West Instead of North and Motorcycle Maintenance

I’m packing up my stuff in Montrose Colorado. I pulled into this town 2 days ago after leaving Eleven Mile State Park. I needed to make a pit stop to have my front tire changed and my rear brakes checked.

I realized the day before that my back brake had turned into butter at some point. This is a bad thing. My front tire was also in need of replacement. It probably should have been changed before I left. Lesson learned. I’m just guessing at pretty much everything.

I spent the first night in my hotel room relaxing and writing. There really wasn’t anything special to the night. When I woke up in the morning I could hear the rain outside. While I hadn’t expected to spend two nights in Montrose I suspected that this would be the plan for the day. I took my bike down to a bike shop down the street. I also need to find a sporting goods store to buy some long johns and a better sleeping bag.

I bought the bag I have in Afghanistan a few years ago at a British PX (military store). It was rather light and super compact. Both things that would be beneficial in Afghanistan. While I do really like how compact it is I’ve found that it’s just not warm enough for what I’m doing.

Colorado has been so beautiful that I don’t want to leave. My original route had me going north from Montrose deeper into Colorado and headed towards Yellowstone. However, I feel like the weather could change in The Rockies very quickly. If I got caught up in a blizzard it could be the end of my trip or a very cold way to die.

So I’m going west by south west. I’ve lived in Arizona and I’ve been to California a 100 times, so I’m not as excited about this as my previous plan. I’m going to go through northern Arizona and Nevada. I’ve never spent much time in those areas. I might even swing by the Grand Canyon.

I have some friends in California and I think that might be fun to have around when I dip my feet in the Pacific. After L.A. I’m going to take the Coastal Highway up the state and to the border.

The desert will also be cold but I think I won’t have to worry about rain for the remainder of the trip. I can be cold but I cannot be wet and cold on my motorcycle.

Time to go find the sun. It’s out there somewhere.

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2 responses to “West Instead of North and Motorcycle Maintenance

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. I’m hoping to do some extended trips with my 1982 yamaha XJ 650. I am curious to see/hear more about your storage methods (ie. saddle bags, etc.). I’m trying to figure out how to fit gear onto my bike as efficiently as possible. Any tips would be much appreciated.



    • Hi Dan,
      The most important piece of hardware that I put on the bike was this. I had to do a lot of searching to find a model specific luggage rack to attach that box to the back of my bike. I got lucky and find the bar adapters that I needed on Ebay as well. This particular box has a seat back with curved edges for a passenger. This allowed me to secure my 90 liter hiking backpack directly behind me like a passenger. I wrapped bungee cords around the bag and secured them to the luggage rack. I put my laptop bag filled with my electronics on the luggage rack itself. The top box on the motorcycle contained all of my tools and items that I wanted to secure as it had a lock. Having a locked box on the bike came in very handy as it allowed me to feel a little better if I needed to walk away from the bike without offloading it.

      I went to my local Cycle Gear shop and bought the biggest set of saddle bags that they had. They were near comical, but they had removable inner bags that I could use like pieces of luggage on their own. This allowed me to offload the bike very quickly and protect the contents from the elements.

      I used a fairly standard tank bag but be warned the bag scratched the hell out of my tank’s paint job. I had to give up caring after about a week. The paint was ruined.

      Using spare bungee cords I was able to fasten my tent and sleeping bag to the saddlebags.

      There are a ton of pictures of my load out on the site as well. Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy the ride man. I know I’ve never felt so free.

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