PSSOR BDR Training Tours

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with Triumph and PSSOR as you travel and train with our staff of professional riders along the mountain ridges of the Cascades.  You will immediately understand why riders from around the world travel to the Pacific Northwest: to explore our incredible roads, trails, scenic vistas and breathtaking mountains.

Begin with a full day of hands-on training that arms you with the skills needed to conquer all the terrain challenges presented throughout the four-day training tour. You will know you are ready for the second day when you and your motorcycle reach Three Corner Rock perched high above the Columbia River; your efforts rewarding you with a view of five major volcanoes, including the famous Mt St Helens and the towering peak of Mt Rainier. 

Day two starts from the Bridge of Gods near Stevenson, Washington.  It is impossible to stop smiling as you shoot through the heavy forest canopies of western Washington to the remote logging town of Packwood, nestled at the base of Mount Rainier. The third day brings the greatest challenges yet as you attack the volcanic ridges and sparse pine forest along forest service roads, fire roads, and forgotten jeep trails, eventually ending at Ellensburg Washington, leaving you with the satisfaction of knowing you and your instructors just completed the most challenging portions of the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route. The final day changes pace as you ride the best paved roads in the region en-route to your final destination: Portland Oregon. 

If you want more information about training with PSSOR go to www.pssor.com 

 

 Bret Tkacs~

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Posted on May 27, 2015 .

#BOSTONTOAUSTIN – DAY 4

Start: Mammoth Spring, AR
End: Van Buren, AR
Route: 9 South/412 West/62 West/49 South
Miles Ridden: 230

I left out a story about a run in with local law enforcement in yesterday’s trip. From the old time convenience store in Bixby, Missouri we continued for a while on 32 West, but before we could make any real progress someone had called upon the boys in blue to come check us out. We had only made it one town over into Salem, Missouri and definitely didn’t know they were looking for us. We’re still not sure what we did, but apparently someone called in about three motorcycles that had stopped at Casey’s convenience to fill up, right where we were. Again, really not sure what we did to warrant this as we were just cruising along our trip…seriously. Sometimes motorcyclists just get a bad rap no matter what. I was still fueling up while David and Chris had moved their bikes away from the pumps to make work calls and plan the next part of our route. Unbeknownst to me, two Salem police cars pulled up right in front of the bikes and told them of the report. It was really anti-climactic as we told them about our adventure and shared a laugh or two. They were extremely nice, loved the bikes, and helped make some route suggestions. After that, we made it to the campground safely except for the bit about nearly dropping my bike.

The next morning after camping, we grabbed a quick bite to eat consisting of breakfast burritos from the Sonic drive through nearby. From there, we took 9 South to 412 West and stopped in Henderson, Arkansas at Norfork Lake for a quick picture on the bridge that spans east to west across the serpentine shaped body of water. Continuing on 412 West we found a great area where we could take the Tigers off road and test all the new technology and updates they offered. I honestly hadn’t ridden off road almost at all and let David and Chris have most of the fun. There was a trail through a grassy field, some ruts to navigate through and an area with some huge mud puddles. The bikes were so much fun in this environment and I took the opportunity to slosh the Tiger around in the mud as well. I quickly learned that staying loose on the bike and utilizing the engine’s torquey power band were the keys to having a good off road experience. (See: not crashing or dropping the bike.)

After leaving the off road playground, we ran into 62 West which took us into beautiful Eureka Springs. We found that it resembled Jerome, Arizona where we had visited in April of last year on our Thunderbird LT’s. The Ozarka Water Company was founded in Eureka Springs in 1905 after Dr. Alvah Jackson claimed that the water from the springs cured issues he was having with his sight. Prior to that in 1856, Dr. Jackson set up a hospital in a cave during the Civil War and treated his patients with the water. A fun fact about Eureka Springs related to our trip is that its tourism bureau offers a motorcycle guide to the area. Before leaving we stopped for Mexican food at Amigos restaurant.

Outside Eureka Springs after some tight twisties, there was an abandoned house on the side of the road that Chris had stopped at last year with his Thunderbird LT. We stopped and spent some time checking out the dilapidated state of the structure, theorizing how everything broke down and analyzing the construction of the house. Corrugated steel roof panels were bent over the crest of the roof, overlapping the others which stretched to the overhangs. You could see where the floorboards of the second floor and ceiling boards of the first floor were made to go through the wall board on one side of the house where the outer wall boards were missing. From our view about 40 feet away behind a barbed wire fence, we noted how well-crafted the molding around the windows and doors was as well. Chris took a moment to re-create the photograph he had taken a year ago, this time with his Caspian Blue Tiger just as he had done with his Caspian Blue and Crystal White Thunderbird LT.

