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I’m having problems with the 2005 KLR650 again.  The last time I had a slight hesitation while under steady throttle it turned out to be the stator/pickup coil.  At 20,000 miles the pick quit running and wouldn’t start again, there was no spark.  In doing my checks, the stator and coil pickup tested as failed.  I replaced both the stator and the pickup with used parts off EBay and the problems went away.

The engine is stock.  The exhaust is stock.  The carb has one washer (.22 mod) under the needle and the slide is drilled.  UNI filter.  The airbox is stock.  The petcock is manual and flowing.  The Vacuum line has been blocked off.  The chain and sprockets have been changed out recently.  The brakes and rotors are in good condition.  Wheel bearings are in good condition.

At about 21500 miles the hesitation came back.  This is a fairly random pattern that usually starts at around 3000rpm and stops at about 5200rpm.  The bike starts and idles normally and runs flawlessly at 5500+ RPM.  The hesitations aren’t noticeable on trailing throttle or under acceleration.  It happens in all gears.  It was only happening when warmed up, but now starts almost immediately upon startup.  The tach doesn’t seem to move under steady throttle.

I have pretty much ruled out carb issues.  There is nothing in the carb that I haven’t been through three times.  It was rebuilt with a Moose Racing rebuild kit at 16,000 miles.  The float is set properly with the fuel level just above the bowl to body line.

So on to ignition system.  The battery is charging and the regulator (yellow) wires ohm out at .7 each pair. No open circuits.

The Pickup Coil shows 113 .  It’s OK.

The Exciter Coil shows 130 .  It’s OK.

The Primary Coil  Resistance shows .2 to .3 .  It’s OK

The Secondary Coil Resistance shows 4.5 .  It’s OK

The Cap Resistance shows 5.4. It’s OK.

the diode shows 6/6/6 vs infinity/infinity/infinity   It’s OK

The CDI box: I=INFINITY  Number in Brackets is from Clymers

W                 R               R/G                  L/R               B/W                B                     Y/B

W                          I (I)            24(I)                7.4(I)             7.4(I)              I(I)                 7.4(I)

R     I(10-55)        X             5.7(5-25)         5.7(5-35)          I(I)             5.6(5-25)        5.7(20-90)

R/G   I(2-10)      .9(2-10)         X                   2.6(1-6)           I(I)               0(0)                25(10-50)

L/R    I(4-20)      7(4-20)     2.7(1-6)               X                  I(I)               2.6(1-6)            27(10-55)

B/W      I(I)             I(I)             I(I)                   I(I)                 X                    I(I)                     I(I)

B         8(2-10)      3.7(2-10)    0(0)              2.6(1-6)           I(I)                   X                    25(10-50)

Y/B     I(15-80)     .9(15-80)  24(10-50)      27(10-55)     I(I)                 25(10-50)               X

That’s a lot of measurements that are off.  This may likely be my problem.

 

 

My Motorcycles

I tend to keep my bikes for long periods of time.  I’ve never had enough extra cash to constantly go for the shiniest and flashiest new bike out there.  I agonize over each purchase, sometimes for years before actually seeking out a good used example and pulling the trigger. None of the pictures are of my actual bikes.  Just Web representations of what I had.  Most of my bikes have scars on them and look well used.

My parents weren’t all that interested in my having a motorcycle as a kid.  They didn’t object to my riding other people’s though, so my first ride was a Briggs and Stratton engined mini bike that probably got all the way up to around 12mph.

My bosses’ Honda 90 was the next step – and a step through –  and I did manage to put more than a few miles on that orange beast.

College gave me some saved cash and the freedom to choose.  I really didn’t have any experience with motorcycles and there was no training.  I didn’t even have my motorcycle license.  Dead of winter in Wisconsin, I visited a motorcycle dealership.  In those days and that part of the country, the used bikes were kept in the back room and you had to ask to go see them.  This dealership had about 30 used bikes back there and I poked and prodded and looked and touched.  There was no internet back then so information on how to ride, what to ride and the differences in types of bikes were pretty much non-existent.  You had to have experience or friends who wouldn’t lead you astray.  I had neither.

This one dusty, black machine way back in the corner caught my eye.  It was only four years old at that point and had very few miles on it.  It was big and bold for the time with a really cool LCD dash and a huge fairing on it.  Better still, it had an affordable price on it – to everyone else, it was an ugly duckling and most unwanted.  It was a 1983 Yamaha Virago 920.  Japan’s early answer to Harley Davidson’s dominance in the cruiser market.  I rode that bike everywhere, though 2 hours at a time was all the seat would allow.

Soon enough, college was over and I had a job with enough money for a new bike.  It wanted more speed, better handling and I found another used bike to drool over.  Again, all I had were motorcycle mags and a few friends who all rode Harleys.  Even then I just didn’t get the Harley thing.  I wanted something sportier.  I rode a used Honda with a Kerker sport can on it.  Wow!  That thing barked!  It was a Nighthawk S.  700cc’s of pure power with a scream at the high end.  It was fast!  At least from my experience at the time.  It looked good, in fact it’s still one of my favorite motorcycles from that perspective.  Unfortunately, I soon found that what sounds great on a test ride gets droningly, excessively irritating after about 1/2 an hour – proof to my ears that the Harley loud pipe thing wasn’t going to do anything for me..  Still no internet and finding someone who still had the original four into two exhaust system in their garage was almost impossible at the time.

First marriage puts a bit of a hold on my motorcycle life.  Divorce brings it back.

