Well, I’ve gone and done it! After 3 &1/2 laps around the US, I found a spot that checks off all the boxes for the “ideal” piece of land that’s been bouncing around in my head for the last 5 years. 

1. Great riding (on and off road) near by

2. Warmer more of the year then cold

3. Inexpensive land on a south facing hillside that’s fairly secluded. (don’t see any neighbors, little to no light pollution) 

4. Enough land for a potential main cabin and a few camping spots that can serve as a travelers (motorcycle/vanlife or overlanding) rest area. More on that in a bit….

I had also thought of Idaho, Kentucky, West Virginia and Northern New Mexico but nothing hit the sweet spot like North Arkansas.   I met up with realtor Glen Swafford of Diamond G Realty in Mountain View  to put some feelers out on any 8-15 acre parcels for sale.  It took a couple weeks of back and forth but we finally came to an agreement on this 10 acre patch on Stagecoach Rd, outside the small area known as Oxley just off state highway 66. And the price was just right too! Thanks Glen!

Earlier this month I booked a stay at my friend Sandra’s Air B&B cabin in Mountain View to use as a base camp while I explored the area. I had also flown up with my Aunt and Uncle Kris and Jon Martin  in their private plane a couple times to join them as they looked for property. 

While at Sandra’s cabin, I had put out in a few different  Tenere  groups on social media that I was looking for someone to join me.  DJ Suter from Memphis on his Super Tenere was able to join me for 3 great days of riding. He had been out this way a few times so he knew the general area which was great and we explored many new areas for him too! 

All while this was happening, Ken Doss, a Super Tenere rider from North Little Rock and the Adventure Riders of Arkansas reached out to invite me to a “Camp and Ride” he was planning in the Ozark NF later in the month. I met up with him and what turned out to be more than a dozen riders from all over the state and even a few from Missouri. We set out on a very scenic loop through the forest with several water crossings. Lunch was at the little Catalpa Cafe, WOW! those were huge burgers ! We then returned to the forest roads for another way back to camp stopping for a really cool pic under a waterfall. An epic day for sure, can’t wait to ride again with the Adventure Riders of Arkansas. A huge thanks to Ken for the invite! 🙏

Now back to the property…. For the last 5 years as I’ve traveled, finding hosts to “couch surf” or now “driveway surf” with has been a huge blessing. I want to return that hospitality afforded me with the purchase of this land. The lower 1/3 of the property will be a travelers rest area with camping spaces, water, power hook ups and a small cabin with a bathroom, shower, laundry and kitchen. It will cater to the Adventure Motorcycle, Moto Vanlife and overlanding communities, sorry but there won’t be enough space for travel trailers or Toy hauling motor homes. It also won’t be open to the public but remaining private property, restricting access somehow because I won’t be around all year to maintain it. Keeping it simple and minimal but unique. I also don’t plan to charge admission (but I will take donations to help keep the lights on) The rough timeline is to get a driveway with camping spots, utilities and a pad for the small cabin in before the end of the year. As for a cabin, it will be like these but updated a bit😉 That’s a year or more out though.

When doing the research for the property, I realized that the Trans American Trail passes by just 35 miles south as it crosses over US 65 in Bee Branch, Arkansas. Sam and his community will hear of the property when it’s up and running. I’m looking forward to doing a few sections of the “TAT” myself! 😁

This has all really been a blessing to find such a great place that will work for the plans I’ve had in my head for so long. I’m very thankful for the community that has supported me over the years. Now I hope to give back where I can. A huge thanks to everyone that follows me on my journey!🙏🙌🙏🙌

And one last thing as an FYI, beware of the green slime on the low water bridges that you will traverse if you are in the Arkansas backcountry. 🤭🙄🤣😂

Ride to empty #2 w/Camel Tank (for Texas BBQ)

Yesterday I took off to meet up with Richard in Ragley La. on my way to get some BBQ is Jasper Tx. It was a chilly day, never breaking 60F. Burrrrr

I was able to make it 292 miles(469km) with the 5.5 gallons/20.8 L of regular unleaded 87 octane in the main tank and  #CamelADV Camel tank bolted on.  That’s about 20 more miles then my first attempt a few weeks ago. The differences between attempts were the octane of the fuel and average speed. I kept an average speed of about 55-60 (88-96 kph) keeping the ECO light on as I shifted through the gears.  With both the main and Camel tank full, the gauge will read full for a very long time. Yesterday it went like this. FULL to 140 miles (225km)then approximately every 15-17 miles a bar would go out. At the 228 mile (366km)mark, the last bar started blinking and it blinked for 64 miles (102km) when I ran out of gas. It was an actual 53MPG. I had a 1 gallon roto pax fuel can strapped to the seat to get me to the next gas station, which was only around the corner. As I’ve stated before, YOUR MILAGE WILL VARY! There were only small differences that got me 20 more miles but I’m glad I have the Camel tank so thanks Cory Hanson for another well thought out product from Camel ADV🙌

Oh and I almost forgot, I rolled 9000 miles (14,440 km) as I crossed back into Louisiana on my way back from lunch. Not bad since pulling it out of the crate in June. 😁

Camel tank Part 2 Your mileage WILL vary!

