Alright… hello adventure riders and motorcycle enthusiasts! Today, I want to talk to you about the PackTalk Slim by Cardo, for which I’ve recently had the opportunity to conduct a thorough review of how the system works.
So I was given a unit to demo on my KLIM Krios helmet. This particular helmet had not yet been tested for compatibility with fitment. The Cardo folks just weren’t sure if it would work with my helmet, so they went out on a limb to see if it would.
I received the unit in the mail and immediately started installing it. The installation process was pretty easy with only a slight hiccup and that was getting the wire placement the way my nitpicking brain wanted it. What makes this different than the other units is the fact that it has a separate battery and communicator module. The communicator fits on the side of the helmet like any other unit, but is super thin and streamlined, while the battery module sits on the rear section of the helmet. This adds a superior balance, in my opinion, and makes it so much more comfortable to use while riding for extended times.
The unit fits very well with just a slight gap on the communicator module backside. I am willing to state that Cardo could just list the unit as compatible with the Krios helmet on their website, but I will leave that up to them.
My next step was getting it charged. Normally, I would update the unit with the latest software, but I wanted to test it right out of the box. I hopped on a plane and arrived in California. Once there, I jumped on a brand new BMW R2018 GSA. It took me less than five minutes to figure out how to pair my phone with the PackTalk Slim. I headed off and I spent four wonderful days riding around California to test out the unit in various terrains. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity to take advantage of the DMC technology for communication with other riders. However, upon my return home, I was able to connect with my local riding group and take advantage of this feature.
While riding in California, I streamed music and took full advantage of the natural voice feature, which allowed me to say, “Hey Siri” for my list of full iPhone commands. It should also be mentioned that it works for “Hey Google” as well.
The battery life far exceeded my expectations. I went roughly a day and half between charges. The manual states that the battery will last up to 13 hours and I believe that to be factual. Perhaps if I was running with 15 riders on DMC, it might drain quicker, but I don’t ever plan on riding 13 hours in a day.
Another great feature is that you can have a private conversation with someone in your group using the PackTalk Slim. For example, I sometimes ride two-up and if we are connected with 13 other PackTalk units, I might want to have a quick private conversation with my passenger or perhaps someone else in the group. When the private conversation is over, we can hear and speak to everyone again with a simple click of a button. I’m also able to stream music to other riders or easily tune to FM channels in the area where I’m riding. The unit has universal connectivity, so if you are riding with a buddy who loves their Sena and another buddy who loves their eBay special, you can all be connected! No more hating on each others’ communication systems because they don’t pair.
The only downside I see, which is more of a personal issue, is that the Slim is unable to be switched to another helmet without a hassle. Since I ride multiple bikes and some helmets are used for specifics like Moto Vlogging or riding my dirt bike, I wish I could easily pop out the unit and pop it into another helmet. I should mention that I have four helmets, which is overkill, I know, but they are like underwear for me and somedays I just want some lace…
Overall, I’m extremely impressed with this unit and how easy it is to control the features. The learning curve is super fast unlike some of the other models. I will be keeping the Slim on my primary long distance touring helmet for sure!
Till next time ride safe and I will see you out on the road!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #askforcardo, #bmwmotorrad, #motorcycle, #xladv, 2WheelAdv, Cardo, PackTalk, R1200 GS, R1200 GSA by admin with .
What better way to start off a new year than with a set of new motorcycle tires for the upcoming riding season?!
I bring you my latest semi long-term test review of the Motoz Tractionator GPS tires. I equipped these tires on my 2014 BMW R1200 GSA back in August, 2017 and set my sights on some curvy roads. My goal was to challenge these tires in wet/slick conditions and determine their cornering abilities. I packed my bags and headed north to Lorton, VA and started my way down through the Shenandoah National Park. I got exactly what I wished for because it rained non-stop for the next several days.
