cavebiker Ė Just a Ride Report /w Pics
All Right! Nothing huge, but I hope for some good pics and a decent Ride Report, enjoy.
It seems like saving vacation is almost impossible after starting a new job, so after a year of doing nothing ADV, it is definitely Time for a little Adventure Ride.
Heidi (cavegirl) thinks Iím a little weird, every so often she will tell me ďYou know youíre different,Ö donít you?Ē I think Iím like everyone else, I like adventure and I like fun. Maybe this ride will shed some light on the topic, because Iím sure everyone likes this type of stuffÖ ?
Transforming your own motorcycle from one mode to another is a joy to the highest degree, especially when you are modifying it for a specific ride. A company out in Oregon, custom made me a king/queen seat from a 1972í XL photo I sent them years ago. Itís a great seat and it will transform the cavebike back to itís roots as an Ďadventure chopperí. Oh Yeah!
The aluminum adventure bags have to come off ďthey wonít look right with the king/queen seatĒ cavegirl tells me. I have to agree, and plus the width of the aluminum panniers cause my rear to wobble at high speeds, 83MPH or greater, and that is no fun when riding solo, going fast is part of the joy, right!
Now thatís a cavebike, the only thing missing is a set of knurly dual-sport tires, but that will be another ride.
Our old leather saddlebags are small and warn out so I pick up a set of extra large bags, on sale for cheap. Proof again that Ďya get what ya pay forí, everything is cheesy, chincie and poorly constructed. And Heidi does not like all the studs, I thought it made the bike look old-school but she says they look dorky. When the studs started rusting after the first week, I had to agree, studs suck. But at least these bags are larger, I can ride faster if I feel the need and they make the bike look more Ďcaveí like, those are the important things, right. ?
OK, time to get serious, the bike needs more work and Iím the guy who is going to do it.
A hunk of my fender fell off and that was holding the license plate on. You can see the holes for the stock license plate holder above the tail light, but that uses up valuable backpack space. I fabricate a lightweight holder made out of aluminum flashing material and strapped that to the blinker assembly. As long as the blinkers stay attached, the plate should stay attached, plus I like the way it looks.
Performing maintenance, fabricating parts and modifying a motorcycle that will take me on an adventure is a joy that is hard to match. Riding a new motorcycle, something that only Ďother peopleí have worked on cannot be as much fun as the way I do it, Iím sure!
The saddlebags are already sinking into the shock springs so a plywood bracket to keep them out and away should do it.
The grass needs cutting but this is more important (and fun). The tires arrive. I have two sets of wheels, the wheels from the crashed Sportster I bought for the motor and the original wheels. Changing my own tires is an empowering feeling. I know I can do a tire on the road if I have to because I already have done it at home many times. When you are far away from home and help, itís a comforting feeling knowing you can to do it yourself, where ever.
I bought an inexpensive cycle-jack and now do all my own tires. Of course changing my own tires only adds to the joy of the Zen Motorcycle Maintenance experience and makes me feel happy knowing the job is done right. Saving $50 every tire change doesnít hurt either.
Iím not sure if soap is needed to break the tire bead but I have lots of soapy water and it canít hurt. A good thing to keep in mind as youíre changing a tire is that if it is hard and you have to cuss, you probably are doing something wrong. Slow down, think about what you are doing, and then do it.
The logs are to prevent bending the disk. The bead breaker in the photo is the best tool for changing a cycle tire: www.happy-trail.com . It comes on all my long adventures, if I have to stick in a tube or fill the tire with grass and leaves, I can do that on the road, anywhere.
Itís all about technique, although I donít recommend sneakers for breaking the bead, I should be wearing my boots.
These are the tires Heidi and I installed in Panama City Panama. Itís nice to see them side by side while thinking about all the miles we rode together. I love motorcycle tires.
A cycle-jack is the best tool.
