Friday, June 27, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 5, Made it home alive.

I made it back to Austin alive at around 5:30 Thursday evening. I left Lubbock at 9:30 in the morning. 400 miles in about 8 hours. My butt still hurts. I can honestly say that 400 miles in a day is the max on that bike. The riding position is not as conducive to super long rides, but the suspension and the seat are a lot more comfortable than the Ural. Here is the route back:

View Larger Map

I actually had quite a nice ride. The new bike is definitely a different beast than the Ural. The handling is much lighter, more acceleration, and a lot less in the way of braking. It takes a very strong hand to reel in that thing from 40 mph or more. I also need to look into decreasing the vibration from the pegs and bars. When I stopped for gas, I would also pick up 2 small bottles of water, and hold one in each hand until I could feel the bottle. That helped the swelling go down so I could get the gloves back on. The vibration plays hell with my arthritis over time. If I can kill the vibration in the feet and hands, I think I will be up to 600-800 miles a day on that bike with no problem.

The ride back was very barren, since it was in the middle of a weekday, there was very little traffic. That plus the fact that I was spending a lot of time out on back roads in the middle of nowhere, it had that very isolating feeling that I love about riding. When I am doing the long distance solo runs like this, it is very comforting to be all alone with that quiet hum of the bike. Being all wrapped up in the gear, and then being wrapped around the bike is very comforting. Then you add in how the bike moves in response to your body movements, you start to get a very connected feeling with the bike. It sounds odd, but in some of the gentle sweepers, it almost feels like the bike is just another piece of gear that you put on, and you are flying down the road lust dipping a shoulder slightly when you see a curve coming up. It is very......liberating.

I think the trip back was a good bit of brain Drain-o after the excitement of the past couple days. Once I get a bit of rest, I will throw a recap of the trip up here. There is a lot of stuff to digest.

Vern and Glenn decided to continue the adventure on their own to Hot Springs. I am proud of them for pushing on. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures and hearing the storis from the rest of the ride.

Tomorrow we drop Kel's bike off with Mikey to get the tranny done.

Ya'll have fun now, Ya'hear......


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 4, End of the Line

Day 4 started out quite nicely, it was a nice leisurely ride across the desert to Clovis, NM. That is when we noticed that Kel was hanging back a bit further than normal. Come to find out that her bike won't go into 5th gear. No grinding or whining, just won't stay in 5th. We decide at Clovis, to limp her bike back to Austin to get the transmission rebuild under way. We stopped at Muleshoe, TX at a McDonald's for lunch, and then continued the long limp home. In the small town of Anton, TX (and I mean small), the tranny finally let go. It started to whine. We managed to coast to a little burned out convenience store.

See picture here:

We ended up getting a tow into Lubbock and got a room at the Raddison. As of today....Day 5, we found a towing company in Austin that was willing to come and pick up the bike and Kel to take them home, and I will be taking off in the morning to head for the house.

Vern and Glenn are going to continue the trip to Hot Springs, AR. They are taking the camera so we can at least look at some pretty pictures. I guess this is where it ends.......I will toss another quick update when I get into Austin tomorrow, but Dodging Oklahoma has died with the rattle-grind of vintage BMW transmission bearings. Oh well.......


Monday, June 23, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 3

So we burned a day in Roswell. Tomorrow is another fairly long day heading for Dalhart, TX. Yes, I know.....back into Texas, but it is the smoothest way to get to Dodge City, without going through Denver.

The day in Roswell was fun, we slept late, almost 8:00. Went down to the local cycle shop to pick up some supplies. Also stated picking up some spares that we ended up forgetting. oops. We ended up going to the Roswell UFO Museum, and just about every other alien themed shop on main street. Actually, everything on the 3 block section of main street in Roswell is alien themed. We just puttered around town and played. I got my picture taken with an alien, I will get some pics posted. We also met a couple from Darwin, Australia. They came over to California, bought a couple Honda ST1300s, and are spending 3 months touring the US with the intent on selling them just before they head back. They have already put about 15-20,000 miles on the bikes, and they are only a couple months into it. Their next stop is in Texas. I pointed out the spaghetti bowl around Fredericksburg and wished them well.

Here are the Pics from Roswell. Kel had the camera, so i am linking to the pics on her page.

Other than that it was a fairly lazy day.

Roswell Comfort Inn TPI (Toilet Paper Index) 120 Grit



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 2

Getting up and out of Abilene was actually fairly well. This time we were aimed at the longest day of the trip. We scheduled about 320 miles. From Abilene to Snyder was a very smooth run, no real excitement. After Snyder we turned north to Post, TX. At Post, we stopped for lunch at a little bbq place. The odd thing was that they did not have bbq on the menu. After we made the left on US380 headed for Roswell, NM. Shortly after making the turn, we went through th wind farms. basically a few hundred acres of huge windmills.

