Honda C125 Michigan to California (and back)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jabroni, Jul 14, 2020.

  1. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    Hello all, this is my first ride report, but I’m currently about half way complete with a trip from Traverse City, Michigan to California and back (I’m currently in Vista, CA) and figured I should write something up.

    Im traveling on a 2019 Honda Super Cub that I bought new last year. Before I started the trip I had 1710 miles on the odometer, mostly from driving around town and short trips out in the countryside (I think the most I put on it in a single day was about 120 miles.)

    I was expecting to be busy this summer, but due to COVID plans fell through. I really had no planning into this trip, I just knew I wanted to put some miles on so I bought everything I thought necessary within a span of a week and took off once I couldn’t stand waiting around anymore.

    I left Traverse City, MI on June 10th. I woke up with the intention to leave at 7am, but strong winds forced me to postpone it by an hour. The Super Cub is a really light bike that gets pushed around easily, but after a month of riding in all types of weather, wind is no longer a concern. It’s funny how quickly you get used to things.

    My goal for the first day was to go 360 miles to camp out in a state forest outside Marquette, MI on the UP. In fair weather the Honda can keep steady at about 55 mph on flat surfaces. Going uphill or against wind you’re looking at about 45. I arrived in Marquette around 5pm and ate but was in a hurry because rain was approaching and I’d prefer to set up a tent on dry ground. I made it 30 miles west of Marquette before it started raining so I pulled in to the first clearing I could find off the highway that was hidden by bushes and trees and posted up there for the night. Keep in mind I never rode more than 120 miles in a day before, so needless to say, I was sore by the end of it.

    When camping, I try to wake up at 7am and be ready to go by 730, but it usually doesn’t work out that way. I’m not courageous enough to get out of a warm sleeping bag on a cold morning. Eventually though, I do get moving.

    My next destination was Duluth, MN where I have some family friends to stay with, and I believe that was about 260 miles. I had a slight wind pushing against me so I was happy to get 50 mph. The bad thing about the Great Lakes area is it always seems like it’s just about to start raining, so I felt like I was in a hurry, but it never came. I remember reading Jupiter’s Travels and Ted Simon retrospectively being disappointed with himself in South Africa for not yet learning how to not be bothered by rain, and I eventually gained the same sentiment.

    From Duluth I had a short trip down to Elk River (only about 160 miles) to stay with a friend, so I took my time. I pulled off at a historic marker south of Duluth to adjust my chain (later I was to find out I had been over tightening it the entire time) and a trio on adventure bikes stopped by and started talking to me. It was the first time that someone had to ask about the Super Cub. I now know that for many people, the old C50 was their first bike back in the day, so it holds a lot of nostalgia for many. Then, once they learn I was going all the way to Montana (I had no intentions of going to the coast at this time), everyone seems to get an appreciation of my boyish adventurism. They highly suggested to stop off in Fort Peck, MT to check out the dam, which I would later do.

    I left Elk River fairly late the next morning and headed to Fargo, ND. I stopped off for a couple hours to see my grandparents midway between there because I’m a stellar grandson. I arrived in Fargo at 6pm and met up with some friends for what I felt was a much deserved beer. My hometown is near Fargo, so I was planning on spending a week at home.

    This was my first leg of a journey of unknown length. I had put 1,100 new miles on the Honda over the course of four days. I was worried I was going to get sick of it by the time I got to North Dakota, but once I arrived I couldn’t even imagine not going on to Montana. I got used to the soreness quickly and it hasn’t since bothered me except for maybe one or two occasions.
    #1
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  2. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    About me: I am 26 years old and weigh roughly 200 pounds. The Honda is the first bike I’ve owned. I never really considered getting a motorcycle until I went to Vietnam last year for a month and fell in love with the underbones. I rode from Hue to Hoi An and couldn’t imagine not owning a small motorbike of some sort, so when I got home from Asia the first thing I did was buy the Super Cub and it has been the best money I’ve ever spent.

    My load out is roughly as follows:
    a backpack with five days worth of clothes, hygiene equipment, and electronics (chargers, kindle, power bank, etc).

    Givi topcase with a wrench/socket set, bag of random tools, motto pump tire inflator, battery jump starter, small tire puncture kit, chain lube, 550 cord, 5-80lb torque wrench, sleeping bag, hand towel, flip flops (for public shower), a pair of slip on shoes, and bag for dirty laundry.