Besides the rain, the leaves were changing colors and falling off; thus, providing me with an even greater challenge of riding untested tires on curvy roads, in wet conditions, and also on a leafy surface!
Having had 30k miles of experience with the direct competitor (Heideanu K60 Scouts), I wanted to focus on identifying the riding characteristics of the Tractionator GPS tires in comparison. I have always heard rumors about the K60 Scouts being slippery as hell on wet roads and never thought much of it, as I drive all the time in torrential Florida rain and had never experienced an issue. It wasn’t until my recent trip to Alaska, riding two-up on a straight road to Kennicot, that I fishtailed and fully understood the slippery horror others using the K60 Scouts had experienced before me. With pure luck and cheeks puckered, I managed to keep us upright and push on.
With that experience in mind, I continued on to the Blue Ridge Parkway to further test the handling of the Tractionator GPS tires. Getting used to them and feeling more confident, I made my way down to the bottom of famous Tail of the Dragon. I started my first run moderately and pushed harder on the following runs.
Check out my YouTube video from Tail of the Dragon:
The Tractionator GPS tires claim to be 50/50 with an option of the rear tire being reversed for even more traction off-road. I would rate them as a solid 60/40 road configured and a 50/50 off-road configured.
What I can tell you is that these tires perform well in all conditions with the possible exception of ice since I tend to stay away from frigid temps if I can help it. They are by no means a full road tire or hardcore motocross tire, but rather are a good all around adventure tire for those seeking the ability to jump on and off the road with confidence. I managed to rack up just under 4,000 miles and the Tractionator GPS tires show no signs of wearing out anytime soon. If I had a crystal ball, I would estimate these will last a total of 8-10k miles on the rear.
Motoz Tractionator GPS – Front $139; Rear $210
Heideanu K60 – Front $154-195; Rear $189-285
For years, consumers have had limited tire choices for the larger displacement motorcycles which offer both on-road and off-road manners. The Motoz Tractionator GPS tires are a win in my book and I will continue to use them for my long distance adventure travels.
For more product information, click the link below:
Till next time, ride safe and keep adventuring!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #adventure, #bmwmotorrad, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #motorcycle, #xladv, BMW R1200 GSA, motoz, Motoz Tractionator GPS, R1200GS by admin with .
As Mrs. 2wheeladv, I am #blessed with the opportunity to travel the world two-up, and have also had the privilege to start testing out some gear of my own! What better time to do so than on the 2017 Arctic Circle or Bust Tour?
I traveled for a total of 2.5 weeks and spent 12ish days on the back of the Beemer. I took in the breathtaking sights, sounds, and smells of Alaska, The Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, and Montana. It went from freezing cold rain to hotter than the Canadian wildfires, so I had a wide range of experiences.
Rock climbed to the top of a glacier and ticked off a few friends in the meantime? Check.
Rode the Denali Highway in all its dusty glory? Check.
Saw a deer saunter through our campground? Check.
(Deer said, “No pictures, please!”)
Tested out the new Klim TK1200? Double check.
Not gonna lie, it was a bit daunting to test out a new helmet on such a long journey, but it worked out swimmingly with zero regrets.
-Lightweight and did not get caught in the wind (thus, no sore neck). I did not experience wind turbulence as I have with other helmets.
-Great at temp control due to the easy to operate vent adjustments (kept cold air out and cool air flowing during hot days).
-Loved, loved, loved the transition lens (one less screen to have to finagle with and kept my fair skin protected from the sun, as well).
-Chin strap clasp was easy to hook and release in a jiffy, which was much more convenient for me when hopping on and off the bike to see the sights, as compared with the annoying traditional loop and lock strap on the Shoei and most other modular helmets which have cramped my style in the past.
-Quiet helmet when compared to my previous modular helmets.
-Reasonably priced at $599.99, especially considering all of the features that this helmet has to offer.
