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The Journey....

17370 Views 60 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  JasonS
So begins the trip and this thread. If you don't like long narratives, then you'll not care for this. No apologies. I like long stories, especially travelogues on motorcycles..... Oh and it'll have pictures in it too.. big one.. the page will load slowly..

Over the next three weeks, this post will be a way to record the trip for myself , and for my friends back home... also it is a way of giving back...

You'll see posts that say sum drivel about a pic, meaning I have the pic in mind but need to upload and link to it..

OH.. and I may mis-spell a word or two, think positive and ignore it.. I'll clean it up at some point along the way..

( NOTE - the trip ended up NOTHING like what I had planned but it was an awesome trip nonetheless, but just to wanr you I nver made it west of the Mississippi!)

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2007-05-08 14:59 ]
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1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Thursday, May 27th 2005

A week from tonight I’ll be a thousand miles south of the bed I write this from. I’ll likely be typing away recanting the events of a long day, or maybe I’ll be out cold from exhaustion. I could be in an amazing tent site or a “cheap as I could find” motel or cabin. I have surrendered to the spirit of being OKwith not knowing the next night’s accommodations. I started planning this adventure last January after reading ride & trip reports on Internet discussion forums. I have spent countless hours planning this journey. The need for this self exploration on two wheels has been building for a while, likely before I evened owned a motorcycle.

I bought a Buell Blast to train on last year in July and had graduated myself to a Triumph Sprint St by August. It was a duck meet water kind of thing. I got my permit eventually and also got an MSF course, which also gave me a license thanks to the State’s training program agreement. By the time I had to stop riding for the season I had racked up 4300 miles. The hook was set and I was in deep. I’d lucked out and gotten a used Aerostich Roadcrafter suit on Ebay for $350, what a steal! I started lusting after a better helmet and gloves.

January came and I found Oh my! I started reading trip reports. One in particular really inspired me. Anyone who has been on Pashnit has read it I am sure. 13,000 miles in 30 days and he saw most of the west. His reports and pictures are the stuff of touring dreams. Because of him I started monkeying with mapping software and daydreaming about possible trips, I started planning close to home but soon realized that I needed to think bigger, the challenge had to be more. Taking a trip close to home can be done anytime, running across the country and seeing some serious nature needed, no demanded to be done. Zzzzzzzz

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-07-02 12:55 ]
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Sunday morning 5/29/05.

(Remember I leave dawn Thurs). Yesterday was house work and pig roast at a friends. Needless to say the whole day was happily toasted in the wake. Friday It didn’t rain for the first time in 5 days and at the pig roast we saw our first Sun in a long time. Today’s I was up early because the mind was clicking away as soon as photons started invading the cozy of the bedroom. I’ve been working the packing list each night in bed, and suddenly the to-do list has gotten long again, but it is mostly quick or “go get” type of things. I started writing this only the other day, but then, starting any earlier would have been wasted effort. As in all things, it is only once you have passed through an experience that I can really put it down correctly.

Gearing up is an evolutionary process. The process is never done and it evolves constantly. The day I bought the bike, I started the farkle and gear process with a touring tank bag and a touring windshield. I then picked up a tire repair kit, the kind with the huge air canister that will easily fill a tire. I think my next conquest in the mania was a Jarrow articulated helmet. Then came a sheepskin cover for the seat. I picked up a medium sized First Aid kit at LLBean, a slightly large kit, but it has more in the way of burn/abrasion supplies.

When I started thinking “road trip!” back in December, I didn’t have most of the additional gear I now have accumulated. Besides, what did I know about what I would need, I’m about as green on touring as they come. Mind you I am 45, so I have learned a thing or two, but that also includes the knowledge that by and large I know nothing about a great many subjects. I also means I am a bit better a learning. Wiser perhaps.

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-07-02 12:57 ]
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Monday – 05/30/2005

Gear. Did you know there are thousands of pages of motorcycling adventures chronicled on the Internet. Touring Forum and gazillions of personal home pages. Information. Experience. Knowledge. All very good stuff to have with me as I planned my way around the US. Why should I put myself through hell, when others have done so before me? We all would do this a particular way and I’ll do it mine, but I’ll borrow strategies from everyone.

