How it all started …

Actually, that’s not exactly true.  It probably started with my Dad in the 1940s and his 1936 Indian Chief.  But more recently it started in the Spring of 2013 after Gregg posted pictures of a camping/motorcycling trip he took with his son in Canada.  I think I might have said, “We need to take a trip like that.”  To which Gregg replied, “Okay.”  We’d talked about perhaps a ride to Nova Scotia in September or October.

Then it somehow morphed into – let’s ride out to Lance’s (one of Gregg’s brothers – for the record, he has three brothers and is the eldest, I have three sisters and am the youngest) house and all take a ride together.  Gregg was going to be out there (did I mention Lance lives in Hudson, WI which is 1500 miles from where I live?) for Lance’s daughter’s wedding at the end of October anyway … so we figured why not do it then.

first proposed itinerary

Initial suggested route – 6300 miles in three weeks

The next step was for me to get approval to take three consecutive weeks off.  I’ve only been at this job since May of 2012.  With that in the works I started looking in earnest for my “trip bike.”  I have a lovely 1999 Honda Shadow 600VLX but knew that for this ride I was going to need an adventure enduro.  Heaven knows a trip like this with the “Bolton boys” was going to call for more than my faithful Shadow could comfortably carry.

So it seemed I was well on my way of contracting a rather serious case of MBS (multiple bike syndrome).  Over the next several weeks I test rode a 1998 BMW 1100 GSA, a Suzuki V-strom (both a 2002 1000DL and a 2004 650 DL), a 2006 Ducati Multistrada 620, a 2001 Tiger Triumph 955i and a 2011 Tiger 800 XC.

Ducati Multistrada 620

2004 Ducati Multistrada 620 – too fast

2011 Tiger 800 XC

2011 Tiger 800 XC – too expen$ive

I felt a bit like Goldilocks.  I couldn’t afford the blue BMW and it felt too big.  The V-stroms felt “too clunky”, the Ducati Dark felt like it belonged on the race track and I’m no speed demon. But the Tigers felt pretty darn good.  I couldn’t really afford the pretty white 2011 800 XC, and the first 955i I rode, a hideous lime green 2001 with 50,000 miles, well, let’s just say she’d been rode hard and put up wet.  But I couldn’t get the smile off my face, even as I test rode it in the rain.  Okay, so maybe I contributed to her being put up wet, but she’d not been well cared for for many years prior to my 10 mile ride.

Tired 2001 Tiger 955i

2001 Tiger 955i w/50k miles – too tired

But then there was that sweet little 2002 with less than 20,000 miles over in southern Vermont AND it came with factory-matched lime green hard bags.  Two side and rear.  By this time the lime green had started to grow on me and I’d dubbed her “Margarita.”  Labor Day forecast was for a deluge – and at this stage I was considering riding two-up with Gregg over to Vermont to see her and possibly buying her and riding her the 250 miles home.

my first look at Margarita

my first look at Margarita – just right

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