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Old 04-08-2008, 04:11 PM   #46
Joined: Oct 2006
Oddometer: 19
Just caught up with this yesterday. Enjoying your report and pictures. Going through SD in late May. Had a 1200 Wing a few years ago, Not my favorite ride. I have a 28" inseam and appreciate your skill with the added load on your bike. As to your starting problem, Which you solved already. I had the same problem and installed a universal starter button, wire from the positive battery post to the button and from the button to the starter. worked great. Of course it would not have solved your head light problem. One other problem I had with the bike, while in Daytona for bike week, it started running hot while in downtown daytona in traffic at night. The sensor for the cooling fan quit working. Got the hell out of the traffic and next day installed a rocker switch to turn on the fan when needed. Have a great trip.
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:14 PM   #47
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:33 PM   #48
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I'm in for the duration.

................... Jim
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:10 PM   #49
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Great ride report. I've got a 81 GL1100 in good shape that I would like to take on a simular trip. Good luck and am looking foward to more. Gaff
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:30 PM   #50
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Amblin about . . . .

Keep it coming. Great Read!
"Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere"

Plug and Plug.
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Old 04-08-2008, 09:08 PM   #51
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Enjoying the report!

I have one question though. What's with the barely concealed Goldwing/selfhatred thing? Dude, that sweet machine took you long and far. I'm seriously thinking I should get myself one.
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:04 PM   #52
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Anyone ever put knobbies on a Goldwing?

Great report.
2007 KTM 990 Adventure
2008 KTM 450 EXC-R
2005 Honda Elite (just because)

If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going.
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:30 AM   #53
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What a great story,
Can't wait for the next installment.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:45 AM   #54
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Offroad - Don't know about full-blown knobbies, but I've read about guys that put a rear car tire wth an aggressive tread on a Wing. There's an interesting thread around here about "the dark side" ie, going to a car tire out back. It gets pretty heated, but if you ignore all the opinions from people who've never done it and read only the posts from people with experience, you'll get a good idea of what it's like. On another note, I read a great thread here about a year ago about a guy on a Dyna with full knobbies. He has some cool pictures of his bike in AK.

After reading about "Tourances" and other high-tech tires, I was worried about tire choice for my Wing. Installed two sets of tires on the trip, and both were dsesigned for high-milage. The great thing about all the plastic crap on a Wing is that you can't easily see how the rear tire is holding up to the rough terrain. Outta sight, outta mind.
Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:20 AM   #55
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Opie - Great question. "What's with the barely concealed Goldwing/selfhatred thing?"

Part of it is just my nature. Another part is my attempt at a little thing I call humor. But it's more than that.

First, let me say that this bike rules. You're right, it's taken me far and wide. I paid two grand on e-bay and have added nearly 50k to it since. I'm 4k shy of six-figures on a now 22 year-old bike. It's fun to ride. Real fun. Since I've been back, I've had the chance to ride several bikes.
  • 2008 Heritage Classic
  • 2007 Ultra Classic
  • 2008 Dyna Low Rider
  • 2007 CBR 1000
  • 2007 Triumph Scrambler
  • a Buell Blast
  • 1950 Panhead (Jockey Shift)
  • and of course, my 2002 1100 V-STAR (which I've now sold because my broke-ass needs to eat.)
With lots of things to compare it to, I love the geometry and handling even more. It's a great riding machine. The protection from wind & rain is crazy good.

I think everyone should get an old Goldwing.

That being said, the bike is not cool. I can say that because "cool" is an opinion and mine is that old Goldwings only have "cool" potential if you're over 50. Or, if you're so cool yourself that the cool aura spills over and adds cool karma to the bike. If that's the case, that's someone I want to be friends with.

I've had a bagger fetish since I was a little kid. And have been apologizing for it ever since. So that's part of why I bag on the Wing.

Another part is that I've seen thousands and thousands of motorcycles in my life, and never once have I looked at a 1200 Wing and thought, "Damn that's a fine looking machine."

Then there's the philosophical part. Remember, I'm writing this after the trip has ended. So I'm influenced by what the trip has become. When I set out, I knew I wanted to do the trip on an old bike. But why not an old Harley, an old Bimmer or an old Honda CB750 or something? Sure, the Wing runs forever, is easy to work on and find parts for.

But I didn't want to be labeled on the trip. People scratching their heads thinking, what is his deal? That would be a good thing. Have you noticed that I am wearing the same two solid color t-shirts in all the photos? If not, you'll probably grow to hate looking at those damn shirts as much as I did. I didn't want people to have a preconception as to where I'm from or where I've been or what I'm in to, just from reading my t-shirt. I didn't want them to think, "oh, he's a Dale Jr. Fan" or, "he's been partying at the Up South Tavern" or anything at all. My clothes were all plain.

