Somewhere between a memory and a dream...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TurnerR, Jul 14, 2018.

  1. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    "Well, I've been screamin' at the world
    Since the time I could talk
    Well, I've been runnin' into walls
    Since the day that I could walk
    'Cause all them bottles I've drank, never mind the smoke
    Man, the years are gangin' up on me, but I'm holdin' onto hope
    And I'm still caught somewhere in between
    A memory and a dream"

    That was the lyrics playing as I headed to our local craft beer joint last year. I was heading to meet up with my dad for a brew. Lord knows we both needed one. Last year was a real shit show. As a family we went through hell, yet we endured as all families should. I won't go into specifics, but each family member doing their part and staying strong paid off. Things finally lined out and I'm proud of the results. All of that led to this.

    I've been worked now for over a decade. This year I've turned 30, and I have to admit that everyone was right. The older I get the faster time moves. It seems like yesterday I was just starting out in the "real world". A decade ago I would get on this very site and read all these trips, specifically the TAT threads. Ten years moves fast if you're not paying attention, and soon this will be just a memory....

    Dad hadn't been on a bike in many years and had never owned any street legal motorcycle period. We had mentioned doing the dual sport thing together. I had a drz400 years ago but sold it because I had no one to ride with, luckily the sport is booming in our home town. So last January a friend was needing some money and offered me his drz400s. He had racked up some hospital bills from hitting a black bear on the Suzuki and it currently "wasn't running". I told dad and told him this is the one to buy if you want to try it out. Mike takes care of his bikes and it can't need much to get it running. He was reluctant since he couldn't hear it run but finally took the advice of his overly faithful son. We picked it up for a song and put it in the garage until we had time to mess with it. In may we pulled it out and put a battery on it and it fired right up. The next week I rejetted it and he hasn't been off of it since....

    We devised this plan over a beer. Not drunk, nothing dramatic, nothing profound. I think he had mentioned my last ride report and how he enjoyed reading it. I said I've been reading ADVrider and love reading the TAT threads, it would be cool to do it one day. He asked if I would want to ride it together, and that was that. Later we decided we wanted to ride coast to coast, so we decided Folly Beach, SC would be our start and we will pick up the TAT in Andrews, NC. It's been a year in the works and today we pulled kickstands up.

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    Of course last night we had to have a pre-party and no good adventure starts without a Firebird t-shirt.

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    Today started off late. We had to drop the trailer at U-haul and then had a late breakfast with hiis girlfriend Mendy and her granddaughter. We said our goodbyes and departed about 12:30pm. Nothing says adventure like the hottest part of the day and beach traffic. About an hour and a half in we settled in to some nice 2 lane blacktop and worked our way up 260 miles to the GA/SC line at Sadler's Creek State Park to set up camp.

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    Tomorrow morning we will hit Andrews and our TAT adventure will really begin! Follow along if you'd like, I'll update as I can.
    Later,
    Turner
    #1
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  2. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    Awesome that you get to do this with your dad, following along. Have fun :-)

    Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
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  3. chadisme417

    chadisme417 n00b

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    Stoked to follow along! Enjoy yourselves, homie!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  4. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

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    Enjoyed your last RR...looking forward to this one! If your path brings you near us in CO hit us up...if we’re around we’d dig hosting you two for a night. :beer
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  5. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Great to see you doing another ride report man! Lokking forward to reading along!:freaky
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  6. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Today we woke up around 6 ish and took our time breaking down camp. Made some oats and coffee for breakfast. I enjoyed it but the oats weren't enough for pops and we had no sugar for the coffee so he didn't care for that. We hit some beautiful South Carolina backroads for a bit and crossed the lake into Georgia.

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    Soon we passed through Helen, that is a neat little town and the roads around the place rule. You can hammer down as long as an RV isn't crossing into your lane.

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    We made it to Andrew's, NC just before noon and needed some fuel for our bellies. The oats weren't enough and the BBQ around these parts is pretty killer.

