The return was surprisingly uneventful. I felt one drop of rain. The 990's fuel light came on, but that was expected. It came on a few weeks ago on another ride and we went over 40 miles before we filled up with 4.5 gallons of fuel. The tank capacity is supposed to be ~5.5 gallons. We worried about Wild Bill on the SE, but he made it back to the Wayside just fine.
From the Wayside we decided to nurse the 990 back toward Wickenburg at a more relaxed cruising speed. Wild Bill was going to live up to his name and flog the SE, so we let him go ahead.
Four miles from the RV park I felt the 990 lose power. Sure enough, I pulled in the clutch and the V-twin died instantly.
At 176.9 miles on top of one of those humps in the road, we were out of gas in the middle of the Arizona desert! Apparently running two heated liners and heated grips at full bore, plus the full-throttle pulls up to triple digits has a profound effect on our fuel economy.
With the 990's two tank system, I figured there might be some fuel remaining in the right side tank that the pump on the left side wasn't scavenging. I leaned the bike over as far as I could without laying it on the ground and waited for any residual liquid to transfer through the 1/4" connecting hose. Before up-righting the bike again, Mrs. Yardstick shut off the right side petcock (I should have had her do the left one!). I wheeled the bike around, pointed us toward the Wayside RV park and turned off all the electrical draw I could then thumbed the starter. The bike was alive!
I ran the bike up to about 70 mph and held the throttle steady to maximize our chances of making it back to fuel, even if we were coasting in. As we were closing in on the RV park the bike started losing power again. It would run at ~2k RPM, but no higher. I applied as much throttle as I could give it, but it eventually died again. We rolled right up to the entrance, turned the corner and ran completely out of fuel again at 181.1 miles.
We made it to within ~25 yards of the pump!
Three gallons of 87 octane RV park fuel got us back up and running. We caught up to Wild Bill as he had just turned back from the highway to find out what went wrong. On the highway it was a cold, dark ride into Wickenburg and then a slab ride to Wild Bill's truck and home for us.
I think I'll be doing my cranial mileage calculations based on five gallons of usable fuel in the 990 and 36 mpg from now on!