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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by JB2, Oct 6, 2013.
I think we can get to some real back roads!!
That is a great looking Jeep. I like where this is headed!
So how big a bike are you thinking? I've been tossing with the idea of a bigger tank and a bump up to a 300cc for my 250 (can swap out the top end for about $300.)
TRIP SUMMARY: THE GEAR
I think the best place to start is some reviews on the new equipment that traveled with me on this trip. I bought several new items that I am really happy with.
Boots: The Herman Survivors I had been wearing for years finally died last year. I was on a last minute mission to find a good pair of boots that were actually in stock. My Son, JB3, recommended Timberlands. I priced them against HD and several other “moto” brands and took a chance on the Timberlands. I could not be happier. They are waterproof and have thick, grippy souls which is a plus for a guy with a 30” inseam. I would have preferred an 8” or10” boot over the 6” but otherwise every bit as good or better than my old boots.
Gloves: Another last minute purchase was the insulated gauntlets from AlpineStars. They were warm on the cool mornings. They were waterproof and fit well. The only issue I had is the outer fabric was coated with “something” that smeared up both my face shield and sunglasses when I tried to clear them with the glove. I don’t know if it will wear off in time or not. I’ve never had that problem with leather gauntlets. These may be a dry weather glove only.
Mosko-Moto 30 liter dry bag: I received this bag as a gift thee years ago just after I purchased the Scrambler. The only rack available on the interweb was from Hepko-Becker… which did not fit well with the Corbin seat. After some mods to the HB rack I tried the Mosko bag on for size and it overhung the tail lamps. ARRRGH! The only obvious choice was to make a rack to accommodate the large footprint of the new bag. In a pinch on a previous trip to North Carolina I used my old duffel and loaned the Mosko to Brian which worked out good for both of us. Fast forward to this trip and I built a rack and was finally able to use it for the first time. BTW, Brian liked mine so well he bought one. Other than rethinking how I pack I am absolutely satisfied with it. 100% waterproof. Holds as much as my old duffel with an additional toolbag. I stuffed everything in there to live on the road for 10 days. Best piece of luggage I have ever owned, bar none.
Luggage-rack: Homemade. If you have followed this thread you already know that. It worked out very well. I believe it is tough enough to pick the bike up with if you had to. The only issue the rack gave me was the first day out. When we got into Galesburg that night I was looking the bike over, specifically the rack, and noticed the left lower mounting bolt was missing. Not sure what happened as I had checked them several times that day. With one bolt gone of course the other three were loose. I had anticipated this might be an issue so additional bolts were packed. I might add that the missing fastener was a dome shaped, allen-head bolt. The other bolts I carried were standard hex-head. I replaced them with the hex fasteners which allowed me to be apply additional torque. The rack made it home without any other issues.
GEAR THAT FAILED(or needs replaced)
Jacket: I bought the Victory jacket I normally wear in 2012. It has been everywhere with me. It does not have a liner but has plenty of room to layer underneath. I dig the body armor and ventilation but the poor thing is shot. I’m leaning towards a Rev-It but with most of the winter to think about it some intense shopping and review searching before a purchase is made.
Rainsuit: Also a 2012 purchase and also a Victory branded item but failing faster than the jacket. After 40 miles in the rain my left leg was wet from the knee down, there are muffler burns in the right lower leg and it starting to come apart on the jacket zipper. Mo money, mo money.
Helmet: I had to look but the Arai is a 2006 purchase. It is still in great shape but has outlived its expected life. Mo money, mo money!
Next up are some final thoughts to wrap up our adventure along with some missing details from our nine days on the road. In the same fashion that adventures come together I have “found” another new-to-me band called The Elephant Revival. They are currently disbanded and their politics are different than mine but Bonnie Paine has a voice eerily similar to Melanie(how many of you reading remember her?). They also do a lot of songs that are not politically motivated. Can’t seem to get enough of their tight rhythms and her voice. Enjoy!
The feeling is mutual in those regards my brother. I've been on a mission to make the Sandhills several days of my next trip there. I don't know if its is getting older or trying to stay young. I really like the way the late Billy Joe Shaver felt about it..."I'm gonna live forever now!"