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    After lunch we headed east to hit US 129. We stopped shy of the Dragon and started our TAT route at Joyce Kilmer. For some reason I have never checked that place out and when we return home I'll be making some future trips out there. It has a some great little camp sites and plenty of primo swimming holes. From there we went around Lake Santeetlah where the roads get fast.

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    The rain started and I proceeded to almost "eat shit". I still am confused how this happened but I think my front went into a rut and the back was out of it. As the back dropped in, it kicked my front wheel left. The back went right and I got extremely sideways. I pulled the bars back straight and hit the gas instead of the brakes which straightened me out. Remember kids, When in doubt Throttle out.

    Soon after we stopped to throw our Frogg Toggs on underneath the Cherohola Skyway. We met another somewhat local guy who knew some of our buddies and chatted hoping the rain would stop. It didn't so we ventured towards Tellico Plains via North River Rd. I highly recommend this over going down the skyway. After N. River hang a right and stop by Bald River Falls for a pic.

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    We grabbed fuel in Tellico Plains and then headed to another classic, Witt Road! It's a staple of the TAT and I'm pretty sure they groomed it just for us...

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    Then came the puddle crossings that were uneventful thank goodness.

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    From Witt Rd. We made our way over to Spring Creek and then hoofed it to camp. Since the TAT runs 5 miles from my dads house that is were we made "camp" for the night. A cozy bed and home cooked burger was tough to turn down, plus his rear brakes needed some attention. After the sprinkles it felt nice outside so we didn't even bother to open the garage.

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    All in all it was a great day and we should have plenty of rest to make our way westward!
    Later,
    Turner
    #6
  7. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Yesterday morning we took off from dad's house heading west. We picked right back up on the TAT on GpsKevin's route in Charleston. Overall we did about 360 miles for the day. We completed 3 of his section cards 9, 10, and 11 and camped in Counce at Pickwick Landing state park. The riding was amazing all day. I've seen so many people say to just skip the eastern half of the TAT but I disagree. At the end of the day you're getting to ride your motorcycle and it's some damn good riding.

    En route towards Goodsprings, TN.

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    Heading to Pelham we found some gravel.

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    This was in front of a pretty little church in Leoma, TN

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    The further south west we worked the better the dirt roads became. There were several like this just before Counce. The dirt got red. It reminded me of that Texas music I like so much.

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    We found this dinosaur just before the campground.

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    EAT AT JANE'S DINER!!! The food was awesome and it was a ton of shrimp for the money.

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    We ended up at camp after dark so this was from this morning, but the place was awesome. It was right on the water, and was very relaxing. Had we gotten there earlier in the day I would have taken a swim but I was pretty whipped from the day.

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    Super proud of my dad. That's the longest day he's ever had in the saddle and he did great! We are blessed to be able to do this trip together. Not sure when I'll be able to update again, but I'll do the best I can!
    Later
    Turner
    #7
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  8. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @oneworldcycles

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    Great update man!! Your dad is the man. That's a lot of miles to cover on a dualsport in one day!

    Keep on keepin on!
    #8
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  9. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    This morning the odds were against me. I wasn't hungry so I settled for black coffee and it wasn't as good as the previous morning. Then dad radioed me to inform that my Giant Loop Coyote was about one inch away from my pipe. I got snappy with him saying we have different ideas about measurements. I tried to pull over but couldn't find a suitable spot to put my kickstand down (It's tough being 5'7 on an Xr650L). Finally found a spot and dad was right for the 17 billionth time. I've pretty much learned to listen to my father and life has been groovy ever since, but sometimes I'm still a kid. Then when we made it to the gas station I had to push my bike to 3 pumps before one worked. The first one kept beeping the most obnoxious beep the entire time... Pops told me to relax (normally I'm always calm) and soon I settled in.

    Not long after we left Counce we encountered our second road closure of the trip. I believe most go under the bridge but the water was very deep. It took us about 4 minutes to detour. No biggie. Just before the closed bridge there was a neat railroad Tressel thing.