My new job and my first and so far only impulse buy.  A shiny, brand new 1999 Triumph Sprint ST!  955cc of three cylinder power.  To me, the fastest, most powerful bike I’ve ever owned and to date of this writing, still have every owned.  What a bike.  I rode that thing everywhere.  It went to every state and province west of the Mississippi and several East.  It took me to Alaska.  It carried me to 100,000 very satisfying and extremely reliable miles.  I loved that bike.  Even the stock seat agreed with me.  I didn’t change anything about it and it became the source for my love of Iron Butt riding.  Riding Long Distances in short periods of time.

During this period, I became interested in old bikes.  I had a nice shop with lots of tools and good knowledge of how to do things.  At breakfast with my motorcycling buddies one Sunday morning, I was introduced to my next obsession:  Vintage BMW.  I found a 1974 R90/6 with the S fairing and most of the important stuff already done to it.  Awesome.  It was as different from the Triumph as anything I had ever ridden.  I would get on either bike and go, yeah!  This is why I ride.  Completely different reasons, but each gave me a thrill every time.  It really was a nirvana of riding for me.

During this time of two bikes, there were some forays into other worlds:

Honda VFR750,

 

 

 

Suzuki VStrom 1000,

 

 

 

Honda Shadow 500,

 

 

 

Triumph Tiger 955,

 

 

 

Suzuki VStrom 650.

 

 

 

Finally, my Triumph had enough miles on it to be moved on and I went to one bike for the first time in many years.  Eventually, finances forced me to give even that one up.  It just took too much money to maintain and I was left with the VStrom 650.

Aside from its funny name, the VStrom is a competent bike, but really not very exciting or overly exceptional at anything.  Initially, it was one of the more uncomfortable bikes I had ever owed, the Honda Nighthawk being the worst.  I would start squirming after 30 minutes and I couldn’t stand to ride more than about 1.5 hours at a time.  Luckily, the VStrom is very affordable so I could afford a custom seat, bar backs, heated grips, luggage, protection bars, different windscreen and a few other goodies.  I have now done several 1000 mile+ days with three 1500 miles in 24 hour runs and a 50cc Quest – New York to San Francisco in 50 hours.

The VStrom supposed to be competent enough for dirt riding, but I have found it high strung and not fun on the dirt.  So I bought a KLR650 to remedy that.  Much, much better.  I ride the KLR for my dual sport stuff and I ride the VStrom for the out of state stuff.  Though I’ve taken the KLR for more than several 750 mile + day rides.

That seems to be my mantra.  Buy a cheep bike, the KLR was purchased for a bit over $2000.00, outfit it for comfort – another $2000.00, then ride the crap out of it, fix it as necessary and shovel another one under all of the accessories when the first one isn’t worth fixing anymore.  It sure beats a $20K BMW or $30K Harley.

So, that’s it for now.  I am riding the VStorm 650 (78,000 miles) on my long distance adventures and my KLR650 on my in state adventures (20,000 miles)

I’ve Been There!

A listing and commentary of places where I have ridden a motorcycle.  I have been to many other places, but this is primarily a motorcycle blog:

The Continents:

  • North America
  • Europe

The Countries:

 

The States:

Alabama:  Muscle Shoals – where music lives!

Alaska:  I have a lot more exploring to do in this, our largest state with the fewest roads.  I’ve been to Hyder.  A very long ride, but more manageable that heading further north and it is Alaska!  Prudhoe Bay is on the bucket list.

Arizona:  Most would list the Grand Canyon here and it surely is impressive, but Arizona offers much more to see.  From Organ Pipe NP, to Flagstaff.  From Chiricahua NM and tombstone in the SE to Hoover Dam in the NW.  One of the best riding roads in the country and perhaps the world is old route 666, the Devil’s Highway (now route 191).  Arizona has a lot to offer motorcyclists.

Arkansas:  Especially northern Arkansas.  Pick a road, any road, you will enjoy it.

California:  I’ve biked to Hollywood and Pink’s, San Diego,  Death Valley and Sacramento and the northern forests.  I’ve been to alphabetically last Zzyzx.   My favorites are the deserts, though they are more hospitable in air conditioned comfort outside of February and March.

Colorado.  Anywhere north of New Mexico and west of Denver.  Just do it!

Georgia:  I didn’t have a lot of time for exploration, but there do look like some interesting roads in the north of the state.  I’ve stopped in Atlanta.

Idaho:  Hands down the Craters of the Moon is the place to visit.  You think you’ve seen stark, barren and remote – and you have just driving to the Preserve, but the place itself is out of this world.  You’ve just got to visit once.  Don’t forget to peer through the fence, from a respectable distance, at the Navy base along the way.  Yes, a navy base in the middle of Idaho.  And not a lake, sea or ocean in site!

Indiana and Illinois:  Just gotta endure these to get to better places.  I’m sure there are things to see here, but I haven’t found them yet.

Iowa:  The future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk!  Yes, that would be in Riverside, Iowa.  I’ve been there in the off season, but come Summertime, there are some grand celebrations.

Kansas:  Nothing to see here.  Keep moving.  If you like odd places, Lebanon, Kansas has the geographic center of the US.

Louisiana:  I’ve visited New Orleans by car.  I’ve been through Baton Rouge by motorcycle.

Maryland:  Just passing through.  Looks like it could be an interesting place to explore.

Michigan:  Everyone should do the Mackinac Bridge in gale force winds on a motorcycle just once!  Beside having it’s own beauty and several of the great lakes, Michigan is a portal to Sault Ste Marie and Canada!  You’ve got to try it once.

