Cross Country on a $50 bike: NY-SF and back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by XS500RUS, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Yeah, Brandon made a really cool excel file and even made a spreadsheet :deal Total cost was about $1600 with gas, lodging, food, etc. We tried to camp out as much as possible, but at the end of a long day when it was getting dark we'd get a cheap hotel room (We tried to keep it under $60). At first we hardly ate out at all and were spending less than $10 per day per person on food. Eventually we broke down and went to some decent restaurants :freaky . If I were to do this again I'd try to eat at cheaper places for dinner. It's just that some people were more picky than others (to give you an idea about my own preferences, dinner at McDs is fine by me :lol3 )


    As an aside: I think a couple of you guys are confused, we're already back from the trip! I appreciate the encouragement and wishing us well, but we're already back in Ithaca, in one piece! I hope that didn't ruin any suspense about us making it out alive :lol3
    #21
  2. Mukluk25

    Mukluk25 Hitchhiking to Bingo

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    Keep it coming guys. I love to see the old bikes brought back to life. Great thread.:clap
    #22
  3. brunstei

    brunstei Been here awhile

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    :lurk Great beginning! Looking foreward to the rest....
    #23
  4. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal (pretty much all we ate for breakfast for the duration of the trip), we set off.

    Here we are, getting ready to leave.
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    The ride was great, we did 74 miles nonstop along some of the most relaxing roads of the trip. Little traffic, wide lanes, fairly relaxed pace. We eventually got back on the BRP, this time there was only a 45mph speed limit, so we went 55 mph. We stopped at an overlook for lunch, and no sooner had we pulled over then a undercover cop in a Charger blew by us at what looked to be at least 80mph. This made us somewhat more cautious when we got back on the road.

    We climbed down a short path to a dam and relaxed for a bit
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    After that, we got back on the road
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    At some point it began to drizzle, and it got kind of chilly. We stopped a short of the originally planned destination yet again, the BRP was really slowing us down. Then again, where were we hurrying to?

    We set up camp (with a tarp over the table) and made dinner: 2 different chicken dishes, one by me, one my Brandon. I made a sort of Italian themed tomato/mushroom suace, while Brandon made a mango nut curry dish. Both were delicious.

    [​IMG]

    We planned to make it to a friend's house in Asheville the next day.
    #24
  5. CATCH-22

    CATCH-22 Sublime ADVenturer

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    :lurk
    #25
  6. Ron Bullard

    Ron Bullard Been here awhile

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    :lurk :lurkAwesome.
    #26
  7. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    :lurk THANKS for starting this report! :clap But gimme more. More. :lurk
    #27
  8. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    We got up on schedule and were on the road by 8am. We rode the BRP some more and eventually crossed the border.

    [​IMG]

    Nearing Asheville, we finally descended from the high elevation where it was about 70-75 down to where it was sweltering. It was 94 at a gas station where we stopped. My jacket doesn't really breathe, at all. Traffic lights were hell, I was sweating like a pig. The upturn is that once you're moving again, even hot air is refreshing as your skin cools by evaporative cooling. We made it to our friend's house and were treated to some fantastic North Carolina style BBQ: ribs, pulled pork, and all the fixins (collard greens, sweet potatoes, corn bread). And to wash it all down we had a delicious local microbrew. I can't for the life of me remember the name, but it was Irish. We spent the night and in the morning adjusted chains and lubed chains and added oil (The TX500 is an especially heavy drinker).

    We rode to a place called "Sliding Rock," which is a big inclined smooth rock with a creek running down it. It's like a natural water slide. After lunch at an overpriced trendy coffee shop we headed back up to the BRP by way of Route 215. This was one of my favorite roads on the trip, it's almost as twisty as the Dragon but with barely any traffic. We really pushed the bikes hard, and it was obvious that some handled better than others: My 48hp twin had no trouble keeping up with my brother's heavier 80hp Seca. He didn't have as much ground clearance. The other guys didn't get as acrobatic on the bikes, but still had a good time.

    Back on the BRP
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    We set up camp in an OK campground, nothing special at all, we didn't even get a picture. We had Velveeta Mac n' Cheese for dinner, some of our pickier companions weren't very pleased, but I thought it tasted great.

    The next morning we got up and got ready for the Dragon. I've read much online and have seen many videos on youtube of this place, and I was amped. Some of the other guys could care less.

    [​IMG]

    There were some seriously fast guys there with barely legal bikes (track bike with a headlight tacked on the side).:eek1
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    We also tried to traverse the 318 turns with some vigor.:evil Again, the XS500 had no problem reeling in the Seca in the corners, which is all there is really, very small or no straights. At one point, Brandon lost traction on the rear wheel and lowsided. Luckily, neither bike nor rider were seriously injured. Brandon suffered some road rash on his knee, and the bike just had a few scratches.

