Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First 300 Mile Day!!!

YES! To some of you old-time motorcycle tour folks, that is probably not a large accomplishment. You hop on your GoldWing or Harley and just ride. For my Rebel and myself, it is a big deal. And, it was a good learning experience.
  1. Always bring a little more cash than you think you will need.
  2. Never assume there will be a median road that will allow you to turn around when riding a super-slab.
  3. Drink a LOT of water. It's better to pull over every hour than to get dehydrated.
  4. Just because a map says it is paved, doesn't mean it is good!
  5. Anticipate every possible problem before you set out.
  6. And lucky number six... Never, EVER ride in the sun for more than an hour or so, wearing jeans with holes in the knees. (I now have a nasty oval sunburn just above my left knee).
Here is a map of my outgoing route from Henderson, NV to St. George, UT. My return route was fairly direct; I-15 down to where I-93 splits off up north. There, I exited the highway and got on Las Vegas Boulevard. If you look at the map, you will need to zoom in quite a bit to see it.

In all, it was a good ride, and proof that I can effectively adjust the valves on my bike. Those of you who have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance may understand; this was the first time I have ever attempted to do anything like this to an engine. I was slow and methodical, following the instructions, while all the time trying to understand the purpose for each action. Just following a list of directions teaches nothing.

Well, after having the valve pan off and on about three times, I knew something was amiss. First one side was nice and quiet but the other side clanked. I would do everything again and the sounds would switch sides! The thought of just taking it to the mechanic did cross my mind, but I remember that being a "gumption trap..." or something like that. Don't treat failure as a failure; treat it as a learning tool.

And I did.

I went back and looked at the instructions on-line and realized one of the steps had been omitted when I printed them! I follow the instructions, including the missed step, and she purrs like a kitten!

After the first failure, I thought "I did something wrong."
After the second failure, I thought "I did this wrong or I have the wrong instructions."
After the third failure, I thought "I followed the instructions, there must be something wrong with the instructions."

Now, what made me think that, rather than "I have the wrong tool" or "I am just incapable" or whatever? I think it was gumption. I am growing & it feels good.

Oh, by the way, after adjusting the valves, my little Rebel has better acceleration AND I can easily cruise at 75MPH. I even got it up to 85 on a flat stretch of road. Not bad!

Ride safe, all!


Earl Thomas said...

Before you know it, you're going to wander off on the bike and wonder where the last 12 hours and 600 miles or so went!

Lost time doesn't necessarily only occur with Alien Abductions.

Doug C said...

Ken, Our 450 mile return trip from TN was planned for 2 days but we tried to complete it in one.

Had we stayed on the Interstate we might have made it, too. But 6 hours is about max tolerance time for our posteriors and arterial highways don't let you make time that easily.

Awesome job on the valves. That's something I'd like to try.

RazorsEdge2112 said...

Earl: HA! Yes! I look forward to the time when I can just head out on a Friday night and maybe end up on a beach in California, or the 'wine country' or the border of Mexico or who-knows-where. Before I set out on a journey like that, I need to augment my saddle!

Doug: I had a serious case of concrete-butt after that ride. Although, my rear-end was so numb I couldn't tell if my seat felt like concrete or my butt felt like concrete!

Before I attempt anything more than 300 miles, seat augmentation will definitely be needed. Maybe one of those jell-pads or something. Someone even suggested one of those beaded covers.

I stopped at a local independent motorcycle shop last weekend to inquire about a Corbin seat for my Rebel. Nope.

Any other brands? Nope.

Ah well. Seat cover or seat surgery.

Rick said...

good tips. It is amazing how much water you need while riding any distance.