The crazy bloke has done it again! This time on a Tenere 700!
I was invited through Jaxon Fyffe to meetup with Aaron Gragg, the leader of Possum Kingdom Adventure riders which is a good bunch of guys Northwest of Dallas. He had a trip in the works going down to the coast. Not doing the math, I said sure. (It was a 1200ish mile trip over 3 days!😳)
We were joined by Tim Scholtz, Kevin Landis, James Queen, Zach Bagley, and the father and son(two up) team of Lee and Max Chestnut. Aaron agreed to let me park the Yamahauler on his ranch while we were away. More on the ranch later…
Day 1 was right at 500 miles at a very quick pace. We stopped in West, Texas just north of Waco for gas and lunch. West is known for several Czechoslovakian bakeries all serving meat filled rolls called Koliches. YUM! The route was all “Farm to Market” secondary roads. We showed up at the hotel in Winnie, Texas after about 11 hours on the road. I slept hard that night!
Day 2 was along the coast, new roads mostly for me. From Winnie, down to the Gulf Coast skirting the beach to the ferry to Galveston. A short (free) ferry to Galveston island and the touristy town that Galveston is. Then Bay City and seafood lunch in Port Lavaca.
Our hotel for the night was about 100 miles away in the very historic town of Goliad. All Texans are taught of the fort and battles that happens there. A really neat place!
Read more about it here…. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjg05
Enjoy some of the pictures from the sleepy little town.
Day 3 had rain in the forecast all the way back to the ranch… yuck. I chose to take a more direct route that had me going through more rain then the others who normally follow the radar to avoid the clouds. Riding in the northwest for so long, I’m prepared for the wet stuff. Luckily, I only hit about two hours of rain of the 6+ hours on the road. I did meet up with Zack and James outside Seguin, Zack hit a slippery patch of pavement and went sliding across 3 lanes of highway. His handle bars got bent pretty bad and he lost 1/2 his foot peg but only got a little road rash on his forearm. He was lucky! Even with his bike in that condition, he still kept a pace faster then I cared to keep up with. Not wanting to slow him down, he sped off and I was happy to “ride my own ride”
When passing through Cherokee Texas, the smell of wood smoke had me activating my antilock brakes for open pit BBQ. It was South Side BBQ Ohhhh my! Was that tasty! The perfect place to stop and grab a bite after skipping breakfast wanting to beat the weather. I actually beat Aaron back to the ranch by almost an hour.
Aaron had some ranch duties to take care of as soon as he got parked, you see he manages 4000 acres with about 75 head of cattle! He also has “High fence” and “low fence” guided hunts form wild pigs, turkey and deer. He asked if I wanted to ride with him to feed the cattle and if we see any feral hogs, it was open season. We didn’t see any hogs but I did get a great tour of the ranch while we fed the cows.
To book guided Hog, Turkey or Deer hunts contact Aaron a Possum King Hunting Company in Graham Texas. He did say that a 2 day hog hunt has a 90% chance of getting at least one hog.
Once again, this is why I do what I do.. Meeting some great people along the way!
Thanks Aaron and all of the Possum Kingdom adventure riders! I hope I didn’t slow y’all down too much 😉
The link above is a good article about Arai helmets. How they are made and what goes into their high cost. I picked my second XD-4 up at BAMF Moto in Portland. James was able grab one right out of the container from Japan, apparently this color scheme sell out fast. So thanks James🙌
My first Arai XD-4 lasted 5 years and a bit over 50,000 miles. They are the most comfortable helmets I’ve found that fits my large melon head 😏🙄
I spoke with an Arai sales rep at the Dallas IMS show and a new design should be out this year, but I have many thousands of miles to go on this one. Looking forward to seeing what’s new.
I went to the Dallas IMS with two goals, sit on the T-700 again and meet up with my friends from the industry. Both were accomplished! It was so nice to meet up with old and new friends from the motorcycle world.
Just like nearly 10 years ago at the 2011 IMS in Seattle, I was able to sit on “my next motorcycle” 😉 This time I won’t have to wait as long🙌 I was still on active duty then (no beard) and didn’t get my 1200 Super Tenere until 2012 after I retired.
