3 States, 3 Days on a 20-Year-Old VFR

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by zer0focus, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Castle Rock, CO
    I may have made a mistake; it has yet to be determined. I sold my 2013 Honda CB500X last week in search of replacing it with a 5th generation VFR. Why, you may ask, would anyone consider that a mistake? The VFR, especially the fifth generation with its gear-driven cams and no VTEC, does have a cult-like following, after all. Well, I am relatively new to riding (a little over a year).

    Unlike many of my fellow inmates, I didn’t grow up on two wheels. In fact, I had only ridden a bicycle before I took my MSF course in early 2017. My CB500X served me well; it was nimble, light, and smooth. After regularly riding another bike in the “stable,” a 1995 BMW R1100GS, I seriously came to appreciate how lightweight my Honda actually was. So, why sell? The issue came down to speed. While riding with my partner, it was difficult to keep up with him as he passed cars over the broken double yellow, even if I dropped a gear. The bike also struggled to keep up with the Colorado highway speeds (most people drive 80-85 mph here, and I didn’t want to be put-putting along at a comfortable 65). I wanted a bike with more power, but I also needed something that was built for longer trips (canyon carving in the mountains always seems to end up being a 5-6-hour excursion). After a sickening amount of research, the VFR seemed like my best bet.

    So, after being turned down on multiple requests to trade, I decided to test the waters and posted my bike for sale. It sold in less than 6 hours (I probably should’ve priced it higher…). Well, crap. Now I was bikeless except for that big pig of a BMW in the garage (which, don’t get me wrong, is great fun to take out for longer trips, but isn’t so great to ride two miles down the road from point A to point B). So, I trolled Craigslist and posted a wanted ad on ADV. Of course, my fellow inmates came through, and I found a well-maintained 1998 VFR in South Dakota.

    This will be a trip of many firsts! First fly-and-ride, first solo, multi-day motorcycle trip, first ride report, and first time on a VFR! I am hoping to avoid my first wreck….

    My flight is booked for this Saturday, June 9th. I will try to get a few hours of riding in that afternoon (looks like thunderstorms on the forecast). The plan is to do the bulk of the miles on the 10th and 11th in order to return to work on Tuesday, June 12th. I’ll be riding through three states: South Dakota, Nebraska, and home to Colorado (I live 40 minutes South of Denver). Three days and three states on a VFR!!

    My ride report will most likely be compiled after I return home, seeing as I am not bringing my computer. Hang in there, folks!
    #1
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  2. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    I had a 5th gen 2000 VFR800, a very smooth bike. You'll love it!

    Take pics whenever you can, you'll appreciate them later. I've never done a fly and ride, but did drive to Phoenix last August and bought an FJR1300 and rode it home 325 miles.
    The only pic I have is the start in Phoenix. Good luck!!

    [​IMG]
    #2
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  3. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2015
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    "I am hoping to avoid my first wreck…."

    Don't think about it...wrecking that is...Concentrate on what you're doing, where you want to go and what's happening around you- Never let thoughts of going down even enter your mind. IMO it's much like target fixation, don't think about/dwell upon items you don't want to happen.
    Ride well, have a great trip, and if your route passes through Custer, SD be sure to stop at the Purple Pie Place for a tasty slice of fortification. Pie for strength! :beer
    (Last piece of advice- stay hydrated, listen to your body & be aware of your energy/fatigue levels...bad things can happen fast when you get tired)
    #3
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  4. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    Nice looking bike! Thanks for the response! I will definitely have to remember to grab pictures every time I stop to stretch my legs.
    I'm glad to hear your encouraging words about the VFR!




    Very valuable advice! I am going to do my best to just enjoy the journey and not focus on what could go wrong. My route doesn't pass through Custer, SD (opposite side of the state), but if I re-route in order to hit it I would only add 30 miles to the trip. Is their pie worth the extra 30 miles? Additionally, that would set me on a route through Wyoming instead of Nebraska, which, personally, I think I would probably prefer to ride through. Hmmm...decisions...
    #4
  5. AdvTraveler

    AdvTraveler Live to Ride

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    Congratulations on the new bike and have a fun trip.

    I have been eyeing one myself a 1999 and in great condition with all the proper modifications. The price is so inexpensive compared to other bikes I really want it and it is only a hour or so away. However, with a 13 GSA and a plated 02 XR650R in the garage I am having a hard time justifying it even though so inexpensive.

