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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Dachary, Dec 6, 2010.
This is gonna be epic. Subscribed!
I dream of leaving Chicago in cold dry weather and heading way South - unlike you, I fear trying to return in what would probably be a blizzard!
Ride safely - I greatly look forward to your adventures.... and start to rack up some daily miles you guys! You need to get some new glasses!!
Today got off to a slow start. Trouble sleeping last night, and dreading the cold this morning, we didnt get out of the hotel till 10AM. When we came out we discovered two things: one it was wonderfully warm We could ride all day in this! and then that Kays rear tire was flat. We thought maybe wed be able to make it to the gas station for air, which was located at the end of the block, but it quickly became apparent that the bike wasnt going anywhere until we aired it up. Dealing would have been painful if not for the nearly 40 degrees of warmth.
The tire of flatness
Luckily, were prepared. We dug out the Cycle Pump from where wed stowed it and filled the tire. After wed inflated the tire, Kay removed the Cycle Pump nozzle and we heard air hissing from the valve itself. It seemed like a problem with the core. Weve got some spare cores, although neither of us is quite sure where they are, but Kay decided to try to tighten the core with our core tool that came with the Bead Breakr. Success! The core was tightened and tire fully inflated to spec. Checked the other tires and we were off. (We'll have some video from this when we get a faster 'net connection.)
Got on the interstate and noticed pretty quickly that my Gerbings heated jacket wasnt working. It was somewhat warm and I decided to try riding without it heating me for a bit, but I started getting colder and colder at interstate speeds. I agreed to stop if we came across a rest area to check the connection, but I didnt want to actually exit the interstate because I felt that would take too much time out. It was already after 11AM when we hit the road and I didnt want to delay us any further.
After about 20 minutes of riding, the jacket magically came on. I was warm! And less than 5 minutes later, the jacket turned off again. A few minutes later, when I was just about to ask if we could pull over at a gas station, we hit a rest area and pulled off. I jiggled the connections a bit (pushed up from underneath, where they were connected) and the jacket started nice and warm again. It was lovely. Off we went to Charlotte, NC to pick up our Corporate Runaways stickers!
Stickers were surprisingly fast (walked in and saw them sitting on a table waiting for us) and we stopped for lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant that was advertising a cheap lunch special. You know its a good Mexican restaurant when 90% of the clientele are Mexican and the TV is on a Spanish channel. This restaurant even had trash cans next to each toilet. And anyone whos read about travel in Mexico knows what those are for.
While we were there, Kay revealed that the right arm of his glasses were coming apart again where hed JB Welded them. An ongoing debate started about whether the glasses were functional enough (Kay maintained that they were, while I said it was silly to go further without more functional glasses). The debate got even more heated when Kay went to pull the glasses off later and the JB Welded arm fell off. Two lenses, one arm. Not a pair of glasses, I maintain. Kay still wants to wait till we get to a border town in Mexico where he thinks he can get glasses cheap. This has become a point of contention now.
Entropy and glasses
Went back to the bikes after lunch and turned on our Sena SMH-10 headsets for our typical headset check, and I couldnt hear Kays microphone. I could hear them connect and it sounded like I should be able to hear Kay, but nothing from the mic. Weve had two microphone/clamp units fail on us already, so we were exasperated.
We tried swapping the headset transmitters and when Kays transmitter was on my helmet and mine on his, I could hear him. The problem seems to be with one of the pin connections. Unfortunately, since the GPS is synced with Kays transmitter, it meant I had to take the GPS for the rest of the afternoon. Am concerned about the longevity of the Sena headsets at this point, since weve had so many problems with them. If any headset manufacturers out there want to show up Sena by sponsoring a trip across the Americas were all ears and easily FedExable until we leave the US.
Taking off after lunch, I noticed quickly that my heated jacket wasnt warm again. Pulled over at a gas station before we got on the interstate and pushed up on the connecting wires again and the jacket was magically warm. Started to get worried about the jacket at this point, because I was pretty sure it wasnt user error. At this point it was getting late (after 3PM) and we still had a lot of miles to make it to our early stop hotel. Hopped on the interstate and determined that we had just enough gas in the tank to make it to the hotel.
