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

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

  1. calvic

    calvic Older but Not Wiser

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    Now this is good stuff right here! :clap
    #61
  2. BushwickKLR

    BushwickKLR Long timer

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    :lurk
    #62
  3. rdw240

    rdw240 n00b

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    This was always part of our favorite loop! Camping on 276 at Blue Ridge M/C. Then run 276 to 215 back up to BRP and back down 276 (the good part)! First on an '86 VFR and later years an RC51.
    Great report BTW!

    -RDW
    #63
  4. Nessman

    Nessman Legalize It

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    #64
  5. racer 07

    racer 07 Lock & Load

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    :1drink :lurk :ddog :ear
    #65
  6. QUICKSTEEL

    QUICKSTEEL Adventurer

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    :grimWell it's obvious something happened in MO. I'd say this report is finished.
    #66
  7. Sucks2drive

    Sucks2drive Banned

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    DAMN they r some BIG Ants! :rofl
    #67
  8. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

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    :lurk Keep it coming! I'm working on getting my 1983 Suzuki running again and this just gives me more incentive.:clap
    #68
  9. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Sorry for not continuing the story guys, life got in the way (summer job, getting ready for class, me being lazy, :freaky , etc)

    So, where was I? Oh yes, riding across Missouri.

    We set off from out friend's house, but not before I burned my hands cooking oatmeal :huh . I soaked my gloves in cold water to deal with the second degree burns that had formed disgusting blisters (I'll spare the pics).

    At a diner in the middle of nowhere, Missouri, we chatted with an old gent. Upon hearing we were from NY, he told us that he didn't "want to have anything to do with NY." Anton smartly answered "That's why we left." :lol3
    The nice old man didn't want anything to do with California, as he told us after we told him that's where we were headed. He then tried to convince us all to join the armed forces, stating that "they could use 5 guys like you right now." While I have nothing but the utmost respect for the US armed forces and its veterans, telling motorcyclists on a cross country that you met in a diner to join up is a little unnerving.

    The rest of the ride into Kansas City, where we were staying at another friend's house was uneventful. Kansas City itself was a beautiful, modern city with a great downtown area. Plenty of great looking broads as well :evil.
    (Sorry, no photos of the ladies)


    That's a little weird isn't it? :lol3
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    Cool fountain:
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    After a good night's sleep, we set off across Kansas. While gassing up in a non descript location, a man in his 50s walked up and started chatting with us. He told us about his brother who also went to Cornell, etc. The usual stuff people talked to us about when they heard we were from NY on our way to CA. He went back to his humongous F-350 SuperDuty Diesel DeathMachine (pretty popular in those parts) and came back with his card. he told us that he owned a Subway furthur out West, right about where we would be stopped for lunch. He graciously offered us a free lunch ("Just show Betty this card and you'll be all set!"). When we got there, Betty was already in the know, and we sat down to delicious foot long subs (they taste even better when they're free).

    After lunch we rode as best we could against the cross/head winds of Kansas. Fuel economy was in the gutter, and my bike wasn't running any better (4000-5000 rpm delay was spreading and becoming more noticeable).
    We stopped to take a break, durign which the wind blew over Brandon's TX500. The bike was relatively unharmed, minus the ball end of a brake lever.

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    As we neared our destination, Lake Kanapolis State Park, we stopped at a Walmart Supercenter to stock up on food. Coming out of the store, we noticed some pretty threatening looking clouds in the direction we were heading. Also, the wind head changed direction and we now head a 40mph or so tail wind. Nearing the Lake, on a totally unpopulated road, we took advantage of the tailwind situation and tested out the high speed capabilities of our bikes. The poorly running XS500 managed an indicated 105mph, with 700rpm or so left in reserve. I figured if the bike was going to die soon, might as well get my money's worth. We then pulled over and donned rain gear and boasted about speeds achieved.:lol3

    We rode through Marquette, Kansas, and noticed that there was a local motorcycle museum. Intrigued, we pulled over to look at what the hours were. While Anton and Vanya were looking at the hours, Brandon, Tom, and I were waiting on the side of the road. A pickup rolls by, then reverses back past to get a look at the License plates.

    "Holy Shit! You guys rode those bikes all the way from New York?!" Asked the bearded, tatooed man. He told us that there was a storm coming and it looked pretty serious. He offered to drive out to the edge of town to get a better look. Seeing as the town was 1 street with a traffic light, this didn't take long. He came back (the other two in our group were back by now) and told us that he didn't think it was a good idea to stay up at the Lake. He offered us to stay in an old Winnebago he had in his yard instead. Partly out of fear of the storm, and partly out of looking for an adventure, we agreed.

    We cooked dinner and put all of our stuff in the RV.

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    We had a small TV which we tuned into the local news/weather channel.

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    Apparently we were going to get hit by a tornado.:eek1

    At this point the wind was picking up and the sky was getting dark. As it turned out, our host, ("People call me Grizz.") was the owner of the local bar called 'Horses and Hawgs.' Using common sense and infallible logic, we figured our chances of survival were better in a brick bar sandwiched between two other brick buildings than a Winnebago. Also, the bar had beer.:1drink

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    As we watched the weather channel on the TV and downed pitchers of Coors and Bud (the two things the bar served) the tornado siren went off. At this point, even the locals were starting to look a bit troubled. As Grizz wisely put it, "When you see me running that's when you should run." He also stated that the scene in 'Twister' where the cows were flying around and the people were driving the car along was "Bullshit. When you see cows flying, that means you're flying with 'em" said Grizz.

