RYAN TURNER: @EAT_SLEEP_MOTO_BEER
By Paul Strubell of Dirt Orca’s – 7/2/18
For the eighty second installment in our ongoing interview series here at Dirt Orca’s, we are very pleased to share the story of a true hard charger. Ryan Turner is @eat_sleep_moto_beer
Ryan runs with a fun crew in a fun place. Tackling some of California’s best riding with the likes of @the_gear_dude (Spencer Hill) and @rodeo.cowboy (Nick Livingston). Together they are currently one of the bright pockets of enduro photography and exploration.
You can follow Ryan’s Instagram account (@eat_sleep_moto_beer) to stay up to date on his travels and projects. I highly recommend giving him a follow.
He is great reminder that even while you hold down a 9-5 for a nationally recognized brewery, you can still carve out time for the good stuff. Not that working for Lagunitas is bad, but you get what I mean.
Please check out our interview below.
*Most of the photography pictured is Ryan’s, but you’ll also see two in there from Nick Livingston where noted.
What do you consider to be your place of work?
I am a Market Manager for Lagunitas Brewing Company. I have the privilege of selling this amazing Craft Beer from Santa Barbara down to Northern Los Angeles.
Tell me about your bike. What do you call it?
I am the proud owner of a heavily modified 2016 KTM 690 Enduro R that goes by the name “Icarus”. If I’ve learned anything from blasting a 70 Horsepower, 325+ pound dirt-bike across the desert; it’s to steer clear of hubris and complacency. These traits will put you ass over tea-kettle, and into a hospital bed.
When and how did you get it?
I have had it for just about 18 Months, I purchased it from Thousand Oaks Power Sports. Already pushing 14k+ miles!
What other vehicles did you consider and what made you ultimately pull the trigger on the one you bought?
At the time I was considering the KTM 1190 ADV R. It was a difficult decision but I am very happy I went with the 690 for many reasons. I have owned a KTM 990 ADV in the past and fell in love with the ability to cover hundreds of miles a day comfortably. Though that bike was surprisingly capable in technical off-road terrain for its size, it is still a 500+ pound bike that will never survive the kind of abuse and tight technical single track that I have come to love. I have a good amount of experience riding lightweight Moto bikes, and after spending a couple years on the 990; I decided that the 690 could possibly be the best “All Around” Adventure/Enduro bike on the market. I will admit if I had an endless budget, I would probably have a 300, 500, and 1090 in my shed. One of my favorite quotes I have heard from a few of my elder off roader friends is “the right amount of bikes to own is X + 1”. For many reasons, I enjoy the process of turning this 690 into the ultimate Adventure Bike. Lightweight, highly capable on and off road, with the ability to hold enough gear and fuel for long distance expeditions.
Have you made any upgrades or changes to it?
I’d have to say this is my favorite part. I am a gear head through and through, and I am passionate about building out my projects without the help of mechanics. Everything from maintenance to major modifications have been done solo. Starting from the first turn of a wrench: Rottweiler Performance “Canisterectomy” SAS block off kit, Touratech Pannier rack, Perun Moto tail rack, Perun Moto Rear Brake Cylinder protection, Rotopax 1.75gal aux fuel can, CJ Designs Footpeg Extensions, Vanasche Motorsports Case Saver, Vanasche Motorsports Side Stand Extension Platform, Vanasche Motorsports Brake Pedal and Tip, Vanasche Motorsports Rear Brake Disc Guard, Rade Garage “Dakar Style” Skid Plate, Rade Garage WindScreen and Fairings, Rade Garage LED Headlights, Rade Garage Auxillary Fuel Tank and Air Intake System, Double Take rear view mirror, Ram Mounts for Phone, Mirror and GPS, Giant Loop Zig Zag HandleBar bag, Wolfman Luggage Enduro Saddle Bags, Wolfman Luggage Expedition Dry Duffle Bag.
What is your favorite part about it living off of your bike?
I have only had a few chances so far to experience proper ‘moto-hobo” trips where I truly live off the bike for days on end. I plan to do longer and longer trips as time and resources permit. I have big plans to check off several of the Backcountry Discovery Routes in the next few years. In the summer of 2017 I rode Solo from Ojai, California up to Bandon Beach, Oregon mostly on the Pacific Coast Highway and country roads, with some off-road exploring peppered in. This trip opened my eyes to the freedom of camping off the bike. Being free to stop and go as you please, camp wherever you see fit, and explore the places you come across without any hindrances. If I could suggest one thing to people that are new to ADV riding or off road riding; try going solo, once you are confident and properly prepared it becomes an amazing experience to be self-reliant and alone in these awe-inspiring landscapes.
What is your least favorite part about it?