I didn't want to be a Harley guy. Or for that matter, a BMW guy. No stereotypes. So the Wing was perfect. Sure, there are stereotypes for guys on GoldWings, but no matter how far you stretch the stereotype, I can't fit it. Also, I knew I'd be on the road for awhile. I didn't want to be labled as biker trash. The Wing helped keep me respectable. I needed it, as I refused to take help from a barber in that regard.

BTW - 30k on the road and I never ever met another Winger who was younger than mid 50's.

Opie - I see we're the same age. Dood, do it man. Get a Wing and be forever free. But the "cool" part is up to you.

One of my favorite phrases I used on my trip was: "The OldWing has gotten me a lot of places, but it's never gotten me a date." or "If I had a dollar for every cute girl that's asked me what I ride, and after hearing my reply said: "Oh, yeah. I've heard of those bikes, my Grandpa used to ride one."

So why do I bag on my old bike so much? Well, after over 250 fuel stops and as many beer/food stops, I've had enough reactions from fine folks to determine that my bike is not cool. I don't love it any less, will never get rid of it, and will always extol its graces to anyone who listens, but will never confuse it with cool. But I have, and will continue to confuse it with "home."

Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:12 AM   #56
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Jackson is really cool. How I ended up there is also pretty cool. My good friends from Winston, a classmate and his wife, have family who retired in Jackson. They offered to host me during my trip. Bill called while I was in Ten Sleep and so I hit the road and left for Jackson. He and his wife have a beautiful guest cottage which became my accommodations for the next two days. We went to dinner downtown and had a great time.

There's nothing quite like sitting outside at the base of the Tetons with a cup of coffee. The experience of a lifetime.

Leaving Jackson for what would prove to be an 11-hour, 350 mile ride, I hit some traffic, and as a local did a U-Turn to avoid it, I shouted: "can I follow you?" He said: "Let's Go!" What he didn't say was: "Sure, let's ride 5 miles of wash-boarded gravel at 55 mph." I was glued to the back of the Suburu WRX as he flew down the road. It was rough, but he saved me a bunch of time with the shortcut. The Goldwing is not built for rally-style riding. Oh well. The next day, I rode the road again to take these pictures, though at a much slower speed. My spine, and my mechanical steed were quite happy with my choice to ride 35 mph, rather than the jolting pace from the day before.

In downtown Jackson, the entry to the city park is made from Elk Antlers.

Check out this bike. Now that’s a guy on an adventure. Then I noticed an Atlanta Brewing Company sticker on the bike; sure enough, the bike had Georgia tags. My buddy Dave McClure is the brewer, if you're in Georgia, look for Red Brick Ale.

It rained all through Yellowstone and the drops continued to fall when I reached the famous geyser.

While waiting for the geyser, I met Ryan. Clearly, he was riding a bike so we just struck up a conversation. He's from Toronto and is headed to Costa Rica, via Northern California. His bike is a Kawasaki KLR. We talked for awhile about stuff that only people who've been riding for weeks have to deal with. The lack of "inside." There is no car, no rolling up windows or locking doors. There is no roof, no hotel, nothing but the bike. It's so bright out West. The darkest glasses can't keep eyeballs from aching. The constant knowledge that a momentary lapse in concentration would result a situation that neither of us could remedy alone. Riding such heavy bikes is tough and dropping them isn't pleasant. It was cool to converse with a kindred spirit.

Ryan had climbed Mt. Washington on his bike earlier in his trip too. Good luck man, hope you made Costa Rica. Don't worry about those friends back home, they're wishing they had the balls to take your trip.

It had been really cool talking with him. After so long on the road, it was nice to be able to identify with someone, rather than having to leave "biker me" on the bike and have a "normal" conversation. It's one thing to talk about the adventure with a curious person who wants to hear about it. It's another to talk with someone who can understand what it's like to have spent over a months worth of nights in a tent in the last 12,000 miles.

The rain ended before I left Yellowstone. The ride back was completely different, even though I'd ridden it earlier. With no rain and the spectacular sunset, it was a great ride. I had 3 1/2 hours to ride and made it back to Jackson minutes before dark, about 9:45.

Around 7:30 or so, I came around the bend to see this guy in the road. Buffalo are HUGE!!! I stopped quickly and started taking pictures. Shortly thereafter, I saw the Elk and Mule Deer grazing together.

See the smoke from the Wildfires hanging in the air?

When I got back, they had dinner for me. At 10:30 pm, I had enough chicken, cornbread, potatoes, and salad to last for three meals! It was delicious. Thanks folks!

They hooked me up with a great place to stay. Beats the hell out of boiling water on the dirt ground to brush your teeth in the morning.

After sleeping like I'd died and gone to heaven, I left for Montana.

Soon, I happened upon the Grand Teton Brewing Company.

