some of a trip blog
March 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm #4353Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
Some of a motorcycle trip blog that I found at http://norskiesblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/day-8-suckiness.html
Leaving the campsite at 6am, I got five miles down the road when I noticed that the bike wasn’t very responsive to handlebar inputs. It steered very heavy, and instead of being neutral it wanted to stand up. Not good. And not at all like a flat rear tire, which manifests itself as a squirminess. Must be the front tire.
I found the air leak, and fortunately it wasn’t the tire. It was the valve stem. More than a year ago I had installed Gold-Wing valve stems which are bent, making it easier to check/fill the tire pressure. With a brake disc on each side of the wheel, it can be hard to get in there with a tire gauge. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My theory is that the bent stem allowed the centrifugal forces to pull on the stem, and the heat softening the rubber and high speeds was probably enough to get it to pop out. I have a tirepatching kit with me, but that doesn’t help, it’s not a valve-stem-repair-kit. But the kit does contain vulcan cement for the patch, so I used the screwdriver to push as much of the valve back into the wheel, and gloop on some of that cement. Then I wait 15 minutes for the cement to bond. Once the cement is dry, I leave the cap off the valve as that would increase the weight which would increase bending the valve. I also won’t go very fast.
I continue to put more air in there, then put the bike together and ride to Carsbad slowly. At least I can go 45 mph, so I decide to hump along to Hobbs, where there are Yamaha and Kawasaki dealers.
Back on the road, I head east to Hobbs. It is 70 miles and the weather is turning ominously wet. As I get closer to the storm I figure: don’t be stupid. After I crested a small hill nervously and riding to the bottom of it, I park the bike, and go sit in the ditch to get as low as possible. Better that lightning strike the bike than me.
After 30 minutes the storm’s center passes north of the highway and I continue to Hobbs. When the work is done and I’m at the cashier paying for it, she says “one hour for that? That’s not right. Peter shouldn’t be writing these up. I’m only going to bill you for half an hour”. Whew, good, that’s just $40.
When I pick up the bike Peter and I chat a little, he says he’s surprised to see a sportbike with this many miles on it – “Finally someone who rides their bike!” I have 46,000 miles on it, when most sportbikes are worn out or crashed long before then.
Eventually I catch up with the storm front and find that the brown haze is dust – duh, I’m in the Oklahoma/Texas dust bowl and the drought isn’t helping keep any of the dirt on fields. Despite the heat and humidity (85F) I close up all my helmet vents to keep dust out, but a few kernels get in and I blink furiously to get them out of my eyes.
Finally, around Lubbock I get out of the dust and stop for gas. The wind is blowing very hard. The trash can at the station is moving across the lot. The gas I’m trying get into my tank is occasionally blown out by the wind. To get out of the wind I stand behind the station and eat. Back on the bike, I realize that now I am moving WITH the wind! At 75mph it’s like I’m riding in a bubble of air. There is no wind noise, my neck is not trying to keep my head from being torn off. There is no wind pressure on my chest. Wow. I can hear the cam-gears of the engine. There’s no pressure on my chest taking the weight off my wrists. I must have the wind at my back, and it must be a 60+ mph wind!
Unfortunately this only lasts for about 50 miles. Eventually I catch up with the storm front, and find myself in a sandstorm. The air around me is a hazy brown, the same color as the dirt in the bare fields. I close up all my helmet vents to prevent dust from getting in my eyes and just ride through it. After about 20 miles I’m back in the sporadic rain, ahead of the storm, and skirting the northern edge of another. One hundred miles to go.
There isn’t much to the scenery. It is mostly rolling hills with some small deciduous trees. Eventually this gave out to farmland, then Wichita Falls.
I finally made it!March 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm #29380Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
My 2002 Honda Shadow 600cc is a newer (1988) copy of this bike. It has the same 95 mph top speed stock, the same 4 speed transmission, a V-twin engine, and both were very reliable and sold very well for their time. It is doubtful that mine will be worth as much 80 years later- maybe in Japan. In 1946, war veterans bought these used for a low price, to rebuild. Here is a short article with some photos:
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