The plan for the experiment was to run to empty….for meat pies😋. I started the day with 4.2 gallons in the main tank and 1.3 in the Camel ADV Camel Tank for  5.5 total gallons. An extra rotopax with 1 gallon was packed for when I ran out of gas on the side of the road. My goal is to hopefully reach 300 miles on the main and Camel tank combined.  That was the plan, and as with most experiments that’s not exactly how the day turned out… it’s called science! 🤓

I met up with my cousin David and his lifelong friend Wayne who are both long distance Harley riders for a day loop up to Natchitoches Louisiana for their famed meat pies. Because finding out how far I can go on a tank just to eat is the perfect idea for ride! 

With the Camel tank installed, Cory at CamelADV did say that I’d show full for a long time as the fuel feeds from both tanks simultaneously. Well, it wasn’t until the 130 mile mark that the first of 6 bars went out on my dash.  Our route had been planned to take backroads all the way and to stay off the freeway but that didn’t happen. We had gotten on the road a few minutes later then planned so we needed to make up some time to meet up with LtCol Christopher Ritter in Natchitoches. Chris has ridden down from Ruston on his FULLY farkled T-700, complete with a Camel ADV wrap! 

Natchitoches was at the 177 mile mark and you’ll notice I’m down 3 bars on my gauge, Most likely from the 50 miles of  freeway riding in a headwind at 75-80MPH 

After lunch of meat pies and seafood gumbo we said good bye to Chris and headed back south on a mostly different route.  Thanks Chris for meeting us! 

The reserve light started blinking at the 211 mile mark and pleased to know that I can get 60 more miles on the tank before it starts to sputter. So many riders don’t know how far they can go on reserve, this is the way to actually find out! Some may call it extreme, but now I know! So, 273.3 miles on 5.5 gallons is a 49.7 MPG. While not terrible, I sure was hoping to hit 300. I quickly added the 1 gallon from the rotopax and found a gas station about 7 or 8 miles down the road and sure enough, it took 3.2 gallons. 

We made it back after dark for a total of 351 miles for the day.  Thanks David, Wayne and Chris for a fun day! 

Final thoughts….

After posting my results on social media, it was suggested by Longhaul Paul Pelland that I try using regular unleaded fuel to see if that makes a difference. He is getting about 45 MPG with regular 87 octane (on 6 gallons of fuel) then what I got on super 92 and he’s running much faster speeds(80MPH average) over the 25,000 miles now on his loaded T-700! So YOUR MILEAGE WILL VARY! All this adds up to GET OUT AND LEARN YOUR BIKE!

CamelADV Camel Tank (Pt1)

Check out Cory’s videos on the story of the 1.3 Gallon/ 5 Liter Camel tank for the Tenere 700 and it’s install.

With these instructions, I headed over to Monty’s garage where Whitney joined us to mount the Camel tank. Rolling up with 2 lbs of Billy’s Smoked boudin and a 6 pack of beer didn’t hurt either.😉 I got to work removing the R&G tail tidy that got taco’d( most likely from the taller 140/80/17 Heidenau Scout tire I’m running) while riding off-road and turn signals from Cyclops Adventure Sports.
I highly recommend using the Camel ADV tail tidy, it’s made for the Camel tank and keeps the license plate farther away from the tire. 

Monty and Whitney watched the install video and got to work soon thereafter.

The tank goes on really easily, it took me longer to get the tail tidy wired and on then it took Monty and Whitney to get the Camel tank mounted and plumbed. That goes to the simple design of Cory’s tank.  

While I was still fighting with the tail tidy swap, they also installed the R&G case cover from Twisted Throttle that protects the water pump. It was a pretty straight forward install also.

With the weather not the best this weekend and holidays next week, I’ll be postponing the long distance test ride. Expect another blog post when that’s done. It will either be a 300+ day up to North Louisiana and back or an IBA “Saddle Sore” 1000 “iron butt ride” Not quite sure yet, but it will be an adventure! Everyone have a Merry Christmas!
A huge thank you to Monty Chustz and Whitney Granger! That would have been a much longer install (with cussing and yelling, if not a few bloody knuckles) without the well equipped shop and tools. Monty, you have the shop I’d like to have one day! We will have to get out again soon for another ride like the last one. Hopefully with less mud! 😉

Another successful loop done!