The rest of our trip was a quick blast down 49 South into Van Buren. We opted for the Hampton Inn knowing we desperately needed to get cleaned up after two days in the saddle without a shower since we had chosen to camp out the night prior.

#BostonToAustin #BahstinTaAhstin #ForTheRide #ForTheAdventure #MS5000

-JR

 
 
Posted on April 9, 2015 .

#BOSTONTOAUSTIN – DAY 3

Start: St. Louis, MO
End: Mammoth Spring, AR
Route: 21 South/32 West/19 South/63 South
Miles Ridden: 234

Roller coaster type roads and camping were on the agenda for this leg of the trip, but just after some conference calls for work. Chris and I added one more member to the wolf pack with our friend and co-worker David coming down to St. Louis from Minneapolis to join us on this epic journey. Once we each completed our calls, we headed south from St. Louis on our way to Mammoth Spring and the Riverside Resort which was our camp site for the night.

Heading south from St. Louis we stopped in Potosi for lunch and to take our last call for the day. From there we went on to Route 32 West which would prove to bring out the sport bike DNA engrained within the Tigers. Route 32 is a veritable roller coaster of a road. Ups, downs, sweeping corners, most of which are banked, holding a late apex to make the most of the next corner, being able to set up lines for three corners at once, and anything you could love about twisties on a motorcycle are what it has to offer. Once again the Tigers handled this task superbly with the compliant and stable WP adjustable suspension working effortlessly to make transitions and cornering a breeze. Equally was impressive was the torque curve from the 800cc triple, which allowed us to traverse this section mostly in sixth gear. Chris ended up dragging a feeler peg as a result of the fantastic handling characteristics. Very impressive for an adventure tourer.

We stopped in Bixby, Missouri at the junction of 32 and 79 at the Bixby country store for our first rest. There’s an old caboose outside which they’ve converted to a dining car and is surrounded on the outside by railroad memorabilia such as crossing lights and various signs. Inside, to the right is the post office, straight ahead a convenience store, to the left a deli, and in back seating for the restaurant. You can pump your gas, walk inside, grab a drink, sandwich, bag of chips, etc. and just hang out with others who stop in. When you’re ready just head to the counter to pay, let the owner know what you pumped for gas and what you ate,  then you’re rung up and out the door. It’s awesome to see it all done on the honor system in this country store that is truly a step back in time with its antique signage and décor inside. Chris said the parking lot is jammed with motorcycles most weekends and is a well-known gathering point and rest stop.

The rest of the journey into Arkansas couldn’t hold a flame to Route 32, but that’s not to say it wasn’t bad. Chris did a great job picking out entertaining routes for us the entire time we were traveling. We arrived at the Riverside Resort with just enough time before sunset to make camp. On the way down the three mile, groomed dirt road while going about 12 miles per hour, the front wheel of my bike suddenly washed out with the wheel wrenching to the right and the bike starting to dump out from underneath me. I thought I was going down for sure especially loaded up with all of my luggage. I stomped my right foot down hard and torqued the bars back to the left and immediately the Tiger complied and settled back into its slow crawl down the road. Whew!  Once we settled at the office of the campgrounds, we went to pick our spot right on the river and spaced out from others.

Our sleeping apparatus of choice was not your standard tent and sleeping bag, but rather hammocks and rain covers. We strung up the hammocks between trees, set the rain covers (in my case, a tarp I went and purchased at Wal-Mart nearby) and inserted a small inflatable air mattress. A special thanks to Chris’s friend James for lending his hammock to us for the trip. Being right on the Spring River, we were serenaded to sleep by the babbling waters up river and a brief thunderstorm. Each time you shifted a bit in the hammock, it slowly rocked you back and forth. I’ll take this over tenting in a heartbeat.

Another surprise the Tigers had in store for us was how many four foot pieces of firewood they could carry. With just a couple ratchet straps and some good balance, we managed to get our eight dollars’ worth in firewood for the night. We brought this back to the camp site before heading back into town for dinner. The three of us enjoyed steaks and baked potatoes at a restaurant right on the state line; so precisely placed that our bikes were in Arkansas just outside the window while we sat in the restaurant in Missouri. Back at the campsite, we battled to light the damp wood we had assembled in a truck wheel fire pit. After quite some time we ended up with most of the wood in the fire so the heat could expel the moisture and the wood could burn. Chris quipped that it was “the single most jacked up, Jenga-looking, wishing well from hell campfire in the history of camping.” David shared with us some home brews he had made as well; he made a killer winter warmer for the record as well as a solid Scotch ale. Our playlists of choice on a weatherproof Bluetooth speaker included Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Billy Joel, and David’s first taste of some old school ska. We turned down for the night, David used his electric toothbrush (really roughing it) and we rested for another big day of riding ahead of us.