I started shopping for all manner of farkles. I settled on a Garmin 2610 GPS as it can hold all of the USA and Canada in 1.6Gb of memory. I elected to use two 1 Gig cards, with a duplicate set of maps on each. I found that cutting out the Northeast corridor from Boston to Virginia reduces the total load size dramatically, such that I can get the entire trio on the GPS in less than 950 MB. I already have a Valentine 1 radar detector, and found a suitable mount. The other wiz bang I added only a few weeks ago was a Sirius radio. I love swing and they have a great channel for that as well as several others I really enjoy. There is a lot of feedback on both Sirius and XM out there to read. I’ve connected all the audio, including the cell phone, through an AudioBoss AB-1 from Motocomm. It is one neat and capable rig for the money. I’ve modified the speaker enclosure a bit (calls lawyers to copywrite and patent the idea) to assist in noise blocking and comfort. That is about all the farkle I have, expect this weird light up pen from Intel. It Might make a decent tent light. Film at another point.

I started on good gear soon after getting my bike, but prior to getting my permit or license. I have since passed the BRC and ERC and have read a few books, so I’m obviously prepared for this trip…. Yeah right!.. pigs eye and all that… I have an awesome and heavy Leather Jacket, but it doesn’t look like it’ll make the trip. I love to wear it. It has great padding and is thick and warm… but I’m not likely to encounter the need for all that much warm, so I’ll stick with the suit. Aerostich makes a great suit. I picked mine up on eBay for about half retail, and lucky me it fits well enough, especially after inserting the ellipse between the pants and the jacket. Add to this the Evapodana or a Wind Tringle for great neck warmth. Elkskin Leather Gauntlets are my choice for a glove, I’m modifying them to use a Velcro cuff closure to get a better seal from wind. I suppose they’ll stay put better in a crash that way too. They feel soooo good. A cheap Rain suit will/has done well to take heavy rains, and the Aerostich Vulcan rain gloves are awesome. It needs a rain wiper though and the company sent me instructions, in fact they went so far as to send me Velcro for the Elkskins and complete instructions for adding a wiper blade to the rain glove AND said they would attempt to figure out a way to do it in production as something the glove should just have on it. Did I mention the nice collection of stickers? Good people.

The one item I think I value on the bike more than any other, are the electrics. I’m talking about the heated vest arm-chaps and gloves. I trial by fired my gear last week by taking the ERC in the rain… all day rain… not mist or fog, but not deluge either, but rain all day. I was the only one with electric gear and I was comfy all day. A few other veterans had proper rain and warmth gear and did well too. Widder and Gerber seem to be the biggest names and Aerostich has a great product. My biz partner likes his heated Darien. If I were to buy a new (Ka-ching) riding suit, it’d be a Darien and it’s be heated. But I have a used RoadCrafter and I bought the Widder setup. I like the arm chaps and the simplicity if I use the three in combination. I practice; I use just the vest down to 45-50 and all three any colder. The gloves also make good chilly weather gloves, but they also are likely to not fair as well as leather it a get off. The Wind Triangle is awesome from retaining heat and preventing neck exposure. Wearing a Balaclava has also been a good move for me. Be careful the one you buy doesn’t have a knotty seam right in the center of the forehead, ouch! Boots will be played by Oxtar Matrix’s. Not full armor, but durable and enough protection.

Last fall at the New England Rat Raid a latecomer stopped by the parking lot and I noticed his articulated helmet, and I was shopping for one. Jarow/Justisimo Mono X2 is a couple of the names it is sold by in the US. They are made in Italy and have been coming into the country by a few different agreements, making supply and parts spotty, but they seem to be getting a handle on the issue too, which is good, because I like the helmet. It meets the EU safety standard for helmets, which is comparable to both the Snell and DOT requirements from what I understand of it. The issue for me is that wearing glasses and a helmet don’t go together well. A “flip-face” means I don’t have to set down/pick up my glasses every time the helmet goes on and off, and putting glasses on through a full face is a pain in the patience. “be with you in a sec guys, I gotta put on my glasses”.. guess where we ride..  The flip down sun shade is very welcome, especially in the northern lats where we get that low angle sun in the spring and fall…. We get it in the winter too, but that’s some tough sleddin’!

Today it’s cloudy, with chance of showers, as it has been for the last month in Maine. SO is off to a 12 hour shift, good for the $$-flow, bad for the days off before I go. Sunday I hauled all my ***** to work, where the bike lives in a garage, and performed a 90% test pack. ***** them bags get heavy when they get loaded down. I had a list of *****, which I sorted by type, then I transferred those to the list of where on the bike they would go, and then tried packing the bike this way. *****. It worked. It all fit. I was rather shocked, as I had expected much consternation in the effort, but it proceeded very well. I cranked up the preload on the rear and reset the rebound. Hopefully tomorrow I can get to the transfer station for a weigh-in. I test rode the bike for about 10 miles after also pumping up the tires with the 12v mini pump Jim (biz part) has. The ride went well. I can feel the weight back there, but the bike is still very responsive and feels well balanced over all. The left hard bag is at least 8-10 pounds heavier than the right, but I can’t tell. The added weight can certainly be felt at stop with any amount of lean. I’ve got it packed with the heaviest/lowest. I imagine adding a g/f on the back as pillion would be bargish, might have to get a goldwing for that.. n’yuk n’yuk.