Cons (which were not really cons, but rather minor, personal preferences):
-Difficult for me to wear my cheap-o earplugs due to the snug fit around the ears/cheekbones when pulling the helmet over my head. It is unclear if the issue would have been improved had I brought along a pair of those fancy, schmancy custom ear plugs like the hubs wears.
-Fogging would have been a major, but fixable, issue in the cold rain if I had been driving (anti fog spray or pin lock would be needed, which I did not bring along on this trip).
Overall, it is a versatile helmet and is also good looking too. 😉
Till next time, ride safe!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #adventure, #bmwmotorrad, #klim, #klimgear, #klimlife, #klimwoman, #motorcycle, #TK1200, #travel by admin with .
It can be tricky to find great gear, and it is expensive to buy and test out different products only to find that the gear does not work for you. I am hopeful that this review will save you some cash by helping to provide you with valuable insight with an informed rider’s point of view instead of the usual, “this is awesome, buy it” sales pitch.
Here’s my take on it:
I recently acquired the full Kodiak suit and embarked on an 8,200 mile journey, which started in Tacoma, WA. I headed north to Prudhoe Bay, AK, and eventually ended my journey at the 2017 BMW MOA Rally in Salt Lake City, UT.
I was able to test this suit in a wide array of climates ranging from windy and chilly while far north and at high altitudes (30 degrees), to hotter than than the Canadian wildfires (90 degrees or more), as well as straight through the dreaded, nonstop Alaskan RAIN (for 700 miles-ish).
One of the exciting things about taking this suit on the trip was that it was a newly released model, and I had not tested this suit prior to leaving for Alaska. I was betting four weeks of my comfort and protection vastly on KLIM’s reputation for producing quality, high-end motorcycle gear.
I was able to use three layers to control the temperature comfort of the jacket when needed. However, you will need to keep in mind that this is more of a form-fitting jacket so if you’re beefy (which I am not at 6’1” and 175 lbs.), you will be limited on the layers. The pants provided plenty of room for three layers; although, I only needed to use one layer on my trip.
Since the jacket is more form fitting, it cuts down on the extra weight and bagginess. When compared to my Badlands Pro using my very advance weight scale (holding one jacket in each hand), it feels a ton lighter.
The suit lives up to the slogan, “guaranteed to keep you dry.” Several days in a row, I experienced hundreds of miles of relentless rain. Each time I would stop for a break, I would check my under layer for leakage. To my surprise, I was dry each and every time!
The one and only flaw that I noticed with this jacket while riding in the rain was that the cuffs do not open very wide, and thus, I could not tuck my heated gloves inside the jacket which caused them to become wet on the inside.
The protection aspect of the Kodiak was exceptional and what I have come to expect from KLIM’s gear range.
At first, I was a little skeptical of the durability on the leather inserts for the knee area and elbows. In the past, I have traditionally ridden with my Badlands Pro suit which has endured huge amounts of abuse, but has kept on chugging. It turns out that the leather on the Kodiak is pretty darn durable. While on this trip, I had to change my buddy’s tires several times and was worried that the leather would get damaged while working on my knees in the gravel. It held up without any issues. Another first-hand experience of the suit’s durability and injury protection is when I flew off of my R1200 GSA during an off-road, downhill section and landed pretty hard. Of course, this was not on purpose. I joked that I would be filing a police report so I could get my gear replaced, but after washing it, I could not find any damage to my suit (nor to myself, besides perhaps my ego)!
The video from that crash is linked below:
Whether you are city riding or embarking on an epic touring adventure, this is, in my opinion, one of the best suits currently on the market for functionality, fit, and protection. I find the jacket looks great on and off the bike. I can ride to my local Starbucks, jump off the bike and still look good while sipping my iced grande Caramel Macchiato.
As a final thought, if you are in the market for a new suit, first consider your riding style and seek out the gear that best suits it. If you don’t know your riding style, start riding more! As for me and my recent adventure, this suit takes the cake.
Till next time, ride safe!
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmotorrad, #klim, #motorcycle by admin with .
