Author Topic: Escape from DC  (Read 64514 times)

Online Checkswrecks

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2012, 06:18:08 pm »
Bummer about the storm and ding.
And the problem with Iowa is....?

You're now semi-retied so enjoy the great folks out there.

At least the weather has cooled off. When Tim and came through in June it was 115f.
Damascus, MD
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Offline dcstrom

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2012, 06:17:04 pm »
Ok I've only been on the road less than a week, but I've learned a few things;

1) CAMPING - I'm not as good a camper as I thought I was. Since stretching my budget is dependent on camping most nights (at least while in the US), I need to improve this facet of my performance  :D  I camped near Lake Erie and had some bitey things nipping at my ankles. They were only mildly annoying so didn't bother pulling out the bug spray. The next two days I suffered with hundreds of red itchy bites around my ankles and up my legs, and I used up my full supply of anti-itch cream.

The incident with the storm (see above) was a good reminder not to trust weather forecasts, and not to camp (or park the bike under) trees, even if the weather seems good at the time.

2) FOOD AND HEALTH - I'm trying to work out how to maintain a healthy diet with food that's cheap(ish) and readily available on the road. I'll be a whale in no time if I eat 3 meals a day at diners. I'm thinking one main meal a day, snacks for the others and try to get some fruit or something for dinner. Good theory, haven't been able to do it yet.

I'm missing my regular exercise routine. Normally I'd be exercising 5 days a week, split between gym and running. I've run once in the past week. For me being able to exercise is about doing it as part of a routine - I haven't been able to figure one out yet. I'm going to try the YMCA gym in Sioux Falls this afternoon. I can get a monthly membership for $37 that will let me use Y's around the country. Seems like that might be the way to go. If I can do that at least a couple of times a week I'll be happy.

I haven't had to worry about these things in the past - so what if you don't exercise much on a two-week vacation? You can get back into it when you get home. But for a long-term trip you have to figure out how to integrate it into the lifestyle if you want to maintain a level of fitness.

3) TECHNOLOGY - I'm relying on 5 main pieces of tech (excluding camera gear). GPS (Garmin Montana), phone (iPhone 4 with AT&T), laptop (HP Elitebook 8470p), 3G USB dongle (Virgin Mobile) and SPOT 2. I've never used them all together before, so wasn't entirely sure how it would work out. So far, so good.

The Montana is a very cool unit, and I've barely scratched the surface of what it can do. Learning as I go along. Main attraction for me was the large, bright screen. Easily readable in full sun. I'm using the free Open Street Maps (OSM) which are fine for the most part except the POI's seem to be lacking. For instance, sometimes I can be right by a gas station but it will tell me the nearest one is 40 miles away. There may come a time when I'm desperate for the correct information on this! So considering buying the Garmin maps. Hope they are better?

Not much to say about the iPhone that hasn't already been said, except that it's still being paid for by (my former) work (I'm "on call"). If not for that I would jailbreak the phone so that I could turn it into a hotspot for the laptop. Or I could just pay ATT an extra $20/month, but that starts to get complicated with work paying for calls and email but not tethering. Anyway the Virgin USB is only $15 more and improves my coverage options. See below. When I get to Mexico, then I'll have to jailbreak the phone to be able to use local SIM's in it.

The USB broadband connection has worked surprisingly well, sometimes getting a connection where the phone couldn't (because they are on different networks). So that broadens my spread of coverage. For example, I was able to watch Netflix on the laptop in the tent the other night, just using the USB connection. The night before, I didn't have such a good connection but the phone did so I watched Netflix on that! (before you say I'm a loser for watching TV while camping - I agree  :) Will be interesting to see how that works as I get further west. EDIT: I forgot to mention, I was video chatting with friends and family in Vietnam and Australia  - from inside my tent! How cool is that? Not like the old days, when a lone adventurer was, well, alone....

The laptop is a 14"/5lb 2.5Ghz Ivy Bridge CPU (so, the newest one). It fits well in the topbox and has a few layers of padding so I think it will travel pretty well. Also it's in a bag that doesn't look like your typical computer case, so hopefully that will make it less of a target for theft. I need the laptop for processing photos and running Basecamp for the GPS - if it wasn't for those things I'd have a tablet instead.