The Sony A-190 laptop, it’s a large thing, is too big for the trip, so I’m now using the shops 2.0Ghz system. More powerful and better battery life will be welcome for adding content to the journal after each day. The “sniffer” software is installed so I can ferret out available high-speed connections to the web for updates email and the like. We have Vonage at work, so I can also use a high-speed link for phone calls.

What?.. Oh, yeah I suppose. They want to know *where* I’m going. I start on June 2nd, with 4 days to get from Maine to Orlando via the Blue Ridge Parkway etc, where I join the throngs to imbibe in huge software conference until Friday. Then it is off to Ft Myers FL to visit family. This whole section of the trip was tacked on to the beginning of what I had already planned. I could have elected to fly to the conference, but I’d loose time in the process. The original plan was to beeline it for Colorado, and run a clockwise tour of the west through Grand Canyon, Bryce, Monument Valley etc, then jump over the desert to Sequoia and Yosemite. Next up the run up Hwy 1 from SF to Ave of the Giants and then 39 West to where ever… All of the above comes off the fingers so easy, yet it will consume days and days. On the way down to FL, I hope to see Deals gap but I won’t go on the weekend, so it’ll be a get there on Friday afternoon or don’t go. I will run sections of the Park and a few other roads and wander my way through the Appalachians around Atlanta and some slab to Orlando. It’ll be a good warm up, not mention a wake up of sorts. Much to learn might be just how I’d describe it.

Evaluating the list

In order to get down to brass tacks, I needed to really trim the trip as envisioned, into something actually doable or at least a lot more realistic. Advice from all over can be had on mileage that one can expect to cover in a day. We’ll see how I do. I also needed to create and hone a packing list. Again, there are so many good lists out there through the online motorcycle community. Bicycle shorts seem to be a high priority item for many who have extended seat time. I’m no fool, and dunn I looook sum sexy baaaaaby… oh, excuse me.. Perhaps that was TMI? A Promise, you will not have to look at my anything in this post series. I took a long time to research my trip, including time spent reading through others trip report to find out what works and doesn’t for them and why. It is from that collective that my own list emerged. I’ll post it at some point, but I’m not apt to get to it before leaving.

One of the last issues to deal with was tent or no tent. Money decided for me. Tent it is, at least for as much of it as weather and my stamina/stench allows. I’ve got a hotel room in Orlando for the conference, but otherwise have no reservations. I gave up trying because I didn’t want to have the pressure of needing to be somewhere. Wisdom encourages going in a direction as opposed to, to a point. I am now looking forward to camping on the fly.

I just finished up lunch and starting the photo album on where you are likely reading this, or perhaps on, or even The rest of the story will be on TriumphRat.Net as it’s where I have upload and forum duties. Hopefully it will inspire others in board to document their trips to share with everyone.

Planning the route.

I’ve mapped this trip so many times my head gave up months ago and it has been an autopilot journey of adding and changing and removing waypoints ever since. Microsoft’s latest Streets program is called MapPoint, and I use that to speculate and test routes and other ideas. I have three categories of waypoints in the GPS; Destinations, Roads and Triumph dealers. I have almost all the dealers in the country loaded. I’ll try to export it to a file if others want a copy. I’ve set up a few static routes, enough to present the map I posted as the Anchor for the photo folder. I have a pile of places that I want to see, and these destinations are loaded as a group and few great roads rise above destination status to must see riding. I’m going to slab out of the Northeast (midcoast Maine) to VA with the hope to get to the northern end of the Skyline Drive by the end of day one. We’ll see is what the other brain says in return, we’ll see how far we make it.. gollum… What? Why? Now is the time. I have never taken a journey before. Trips I have taken, but they were just that. Preset itineraries for compressed adventure. Cruises, trips to the relatives etc and on and on. I’ll turn 46 in Orlando on the 9th, or I may be enroute to Ft Myers by then.. we’ll see. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the WE’LL SEE tour of America”…  So a journey it is. I anticipate sore body, overloaded retinas, breath taking vistas, time in my head, and time out of routine, time. It is time. Time for me. Selfish? Yes. Necessary? Yes.


