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My wife and I were married 17 years (and a few days) ago on June 4th. It was a pretty great day! I got super drunk..... that sucked.

I had recently purchased the DL1000 (2 weeks ago) and it came with a Corbin seat. We took a couple 1.5-2 hour rides on the Corbina nd both agreed that it SUCKED! That thing came of and the stock seat went back on. Thank you Suzuki! Sooooo much better!

So in preperation for the "Big Adventure", after getting that Corbin seat off, I wanted to add some 3M ultra reflective material to the bike to help make the machine stand out, especially in the early AM and also on the way home after the sun fades away.



So on Saturday we arranged for the kids (5, 11 and 15) to have pappy's undivided attention...... and we would set our alarm for 5AM and go out on an adventure! My wife and I had never left our county before on a bike, so this is a HUGE leap of faith in both the bike and in her! I've done 500+ miles on a KLR650 with a stock seat.... I understand dedication and pain. The worst thing she has ever done is give birth 3 times..... and trust me, that is NOTHING when compared to nearly 600 on a stock KLR650!

I told my wife Saturday that I wanted to be rolling at 6AM. She of course LOL'ed at me and said that I've not been on time once in 17 years, and we would likely be rolling by 7:30am. Not the case today! The alarm went off as planned and I was pumped! At 6:01am we were pulling out of Baden PA (15005) and destined for Centralia, PA., some 240 miles away.

This is going to be a hard riding kind of day, because we need to be home in time to go rescue the rug rats and get them home for school on Monday.

We hauled butt from our home out to the interstate in Cranberry Twp and hit I-79 North. Normally you would cut the angles, take the back roads, enjoy the towns and villages..... but we need to make time to pull off the destination! The V-Strom better be capable of hauling some serious tail!

So we basically super slab 30 miles north to I-80 where we take a right turn (East on I-80) and pin the throttle at 85-90 MPH and roll for about 200 miles. There were a couple short stops along the path, water and fuel kind of things... but the fatigue we both expected, well, it never happened!

First fuel stop, 38 MPG doing 85-90 MPH indicated:


And then its back on the bike to lock the throttle and let the tarmac slide on by!

We roll East to the Bloomsburg exit on I-80 and get off heading South. Centralia is about 15 miles or so South of the exit off of 80 and your on some nice mountains with steep inclines and declines that precluded the use of 6th gear, even with the TQ of the 1000.

As we navigate the rolling hills we see a little used car place on the left with a cheaply built, yet cool as heck MONSTER TRUCK! Now, I have a 5 yr old boy at home, you know we are stopping to take a couple pics of the monster truck!


Then we continue along our path and run right through Centralia to the Shouth side of town where RT 61 was closed because the underground coal mines that are on fire are buckling the earth and lifting/tearing the road apart.

This approximately 1 mile of road is baricaded with piles of dirt, but hey, we are on a sort of dual sport.... right? :mrgreen:

Climb the dirt piles, hang the bike up on the skid plate, rock it and get it over... and BAM! We are on the road that has been closed for years! Am I going to go to jail?






Pretty cool huh? Look how steep and high this chunk of road lifted up. You can see that they patched over the incline in the past, I assume before it got his severe and while the road may have yet been open?


Then we get bored seeing the road conditions and scamper out of this area and hed back North a very short way to the South end of the actual town where there were once homes. There is a cemetary there and it is still being maintained at this point.


Also, just North about 100 yards of this cemetary is another area baricaded with dirt piles.... and yep, the Strom made it over this with a wheelie to allow the skid pan to clear. I had the wife jump off for the wheelie. But once over on the dangerous side, we parked the bike a few times and explored some of the smoking Earth. One interesting thing, you know how you feel the heat radiating from your bike when your at a stop light? You feel this EVERYWHERE around here! The ground is HOT to the touch. Not like.... OUCH! hot...... but more like, lay your palm on the earth and at about 5 seconds you want to pull away from it. My guess is 110 degrees maybe?

I guess the HTC Thunderbolt camera did not do so well at capturing the faint smoke coming out of the dirt to her Left, but in real life there are trails of smoke wifting up from the ground in many places as you walk around.


So after exploring on bike and foot and arguing over what way to go, and arguing because I drove the strom deep into some old mining roads with very loose, rocky slopes... we turned around and I made full use of the skid plate... many times.... as I used momentum and something new to me (I was on a KLR prior to this)..... HORSE POWER!!!! I navigated the DL1000 back up those nasty, rutted, rock infested hills with her on the back not making a peep. I'm thinking when she was red in the face and sayng "I do NOT enjoy off roading...." that she was trying to tell me something.

Oh well, whetever she was trying to say... I missed the whole point of it and I did it my way!

So we went into the area where the grid of roads was still at, but only about 5 homes still exist. Roads and sidewalks... but no houses. Very odd and eery feeling. There was a dead end road we stopped at because we saw a shed of sorts back in the woods..... Time to EXPLORE! Grab the M&P9c and tuck it into the riding pants... just in case.... and go see what we see!

Parking the Strom


Starting off, lets go open those barn doors and see what is behind them...


Whoo! Nice find!


Very solid and complete! Not sure on the year, but I'll shoot in the dark and guess 40's? Even the engine appears intact!


Dudes/Dudettes... check out the interior! This thing is totally restorable!


Ok, check out the tire outside this garage/barn... you don't find Willies tires laying about anymore!


Lets take a walk down this dirt road going into the woods a bit and see what we see, what say you?

Not sure, but could this be an old mine building?


Scattered around the immediate area of this shed type thing are various items that I am not sure what they are. We noticed some makeshift barriors...


The ground is littered with coal...