Unfortunately, at around 130 miles (after roughly 2 hours on the interstate) my Gerbings jacket cut out again. Out of nowhere, the heat just turned off. I tried pushing on the wires. I tried wiggling around, standing up, leaning forward, backward, sideways - everything I could think of to reconnect whatever wires werent connected. Nothing. We still had around 30 miles to go, but it was getting dark and I was getting more and more convinced that the problem is with the jacket itself, so I decided to push on without it.
By the time we arrived at our hotel for the night, I was half frozen. Was also annoyed to realize that the non-smoking room smells like smoke (and has an ash tray), and that the Wi-Fi doesnt actually enable me to load a web page (we can ping and do dns lookups). Saw on the iPhone that I had an email from a client, so I had to get back on the bike half-frozen and ride down the street to McDonalds to get a working Wi-Fi connection. Now Ive gotta get some work done for a client and go back to McDonalds in the AM to send it off.
This has been a day full of ups and downs. We were happy to find warmer weather, and to solve the flat tire problem so easily. Less happy because Kays glasses are officially broken (although he still insists on wearing them), we may have a problem with the Sena headsets, and my heated jacket may be broken. And instead of dealing with any of that, I have to get some work done for a client.
Todays tally was only 279 miles, with the late start, the effing around in the middle of the day and the early sunset. We made it from Burlington, NC to Lavonia, GA. Tomorrow well push on - trying to get to Baton Rouge, LA to pick up some tires for my bike. Well probably end up putting them on in the parking lot because we dont feel like paying them $80 an hour to do it for us. Looks like well be in Baton Rouge early in the am on Monday, and the bike shop isnt open until Tuesday, so havent figured out what to do about that yet. Logistics in the US are proving surprisingly difficult. Looking forward to leaving the country so there are fewer plans and more fun riding.
Side note: Kay is totally running around the hotel room stickering everything he can find to sticker. Several stickers on the panniers, stickers on the laptops, stickers on the helmet even - and stickers on the bike tomorrow when its light out. Want a sticker? Well send stickers to the first 10 people who ask - weve got plenty. Just send me a PM with your mailing address! (Anyone who donates can also get a sticker - just send an email via our website with your mailing address and well send stickers either before we leave the U.S. or when we get home in April, depending on logistics.)
Kays addition: Dacharys convinced my glasses are going to implode at any moment. I contend that one arm is more comfortable in the helmet than two, and when theyre not in the helmet they stay on most of the time. Im seriously concerned about her Gerbing. We still need the electrics for two or three more days I think... Stupid cold spell. Im somewhat afraid of my Kanetsu now and keeping it dialed as low as I can, but despite its pain in the ass SAE connectors and 1970s tech, it works. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to ride in back while she dealt with the GPS, but I am pissed about the Senas. We love the design and the usability, but three hardware failures in under six months?!
Cool, I'd been reading this on your blog instead and didn't realize you had a thread going on ADV. Consider me subscribed.
By the way, I sold the Dakar today so you can stop kicking yourself for not buying mine (although we could've called you Dakary then). As for Kay's glasses I'm with you on this, just stop at Lenscrafters or Pearl Vision and get a freaking new pair of glasses in about an hour - GEEZ. I hope you're able to find some internets once over the border so we continue to get regular updates. Best of luck.
Looks like a nice adventure in the making. Thanks for sharing the ride.
Anyone near Baton Rouge have a place or know someone who has a place where we could crash for a day? We should be reaching Baton Rouge tomorrow end of day, and I need to get tires from a BMW dealer near there but they don't open until Tuesday. (They're the only dealer we could find between here and Texas that has a pair of Anakee 2s for the bike - everyone has just a front or just a rear.) We've been looking forward to the warmer temps so we could camp, but there's supposed to be a blast of arctic air through here tomorrow and that's gonna make camping tomorrow night and Monday night impossible. We've been spending way too much on hotel rooms and it would really help to have a place to crash for Sunday night, Monday day and Monday night. Anyone know of a place in the area?
The is a KOA just off Hwy 12 appoaching BR from the East. Close to town. Tent space, cabins etc.
KOA's sometimes change hands or de-list - have not stayed at it for several years.