    I will watch your ride and it might make me pull the trigger.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Here is a picture of the bike I have been eyeing.


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    #5
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  6. mitchapalooza

    mitchapalooza Rider is Air-cooled Supporter

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    C'mon, pie is always worth 30 miles!
    #6
  7. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    @AdvTraveler - That's a great-looking viffer!!! From what I've heard, you can't go wrong by pulling that trigger! I'll know for sure in a few days once I join the club.
    #7
  8. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

    Joined:
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    I agree 100% with @mitchapalooza ...if you take a look at our Alaska ride report (link in signature, page 5 post #84) you'll see that we have a thing for pie- enough so that I endured a fair bit of discomfort for a slice of good homemade stuff.
    And having done the ride from/to the Denver metro area up to Sturgis I can say that most of eastern Wyoming is on the 'plain' side...but I'd still take it vs. NE especially if it means I get to hit a spot that I KNOW has good pie. :D
    (disclaimer- @Mrs Mayhem and I will be riding to NE, on purpose, (Carhenge, near Alliance NE) at the end of the month just to check it (NE) off the list.)
    #8
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  9. AdvTraveler

    AdvTraveler Live to Ride

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    I know - I am lusting after the thing and 98-01 the best, but will be hard to explain to the wife.

    I promised no bike purchases this year, but I am still trying to justify the purchase in a way that would make my wife happy.

    We will see, but either way I will be following your purchase and ride.

    Enjoy!
    #9
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  10. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    It's been decided! As I have a tendency to be easily persuaded by the mere mention of good food, I'm very much looking forward to eating that pie! Also, I think this change in direction will end up routing me directly through Mount Rushmore. Seeing as I've never been, I really can't pass up that opportunity either.
    #10
  11. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

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    You could easily spend three days in the Black Hills of South Dakota riding fine roads and enjoying the scenery (and the critters, too).
    #11
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  12. Scott Parish

    Scott Parish Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Escondido, Ca
    Looking forward to the RR.
    #12
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  13. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    Sounds like I'll have to come back and explore when I have more time. Riding fine roads? Beautiful scenery? Critters? All of these appeal immensely. Hopefully I'll be able to get a few good photo opportunities while I'm there this weekend!
    #13
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  14. JimRidesThis

    JimRidesThis Local celebrity

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    Take an extra day, get back on Wednesday. Work can wait! :D
    #14
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  15. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

    Joined:
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    Alright, as I plan to leave tomorrow, I have begun compiling a list of essentials to help guide me as I pack this evening. I’ll share it here so I can leech off the wisdom of anyone willing to add to (or subtract from) it.

    Cell phone (equipped with good playlists)
    Two battery chargers (in case the bike USB is unreliable)
    Fully charged Scala G9X headset
    Charging cable for G9X/Phone
    Extra, longer charging cable for phone (in case my short one doesn’t allow me to plug in and use GPS at the same time)
    RAM mount
    Headphones
    Summer riding gloves
    Waterproof riding gloves
    Heavyweight riding gloves
    Aerostich riding suit (waterproof)
    Helmet
    Clear visor
    Smoke visor
    Visor wipes
    Riding boots (waterproof)
    Flip flops
    Bungee cords or net to hook duffel to bike
    Street clothes
    Toiletries
    Boarding pass
    Wallet (with ID and credit cards)
    Purchasing cash plus a little extra
    Bill of sale
    Printed map of the route (in case the phone fails)
    Leatherman (I’m not very mechanically inclined, but it will probably be good to have on-hand)
    Camelbak for drinking water with my helmet on
    Insulated water bottle
    A few electrolyte tablets for water
    Snack bars (to combat hangriness or in case I get lost in the woods)
    A book for evenings and on the plane

    I will be picking up a container of chain lube when I get into town, as I’d prefer not to fly with it.
    #15
  16. Scott Parish

    Scott Parish Been here awhile

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    I would keep the street clothes to a minimum as you will find most time is spent in riding gear. I know you have to fly out first - recommend just a single pair of casual light sweat pants or shorts/t-shirt. I have made enjoyable rides less so by packing too much gear.
    #16
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  17. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    In honor of the Belmont today:

    "And they're off!"

