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

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

  1. eepeqez

    eepeqez Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,073
    Location:
    Somewhere else
    I'm from Melbourne; whenever I discuss the idea of flying into LA or SanFrancisco and riding or driving to Ohio, my friends there start asking me if I have any concept how far it is...

    They've never really grasped how much it blows me away that there are not just one but half a dozen or so cities close enough to Cinci for a relaxed DAY TRIP! Melbourne to Sydney or Adelaide is about the same distance as Cincinnati to Toronto, Washington, Atlanta, Memphis, Kansas City, Des Moines....

    I don't think they understand how much stuff there is to see and how close together it all is!

    Don't anybody mention Europe, I just can't get my head around the concept of so many people in such a small space. How do you get anywhere without being hopelessly distracted all the time by stuff to stop and see?
  2. mpanther

    mpanther KotW - Just Ride!

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,036
    Location:
    Las Wages
    I used to live in Dallas, TX. and my friends were always amazed, Amazed I say, that I would ride 45min... one way! just to have lunch or say "Hi" to someone. lmao.
    And when I road up to upstate NY for a weekend to surprise my girlfriend, all I got was horrified blank stares. :eek1 & :huh

    As to Europe, I think it is like any Big metro area.
    You just get used to traveling everywhere and Not smelling the roses.
    Not the best way to travel, imo.
    Though i do Iron Butt class rides, I do it to have more time to smell the roses at the other end. Shorter rides are for the roses in between.:D
  3. Uncle Mike

    Uncle Mike Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    56
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    This is the sh*t :clap


    Great RR guys!
  4. on_the_edge

    on_the_edge Goat Herder

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    64
    Location:
    Hot as Hell Tucson, AZ
    Thank you for a great RR. :thumb You guys epitomize so much of what many people aspire to. My hat is off to all of you!
  5. ADVreader

    ADVreader Jealous

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Placerville,CA
    Great rr, thanks for taking us on your journey.
  6. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    Oops, I totally forgot about posting the continuation of the PA trip, sorry for the delay.

    Day 2
    We slept pretty well, the tent is pretty small and has lost pretty much any semblance of waterproofing 17 years now since we bought it soon after moving to America. As a result, there was a small puddle in an unoccupied corner of the tent when we woke up. Boy was I glad I brought two sleeping bags, it was just enough to keep warm. Vanya said he was roasting in his -20 degree bag.
    [​IMG]
    Despite the cold, I wasn’t really dissuaded from getting up and making breakfast. Corned beef hash made from scratch was quick and easy to make, and many times tastier (and less artery-clogging) than the canned variety I tried with my friends Max and Roman on our previous PA outing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, hardboiled eggs are a bad idea on a dual sport ride.

    [​IMG]

    Vanya starts fiddling with the bikes and soon discovers that last night’s rain has frozen on the bikes, including the ignition locks. Vanya gets the Seca fired up with the help of his plumbed in headlight kill switch, and we start to pack up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We left absolutely no trace of our visit; we went as far as dumping the coals into the water.

    The KLR’s ignition key was frozen stuck, I felt that giving it a good twist was a recipe for disaster. Having taken a heat and mass transfer course last semester, I figured the metal key would be incredibly effective in transferring some heat to the locking mechanism innards. A good 10 seconds or so of heating the end, and the key was free to move as I pleased.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The ride out was supposed to be easy-peasy, no flooded tunnel, no ATV trail. Well as it turned out, the rains really loosened up the fire road, especially the hilly parts that had water trickling down them. This is where the Seca’s tire really wasn’t up to snuff. While motoring up a particular hill, Vanya chose to take the middle instead of following one of the car tracks. The slick middle quickly overwhelmed the IRC “duro-tour” tire and the Seca took a dirt nap. Sorry no pics. No harm done, Vanya walked it up the rest of the way. I took the KLR into one of the ruts, which had worn down through most of the mud to a mix of gravel and mud. No sweat.

    We parted ways, Vanya heading South, me heading North on 144. Here’s a sequence of photos Vanya took on his return trip:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I had put on just about every piece of clothing I brought with me for the return trip, I knew it’d be cold. There was a blanket of snow at the higher elevations, and the KLR’s throttle began to stick. This worked out rather well, as my fingers were freezing and I really wanted to put them out of the way of the wind stream. With my new found ‘cruise control’ I just set the throttle and then got my fingers out of the cold.

    [​IMG]

    I stopped near Renovo to snap a few pics of some decaying old cars and to warm up.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are my new and improved handguards:

    [​IMG]

    These didn’t work too well. 30F is 30F, I feel that only heated grips could have saved me.

    144 was a pleasure to ride, even in the cold.

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere a little before Galeton my speedometer stopped working. I knew right away what it’d be. I recently took the cluster apart to replace a bulb, and probably didn’t tighten the cable tightly enough.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This happened two more times before I got back to Ithaca.

