Recalling an old Road Trip from '72

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Rizingson, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Rizingson

    Rizingson Vintage Rider

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    Wow, now that would be an epic road trip. Doing it with a bunch of buddies had to be the best way possible to spend the summer. I can definitely see that getting together to tell stories about that trip would be something to look forward to every 5 years!:clap
    I noticed you had some pics in later RR's, which you had been down to the 4 corners area also. (much clearer than my pics from '74)
    #41
  2. augiedog

    augiedog augie dog

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    after spending two toures in the navy in vietnam,a fellow shipmate and I bought two new 1971 harley sporsters out of a motorcycle magazine, picked them up after being discharged in southern california and catching a jump flight to seattle washington. all we had was our millitary clothing and old flight jackets. he lived in waco texas and we spent 16 days traveling around the western us to texas. it was late october and when we left seattle and several times we thought we were going to freeze while crossing the rockey mountians and in the desert. I remember robbing newspaper boxes and wraping the papers around our legs and bodys to try and stay warm. we slept mostly on the ground with a tarp and an old wool army blanket. our luggage was a navy duffel bag and a seamans dry sack, tied to the rear seat with ropes. I spent a week in waco and and took another 2 weeks on the road before ariving home in andrews nc in a about 2 foot of snow. I wouldn't trade those memories from that trip for anything. I myself have a few old pictures I will try to dig up and post of our trip (adventure) and post. my friend from waco and I remained friends throught our lives. he eventually settled in georgia. we made several other bike trips over the years. in early 2009 we purchased 2 xr 1200s, from a dealer in nc and spent 3 months preparing them to re-trace our origional route as much as possible. we left nc in early june and spent 42 days traveling back thru waco, the southern us, canada, alaska and back to nc. due to health issues, he has since had to give up riding, but we meet often and re-live all these great memories we have of our motorcycle adventures. I still ride most everywhere I go on the xr 1200. It has been a wonderful bike. thanks for sharing your story and adventures with us all.
    #42
  3. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Impressive fleet! If you don't mind me asking in a public forum, what do you do regarding registration and insurance? Doing each bike individually would take the GNP of a small country.
    #43
  4. Rizingson

    Rizingson Vintage Rider

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    I explained cost aspects in a different post elsewhere on this forum.
    Here's a link.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=22472404&postcount=5562
    #44
  5. Humunn

    Humunn Moto Prozac

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    Wow, VERY cool thread!
    #45
  6. Mullet

    Mullet Adventurer

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    Great thread.
    Riding looked so much simpler back in the day.
    I need to remember to take more photos. I may be in the highlight of my riding days now!
    #46
  7. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    In some aspects it was.

    A positive thing was that you could fix your bike on the side of the road with hand tools.

    A negative thing was that you usually had to.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
    #47
  8. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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    Only four of us made it the whole way. Two left in Virginia to return to work. One is still in California.I kept a diary, the 'Official Road Book', so we know where we went even with our fading memories.:lol3 The 4 Corners Area sure has changed over the years, as has all the country.It sure would be great to retrace our route like Augiedog did, but do it in motels instead of camping.
    #48
  9. tlub