I started shopping for a tent late in the game. I finally settled on a Kelty Gunnison2. It had good height and an enormous vestibule. Order and poof, no stock I am told, “in fact we checked and we won’t have them until July sometime” Eeeek!! Backorder from hell!! Shame on Kelty!... The tent of choice then became the Eureka Timberline4. It has no vestibule, but being a 4-body tent it will have room for me and the gear. The foot print is 8’8”x9’2” as is the cheapo drop cloth to protect the bottom of the tent material. The tent is a good value and has a good reputation and at 8 pounds it is light for its price and size. It seems to be a compromise in tents, in that to get ultra light weight the cost goes up. Hell I think I could get the whole bike it the tent if I had to, but the bike has a tent of its’ own in a Aerostich black lightweight cover. It packs small and the bike becomes invisible on a dark night, or at least it doesn’t stand out. I have a LLBeans sleeping pad, extra long for us 6’4” types. A pillow from “space foam” that will double up for tank pad for using the back pegs and laying down. A basic camp sleeping bag completes the ensemble. Toss in a portable camp stove that runs on unleaded and a mess kit and away we go.

Another personal farkle I got last winter is a Black Diamond head band light. It has 4 white LED’s that put out what I think is a blue light. It has three brightness settings and a blink setting for psychedelic encounters I guess.. actually it’d be nide to have in an emergency situation. Looking into the lights is not pleasant, so they should be nicely visible. I’ve thought of using it as a tail light in the fog. I’ve used it for all sorts of non cycle related endeavors so far, so I suspect it will be a daily pleasure to have with me.

The Bike

Well Yeah… A Triumph Sprint ST, new to me in August of 2004, a leftover model in Blue. The panniers came with it. I recently added a Triumph Rack and a Givi E52 top case. The Triumph Tank Bag also is relied upon. I haven’t done anything to the bike from stock other than adding the ProOiler chain oiler. A guy named Pablo makes the kit and is a pleasure to do business with. It uses rotational wheel count as the basis for application of a std amount of oil, a plus/minus remote pad is then used to activate an increasefrom the base amount. The base amount can be changed to a pile of different tables that start at 1/900 drops to revolutions, up to 1/5000. There is also a limp mode of several levels for using it when there is no signal from the wheel at all. I’ve found driving in steady rain can require heavy usage, but otherwise the rig works. There is some tach interference in the display. We’ve tapped into the speedo signal to the display to get the 4 pulses a rotation.

Immediately upon taking delivery, in fact before, I had ordered the HeliBar kit through the dealer. Spendy, but in the end worth every buck. There was a recall of a piece, but the way it was handled was effective and no incidents occurred as a result of their fast action to recognize and react to the potential for an incident. There are three axies of rotation that connect the three pieces of the HeliBar kit, thereby making adjustment a nightmare or a dream, you pick. I’ve played a ton and am apt to do it again in search of the perfect layout of the two bars. Only the first point of rotation moves both, the other two points you need to make the same by eye and it can be challenging. It’s only a pain in that it can take time. There’s that word again. Time.

I also lived with the stock screen as short a time as possible. The Triumph touring screen would be fine for someone in the 5’8” range(I am guessing here), above that the buffeting is murder. I now have a Cee Baileys 17” screen and may elect to buy a 21” plank ( I call it the plank because it looks so ***** huge, buts looks take a second seat to function in my book.) by the time I get near California. “Just make it boys, I’ll swing by and slap it on in the parking lot and you can mail me the short one.” The 17 eliminates the buffeting, but there is still a fair howl of wind when I ride upright. Leaning down on the bag reduces wind noise a bunch, but I still may want the plank. Visit them at Time to go shopping. It’s been a nice quiet day in the camp. Moved the generator, cleaned up for the Propane tank guy, Vacuumed, dishes, etc etc … and got a bunch of typing in. Perhaps more later, but off to Market!

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-07-02 13:07 ]
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Later that evening…

Nine pm.. I made dinner (haddock/veggies/wine/butter/frzn veggy mx/spices in a foil pouch on the grill) . I came to a brilliant deduction by rereading what I rambled on about, and cleaning it up a bit. Seems to me this ought to have some sort of catchy title, but I’ll be damned if I can think of one, but then perhaps we’ll see what happens. Rambling is a good start as it applies to my writing style and the adventure. While not Bilbo, it is in that spirit that I set out.

