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Oxford Heaterz Adventure Grips

It’s getting to be my favorite time to ride.  Zipping in the liner to my motorcycle jacket is the start to a great fall riding season.  Heated vest tucked in the side pannier?  Check.  Windproof neck gator?  Check.  Heated grips?  I can now say, CHECK!

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Two years ago was my first time owning a motorcycle that could be taken on the street.  I got it late in the season and didn’t get many warm days.  Riding in the cool weather was fun too, though.  I still rode about 2000 miles with some new-to-me gear, some brand new gear, and some loaner gear.  I lucked out and a good friend gave me a heated vest.  The bike was already wired for it so that was an easy plug-in upgrade.  Wow, what a difference!  I’ll never be without one again.

Next on the list, he told me heated grips would be helpful.  I looked around on the web and it seemed that the ones to get were the Oxford Heaterz Adventure Grips, they should work on my KLR650 very well.  Multiple settings, waterproof controller, and it won’t kill the battery if left on: perfect!

Photo Mar 13, grips2

Everything comes in the box for an easy install.  First, lay everything out and see what you have.  Two grips pre-wired, a few screws and double sided sticky foam to hold the controller to the bracket, some zip ties to hold the wiring in place, and a little tube of super glue to keep the grips on the bar.

Photo Mar 13, grips3I cut off the old grips and prepared the bar wherePhoto Mar 13, grips4the new grips will go.  I had to do some sanding of the bar so they would slide on with just a snug fit.  I also trimmed the end of each grip so they fit better, especially on the throttle side so the rubber wouldn’t drag on the bar weight.  Once I had the grips cut to size, I did a dry trial fit and glued them in place.  You get one shot at this so don’t hesitate, get them in place before the glue dries!

Photo Mar 13, grips5

The wiring was very simple with a ground and one ring terminal going to the battery.  And the water proof controller, I mounted it on the left so I could work the heat level while still on the throttle.  These are wired to the battery and you can turn them on anytime, whether the bike is running or not.  However, the brains of the unit monitors the battery level so it’ll never run your battery completely flat.

Photo Mar 13, grips6

There are five different heat settings on the grips.  Right off the bat I’ll put it on 100% heat for a few minutes to get them warm quickly then back to either 25% or 50% depending on which gloves I have on.  So far only once I’ve had to have them on 75% because it was so cold.  They work fantastic, though.

Photo Mar 13, grips7

Overall the Oxford Heaterz Adventure Grips have been one of the best upgrades to the bike.  Even when it’s not too cold out, having a little heat on the hands while cruising at 60 MPH is a nice feature.  They usually sell for $89.95 retail.
Photo Mar 14, grips8

 

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Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival/Touratech Rally East 2015

A good adventure starts with a good breakfast. On the way to the 1st Annual Touratech Rally East, my riding partner and I stopped at Diner22 on route 22 heading East. Started in 1946, it’s been family owned for the last 45 years.  Everything is made from scratch and the owner, Eddie Wilt is a top shelf fellow.  And motorcycles are very welcome, Ed rides himself.

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On we went to the rally with full bellies.  The event was held on private property off of 3 Couch Lane in , Pa.  And, news to me, the area is rife with dual sport trails.  The rally included camping, classes, GPS tracks, group rides, and entertaining guest speakers including record setting adventure rider Kate Johnston and champion rider Quinn Cody.

We enter the property and check in and get our event goodie bag.  The road to the main camp site is a one way and was run very smoothly by volunteers on radios.  Up to the main area we head over to the vendors area and set up camp with Mike Henninger of L.T. Wright Knives.image7

Thursday was basically set up and head to the Whipple Dam store for supplies.  They had oil for the KLR, gas for the tank, and they even sell a Purple Lizard map of the area. So even if you tour the area on your dual sport when there’s no event, hit the store to get all the supplies you need.  If your needs are more than they have, State College is only 15 miles away. image8

We then went back to the main camp for a presentation about traveling around the world with an Australian touring company via motorcycle.  And maybe just one more beer.  We had dinner, talked knives, trucks, motorcycles, and lots of other topics until everyone was just about falling asleep in their camp chairs.image9