    We continued on to the Tennessee border and on. We made it to a campground in the Henry Horton State Park. We had BBQ at a place called Sambo's.

    [​IMG]

    We got back to the campground and went to bed.
    #28
  9. bluebye

    bluebye Skin it back

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    Most impressive!:freaky
    #29
  10. petefromberkeley

    petefromberkeley -

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    I did the exact same thing at the exact same age and so far it looks like my freinds and I took the same route. Same budget- everything. Man it was great. That was 1987 though; guess I'm old :cry
    #30
  11. bouldergeek

    bouldergeek Filthy, poor KLR dweeb

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    Great thread.

    My first bike was an '82 Seca 650, and I grew up in Lancaster, PA. So, your photos look just like my mid-80s youth of houliganism and no worries.

    My HS GF also went to Cornell, so I tool many trips up to Ithaca to see her (before my lack of ambition and devotion to touring motorcycles made her look for someone more her academic and economic equal). ;-) :cry

    My college-age transcontinental trips on the Seca galvanized my academic resolve and taught me so much about my own resiliency. I credit them as some of the most significant formative events in my life. Congratulations for doing it in the spirit of exploration and buddy adventure. This will be a fount of stories for a lifetime.
    #31
  12. Jonnylotto

    Jonnylotto Zipper Club with Clusters

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    :thumb
    I've ridden both the 82 Seca 750 and the XS500C.

    Did the Seca rider tape over the big red warning light? :lol3
    #32
  13. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Even better, he took out the bulb :D
    #33
  14. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Eremikophobic

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    Sweet post! I'm cross linking from HT ;)
    #34
  15. Shustrik

    Shustrik Been here awhile

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    Now I know when the biker feel himself old - just to see how the youth are traveling on old bikes which were new in your youth time... :-)))
    #35
  16. kta

    kta Been here awhile

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    This'll be a good read. I'm pretty tired of ride reports from the guys with every top dollar piece of equipment. Those old bikes will make it for sure, you might have a few hurdles, but if they're running now, you can make it full circle. I've rebuilt a TX500, CSR650, and a XJ750 - so I'm very familiar with the bikes on your trip. I've owned several of each actually. If you have any mechanical questions feel free to PM me and I'll do my best to help out.

    Also, Cornell is a great school. I went to slope day in 2006 and 2007, had a blast. I'm even working with them on a big web dev gig (if the presentation goes well).

    Anyway. Cheers to a great idea and some great old bikes. :clap

    Old bikes rule.
    #36
  17. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Good stuff!:thumb

    :lurk

    Thanx for the link, Kayakgk. That also looks like a great read.
    #37
  18. bosco

    bosco Raybanned

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    :ear

    Great report, please continue.

    Too bad you didn't stop by casa de bosco, we have an 8-person banya for your sweating pleasure. (my freind Sergie tells me that only the "mafia" allow women in their banya?)
    #38
  19. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Haha, I see where he's coming from. Traditionally, it is definitely a man's thing to do, getting the temperature up to 100 or so degrees (Celsius:eek1 ) and really sweating.

    I guess the mafia, and "Noviye Ruskiye" (New Russians) don't really follow tradition.
    #39
  20. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    In the morning, the TX got its valves adjusted (only that one valve needed to be loosened up), and some others got chains lubed and adjusted, the Seca and CX500 have shaft drive, the lucky bastards.

    We didn't get far. About 12 miles from the campsite, just short of Colombia, TN, the KZ650 started losing power. In my mirror I could see that the headlight was unusually dim. We pulled over and my brother got to work. First thing they checked were loose connections. Second, they looked into the possibility of a blown rectifier. After much trouble shooting, a conclusion was reached that the alternator had shorted out somewhere.

    A guy on a Harley pulled over and offered his help. He told us where the local Kawasaki/Yamaha/Suzuki dealership was and even offered to get his pickup truck to haul the bike over. We thanked him for his help but declined using the truck. We swapped over a battery from one of the other bikes, disconnected the headlight and all other lights and made it over to the dealership.

    Since we were already significantly behind schedule for the day and we were at a dealership, we decided to put new tires on the KZ650, which could really use some. My brother continued to try and find the problem, going as far as taking part of the alternator out of the bike.


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    The folks at the dealership were very nice, and didn't mind us taking apart ratty old bikes apart right in front of the dealership.

    We finally got back on the road, but stopped by a RadioShack to buy a butance powered soldering iron. Some of the connections on the walkie-talkie helmet systems were getting crappy.

    At this point we were still thinking the KZ650's alternator was toast, so Anton rode without a headlight and I swapped batteries with him every so often. We decided to spring for a hotel that evening, and ended up paying $70 to stay at a decent place. We made sauteed green beans and pasta that evening, and watched some WWF smackdown :lol3 An relaxing end to a stressful day.

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    #40