Big Tour Finished on Brutale -
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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Big Tour Finished on Brutale

Hello all- Some of you may recall that I posted about taking a long trip on the Brute. Well, I just got home last night. 12 days gone, 3,500 miles covered. First day my route took me across nothern Arizona into southern Utah- I spent the first night camping on Lake Powell.
Second day was mostly thru Nevada. 40 miles after filling up gas in a little town called Caliente, I saw a sign that said "Next gas station 150 miles"!! Had to double back to top off the tank for fear of not making it. Second night, almost 1,000 miles in, I got a motel in Tonopah, NV, near the eastern Sierra Nevada. At that motel I ran into some folks from Santa Fe and one woman I actually knew from home.
3rd day was crossing the Sierra's (where a couple of passes are still closed for snow!) and the remaining have many feet of snow plowed up on the side of the road. Camped out in Nat'l Forest near Calveras Redwood Park on the western slope. Big, big, trees!
Next day I rode down thru central California and was happily surprised to find some great roads. I had imagined it would be boring, or crowded, but it was neither (59 I believe was the primary road). And for the first time I was at near seal level elevation. I was laughing inside my helmet like a mad man! The front wheel skimming the road, the bike rocketing foward out of turns, the induction sound just awesome. I had always enjoyed this bike, but at that time I finally knew what the rest of you were talking about. I pulled over to call to taunt my riding buddies back at 7,000 feet. The next week or so was pure heaven, just for the extra 20 horsepower or so!
I spent that night camping outside of Santa Cruz, where I met up with a friendly gouup of California bikers out for a few day tour. They thought I was crazy travelling all that way on that bike, camping gear and all. They included me in their dinner plans and it was nice to have company for the first time.
Rode up route 9 and Skyline Blvd (near Alice's restaurant) and into Berkeley for my weekend aikido seminar. It was challenging having to "shift gears" from the solo, independant, travelling mode into the very formal, very physical mode of a martial arts seminar. But it was a great, if not difficult, weekend. Spent an extra day and a half visiting a friend, which included a beautiful hike around Mt. Tamalpais.
At this point I had originally planned to ride up as far as Portland, Or. to visit friends. Sadly, the weather there was pretty crappy, cold and rainy, during the window of time I had. Doubly frustrating because just a few days later the weather was beautiful. I was concerned about riding all that way (almost 700 miles) cold and wet, and worried about the bike a little too. I have a synthetic jacket, and an electric vest and some "emergency" rain pants, but I wimped out a little, feeling it was just too far in those conditions.
I made the difficult choice to return home early. I took slightly different routes, going a little north thru Napa/Sonoma and then across the Northern Sierras. Along the way I found THE BEST MOTORCYCLE ROAD I've ever been on! Rt. 49 along the Yulupa river, oh, man, I can't say enough- if you're ever near, go!
Followed one long day along 50 in Nevada (the "lonliest highway"), which is quite pretty, just not much other than some scenery. Then 2 days riding along in Southern Utah, which is among my favorite places on Earth. Rt's 12 and 24 in particular are up there also among the Best Roads. And the scenery is unrivaled. I even met a forum member who was travelling with his family, Wei Chang (who took one of the included photos) at the Natural Bridges monument- a very nice guy! And then back home to New Mexico.
I'm very happy to say that the bike did just fine. Screwing around with my luggage on day one I broke my rear right turn signal bracket (the "fender eliminator" from Motovation- my fault entirely), and so missed a turn signal for the trip. The biggest complaint I had was for the seat. It was previously re-gelled, but the size of it limits how much one can move around. So after 100 miles or so I was squirming. Uncomfortable, but not unbearable. And some roads made it obvious that this is a small bike with a short wheelbase with a stiff suspension. But when the roads were right, the bike was totally happy cruising at 80 or 85 all day. And at elevations above 3,500 feet or so I averaged nearly 40 mpg! Not bad. (though I do have the bike leaned out some for my home altitude). Saw an indicated 145 in the Nevada desert, and even with luggage the bike felt fine. And when the roads were curvy I was thrilled to have this bike rather than some "sport-tourer." Though at different times I rode with a guy on a Triumph Sprint and a K1200r (I think) and they were both pretty impressive (and have comfortable seats!)
Now the bike just need a good bath, a chain adjustment, and I need a little rest, but I'm ready to go again!
I'm not so good about taking photos, but I'll attach a few.
Thanks for reading.
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Last edited by mrossk; 06-12-2010 at 10:20 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 02:27 PM
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 02:34 PM
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sounds like you had a fantastic time, the pictures are beautiful.

Adding power makes you faster on the straights, while subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere - Colin Chapman

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 06:32 PM
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Awesome that you had a good time. Really like that pic with the snowy mountains in the back - awesome. What did you use for luggage there?

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeffk View Post
Awesome that you had a good time. Really like that pic with the snowy mountains in the back - awesome. What did you use for luggage there?
The east side of the Sierra Nevadas, near Mono Lake. Inspiring, and awesome riding too!
For luggage I use Oxford saddlebags, which ride high to avoid the pipes. Strapping them on isn't the most conveinant, but totally serviceable. And I strap on a duffle bag atop them with "quick clip" straps to hold my camping gear. And I use an old Eclipse tankbag, probably at least 10 years old, and it still works really well. I have more photos if you're interested, but these give you the idea. Beautiful scenery, yada yada yada
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 08:42 PM
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No "brutale remorse" here! Well done. You have more pics?

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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So here's a few more. They're not really representative of all I saw. Sometimes I get into "Go go go" mode and don't stop as often as I should to take photos. Ah, well, another life lesson...
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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and just a few more...
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2010, 01:12 AM
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Great pix Michael. I'm envious, but hey we have a nice ride planned next week downhere, with the NSW MV Musta.
On the sore behind subject, the air-hawke cushion makes a hell of a difference. I swear by it.
Thanks for the report.

Now riding KTM 1290SA; previously BMW K1200R, Brute 910R, Brute750S, BMWR1150GS, Honda VFR800, YamahaXJ650, Honda400/4, HondaCB360 and more
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-13-2010, 01:54 AM
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Incredible, great stuff...what else is there better than a man on a bike on an open ride and his bare essentials strapped to his Brute?? Bliss...nice work!


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