Congrats on selling the Dakar! This is an odd (COLD!) time of year for someone to be buying, but I know you'll be happier with the TransAlp and it'll help to have one less bike in your stable. Glad you found this thread, and hopefully we'll have lots of great adventures to share!
Thanks for dropping us this note! We saw it this morning and made a minor detour to pick up a couple at Cycle Gear. They're on our bikes now so hopefully they can help prevent any more gremlins from tagging along for the ride!
Bike is running beautifully - just needed a bath and a good solid pipe to bend the peg back into shape after Pachaug. My ribs are almost healed, too! Keeping my fingers crossed for no more major problems with us or the bikes, but what would an adventure be without a little adversity to overcome?
Got another late start today, but this time its because I had to get some work done for a client this morning and then go to McDonalds to use their wifi to send it, since the stupid hotel didnt have WiFi that worked. We also had an email from our iPad app developer (were planning to do an iPad magazine from the road, and our app is in the final stages) and we had to download and review his most recent revisions and send him bug notes. By the time we finished doing this and futzing around via McDonalds painfully slow WiFi connection, it was noon when we hit the road.
I tried reversing the connection on my Gerbings heated jacket liner this morning at Kays suggestion, because the electric still wouldnt stay on consistently. It looked like that did the trick. We rode from Lavonia, GA to Lawrenceville, GA, where Cobia235 suggested we hit Cycle World to pick up some Guardian Angel Bells. (We did.)
Guardian Angel Bell
While we were en route to Cycle World, we remembered that wed wanted to stop at the Unclaimed Baggage store, and that it was somewhere in Georgia or Alabama. We looked it up when we stopped, and discovered that it was in Scottsboro, Alabama - which would take us back north again. It was 200 miles from where we were, but we figured we could get there before they closed and we had time to kill before I can pick up my tires in Baton Rouge on Tuesday, anyway. So we grabbed lunch at a nearby Subway and planned to saddle up, but I checked the weather while we were stopped and we had a nasty surprise.
The weather in Scottsboro, Alabama was scheduled to be downright unpleasant. If we rode north, wed be riding right into a near-freezing thunderstorm. It was supposed to continue to be bad overnight, and maybe turn into a rain/snow mix then with a potential for flurries tomorrow. We cant ride in snow, and with my Gerbings jacket being unreliable yesterday, Kay didnt think it would be safe to risk riding back into the cold with it. So we nixed the plan to ride to the Unclaimed Baggage store and headed along our original route, which took us past Montgomery, Alabama to Greenville, Alabama.
At some point during this trip, my Gerbings jacket cut out again. It was actually a bit warmer today (near 60 degrees, at one point) so it was bearable without the heated liner, but my arms were still chilly and I kept getting the shivers. Periodically Id start shivering uncontrollably, and Id have to focus on a part of me that was warm and think warm thoughts and after a few minutes of this, the shivers would go away. This happened 4 or 5 times on today's ride, but I didnt mention it to Kay because I knew hed make us pull over and I wanted to push on.
We stopped for gas and I tried to fix the liner, but no amount of wiggling, connecting and jiggling could get it to stay on. We still had 162 miles to go at that point and I had to do it all without a heated liner. If wed been further north, we simply wouldnt have been able to go on. As it was, on the interstate going 70+ MPH, I was chilled, but it was bearable.
Made it to Greenville at around 5:30 local time, but it was well after dark. We gained an extra hour crossing into the Central time zone, but the sun still set at around the same time so effectively the sun set an hour earlier. We still did 316 miles today even with the late start and early sunset, though.
Were trying to figure out what to do for the next couple of days as its only going to take us one day to get to Baton Rouge, and weve got two days and two nights to kill. We cant camp because its going to be too cold. Im lobbying for staying in a cheap-ish hotel I found south of Baton Rouge, which would enable me to get some work done and keep us out of the cold. Kay is unhappy with this idea because its spending money for no forward travel. Im also concerned because the high temp one of these days is 42 degrees - hopefully itll be when were not riding, since my heated liner has died. Now I wish I had my thermal liner from the RevIt Sand Jacket - would have been a better insulator than the Gerbings is without the heat.
you had better put on as many layers(maybe some borrowed layers) as you can tomorrow....
Great start to your ride report! Hopefully you are getting all your issues out of he way while you are here in the States, and once you get South, everything will work 100%!