Great musical choice. Good gear review.
I think you will find a shortage of gear until the backlog at the ports clears up. Lot of stuff is out of stock. Might be more expensive too - shipping costs are way up over prior levels.
I recommend FroggToggs motorcycle rain gear from their website. I think it’s made in Alabama so it should be available.
I use blue thread lock on everything. Or… almost everything. On this last trip I moved a small plastic medicine container with my prescription pills from location to location. One day I didn’t put anything soft around it in the hard container it was in. The lid vibrated completely off and the pills spilled into the larger container. Guess it needed blue loctite too!
TRIP SUMMARY: MISSING MOMENTS
As I turned the adventure into a story, and several days into the thread, I “back-read” the previous days and realized a few events were missing. Oh well, I did previously state that it takes longer to remember the adventure than it does to live it. Here are some missing moments…
Day 1: As mentioned in the last post near the end of the day and in the parking lot of the motel I found a missing bolt on the new luggage rack and the other three were loose. For appearance reasons I had chosen button-head, allen bolts. Knowing there would be a lot of stress and weight I made an attempt to get them bloody-ass tight. The bit started to turn inside the head of the one on the left side. I stopped there. Obviously it needed a few more foot-pounds of torque. I had that gnawing feeling it could be an issue so I packed hex-headed bolts just in case. It pays to listen to your gut. I had the bolts and a variety of washers to resolve the issue. Another thing I try to do with every bike I own is to perform all maintenance out of the tool kit. Not the tool kit that comes with the bike but rather the one I make up for the bike. Then when something happens on the road the right tool is in the kit. Also of note, I carry stuff to service an Indian Scout Bobber but that’s another story. Brian?
Day 4: While inside the Badlands Visitors Center a gentleman approached me and said, “That’s a great place to eat.” I was wearing a t-shirt from the Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, Indiana. Brian and I had stopped here several times in the past but this time it was with a shirt purchase. The man was from Bloomington and he and his wife drive down regularly to eat at the restaurant. How cool is that?
Thirty years ago, when I was riding Harleys, I used to make it a mission to stop and purchase a shirt from every HD dealer we got close to. I had acquired quite the collection by the time I moved on to other brands again. Now I collect shirts from restaurants, bars and parks that we visit. The restaurant shirts get more attention than the Harley shirts for sure. This isn’t the only time this has happened while traveling with Brian and Jim. It’s a good way to meet the people you are supposed to meet.
Day 5: While getting our bikes banded at the entrance to Custer State Park the lady exclaimed several times that she loved our bikes because they were so quiet. We did shut them off once we realized there was more to getting in besides just paying. She mentioned that during the rally visitors and park rangers literally had to yell to communicate over all the loud motorcycles and that it disturbs the herds of buffalo. Oh, and don’t rev your motor or honk your horn at them because they will defend their space. If they are in the roadway just stop and wait. Yep, we did that yesterday in the Badlands but many thanks.
I know there are more things I have since forgotten or at least forgot what day it happened but the additions above were important enough merit the amendments. I do keep a notebook as each day progresses but, even at that, there are missing pieces.
My thoughts and observations on the adventure are coming next. Stay Tuned!
@72 Yamaha RD350 - I sure hope you're wrong on the gear shortage. We'll see. I do have a lot of time to cover the base as the end of riding season draws near.
@Bhuff - That's a fine looking truck! I suspect your next trip to South Dakota will be in it with Val riding shotgun. There's places out there that require a rig like that. Just ask Jim and I... we found a few of those roads in 2019.
TRIP SUMMARY: OBSERVATIONS & THOUGHTS
I remember the first time I read a Ride Report from @iDave and his bike Love Shack. His style and observations were remarkably similar to mine. My wordsmithing pales in comparison to his but, right away, he said something I have been saying for many decades. He often reminds his reader that he meets the people he is supposed to meet and ends up going the places he was supposed to go. Before I ever read an RR by Dave I had been saying this. Other riders would look at me as if I came from another planet while very few "got it". I guess the day our family lost Dad and we met Mike Breedlove was all the affirmation I needed.