Below, I have included specifications from KLIM for the Kodiak:
KLIM’s Kodiak: The Touring Survival System
Engineered to bring a more refined fit to the KLIM lineup, the Kodiak collection enters the touring world in a sleek and tailored style built for abuse. Featuring fully armored KLIM Technology to battle the weather, abrasion and travel’s most troublesome obstacles, KLIM’s Kodiak is the high-mileage touring king.
Designed for riders looking for the ultimate in precision fit, Kodiak is built on a base of GORE-TEX® Pro Shell GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® main body fabric. Integrated perforated leather overlays in high-abrasion zones add functional style while muted corporate branding finishes the rugged and durable look. Functionality is the core of any KLIM product and the Kodiak has more than most. Each piece comes equipped with genuine YKK® zippers, D3O® CE-rated level two armor, intelligent ventilation ports and functional cargo carrying pockets. Each piece also features Black 3M™ Scotchlite™ reflective material.
Kodiak is a name that should be taken seriously. As one of the most remote regions of the American frontier, it has a wild and unforgiving reputation. KLIM built the world’s most functional and aggressively tailored touring apparel to honor this region. After all, in Kodiak, there is no pretending or hiding behind claims. Out there, it’s simply perform or perish. And KLIM is riding on.
•GORE-TEX® PRO SHELL
•GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY®
•PERFORATED LEATHER OVERLAYS ON SHOULDERS AND ELBOWS
• MUTED TONAL BRANDING
•D3O®CE LEVEL 2 ELBOW ARMOR
•D3O®CE LEVEL 2 SHOULDER ARMOR
•D3O®CE LEVEL 2 BACK PAD
•SPACER MESH CHEST PADDING
• 2 EXTERNAL CHEST POCKETS
• 2 EXTERNAL HAND POCKETS
• 2 INTERNAL ZIPPERED POCKETS
• 2 INTERNAL OPEN STASH POCKETS
• 1 EMERGENCY INFO CARD POCKET ON FOREARM
• 1 HIDDEN PASSPORT POCKET IN LINING
• 1 GPS TRACKER POCKET ON CHEST
• 1 WATER RESISTANT NAPOLEAN POCKET
• BLACK 3M™ SCOTCHLITE™ REFLECTIVE MATERIAL
• 2 CHEST VENTS
• 2 SIDE VENTS
• 2 BACK VENTS
• 2 BICEP VENTS
• 2 FOREARM VENTS
• SNAP BACK COLLAR
• ACTION BACK TAILORING
• REMOVABLE INTERNAL KIDNEY BELT
• ADJUSTABLE ARM STRAPS
• JACKET-TO-PANT CONNECTION
• GORE-TEX® PRO SHELL
• GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY®
• PERFORATED LEATHER OVERLAYS
• YKK® ZIPPERS
• MUTED TONAL BRANDING
• D3O® CE LEVEL 2 HIP ARMOR
• D3O® CE LEVEL 2 KNEE ARMOR
• SLIDER SYSTEM TO HOLD D3O® IN PLACE
• PORON® XRD® TAILBONE ARMOR
• 2 CARGO POCKETS
• BLACK 3M™ SCOTCHLITE™ REFLECTIVE MATERIAL
• 2 FRONT THIGH INTAKE VENTS
• 2 BACK THIGH EXHAUST VENTS
• ELASTIC BACK WAISTBAND
• REMOVEABLE KLIM® SUSPENDERS INCLUDED
• JACKET-TO-PANT CONNECTION
KLIM® Technical Riding Gear is a global leader in designing, developing, sourcing and distributing the most advanced powersports apparel for the snowmobile, motorcycle and off-road rider. Utilizing the world’s highest technologies in waterproof, breathable, durable and comfortable materials, like GORE-TEX® products, KLIM® offers gear for the most demanding riders. Driven by the continual feedback and input from dedicated test pilots and passionate customers, KLIM® strives to do one thing above all – improve the riding experience without compromise. For more information, visit www.KLIM.com.