Couple of suggestions: for the Gerbing, try calling them and see if they can help you trouble shoot it. If they cannot get it working, perhaps they will warrenty it for you? I know they really stood behind a jacket I had some issues with.
Customer Support: 1.800.646.5916 (360.357.1110) email@example.com
I'd second the idea of having Kay add another layer under his Kanetsu. For reasons I'm not sure, I know I always seem to get more heat through to me when I'm wearing my thin Smartwool base layer than when I'm wearing a t-Shirt (which I won't normally do on a trip, but do around town). Even adding a T under the Smartwool could make it more comfortable.
Good luck, and no matter how bad things are going it is still better than being stuck behind a corporate desk!
Subscribed..... IN for the ride
So far part of the shake out of the ride! Part of the adventure
Suggestion ... find a biker friendly bar to hang out with and get all puppy eyed looking. Talk to everyone there about all the bad luck you've had so far and surely someone will take you guys in for a day or so. Maybe you'll even get free meals. Make sure Kay wears those busted up glasses, huge sympathy points right there. If nothing comes of it you'll at least get a buzz on and not care so much about spending money for a room.
Try posting your request for a place to stay in the regional forums. I think Louisiana would be Texas and the Gulf states.
Perhaps the problem is not with the liner itself. A friend of mine had problems several times with the wire from the controller fraying then breaking right at the liner connector. When you sit on the bike the wire can be forced to bend sharply right at the connector leading to its eventual failure. The broken wire would be under the insulation and hard to spot. For a while, wiggling or repositioning the wire may close the circuit, but not for long. The symptoms you describe seems like this could be your failure point.
Considering the problems my friend has had, when I use my Gerbing liner I try to have the wires angle over a bit and come out down my side instead of straight down over my thigh. This reduces the bending of the wires at the connector significantly.
Good luck and have a great trip!
While we'd love to be camping it's going to be about 25 degrees tonight and you need some serious (and expensive) gear to keep you non-hypothermic when laying still all night long in 25 degree weather. Things that say they're rated for 25 degrees mean they'll keep you alive but miserable at 25 degrees.
With regards to people who have suggested putting a layer between the Kanetsu and my back. The Kanetsu is a thin layer on one side (like the gerbing) and a fleece on the other, and it's reversable. So if i just reverse it I've got a layer of fleece between me and the wires. I may do that today since it's going to be chilly again. Yesterday I just kept it low enough that it wasn't an issue.
Side note on KOA. I always imagine that KOA is what one of Disney Land's campgrounds would be like only without the statues of cartoon characters. Perfectly manicured, lights at regular intervals so no-one can hide in a dark spot, etc, full amenities. And they're nearly as expensive as a hotel. $40 last time I tried one. But we appreciate the thought.
Once it gets warm enough our plan for the US is to take advantage of the free camping in National Parks whenever possible, and state parks when those aren't available. We think trees are good and should never be replaced with grass and lampposts.
or ... ride around out in the country and look for a house that's for sale and empty. Almost every house can be broken into but look for a simple house that doesn't have an alarm or neighbors (just pretend you're interested in the house while you're scoping it out). Then come back after dark and "let yourself in". Get the hell out of there first thing in the morning and come back after dark Monday night. I have a female friend that has done this plenty of times, no, she's not a vagrant, just bold and knows how to be discrete. She's actually done this right in town where she lives just to get a feel for the house before she makes an offer on it. You guys are on an adventure, think outside of the box...
Maybe this'll help:
Tent Space Sign-Up Thread
Kay & Dachary, have a safe trip to South of the border... way South of the border...
and keep the rubber side down.
Hey guys, great report so far! We're all wishing you a safe and crazy ride.
Since you're in a stasis right now, why not head on over to a Lenscrafters (there are 2 in Baton Rouge) and get another pair of glasses. Here's their current offers: http://www.lenscrafters.com/eyeglasses/coupons-discounts-and-offers
As someone who cannot see without glasses, it's driving me nuts that Kay is riding around with broken ones. I'll even send an old pair of mine down to you!
On another note, if you need anything at all in the US, please feel free to contact me. I can run down to Twisted Throttle if you need anything and get it shipped out quickly. Best of luck!