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Well my bucket list was not getting shorter and I have had an overnight solo campout with my TW on my list for many years. A couple of years ago, I did a mod to my Cyclerack to allow soft panniers to mount. I bought panniers and never got around to a trip. As with most things in life, I got sidetracked. Between camping with my Truck/sidein camper, backpacking and jeep camping ('52 M38 - which took away from wrenching on my TW - it was way more in need than my TW) I never seemed to find time to do the TW trip.

My wife and I pretty much do everything together, but she had planned a weekend camping trip with her girlfriends so I jumped at the opportunity to get out on my TW. As an avid backpacker, I had all the gear I needed, pretty much ready to go, just had to put it in my TW panniers. I put all my food in the bear vault in one pannier, all my electronics and extra clothes in the other pannier, my toolkit, hatchet, water filter, water, rain gear in my Action Packer, and lashed my tent and thermarest in a tarp behind my back. GPS on the handlebars. Planned a route to the mountains that avoided all highways (top speed for me is 90km/h, but comfortable is 80km/h) and everyone here drives like a mad fool so on the 100km/h highway they all go 120km/h. I didn't want to be pressured, so I selected the backroads.

Saturday morning, got up and packed the bike. Geared up with my Tourmaster jacket, Joe Rocket pants, Alpinestar SMX5 boots and Arai XD4 helmet. Already to go. Jumped on the TW, pressed the starter, jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, no start. No spark? Pulled the plug and it looked good. Tried a new plug. jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, no start. Check the spark against the block, good spark. Humm. Bike had be lightly used in the last two years, maybe the gas in the carb was gummed up - but I always use fuel stabilizer when she goes to bed for the winter. Drained the carb. Jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, no start. Jurr. No more jurr. Dead battery. Damn. Got the battery charger out. Waited 15 minutes, no go. Luckily I installed a kick starter in the past. Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick. No go. Sweating like a pig now. Gear comes off. Pissed off. Pull the seat off. Jump the battery to a good 12V in my garage. Jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, jurr, no start. Sprayed some starting fluid in the carb intake box, Jurr, jurr, fires up, dies. No fuel? Plugged filter? Again with the starting fluid, Jurr, jurr, fires up and runs. Dies. One more try, fires up and stays running. Yeah! Warm up her up and shut down to check the battery. Stone dead. Put on the charger for 30minutes. Gear up. Started again and we are off. Who knows exactly what happened there, I’m just happy to be riding.

Ready to roll


On the road
 

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Headed out west, fill up the gas tank (stock) and the Kolpin on the back. Weather is nice, scattered clouds, possibility of shower. 16C. After about 40kms, I get off the blacktop and onto the gravel. Travel is good, but some super thick gravel spots create a few tense pucker moments as the bike does a couple of wobbles. 60km more and it's getting to be dinner time and camping time. I had planned to rough it along the way - it’s a random camping area, but I pulled into the North Ghost Forestry Campground and of the 30 sites, only 2 were taken. I picked a spot along the creek away from the other two, set up my tent, put up a tarp (the skies were starting to look grey in the distance) and unpacked some stuff. Time for wood. Jumped on the TW, pressed the started. No jurr. Nothing. Yikes. Kicked and she fired up first try. Whew, did I say how happy I was to have installed that kickstarter yet? So I have a completely dead battery now, the ride didn’t charge it. Got some wood and started a fire. Used my never fail fire starter — Cheetos puffs — be careful, you only need one. Who eats these things?? They should have a flammable warning on the package. Pasta cooking on the backpack stove and a weiner over the fire. This is the life the gods must live. Cracked open my single Budweiser (why is this Canadian drinking Budweiser? It was the only one in the fridge left behind by my college son — he buys the least expensive stuff he can find. And it is brewed in Canada by Molson’s so I’m still being patriotic — right?), now enjoy the surroundings. Sun shining, birds singing, fire crackling…….somethings gonna change here….this picture can’t stay like this, can it?

Making Camp

Popping a frosty
 

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Clever tarp rigging over the table plus a seat pad looks like quite the comfortable simple shelter.
 

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Finished up dinner, fiddled with a few electronics, tortured my harmonica (never did learn to play anything but “O when the saints”, since those instructions came in the harmonica package), brushed my teeth, and off to bed. Laying cozy in my sleeping bag, pondering the universe and wondering if my TW would start in the cold morning….. Plip. Plip. Pitter. Pitter. It has begun to rain. Haha, I’m cozy in my tent. I drift off to sleep. I awake, needing to eliminate a large Budweiser. Still raining, slightly harder now. Back in the sleeping bag. Slumber overtakes. Awaken by a aching shoulder and neck and shoulder and neck. Need Advil. It’s in the bear vault, in the forest, away from camp. Headlamp on, off to find Advil. It’s still raining, but getting colder. Slam down a Advil, back in the sleeping bag, Advil starts to work. Slumber again. Awaken with a jolt. What was that noise? It sounded like a low growl. I shout loudly “Get outta here you filthy animal”. Did I really hear that or was I dreaming that. I lay awake and listen. Hey the rain stopped. No wait. It sounds different. Softer. Is that, snow? Yup. It’s snowing. Wonder if my TW will start in the morning…..slumber comes again.