After another hour or so we made it to the New Mexico border. Of course we stopped to get a picture of the bikes at the state line sign. Within the first mile, I remembered why I am not fond of riding in NM.....the wind. We went from a 5 mph headwind to a 15 mph crosswind in less than a mile, and fought it for close to 100 miles.

The next fun thing about NM roads is that they are long and straight. Really long, and really straight. Tatum, NM was the last town before Roswell. That means exactly 72 miles without a town, totally barren terrain, and the occasional idiot driver. I am thinking of naming that particular stretch of 380 "The Destroyer of Hope". It is an interesting thing. You see a log straight road in front of you disappearing over the horison, and it doesn't move. Eventually it seems to be getting closer. It must be a hill. As the crest of the hill gets closer, it is very easy to delude yourself into thinking that there will be something to look at on the other side of the hill. When you get to the top of the hill, you see the same road stretching out to another hill. When you get to the top of that hill, there is another. This repeats 4 times on that stretch of road. by the time you get to the 4th hill you don't dare to think that there is anything on the other side of it. When you get there, you realise there is something.....a curve.

Here is the route:

View Larger Map

We made it into roswell by about 4:30 or 5:00. Immediately unloaded the bikes, and went to the restaraunt next door to the hotel, and had dinner and a couple drinks. Shortly after we get back from dinner the storm starts. 35-40 MPH winds started a dust storm. The dust storm triggered a rain shower. We got some pictures of the dust storm. I am putting the link to the pix up on fotki, the thumbs are below.

Bedtime for Bonzo,


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dodging Oklahoma..............Day 1

The most interesting thing about starting a road trip is to see where the brain drain-o takes effect. This time, it happened in the little town of Lometa, tx. When we hit Brownwood for lunch, it only felt like a few minutes, not like an hour long ride. The new bike is shaking out quite nicely, it goes like hell. after hitting the hotel in Abilene, it was straight to the pool. Soak good, vibration bad!!!!! Today was the short shakedown run, give us a chance to get in and get whatever we don't have. Tomorrow is going to be the bear. Probably around 300 miles to Roswell, NM. Then we get a day off to tour roswell.

Evening edit: There should be a rating system for hotels to be used by motorcyclists to guage the quality of the toilet paper. This is very important after a ride. I would give the Comfort Suites in Abilene, TX a rating of 80 grit.

Feed then bed.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Can't sleep, wanna go now, wah

I am officially at the point where I am too excited to sleep. The bikes are loaded, tuned, and pointed the direction that we are going. According to the weather forecast, it looks like we are ging to be riding in the rain tomorrow. Not thrilling, but I don't care......just.....wanna.....go. WAH!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Double super-duper poopie.......

My final shakedown ride before the trip was a bit more interesting than I had bargained for. I felt an odd pop under the seat as I was headed home. When I got there and started mounting my bags, I noticed that the rear sub-frame had snapped. The rear sub-frame is the section that holds up the rear fender, the top shock mounts, and the seat. No handling problem, but certainly needs to be fixed. Fortunately, this is a problem that is fairly common on old airheads. That means Mikey had a spare rear sub-frame sitting at his shop waiting for me. After work, I head down to pick up the part and swap it out. On the way down, my jeep is starting to act funny. I pull off the highway to check it out, and the right front brake seizes up. Smoke puring out from under the wheel well and all......on I-35. I have had this problem fixed by "Just Brakes" 3 times now. This time, they could not get a tow truck because it was 5:00 on a wed, so they did the next best thing. They sent a guy out with a jack, tools, a new rotor, caliper, and pads.....and he fixed it on the side of the highway. And the craziest thing was that he was actually cheerful about getting me moving again.

Now the bad part about this is that I would not be able to get down to pick up the frame section. I just want to say up front that I have the best wife ever. Kel went down to see Mikey and pick up the new sub-frame and brought it back while I was getting the jeep roadworthy. Now, here I am with my bike but back together, and the best wife ever sitting on the couch getting her music together for the trip. Who could ask for anything more.......



Thursday, June 12, 2008

Finally starting to get used to the new bike.

So, here I am, two weeks on the new bike. I have new tires and rear shocks. I have adjusted the front brakes so they feel a bit better. I also switched the turn signals to the other handlebar. I think I am starting to get used to the bike. I have put about 200 miles on it, and it is starting to feel comfortable. I think it will take a bit to get my riding position shaken out, but that is to be expected. I am figuring that about 3000 miles in 10 riding days, should get me used to this bike fairly well.

We have now hit the point in the trip that Kel enjoys, and I tolerate. The packing. I have all of my clothes, most of my spares, tools, and most of my gear either packed or gathered. The hard bags are ready to be mounted. I have a a minor tune-up left to go, then we roll.