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Old 10-04-2012, 05:50 PM   #16
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Great white north (BC)
Oddometer: 67
Ah, the Radian - one of the first bikes I ever bought "new" ( for me that means under 4yrs old) - excellent bike - with the 2 exceptions you have already noted - the lack of range, and the lack of wind protection.
Anyways, looking forward to reading about your adventures.
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Old 10-04-2012, 05:59 PM   #17
bk brkr baker
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Joined: Jul 2006
Location: The Bluegrass
Oddometer: 5,978
Thumb Adventure Girl

Great start to your RR. And a trip with real purpose too.
If you had done your RR in real time I would have been happy to buy you a meal and a tank of gas as you passed throuh Lexington. Maybe next time.
My neighbor got a Radian last summer and rides it a lot compared to the bikes he had before. I'll show him your thread to show him what his bike is really capable of.
Looking forward to more.
RR's Catnip Hill to Peoria ___Loopin' Seattle to WestFest
It started with some beers __1500 miles to the Dentist
Skeedaddle to Seattle______ A 30 year old on a Three Flags Run
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:20 PM   #18
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Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Seven Springs NC
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Looking forward to the rest of your Riding Report! Two Thumbs up!!
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:45 PM   #19
ruffntuff OP
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Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Oddometer: 113
Day 2: IN - MO (510mi)

Day Two:
May 22, 2012
Lanesville, IN – Oak Grove, MO (510 miles)

Some things in life are just providential. If I’ve learned anything from this trip, that’s the most consistent lesson I have experienced. When I learned about tentspace on ADV I started searching for people on my route to put me up for the night. I was especially interested in finding people early on in my trip knowing that I was inexperienced with motorcycle maintenance. My primary concern was if something went wrong with the bike, I would be screwed. So I made an effort in my planning to be sure that in my first week of riding I’d be heading towards someone with motorcycle experience.

Unfortunately, out of five or six people on tentspace that I contacted throughout the states prior to my leaving Virginia, only two responded to my request. One however had relocated and was unavailable to host me. But thankfully enough TooTallRacing was excited to provide a bed and warm meal for me on just the first night of my long journey. After a few emails back and forth once TTR heard where I was headed, he informed me about his own adventure to Alaska and back last summer on his BMW1200GS. He sent me some of his pictures which only got me more excited to be going to Alaska.

When I got to his house, he and his wife had a spaghetti dinner and cold beer waiting. We enjoyed talking about his trip and he was full of suggestions on routes to take and places to stay such as Thompson’s Eagle Claw motorcycle campground in Tok. This is still one of my favorite places on the whole trip. He even gave me some contacts in Anchorage that later ended up providing the most important support to me.

In the morning we had some coffee with coffee cake and TTR showed me his decorated garage with his bikes, photos, and license plates. Without much of a plan for the day I thanked him, said goodbye, and headed west hoping to camp somewhere past Kansas City. I went through Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri through lots of fields and strong wind, but the sky was blue and the air was warm.

I felt comfortable riding all day except for fighting the wind. I learned quickly how to ride from my core so I wouldn’t exhaust myself bracing with my arms and legs. I found it especially tricky learning to balance the bike through all that wind while passing eighteen-wheelers. Feeling the counter-wind-effect while passing and anticipating the degree of gust that was going to hit me after passing was difficult not to overcorrect. It slowed me down and tired me enough that I didn’t make it all the way to Kansas City.

At some point in the middle of the day just after stopping for gas I was getting on the highway when my oil light came on. Of course I immediately panicked and pulled over in the most un-ideal location; the on- ramp to a highway and a sloped gravel shoulder. I struggled attempting to get the bike on the centerstand and was unsuccessful. I called my mentor in Virginia freaking out and of course all he says is, “How many miles have you been since you left Virginia?”…(Probably 700)…“Well put some oil in it!” I felt like an idiot….duh!

I filled the bike with ¼ quart oil and of course the light went off. I rode some more and ended up stopping for the day at a KOA just 30 miles from Kansas City. After unloading all my gear I was able to get the bike on its centerstand at a flat location and check the oil. It definitely didn’t have much so I topped it off and hoped for the best. I had just enough daylight to set up camp and make dinner with my alcohol stove. It wasn’t exactly my style of camping next to cars and families close to the highway but it worked for the night. I wanted to get some good rest for an early start tomorrow and hopefully make it all the way to Denver.

Quote of the day:
This is an excerpt from my journal…..”Camping next to a family of kids. Baby won’t stop screaming. I want to smother it.”
May the road rise up to meet you
And wind be always at your back
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:58 PM   #20
Jim K.
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: New Haven, Ct.
Oddometer: 1,172
There are many in the motorcycle community who hold the UJM in small regard. Pay them no mind! Your mentor showed good sense in recommending your Radian. The wave of Japanese I-4s was a revolution in power, design elegance, & reliability. There are a host of good reasons that they became "universal". BTW....I even think that the Radian is still a handsome bike, despite it's age (and the unfortunate, but probably necessary, plastic windshield)
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:05 PM   #21
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:19 PM   #22
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Location: VA
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Terrific writing! Looking forward to reading the rest of your adventure. I admire your spirit and wish you the best of luck.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:58 PM   #23
Ride to Fly
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: Dahlonega
Oddometer: 275
Thanks for sharing. I am guessing that we are being allowed to follow you on the ride of a lifetime. Great picture from Road Atlanta too, that place is very special to me (see my profile).
"God does not deduct from one's time on Earth, that which is spent in the air"
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:08 AM   #24
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Joined: Feb 2007
Location: Florida Keys
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I like this. Take what you've got, make it work and head for the horizon. An object lesson in how to go riding. Go riding and don't over think it. Hats off.