*All images have been provided by KLIM.
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmoa, #bmwmotorrad, #explore, #klim, #klimgear, #klimlife, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #spiritofgs, #xladv by admin with .
2016 Honda CRF250L
Awesome Bike Build for Less
I picked up the CRF250L back in October and immediately started researching and reaching out to companies who I wanted to be a part of the build list. I attended the AIMExpo in hopes of landing some contacts with companies who wanted to make this happen. Everything seemed to be going well… I had parts ranging from oil all the way up to exhaust lined up. I went home from the show feeling confident this was going to happen. I called and emailed my newfound contacts, but to my surprise, all I got were crickets. I mean nothing, not even a call back or a reply to my emails.
Seeing that I wanted to get the CRF250L build done sooner rather than later, I used the power of Google and eBay to shop around for parts. In the long run, it probably turned out better doing it this way, as the bike was more personalized.
My parts build list & cost:
Race Tech complete suspension upgrade – Retail: $1215, discount: $940 (http://www.racetech.com)
Seat Concepts comfort seat – Retail: $279, discount: $250 (http://www.seatconcepts.com/store/)
Precision rear rack – Retail: $94 (http://www.pmracks.com)
Cyclops LED headlight – Retail: $65, discount: $59 (https://www.rockymountainatvmc.com)
Hammer Head folding shifter – Retail: $46, discount: $29 (http://soloracer.com/dualsportparts.html)
FMF Q4 exhaust – Retail: $390, discount: $292 (http://www.eBay.com)
FMF Megabomb header – Retail: $275, discount: $218 (http://www.eBay.com)
Barkbuster “Jet” hand guards – Retail: $85 (http://www.pmracks.com)
Digital voltage meter – $5 (http://www.eBay.com)
Battery tender – Retail: $12, discount: $8 (http://www.eurocyclesoftampabay.com)
Glyde by Gerbing heated auxiliary plug – Free (I had a spare)
Flatlands Racing bash guard – Retail: $110, discount: $100 (http://www.CRFonly.com)
Flatlands Racing radiator guard – Retail: $60, discount: $50 (http://www.CRFonly.com)
Labor on Rach Tech install – $200
FMF Carbon Heat Shield – Retail: $90, discount: 70 (http://www.Rockymountainatv.com)
Total retail: $2,926, total w/discounts: $2,400
Honda vs. Yamaha vs. KTM:
You might ask why I didn’t buy the Yamaha WR250R or a KTM? Well, it’s very simple actually… Cost vs. reward. I knew going into this that I wanted a specific set of options. The Honda CRF250L was OTD at $5,500, w/options $7,900, whereas the Yamaha WR250R was $8,200 OTD, w/options approximately $10,600, and the KTM from a 250-350 was going to be around $9,000 OTD.
KTM makes a great product, but I’m not into servicing the bike every other weekend and wanted to focus on keeping the cost down. The Yamaha was also a nice bike, but by adding the options that would have been required to make it acceptable to me performance wise, it would have put the build at $10,600! I might as well buy a KTM 690 at this point. The CRF250L vs. WR250R torque and HP is comparable at stock.
The CRF250L base has a claimed 23hp and 16lbs of torque. After my install of the FMF, it added approximately 4hp without the programer or airbox mod. The FMF also removed approximately 8lbs of added weight over the stock which helps balance out the radiator guard and bash plate addition.
So, taking the performance data and cost as well as knowing the superior round the world reliability, can you see why I went with the Honda CRF250L? Multi-purpose dual sport for $8,000 or spend $2,000 more to ride blue and be butt hurt wishing I had a just bought the 690 KTM.