Minnesota:  Land of 10,000 lakes.  Not that other states don’t have more lakes, Minnesota just advertises their better.  The northern forests are pretty cool and while water doesn’t always make for good motorcycling, it is pretty cool up there.  Polaris and Victory are also headquartered here.

Mississippi:  Also just passing through, but will be back!

Missouri:  Barbeque.

Montana:  Hands down one of the best motorcycling roads in America runs south into Wyoming from Red Lodge, Montana.  The Big Horn sheep were out on my last run through there.  Yellowstone, Glacier, and Prairie Dog State Park are here also.  The Rocky Mountains take people’s breath away, but the plains, the badlands and the Missouri Breaks have hidden treasures as well.

Nebraska:  I’ve been through here many times.  Never stopped anywhere….

Nevada:  the loneliest highway in America!  Aliens – and not the ones from the southern border either.  Las Vegas.

New Jersey:  Overnighted here for my 50cc Quest IBA ride.

New Mexico:  I have ridden most of my motorcycling miles here.  I still haven’t seen it all though I’ve about run out of pavement to try.  The KLR650 will help there.

New York:  Upstate New York looks interesting.  I’ve yet to get there.  Coney Island – check.  New York City – check.  Manhattan – Check.  Staten Island Ferry – Check.  Statue of Liberty – check.  Ground Zero – check.  I’m not a fan of big cities.  Even the traffic at 3am is horrendous.

North Carolina:  This will require a good week of exploration, just for the roads.

North Dakota:  You have to get off the freeways to see anything here.  People are bored and over educated so just keep your eyes open and you will see stuff like this:

Ohio:  The AMA museum is worth the visit and the river roads of the East and SE are pretty awesome too.

Oklahoma:  Not much for riding other than riding through.  Go see the Cowboy Hall of Fame museum in Oklahoma City.  Well worth the ride.

Oregon:  Crater Lake has been the highlight so far.   What a picturesque place!

Pennsylvania:  Just passing through, though I found a great model railroad museum and equally great apple pie in Shartlesville.  It’s not big enough to have two restaurants or even two museums.  Stop in anyway.

South Carolina:  A quick dip in the corner.  Beautiful.

South Dakota:  The Black Hills.  Sturgis, if you go for that sort of thing.

Tennessee:  Also looking forward to coming back with more time – roads in the east.  I’ve been to the blues clubs in Memphis by car.

Texas:  Too damned big and too damned hot.  I do like Big Bend area and the Hill Country, though.

Utah:  Where to start.  There are so many National Parks, State Parks, National Monuments and other places to hike, off road, on road, ride around, that Utah ranks high on my list of places to keep going back to.  One of my goals is to get to the Bonneville Salt Flats – I’ve ridden past, but not stopped.

Virginia:  Just passing through.

Washington.  I need to spend more riding time here.  Done Seattle, Done the deepsea salmon fishing thing, but I’ve only managed to ride a few great roads from north to South, seeing Mount Rainier and Mount St Helens from a distance.  Still beautiful, though.  Can’t wait to explore some more.  How can you stay away from a state that has such great town names as Yakima and Brewster.

West Virginia:  It was dark, but you had a great hotel!

Wisconsin:  Land of Cheese, Beer and people who have nothing better to do than figure out how to deep fry stuff.  Inventors of Deep Fat Fried beer, butter, snickers and pretty much everything else that might be edible.  Their county fairs and the state fair are great places to partake.  The great lakes are vast and interesting.  The House on the Rock in SW Wisconsin doesn’t look like much from the parking lot, but pay your dollars and give yourself a few hours to walk through this eclectic home/museum.

Wyoming:  Yellowstone is great, but not for motorcycling.  Too many cars and tourists.  Take in Hell’s Half Acre instead – it’s out west of Casper and I guarantee you will be the only person there. Devil’s tower is worth a visit as is the medicine wheel in the north central part of the state.  Wyoming’s western culture is barely concealed behind the facades of the old west towns dotted along the roadways.

 

The Provinces of Canada:

Alberta:  A foray into the western end.  Much more to see here.

British Columbia:  Beautiful.  Must go back again and again.  Vancouver is on the Bucket List.

Saskatchewan:  Spent many a summer as a kid up there.  I’ve motorcycled in the grassy plains of the south.

Ontario:  A must ride along Lake Superior.

 

 

Spring Trip 2015

I found an older write up I had on a Blogger site that I forgot I had.  Here is a write up of my Spring Trip in 2015:

 

I never seem to have exciting motorcycle trips.  The bike always works, I’ve never had to deal with a trip ending breakdown.  I’ve never been stopped by weather..  I almost never see anything extraordinary.  Not that I’m complaining!  Too much…

This trip was no different.

Santa Fe >> Kansas City, MO >> Tulsa, OK >> Fargo, ND >> Froid, MT >> Santa Fe

New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado

3609 GPS Miles

10 Days

Friday afternoon and Saturday:

I started in Santa Fe, NM heading north and East towards the corner of New Mexico.  A bit unusual for New Mexico in that I was in my rain suit before Pecos, only 30 miles into the trip.  A gymnastic feat I would repeat five times on this trip and once when I should have but got soaked before I could get pulled safely over.  But, most rain is nice for those of us who live in the desert.  As long as it doesn’t impede our progress, we usually welcome rain anytime it wants to visit.

