Wednesday, June 17, 2009

About this blog and an update

It's, Wednesday, June 17, time to go public with this blog and to get caught up. I'd put it off hoping to come up with a catchier title and struggling to get pictures to show up where I want them. Today, I'm plunging ahead. This isn't the Great American Novel, after all.

This is the view from our cottage on Branch Lake in Ellsworth, Maine, which is about halfway between Bangor and Bar Harbor:

About the title: My motorcycle is a Kawasaki KLR 650. Reading a KLR FAQ online, I found a section on high-speed wobble, an undesirable behavior attributable to the big front fender's aerodynamics, or lack thereof. To some, grown men going off on motorcycle adventures is also an undesirable behavior, so the title seemed to fit. At least I haven't thought of a better one.

What am I up to? The plan is a long motorcycle trip in August from Maine through the mountains of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, etc., down to North Carolina and back up the coast to the starting point. As much as possible, I'll do it on back roads and camp out in good weather. Along the way, I'll visit family in Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Massachusetts.

Why a KLR? Conceptually, form following function has always appealed to me and the KLR is a perfect expression of function over style. In many ways, it is the anti-Harley. People have ridden KLRs around the world and from Alaska to Patagonia. They are relatively inexpensive, compared to the big touring motorcycles you see pulling trailers down the interstate. You can load them up like pack mules and ride on desert trails or super highways.

The story so far: I began by finding a motorcycle on Craigslist which I bought from Herman von Oy, who lives in Connecticut. He purchased it new in 2000, used it to commute and eventually outfitted it to go on- and off-road touring in places such as Mexico, Utah and Newfoundland. Herman trailered the bike cross country behind his RV, so it only had 13,000 miles on it when he put it up for sale. He replaced it with a Vespa GTS 250, which he plans to haul on a rack on the back of his RV.

I'm in Maine for most of June, getting to know the bike, putting my gear together and re-learning how to camp. Since Boy Scouts, I haven't been camping much and what I did was unpleasant. I'm hoping good gear -- tent, sleeping bag, etc. -- will make the difference.

In July, I'll be back home in Hawaii where we're having work done on the house. Then, it's back to New England to start the adventure, blogging my way south.

So, that's the plan. What follows is the update from June 4 through just yesterday...


  1. John,
    Very nice - look forward to your updates.

  2. Dear John,
    I am reading this beside my campfire in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. I can definitely recommend a couple of campsites here. I am with my kids so the motorcycle is in the garage this week.
    We live in South Carolina and you are welcome to stay if you make it that far south. There are also some great campgrounds along the coast.
    I look forward to following your trip.
    Mark Flanagan (with Moxie & Augusta)