Jeff's 2013 UP 300 Rider of the Year Adventure and Award!
Jeff decided to abandon the shop for a couple of weeks this fall and take a much needed vacation. Of course he did it on a motorcycle and took a 3-week ride back to Michigan and the Moose Racing sponsored UP 300 on his big KTM990 Adventure.
The UP 300 is an industry invitation only event where 90% of the attendees brought their dirt bikes to enjoy the many OHV areas on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A few diehards like Jeff rode to the event on their dual-sport or adventure bikes and rode a couple of planned dual-sport routes and even made one of their own when the Moose routes were not challenging enough. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is bounded on the north by Lake Superior, on the east by St. Mary's River, on the south by Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and on the west by Wisconsin and (counting the water border on Lake Superior) by Minnesota. This peninsula has about 1,700 miles of continuous shoreline with the Great Lakes. In addition to all of that, there are approximately another 4,300 inland lakes and 12,000 miles of streams.
It wasn't all riding through the woods and crossing creeks though, there were product showcases and celebrity riders like Dick Burleson, Jeff Fredette, Rodney Smith and Cody Webb to shake hands and have a beer with.
To boot all, much to his great surprise, Jeff was awarded the 2013 Rider of the Year for the UP 300! Seems they were quite impressed by his journey to the event and continuing ride back home. Needless to say, we were very proud of the boss-man! The photo below shows Eric Rogers of Parts Unlimited giving him the plaque that will be in the shop until the same event next year, when he has to give it to the next recipient.
Jeff was kind enough to keep an trip diary of the journey on the DRRiders.com forum (Click here to read the entire thread on the forum).
Now that you have a bit of background, without further ado, below are some of the better excerpts and photos from that thread for your reading pleasure.
"Here's my latest route plan. 18 states and one province."
"Yeah, I'll be on the KTM990 'Trail Whale'. It's a bit better suited for longer trips like this one. I just put the Safari tanks on it - 12+ gallons if you fill them all the way up! That pretty much guarantees only one gas stop per day."
"On the way out of the valley I took Highway 242. It's a locally famous scenic drive but as a motorcycle road it easily compares with the "Dragon" over on the other side of the country."
"An alder tree farm near Umatilla. There were miles of trees all in neat rows."
"The Moose event will have some planned routes for trail rides and some ADV loops staging out of Marquette on the UP. If I make good enough time getting there I'll loop up into Canada, go around Lake Superior and roll into Marquette from the east." (below is a map of the Michigan Upper Peninsula for reference.)
"Eastern Montana is BIG. I've been riding all day and I'm still in the middle of it."
"One thing I didn't figure on. If I did run into really nasty weather there is NO SHELTER. No place to hide. No alternative route. We were talking about the possibility of bad weather before I left and my buddy says - head for an overpass and get under it. I haven't seen an overpass since I left Great Falls 300 miles back."
"The North Dakota folks have a different standard for what constitutes a curvy road."
"After Missoula I headed over the continental divide and toward Great Falls. I guess it's all downhill from here."
"Minnesota is like riding through a park. Trees, green grass, ponds and lakes everywhere. Stumbled onto an old railroad grade that is being used as an OHV trail."
"Made it a short day today. Slid into my motel in International Falls just as the rain hit. Uneventful day today, except for the short conversation I had with a county sheriff about Minnesota speed limits."
"As far as I can tell Canada is at least 60% water."
"So I've been riding around the north shore of Lake Superior for a day and a half. It's amazing how few places there are to actually see the lake."
"White River, Ontario. This is the birthplace of the original Winnie the Pooh. Winnie is apparently short for Winnipeg. I am not kidding. Look it up. Winnie the Pooh is another famous Canadian that you never knew was from Canada!" (Click here to read about Pooh!)
"Only one pic today. A 2 track through the UP woods."
"Moose sponsors this trail ride which they call the 'UP 300'. No idea what the 300 refers to. It is 2 days of open riding on the OHV area south of Marquette Michigan. Some of us on dualsport/adventure bikes did a couple of loops around the area."
"The day was stunningly beautiful. Gary (on the far right) insisted we stop in 4 different places and hike to the Lake Superior shore to look at the view."
"I sure had a good time riding with the industry guys. The general consensus of the dual sport riders was that the DS loops they had laid out for us were too short and too tame. So on Tuesday, since I had the GPS I was elected to lead and find a bigger, more entertaining loop. Following along was Jeff Reid who is the public face for Continental tires riding a Triumph Tiger and Dan Fitch who is the public face for Moose Racing riding a KLR. We did about 130 mile loop and found rocky 2-track, dirt road smooth like a freshly groomed flattrack, bumpy gravel and some twisty pavement that had frost heaves as big as water bars. You could catch air off some of them! Sorry, only one pic as I was busy riding. Dan may have got a couple. I'll post them up if he sends them to me."
"That ride went great until about 5 miles from the staging area at the county fairgrounds when the big KTM started running on one cylinder. While I'm thinking WTF? Jeff rides up next to me pointing down at my bike. Gas is gushing out the airbox overflow. Luckily, it only took about 15 minutes for Jeff and Dan to ride on it and grab Jeff's trailer. It was a nice day to be stuck at the side of the road. Back at the hotel I tore it apart and found a pinhole in the hose that feeds the throttle bodies."