I was finally able to leave work at 1:30, so a late start on the day.  I needed to be in Kansas City for a Ride To Eat (RTE) no later than 10:30 Central time on Saturday so a long day, short night ahead.  I had planned to stop for the night around Wichita but at that point, I was feeling pretty good about riding so I pressed on.  Following my GPS ended up putting me away from hotel opportunities and I finally stopped about 1.5 hour beyond my fatigue about 100 miles from the Missouri border.

The RTE at Snead’s Barbecue in Belton, Missouri was as good as last year, with about 30 attendees who appeared out of the wet remnants of the massive flooding the week prior in the Houston area.  As I left in the early afternoon for my 2.5 hour run to Tulsa, the humidity and temperatures spiked.  I arrived at my friend’s house in Tulsa with 95 degrees and 98% humidity.  Wow!

Sunday afternoon and Monday:

With Temps and Humidity at near record levels for early June, I left for cooler climes in the north.  My goal for Sunday afternoon was somewhere in South Dakota.  Keeping to US75 meant not having to go through any major cities, though on Sunday that wouldn’t have been all that terrible.  Sioux Falls winds up it’s sidewalks very early though and the only food I could find at 10pm was gas station pizza.  The hotel was clean and quiet at least.  Monday noon found me at my Aunt Karen’s house in Minnesota near Fargo, ND.   A home cooked meal with pot roast and all of the little comfort foods I remembered as a kid put me to sleep about as fast as I could get into bed.  The last time I was here was 9/11/2001.  This time, we left CNN off.

Tuesday and Wednesday:

Traveling days.  Lunch with my Aunt Karla in Fargo and an overnight with my Aunt Trudy in Devil’s Lake, ND.  Great lunch sandwich and grilled steak with garden veggies were the fare.  Final stop in my original home town of Froid, MT.  Seeing my 97 year old Aunt Lil the highlight of my last planned stop.

I had been warned about traffic in the Williston Oil Basin and was expecting a lot more than I found.  The price of oil is down and there are a lot of rigs idle right now, but I can certainly see that the boom created a lot of new stuff in an area that usually doesn’t change much.

Thursday and Friday:

Visiting days.  Tim, my childhood minister, my Aunt Lil a couple of times, staying with high school friends and seeing a high school classmate for the first time since graduation.  Friday night with my best friend for all of these years.

Saturday and Sunday:

The 1100 mile push home.  Fighting fatigue and plugged up ears the whole way, I made it to Denver finally.  Ignoring the dark cloud until there was no opportunity to pull over was a large mistake.  At least it was a warm rain.  The Castle hotel in Castle Rock was a nice, quiet place to overnight and the final half day went very fast.  Breakfast buffet at the family restaurant in Raton, NM capped off a great, but uneventful week.

Sept 12

The rally is over, but we meet for group pictures and a dip into the Pacific Ocean.  My boots are still waterproof.  Breakfast afterward and I’m off for home by noon.  I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge last night.  Today, my GPS decides to take me through the middle of San Francisco downtown to the Bay Bridge.  At least I got to go over both bridges, but it take over an hour to go through the downtown traffic.  Good thing I’m not on the clock.

My third bridge and I’m off for Sacramento again.  Instead of taking the interstate back up, I’m going to take highway 50 back to Utah.  The California part is twisty and fun, except for the long one lane construction runs nearing Lake Tahoe.  It’s taken more time to get here than I anticipated and even with my late breakfast, I’m hungry.  Near the Nevada border I find a bar with a grill, excellent burger.  I catch part of Monday night football and I start looking for a hotel.  Everything is sold out in the middle of Nevada, so I end up laying up short in Fallon where I can watch the end of the game.  The Packers won yesterday, even if I didn’t get to see the game.  I have a longer ride tomorrow.  Nevada’s Highway 50 isn’t called the loneliest highway for no reason.

Sept 13

Nevada is full of wind again.  Then rain.  Then Thunder and lightning.  Then more rain.  Wind is still from the North, but it’s on my left now, so wearing out the other side of the tires.  Utah sees the wind blow somewhere else and the sun comes out.  It is so beautiful here.  I really need to come back with more time to do hikes in this area.

My plan is to stay in Moab, but there is a music festival and there are no rooms.  Same for Monticello.  I get one of the last rooms in Cortez, Colorado.  Cell phones with data are very handy.  I’m tired and Cortez is too far for tonight, but I do it anyway.  Hotel is welcome.  Bed is comfortable and I sleep well.

Sept 14

Last day of the trip.  The weather is beautiful and I’m up at dawn and on the road.  Homecoming is sweet and at 11:30am.  I have time to take a nap before night.

Sept 15

Back to life.

  • I have traveled 7200 miles total
  • The rally travel distance was 2946 miles
  • I was out 12 days and had 3.5 non riding days.
  • I succeeded in getting my 50cc the hard way from the Iron Butt Association
  • I rode through 26 states.  I rode a motorcycle through 15 of these states for the first time.  I visited 9 of these states for the first time.
    • New Mexico
    • Texas
    • Arkansas
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
    • Alabama
    • Georgia
    • South Carolina
    • North Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia
    • Maryland
    • Pennsylvania
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Ohio
    • Indiana
    • Illinois
    • Iowa
    • Nebraska
    • Wyoming
    • Utah
    • Nevada
    • California
    • Colorado

NotSupermanRally – The Rally

Sept 10

I’m up at 2:30am Eastern time.  I had put most everything on the bike last night.  I only have one trip of stuff to the bike.  Dressed and packed, I’m at the bike with everything on it by 3:00am.  The GPS is set for the Mobil station at Coney Island.  25 minutes later I’m fueled up, checked in and eating a banana and the first of my twizzlers and beef jerky.  I’ll be living off this stuff for the next two days.  Our pilot car is ready to take us out of New York state and to I-80.  After that, we are on our own.  I’m third in line out of the parking lot.  I keep the pilot car in sight all the way to I-280, half the bikes got lost in traffic lights and lane changes.  We are all big boys, they will have to follow their GPS.

