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Old 12-03-2010, 06:29 PM   #61
JGBrown OP
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Day 6 pt 2
Rolling down HWY 1 in the dark was fascinating, another fun road, and the first test of my new fuel system. I got over two hundred kilometres from my main tank, and one hundred and ninety from my rear tank, with a generous reserve left in both. Much less stress than watching the odometer roll up to 100 and knowing I'd be stopped in the next few minutes.
I'm starting to discover themes in my travels. So far every trip, and every leg of this trip I've taken on a bike I've left late, in the rain, and generally ridden late or through the night. First riding from Saskatchewan in a thunderstorm that chased me all the way across Alberta to British Columbia. Now each leg of the current trip. It suits our riding style, Aurora and I both like meandering along well below the speed-limit singing and exploring, without any cages in sight to disrupt us. This theme will come to an end when I cross the border, as much as I enjoy it, it would cross the line from calculated risk to reckless behaviour where there are chronic problems with drunk cagers, wandering animals and unknown road conditions. I had installed heated grips in Sacramento, using a set of heating elements, some epoxy and 8$ rubber grips, a real luxury and blessing for 35$ at least when they deigned to work. A continual series of increasingly bizarre rituals trying to determine why they would work great after the bike sat at a gas station for a while, then die out as soon as I was up to speed, then refuse to work again despite trying every combination of switches. They worked for almost an hour when I ran on low beam only, then cut out as suddenly as before, never to work again with that trick. At first I thought the wind might be sucking the heat away since they were directly fixed to the metal bars, but without turning the bike off, I could idle indefinitely without ever getting more out of them, nothing makes a rider grumpier than snatching away a nice luxury that instantly becomes a necessity after enjoying the ability to move fingers without minutes of warming up and pain. I stopped in Big Sur to test my stove out and make some tea, we had a nice break, with a few weird looks from locals seeing me cooking outside a closed store.


With a hot water bottle stuffed in the crotch of my rain suit I enjoyed a nice warm ride for a while. I was hoping to camp on the beach along the way, but with true consideration for travellers, someone had avoided putting up fences or rails where it was possible to try diving off a cliff, and fenced the hundreds of miles where you might be able to stop and sleep without a large drop and a cold death with nice barbed wire. The one beach I found that looked nice even allowed off road vehicles, unless you dared to arrive outside of sunset when you couldn't pay your 10$ entry fee, with a 300$ bail set if you ignored the rules.
About three in the morning my highway ran out with a road closed sign and construction vehicles parked along the road.

We parked behind the signs, and slept until the sun came up, Aurora in the lee of a sign and me rolled up in my tarp.



I was greeted with a sunrise, and finally saw the golden hills of California. I will always regret missing some of those pictures with a flock of white birds above the glowing hills.



Riding on I stopped in Bueliton to balance my load, warm up and refill my water. Following the instructions of a local resident, I ended up the wrong highway but didn't know it,I passed through Lompoc, looked then using the sun got myself to the coast, ending up at Lompoc/Surf Amtrak station, beautiful ride and an amazing view. Following the sun and the ocean I would have been just fine if the Air Force hadn't dropped a gate and some dire warning signs in the middle of that road. Thankfully I read the sign about the illegality of photographing the sign and fence before I took a picture to show where I had stopped. Right next to the fence was the empty train station, I stopped there to wait and ask someone where I was going.



The first man who stopped turned out to have lived there his whole life, riding horses and bikes all through the hills. Turning 87 next year and having just lost his wife, he still had a strong handshake and a clear eye.

He told stories of the area before the air-force took over, from the town that was there, a train crash where we stood to stories of the days of pearl harbour and some destroyers foundering on the point. He was born just behind that point, on land the air-force now owns.
Out of range for a picture from the road, he finished by telling a lady who pulled in some more history.





He really enjoyed seeing my bike, as it turns out the point he was born near was called Honda point. Chance meetings like this have made me glad I'm travelling by glimpses of maps, the position of the sun and sea, with a GPS I would always be organized, following a small triangle and encased in a cage I wouldn't even see, a wireless prison keeping me on track, as part of the machine instead of free.

Back on the road down the coast, slowly seeing ever more signs of civilization, I stopped for dinner at a restaurant recommended by a traveller in SF. The prices much have changed since he was there so I just took a rest and tried an appetizer, which was enough of a meal for me. The nicest thing I've eaten on this trip by far, absolutely incredible view too.