The Farkle Mess

A few weeks ago my friend Jim and I farklized (suggested spellings welcome) the Blue Flame…. No, can’t call it that… I don’t tend to name my vehicles … I had to add power for 5 to 6 devices. Radar, Sat Radio, GPS, Cell Phone, ProOiler, Future Power pack for the AudioBoss. I bought a kit from I suppose I could have gone to for all the parts but then I’m not an electrician either. The kit does a great job. We adapted it for my bike fairly easy, placing the terminal block inside the frame.

I used a coil wire chase to secure the new harness. The relay has a lead out to the rear tail-light as the signal wire, a lead to the Positive terminal, a feed to a battery charger sensor to shut off the farkle power when on a charger and lead to the terminal block. Most grounds were routed back to the main system ground on the engine casing. The valentine has a remote power cube attachment that then uses phone cables to route power and signal. That lives inside the left frame member opposite the power block that it is connected to. I do wish for an additional switched/hot connection to the battery to power “whatever” when the bike is off.

All in all the addition of the electronics went well. We even figured out a way to epoxy a std lighter socket to the right faring mounting bracket opposite the factory one. Wow, It’s late… 10 pm.. I’m trying to getup early and in bed before 10 to set my clock. G’night…

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-07-02 13:09 ]
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Tuesday May 30, 2005

Just short note before bed. Uploaded some pages and will add photos tomorrow.

Many more items checked off the list.

Time for sleep.
I'm envious of your trip! Hope you hit nothing but blue skies and upper 60s temps. Enjoy!
Hey, you'll be traveling right through my home town of Fresno CA. There is a decent Triumph dealer there: Wilson's Motorcycle. If you need a shop for tires, oil, or the like, they are a pretty fair group of people. If you do, be sure to tell Dewain (Shop foreman) that Rick Springer sent ya (The guy with the '02 blue ST).

Heck, If I still lived there, I'd put you up for the night.
If you need a place to crash in VA PM me. Good luck and let see some pics.
Your route shows you going through east TN. Suggest going east a little more and having some fun in the Smokey's. I ran through there twice in the past month. it only adds a couplr of hours, but it is worth it.
Hey, Jason:

Where are you staying in the bay area? Email me here if you need a local.
Day One- Thursday June 2nd 2005 - 683 miles

Thursday started at 3:15 am, at which point I hit the snooze for the last time and hopped out of bed. By the time I showered and remembered to forget those last few items, and got out the door it was nearing 4:30. A quick detour to work set me back. I went to look for my polarized prescription sunglasses, thankfully I had packed them, a fact I didn’t figure out until somewhere in NY on I84.

It was 6am by the time I hit Portland, Me, so I was not going to get through Hartford prior to rush hour, but I was safely off on the road. It was cold enough to need the electrics. The temp 40° on one bank clock. The bike ran well and fuel mileage got very good once I settled into a pace. 70-80 is where it feels best. 80-90 is ok, but requires more attention and effort to be aerodynamic. The bulk I am hauling is quite noticeable. The bike is 455 lbs when dry, and a max load is 477 lbs including fluids, people and gear. I never did get to the transfer station to get weighed, but I calculate I am pushing the top end. Three panniers are 120+ lbs total. I did get a chance to weight them at a friend’s house. Add 250 lbs for me fully dressed, the tank bag, the bag/mat/tent bundle and the only thought is where can I find a 40 lb girlfriend? (wait, don’t answer that!)

Fully Loaded the night before depature.

I pushed hard for the last half of the day and stopped frequently. I even paid a quick visit to a Triumph dealer in Wilkes Barre ( I think - and isn't being able to edit my posts a grand thing)

I pushed on until I was too tired to ride more

Friday Jun 3rd 9:24 am 250 Miles+-

Southwestern PA – “a motel” in “a town” – Supposedly this place has wireless, but it doesn’t function in this room.
Slab. So here I am in Shippensburg, PA. It almost 10 am, a peek out the curtains tells me what I don’t want to know. It is raining. Showers my Butt! I didn’t get in until 8 pm last night. The last few hundred miles required stopping every 50-100 miles to stretch. One fill-up was 4.5 gallons, when I looked down at the trip OD it read 224 miles. !! that’s almost 50 MPG.. wow! That’ll save some bucks.

Traffic was manageable, but I can easily say running the slab sucks big chunks of butt! Semi buffeting, ‘nuff said. Bad drivers and a hectic pace add to the fun. The “they are all out to kill me” thought is a very good one. Thinking that the driver of the car that is tailgating, might be a scorned lover bent on destruction and I am in the way, is a safe way to ride.

