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Saturday, 14 September 2013

What's the Next Adventure and What Worked and What Didn't.

We've been home for almost two weeks now, and it's back to family life and work. It's time to wake up from my dream of being a two-wheeled nomad living day to day, traveling the globe with no responsibility. This week I took a step back and forgot about the trip for a few days. Not forgot about it, but never put any energy into looking at video or writing anything.

One question I'm getting a lot is....."where is the next adventure?" As simple as the question is, the answer is a little more complicated. One....time off, which is followed closely by, how much time am I willing to be away from my family. The TLH was a bucket list item, so the two week kitchen pass was special. To be honest, at my stage in life with two smallish kids, 9 and 12, a week away is enough right now.

Another big obstacle is the budget, or lack of one in my case. Pete wants to go to Iceland, which is definitely out of my budget, unless Icelandair donates flights, and a mototour company donates bikes, and well you get it....totally fund the trip. I don't have that much faith in the Bigland Adventure creating that much of a buzz, but who the hell knows. Dare to dream right.

So without the devine intervention of money growing on the tree in my backyard, or sponsorship flowing in, I'm thinking of a week long trip to Quebec. Not the typical Montreal or Quebec City, but rural northern Quebec.

La Belle Province is an interesting place, an oddity in North America, and I mean that in a good way. It's like visiting a foreign country within your own country. It's like going to a European country without the jet lag. I think a tour around this part of Canada would make for a good little web series. Plus with a little coordination we could hook up with our buddy Oliver again.

Who knows, we have a long winter to plan. Plus maybe Zak at CMG can come up with a mission for us.
Quebec Labrador border

What Worked, What Didn't

As you saw in the previous post, Pete told you what worked and what didn't for him, so it's my turn. 
I already spoke about the Olympia X-Moto suits, ya they are a sponsor, but they worked, and worked well, in everything from 25C and sun, to -2C frosty mornings, to cold rain and wind. You couldn't have asked for a better trip to test riding gear. 
Two thumbs up for Olympia

The Suzuki Vstrom 1000. Well other than my little clutch issue, the bike was awesome. Honestly, if I knew that the clutch master slave cylinder was a common issue, I would have had it cleaned and looked at before I left.  Every trip needs a little drama, and the bear spray had worn off at this point.

The Metzler Tourances I had on the bike, worked well. I took a gamble on them, because I knew they would not be ideal in muddy conditions, but we managed to avoid that. On the dry gravel they were just fine, I only had a couple of heart in the mouth, oh shit moments, and that was on loose gravel.

I can't say enough about the Sena comms. These were awesome, and allowed Pete and I to talk to each other all day. Range was a bit of an issue in a hilly terrain, as it's line of sight, so they would be less effective if we had some distance between us. Other than that they are great, easy to use, the battery would last a whole day of riding. Seven hours of talking.

My skidplate was a must. I heard rocks hitting that multiple times. With the oil cooler, filter, and bottom of the engine only protected by a small plastic fairing, it would have been totally exposed to the barrage of rocks kicked up by the front tire for 700kms.

The Strom is not ideally suited for standing on the pegs riding, I need another inch rise on the bars, and some wider more dirt oriented pegs. 

The Sargent seat on the Strom was awesome, very comfortable, I think my arse gives it a 9/10 on the comfort scale. The Givi windshield is really nice, adjustable both vertically and horizontally. It helps keep the rain, and wind blast off, has little to no buffeting. Reduces fatigue a lot. 

I have two powerlet outlets on the Strom, one is on the fairing near the windshield, and for the most part had the Garmin plugged into that one, or my Sena, or a camera to charge. The other outlet is below the seat by my left leg. The adapter I bought for a regular cigarette DC plug hangs down too far, and gets in the way, so that didn't work out so well. Need to mod that before the next trip.

The Givi sidecases worked well, the locking mechanism became difficult to use after the run into Goose Bay. The dust got in and made the key difficult to remove. 

I used a large "water resistant" North Face bag for all my camping gear and clothes. It's a great bag and I have had it for a number of years. The zipper isn't waterproof, and I had the bag placed on the bike with the zipper exposed to the driving rain, and things got a little damp inside to say the least.
The bag is big and when strapped to bike made access to my top loading side cases difficult. That was a pain.

It was a little dusty on the TLH. The bag was black when I started.

All my camping gear worked well, no issues there. Thanks to Sean at River and Trail.

My Joe Rocket boots were good, the left one has developed a leak and got wet in the rain. They are 7 years old, so it's time to retire them. For $100 I think I got my money's worth out of them.

Overall I think our gear selection for the trip was good, and everything for the most part worked successfully. It just needs some minor tweaking before the next trip.

My next update.....regrets. Now that I am home and had time to digest this whole trip, what did I regret doing or not doing.

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