Arriving in LA I almost made it to the right hostel, but ended up staying just a block away, at another hostel and met interesting people, including a guy who's written a screenplay, and is trying to get it produced now, and make his own life. I'm in awe of anyone with that kind of dedication. We swapped music and hung out late into the evening exploring on foot, or just hanging out. I caught up on homework and this report and met some more riders heading south near Santa Monica Boulevard, one on a KLR, the other on a BMW Dakar, They're taking the west coast route, hope they make it safely. In my defence, both hostels look identical to the picture on the brochure, and they're both on the same street, turned out to be a good place to stay.
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Old 12-03-2010, 06:30 PM   #62
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Probably another 2 trip posts tonight for anyone reading, so check back.
I've got 2 days worth of writing and photo editing going up as I finish uploading and sorting pics.
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Old 12-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #63
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Great report so far. I have to chime in on the choice of bike; in 2003 I rode a '82 GL500 back and forth across the US; from Vancouver, Washington to Montana, from there to Primm, Nevada, and then to Lake City Florida by way of Mt. Evans Colorado. Up the East coast through the Outer Banks, Virginia, and all the way to Buxton, Maine. Back south, I caught a ferry from Connecticut to Long Island, NY and then rode right into the heart of NYC. South to DC, back north to Philly and then the long run back to Missoula, Montana by way of Chicago and Fargo, ND. Finally I finished up by riding back home to Vancouver.

I'd like to say I had no problems, but that would be a lie. On the other hand, I didn't have to completely rebuild the bike! Have fun, enjoy the adventure, and know you will always look back at this with the warmest memories. Even the bad stuff.


Back in Missoula, that's me in the with my back to the bike.
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Old 12-03-2010, 09:37 PM   #64
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JGbrown, before you leave the U.S. an addition to consider for your bike would be some handguards. They serve two purposes on a trip #1 is to protect the levers in case of a tip over. #2 is an ideal place to mount some wind deflectors . These go a long way towards keeping your hands from freezing.
Here are the ones I put on my Yamaha before a cross U.S. trip last year in November. The sheilds are made from car mirror shrouds from a car that hit the fence in front of my mom's.



Of course adding some sort of windscreen is another major help in cold weather.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:05 PM   #65
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Awesome continuation of your trip report, JG

Gad, even when I was a teenager, I don't think I could've survived too many nights rolled in a tarp on the pavement

Respect!
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:11 PM   #66
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Have a great time.......

Somebody earlier, stated to stick to the Pan American Highway......

That is fine if you want to see the major cities and everything EVERYBODY else sees. Get off on the side roads and see the people and how they live.

It is just like here! Stay on the highways and you know what you will see! Get off on the side roads, and that is where you will have an Adventure!

If you have any questions, or need help, send me a note. Have many fantastic friends ahead of you.

Adios and enjoy!


PS: Greg Frazier did it 2 up on the same bike as you, and did just fine!

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Here is a link to the South American Ride Report...
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Trip Index Page.... If you are interested in one spot in South America, you can click on this link http://www.ploung.com/south_america.htm and go directly to your point of interest.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:15 PM   #67
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Hey..... just noticed where you are. We are in Corona California. If you would like to spend a night here, stop by! Send PM......

We are about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.........
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Over 27,000 miles in South America -- which is NOT enough!

Here is a link to the South American Ride Report...
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94531

Trip Index Page.... If you are interested in one spot in South America, you can click on this link http://www.ploung.com/south_america.htm and go directly to your point of interest.
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:35 PM   #68
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Loving the photography in your ride report. Very inspiring!
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Old 12-03-2010, 11:48 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by L.B.S. View Post
Awesome continuation of your trip report, JG

Gad, even when I was a teenager, I don't think I could've survived too many nights rolled in a tarp on the pavement

Respect!
Pavement, kids in your day had it great! What we had so far is MUD, sometimes frozen dirt and gravel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingavanti View Post
Have a great time.......

Somebody earlier, stated to stick to the Pan American Highway......

That is fine if you want to see the major cities and everything EVERYBODY else sees. Get off on the side roads and see the people and how they live.

It is just like here! Stay on the highways and you know what you will see! Get off on the side roads, and that is where you will have an Adventure!

If you have any questions, or need help, send me a note. Have many fantastic friends ahead of you.

Adios and enjoy!


PS: Greg Frazier did it 2 up on the same bike as you, and did just fine!

Oh hell no will I be on the damn highway more than I can avoid it, as you can see from my route through Oregon, the more bass ackwards and slow the road is the happier I am. The gravel and cracked pavement on the backroad into lava beds was the most fun so far.