The SPOT has been good so far, I have paid for tracking so I'm using it! But not sure if it would be just as effective with my pressing the "OK" button a few times a day. I set up an account at Spotwalla.com but doesn't seem to be working, have to look into that a bit more. Meanwhile the findmespot map IS working, at

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=008gMyVZq6G7yV09vg49OG9FOGgLSZvcf

Charging hasn't been much of an issue so far, laptop goes 4 hours on a charge and can usually find somewhere to plug it in for an hour or two a day. I have a small inverter which will charge off the bike, but haven't tried it yet. I'm not sure how much the laptop/inverter setup will draw on the bike battery, so reluctant to use it while the bike isn't running. I can charge on the move though. Anyone know anything about how much draw a 150w inverter/65w power supply would pull from the bike battery?

4) THE BIKE - going well, as you'd expect, especially at this early stage of the trip.

I've been watching fuel economy pretty closely. I reset the AVG meter when I left DC, and for a while it was optimistic, as I'd expected. It always seemed that way in the past. I was getting an actual 42-43mpg early on, with the AVG on the computer being 44-45. Gradually though the two got closer together, until at 1500 miles they were exactly in sync at 41.2 MPG. What's interesting is I've been able to use the AVE reading to see which way consumption is headed - it's much easier to watch it go up or down by a tenth or two, than to look at the live readout, which goes all over the place. Economy is not what I've been used to getting - I guess the big load and the bigger screen (V-Stream medium) is taking a toll. Mileage is better on the backroads, and takes a dive on the interstate at anything over 70mph (actual GPS) speeds. Worst so far is 39mpg. Nothing we didn't already know and another reason to stick to backroads whenever possible.

Oil consumption is minimal, maybe 100cc's, not enough to bother topping up. Should make it through to an oil change in another 1500-2000 miles without a topup.


NEXT - heading the Badlands tomorrow - weather has cooled off so hopefully the Badlands won't be so bad! Then to Yellowstone by next weekend. What do you think about this road to get there ;-)

http://goo.gl/maps/FV5cD

PS why can't I get maps to embed? I've done it in the past...

Dirt_Dad - too many things to do before leaving, hoping I'll be able to work on the blog soon!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 12:39:25 am by dcstrom »
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Offline dcstrom

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2012, 06:44:16 pm »
Oh and one more thing! I'm now a South Dakotan! It took half a day, and $42, to get my drivers license and bike registration switched over. And that included riding 100 miles! Rego was done in Madison, DL in Sioux FaLLS - so went to Madison and back to get titled this morning, and was out of the Sioux Falls DMV by 12:30. SUCH a different experience to the DC DMV, not to mention cheaper. Of the $22.87 to title the bike, $5 was the transfer fee. DC would have been 6% of the value of the bike...

Now I have my re-mailing service in Madison taking care of my mail (and scanning/emailing anything important - mydakotaaddress.com), I'm all set!

Plus the license plates here are prettier!

« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 06:52:32 pm by dcstrom »
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Offline GrahamD

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2012, 06:53:57 pm »
Hey DC!!

I knew you were going at some point but it crept up pretty quickly.

Congrats on getting away.  ::012::

Will be watching with interest.. ::017::

Lucky you took a big capable bike with you, it might do better than the other famous Auzzie.. http://travellingstrom.com/

Vstrom Crash


If you ever need any pointers I am sure he will be happy to tell you where to go and what to do.  :D

Good luck and stay safe... ::021::

 ::003::
Graham




Offline Don in Lodi

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2012, 08:48:02 pm »
West of Spearfish, north of 90, is the Devil's Tower. Might be worth a look-see. Don't have to go into the park really.
Don in Lodi
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Offline Dirt_Dad

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2012, 09:27:38 pm »
That road to the Badlands looks fantastic.  Enjoy...

The updates are great.  Interesting to know what you are learning as you plan for a long term trip.
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Offline dcstrom

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Escape from DC
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2012, 10:45:44 pm »

Lucky you took a big capable bike with you, it might do better than the other famous Auzzie.. http://travellingstrom.com/




Thanks Graham - yeah I've been following Richard's trips, mainly interested in his reviews of beers of the world. ;-)
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Online Checkswrecks

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2012, 08:33:21 am »
Sounds great Trevor. If you go west, you can follow the rim of the Badlands on a cool gravel road, then northwest on 44(?) into Rapid City. South out of Mt Rushmore, don't miss Iron Mtn Rd, then back north through Needles. Beautiful roads with lots of buffalo on Needles.


With my iPad getting stolen on our trip I can't strongly enough suggest the cloud as at least a backup location, if not storage where possible. Shite happens & it would have really sucked to lose the 1900 photos we took.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 08:35:37 am by Checkswrecks »
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Offline dcstrom

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Escape from DC
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2012, 09:11:32 am »
Thanks for the tips Bob.

