Okay, this is the final post for this blog. I want to capture my thoughts and impressions of the trip with this last post.
First off, it was a good trip. We rode through SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, NM, AZ, CA, NV, UT, CO, KS, MO, IL, IN, KY, WV, VA, and of course, NC. Quite a swath of states in 21 days!
We made it to all of the places we specifically wanted to visit--Texas hill country, Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell, San Diego, San Francisco, some Colorado fun roads, and the Moto GP race at Indy. And we visited a few places that were done on-the spot, such as Big Bend and Segauro NPs.
We visited with Whip and Ms. Whip in Texas and had a great visit with them. They are fine people to put us up for two nights and to feed us as well as they did. And the guided tour of the hill country was great--one of the highlights of the trip. And, we visited with a friend in Colorado and spent the night with him. He fed us as well, and we had a great time visiting and talking with him. Another highlight!
HEAT; whew did we have heat! Before going, we knew it would be hot. I was dreading the heat, and my dread was certainly realized. From 113 degrees in TX to 5-6 hours of riding in temperatures of 108-111 one day, it was HOT! We will not do that again; these old bodies just won't take that kind of abuse again. I had some issues with water retention in my legs and ankles during the hot times that had me fairly worried about my health. I tend to retain water when it's hot, so this was more pronounced due to the extreme heat. But I'm fine now. I drank more water than I ever thought possible, and it still wasn't enough, it seemed. But, I will not go riding out there again in the hot summer.
Technical/bike problems. Where do I start? My bike first, I guess. My first issue was a headlight bulb burning out very early on the trip. Unfortunately, it was the one that is a bear to replace. So, I didn't replace it; I had two other headlights that worked plus my Motolights. My new highway foot pegs (where I rest my legs on long rides messed up. On one side, it was very hard to fold it away when not needed. On the other side, it started just flopping out and in; a piece broke and the detents stopped working. The brake rotors on the front warped, making the brakes pulsate when braking. On curves, this was a bit unnerving because the front tire is not big, and when I'm braking and curving, that's a lot of stress on the tire and could cause it to slip. It didn't, but if there had been any moisture or oil or sand on the road, who knows what might have happened? On two mornings, the bike would not idle. It would run just fine when I gave it some throttle, but would not idle by itself. The motor used about 1/2 quart of oil on the ride; not bad... It will go back to the dealer next week to check the brake rotors and to see what was causing the bike to not idle.
Gary's bike had some issues. His headlights stopped working. So, he bought bulbs and started to install one bulb, when a retaining spring came free and could not be put back in place. He wiggled the wires some, and the high beam started working. So, he finished the ride with only a high beam (plus some auxiliary lights and his Motolights). We finally diagnosed that the bulbs were fine, but the wiring harness was not making good connections, causing the problem. We wedged a piece of road debris into the harness to help it keep contact so the bulb would burn. His GPS quit. Well, not completely quit, but the touch screen stopped recognizing touches. So, while he could see the maps, he could not navigate or do anything requiring input from the screen.
Bike to bike communication was hit or miss. Most of the time, I could hear him and he could hear me just fine. But sometimes, my system seemed to have a bad connection with some of the contacts in the system, making bike to bike communication impossible. There's some glitch in the wiring that I need to find and fix.
I covered 8,200 miles over the 22 days I was on the road. Overall, my gas mileage was good, averaging close to 50mpg. Some tankfulls were as low as 42mpg, and one was as high as 67mpg. But the majority were in the 48-51mpg range. Fuel prices ranged from $3.58 to $4.39 per gallon, with most in the $3.75 range (the bike uses premium).
I think my favorite roads were in the Texas hill country and Hwy 141 in Colorado. Those roads were just as good as, if not better than the good roads in NC. I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the road surfaces. In NC, especially in the curvy areas, there is often gravel or sand in the curves, making them tricky to ride fast. On the vast majority of the roads that were fun, there was nothing on the road; no sand or gravel at all. Road surfaces were also very good, from a smoothness viewpoint. Riding was a pleasure.
We covered a lot of miles on the Interstates. I-85, 20, 70, and 77 were used for long distances. We had to cover a lot of miles to get to the interesting places, so it was a necessary evil. When we found an alternate route to escape the Interstates, we did it. But that did not happen often.
We had no close calls. On many trips, something happens that is dangerous or life-threatening. On this ride, it was very non-eventful, thankfully. As far as I could tell, we were never in any danger. God looked after us!
So, I guess this is it for this blog. Another good trip finished successfully!