My goal for the day now depends on the weather. I don’t mind riding in the rain all that much, it’s the after effect of wet that makes it a pain. Skyline drive is apt to be a wash of clouds and rain, although I would see little other traffic! Sigh, I’d rather have this then temps in the 90’s. Time to get packed.

Sunday Morning - June 5th 2005

A quick note - I have More to post that I previously jotted down in Word, but time is pressing.

Saturday was a hoot. I'll post more detail later, but suffice to say I did several hundred miles of twisties and let chance be my guide and I was not disappointed!

Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'll respond and post more in a day or so.. :)


[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-06-10 17:00 ]
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Friday June 3, 2005 8:30pm

Ick! Skyline was in the clouds and so was I for way too long. It is hard to ride in the rain/fog, let alone on Skyline drive! I am glad I went in, but it was exhausting to ride in the soup.

A shot off into the fog from a pullout.

Obilgatory Bike Pics

I decided to give up on the parkway for now and went south. I traveled down Rt309 for a while and as it cleared up I enjoyed the ride in the valley. It was about 6pm when I went by a camp ground in Waynesboro, VA… I pulled a U turn and $21.95 later I have a camp site. I set up and headed out to the grocery store. Charcoal and aluminum foil pouch diner. Yum! Tent is roomy and easy to set up. The kids next door seem to be settling down. The head band light really helps to type in a dark tent.

The Tent Site

I only made it a few hundred miles south today. The fog up on the Skyline drive was brutal and exhausting. At one point I came upon a BMW nearly stopped in the road, a very dangerous way to drive. I also nearly became a part of the rear of a tour bus. So while the visibility was poor, the roads were mostly clear.

I should admit to something, not that I want to, but eating crow must be done. I dumped the bike today. It was preventable and one of the stupid things we do that we wish we hadn’t, and that we didn’t have to admit to have done. I was taking a break at a pull-off. I made two huge mistakes, both of which were very preventable. I parked on a slight downhill and I didn’t have it in gear. I have been very good in the past about both of these things. The bike went down when I pushed on the rear to get a case closed, and the bike started rolling down the incline and off the stand. Next thing I know it was leaving paint on the tarmac… Boo Hiss… I tried to right it, but had to remove the baggage in order to get it vertical. The clutch lever took it hard, and I will need to get a new one… I haven’t called the dealer here in Orlando yet.

Evidence-Order The Touch Up Paint!

So I ended the day earlier than I would have liked, but the camp site is OK…. Except for the occasional TRAIN.. rumble… I ate dinner, drank a bit o scotch and relaxed. Actually by the time I had dinner and cleaned up a bit, it was dark-thirty and was time for some shut-eye. My mood ended that day as ones would, having eaten some rather un-tasty crow. But the day is past and the road goes on.

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2006-01-30 19:44 ]
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Saturday June 4, 2005

Waynesboro, VA to Morgantown, NC 483 Miles

On the map these two points are not all that far apart. However, the way I rode between them was! I broke camp and was on the road by 9am. I got out to 81 and cruised for a bit, but soon got tired of the semi-blast. The weather looked to be good, so I picked a point in Georgia and told the GPS to take me there in a straight line and not on any highway. What I got I could not have planned better. I was and still am amazed at the great roads I traveled. I tried to look it up once I got to Orlando, but can’t seem to retrace the roads I did take. Suffice to say there were twisties galore. I’ll re edit this when I can verify, but the roads taken were a mixture and I got into “the zone” It’s kind of hard to describe, but in hind sight I was so engrossed in riding that I lost track of time and mileage. I was surprised to finally notice that I had ridden much farther than I had thought once I stopped long enough to figure it out.

I dumped off I-81 somewhere around Route 8 and then on to 321 going southwest. Then into Route 173 that fed into Route 226. I might have this a bit wrong, but regardless, it was some of the best riding I have done in my short cycle life. I learned a few things on this twisty day. I learned there is a zone. I learned that I need to not shift too aggressively with this much weight on the bike or the front wheel pops off the ground. I need to work on being smoother in corners. I rode well and didn’t over-cook any corners, but I kept hesitating and not picking up the line well until I was “in” the corner. More experience.

In the late morning I stopped at a pullover on a narrow road next to a river. I fired up the stove and reheated last nights dinner leftovers and had a nice lunch. There was a nice rock cliff on the other bank.