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    Soon we came to our third closed road of the trip. It was extremely passable though. We met two beemer guys as we were checking it out. I can't remember their names but one guy from NC was on an 800 and a dude from AR was on a 1200. We all made it look easy.

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    Soon we separated from our German riding friends and hit some great dirt sections. Things were starting to really get fun. The colors were pretty incredible.

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    We took a break in Ripley, MS for lunch. A great little place called Shirley's. I think while we were eating our beemer riding buds passed us. Soon we found our way in their tracks. After noon we stayed on the outside of some rain clouds. We were riding a wonderful section of dirt when things got slick. Very very slick. It got downright nasty for a bit and I got nervous. If things go bad we could be in some serious trouble. Pops did amazing and we went very slow through the muck. I prefer to stand on the pegs but I did have both legs out for a little bit for balance. I did end up standing again and had way more control. Get on the pegs kids!!

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    We made it to Tillatoba, MS around 4:30 and debated our next move. I was frustrated because I didn't know exactly what dad wanted to do but mostly because I was getting hungry. Rain clouds were all over us and we were having a tough time finding somewhere we wanted to camp. We decided to hoof it down to Grenada, MS for a lousy hotel and some Mexicano! First we needed to clean up the pigs.

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    Do not leave that junk on your bike. I've had problems with dried mud in my brake system before and even if we get them filthy tomorrow I am not letting my 19 year old Honda sit around that filthy. Plus we rolled them into the hotel and didn't want to make a mess.... Tehe!
    #9
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  10. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Day 5 started by rolling our bikes out of the hotel room at daylight then and getting fuel. We headed back to the TaT and worked our way west. Soon we hit some killer roads and things were looking great. We ran into two other dudes, Hunter from Atl and
    @dirt=life from Denmark (I think? ). We parted ways and hit the Levee's in Mississippi. Those were super fun and I may have exceeded the speed limit slightly.

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    From there we pressed forward and crossed the Mighty Mississippi.

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    Soon we hit another TAT specialty

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    We met 2 other TATers a dude from Germany and another from Poland living in New Jersey. Jersey is basically another country too so that dude has got a tough break....

    After we left we noticed a storm brewing.

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    We pressed forward regardless.

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    We heard about a campground that was supposed to be pretty nice. Wolly Hollow State Park was the name and so we decided to head that way when I developed a hiccup. Every once in a while at 1/8th-1/4 throttle the bike would stutter. It was odd but we made it to camp.

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    We pulled in and the ranger lit up like a kid on Christmas. He asked if we were riding the TAT and told us that it was a dream of his to do it one day. I hope he gets out there, the guy was cool and had the perfect attitude for an adventure like this.

    This was the first night I got in my sleeping bag. The weather was amazing that night and I slept like a log. We met a dude from Hotlanta, a Denmarkian, a Kraut, and a Polack. It was a damn good day.
    #10
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  11. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Day 6 we woke up just before daylight and started packing up. We skipped breakfast and settled for coffee. Right after we left we hit some primo roads. It was awesome riding for a while!

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    Eventually my bike started cutting out again. It was getting bad, and to the point I was afraid to be on the highway in case it died. I didn't want to become a hood ornament for a Kenworth so we whipped into a gas station. I started pulling everything off and yanked the carb out to go through it. I freaking despise pulling the carb out of these Xr650L's. There is zero room in there for me and I've only got extra medium size hands. I would hate to be full size and work on these....

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    I put it all back together and it ran like a champ! For the next 80 miles it didn't miss a beat. We stopped for lunch in Hector, AR for lunch. The chicken fingers are more like chicken fists, they are massive and delicious! After lunch we were off again, heading to the TAT shack. On the way there my hog decided to spit and sputter a little more... We arrived at the shack and fell in love with the place. If I had a big woman with me, I'd knock that trailer right off the blocks!!

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    Stroh's. Mmmmmm, taste like shit. Should have grabbed the Pabst. That's more my style.

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    The roads were amazing. We had a freaking blast. I ran across something I instantly recognized and I got extremely excited. These were my kind of people!