We are on our way.

It funny how a few minutes can make such a difference.  The front 10, of which I’m a part of, get a few sprinkles.  Behind us, I find out later, the back end of the pack get a fair shower to send them off into New Jersey.  No worries, we’ll all get more of that on the way.

This rally is pretty much all pre-planned.  My stops are all planned.  I have to stop for a receipt every 350 miles maximum.  My stops are:

  1. Clarion, Pennsylvania
  2. Howe, Indiana
  3. Tipton, Iowa
  4. Lincoln Nebraska
  5. Ogallala Nebraska
  6. Laramie, Wyoming
  7. Rock Springs, Wyoming
  8. West Wendover, Nevada
  9. Lovelock, Nevada
  10. Golden Gate Bridge

I have to make 9 stops for gas, so I’ve made the first few as close to 350 miles as possible.  As I get in to night riding, I’ve narrowed up the stops to give me more time to rest.  It is all about sitting and twisting the right wrist.  Keeping the speed constant, not stopping unnecessarily and minimizing the stopping time when you have to stop.

Big clouds ahead in Western Iowa.  Radar app on the iPhone says rain ahead, it’s time for rain gear and I’m not anywhere near a gas stop, so I have to make an extra stop.  I find a roadside pull out and take advantage of the easy on/off.  Another rider pulls in as I shrug into my rain jacket.

The rain is minimal, but I’m glad I put the gear on.  It would have soaked my outer jacket and my gloves.  Makes for an uncomfortable ride that way.  By Joliet, the sun is out just in time for sunset in a couple of hours and I take my rain gear off at my Iowa stop.

Traffic falls to minimals and it’s night driving.  I haven’t seen any of the other riders and Ruth says I’m in the front third of the pack, by the SPOT tracker for the group.  I’m making good time.  I slide through Omaha.  Lincoln is my next gas stop where my dinner partner from a couple nights ago pulls in.  We ride together for a couple of hours, but he pulls off before I’m ready.  Ogallala and I’m past halfway there.  It’s 1:00am central time and I’m on the cusp of Mountain time zone.  I’m making good time.  I’ve gotten 1598 miles of 2935 miles total in 22 hours.  I’m on track for an easy finish.  I can probably go farther, but finding hotels is going to get increasingly difficult so I take a room in Ogallala.  I set the alarm for 3 hours but I’m awake on my own in with 2:45 of sleep.  I’m feeling good.  I see another rider at the gas pumps, but I’m gone before he finishes.

Sept 11

The sun is up and the beauty of this section of Wyoming reveals itself.  The bust of President Lincoln seems out of place until you remember that this is the Lincoln Highway.  Lincoln himself was surely never in what is now Wyoming.  I’m awake and on my 30th hour of NPR podcasts.  I can’t figure out why my TedTalks won’t play and I won’t stop to find out.  I have lots of Wait Wait Don’t Tell me and Ask Me Another.  At least they are humorous.  I would like to engage my brain more, but I don’t have time to fix the problem.

Wyoming blends into Utah and Nevada brings wind.  400 miles of wind.  Mind bending, bike moving wind.  It’s coming from the North, so every pass means dealing with the turbulence around the trucks.  It’s not fun.  Even the top dog veterans complain about this kind of wind.  Fortunately, I live in the west and wind like this is often normal.  I don’t like it, but I’m used to swearing at it and just pushing through.  The sun sets in my face as Reno fades into the mirrors. I’m in California.  I’m on track for a 10 to 11pm Pacific finish.  I have no need to rush.

I pull into the overlook at the Golden Gate Bridge at 10:30Pacific.  I had until 3am Pacific.  I’m in good company with a middle of the pack finish.  The first finishers made it in 38 hours.  I’m in at just under 47 hours.  The drop dead finish time is 50 hours.

I hadn’t planned on getting here so early, so hadn’t procured a hotel room.  Good thing I called ahead from the last gas stop and got a room where some of the other are staying.  They told me I got the last room.  Four of us order a pizza.  We are tired of twizzlers and jerky.  Sleep.  The rally is over.

 

 

Sept 2nd

I’ve decided to leave at my default time.  3pm.  Advantage:  One less day of PTO and I get down the road 8 or so hours before putting up for the night.  My goal for tonight is somewhere around Dallas.  Final advantage is that I get through/around Dallas in the wee hours of the morning when there isn’t any traffic.

The fast route to NYC is I70/I76 pretty much straight from Denver to New York.  I’ve never been able to travel in a straight line, so I’m off to Louisiana.  Why?  I’ve never ridden a motorcycle there.  Can there be any better reason?

I’m heading for the SW corner of Arkansas, Shreveport, Mississippi (I love typing Mississippi!), Alabama and Tennessee on my way to Atlanta.  I have been in Mississippi and Tennessee, but not on a motorcycle.  Alabama and Georgia and new to me.  The hurricane that went through Florida a few days ago has turned me away.  I’ll catch Y’all another time:  Key West is on my bucket list for motorcycle conquest.

