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Old 09-20-2013, 05:48 PM   #31
kamikazekyle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Greater Hampton Roads, VA
Oddometer: 140
Originally Posted by DMCaton View Post
Looks like you're having a good time down there! It's giving me the itch to get out on another long trip...

I just put a set of Pilot Road 3's on my SV1000S and have no complaints whatsoever about them, but we'll see how their tread life is. I got almost 12k out of the set of Road 2's I had on before, and that's not including however many miles the previous owner had put on them already. I also noticed they had to use a bunch of weights to balance both the front and rear Road 3's so maybe something is a little off with the factory mold or something?
I'm pretty lucky in that I get every other week off due to my work schedule, so I can make a lot of shorter trips and it's not too hard to schedule longer periods of time off. Even though this trip didn't go as hoped, I learned a lot from it and plan on making more trips in the future, just with less random wandering. I'm thinking my next trip will take me back to Louisiana. I hated just riding through the state, but want to return not only to explore New Orleans and the Gulf, but take the Sertao down and do some dual sporting.

As to the Pilots, the set I had on my Multistrada weren't bad per se, just not as awe inspiring as I was led to believe. So far I don't have any complaints on the Ninja. After 1500 straightline miles they're barely showing wear, though I haven't had a chance to really get the edges scrubbed in on good asphalt without a load. I hit some twisties today and almost got rid of the chicken strips, but with a heavy load and a flighty front due to not redoing my suspension settings, it's hard to pass judgement. Thought I'm never putting a PR3 on the front of the Ninja -- seems like *something* on the Ninja makes the front PR3 result in a lot of bad feedback. Many people have reported the issue, though nothing on the rears.

In any case, I'm not going to go out and change it until it wears out, that's for sure. I liked the Angel ST's as they were basically a longer lasting sport tire which felt better than the sport Battleaxes I had on the bike prior. If the Angel GT's maintain the same grippy sides and up the center lifespan with the dual compound, that's going to be a hell of a combo to beat.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:50 PM   #32
kamikazekyle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Greater Hampton Roads, VA
Oddometer: 140

Texas, I Love You, but it's Time for US to See Other States
September 18, 2013 - Day 10

Listen, Texas, we've been together for several days now. We've got feelings for each other, I know. Your curves snake around sexily, your busty cities are centers of fun and excitement, and your speeds are fast and furious. We disagree on the heat thing, but every good relationship has its rocky parts.

But, for now, I think we should see other States. It's not you, it's me.

Texas has been pretty fun, even if I've been stuck here for a while. But, to be honest, if it wasn't for the fact my tire went AWOL in Junction, I probably would have missed some of the best roads Texas had to offer. So I it's good and bad, though the somewhat unseasonably warm temps have gotta go.

Mulling over the weather maps it looks as though the storm from in Colorado is going to be smacking into me right when I hit the fun stuff around Tennessee and Virginia -- I had plans to visit a few places, ride the Back of the Dragon, etc. Since riding my plans involved about 8 hours of curves, riding those in rain wouldn't have been as fun, not to mention taking longer thanks to the rain.

Since I can hit those up on one of my weeks off, I decided to bypass the whole shebang and head for home, stopping by my parents house to pick up a few things I left there on my way out. Like my underwear.

Today was "Get Out of Texas" day. First, dealing with San Antonio Traffic.

Not amused, says I.

I was introduced to one of Texas's toll freeways thanks to an issue with the GPS. 80 MPH speed limits...oh yes. In Virginia, 80 MPH is automatic reckless driving. In Texas on the toll freeway? It's the posted limit. I humped along merrily, waiting to hit a toll booth to pay my toll. After the first "gate" I realized that the tollway was pretty much totally unmanned: you either have a prepaid tag or they photo your license plate and mail you a bill. Well, my license plate happens to be a weeee bit blocked by my topcase and the crossmember support bar for my side cases. Enh, I'm sure the Texas DOT have thought of that and I'll soon have a scrumptious bill to pay. I wasn't pulled over, so I must have not raised any flags.

Outside of that, vroom, vroom, sweat, sweat.