    After our fourth pitcher some of us assumed a sort of relaxed fatalistic state of repose, others forgot about the tornado altogether. After another half hour of chatting with the other bar goers, the power went out. On the bright side (no pun intended) the tornado siren turned off. We went back to our RV and watched the TV there. It started hailing pretty bad, the particles were about the size of small grapes, the largest hail I've seen.

    We went to bed too tired to care about what condition we'd find ourselves our our bikes in the morning.
    #69
  10. Sucks2drive

    Sucks2drive Banned

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    DANG! another 'Cliffhanger'! lol

    :lurk
    #70
  11. TheMule

    TheMule Been here awhile

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    COOL!! :clap :clap :clap
    #71
  12. Nessman

    Nessman Legalize It

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    #72
  13. RPD1

    RPD1 We don't

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    :thumb

    Keep it coming!
    #73
  14. AnthonyD

    AnthonyD Nothing to see here...

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    hmmm.. power goes out, siren goes out... tornado must have gone out too. :rofl
    #74
  15. kodiakfrank

    kodiakfrank Gloria's Cheerleader

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    #75
  16. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    We awoke to sunny skies and no wind. The TV informed us that the tornado had passed just a few miles north of us, sparing Marquette but destroying 85% of the buildings in the next town over.:eek1

    We packed our bikes and then headed over to the local diner for breakfast. Grizz said that his parents' home, in Salina KS, was also somewhat damaged.

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    We returned to our motorcycles and prepared to head out. All suited up, ready to go. I press the starter button and the bike cranks but doesn't want to start. Using the kick starter doesn't help. By now, we realized that this probably had something to do with my delayed throttle response issue. Off came all the stuff and the gas tank for a compression check.
    left cylinder: 120psi, normal. right cylinder: 90psi, :cry . We inform Grizz of the problem, and he immediately offers us the use of his shed, where he keeps his Harley. This man's generosity is endless.

    My brother and I get to work on tearing the bike down, expecting to find the usual suspect on these 8 valve twins: a crack in the head between the sparkplug and the exhaust valve.

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    Sure enough, we find a thin crack, and immediately assume that it is the culprit. Now what to do? We already decided to spend the day in Marquette working on the bike, but if we couldn't find a new head, we would simply have to leave my bike for dead. We go to the diner, where the extremely helpful waitress helps us find some motorcycle junkyards and dealerships. A head is available in Salina for $350. Seeing as my bike cost 1/7 of this for me to buy, I decline. More calls don't turn up anything else. We call a local welder and ask if it is feasable to fix a crack in an aluminum engine head, and he says he is not equipped to do so.

    The last resort: a 'new' motorcycle. I was prepared to do this all along, I had even brought my title along with me. As luck would have it, a local guy was selling a 85' Nighthawk 450 for $600. Enthused, we ride on over in the back of Grizz's truck. The bike is REALLY rough. holes in the mufflers, dented tank, etc. At least it runs right? I take it out for a spin and think "no way in hell." In any corner where the bike was leaned over a moderate amount, the handlebar started to shake a lot. When I return from the ride the guy selling the bike is already signing his part of the paperwork.:deal I tell him thanks but no thanks and head to the bar. I fire up an old laptop, and using 56k, look at various Colorado craigslists. I figured I could ride two-up with my brother for a day or two until we got into a big city with a lot of bikes. At this point, my brother comes in, excited as hell. "Turn off that computer, lets fix your bike."

    As a last precautionary measure, my brother did a leakdown test by flipping the head upside down, and pouring gasoline into the combustion chamber to see what was causing the compression loss. It wasn't the small crack after all! A bunch of gunk had formed on the intake valves, and was preventing them from forming a good seal when they were closed.

    The only thing we had to lap valves with was Crest toothpaste, and as it turns out, it works pretty good!

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    My brother and I stayed up until midnight putting the bike back together, and then doing a bit of a tune up: valve adjustment and setting the timing, just to make sure everything was perfect.

    We fire it up, and at first it's running a little rough. I'm a little worried, but dismiss it as the bike not being warmed up. My brother takes it up and down the street a few times, and we're in business. The bike is running flawlessly. And to think, I was going to donate the 500 to the motorcycle museum!:lol3
    #76
  17. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Everyone was restless to get on the road and burn some miles in the morning. We ate breakfast (oatmeal), thanked Grizz, and started riding. As we approached Claflin, there was a bunch of manure on the road that fell off a truck or something. I was third in formation on this particular day, staggered from Anton. Anton, perhaps not having noticed, or not caring, rode right through the shit. My close proximity and our speed caused this shit to splatter all over my motorcycle, jacket, gloves, and helmet.:lol3 I didn't find it funny at the moment, and Anton apologized profusely, but the rest of the guys thought this was the funniest thing ever. It sure makes a hell of a story now, but at the time, wiping shit from my visor, I didn't think it was THAT funny.

    We also chatted with a guy in the oil business, who did something with the rigs and transportation. he gave us a cool hat and we went our seperate ways.

    The rest of the ride was uneventful, if pretty long (409 miles this day, one of the longest ones we did). I guess for some of you that seems like not that much, but for us on our bikes and never going on the interstate, it seemed like a really long ride. We stopped in Pueblo, CO.

    To compensate for the mileage, we ate at a decent Mexican restaurant and stayed in a cheap hotel.


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    Didn't seem very colorful at the border.

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    Someone in a Prius got pulled over right as we were filling up. A Prius speeding? How ironic!
    #77
  18. Laoch

    Laoch Not buying as much ammo

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    :lurk
    #78
  19. vanilla ice

    vanilla ice n00b

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    Nice. I'll have to remember about the Crest.

    /26er here too.
    #79
  20. V-rock

    V-rock Been here awhile

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    :thumb
    #80