I spent all the time researching and buying the best tires I could find for a reason
Also part of the reason I'm not going to replace my stolen GPS, I've got a cheap, ancient handheld one that will give me lat/long if I really mess up, but it's buried in a tank bag where it belongs.
Had enough of loose gravel/mud/offroading on bald street tires in the summer.
If the system wasn't so busy cutting me off from everything fun when it wasn't coming up with new rules just in case I found a crack like 300$ fines for camping on the beach, there'd be plenty of dirt naps and pictures from Oregon to Arizona, I'm on the interstate for now just to make up some miles, but in the last 1500 miles i have seen ONE hill that wasn't entirely cut off from my location by barbed wire.
to quote my facebook status:
Fence the world in. Beautiful looking mountains to camp at the base of. Too bad everything down to the godamn overpasses around here is fenced off. I have yet to see even the tiniest sliver of land beside the interstate that I wasn't cut off from with barbed wire. Who fences off an overpass anyways?

The irony is that Az allows dispersed(free) camping anywhere there is open desert, but every last mile is cut off with barbed wire. On the PCH there were beautiful beaches cut off the same way, the only places that weren't fenced would have involved a long dive and a permanent nap. I found it a bit ironic, someone told me it was for cattle, but unless whales are growing legs and invading, or the rabbits in Az have suddenly gotten 4' tall, all those fences are for two legged critters, or two wheeled ones like Aurora.
The closest I've come to desert was sleeping up a hill beside the interstate in Arizona, it sucked because the trucks kept me awake all night, glad I rode in in the night, I rode right through a big ditch and just noticed a bump, guess I hit it fast enough.

I'll be riding south from Texas, didn't want to go through Baja since everyone's doing itPlus it's actually a shorter/faster route to get back on track. I'll be on non toll roads as much as possible, heading through Monterrey, then east to Merida to visit my birth-family, any tips on fun roads/gravel/camping tips would be much appreciated.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingavanti View Post
Hey..... just noticed where you are. We are in Corona California. If you would like to spend a night here, stop by! Send PM......

We are about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.........
Sorry, story is way behind, I'm holed up in Benson Arizona, spent my birthday in a motel 6 next to a truck stop and a mcdonalds, I got a bad vibe trying to camp, and I was starting to get more and more sick, I've been here 3 days recovering and writing. Next stop Dallas, Tx, then south.
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Logbook for
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http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=739193

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Old 12-04-2010, 12:18 AM   #70
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Los Angeles

Los Angeles
Here are some pictures from my hostel stay, I missed including them in the last post
The night shots were all done with an old 50mm f1.7 lens I got for 5$ Some pictures of Venice beach, and the screenwriter Jarred having too much fun in my boots. He did a fantastic dance to Rocking around the Christmas tree in them, but wouldn't let me take video of it.

















I was planning to head out of town fairly soon, but one of the two riders I met at Horizons Unlimited West who suggested this trip to me was in town with his family, they have sold off their stuff, rented out their house and flown in from New Zealand. They flew into Peru the day I left, and are going to buy a van or bus, and explore South America indefinitely.


Walk on the first evening





The Carnegies are: Dave, Corinne playing the adults, Laura, Sean and Braiden playing the kids. I don't know if I spelled them all right, I guess I'll find out soon enough when I talk to them. We stayed in a 2 bed hotel room, a bit cramped with 3 adults and 3 kids but we made it! They are quite a bunch of characters, never a dull moment with them around, by the end of it I think we were all wishing we had the energy the kids did, I'd be able to ride twice as far every day. I've decided from here on they are the Carnegie Carnival, some pretty amazing acting skills, and artistic talents among the kids. We had a blast buying some sugar canes which I chopped up and we ate, I hope I find more soon, I really like them better as the big stick instead of small pre-cut sections. I hope to meet up with them again in South America.




Banished for some peace and quiet!





Breakfast at Wendy's



Photography is serious business








All the ladies love a sharp dressed man





They talked me into going to Universal Studios, not something I'd normally do, I'm much more inclined to explore on foot somewhere. My family actually went to Disneyworld for 4 days when I was younger, and I took the Amtrak into town every day to explore in LA, even though we stayed right across the road, which my parents patiently put up with, looking back I'm sure it must have been frustrating. Travelling is time for new experiences, and this was, so I went.


To get there you must Tap TAP to TAP target, similarly to how you click your heels three times to get home.


Even at Universal studio's the answer is blowing in the wind.








It was different, very interesting though I had no idea so many films were filmed on such a small area, only a few streets, and they are in so many major movies.