In an odd turn of events our original trip to the U.P. turned into a trip to South Dakota. I thank Brian for stepping up and picking a new destination. It was a last minute change. Gentleman Jim was on the road from Puyallup, WA when the change came about. With the bikes we would both riding high mileage days were out of the question. It would be a "turn-n-burn" trip. We'd have to max out our mileage capabilities while trying to make every mile part of the adventure by avoiding metro areas and interstate highways. Had he not chosen SD over the U .P. we'd have never met Rocken Mike, or Carey of Carey's Diner, or Brian Jackson, or the many other people we only met in the moment. The trip, due to the limitations on time, the scope of miles and things to see, was intended to plant seeds for a longer, more thorough ride in the future. In that vein it was a huge success. Brain said this in his last post, "I think the time out west has set in and made me rethink what I need in life!!" Amen Brother!
We didn't know what to expect in terms of mask mandates, room availability nor any of the other issues surrounding COVID. Rooms were not hard to find but, just before we left, Illinois announced a mask mandate in public spaces. We didn't see but a handful of people wearing masks as the new mandate was only days old. On the return trip through Illinois not much had changed in a week and not many were wearing masks. The only time we donned a mask was at the Badlands Visitor Center because of the Executive Order issued for all Federal buildings. We seen more masks in that one building than we did the entire trip. No matter where you stand on the issue it was obvious people were worn out with all the rules the constant nagging of bad news. Our intent was to stay away from people in large numbers, which we did, so it was almost like old times. Let freedom ring.
There's not many places in this country that are uninhabited but every time I find one I want to go back again and again. Since our focus was to cover as many of the high spots in the four days we were in South Dakota the Sandhills of Nebraska were tabled for another trip. However, knowing that Brian was as enamored with the landscape as I was means a future trip to the area for a more intimate exploration is going to happen.
Neil Peart of Rush fame kept a riding BLOG. In the early entries he once stated that he really enjoyed going down roads that only people who lived on them went down. In one of his last BLOGs he changed it to liking to go down roads that "no one" lived on. I couldn't agree more. I don't remember seeing any windmill farms in Nebraska and certainly the Sandhills were not dotted with that blight on the landscape. Iowa is nearly covered in them. Such an eyesore. I remember miles and miles of roads without power lines, little towns with no gas stations and barely a few homes. I remember one-lane, gravel roads going off into the distance as they climbed to the crest of a hill or dropped down into a narrow valley with gentle twists and turns. Western Nebraska is my kind of place.
I can't remember ever being this beat up from a motorcycle adventure. Weeks afterwards my neck still has pangs of pain. It was over a week before I cleaned the Scrambler and I'm not sure Brian has even touched the Scout yet. I have wrestled with the decision to go back in a truck hauling the bikes versus riding back. I almost can't stomach the thought of hauling a bike. I've done it before and probably will again. However, the feeling of it being a "real" bike trip was lost on the seat time behind a windshield. I will probably fail miserably at trying to truck the bikes out so be forewarned Brian and Joel. I will be riding... again.
I've done things and met people I could have only done from the seat of a motorcycle. I crossed Dewey Bridge with a friend on our VFR's before it burned a few years later. I've been down roads you could only get down on a bike. I've met some of the kindest and coolest people on earth because of the luggage strapped to the bike. I've been trusted to someone else's property, complete strangers, because "I was also riding". No one seems to care or approach a guy with a bike in the back of his truck. I get it.
I like the place that my spirit goes once I get more than a day away from home. I like the person I become once the grime of everyday living, fighting the career battles and traffic are washed from me. I like being outside, experiencing the weather and the smells of nature. I can't do this again from the seat of a truck. It just ain't gonna happen. It means longer trips to cover less miles each day but we can do that.
Brian's epiphany reminded me of this song...
One by one, one by one, we all fall
One by one, oh, one by one, we will all fall
Open your arms wide
Open your eyes wide
Brother, run fast
They’re coming your way
Oh, brother, run fast
They’re headin’ your way
"They", in our world, is the constant grind of dealing with people, parts, insurance companies and deadlines. "They" also includes time which goes away each day with no chance of recapture. "They" is the constant bad news sprinkled with ads begging us to buy something new to keep up with the Jones. Be more connected! How about being disconnected for a change? Eh? Like I heard someone say once, "No one says on their death bed they wished they had spent more time at the office and less time riding." This trip was badly needed. We didn't know how it would turn out but as it turns out it was one of the best ever in my history of riding. Something happened out there, in a good way, for Brian and I both. Ride more, work less. Thanks Brian and Gentleman Jim!