    I stopped to warm up with a cup of coffee in Ansonia, by the Grand Canyon of PA. No more pics, just a cold, boring ride back to Ithaca. It was only 90 miles, in the summer I made this in a straight shot on the XS500, but it seemed to take forever now, with the frequent stops to warm up.

    [​IMG]

    Hope you enjoyed it, and I’m glad to see that more people are discovering the original cross country thread as a result of these bumps. There’ll be another one in June, when Vanya and I rediscover our roots by riding the XS500 and CB360 up to Vermont!
  7. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,560
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    :thumb
  8. mapleleafalumnus

    mapleleafalumnus Demigod

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    Frozen Wasteland
  9. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,169
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Awesome!

    Suggestion: buy a set of Symtec grip heaters. Best $30 I ever spent on the bike. Installation is easy and they get nice and toasty warm. It's truly amazing what a difference having warm hands makes -- they're like little radiators, and all the blood flowing through them flows back into your body and warms up your core.

    See you at the Bennington Triumph Bash!

    --mark
  10. ski.dive

    ski.dive Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    hutchinson island,fl. / mt.snow,vt. / costa rica
    when is the bennington triumph bash?
  11. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,169
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Look about half an inch above your question and you'll have your answer. :D

    --mark
  12. johnny2k

    johnny2k Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    76
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Before a canoeing trip last summer we cracked and beat all our eggs first and poured them into a large container with a lid (one gallon plastic orange juice container). It saved time at meals and required less cleanup. Omeletes in a bag are the way to go.

    Thanks for posting this RR! I've been reading it all week before and after my second job. I found this when searching for a good route from Iowa to Oregon and have been inspired and motivated to keep working my ass off to be able to get on the road.
  13. moellear

    moellear n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4
    thanks for the report. I discovered this a long time ago on www.xjbikes.com and thoroughly enjoyed the tour you gave about your trip. My 81' yamaha maxim treats me well cause I treat it well, and I have hopes to do a solo trip like this in the near future. Thanks again!
  14. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    13,446
    Location:
    jaw ja
    just came across this today,and read the whooole thing, to much fun:clap :clap to the guy that now lives in atl, check out the dog thread in regionals, also vortex on thrusday nights
  15. Hank.SD

    Hank.SD Jet Measurer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,457
    Location:
    Sodak
    Just found this as well today and read it start to finish. Great adventure, great report. Brings back fond memories of the 9 day 4500 mile blast to the west coast that I did with 2 buddies when I was 19 (in 1988). Even then our bikes were newer than what you brave fellas rode, but they were all UJMs (V45 sabre, NighthawkS, GS750E). Good times that you'll remember more fondly as the years go on.
  16. Barra1967cuda

    Barra1967cuda Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    18
    Location:
    USA ,New York State - PA border HW 81
    Just read this RR awsome trip really enjoyed it glad Hank.SD and redbud posted yesterday so I knoticed it.:D

    Hey just thought I give you a KLR tip as far as the ignition switch freezing up Isopropyl rubbing alcohol pored into it will unfreeze it .
    Allso the kickstand safety switch - cable has a tendency to freeze up so if it won't start most likely thats why .
    A good pair of decent thinsulate leather gloves helps .I allso wear a pair of thin MX gloves on under the thinsulate leather gloves when it gets really bitter out .
  17. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    All of those nanny safety checks are long gone:deal

    In other news, another of my friends passed his road test today, we're looking at craigslist to find him a nice, cross-country capable UJM, preferably kickstart equipped:lol3
  18. skyzo

    skyzo n00b

    Joined:
    May 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    5
    Wow just finished up reading this, and I had to make an account just to say how awesome this trip sounded. My favorite part was when you went through the sawtooths in Idaho, I live right by there :). Wish I would have read this way back then.
    Im going to be departing on a trip of my own next summer, on a 1980 kz750.
    Inspiring read :clap
  19. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    376
    Make sure to do a ride report one here!

    When I first wrote this report I didn't really understand what the fuss was about with people commenting about how different this report was from most others on here, just in terms of the old bikes we used. After being on ADVrider for a while now, I see that RRs with old bikes are really quite rare, and I think these types of reports really add variety and a different take on the 'adventure' theme.

    In other news, an old $600 GS750 we went to look at yesterday turned out to be a whole lot rougher than we expected.:cry

    How bad is the vibration on an early 80s XS650 Special? There's one for sale locally, and vibration (and the fatigue it induces) is just about the only thing that might keep it from being a great candidate for us.
  20. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,169
    Location:
    Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
    Don't know whether Yamaha did anything to smooth out the '80s motors, but a friend of mine had an early '70s XS650 that would hop up and down while idling. IIRC, Yamaha used a 360-degree crank (like Triumph, and unlike the other Japanese manufacturers who used a 180-degree crank), which exacerbates the vibrations a bit unless the engine is counterbalanced. Which they weren't.

    --mark