Weekend at the TAT Shak with the Adventure Riders of Arkansas

I was able to spend a great few days in the Ozark National Forest as I headed south for the winter. Pete Petrick, owner of the “TAT Shak” in Booger Hollow, Arkansas yes, I spelled that right 😉 , was gracious enough to let me park the Yamahauler there as I spent several days riding day loops. He even joined me one day to show me some great roads! Pete is also a veteran, Super Tenere and Ford Transit camper van owner, What’s not to like!

The “TAT” stands for the Trans America Trail, a coast to coast mostly dirt and small roads route from North Carolina to Oregon. It passes by Pete’s mailbox and with an unused 40+ year old single wide mobile home in the front yard, he thought it would be a good thing to host travelers as they made their way across the USA. What a great idea! It offers basic but comfortable accommodations like a hot shower and possibly a beer in the fridge. It’s hosted travelers from around the world and most that do the TAT plan on a night there.

It’s all free of charge but he does accept donations, he said it helps keep the lights on. Through his generosity for a safe haven, the travelers do help out.

The next day Pete took me on a few of his favorites but went “easy”on his “big bike” a 2012 Super Tenere with 1/2 bald tires. He is a hare scramble rider that enjoys the technical single track, the harder the better. I said that’s not my style of riding so easy roads it would be. Riding in the deep woods as the leaves started to change was beautiful. Thanks Pete for taking it easy on me!

Up next was meeting the Adventure Riders of Arkansas the following morning in Dover Arkansas. I think about 12-15 made the ride. I had met many of the riders earlier in March on a campout they hosted not far from the TAT shak. That was a great weekend! click on this link to read more about it. More great roads, scenery and adventures from the group. I will really enjoy riding with that bunch! One of the ARA riders, Armando Nelson is an Army veteran that was actually stationed with me at Little Rock AFB in the early 90’s, we didn’t know each other back then but have made fast friends since. a small world for sure.

My last riding day out that way was just me on the bike “seeing where that road goes” A nice loop to take pics of the fall colors. Found some good spots!

I told Pete to expect my return in the spring, and I hope to not show up alone! Either doing the Trans America Trail or not, the TAT Shak is a great place to stay!

Home for the winter

It was about a month overdue for my departure from Washington (for good reason) but I finally hit the road on the 10th of October after the last few medical appointments. Said goodbye and thanks to Elsa for caring for me after surgery then had coffee with my girls on my way south east to Oregon. Hit a bit of snow at Chinook Pass in Washington and at Tollgate in the Umatilla Wilderness of Oregon, escaped it just in time! Stayed with PNW Tenere member Liz in Joseph, Oregon and she showed me around her favorite spots in the Hells Canyon area. Liz is the widow of Fred Bebisheimer, who was a super nice guy that will be missed.

Then it was off on my longest stretch to Roosevelt Utah for a quick overnight to see Aaron and Kate with their baby in their skoolie bus laceyadventuresofficial. The next day was more light snow as I made my way across northern Colorado through Craig, Steamboat Springs but hit a dumping of the white stuff at Jackrabbit pass. The Yamahauler did great on the packed snow and ice! Staying with Pete, Lisa and Brady of MeerkatADV then Pete and Kat outside Denver to get to the grand opening of the Revzilla store a couple days later.

A few months back I saw on line where” Gearchic ” Joanne Donn was looking for help to run the soon to be opening Denver location, so I sent the notice to friend and former host Tana Todd. Well, now friends Tana, Brady and Pete all now work for Joanne! The power of social media! It was nice catching up with Joanne since our last visit many years ago meeting her and the boss at the RevZilla HQ in Philly.

Colorado was quickly in my rear view to a spectacular sunrise around the Kansas border on the way through to Oklahoma for a night with Angie then on to Arkansas to my Aunt and uncles Air B&B ” Marfly retreat ” on the White River in Mount Olive. It was time to get the bike out the back and go RIDE! My first time since the surgery felt sooooo good!