My least favorite part of any Moto Expedition is the time crunch. It’s hard to keep pushing on further and further from home, when you know that you have to turn around to make it back to return to the real world and all your obligations. Some-day I’ll have to take a trip with no set end date, that’s living the dream proper!
What is the best place you have taken it?
My most memorable moment was riding the White Mountain Range up above Bishop California. I was out there solo in late November, base camp setup in the valley just outside of town, riding a huge radius of trails each day. I took the long dirt road up to the Barcroft Research station near White Mountain peak, the gate was open but there wasn’t a soul for miles that I could tell. I rode the jeep trail as far as I could towards the peak but stopped out of concern for the bike and my own well-being. It was like riding over snowy, iced over basketballs. I made it to just about 13,000 ft. above sea level according to my Garmin Fenix watch. At this moment I parked the bike, took a few deep breaths, looked around and realized this may have been the most “Alone” I have ever felt in my life. I sat there for a long time, looking out over the Owens River Valley and Mount Whitney standing tall on the opposite range. This was one of the most influential moments of my two wheeled career. I proceeded to kick back, crack open a beer, and heat up some freeze dried Beef Stroganoff. “Happy as the proverbial pig in shit”
Is there just one?
Of course not! I have a ton of places that I love revisiting time and time again. On any given weekend you can find me riding in and around the Los Padres National Forest, Joshua Tree Desert, Big Bear Mountains, Kern River/Southern Sequoia National Park, Death Valley, Eastern Sierras, etc… and any chance I get I’ll be exploring
Favorite road you’ve driven?
My favorite stretch of Tarmac has to be California’s Highway 1 aka “PCH” through Northern California. Last summer I rode from Ojai, CA up to Bandon Beach Oregon. This was the longest trip I have spent camping off the bike, and a great first timers route to get acclimated to living on two wheels.
In one word, what describes your approach to life?
Live it “Deliberately”
If you could give a person one piece of advice when thinking about living off of a bike, what would you tell them?
I’d say you have to just give it a shot. I know it took me years of off-road, dual-sport and adventure riding before I finally got my gear together and actually camped off the back of the bike. It takes some serious planning, foresight and motivation, but in the end its one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.
In addition; one big thing that stifles a lot of people is thinking they need the perfect bike, the perfect panniers, gear and tools, etc… I’d suggest loading up your backpack, hopping on whatever bike you have at the moment, and heading out into the great unknown. It’s the only way to tell if you are going to love it or hate it, because at the end of the day, no matter how fancy your bike and gear is; your still just living like a hobo on a motorbike.
It takes a special kind of person to recognize that the journey, not the destination, is the point of life. Travelers know this. Was there a point in your life where you became conscious that you were one of those kind of people?
When I first bought my KTM 990 ADV I realized that I was endlessly entertained wandering the backcountry all weekend long with no particular destination in mind. This is the time I also acknowledged the urge to keep on riding and not return home. The urge to keep going over the next horizon and see what the world has to offer. Its absolutely not about the destination, it’s the about pursuing the unknown.
You have found a strong place in the community of adventure riders. What values do you think your home or family instilled in you, that you take on the road?
I have been stoked to grow up with a large and supportive family, many of which are pretty hardcore off road riders. I have been inspired by my uncles and cousins that have maintained a very high performance level even into their older ages. I am very inspired by my mentors, it gives me confidence and excitement to keep riding off-road indefinitely.
Lessons learned from my family over the years: Pull your own weight, Chew you own food, No whining…
I admire your outside the box approach to career and home. Do you see yourself as people who took a leap of faith to live in an unconventional way or do you think it kind of just happened?
Don’t think this one applies yet, haha! I hope to live a far less conventional lifestyle as I get the pieces in place.
Where do you want to go next?
I am currently putting the final pieces together for what should be the longest and most challenging expedition of my riding career. In mid-May I will be traveling with a group of experienced badass adventure riders; starting in San Diego county and zig zagging our way all the way up through central California to somewhere around Lake Tahoe, over about 9 days. Riding as little pavement as possible of course. Beyond this ride I have many others in mind, just depends on time and resources.
As far as my professional career goes I plan to keep “living the dream” I have been selling Craft Beer for over a decade and really appreciate the culture and landscape. I work for an amazing brewery that takes care of its tribe like no other. I am even fortunate enough to be able to facilitate Beer donations to off-road related non-profit organizations and events.
Beyond that the sky’s the limit! I have an amazing Fiancé that shreds hard enduro trails like a champ on her KTM Freeride 250R. In a perfect world; I’d just load up the bikes and the pup and head north towards Alaska indefinitely.
His pictures alone capture the “adventurist” spirit. Add two wheels and he rides apart from most. A hundred years ago he would have been dubbed an explorer.