Cross country on the dual sportster

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Aiden, Aug 24, 2021.

  1. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Not sure if this is quite as epic as some of the other rides in here, but it's a big trip for me. I'm moving across the country and figured I might as well ride & camp my way there.

    The plan is to leave Brooklyn NY the first week of September and head to LA. I'm on a '99 sportster converted into an adv-mongrel. You can see a small build thread here: https://advrider.com/f/threads/yet-another-dual-sportster.1442559/

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    Gonna add a windshield & highway pegs for some long distance comfort, and I've replaced the seat with a cushier unit. I'd also love some road recommendations if anyone has some, especially through the midwest. I'm looking to make fairly good time, but planning on squeezing in dirt/gravel roads as much as possible.
    #1
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  2. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    Sounds like a true adventure; I am sure the chrome oil tank will add to the performance! Staying low across OH, IN, IL and MO, you will find roads to squeeze into. and avoid large cities.

    Keep your post live!
    #2
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  3. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum Super Moderator

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    I was wondering if we'd ever see a ride report from you. As a fellow offroad Sportster traveler, I'm excited to see this unfold!

    Have a fantastic trip! :ricky
    #3
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  4. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    A few pre-ride prep things:
    - Changed fork seals & oil
    - New brake fluid
    - Added a dorky (but effective) windscreen

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    Headed out on Saturday!
    #4
  5. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer Supporter

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    In southern Illinois , the Garden of the Gods State Park has a nice camping area and check out the Gods rocks at sunset.
    Next day drop south into Kentucky and head for Hickman to pick up the ferry to Missouri. It's a much cooler way to cross the Mississippi River than any bridge.
    Then skirt the MO. / AR. border in the Ozarks , lots of great roads there. You could even try out some portions of the T.A.T.
    #5
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  6. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Got some wifi and a second to rest, so here's update #1. Things have been off to a bit of a rough start, but hopping for better luck on the second half.

    Day 1, ~425 miles

    Left Brooklyn in the dark around 5:30 AM and headed out through NJ, into Delaware and then Pennsylvania.
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    In Delaware, I realized my ignition was loose—the small bolt holding it in had rattled out. So I had to pull the tank in a gas station parking lot to get a ziptie in place as a temporary fix. (I should have taken this as a warning of things to come).

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    You might also notice that this photo is blurry, I guess my phone's camera didn't like being vibrated so much on the handlebar mount. Unfortunately, there are going to be lots more blurry photos to come.

    I got to Pennsylvania and ran through section 7 of the MABDR.

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    This was pretty fun—a little challenging on the bigger bike, but I made it through unscathed. At least I thought I did, until I noticed my bike no longer had a muffler. I turned around and rode a mile back up the road to find my muffler lying in the dirt. A spare bolt got it back together and I was back on route.

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    An older guy at the gas station told me to check out Harshbarger, where I had a Harsh Burger (seemed to be a mostly normal hamburger with horseradish on it).

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    After that, I found a big cow and cruised through some very pretty rural parts of Pennsylvania.

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    I was going to campout in Forbes State Forest, but the forecast called for rain and I was hoping to get an early start in the morning so I stayed in a nearby motel.
    #6
  7. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Day 2, ~480 miles

    I woke up to a very dark, rainy morning and rode a few hours through the rain until I got to Ohio.

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    Not much to report on, it was mostly a highway slog and it was not fun.

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    It stopped raining and I made my way through some nicer backroads to a campsite in Indiana. I set up my camp, made some hotdogs, and fell asleep to the sound of my neighbor's RV generator.

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    #7
  8. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Day 3, ~315 miles

    I woke up at 5AM, packed up and was on the road before 6. I stopped at a rest stop as the sun rose and the fog burned off.

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    I plugged away a few highway miles, until I got about an hour past St. Louis. I had noticed that the bike felt squirmy, but I had just figured that it was windy and the bags were blowing me around. If I was being smart, I would have pulled over and checked out the bike, but I was dumb and kept on moving. At some point, I heard a thunk and a felt a sudden loss of power, so I slowed down and took the next offramp into a dirt parking lot. I noticed the chain was loose and when I checked the other side I realized the cotter pin was missing. The axle nut had broken loose and then pulled backwards, tightening itself down hard onto the swingarm. The nut and it's washer had welded themselves together from the heat and the axle wouldn't budge.