On the way south to moms from the river, I stopped by my property to walk it with the InReach so I could accurately get reference points of the boundary markers. I also marked where the travelers “Stage Stop” cabin will be. It’s going to be great once the driveway is in and I can get the van up there.

Stopping in the greater Little Rock area, I went to visit veteran friends Sandra and then Dave and Lori. They each let me park the Yamahauler in the driveway, it’s always great to catch with old friends.

The last stop in Arkansas was my good buddy Jesse and his wife Kelly south of Hope. It was harvest time and his family was making sorghum molasses the old fashioned way, on 100+ year old farm equipment. What a treat to see something that isn’t done much anymore. The neighbors were lined up with cash in hand for a jar of the sweet stuff!

I’m now safely at moms in my boyhood home. I have a few little excursions planned between now and Mardi Gras(1st of March) but nothing too grand. Thanks to all that follow my journey and let me driveway surf across the USA!

IT’S NOT A TUMOR! (and a few other updates)

I don’t post personal stuff that often so here is one not about adventure on two wheels but the back story on why its almost October and I’m not back on the road yet.
I had a medical close call that was drawn out over most of this summer. When I was down in the desert Southwest earlier this spring, I noticed a little lump on the outside of my jaw , about the size of a jellybean. When my yearly check up came along in early June, the referral went through to the Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist where they did a biopsy and came back with a “likely cancer” diagnosis and “we need to get it out sooner then later”🥴. I offered the surgeon my pocket knife to get it out right then and there 🤭 but he wisely suggested we do it the following week in an operating room the right way….. whatever 🙄😉 Surgery was supppsed to be about 3 hours but ended up being 5 due to some suspecious looking lymph nodes under my jaw (which were removed too) I was eating bacon and eggs for breakfast in the hospital room the next morning asking when I can go home, so feeling pretty good. The only thing that really slowed me down was the “leash” of a drain tube that was only supposed to be in 3 days but stayed in 14!

After a full dissection and review by the pathology lab, it was determined NOT to be a tumor! 🙌🙏🙌🙏 The cyst needed to come out so the operation had to happen one way or the other. The scar would have been the same either way, luckily I can hide most of it in my beard. Currently about 4 weeks post op and still just enough swelling not to get a helmet on, at this pace it will be thanksgiving before I’m riding again🥴

I want to send out a huge thank you to Elsa for letting me recover from surgery at her house in Arlington and the cabin on Lake Bronson. Also for the funky brownies🤭😉 that kept me sedated and just stupid enough not to pull out my drain tube for those two weeks! Wouldn’t have made it through without your caring and support❤️ THANK YOU!

A few other things happened this year that are worthy of mention….. I’m down about 50 lbs after switching to a Keto’ish /low carb/clean eating diet. The food in South Louisiana around the holidays is always hard to avoid and the last few years have been rough. I made up my mind that I needed a change and just did it. The transition took 6-7 months so it was the slow and steady approach that worked for me.

Its actually been pretty easy going with just diet modification. I started cutting out 95%-98% the bread and gluten, then alcohol and starches like rice and potatoes. High fructose corn syrup and just about all other forms of sugar went too. I do put a teaspoon of honey and tablespoon of 1/2&1/2 in my morning coffee though. Another big piece was the processed oils and fast/fried food. Keeping it clean with whole, real food without all the additives and preservatives really makes a difference!

All this weight loss had a side effect of needing new gear🥴🙄 that actually fit me. My pants size dropped from a 38 to a very comfortable 34. New smaller Klīm K-51 riding jeans and a Klīm Carlsbad jacket from Revzilla were the first to be replaced as they will get used the most . The old jacket went to another T-7 owner in the PNW while the fat pants and several moto jearseys went to Heidi at Cruise in Consignment in Vancouver Washington. She’s a great lady that does good things within and for the riding community, worth a stop when in Vancouver. She has a cool patch making machine too!

I’ll finally be back on the road here in a couple weeks after my last 2 medical appointments🙌 Can’t wait!

Heading SE stopping in Denver to attend the grand opening of the new RevZilla store there where a few of my Colorado friends Brady and Tana will be working. Then its off to Arkansas to book the bulldozer guy for the driveway and parking pads on the property. Can’t get my van to the property without a good road back there.