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    After we left we made our way to Oark. I've always wanted to stop here for a pic. I ended up talking to some old timers on Rzrs. Dad was talking to some chicks riding the TaT. Apparently when dad mentioned we were using GpsKevin's tracks one of them freaked out and informed him how Kevin is a copycat... I'm glad I was outside for that stupid shit. Ride motorcycles, have fun. Keep your opinions of who's routes of public roads are best to your damn self.

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    Soon we made our way onward. We turned up White Rock and my bike started acting weird again. I brushed it off and just rode it like I would my 2-stroke bikes when they are fouling plugs. Eventually I stalled it on a switchback. So it started back and we made our way forward again. On a straight section of road it died again. I drained the float bowl, gave the bowl a few taps in case the float was sticking and let the bike cool down. It started again and I told dad that I would ride a gear high and try to keep the engine cool, but I'm not stopping. Be safe, I'm going to see you soon. I was riding smooth and fast when I rounded a corner and saw a black bear cross. She was nervous and hustled out of my way. I started a down hill section and bombed down it. I clicked 5th gear as I slid around a big sweeping corner and let the speedometer climb. All of the sudden I had zero power. It popped and cracked and backfired a time or two then nothing. I had lights, but zero fire. It didn't act like it was out of fuel. It was hot. I checked my oil and it was low. Something isn't right here. Pop pulled up and we changed my plug. I hoped the plug was either fouled or white. I prayed it was a simple fix of too much fuel or not enough. The plug looked perfect, my jetting is spot on. Shit. After some thinking I borrowed dads bike and ran back the 6 miles to Turners Bend fuel station that was on the GPS. It was closed. So I rode another 11 miles to a truck stop. ZERO automotive oil. Only diesel in 5 gallon quantities...

    GPS said an O'Reilly's was only 1.5 miles away so I hit them up and grabbed a bottle of Lucas 20w-50 for my Honda and 10w-40 for dads (just in case). Made it back to pops who was sitting in my camp chair in the middle of the road with his pistol in hand. Another black bear with some good size crossed the road about 80 yards up. Added just a splash of oil and the dipstick was reading correct. Tried to start and nothing. Tried to roll start and nothing. Busted out the tow rope and almost hit the ground. Still nothing.... Dad gave me a push down hill. I was going to coast as far as I could. As I was slowing a Copperhead slithered his way out of the bushes. I have a severe fear of snakes. That's my only true fear in life, I loathe them. I was mortified that I was going to lose momentum and fall on him. As I inched closer he picked up the pace and got out of the way. I screamed like a school girl. Dad laughed at me....

    We set up camp on the side of the road. The sun was setting fast. Our plan was maybe it is flooded and will start in the morning. Some plans just fucking suck.... At least we slept well.
    #11
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  12. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

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    You have friends in the ‘green bottle club’?
    #12
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  13. MrAndMrsZINC

    MrAndMrsZINC Snappin' necks and cashin' checks

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    :rofl:imaposer Ha ha!
    i only laugh because i feel ya, brother!

    Nice ride.
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  14. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Personally no. I do have a few friends who are friends with some of them. I just get along with most club members. Some people like country clubs, but I prefer some old biker bar full of guys who look like they'd kill your grandmother. 99% of the time the rough looking dudes who look like all they own is their wranglers and Harley are far nicer than the guy wearing a polo and little shorts driving a Mercedes.
    #14
  15. Project Mayhem

    Project Mayhem Moto Aficionado Supporter

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    Truth
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  16. JB2

    JB2 Dirt Of The Earth

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    When you start out with the lyrics from a Cody Jinks song I already suspect an epic RR is coming our way. Subscribed. :*sip*
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  17. Tsotsie