Texas is a difficult state for me.  This trip, I enter in the panhandle.  At that point it’s only about 200 miles to get out of the state, but I’m not heading to Oklahoma this trip.  This part off Texas has it’s own odor.  Cattleman call it the smell off money and I suppose that’s true, but to the traveler, the feed lots that dot the landscape of this end of Texas have a very strong odor and motorcycle don’t have a recirc button.  The smell lasts to Wichita Falls, but Texas isn’t done yet.

I make a reservation for Sherman Texas as I’ve decided to go north and around Dallas instead of through it, even though there won’t be much traffic at midnight in Dallas/Ft Worth.  Why?  Because I haven’t been through there yet and I like to go places I haven’t been.

This part of Texas is pretty barren.  I can’t see anything, because it is night, but that really doesn’t matter much, there really isn’t much to see anyway.  Sometimes darkness is a blessing.

I pull into Sherman.  My $140 reservation is reduced to $110 by my Hilton Honors membership.   Awesome.

Sept 3rd

Up at Dawn.  Looking out the window my bike is there in the parking lot waiting and so is Texas.  I’m still in Texas.  This is the biggest problem with Texas.  You never seem to make much progress getting out of Texas.  Every time you look around, you are still there.

The landscape starts to change West of Dallas as I wind my way to the Eastern border.  Trees.  The wide expanse of the West narrows to a strip of road and sky between trees on either side of the road.  Having grown up in Eastern Montana, with its wide expanses and Blue Skies and having lived for 20 years in New Mexico, it feels just a bit claustrophobic after the novelty wears off.  At least the smell is gone.

A quick cut through the tip of Arkansas and I’m in Louisiana.  I’m just making time here.  I miss the welcome sign for the state, so I’ll get a picture at the exit.

Mississippi — there’s that word again — and a river by the same name all along with Vicksburg and I have another state checked off.  I love rivers and bridges.  I get a couple of nice pictures and a short break before crossing the Mississippi River again to collect the Welcome to Louisiana sign.  Heading East again and I’m on my way to states I’ve never been to.

I’m heading northeast, no direct interstates, so I’m following my GPS on a series of two lane roads.  My goal is Muscle Shoals, Alabama up near the Arkansas border.  I don’t quite make it.  I’m not on the clock and I don’t need to push through the night so I lay up on the Mississippi side.

 

Sept 4

I am up before dawn and on the road, stopping 1/2 hour later to collect the Welcome to Alabama sign as the sun is trying to enter the day.  Muscle Shoals is only another 1/2 hour or so up the road.  I want to see the recording studio where so many great legends recorded their albums:  Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Glenn Frey to name a small bunch who once stood in the same parking lot I’m now standing in.  I am humbled at a humble studio which produced so much of the music that I still listen to now.

It turns out that Muscle Shoals has an awesome old railroad bridge and it’s the birthplace of Helen Keller.

Being the tourist over for now, I need to be in Atlanta.  I’m already 2 hours behind my original schedule and I’m not going to be able to make up any time on these roads or with the traffic as I approach Cumming, Georgia, my destination for the next couple of days.

My GPS is supposed to take me to Chattanooga so I can collect Tennessee.  By the time I realize I’m heading South, it’s too late to realize that somehow, the stop in Chattanooga got lost in the transfer from my computer program.  I’m heading for Atlanta.  See you next time Tennessee!

I’m still in that strip of roadway between trees with blue skies overhead.  It is really nice to have all of these trees and I understand their very important role as nitrogen fixers and oxygen producers and I am grateful, but there really isn’t much to see.  I’m used to grand vistas and there just isn’t anything like that here.  The vistas of the West let you see home long before you get there.  How can you be grateful to be home if you can’t feel the anticipation of arriving home, 30 miles before you get there?

Cumming, Georgia is home to a college buddy of mine and his family.  I’ll be here for a couple of days.  See you on Tuesday.

Sept 6

On the road again.  Decision time.  Head over to the coast and run up through Delaware or run north through the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Weather makes the decision.  The remnants of the hurricane that came through Pensacola is rotating off New York City.  The coast roads might be damaged or debris strewn.  Hotels might be closed, so it’s inland and north through the Blue Ridge Parkway, or at least a little bit of it.

First to pick up South Carolina, it’s a short 70 miles out of the way and I can cross the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina by working my way a bit West and North.  It’s pretty out here.  Vistas are limited to those numerous lakes and the occasional hilltop overlook.  But it’s still mostly a strip of sky with trees split by the road I’m on.

Tennessee is in my sights and I pick up  I-81.  Not the most scenic of routes, but it will do.  Traffic is moderate, but moving.  I’m make good time through Virginia, West Virginia and a stayover in Maryland.  People are interested in the V Strom.  It’s not the usual long distance bike, but it looks like one with all the stuff on it and the fuel cell.  I have several conversations at stops along the way.  There always seems to be someone who stops and looks the bike over.

Sept 7

Maryland isn’t very wide here, so Pennsylvania comes up fast this morning.  I’m looking for I-78 to take me into New Jersey.  Hershey look interesting so I take a short detour.  Not much going on, school’s back in and it’s a weekday.  I get a couple of pictures, but not much else.

I have time to do something, so I’m looking for anything interesting.  The trees have parted and there are rolling hills of small farms.  Quite charming, actually.  I see one of those roadside attraction signs advertising a small town attraction.  A model train world in Shartlesville.  The town name is enough to require a picture.  The attraction is 6 bucks, but quite entertaining.   It’s an ice rink sized model train setup with towns – modern and old, industrial parks, waterfalls, rivers, lights.  As I leave, the lady who owns the place orders me back in to see the night lights scene.  I obey.  It’s really quite remarkable.  Well worth the stop.  Afterwards, I go to the only restaurant in town.  I get there just as the bus load of senoirs is leaving – great timing.  It’s a wonderful burger, onion rings and homemade apple crumb pie (what diet!).  A great choice.