I stopped at this nice (it was a rotting old country store) for water about half way through the day. There was a rafting operation going on, and this was the general store the kids were coming to for refreshments. It was the kind of place that has been there for decades, with not a straight line in the place. All the timbers warped over time from the weight and constant humidity. I yakked with an older couple that was on a circle ride and enjoyed the shade. I also needed to rewet the air conditioning. The efficiency of the Aerostich evapodana and the wetting of the T-Shirt was very effective at keeping me cool. I also found that I didn’t get sore butt as easy, as I was moving around in the seat so much.

At one point I got behind a train of cruisers loping along at 35-45 in a 55 zone. This was very frustrating. No rain drops got to me this day, but I saw evidence in wets roads all over. The route I took is EXACTLY what you would look for in a great day of riding. Hitting unknown roads and taking a “pick a direction and go” routing. I am having some interesting thoughts about how to continue the trip once I leave Florida.

A picture from a rest stop on 226 in NC. This is not a fisheye lense picture.

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-06-10 17:06 ]
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Sunday June 5th 2005
Morganstown, NC to Orland FL 612 Miles

What can I say about today’s ride other than it was droning on the Interstate all day. However, this 600+ mile stretch was much easier than the last. I took more opportunity to move around on the bike. I figured out a way to hang each leg out to the side in order to straighten out the knee. It seems the ‘stich puts a lot of pressure on the front of my knees. Much like the butt pressure situation blood flow is restricted. I’ll figure it out. I was pushing 80+ most of the day so the MPG was down to 46 or so…. Grin… I was making very good time all day and conditions were good. Again, the wet t-shirt and the evapodana worked great in combination with the full Aerostich suit. I stayed cool all day and it was 90+ all day. On the GA-FL border I ran into some serious thunderstorms. Rain, hard enough to sting through the stich, pelted me for miles! Great torrents of rain! I was wet underneath the suit to begin with, but was even more so after the rain. It didn’t matter; I would be in my hotel room in less than 3 hours at that point!

I saw it coming and actually was looking forward to it, a diversion if you will. I put the cell phone in the top pocket and stored the Starmate radio in the tank bag. It was only a shower so I didn’t put the rain cover on the tank bag. I did button up the suit, but still it would only be a quick shower. It lasted for miles. Soaked me good, it did. Ruined my cigars!

I’m actually writing this from an I-Trolley, a cheap transport for tourists that runs up and down International drive here in Orlando. It’s Thursday and I’m on my way to the Convention center for the last day. Hopefully it is a quick transit, as other days have been agonizingly slow to make the trip. However, this is giving me a good chance to play catch-up with the write-up, something I only managed to figure out this morning. Of course just after that sentence was typed an throng of tourists filled the trolley and I didn’t get back to writing until Friday in the hotel room. A tropical storm has caused me to elect to stay one more day here as opposed to riding into the teeth of heavy rain and wind for the 4 hour drive to Fort Myers.

Once I cleared all the rain, I pulled over to take a short break. In the morning I had decided to use my non-gauntlet gloves to get more airflow up the sleeves. As these were pulled off at the rest stop, I was a bit taken aback by the lovely blue tint to the skin on my hands. It took three days for them to look normal again. The rest of the ride to the Holiday Inn was uneventful. I piled all my ***** on a cart and settled in to my room for the next few days.

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2005-06-10 17:15 ]
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June 11th where are u know Jason & what dealer did u use in Orlando.
Hi all,

It is Sunday the 12th of Juner and I am in Ft Myers at my Brothers... I'll write up the ride down at some point. I'm using my nrothers computer to post this ( he has no high speed!!!)

To play catch up

Hey, you'll be traveling right through my home town of Fresno CA. There is a decent Triumph dealer there: Wilson's Motorcycle. If you need a shop for tires, oil, or the like, they are a pretty fair group of people. If you do, be sure to tell Dewain (Shop foreman) that Rick Springer sent ya (The guy with the '02 blue ST).

Heck, If I still lived there, I'd put you up for the night.
Looks like I am going to lop off some portion of the western part of the trip. Time and Money are ganging up on me. Slab is not a fun thing

Your route shows you going through east TN. Suggest going east a little more and having some fun in the Smokey's. I ran through there twice in the past month. it only adds a couple of hours, but it is worth it.

If you need a place to crash in VA PM me. Good luck and let see some pics

I was through that area last week and I am leaning towards going back. My new thought of a plan is to go back up to Tenn and weave my my northeast.

But then I should go see something HUGE, like the grandcanyon... I'm just not sure

Hey, Jason:

Where are you staying in the bay area? Email me here if you need a local.

