Every overland vehicle needs a fridge right? Adding the Camp Chef is a huge win!
Jamie and I have been camping for years, both in vehicles and on the motorcycle. In the past couple of years, the overland phase has really kicked in. At some of the vents we have attended a number of campers/overland vehicles have had a fridge that they can carry in the back of their jeep or truck. We loved the idea just did not love the price of admission. while watching one of my favorite youtube channels – Softroadingthewest. Donald did a quick review and it got Jamie and I thinking that we might take the plunge. We got a great deal on it from Amazon, but unfortunately it looks like it is no longer offered. We got the 24qt version. You can get the smaller one here. We will try it out and post our thoughts in the next month or so. So stay tuned.
We have also been looking to replace our older Coleman stove. It works well and has been great for us, we were just looking for an upgrade. In steps the Camp Chef Everest stove. We are thinking this is going to be a great choice for us. We are looking forward to getting out and trying it on the trail.
Jamie & I want to know if you have either of these products. What are your thoughts? If you have a fridge or camp stove, which products to you prefer? Let us know.
MSTA Star 2021 | June 13 – 17, 2021 | Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center, WV
Well Jamie and I are signed up and our lodging is BOOKED! We will be heading to STAR in June, arriving on Sat June 12th staying at the resort for that evening.
We will then check into our campsite at Blackwater Falls State Park #44 to camp for the rest of the week. We will check out on Friday June 18th to head back home. We will be exploring all over West Virginia that entire week.
So hit us up if you are camping or want to do some good day rides. Let’s Ride! We can’t wait!
We wanted to get a logo designed to help promote our Ozark Escape event. We reached out to Chris Parker of RoadWolf Design to help us with the logo. He did a fantastic job. We will be able to update the city and dates each year. Go to Roadwolf Designs if you are in the need of a world class logo for your event.
This is where the dreams starts to come alive. You need to answer the following questions;
Where do you want to go? What is the objective? Is this a riding trip or a sight-seeing journey or both? It is up to you it is your dream. Is this a basecamp trip or will you be on the go each day to a new location.
How many days are you planning for this adventure to last?
Is this a group ride or will you be solo? This is a big one as you will need to plan the journey differently depending on your answer.
Lodging. Will you be camping? Staying in Hotels or both? Making Reservations or playing it day by day?
#2 – Doing the legwork
Now that you know where you are going and all of the foundation is set, it is time for the legwork. Here are a few things to consider or resources to use to help make your trip planning more efficient.
Visit the tourism site of the state you are visiting or the states you are going thru. These are some great resources. example: wvtourism.com or arkansas.com
Google Maps, Basecamp or any other website that you like for mapping routes. Plan your route utilizing back roads, Highways or a little of both. This will depend on your foundation.
Actual paper maps, Delorme Atlas & Gazette, Rand McNally and my personal favorite Butler Maps.
Book lodging or campsites in advance if you are that kind of planner (Yes I am ) or forget this step and play it by ear. I would say during these challenging times of COVID, the latter may not be the most favorable way to go. Just be careful when planning that way.
Get online and secure tickets to any areas that you want to visit that require admission. This beats standing in line when you get to your destination. One of the best values for travel is the the National Parks Annual Pass. There are many discount ticket sites, so take some time and do your homework.
#3 – slow down and smell the roses
So now you have the foundation and the tools to start mapping out your epic journey. Now it is time to fine tune the details. Are you getting excited? The trip is coming together! let’s continue;
When looking at mapping out your trip, you will need to figure out how many miles you want to put in each day. Will you slab it out to your destination, to set up a basecamp or will you take your time and do the backroads? It all depends on your time allotted for your trip. Remember 300 miles on a highway is much different than 300 miles in the twisty backroads of the Smokey Mountains. Plan carefully. I personally don’t like riding after dark if it can be avoided. Take daylight hours into account when planning the trip.
Remember 300 miles on a highway is much different than 300 miles in the twisty backroads of the Smokey Mountains. Plan carefully. I personally don’t like riding after dark if it can be avoided. Take daylight hours into account when planning the trip.
One of the highlights of road trips for Jamie and I are getting to visit local diners and food establishments. It is a great way to learn about a particular area. Stop and eat lunch where the locals eat. You will not be disappointed!