    On my center rack I have a tarp, rain clothes, and a gallon gas can.

    Strapped to my rear rack I have my REI backpacking tent and a flannel.


    The bike gets roughly 100 miles to the gallon, but the low fuel light starts flashing around 80, which is where I usually fill up with the gas can.
    #2
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  3. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    My next Legs of the trip are Fargo-Missoula, Missoula-Portland, Portland-Vista. I’ll write those up soon, I don’t want to do it all at once knowing I’ll skip over some details.
    #3
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  4. Allucaneat

    Allucaneat When do we stop to eat? Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,067
    Location:
    Fayetteville, GA
    We need pictures!
    #4
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  5. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
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    “Casual mode” before the trip

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    Before crossing the Mackinaw Bridge
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    First night of camping. Without a sleeping mat I got used to the hard bumpy ground.
    #5
  6. GS Mojo

    GS Mojo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    531
    Location:
    Florida
    Ah, to be young again and be able to sleep on the ground.

    Fantastic. Keep the reports and pictures coming. Ride safe.
    #6
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  7. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    21,310
    Location:
    Edmonton, Alberta
    I'm in. Small bikes are the new big thing.
    #7
  8. ClearwaterBMW

    ClearwaterBMW The Examiner Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Clearwater, FL USA
    I'm glad you told us about your ride report over on Battle scooters what a fantastic beginning an epic trip thanks for sharing it with us and I appreciate the pictures as well. I cannot believe you slept in that tent on that ground in that kind of an atmosphere without worrying which creature would sneak in the middle of the night and bite off your leg. Of course those the rantings of a city boy who's never been camping :imaposer
    #8
  9. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    I left the Fargo area on June 19th and went straight across North Dakota on Old Highway 10 to Medora, ND. The badlands area of North Dakota is probably the only beautiful part of the state and I really regret not getting more pictures of my bike (I’ve been in the area plenty over the years so it didn’t seem so important at the time.) Also, there’s a section of Old 10 west of Bismarck that turns in red dirt, I was loving it and was hoping it’d stay that way but it only lasted about 10 miles.

    I have a friend whom I grew up with who lives out there and works the oil patch, so I stayed at his cabin a few miles west of Medora. Luckily his parents were out there that weekend as well so it ended up like a mini vacation full of horseback riding, shooting trap, boating, and so on. Was planning on only stopping for a night but ended up staying the entire weekend.

    I left around 8am Monday morning destined for Fort Peck. I took Highway 16 and it was wonderful. There was an 80 mile stretch where I saw four vehicles all going the opposite way. I remember during the boom of 10 years ago where it seemed all of western ND had nonstop truck traffic seemingly on every road all the time, so I’m glad to see that was long gone for the moment.

    I passed through Sydney to Culbertson and headed west on Highway 2 through the reservation. I always had a soft spot for rolling hills and vast plains so I loved the scenery and from western ND until the Rockies that’s all there is.

    I camped out right next to the Fort Peck dam and it was definitely worth seeing. I’m surprised I never heard of it before as it was one of the largest public works programs during the Great Depression. The dam itself is three miles long and has a mile long spillway, so if anyone is in that area I’d highly recommend taking a look.

    I kept on Highway 2 more or less the entire way to Glacier. My next stop was Shelby and it seemed like a long ride. I ran into some road construction along the way and for about twenty miles was following a caravan of semi-trucks on a bumpy dusty road that (for my bike at least) might as well have been an unmaintained farm trail. Bottoming our on large pot holes and fishtailing at unexpected stops all with limited vision due to heavy dust, honestly I felt like I was in a desert caravan of some sort.

    I forgot the reason but I diverted away from Highway 2 and headed down to a town called Big Sandy. I was looking to camp out at Lake Elwell that has free campgrounds and I wanted to get off the highway for a bit. At Big Sandy I grabbed a bite to eat at a bar (I forget the name) and it was almost like I walked in to a strange sitcom with the worlds most wholesome bartender. No exaggeration, the hour I was in there, three separate occasions of locals coming in for his help and advice ranging from teenagers to middle aged. I’m not sure why but it just seemed like a not-so-picturesque western town that stuck out.

