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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So as most everyone knows by now, I had a month between the end of my summer gig and the start of my final year of school.

I was going to go back to Cambridge and write an article or something, but after working 10 60-80hr weeks over the summer, I thought better of it.

So what to do? Well, I'd never ridden baja before, I'd never seen my sisters new digs in SoCal, I'd never ridden a street bike significantly west of the continental divide, I had a CR250R calling my name in Denver, I wanted to show Pilette around CO and I wanted to see the EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh.

Well those seemed like enough items to keep me entertained for a bit - on to the logistics.

I didn't have much cash to spend, but did have some saved-up tuition money that wouldn't be needed till Sept. I didn't have a street bike really suitable for the trip (TL is in need of repairs that I didn't have the time or garage space to do and I'm getting a bit old and arthritic for several-thousand mile sport bike tours).

So a plan was hatched. I'd buy a bike somewhere within a day's ride of Oshkosh, fly out and ride to Osh. Then on to Denver, then west, then south and finally I'd sell the bike wherever I ended up when I ran out of time and if needed, fly back to DC or Cambridge.

After much angst and a few bikes that fell though, I ended up with a 2007 Bandit 1250S in Kansas City.

I'd also need camping gear and such. In keeping with the low-budget plan, a $30 tent was procured at Target and Nicki found an old sleeping bag from her days as a Brownie or Girlscout or something like that. Good enough. I lacked bags to carry the stuff in. Some scrounging yielded a dry bag and an old hanging bag. The hanging bag had d-rings and such on it and seemed well suited to strapping to a bike. The dry bag ($5 at the thrift store) should keep the sleeping bag dry.

I'd need more luggage though - somewhere to carry clothes, laptop, camera, shoes, hydration pack etc, so I ordered up a top case and tank bag and had them shipped directly to the seller.

On July 27th I flew to KC, forked over the cash, hit up the DMV (3hrs wait:banghead) and installed my luggage and bunge-corded my gear to the pillion seat. Finally I was on my way north-east toward Oshkosh by evening.

I looked something like this as I left the seller's place.


A teaser of what's in store (never mind the missing bit in CA - gps got wonky, I had to re-set it and seem to have lost a few tracks - just fill in the coastal bit and Ortega hwy in you head).
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I didn't take many pictures on the way to osh, but here's what I've got...

I went across this bridge


The new Bell Star was working just dandy in the KC heat (which wasn't actually too terrible).


The city gave way to rolling hills and farmland


And I crossed a bridge and river again.



That night I stayed with a fellow from Advrider. He was a cool guy, very laid back, rode a KTM 990 Adventure, but also a successful surgeon. His place was pretty amazing - huge house and garage with just about everything - from an entire wall of tool boxes to swimming pools and hot tubs.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The following morning I rode on to Oshkosh!

There were all manner of aircraft.

Manufactures showing off their new tundra planes


A classic Pitts Bip


A float-plane



An arctic expedition plane (might need them to drop fuel for me when I go for my overland motorcycle Antarctic record:devious).


There were planes that seemed too small to lift a single person


And aircraft large enough to stand in for a crane


There were old bombers


And the Ford P51 display for Jensen
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
There were futuristic Rutan designs, some new and made to escape this planet's atmosphere


Yep, it really flies


Some old


Not all of slick composites and built for speed, but this looks like pure fun to me


And a very nice mixture of slick composts and old-world horsepower (carbon-fiber airframe with a very old, 9 cylinder supercharged Russian radial motor).


 

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Discussion Starter #5
And then there were RV's - the most popular kit-plane ever. Thousands flying and enough at Osh to take up over 5 acres of parking I was told.

If anything the 5 acres was probably an under-statement, this isn't even half of them...


This show-winning -8 is a classic in the RV world.


The Vans tent.


And a -6 in Vans AirForce Colors (like TLZ, but for these planes).


A Corvette-powered -10.


Another nice -8


A recently-completed -6 that's not yet painted.


This isn't stock:devious


And an exquisitely painted -4 (the owner/builder did it himself as I understand it).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
They asked me to fly this P-51 in the show for them (I wish!)


A gorgeous SNJ-5 (AKA T-6 Texan AKA T-6 Harvard) - the best part, it was for sale for a very-reasonable $175k.


Big radials are a thing of beauty:drool
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This thing made an appearance, it was definitely huge.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The Pitts Model 12 is one of my all-time favorite fun planes. It also uses the Russian M14 supercharged radial mentioned before.


And this is the world-record for the largest American flag ever flown by a sky-diver - who knew?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
And this husband-wife team put on quite a show. A big radial biplane, a great story-line, a great aerobatic routine and to top it off (literally), a hot chick on the wing:eek:mg

 

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Awesome stuff Josh, definately one place I want to get to before too long. A buddy has a Murphy Rebel that I helped him with, maybe we can fly in.

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I left oskosh as the sun was setting and stayed with a fellow from Advrider about a half-hour south. He was a cool, well traveled high-school shop teacher with lots of great stories.

From there I saw a lot of this


I motored on


The scenery wasn't terrible and as would be a trend, road construction was never-ending.


It went on like this till I was about 20 minutes from the South Dakota state line. There I hit a wall of heavy, cold rain. My rain gear is old and not-so-waterproof any more and I didn't bring any heated gear or very warm clothes. I was wet, cold and not too happy. I pressed on, but didn't take pics. I got colder and colder. I couldn't stop shivering. Eventually quick bite to eat to attempt to regain some warmth. When stopped, I found a garbage bag and put that on under my jacket for a bit of extra wind protection.