#4 – putting it all together
The trip is starting to get real. The routes are planned, lodging secured. Your EPIC trip is coming together. Let’s finalize the plan.
Now the hard part is over. You just need to put the routes in the GPS, or mark up your maps so they are ready for the road.
Give your bike some attention. Nothing can put a black cloud on an EPIC road trip, faster than having to stop and get a tire or do some maintenance that should have been completed before you put the kick stand up and headed on your way.
Start Packing! Look at the weather. Remember if you don’t pack the rain gear, it is almost guaranteed that it will rain so hard you will think you need an ark. If close to fall, remember that the heated gear takes up little room. You will thank me when you get stuck in an early sleet storm outside Leadville Co. Yes it happens. It is a memory that I will never forget, but it could have been avoided. I have never been so cold… brrr
Don’t forget the camera! You want to ensure that you can capture this EPIC journey, that WILL offer up great views, stunning sunsets and wonderful images, that you will be able to share with your friends, after you return home from your trip. While on these trips I like to live by the motto;
Don’t answer your phone, but take pictures with it! They will call back later!
#5 – Let’s Ride – Life is short!
I hear so many people, that say they want to hit the road. They want to head out on their motorcycle to lands unknown. To feel what it is like to all of your senses overwhelmed with images and smells that only the open road can offer…. But then they find an excuse not to go or plan the adventure. They say they need a better or bigger machine. They throw out the excuse of not having the time or the money to go on a journey. I get it! I have been there. However there is always a way to get out. Don’t worry about having the latest gear or the newest motorcycle. You can adventure on any machine. Just get out and do it!
I will close out this article by asking you, to comment on the steps you do to prepare for a trip. Tell me about that trip that always makes you smile. In these colder winter months, the only way I can stay sane, is planning the trips that will happen when the days are longer and the temps are a little warmer. So tell me where you are planning to ride in 2021. Maybe our paths will cross. Make sure you stop us and say hi! Ride safe everyone!
The Versys and concours battle it out! Which is the best bike for JAMIE AND i ?
I have been very fortunate to have owned multiple machines from both of these models. Jamie and I started our motorcycle journey together on a Kawasaki Concours C-10. We purchased a 2005 25th Aniversary Concours back in 2005 and we have been riding together ever since. We put 21K miles on that Connie before it met its demise on AR16, right outside of Boston Arkansas. We will always have a special place in our hearts for this wonderful machine.
In 2010 we can across a great deal on a 2008 C-14. It was used, with 500 miles on the clock. We jumped at the chance of purchasing the bike, as it also had a Two Brothers pipe, bar risers and a few other options already installed. Jamie and I had many great adventures with this Connie. We sold her with 74K of smile inducing miles aboard her.
When we sold the C-14 we purchased the new to the States, Versys 1000. I had been keeping track of this bike on the forums in the UK and was really hoping they would bring it here. My wish was granted in 2015 and I knew we had to get one. We purchased the first one sold in the state of Texas. We enjoyed 34K mile son her before upgrading to our current steed.
One day I was watching YouTube and the Kawasaki ad came on shouting out the virtues of the new state of the art Versys 1000 SE LT. All of the new electronics, including suspension, TFT, heated grips and cruise control. It was the total package.
Jamie and I started reading about it, and the more we learned the more we wanted one. So we called our friends at Plano Kawasaki to have them call us when they got one in stock. They called, we jumped in the Jeep and drove to Dallas to purchase the new Versys. We have enjoyed 16K miles of pure joy and excitement and look forward to many more adventures on her.
This brings us here. I get asked all of the time on why I chose the Versys over the C-14. I get that question in person, on the blog and even from my Youtube channel. I thought that the time has come to tell you all our reasons for jumping the “connie” ship. These are “Our” reasons for choosing this machine. This was based on our riding style, mostly two up spirited touring loaded up with gear. It was also about the stage in life we are currently enjoying. So without further delay, lets get on with it.
The C-14 was a great machine and very good on long road trips. It was amazing! A quick twist of the wrist and boom… we were grinning from ear to ear. The electronic windscreen was very convenient and is something we miss. The C-14 had large touring bags and with an additional top case we had space to hit the road for 9 days. Even loaded up with camping gear, the C-14 never missed a beat. That motor is a thing of beauty and was plenty powerful to make get us in plenty of trouble. This bike was fun on long trips and a blast on a sweeping, tight and twisty road. We shared many great memories together on this wonderful machine.