Thanks to everyone that reached out through social media and text wishing me well for a quick recovery, staying positive throughout this entire ordeal really made a big difference!
One last thing….. if you feel a lump where one isn’t supposed to be GEAUX GET IT CHECKED OUT!

Clutch plates sticking?

Over the last little while, when starting my ride, there would be a rubbing/friction type sound for the first few feet of travel. Nothing major, but it did get a little annoying. Asking around to several knowledgeable contacts, they all said it was likely the clutch plates sticking until the oil pressure builds up inside the motor. When it went over to Kyle Plancich for its 3rd oil change at 15,000 miles, I told him of the issue. He wanted to find out for himself so he removed the cover and found a few of the inner clutch plates stuck together and as he called it “Atacama Desert dry”.😲😬
All the plates were removed, cleaned and soaked in an oil bath overnight. Putting it all back together and a test ride confirmed no more issues.
I have talked with Yamaha and other qualified technicians and they all say that is the correct corse of action to take. Because the clutch plates are a wear item, they aren’t covered by the warranty so I’ll want to get the maximum life out of them as I can. Thanks to all that passed along input for this seemingly minor issue. So if your T-7 starts off a little cranky😑 this is something that’s easily checked and corrected.

Thanks Kyle for digging into the motor to figure it all out!

Happy Birthday Tenere 700!

Happy 1 year birthday to the T-700! 13,500 miles across at least 15 states from coast to coast. It has been a great year!

Someone from a social media post suggested I list 10 things about this past year that were most memorable or my tips about the bike for the road, so here goes.

1 Seth Laam custom Seats

Watching a craftsman at work is always a treat. Seth started building seats as a teenager as an apprentice and now has almost more work then he can manage all by himself , mostly from word of mouth and social media. Which to me is a true measure of the quality of his work. Let’s keep him busy!

2 Cyclops Adventure Sports Aurora lights and turn signals

Darryl and Sandra VanNieuwenhuise of Cyclops lights in Kent Wa. are known across the industry for some of the best customer service in the business. Their lights are top notch, and when they aren’t, they want to make it right. I’ve had their lights in my bikes for almost a decade now. Super friendly and very approachable if you see them out at the rallies. You can’t go wrong with Cyclops!

3 Camel ADV Anti bobble head,Gut guard, Camel Toe sidestand, Camel Tank and High fender kit. After 20+ miles of a washboard road recently in Utah, my entire instrument cluster, headlights and windscreen would have shaken off without Cory’s ingenious design to reinforce the entire front end of the bike. I was also lucky enough to receive one of the first 1.3 gallon/ 5 Liter Camel Tank that was made for the T-7. After testing it twice by running it to empty(read the blog posts here and here ) I now can trust my range to 275 miles knowing I have a few miles to spare. Thank you Cory Hanson!

4 Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail
Last fall I completed the “T.W.A.T” with the help and support of many within the riding community, and several were even able to join me! Chad Barger designed the route across Wisconsin more than a decade ago and still provides the routes. He was kind enough to host me in his driveway while he and a few of his buddies showed me his favorite section. I also used Bunk a biker to find driveways to park in while I day looped each section from north to south. What is normally a 600 mile route took me more than 1200 miles…. and I enjoyed every single one! I want to thank everyone that helped me on my way🙌🙏

5 Dragon Slayer 160/ Backroads of Appalachia
The little town of Lynch Kentucky is struggling like many in the area with a shut down coal mine on their main street. However tough times are, there is a great community that is coming together to promote the glorious riding both on and off-road. The “Dragon Slayer is a 20ish mile section of super twisty pavement that goes all the way into Appalachia Virginia. It’s run by a non profit that’s staffed a group of great ladies. If you are anywhere near South East Kentucky, go see what they are all about and if you can hit it when the trees are turning, even better!