It was early, but Emily poured samples for me without judging. I’ve been to a brewery and ask for a sample and had bar keep say, “do you know what time it is?” My reply, “I didn’t ask for the time, I asked for a beer.”

Then I met Bob Mullin, the brewer. Turns out, he brewed my favorite beer while working at the Old Dominion Brewing Company in Northern Virginia: Tupper's Hop Pocket.

He had lived in Arlington, as had I and we talked about the old neighborhood. Then he picked up the phone and called his wife to see if I could camp behind her restaurant. Los Lobos would play a huge concert downtown at 5:00 and I considered staying.

Bob's wife Constance, had agreed to use the lawn as a parking lot for friends, so I couldn't camp there. I decided to keep riding. It would be hard to top my night in Ten Sleep anyhow, so I wasn't too bummed to miss what was sure to be a great show.

I did stop by Constance's restaurant for lunch. It's called Miso Hungary and I had a great bowl of noodles with tofu. And a bottle of Bob's best brew of course.

This bug was cherry. Pristine condition. It looked like someone had done a complete restoration. Plus, it's easy to keep up with a beetle. I sat back with one hand on the clutch and the other on the camera until i got a picture. Enjoy

Back on the road, I enjoyed Idaho and then Montana.

Hours later, I saw this place in Dillon, MT and had to stop. The iced coffee really hit the spot. Hilarious!

While throwing a leg over my bike in the coffee shop parking lot, the front page of the paper caught my eye:
"Evel Knievel Days in Downtown Butte"

WOW! My friends all know my fascination with the daredevil. I was born in '74, the year of Evel's big jump. I've been a fan since I was 5. At the beginning of this trip, I met Evel's son Robbie in Myrtle. I've read Evel's biography and even saw him in Tampa in 1997.

I was 4 hours from Butte and four hours from sunset. I filled up and got ready to ride.

Leaving the gas station, a guy and his wife came up to talk. I was off to ride the scenic route to Butte (it was only 120 miles by interstate,) and they asked to ride with me. He'd only had the bike for three weeks after not having ridden for 30 years. It was fun to ride with them.

It's funny how riding styles differ. When the rain started, he slowed waaaaayyyy down. Finally he went to pull over. Notice I didn't say he pulled over. He hemmmed and haawwwed and slowed and kept going before finding a spot that was just right. After putting on rain gear, I hung with them for a few more miles, as painfull as it was, before resuming "my ride." First of all, when it rains, I take that as my time to haul ass. 80 mph if the road is straight because that's my top speed (without turning too many rpms on the old bike) and because radar doesn't work well in the rain so I capitalizie on my immunity from Johnny Lawman.

When it's time to pull over, I make sure I won't get hit from behind, then I slam the brakes, park where ever, hop off and suit up and then take off again like a bat out of hell. You might think that means I "don't ride well with others." Not so, but I do have to change my ride. It was cool to ride with him. Now it's cool to be back in my solo groove.

I still had two hours to ride to make the festival.

I rode through the Big Hole region of MT. The 360 degree panorama is nothing but mountains. It is beautiful, truly amazing. Spectacular.

I arrived in Butte as the sun set, and headed to the festival. A quick conversation with another biker and I left with directions to a KOA campground. The price was tolerable and the location prime. A quick setup and change of clothes and I went back to the festival.

At first, I didn't really get a good vibe about the festival. The crowd was rough and the scenery grim. A couple of guys wearing colors were also wearing "Clean and Sober Since: mm/dd/yy" patches so I talked to them. Super nice guys who rode in locally. They said the town was laid back and the crowd low key. They told me where to go and where not to go. So off I went to get food. After ordering, I turned around to check out the place and who did I see?

“Just Randy” Yep, some of my new friends from Ten Sleep had come up for the festival. Before I could say hi, Aaron came over from across the room to say hello. I spent the night hanging out with Just Randy, Aaron, and their whole crowd of friends and family. I rode back to the camp and met them there; they too were staying at the KOA (though in RV's.)

I took Just Randy's pickup truck to the store on a beer run. We stayed up late talking about various life philosophies. The next day, I went over to the festival before leaving town. They are a great group of people, and I had a great time with the Ten Sleep crew.

This guy had camped next to me and called me over to say "hi."

Nice air!

Yep - he's upside down, mid back-flip.

I met the guy on the left the night before while waiting for dinner. He rides a 1974 Shovelhead with a 93 c.i. S&S motor. I was born in 1974 and that is my dreambike.

It was the first time I've been anywhere without pad and pen. At the end of the day, I had forgotten their names.

This lady had quite a collection of carvings for sale. They were all really good. The company name: Chainsaw Chix

T-shirt in hand, I left and headed North.

It was hot, so I pulled over to soak my shirt.

Time to scrub the bugs from the plexiglass.