To put a little focus back on a big reason I’m doing this ride; I’m raising funds and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. If you’ve read this far, please take the time to visit my fundraising page here and help me achieve my new goal of $1,000 dollars for MS. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and crushed the $250 goal I started with. We are now just $440 shy of the $1,000 goal.

#BostonToAustin #BahstinTaAhstin #ForTheRide #ForTheAdventure #MS5000

-JR

 
 
Posted on April 9, 2015 .

#BOSTONTOAUSTIN – DAY 2

Start: Columbus, OH
End: Columbia, IL
Route: 70 West/55 South/255 South
Miles Ridden: 440

Finally there was an “incident” on the road when I was well into Illinois, about 1,000 miles into my trip. Several cars were lining up to merge onto Route 70 West coming down an onramp, their tires humming a high pitched tune on the grooved concrete surface. I picked out a new Nissan Pathfinder, gray in color, tinted windows, and license plate frame with the dealership’s name on it. This vehicle given the situation in that moment was my biggest threat as I continued in the right hand of the two available lanes. As the contour of the onramp brought the Pathfinder past two yield signs and closer to my lane to the point where he would need to merge, the situation would prove my instincts to be spot on.

All at once: I did a quick head check over my left shoulder to peek at vehicles to my left side and left rear with one car coming up my left side, my mirrors showed a car far behind and not an issue, the driver of the Pathfinder had initiated his turn signal showing he intended to come into my lane, I turned my right hand grip (throttle/gas) fully forward to cancel cruise control, speed reduced three miles per hour, move left in the lane as the Pathfinder fully encroached my space, roll off throttle, apply horn. “Meeeeeeep!” A startled look and apologetic wave was offered by the aloof operator of the Pathfinder. I realized the only upgrade the bike would need was a more intimidating horn. Additionally, I realized that some drivers need to be upgraded as well.

That was the most exciting part of the day as well as the trip so far in regards to anything remotely dramatic happening while on the road. The story was dramatized a bit but is proof that people aren’t looking for motorcycles and sometimes don’t look for anything at all. The challenge of constantly being aware of your surroundings, other motorists, and your inputs to the machine are a part of what make motorcycling so interesting for me. It’s constantly engaging your brain, and I challenge myself to take note of any vehicles within sight at all times. I get disappointed with myself if a new vehicle has come up in my mirrors within certain proximity if I didn’t pick up on it soon enough; it means I got lazy and hadn’t checked my rear view frequently enough.

My day had started at MotOHIO with the first service being performed on the Tiger. The oil and filter would be changed with the oil now being Castrol fully synthetic, replacing the semi-synthetic “break-in” oil that comes in the engine. The remainder of the service includes a multitude of spot checks and a cleaning, lubing, and adjustment to the drive chain, ensuring the Tiger would be ready to run through to its next minor check-up at 6,000 miles. The dealership has a very friendly staff; Mike, Kirk, and Gary were extremely friendly and interested to hear all about the Boston to Austin adventure.

The next stop would be on the Western side of Columbus where I would take a quick stop to grab lunch with my friends Monique and Brendon, transplants to Ohio from our neck of the woods. Brendon had been looking at a similar German-made motorcycle to the Triumph, but he was so impressed with the combination of features, price point, available accessories, and warranty coverage that the Tiger offered. The other marque can go back to its sauer braten; we’ve got the bangers and mash! I took down a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, some fruit, and was soon on my way again headed for Saint Louis.

Coming through the neighborhood to my co-worker and amazing friend Chris’s house, I could already smell the grill. I’d arrive to find a picture message showing pork steaks searing over hot coals. Chris and three of his four daughters came right out to greet me, he with beers in hand for us. A big man hug, a swig of beer and I was at my destination for the next two nights. The pork steaks had just come off the grill after quite the process to get them just right, including a Budweiser bath and Chris’s own concoction of barbeque sauce. Not because I was famished at the time, but this was the best pork I’d ever had. Unreal. Chris, his wife Grace, and I would visit and relax for a few hours before I’d call it a day, unload all of the bike luggage into Chris’s car and take that to my hotel just back across the Mississippi in Columbia, Illinois.