The build did not take any real technical skill except installing the front suspension. I wasn’t about to count and measure all the washers needed for the gold valve kit. After speaking with FMF, I decided not to buy the EJK. Their rep was pretty confident that unless my intention was to race this bike, the slight gains would not be worth it. Which I was glad to hear, as I’ve spent all my lunch money by now. The Q4 and Megabomb kit are designed to run effectively with stock programming.
In the end, the bike looks and sounds amazing. Would I buy it again? Absolutely! I have an upcoming trip planned in the mountains of North Georgia to put this bike through its paces.
Until next time,
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmoa, #bmwmotorrad, #explore, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #spiritofgs, #xladv, CRF250L, Honda by admin with .
Hello fellow Adventurers!
So a few months back, I saw an ad come across my Facebook feed for Wilcox Boots with a nice picture of mud, dirt, and the great outdoors! I decided to click on the ad and within a week found a pair at my door step.
The company was originally a Kickstarter design which I thought was pretty cool. What really caught my interest in purchasing these was the well done company video, expressing the quality, handmade workmanship, and “Made in North America” brand.
I was in the need for a good pair of American-made leather boots and these looked like they would fit the bill. The price was on the high end at $190.00, plus shipping, but I decided to take the plunge.
I now emphasize “Made in NORTH America” because I misunderstood the video by assuming the boots are made in the good ole’ USA. I later found out the footbed was made in Connecticut and the boots were made in Mexico.
Initially, I was pretty upset and almost sent the boots back because I really wanted to support the American workforce. However, I decided to put them on and was instantly blown away by the glove like feel on the interior and comfort of the footbed. They come pre-waxed which aids in the waterproofness and smooth finish.
I have since spent many days and long hours in these boots, which included roughly 10 hours straight walking around the 2016 AIMExpo. I can say these are the most comfortable boots I have ever owned. The quality and workmanship is second to none. With new designs and colors coming out, I know these will not be my last pair!
In the end, I’m extremely happy with my purchase and highly recommend them for anyone looking for a great all around boot!
Below is a link to the site and they have provided a coupon code “2wheeladv” for 25% off.
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmoa, #bmwmotorrad, #explore, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #spiritofgs, #xladv by admin with .
All aboard the KLIM KRIOS train!
Several months ago, I had the opportunity to meet one of the KLIM Regional Managers who happened to be at my local dealership (EuroCycles Of Tampa Bay). After checking out some of the new products coming in, I was asked about providing my input on a review regarding the new helmet they would be releasing soon.
Of course, I said I would be glad to, but did I actually think I would receive the helmet? Eh… 50/50. However, true to their word, the UPS man arrived a few weeks later and left a brand new Klim Krios Karbon helmet at my door.
After unboxing the helmet and looking over the features, I turned to my wife and told her to go pack for a camping trip!
My initial impressions of this helmet was that it’s super light, looks awesome, and has an easily interchangeable face shield. Included inside the box was the dark tinted shield.
We packed the R1200GSA and headed north to Helen, GA, through Deal’s Gap, around to Gatlinburg, TN and finally had to head back down south to Florida. I acquired approximately 1400 miles in total with the Krios and my longest day was roughly 550 miles, not to mention we were two-up.
With this helmet only weighing approximately 3.25 lbs, and being almost a pound lighter then my older helmet (Shoei Hornet X2), it was a considerably noticeable difference. In the past, due to a old injury, I would feel neck and shoulder fatigue within an hour or so of riding. Not the case with the Krios. Its low weight and well thought out peak design helps eliminate excess pulling from wind and diverts it to the open cutouts which in turn, either force air into the helmet for ventilation or create a stabilizer as it passes to the rear spoiler.
If I could change two things, it would be to add a windscreen opening on the right side, and to be able to raise the windscreen just a crack to add additional venting when in serious humidity.
All in all, I think this helmet was well thought out, looks good, and priced very reasonable at $549.99, which is well below what I believe it could sell for.
They have a transition lens as an option, and the ability to equip a Sena 10U headset, which is made specifically for the Krios. Currently two color schemes are available including, Element Matte White and Stealth Matte Black. Klim will be soon releasing several other color options which look pretty awesome!
