Moab 2017 – Preamble

Wow! First post in ages!! And it’s the start of a great series so stay tuned!

Since the middle of 2016, Rob, one of our Run to the Hills riding friends in Edmonton had been after a number of us to make it to Moab, UT in the spring of 2017 for a week of dirt bike riding.

There were a couple of problems with this for us. First, we didn’t have appropriate bikes – my VStrom and Louise’s Triumph Tiger were WAY too heavy for the kind of riding that was envisioned. Second, Louise is still hard at work in April and May and it’s difficult for her to get the time off.  However, I knew it would be a fantastic adventure and something we might otherwise never get to do.

So we decided to go.

First up was setting the date. That took some time but eventually we settled on the first week of May. Then the logistics had to be worked on, like finding a place to stay while in Moab, deciding on when to leave, how long to take to get there, what trailer to use to haul the bikes we didn’t yet have.  Scott found a Vacasa place to stay, we spent an evening on our chat list plotting a route and stops between Edmonton and Moab, and we made hotel reservations.

With these arrangements now made, we figured we’d better get a couple of bikes. In late January, our friend Rob happened upon a Yamaha XT250 in Whitecourt – good condition with low miles. He volunteered to take his trailer out, have a look and if all was good he’d buy it, haul it to Edmonton, and we’d pay him. Short story – Louise wound up the owner of a 2008 XT250.

In the middle of February, I was in Toronto on a business trip when another of our riding friends in Edmonton decided to sell his Suzuki DR650 and buy a VStrom 650. The price on the DR seemed good for the modifications that had been done and so I made the deal on the DR.

With the bikes purchased, we made arrangements with Dan, who has a large enclosed trailer, to go to Edmonton on March 18 and bring the bikes back.

Next up was getting my utility trailer into shape to haul the bikes down to Moab. The 10 year-old Snowbear utility trailer was getting pretty tired, especially the tires and wheel bearings. Louise and I changed out the bearings and put new wheels/tires on, then I added a trailer jack (finally), wheel chocks and tie-downs for the straps.

With the trailer fixed up and ready for the bikes, we loaded them on and figured out spacing and tie-down points.

With the scheduled departure date being April 28, time was starting to run out. Louise had to replace her helmet, so she picked up a Schuberth E1 for a heck of a good price, along with new off-road boots.

We still had to replace the tires on both bikes. The XT250 looked like it had the original tires from 2008 on it, and the tires on the DR650 were pretty worn out. On the DR650 I went with Dunlop D606’s front and back, and on the XT we went with Continental TKC-80’s front and back. Louise picked them up on the weekend before we left and we loaded up the bikes on the trailer and hauled them both to Dan’s place where the tire changing machine is.

Because this is Alberta, before we left, this happened:

Wednesday after the snow melted, I was at Dan’s for tire changing. The tires went off and on just fine on the XT and in short order we were done the first bike. Off the lift, and get the DR on the lift, pull the wheels – we had the process figured out. Until the rear tire, where when we put the new tire onto the wheel, we discovered that the tire was 18″ while the wheel was 17″. No wonder it went on so easy! Anyway it was easily swapped in the morning for the right tire and Dan and I got the new tire on and the wheel remounted on Thursday evening.

Louise had to work on Friday until 3pm, then I’d pick her up at the school and we’d leave for Helena directly from there. So Friday morning and early afternoon I got the Jeep and the trailer packed up and headed off to the school to collect Louise.

Check out the next post for the actual trip!

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