Still cold, I pressed on. I rode another 65 miles or so in the rain and stopped for fuel only to find that I couldn't find my wallet anywhere:scared The sun was setting, I was in the middle-of-no-where South Dakota freezing cold, in the rain with no fuel and no money at all. Not good. I was able to find the number of the McD's where I had stopped earlier and gave them a call. I was so extremely happy to hear that they had my wallet. Still, it was 70 miles away and I was very nearly out of fuel.

There were loads of bikers around though and one kind looking soul must have noticed my distressed appearance and asked if all was ok. I told my story and without prompting he gave me $5 to get me back to my wallet. I was never so happy to see $5!

With my $5 worth of fuel I turned around and rode back up the 70-miles of I90 I had just ridden down, still in cold rain. They had my wallet and it still even had the cash in it. Seems I had dropped it in the parking lot when I was donning my garbage bag and another biker found it and gave it to the cashier:hail

Freezing cold, I desperately needed to warm up a bit before heading back west again. With my new-found wallet I purchased a hot chocolate. I also met a dude on a harley in the parking lot. He was very friendly, we sat together and both drank hot chocolates. He wasn't your typical butt jewlery, bike-in-the-trailer sturgis HD dude, no his harley looked really beat and he'd just gotten off it - the only trailer involved was the one he was towing with his bike.

Turns out he was from texas and had just ridden the Dempster in Alaska on his HD. In fact, he had 176,000 miles on his HD that he'd bought new 6 years prior! He said the thing was sort of crap and broke a lot, but that he still liked it:laugh He had great stories of his trials and tribulations taking the heavily loaded HD though alaska where most folks stick with knobby tires and dual sports. Seems belt drive doesn't fair well on unpaved surfaces:doh

Refreshed from the hot chocolate and good company, I quickly dismissed thoughts I'd had of calling it a day and finding a hotel right there or tossing my tent up on the side of the road. No, I decided that I'd keep with the origional plan and press on to the Badlands, I was on a mission!

I rode a bit (still raining), got fuel (still raining) and rode some more.

I put my head down, tucked onto the tank bag, wound the throttle lock up to a very respectable cruising speed and let the big 1250 propel me across the rain soaked, barren land of SD. I didn't stop except when I needed fuel and I kept those quick.

The camping spot I intended to stay at was strategically chosen. It was very remote (even for the badlands) with about 20-miles of dirt road required to reach it. There were no hookups, no electricity and no water. This all of course ment no RVs, no annoying tourists and no generators.

Luckily the rain stopped just as I got to the dirt portion. I picked my way down the dirt road in the dark on the heavily loaded bandit. The bandit actually was quite planted for a street bike in the dirt. I, somewhat to my amazement, found my campground in the dark. I wasn't able to find directions or a reliable map prior so it was a bit of a crapshoot, but I had a general idea of the area from my travels last summer in the badlands on the 919.

I found the first inviting area, parked the bandit and pitched the tent. It was a bit of a pain in the dark, but I was so relived and satisfied to have finally made it I didn't care. I slept like a rock despite having only a sleeping bag an thin tent floor between me and the rocky soil.

I awoke to coyotes making noise and some very fine scenery.

Peeking out my tent at the Bandit the next morning


The fabled target-tent


I decided to go for a hike up the bluff overlooking the campsite.



Seems Mr. Bison had a similar idea. Fellow campers said he wandered right though the middle of the campsite earlier that morning (I slept in till 6:45am as I'd had a rough day...).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I leisurely broke camp and made my way to the Blackhills, taking time to ride though the Badlands a bit more on the way.
There were probably hundres of Bison roaming around in this remote part of the park. They seemed particularly interested in blocking my way. The large dude in the center was unimpressed with my attempts to scare him off with the horn and yelling:laugh






After about 20 minutes, the critters moved out of the way.




My Garmin and the park map didn't show a way of getting from my campsite to the road just south of the badlands that I knew would connect me to the Blackhills without bothering with the pesky slab, but I remembered the dirt road of plague-infested prairie-dog doom from my last trip and decided to try to find it from the oposit direction. Last time I was on this road there were 70mph winds and I was nearly blown off while riding the 919. This time, conditions were much better!

I rode past the rather scenic prairie lands


And the rather weird-looking "bad"lands.




And was definitely on the right track for the plague-infested-prairie-dog-road-of-doom
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Note to self, avoid the Blackhills during Sturgis like the Plague! :thatsgay harley riders were seriously clogging up the works - this bunch was so slow they were holding up minivans in the twisties:puke


The scenery was nice though and there were more of these critters


In a desperate attempt to get out of the :thatsgay hd infested Blackhills I found a tiny, bumpy dirt road. Predictably not a :thatsgay harley to be found. I made better time on this road than they did the beautifully smooth, paved main roads.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Once free of the HD-jam I headed for Denver to stay with Swademaster and his family for the night:hail

I hit more cold rain on the way, but it broke before I got to Denver and I spotted this
 

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Woo hoo! More! More!

What an adventure :D
 

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missed out on those stories. :hail some drama on the travels. v exciting :thumbup
 

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Discussion Starter #20
There's lots more to come, this is only the first four days. Out hiking in socal now though:)
 
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