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Old 01-10-2009, 07:31 PM   #1
redwagonrider OP
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Jen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Hello!

My girlfriend, Jennifer, and I are currently en route to Tierra del Fuego from Seattle, by way of New Orleans. We're currently writing a blog and working on mirroring it here at advrider. Check us out at: http://jenandtheartofmotorcyclemaint....blogspot.com/

Here is her first post (until the admins take the restriction off of new registrations) and I'll keep adding more as I get through adding photos and what not:

----------------

So Ben and I are finally getting our act together and starting to write a blog about our motorcycle journey. We have a lot of anecdotes to relate already--it doesn't seem worth it to record what you're doing until at least a baker's dozen worth of folks tell you that you should be writing down your experiences (and taking notes for your 'expose-all memoir' to appear at a later date).

Right now we're in Galveston, and we've been working a lot of miscellaneous jobs to make a bit of cash before we hit the road again. We're for all intents and purposes broke, but with pretty fabulous credit for youngins' (22 and 26, respectively). So like all good Americans, we hold true to the founding tenets of the American dream and spirit: We believe we live in the land of the brave (which explains why we're foolhardy enough to try to make it down to Tierra del Fuego, the southern most tip of South America) and we live in the home of the free (credit).

For those interested, we're riding a 1976 Yamaha XS500. To me, what that means is that it is very small, brown, and old. We stick out like a sore thumb at the Galveston Motorcycle Rally, where we've been working for the past two days at a food booth. We are the oldest bike I have seen thus far, and I think the only Yamaha (although I've seen the guys with the Yamaha leathers on, so presumably they are not flaunting Yamaha gear in a sea of Harley aficionados just because they want to get the shit beaten out of them. I presume this is what motorcyclists do in their spare time, because that is what the television has taught me.)

From 2009-01-10 CT to Humble, TX


What is really great about having our cute, sweetheart of a vintage motorcycle (her name is unofficially Bonnie), is that we meet a lot of really great people in really odd ways. Folks love to see us riding a 1976 motorcycle because most of the old guys and gals remember riding them and loving them. And as for the young guys and gals, well, they think we're crazy! for riding such a old beast. We meet a lot of good people who wish us well and we tend to have a lot of good karmic interference. This will probably be a major theme of our trip, as everything tends to land into place in really great ways. Without wanting to jinx it--while setting up a thematic element for this blog--the universe conspires to help us. And by universe, I mean lots of really good folks.

Ok. That is the end of the first entry. The rest of it will be easier than this. And hopefully we will catch up with all our reminiscences from our starting point in Seattle/Southern Oregon, down to New Orleans and out to Galveston. We've already been on the road since August. What a long, strange trip this will probably end up being. Maybe.
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:43 PM   #2
OleGrumpy
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Bring It ON!

Tells us your travels!

I would not start out for the southern most tip of south america on a 1976 what ever! Talk about Adventure Riders!!
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:50 PM   #3
yrfuneralmytrial
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One post & one pic...I'm in! Good luck and keep it coming.
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:46 PM   #4
gasandasphalt
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TOOOOOO Much weight on that front wheel,,, you will end your trip pronto!!! IMHO
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:54 PM   #5
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Those front fender panniers look good, but wont they hamper maneuvering.
Other wise, thats a catch name for a ride.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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I'm in!! Good luck on the trip.
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Old 01-10-2009, 09:44 PM   #7
10guy
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I love old bikes, almost like I remember them from when they weren't so old

Hope it all works out for you, I'll be keeping up on your adventures.
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:05 PM   #8
Dread
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. . . in . . .
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:33 PM   #9
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Wow!

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Old 01-10-2009, 10:38 PM   #10
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That don't look right up there

Quote:
Originally Posted by gasandasphalt
TOOOOOO Much weight on that front wheel,,, you will end your trip pronto!!! IMHO

I have considered the idea that we are carrying to much weight on the front. I would like to lose weight all over the bike, including off myself. We have tested many setups with the front panniers throughout the ride from Seattle to the gulf coast, and we have asked everyone on the way what their opinions are on running front bags. Some people have never seen it, and have no idea why I would try it. Others have seen people riding with ammo cans mounted to the fronts of their bikes. The idea comes from my time bicycle touring. Front panniers would help to even the weight out between the wheels so you would have better control of the bike. I find that if I don't have enough weight on the front of the bike the front end is really squirrly.

The suspension is holding up extremely well. I have redone both the front and the rear with Progressive Suspension. In the front I am running 15W oil, and in the rear the springs are 105/135 lbs. at 13 inches long.

We also have added additional weight to the front end in the form of dual disc brakes. The nice part about the XS models is that a lot of the parts from different years, and engine sizes are interchangeable. It is almost like this bikes frame is the same as the frame for the xs1100. So I installed the brakes from the xs1100.

We have also been running the same front tire for the entire ride. It is almost run through. I am no expert on tire wear, but i do plan on changing it soon. But so far 6,000+ miles two up with the front panniers and it is doing fine. I will post the model soon. I have changed the rear tire. When we started this trip I installed Spitfire S-11 tires for $110 mounted to the rim with a new tube even though we can run tubeless on the alloy rims. Once we arrived in New Orleans the tire was starting to tear on the treads. It had god tread life, but was weakening all over. I changed it up for a Dunlop Elite k491 series 2 manufactured in 2005. I got this tire on Ebay for $60 shipped. I couldn't figure out how to install it myself so 30 bucks later the folks at Motorcycle Superstores in Baton Rogue had it on for me. With free balancing on both the front and rear.

From 2009-01-01 moto trip galveston and CT


A typical Saturday afternoon!!! Thanks
for joining us.

Benjamin
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Old 01-10-2009, 10:42 PM   #11
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Laugh Left and Right

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanderjeet
Those front fender panniers look good, but wont they hamper maneuvering.
Other wise, thats a catch name for a ride.
Chandeerjet, The maneuvering is slightly hampered at slow speeds, and I have spent a lot of time getting a slight front end wobble out. This setup, especially with our weight is not perfect for dirt roads, but if we take our time on them, it works our good so far.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:15 AM   #12
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In!



Bonus points for the packing job!
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:18 AM   #13
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Awesome Seat Cushion!

I love it!


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Old 01-11-2009, 05:02 AM   #14
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I like your pannier set-up...and woah...that is one pillow of seat! No airhawk required.

I load up the back on my KTM and it's not ideal either. It wobbles all over the place at slow speeds and is plenty sketchy in the dirt. I would think putting part of the load up front would be a good thing, particularly with the heavier springs.

It seems you might be better off running some sort of dual sport tires when you get to the more primitive roads. Good luck and keep the posts coming.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:50 AM   #15
redwagonrider OP
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switch up the front before we hit the Frontera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah
It seems you might be better off running some sort of dual sport tires when you get to the more primitive roads.
I am considering a dual sport tire for the front right now. I got the Dunlop because it was so cheap, and because we had just eaten through our last rear tire so quickly (relatively). What are the going opinions for great tread ware and longevity plus traction in a dual sport without breaking the bank?

From 2008-12-14


In Baton Rogue getting the new tire installed.
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