Feeling really thankful today 🙏🙌🙏for another great lap around the US! What a great year it’s been, meeting up with new and old friends! Dragon’s last ride, a loop around Idaho, Glacier NP, Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail , sections of the Kentucky Adventure Tour, Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route and even hiking a bit in Appalachia with Amanda. I’ve put about 25,000 miles on the van this year and 8,000 miles on the T-700 since unpacking it out of the crate in June. What a beautiful country! Get out and make your own adventure!

Virginia sections of the MABDR

I spent the last couple days riding 500+ miles across Virginia from the Tennessee border to the West Virginia state line. The route I mostly followed was the Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route ( <— click on the link for more info) It’s a mix of off-road sections and rural backcountry twisty pavement from the Damascus Virginia on the Tennessee line all the way up to the Pennsylvania/New York border. I say “mostly” because I only had a couple days to do legnth of Virginia so I skipped a few of the dirt sections that really slow down your pace and traveling alone in the back country isn’t what I normally do too. I covered 2.5 sections in 2 days doing day loops making my way back to the van “hopefully”(but not always)by dark. Thanks to Cyclopes Adventure Sports , I’m totally covered at night!

Joining me was a BDR ambassador (all be it, the flat version) Nathan Fant from the You Tube channel For the love of Knobs. I picked up “Flat Nathan” when staying at Nathan and Kris’s house earlier this year.

I was camped “down by the river” in Eggelston Va. right on the New River right across from a very active train tunnel. Luckily my van has pretty good sound deadening properties so it didn’t bother me that much. If tenting it, a good set of earplugs will come in handy. But, I will say the bathrooms were clean and showers were hot. Woke up to a couple chilly mornings, I waited until after 9 and it was above 40f to start my day.

Day 1 was from Eggelston south to Damascus , right on the Tennessee line. It was a 230 mile day by the time I got back to the van just before sunset.

Day 2 was more of the same😉….. beautiful single lane twisty pavement, nice gravel roads, scenic vistas, small towns, green hills with old family farms and even a few hot springs. It was a 300 mile day, having rolled past the 8000 mile mark on the bike as I was heading back from the West Virginia state line🙌 Man, I love this bike!

I ran into Russ Glass on and Africa Twin and Brian Chudzik on a VersysX, both fully kitted out with luggage from Mosko Moto. They were doing the Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland sections of the BDR but at a different pace. Having rented a U-Haul from Pennsylvania to Damascus then taking every dirt and gravel road the BDR Route has to offer, they tent camped along the trail. They had completed the Pennsylvania sections on previous adventures, so they were only going to the Maryland/Pennsylvania line before getting back on the pavement. That’s what’s great about all of the BDR’s, you can do as little or much as you want depending on time, budget and skill level. The non profit BDR Foundation does a great job of putting you on the roads less traveled!

All this adds up to GET UP, GET OUT AND GEAUX! Make your own adventure!

Back Roads of Appalachia/ Kentucky Adventure Tour

First off, this is my 101st post of the blog🙌 🥳 🙌 I wouldn’t have ever thought that back in 2016 I’d have this life or this much to show and say. THANK YOU to all that follow me!

Since leaving Ohio more than a week ago, I was hoping to explore Kentucky’s backroads, well I wasn’t disappointed. 😁🙌 Using more “Bunk A Biker“ stays outside Marrowbone Ky., Alpine Tn. and Lynch Ky. I was able to see quite a bit, meet up with old friends and make new ones! Thanks David Memmler, David Hunley and Erik Hubbard for hosting me!🙏🙌

Click on the pic to see my actual map

This was my route through Appalachia, it started with a Harvest Host stay at the 12 Mile winery in California, Kentucky after crossing the Ohio River by ferry. What a cool experience.

I had been telling myself to do the “bourbon trail” when in Kentucky so on my way south, I stopped at 3 different distilleries ( Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve and Makers Mark) before realizing that all sour mash smells the same… 3 was plenty!

I hung out with David #1 (Memmler) a disabled Vet and rider that just moved out to quiet Kentucky from the hustle and bustle of Sacramento. While there, I did a few nice loops around Marrowbone. Thank you David!

While at David’s, Aaron, a Super Tenere rider from north Texas, reached out to say he was heading out to Kentucky to tour some Civil War battlefields and wanted to know if we could meet up! Couldn’t pass that up! We had ridden together earlier this year from his ranch in Texas down to the Gulf coast beach and back.
Here is the blog post from that wild ride!