Friday was an up early and get breakfast and coffee affair.  We did our own thing in the LTWK camp.  There’s always lots of bacon in their camp and we ate good.  Even had plenty to share with our neighbor Matt the fly fishing guide from Philly. Pine Barrens Adventure Camp Riding School was offering a range of classes for motorcyclists. I spoke with someone who took the beginner/intermediate class and said it was fantastic.  image10

Chris “Stumpy” Warden was who I rode up with.  We both have 2nd generation Kawasaki KLR650 bikes that fit the new-to-adventure riding fun to a tee.  There were a few different rides to pick from on Friday and since we’re both relatively new to adventure riding, we opted for the short easy loop.  It was to be 65 miles in about 4 hours.  The loop consisted of 2-lane blacktop and gravel roads.  We had a lead rider, a sweep rider, and then all the others in between.  Nathan was our ride leader and he and Eric from Touratech went over safety and group ride etiquette.

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Off we go for a heck of a fun ride!   We got to see a fair bit of the area, both small local villages and the cool air tunnels formed by tree lined gravel roads.  With the natural fast/slow pace and just having to keep the headlight of the person behind you in sight, it was easy to either putt along or pour on the throttle for a minute or so.  Nathan led a great ride and we had a few stops here and there for a break in the shade and to get some water.  image12

We did 65 fun miles and headed back to the Touratech encampment. We returned around 2 and had time to get cleaned up a little and have a proper lunch. There were classes throughout the weekend as well as talks and presentations from the more well known and well traveled adventurers.  Touratech also had a couple of ice cold kegs of beer for after ride refreshment.  We mingled in the crowd, Chris and I drooling over the VERY well decked out bikes there.  The BMW GS was very well represented as well as Yamaha Super Ténéré, KTM Adventure, and a few Suzuki DR’s.  

Dinner at our camp was steaks and rice, with a bottle or two of wine.  Hey, just because we’re out sweating it up on the back roads doesn’t mean we can’t have a great dinner!   Tonight’s presentation was from Scott Brady about taking some Toyota Land Cruisers to the 7 continents.  We could hear it from our camp and see some of the slide show.  Since it was so dark there in the field, I was watching meteors streak across the sky as well.  What a night. image14

Saturday morning was just about an eclipse of Friday with a good breakfast and then getting suited up for another ride in and around Huntingdon, Rothrock State Park, and the surrounding area.  Today Dan was our group ride leader.  Again, they did a great job with a safety talk and explanation of a group ride.  Off we went on the same 65 mile loop only this time backwards to make it a little different.  This was a much larger group of about 14 riders and I had a feeling it would be a slower ride with this many people.  And it was. About 15 miles in, Stumpy and I decided to peel off and do our own ride at a little brisker pace.  We had a good idea of where to go from the previous day’s ride and did most of that.  image3

As we stopped for a water break in the shade of some trees, we heard the noise of a bike coming through the woods.  Sure enough, here came a KTM out of a trail, looped around and back down into the woods.  We walked over to investigate and sure enough, these are genuine dual sport motorcycle trails with signage posting such. And right behind us were maps on the board talking about the trails. Score!  More riders came out of the trail and they told us what was down there.  It sounded a bit too hairy for Stumpy and I to do this day but we’ll be back.  At least we found them.  I’m sure this is all on the Purple Lizard maps too.   Purple Lizard Maps was there with their famous Rothrock trail map that shows the tons of trails and roads between State College and Huntingdon, Pa. We jumped on the highway for a few miles of 65 mph to blow the dust off and headed back to camp.  Another great meal and we started to break camp.  

Saturday late afternoon we were ready to ride back since the only thing really scheduled for Sunday was to head out.  The ride back to Pittsburgh was uneventful and very nice.  The KLR putted its way home like it was on auto pilot. I did stop for a photo with some giant Indians and at an antique shop.  We don’t have a “world’s largest ball of twine” out here but these guys will do for a cool photo!image16

Until next time, Scooter here (your man on the inside) signing off.  