The riding position for me was fine, especially with the bar risers. Jamie was fine for the first 200 miles, but after that she felt cramped up and the seat was not her best friend. Even after having some work done on it, she never felt totally comfortable. We only had one mechanical issue when the starter had an issue and needed to be replaced. All covered under warranty. The C-14 was very hard on tires! Riding two up and spirited would wipe out a tire in 4000 miles. We spent a lot of hard earned money on tires for this big steed. The biggest downfall of the bike was the heftiness. This thing is HEAVY (690 lbs) and not easy to move around. With all of this said, we loved our C-14 and would have no issue riding another one in the future.
Next up the Versys, and true to its name “Versatile System” is just that! The Versys offers a fantastic platform for Jamie and I. The Ninja inspired engine is the heart beat of this machine. It will not thrust you down the road with the beastly push of the C-14, but make no mistake, it will give you all the excitement that you want and still ask for more. One of the reasons the 1000cc motor can still bring a smile to your face is the horsepower to weight ratio. The Versys comes in at 526 lbs, that is a 164 lbs lighter than the C-14. We feel that when it comes to pushing the bike around the garage or pushing the bike through the twisty roads here in Arkansas.
The Versys has a few creature comforts that are also nice to have. The cruise control and heated grips are wonderful. I always thought that these type of features were something I could do without. I was wrong. They are game changing. The technology of the bike is the true winner. The suspension and the braking is world class. The electronics make this bike so enjoyable to ride. They put you at ease and make you a better rider. I have never felt faster or safer on a motorcycle than I do on this Versys.
The Versys is also the most comfortable platform that Jamie and I have ever ridden. The Versys is a tall machine and works well for my 6’2 250lb frame. Jamie enjoys plenty of room on one of the most comfortable pillion seats she has ever ridden on. We both have plenty of leg room. The bike offers great coverage from the elements, creating a nice bubble of clean air. No buffeting for the rider or pillion, I like having the quick shifter, especially when you have the revs up and are enjoying a spirited jaunt down you favorite back road.
As you can tell we love the Versys, but I also do not want to give you all the wrong impression. We loved the C-14 as well. Picking one over the other is all about personal preference. Here are a few questions that always come up about the differences between these machines.
Don’t you miss the ease and lack of maintenance of a shaft drive over the chain?
I have never really thought that chain maintenance was a big deal. Today’s chains are so easy to maintain and if you keep them clean and lubed, they will last 20-30K without needed changed. The shaft is nice and really easy to maintain, however I do not know if the added weight is worth it.
I bet you miss the power of the C-14.
Power is an awesome thing! the C-14 had gobs of it and was so much fun to ride. However when an object shoots down the road at high speeds, eventually you have to stop or go around a corner. The Versys has plenty of power and the brakes and suspension allow for the Versys to be ridden quicker than the C-14. This is the case based on my skill and talent level.
To bring this to a conclusion. The Versys is the best bike for us between the C-14 and the Versys. It might not be the same result for you. however for Jamie and I, the Versys is the best bike for our style of riding.
Tell us you thoughts. Have you ridden either of these great machines? Tell us your experience. Until next time, be healthy and safe.
It has been a challenging year, My heart reaches out to all of those that were impacted negatively during the past 12 months! Here’s to a better 2021!
2020 started out with so much hope. Warmer weather was right around the corner and a new chapter would be written. I love the beginning of a new year and 2020 was no exception. Thank you for supporting Jamie & I and this blog for the past 15 years. It has been a work of passion and we look forward to adding more great chapters in 2021. With that being said let’s take a quick look back at the past 12 months.
I started the year by signing up for the Big Money Rally. The funny part about this event is there is no money.. it is all about riding to designated areas, taking pictures of the landmark, with you and your trusty steed in the picture. You send in the pic and receive points. That is a quick breakdown. If you want to learn more go here. I picked up a few points in January, when the weather allowed for some riding.
Later in January Jamie and I headed off to Big D to attend the IMS (International Motorcycle Show). We love this event, not so much for the attraction, as many manufacturers have pulled out in recent years, but to catch up with old friends that we have not seen in a few months. We enjoyed the day catching up with friends and enjoying family later in the day. What we did not know is that this would be the last show for the Dallas area. It has been cancelled in 2021. You can see our pictures and report from the event here.