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    [​IMG]

    I've broken out of the starting gate clean!

    For all you non-horse racing folk, I apologize.


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    #17
  18. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

    Joined:
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    As my first day is winding down, I feel like I should post. It's easy to forget little details if you don't write them down. Though my body is tired, I feel like my thumbs can tap out a few paragraphs before I fall into my nightly coma.

    My synopsis of the day's events is as follows:

    My flight had two legs. First, to Pierre, SD and then to Watertown. As I landed in Watertown, I was surprised by how small the airport was! A tiny building with a lobby that seemed to encompass security, baggage claim (one door), the entrance and the door to the tarmac. How neat! Sorry, us city folk don't regularly experience these small-town nuances.

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    I was picked up from the airport by the inmate selling the VFR. The process was smooth and friendly as I checked out the bike.

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    First impressions:
    -ooo, shiny
    -the bike sounds amazing
    -the seat height was lower than I thought it'd be, so I was pleasantly surprised (this had been one of my concerns)
    -the bike, although heavy, is incredibly well-balanced with its low center of gravity
    -the clutch and gear changes are smooth as butter
    -riding at slow speeds is a piece of cake
    And, as I entered onto the highway:
    Damn, can this bike pull.

    I logged only three hours of riding today and ended back up in Pierre for the evening.

    After tucking the bike away at the motel next to some "friends," I went out in search of food. My motel room has a picture of Mount Rushmore at the head of the bed. How fitting, seeing as I'll be there tomorrow!

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    I stumbled upon a highly rated Mexican restaurant and decided to indulge. The restaurant is called Gallos, and is located at 366 S. Pierre St., Pierre, SD 57501. Write this down. You'll thank me.

    People are friendlier when you travel alone. I chatted with the restaurant owner, who introduced himself as Antonio, and asked him what he recommended on the menu. He told me that their plate of three traditional tacos with rice and beans on the side were very good, and that he would bring me a selection of his three favorite meats.

    I happily agreed, and enjoyed some chips with handmade salsa and a beer while I waited for the food.

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    The food was served incredibly quickly. Which, for someone who lacks endless patience, was quite pleasing!

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    This was the most traditional, authentic Mexican cuisine I have tasted since being in Mexico. I sat Antonio down and told him that I wanted all his recipes. He chuckled and told me that the recipes were family heirlooms, passed down generations. His father owns 6 taco restaurants in Guadalajara, Mexico. When Antonio had the opportunity to open one here, he asked his father for the recipes. A huge book was mailed containing all of the recipes compiled by his grandmother and generations before her. Choosing the menu was tricky with all of the recipes, but he picked it carefully and the restaurant has done well for over a decade.

    Antonio proudly mentioned that he used to play professional soccer in Mexico (beginning at the tender age of 16), and traveled all over the world for games. He had pictures on the wall of him with his team.

    I was luckily able to have a picture snapped of us before heading back to the motel.

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    Apparently every year for Christmas his parents come from Mexico and they rent a mariachi band that plays all day and into the night. The party stretches 24 hours. I told him that I would have to make an attempt to visit for Christmas!

    The ride itself was boring. The highways stretch on in straight lines for seemingly endless miles. Red-winged blackbirds are common, mixed in with the occasional pheasant. There are cows, grasslands, and not many trees. Most of the towns I passed had populations between 120-350 people.

    How different a reality for people who live there vs my own. Growing up in the DC Metro area, I was given limitless cuisine choices, constant opportunities for stimulation, and free zoos/museums.

    Now, living 40 minutes south of Denver, I still have access to many of these things.

    Still, it's nice to take a step back from the city. Between my social life, my cell phone, computer, and job, I have an inability to disconnect. Solitude is healthy on occasion. The opportunity to indulge my own mental musings is one I cherish from the time alone.

    I am tired, but excited to get back on the VFR tomorrow. What an incredible machine. It's hard not to smile the entire time you ride. I now understand why there is such a large backing behind these bikes.

    Thanks to those of you following along. Pass the word on to anyone traveling through SD about Antonio's restaurant. What a diamond in the rough!


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    #18
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  19. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

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    And today you eat pie! :clap
    #19
  20. zer0focus

    zer0focus No Fixed Direction Supporter

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    I can't wait! So close.


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    #20
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