    I called every tow company I could find until the 10th or 11th one said they'd pick up a bike but they were two hours away. After sitting in the sun in that parking lot for three+ hours, the truck came and dropped me off at a motel.

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    Once I was situated, I started looking up motorcycle shops, but options were limited out in rural MO. I did manage to get a facebook message to Rod at Moto Shed and he said he'd come by in the morning to take a look. At this point, I wasn't sure what the damage was, but at a minimum I'd need a new nut and washer.

    I walked across the parking lot to McDonalds and ate my chicken nuggets in my sad motel room...
    #8
  9. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Day 4, 0 miles

    Rod stopped by at 8AM on his big Harley bagger and looked the bike over. He said he'd run home, grab his trailer and bring it back to his shop. When we got to the shop, we banged the hell out of that seized axle, destroying it in the process. But, eventually it shot out, along with bits of shattered bearings.

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    Rod was awesome and offered to drive into St. Louis to pick up the new internals to get the wheel back together, so we set off to get a new axle, bearings, seals & spacers. We got back to the shop, rebuilt the wheel and I was back at the motel with a functioning motorcycle.

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    I'm setting off for a two day ride to Denver tomorrow morning, checking all my bolts twice, crossing my fingers, and hoping the worst is behind me.
    #9
  10. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    It's certainly an "Adventure"!
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  11. BigStu

    BigStu Been here awhile

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    This is definitely an adventure, I'm in.
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  12. MrBob

    MrBob Long timer Supporter

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    I'm assuming that you have an iPhone. The RAM X mount is notorious for killing the auto focus feature on iPhones. It killed mine in no time. I brought the phone to an Apple repair facility and, to my amazement, Apple covered the camera replacement under warranty. I had the phone back in my hands two hours after dropping it off. Worth a try.
    Our own RTW Doug is the main man for how to deal with some of the problems you're having.
    #12
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  13. jathkajoe

    jathkajoe Been here awhile

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    Following. And enjoying your adventure!
    #13
  14. BigStu

    BigStu Been here awhile

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    I think I Phone 6 is the last one that can handle the vibration without messing up the camera.
    #14
  15. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Ahh, that would make sense. My old iPhone 6 was fine for years, but I just upgraded before this trip. @MrBob thanks for the info, I'll see if I can get it fixed once I make it to LA.
    #15
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  16. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Day 5, ~5230 miles

    After checking the bike out as thoroughly as I could, I woke up early and started my trip towards Denver. I plugged away on I-70 until I got past Kansas City and stopped at Cause Coffee in De Soto since I had take a work call. It's a really nice space, seems almost out of place in a tiny town.

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    After that, I hopped onto US 24, so I could avoid the interstate for the rest of the day. At on point, I passed a couple cars (in a legal passing zone) but it might have been a bit tight with the speed of oncoming traffic. Unfortunately, that oncoming traffic was a cop, who made a U turn and pulled me over. He seemed to soften up when I told him I was going cross country and I got away with a lecture on safe passing & no ticket.

    After that, I waited for 15-20 minutes at a standstill for roadwork...

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    Saw the worlds largest ball of twine:

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    And made it to a beautiful campsite in western Kansas.

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    I'm still worried that mechanical issues might continue to plague me, but I'm increasingly convinced that this bike will be able to limp its way into LA.
    #16
  17. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Quick edit, that's ~530 miles, not 5230
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  18. cavebiker

    cavebiker Old School Adventurer

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    Good luck! Sportster Adventure :super
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  19. Critic

    Critic More or less!

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    I was hoping you would not ride GS Interstates, but so be it! It may be too late, but consider taking US50 or other US highways. My plan was to put together a simple route that made good time. I am sorry, it did not happen. But, you are still having a great adventure!

    Keep it fun and safe, as the adventure continues!
    #19
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  20. Aiden

    Aiden Adventurer Supporter

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    Yeah, things got a bit pressed time-wise with all the issues I've run into and I haven't been able to avoid the interstates as much as I'd like. Hopefully, the ride from Denver to LA should offer some better sights & riding
    #20
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