Fly Racing Maverik ATV-Dual Sport Boots Review

In my innocence, I thought that buying new boots, would be quick and easy since my needs were simple. All I wanted was foot protection and ankle support in a comfortable boot. But, it was neither quick or easy because boot shopping combines a little bit of knowing what you want, with a lot of crossing your fingers and rolling the dice. I am a rotten gambler, so I depend on dumb luck to see me through most things. 

Yeah - that is my gambling problem!
This epic began with several frustrating evenings spent reading on-line reviews. Not a lot of help there. While many people like a specific boot for fit, comfort, and protection; just as many others hate the same boot for the very same reasons. Often, it's a 50-50 chance that you will like the boot - or hate it. Even a bad gambler wants better odds than those, so I went out and tried on some boots. Sometimes you gotta get your hands - or feet in this case - dirty if you want to get anything done.

I hate shopping, but visited several stores, tried some different boots, and found new issues. For example, once you get past the style thing, all new boots are the same - stiff, uncomfortable, and they hurt a bit. Yes, they all will improve with wear. But, after a few minutes of wearing them around a store, you can't predict how they will feel in six months. Too bad my crystal ball was at home in a Pelican case. My dumb luck had failed me. And there were other problems.

Everyone has some shame connected with their feet, from foot odor to those little nail infection monsters. Mine is a right foot that is slightly larger than my left. I am ok with that. It's not freakish or anything, and the other kids never made fun of me in school, but it complicates buying footwear. In this case, when everything else was good, the right boot was too tight. I was getting no where, and could not decide on a boot. Should I settle for Alpine, Fox, Thor, or keep looking?

This guessing and second-guessing ended when I tried the Fly Maverik ATV/Dual Sport boots. No worries about foot protection and ankle support with them. A dinosaur could step on your ankle, and in these boots you probably would not notice. The lower height and lugged soles seemed perfect for trail riding. I wear a size 10W shoe, but the size 11 Maveriks fit just fine, even on my right foot. I bought them and got out of the store, glad that my quest for boots had ended. But, rather than enjoy a ride with my new boots, my dumb luck was about to fail me again.

As luck would have it, the new Maveriks were really stiff and much more uncomfortable than I expected. It was a pain for several rides, but I stuck with them and after a few hours of wear they were fine. The Velcro closure keeps them snug around the leg and the three bindings have withstood some pretty tough wear. I have abused these boots and they clean up almost as good as new. They do everything I wanted and that is the best you can say about any of your gear. I am still a rotten gambler, but with enough time, dumb luck finally came through for me again.

Replacing the Right Side Engine Shroud

During a trail ride at the Gas Gas Rally in Moab, Utah, I dumped the bike after a water crossing and busted up the right side fairing (engine shroud is the technical name). After many earlier water crossings that were no problem, I was probably a bit too confident and definitely going too fast when I entered the small creek.

Climbing out of the water, the front tire bounced off a rock and into soft sand near the edge of the trail. This knocked me off balance and I went down. When I stood the KLR up, it was covered in dirt and mud but, appeared undamaged. I thought my crash bars had saved me again and rode on. But, on the highway back to town, I noticed the right engine shroud vibrating in the wind and after cleaning it, I saw this...

The crack ran down to the lower mounting screw
My SW-MOTECHs were no help on this one. The bike laid over onto a sand embankment that paralleled the trail and plowed forward to a stop. The engine shroud dug into the sand, bent inward and cracked from top to bottom. I think the Happy Trails crash bars that wrap around the engine shrouds may have prevented this, but that's only a guess.

I went to the Kawi dealer for a new panel and I expressed my unhappiness that a minor dump in soft sand, could cause this much damage. He said Kawasaki had switched to the brittle plastic after years of complaints about UV damage to the "tupperware" panels on the older model KLRs. The newer plastics crack and break, but will resist sun fading. The newer bikes are less durable, but will look good longer. It's a trade-off, but I needed a new shroud anyway.

The dealer was unsure of the color when he placed the order because the computer listed two colors for the 2011 engine shroud. Lucky for me, he guessed correctly, and the part (# 49131-5359-X1) arrived a week later.  It came painted with decals installed, and was identical to the old shroud. I switched a couple pieces of hardware to the new shroud and my trusty KLR was good as new again.