Certainly is a commercial enterprise, they'll get you any way they can for money after the ticket price.

Looking cool while waiting to get squirted by mechanical dinosaurs is also serious business




Once they squirt on your face it's all fun though




We smuggled in smoked salmon, pitas, fruit, Swiss cheese, halva, and had a much better lunch. Got busted for the two big bags of chips, but everything else made it in. We went on several rides, a bit different from riding a bike, still fun though.







On the bus ride home we met another traveller, she asked Dave what we were eating and wanted to try some, we were eating more of the pistachio halva I'd bought.




That meeting turned into a bit of an adventure. Ava was a Korean student, travelling in the states for a little while, after staying in Tennessee to work on her English, which was better than my Korean but still quite limited, a scary situation when travelling I'd imagine. We were heading back quite late, and I couldn't figure out why someone travelling alone like that would head back into LA so late, she intended to get off at Union station and walk to a friends place. I wouldn't leave my sister to do that alone after dark like that, so I was a bit worried. I decided to tag along for the walk, as it was only one extra stop, especially since she wasn't too sure about the route. After transferring trains which seemed odd to get to Union station, something I asked about, we ended up going all the way to North Hollywood without ever seeing the station she wanted, turned out to be the wrong train, should have got on the other side of the platform, heading back using the process of elimination, we made it to Union station, there wasn't any other train we hadn't taken on that route yet. There we discovered a new problem, she didn't belong at Union station either!
All the the Subway routes have their end destination posted up on the signs as well, so her station was just on the line somewhere. We tried every payphone in Union station without finding one that worked. I talked to several people but no one knew where we were trying to go. Finally I asked a security guard about phones, and she lent Ava all her friend, turned out to be the opposite end of another line. We made it there in the end and walked to where she lived, the bars on all the windows, heavy metal doors and the two police helicopters overhead nearby suggested I'd made the right choice. Shook hands and off I went again, retraced my way back to the Carnegies, to sleep and ride out the next day.



Throughout universal studios I was playing with shooting from the hip, so I could take pictures without being noticed, hard to do, but good practice!

EDIT:


What do people think of the new image size in my posts, I've increased it a lot from the first set of posts, but I could reduce it back down again.
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Canada to Panama on a 79 CX500: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62962
Logbook for
motorcycle travelers I'm developing, draft now available for review.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=739193


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Old 12-04-2010, 12:51 AM   #71
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I had installed heated grips in Sacramento, using a set of heating elements, some epoxy and 8$ rubber grips, a real luxury and blessing for 35$ at least when they deigned to work. A continual series of increasingly bizarre rituals trying to determine why they would work great after the bike sat at a gas station for a while, then die out as soon as I was up to speed, then refuse to work again despite trying every combination of switches. They worked for almost an hour when I ran on low beam only, then cut out as suddenly as before, never to work again with that trick. At first I thought the wind might be sucking the heat away since they were directly fixed to the metal bars, but without turning the bike off, I could idle indefinitely without ever getting more out of them,
How did you install them (include details like how you connected the power and the ground)? Might be an easy fix.

In a pinch I expect you can warm your hands on the valve covers as needed?
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Old 12-04-2010, 01:58 AM   #72
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Day 9

I rode out of LA around 11am, on I-10 after picking up some more Halva, olives and Nom bread. I have no idea what Nom bread is actually called, but that's what I call it in my head. It comes in an enormous sheet in a plastic bag, the taste reminds me a bit of Naam bread, and I can Nom on it all day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydqL6T8YHRs
I rode fast the rest of the day, having some serious issues about 75mph, bike wants to go into a tank slapper, this is where the handlebars go back and forth more violently until they are hitting the stops, the only way I've found to keep up to speed and avoid it is to use my body like a sail, and lean back, this mimics the action of a steering damper, instead of trying to counteract it and make it worse. Doesn't happen much with a full tank, but when I'm getting close to empty it's a bit dicey. Beautiful country, just looks marvellous, and I could ride across it to the base of the mountains to camp in peace and pretend I was riding with the Sundance Kid.




but as I found on the PCH anywhere I could pull of to camp or explore up to the base of some beautiful mountains it's all blocked by barbed wire fences. They've Fenced the world in. Beautiful looking mountains to camp at the base of. Too bad everything down to the goddamn overpasses around here is fenced off. I have yet to see even the tiniest sliver of land beside the interstate that I wasn't cut off from with barbed wire. Who fences off an overpass anyways?


Maybe it's wire that's the problem, wire keep me out of where I want to be, wire carries problems from back home I can do little about, wire brings bad news from all around the world to my fingertips if I want it.