Thanks for the offer!.. *IF* I make it out that way I will post here... :)

I can't imagine having a MC in FL.. it is just too hot.. in the stich at speed all is well, but stopping even for a minute can be too hot...

I'm off agani in the morning... headed out of FL... we'll see where it ends up taking me....

Time to go put on the clutch lever....

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Friday June 11, 2005

As I said above, I decided to stay over an extra day in Orlando to avoid riding through the rain/wind of the tropical storm traveling up the Gulf. It’s evening here now and the center is now due west and should be well north in the morning, meaning only a few showers on the ride down to Fort Myers on Saturday. I packed up a large box with “*****” from the convention. A whole new collection of T-shirts and other interesting and useful trade show give-aways. I ordered a new clutch lever from the dealer in Ft Myers. It was easier than trying to deal with the guys here in Orlando. I know I was using an Internet phone and the connection may have been weird, but they need to learn patience, perhaps I do as well.. 

Back in May, getting ready to make the trip, I had a mechanical issue that took a bit to get straightened out. After my visit to the dealer for a new set of tires, Michelin Pilot Roads, I noticed a sharp vibration/oscillation in the front end when braking firmly. I had an appointment the next week for the 6k service, and I mentioned it then. The mechanic noted that it was not noticed. I was under a time constraint and had to leave right after they got done so I didn’t see this note until I got home, by which time I knew they hadn’t hit the brakes hard enough to make the vibration noticeable. I made a last minute visit to the dealer week before leaving. They did some swapping and said yes it was an issue, but rotors are a wear item etc, and they’d ask Triumph, but they didn’t think it’d do any good. Thankfully, and after much worrying and email, I got a call from the service manager saying the rotors were one the way from Triumph. I went down the Tuesday before I left for the trip and they swapped in the new rotors. I was biting my nails, but Street Cycles and Triumph came through. After 1900 miles the front bakes still feel great.
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Saturday June 11, 2005, Orlando to Ft. Myers 180 Miles

It was a steamy ride down to my Brother’s house. Dodged a couple and hit one thunderstorm, which wasn’t bad considering the number of thunder heads around that day. I slept late and left about noon, which worked well, as the morning had been a run of T-storms. Temps and humidity in the 90’s. Not a good place for me and a motorcycle, but I need to visit the family. Made it by 3:30 and jumped in my brothers T/A to run down to the Fort Myers BWM M/C. They are also the Triumph dealer. They had a Clutch lever waiting for me and a pair of Triumph brand gloves was procured to replace the beloved Elkskin Gaunlet (sniff sniff). A nice dealership, but we didn’t hang around long. It rained a lot Sat Sun in Ft Myers. They’ve had enough rain too.
Monday, June 13, 2005 Ft. Myers FL to Newnan, GA625 miles

More slab, I-75 all the way North to rt 16 in GA, then west to Newnan. Hot, it was 90-100 most of the way. Ick.

About the same as the trip from Orlando to FT Myers on Saturday, but much longer. I stayed hydrated well, but it was still very hot. Again the suit and wet shirt and ‘Dana worked well, but I think I reached the limit. Were it not so humid, the evaporation would have worked better. Even slowing down to 55 made it too hot. 70-80 was the rule, and perhaps for the best as there were LEO’s everywhere. Remember, the radar detector bought it the 1st day of the trip. So I am unanimous, in that slab and heat do not make for the best of times. It is doable and bearable, but not really enjoyable. Can you say mountains? I thought you could.

The evapodana has started fraying from the wind. I’ll need to scare up some needle/thread to rework the edge. Perhaps something else to add to a packing list, and something else to put somewhere I can find it later. Speaking of fraying.. the liner in the left leg of the stich has also come undone. Grump… equipment failures!.. The inside of the suit has the date it was made handwritten on it. My suit is 5 years old. So, I mentioned I lost a glove? On the way down to Fort Myers… boo hiss. I had one off and not tucked into the tank bag well enough and it went bye-bye somewhere in the last 100 miles of the day. Suck pill. I really, really liked those gloves. Stupid me for not making double sure it was secure.

Today was a grind, but I knew it was going to be. I’m not liking the idea of grinding down Interstates. Tomorrow I get up and go visit the Triumph HQ here in Newnan. I nabbed a room at the La Quinta with a coupon, nice big room, wireless, fridge, microwave. I’ll likely be camping the next few nights, but I’ll log on again soon.

[ This message was edited by: JasonS on 2006-02-28 18:56 ]
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