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:38 AM   #25
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: FZ Hotel
Oddometer: 4
Damn girl, look how clean it is, and such a shiny fender!
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:22 AM   #26
Ginger Beard
I have no soul
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Joined: Jun 2008
Location: Sunny Northern Cuba (aka: South Florida)
Oddometer: 6,855
I can't believe that you found such a nice condition Radian for $1000!! NICE!!

Nerves are part of the adventure. Embrace that fear. Treat it like a weapon rather than a hindrance.

Almost forgot...IN!!
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:57 PM   #27
ruffntuff OP
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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Oddometer: 113
Day 3: MO-CO (660mi)

Day Three:
May 23, 2012
Oak Grove, MO – Denver, CO: 660mi

I woke up in Oak Grove to a beautiful morning with pink and orange sky. I was excited to get on the road fast hoping to get to Denver and stay with an old friend I hadn’t seen in 14 years. While I was packing up the bike I saw a tall man just two sites down from me with his gorgeous Rhodesian ridgeback. They came meandering by and I saw him eyeing the bike while I was eyeing his dog. He asked where I was headed and when I told him Alaska he said he wished he was on the same trip. However, he was on his way back home to California in his new Rubicon jeep.

As it turns out this was the meeting of another Adventure Rider, LongTallSally….again, another providential encounter on this trip. We talked for an hour about good rides and good bikes as well as some of his own adventures. It just so happened I was planning on being in California later in the summer to work at the San Francisco Zoo after riding to Alaska and he lived in the Bay area. So I got thorough advice on sites to see and routes to take while traveling through California, not to mention, a friend to ride with while I was there.

The time flew by while we chatted so I told him my plans on getting to Denver, anxious it was getting late. It turned out he too was headed there for the night to meet a friend. We exchanged numbers and I got a head start leaving the campground but it was nice to know he’d be right behind me.

I rode through the entire state of Kansas that day with a wind advisory of 35mph gusts of wind. I had to stay tight on the bike, knees and elbows tucked, leaning forward over the tank and holding my head just above the tachometer. My neck got sore from bracing and I felt the bike leaning left the whole day to compensate. When I got off for gas I felt as if I was unable to stand straight and my spine was permanently kinked to the left.

At one point I could see a dust storm like a mini tornado spinning across the ground. It was moving towards the road and I anticipated it may cross the same time as myself. Sure enough I watched it get closer to the road as I got closer to it and I braced myself while I rode through it. It felt just like the eye of a storm, remarkably quiet in the middle.

Kansas may be the worst state I have been through, hence my riding through it as fast as possible. However, I found it interesting seeing the landscape change. The flat plains on the east are yellow with fields of wind turbines. As you head west the plains develop small hills and the land turns greener and scattered with oil rigs. Yup, that’s about it.

After one of my many stops for gas, LongTallSally eventually passed me on the road. I rode behind him for awhile until I eventually lost him as I needed to stop AGAIN for gas. As I crossed into Colorado I could feel the temperature starting to drop and the sky looked like rain. I spent the last hour riding in one of the heaviest downpours of my trip. I could hardly see through my visor and was having to crack it open to see the lines on the road which then just stung my face with sharp rain. My hands went cold and numb with my gloves soaked through. I knew my next investment in Denver would be proper gloves.

There weren’t any cars to follow and then suddenly I saw lights behind me and sure enough it was LongTallSally. Knowing my predicament and still 30 miles from Denver he got in front of me and gave me lights to follow into the city. It was rush hour and I was thankful to have him in front keeping an eye on me.

The rain subsided and LongTallSally pulled off the highway to his destination knowing I was okay while I continued to my friend’s house. Just before getting there I saw the car in front of me go through a flooded section of road. All I saw was the wave of water tower over the driver’s window. I tried not to panic knowing I had no choice but to ride through what looked like a foot of water. I maintained the throttle and told myself not to touch the break and we glided through getting only my feet submerged.

When I made it to my friends I felt it was a miracle. It may not be the longest day of my trip but certainly the most miles along with the most challenging weather. It is just providential I made it, thanks to LongTallSally.

Plan tomorrow:
Get some fucking waterproof gloves!

Quote of the day:
I stopped at a gas station and a cute hippie chick came up to me and said, “You passed me on the highway back there. I like your bike. I can’t believe you’re a girl!”
May the road rise up to meet you
And wind be always at your back

ruffntuff screwed with this post 10-09-2012 at 06:29 PM Reason: add picture
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:22 PM   #28
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Joined: Oct 2004
Location: Charlottesville, VA
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Wow. Long live the UJM.

For me there is something so very Zen about the monotony of Kansas, even on I-70.

Safe travels ... and here's to your brother. *clink*

I must say that my son has exposed a reservoir of love and of worry within me that I never knew existed. --nskitts, 9/2/12

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Old 10-10-2012, 08:57 AM   #29
reticent rooster
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Location: Oxford, MS
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Originally Posted by jack90210 View Post
wow. Long live the ujm.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:52 AM   #30
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: just past resume speed
Oddometer: 199
Enjoying the RR
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