And sometimes rest stop. I'd occasionally see something interesting, such as this train taking a break, too.

Tanker car (we'll assume something boom-able just for argument's sake) plus fireworks shack plus ignition source. Mmm...

Somewhere near Tyler the cable for my phone tossed the big one, so I found a Wallyworld to get a new one. At that moment it was 95F and the temps were still rising for several hours. Hello, Mr. Hotel. And I was going to camp out, too. I managed to get a room at the Wyndham Garden -- a three star hotel -- for $35. Beats the $17 I would have had to pay for the slab of concrete for camping.

Daily Stat Whore Stuff
Daily Mileage: 488 miles
Total Trip Miles: 3257.7 miles
Daily Time/Moving: 9h 23m /7h 35m
Speed Max/Moving Average: 98.2 MPH / 64.4 MPH
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:51 PM   #33
kamikazekyle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Greater Hampton Roads, VA
Oddometer: 140

A Lot of Miles Divided by Two
September 19, 2013 - Day 11

A beautiful sunrise crested the hotel across the street. It wasn't the poetic photograph I had hoped for, but in the commercial flatlands of Texakarna it was the best I could get on the fly. Too many miles, too few hours to cover.

Rain off and on throughout the evening helped to justify my hotel booking. Temps in the 80s while trying to sleep is bad enough, but can you imagine mixing that with humidity and being stuck with the rain fly on all night? Ugh.

I set out at sunrise, skipping the free breakfast.

Not exactly the view I wanted -- what with the hotel in the background and all -- but the colors were fading fast.

Skipping breakfast saved me some time (I had a protein bar while packing), but also made me hungry at lunch time forcing me to stop. This would sort of prevent me from pushing myself too far.

Despite leaving early, I still ran into early AM construction. There would be plenty more throughout the day.

The biggest queef for the day was tractor trailers. If you have two lanes going in the same direction, pass in the left, drive in the right. So much of my day was wasted waiting for one eighteen wheeler to pass a convoy of others going 1 MPH faster. AAAAARGGGG....

Think no traffic thoughts, think no traffic thoughts...


Enh. Close enough.

I hopped across the Tennessee, lamenting the twisty or two that I found along the way.

Said twisties would have put me one or more hours behind as they all went perpendicular to the Intersate and never seemed to meander in the way I needed to go.

Right after that, around lunch, I took a butt break at the Martin Luther King Jr Park in Memphis. Pretty nice park, if you ignore the odd creepy person and spraypainted stop signs.

Again, another mass miles day, of sorts. The latter half was identical to the first half, just a bit hotter. I made it to London, TN just outside of Nashville. I basically took the interstate route between Texakarna and my parent's house, split it in half, and set that as a goal for the day. It worked out well, even if the hotel room is a bit of a split personality. The front half screams "how much is the hooker?" while as you near the bathroom it ramps up to "wow, this looks new it's so clean." Not sure what to make of that.

Daily Stat Whore Stuff
Daily Mileage: 519.9 miles
Total Trip Miles: 3777.6 miles
Daily Time/Moving: 9h 30m /7h 44m
Speed Max/Moving Average: 99.7 MPH / 67.1 MPH
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:53 PM   #34
kamikazekyle OP
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2012
Location: Greater Hampton Roads, VA
Oddometer: 140

OMFG Curves
September 20, 2013 - Day 12

I see you, Mr. Jeep, wanting to pull out to the road. I'm nearly there, so please just stay...wait...what are you doing? No! Don't turn into the road, damnit! I'm on a sportbike that has humped over a fifteen-hundred miles of interstate and flat road the past three days, finally on curves with no traffic, and you're going to pull out in front of me?! You bastard!

I love the smell of cheap motel in the morning. Local miscreants are up and stirring, smoking outside their rooms as they struggle to wipe away crusties from their eyes for another long day. A girl peers out of her door, looking around for someone in particular -- or perhaps eyeing everyone. Defeated she ducks back inside. All in all, I actually like the character of some of these cheap motels, so long as they have clean sheets and towels.