Here are a few more pictures of the T-700
Right across from the Yamaha display was John Bettencourt of Heidenau tires. We’ve been friends since he found out I had a tattoo of a heidenau tire on my leg. ☺️ I even stopped by his warehouse on my 2016 ride. He’s at all the IMS shows so it’s great to catch up.
Then I wandered over the the “Adventure” area they had set up at the show.
It was a little stage set up for presentations from Long Haul Paul Pelland, Paul is trying to ride a million miles while raising funds to help fight his Multiple Scleroses. I picked up one of his 2020 calendars he has for sale to help his journey.
The Backcountry Discovery Route Foundation. It’s their 10th year and they were introducing their 10th route from the Pennsylvania/New York border through New England, up into Maine and stopping at the border of Quebec. Facebook friend Nathen Fant From “For the love of knobs” is an ambassador for the BDR routes. He and his wife did the Southern California route last year. Epic riding!
Rachelle McMullin fromWolfman Luggage and JC Davis from Mosko Moto were also on hand to show off their excellent luggage. I first met both of them back in Denver at Woodys Wheel Works last summer. Rachell was then Woodys PR person and JC helped me flip burgers for Woodys blues festival. I love how the motorcycle world keeps circling back.
After the show Paul and John piled into my van for some great down home bbq at Hickory House BBQ not far from the show. I recommend the pulled pork. We got to just sit an chat about our travels and the current state of the motorcycle industry. A great time hearing about the behind the scenes news.
Here are a few more pics from the show. Not that many big names were there. Honda, BMW and Ducati to name a few were no shows. As the price goes up to be in a show, less big names will continue to drop out, only raising the cost for them even more. Sad…
One last thing is it’s awesome for others to walk up to me and ask if I’m that Tenere guy☺️ Being recognized is a cool feeling. One of the PNW Tenere guys back in Seattle(Dan Mancini) had two of his buddies at the show and they walked up to say hi. Derrick and Bruce ride with Dan a couple times a year, last time was in Utah out where those John Wayne western movies were filmed 😉 Thanks guys for saying hi! I really appreciate it! I LOVE THIS COMMUNITY,
I was reminded recently, its been 10 years when I picked up that KLR “685” off Craigslist. What a decade! So much has happened since!
It all started just before my last USAF deployment to Kyrgyzstan July-December ‘09. I went to see Simon and Lisa Thomas from 2Ride the World before I left to see their presentation about their life on the road, then once I deployed, watching videos of Charlie and Ewan ride their motorcycles around the world sealed the deal. Charlie and Ewan fanned the flames of an entire segment of motorcycle design and style of riding. Adventure motorcycling was unheard in most circles before their Long Way Around and Long Way Around TV series.
My Adventure training started pretty quickly after picking up the KLR when I got back from my deployment , attending the PSSOR Adventure camp Bret Tkacts and his crew did a great job of covering the basics. I even returned a few more times to PSSOR for more training over the years.
That KLR was a great start and took me to some really cool places. Places I couldn’t get to on my Harley, it definitely opened my eyes to what’s possible. After 30,000ish miles on that KLR the lack of power was evident then what I had with the Harley. By that time it was 2011 and was retiring from the Air Force, there was a new bike about to hit the market and this video popped up.
It’s Nick Sanders returning to England after his Incredible Ride doing 3 laps back to back from Argentina to Alaska, pretty much non stop. For a motorcycle to hold up like that without issues was the strongest selling point I could think of. Much better then Charlie and Ewan’s BMW’s for sure 😉 I sat on the Yamaha Super Tenere first at the IMS show in Seattle and knew that was my next bike.
It wasn’t too long after I sold the Harley and KLR to get a 2012 Super Tenere from Jeff at Sportland Yamaha in Cle Elum. From there things really took off when all I asked was to ride with others that had a Super Tenere. It didn’t take long to build the PNWSTOG from the ground up. What a great group of guys, friendships that remain to this day. Oh and the places we have traveled together!