That sucks about the iPad - did somebody rummage through your gear or was it a crime of opportunity (snatched when you were looking the other way?).

I have an external drive for backup, but of course that can get lost/stolen/broken, so have some cloud options as well. Tried a few, looks like Microsoft Skydrive is the winner - 27gb for $20/yr. I'll have to be selective about what goes to the cloud because I doubt I'll have the time/bandwidth to upload everything.

Good point though - will add these details to the tech write-up.
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Offline dcstrom

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2012, 10:27:38 am »

Lucky you took a big capable bike with you, it might do better than the other famous Auzzie.. http://travellingstrom.com/

Vstrom Crash

If you ever need any pointers I am sure he will be happy to tell you where to go and what to do:D



Yeah, advice like "look out for that big roooooockkk aaaaagggghhhhh farrrrrrrkkkkkkkennnhellllll!"

I'm not actually looking forward to manhandling the S10 on roads like that - it is a beast when loaded with 200lbs of gear. But it will definitely handle better than the Wee, and I have Wasp raising links so have a bit of extra ground clearance to work with. As I go along I'm going to figure out what I can jettison and hopefully get the weight down a bit  by the time I get to rougher roads.
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Online Checkswrecks

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2012, 05:36:57 pm »
...about the iPad - did somebody rummage through your gear or was it a crime of opportunity (snatched when you were looking the other way?).
...


Crime of stupidity - mine.


We were in Ely, NV, for gas and lunch at the McDonalds and the wind was about 30 knots, which kept the top box from staying open. I was doing something else and sat the ipad in it's armor case on my right side bag, heard a clunk as we left the McD parking lot, then remembered it when we got a few miles down the road.  It was gone by the time we got back.


Unfortunately, I'd not set up the tracking locator. 
Damascus, MD
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Offline dcstrom

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2012, 10:47:17 am »
West of Spearfish, north of 90, is the Devil's Tower. Might be worth a look-see. Don't have to go into the park really.

Thanks Don - was there last time I was out this way on the KLR. This time looping south through the Black Hills, heading for Buffalo WY tonight.
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Offline thfraser

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2012, 11:06:42 am »
Congratulations on getting out of DC!  ::008:: I commute in on my bike everyday, so I'm a touch jealous. 

I'll be watching the thread and following your adventure!
 ::017::

Offline dcstrom

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Re: Escape from DC
« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2012, 11:12:14 am »

Crime of stupidity - mine.


Yes - it happens... I'm expecting a few episodes like that, in fact I already had one. I lost my favorite glasses in the crosswinds going across SD. They were attached to the bike, and had been like that most of the trip with no problem, but one of the gusts whipped them away... this was I-90, I knew roughly where I lost them. I went back to try to find them, knowing that if they were on the road they would probably be either crushed or scratched up, and if they were in the shrubbery I would never find them. I just did one pass, with no success. Knowing myself, I'd planned for this and have spare glasses - but I thought I might go for more than a week before losing my best set!

Those winds across SD play havoc with gas consumption - 32mpg was my worst. I found the bike pretty stable though. Last time I was this way on the KLR, it was downright scary - I was getting blown into oncoming traffic at one point and had to slow right down and ride the shoulder. On the Super Tenere, you just lean into the wind and it doesn't really move around that much.

The helmet is a different story - the visor on th Shoei Hornet dual-sport helment really catches the wind rips the head sideways. I found if I hung to the left or the right of the bike, depending on which direction the wind was coming from, I could find a pocket of clean air behind the V-Stream screen. Not a comfortable long-term riding position though.

More camping lessons - when dismantling the tent in 20-30mph winds, a different technique is required if you are to avoid turning the tent into a parasail! Wish somebody had got that on video  :D

The bike is good - but I put about 200cc of oil in it. I guess it burns a little when working hard. I'm seeing some misting of oil on the bottom of the final drive, not worried but will keep an eye on it.

Trevor
Currently travelling from DC to Argentina http://tinyurl.com/EscapeFromDC
http://supertenere1200.com/

Offline joneil

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Escape from DC
« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2012, 03:14:24 pm »
Didn't see where anyone had taken a stab at your electrical question.  How much current does the voltage inverter draw?  Sorry, don't know how to cut and paste on an iPhone.

From my younger days of working at Radio Shack, I remember that watts=voltsXamps.  If I have that correct, at 65W you would be pulling about 5.4 amps on 12 volts?  Plus or minus.  Big thing is it could spike more current than that.

If I have that all wrong I qualify my info on this by saying the extent of my electrical knowledge was learned from working at radio shack to pay for beer money while in college.
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