I awoke promptly to my alarm. Wait. No I didn't. I set it but forgot to turn it on, so started out 45 minutes late. Scarfing down some crackers and the last of a bag of beef jerky, I packed the odds'n'ends that I couldn't pack the night before and loaded up the bike. I've found that I can get loaded and packed in less than 15 minutes if I don't have to lug my gear too far.

Despite running behind, I chatted a bit with an older gent walking by with coffee. The conversation started up with a quick "now that's something you don't see every day" from him, to be followed by, "a young guy getting up early." I'm 30, so I guess I should take that as a blessing, eh? Our conversation fluttered about my bike, and segwayed into how he used to street race 400cc Honda's when he was younger. Pretty interesting conversation, actually. It hit the highlight when I heard words I'd never thought I'd hear: "I broke this leg when I had to lay down my Vespa."

Double you -- tee -- eff?

At least it was a 250cc scoot and it was him literally dropping the bike: he just so happened to do so next to a ditch, in which he managed to somehow get the scoot to toss him against a stump, breaking his leg in the process.

We parted ways, and I set off for another slog.

It was much of the same as yesterday, though significantly cooler. I had to pull over at a rest stop and zip up because my teeth were chattering. Some parts of Tennessee were still harboring fog hours after sunrise. The change was quite pleasant.

Nearing the Virginia border, I pulled over at a rest stop and plucked out the atlas and GPS. I was making good time thanks to generally ignoring the speed limit and knew I was nearing some potentially twisty roads. Finding one that looked interesting and gave me a good feeling, I plotted out a detour that would still put me in civilization by dinner time, and set off yet again.

All I have to say: damn I'm good at picking twisties at random.

I seem to have a knack for finding Virginia's official Byways without prior knowledge -- that or whomever in Richmond picked out the byways was a motorcyclist at heart.

I sped through turns as traffic allowed, trying my best to scrub in the new tire after many, many straightline miles. I still had to pick and choose the corners, though. I never did retweak my suspension beyond rear preload to accommodate the increased cargo, which resulted in a light and flighty front. Plus I had been tailing rain showers for a little while and many corners were still wet.

Still, it was a great run through some rural Virginia towns, or at least what remained of them.

I must say, despite all that I enjoyed in Texas, I think I'm a temperate mountain boy at heart. There's something about giant deciduous trees and the rocky twists and turns of the Blue Ridge Mountains that I just can't get over. Maybe once I see some mountains out West I'll change my mind, but Texas takes a close second for now.

After that detour -- in which over half of the photos failed to turn out any more than blurred blobs, damnit -- I was back on the interstate, donning rain gear for rain that never came, and dodging more people trying to merge into me because they didn't check their blind spots when I was passing. Whomever says loud bikes saves lives hasn't met the guy with his window down next to a Ninja 1000 at 7,000 RPM blaring its horn.

Tomorrow is my last day on the road. I'm split on the feeling, really. On one hand, I want to stay on the road and would have liked to keep exploring West. On the other, I'm glad to get home. Having to rush the West in just a few days then try to switch back into working third shift the day after I made it back would have sucked, so I am confident I made the decision in cutting the trip short. Not to mention it gives me time to tear down the Ninja for a valve check, get the nasty bastard clean, mow the lawn, and who knows how many other chores I've put off. Plus picking up the Guzzi and deciding if I want to keep it or trade it in for something else -- I've been eyeing a R1200RT a lot, recently...

I also think, for tomorrow, I'm going to beeline it home on the Interstate. The first 2/3 of the ride is the same whether I take the Interstate or not: the last third is either straightline Interstate, or straightline rural roads. The storm front is approaching hot on my heels. If I didn't choose to beeline from Texas to my parent's house, I'd be spending the next 2-3 days riding in rain. So taking the random twisty route home would probably put me unpacking in the rain.

Daily Stat Whore Stuff
Daily Mileage: 511.9 miles
Total Trip Miles: 4289.8 miles
Daily Time/Moving: 9h 25m /8h 05m
Speed Max/Moving Average: 94.6 MPH / 63.3 MPH
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