But we all did it. Dave and I bought brand new 2020 KTM 390 Adventures and Tim bought a brand new 2020 Kawasaki Versys 300. We each then outfitted the bike to suit our individual needs and tastes. Tim and Dave both bought new luggage and in the summer we went on a "shakedown" overnighter to see how it would all work on BDR-like roads (see "6-12-2021 to 6-13-2021 - Sullivan Lake" in Short Trips). The verdict was that they were all going to work. We chose September for our final date to ride to avoid both fires and heat, acknowledging the risk of wet weather. We test-packed, reviewed tools, changed to knobby tires, and generally really coordinated ourselves for the two weeks we would be gone. It was the best job of prepping and planning we've done yet and it paid off during the ride.
NOTE: This report has no still pictures from Tim because just after he got home, his phone was destroyed in a fire. No, not a house fire - he accidentally dropped it into a trash fire before downloading his photos.
Friday, September 17, 2021
Departure day finally arrived and the weather was perfect. Tim had ridden down Thursday night to spend the night at my house so we'd all be riding the same amount of miles. We planned to leave at 7am and was only 12 minutes off of that so we arrived at Dave's house by 7:30am. We chatted a bit, took a group picture before we left. You'll notice in the picture at right that I'm wearing an Apple hat. Dave's wearing an Army hat with an armor pin and Tim has a Navy hat on with his dolphins (he was a submariner) so they thought I needed something special and figured the Apple hat was my geek hat. I politely said no. About 10 minutes later we left heading east. We stopped about 45 minutes later to shed a layer and Tim notice a funny wobble with my back tire. Turns out the rear tire had not fully seated which was not good. We decided to stop at the Coeur d'Alene KTM dealer to see if he could help me out. The answer was no. He wouldn't break into his line of bikes needing service to help a traveler. This was extremely disappointing. For me it wasn't a big deal as I knew what to do, but we met another guy on a big Honda cruiser from way out of state in a worse position and they wouldn't help him either. He was going to have to rent a truck one-way to finish his trip. I will not recommend the CD'A KTM/Honda dealer to anyone. Period. Anyways, we went to a gas station, deflated the tire, lubed the side a bit, then put the air back in until it seated. Problem solved. By 9:40am we were back on the road again. That's pretty much the day's drama. We would be on I-90 all day long riding to Three Forks Montana to spend the night at a KOA cabin. We wanted to eliminate as much time as possible so setting up and tearing down camp each day was eliminated. We stopped in St. Regis at 11:30am for lunch at Winki's drive-in for burgers and fries. Great place and it was nice to get off the bike for a bit. The weather was nice so we sat outside and chatted for a bit before getting back on the bikes to continue heading east.
I'm a Senior Software Engineer at Intellitect, living in Spokane, Washington. I also do a little development work on the side. And I love riding motorcycles all over the country with my friends.