KLR's are GREAT bikes. BUT if you have limited gravel experience I'd look at something lighter and lower 1st. You will be MUCH happier you did.
Either go sit on them at the dealer or do some little test rides on used ones.
I'd look at KLX250, CRF250L (just getting ready to come out), XT225 (low), DR650 (can be lowered with stock parts and little lighter than KLR).
Ask on ADVrider for locals and I bet you will get plenty of guys willing to let you try out their bikes.
And your post feels the most "gut true" to my situation. I'm new here, so don't know if it's acceptable to thank all who responded in just one post. I really appreciate the replies everyone has posted: really good points to consider.
With 75 good years under my belt, I think I'll just thank the motorcycle gods for the 50 good years I had with wind in my face. Savage's remark about "newbies in gravel" is telling. And someone else (? right now) reminded me that picking up some 400 pounds could be a challenge. I enjoy riding alone, and with a busted wrist or arm, that could really be a nightmare. I'm as mean as I was 40 years ago, but not nearly as tough or strong.
I'm still comfortable and confident on the Sporty, and while I will read about you guys with envy, I think my "window of opportunity" has closed for the riding you guys are blessed with.
Thanks again, all! I'll continue to watch the forum...seems like a stand up bunch here. And just maybe, maybe, I'll take your advice Savage and check out the ADVrider site...didn't know about them.
Thanks again. I'll buy the virtual beer. (Big of me, huh