After seeing how badly warn the rear beaks are, I decide to replace the front pads also. When I tell Heidi about the warn breaks she immediately gives me crap ďWhat where you thinking! of course the breaks should he replaced after Panama!Ē I must have been in denial, maybe not wanting to think about it, the ride being over. But I feel a new spark now, like this is what was needed, a new ride, a new purpose to ready the bike and myself for adventure. I have the tingle back inside now.
All right! new tires, new breaks, everything lubed, large saddlebags. cavegirl and I enjoy an evening around the campfire talking about ride logistics, preparedness and riding protocol. I love these pre-ride talks we have. When she is riding along itís at a different level but when Iím solo she acts as if she has the same vested interest, meaning the successful completion of the ride and me returning home. Everyone should have a riding partner like Heidi (cavegirl)
We talk road food. A good portion of this ride will be in Iron-butt mode, meaning I will not want to stop long for just eating. So packing road-food is a must and this is the way I like to ride most of the time anyway. When Iím on a ride, all I want to do is ride, not hang around a gas station or a Burger King. A country field with a shade tree beats those any day. My goal always is to have food ready for the morning. If I put food and liquid in my gut right away in the morning, I am ready to ride. The thought of having to locate and sit in a restaurant first thing in the morning just kills me, I Want to Ride, and I want to be Ready to RideÖ.
Peanuts combined with tropical trail-mix packed in two large baggies, freeze-dried peaches in another baggie, ten mega proteins bars in another large baggie. The protein bars came with free samples of some Met-Rx Max-Pump pills and some powder drink mix stuff called ďOne More RepĒ Wahoo, that sounds like Iron-butt food to me. Oh, and some fine ground Columbian coffee for the little espresso pot that Iím waiting to arrive in the mail.
Road food is all about finding places along the road to stop and chill and eat and hydrate, I look for creeks, a good view or just a farm field with some type of shade. That is what road food is for to me. Itís an art finding a good spot to pull over to experience the land while you rest up. I donít want to just ride through an area, I want to feel the culture of it. Heidi is into this also, we have hung out and ate at some of the most beautiful places on earth this way. Sometimes we plan it ahead of time by buying road food at a gas stop or store and then head off looking for Ďthe spotí to pull off and chill. I ride no other way now, and Iím sure everyone likes this type of riding,Öright?
Ok! Sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, emergency tarp, pac-safe, tools, personal headlight, maps, stove, camp espresso cup, survival kit, stove fuel, camera pouch, hiking hat, extra sponge rubber pads, rain gear, goose down vest, etc, etcÖ CHECK.
Its 5:50 in the morning as the motorcycle vibrates and shakes its way past a Harley Davidson motorcycle shop. I just blew out my rear wheel bearing and have developed a severe rear wheel wobble, and Iím only 50 miles into the ride. I say to myself íNo Way I am going to put my tail between my legs and park in front of the Harley shop waiting for it to open!í ĎThis could take all day!í Ďthey may not even be able to fit me iní ĎThe ride could be jeopardized!í
I have a good wheel with good bearings back at home, I just need to take a tire off and put on a new tire on, then swap wheels. Can Do, No Problem,Ö right?
I am not making any of this up. Heidi has the day off today and has an appointment in Rice Lake, the area where I broke down. A few hours later she picks me up, we stop at the Harley Davidson shop for a new tire. I drop Heidi off at the mall, drive back home with the new tire, remove the old tire from the wheel with good bearings, put the new tire on, then ride back to Rice Lake with the motorcycle jack, OFY!
The bearings race got hardened from the heat of the blowout, so the drive shaft will not pull out of the wheel, S! I have the right tools to pound the shaft out but it would go no further. Heidi grabs the axel with the vice grips pulling and twisting the shaft while I pounded. It slowly came out, yes. Heidi holds up the pulled axel in a victory pump. What a babe!
This breakdown cost me just over five hours and I cannot believe it. When it first happened, I thought the ride was over. I was instantly thinking about needing to stop my vacation hours. Ö It has to be said; a victory like this IS one of the greatest ways to start any adventure. And everyone can see this, right.