I've been down this road before. This time, 22 miles of gravel. It was GREAT gravel and by following the pickup in front of me, I was able to really enjoy it. Keeping one eye on the road in front of me, and the other eye on the chassis of the pickup, I had advance warning of changing road conditions. When I saw his chassis move, I knew the road would soon get rough. On the good spots, we were cruising at 65 and the bike rode like a dream. The rough spots slowed me down to 30.

Wes, from Ten Sleep, is originally from MT. He told me about JD's Wildlife Sanctuary, the bar in his hometown. I stopped in to say hi for him. The guys gave me great info on where to spend the night. How’s this for timing, I walked in and introduced myself and was told that Wes’ mom and dad had just left 10 minutes ago.

I showed up at a campground at a quarter until 10 and showered and slept.
I left at 6:00 am to go to Glacier and the Road Going to the Sun.

Remember, I haven't had a speedo since Devil's Tower. I keep a log of milage using the GPS.

Riding at dawn is great!

This is right outside the Blackfoot Indian reservation.
The five crosses on the left caught my eye.

On the reservation.

Big Sky country for sure.

Just before the "Going to the Sun Road," I stopped for fuel and food. The girl behind the counter had been a riverguide in WVa, we had identical tastes in music, we'd hiked/camped many of the same places and we both like pie and coffee for breakfast. That was a fun stop. The pie was delicious!!! I can't remember the name of the place, but any Glacier RR you read will probably have the name of it, along with a picture of the pie. Sorry guys/gals. After a fun bit of flirting, I got back on the bike.

Finally, I made it to Glacier National Park. It's AMAZING.

The ride around Flathead lake was awesome. So were the pints at the Brew Pub.

The park is well worth the price of admission. I spent about 4 hours on the Road to the Sun.

Traffic wasn't terrible like it was in Yellowstone.

What a day! I headed for Kalispell, MT to watch a race on Saturday night. I got there about 7:00 and set up camp in time to make the first race.

While riding around Flathead Lake, I met William who was riding a Heritage Softail and we stopped in for a beer. The waitress gave me a ticket for the race. Nice. Free entertainment and a free place to stay. Camping at the racetrack is great. So is partying at the racetrack. Big ‘ole cans of bud went down like… well… big ‘ole cans of bud.

The Bandaleros ran that night and this kid took the trophy in his Briggs and Stratton powered car.

This guy had wrecked, so he was done racing for the night and we had a beer.

It was a 100 yard walk to my tent. There were a couple of cold ones waiting for me, so I stayed up and took pictures and worked on my bike.

It was a great night of racing, and I met a lot of cool people. Thanks Dallas and Family.


Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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Old 04-09-2008, 01:23 PM   #57
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Location: NA
Oddometer: 17,565
Nice picture!
Originally Posted by Sly-on-2
so I stayed up and took pictures and worked on my bike.


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Old 04-09-2008, 01:34 PM   #58
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Location: right here on my thermarest
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Originally Posted by Sly-on-2
One of my favorite phrases I used on my trip was: "The OldWing has gotten me a lot of places, but it's never gotten me a date." or "If I had a dollar for every cute girl that's asked me what I ride, and after hearing my reply said: "Oh, yeah. I've heard of those bikes, my Grandpa used to ride one."
Dude, call it a "GL1200." They'll never make the connection.

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Old 04-09-2008, 03:09 PM   #59
Tag Sniper
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Location: Colorado Springs
Oddometer: 1,644
Hey Sly,
I ride an '85 Goldwing Interstate.I can relate to alot of what you are saying about it not being "cool" but it is a great bike and gets me where I'm going.I have taken it to places most people wouldn't think of taking a Wing and the looks on people's faces are priceless.By the way I am 43 and have had this Wing for 6 years.I got my first Wing when I was 23.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:16 PM   #60
Sly-on-2 OP
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Oddometer: 156
jmking43 - Nice. A wing at 23. I'm super impressed. Our bikes are the same except for color perhaps? Glad yours has been good to you too. Also, it's cool that this thread prompted you to post your first post. Nice!!! If you want to read about a really cool Wing, check out Flanga's thread (North America... 10,000.... something like that.) He's on a super cool 1800. I like all 1800's, but his is bright yellow. The same color as YellowWolf's. Check out youtube for a video of YellowWolf riding The Dragon on his Wing. That dude is the real deal.

Klay - That's funny... and creative. I'm taking an overnight trip this weekend to kick off the racing season, and will try the line on a couple of North Cackalackey girls and will let you know how it works out. My guess is that it will delay the histarical laughter until the point when they see the bike draped in bungee cords with my wet clothes drying on the mirrors. My best bet is to polish my humor rather than polish my bike.
Ride to live...and vice versa.

Amblin' about North America - half a year with a 2-wheeled home - Click for the Ride Report
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