The Bikes

Somewhere on my 2005 trip through the California Deserts, I started thinking about ways to extend the range of my travels. The Van, with it's two wheel drive and low ground clearance is not made for off-road use, and increasingly, especially in the desert, I kept coming across interesting places that I wanted to explore, that were inaccessible to the Van. So when I got back home I started looking at a variety of options that would get me more off-road capability, including expensive 4x4 campers, ATV's, amphibious 6x6s, and even used tracked military vehicles. It's amazing what you can buy on ebay!

Perhaps someday the switch will be to a 4x4 vehicle of some type, but the Roadtrek is so cool that I did not want to change that part of the formula. And I didn't really want to haul a trailer around, because that would change the whole Roadtrek driving experience, taking more attention while driving and subjected to 35mph speed limits and vehicle restrictions in many areas. So I hit upon the idea of carrying a couple of small motorcycles on the back of the Van, kind of like mini-toads for my mini-RV! (fyi a toad is the name given to the extra vehicles towed around by RV owners).

In the end, I settled on a pair of 1972 Yamaha LT2s and a hitch mounted dual bike carrier from Joe Hauler. The bikes have 100cc two stroke motors, and are street legal and even though they are antiques, they're capable of hauling two adults on most any trail we are likely to find. Since getting them and riding them has been so much fun, they have been affectionately named the Yellow and Green Hornets! (The Van btw goes by the tried and true name of 'Bessie'). Below are the original photos from the ads that I bought the bikes from.

It came with extra tires and a few spare parts!
Only 1632 Original Miles

Getting the Bikes

The idea of getting some small bikes calls back my adolescence. When I was 14 or 15 (Around 1971), I had a blast riding around the back hills of Santee on a 1969 Kawasaki 90 my parents had given me after relentless badgering. I think my dad thought it would be a good technical learning experience, fixing the bike and so on, and my next door neighbor was constantly fixing up bikes (old Nortons, Bultaco's, and stuff), so they finally caved in and forked out the $200 to buy the bike. I loved that bike, riding it every day after school, taking it apart and putting it together several times, before we moved and had to sell it. I never got another motorcycle as issues like money for college became tantamount.

Here at 47 years old, now retired, I realized I could have any bike I wanted. And the great part was that, as opposed to when I was 14, I could legally drive them on the street (instead of ducking the cops like when I was 14!). And if it's street legal, it can ride in all of the places I tend to go, including National Monuments and Parks, that ATV's and dirt bikes can't go, as well as the many forest roads and OHV parks open to off road vehicles. They call bikes that are street and off-road capable "dual sport" machines, and I started researching them.

When I started looking at what dual sports were currently available, I found that the smallest ones being manufactured were all 200cc or bigger 4 stroke bikes. They were expensive (on the order of $4000 new) and heavy (over 250 lbs). I didn't want to carry two full sized motorcyles on the back of the Van, and and was really looking for something smaller.

They small bikes could be fun and relatively safe, and significantly increase the amount of ground covered. So I put the whole Van-Bike thing together.

First - The Yellow Hornet ...