    tlub Been here awhile

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    In the summer of 1975, I rode a Honda CB350 from Chicago, IL to Berkeley, CA. A friend of mine had moved there to go to graduate school, and he had driven his Datsun 510 there, which left his CB350 in Chicago at his parent's house. I volunteered to pick it up in Chicago, and ride it to him, timing my ride so I could then get a lift back to Champaign, IL, where I lived, with him when he drove the Datsun back to visit after his first year of grad school. At the time, I had a BMW R50/2, so I knew what comfort could be like (it had a great large dual saddle), though the power was about the same. I figured Hondas would not break when they were relatively new, so I thought I should have no trouble with mechanicals. I had only one minor issue the whole trip, too. For luggage, I bungee-corded my K-mart sleeping bag to the tank like a tank bag, and used two Boy Scout Yucca packs (one of the larger BSA bags at the time), as saddle bags. I hooked the clips at the bottom of the straps to the bags at the opposite side, creating a sling of two packs over the seat. In one went a plastic washtub for rigidity, and I put my clothes in the tub, along with a sterno stove and my Boy Scout cook kit. I emptied out my plastic, snap lid electric drill case, and put tools in that and a spare tube. That went into the other Yucca pack. This created a fairly stiff arrangement that held shape fairly well. My tan rubberized K-mart rainsuit went in there too. That could double as rain and wind protection. I had a K-mart pup tent strapped to the seat (notice the shopping theme here?). My bomber jacket, work gloves, harness boots and jeans completed the ATGATT arrangement. I felt like I was loaded for bear. I had recently read "The complete motorcycle nomad" by Roger Lovin, and there were a lot of tips and encouragement about how to find a free sleeping spot by the roadside. So I figured I would do that, being on a student budget. I would be taking the 2-lane roads, of course. US36 was my main route to Denver, and then 34 and 40 until I had to get on I-80 in Nevada. My first day I met someone on a BMW R69S, and having shown him the nail key that we all shared, he let me swap rides for about a half hour. It was heaven. The buzzing of the CB350 I had to get used to all over again. We found a farmers field that was private near US36 (I have since found it on Google satellite view, and it looks like I remember it) at deep dusk , were gone in the early light, and I left him where our paths diverged (he lived in western Kansas). I found a similar field in Colorado, just before Denver got too close, and there it was I had my only problem- one of the carb floats had developed pinhole leaks, and it submerged and flooded when I turned on the fuel to start the bike in the morning. I was very glad I had turned it off that night. CB350 carbs never leaked, at least compared to the old Brit and BMW carbs, so many people just left them on. The holes were too small to drain, so I started it after draining the flooded bowl, and kept turning the fuel on enough to just run. Then I stopped the engine, took the float out, laid it on the hot cylinder head, and watched the gas boil out in multiple streams. I reasoned it had taken a while to flood, so I had a while to ride without problems, and in fact I made it the rest of the trip without it happening again. I tried to buy a float in Fort Collins, but they had none. The next night was in the Big Thompson canyon near Fort Collins, where I stayed with two friends, the next was in the Bristlecone pines next to US40 in Utah, and in Nevada, I had the experience of a headwind so strong that I had to use 4th gear (of 5) to go downhill. After that, a night at Donner Pass. The night in Donner Pass was interesting in that I got there after dark, and thought I would try my Iron Butt Motel trick again (before the term was invented-I had never used the tent). At the top of the pass, I swung that brilliant headlight around to search the area, and the first thing I saw was a frozen lake and a sign that said 'Thin Ice- no Skating'. No wonder I was cold. I found a State Park a few miles down the road. The entry station was vacant, so I found a campsite, left on all my gear, stuffed the sleeping bag into the tent, rolled the tent around it for added insulation, and fell asleep next to a snowbank. I awoke warm enough (but not toasty) around dawn, packed in about 5 minutes, and was gone. There would not be anyone to pay for several hours, and I sure was not going to hang around for it. I got to Bezerkley at around noon, and the next morning we drove straight through in shifts (with another friend who had flown out) back to Champaign-Urbana. Other than a ringing in my ears, the only damage to me was severe chafing on my backside where I was sitting on the crossed Yucca pack straps. Not that the seat was that comfortable, but the straps made it that much worse.
    About 8 years later, my then-girlfriend, now my wife, rode her Yamaha XS400 from San Diego to Madison, WI in October. That's another story. A current friend of mine rode his Kawasaki 400 from Champaign-Urbana to Philmont Boy Scout Ranch once as well.
    Who says those small bikes can't tour? We all had a blast. It sounds like you did too. Back in the day (I'm only a few years younger than you, I think) we saw folks like us all the time. A CB450 with a lot of bungee cords was a touring machine. :clapOccasionally one sees small bikes traveling, and there are some good accounts here in ADVrider, but that certainly is not the common 'wisdom'.
    #49
  10. grizzzly