I roll into my hotel in Edison, New Jersey at about 4:30.

Sept 8

I’m the first one in.  This morning, I have breakfast with the second arrival, one of our Vancouver riders.  He’s off to get a tire for his Harley so for me,  today is tour Manhattan day for me.  I call up UBER for the ride to the Staten Island Ferry.  I really don’t want to ride the bike onto Manhattan and the ferry is free.  Unfortunately, UBER is not free either.  It’s cheaper than a cab, but still 40 bucks.  But the ferry runs right by Ellis and Liberty Islands.  Lady Liberty is facing us.  Good picture opportunities.  Unfortunately, I find that my camera battery is dead after 5 pictures and I don’t have the spare batteries with me.  Oh well, I have my iPhone, except that is low on battery too and I need the phone to call UBER for my return trip.  I guess pictures will be limited.  I turn the phone off.

It’s a great clear day.  I could have gotten pictures of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, more of Lady Liberty, boats, planes, the skyline of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge and many great pictures of Manhattan, the people and the buildings.  I did walk about 2 miles, through, through Battery Park, to the World Trade Centers, the memorial pools, nice lunch chosen entirely because they had a bathroom for patrons, and many, many other streets and sights.

The wildlife of New York is varied and wonderful.  There are the tourist of all nations, of course, but there are the natives too.  I really wish I had pictures.  The most interesting was a black woman leaning against a wall.  This wouldn’t have been all that notice worthy, but she was dressed in a short, slinky black nightclub dress and she was leaning in a way that I have only see men lean.  Her legs were exquisite, she was thin and immaculately made up.  A hat covered the top of her face.  The adams apple explained it all.  Even Vegas doesn’t have anything on this woman!

The helicopters took my notice next.  There were the commuters landing on the buildings, but it was the tourist helicopters that took the cake.  Pricing is $135 for 15 minutes, $450 for 40 minutes per seat.  There were 10 helicopters at one place that never shut down.  I walked on to the Staten Island Ferry and took advantage of the free water crossing.

UBER called, $85 to get back.  Wow!  Still cheaper than a cab.

Two of the guys are here now.  I have dinner at the deli next door.  Their sandwiches are $29, but they feed 2 to 3 people.  Two of us cannot finish one sandwich.  They weren’t lying.  We did manage desert, though!

Sept 9.

Last day before the ride.  More riders are here.  Several of us make a dry run to Coney Island, where we will start at 4am Central time tomorrow.  Those collecting sand and water samples get them at the Atlantic Ocean on the beach at Coney Island.  I soak my waterproof riding boots in the ocean.  They are indeed still waterproof after 100,000 miles.  You can’t go to Coney Island without getting an overpriced hotdog at Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs.  At least it fills the spot.  We are going to the deli again tonight.

Being a bit smarter, I have the cheeseburger.  It’s still big, but it’s a handleable size and only $13.  The rider meeting is done, odometer readings have been taken.  My electronic toll tag has been tested and it works.  It’s time for early bed.  I’m in my room by 6:30pm.

One last thing is to check my GPS for the track I set down before leaving on the trip.  It’s not all there.  Half my stops are missing.  I try to download it again and it just won’t go in.  I never do get my trip into the GPS.  Good thing I wrote it all down for my trip tic.  I’m going to have to do this the old fashioned way – with maps and written instructions.  Always have a backup plan.

Sleep comes with the end of my trip to the NotSupermanRally.

 

 

It’s almost time.  The Not Superman Rally starts on September 10 in New York City which means I have to be there by then.

I’m leaving New Mexico mid afternoon on Friday 8/2/2016.  I had originally planned on heading through Southern Louisiana through to about Tallahassee, FL before turning north for Atlanta and some visiting for Labor Day weekend.  First, the flooding in Southern Louisiana a couple of weeks ago and now a tropical storm heading inland at Florida.  The aftermath of the Louisiana damage will push me north and now the remnants of the tropical storm in Florida will make me head for Tennessee.

I’ve been to both Louisiana and Florida, but have never ridden a motorcycle in either state.  I will pick up Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia on this leg of states I’ve never ridden in.

I’ll be in New Jersey by Wednesday next week picking up North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.  I get a day and a half to tour New York area, so will likely be taking the Staten Island Ferry to Manhattan for a walking tour.  At some point, I’ll ride my motorcycle across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to scout out our start location in Coney Island and pick up a hot dog.

Saturday AM, we leave for a 50 hour trek to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I’ll pick up three more states I’ve never ridden in:  Pennsylvania, Iowa and Indiana.   Then I have three days to do the last 1000 miles home.

The bike is mostly packed and I am excited.

Add:

Thursday morning.  I’m looking at the weather and it looks like the tropical storm/hurricane will pass on through Florida and go out to sea.  there might be heavy seas along the east coast, but the weather forecast through Atlanta for me is good mid to upper 80’s weather and calm.  I’ll just stay away from the southern Gulf coastal areas.

The 10 day forecasts through New York City for me look good also.  Getting a bit iffy on long range for the ride across America, but they look decent so far too.  This might just turn out to be one of those great weather early September rides for me.

The following are my spot tracks for my Not Superman Rally trip.  What is a Spot Tracker?