Hold on! Much more coming
CAVEBIKER, I am happy to see you back, I will follow along with you,,, I will miss CAVELADY:cry
Ride safe!!!! Bill
Glad to see you on the road again! If you don't mind, where was the lead picture taken? Looks like one of the big reservoirs in the Dakotas or Montana....
Glad to see the XL is back, I miss mine.
Hwy. 53, west on Hwy. 8, south on county road O, west on 106th, south on Hwy. 24 all the way to I94 and into Minneapolis. 494 west around Saint Paul to I35W south, west on 19 West, 169 south to 14 west blasting towards South Dakota. These are great biking roads with tons of small farm communities and interesting things to see and photograph. I could have stopped all day but Iím in Iron-Butt mode as long as Iím in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is ride, stop, hydrate, eat, chill, and only long enough to partially recover, then continue riding hard. I think all big rides include some form of Iron-Butt mode riding. To me, itís about throttling it up to get to where you want to throttle back and explore. And it just feels good to push your own physical and mental limits trying to get there, a total motorcycle / Zen process and experience.
I have been practicing looking for spots like this nearly my entire life. This is a typical rest spot, a farm field with a rough path leading into a couple shade trees. There is not a farmer on this planet that will not welcome a weary traveler on a motorcycle the use of his shade tree along the road. Everyone has to know this, right.
The rear wheel axel cotter pin broke a peg off when I changed the wheel, so I stop long enough at a hardware store somewhere in southern Minnesota and buy a couple cotter pins.
Hwy. 14 west through southern Minnesota. At around 8:00 Iím close to the South Dakota border. There should be another hour and a half of daylight left but it is getting darker and darker ahead. Soon there are sprinkles and some serious lighting action, straight ahead. This requires immediate action so I turn on the first paved road pointing south and blast it. The storm brought bolt after bolt right in the fields next to me as I try to race away, and it was a race. I made it twenty miles before the storm overtakes me with serious crosswinds and lighting. Passing the only farmhouse in miles, I see a few small trees right at the edge of a cornfield. I do a 180, drive off the road and straight to the trees next to the field. My emergency tarp is always at the ready but I had not attached any new cords lately. I calmly locate the camp rope, a knife and begin to cut perfect lengths of rope while tying three Bolen knots to the tarp. The tarp is secure to the bike perfectly now and all is good.
The rain poured and the lighting light the sky for an hour and a half. Iíll tell ya, spending time under a small tarp attached to a motorcycle while a severe electrical and wind storm is happening right next to you is an experience to say the least. I actually admitted to Heidi that I was almost a little afraid for a bit, the lighting was happening so rapidly it sounded like a freight train, and that is the sigh of an approaching tornado, and sitting on the up-side of a motorcycle in a tornado is not a good place to be.
After lifting the tarp to look and listen, I did conclude that it was just rapid-fire successions of lighting, not a tornado. Whoosh, Iím a happy guy.
Two hours later, the storm passes and it feels warm, so back on the road
I make it to a small village in South Dakota. Anyone who as ever traveled through the back roads of SD knows that almost every little town has a city park where it is possible to camp. It is simply part of the culture here.
Off the corner of my eye, I see an RV sitting at a small city park, perfect. My camp is up in no time. It feels great to be dry and bedded down.
Coffee, water, nuts, trail mix and dried apricots, I am good to go, yeah!
It is still raining a little in the morning but soon stops. I pack up early and take off.
I'm in...Love your ride reports:clap:clap:clap:clap
Hey gasandasphalt. Yeah, the cavelady wanted to ride along but she knew my schedule and what that meant, not the type of riding we do together. Who knows, if I play it right I may hook up with her before the ride ends.
kbear, I can't give away the prime photo spot until the report gets there, but you are right-on.
Hey AZbiker. Yes, the XL lives! This may not be the most popular dual-sport model bike on this site but if it does adventure, it is ‘in’.
Paddygfw, thanks man! I knew there were others who like type of riding, Oh Yeah!