    On my way to Lake Elwell google maps led me astray and tried taking me on a short cut down a farm trail. The Honda is light and handles that terrain just fine and I enjoy those rides so I went with it. Big ruts, big rocks, mud and sand and I was loving it. Almost lost it a few times but with a bike that light all you need to do is kick out your feet and you won’t fall over. Eventually the farm trail became not a farm trail but rather just turned completely into a wheat field, so I had to backtrack roughly the five miles I traveled. I played it safe and went back to Highway 2 and dropped down to Lake Elwell and made camp for the night.
    #9
  10. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
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    South of Medora
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    On the Fort Peck dam, looking at the power plant
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    Looking at the other side of the dam
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    The mile long spill way

    I wish I would have taken more photos, specifically of the terrible roads I’ve been going down. I have been abusing the Honda but so far it’s been very obedient and hasn’t let me down.
    #10
  11. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    I continued on Highway 2 the next day with the destination of Big Fork, south of Kalispell MT. The friends that I stayed with in Elk River had an AirBnb there because they were visiting family and said I was welcome to stay with them. A couch to sleep on and a place to do laundry is always welcome after a few nights of camping out.

    After Browning there seems to be a slow, barely noticeable incline. The Honda was noticeably weaker and I was probably maxing out at 45 mph. The traffic was a little heavier (though in places like Montana, “heavy” traffic is strictly relative) so I spent a lot more time riding on the shoulder. I had never entered the Rockies in this part and was imagining a very steep climb up before dropping down into Kalispell, but luckily for me other than a small initial ascent, it was almost all down hill when you’re coming in from the East.

    I was told by a guy in Fort Peck to ride the Sun Highway, but it was still closed at this time. Either way, I feel like whatever route you take through the mountains it will be beautiful.

    Everything was going great but the sky started to darken and rain was on its way. I made my mind up that I was going to push to West Glacier and stop for coffee. When it started raining I was still over 10 miles away from West Glacier and after about 3 miles of “pushing” I was thoroughly soaked and admitted defeat. I pulled over and put on my rain gear, the first time of the trip. I got to West Glacier and it was sunny, but I stopped for my coffee break anyway just to dry out in the sun. I learned my lesson; if it’s going to rain, just put on your damn rain gear as soon as you can.

    I arrived in Big Fork and stayed for two nights. My official destination for this leg was Missoula, which I planned on staying for 4-5 days just to do some day tripping in the mountains.

    Before leaving Big Fork I noticed my rear tire was bald. It wasn’t down to the wear bars but it wasn’t healthy looking either. I called ahead to a Honda dealer down there and asked to get a new tire which they did not have in stock and needed one to be shipped up from Texas, it would take roughly a week. That was fine, I felt as though I wanted an excuse to hang around Missoula longer anyway.

    At this time I also saw I was low on oil, not sure where it went. Before this it had always been at the upper limit mark and I had been changing it every 1000-1200 miles (it’s only a quart). But leaving Big Fork it was at the lower limit, at best. (Would such a new engine burn oil like that? I’m not much of a mechanic) I added some oil to get me to Missoula where I was going to change oil anyway.

    I do my oil changes in AutoZone parking lots. No allegiance to AutoZone, I just know they take used oil. I go in, buy some 10w-40, finish my liter of water, cut the top off the bottle and drain my oil into that and hand it over to them. Easy day. Takes 10 minutes if you’re in a hurry.

    I got a bed at the one and only hostel in Missoula and over the next week would rotate between staying there and camping in Lolo National Forest.
    #11
  12. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,335
    The cool thing about a small bike is that you just can’t pack a bunch of useless shit. I’m betting you’re not carrying a chair.
    #12
  13. guerreronegro

    guerreronegro Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Christmas Island
    I really like the Supercub. I'll be following along. Oil consumption can be considered normal in some small cc bikes were revving high is the norm.
    #13
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  14. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2017
    Oddometer:
    31
    Location:
    Greece
    Good on ya my friend. When you have the time, check out C90 adventures on you tube.
    Ed March is another madman like you, very entertaining. Keep on keeping on!
    #14
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  15. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    I never watched his videos but whenever someone says that taking the C125 to the coast is crazy I always bring up how someone (Ed March) took his C90 from Alaska to Argentina and if he can do that I should be able to go anywhere in the US no problem.
    #15
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  16. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2020
    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
    I was in Missoula for about 10 days. I initially got a hostel room because it was forecast to rain for a full three days (and did) and I knew it would be miserable to tent it through all that. Missoula has some decent restaurants and coffee shops, so it was pleasant being there for what felt like my exile.

