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And we’re off on our adventure! It feels somewhat surreal, and we’re definitely still transitioning from “working in the shop” mode to “on the road” mode. Figuring out an efficient routine is part of the fun (and frustration!) of the first few weeks of motorcycle travel, especially with the addition of the trailer to our lineup. Everything has been working out so far on that end and we enjoy giving curious folks tours of the trailer. We’re not afraid to say we’re quite proud of the monster we created! As we’ve been whittling away at unnecessary items we thought we needed, valuable space has been cleared up (in both trailer and mind!) and the long stretches of road have been crucial for helping us recall any loose ends we’d forgotten about during the hectic act of leaving (and providing us ample time to reflect upon the past year’s progression leading up to our departure). It was admittedly a bit of a frantic last week we had in Minnesota so we employed a sort of mostly-organized ‘throw it at the wall and see what sticks’ packing method.

Hamming it up with Big Vic the Voyageur, guarding the entry to Britt’s actual hometown of Ranier. It is the northernmost point the bikes and trailer have been to (and is as far north as they will get for quite a while).

We left Bemidji on Saturday, May 6, at 1:30 p.m. The first stop was in Lino Lakes for a few days to see some of Brittany’s family before heading to Brookings, SD to stay with some longtime friends of Ehren’s family. On the way we were able to meet up with one of our college friends for lunch in Willmar, MN. On Tuesday we had our sights set on camping out on the western edge of the Badlands, but not without first having lunch with another of our college friends in Pierre. Up until our night in the Badlands we had had beautiful, sunny weather. The rain started after we had just gotten everything cleaned up after our camp supper and settled down in the tent for the night. The downpour continued until mid-afternoon the next day, so we were cold, wet and somewhat miserable for most of our Wednesday ride to the center of Wyoming, which greeted us with blue skies and an agreeable temperature in the mid-60s.

The bikes ran good, although Smokey needs a few parts replaced. The clutch basket seems a bit loose, so a new lay shaft main gear and bearings is waiting for us in Winnemucca; hopefully that will help out the situation. We’re still fiddling with carburetors, but they are so close they work just fine. We’re not having to adjust too much for elevation changes even though we’ve gone from sea level to nearly 7000′. Fritz is running really well, and the bikes seem to be taking anything we throw at them. They both seem to use a little oil, but we believe the 80 mph speed limits and pushing the bikes hard to make destinations on time is part of the issue (and maybe it was all that wind we fought crossing South Dakota). Fuel mileage seems pretty consistent with Fritz sitting at about 43-47 mpg and Smokey getting between 40-45 mpg (with the exception of a couple runs at around 35 mpg). Amazingly, the 500-pound trailer seems to have little effect on fuel mileage, although you do feel it behind the bike as far as pulling weight (mainly when you are starting from a full stop). The fuel mileage we do lose from towing the trailer is around 2 mpg. Generally Fritz does better with the trailer, so as a result Brittany most often hauls the trailer. Once Smokey’s been worked on it should start pulling its weight (pun intended).

It’s been a long time for us since the initial act of quitting our jobs and moving back to MN. For a while it felt like being stuck in a perpetual haze of preparing the bikes, preparing ourselves, preparing the bikes again, etc. We spent many months getting ready to finally set off on our adventure, and in the process made many a friend. This span of time in MN really turned into the first part of our journey. We certainly want to thank everyone for the support we received during this preparation and development stage. The day we officially began our trip was sad for us as we left behind our family and friends. But it was also an exciting time as we started a new chapter of our lives (and yeah we’re finally doing the thing!!!).

Special thanks to Ehren’s mom, Vicki, for getting this photo of us the day we left Bemidji (and for giving us an awesome send-off!).

As we mentioned in the beginning of this entry, we are in transition between two different lifestyles. And the same can be said for our blogging and web presence as well. These first few weeks will definitely be a bit clumsy as we figure things out. Rest assured we’ll still be updating as often as we can! We’re incredibly excited for what adventures lie ahead, and we’re exceedingly honored to have you along with us.

—Ehren and Brittany

P.S. We were in our local paper!



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