A few years back I was asked by Jeremy from AltRider to lead a 3 day ride through the Cascades as a conclusion to their international distributors meeting. It was a huge honor to show riders from all over the world our neck of the woods.
Going to a Horizons Unlimited meet up (Training clinic from Jimmy and Heather Lewis) and hosting various world travelers really had me calling for the open road. That was evident when the Tenere Across The USA trip started to formulate in my head.
The Tenere Across the USA trip was life changing in many ways, it gave me the self confidence to change my situation and do what I want, on my own terms. It’s a great place to live! These last 10 years really have been amazing! I wouldn’t have thought my life could be this great. I’m also very thankful for all the friends I’ve made this last decade. Y’all have really made a difference! THANK YOU ALL!!
The Tenere 700 made its official debut at the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach Ca. today. The sale price is set at $9,999 with an estimated delivery date of May/June 2020. Pre-orders at the dealer should open in March or April, still not sure if we will get an “early bird” discount but I’m not holding my breath.
This is the motorcycle I got to sit on and start up a couple weeks back when at the HQ in Georgia. It sounds so sweet!
Here is the graphic from the official Yamaha website
From Sportland Yamaha in Cle Elum, I’ll order the solo seat and a center stand then it goes to Tyson Blood at Fusion Graphix in Tumwater Wa. for a wrap, something along these lines or somewhere in between. Yes, it will match the van.
But for now, we wait……
(As the pieces fall into place, I’ll go back and update this post.)
I am really loving this life! Last week, Lise Lussier reached out to me on social media, we are both followers of Far Out Ride where I had replied to them that I was in Louisiana and could suggest things to do as they pass through soon. Lise was also asking me what to do and where to go. My standard list is: Buck and Johnnys Zydeco breakfast every Saturday morning in Breaux Bridge, Champagnes swamp tours on Lake Martin, Tour the Tabasco factory on Avery Island, Vermillionville historic park in Lafayette and sample one of the 5 excellent Boudin shops in Scott and Lafayette Best stop, Don’s specialty meats , Billy’s Boudin , NuNu’s and one of the first to sell Boudin Commercially Johnson’s Boucaniere .For those that don’t know what Boudin is, here is a great short film about it.
Now back to Lise……
Ms Lise Lussier is a retired nurse from the Montreal area that is a part time vanlifer who spends winters “down south” in the states staying active and warm. She took my suggestion to have Zydeco breakfast at Buck and Johnnys for some Saturday morning dancing and a hike around the Lake Martin swamp. On Sunday she met me at Vermillionville for a cochon de lait and tour of the park. It was so nice to spend the day with another traveler with similar goals and aspirations. Vermillionville is also a Harvest Host location so I helped her secure a spot for the night.
During our time walking through the park, I had mentioned all the amazing food we have down here in Cajun country. One of them was Boudin, the other was the Turduckens and de-boned stuffed chicken from Hebert’s specialty meats in Maurice.
At Vermillionville, Lise waited for another Canadian Vanlifer to show up, Nicole Leclerc is a retired 1st mate on Ice breakers in the Saint Laurence seaway most of her life. She and Lise had also met on social media because they both drive vans made by the same up-fitter Safari Condo
The following night for them was at Palmetto Island State Park south of Abbeville. One the way, they stopped at Hebert’s for a stuffed chicken and invited me for dinner! ☺️😁
HOW COULD I SAY NO?!? 😁 It wasn’t a hard decision to head out in the van to the State park, luckily, I was able to get in the next spot over. We cooked the chicken(it was delicious) on the fire pit and later watched an armadillo root around for it’s dinner. Louisiana wildlife at it’s finest 🙄
Breakfast was buckwheat pancakes with my special blend of Black Rifle Coffee in my van. Shortly after, I said my goodbyes leaving them to go and explore Abbeville on bicycles.
I really wish them the best on their travels, it would be really cool if we could meet up down the road in the future or at least hopefully sharing their story of adventure inspire others to do the same. Get out and GEAUX!