I am breaking the trip into four parts:

 

Santa Fe to Santa Fe:  The Entire Trip from September 2nd through September 14th.  Click Here!

 

Santa Fe to New Jersey:  The First part of the trip from September 2nd through September 9th. Click Here!

 

Coney Island to The Golden Gate Bridge:  The Rally itself from September 10th through early morning September 12th.  Click Here!

 

San Francisco to Santa Fe:  The ride home from September 12th through September 14th.  Click Here!

 

The Group Tracker:  This is the link to the group SPOT Tracker page.  This includes all riders in the rally who have SPOT and have added their track to the map.  My Track is marked DW.  It may not start moving until the morning of the rally.  The password is:  notsuperman     Click Here!

 

Click on the provided link for the part of the trip you wish to view.  I have several lay up days in-between long distance traveling.  When I’m stopped, my SPOT tracking will stop.  While I am moving, a new track will appear every 10 minutes or so.  There is a varying bit of lag from when the signal is sent out to when the actual track appears on the web site.  You can click on any track to get more information about that particular track.  The maps act just like any Google map.  You can zoom in and out and click/hold and drag the map with your mouse for easier viewing.

The rally starts at Coney Island in New York City on September 10th at 4am Eastern time and ends at the Golden Gate bridge on September 12th at 3am Pacific time – 50 hours total riding time.  My route is pretty boring, I-80 all the way across.

This is an official Iron Butt Association ride.  It is called a 50CC – a Coast to Coast ride in 50 hours or less.  You start on the Atlantic Ocean and ride to the Pacific Ocean in 50 hours or less, or left to right instead.  A 100ccc would be coast to coast to coast in 100 hours or less.  The shortest distance with good interstate access is Jacksonville FL to San Diego CA, a distance of approximately 2350.  Doing it from Coney Island (Atlantic Ocean) to the Golden Gate Bridge (Pacific Ocean) is a 50cc the hard way.  It is approximately 2940 miles, fully 600 extra miles in the same amount of time.

This isn’t about being a speed demon.  This type of ride is completed by making smart choices about stops, keeping the motorcycle moving while the clock is ticking.   We are required to get a receipt (stop) every 350 miles max.  With a fuel cell carrying extra gasoline, I can make up to 400 miles without getting gas.  I will have reserve fuel when stopping before the 350 miles mark.  This is 9 fuel stops crossing the country.  I have to average 59-60 mph over 50 hours to make the trip.  I can get off the freeway, fill up the gas tank, do a safety check, eat and drink something, stretch, bathroom, get a good receipt and get back on the freeway, normally in 8 to 15 minutes, depending on how busy the gas station is.  I have been covering 1500 miles in 24 hours in less than 22.5 hours.  If I can maintain that pace, that leaves me up to 7 hours for rest, road construction and weather delays.

I have a lot of crap on my motorcycle.  My first checklist.

All of the stuff on my motorcycle:

Dash/exterior of bike

  • Heattroller
  • Garmin
  • Spot III
  • iPhone 6
  • Rollchart and Printed directions for trip
  • Seat Bag
  • Snacks and tea bottles
  • 1 MSR Bottle in tool tube
  • Tank Bags
  • 2 GIVI hard bags
  • Aerostich tank panniers
  • Scottoiler Oil and fill equipment

Left Side Yellow Bag

  • Zipties
  • Clutch Cable
  • Extra Hook Net
  • Tool Kit
  • Tire Irons
  • Extra Scott Oiler Stuff
  • Extra Zip Bags
  • Tire Repair Kit

Right Side Yellow Bag

  • 1st Aid Kit
  • 2 MSR Bottles

Seat Bag

  • Hook Net for Bag
  • Hydration system and hose with bite valve

Left GIVI

  • Hat
  • Shoes
  • Head Scarf Orange
  • Jacket Liner
  • Extra Straps
  • Box O Spares
  • Galaxy
  • Kindle
  • Extra Clothes
  • Bike Cover

Right GIVI

  • Heated Jacket
  • Rain Gloves
  • Heavy Gloves
  • Regular Gloves
  • Extra Food
  • Extra Drink
  • Oil
  • Extra Water Bladder

Tank Bag

  • Extra Keys
  • Atlas
  • Etymolic Research Earplugs/speakers for SENA and spares
  • 2 Standard USB/120V charger for Garmin/Galaxy
  • 2 Standard USB/120V charger for iPhone
  • Box AAA batteries for everything
  • Spare in helmet speakers for SENA
  • Box Cutter
  • 12V Tester
  • Spare Bite Valve
  • Pens/Highlighters/Markers
  • Earplugs
  • Tire Gauge
  • Small Flashlight AAA
  • Larger Flashlight AA
  • 2 iPhone Stylus
  • Camera
  • Baby Wipes
  • iPass
  • Sunglasses
  • Ibuprofen
  • Neck Gaiter
  • TP
  • Cat Crap for helmet shield
  • Pinlock Shield
  • Bug Spray
  • Aspirin
  • Decongestant
  • SPOT Tracker
  • Temperature/Volt meter
  • Glasses Wipes

Items I wear

  • Helmet – Shoei
  • Jacket – TourMaster Transition and liner
  • Electric Vest
  • Neck Gaiter
  • SENA 20s communicator
  • Tourmaster Rain Jacket
  • SIDI Boots
  • LD Comfort tights
  • LD Comfort long sleeve undershirt
  • LD Comfort long socks
  • Bohn Armor Tights
  • Aerostich Darien Pants