Brother ride fast! Enjoy!
I get what you are saying, JB2. Driving just isn't the same (we might not know the real reason for Brownstown being named Brownstown had we been in a truck)--but for me, it might depend on whether or not you and Brian get into the dual-sport bikes. And how big a bike you go for. Trailering to a spot and then riding to see who we meet might make some sense with small bikes.
My Scrambler is no worse a touring mount than the Scout or the XSR, but getting to the west side of Nebraska on a 250 might be a REAL challenge. I'm up for trying it on either bike! We just might need a month on the small guys.
And I've never seen two weeks of neck pain used as a selling point before!
Good ride report. I've really enjoyed it. Been playing Ring around the Moon ever since you posted the link. Great song.
Joel - A long winter lays ahead of my decision. "IF" you were going I would trailer just to share the experience with you. You and I have yet to do a real trip but I am looking forward. An XT has my name on it whenever it gets shipped. Done deal.
Don't pass up anything by the Elephant Revival. I almost posted this song but liked Ring Around The Moon .001 better.
Great reports JB2.
Your previous reports and those of a few others helped influence my vacation choice this Summer.
Due to F-150 issues we ended up in the Black Hills a few days longer than originally planned but it turned into an Adventure and that's a good thing!
I hope to return soon with some sort of motorcycle.
You were not wrong about this song.
@jdfog2 - “Hoosierbillys Invade Hill City”? It could happen. Just sayin’.
@radianrider - Tough choice wasn’t it? At least you gave me a segue into posting option B. Thanks. Ring Around The Moon really reminds me of this time of year. There’s some glorious fall days coming. Perfect for a day trip.
Picked up an inexpensive telecaster-style guitar recently. Grabbed it and played rhythm with both songs. Good times.
Let the record show:
i) RD owns no HD t-shirts (bought one at Cannonball HD in Terre Haute once for a friend)
ii) No neck pain while riding but I occasionally get pain between the shoulder blades while riding for no rhyme or reason
iii) The Great Plains is why trailers for motorcycles were invented
iv) the Nebraska Scenic Byway thru the Sandhills is on my bucket list of rides (I’ve read up on it!)
iv) It is 447 miles from my house to Grand Island NE - the start of the Sandhills Scenic Byway
v) Grand Island is 747 miles from Plainfield… just saying
We need to know if there are any coffee shops in the area. Potential deal-breaker.
RD - it's 681 from the center of my town.
I'm eyeballin' it but I'm eyeballin a lot of rides. So many rides, so little time. :)
- Michigan Ferry to Wisconsin to Minnesota with a swing down through the "Driftless" on the way home via NE Iowa then across Illinois
- South East/South Central Ohio
- SE Kentucky
- Ozarks (probably going there week after next in fact)
- "Great River Road"
- Ohio River Scenic Byway (at least from the Mississippi to the Indiana/Ohio border or thereabouts.
- South Dakota
and.... the big one for me - Big Bend National Park
Stretch Goal - California (that'll be a 21 day kinda thing - maybe in another year or two.
I'm 60 - how many good long distance years do I have left? I need to get the LONG trips sooner
Hey RD - If you ever change your mind about Harley shirts I have several boxes I would donate to your collection. Glad to see the Sandhills are on your list. They are magical.
JD - Long trips are the best. I especially like when Brian and I are trying to remember what day it is. Oh, and that alien feeling when you get home and sit in a car for the first time in weeks and try to put the kickstand up before you shut the door.
Joel - Coffee shops are where you can find them. I carry several varieties of Starbucks so I can make my own. Did you remember to "howl" on Sing To The Mountain?
By definition, every state in the Midwest and Great Plains has coffee shops - otherwise, everyone would be asleep!
I'm sure we could find you some java. Whether we could find a urinal every 8 miles - that I'm not so sure of... and trees are rather scarce in those parts too!