I stopped to shoot the above pictures of the mountains I wanted to ride to, after about 5 minutes a highway patrol car pulled up, I expected to get an earful for pulling off and stopping, but got a pleasant surprise. The officer was just stopping to make sure I was OK, asking about traffic conditions on the bike, and how the ride was going, with advice about navigating the trucks. Talk about a nice thing to do, it really made my day.


I found an Oregon License plate, and strapped it to my bike, I wasn't sure why at the time, later it made perfect sense, as I was making camp later on in the evening it hit me, it was the perfect material for a windscreen for my stove, I curved it as best I could trying to emulate Larry's smooth techniques, not as pretty as he'd make, but serviceable nonetheless.
Riding up off the road, and as I later found out through a ditch I barely felt when I was getting ready to camp was a bit surreal with a circus song playing in my headphones "River Deep" by Devil makes three. I ended up setting up on a high bank above the interstate, hidden by some shrubs, with a lone cactus. Not an idea site, but much better than being down low, no way I want Aurora to end up like Alex Supertramp's car.

A long cold night, I was in bed by about 6pm, didn't get to sleep till about 3am, slept till the sun came up and rode on. I was over the day 3 hump of sleeping on the ground, at which point your body stops complaining all night and decides the ground is actually comfortable.
Took a few night pictures experimenting with my tripod,

View from my camp.



The day before I tried taking videos from the bike, riding out some canyon roads outside of LA to get to someone's house to buy some batteries for my Miox pen. I ended up at the Rock cafe by accident but a couple riders on fast bikes offered to lead me back to the highway, watching their lines in the corners taught me a fair bit. Tons of police cars all along the canyon roads. The batteries are about 8$ each at the drug store, or 15$ for 12 high end cells with better capacity and reliability bought in bulk.
The tripod is so flimsy it shakes in any wind. only a couple of the night shots turned out, and the videos hurt to look at! The capture rate isn't fast enough and it shakes so much that there are weird distortions that run down the screen. The funniest part though is that without a camera everyone waves to me. When it's mounted up, I mounted it from the left crash bar and strapped the tripod in at the tank bag height as well, nobody will wave at all! Everyone is busy looking cool for the camera or doesn't want to be caught waving to a Honda I guess.
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Canada to Panama on a 79 CX500: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62962
Logbook for
motorcycle travelers I'm developing, draft now available for review.
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=739193


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Old 12-04-2010, 02:52 AM   #73
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Pavement, kids in your day had it great! What we had so far is MUD, sometimes frozen dirt and gravel.
Mud!? You were lucky! We had to sleep in the middle of a lake!
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:21 AM   #74
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Oh dear, a sweet innocent Canadian boy in the Castro district. I probably shouldn't have laughed as much as I am at your "predicament".

Welcome to California! I had to grin and roll my eyes at your description of the driving here - that is unfortunately par for the course around here, especially in the bigger cities. I don't even notice it anymore until someone points it out - it's how I learned to drive, although San Francisco has more offensive drivers per capita than most cities. :) It's always "fun" driving in the Bay Area, that's for sure!

Wish we could have met up while you were going through central (coastal) California. I sure do miss my Twisted Twin - I'm seriously considering Larry's CX although I'd need to get the funds up - but the PCH to (past?) Santa Monica is so gorgeous!!

I guess you're in AZ now but if you get the chance head down to Glamis Dunes off I-8, they're pretty incredible and the weather is perfect down there this time of year. Anza Borrego desert is also free camping - just follow the Snow Birds down there this time of year.

Sounds like you're having a literal blast, and man the experiences you get (and turn down ) make a lifetime of memories!!! Road trips are so much better behind the bars of a bike.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:48 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by JGBrown View Post
I rode fast the rest of the day, having some serious issues about 75mph, bike wants to go into a tank slapper, this is where the handlebars go back and forth more violently until they are hitting the stops, the only way I've found to keep up to speed and avoid it is to use my body like a sail, and lean back, this mimics the action of a steering damper, instead of trying to counteract it and make it worse. Doesn't happen much with a full tank, but when I'm getting close to empty it's a bit dicey.
I'm going to guess it's due to too much weight too far back- the photos show a lot of luggage up high and behind the rear axle. That's why it gets worse as the tank gets empty- you're getting to the point there's not enough weight on the front tire. You might try leaning forward a bit; if that helps, see if you can find a way to get more of your luggage moved forward. A tool roll, for example, strapped to the forks under the headlight...
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