    grizzzly The Pre-Banned Version

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  11. Rizingson

    Rizingson Vintage Rider

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    Great story tlub, I'm very familiar with the roads you took, you might even have camped in my pasture!! It seems like there are indeed many folks who've taken an adventure type of ride back in the '60s and 70s. I've read as many as I can from this site but I'm sure there are many more stories, however diggin' up pics to go with it seems much more difficult. Those old Kodak 126's and 110's that we carried back then didn't offer much in the way of quality, plus you never new whether the shot would be any good until you got home and had it developed.
    I was fortunate on my trips that I never once broke down, not even a flat tire. Of course numerous chain adjustments, point gaps and valve lash adjustments were done when noticeable performance drops indicated a need.
    We've also changed oil out in the middle of nowhere (EPA requirements not withstanding) :roflMy vintage bikes today definitely have reliability issues which would cause concern, if I tried to retrace my paths with one. Mostly electrical concerns, plus I would want to push them as hard as we did back then either. It takes quite awhile for me to build up trust in a new to me vintage bike. I'm getting to old to push them very far.:eek1
    #51
  12. RPN

    RPN Been here awhile

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    Great thread. I enjoy these old trip reports, so few photos were usually taken we need to use our imagination to fill in the gaps.

    cheers
    #52
  13. tlub

    tlub Been here awhile

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    Well, just this summer my son and I took a trip from Madison,WI to Quebec City and back. He was on an 1968 BMW R69S; I was on my 'new' bike, a 1972 R75/5, which I bought in Feb of 1976. Apart from one issue with 87 octane and bad pinging on the R69S, we didn't miss a beat. I'm in the process of writing that up. But reliability is not an issue, and I'd take those 40-45 year old bikes anywhere. Electrics are not a problem- If I carry a spare rotor that means I'll never need it!:clap
    It really was a hugely rewarding 'Dad' experience to have my son (age 19) tour on a bike I would have lusted for (and did) when I was his age, 40 years earlier, and all I had was a 250cc HD Aermacchi Sprint. He really understood the time machine he had entered, and that means a lot to me.
    #53
  14. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Great thread, Rizingson! :clap:clap:clap Thank you. :D
    #54
  15. jbcaddy

    jbcaddy Long timer

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    what a ride down memory lane :clap
    My ride was a '71 Honda 750. Six weeks 12 thousand miles California to Nova Scotia and back in 1972. I just found the little note book journal of the trip. I need to scan the slides and post up the report. We too spent a couple hours hiding under an overpass to get out of the storm!JB
    #55
  16. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale Lonely Rider

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    If there is a Heaven as far as I'm concerned this is what it would look like.
    #56
  17. Rizingson

    Rizingson Vintage Rider

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    That would make an awesome report!! By all means, start scanning photo's and doing the write-up (at least you kept a diary of events) The CB750 was a great tour bike back then. Can't wait to read it!
    #57
  18. kojack06

    kojack06 Been here awhile

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    Thank you very much for the trip back. I was 12 in 1972, in the sixth grade and racing around on my Honda 50.
    #58
  19. RideDualSport.com

    RideDualSport.com TPB all the way

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    I really dig the groovy luggage you guys made up. Thanks for turning me on man, you guys are some cool cats! :clap
    QUOTE=Rizingson;22456735]
    On the Washington coast line, viewing the Pacific Ocean
    [​IMG]
    [/QUOTE]
    #59
  20. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Desolate Loner

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    Hey I just saw your thread. Pics are awesome...

    [​IMG]

    The old Hondas were pretty amazing. That was my 75 CB500T on the Dempster Highway...NY to Alaska to Ushuaia. 40,000 miles without a hitch man..
    #60