    Tsotsie Semi-reformed Tsotsi Supporter

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    Nice!
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  18. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Day 7 we woke up before sunrise. It was dads best night of sleep yet. He had a good feeling about the day. We tried to start my bike and still nothing.... We packed up camp and I took off on dads bike for jumper cables, carb cleaner and a new screwdriver. I picked up all of those at O'Reilly's and chatted with the guy behind the counter. Told him my issues and he said a tow company was about 200 yards down the road. I rode down there to see if they were open and get a phone number just in case. As I pulled in I noticed a pawn shop to my left. He had uhaul trailers and 2 box trucks for rent. I went in to the pawn shop and he told me the little one is $19.95 a day. Sold! As we went through the paper work he asked about insurance which I added. Now it was $33.95 but whatever dad and the bike would be off the mountain. Then he asked how many miles. So now the price has jumped to $91.... Geez.... I unloaded all of dads gear and threw it in the truck. Left his bike at the pawn shop and headed up the mountain. I had a tough time with the truck on the mountain road until I figured out how to disable traction control. An hour or so later I pull up with some heavy metal playing and told dad to, "Get in the van loser, we are going to party!".

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    We loaded the bike up and luckily I though to stop in the store for a couple of straps.

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    From there we made our way back down to the pawn shop. Dad is unbelievably untrusting of people and kept asking where his bike was. Every time I told him it was at a pawn shop I would laugh. I think it was a nervous thing that I couldn't control. He was ungodly relieved to see his Suzuki sitting there upon arrival...

    We discussed our options and dad thought it kept flooding. He thought I was going to have to pull the carb again. I didn't think that was the problem but I wasn't going to rule anything out. I decided I wanted to order a CDI box. I didn't bring a spare and I've read that is the mighty XR's Achilles Heel. I looked up the phone number for the Honda shop that google said was closest and overnighted one to their shop. There went $164. Then I realized my phone hadn't updated my location. I had actually ordered it to a dealer that was 1.5 hours away. My location hadn't updated since being on the mountain.... I called the dealership that was about 40 minutes away and he was pretty lousy to be honest. He told me even tho they haven't put the order in you can't just have the location changed. Ok that's fair enough, so I asked if I cancel the first order, and order through him about what time could I expect the part to arrive. He said he didn't know they don't usually do that. I was getting frustrated and pops could tell. He told me to relax let's just go to the original dealership. They told me between 11a-12p and that town had a Walmart and more lodging options. I said ok and we went in to change our U-haul plans. Now this day wasn't my day at all. I told the gentleman my situation and told him I now needed to drop the trailer off in Springdale, AR. He tried his best and called his boss but eventually I had to "check in" the truck to the place i rented it from and then create a new contract for the new destination. That was $177. So I had spent over $400 and wasn't even sure that was the problem....

    Waiting for the new ticket. Luckily I'm fluent in Hillbilly and we got along great with the fella running the place.

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    We ran to the store next door and grabbed 2 more straps for dads bike, loaded it up, and headed north. I was stressed to the max. Dad was trying to come up with a game plan and finally I told him I was sick of worrying about everything and planning. I needed a mental break.

    Once in Springdale we hit Walmart. Pops grabbed some freeze dried meals and a battery tender jr. to juice my battery. We went to the dealer and just asked if they could test my cdi. I wanted a new one regardless but it would let me know if I need to start working on something else. They told me they can't so we debated our next move. We found a pretty nice room that dad footed the bill for and I got a much needed shower. After brushing my teeth and brushing my hair then tossing on some fresh clothes I had some clarity. I devised a plan and we were on the same page again. My dad is my best friend but we are polar opposites when it comes to planning and worrying. Basically I don't and he does. It's that simple...

    We decided to start fresh so we headed to the laundromat. We dropped our wet clothes off in the room and let them air dry. Then our luck started to change. At the dealership a salesman told us about a place a few miles down the road called JJ's. As we left the dealer I noticed a sign, it was only a few hundred yards from the dealer and our room. We walked in and the hostess told us that we weren't allowed in. I laughed and shrugged it off. She then told us it was a soft opening and it was invite only. She was serious. Now I don't know if it was my freshly shampooed locks or if she somehow knew how much headache we had been through but she said, "Now this is invite only, BUT we are allowing a few select people to just walk in. So have a seat wherever you'd like." We plopped down right in front of the 2 piece band and each ordered a cold one. After ordering our meals she came back and told us that since it is a soft opening all food and desserts were on the house! The food was freaking amazing. I had 3 brews and dad had 5 and he got the band a round of booze too. That's all we had to pay for and it was superb.