Vendors:

  • Touratech
  • LTWK
  • Quadratec
  • Overland Experts
  • ADV moto magazine
  • Scottoiler
  • Purple Lizard maps
  • Latitude Campers
  • P3 Clothing Arts
  • ARB
  • Mainline Overland
  • Rothrock Outfitters
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Speedy Sharp

World’s Fastest Sharpener

Fetzner Speedy Sharp

By Scott C Wickham Jr

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Today I’m reviewing the Speedy Sharp produced by Speedy Sharp Inc. a USA made product.  This is basically a 4 inch piece of steel with a carbide end that does the sharpening.  It’s designed to work on anything from camp knives to lawn mower blades.  Scissors, fish hooks, tree pruners are also within its capability to sharpen because of its small contact area and ability to get into tight spaces.  They way it works is the carbide working end gets drawn down the edge you want sharpened and it literally peels the metal off.  Not like the skinning of an apple, not long strands like that but very small, bits of the knife/ski/skate/axe or whatever you’re working on.

 You can feel the tool working the edge and see metal coming off the item being sharpened.  I sharpened 2 different knives with this tool and I’ll say it gives a working edge, not a super fine sharpened edge like fresh out of the knife shop.  This sharpener will not only sharpen but is supposed to hone the edge too.  So the idea is to sharpen and get a bur, then flip the tool over and hone the edge to knock the bur off.  I wasn’t having good luck with this so I used my leather belt to hone, I liked that much better.  You DO wear a leather belt don’t you?

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As with any new sharpening tool you’re not used to working with, get yourself a Sharpie marker so you can paint up the edge you’re working on.  After a couple swipes with the sharpener, see where the Sharpie mark is gone and where it stayed.  That’s your little tattle tale so you know if you need to adjust your angle.  Their directions say to swipe the tool down the edge 3-5 times down each side of the knife then hone it.  Again, this will probably give you a decent working edge.  And by working edge I mean it probably will not easily cut paper or arm hair but will allow you to baton fire wood or sharpen some tent stakes.

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Overall, the Speedy Sharp works fair as long as you know what to expect to get for results.  It definitely works better than the flat rock I carry around to sharpen my camp knife when in the field but I’d suggest stropping your end results with a piece of leather. And don’t forget your Sharpie marker.

Where to purchase:

[button link=”http://www.fetznerspeedysharp.net/” color=”red”]Speedy Sharp[/button]

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The Many Uses of Paracord

ParacordWar brings out the best and worst in men.  The worst is, well, you can read about the horrible things we have done to each other in many books.  The best I think would be all the inventions and new uses for items that the necessity of war initiates.  World War 2 brought the development and practical use of Penicillin (and a Nobel Prize in 1945 for Fleming, Florey, and Chain).  

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Landi Knives Kinzua Review

IMG_6761cJohn Landi is a man with a plan.  Do you know how many "sportsmen" are in the US?  He does.  Do you know what the average is they spend on knives?  He does.  Do you know how many custom knives they own and how much they spend on those type of knives?  He does.  The man has done his research!  John isn’t one to jump in with no business plan, he wants to succeed and be successful.  And, he is quite on his way.

 


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iPhone Survival Guide

iPhone Survival: Not Just for the Urban Jungle Anymore

100_2571aWhen I think survival, I think “Rule of 3’s”, 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food.  Next, I might think about specific items to have with me so I can get out of the situation.  Cordage and tools are two items hard to duplicate in the wild.  Not impossible, but hard.  Just having a good knife and some 550 cord might make the difference.  The knife will help you make shelter and the cordage will help hold it together (unless your building a debris shelter).  Most good survival items are multipurpose too.  The knife can be used to cut things, be an axe of sorts with the help of batoning, be the striker for a fire steel, be a signal mirror (if polished), a weapon, self defense item, etc. The cordage can help hold your shelter together, be part of a bow drill, a snare, an arm sling, etc.  Lots of uses there to say the least, and I didn’t mention using the inner strands yet.  So, what if you could have the following list in a 4 5/8″ X 2 5/8″ X 3/4″ water resistant package?

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