February arrived and I was itching to get on the bike and complete more points for the BMR. I planned a route that would take 2 days and cover almost 1000 miles. I would hit Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The highlight of the event would be a quick stop in Shreveport to stay with friends. Becky & Jeff are awesome and opened up their home to me. We had a quick visit. On a side note we met Becky & Jeff at a Ozark Escape event. Just another reason to attend, as you can meet some great folks! You can read about the ride here.
The events start to cancel. The first of the year started off with us planning the Ozark Great Escape. The event is a just for fun event here in NW Arkansas. The location was Eureka Springs Arkansas. We had a great sign up of over 40 bikes. Unfortunately we had to cancel the event as it was scheduled in April and at that time the Virus was just starting to take hold. Everyone was ordered to stay home and be safe. We waited as long as we could before cancelling the event.
This has turned into a wonderful event. You can look back on previous events to see what you have been missing. For those of you that have come to the great state of Arkansas to kick off your riding season we thank you. Check out 2019 here! or 2018 here!
The Good news is the 2021 event is a go as of today, so take a moment to go and sign up, so that you get information concerning the event. Jamie and I look forward to seeing you all at the event! Let’s Ride!
Jamie & I dug in at camp James the best that we could. Jamie was teaching at home virtually, so this worked out for her and kept her relatively safe. As most of you know I work for a Great Big Box retailer (The Home Depot) and we were open and very busy during this time. With everyone staying home, everyone seemed to have time for their home improvement projects. The company did its best to keep all of us safe… too bad some of the customers were not on board. That is a different story and I will leave it at that.
May rolled around and since we were now allowed to get out as long as we were practicing social distancing and being safe, it was time to get on the bike. We did a couple of social distancing rides, where we had small groups and we would pack a lunch, ride to a remote area, have lunch and ride home. It was a fantastic way to get out, see friends, while being responsible and safe. These events were needed for all of our emotional well being. Check out the report from our Turner bend Sack lunch Ride.
June was our first long road trip of the year. We were planning on going to West Virginia via the STAR rally, but with the rally being cancelled and most of the areas being shutdown, we decided to do a social distancing ride to the Smokey Mountain region. We camped out and just enjoyed the area. We really had a great time on this ride. It was just the two of us and we really enjoyed an adventure with no time line or expectations. It was a wonderful and well needed trip. You can see the video series here. I really can’t explain why I did not publish a written report from this trip. I will ensure to tackle that task in the next couple of weeks. We did camp at a wonderful location. If you ever get the chance go stay at the Ironhorse Motorcycle lodge and Resort. Check out the video below.
The summer was upon us, but that did not slow down the need to ride. It was hot out, so Jamie decided not to ride the 750+ miles to Kentucky to stay for a couple of day to ride back that same 750+ miles in a single day. I however jumped at the chance. I had never attended The Red River Gorge event held in Mt Sterling KY. It was a blast and I am sure I will attend again in the near future. I started off the ride after work with Bill. He was going to the rally and then heading to NY and lands beyond. This was a great event with many plot twists, Including rain, heat, buying a new bike, a flat tire and more. You will have to read the ride report for all of the details. It was a fantastic weekend. I got to meet many new friends and look forward to crossing paths with them for many years to come.
We did a few day rides in August, but did not take on any longer journeys as the weather was hot and I was crazy busy at the store. September rolled in and Jamie and I attended the Bull Shoals Rally in Theodosia MO. This is also a MSTA event that is held here every year. This event is always fun and is right in the middle of some of the best riding in the country. Jamie and I camped, cooked out and enjoyed seeing friends from a respectable distance. This event never disappoints and the weather was fantastic. You can read about it here. If you have never attended this event, it is a can’t miss.
Jamie had to get back to school, but I had the entire week off, so what should I do? Head to Colorado of course! I left Bull Shoals and 16 hours later I was in the great state of Colorado. I met up with Yeeha Stephen and we enjoyed a Colorado camping adventure. the weather was awesome. Just a week earlier the Gunnison area had 6″ of snow. It was cold at night, but the days were made for riding a motorcycle or exploring in the jeep. We did both and had a fantastic trip. The only downside was my Versys decided to take a dirt nap and fell over in Creede Colorado. No one was hurt, just the poor Versys. It did not dampen the enjoyment of the trip. I love Colorado and thank yeeha for joining me on such short notice, Read the report here.
