Dave Got a KLR 650

The big news this past week is that Dave bought a motorcycle, a 2006 Kawasaki KLR 650, the same model and year that I have. This is a very good thing, as we can bring one set of backup parts for long rides, and we will both be more likely to know how to fix problems with each other’s bikes. Here they are, with Wisch’s Suzuki DR 650, before we got them muddy on Sunday:

truk and Dave with the KLR 650s

We rode for about 3 hours on Sunday in Crittenden County, just over the Mississippi River from Memphis. I wanted to show the guys something interesting I found a month or so ago, which is the exit point for the original automobile traffic bridge over the Mississippi for the area. It is located right next to I-55, on a old railroad bridge where they bolted steel girders onto the bridge and covered them with huge wooden planks almost the size of railroad crossties. You can’t see any wood in this shot (it has all rotted away), but you can see what remains of the bridge as it arches up and prepares to go east over the river and toward Memphis.

Original Memphis Road Bridge

It was a beautiful day to go riding, needless to say. We ran into a really nice guy from Midtown out riding on the dirt roads with his girlfriend, and he took us to a nice spot opposite Memphis, evenly between the I-40 and I-55 bridges, almost even with the end of Mud Island. We all enjoyed the view of downtown, and while the river was rising, it almost looks so calm as to be swimable.

Here’s a shot of Wisch and the scene across the river, back toward Memphis.

Wisch and the Memphis Skyline

Here’s Dave before I accidentally sprayed him with mud from my back tire as we were leaving that place. (Sorry about that Dave…)

Dave and the Memphis Skyline

We got deeper into the mud that afternoon, going all of the way from I-55 to a road north of Marion entirely on dirt (well, dirt, mud, deep puddles, and lots of fallen, wet leaves). The ride was challenging but rewarding, and we all got adequately lost and dirty. We ended up taking a rest in Marion before heading back over the I-40 bridge back to Memphis.

Hanging Out in Marion

If only Big John’s had been open.

If you are looking to read about an incredible adventure motorcycle trip, please read their ADV Rider thread. Yes, I know it is over a hundred pages long, but the hours spent will be worth it. If you only have 10 minutes, just read a few pages, perhaps of their ride from this summer. In summary, some truly crazy (and very brave) guys traveled from Poland to Magadan in Eastern Siberia in 2007, and this year, they explored a big chunk of Eastern Siberia, usually without even the benefit of roads. They didn’t let the isolation of the area, or the bears, or the lack of fuel or spare parts, stand in their way. This looks to be an amazing adventure, and they are still publishing pics from the summer ride daily.

A Gravel Road, Western Tipton County, and a Couple of Motorcycles

Hey, what is this? A post that has nothing to do with Italy? Crazy! Yes, I know, but I did something pretty fun today that had nothing to do with Italy, so I thought I would write about it.

After dealing with a bad cold the past couple of days and being notified that my Advanced Motorcycle Safety Class was canceled today (not enough people signed up), I headed north with Wisch to clear my head. We ended up exploring a large swath of western Tipton County, the county north of Shelby County, where Memphis is located. (Here is a map of the area where we spent most of our time.)

Some of the best roads were around Herring Hill Road (which is partially gravel), Pryor Road, and Coon Valley Road (which is almost entirely gravel). This picture may be the first one of me with my 2006 Kawasaki KLR 650, which I’ve had since May.

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Wisch took this while we were on the Richardson Landing boat ramp, which currently ends in a very low Mississippi River. This is a shot of Wisch on his Suzuki DR650.

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Note the clearly superior riding gear. I’ve really got to get a light, bright jacket with armor sewn into the joints. What isn’t clear in this photo is Wisch’s equally clearly superior riding skill, but someday I’ll get a movie of one of his trademark wheelies and prove it to the world. His skill on the superbike track is already pretty well known.

Perhaps one of the most strangely beautiful sights I’ve seen recently is how this little road twists and turns through an area completely overgrown with kudzu. Yes, everything except the trees, the sky, and the road in this photo is kudzu.

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All in all, a very fun ride, one with several other small roads that we left to explore another day.