I want to give a big thanks to Dustin and the staff at KLIM for making this happen!
If you have further questions about the Krios, hit me up! Until next time…
Posted in Gear Review & Thoughts and tagged #bmwmoa, #bmwmotorrad, #explore, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #niagarafallstourismcanada, #spiritofgs, #xladv by admin with .
Happy Fall Y’all! It’s the better half of 2wheeladv, back to share about our most recent trip 2-up.We started out the Autumn Solstice with a little motorcycle ride up I-75 through hell, er… Florida, which has not quite gotten the Fall memo yet.
Once we caught sight of the mountains in North Georgia, the temperature significantly dropped and we started to enjoy ourselves. We came upon a fabulous creamery/ice cream shop which caught up with me and my lactose intolerance not long afterwards. I confess and repent of my foodie sins as this trip completely blew my non-dairy, gluten-free diet.
We made our way to Helen, GA, and celebrated the first official day of Oktoberfest with a beer and pretzel. Not much else to taste that evening since the town center was hoppin’ (quite literally), but everything else shut down early.
Following such badassery, we made our way to the lovely Gatlinburg, TN. We glamped in a hotel that night due to the rain and sipped on some delicious blackberry wine after tacos. The server loved the Klim Krios so much that he gave the helmets their own table.
We returned to the Sunshine State the following day, but not without encountering a religious zealot at a Burger King. That’s middle GA for you. This licensed mental health counselor had to keep it moving in order to practice what I preach (tolerance, non-violence, etc.).
Posted in Travel, Weekend getaways and tagged #bmwmoa, #bmwmotorrad, #explore, #madeforadventure, #makelifearide, #niagarafallstourismcanada, #spiritofgs, #xladv by admin with .
Longest adventure yet two-up! Written by 2wheeladv’s better half.
Could not have picked a better week to leave the country this past month with all of the political nonsense coming to a head, and story after story of senseless violence. We were reminded to go back to the basics on this trip, yet also enjoyed the finer things life has to offer and each other’s company, of course.
Our trip began with some Florida friends and a trip to good ol’ Cracker Barrel for some breakfast ham and hash brown casserole. We made our way over to Sanford for the Auto Train and made it there with plenty of time to spare, but then the train was 4-5 hours late so we had plenty of time to wait.
Good thing us GS riders can be spotted without question, for at the train station we met up with several new friends, waited together, and made a party out of it to boot. A little shady gas station trip later with our shuttle driver and personal body guard, we had some cheap wine and beer to go along with our pizza delivery.
Prior to boarding the train, we indulged in some local fried chicken and biscuits, courtesy of Amtrak, and continued on our journey of breaking every diet rule we have been trying to follow since New Year’s Day.
Minus the ridiculously long delay, the train ride to Virginia was smooth and we had a great night’s rest.
Once we disembarked, we followed some friends on a scavenger hunt for GS Giants, but after a while, the stop and go became too cumbersome with two-up and a fully loaded bike, so we did our own thing.
We made our way through the countryside of Pennsylvania, which is now one of my top places I must explore more in depth my lifetime. I picked out my farm at the top of a hill and dreamed about moving my fur babies there, plus several horses, cute little pigs, maybe a llama, goats, chickens… oh, and perhaps the husband. 😉
Interestingly enough, the scavenger riders ended up staying out the same hotel as us, just by the PA/NY line, which was unplanned and somewhat creepy, but as I said earlier, one can spot a GS rider, and apparently a certain pair of Florida GS riders, without question.
The following day, we rose early and continued on our way through the Allegany Mountains of New York. It was a lovely ride with perfectly moderate weather, and lots of sun. We rode all the way to Toronto.