    At the room I debated pulling the carb. I had cleaned it once but started to second guess myself. Eventually sleep got the best of me and I decided not to mess with it tonight. I'd cross my fingers that the cdi would work...
    #18
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  19. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Day 8 started late. We slept in until 7:30. We loaded up and loafed around until 10. Then we took dads bike to the uhaul drop center. From there we went to the dealer and unloaded my bike and all of our gear. Dad drove back to uhaul where he picked up his bike and rode back to me. While he was gone I went to check on my part. FedEx had just dropped it off but they couldn't find it. Just my luck. I had a 100% charged battery, good gas, and fingers crossed. Another gentleman was having tires put on his Goldwing and started a chat. I told him where I lived and he informed me he is visiting in a few months. I started going over all the good roads around. They finally found my part so I told the guy to walk with me and I'll keep talking but I have to get this going. In minutes I had the bike all back together and pushed the starter button. It just turned over.... I turned off the fuel at the petcock and laid it down on its side to drain any fuel from the carb. Picked it back up and hit the button again. It fired but died. Sweet. Turned on the fuel and fired it up. She was alive! Took it for a spin and then it started to cut out again. It was running though. Pulled the plug and put it against the head. It had spark but was weak. It didn't look normal. I made sure the plug boot was fully seated and still nothing. Reinstalled the plug and decided to tear the bike apart. Tank bag, seat, then gas tank. As soon as I pulled the tank I saw the coil ground wire looked funny. It was on there but wasn't making the best connection. Pulled it and cleaned my contacts. Reinstalled and hit the starter. Instantly fired. Now the CDI was bad. I fully believe when I was changing the plug the night before I do remember moving things around and I believe that's where I created the coil issue so I needed a new cdi regardless. I'm pretty sure that's the fastest I'd ever reinstalled all the body work on that bike. I fired it up again and did several laps around the parking lot. I jumped the bank next to the dealer and did some wheelies through the grass. That grass belongs to the Arkansas State Highway Patrol and that was their headquarters. Oops...

    We loaded up and headed to find fuel. That's when my luck returned...
    #19
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  20. TurnerR

    TurnerR Ride motorcycles, have fun

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    Cleveland, TN
    Day 8 continued...

    We had a good running bike but I needed fuel. I pull up to the pump and insert my card. It says denied. I get on the app to make sure it hasn't been locked from traveling and it says a $151 charge from the pump that denied me. Now I'm thinking my card just got hacked or something, so I call my bank. It took about 15 minutes but he assured me in about 5 minutes it would work. It didn't.

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    To add to this problem, on day 1 of this trip our waiter cracked my debit card in half so it was fragile. As I removed the card from my wallet the crack enlarged... I decide to go in the store. I ask the clerk for some tape and he surprises me with actually having some. I tape the back side and all seems well. I told him I want to fill up can he turn the pump on. He tells me no that I need to guess how much I will pump.... I told him $10 and he assures me that if I don't make it to $10 the rest will go back on the card, which I'm fine with.

    Now as this is happening I hear loud screaming. A very large black woman has just thrown a punch on a very trashy white man. Both of these idiots are in their 40's and he swings back. They both miss with their windmill type martial arts skills... People are screaming, people are pulling others back. This happened 7 feet from me. I turned my head but the most muscles I moved were in my face. I used every single muscle in my face to show my disgust at both of these scum. The cashier was staring in shock when I loudly proclaimed, "Dude, is the pump on or not? I'm sick of this fucking state..."

    After all the BS at that fueling station we were moving again. It was 2pm and I was so excited. Dad led for a bit and we hit some nice roads to get us back to the TAT. I think we were headed in the right direction.

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    I have to admit I enjoy Oklahoma. The sunsets let me know I'm back in the west.

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