Sunday, September 04, 2005

Camping gear - spec and test day.

Fun stuff. Once relieved of duties I set about test fitting some of my old soft luggage to the bike in combo with it's single hard case and the tent I borrowed from next door (thus, picture 1). Not too bad. The borrowed tent is still larger than I'd really like to have. It's a 3 person tent (NOTE: for kicks I bought a small 2 person kids tent that is 6' long, just a tad longer than I am tall and guess what, that tent compressed is only a very tiny bit larger than the 3 person tent.. so.. well I guess the kids have a new tent!) but that could work out just fine down the road, never know when you might need to share it, right!??!

Rear shot showing how fits with the exhaust. Better fitting than my other bike that's for sure but still, needs some work and probably some sort of protection from the pipes. They are carbon fiber but I'm sure the end caps will still get VERY hot as they did on the SBK and could melt parts of the bags.

What I really need are a set of hard cases from Motor Sport Panniers but the set for the CG are.. gulp.. $900!!! Man. That's about 1/4 the price of the bike! LOL. Well.. if I need them, I need them and complaining about the cost won't change that much. But first to check on eBay. I don't need pretty new ones. I'm not trying to win a fashion show I'm planning to survive the desert from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Pre-scratched/dented is VERY OK with me (and if you are reading this and know of a set.. let me know!!).

But that is not all I was working on today. On Friday I stopped by the REI store in Tacoma and purchased an MSR Whisperlite Internationale compact stove. Also pricey but really.. what economy having it fail or not be able to find the fuel? This thing runs on almost anything. Camp fuel (white gas), unleaded, diesel, pure kerosen.. and.. Jet fuel! Well, I think even in the middle of Baja I should be able to find enough of that to cook some food (still need to source some coffee gear, I'm going to be in BIG trouble without coffee... have some suggestions.. e-mail me!).

So today I wanted to test out the stove. Filled my 22oz fuel can with some left over white gas and followed the starting instructions. At first it was sort of scary. There is a primer cup under the burner that fills with the fluid and you need to light that. Well, I guess I did not understand the instructions right and allowed WAY more than 1/4 tablespoon to flow and have fuel running all over the place. Broke down the stove and moved it 10' away from the toxic spill and tried again.

This time it lit and wow. Sort of scary.. it's just a pretty good sized ball of fire rolling up from that priper cup in the bottom. It said to let it burn nearly all the way down then turn the fuel back on. Whoosh/whisper.. it lit and wow did it start cranking out the heat!! Having done it now, it's really a piece of cake but for a short while there I was wondering if I was going to be the 2nd civilian into space...

Let it cool down and re-packed it in the supplied 'stuff sack'. It' quite compact. I've still not figured out how to safely draw the pressure off the fuel bottle so it still has the pump installed.

Along with all this I picked up an inexpensive bag. I was going to pony for a really good one from REI but if it get's stolen down in Mexico I don't want to have to cry about it. So it's not such and expensive one but it did come in it's own stuff-sack and it's *supposed* to be rated down to 30F (-1 C). But you konw.. it's probably good to 40F which I think is a safe temp for the desert at night. Besides, I can always toss on a few layers of clothing if need be. I put it inside the kiddie tent (which I setup in the garage to test) crawled in and zipped everything up (thank goodness I live in the boonies or I'd feel like a REAL dork if my neighbors were watching me test all this stuff out!).

I *can* fit in the tent with the bag and still have room for some gear but it's not a 5'x6' square tent as I'd hoped ( because on the diagonal that would have given me over 7 1/2 feet.. no such luck). But I could fit in it if required. But as I said before when packed down it's just a hair smaller than the larger 3-person tent (wacky, yes?) so.. I think I'll stick with that. I'm not carrying this stuff on my back afterall so size/weight is not THAT critical. At least the kids now have a new tent, just in time for.. winter...


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