    There’s a bar there called The Rhino which I got into the habit of dropping in each evening because for whatever reason there always seemed to be people eager to strike up a conversation. A lot of motorcyclists pass through the city and I talked to a few that were also doing cross country rides but going in the opposite direction. I also met a few people that would give me a place to stay if I ever was in their area.

    After three nights in the Hostel I went and camped in Lolo National Forest for two nights. I found a mountain road (don’t remember the name of it) that you ride up and it brings you up close to Lolo peak. It was a bit bumpy but nothing crazy enough where you can’t take a SUV up it.

    I went back to Missoula for a few more nights. By this time I had found myself absorbed in to a group of friends who all worked together and met up at The Rhino afterward, so it was nice being able to drop in to a place and know people in a town that I’ve only been for a few days. (Side note: these guys started a scooter club, like the kind you stand on, and before I left they even created a patch and ordered leather vests. They call themselves the Squirtle Scootie Gang, and their logo is the Pokémon Squirtle. If someone reading this passes through Missoula and sees them around I’d appreciate a picture.)

    Next I camped out for a couple nights in an area of Lolo National Forest called Kreis Pond. It’s a nice free campground and I would recommend it to anyone looking for that sort of thing. The second night the sites were all full so I stealth camped about a mile away. I found an old fire ring of rocks and it looked like someone was clearing away old trees, so there was a lot of chopped and splintered wood, so for this first time on the trip I had a fire. It was perfect.

    The next morning I saw a sign for the route to Edith Peak and decided to check it out. I can’t say the distance because it was on a windy road that was terrible at times, but it ended up being a two hour ordeal. It was vehicle friendly up to a certain point, I think there was a popular hiking trail somewhere in the area, but I kept going because I wanted to see where the road went. It ended up being the best trail I’ve ever taken and I wish I could do it again but go further and do more. The road was about as awful as it could be while still being considered a road. Thick mud in places and giant ruts and rocks. I couldn’t go fast enough to make it out of 2nd gear. I banged up my center-stand so much that I need a new one. Eventually I found Edith Peak and I tried to take the bike all the way to the top, but the combination of rough trail, altitude, and incline it couldn’t make it. I decided to drive down to more level ground and just walk up. The peak itself isn’t the most impressive, but the ride up made it seem like a handsome reward.

    Afterwards I went to Missoula for one more night. I ended up staying out until late while giving a guy a ride on the back of the Honda. His phone had died and he only had a rough idea of where his Airbnb was so it turned in to a late night adventure and more abuse to my center stand as it bottomed out on every bump. I’ve been scraping hard on every left turn ever since and soon it will be as sharp as a knife, but it still fulfills it’s function so I’ll deal with it for now.

    I woke up early and brought the bike in for a new tire. Shortly after noon I left for Idaho via Highway 12. I found it funny that ever since North Dakota I had been unwittingly following the Lewis and Clark trail.
    #16
  17. Jabroni

    Jabroni Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    49
    Location:
    Michigan
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    Along Highway 2 south of Glacier
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    On the way up the trail near Lolo Peak. A bicyclist came by and took a picture for me.
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    Looking at Lolo Peak. Shortly after this I dropped my bike as I tried to go down a short stretch of way to steep of trail. It was a minor fall but still a mile marker.
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    Isolated Camping near Kreis Pond. It was a full moon and it felt like someone was shining a spot light on my tent.
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    On the way up to Edith Peak
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    Near the top of Edith Peak
    #17
  18. AHRMA17L

    AHRMA17L Been here awhile Supporter

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    #18
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  19. Joe Motocross

    Joe Motocross Adjustafork.com - CEO

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    Love you’re minimalist approach. Solid.
    #19
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  20. The Lone Ranger

    The Lone Ranger Adventurer

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    Nov 17, 2017
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    31
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    Greece
    You “should” give his vids a look see, he adds a lot of humor to his trips
    #20
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