Someone with the right skills could probably JB Weld or Bondo the damaged shroud and make it look almost right again. But, that ain't me! Instead, I wrote the date and location on the shroud and hung it on the garage wall as a memento of the Gas Gas Rally.

If you ever need to replace and engine shroud, here is what to expect...

Good as new and ready for the next adventure!

KLR650 At Arches National Park

I created this slide show highlighting my recent ride through Arches National Park. I toured the park by car in 1997 and that was good. Seeing Arches again from the seat of my KLR was fantastic! The spectacular scenery was really up-close and much more alive. The rock formations and desert terrain were beautiful.

I missed the Delicate Arch on my last visit, but not this time! My KLR waited in the parking lot as I eagerly joined the pilgrimage on the 1.5 mile hike to Utah's most famous natural landmark. I loved every minute of it. Seeing and touching the arch was a perfect end to the trek. My smile at the Delicate Arch comes from correcting the 15 year old mistake of missing it in 1997.

I left Arches, knowing that I would return very soon for a longer visit. If you have never been to Arches by car, KLR, or any other bike, make plans to visit. Internet slides shows, television, or National Park DVD's do not come close to capturing the park's awe inspiring sights.

Ride to Onion Creek: Part 1

This ride is from a couple of weeks ago during the Gas Gas Rally in Moab, UT with my two buddies Gary and Jordan from Calgary AB. I will be posting more of these including the Onion Creek Trail where I went down coming out of a water crossing and cracked up my right side fairing. So, stay tuned!!

The Haunted Stanley Hotel, Estes Park Colorado

It is a fantastic ride through Big Thompson Canyon to reach the small town of Estes Park, Colorado. The canyon road parallels a rushing river, and sharply twists and turns around many blind corners. Open runs through wide mountain passes lead to narrow passes with vertical canyon walls on each side. It is a thrilling ride with great scenery. Finally, the canyon opens to reveal Estes Park, the home of the haunted Stanley Hotel.

My favourite ride, with the hotel in back!
The Stanley is famously haunted thanks to the television program Ghost Hunters, who conducted a paranormal investigation there. Additionally, several celebrity guests of the hotel have reported ghostly activities during their stays. Visiting the Stanley was a long term goal of mine and I was looking forward to touring the hotel.

The Stanley Hotel
Alex, our tour guide did a great job leading our group through all four floors of the hotel, as well as the basement. We learned the hotel's full history and Alex told a number of entertaining ghost stories. One involved author Stephen King's stay at the Stanley, which inspired King's best seller, The Shining. Another intriguing story involved actor/comedian, Jim Carey who was spooked out of room 217 (one of the hotel's most active rooms) while filming the movie Dumb and Dumber. BTW, the "staircase race" scene from that movie was filmed at the Stanley.

Alex telling a ghost story
It was disappointing that our late afternoon group did not encounter any ghostly activity during the 90 minute tour. I paid close attention for knocks, ghost voices, or anything paranormal, but there was nothing. Alex told us sometimes the ghosts cooperate during the tours, but sometimes they don't. Regardless, the Stanley tour is time well spent, and I strongly recommend it, if you visit the Estes Park area. Following the tour, I visited the hotel's formal dining room where the food and service were absolutely fantastic with very reasonable prices. After several days of eating fast food while on the road, this meal was exactly what I needed!!

See those elk in the background
Leaving the hotel, I spotted several elk on the grounds and tried to get a picture without spooking them. A short time later, riding near Rocky Mountain National Park, I found three elk walking abreast on the left lane of the two lane road. I slowly edged the KLR way over to the right  and we passed without incident. The animals were close enough that I could have reached out and touched the nearest of them. But, the elk behaved themselves and I did the same. We only exchanged curious looks as we passed. When you are that close, elk are very big animals and the KLR is a very small motorcycle.

Here are a few more pictures from the Stanley Hotel...

The main lobby
Stairs to second floor
This men's room felt creepy (my imagination?) so I took this picture