The woman will not wait for me! She runs ahead going from artifact to artifact yelling commands back at me... like I am her dog or something!


We find some pipe that I suspect may be for gas/water well drilling?


We locate this thing and do not know what it is really?


And we find a primitive divice that we can not for the life of us come up with a logical use for....


We stage the bike near the THING... and take a quick picture...


And about now we have been here for over 2 hours and we know that our time is running short. We head back to the center of the grid of Centralia roads and turn North and stop at what was once the police station of a bustling little town of over 1000 inhabitants.


Now it is time to do some serious supper slab cruising home where we hit a bar about 15-20 miles from home for some libation and sustanance...


And that ends our journey. Me and my wife's first great motorcycle adventure, and hopefully not our last! 580 miles in one day on the DL1000, and we end the day with no sore behinds or backs. we were tired, and ready for sleep!
 

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Fun Adventure.....reminded me of that creepy movie 'Silent Hill' !!
 

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Discussion Starter #5

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Enjoyed your ride report. I have read about this burning mine and the problems that were caused by it, but this is the first recent report I have seen. Sad to think about the problems that were caused by this, so many lives impacted.

What did your wife think about the long day on the Vstrom? Is she ready to do another? I do hope that both of you had a great time.

Happy anniversary btw, my wife and I have been married for almost 32 years and know that it takes a lot of work to maintain a marriage for as long as you guys have. It is worth it though. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Doug,

Being married to my wife makes 17 years easy. She is a very good girl and easy to get along with! I hear many horror stories from guys I know that tell of the horros of being married, thank the Lord above... my life is a very happy one and my wife and 3 children are all great!

If anyone wants to read a bit more on Centralia, there is a Wiki page on it:
Centralia, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It really is not overly exciting to see any more as most of the town is gone and leaves just the grid of roads from where there once was a town of over 1000 inhabitants. Today it is roads and sidewalks boarding the natural growth that has thrived in the absence of human occupants. If your reasonably close to the area, it is still worth the ride just to investigate it and to be able to say you were there and you saw the ground emitting the tell-tale smoke from the underground fires and to also lay hand to the heated Earth and feel the "tip of the iceburg"... the heat that must be incredible down beneath the ground at some depth.

I am sorry that I did not get more pictures of the smoke coming from the various ground cracks, I dropped the ball on that! Maybe I'll revisit this area later with my daughter or son and get more and better pictures. All of the photos above were taken with my Verizon HTC Thunderbolt phone, so I did not really have access to a high quality camera.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Doug,

Sorry, I forgot to reply to your direct question!

What did your wife think about the long day on the Vstrom? Is she ready to do another?
We were both really amazed at the fact that we were not hurting. I warned her in the start to tell me any time she needed a rest to walk about and get blood to her butt and legs. I was stopping more than she wanted to! She commented that I spend more time taking breaks then I do riding :argue:

I explained that after doing some multi day long distance rides, I learned that once you push to hard and get the pain going, you can not take a 10 minut break and "fix" it.... so I like to take frequent breaks to prevent ever getting to the point of pain.

Being that we do have 3 children (5, 11 and 15) we are limited in taking days like this where we both can disapear like this. I feel certain that she would love to do this type of thing more, but I tend to take my 11 or 15 year old for long rides and not my wife because of the logistics dealing with leaving all 3 children with someone else. We do not feel that it is right to "dump" our children on others.

I suppose if I can get her on the bike like this once or twice a year I'll be doing good!

The next step is her getting her permit and getting a bike. I may lower the 09 KLR and see if she can deal with the weight of that beast. She wants to ride, and thinks that she would prefere to ride with me rather than on the back.... but that does scare the living bajeezus out of me. I know my ability, and I understand the physics of riding a bike. I understand the danger and fully respect the risk. I worry that one wrong mental calculation on her part can take the greatest woman I have ever known away from me... and that would kill me. It is a double edged sword for sure. I want to support her and help her, but I fear my supporting her could damage her or kill her. To loose my wife would honestly break me, I could not live without her. She is my love, my life, my baby blue eyes.

She and I have been together since high school and married when she was 18 and I was 21. I only know of a life with her beside me.

Larry
 

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Very cool report. We go ATV riding in an area of W Va where the mine is burning. There is a hill that is warm all the time and smoke comes out of the cracks in the ground.

We stop by our hill in the winter time to warm up. Some local guy told us the smoke coming out is nasty and harmful to your health....it has a sort of sulphorus smell to it. So we quit snorting so much of it. He may be right as I have not been normal for a long time now.
 

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I understand where you are coming from with not being able to envision a life without your wife. You have to understand, that you don't have the best wife out there because mine is the best. I had been married once before and had sworn off marriage and then I met the woman who has been my wife for almost 32 years. We are true soul mates. I also understand your fear of her riding as mine rides. I am again lucky as she never got hurt in all the years she has been riding (she started in college) and about 2 years ago she decided that she now enjoys riding behind me more than piloting her own bike. We have considered selling her bike, but she still wants to hold onto it - doesn't want to give up the ability to ride her own if she wants although she hasn't ridden in a year. So, I have to get her bike out and ride it from time to time as I feel that a bike sitting is a bike going to ruin. But I am not going to push this issue, if she needs that mental crutch (owning her own bike) then I will maintain said bike for her and ride it on occasion so it will be ready if and when she wants to ride it.

If you guys ever get down our way (just across the border in Kentucky north of Nashville, TN) let me know. The two of you seem to be good people.

Doug
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You have to understand, that you don't have the best wife out there because mine is the best.
Doug
LOL.... I bet there are others that would add argument to that on behalf of thier better halves!

:thumbup:

Mine is still the best woman to me!!!!
 
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