I will continue:jose
Flying west into South Dakota is enjoyable as always with the speed limit rising from 55 to 65 MPH on the state and county roads. All is good until I hit a couple towns without gas. I know I am not going to make it to the Missouri River without running out of fuel, so south to I90 where there Will be fuel. I coast along at 50 MPH for what seemed like forever paying attention not to use any unnecessary throttle or fuel.
I pass a motorcycle couple on the side of the road. I gave the Ďwhatís upí sigh with palms facing up. The woman returns the gesture so I know they are in trouble and probably are out of gas, like I am about to become. I cannot help them and I donít want to use any unnecessary gas stopping. But I will return with some gas, Iím only ten miles or so before, that is, if I donít run out first.
As I coast into a little freeway city on fumes. My tank is a 4.3 gallon thing I bought on Ebay, I put 4.64 gallons in the tank, a record. I empty a water jug to use for gas to bring back to the couple. Thatís the yellow stuff the jug in the photo.
About half way back I see the couple riding at me, they must have had someone else bringing them gas. All is good, I will use this gas eventually, plus I want to go back to the Missouri river. I94 is packed with RVs, SUVs pulling trailers and motorcycles. I see almost no traffic on the roads I have been taking, just the way I like it.
The gravel back roads in SD are great for riding and sightseeing.
Old abandoned farmhouses are fun to photograph. I always think that looking at the image will eventually tell an interesting story.
What is the deal with the school buses?
While taking photos a local stops to chit-chat. He is a young guy, maybe late twentys and says he has lived here is whole life and how he enjoys it. I rave about the scenery and beauty of the land here. He is a pleasure to talk with.
Hang-on, more comingÖ
These roads are not on any of my maps, which only adds to the fun.
This road leads to a dead-end, all good, at least I tried it.
This could be a space vehicle ---
Time to use the gas.
It is windy as heck today so the only reprieve out here in the middle of nowhere is behind some type of structure.
The road turns to tarmac.
Then more gravel, and that is good.
There are areas called ĎPublic use areasí all over SD. Many of them are ten or more miles down a rough dirt road. Check out the ones along the Missouri river if you have a chance, the hardest to get to are often the best, and you most likely will have the place to yourself.
A swim and a little laundry is a favorite thing for me while traveling, it allows me to bring less stuff and for some reason I just like it. I even find myself doing socks and undies while traveling for work, like Iím obsessed. It just feels good. Maybe it reminds me of being ĎOn the Roadí and I donít want to let it go. Iím sure.
While riding along, the bike is feeling squirrelly. I pull over next to a farmhouse and find my real axel bolt has come off. S! I knew the cotter pin was brittle when I changed the rear wheel, it half fell apart! I even bought 2 new cotter pins in Minnesota, but of course never installed them. HS am I a dumb F!
The axel worked itself part way out and is pinned in by the lip at the threads. I cannot get the axel pounded back in with the bike standing. I have to find a ditch to drop the bike to be able to get the axel back in all the way. I borrow a hammer from a woman at the farmhouse who had come out to see if I need anything. How nice is that! I love SD.
The axel pounds right back in. Vice-grip pliers are the best, with rope itís a temporary fix. Now its fifteen mile back to Pierre South Dakota, where I hope there will be a hardware store or bike shop open. Itís goanna be after 5:00 PM and I need a big bolt a washer. I have the cotter pin.
Unreal, Pierre has a Harley Davidson shop and its still open at 5:40PM, Oh Yeah. It cost me under three dollars for the parts. I make a comment at the checkout and a guy says ďI thought there was a fifty dollar minimum!Ē we all laugh.
There is still plenty of daylight left, hopefully enough to make it to the Badlands on all back roads. If it starts getting dark I will be camping somewhere along one of these back roads, and there isnít nothing wrong with that, right.
The real world.....love it:clap:clap:clap
Hi Tom, good to see you back on the road again...
Another cavebiker thread? AWESOME!! :clap
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