Morning arrives with a lovely blanket of fresh white snow. It’s still raining slightly, so the snow is beginning to melt. Wonder how the gravel road home will be (insert sarcastic foreshadowing). Burr. Need a fire. To hell with the one Cheetos puff, this calls for the rest of the wee bag. Chop some dry kindling, light a nice fire and hunker under my custom picnic-table-tarp-for-one (custom instructions may be purchased for a nominal fee via paypal). Fire up the backpack stove and get some hot water for a face wash and hotter water for coffee. Mummm. Coffee. I splurged for breakfast. Brought fresh eggs. Toast on a stick over the fire served with two fried eggs — who cares if it snowed? My trusty mule with get me home. Wonder if it will start? Maybe I should try to start it before packing up, it case I need to live here from now on. Ok. Hop on. Key on. First kick, TW starts and purrs. I love engines that start first time — my honda outboard, my CT90, my TW. My sweet TW. With a bummed battery.

Morning. Doesn't really look wet, does it?



Fried eggs are good


Warm fires are good
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Pack up a wet camp. Gear up and away we go. Lots of water laying around. The gravel road has become a slimy greasy gooey mud sheet. The top looks normal, but it’s 2” of mush on the top. Keeping the bike upright is now become my first priority and it’s not so easy. I discover that its best to ride in the tire tracks of the vehicles that have gone before me — cutting a new path in the mud is insanity. It starts to rain harder. I am so thankful for good gear. I am warm and dry in the jacket/pants/motocross boots. My hands are cold, but do I dare try my heated gloves with an already challenged charging system? Hands too cold. I wire up. Hey, working fine. Gloves are toasty and TW not complaining (it never does). Now, if I can only stay upright for the 50km to the blacktop. After 2.5hours and several near crashes (was going pretty slow), I finally reach the blacktop and civilization. I stop at the Water Valley General Store and coffee up for last leg of the ride. 40km of blacktop (backroad blacktop — 90km/h speed limits) back to the city. Very cold howling gusty north winds give me a few freaky moments, but soon enough I am pulling the steed back into the stable. A successful ride. The TW does what I bought it for. This report is complete. Over and out.

Ugly gravel roads


A dirty mule
 

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First, it's been a long long time since I've seen you post on the forum. I thought you had moved on as I know life changes. Glad to see you back, but I suppose you never actually left!

I won't call it a for sure thing, but I don't plan on any tent roughing it camping anymore, not like you anyway, so I give credit to you and those who still rough it once in a while. Glad you made it back. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. I see you wrapped you're panniers for the trip home in the wetness!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
First, it's been a long long time since I've seen you post on the forum. I thought you had moved on as I know life changes. Glad to see you back, but I suppose you never actually left!

I won't call it a for sure thing, but I don't plan on any tent roughing it camping anymore, not like you anyway, so I give credit to you and those who still rough it once in a while. Glad you made it back. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. I see you wrapped you're panniers for the trip home in the wetness!
Hey Admiral. Wasn't sure anyone would remember me. I have be severely distracted with a '52 Willys. The TW has not been forgotten and the forum is still in my visit schedule. The panniers actually came with those covers, pretty slick. Cheers.
 

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Welcome back Wes, Glad to see everything worked out for you. Sounded like a great ride although short. Goes to show that even an overnighter can be an ADVENTURE.
 

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Nice. Clear example of the usefulness of a kickstart device. I ponder if all intrepid TW explorers have gray hair? Just based on recent postings.
Grey hair being linked to sensibility and adventure both I reckon.
 

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I call it the "Hair of Experience".

"Are you Experienced?"
"Have you ever been Experienced?"
"Well, I have."
--J. Hendrix


Nice. Clear example of the usefulness of a kickstart device. I ponder if all intrepid TW explorers have gray hair? Just based on recent postings.
Grey hair being linked to sensibility and adventure both I reckon.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Welcome back Wes, Glad to see everything worked out for you. Sounded like a great ride although short. Goes to show that even an overnighter can be an ADVENTURE.
It was short but nice to ride again.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Wonderfully entertaining ride report. Looks like you were well prepared.
I see a stock TrailWing rear tire has replaced what looks like a Maxxis BigHorn2 in the avatar photo...old picture, new tire?
I took the Bighorn off when I stopped riding with my son (he outgrew me). I had to keep up in the mud with his dirtbike, but now I am doing more dual sport touring and not trying to survive on a cutline. I liked the Bighorn for off track, but for highway and gravel I went back to the stocker. I also swapped back the front tire from a Kenda to the Maxxis. The Maxxis may have contributed to the wormy behaviour on the greasy gravel roads. The Kenda used to bite down through that stuff.

http://tw200forum.com/forum/performance-customization/7235-return-stock-rear-tire-some-musings.html
 
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