6 Arkansas
I rediscovered Arkansas this winter after being stationed there 27 years ago. Totally blown away with the great riding both on and off road. The land is pretty inexpensive too, I was able to purchase 10 acres of land that will be used as a travelers rest area, campground for overlanders and ADV riders on the Trans American Trail that’s not too far away. Access will only be through me until I can get it up and running, more to follow on that so stay tuned! Just watch out for the green slime on the low water bridges! 😯🤭

7 Jay Masterson
If you travel enough, you will find others that share your passion, Jay is one of those special people. If you are ever down near Big Bend National Park in Terlingua Texas, you should look him up. He’ll likely join you for a ride or at least a good meal. You can follow him here at Super bee ADV Tell him hi for me when you do!

8 Steve Loster
Steve and Patty Loster have been kind enough to host me a few times as I cross the country over the last several years. Steve is a PNW native that searched for warmer weather in sunny Tucson, he’s also a master level motorcycle mechanic and service manager at Arizona Kawasaki KTM and Triumph . He’s now helped keep both my bikes running as I’m on the road. A huge thank you to Steve and Patty also for the Keto diet tips! Y’all have stepped up my eating habits.

9 South Eastern Utah.
I don’t have much to say about that part of Utah other then it’s extremely beautiful and you need to set aside several weeks to ride it all! Go ride SE Utah!

10 Twisted Throttle, Denali Electronics
The great folks at Twisted Throttle were kind enough to let me try out a set Denali Electronics D7 4.5” multi LED lights and B6 brake light. I am really impressed at the amount of light these things put out! WOW! The B-6 brake light is even brighter then my OEM tail light! Thank you Erik and your crew!

2 Wheeled Dynoworks

In the last week or so, I’ve made 2 trips out to Kirkland Wa. to see the guys at 2 Wheeled Dynoworks . The 1200 Super Tenere had a stock muffler put back on and members in the PNW Tenere group advised it get re-tuned. While there, I found out they were running a sale on all their flashes so I returned with the T-700 to get it flashed.

The PNW Tenere group go way back with 2WDW, all the way back to 2015 when Nels showed up with his Dyno trailer at our tech day one rainy November morning on the Olympic Peninsula. He flashed and/or dyno’d over a dozen bikes that day. Check out that blog post here. It was a great day!

Pulling up to the shop yesterday I was ready to get the bike offloaded from the Joe Hauler but the “Grand flash master”😉 Nate said that wasn’t necessary and he could reflash the bike where it was… SCORE! All it took was a plug connection under the rear fender to a laptop and 5 minutes later, all done! That simple…

To say they have been busy is an understatement, even pertaining to just the Yamaha Tenere 1200 and 700. Nels and Nate say they are doing dozens of 1200’s a month while the same number of T-700’s a week! Wow! The guys use social media quite a bit to get their word out, especially over at Tenere
I mentioned they are running a sale this month (June 2021) for the flashes so send in your ECU for a quick turn around to get a little more power, smoother throttle response and you’ll run a bit cooler too. All around great guys that run an excellent full service motorcycle shop for all your performance needs! Make sure you tell them hi for me!

US 191 from Douglas Az. to Bozeman Mt with a few side loops

Douglas to Bozeman

Douglas Arizona is where this post starts, this was after riding around the area with friends Steve and Mark for more than a week. ( see my earlier blog post ) US 191 starts at the historic US 80 and parts of it was once numbered 666 but it was changed years ago, read more about that here . The first loop off of US 191 was the National Black Hills back Country Biway, a rocky and twisty gravel road with huge views.

The biway ends just before the town of Clifton and the Morenci mine then heads up to Alpine for 100 miles of some of the best motorcycle pavement in the US. ( but watch out for the livestock in the road)

North of Alpine the scenery drastically changes to very flat and straight but as you approach the Utah border, rock formations start appearing as you get into the “Monument valley” area. Or put another way “Where Forest Gump stopped Running” ( that’s not actually US 191 in the movie but only a few miles west on US 163)

I pulled into Bluff Utah for a night just so I could go ride the Moki Dugway and see the “Mexican Hat” again, Having done it on the 1200 Super Tenere in 2018, I wanted to revisit it on the T-7.