October rolled in and this means it was Rendezvous of the Ozarks time of year! This is a annual Overlanding event that Jamie and I have attended in the past. Rob came up from Dallas, stayed at the house and then we headed for the event. We camped out for 3 days and did some great off road trails. It is a fun event and one we will attend again in 2021. It did cost us a bunch of money this year… after the event we decided to do a few upgrades to our JK. New suspension, bumper, winch and lighting were added. We are hooked on this exploring thing! We are more than ready to tackle more tough trails. Check out the pictures and report here.
Each year the clubs from Dallas come to our neck of the woods, to do their fall colors rides. It is a great time for us to hook up with them and catch up on old and new stories. We rode over to Mountain Home Arkansas to attend the LoneStar BMW event. Yeeha was going to be there and we can never miss up a chance to see him. It was good riding, as the weather was good. This is one of the rides that always seem to close out the riding season. You can see the ride report here.
So all and all it was not a bad year for our little adventures. It was emotionally challenging as many of our friends and family were directly impacted by the events of 2020. We are looking forward to a much better 2021. Jamie and I are looking forward to more adventures, meeting more new friends and connecting with old friends. We have many events planned for the new year. Thank you for coming along on the ride that will not be soon forgotten called 2020!
We want to take a moment to wish all of our family and friends a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Years. 2020 has been filled with challenges, however things have been made easier by the kind words from all of or friends and family. We look forward to seeing more of you all in 2021. Until then stay safe and Be Kind!
Our social media sites got a facelift. Tell us what you think?
I like to start the new year off with a new look on our social media sites. As many of you know we have had our motoadrenalinetours site for almost 5 years now. Tell me what you think if the new look. We tried to streamline it some while keeping the information all in place.
We decided to update the YouTube Channel site as well. We now have 230 subscribers and 72 videos. We thank each and every one of our subscribers. If you have not had a chance to check it out… what are you waiting for? Tell us what you think and SUBSCRIBE!
Our pride and joy has always been our blog. We started recording our adventures back in 2005. It has been 15 years of blood, sweat and almost tears. We love looking back at our older journeys. We hope you have subscribed to get updates. Go check out the new look of The Blog.
Jamie and I are looking forward to an amazing 2021. Stay tuned for more events, ride reports and videos. Stay tuned everyone! It is going to be an AMAZING year!
The first snow in a few years here in NW Arkansas. It was a fun day.
Jamie and I were a little disappointed when we woke up on Sunday morning with no snow on the ground. We had went to bed with the weather reports shouting out the chance of 2-3 inches of snow. As we were drinking our morning coffee we noticed that it started to flurry. Within an hour it was an all out snow storm. The flakes were the big wet ones, the ones that were made for making snowballs and snow men, and it was starting to stick!
It came down good for a couple of hours and within that time we had a couple of inches of white fun. We both decided that we would get dressed and head out to play in the Jeep. I brought along the drone as I thought some snow shots would be cool.
We headed out to some dirt roads, to do some local exploration. We do these side roads all of the time. Nothing too technical, but its off the beaten path and there are spots that 4 wheeled drive would be needed, especially today as the snow was coming down hard. We did some exploring, just taking our time and taking in the beauty of the day. The snow was painting a glorious painting and we were taking it all in.
After a couple of hours we decided we had had enough fun and it was starting to get colder. The snow was not slowing down. On the way home we stopped by the Elk River to get the drone up. We spent some time making video, before jumping in the jeep and heading home.
When we got home, we got Bella out to play some. I love watching her play in the snow. We finished up the day, enjoying the evening sitting by the fire. It was a great snow day.
Our Jeep is in a few of the aerial shots. It looks so small compared to all of the rigs with 4″ lift kits and 35 inch tires. We spent a couple of hours walking around, gawking at the rigs and spending time with like minded people.
We met a couple of YouTubers at the event as well. Check out their channels and watch their video from the days events. Yes that is me in the thumbnail below.
It was a fun morning. We left there and went and had breakfast at the Buttered Biscuit. You have to give it a try if you have not eaten there.