Toronto was a mind blowing city to ride through on a motorcycle, and the traffic was unreal, no matter the time of day. Toronto has so many skyscrapers that there are at least 3 main parts of the city. We checked out the BMW shop in Toronto, which sells both cars and Motorrad. Snooty to say the least, with the exception of one service rep, who reported that their insurance for Motorrad is 10k per year. We checked out the 4th floor Motorrad section then thanked our lucky stars that our insurance rates are much better. Explains why so many people were staring at us!
Had a taste of poutine at Smokes and made our way to the KOA Kampground. No way that we were going to shell out $400/night on a hotel! We bought some Canadian hard apple cider (the first of many), and Canadian candies to snack on and called it a night.
We returned to downtown Toronto in the morning and acted all touristy at the CN Tower after enjoying some coffee and such from Tim Hortons. We also checked out Kensington Market, which is the most extensive farmer’s market we have visited. I convinced the husband to try Kombucha Tea along the way so he could experience what it feels like to be a glorified hipster.
Checked out Budd’s Motorrad on our way south, and the hubs got his hands on the new BMW GS Trophy Helmet, which is not yet available in the U.S. Might have pissed a few people off with that purchase, but the man could not stop himself and I really could not blame him.
Us 2wheeladv-enturers then rode ourselves to the Marriott Fallsview on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. We parked ourselves in a top floor room for several days. Why would want to leave with a Jacuzzi tub and a perfect view of the Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Wednesday evening fireworks?? Ate some overpriced appetizers along the way, and continued our mission to remain a wee bit tipsy on Candian hard apple cider throughout the trip.
We received punishment for our many drinks and poor food choices when it was time to walk everywhere… resorted to paying $4 one-way for the two of us to take a hillside elevator; although, it was not in operation when we attempted to use it to access the Journey Behind the Falls experience. Thus, we enjoyed a brisk walk all the way around the hill at 7:30am.
Next up was Ontario-on-the-Lake. Basically Canadian Wine Country. A pristine town with culture, amazing cheese, and wine. Tried some ice wine and it literally changed my life. Had to make some room in the panniers to bring home some booze. We have our priorities straight for sure.
We then made our way back to the American side and had a nice little chat with some Border Patrol Agents. 😉
Next up was Buffalo, NY. We checked into a Hyatt and then made our way to the MOA Rally in Hamburg, NY. I people watched before deciding it was more my honey’s deal than mine and scheduled a massage for the next morning (which was glorious after riding so much on the back of a motorcycle).
Later on, we dined at Oshun with Aaron from EuroCycles of Tampa Bay and met some more new and old GS friends.
Best meal we had during the trip for sure!
Saturday, husband returned to the rally and hobnobbed with the vendors while I gallivanted with the ladies. Had some delicious coffee at SPoT Coffee in Buffalo, enjoyed the massage, and met “The Man who stopped the Falls.”
For real, his engineering firm stopped the American Falls with a dam in the 70s. The Falls Stopper and his lovely wife took us on a tour of the American side of the Falls and we had burgers at On Top of the Falls.
I reunited with hubby, and our group checked out Anchor Bar, birthplace of the Buffalo Wings. Interestingly enough, their spaghetti was the real winner!
After being accosted by an ununiformed, no ID, and open carry “security officer” in a parking garage, we lived to see the next day, which was mostly a riding day. We rode over 450 miles for Maryland Crab Cakes at Romano’s in Glen Burnie, MD. I had experienced them frozen, but fresh was amazing for sure.
The following morning, we toured DC and made our way back to the Auto Train. Got harrassed again by a man who was loading bikes for Amtrak and clearly took issue with GS riders. We were not the only ones, but at least our train was on-time for the return trip. We rode in coach on the way back, which will never occur again, if I have my way, but made it back to Sunny Florida. Hotter than hell, we stopped at a favorite Mexican spot in San Antonio, FL and finally made it back to our little farm. Not the hilltop one, but I am working on it. We immediately wanted to return to where we came from, where the weather was more moderate and duty did not call, but after settling back in, home did feel sweet after all.
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