"In this pic I am twisting the hose to make the hole open up. You can't see any sign of it otherwise. No obvious damage. I have to assume it was just a flaw in the hose that finally let go. I was unbelievably lucky that it went when and where it did. It could have been a lot worse!"
"I spent a couple hours this morning talking to the guys at Barkers Performance Exhaust. I am, of course, lobbying them to work out a maintenance free muffler design for the DR (and other bikes). If anything comes of it y'all will be the first ones to know."
"Left the Upper Peninsula this morning. Rain, rain, rain the whole way to the Mackinaw bridge. No side trips. I just put my head down and got 400 miles behind me. Staying in Caseville. This place is a pleasant surprise. Had a good dinner at the Riverside Roadhouse. My motel has a path down to the beach. Here's the sunset over Saginaw Bay Lake Huron."
"Looks like another rain day. Big storm over Missouri and Illinois heading straight for me. On the plus side, once I get through it I should have clear sailing for a few days. By the way Intellicast is awesome for tracking weather systems." (Click here to check it out yourself.
"Long day today. 5 states and 500 miles. I zigzagged through southern Michigan and made a detour into Ohio just to say I did it. I stopped by the Western Power Sports warehouse in Ashley Indiana and picked up a tire I ordered. I'm gonna need it soon. Ashley is the birthplace of the smiley face. From there I bee-lined west through Amish country."
"I met up with 'mxrob' this afternoon. We had a good chat. No pics but you can imagine it easily enough. A busy brew pub in a nice old downtown building. 2 guys (solidly in the DR riding demographic) drinking dark beer and eating salads. Ha Ha... First, some background. Grand Rapids is having this big downtown 'Artsie Fartsie' event. Traffic is thick and parking is tough. I end up parking the bike in a big parking garage a few blocks from the pub. This is good as it is threatening to rain and it's nice to leave the bike in a covered place. Just as we were finishing up I realize I've left my wallet in my jacket which is locked to the bike. The jacket is secure but the wallet sure isn't so I run off to grab it (I'm buying ya know). This would be the perfect opportunity to leave Rob stuck with the bill. (Which probably occurred to him as I was hurrying back to the bike hoping someone hadn't rifled through the pockets.) I could have been half way to Kalamazoo by the time Rob gave up waiting on me and paid the tab. Anyhow, I came back and we each had another beer to celebrate having averted a minor disaster."
"Click your ruby riding boots together and say 'there's no place like home.'"
"Another big mileage day - Iowa City to Valentine Nebraska. 540 miles. I was not intending to do big days like the last couple but in spite of the rather pretty countryside there isn't much to slow down to see. It's all nice but all pretty much the same too and doesn't look much different at 50 than it does at 90. The big KTM and I are bonding nicely. It's actually very much like a well set up but supersized DR. It just eats up what ever you throw at it. Rocky jeep road - sure. Sandy dirt - OK. Superslab - yep. Finally a scenic stop. The Niobrara river in northern Nebraska."
"Some guys I ride with will be shocked by this. I was on the bike before sun up this morning. It was a glorious day."
"I've been packing the replacement since Indiana looking for the right time and place to take care of it. In Rapid City, SD I found just the spot. Shady side of a building. Wire spool to use as a table. An old pallet will be way better than breaking down the tire on the ground. There's even a gas station/convenience store right next door with free air."
"With the tire chore out of the way I headed on out to Mount Rushmore."
"Continuing on with the sightseeing theme I rode north to the Devil's Tower. A nice lady tourist (and motorcycle fan) took my picture in front of the monument. Note the UFO hovering around the top."
"I spent most of the day Tuesday with the great guys at Wolfman Luggage. They bought me a great lunch and we talked motorcycles, business and about new things we both have in the works. The view from their offices looks like this."
"Today was maybe the worst day of riding (weather wise) that I've ever done. It started out with 40 mph gusting crosswinds for about 100 miles. They are repaving a big stretch of I-80 so had all the eastbound traffic was running in the left westbound lane. All those trucks going the other way and the hellacious crosswind made for a white knuckle ride. Just past Rock Springs I caught up with the rain. The rain eventually turned to wet snow. Here I'm hiding under an overpass looking for more layers to put on."
"Coming over the mountains just east of Salt Lake City. In better conditions this would be a real fun road. What little I could see looked really pretty too."
"I had a great and productive visit with the folks at Warp9. That took a big part of the day so I didn't get out of SLC until almost 3:00. Today was a pretty short ride. Just 130 miles to Wendover. I got off of I-80 and onto what used to be the main highway before the interstate went in. This road no longer gets any maintenance. This road no longer gets any maintenance."
"Several folks warned me about the big rains that have been pounding Oregon so I decided to stay south and head toward Cedarville, Calif."
"Northern California between Alturas and Tulelake."
"I rode a total of 7124 miles through:
- North Dakota
- Ontario, Canada
- South Dakota
Got to meet and socialize with some famous riders:
- Dick Burlson
- Jeff Fredette
- Rodney Smith
- Cody Webb
Had productive meetings with vendors:
- Parts Unlimited
- Moose Racing
- Continental Tires
- Barker's Exhaust
- Wolfman Luggage