Upcoming Events

The adventure begins…

Riding south into the mountains of Mexico, unsure of what lies ahead.

Riding south into the mountains of Mexico, unsure of what lies ahead.

Upcoming Events

 Beyond Epic

Aug 29- Sep 1, 2014 (Labor Day Weekend)

Ozark Mountains, Arkansas (Clarksville, AR)

Should we cross it?  JT and Jack trying to decide if they want to attempt this river crossing.

Should we cross it? JT and Jack trying to decide if they want to attempt this river crossing.

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Texas Adventure Challenge

Nov 28-29, 2014 (Thanksgiving Weekend)

Austin (Texas Hill country)

Who says a Wee-Strom (Suzuki DL650) can't be ridden off-pavement?  My friend, Jammin' Jerry Powell, rides his both on and off pavement just fine.

Who says a Wee-Strom (Suzuki DL650) can’t be ridden off-pavement? My friend, Jammin’ Jerry Powell, rides his both on and off pavement just fine.

The Texas Adventure Challenge is a two day, 500-600 mile adventure ride through the heart of the Texas hill country.  Suitable for any dual sport or adventure bike, this ride will consist of a 50/50 mix of dirt and pavement riding.  More information will be posted mid-2014.

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Uncle’s Around the Bend Rally

Desert Challenge & Adventure Challenge

Mar 19 – 22, 2015

Terlingua, TX (Big Bend)

Do you think he is having fun?  My friend and the World's Foremost Adventure Dentist, Milton, makes riding in loose sand and silt look easy.

Do you think he is having fun? My friend and the World’s Foremost Adventure Dentist, Milton, makes riding in loose sand and silt look easy.

Ride some of the best roads in Texas. Explore Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, or the Big Bend region.  Test yourself in Uncle’s Desert Challenge ride or Uncle’s Adventure Challenge ride.  This annual adventure is open to all riders.

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 Recent Blog Posts

 

Uncle’s Desert Challenge 2014

Fun on River Road

 

Silt!

 

Yes, that is a tire tool sticking out of the tire. Reason #1 why you shouldn’t drink and mount tires at the same time. :)

 

 

Crossing the Colorado

Over the past two months I have been doing increasing longer rides in preparation for the upcoming Desert Challenge in Big Bend.  This past weekend a group of us got together for a spirited 275 mile ride through the Texas hill country including a low water crossing of the Colorado River at Shaw’s Bend, northeast of San Saba.  Here are a few pics of that crossing.

Rick Miller riding his KTM across the Colorado River.

Scott Ray having fun on his KTM 690.

 

I managed to ride my DRZ400 across without falling down.

 

DRZ seat comfort – a better saddle

While seating comfort is an individual matter – everyone is different and what works for one person will not necessarily be a good choice for another – I appear to be in the majority.  The common observation is that the stock DRZ seat is very uncomfortable to sit on for even short periods of time, an observation that I have found true for me.  I tried two different solutions to make the DRZ comfortable to ride for long periods of time.  Read about it here.

Hill Country Training Ride

Jon Smiley and I went on a 6 hour training ride today to help get me in shape for Uncle’s Desert Challenge in Big Bend on March 7.  I did manage to get a couple of pictures which I thought turned out well.   I handed my camera off to Jon so he could get a picture of me on my DRZ (I rarely get any pictures of myself since I’m always the designated photographer).

Adventure Photos

I just added a page of the better adventure photographs I’ve taken over the years.  If you would like to have a look, here is the link.  Click on any photo and it will take you to a very nice carousel view that you can use to easily scroll through all the photos.

The widest, scariest water crossing in the Texas hill country is this low water crossing of the James River, southwest of Mason, TX.  The rock bottom is covered in algae making it very difficult to ride across.

The widest, scariest water crossing in the Texas hill country is this low water crossing of the James River, southwest of Mason, TX. The rock bottom is covered in algae making it very difficult to ride across.

Should I use hard luggage?

The only shade - Uncle has been around the block a time or two.  He cleverly managed to find the only shade while riding in the desert of northeast Mexico.

The only shade – Uncle has been around the block a time or two. He cleverly managed to find the only shade while riding in the desert of northeast Mexico.

Nothing says adventure quite like a big, multi-cylinder adventure bike with hard luggage mounted.  And if those large aluminum boxes have stickers from various countries it’s even better.  I’ll be candid – I like those big boxes.  The good ones are lockable, waterproof, and dustproof.  The last large adventure bike I owned had those same type of boxes mounted on them.  However, the question isn’t whether you like hard luggage; the question is if hard luggage is an appropriate choice for adventure riding.  I wrote this article to provide you with information you might want to know before making your choice.

DR-Z400S as an Adventure Bike?

John Thompson riding the mighty DRZ in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

John Thompson riding the mighty DRZ in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

When riders think of adventure touring motorcycles they tend to think about 650 class thumpers and multi-cylinder adventure bikes.  Smaller motorcycles, such as the Suzuki DR-Z400S and the Yamaha WR250R, often get passed over due to limited capabilities for long-distance highway riding and for carrying large amounts of luggage.  My question was whether a smaller bike could be modified to make it a viable option as a lightweight adventure touring motorcycle.  In particular I wanted to see if enough improvements could be made to the DR-Z400S so that it could be pressed into duty as a longer distance, lightweight touring mount.  You can read the results of my on-going experiment here.