I felt accomplished at this point. I’d made it a fair distance in just a couple days’ time and knew the next stretches that Chris had planned for us would be a lot of fun as we continued to Austin over the coming days.

#BostonToAustin #BahstinTaAhstin #ForTheRide #ForTheAdventure #MS5000

-JR

 
 
Posted on April 9, 2015 .

#BOSTONTOAUSTIN – DAY 1

Start: Framingham, MA
End: Columbus, OH
Route: 90 West/84 West/380 North/81 South/80 West/76 West/71 South/270 South/70 East
Miles Ridden: 726

A surprise visit to send me off from Long Haul Paul got the trip started on the right foot. I had taken much of his advice from “What’s in Your(Saddle) Bag?” and thought I had one up on him when I took out my spare buttons and zippers from my Triumph riding gear asking if he carried such items. Paul, of course, reached down pointing towards the bottom of his inner left leg. “Yup, just replaced that zip right there.” Okay. The guy really does think of every little thing.

Paul also brought a bunch of stickers to adorn the Tiger so I could represent the MS5000 as well as his website. They were a good match for the bumper stickers I had made, emblazoned with “#BostonToAustin”, “#BahstinTaAhstin”, “#ForTheRide”, and “#DeeRocks”. The stickers would get a fair amount of attention on the coming ride, with several vehicles passing and slowing to take note before moving on. A handful of thumbs up were thrown my way, and I also spoke with a few people in person while fueling up. In Clarion, Pennsylvania, I ran into Jenny and her boyfriend; Jenny shared she is originally from Framingham when she saw “Boston” on the stickers…small world.

My British steed would be well matched to the weather I would face. I lucked out in the morning with one of the warmer early mornings we have had for the 8:00am departure time I had planned. It would stay dry and overcast from the time I left until eastern Pennsylvania. I had pushed through some sprinkles in my regular riding gear, but there was a point ahead where I could see the real rain coming down, and a rest stop was less than a quarter mile ahead. I made the decision to suit up in my rain gear knowing I had been lucky to this point and the worst was potentially yet to come. The lowest temperature I had seen was 52 degrees which was great, but I also knew I had some riding to do during the night and it would get very chilly. The day was dominated by off and on rain, overcast skies, and a lot of fog; British weather for a British bike, and it was right at home. The most notable part was going both under and over patches of fog. At one point before Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the road dipped under a huge fog cloud that separated the mountains behind it, giving the appearance that the mountain tops were floating alone in the sky. A half hour later, the road traversed a pair of valleys at different times, each filled with what looked like a lake of fog.

There were a couple spats of heavy rain under clouds that darkened the entire landscape but otherwise it was manageable. My rain gear held up quite well; the only wet spot on my body for some reason was the area around my right pinky toe which, given the duration of the ride in inclement weather, was nothing. Remember how I said earlier the lowest temperature I saw was about 52 degrees? The highest I saw was 67 and I tried to keep those warm thoughts as the temperature dropped to 43 degrees during the night hours. My gloves were saturated (the waterproof lining worked fine so my hands were dry inside) but that cold water held within the fabric chilled my hands pretty dramatically. Keep in mind that at 43 degrees outside temperature, given highway speeds, effective wind chill on exposed skin would be about 25 degrees or less. I was able to find a space under the frame of the motorcycle just above the engine on each side where I could take turns warming my hands. One minute of warming would yield a solid 20 minutes of sustainable warmth, enough to get me through the last two fuel stops on my way to Columbus.

As I’m writing this the new Triumph television commercial popped on ESPN. Funny.

Other than the wet weather becoming cold, the trip wasn’t very dramatic. My Bluetooth headset that was piping my favoritetunes into my helmet worked all the way until the last hour, which was great considering I was on the road for about 14 hours total. I even took a couple quick work calls. Everything I packed stayed in place and dry. My lighted Triumph riding vest gave motorists more awareness as to my presence on the road with them. The cruise control on the bike was a blessing to have on a trip like this and worked very well and the comfort gel seats performed equally well.

Tomorrow morning is the Tiger’s first service at MotOHIO and then it’s on the road again. The six and a half hour ride to St. Louis is half as long as what I did today. What will I do with all that free time?

#BostonToAustin #BahstinTaAhstin #ForTheRide #ForTheAdventure #MS5000

-JR

 
 
Posted on April 4, 2015 .